A Memory of Light, the final volume in Robert Jordan’s epic Wheel of Time saga is sure to be one of the biggest selling novels when it finally hits shelves. Thanks to Sanderson’s generosity, one fan will find themselves in the novel, and all the proceeds go to Heifer International, the same folks who Patrick Rothfuss recently supported through his own fundraising.

From his web site:

It has become a tradition for me to auction off naming rights to one of the characters in each of my novels. In the past, I’ve done this locally, with a church group. People would ‘bid’ cans of food that they would donate to the local food bank, and the winner got to name a character in one of my books. The first appearance was Lord Penrod, named for a woman who’s last name was–not surprisingly–Penrod. Lord Yomen in THE HERO OF AGES changed the tradition slightly in that I started describing the character to look like the person who won the auction. Warbreaker’s Llarimar is another of these winners.

When I started working on the Wheel of Time novel, it was my assumption that I would forego the tradition for this particular book. I wasn’t planning on doing anything. But then the awesome Pat Rothfuss (by the way, Pat, I’m going to answer your email soon. Sorry–I got distracted. Bad Brandon!) started up a charity drive this Christmas. This was a particularly bad year for charities, as a lot of people were tightening their belts and cutting their spending. I read several articles talking about how difficult a year it was going to be for a lot of people in underdeveloped areas of the world, where the economy doesn’t just mean fewer trips to the movies–it means children starve because there isn’t enough food to be had.

At that moment, I realized that we had something very special in the Wheel of Time book–an opportunity that shouldn’t be passed up. I wrote an email to Harriet, telling her about the charity that Pat had been using for his drive. It’s called Heifer International. Instead of just giving food to the poor, they go into developing countries, give them animals to care for, and teach them how to use the livestock to create a sustainable source of income and food. It’s a fantastic idea, and a worthy charity. I asked Harriet if she’d mind me auctioning off a character in A Memory of Light. She was behind that 100%. As some of you may know, Robert Jordan did something like this once, giving a walk-on part to a fan in one of the books. There are a LOT of people who need to be named in this story, and so why not let a few of those names and descriptions go to real people?

During the Last Battle, there will be a lot of groups fighting the Shadow. Well, we’re going to develop and include a special group to represent the Wheel of Time fans who donate in our charity drive.

This isn’t the first time that Brandon Sanderson’s given his fans a chance to appear as a character in one of his novels, but it’s almost certainly the most important.

Though his next novel, Best Served Cold is still just a glimmer in the eye of his fans (not being released for another few months), it looks like Joe just couldn’t resist the urge to drop some hints about the novel he will soon start writing, another stand alone set in the world of the First Law.

From his blog:

And, of course, planning for that all important NEXT BOOK. The strange life of the author, wherein I’m pondering the next book six months before most readers will get to read the last, such that by the time it comes out, I’m thoroughly buried in the next project where praise or criticism for the last are both equally burdensome. Oh yes (you can’t see, but I’m beating my chest), it is so terribly hard to be a maverick creative! Anyway, let it never be said that I keep you in the dark. The next (fifth) book will be a standalone not unlike Best Served Cold – that is taking place in the world of the First Law and featuring some minor characters from the trilogy in more central roles – but if you can think of Best Served Cold as Dark Fantasy meets Hard-Boiled Thriller, this book will be a kind of Dark Fantasy meets Hard-Edged War Story, and will be the thrilling tale of one great battle for control of the North, over the course of three days, from several points of view on both sides and at different levels of the action. Characters will include – a world weary crew of Named Men, a keen young lad desperate to become a hero and claim a name of his own, a Prince determined to regain his father’s lost throne by any means necessary, a girl who may or may not be able to talk to god, and a fencing champion dispatched to the North as the King of the Union’s observer. Naturally there’ll be blood on the snow, blood in the mist, blood in the rain, blood on standing stones, treachery, heroism, cowardice, and blood. Oh, and hilarious banter. And blood. Current, but very, very rough no-promises-made-please-don’t-hurt-me-if-I-miss-it projected publication date is October 2010.

A war story? Count me in.

I’m glad to see Joe taking the direction of writing standalones with minor connections to the other novels rather than extending the same story over several volumes. It’ll certainly be interesting to see how Joe handles the (relative) short length of a standalone after making his name with a lengthy trilogy.

For about a week now there’s been talk about creating a place where bloggers, authors and readers could gather to talk about all the going-ons in the blogosphere. As evidence to just how damn fast the Internet moves, The Dragon Federation is already up and running and looking for members!

From The Old Bat’s Belfry:

Welcome to The Dragon Federation where SFF book bloggers and the fans that love them gather to talk, discuss and intermingle with the book blogging community.

Each blog, whose owner/author is a member of this forum, gets its own spot (if they want one) where you can meet the authors, discuss their posts and keep up to date with what is going on.

There are two restricted sections. Sword and Spacecraft Tavern for blog owners only and The Ink-Stained SFF Authors where the blog owners and SFF authors can get together and chat. Sorry, no general members allowed. We want our plans for world domination to remain secret!

There is also a chat room! You have 2 options. Click on join chat at the bottom of the forum (Home) page and it will open into a full page chatroom or you can use the smaller version on the portal page.

Registrations must be approved and I will get to them as soon as possible (real life permitting). If you are a SFF blog owner or SFF author, please do not assume I will recognize your user name. Send me a PM so I can set you up with permissions to the appropriate forums.

Once your registration is approved, please setup your profile. (Note: keep your signature within reasonable limits for those of us on slow connections!). Then introduce yourself and make yourself at home.

I hope you all enjoy your stay!

I’ve got my own forum over there where I’ll setting up some topics to discuss my reviews, interviews and asides, as well as looking for future recommendations for how to keep improving A Dribble of Ink.

So, whether you’re a blogger, a reader or an author, get on over there, register, and start posting!

Jeff VanderMeer released the (almost) final cover art and a synopsis for his upcoming novel Finch

Finch by Jeff VanderMeer

Cover: By the amazing John Coulthart. For a larger version, click here. An interesting fact–John tells me the cobblestones in the picture are from a photo he took while we were walking through Paris together; er, sans blood. (This design is semi-final, in that a blurb will probably occupy the space under my name.)

Publisher: Underland Press, October 31, 2009, trade paper

Description: A noir thriller/visionary fantasy set in the failed state of Ambergris, 100 years after Shriek: An Afterword. The gray caps, mysterious underground inhabitants, have re-conquered Ambergris and put the city under martial law, disbanding House Hoegbotton, and controlling the human inhabitants with strange addictive drugs, internment in camps, and random acts of terror. The rebel resistance is scattered, and the gray caps are using human labor to build two strange towers. Against this backdrop, John Finch, who lives alone with a cat and a lizard, must solve an impossible double murder for his gray cap masters while trying to make contact with the rebels.

Nothing is as it seems as Finch and his disintegrating partner Wyte negotiate their way through a landscape of spies, rebels, and deception. Trapped by his job and the city, Finch is about to come face to face with a series of mysteries that will change him and Ambergris forever.

You can find VanderMeer’s blog HERE.

It’s that time of year again, the 2008 Nebula longlist has arrived and I’m glad to see several friends of the blog make the list! One has to wonder how many times Patrick Rothfuss’s The Name of the Wind will keep showing up on these lists, even two years after first being published!

The Nebula Awards are voted on, and presented by, active members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Inc. Founded as the Science Fiction Writers of America in 1965 by Damon Knight, the organization began with a charter membership of 78 writers; it now has over 1,400 members, among them most of the leading writers of science fiction and fantasy.

The Nebula Awards Weekend will be held April 24-26 at the Luxe Hotel Sunset Boulevard, with the awards presentation banquet to be held on the UCLA campus to tie in with the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books.

Novels:

Abraham, Daniel: A Betrayal in Winter (Tor, Jul07)
Barzak, Chris: One for Sorrow (Bantam, Sep07)
Bull, Emma: Territory (Tor, Jul07)
Doctorow, Cory: Little Brother (Tor, Apr08)
Goonan, Kathleen Ann: In War Times (Tor, May07)
Le Guin, Ursula K.: Powers (Harcourt, Sep07)
McDevitt, Jack: Cauldron (Ace, Nov07)
McDonald, Ian: Brasyl (Pyr, May07)
Pratchett, Terry: Making Money (Harper, Sep07)
Rothfuss, Patrick: The Name of the Wind (DAW, Apr07)

Novellas:

Asaro, Catherine: The Spacetime Pool (Analog, Mar08)
Benford, Gregory: Dark Heaven (Alien Crimes, SFBC, Jan07?)
Eskridge, Kelley: Dangerous Space (Dangerous Space, Aqueduct Press, Jun07)
Finlay, Charles Coleman: The Political Prisoner (F&SF, Aug08)

Novelettes:

Bowes, Richard: If Angels Fight (F&SF, Feb08)
Flynn, Michael F. : Quaestiones Super Caelo et Mundo (Analog, Aug07 (Jul/Aug07 issue))
Gardner, James Alan: The Ray-Gun: A Love Story (Asimov’s, Feb08)
Goldstein, Lisa: Dark Rooms (Asimov’s, Nov07 (Oct/Nov 07 issue))
Kessel, John: Pride and Prometheus (F&SF, Jan08)
Kosmatka, Ted: The Prophet of Flores (Asimov’s, Sep07)
Moles, David: Finisterra (F&SF, Dec07)
Sinisalo, Johanna: Baby Doll (The SFWA European Hall of Fame, Tor, Jun07
(trans. from the Finnish by David Hackston))
Wentworth, K.D.: Kaleidoscope (F&SF, May07)

Short Stories:

Allen, Mike: The Button Bin (Helix: A Speculative Fiction Quarterly, Oct07
(Reprinted in Transcriptase)
Cassutt, Michael: Skull Valley (Asimov’s, Nov07 (Oct/Nov 07 issue))
Finch, Sheila: Stranger Than Imagination Can (The Guild of Xenolinguists, Golden
Gryphon Press, Sep07)
Ford, Jeffrey: The Dreaming Wind (Coyote Road, Trickster Tales, Viking Juvenile, Jul07)
Henderson, Samantha: Bottles (Realms of Fantasy, Apr07)
Hobson, M. K.: The Hotel Astarte (Realms of Fantasy, Jun07)
Johnson, Kij: 26 Monkeys, Also the Abyss (Asimov’s, Jul08)
Jones, Gwyneth: The Tomb Wife (F&SF, Aug07)
Kelly, James Patrick: Don’t Stop (Asimov’s, Jun07)
Nestvold, Ruth: Mars: A Traveler’s Guide (F&SF, Jan08)
Plante, Brian: The Astronaut (Analog, May07)
Rickert, Mary: Holiday (Subterranean #7, Sep07)
Scholes, Ken: Summer in Paris, Light From the Sky (Clarkesworld Magazine, Nov07)
Van Pelt, James: How Music Begins (Asimov’s, Sep07)

Scripts:

Stanton, Andrew: WALL-E (Pixar, Jun08)

Congrats to all the nominated! You can find the web site HERE.