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Novels, Past and Future

So I got my copy of Carter Beats the Devil at the Glen David Gold reading last night. I had a nice chat with John Kessel before the reading, and he has done a great job getting NC State set up with an MFA program (when I went there in 9'95-'97 it was only an MA program). I'm hoping the MFA will pull lots more writers to the area, so we can keep on having cool readings and guest authors dropping in on local bookstores.

Quail Ridge Books had a local magician open the reading, tying up his wife and then having a gentleman from the audience come up and help her out (she went from being tied up to being tied up with the guy's sports coat on! A nice trick). Then Gold read for a bit.

First he read a couple pages from his novel, which was intriguing. Lots of details and a very elegant introduction -- the style felt quite old-fashioned, and a nice change of pace from what I've been reading lately. I'm looking forward to diving into this book.

Then he read from a novella-in-progress, about a group of World-War-I soldiers sent to invade Russia. All based on fact. At first I sort of groaned -- a work in progress? come on, read something polished! -- but it was amazingly good. His writing reminds me a lot of Tim Powers -- deeply researched, very methodical yet not boring, a dry humor, and some wonderful characters. A couple lines were laugh-out-loud funny. Then he did a Q&A, and I left. I was tired -- work kicked my ass this week.

Driving home from the reading and all morning, I kept thinking about my baseball novel set in the years before World War I (you know, the one I haven't written yet?). I'm thinking that I need to get started on the research for that book.

Historical fiction is an area I'd like to tackle, and I think the research would be a big part of the challenge, and the fun. I've already done some half-assed work, looking into the All-Nations Team of mixed-race baseball players, and I have a good kernel of an idea for how the story will play out.

I figure I can do the research on in the next few months, maybe starting to write it in the fall. In the meantime, I've got the Blackbeard novel to finish polishing, and the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink epic fantasy novel to write. And lots of reading to do.

The catch? I probably won't have time to write many stories this year. Oh well. Maybe I can squeeze in a couple here and there. Plus I can always pull pieces of the novels out to make a story, I'll bet.

I was goofing off this morning and added some icons on the left-hand navigation bar, as a sort of reminder to me to get off my butt and get some writing done. We'll see in the coming months if it works.

Meanwhile, it's quitting time, and we've got "Fargo" and "The Big Lebowski" and "Miller's Crossing" to watch this weekend! Not to mention a baby shower for one of Lizzie's friends (I ain't going!) and a rugby game to watch on Saturday. Maybe I'll do some writing on Sunday... Later!

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