Saturday, June 30, 2012

Saturday Evening Post

Working full time;
Writing full time;
Having NO time.

Truly, I am so far behind right now that the pack is about to lap me.  Still, I AM going to finish the race, and since it is a marathon, I can actually still win it. 

But I am tired.

There is SO much to do.  Seriously, I'm too busy to even take the time to farm out stuff to others to help me be LESS busy.  It's insane. 

And while I shouldn't (REALLY) I'm going to take the afternoon and do something fun with a friend so that I don't LOSE MY FREAKING MIND.

Somehow it will work out for the best.  It always does.

But I do occasionally wonder how.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Visiting Dignitary David Coe AKA DB Jackson

I am FINALLY back to having dignitaries visit.  And so I want to present to you our newest, multi-name dignitary who is here to discuss pseudonymity.

What's in a name?  Well, let's let DB/David tell you --

I was at a convention this past weekend, signing books, postcards, con programs, etc. -- in the past I have been asked to sign e-readers and yes, even body parts. At one point during this most recent con, someone put something in front of me and I raised my pen to sign, only to stop again and stare blankly at the person in front of me. For that one moment, for the very life of me, I couldn’t remember which name I was supposed to sign.

     I have been writing epic, alternate-world fantasy for over fifteen years. I’ve published a dozen books under my own name, and enjoyed some success both commercially and critically. So why would I now be writing under a different name? What sense is there in essentially “starting over” as this creature known as D.B. Jackson? To be honest, there really is more sense in it than you might think.

     Cie, who has been kind enough to invite me to her site today, knows all about this writing-under-multiple-names stuff -- far more than I do, actually. I’m pretty new to the whole pseudonym phenomenon. But I have to admit that I’m enjoying it so far.

     The basic point of the new name is this: THIEFTAKER, my first book as D.B. Jackson (due out from Tor Books on July 3), marks a significant departure from my previous work. How? Well, it is a historical urban fantasy. It is a stand-alone novel, the first in a series of stand-alones. And it is different in tone, style, and voice from my other work. Let’s take those one at a time.

     Historical urban fantasy. What does that even mean? The historical part is easy. The Thieftaker books and stories are all set in Colonial Boston, specifically in the 1760s, when the first rumblings of rebellion were sweeping through the British colonies. THIEFTAKER begins on August 26, 1765, the night of the Stamp Act riots. I have a Ph.D. in U.S. history, and I have done all I could to make the setting as accurate as possible. But I have also inserted a murder into the time line, and I have made my lead character not only a thieftaker -- a sort of 18th century private detective -- but also a conjurer who can cast spells in pursuit of those who have committed crimes. That’s where the urban fantasy element comes in. The murder mystery, the urban setting, the thieftaker angle, and most of all the use of magic make this a pre-Revolutionary urban fantasy, which is kind of uncommon.

     Unlike my other novels, most of which were parts of extended story-arcs, each of the Thieftaker books stands alone as a mystery with a beginning, middle, and end. Each of the stories is also linked in some way to a historical event. (The second Thieftaker book, THIEVES’ QUARRY, which comes in the summer of 2013, revolves around the occupation of Boston by British troops in 1768.) So readers will be able to pick up any book in the series and start reading; there is no need to read them in any particular order. And finally, because these books are mysteries, they have a different tone than one might expect from an epic fantasy. The prose is leaner, the voice of the main character in more hard-boiled; they almost have a “noir” feel, even as the characters speak in the vernacular of the 1760s.

     For all of these reasons, it seemed like a good idea to write the books under a new name. As David B. Coe [Link:] I wrote those sprawling fantasies I mentioned before. D.B. Jackson’s work is different, and so needs to be packaged differently. Publishers call it “author branding” and it’s actually not nearly as painful as it sounds . . .

     More to the point, for me at least, the pseudonym has become more than a marketing tool. It has become a license to experiment, to try new things, to break out of the creative patterns I had established over the course of my career. Recently I have been writing a lot of short fiction in the Thieftaker “universe” -- a couple of my stories can be found on the samples page of the D.B. Jackson website [Link:] -- and I have found myself trying things as D.B. Jackson that I wouldn’t have done under my own name. It’s not that my new work is so “out there” as to be unrecognizable, or unreadable. But I feel a certain sense of liberation simply because I can use plot lines or draw characters that are different, innovative, that don’t necessarily dovetail with expectations that might have grown out of work I’ve done before. I’m enjoying that freedom, and in large part because of it, I believe I’m producing some of the best writing I’ve ever done.

     I’ve also found that as I start to promote my new book in earnest, I am less inhibited as D.B. Jackson than I have been in the past as David B. Coe. I am willing to shout about his book from the rooftops, even if people think I’m crazy. Maybe that’s because it feels like I’m talking about “someone else’s” book. Or maybe it’s because I’m so excited about THIEFTAKER.

     Whatever the reason, I feel that my new career as D.B. Jackson is getting off to an exciting start. Pretty soon the book will be out and I’ll be off on a signing tour to promote it. I hope to see many of you along the way, and I promise to do my best to sign the correct name in your book!


D.B. Jackson [Link:] is also David B. Coe, the award-winning author of a dozen fantasy novels. His first book as D.B. Jackson, THIEFTAKER, volume I of the Thieftaker Chronicles, has been called “a noteworthy series opener,” by Publishers Weekly and a “diverting, fast-paced ‘what-if’ novel,” by Booklist. It will be released by Tor Books on July 3. D.B. lives on the Cumberland Plateau with his wife and two teenaged daughters. When he’s not writing he likes to hike, play guitar, and stalk the perfect image with his camera.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Back At It

Trying to wrap my head around work again.  Edits have gone to editor.  Working on the next book in the series.  Proposal with chapters has gone out and it is being reviewed by the editor for a possible offer.  Chatting with agent about a mystery that is of a completely different and non-paranormal nature and what I should/want to be doing with it.  Short story is half-finished for the antho.  It's due at the end of the month.  I've been reminded by people of (a) things that need to be mailed out; and (b) blogs that need to be posted in the Visiting Dignitary area.

I am mostly back to normal.  Yesterday, of course, was hard.  And odd things will hit me at unsuspecting moments.  But life does go on, whether I'm ready or not.  SO, I'd best be ready.  Still, I do hope people will be understanding if I'm not at 100% for a while.  Because honestly, I won't be.


Thursday, June 14, 2012


Funny how the sadness hits you in waves.  You're doing okay--maybe not great, but okay.  Then you see something and think - "Oh, I should pick that up for Father's Day, he'd like it." and it all crashes.  Or you just sit, kinda numb, but sad, even though you know there's a ton of crap that absolutely needs to be done.  Because you just aren't motivated enough to do it. 

It's getting better.  It will get better.  But I miss my Dad.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Good Morning

Hello again,

I am FINALLY almost over the bronchitis.  Down to the last little bit of the antibiotics as well.  I still have a bit of a cough, but not anything too serious.

Cathy, however, has come down with a different form of crud today.  So she is home ill.  I hope it's just a 24 hour bug of some sort and that she's fine tomorrow.

This weekend I actually hope to start catching up on the backlog of crap that has come from life interfering with my . . . well, life.  The crises ate all of my time, energy and attention, so that now I'm looking at this MONSTER composed of the STUFF I normally take care of on a daily or weekly basis.  So I will be off to slay the dragon over the weekend.  Until then, I have the day job to deal with.  And I am off to that in just a second.

Many thanks to all who offered their condolences.  I appreciate it.  Hope you are enjoying the books.  I spent the week that I was sick re-reading the Jim Butcher and Charlaine Harris novels.  Jim's Dresden series from Proven Guilty through Ghost Story (including short stories), and the last three of the Sookies as well.  I didn't try to read anything new because, honestly, I kept falling asleep from being sick and I wouldn't have wanted to miss something in a new book.  Besides, those two authors are "comfort reads" for me.  When I feel like crap they both manage to completely take my attention away from real life and get me lost in the story.  That's what I want a good book to do. I hope to one day feel that I do that as well as those two.

Now I am off to work.  Be happy.