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!

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: Cover Revealed!

Yes, my book has a book-face, and you can see it over at Geek Syndicate.

I’m not going to be all British and understated about this… I fucking LOVE my book cover. I LOVE IT. There, I’ve said it. The distressed look, the font, the skyline, and HELLO THE DRAGON!! It is my most favourite thing ever, and it all feels so much like my book, like The Copper Promise, that I really couldn’t be more chuffed. When I opened the email containing the image (and how scary was that? Really scary, let me tell you) and saw it for the first time, I laughed in a maniacal fashion and did several laps around the flat.
Only four months to go, you guys. 😀

A Week on from Book Dealings

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It’s been over a week since the news of my book deal with Headline was announced. It’s been a strange one really; long high periods punctuated with small moments of extremely cheery panic as the reality of it briefly sinks in. I’ve done a lot of celebrating, naturally (see the above picture of me looking slightly half cut in an Italian restaurant – I should point out I wasn’t anywhere near as drunk as I look, I just have that sort of face) and had to explain how book deals work approximately 652 times, which was strangely enjoyable. Last night I met up with some mates (who I refer to as the Hard Core Crew, because I like to pretend I’m 19) and we toasted the book before the traditional “best and most appalling vomit stories” conversation, followed by a guess the movie app which had us shouting things like “JUST PUT IN TIGERLAND!” & “WHAT THE FUCK IS TIGERLAND THOUGH?”

All in all, a good week. Also in celebration I have devised a new and punchier writing schedule with a big emphasis on stop worrying overmuch and get the story out so I’m tearing into the second book. There was an initial false start, thanks to my not starting the book close enough to the main action; it’s quite tempting (for me perhaps only) to fill the beginning of the book with all sorts of exciting details and incidents – possibly because I’ve been away from them for a while and I’m overexcited – when actually this just mires the beginning in treacle and muck. What I want at the start of a book is a punch in the face (sometimes literally).

I am excited to be here, in this situation, knowing that The Copper Promise will be venturing out into the world next year, and that there will be two more books after that. A year ago I would have told you such dreams were fanciful, that they were the ravings of too much sugar and too many late nights. Once again I must send a thank you out into the universe to all the people who read and supported the first Copper Promise novella in its original form, to all those who wrote kind reviews, and to the team of brave beta readers who put the first draft through its paces. You have my eternal gratitude.

The Copper Promise Finds a Home with Headline: Amazed Author Does the Snoopy Dance

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So, this happened today.

I am over the moon to tell you that The Copper Promise trilogy has been bought by the marvellous people at Headline. Ironically enough, for someone now being paid to write intelligibly, I don’t really have the words for how much this means to me. My book, the book that has been my dearest companion for the last eighteen months or so, is going to be a real thing.

This probably doesn’t make much sense. I’ll make more sense later, when I’m over the sugar rush from the ridiculous celebratory doughnut I just ate, and then I’ll write a more sensible blog post too, but for the moment I’m flinging a huge thanks to Juliet Mushens, my kickass agent extraordinaire, and John Wordsworth, the awesome SFF editor at Headline. I snoopy dance in your honour, chaps!

As a bookseller I’ve been reading The Bookseller (ahem) for many years. It was tremendously surreal and exciting to see my (weirdly grumpy-looking) face on its front page, and I cannot wait to see The Copper Promise make its way in the world. Exciting times!