I was living my own metaphor.
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The second publishing run fared better than the first, and eventually thousands of copies were flying off the shelves. Coelho writes that eight months after the rerelease of The Alchemist , an American tourist found the book and wanted to help him find an American publisher for an English translation. HarperCollins took on the project, and Coelho would later credit the release of the English version with catapulting the novel to new heights.
Translation into English made it possible for others to read me. Even as The Alchemist became an international success, Coelho ensured that each new translation had local flavor. He worked with a local publisher in each new market and helped set cover prices that would make it possible for a wide audience to afford the book.
The strategy paid off, and the crowds kept growing. In he had to cancel a book signing in Iran after the crowd of fans became too unruly. Coelho realizes this mobile, passionate fan base is unusual for a writer of spiritual fiction. The book gradually spread through the rest of Europe, finding great success in each new market. By a Portuguese literary journal determined it was the bestselling book in the history of the language. The Alchemist has now sold over 65 million copies and has been translated into a record 80 languages.
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The Alchemist has delighted millions of readers, including at least one resident of the White House. It received another bump in publicity when then-President Bill Clinton was photographed carrying a copy. While many writers go to great lengths to protect their copyrights, Coelho takes a very different tack. And thank you, people of San Antonio, for hosting us all! After a summer of revising Book Two and writing as much as possible of Book Three, the new academic year is upon us.
For now, I must set aside the fantasy writing and turn my attention to teaching courses in medieval literature and composition. But today, before venturing into The Canterbury Tales , I wanted to announce that Book 2 will be published in March with ARCs available within the next few months to reviewers. Genevre trembled. Once again, she removed a piece of glass from her pocket, reopening her wound for the second time.
She held her bleeding finger above the first folio while applying pressure with her thumbnail to ensure the release of large drop of blood. At first nothing happened as the blood hit the page, and she suddenly feared the repercussions if anyone were able to trace the manuscript defacement to her. But, as the minutes passed, the folio began to bear forth its message. The illumination emerged first, rendered in dark crimson and gold. It featured what appeared to be a small being within an ancient alembic, or some kind of transparent vessel.
Shortly thereafter, a few words appeared above the image. Their size, style, and placement suggested they formed a title, but Genevre could not read the ancient script in which the words were written. Your bloodline alchemy truly is extraordinary. Genevre blushed, ashamed at being caught but simultaneously proud of her accomplishment. We cannot risk contaminating the sacred process with our impatience.
Dracaen moved closer to the manuscript.
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He smiled and sighed. Even if you choose to leave us on your Day of Decision, today you have repaid our hospitality beyond measure. The Rebel Branch will be forever grateful. With this manuscript, our greatest potential has begun to manifest. She commissioned an artist to design this piece: a tree in the Amber Garden growing out of the Lapis.
I gasped when I saw it and thanked her profusely. It truly epitomizes the spirit of the book. The Lapis therein even houses a flaw. Watching the light glisten through the amber, I stood astonished. She also read through this blog, including the post I wrote almost a year ago on the significance of amber.
Council Initiates may begin seeking their pendants here rather than making the journey to Santa Fe. Since writing the earliest notes that would eventually transform into Book One, I envisioned alchemists wearing pendants. Thanks to this pendant, inspiration for specific Council pendants began. As a gift for my editor after we completed Book One, I chose an amethyst pendant. The stone is set back into the silver and boasts a streak of rebel red.
If you are a fan of Joss Whedon, you likely already know about Slayage.
If not, let me simply say for now that Slayage is a conference that brings together both fans and scholars to present academic papers and round table discussions on all things Whedon. Since first attending in , I would name Slayage in its various incarnations as significant highlights of my life.
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Attending the conference and reconnecting with all my friends every two years fills me with utter joy. Joss Whedon changed my life as both a scholar and a writer; among other things, he taught me the inherent value of the fantasy genre. Most significantly, though, I met Jennifer Hale at Slayage in Jen not only recommended the book to ECW Press in , but ended up becoming its editor.
Indeed, it was at Slayage in Sacramento that she informed me ECW had accepted the book for publication. What a pleasure to be able to attend Slayage and explore London with her only a few months after the book came out!
Here we are enjoying yet another fantasy world a few days before the conference began:. The sound and light intensity within the space changes as the energy levels in the real beehive surge, giving visitors an insight into life inside a bee colony. The architecture alone thrilled me. The ability to view the structure from various angles added to the overall visual and sensory effects. Here are a few shots taken from underneath the structure i. Those people are Jen and another friend Tamy Burnett looking down at me from above! The path continues upward past a wildflower garden meant to attract actual bees.
This shot is taken from the path on my way to the top of the structure:. Once inside, one is met not only with a variety of sights based on the hive design, but also with the sounds of bees humming and buzzing, which fill the space. Though impressive and moving, the sounds were muffled by dozens of human voices. I would have preferred to lie down on the floor to listen and observe in silence. And a nighttime viewing would have allowed better appreciation of the flickering lights. But what can one do at a popular tourist attraction open only during the day?
We made the best of it, and the experience was fascinating. Perhaps Kew Gardens is actually a protectorate that the Council simply had no need to use in Book One. Of course, Kew Gardens offered other treasures for someone who has built a world of characters named after trees. And at least one great name was suggested for a future volume: Fraxinus clearly a member of the Rebel Branch.
Of course, the gardens were full of exquisite trees, including this glorious weeping beech, under whose beautiful leaves and branches my friends and I spent quite a bit of time. A few days later, the book and the conference conjoined at the banquet. I will also take this opportunity to once again congratulate Ian for winning not only a door prize but—even better— the award for best paper at the conference!
Here he is with Mr. And on a final note, I would like to offer a special thank you to Bronwen Calvert , one of the conference organizers. Thank you, my generous and talented friend! See you again then! Part 2 will focus primarily on one particular aspect: Dragons! I particularly appreciated learning of the Dragon Rouge, of which I was previously unaware.
For those of you interested in further exploring the connections between alchemy and dragons, you can find extensive information on this page at Circle of the Dragon. Here is the excerpt about Dracaen from that post:. An array of photos of the tree and its landscape taken by Michael Melford for National Geographic can be found here.
The pronunciation of the word dracaena can be heard here. This particular tree was first introduced to me by Jessica Legacy, who was a student research assistant of mine at Vancouver Island University back in Jessica brought me information about D racaena cinnabari , suggesting I consider using it as one of the tree names. Fortunately, most of the reviews have been positive.
Of course, like any writer with a newly published book, I am thrilled with the positive reviews, but I find the less-than-positive ones can sting bee pun intended. Notably, however, the stinging variety appear to be variations on a theme: the book is dense and difficult.