Silver Tide signings, excuses to draw dragons, etc

SilverTide

Updates, get your quick and juicy updates!

I don’t know. A lot of sun happened over the weekend and my vampiric genes cope with this by drinking cider, and I’m not quite with it on this Monday morning. Still, I do know there are a few things I should shout about soon:

Firstly, on Saturday the 28th of May I’m off to Waterstones Colchester with Den Patrick and Edward Cox. We’ll be signing books and getting up to the usual hijinks (eating biscuits, mostly) so do come and see us. Of course, Den Patrick is the author of the excellent The Boy with a Porcelain Blade and it’s sequels, and Ed Cox is responsible for the fabulous Relic Guild trilogy. I will be drawing any dragons as required.

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On the 16th of July, I’m off to EdgeLit, and I’m taking Super Relaxed Fantasy Club with me. I’ll be popping up on a couple of panels, and along with guest host Pete Newman, we’ll be presenting a special EdgeLit version of SRFC, featuring guest authors Jason Arnopp and Maria Lewis.

On the 23rd of July, I’ll be venturing off to Birmingham Waterstones for more fantasy mayhem, again accompanied by Mr Patrick but also by Peter Newman, author of highly acclaimed The Vagrant and The Malice. We’ll be talking about our books as well as signing them, so expect deep wisdom and sparkling discussion*, as well as increasingly erratic dragon doodles.

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In the meantime, The Silver Tide has been making its way in the world, picking up some lovely reviews, which I am dead chuffed about. Captain America: Civil War was good, wasn’t it? Team Ironman all the way. Oh and also in July The Copper Promise makes its way to the US and Canada, thanks to the awesome automatons at Angry Robot. I can’t wait!

*YMMV

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Book Events over the next 2 months – shenanigans!

Accurate representation of me, lording it up at a book event

Accurate representation of me, lording it up at a book event

Well here we are in 2016 and already I’m losing track of where I am and what I’m supposed to be doing. So:

a) I’m on Earth still. Good.

b) I’m writing a new book.

Right, good. Aside from that, there are a few events happening over January and February that I will be popping up at, so here’s a quick run down (as much for my benefit as anyone else)

On Tuesday the 19th of January at Blackwell’s in Holborn, Ed Cox and myself will be on hand to help celebrate the launch of Den Patrick’s third book, The Girl on the Liar’s Throne. The last book in the Landfall trilogy, you will want to get your mitts on this work of gothic fantasia, and I’ve heard rumour there will be wine and chat also. Ed will be signing copies of his own excellent books, The Relic Guild and The Cathedral of Known Things (and giving out hugs, if I know Ed) and of course I am always happy to sign books and draw dragons in them (it’s likely too early for copies of The Silver Tide, but there will be Copper Promise and Iron Ghost books around for the grabbing). The event is free but it’s helpful for the bookshop if you book a ticket.

On Saturday the 23rd Ed, Den and I will be taking our crazy show on the road to Southampton, where there will be more signings and shenanigans in Forbidden Planet. I will actually be leaving the confines of London! Crazy times.

If you want as much excellent fantasy book action as possible, the very first Super Relaxed Fantasy Club of the year is on the 26th of January. Reading for us will be the wonderful Liz de Jager (her new book in the Blackhart Legacy series, Judged, will be out and in your face!) and our very own Den Patrick. Get your butts to the Sky Bar and celebrate a new year of excellent fiction.

Skipping forward to February and it’s Silver Tide time! On Tuesday the 23rd of February, I’ll be reading at SRFC– I’ll also be doing a Q&A, but if you’ve witnessed me doing this before, you’ll know not to expect any particularly useful (or even coherent) answers.

Then on Thursday the 25th of February, we’re launching The Silver Tide at Forbidden Planet! It’s the last outing for the Copper Cat and her cohorts so I intend to celebrate in a fashion that would make Wydrin proud, which is a statement that should strike terror into the hearts of all right-thinking people. I would love to see you there!

Do click on the links for times and further details, and I hope to see a bunch of you over the next two months. Onward!

British Fantasy Award Nomination EXCITEMENT

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The teeny IRON GHOST – with cave troll for scale

Gosh, well yesterday was a bit exciting. I had just received through the post an early copy of the tiny paperback version of THE IRON GHOST (spoiler: it’s not that tiny) and sat down to admire its loveliness when my @ mentions on Twitter went crazy. I had been nominated for best newcomer in the British Fantasy Awards.

 

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Me, yesterday

I’m over the moon, and it’s an especially good list of nominations, full of friends and people I admire. Also nominated for Best Newcomer are my fellow SRFC co-hort Den Patrick, and Actual Beam of Sunshine Ed Cox (for The Boy with the Porcelain Blade and The Relic Guild respectively) and the wider list is full of fabulous writers and publishers too – TBR piles all over will be newly embiggened!

It’s a pretty amazing thing. As I’m sure I’ve blathered on about before, I never truly thought I would have books published, and THE COPPER PROMISE was such a wild card: a book that stomped all over my plans for writing other books and pushed its way to the front of my head. The fact that people have cared enough about it to vote for it in any way, is very cool indeed, and a big boost to a new author. So thank you, lovelies. You rock.

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Mead, mayhem, monsters, and irresponsible red-heads.

 Soon, I will hopefully have more news for you, and I’ll be able to show you the cover for THE SILVER TIDE too, which I’m editing right now. EXCITING TIMES!

 

Where am I? What’s going on? Cons and wotsits UPDATED

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Yes, you too can witness me awkwardly signing books, IN FLESH SPACE

I’ve been putting off writing this post slightly, because I haven’t actually known what I’ll be doing, really, over the next few months, but August is suddenly looming and it occurs to me that I should probably get my finger out. As I gradually learn stuff, I will update this post, and wave it about some more. So this is the rough draft, as it were.

So! Hello! Convention season is upon us. What am I up to? Where can you find me should you need a dragon drawn in a book?

6th of August Fantasy in the Court

Come and hang out at Goldsboro Books, one of the loveliest bookshops in London, with a bunch of fantasy authors. What could be better than that? I always look forward to this event.

7th to the 9th of August Nineworlds Geekfest

On the Friday I will be chatting dragons and griffins and giant spiders on the “It’s ALIIIIIVE: Creating a Monster” panel, 1.30pm to 2.45pm

On Saturday morning, I’ll be on the panel for The End of Author Mystique, where possibly I realise that after 105K tweets, I am probably not that mysterious any more. From 10am to 11.15am.

On Sunday morning, the excellent writer Den Patrick and I will be hosting a special “pastries and coffee” edition of the Super Relaxed Fantasy Club. Readings tbc, and there will be a chance to win a copy of The Folio Society’s gorgeous edition of The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury. Chat and shenanigans will take place from 10am to 11.15am, and we hope to see you all there. Our early morning wakefulness will be sponsored by Orbit!

Then, on the Creative Writing track, Den and I will be making another appearance on the “Support Groups for Writers: How to make them work” panel, at 1.30pm to 2.45pm.

On September the 26th I will be at the lovely Bristolcon, and from the 23rd to the 25th of October I will be at the fabulous Fantasycon. I’ve no clue what I’m doing yet, but I am always ready and willing to sign books, draw in people’s books, or generally bore on about Dragon Age or Mass Effect, so please do say hello if you see me.

 

The Iron Ghost – Well and Truly Launched

Well, that was the launch that launched. That launcheded. Launched right up the bracket. Good lord.

The Iron Ghost is out in the world, and now that the dust is settled I thought I would do a quick round up post of the last two weeks – what I remember of it at least, which is mainly a sense of mingled joy and panic. There will be pictures and links mostly, and a big fat THANK YOU to all of you lovely people who supported me over the last fortnight.

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O my god it’s full of stars

 

First of all Den Patrick and I kicked things off at Kingston Waterstones, where we essentially interviewed each other, signed some books, and consumed these ridiculously gigantic hot chocolates. It was bigger than my head. Big thanks to Neil Atkinson and Waterstones Kingston for hosting us and being lovely.

Next up was Super Relaxed Fantasy Club. The last time I read at SRFC, there were about ten people in attendance – it’s grown a little since then, so I was very glad to see a lot of friendly faces when I did my reading and Q&A. I also got to tell people “This is the book where everyone gets laid!” which always pleases me.

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I have yet to take a decent photo at SRFC. Here is Den, I assume, gesturing.

And then the launch! I rocked up to Forbidden Planet, was generally alarmed by the number of people there, and then signed lots of books and doodled increasingly erratic dragons. HUGE thanks to everyone who came along, it really meant a lot and I had the best time ever, basically.

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That rare thing: A sober photo of me at the launch

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The queue!

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The amazingly beautiful (and tasty) dragon biscuits!

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The gorgeous drinking horn given to me by the fabulous Edward Partridge, along with amazing mead amazing people gave me <3

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I don’t know. This just seems to be the sort of thing that happens to me at the pub…

Anyway, there are a lot more photos of me on that night, none of them particularly dignified. I was hungover for two days, and it was totally worth it.

I had a breather after that, and then up to Milton Keynes where I hung out at the Waterstones there. A dalek came out to meet me, which I thought was a nice touch.

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Daleks apparently approve of sword and sorcery based fantasy. Who’d have thought it?

While all this was going on, I was also writing blog posts like a boss. They came out all over the place and if I’m honest I completely lost track, so here’s a quick list of them all in case you were curious/collecting them all/really desperately bored at work and in need of something to read:

The Friday Five at Pornokitsch: Five Cartoons that will Improve your Life

The Pinocchio Factor at Tor.com: The non-human and the search for humanity

Putting the Fun in Fantasy at FantasyFaction

Watership Down, or the Film that Made Me at Civilian Reader

A Tourist’s Guide to the Best and Worst SFF Cities at Gollancz

Interview over at Joanne Hall’s blog

Interview over at Fantastical Librarian

and bonus material, two blogs on this here site:

What happens when I’m stuck: Writing and Dick Jokes 

The Eight Stages of the First Draft

 

Phew, that was a lot of waffle, wasn’t it? Huge thanks to everyone who hosted me over the last couple of weeks, you are all absolute stars.

So, The Iron Ghost is out in the world. There have been some lovely reviews and mentions knocking about already –

The Independent (would you believe it!)

The British Fantasy Society 

Fantasy Faction

Starburst Magazine

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The Iron Ghost was a scary book to write. I never expected to be published, let alone to be writing a sequel to a published book, and I sweated blood and chewed lumps out of my desk and generally agonized over it, but in the end I loved that book. It’s very strange and wonderful to see it now, sitting on the shelf next to its sister, and I can’t thank enough the people who have read these books and taken the characters to their hearts. All your support – the kind words, the general enthusing, the reviews – has meant the world. And I’ll see you back here for book 3, I hope!

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My babies!

This week: What am I even doing?

Stuff and things are happening! And will continue to happen this week, so I’m going to write some of them down here (mostly for my own reference because I am easily distracted at the moment.

On Saturday Den Patrick and I sauntered on down to Kingston Waterstones and did a little chat about books, covering things like magic, horror, diversity and how weird Alien would have been with Harrison Ford in Ripley’s role. It was lovely to see The Iron Ghost in an actual shop for the first time, and we signed some books too. Huge thanks to everyone who popped along and the lovely booksellers (and I will have to go back because Kingston has items of HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE that I must look at further and also a Five Guys)

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Den and his Lego mini-fig, which had a unicorn costume. He wasn’t best pleased.

I have been doing things on the internet.

Over at Tor.com I wrote a post called The Pinocchio Factor, about non-humans and what their struggle towards humanity means in terms of story and identity (which sounds mega serious but is mostly about Data from Star Trek). I am dead proud to have a post on Tor.com because they always have tons of interesting stuff on there.

I was interviewed over at the lovely Joanne Hall’s blog, where I had a minor rant about diversity in fantasy…

And at SF Signal I wrote a guest post about my five favourite women in fantasy who don’t have time for your nonsense.

And for Civilian Reader I wrote a blog post about how important it was for me to watch Watership Down as a kid so it messed me up good and proper.

There was also a little blog about the writing process that people seem to have enjoyed, so I’m going to blatantly plug it again here. There you go.

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Pretty cover is pretty.

And on Tuesday the 24th of February I will again be teaming up with Den to do a reading at Super Relaxed Fantasy Club – normally we host the meet-up of course, so there is a particular kind of pressure to not be really dreadful at this. Hence, my reading will be very short. Hooray!

Thursday is the big one. On the 26th of February at 6pm I will be launching The Iron Ghost at Forbidden Planet. I will sign books for anyone who wants one (I have been working on a new dragon for this book..) and there will be biscuits and the pub afterwards. It would be truly awesome to see you there. Yes, YOU!

 

 

My Complicated February; Or, my book is nearly here, HALP

This is going to be one of those posts where I have a lot of different things to tell you, so I’m chucking them all together in one place. Efficiency FTW!

Firstly, enormously excited that The Copper Promise was featured in FantasyFaction’s Top 50 Fantasy Books of 2014, and it made the top 5! Seriously, I spent all of yesterday in some sort of stunned daze about this. There are so many great writers on that list, it has blown my tiny mind.

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Secondly, Sorrow’s Isle is out now and available to download for 99 of your human pennies. It’s a short story set in the world of The Copper Promise before the events of the first book, and it also includes a little preview of The Iron Ghost (which is out in 26 days, ye gods, the terror).

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So yes, tomorrow is February, which is the month where I officially start to panic in a big way. The Iron Ghost, the sequel to The Copper Promise, is out on the 26th. Aieeeee. So if you haven’t read The Copper Promise yet, that’s practically loads of time to catch up… I’m doing a few signings and stuff where I will attempt to scrawl a dragon in your copy (please note I am usually very nervous at these things so the dragons may be somewhat wobbly. I think it adds to their character).

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First up, on the 21st of February Den Patrick and I will be teaming up to chat about books and nonsense at Kingston Waterstones, where you can pick up copies of Den’s excellent books in the Erebus Sequence, The Boy with the Porcelain Blade and The Boy Who Wept Blood. It’ll also likely be the earliest you can grab a copy of The Iron Ghost too!

Then on the 24th, Den and I will be taking over Super Relaxed Fantasy Club for the evening, with readings and Q&As and lots of chat. As usual we’ll be at the Sky Bar at the Grange Hotel in Holborn from 6.30pm.

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On Thursday the 26th of February, it’s the big one for me – launching The Iron Ghost at Forbidden Planet! We had such an excellent time last year with The Copper Promise I am super excited to do it again, whilst also slightly terrified at the same time of course. There will be pub shenanigans afterwards, and possibly the spectacle of an overwhelmed author clutching both books to her bosom and calling them her “precious babies”.

So, February. Highly likely to kick my arse all over the shop, but I’m very much looking forward to seeing The Iron Ghost out in the world as well as catching up/meeting people for the first time. I hope I will get to see you all at some point!

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My 2014: A Year in Pictures, Books, and Cider

It feels odd to say it, because I’ve never really been the sort of person to look back over a year and judge it on its merits or disasters (mainly because I have a terrible memory) but I think 2014 has been an incredible year for me.

The year before last I was pootling away writing novels that I confidently expected no one would ever read. I was happy doing that, because I’d worked out that writing was what I was supposed to be doing, but the next stage – the getting an agent and selling a book stage – seemed cheerfully impossible, the sort of thing that happened to other people.

And so, 2014, which thanks to the wonderful Juliet Mushens and Headline, saw my book sitting on the shelves of actual bookshops. I’m still, in my heart, a tiny bit stunned.

Here are a bunch of pictures from this year, with some of the people and moments that have made it a special one for me (I did that My Year thing on facebook but it generated a whole bunch of incredibly unflattering photos and none of my book launch, so bum off, facebook)

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Forbidden Planet London, February

We launched THE COPPER PROMISE in Forbidden Planet on my birthday. I was sweaty and terrified, but there was cake and lots of friendly faces. And they sung me happy birthday.

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SRFC, Royal Festival Hall, February

Shortly after that, I attended my first ever Super Relaxed Fantasy Club, having missed the first one thanks to a chest infection. As with everything, I imbued it with my sense of class and dignity. Den Patrick reads from his book, and does a better job than me as usual.

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Blackwells, Charing Cross Road, March

In March, Den and I did a joint event at Blackwells where we were interviewed by the fabulous Jared from Pornokitsch. Many copies of The Copper Promise and The Boy With the Porcelain Blade were signed.

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A Bookshop

The book is now in bookshops! I have no idea where this photo comes chronologically, but it has The Copper Promise in a Scott Lynch, George R R Martin, James Oswald sandwich so I’ve gone with this one. I have LOTS of pictures of my book in bookshops. It is amazing.

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Pyra, Tyrant and Tummy Lord

There have been a lot book photos, so here is a random photo of the cat on the day we let her out in the garden. She looks very pretty here, but promptly came inside and puked. Thanks Pyra.

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Lambeth Country Show, in a time and place known only as cider

Marty and I attended the Lambeth Country Show in the summer and drank vast amounts of Chucklehead cider, as is now traditional. I think the fact that this picture is on its side is appropriate.

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10 years in the iso cubes is a bit much for “loitering near the bar”

August was the Month of Conventions! At Nineworlds I ran into a Judge.

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Here I am, demonstrating that you can’t looked composed for a photo whilst talking on a panel

At Fantasycon I talked about Grimdark on a panel and apparently managed to say some sensible things (“lol Grimdark”, in summary) and managed to turn up late to SRFC.

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Land’s End, in lots of sun

At some point we took a holiday, and there was much relaxing. Cornwall was amazingly sunny and we bought several plastic dinosaurs.

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The Iron Ghost, sequel to The Copper Promise

And towards the end of 2014, my next book baby arrived! The Iron Ghost in all its blue glory. There are times when publishing seems to take forever, and times when everything seems to happen at once. I can’t believe we’re here already.

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My awesome Christmas zombie av, by the amazing Crispin Young

In the end, there were a lot more photos I could have put up here, most of them involving alcohol, but I have to stop somewhere. I would like to say a huge thanks to everyone who has helped make this year such an excellent one, and all those people who read The Copper Promise and said kind things about it – and above all thank you to Marty, who has kept me going this year with a mixture of support, booze, and inappropriate jokes.

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Books, together at last!

Fantasycon 2014: Cloaks, Curry, and Karaoke

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We did not actually go to this pub, but it is my favourite, so here’s a picture.

This last weekend I attended by very first Fantasycon, which just happened to be in York, one of my very favourite places. I was initially quite nervous about the whole thing – my lovely bloke wouldn’t be attending this one, I’d be staying in the B&B on my own, and I had both a panel and the super mega bumper edition of Super Relaxed Fantasy Club to attend. I suspected I would get lost, or not know anyone, or feel terribly homesick, or simply fail to interact with people successfully. My experience of talking on panels in the past has been somewhat mixed, and I have to admit that over the last year I have wondered whether it’s something I should do at all, given it seems to be against my nature in lots of ways – I always enjoy listening to people, and having opinions on things (ye gods, do I ever have opinions on things) but I’m generally better at writing these opinions down, rather than managing to verbalise them in a witty and concise manner in front of a whole bunch of people. That, I’m not so great at.

As it happens, I think this time I managed to get away with it. The panel, which was titled “Beyond Grimdark”, featured me, Adrian Tchaikovsky, James Oswald, and Martin Taylor, with David Moore moderating. There appeared to be lots of people attending (I can only be vaguely certain of this, as once I’m in the chair I’m usually too scared to look at the audience) and the discussion was lively and interesting, AND, get this, I even managed to say a few things that might have made sense, and that were quite important to me.

My attendance of Super Relaxed Fantasy Club was almost scuppered by dinner at a curry house that had a) the cheapest glasses of wine I’ve ever seen b) narn breads so big they hung them from metal trees c) a casual approach to actually bringing the food, wine, or the bill, and c) a window seat that was apparently cat-nip to all of York’s drunkest and most exhibitionist citizens (thanks to Lucy Hounsom and Max Edwards for a dinner I won’t forget in a hurry). Having finally coaxed the waiters into bringing both the cheap wine and the bill, we necked the booze and made a hurried and dignity-free journey back to the hotel (who coincidentally had the most expensive glasses of wine I’ve ever seen) so that I was just in time to stumble apologetically into the room just as Den Patrick was contemplating throttling me, no doubt. Luckily, the event itself went swimmingly, largely thanks to Den, and as well as top readings from Laura Lam, Ed Cox, Emma Newman and Niel Bushnell, we also had a bonus section where James Barclay interviewed Simon Spanton – a lot of great people, talking about great books. It was fab, and I felt a tiny sliver of pride at how this odd little joke on twitter has turned into an event that people actually enjoy. (A note for newcomers to SRFC – the fantasycon edition was somewhat less chatty than usual, partly because we were overexcited and packed our time with readers, but normally there is a greater ratio of sitting around drinking cider)

Other highlights for me included my first ever win in Cards Against Humanity, watching the marvellous Juliet Mushens and Andrew Reid belt out “A Whole New World” at the Karaoke (some things cannot be unseen), almost getting Adrian Tchaikovsky to recite some Dr Seuss for me, the excellent lady who ordered a copy of my book on her tablet while I was standing next to her (hooray 21st Century!), being a nuisance in the sword shop, and listening to Charlaine Harris talk – she has the most wonderfully reassuring voice. I chatted with tons of marvellous people and caught up with lots of friends (I won’t attempt to name them all here because I will forget loads) and now I am absolutely knackered. Really, fantasycon has broken me. Big thanks must go here to the Redcloaks, as ever, who were simply fabulous. Roll on next year!

Launching at Blackwell’s, and a Smattering of Other Cool Things

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Gosh, it’s been a busy week.

Last night, Den Patrick and I were interviewed by the marvellous Jared Shurin of Pornokitsch as part of our joint launch for The Boy with the Porcelain Blade and The Copper Promise. Enormous thanks must go to Blackwell’s of Charing Cross Road for hosting, and to Sophie Caldwell for also organising the drinks afterwards (which included themed Martini’s – a little coin and a tiny sword in each! A drink based on my book! Probably my proudest moment in my career so far). Thanks of course to Den for being the classy one as usual, and to Jared for giving us excellent questions and encouragement, and huge thanks to everyone who came along to listen to us waffle on. It was so lovely to see such a big crowd out to support two debut writers.

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Gollancz have popped up a little summary of the evening, which is very handy because most of the actual talking I appear to have wiped from my memory. When there’s an event coming up where I know I will have to talk to people, I normally go through the following stages:

In the weeks leading up to the event, pretend it is not happening.

On the day of the event, freak out enormously and have a general panic. Swear that I will stop doing these things because WHY.

Actually sit down and do the event, have a bit of a chat, and thoroughly enjoy myself. Resolve to do more of these things.

Finish the event, and realise that my short term memory has wiped everything I just said.

Consequently, I can’t remember any of my answers to Jared’s questions last night, but I’m fairly sure I managed to reference Superman, Dragon Age and Farscape at least. Mainly though, I have a brilliant time, chatted to lots of lovely people, and now have a small pile of coins on my writing desk that look suspiciously like pirate gold. Wydrin would be proud.

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Other things that have been happening this week; firstly the fab Vicky Hooper has interviewed me at Fantasy Faction, where I talk about a little more about the book, video games, and writing.

There have been a number of reviews that I am dead proud of, although I hesitate to put them all in one post in case you think I’ve turned into some raving egomaniac, stroking a cat whilst sitting atop a throne carved from the bones of my enemies… no wait, that’s just on Thursdays. Anyway, here’s a quick clutch of Copper Promise reviews:

Over at Reader Dad book reviews, they find the book “fast-paced and wonderfully-realised”

Jet Black Ink talks about the inclusiveness of The Copper Promise, and is so enthusiastic I was essentially grinning about it all day.

Starburst magazine gave it ten stars!

And there are a load more reviews over at the Hodderscape project!

Also, stuff like this has been happening (with thanks to Waterstones Milton Keynes). How cool is that?

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So pleased! 😀