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

Jet Black Ink

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!

The Copper Promise lives! Joy and Musings

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The Copper Promise making an appearance at Clapham Books

So my book is out today.

I have no words for how exciting this is, as you might expect. The Copper Promise is making its own way in the world, possibly carrying a stick with a handkerchief tied to the end, probably a red one with white spots. It’s off to go and live in other people’s heads now, and there is no bringing it back. All in all, it’s quite a strange feeling.

A brief sentimental pause…

This is the culmination of a dream for me, of course; a dream that I’ve had since I was a kid, and which I’ve never really believed was possible. Not even the year before last, when I’d written a number of books and was starting to toy with the idea of querying agents – even then I didn’t really believe it would happen, because it was always such a wild and impossible dream. It was like wanting a unicorn of your very own – a tiny one that would fit in your bag and sleep in a shoebox. You would feed her flapjacks, and she would write incomprehensible unicorn poetry into your bars of soap with her horn, and do tiny unicorn poops that smelt of candy. I don’t know. It’s a nice dream, but it’s unlikely to happen. Even as a small child, I knew that I wouldn’t find a mini unicorn under the Christmas tree, or waiting for me in the woods.

Being published was like that. Sure, sounds amazing, but wildly unlikely. Unicorn levels of unlikely, in fact. Except that it turned out that wasn’t the case. I’m still reeling slightly from that realisation. So huge thanks once more to my marvellous agent, the incomparable Juliet Mushens, and to my editor John Wordsworth, who has been a joy to work with. Thank you to everyone at Headline, particularly the design team, who have given me a cover a thousand times more gorgeous than I could have imagined, and thank you to everyone in the wider writing community, who have been ridiculously supportive and brilliant.

So if you fancy some adventurous sword and sorcery with a modern twist, The Copper Promise is out there now, looking for a new head to inhabit. I hope you can give it a home. And feed my unicorn.

No wait, that sounds dirty.

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Adrian Tchaikovsky: “A fast-paced and original new voice in heroic fantasy.”

Claire Nicholls, Sci-Fi Now: “A gripping, fast-paced adventure that’s a must-read…”

Nic Clarke, SFX: “…who doesn’t have a space in their heart for a knockabout swords and sorcery romp…”

The Eloquent Page: “I’d lost myself completely within a handful of pages and was entirely caught up in Wydrin, Seb and Frith’s world.”

Oh, and we’re launching it at Forbidden Planet on Wednesday the 19th of February, do come along!

The Copper Promise – Coming at you early in four ebook parts!

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When I first wrote The Copper Promise, it was supposed to have been a serial gradually released in novella-sized chunks – I wanted to capture that fast-paced atmosphere of old school pulp fantasy.

Now, of course, it’s being published by Headline in gorgeous-giant-book-format (*snoopy dance*) but I’m pleased to say that we’re also doing a serialized release of the ebook, starting next Friday! The full details (and all the gorgeous covers) are over at the Headline blog, but part 1, Ghosts of the Citadel, is available for preorder for the sexy little price of 99p, with part 2 coming along on the 2nd of January. Exciting!

 

The Copper Promise: First Reviews

WARNING: There now follows a very self indulgent post where I shamelessly link to posts that are being lovely about my book.

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It’s been a tough sort of week really, with various things going wrong – I won’t bore you with it here, but I was stress-drinking large glasses of red by Wednesday – however, the very first reviews for The Copper Promise have started to come in, which is equal parts exciting and terrifying. So you can consider this post an obvious attempt to cheer myself up:

Andrew Reid provides the most modern of reviews, stuffed full of gifs: Tom Hiddleston Dancing out of Ten

Pete Newman declares The Copper Promise to be “a good thing”: Tons of bad guys, an abundance of scars and a mild hint of sauce.

The legendary Graeme Flory writes a review that I suspect knows more about the book than I do: can we have the sequel now please?

And just to top it off, there has been some chatter on twitter from a couple of my favourite writers:

 

Well, I don’t know about you, but that cheered me up. Remember, The Copper Promise is already available for pre-order

Super Relaxed Fantasy Club needs YOU! *big pointy finger*

Ha, you thought I’d forgotten about this, didn’t you? You thought I’d have a couple of glasses of wine and wipe such things from my memory (and I couldn’t blame you for thinking that) but no! Plans are afoot, my lovelies. We’ve had a bit of a talk about potential website stuff, and thanks to the marvellous Den Patrick, we’ve poked some people about potential meeting up spaces (still wrangling that), and thanks to the fabulous Jenny Haines, I’ve seen a little teaser of what could well be the best badger-related badges in all of existence. So despite the Super Relaxed nature of SRFC, things have been happening.

It’s come to that stage now though, where we’re starting to need to know exactly who’s going to be involved, and how. So let’s see some hands going up in the comments, and let’s see some of your feedback.

Do you want to be part of SRFC?

Would you perhaps be prepared to submit our very first “This fantasy book is amazing and you should read it” articles?

What sort of website would you like to see? A straight up blog, with articles from a wide range of people, along with updates on when/where the next meet-up would be? Or perhaps a forum based thing, with articles on the side?

Would you come to a meet-up? What would you like to see at one? Will you buy me a drink?

Would you be interested in a short story anthology? At some point it would be ace to have actual physical badges to give to people, and one way of funding that would be a little ebook anthology. What do you think?

Let me know in the comments! SRFC needs you, and your laid back ideas, dude.

(please imagine The Dude from The Big Lebowski, except now he’s a badger. Got that? Excellent)

Super Relaxed Fantasy Club: The first rule of SRFC…

 

So, strange things happen on Twitter. Yesterday, I babbled on twitter about how I would like some sort of club for talking about Fantasy books. And it would have to be a super-relaxed sort of thing, because I’m easily confused and hideously busy and slightly sleepy. The essential idea was this:

To join, you write something about your favourite fantasy book. We stick it on a blog type thing.

For this, you receive a badge* (I’m a big fan of badges)

Eventually, we have a little site full of happy articles about how brilliant fantasy is, and they’re all tagged up somehow so it’s really easy to find stuff you want to read.
We can flag up new authors and stuff we’re eagerly anticipating.

And once or twice a year, we all get together in a pub somewhere and talk fantasy and show off our badges. There will be carousing, and maybe even readings and signings and shenanigans.

And that’s about it.

Super Relaxed Fantasy Club. What do we think? Is this something we can do? Is it even possible? How would it physically work? I’m not one of life’s great organizers, this is true, and anything like this would require a great deal of help from all sides, but I think this could potentially be a beautiful thing: a club where everyone is welcome, you don’t have to pay an alarming fee to join, and you don’t have to be versed in the ancient history of the genre to be a part of it. You just need to love Fantasy, and badges, and beverages.

If you’re interested and can see yourself being a part of SRFC, slap a comment on this and let’s get talking.

*badges will be badger themed. Obviously.

The Copper Promise: Beautiful, Beautiful Proofs!

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Probably the most ridiculously gorgeous thing I’ve ever seen. My book! A box full of my books! And tomorrow, I get to touch them. And smell them.

(out on the 13th of February, 2014! There’s an ISBN and everything)

My Day at EdgeLit 2: Living on the EDGE *air guitar*

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This Saturday I was in blisteringly hot Derby for the achingly cool EdgeLit 2. Above you can see a photo of me trying to look like I know what I’m talking about on the “Where Next for Fantasy Fiction?” panel (mainly that involved nodding at everything Adrian Tchaikovsky said). With thanks to Annie Catling for kind use of the photo!

It was a strange and slightly nerve-wracking day for me. I’ve been involved in talks on a smaller scale before – I sat in on a podcast/interview on steampunk at Alt.Fiction – but I’ve not really participated properly in a panel, particularly not one where you’re actually sitting on a little stage and have to hold a microphone and such. I did have a sense, sitting next to Adrian Tchaikovsky, Anne Lyle, Gav Thorpe and Freda Warrington – all writers with a number of books under their belts and well-deserved respect within the community – that I might be slightly out of my depth. I’m a debut author who hasn’t even debuted yet, after all. But I muddled through, largely thanks to my lovely panel colleagues who were very supportive and kind, and I managed to drop in a reference to Mass Effect*, so job done.

In the afternoon I had another panel, this time “How has the Internet Changed Writing?” with a trio of excellent chaps: Adam Christopher, Emma Newman and Andrew Hook. This time I felt a little more at ease, as I know Adam and Emma of old, of course, and Andrew, it turned out, had done a fabulous job of planning the panel so the whole thing had quite a natural structure. And let’s face it, I can talk about the internet all day with hardly any prompting at all.

Once I’d sweated my way through the panels I could relax a bit and have a few icy ciders. EdgeLit, like AltFiction, is a cosy convention with a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, and as ever it was marvellous simply to hang around the bar and café area, bumping into people and catching up. I went to Mike Carey’s reading, which turned out to be a little slice of awesome, and then spoke to him afterwards about Studio Ghibli films, of all things. I had dinner with Adam Christopher and the fabulous Lou Morgan, where we discussed our favourite serial killers and the disturbing fact that Adam has never eaten a Percy Pig. We skirted around the giant beer festival that was happening in the middle of the square, and admired the CAMRA members’ amusing balloon hats. I ate one of Andrew Reid’s legendary peanut butter cookies, and had too much wine, and met so many twitter friends I completely lost track, but it was fabulous to finally put face to twitter handles. Other random highlights included: talking Gaie Sebold, who was very funny; catching up with Del Lakin-Smith and laughing hysterically about something I can’t even remember now; Kim Lakin-Smith‘s amazing emergency shoes.

So I was nervous about everything, but as ever with this sort of thing it was all a lot less scary than I thought it would be, and the cheerfully welcoming atmosphere of EdgeLit meant I had a totally excellent day. AND the late night music in the bar played the theme tune from Cowboy Bebop, only the best theme tune of all time. I actually bopped around in excitement.

* “Mass Effect rules, AMIRITE?” More or less. And someone in the audience wooped. Whoever you were, I salute you.

Edge-Lit 2: The Edgening*

Since it just this minute happened, I am quite tempted here to tell you the story of how I nearly collided with a dead pigeon this morning, BUT I shall spare you the gruesomeness of that. I’m actually here to say that I’m at EdgeLit 2 in Derby this weekend, talking about fantasy and the internet (two of my favourite subjects, natch) and you can see the schedule here. Fox Spirit are having a launch too (how cute is the panda on their site?) and there will be cakes and chatter, and generally a rather funky time to be had by everyone, so if you’re around come and say hello.

 

*totally stole this off Andrew Reid, soz.

Fantasy in the Court

I popped along to the Fantasy in the Court event at Goldsboro Books last night, an evening of wine and writers and fantasy books – how could I not? Anyway, I thought I would put a small note on here just to say if you’re in London and looking to browse bookshops (and that is the main thing you should be doing in London, really) then you have to go to Goldsboro. So many beautiful things! More than once I was distracted from really very interesting conversations by an extremely beautiful copy of Watership Down…

It was lovely to be in such a beautiful space with so many chatty, mildly inebriated book fans. I managed to meet a whole bunch of new people, catch up with a few old mates, and further my campaign to get Lavie Tidhar to have a Bender Burger in Wimpy. Utterly failed to talk to Jeff Noon, thanks to be slightly star struck, but Marty had a good long chinwag with him so I feel like I was there in spirit at least.

In conclusion, good times! And I have a new bookshop to haunt.