“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.”
—Ibn Battuta, maybe Ibn Juzayy, potentially someone else
So, I am a big fan of this quote for obvious reasons. However, among scholars, there is some doubt that Ibn Battuta actually said or wrote this. He didn’t take notes on his travels, and much of his work was dictated long afterward to Ibn Juzayy (who plagiarized.) If you want a synopsis of the controversy, I recommend checking out the “Works” subsection of Ibn Battuta’s Wikipedia page as it does a decent job summarizing.
Plagiarization or not, a great many travel blogs still attribute this to Ibn Battuta without so much of a note of doubt. Due diligence is necessary even for quotes, and often the story behind the quote can be more interesting than the quote itself.
Okay, all of that said: controversy-schmontroversy! The quotes still rad and travel is enriching. Get out there. Breath the air. Immerse yourself in worlds beyond your own. You’ll never know what you find.
I’ve gotten a few emails from readers, so I figured it’d be easiest to address this here. Yes, I’m still out of stock of both signed paperback copies of The Stars Were Right [I sold out at Lilac City Comicon] and it’s associated Swag Pack over in my store. Typically I’d be replacing them ASAP. But, I rolled right from the convention into a week and a half of travel [which you can read about here], and it delayed things a bit. Ah, the joys and perils of running your own storefront.
But, the good news is more books and swag materials are on the way! Hooray! I should have copies of The Stars Were Right by next Monday, the Swag Packs a week or so after that. I’m sure I’ll announce the arrival over on Twitter when they show, so make sure you’re following me there. If you just cannot wait (bless you,) you can get unsigned paperbacks from any of the following stores:
Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Powells – BAM!
Recently, I was asked by Mihir Wanchoo if I’d be interested in writing an article for Fantasy Book Critic. Mihir encouraged me to discuss how I approach combining genres in my writing and explore some of my inspirations. I was happy to oblige and decided to take it a bit further and delve into some of the tenants I’ve kept in mind while I work. The result is Life in the Weird, On the Blending of Genre. Here’s how it starts:
I never decided to write a genre-blending novel, it just happened. As a reader, I always craved weird books that are out of the ordinary. I tend to be turned off to a series that stays within traditional genre lines. It’s this predilection that drew me to Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, why I love China Miéville’s New Crobuzon stories so much, and why Neil Gaiman’s American Gods resonates with me. There’s something in those work that feels fresh, new, and free. So it’s only natural that those proclivities show up in my writing as well…
You have to read the rest of the article over on Fantasy Book Critic. Once you’ve done that make sure to follow them on Twitter and visit them over on Facebook as well. They’re a great site, with a lot of excellent content. Well worth your time.
Also, I wanted to give everyone a heads up that I’m taking the next ten days off. This spring has been hectic. I’ve had revisions on my new fantasy project, I’ve been working on Coal Belly‘s rebirth, there been some outlining on the next Bell Forging novel, and I attended both Norwescon 39 and Lilac City Comicon. So as a bookend for a busy spring, Kari-Lise and I are going on vacation. The plan is to get lost in the mountains, islands, and deserts of California, do some hiking and unplug from the internet. (That said, knowing me, I’ll still find a bit of time to post to Instagram and Twitter. So make sure you’re following me to see what I’m up to.)
Some exciting things are coming when I get back. There are quite a few longer-form blog posts in the hopper including an exciting Wild Territories post (voted on by you!) So stick around, and I’ll see y’all in June.
Hello, all you wonderful folks. I have returned from my brief hiatus in the mountains and I am back! Iceland was incredible, do yourself a favor and go. Get there. See the country and get lost on its backroads. It’s wild and raw and pictures don’t even begin to do it justice. (If you’re interested, I’ve been posting photos on Instagram.)
Travel is always a big part of my creative process. Old Broken Road was born in Norway. The Stars Were Right was forged while touring some of America’s best National Parks. I cannot encourage creatives enough to get out there. Experiencing a country (even your own), learn about its people, study its history, experience its culture, food, and traditions. You’ll be surprised what will come. One of my favorite quotes about travel is one I posted before, but it’s still apt:
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”
— Mark Twain
Frankly, a week wasn’t nearly enough time for Iceland. We just got to explore the west side and a bit of the central Highlands, but there is so much more. We’re already planning a return visit. Meanwhile, the show must go on. I have a stack of emails to get through, and a book to launch. Expect some big announcements soon.
All in all, it’s good to be back.
Beginning today, I Make Stories will be on a brief hiatus as Kari-Lise and I are taking a week and traveling to the emptiness of Iceland to camp, hike, and explore. Since I’ll be lost in the back country most of the time, I won’t have reliable internet access so there’s little reason for me to try to keep up here. (I miiiight post to Instagram or Twitter should I find a signal.) I won’t be gone long, the plan is to return next week physically exhausted but mentally refreshed and inspired. We’ll see how I do.
For those of you who religiously visit to check out my Friday Link Packs (Thanks!) don’t worry, I have a special guest lined up to step into my shoes on the 28th. But, you’ll have to wait until the automated post goes live on Friday to find out who it will be. I’ll see all y’all in September.
I am traveling to sunny Spokane, Washington this weekend to participate in Lilac City Comicon with my good buddy Josh Montreuil. That mean there’s no Friday Link Pack here. However, once again my friend and fellow writer Drew Gerken has stepped up and put together a Friday Link Pack Guest Post over on his blog in my absence. It’s a great collection. Check it out:
Read today’s Friday Link Pack at Drew’s blog →