A post about just that can be found at the D.B. Jackson blog.  Yes, it’s a little weird maintaining two careers and writing books as two different people: David B. Coe and D.B. Jackson.  But that is the turn my career has taken. And the next big release belongs to D.B.  Read more about it here.

A Wonderful Concert

March 30, 2012

It’s late and I’m pretty tired.  But I have glorious music flowing through my head as I get ready for bed.  Tonight I got to see two fantastic musicians — Bluegrass guitarist David Grier, and mandolinist Mike Compton — in a great, intimate venue (McCrory Hall at the Saint Andrews-Sewanee School in Sewanee, Tennessee) for free.  Yeah, for free.  They played for two hours, going through a range of “fiddle tunes,” waltzes, bluegrass classics, blues, and stunningly beautiful original instrumentals.  Like I said, glorious.

Ephemera and Update

March 28, 2012

So I missed a day of blogging, which might not seem that unusual because I don’t post something here every day. But between this blog and the D.B. Jackson blog I had managed to post at least something each day of the year. Until Sunday. I was doing the single parenting thing (Nancy is on a work trip), and had managed to write a Magical Words post for Monday morning AND do the grocery shopping AND make dinner AND take a little time to watch some basketball AND stay up with my older daughter who needed to talk through some school/college stuff.

But only when I finally got into bed at about 11:30 did it occur to me that I hadn’t written a post for that day. And by then I was too tired to get up and post something. I haven’t missed day since, and I am going to try not to miss any more. But I’m a bit annoyed with myself.

On the other hand, I’m pleased with the work I’m getting done this week. I’m revising a book that I have worked on, on and off, for the better part of seven years. It has been through several incarnations and has a long and tortured market history. But I like the way it’s coming together, and I think this might finally be the year I get it contracted. Hope so, because I think this is the last time I can rework it before I finally give up on it.

Other than that, I’m getting ready for MarCon next weekend in Columbus, Ohio, where I will be a special guest; I’m looking forward to having Nancy back home and (eventually) putting an end to this rather lengthy period in which we’ve been apart more than we’ve been together; and I’m enjoying this odd but lovely spring here in Tennessee.

Hope all is well with all of you.

A Post About Tenacity

March 26, 2012

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, A.J. Hartley, C.E. Murphy, and Kalayna Price, among others. The post is called “The Writing Life: The Value of Tenacity,” and in it I look at different ways in which being tenacious can benefit one’s art and one’s career. I hope you enjoy it.

Today’s post can be found at http://www.sfnovelists.com, the group blog on speculative fiction that I maintain along with a group of over one hundred published authors of fantasy and science fiction.  It is called “Books and Movies, Movies and Books,” and it’s about the ways in which new trends in fiction markets and the growing popularity of fantasy and SF movies might influence each other.  I hope you enjoy it.

Our eleven day, three state, nine college tour is over, and my daughter and I are back home with Mom and little sister.  We had a terrific week and a half:  few disagreements, nothing that could be considered a fight, and more laughs and giggles and candid conversations than I can count.  We enjoyed a few wonderful meals, took in the sights and sounds and tastes of Washington, D.C.  More to the point, she found four schools that she loved — she intends to apply to all four.  She was also able to cross several other schools off her list, which is valuable, too.

I’m glad to see her finding schools that excite her and have her thinking about her future.  I’m deeply proud of the maturity she has shown throughout this process.  And I’m grateful beyond words for the time we’ve just had together.  I will treasure the memory of this trip for the rest of my days.

Two more schools today — Duke and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  We also drove around the Davidson campus this evening, though our tour and information session there aren’t until tomorrow morning.

Duke’s campus is beautiful, probably the most beautiful that we’ve seen on this trip.  And UNC’s campus buzzes with energy; you can tell that there is always something great happening somewhere on those grounds.  But that said, it seems that neither school is right for my daughter.  Duke felt too spread out; UNC felt too crowded.  It’s becoming clear that overall (with a couple of notable exceptions) she prefers smaller schools.

Davidson should be interesting.

Old Friends

March 18, 2012

This trip has been all about taking my kid to visit colleges.  But it has also been about reconnecting with old friends:  One of my two best friends from college; a family who, until recently, lived in our town; and tonight, friends who left our little town years ago, leaving a gap in our lives that has been unfilled for years.

There is nothing like the company of old friends to remind you of where you have been, where you are going, and who you are.  Time to refill my wine glass….

We spent yesterday tromping around Washington, taking in sights and NOT visiting any schools.  Today we got back “to work.”  We visited Georgetown this morning and were both quite impressed.  My daughter had been predisposed to love it — Georgetown has been sort of her ideal for some time.  On paper, it’s a perfect match for her.  And she loved what she saw.  She’s there tonight, staying with a friend.  I have a feeling I’m never going to get her to leave.

We also visited George Washington University this afternoon.  It’s a far more urban campus (at least the Foggy Bottom campus is; the Mount Vernon campus is, from all reports, far more like a traditional suburban site) and was less scenic than Georgetown.  But my daughter was very impressed with it, as well.  I think it helps that both schools are in Washington, and that she has fallen in love with this city.

We have the weekend to play, and then we go to the North Carolina schools….

In no particular order….

I wish I could go to college again. In part I mean this facetiously.  I mean it would be great to study all day, to have a time in my life (again) when I could make my studies and my social life my primary concerns 24/7/365.  But I also mean it more seriously.  I think that when I attended college, I was too young to make good use of the resources at my disposal.  I made unwise choices, I allowed myself to take the easy way out too often, I didn’t apply myself the way I should have.  I’d like another chance to get it right.

There is no way in hell I could get into my alma mater today.  None.  Zip.  It is so much harder for kids who are applying today than it was when I was a teen.  And at the time my generation was being told that it had never been harder to get in to schools.  I guess it just gets more and more competitive.

College is really, really expensive.

Colleges have decided that certain things are really important from a marketing point of view, and so they all emphasize similar points in their tours and information sessions.  “Faculty accessibility — faculty are ‘there’ for undergrads.”  “Small classes and low student to faculty ratio.”  “Campus safety — real police rather than ‘rent-a-cops’.”  “Study abroad programs that don’t add to college expenses (which are high enough — see comment #3).”  “A broad spectrum of student organizations that allow students to do pretty much anything and everything they can think of.”  “Need blind admissions and financial aid that covers 100% of established need.”  “Lots of meal plans and ‘flex dollars’ that work at a variety of food establishments on campus.”  And more.   None of these things are bad; in fact all of them have the potential to be really good.  But the fact is, lots of schools seem to have them, and most of these schools present them as something special that only _____ University has.

We had seen a few schools before this trip.  We’ve seen three schools in the last three days (with seven more to go in the next week).  And so far, in order of preference, we seem to have the following:  University of Virginia, University of Richmond, College of William and Mary.

More as the week goes on.