May 20, 2013
Today’s post can be found at http://magicalwords.net, the group blog on the business and craft of writing fantasy that I maintain with fellow authors Faith Hunter, Misty Massey, Mindy Klasky, John Hartness, Kalayna Price, and James Tuck, among others. The post is called “On Creativity: Narrative, Fiction, and Life” It is a special post, written on a very special day in my life. I hope you enjoy it.
I grew up just outside of New York City. I was a Yankees fan, a Knicks fan, a Rangers fan, a Giants fan. And, as a loyal New Yorker, I have spent much of my life rooting against teams from Boston — the Red Sox, the Celtics, the Bruins (the Patriots too, but they haven’t really been the Boston Patriots since I was a little kid).
On the other hand, I lived for several years in Providence and all of my siblings lived for at least some time in the Boston area. So, while I grew up hating Boston’s teams, I have always loved the city of Boston. When it came time to set my Thieftaker books in a Colonial era city, Boston seemed the logical choice.
The terrorist attack on the Boston Marathon venue left me stunned and grieving, not only for the victims most affected by the bombings, but for the entire city. I still recall my sense of outrage, of violation when my beloved New York was attacked in 2001. I know what the people of Boston are feeling.
And so, it is with deepest sympathy and love and solidarity that transcends lifelong sporting rivalries that I embark on a fundraiser and giveaway to do my small part in helping Boston get back on its feet. Through a website called First Giving, I am hosting a fundraising event the goal of which is to raise $5,000.00 by July 2 (the release date for THIEVES’ QUARRY, and for the paperback reprint of THIEFTAKER) for the Boston Foundation and the One Fund of Boston. If you will help me raise the funds, I’ll make it interesting for you. Here’s how it works:
For each fundraising milestone we reach, I will be giving away prizes to lucky donors.
– When we reach $1000 raised, I will give away one signed uncorrected manuscript of THIEFTAKER. This is a collector’s item — a copy of the manuscript that was sent out to other authors who were asked to blurb the book before its release in 2012.
– When we reach $2000, I will give away one Boston Thieftaker’s Guild t-shirt in whatever size the winner wants. The t-shirt can be signed if the winner would like it to be.
– When we reach $3000, I will give away one signed paperback edition of THIEFTAKER. (This book comes out on July 2, so the giveaway will happen then.)
– When we reach $4000, I will give away one signed hardcover edition of THIEVES’ QUARRY. (This book will also be available on July 2 and will be given away then.)
– When we reach $5000, I will give away a second signed paperback of THIEFTAKER and a second signed hardcover of THIEVES’ QUARRY to one lucky donor. (Also to be given away on July 2.)
The donation site can be found here: http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/DBJacksonThieftaker/thieftakergiveaway
I hope you will join me in reaching out to the people of Boston, and doing our part to speed the healing process. And I hope that you’re one of the luck winners.
October 23, 2012
Today I have a post up at the SFNovelists blogsite, a site I maintain in cooperation with approximately 100 other published authors of fantasy and science fiction. The post (written under David B. Coe) is called “Six Non-Writing Things That Might Improve Your Writing,” and it is about the things I do to keep my creative juices flowing and my life balanced and healthy. I hope you enjoy it.
July 25, 2012
This will come as no surprise to any of you, but I have now been doing THIEFTAKER promo stuff for nearly two solid months. Thank you all for putting up with my posts, my excitement about reviews, my announcements of signings and talks and online events. I appreciate your patience and your support. The good news is that eleven days after the book’s release, my publisher was already hearing from the warehouse that inventory was low and they needed to print more copies. They have been waiting for a few more orders before actually going back to press, but we’re close, and that’s a Really Good Thing. If you’ve bought a copy already, thank you so much. If you haven’t yet but are considering it, this would be a great time. I would love to get a second printing done before the month is out!
May 15, 2012
Some days are harder than others. Sometimes we feel older than our years. At some point the routine weighs more heavily, the responsibilities seem more onerous. Bad news arrives from a distance of both years and space, little moments that remind us of our own mortality catch us off our guard, the slog of the day-to-day seems unrelenting.
I am weary tonight, and my heart is heavy. I could write more, but really that’s what it comes down to. And tonight of all nights, I feel that my time would be better spent playing my guitar, seeing to my girls, sitting with my wife.
If you love someone, tonight would be a good night to tell him or her so, be it with words, or with a kiss, or with the simple act of taking a moment to sit and say or do nothing at all.
April 18, 2012
Spring bird migration has come early to the Cumberland Plateau. Usually mid-April is when birds start trickling in — swallows swoop and dart across fields, gnatcatchers and White-eyed Vireos scold from overgrown thickets just beginning to leaf out, the first warblers — Black and Whites, Black-throated Greens, Yellow-throated — sing from still-bare branches of oaks and poplars.
This year, though, is different. With the uncommonly mild winter and early spring, everything leafed out early — most of the flowering trees are done flowering; nearly all of them have leaves. My wife’s garden is weeks ahead of where it normally is. And the birds, somehow sensing this on their wintering grounds in Central and South America, have already started streaming through in earnest. Tanagers and orioles, grosbeaks and buntings, thrushes and several species of vireo — all are here. And in the past few days the warblers have arrived in numbers. Hooded, Tennessee, Nashville, Yellow, Cape May Palm, Prairie, Blackburnian; Ovenbirds and Waterthrushes. I’ve seen more than twenty species of warbler already this year. No doubt more are on the way.
If you’ve never seen a warbler, you owe it to yourself to look for them, or at least Google “Blackburnian Warbler” (as a for instance) and look at the photos that pop up. These are gorgeous birds, decked out in smart suits of yellow and black, blue and gray, green and brown and red. They winter in the tropics and even the dullest among them look exotic. They are tiny — each could fit in the palm of your hand. And their songs — they offer a repertoire of trills, sweet whistles, chips, and bouncing melodies that, for me at least, is the true herald of spring’s arrival.
But this is a limited time offer. The birds pass through on their way to their breeding grounds in the northern forests of New England and Canada. So look for them soon, or wait until next year.
April 12, 2012
My younger daughter, who is in seventh grade, is playing middle school volleyball this year. She is quite an athlete. She’s a truly gifted swimmer, and has been playing soccer since she was four years old. But this is the first year she has played volleyball, and frankly I didn’t know what to expect. I played volleyball in high school; I always enjoyed it. When my daughter started working with the team, she and I spent some time working on technique. But until this afternoon, I hadn’t seen her play in a match.
She was awesome. She serves overhand, with a little run-up and jump. And her serves are powerful! She digs out hard shots from the other side like a pro, and she even had a couple of really nice spikes. It’s not that I didn’t think she had the potential to be good at volleyball. The truth is, she’s good at just about every sport she tries. (When she was in fourth grade, she won her school’s Punt, Pass, and Kick competition and then took second place in the second round that covered this section of our state. All this despite the fact that at the time she won the local competition, we didn’t even own a football.)
What gets me though, is that I didn’t know she could do the things I saw her do this afternoon. I had no idea. She blew me away. Her team lost a very, very tight match, and she was there at the end, a leader on the team, consoling the girl who let up the final point — that might have been the most impressive thing I saw her do, actually.
She’s the younger of my two kids, and in some ways I still think of her as younger than she is. That’s a mistake that will be much harder to make after what I saw today.
This evening I’m a proud papa. Actually, I am most evenings…
April 1, 2012
Long day. Ended better than it started, even with the Stanford Women getting beaten. But a long, long day. Parenting is hard. That’s really all I have to say. Parenting is really, really hard. It’s the most rewarding thing I do, but it takes the most energy, the most attention, the most emotion.