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Wind Raker!

Wind Raker
I am absolutely delighted to announce we have a release date for Wind Raker -- February 15!

And we have a cover! Once again, Bob Eggleton did a gorgeous painting for our cover. This may be my favorite yet!

Windraker

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Far Horizons is out!

Numinous World
SGX-01_Far_Horizons_front_cover

Far Horizons is out! You can find it here on Amazon, and it will appear in other locations over the next few days as vendors get it up on their websites. The print version is coming in about three weeks -- the time it takes to actually print the book.

There are some wonderful stories in this anthology! Quick! Go read! :)

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Order of the Air and the Numinous World

Numinous World
A reader asks, "What's the relationship between your two series the Order of the Air and the Numinous World? Are they the same universe?"

Yes, both sets of books take place in the same world, but in different periods and with different sets of characters. Gull, in all her incarnations, is the main character of the Numinous World books, while The Order of the Air follows a different set of characters, Alma, Jerry, Mitch, Lewis and Stasi.

However, it is the same world, and sometimes things from one appear in another. For example, in the fifth Order of the Air book, Oath Bound, which I'm working on now, Jerry is supervising an archaeological dig in Alexandria. Readers of Hand of Isis and Stealing Fire will recognize some people and places. Demetria, the Adoratrice of Isis, mentioned in one of Jerry's records is Demetria from Hand of Isis, and we find out what happened to her in the rest of her life. The Alabaster Tomb that Jerry talks about, excavated in 1906, is the tomb of Lydias' family. And of course the visions or flashbacks to Berenice and to Alexander's funeral are the same as in Stealing Fire. There are also some details that connect less directly -- the Lochias Kouros, a statue Jerry worked on, makes a brief appearance in the short story Horus Indwelling as the statue in the courtyard of the Indian elephant captain.

Wind Raker, the next upcoming book, is the one with the most direct crossover! Gull and Neas both make a substantial appearance in Wind Raker, and there is a flashback to Alma's life in the era of the Elza books. Not to give away major plot in Wind Raker, but readers of the Numinous World books will have a leg up figuring out the villain's plans!

And yes, Gull and Neas' twentieth century incarnations will appear again in future books. I'm anticipating seeing them again in the sixth book, Fire Season.

A Winter Campaign

Emperor's Agent
A reader says, "I need a Numinous World fix! When is the next Elza book coming out?"

Not too much longer, I hope! But to tide you over, here's a sneak peek from The Marshal's Lover, the next book with Elza. Interestingly enough, this is one of the first scenes written in the Numinous World. The original draft of this scene dates to 1992!

A Winter CampaignCollapse )

Classical Archaeology

Lost Things
A reader says, "I've enjoyed all of the Order of the Air books, but I miss the classical archaeology from the first one. When is Jerry going to do some classical archaeology again?"

In Oath Bound! You will like it, because Jerry's major plot is his dig in Alexandria! I am so excited writing Oath Bound because I get to write Alexandria again.

Here's a little piece:

At the digCollapse )

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On Books, Tie-ins, and Movies

Numinous World
This morning I was reading some discussion of the new Hobbit movies, mostly to the tune of "why isn't this exactly like the book?" and it occurred to me that what Peter Jackson is doing in adapting books to movies is the same thing we do when we write tie-ins adapting movies or tv shows to books -- only going in the opposite direction. (For the record, I love BOTH the Tolkien books and Peter Jackson's adaptations.) It's the same trick from the other end, meaning you work all the same problems in reverse.

For example, when you see something onscreen in Stargate you immediately register it with all its implications, though of course each viewer concentrates on particular things in the scene that interest them. One viewer who loves Rodney may watch Rodney through group action scenes, thereby noting that Rodney stops to reload his pistol, while another viewer who is watching Ronon may notice details of his costume that the first viewer misses. However, all the details are there. In Stargate Atlantis in particular, the costume and props are meticulous. There is, for example, enormous detail in the Wraith costumes that provide context, reference, and information about their culture. For the most part, the casual viewer registers all of it on a subliminal level, and only the serious fan or the cosplayer is figuring out whether Todd's shirt is black or charcoal gray! Therefore, things like the Wraith costumes not being monochrome black, but actually shades of near-black that presumably register as distinct colors to their enhanced vision are part of the characterization that's absorbed on a secondary level.

You can't do this in a book because nobody can see it. That may seem obvious, but the weight of detail in a single scene would be impossible to duplicate in a book scene. Can you imagine stopping every sentence to explain what John's hair looks like or how the light falls across Teyla's face or what the difference in body language between her and Ronon means about how they agree or disagree with what Woolsey is saying? The book would be unreadable. Therefore, the author has to pick and choose specific details that are important, calling the reader's attention to things that are telling. I may point out that Ronon has crossed his arms and taken a step back, suggesting that he disagrees with what he's hearing, when on screen you could see that in Jason Momoa's body language and would register it without thinking.

And then there's voice. "No," Rodney said. Well, how did he say it? If you were watching an episode, David Hewlett's tone would tell you what you wanted to know. Is it an impatient no? A scared no? An offhanded no? A deliberate no? I have to tell you. I have to help you "hear" Rodney say no. All the tiny nuances of acting have to be translated into words -- and few enough of them that the scene flows smoothly!

There's also feel. For example, in The Seer there's a lovely scene between Sam and Todd that has so much chemistry and tells you so much about how Todd treats queens and how the Wraith see Sam -- but it's all nuance. It's not script. I have to pick out details that will inform the reader on the same kind of level as watching the scene. I have to reproduce "chemistry" in words! Quite a trick, isn't it?

What Peter Jackson is doing is going the other way. We don't know what kind of scabbard Thorin has in The Hobbit, because Tolkien never tells us, anymore than I tell you what shoes Rodney is wearing in Unascended! You imagine that Rodney is wearing some appropriate boots, because surely if he were wearing neon high tops I would say so! But if they were filming Unascended, someone in the costume department would have to decide. Tolkien tells us Thranduil was "wearing a crown of autumn leaves." How big a crown? All the way around his head or just the back? A circlet? A wreath like a Classical laurel wreath? If you put that on an actor's head, he's going to look like he's wearing the Thanksgiving centerpiece! Details that are important have to be interpreted into visuals that look good.

And then there's pace. You watch a sparring scene between John and Teyla and there are twenty moves in ten seconds. If I actually wrote that out, it would take four pages. The scene would seem endless. It would seem like this scene was five minutes instead of ten seconds. And it would be boring. Action scenes in books are always much shorter than they would be filmed. Or, to go the other way, if you filmed the Battle of the Pelennor Fields in the Return of the King exactly as it is in the book, it would be about six minutes long! The Return of the King would be a half-hour program. Enormous amounts of action are summed up (exceedingly well) and swiftly, "And now the fighting waxed furious on the fields of the Pelennor; and the din of arms rose upon high, with the crying of men and the neighing of horses. Horns were blown and trumpets were braying, and the mumakil were bellowing as they were goaded to war. Under teh south walls of the City the footmen of Gondor now drove against the legions of Morgul that were still gathered there in strength. Not too soon came their aid to the Rohirrim; for fortune had turned against Eomer and his fury had betrayed him. The great wrath of his onset had utterly overthrown the front of his enemies, and great wedges of Riders had passed clear through the ranks of the Southrons, discomfiting their horsemen and riding their footmen to ruin. But wherever the mumakil came there the horses would not go, but blenched and swerved away; the great monsters were unfought and stood like towers of defense, and the Haradrim rallied around them." Two paragraphs. That's about three minutes on film in the extended edition, to actually show you what's happening.

Different media require different storytelling techniques. You can't write like a film or film writing. You have to use each media as a distinct entity. The challenge with any adaptation, whether it's making a movie out of a book or writing a tie-in for a tv series, is to make it feel like the original while actually being significantly different! That's why the highest compliment to my skill and effort is when someone tells me that they can "hear" John Sheppard, or that it "feels like Atlantis." It's a very complicated dance.

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Rainbow Awards!

Cythera
I'm delighted to announce that Cythera is a Rainbow Awards finalist in the category of Bisexual fiction.

The reviewer said, "Cythera is the Greek "island of love" off whose shores Aphrodite was reputedly born. The protagonist of Graham's novel couldn't have been more aptly named, as she is a sacred courtesan who approaches her work as vocation, with the care and devotion of a priestess. The novel begins in Cythera’s “temple,” the Grecian-inspired pleasure palace where she participates in highly theatrical performances meant to delight and inspire the guests. If all erotica were written this well, I might read nothing else --the sensuality has far deeper purpose than titillation, with beautiful prose that is arousing in both a sexual and spiritual sense."

Cythera

If you haven't read Cythera, now is an excellent time to try it! A short plot synopsis:

Cythera is a sacred courtesan, one of the fabulous Adepts of Menaechmi, famed through the Nine Worlds for their opulent beauty and decadence. However, when a fragile peace treaty hangs in the balance, the power to stop an interstellar war suddenly rests with her — a mission for which she is unprepared and unqualified. If she is to save thousands of lives, Cythera must not only rely on her wits and sensuality, but on a man she never thought she’d see again who has haunted her dreams for seven years.

Athain Kinslayer is a captain in the Calpurnian navy, a star voyager who has given up on personal happiness in pursuit of his duty. His job is to stop a war. The last thing he expects is to have to rely on a sacred courtesan, a woman with whom he spent one unforgettable night seven years ago and has never been able to forget. Together they must undertake a dangerous journey, face unexpected enemies, and delve into the deep and sensual waters of the most hidden rites in order to save their worlds — and find each other.


If you like Charmian and Elza, you will like Cythera! I'm so proud that it's a finalist!

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Stargate Anthology!

atlantis
Coming in ebook October 23!

SGX-01_Far_Horizons_front_cover

The print book will follow about two weeks later. This is a book of short stories, kind of like the Star Wars anthologies Tales from Jabba's Palace etc. My story is called A Blade of Atlantis, and it answers the question, "What did Michael hope to gain in The Prodigal?"

I haven't read all the stories, but there are lots of great authors, including Keith R.A. DeCandido, Diana Botsford, Geonn Cannon, and Melissa Scott. However! The story I have read is one of my absolute favorites of all time now, Amy Griswold's Consort. If you're a Wraith fan, this is the story you've waited for!

The preorder isn't up yet, but it's out October 23!

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Five Things About Stasi

Lost Things
And the last Five Things for now -- Stasi!

Also today is the last day of the Storybundle promotion on Lost Things. If you want a free download code, reply in the next few hours!

Stasi is the hardest one to do the Five Things for, because so much of her past is a complete mystery. (Some of it is a mystery to the authors as well!)

1. Stasi was telling Mitch the truth in Silver Bullet when she said her birthday was in February, an Aquarius with a Leo moon. Stasi was born on February 9, 1897 -- which makes her the youngest of the Lodge. In Silver Bullet Stasi is not quite thirty six.

2. Stasi doesn't actually speak a word of Russian. This will turn out to be a big problem in Oath Bound! Nor has she ever been to Russia. In case you were wondering!

3. Stasi is, as Mitch guesses, a Jew, though she hasn't been observant in decades. The story she tells Mitch about seeing her grandmother while her family was sitting Shiva for her is also true. Stasi has always been able to talk to the dead.

4. Stasi is the character who wasn't part of the original cast when we began Lost Things. Stasi appeared when we were plotting Steel Blues and needed a jewel thief. As I said in Mitch's entry, I've always seen Mitch played by Ben Browder, so when the idea of a jewel thief with lots of chemistry with Mitch came up, Stasi sprang out full grown, "like a Jazz Age Athena," as she says, wearing black and with loads of crosstalk and looking like Claudia Black. I love the chemistry between Ben and Claudia both in Farscape and in SG-1 -- so smoking hot and so funny and serious at the same time. And so there was Stasi! Stasi is somewhere between Vala and Aeryn in personality -- she has Vala's wild and random streak, a female Trickster, a thief who may or may not be trustworthy, but she also has some of Aeryn's depth and some of her dark past and inability to trust. I think the episodes that most inspire Stasi are SG-1's Memento Mori and Farscape's The Way We Weren't. Of course, Stasi has grown and changed since that original idea, and she's very much herself now. Interestingly, as she did she changed physically too. Stasi has brown eyes rather than blue, and she's about three inches shorter than Claudia.

5. One of the keys to Stasi's character is the slow reveal -- it will take a long time for Mitch or the others to know her real story, and while we know some of it, I can't say the authors know all of it yet! I write ahead, sketches for future books that may or may not go in, or may be changed by the time we get there. Stasi is the subject of the "latest" one I've done with the original characters -- in 1983!

Five Things About Lewis

Lost Things
Continuing the five things, five things about Lewis!

1. Lewis Segura was born May 9, 1890 in San Diego, California, making him about a month younger than Alma. Contrary to what people keep assuming, Lewis is not "Mexican." His family has been in California since before it was part of the United States, which happened only forty years before his birth! In fact, some of his ancestors were Native American and have been in California far longer. Lewis is completely bilingual in English and Spanish.

2. Lewis and his two sisters both have Anglicized first names, as his parents thought it would help them navigate two worlds. His name is Lewis rather than Luis, and his sister is Kathy rather than Catalina. Lewis also isn't what people expect because they expect him to be a cowboy, a vaquero, when he's a city boy. Lewis rode the street car to school and has never been on a horse in his life, much less milked a cow or fed chickens.

3. Lewis enlisted in the Army in 1915. He began flying as the tail gunner in a two seater, the job of an enlisted man rather than an officer, and proved very good at it. If one counted the kills he made as gunner rather than pilot, he's an ace with more kills than Mitch, but only the ones as a pilot properly "count." Lewis flew on the Western Front in 1918. When his plane was downed behind enemy lines and the pilot injured, Lewis both found assistance for the wounded man and managed to take off and nurse the damaged plane home, saving the life of the pilot in the process. For this he received the Distinguished Service Cross (there was no Distinguished Flying Cross yet) and a battlefield promotion to lieutenant. He also got his own plane.

4. Lewis is to some extent modeled on my grandfather, who also received a battlefield promotion in 1918 and became unexpectedly an officer and a gentleman. Like my grandfather, Lewis was offered a choice at the end of the war -- to drop back to sergeant and stay in the regular army, or to retain his commission in the reserves. Lewis and my grandfather both chose the latter.

5. Also like my grandfather, Lewis was married and divorced right after the war, a brief marriage that had a lot to do with loneliness and was badly considered. Lewis and Victoria parted after a year, but because he is devoutly Catholic, Lewis can't quite accept his divorce as legitimate. Which makes his marriage to Alma less than legitimate. Despite both being Catholic (at least nominally, on Alma's part) they were married in a civil service at city hall rather than in the Church.