Ecstatic Days Vanderblog: 2008 Highlights

(Relic of a failed campaign: nothing I could have injected into the 2008 political season via Evil Monkey could have topped the drama of actual events; therefore, Evil’s campaign ended before it had even begun, despite this post.)

I’ve already posted links to the highlights of the year’s guest blogging. Now it’s time for the top 10 posts of the year (in no particular order) and top 10 images, which I have arrived at scientifically by consulting both Evil Monkey and our cats (Jango, Jackson, and Shosh).

Drum roll, please…

Image: Ann at a company meeting last January strikes me as the appropriate send-off for the top 10, don’t ask me why…

HOW TO WRITE A NOVEL IN TWO MONTHS – This account of writing the Predator novel led to the Booklife book deal with Tachyon, and garnered attention from all over the world.

Image: My pathetic drawing in preparation for writing the Dying Earth story “The Final Quest of the Wizard Sarnod.

MOLTING SEASON – This post about molting season for fantasy writers divided readers into those who thought it was hilarious and those who didn’t get it at all…

Image: Sir Tessa’s obsession with penguins led to two posts on my blog in reaction to her penguin wars thread, in addition to much mailing of various sized penguin representations from Australia to America, America to Australia.

PREDATOR OPERA – Although few commented, many linked to this, the beginning of the first Predator opera: “Predator: I must killllllllll yooooooou. Kill you. Kill you. To saaaave yoooouuu.”

Image: Who knew people would be fascinated by bird crap on my car roof.

THE (NOT) SAD TALE OF THE BROTHERS GROSBART – Posting an excerpt from Jesse Bullington’s unpublished novel helped get him an agent, which helped get him a contract with Orbit. This was the second time an Ecstatic Days post, directly or indirectly, led to a book deal in 2008.

Image: The lovely Cat Sparks parodying male author poses, in a post inspired by the Sigler dust-up.)

SCOTT SIGLER AND MY FIRST BOOKS RECEIVED POSTS – The closest I came to real controversy in 2008 was poking gentle fun at Scott Sigler’s author photo pose, ironically enough in my first books received photo-post, which enraged Sigler’s fans and led to much follow-up. In the end, a ceasefire was declared, and I wound up interviewing Scott for Amazon.

Image: In further Scott Sigler fall-out, I sent Felix Gilman a hamster and he went to town with it…)

SQUIDPUNK – I think this was probably my best April Fool’s joke ever. Oddly, one writer included on the fake cover was irritated to have been included in a joke while one other was irritated because they thought I’d included a story of theirs in antho without telling them about it. Here’s Luis Rodrigues’ cover. See also the video in the blog post.

Image: An example of one of the blimp images, with more in our follow-up blog entry.

STEAMPUNK SPECIAL OFFER – This special offer through Jake von Slatt’s Steampunk workshop, in which we offered to personalize and draw dirigibles in any copies of the anthology bought directly from us, didn’t get much comment on my blog, but it sure created orders–over 200 when we thought it would be more like 20. Resulting in many nights of dirigible-drawing. Someone even wanted a steampunk horse.

Image: Our ridiculous, dress-up-like-pirates-for-our-antho photo, also reprinted in Locus.)

EVIL MONKEY’S GUIDE TO KOSHER IMAGINARY ANIMALS – Picked up by media outlets all over the world, this conversation between Ann and Evil Monkey resulted in a book deal for The Guide to Kosher Imaginary Animals (The Evil Monkey Dialogues) with Tachyon Books. Everyone from Swedish public radio to the site got in touch with us over this post. The third time during the year that a blog post led to a book deal.

Image: Photo from a series of posts on Parcon, Prague, Prague again, Romania, and beer.

BEER-BOOK PAIRINGS – Although the main post about beer and books–including pairings from T.C. Boyle, Michael Chabon, Arianna Huffington, Chip Kidd, and more–was one of my contributions to the Amazon book blog, there was also lively discussion with related posts on Ecstatic Days. One of my favorite, favorite posts of all time. Here are the direct links to part 1 and part 2 on the Amazon blog.

Image: Ann in giant chair, from another Europe post.

FORMULA FOR CREATING YOUR LITERARY NAME – Another post that received a lot of attention. My literary name turned out to be Vladimir Tiko Ahab.

Image: The arrival of the sinister Mr. P.

MY FAVORITE FANTASISTS IN THE SHORT FORM – A list that got picked up by a lot of media outlets, which just happens to consist of all women writers.

– One of the best experiences I had in 2008 was teaching at the Shared Worlds teen writing camp.
– Debate over whether or not to publish Nabokov’s unpublished novel led to an irritable comment on my blog from Dmitri Nabokov himself.
– Spirited discussion of various book covers revealed the biases of readers and challenged some assumptions about what sells a book.
– Reaction to a post on reviewing books revealed a certain territorialism. I still believe these are commonsense rules that any reviewer would be wise to follow.
Thoughtful discussion over whether a city could exist in the eye of a fire salamander was useful to me in finishing my Dying Earth story.
– LA Times blog drops by Tallahassee.
– Readers weigh in on what fantasy city they’d like to visit.
– Continued debate raged on the Amazon blog over my interview with How to Raise and Train a Dragon’s Joe Nigg.