18 hour time-lapse from my new office in Chinatown in Portland.

It’s a first pass - I’m so-so happy with it, but I think I need a wider-angle lens

State of the Nation

I’m trying to figure out how to work up to doing some self promotion on the upcoming novel, whilst not wanting to simultaneously put a screwdriver in my thigh… I find self promotion hard (having come from a blog I named ‘secret’, to one where I hide behind an invented character’s name, maybe this is no surprise to you). I watch some other authors do it with such grace, and some who leave one desiring to back out of the room. All the same, I spent five years or more on the book, and if there’s something I can do to help it along at this stage, I want to step up to that. Advice on this walking delicate line welcome! In light of that, here’s all the news in one post. 

1) There are TWO Sherwood Nation giveaways now for early reviewer sites:

Goodreads giveaway (only 2 days left!) & LibraryThing

2) I just finished the final copyedits. It’s a thrill to feel the book come into some order. 

image

3) I will be at ALA (American Library Association’s conference) in Las Vegas, June 28th, doing at least three events: Book signing, Quirky books panel and a reading from a banned book (recommend one of your favorites?). If you’re there, please say Hi.  

4) I have a reading set up at Powell’s City of Books

September 16th, 2014 - Powell’s downtown

I also have a new Events page to keep track of other events as they emerge from the primordial soup.

5) And lastly, the blurbs have arrived and they’re great. I was really touched by this one from Ryan Boudinot:

"As the corner of the country with the youngest cities, the Pacific Northwest is still very much in the process of being invented, and Benjamin Parzybok is one of our most imaginative literary inventors. In Sherwood Nation he gives us a vision of Portland’s rebellious indie spirit that goes deeper than the usual caricatures, revealing a city alive with conflict and possibility. This is playful, serious, and profoundly humanizing art."

- Ryan Boudinot, author of Blueprints of the Afterlife

I built the rabbits an escape portal at the back of their hutch. Sometimes they come back from their adventures down there wearing clothes from the 18th century. Is that normal? High-res

I built the rabbits an escape portal at the back of their hutch. Sometimes they come back from their adventures down there wearing clothes from the 18th century. Is that normal?

Neat.

I’ve just hauled over several years of blog posts from my old joint to this new fancy place where everybody seems to be having a lot of fun. This is true, yes? About the fun?  The previous post was a test — and happens to be a tiny bit from a western I’m working on (who knew?) for a strange little project.

SO, as they say: Hello world!

The Sun Beats Down

Like a man with a whip. You spit brown into the dirt, knowing you should conserve the water. Your wrist has begun to swell. Even the sage looks parched. 

The trail has meandered itself into almost nothingness, just a bare scratch along the ground where your boots tread, one after the other. You stop and sit for a moment. Without a horse, the whole trip looks different. The map says there’s a lake up north. 

From a sage-brush you cut several long pieces and make for yourself a wrist brace. Probably will do nothing, but for lack of any healing knowledge it’s the best you can think of. You grimace at how they might find you, dead from dehydration along a trail, decorated with a sage wristlet. You don’t even know if they’re following you anymore. 

Truth be told, it wasn’t exactly your gold. And it’s completely unlike you to have taken it. At least it hadn’t been until the moment you did take it.  But the bar in Winnemucca can be an unpredictable place, where a body will do things unpredicted to his own self. You think of yourself as an honest man, and yet here you are: Wandering the desert, in search of a runaway horse, which carries a stolen pound of gold.

Long Hidden anthology is launched!

As I mentioned - I have a piece in the fantastic new speculative-historical-fiction anthology, Long Hidden, called The Colts.

The Colts is about a nearly-successful peasant revolt in the early 16th century. During the crusades the Pope ordered Christian kingdoms to fulfill strict quotas of people sent down to fight  against the Muslims. And at the tail-end of the crusades,  these people were inevitably the farmers and workers and lowest classes who were sent down to die, against an enemy they knew practically nothing about, for reasons that were not at all clear.

(Thank goodness we don’t have wars like that anymore! ack)

György Dózsa was commissioned to lead this makeshift army. He had little time to give them training, and the people he was charged with training were barely provided for (neither food nor weapons) while their own farms languished during the harvest, and the nobility took control of their lands. It was a miserable situation, and Dózsa knew it. Dózsa  attempted to lobby the nobility many times, but the pleas fell on deaf ears. He came to intimately understand where the real conflict was. The only thing that could be done was to turn that army around to seek justice for them.

He did so — and was nearly successful, taking back half the country — until he was captured and horribly tortured. To this day he is considered a martyr and hero in Hungary.

While I kept my story mostly historically accurate, there’s one major difference. The narrative viewpoint is from those 99%-er Zombies, the working class who  died in the revolution.

It was a  pleasure working with editors @rosefox and @djolder during the process, and it’s been a thrill watching the buzz on its first weekend. Kudos on a spectacular launch. It’s deserved, the other stories are amazing. You can buy a copy of Long Hidden here

What if I believe in this, just because it’s beautiful

"Let us hope it’s not a trick. I always leave with this feeling I am tricked. What if I believe in this, just because it’s beautiful. What if — yes."  

—  Stanford professor Andrei Linde, on the living with the doubt about his Inflationary Universe Theory, which was proved yesterday.
I love this video. Also of note is that Andrei Linde’s wife, Renata Kallosh, is also a well-known theoretical physicist who has made significant contributions to string theory. Power couple!