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Fresh Starts...

Okay, so there's a blog section on the site now, and nothing in it to this point, which tells me that I ought to be thinking about something to say, to kick this page off. I have no idea what I'm going to write in here, but my understanding is that blogging is like keeping a personal notebook--almost like a diary, but less formal; not quite so regimented and not so date-specific, and other people get to share in your musings and ruminations... I've done a little blogging in the past, on the Penguin Canada web site, but hardly enough even to approach becoming proficient at what seems to be resolving/evolving rapidly into something of an art form. I'm constantly bewildered by the efficiency and expertise being bandied about by extrememly young, bright people who seem to have mastered all the individual elements of bloggery and cyperspace communications, including astonishing graphics and remarkable photographic effects... Where do these people find enought time to do these things? There aren't enough hours in the day for me as it is, and when I'm not writing nowadays I seem to be constantly editing and proofreading . . . and with the schedule I'm facing nowadays, that's not going to get any better in the time ahead... Talking of time, I read a great quote today from Doris Day . . . please tell me you remember who she is/was... the quintessential girl-next-door in almost every American movie made during the Fifties, Sixties and at least half of the Seventies. Doris never struck me as being much of a humorist, but apparently she once said, "The scariest thing about middle age is that you know you'll grow out of it..." That's really funny, I thought, until I examined it too closely. Well, it's been pretty hectic, news-wise, these last few weeks, and Hurricane Katrina, I think it's safe to day, has altered all our lives in one way or another. Wrasslin' an end-of-this-month deadline, I haven't spent nearly as much time in front of the TV as some of my friends have, but I've still seen enough to set me thinking seriously about a number of matters that, in the normal course of things, would not generally signify on my radar screen. Now that the emergency seems to be abating, although nothing will even come close to approximating what used to be normal for a long long time, the finger pointing and the blame-allocating is getting under way. All the people who think they might remotely run a risk of being blamed for any aspect of the Great American Debacle--and it was pretty much a boondoggle for days, by anyone's standards--are hyperventilating now in their efforts to step aside and pass whatever buck seems appropriate. Quite apart from the harrowing images of the storm's effects, however, the most memorable comment I heard came from the leader of the African American Caucus, when he took Wolf Blitzer of CNN to task, with all the other Media, for calling the surviving victims "refugees". "These are not refugees," he said, "And I resent the Media speaking of them as refugees. These are American citizens, suffering disaster in their own city and their own country." Then, of course, there's the open letter from Michael Moore (purportedly) that's doing the rounds on the net. I was going to post the Link for those of you who haven't come across that one yet, but I can't find it, so I guess I must have deleted it. One sad little irony that has been bugging me recently is that I received a Harry Conick Jr. album from a friend about a month ago--it might have been six weeks--but the song that caught my attention as being the best on the album is a bittersweet ballad called, Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans? Boy, what a change in significance in the space of a few weeks! Well, that's my first blog entry, and I can tell you that I won't be writing one of those every day . . . that length, I mean . . . at least, I don't plan to at this moment. I suppose it will all depend on what transpires, and how much attention and interaction gets provoked. I'm presuming that any of you who wish to respond will be able to do so without great difficulty, so I'll be looking forward to seeing what happens....


having just completed the reading of The forest Laird, I feel compelled to write you to express my gratitude for all of your novels. I have them all, and I have been telling all who will listen that your writing is the best I have ever read; not just the content, but the way in which you formulate your sentences so masterfully. I have read the Dream of Eagles series at least three time each, as well as Uther and Clothar. You write in your acknowledgements; " It is one of the great regrets of my life that I have never met (Nigel Tranter)to thank him for the unaccountable hours of pleasure I have derived from his writings." Well, I feel the same way about you and your writings! Thank you so much. Take care, Don Cosh

I agree, you seem to have the inside track on old UK mythology. The parallels from Wiliiam Wallace to Robin Hood is interesting and titillating to say the least. the next book in the series on it's way anytime soon???

Although I had written an entry before it was somehow deleted when the changed to Here i go again.....
I happened to be stationed in Germany back in '96-'97 while in the Army. Towards the end of my tour I was looking for any reading material. It so happens that on one of our barrack's floor there were books that were donated to the troops. I passed by this assortment of books quite a few times and I was intrigued by the book "The Skystone". But I really liked the magic aspect of the Arthurian legends. And this book was set without magic in it!
Later on I decided to give it a try. I was not ready for this level of storytelling. And was caught up in it fully for a couple of days. And I have not looked back since!!
I want to thank you for bringing King Arthur that much closer to reality and in keeping some magic alive in this story too. I would also like to thank whoever donated that paperback copy of the "The Skystone". I plan on rereading them evey couple of years and on making a timeline of these books as well.
Your story will continue to be told and read "as long as eagles fly and wings of memory not fade away". I will certainly recommend this book to all.

P.S. I have also finished reading the Templars Trilogy and I am waiting to read The Forest Laird.

quamby's picture

Why is it that titles have to be changed for the US market. The first time I read the "Camulod Series"(2000 to 2004) it was in Hardback from my local library and the series was called 'Dream of Eagles' and 'The Lance Thrower was called 'Cothar the Frank' but when I bought the series(Over the last 5 years), in paperback, it is called 'The Camulod Chronicals'. Why did these changes happen? It was similar with the first book of Bernard Cornwell's 'Grail Quest' series. It's original title was 'Harlequin' but it was released in the U.S. as 'An Archer's Tale'(who thought of THAT??) which didn't fit the "one word titles" of the rest of the trilogy.


jack's picture

Gerard, one of the first things I learned on signing up with my first American publisher was that Marketing people take precedence down there, over practically everyone else in the industry. It was the Marketing people at Forge/Tor Books who decided that the Great American People would be incapable of understanding the subtleties of a title like "A Dream of Eagles"--apparently anything other than the American Eagle is a non-starter in the US Reading Public's awareness--and so they changed the series title to "The Camulod Chronicles". Similarly with "Clothar the Frank"; too obscure, they said. People wouldn't get it and couldn't be trusted to show even a modicum of interest in such an arcane title. Sinatra the Frank they had no problems with, apparently . . . but Clothar the Frank was too "out there" for widespread comprehension...

Now, in the UK, Sphere Books, my British publisher, has changed the name of the forthcoming "Guardians" series to "The Bravehearts Chronicle", but their reasons make more sense. There is already a wildly successful Young Adults series in Britain called "The Guardians" series, and it's the approximate equivalent of the Vampire series for young girls that has taken over bookstores here, so that would pose a direct marketing conflict. Besides, "The Bravehearts Chronicle" makes lots of sense for the UK market, so I have no problem with that. But "The Forest Laird" will be published there as "Rebel", so there's potential for lots of confusion, up ahead. Stay tuned!

Jack in the News!
  • The Globe and Mail 1/2/2105
    Author Jack Whyte on why he wrote his new book, the best advice he’s received and more
  • Edmonton Journal 12/5/2014
    Book review: Engrossing Jack Whyte trilogy culminates in battle
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