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The Chestnut King Book Trailer

Check it out, y’all.

Speaking of Christmas . . .

Hey, what’s Christmas without a little bit of shameless self-promotion? Dandelion Fire releases in paperback on December 7. Yes, that’s Monday. And yes, that’s well in time for Christmas. So there. And it’s cheaper than the hardback, so you can give a copy to that not-so-favorite cousin. But he’ll (it is a he right?) need the first one, too.

Family Book Plug (The White Horse King)

My brother-in-law (one Benjamin Merkle) spent the last three years in Oxford (with my sister and their young brood) working on an Mst in Oriental Studies and a doctorate on Reformation Germany. At the same time, he decided to take advantage of his location and write a biography of King Alfred. He’d previously spent some time studying Alfred for a stateside MA in Renaissance Literature (translating some of King Alfred’s Anglo Saxon translation of Augustine’s Soliloquies, among other things). He is wicked smart (deceptively so–and that’s a good thing), and he writes quite well.

Alfred’s story is as unbelievable as it is important. As the fifth son of the king of Wessex, he never expected to see the throne. But with Viking invasions, a dead father, and four dead elder brothers, he ended up seeing a great deal more. With England’s kingdoms completely sacked, he refused to flee (even though capture meant a grisly human sacrifice to Odin), gathered faithful followers, and slowly retook the entire isle–uniting England as England for the first time.

It’s such a good story, Hollywood is bound to ruin it sometime.

My family and I got to tag around England and get some authorial tours of some of the chief Alfred sites, along with oral versions of the some the big stories. Terrific. Go forth and buy it.

Why Tilt the World?

So, I have a new book out. It’s not for kids. At least it’s not for kids in the traditional Disney-Channel-no-inappropriate-material sense. There is plenty of inappropriate material, because it is a book about the world and, well, the world is typically inappropriate (and if you’ve ever watched footage of slugs mating, you know what I mean). The book is called Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl, and it is a collection of creative non-fiction essays and sketches arranged (structurally and thematically) around the seasons. And the seasons are just the different quartiles of space through which this freakishly tiny sphere of ours does its circular zipping.

In high school and then college and then graduate school, I never focused on the study of creative writing. Read the rest of this entry »

I like the Festival of Books (belated debrief complete with pictures)

So (as it turns out), the L.A. Times puts on a mean not-so-little Festival of Books. The sun was shining, the palm trees were lovely and stereotypically sun-rustled, the UCLA campus was slammed with tens of thousands of bookish types, and the Target Children’s area was doing its best impression of an ant-farm. This was my first time participating, and I could have easily spent both days browsing and buying instead of what I actually did (work on my laptop and eat peanut M&Ms backstage).

A few remarks for the sake remarking . . . Read the rest of this entry »