Hello friends. It's a quiet, rainy day here in the greater Washington DC area. Dark and muted and a bit warmer than one might expect for a sunless day at the end of November. It's a good day to be at home with a cup of tea and a book. So that works out for me. Sorry for all you honest people with proper jobs.
I'm sure I don't need to say that it's been a tumultuous couple of weeks. For those of you outside the US asking what in all hells happened, we're just as baffled as you. Baffled and more than a little frightened. I was tempted to use lesser words like "anxious" or "uneasy", but--speaking only for myself here--allowing a former reality TV celebrity to become the most powerful person in the country is even scarier than giving it to a movie star known for acting with a chimpanzee. People are already starting to compare our president-elect with Andrew Jackson, and with very good reason. That guy was a jerk.
But I don't want to turn this newsletter into an anxiety-inducing screed about how we must be vigilant of the dangers to come, etc, etc. You already know that. Instead I'd like to offer hope and assurance. All storms pass eventually. We will weather this storm, just like generations before us weathered theirs. Will it be difficult? Absolutely. Will there be damage and loss? Most likely. Might it change the very shape of our lives? Possibly. But we will get through it together.
Like all suffering, it is up to us to decide how we react. I have seen more kindness between strangers these past few weeks than I have since the Northeast blackout of 2003 (during which I walked fifteen miles through NYC to get to my then pregnant wife), or the fall of the two towers in 2001 (which I watched from my fire escape in Brooklyn). I have seen people come together and support each other in truly lovely ways. Now is a chance to show our true quality.
For my own part, I have found renewed focus and urgency in my writing. The day after the election, I sat down and finally tackled the big climatic chapter for Blood and Tempest that I had been dragging my feet on for days. And I didn't stop there. A week later, I had a finished draft. Was it a gigantic mess? You bet it was. But that's what revisions are for. So now I have the raw material and I'm going back and shaping it so that it becomes something that will hopefully both entertain and inspire people. A satisfying end to a story that has spanned three books. And one which, totally unplanned, has even more relevance now than it did a month ago.
I imagine the Bane and Shadow galleys will be going out for review very soon. In the mean time, there are few things coming up for Hope and Red.
First, my French publisher, Bragelonne, has made an offer on paperback sub-rights for the entire Empire of Storms trilogy, or as its called there, Le Livre de Poche. What does that mean, exactly? Well, first, it means another few months in which my children don't starve (yay!). It also suggests that Bragelonne is confident enough in the reception to the hardback that they feel it warrants prepping a paperback version for later release. So basically, good news from France!
I also wanted to show you the Portuguese cover:
This might be the most bad-ass rendering of Hope I've seen yet. Also, the pile of skulls in the corner is a nice touch. Interestingly, they've changed the title. I asked a Brazilian friend of mine to translate, and apparently it means Power and Vengeance. I assume they took that from the tag line of "One seeks power, the other vengeance".
It isn't the only instance of changing the title because it didn't work in translation. For the Spanish version, they went with Empire of Storms instead of Hope and Red for the title of the first book:
I think the Spanish version of Bane and Shadow is being changed to The Demon of Shadows.
If any of you are Cassandra Clare fans, prepare to be jealous, because I'm currently reading a draft of her forthcoming novel, Lord of Shadows, the second book in the latest Shadowhunter trilogy, Dark Artifices.
Something that I really admire about Cassie is her commitment not only to having a diverse set of characters, but also making sure she is respectful of that diversity. She asked me to read her last book, Lady Midnight, because she included an autistic character named Ty and wanted to run it by someone intimately familiar with autism. For those of you who don't know, my oldest son, Logan, is on the Autism Spectrum, so this is a topic very near to my heart, and something I've read a great deal about. Cassie has a huge readership, and the idea of all those zillions of teens connecting with a character who's on the Spectrum is tremendously exciting to me.
Naturally I couldn't turn her down when she asked a second time. Although this time, she sweetened the deal by offering to look at something of mine in return! At the risk of jinxing myself by saying it publicly, I've been thinking of trying my hand at a middle grade novel (in between all the grownup fantasy stuff). Cassie cowrites an excellent middle grade series with Holly Black called The Magisterium, so she would be an ideal beta reader for this new foray of mine.
It's the end of the year and new releases are starting to slow down a little, so now I'm going back and looking at stuff that came out a little while back that I didn't get a chance to give my full attention. Jen Wasner, singer and guitarist for one of my favorite bands, Wye Oak, has a solo project called Flock of Dimes. It leans much more heavily into the synth, retro-80's sound than Wye Oak does. Here's a track off the first LP, If You See Me, Say Yes:
And I think that’s a good place to leave this newsletter:
If you see me, say yes.