Friday, December 15, 2006

The Writing Fiend Gets Coal in His Stocking

Yes, yes. Been a while. As previously noted, I've been writing like a fiend this year, and travels to L.A. have eaten up additional time. I'm aware that Santa Claus will be putting coal in the stocking of "The Writing Fiend" this Christmas...or maybe not. Even the Bumble got to put the star on top of the Xmas tree.

So, what's it all been about, then?

*Way back at the beginning of the year, I finished up THE BORDERKIND, The Second Book of The Veil (the first was THE MYTH HUNTERS). The book hits in March, with an ending that I relished writing. MYTH will come out in mass market paperback next month, which I hope will lead even more people to THE BORDERKIND.

*Just yesterday, I delivered the manuscript of the third and final book of The Veil, tentatively entitled THE LOST ONES. Writing the trilogy was an extraordinary experience for me. I would have thought, prior to writing it, that anxiety would have forced me to create a very specific outline and follow it religiously. The opposite happened. The story and its characters grew and took on life of their own, guiding me instead of the alternative. THE LOST ONES is also the longest novel I've ever written, but with so many characters whose lives I wanted to follow, it didn't feel that way to me. (I'm certain, however, that it seemed long to my editor, the incredible Anne Groell, as she patiently awaited the manuscript through many e-mails telling her it kept growing.)

*Somewhere in the midst of the insanity this year, I wrote a new Hellboy novel, HELLBOY: THE DRAGON POOL, which comes out in the spring. As always, Mignola did the cover, and it's fantastic.

*Amber Benson and I collaborated on a novella for Subterranean Press called THE SEVEN WHISTLERS which ought to be shipping any day now. I confess that, as much as I enjoy writing the Ghosts of Albion stuff, writing THE SEVEN WHISTLERS was much more fun. It's a present day dark fantasy story, set in Vermont, about a young woman named Rose Kerrigan mourning the death of her grandfather.

*Tom Sniegoski and I wrote the fourth book of THE MENAGERIE series, CRASHING PARADISE. We love these characters so much. I haven't heard a schedule for publication yet, but hope to find out soon.

*I wrote a rather long story called "The Mournful Cry of Owls" for a new anthology, MANY BLOODY RETURNS, edited by Toni L.P. Kelner and Charlaine Harris. The book hits in hardcover in September 2007, and also features a number of other familiar names, including (if I remember correctly) Kelley Armstrong, Jim Butcher, Tanya Huff, P.N. Elrod, and a new Sookie Stackhouse story from Charlaine.

*I've also just finished a new story called "Ka-Pow." That one, and another--as yet unwritten--are for a project I can't comment on just yet. In the next few months I have several other new stories to write for an interesting new anthology project called FIVE STROKES 'TIL MIDNIGHT, which will feature stories by five authors, including Tom Piccirilli, Gary Braunbeck, Deborah LeBlanc, Hank Schwaeble, and myself.

*After a long break from the comics field, Sniegoski and I wrote the miniseries TALENT for Boom Studios. TALENT received some of the best reviews I've ever gotten for anything, sparked a Hollywood bidding war, and ended up at Universal Studios within a week or so of the publication of the first issue. Tom and I were very happy to land at Universal with the same executive who is developing our YA fantasy series OUTCAST there. We were fortunate to meet some of the people in the film industry who DON'T fit the stereotype. A writer has been attached to TALENT, but hasn't been announced yet, so we're keeping mum.

*Another project of ours--which shall remain nameless because it also has not yet been announced--has just been optioned by Intermedia for a feature film. Everyone's incredibly enthusiastic about making this film together, and a director is already on board. Hope to be able to discuss it at greater length soon.

*On the GHOSTS OF ALBION front, it appears that Eden Studios is finally almost ready to publish the Role Playing Game. As frustrating as all the delays have been, the work that has gone into this thing explains the time it has taken. Vampires, sorcerers, fairies, Victorian's got something for everyone.

*So, what's coming up? Tim Lebbon and I are starting up on our new collaborative novel MIND THE GAP. More news on that later.

*And here's an announcement that many will not have seen interviews over the past four years--because it's been that long--I've been asked many times if I would ever go back to BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER. My replies have always been cautious. Never say never, right? One of the reasons for my caution was that there have always been a few Buffy stories I still wanted to tell but never had the opportunity to tell. One of them has been told by someone else, so that's out. However, earlier this year I had a long conversation with Patrick Price at Pocket Books, and the result is BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER: DARK CONGRESS, which will hit stores in trade paperback in Summer 2007 and in which I get to do a lot of things I've been wanting to do for a while, one of which is something I'm going to guess most Buffy fans never thought would happen. Chances are good that it'll be my swan song.
*Last, and MOST importantly, in the first half of the year, I worked with Mike Mignola on something I can honestly say is the most unique book I've ever written. BALTIMORE, OR, THE STEADFAST TIN SOLDIER AND THE VAMPIRE is a very gothic, alternate-history vampire hunter novel that I wrote with Mignola. It will be published in hardcover by Bantam in the fall of 2007 with 150 illustrations by Mignola. That's right. 150. Spot illos, full pages, quarter pages, half pages, all striking and many unsettling as hell. I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to seeing the final product. Bantam has some ambitious promotional plans, including something special for Comicon International in San Diego next summer. Everything between now and the release of BALTIMORE will be a kind of blur for me, I think. It's by far the strangest thing I've done, and yet it is most influenced by classic works of gothic literature, including everything from Stoker and Shelley to Matthew Lewis's THE MONK. I feel like I had one long unsettling dream that went on for months, and BALTIMORE was waiting for me when I woke.

So, I hope that all explains why I've been such a bad blogger.

Plans for 2007 are already gearing up. I'm happy to say they include a number of conventions that I'm looking forward to. Right now I plan to attend the NEW YORK COMICON in February, WORLD HORROR CONVENTION in late March/early April, NECON in July, SAN DIEGO COMICON in July, and probably WORLD FANTASY CONVENTION next fall. There may be one or two others, but that's already a hell of a lot more conventions than I attended in 2006.

I read a great many excellent books in 2006, including Joe Hill's upcoming HEART-SHAPED BOX, Charles de Lint's WIDDERSHINS (finally! That's all I'm saying!), Phillip Pullman's Sally Lockhart trilogy, James Lee Burke's CRUSADER'S CROSS, several books by the great Walter Mosley, several by Tim Lebbon (including the excellent DUSK, FACE, and BERSERK), several by Joe Lansdale, Peter Straub's IN THE NIGHT ROOM, Neil Gaiman's ANANSI BOYS, Graham Joyce's incredible short story collection PARTIAL ECLIPSE, Brian Hodge's WORLD OF HURT, Carol O'Connell's WINTER HOUSE, Sarah Pinborough's THE HIDDEN, Mark Morris's NOWHERE NEAR AN ANGEL, and a whole lot more that I can't think of at the moment.

I watched too much television, but 2006 was the year that any doubts were finally erased--there's a lot more good TV out there than there are good movies. The only really good films I saw at the theatre this year were THE PROPOSITION, THE PRESTIGE, THE ILLUSIONIST, CASINO ROYALE and THE DESCENT. Television has been far more rewarding, with HEROES, LOST, THE SHIELD, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, GREY'S ANATOMY, HOUSE, VERONICA MARS, PSYCH, LIFE ON MARS, AFTERLIFE, ENTOURAGE, DEADWOOD, and I'm sure I'm leaving something out. There's been some excellent television in 2006, and some real surprises. Of them all, I'll say yourselves a favor and track down the BBC's LIFE ON MARS. Aside from THE SHIELD and HEROES, it may be my favorite TV experience this year.

Obviously, my resolution f0r 2007 is to be a better blogger. But I'm not going to promise to watch less television.