Thursday, June 28, 2012

Quite a week for Optimistic Bastards...

This has been quite a week indeed, yard-apes, for a lot of yard-related matters. Hard to know where to begin. There's been a lot of stuff going on around Rasputin's Bastards U.S. launch date, but as I think of it that was, for the most part, all according to schedule. So it's probably best to start with the happy surprise, that had to do with the other book, Eutopia: A Novel of Terrible Optimism.

On Monday night, I learned to my delight that the Sunburst Award jury had short-listed Eutopia, along with two other books by dear friends of mine, Caitlin Sweet (The Pattern Scars) and Michael Rowe (Enter Night) published by my dear friends at ChiZine Publications. The Sunbursts are a juried award handed out to novels of the fantastic, and young adult novels of the fantastic. It is announced in the fall, and there is a cash prize, which is no small thing. But it is an honor to be nominated, and to be nominated alongside my friends. Here's the link to the Sunburst site.

The launch of the new book in the U.S. happened this Tuesday, when it showed up in bookstores across the nation. So now it should be available in most Barnes and Noble stores in the U.S., and McNally-Robinson and Chapters-Indigo stores in Canada. And hopefully some independent booksellers too.

There have been some lovely reviews to have come out since last I blogged, from January Magazine's David Middleton, here, and Cory Doctorow at Boing Boing, right here.

And I've been on what is known as a blog tour, guest-posting and answering interview questions, all over. The most recent is at the blog known as Jesse Resides Here, right here. There are also posts and interviews at the McNally Robinson blog, Cabin Goddess, My Bookish Ways, Dark Wolf Fantasy Reviews, Civilian Reader, Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer, and I Read A Book Once. A few more are on their way.

Oh, and the launch at Rasputin's Vodka Bar was spectacular. The food was fantastic, the company enthusiastic, and the hour was late when we all left.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Bastards are here...

This is a photo from the front of The World's Biggest Bookstore, just as you come in, in the New and Hot Fiction display. Rasputin's Bastards is right there, next to The Hypnotist.  I think it's fair to say we're off.

There have been a couple more reviews appear since last we spoke. The Crow's Caw's K.E. Bergdoll wrote a very kindly review here, writing, in part:

"A journey from the depths of the sea, the heart of Mother Russia, to the darkest corners of the soul, this book appeals to the reader’s intellectual curiosity, and engages the heart with surprising moments of emotionality."
 Library Journal's review of Rasputin's Bastards came out on Friday. It's a good review, but I can't link to it--they keep those things behind a paywall. Fortunately, Barnes and Noble has a deal to run LJ reviews on their website, so here's the bottom line of their review:

"Bram Stoker Award winner Nickle's (Eutopia) latest novel tells a complex story of supernatural horror and psychological suspense crafted with the somber foreboding of a Russian novel and the genre-breaking freedom of magical realism. VERDICT This novel is supernatural eeriness at its best, with intriguing characters, no clear heroes, and a dark passion at its heart. Horror aficionados and fans of Stephen King's larger novels should appreciate this macabre look at the aftermath of the Cold War. "
It's all a very good start. On Thursday June 21, those in Toronto should consider themselves invited to the official book launch. It's taking place at the Rasputin Vodka Lounge (seemed appropriate) at  780 Queen Street East. It all starts at 7 p.m. There will be books, and of course vodka, and some caviar on the menu. Spread the word far and wide.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Bastards are coming...

In fact, they may already be here.

Rasputin's Bastards' official release date in Canada is coming up on Friday; in the U.S., it's a little later on the 27th. It looks as though the book's already on shelves (or at least in stores) in a number of Chapters-Indigo stores. And it's available for pre-order, obviously, at all the usual places.

There haven't been a ton of reviews out just yet, but Corey Redekop, author of Shelf Monkey and the soon-to-be-out Husk, has written a really jaw-droppingly kind assessment of Rasputin's Bastards and Eutopia, right here. And I am on what the cost-conscious kids these days are calling a blog tour. That means over the next little while, there will be interviews and guest posts at blogs all over the planet. Here are the first couple, at Wag The Fox, and at Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer. 

There will be more as the days progress. I'm told that Library Journal will have something to say on June 15. The Crow's Caw is putting something up soon. And that is just the beginning.

So watch the skies. And in the meantime,  because I haven't done this for awhile, here is another fiblet from Rasputin's Bastards, right at the very beginning.
* * *

The steam carried the smell of Babushka’s death like a soaked sponge. It leaked between the wooden slats of the bath house’s door, and whipped and whirled from there in thin, hot tendrils to mingle with the ice fog that had enshrouded the village of New Pokrovskoye since the early days of March.
March was an important month. It was the month that Babushka had first set down a schedule for her own death; the month the giant squid came to the harbour and presaged it all, by dying there itself.

The squid arrived sometime in the night. It thrashed and twisted underneath the translucent grey ice for hours before it died, its tentacles braiding and spreading—a woman’s long dark hair in a suicide bath.
Suicide seemed the best explanation. The squid could have dived—gone back south, and deep, into the cool dark ocean where its brethren dwelled in unguessable numbers. But something stopped it; or it knew, somehow, that its time was up. Whatever the reason, it stayed there beneath the harbour ice of New Pokrovskoye, thrashing and twisting until finally it slowed—its giant form stretching under the grey-green sheet for fifteen metres, like a great, dark stroke of watercolour.
Babushka wheeled herself out onto the ice in the predawn, breath making a contrail behind her as she huffed along to the squid’s remains. The ice creaked as she leaned forward in her wheelchair, propped on her walking stick, and glared down at the creature.
The walking stick was old. It was said that it had been carried to St. Petersburg by a holy man a hundred years ago, and was cut many years before that—and it was hard as iron. She leaned over, hacking at the ice, eventually tumbling out of her chair and falling to her knees with the effort. By this time, someone had called the Koldun—the fishing village’s lodge wizard and healer, second only to Babushka herself in esteem and influence.
He went out and joined her for a time. A growing crowd of villagers watched at the bank as he wheedled and cajoled and finally took hold of her arm. But she shook off his attempt angrily, and that was all it took. The Koldun had known Babushka for many years. But neither he nor anyone else dared confront her when she became like this.
She glared down into the squid’s eye for a full minute—then finally, drew back, barked a harsh laugh, and spat in it.
She turned to the Koldun and the rest, and that was when she said it, loud enough to carry through the whole, ice-bound village:
When this kraken is gone—I go too.”
The Koldun and the others laughed, uncomfortably at first—and then, as she joined them, with more assurance.
And because of that, the people of New Pokrovskoye concluded:
Everything is fine. It’s just another of Babushka’s jokes.

But it was no joke.