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March 2010:
It’s snowing right now in Tahoe
Posted by JVJ @ 12:40 pm
March 31st : 2010
And this is what it looks like. Here I am a couple of years ago in Lake Tahoe, California. It was October and the snow started coming down...and didn’t stop until there was three feet of it.
Pirates and mayhem
Posted by JVJ @ 11:05 am
March 30th : 2010
Just a reminder that you can follow me here on twitter. My pirate nemesis, the toga-wearing, mayhem-loving, ouzo-sake drinking, scurvy sea captain Lorna Doone hangs out there, waiting for opportunities to “board and maraud”. Also liable to drop by are a slightly manic, crunchy-obsessed kitteh, piratetiquette expert Miss Pirate Manners, who is ready to answer your most delicate pirate-related problems, and...er...me. Stop by and check us out.
How to Smuggle Chocolate
Posted by JVJ @ 11:17 am
March 29th : 2010
You’re looking at a box of Russian chocolates cleverly disguised as a book. I received these from a friend last week who had returned from a trip to Moscow. I specially liked the white chocolate Kremlins. They were soft and gooey inside.
Watcher Watch VIII
Posted by JVJ @ 1:44 pm
March 27th : 2010
Here it is, the first official documented sighting of Watcher of the Dead. It’s the UK version, as owned and photographed by Paul H. in London. I don’t even have a copy myself yet! If you spot it let me know. And send a photo.
Biggie to Godzilla:
Posted by Biggie @ 12:36 pm
March 26th : 2010
Don’t you dare sit down
Posted by JVJ @ 12:37 pm
March 25th : 2010
With less than three weeks to go to the official publication date of Watcher of the Dead, we have our first official sighting. It’s been seen in the UK, received from an online retailer no less. This is big news. This means Watcher is out there. I don’t have a copy yet, but it’s out there. As the book is being simultaneously published in the US and UK, it means it could be appearing at a bookstore near you. Soon. Very soon. If you spot it let me know, or send a photo. Cheers, JV.
Top of the mountain to you
Posted by JVJ @ 12:00 pm
March 24th : 2010
Here I am in the mountains east of San Diego, on a rare haze free day. You could see for miles, maybe as far as the next state over. No points for guessing that would be Arizona.
Iz on ur fences
Posted by Biggie @ 11:54 am
March 23rd : 2010
The many faces of the Barbed Coil
Posted by JVJ @ 11:40 am
March 22nd : 2010
The Barbed Coil has gone through its fair number of covers. In France, it’s up to four. In the US, it’s had two. This is the second illustration that was commissioned by the publisher. It was painted by Mark Posen and features Ravis and Tessa preparing to do battle with Izgard’s army.
Last shot from the woods
Posted by JVJ @ 10:50 am
March 20th : 2010
It was camping, I tell you. Camping
Posted by JVJ @ 11:16 am
March 19th : 2010
Still pursuing string theory
Posted by Biggie @ 10:58 am
March 18th : 2010
Watcher Watch VII
Posted by JVJ @ 10:52 am
March 17th : 2010
Less than a month before Watcher of the Dead hits the bookshelves. As soon as you spot it let me know. Better still send a photo. And if it’s not in your bookstore by the 16th of April, head to the counter and ask the nice people there to order some. In the meantime, I thought you’d enjoy this. It’s J.P. Targete’s preliminary sketch for the US cover. It’s depicts a scene in the book, and captures perfectly the nightmare that has become Raif Sevrance’s life. Raif is wielding the legendary sword named Loss. You can see the weight of the blade. It’s not a weapon designed for defense. It's forged to kill.

On a lighter note, I wonder if you can guess the identity of the woman in the left-hand corner...
Car Trouble
Posted by JVJ @ 10:49 am
March 16th : 2010
Here I am yesterday, leaning in sheer relief against the car as it idled in the garage while the battery recharged. The car hadn’t been driven in several months so the battery was flat. I tried to recharge it myself using a trickle charger, but the battery wouldn’t take the charge. That’s when I called my insurance company. Wonder of wonders, they sent someone round to help me as a complimentary service. Tim the tow guy had the car jumped and up-and-running within minutes. He tested the battery and told me its charge was super low, but the battery itself was fine. After half an hour of being left running in the (open) garage, the car was good to drive. So thanks for the excellent service Tim the tow guy and my insurance company. Finally I can leave the house.
In the woods
Posted by JVJ @ 8:52 am
March 15th : 2010
Here’s another photo from a couple of weeks back. It was snowing heavily while I was out in the woods--big wet flakes as the temperature was barely freezing--and my hair and clothes were soaked.
Back in SD
Posted by JVJ @ 2:14 pm
March 14th : 2010
Car battery dead and incapable of taking a charge, Lawn has had name legally changed to “Weedsville”, toilets are leaking (gaskets dry out, apparently), and EON (electrical outlet necrosis) continues to infect house, taking out outlets in kitchen and main bathroom. Apart from that, it’s good to be back.
Today I am Clan
Posted by JVJ @ 8:20 am
March 12th : 2010
Here I am a couple of weekend’s back, in foot deep snow during a snowfall. I looked at the photo and thought, “I could pass as a Hailswoman.” All I need is a maiden's helper and a pouch of powdered guidestone. What do you think?
Hooded figure? We haz one
Posted by JVJ @ 12:54 pm
March 11th : 2010
Am I the only one who’s noticed the trend for “the mysterious hooded figure” on the cover of fantasy epics? A brief check of “hooded figure” fiction brings us Patrick Rothfuss, Brent Weeks, Peter V. Brett, Trudi Canavan and Karen Miller to name but a few. As you probably know, writers generally don’t have much input regarding the images placed on the fronts of their books so you can’t blame us for this trend. Art directors, marketing execs and editors are the ones to contact in case of hooded proliferation emergencies. Don’t get me wrong, these covers are beautiful and mysterious and appear to sell books (which is the entire point of their existence), but at what point do we say “Enough with the hood already, pull it down and let me see your darn face.”

The hooded phenomena appears to have reached its height in the UK where, as far as I can tell, nary a book is published without a man/woman/elf/dwarf sporting an artfully draped cloth over their heads. Obviously, from the above image, you can see this phenomena had crossed the channel and has now taken root in France. In a parallel takeover, hooded figures have floated enigmatically across the Atlantic and are now firmly entrenched in the US. Where will it end? Hooded figures on our Cheerios, our shampoo bottles, or even--irony of ironies--our jackets (hooded figures on our own hooded figures, get it?).

Don’t think this is cause for concern? Then let me remind you, hooded figures are nearly impossible to identify in police lineups. They’ll do you wrong and get away with it. “Up To No Good” is their middle name. So remember, they’re here, they’re armed, and they have magnificent lighting. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Artwork by the wonderful Marc Simonetti, who as far as the author is concerned could paint hooded figures day and night and would be no less magnificent.
Book of Words
Posted by JVJ @ 10:26 am
March 10th : 2010
I have an idea. I’d really like to see all three books in the Book of Words series printed in a single volume. As the Book of Words is now out of print in the US and is currently only available in ebook format, now seems a good time for them to be reissued in a single volume. Master and Fool, the final volume in the series was a national bestseller (I recall it being next to Hillary Clinton’s It Takes A Village on the USA Today list). So what do you think, is it time to bring Words out of retirement?
I miss this place too
Posted by JVJ @ 4:22 pm
March 9th : 2010
This is one of the the beaches near Tulum, Mexico. The water was the warmest, gentlest water I have ever swam in. The sand was like flour. It was a short trip I took on impulse last September (flights and rooms were stupidly cheap). I didn’t know anything about the area so I had little idea what to expect. What I found were lovely people, ancient Mayan ruins, cenotes (limestone caves and sinkholes filled with fresh water), jungle, and an ocean so calm and inviting that I never wanted to leave.
Seduced and specially packaged
Posted by JVJ @ 1:12 pm
March 8th : 2010
More reviews of the French edition of The Barbed Coil are coming in as bloggers across that fine nation weigh in with what they think about “The Golden Bramble” (that’s what the book is called in France). These reviews are, I’m certain, well written and thoughtful and I’m very glad of them. However, google translates, creates its own particular brand of goofiness as it juggles French into English. One reviewer claims, “I was seduced and specially packaged to read this book.” Am I the only one who would like to see those photos? Another reviewer argues (rather convincingly, I think) that she won’t “hit the characters in this book.” And a final reviewer, upon finishing, declares “thin is over!” Which I so agree with.
I miss this place
Posted by JVJ @ 4:49 pm
March 7th : 2010
Was it only three months ago I was here, in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica? This photo was taken the day I saw my first sloth (three-toed and green with fungus). You can tell I’m just seven degrees from the equator--look at my shadow. I was strolling the beach just a little after midday.
Morning Star
Posted by JVJ @ 7:28 am
March 6th : 2010
Local belief held that it was good luck to enter the city of Morning Star during the few seconds of sunrise on cloudless days in late winter and early spring when the sun first appeared in the east and before its rays had chance to extinguish the morning star in the west. Angus Lok entered the city at such a moment but he didn’t believe in luck.
Monster Fantasy and Cheese By-products
Posted by JVJ @ 7:08 am
March 5th : 2010
Part 2 of The Barbed Coil has just been reissued in France (the lovely cover of which can be seen here) and that means reviews are coming in. These delight me no end, not least because of the wonderful goofiness that translation engines spit out when faced with sane French text. According to google translates, one reviewer thinks, I “write like whey” and “did nothing to envy monster fantasy.” Another reviewer says, “I demand back almost to have a sequel!” even though she finds the story “difficult to stand for not reading it.” Both reviewers enjoyed the book...I think.
Watcher Watch VI: Angus Lok
Posted by JVJ @ 6:05 pm
March 3rd : 2010
A lot of people have been waiting to hear what became of Angus after he returned to the farmhouse. Watcher tells that story. As I was writing, I realized that the title, which originally referred to Raif Sevrance taking possession of the sword named Loss, also applies to Angus Lok as well. Angus watches the living and believes he is no longer one of them. He waits in the shadows and watches for the one who has wronged him...
Watcher Watch V: Reviews
Posted by JVJ @ 1:55 pm
March 2nd : 2010
I expect to spot Watcher of the Dead sometime in the second half of the month, even though it has a due date of April 15th. If you see it in your bookstore let me know. As a writer you’re always a bit anxious around the publishing date. You want readers to enjoy your book or at very least not hate it. When the first reviews come in you almost don’t want to look at them. They can upset you that much. The good ones, oddly enough, don’t carry the same weight, meaning they don’t make us correspondingly elated. Just relieved. Over time we’re supposed to become tougher, grow immune to criticism, let bad reviews roll off our backs. Some writers have even taken to owning and embracing their bad reviews. I say good for them.

The trouble is, that book is us. We are one and the same thing. Me=Book. Book=Me. You can’t spend a year putting everything you know about life and people on to 500 pages and then say, “That’s not me, that’s just my work.” It ain’t so. It’s our knowledge, our philosophies, our observations, our skills, ourselves. It’s like appearing naked before a crowd and asking for comments.

So now you know why writers get a little nervous around publication time. Of course, we remind ourselves to put the bad reviews in perspective, that it’s only one person’s opinion, and that no one can expect to write a book that is universally admired. But still. It’s hard not to take the bad reviews personally when there’s so much of one’s self on display.
Launchpad Accepting Applicants
Posted by JVJ @ 5:34 pm
March 1st : 2010
Last August I spent a week in Laramie, Wyoming, attending a workshop run by writer and astrophysicist Mike Brotherton and funded by NASA. The purpose of the workshop is “to teach writers of all types about modern science, specifically astronomy, and in turn reach their audiences. We hope to both educate the public and reach the next generation of scientists.” In other words, I received a crash course in astronomy taught by wonderful teachers, got to peer through telescopes and learn about cosmic radiation, and meet and mingle with a wonderful bunch of creative people. If you’re a professional writer, film maker or something else creative stop by Launchpad’s website and download an application. This year’s workshop will run from 11-18 of July.
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J.P. Targete
Livre De Poche
The Barbed Coil
Watcher of the Dead