Django Wexler on The Functional Nerds Podcast

Django Wexler, author of The Shadow Throne, joins John Anealio and Patrick Hester this week on The Functional Nerds Podcast.

Listen below, or at The Functional Nerds, or subscribe to The Functional Nerds Podcast through iTunes.

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If you know a middle-grade reader, you’ve already turned them on to Django Wexler’s book The Forbidden Library, right? Right?

Now Bibliosanctum has revelaed the cover for the upcoming second book in Django’s Forbidden Library series, The Mad Apprentice!

Here’s the book synopsis (larger cover appears below):
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Recommended Reading by Professionals…with Sara Megibow

In this series, I ask various publishing professionals (including authors, bloggers, editors, agents etc.) to recommend 2-3 authors or books they feel haven’t received the recognition they deserve.

Today’s recommendations are by Sara Megibow. Sara has been with Nelson Literary Agency since early 2006. Her first responsibilities included reading query letters, sample pages, and full manuscripts, and she was promoted to Associate Literary Agent in 2009. From sexy romance to epic fantasy, Sara has loved reading since picking up her first copy of The Hobbit. Sara earned a B.A. in Women’s Studies and a B.A. in American History from Northwestern University. She loves to ski, hike, kayak, and hang out with her beat-boxing husband, adorable son, and fuzzy cat.

You can read about Sara’s submissions, clients, and sales at http://publishersmarketplace.com/members/SaraMegibow/, follow Sara on Twitter, and find out more about the Nelson Agency here: www.nelsonagency.com

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Django Wexler graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh with degrees in creative writing and computer science, and worked for the university in artificial intelligence research. Eventually he migrated to Microsoft in Seattle, where he now lives with two cats and a teetering mountain of books. When not planning Shadow Campaigns, he wrangles computers, paints tiny soldiers, and plays games of all sorts. Visit him online at djangowexler.com.

Django was kind enough to answer a few of my question about his new book for young readers, THE FORBIDDEN LIBRARY!


Kristin Centorcelli: Congratulations on your new book, THE FORBIDDEN LIBRARY! Will you tell us a little about it and what inspired you to write it?

Django Wexler: Thanks! The Forbidden Library is about a girl named Alice who lives in New York in 1931. She comes downstairs one evening to find her father talking to a fairy in her kitchen, and a few days later he mysteriously disappears. She’s sent to stay with an uncle named Geryon, who lives in a big house with a library she’s not allowed into. Once she sneaks in (because what self-respecting heroine wouldn’t?) things start to get really strange…
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MIND MELD: Our Favorite Convention Panels

[Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!]

This week, we asked our panlists about their favorite Convention Panels:

Q: What was the best convention panel you ever attended? What was the best convention panel you were ever on? If you could set up your ideal convention panel, what would be the topic and who would be on it?

This is what they said…

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In episode 234 of the SF Signal Podcast Patrick Hester, Django Wexler, Cat Rambo, Jason Hough, and Kevin Hearne discuss how the popularity of science fiction and fantasy, varies based on the medium – and how they’ve flipped over time.

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Check out the cover and synopsis of John Golden: Freelance Debugger, a techno fantasy noir novella by Django Wexler published by Ragnarok, coming out February 2014.

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Military Fantasy author Django Wexler is the guest this week on The Functional Nerds Podcast.  Django, John Anealio and Patrick Hester talk anime, Almost Human, Doctor Who and The Thousand Names.

Listen below, or click through to Functional Nerds to listen, or subscribe to the podcast through iTunes.

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Amazon has the cover art and synopsis of the Django Wexler’s upcoming middle grade novel The Forbidden Library.

Here’s the synopsis:
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In episode 216 of the SF Signal Podcast, Patrick Hester is live from WorldCon with author Django Wexler.

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[Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!]

We all have authors whose work, for whatever reason, inspire us more than the rest, whose books standout and can always be counted on to entertain, and even to comfort. These are the ones that we’ll instantly forgive a misstep or two (maybe even three), because we love them that much, and will buy, and read, anything that they write. So, we asked our panel…

Q: What authors are on your autoread list, and why?

Here’s what they said…

Jaime Lee Moyer
Jaime Lee Moyer lives in San Antonio with Marshall Payne, two cats, three guitars and a growing collection of books and music. Her first novel, DELIA’S SHADOW, will be published by TOR Books on September 17, 2013. Two other books in the series, A BARRICADE IN HELL, and AGAINST A BRIGHTENING SKY, will be published in 2014 and 2015. Her novels are represented by Tamar Rydzinski of the Laura Dail Literary Agency. She writes a lot, she reads as much as she can.

The list has changed over the years as I’ve changed and new writers have come onto the scene. There are so many good books out there, so many new worlds and viewpoints to explore. Potentially this list could get very long, but I’ll limit myself.

  • Elizabeth Bear is an autoread for me. Her worldbuilding is stunning, her use of language is amazing, and her characters suck me right into whatever story she’s telling. The women in Bear’s books are strong and autonomous, and they play central roles in the narrative.
  • Robin McKinley, for the beauty of her storytelling, and how a seemingly gentle story can kick me in the gut. The highest praise I can give a book is that it made me feel something: joy, sorrow, fear. McKinley’s books have made me cry more times than I can count. I love that.
  • Rae Carson, a new writer on the YA scene. Excellent worldbuilding in a non-European setting, and a main character that grows into the role fate has handed her. Carson’s use of language is superb, and just because her protag is young doesn’t mean she gets off easily. Can’t wait to see more from her.
  • Ian Tregillis, another new writer who pulls no punches. First rate storytelling, and characters that made me rethink my definitions of evil and what makes someone a monster. I can’t recommend his books highly enough.

There are more, but those are the top four on my current list.

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BOOK REVIEW: The Thousand Names by Django Wexler

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: In the colonial possession of Khandar, the beleaguered and marginalized Vordanai garrison finds itself unexpectedly turned into an offensive fighting force by a new commanding officer with a hidden agenda. However, he is far from alone in having one…

MY REVIEW:
PROS: Excellent battle sequences and military slice of life; appealing and interesting take on magic.
CONS: Some significant point-of-view and characterization problems; a central mystery is somewhat imperfectly drawn up.
BOTTOM LINE: An interesting addition to the burgeoning subgenre of Flintlock Fantasy.

The Thousand Names by Django Wexler fits into a subgenre of fantasy that has been called in several quarters “Flintlock Fantasy”. It’s Muskets and Magic! Recently, The Lays of Anuskaya by Bradley Beaulieu, Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan and the Spiritwalker Trilogy by Kate Elliott have mixed gunpowder weapons with magic systems, to various effects and degrees. And now, The Thousand Names.
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Django Wexler graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh with degrees in creative writing and computer science, and worked for the university in artificial intelligence research. Eventually he migrated to Microsoft in Seattle, where he now lives with two cats and a teetering mountain of books. When not planning Shadow Campaigns, he wrangles computers, paints tiny soldiers, and plays games of all sorts. Visit him online at djangowexler.com.

The Thousand Names Blog Tour: Launching The Shadow Campaigns
Training: Using History to Build a Fantasy Society

How important is it that fantasy be ‘historically accurate?’
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Django Wexler graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh with degrees in creative writing and computer science, and worked for the university in artificial intelligence research. Eventually he migrated to Microsoft in Seattle, where he now lives with two cats and a teetering mountain of books. When not planning Shadow Campaigns, he wrangles computers, paints tiny soldiers, and plays games of all sorts. You can follow Django Wexler on Twitter as @DjangoWexler.


Nick Sharps: Sell me The Thousand Names in as few words as possible.

Django Wexler: It’s epic high fantasy in a Napoleonic setting, with great battles and a complex world. *BLAM! KABOOM!* (Do cannon sound effects count as words?)
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[Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!]

We asked this week’s panelists…

Q: What authors write the best action? What books feature the best action sequences? What does it take to make action really pop in fiction?

Here’s what they said…

Karina Cooper
After writing happily ever afters for all of her friends in school, Karina Cooper eventually grew up (sort of), went to work in the real world (kind of), where she decided that making stuff up was way more fun (true!). She is the author of dark and sexy paranormal romance and steampunk urban fantasy, and writes across multiple genres with mad glee. One part glamour, one part dork and all imagination, Karina is also a gamer, an airship captain’s wife, and a steampunk fashionista. She lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with a husband, a menagerie, a severe coffee habit, and a passel of adopted gamer geeks. Visit her at www.karinacooper.com, because she says so.

When it comes to some of the best action I’ve read, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point you to Ilona Andrews—notably, her Kate Daniels series. This urban fantasy leans heavily on action, outlining the motion—and painting the intensity—in gorgeous detail that skimps on flowery prose. No superhero with impossible pain tolerance, you’re transported with Kate with every cut, every wound, every agony. When I think about authors and books that feature action, I can’t help but arrow right on this series.

Two other authors that come to mind are Chuck Wendig and Stephen Blackmoore. Both write a kind of urban fantasy genre, but both are extremely different. Wendig’s Miriam Black series—beginning with Blackbirds—shows action with an almost fascinating intensity. He describes combat sequences that aren’t so much “fights” as a grotesquely detached explanation of events that could go wither way. Blackmoore, in both City of the Lost and Dead Things, colors his often vicious action sequences with a noir grit you can feel to your bones. They are terse, which only allows my brain to color in the details with such ease that I’m both repelled and entranced. Exactly where I want to be when I pick up a Blackmoore or Wendig book.

Action can be so hard to get right, and extremely easy to get lost in. Too much detail slows down a scene, and a lot of beginning authors tend to want to block and write every gorgeous detail—like an epic martial arts movie scene. It takes a certain understanding of physical capability, some blocking, and the ability to curtail one’s prose to keep the scene going sharp, fast, tight, like an actual fight is. It’s a hard skill to learn, but one worth every moment spent revising to learn it. A reader caught up in the intensity and speed of a fight is one who is there for every breathless moment.

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BOOK REVIEW: The Thousand Names by Django Wexler

REVIEW SUMMARY: Extremely strong debut, flintlock fantasy at its best.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: The Vordanai Colonial regiment believes their miserable time in Khandar to be coming to a close – that is until a clever new Colonel arrives with a batch of reinforcements. With a force only 4,000 men strong, the Colonel intends to reclaim the city of Ashe-Katarion from a numerically superior force of rebels, raiders, and religious fanatics.

MY REVIEW
PROS: Excellent action scenes that display a wealth of military knowledge; unexpectedly strong female presence; clever world building; good characters.
CONS: If martial fiction isn’t your cup of tea you might not want to crash this party.
BOTTOM LINE: Wexler’s debut will appeal to fans of fantasy and fans of military fiction. I cannot wait for the next book of The Shadow Campaigns.
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