ellenkushner: (Witches of LUBLIN)
We are dancing on the rooftops because of two glorious online reviews of our "feminist-shetl-historical-musical audio drama" today!

Hadassah Magazine praises The Witches of Lublin as: "a story of faith, tragedy and redemption."
(This is particularly grand because my mom and all her friends read it!)

and the wonderful Dave Thompson, who's also host and co-producer of the divine PodCastle waxes rhapsodic in his review for Audible SF/F:

"It’s beautiful and haunting — a heartbreaker of audio drama . . .  I’ve now listened to it twice, and it’s worth every cent.  ..... Captivating. . .  jam packed with amazing music."

And Dave also lobbed my 2 co-writers (Elizabeth Schwartz & Yale Strom), our producer/director (Sue Zizza), and me a set of deftly clever & insightful interview questions that we all took great pleasure in answering:  The result is a real insight into our process as writers, artists and musicians - READ interview HERE.

Now, it's your turn:
1) Please forward those links to anyone you think might be interested.
2) It turns out there's still time to ask your local npr station to air the show (for free!) during Passover week.  Details on how to do that - and who's already scheduled it for local air (which usually includes online listening, as well) - are RIGHT HERE.

ellenkushner: (Audiobook Swordspoint)
For people who'd like a peek behind the scenes on Swordspoint: the AudioBook,* I can offer these:

Podcast Interview with producer/director/audio genius Sue Zizza (of SueMedia Productions) & me, on Fred Greenhalgh's Radio Drama Revival--a weekly radio show and podcast featuring "the best of contemporary audio drama (work produced after the golden age of radio)." Fred's also the guy who wrote us such a lovely letter about the production. It was a real honor to know that a guy who's dedicating his life to contemporary audio thought our "illuminated" book worked well enough to want to spend an hour getting us to spill our guts about how it all came to be . . . . 

The ACX Blog did a post on us, with a link to Sue's famous "How We Illuminated Swordspoint" post . . . plus tips on how other authors can "illuminate" their own books . . . and:

We got a rave review in AudioFile Magazine!!  They gave us an Earphones Award (which is, my audie friends explain, like getting a Starred Kirkus Review!)!

Oh, what the heck, it isn't very long - here's the review:

Richard St. Vier, swordsman extraordinaire, often fights duels to protect the honor of a noble—or just the highest bidder. But to fight for his own and his friends’ honor is a more complicated matter. There are so many rules for every kind of engagement—battle, politics, and, of course, love. Author Ellen Kushner delivers her utterly unique blend of modern fantasy and nineteenth-century novel of manners with absolute conviction, affectionate humor, and perfect phrasing. “Neil Gaiman Presents” [courtesy of SueMedia Productions - ed.] has provided original music, lively soundscapes, and the voices of some of the audio world’s most distinguished performers. Hearing Katherine Kellgren, Dion Graham, and others sharpen the cutting, insightful dialogue is pure pleasure. B.P. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2012, Portland, Maine [Published: JANUARY 2012]

*Yes, there is a U.K. edition of the audiobook!  It's here.  But it doesn't have the amusing reviews.
ellenkushner: (Canty Cover (AH))
Naked City: Tales of Urban Fantasy

'"Urban fantasy" is one of those subgenre labels that I've never been quite sure of the meaning of. [....]  But in the case of Naked City, Ellen Datlow's new anthology, the meaning of urban fantasy is quite literal. Each of those twenty tales takes place in a city. The city might be a real one, or fictional; it might be within the United States (New York City features five times) or elsewhere in the world, or in another reality entirely; the setting might be past or present. But always, there is the city, bewitching and terrifying, frustrating and wonderful. [....]

'Fans of Ellen Kushner's Swordspoint and other novels set in that fantasy world will certainly want to pick up the anthology for "The Duke of Riverside," a story set both before and after the events of that novel, and featuring St. Vier and Alec. The same mixture of swordplay, sharp humor, and passion familiar from otherRiverside fiction distinguishes this story, which also highlights the relationship between the aristocratic corner of the city and its less-wealthy regions. [. . . . there's plenty more!]'

From "The Stars at Noonday" Blog - read the whole thing here:
Monday, June 6, 2011
ellenkushner: (2French Swordspoint (EK only))
[livejournal.com profile] ellen_datlow just sent the authors this delectable advance review from Publishers Weekly:

Naked City: Tales of Urban Fantasy
Edited by Ellen Datlow.. St. Martin's Griffin, $25.99 (560p) ISBN 978-0-312-60431-8; $15.99 trade paper ISBN 978-0-312-38524-8

Datlow (Digital Domains) adds to her already lengthy list of impressive anthology credits with this compilation of 20 original stories from some of the best-known names in urban fantasy. For newbies, her short but informative intro clearly lays out the boundaries of these works, which combine "the often-dark edge of city living with enticing worlds of magic." Jim Butcher's "Curses," a humorous short story linked to his Dresden Files series, is a nice change of pace from his increasingly grim novels. Ellen Kushner's "The Duke of Riverside" gives the origins of the romance between Alec and St. Vier, heroes of her novel Swordspoint. Lavie Tidhar's "The Projected Girl," set in Haifa, Israel, features a boy's search for the truth behind a legendary magic trick. Other notable contributors include Lucius Shepard, Patricia Briggs, and Melissa Marr. (July)

...oh, um,  we're talking notables? Can we mention John Crowley, Richard Bowes, Pat Cadigan, Jeffrey Ford, Holly Black, Naomi Novik, Peter S. Beagle for chrissakes I mean it's an honor just to have my name on the same ToC page with these writing gods!  I'd call them notable.  Yow.
ellenkushner: (Witches of LUBLIN)
Hot from the "Audiobook Review" pages of AudioFile Magazine:

Ellen Kushner, Elizabeth Schwartz, Yale Strom
Read by Tovah Feldshuh, Simon Jones, Barbara Rosenblat, Neil Gaiman, Elizabeth Boskey, Joanne Borts, Yelena Shmulenson, Joyce Feurring, Tim Jerome, et al.

In a story at once tragic, mystically uplifting, and historically accurate, Tovah Feldshuh plays a widowed Jewish woman in eighteenth-century Poland who, with her daughters and granddaughter, defies tradition by performing music for non-Jews at a nearby town to earn money for Passover provisions. The all-star cast includes Simon Jones as a tyrannical nobleman and Barbara Rosenblat as the self-righteous wife of a butcher. Neil Gaiman portrays the nobleman’s son, who falls in love with the nightingale-voiced granddaughter (Elizabeth Boskey) and requests that the four women perform at his coming-of-age party. With its powerful performances—woven with Yale Strom’s music, touching script, and outstanding direction, THE WITCHES OF LUBLIN is a story that will leave listeners both haunted and inspired. S.E.S. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2011, Portland, Maine [Published: APRIL 2011]

*Our producer tells me that Audie Earphones are the equivalent of a starred Kirkus review!

You can pre-order the CD here - or wait a couple weeks and it should be up for downloading on Audible.com...

Sorry not to be more scintillating lately - I'm on Week #3 of that kinda-cold-not-quite-flu/all coughing all the time virus that seems to be going around . . . Still managed to have a great Passover with lots of family in town - and plans continue for the Welcome to Bordertown launch this month . . . . Thanks again for all your help getting our Witches on the air -- we're hoping to get even more stations next year, when they see all our cool awards (and we raise a bit more marketing $$) . . . !
ellenkushner: (WelcBORDERTOWN)
Advance reviews are trickling in like sweet honey from the rock. From Booklist* (with only a few annotations by the co-editor):

Welcome to Bordertown: New Stories and Poems of the Borderlands.
Black, Holly (Editor) and Kushner, Ellen (Editor) and Barzak, Christopher (Author) and Brust, Steven (Author) and Bull, Emma (Author) and Clare, Cassandra (Author) and de Lint (Author) and Doctorow, Cory (Author) and El-Mohtar, Amal (Author) and Gaiman, Neil (Author)
[and then, I guess, they ran out of room...]
 May 2011. 544 p. Random, hardcover, $19.99. (9780375867057). Random, library edition, $22.99. (9780375967054).

This collection of stories and poems expands on the Borderland series edited by Terri Windling in 1986 [aherm, actually from 1986-1996]. Editors Black and Kushner have conceptualized this urban-fantasy collection around the city of Bordertown, at the border of the human world and the elfin realm. Bordertown is where both human and elf runaways searching for meaning end up. Magic may or may not work here, technology is sketchy at best, and there is no Internet [ . . . yet. Wait til you read Cory Doctorow's new story here!]. The “door” to this border town has been closed for 13 years when this collection of interconnected stories takes place, but for residents of the city, it has only been 13 days, and this is creating problems. The editors have amassed a tremendous collection of stories, poems, and even a graphic story by many of today’s top fantasy writers. There is no weak link: from the opening guide to “Bordertown Basics” and the introductory story by Kushner and Windling [yay!], readers will be sucked into the lives of those who find themselves living on the outskirts of all worlds.

*Booklist is the noted & notable reviewzine of the American Library Association, that powerful cabal of our revered and awesome friends, the Librarians.

ellenkushner: (WelcBORDERTOWN)
And now: A gorgeous sneak preview review of the forthcoming anthology Welcome to Bordertown, edited by [livejournal.com profile] blackholly  & me, with Introduction (and story) by series creator Terri Windling . . . written by Michael M. Jones (aka [livejournal.com profile] oneminutemonkey , who batted his eyes so prettily at me at WFC when I had an ARC in hand) for Sleeping Hedgehog/Green Man Review:

To give you a flavor:

Bordertown was urban fantasy before urban fantasy really had an identity. It was leather and lace, elves and rock n’ roll, magic and independence and love and adventure and loss and that wild period where anything was possible. . . . It featured some of the movers and shakers of the time, the architects of the subgenre. . . .

And then, like anything really awesome, it stopped. Poof. Finito. Turn out the lights, stack the chairs, lock the doors, Bordertown was gone. The band broke up and everyone went on to solo careers, leaving behind nothing but fond memories, trashed hotel rooms, and possibly a few illegitimate kids. That was that.

Until now. Thirteen years later, a new kind of Bordertown has appeared....

Not only have all of the main members of the old band gotten back together, they’ve brought their protégés and literary offspring along as well to create an all-new superband determined to carry Bordertown into the future. This isn’t a rehashing of the old days, this is a love-fueled rock n’ roll continuation and updating where a new generation meets the old gang.
And it is awesome.

Yeah!!  That's what we hoped you'd say!

More info - including ToC and photos - here on Terri's blog.

And if you're an Amazon.com client, their crazy pre-order price for our book just went down again - to $12.22, which is $7.77 off the list price.  Which has gotta mean something.
ellenkushner: (Madame J. (closeup))
Another great review of forthcoming anthology TEETH with another great mention of my story ("History, or, Another Irritating Vampire")  - and another tortured attempt by your obdt svt not to read the reviews of the other stories in the volume, as I like coming to stuff with a blank slate mind!  I won't even read book jacket blurbs any more, if I can help it, or watch the Coming on next week's show trailers.....  (I know, I know:  and some of you read the endings to books first.  Well, that's what makes horse races.)
ellenkushner: (Madame J. (closeup))
The Datlow/Windling teen vampires that are profound & have literary value & can be genuinely scary YA anthology TEETH is coming this March - and already advance reviews are popping up and torturing me.  Because I hate spoilers, that's why:  I want to come all brain-virginal & pristine to new work by personal heroes like Suzy Charnas & Jeff Ford & Tanith Lee & Kathe Koja and and and..... Which is why when [livejournal.com profile] ellen_datlow  sends us links to rave reviews like this one, I have to just skim it to see if my story's  mentioned (me! me! me!) - and [livejournal.com profile] deliasherman's, too, as of course I've already read hers (through aherm several drafts).  So far, so good.

has been selected already for the Junior Library Guild.  Who knows what honors may follow?

For those who hate Amazon,  pre-order from your nearest indy bookseller.  And for those who don't, save $ by pre-ordering at the crazy lowlow price currently on offer there pre-publication. (The same advice goes for Welcome to Bordertown, coming in May - Amazon seems to think the full cover price is $19.99, but I happen to know it's now $22.99.... so do take advantage of Am's pre-pub price of $13.49 if you can.) 
ellenkushner: (Bessie McNicol)
So what do you think?  Suddenly my old grey typewriter key Journal Style was boring me to tears. But is the new color enough? Or do you think I should go for something more . . . daring? 

Suggest  a new Journal Theme for me?

Meanwhile, thanks to my Cousin Els (you may know her as Elisabeth Kushner, author of the story "Changeling" in THE ESSENTIAL BORDERTOWN [which is still in print, btw, so if you want to play catchup before WELCOME TO BORDERTOWN appears in May, this is your best bet!] . . . or as Els Kushner, bookbookbook blogger), Librarienne Extraordinaire, for letting me know about her Scholastic blogpost "The Responsible Ones," which used my story in TROLL'S EYE VIEW as the jumping-off point for a query about Oldest Kids (a position we share in our respective families) in children's books.   (How did I manage to miss this when it came out in July?  Oh, yeah. . . I was in Finland.)

And in Daily Life:  The right front burner of our stove, the most convenient to the counter and the one we're most used to using, has stopped lighting itself from the pilot, and must be started with one of those long sparking devices, which lives in the drawer right next to it.  Delia does this. I just put things on the left front burner. I am sure this explains a lot about everything.

Can I stop coughing, now? Please?  At least I'm getting my brain back - which is a good thing, as I must chair a telephone meeting of the Interstitial Arts Foundation Board at 5pm, to plan our January Boston Meeting - which will run during Arisia, so yes, I'll be at Arisia Sat/Sun, scheduled To Come.

ellenkushner: (EK/DS wedding band)
 In this busy social season, [livejournal.com profile] deliasherman has her heart set on finishing revisions of THE FREEDOM MAZE for Big Mouth House before we leave for Florida on the 26th.  When I mention Cards, she looks perilously close to tears.  This would not be a big deal, except for the fact that in the past two years it was my *ehrm*KLEZMER NUTCRACKER shows & performances that kept us from getting down to it . . . So the oldest people in our lives probably think we've dropped them off our List.  They think we no longer care about them.  Or, worse yet, that we are Rude.  So I am going to try to rectify that by sitting down this weekend with our 150+ List, our antiquated Filemaker Pro program, and maybe a little whiskey (which could also help my stupid cold?) and, well - the last 2 years' of Holiday Letters, which we actually did write but never managed to send?  and were waiting for final edits because Delia thinks my drafts are too long & too personal, while I think hers are too stiff & formal? because her target audience is her school headmistress (who still sends personal notes addressed to each in a fine italic hand) and mine is, oh, I dunno, everyone?  So last year we got as far as deciding that we would make the switch over from mailing dozens of nicely-decorated sheets of updates to just e-mailing them (the coward's way out, as I know that I am mostly too busy around now to open the enclosures that my other friends send me - whereas if they mail me something, it will at least turn up on the breakfast table competing with the pile of New Yorkers & Village Voices....)

Oh god.  Maybe we should just go back to sending out attractive little pictures with pre-stamped greetings of General Good Will.  But then how will anyone know what's become of us?  Am I overthinking this?  The sub-categories are boundless:  1) Cards to elders to show we care. 2) Letters to elders & friends who don't read LJ or Facebook, but who care & should be kept informed & we don't want to lose touch with.  3) The same in foreign countries, but try to figure out who we needs to be updated but we can just send them an e-version instead... Oh no head explosion now.

Moving right along (I did begin this post 12 hours ago):

Thank you, [livejournal.com profile] otterdance (née Lynn Flewelling), for your link to (and excerpts from) Chuck Wendig's, um, revised version of The Writer's Prayer - I particularly like:

   Every word journey is a Journey West. I am Lewis, and I am Clark. I am not the Donner Party.
   I recognize that writing a novel is hard. And I don’t give a lemur’s left foot. I don’t give a good goddamn. I don’t give two shits in a wicker basket. The best things in life are hard. Like hunting pterodactyls. Like getting married.

In other news: A review of Troll's Eye View has finally mentioned my story.  Finally.  At last.  Tangentially.  But there it is.  We live for these little triumphs.
ellenkushner: (MWK cover)
Paul Witcover's review of my story/book The Man with the Knives in the December 2010 issue of Realms of Fantasy (online) is pure poetry.  I really did shed a few tears of joy when I read it.  Paul is himself a fiction writer to be reckoned with, so his approbation is not only exquisite in craft, but the gift of a respected colleague.  (At a recent KGB he read from a work-in-progress that you will all love when it's finished!)

News:  "The Man with the Knives" is going to be making two big appearances soon: on December 1 (tomorrow) the text is going up on Tor.com.  Tom Canty promises me new illustrations, and something extra as well - I'm holding my breath, me.

And Jonathan Strahan has bought it for THE BEST SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY OF THE YEAR: VOLUME 5, which will be published by Night Shade Books (San Francisco) in March 2011.  My respect for Jonathan's editorial judgement knows no bounds; I loved ever story I read in last year's Volume 4, as well as his ECLIPSE 3 (which I also had a story in).

So if you don't own the chapbook, you'll be able to read the story from now on, no problem!  But if you desire the physical artefact, with its heavy, textured, embossed paper cover and Canty foldout art . . . best to get your order in to Temporary Culture right away, as we're afraid the Tor.com post will be a sort of "infomercial" for the last 40 copies still on Henry's shelves.
ellenkushner: (Thomas the Rhymer)
Just found (via Twitter, of all things) this lovely & loving review of the French edition of my Thomas the Rhymer.  In the online 'zine Yozone.fr, reviewer Nicolas Soffray concludes his review of Thomas le Rimeur with: "Ellen Kushner est une voix majeure de la fantasy merveilleuse, hélas bien rare en français...." --and adds something nice about « À la pointe de l’épée », as well (which their other reviewer really hated - oh, well... It got plenty of nice French reviews elsewhere.  And that cover...!)

And in today's NYTimes, a big piece on KlezKamp ("a Yiddish Brigadoon" that meets annually to revive the language & folkways of the living culture the Nazis pretty successfully demolished) enlightens us as to the origins of a phrase I'd always translated as "old wives' tales":

Michael Wex, a Canadian author and philologist, taught one group about the derivation of the term bubbe mayse — literally “a grandmother’s fable” but an expression used for any implausible tale. It was, he revealed, based on a 16th-century chivalric story about a Christian knight named Bovo who improbably marries a princess under a chupah — a Jewish wedding canopy — and arranges a circumcision for twin sons. Over time, few Jews were familiar with Bovo, so the expression morphed into something said by a bubbe.
ellenkushner: (Canty Cover (AH))
 Author [livejournal.com profile] joelyskye  has put Swordspoint at the top of her Top Ten list of faves on [livejournal.com profile] elisa_rolle  's LJ, "Reviews & Ramblings" --  right on up there with Mary Renault , Laura Kinsale, & omigod Dorothy Dunnett!  Dunnett was a huge influence on me; I took her Lymond books as a personal challenge, and learned a lot.

And I can't stop re-reading this exquisite review of The Man With the Knives by Robert Tilendis over at Green Man Review.  I dunno . . . maybe it's just the William Morris wallpaper that surrounds it.  But I think it's the way Tilendis honors me with his close reading and carefully-chosen words.  (It may be considered a bit spoiler-y.  But it's a very short book; what can ya do?)  Tilendis reviewed 2 of my other novels for Rambles.net, and did TPOTS for Green Man - I feel very lucky to have his eye on me.

I'm on a very crunchy deadline for my new Bordertown story (which I'm writing with Terri Windling, as a sort of introduction to the new volume) before we leave for Finncon on Tuesday . . . better get back to it now!
ellenkushner: (Spanish Swordspoint)
But nobody guessed the story!

So, nu?

This also seems like a good place to mention that my All New All Revised (and updated) BIBLIOGRAPHY is now up on my website! Please feel free Beta-test it and let me know if anything's missing or unclear.

Divided by category (Novels, Short Stories, etc.), work is listed from Most Recent (including Sold but Not Yet Published) to Oldest. We didn't break them down by categories within those - e.g. "Riverside Stories" - but the site has a whole separate page of those, broken down by Timeline: The World of Riverside.

Speaking of which, the most recent of those published is "'A Wild and a Wicked Youth'" in F&SF - and turns out that issue is available as e-book for your reading pleasure. Wow. What a world!

Speaking of which: I am stupidly excited about the review "Wicked Youth" just got in Locus from Gardiner Dozois. I love Gardiner. We've been pals since he was unnecessarily kind and welcoming to me at my very first SF con - a Philcon held in I kid you not a Motor Court - where I arrived, alone, about 3 months into my first job out of college, as Jim Baen's Editorial Assistant at Ace Books. Watching as Gardiner became the influential and perceptive editor of Asimov's for so many years was a thrill. But I don't think I ever submitted a short story to him; those weren't really short-fiction-writing time for me. So I had no idea whether he'd ever read anything I'd ever written or not. Now he's reviewing short SF for Locus, but his initial column was cranky about there not being enough hard SF, so I didn't think he'd even review my story in F&SF. But he did! And he liked it! Here's what he wrote:

Ellen Kushner's "'A Wild and a Wicked Youth'" is a prequel to her popular novel Swordspoint: A Melodrama of Manners, the origin story, to borrow comics terminology, of that novel's main character, Richard St. Vier (For Swordspoint fans, nothing more will need to be said). Like the novel itself, like much of Kushner's work, which has sometimes been referrred to as "mannerpunk," this comes close to being fantasy-by-courtesy - set in an imaginary secondary world, yes, but one very much like our own Europe a couple of hundred years past, and with no overt supernatural elements. Still, the storyline here is so compelling, and the character of Richard St. Vier so complex and interesting, that I can't imagine that any but the strictest of fantasy purists will object to the lack of wizards and dragons. - Gardner Dozois, "Short Fiction" Reviews, Locus, May 2009

Oh, Gardner! I love you, too. (And I should add that the story got a nice writeup from Locus reviewer Rich Horton in last month's issue - thanks, Rich! It was mostly a plot summary, though - no adjectives, and believe me I was paying attention! - so I was surprised & delighted that it also made Rich's Recommended Stories list for that month.) Although he's not even a fantasist, Gardner Dozois' depth of knowledge and breadth of context is what every editor (much less writer) dreams of in a reviewer! There's a reason he's one of the greats. Locus is lucky to have him.

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