The Silver Tide Nominated for a British Fantasy Award

Woohoo! I am thrilled and excited to hear that The Silver Tide has been nominated for Best Novel in this year’s round of awards, alongside some excellent fellow authors – Adrian Tchaikovsky, Joanne Hall and Steven Poore. It is especially lovely as The Silver Tide is the last in the Copper Cat books, and so I cried a lot while I wrote the final chapters – it’s a book that means a lot to me. Huge thanks to everyone who voted for it.

On that note, I will be at Fantasycon in September if anyone wants to say hello, and likewise I will be at Nineworlds in August (just for the Saturday I think), the ever brilliant Fantasy in the Court at Goldsboro books, and Bristolcon in October, where I will be a Guest of Honour! Exciting times!

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2016 is over… and thank fuck for that

Well. I felt that I should write an end of year post, because that’s what you do with a blog, isn’t it? But how do you talk about 2016 without a lot of very energetic swearing? I won’t rehash the horrors and disappointments of this year, or the heroes we’ve lost, because I feel like I’ve spent months being alternately angry or sad. What I will do instead is poke myself with the great stuff that happened, selfishly, for me – because with these bits of glittering salvage I will build the good ship I’m Fucking Coming For You 2017.

2016 was the year I finished the Copper Cat Trilogy

The Silver Tide was published in February, bringing to an end my journey with the Black Feather Three. Lots of lovely people turned out to launch it with me, and I had a high old time. I will miss Wydrin, Frith and Sebastian a great deal (although not really, they’re with me all the time in my head) but I was very pleased to give them the ending I felt they deserved. Ye gods and little fishes.

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I didn’t manage to eat a single one of those bloody cookies…

The Copper Cat made her debut in the US and Canada

Thanks to Angry Robot, the Black Feather Three can now be found across the pond, with The Iron Ghost to follow in the first week of January. Surreal and exciting to know that my books are popping up in Barnes & Noble, and every time I look at the fabulous, almost movie-poster style covers I am filled with absolute glee.

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The Ninth Rain is imminent…

Starting a new trilogy is hard. Much of this year was taken up with writing the first book in the Winnowing Flame series, and it has been an interesting journey (interesting in this case can be taken to mean: difficult, alarming, nerve-wracking, thrilling, confusing). The Ninth Rain was a tough book to write; partly from the sheer terror of writing something new, and partly because I spent much of the period feeling quite unwell, and had to deal with a fair amount of physical pain and anxiety. What fun! I got there in the end though, and it’s a book I’m very proud of. It’s published on the 23rd of February, and I’m terrified.

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How amazing is this cover? *actual heart eyes*

Award nom nom noms…

To my genuine enormous surprise, The Iron Ghost was nominated for Best Fantasy Novel in the British Fantasy Awards 2016. To no surprise whatsoever, I didn’t win, but like The Ninth Rain, The Iron Ghost was a very tough book to write, and the fact that people loved it enough to put it forward for an award was hugely significant to me.

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SRFC continues to go from strength to strength

Super Relaxed Fantasy Club has had an excellent year. We moved venues to the very lovely Waterstones on Tottenham Court Road (check it out! It has a bar!) and guests included award-winners such as the brilliant Zen Cho and Adrian Tchaikovsky, and effortless entertainers such as Sarah Pinborough and Joe Hill. More to the point, our little community continues to grow and I hope to see you all back there for 2017. (Big thanks to my partner in crime Den Patrick, and all our excellent guest presenters).

There’s more I could write, but as usual when I come to construct these posts I realise what a terrible memory I have. Reading wise this year I have loved discovering Temeraire for the first time, and I loved The Flame Bearer, The Fifth Season, Station Eleven and The Lie Tree. Films I adored this year: Rogue One (oh Star Wars how you have my heart these days) and the new Ghostbusters, which was warm, clever, and really fucking funny. Here’s to more brilliant books and films in 2017 – I think we will need them, more than ever.

Happy New Year, my lovelies – let’s get out there and make things! 😀

Stuff! Plus – Win a signed and be-dragoned copy of The Silver Tide!

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Blimey, July is busy. After months spent squirrelled away indoors working on The Ninth Rain, I am abruptly going to be out and about a bit, AND my books are also spreading their wings and venturing further out into the world.

On the 5th, The Copper Promise made it’s debut in the US and Canada. Here I am over at Barnes & Noble, talking about writing and how the Copper Cat novels came to be.

On the 16th, I shall be at Edge-Lit in Derby, appearing on panels and hosting a special edition of Super Relaxed Fantasy Club with the marvellous Peter Newman. Edge-Lit is a great, friendly event full of good people, so I hope you can make it.

On the 23rd of July, me and Pete and Den Patrick are heading to Birmingham Waterstones (yes it’s true, I am sometimes allowed out of London) and we’ll be having a chat about fantasy, publishing, and probably signing books too. So much fantasy awesomeness, for free!

And on the 14th, the teeny weeny paperback of The Silver Tide will be available. The final part of the Copper Cat trilogy, it features pirates, dragons, old and terrible gods, and more mayhem than you can shake a stick at.

In celebration, I’m giving away a new shiny copy – signed and scribbled with dragons and other nonsense. To win one, simply tell me: if you had a magical sword, what would you name it? – let me know on twitter (@sennydreadful) with the hashtag #SilverTideSword or tell me in the comments here 😀

 

(UK only I’m afraid, and I’ll pick a winner at random on Wednesday the 13th of July )

Silver Tide signings, excuses to draw dragons, etc

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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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On The Ultimate Guide to Fantasy, The Ninth Rain and reviews. Also eggs.

Oh hello! How are you?

Some quick things. The Ultimate Guide to Fantasy is out now, which features the very beautiful Jon Snow on the front and an article by me on the inside, on optimism in fantasy. As a huge Game of Thrones fan, I am quite eager to get my mitts on this myself.
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Yesterday I finished the first draft of The Ninth Rain. It was a strange old journey, and I discovered much I wasn’t expecting (I like that about first drafts). There will now follow a fairly hefty second draft, where I re-jig and rewrite and polish and juggle until it becomes a thing that other people can read as well as me. Now that it’s all clearer in my head, I hope to be able to share more details with you soon, such as, what it’s actually about etc. Also, this means I can write the next blog post in my ‘How to Write a Fantasy Trilogy’ series, possibly the slowest blog series of all time.

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The Silver Tide has been out for almost exactly a month now! I have loved hearing reader’s reactions to the final book in the Copper Cat series (and dat ending), and I have been very chuffed to see some great reviews popping up here and there. Here is one from The Eloquent Page which made me a little misty eyed…

Us writers do tend to bang on about it quite a bit, but reviews really do help the book along – which in turn helps secure the future of future books. As it were. So huge thanks to the lovely people doing that. <3

Right, I hope you’re all having an excellent weekend (with the possibility of chocolate eggs). I am off to drink a cider in celebration of ending first drafts…

The Silver Tide… has happened

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So we launched The Silver Tide this week. The story of the Black Feather Three has come to an end. *distant wailing and sobbing*

It was, for me, a truly epic night. Huge thanks to everyone who came along and had a chat at the signing (which went on for about an hour and a half, apparently), everyone who had a slightly erratic dragon scrawled in their copy, and everyone who raised a toast in the Phoenix with me afterwards. In another time and place, Wydrin is telling outrageously exaggerated stories about you all.

Because the signing went on for such a long time, I failed to do any sort of official speech (a relief for everyone, I’m sure) so I wanted to pop a few things up on here:

Thank you to my wonderful agent, Juliet Mushens – always fighting in my corner, and ready with common sense when I need it (or a sarcastic gif of some sort).

Thank you to my excellent editors, Emily Griffin and Claire Baldwin, who also cried over the ending.

Thank you to everyone who downed a glass of mead, chucked on their boiled leather vanbraces and came on this adventure with me, Wydrin, Sebastian and Frith. It has been a most unexpected journey, and like all unsuspecting protagonists, I hope I’ve learnt from the difficult bits, because I’ve certainly enjoyed all the good bits. Onwards!

 

IMPORTANT THINGS no honestly

I seem to have accidentally created a tradition where the week before my book is published is the most ridiculously stressful of the year (we moved to a new flat the week before The Copper Promise came out, fun times). For this reason, I haven’t updated the blog when I should have and I’m slightly behind, so here are some IMPORTANT THINGS (on the subject of important things, if you have pre-ordered a copy of THE SILVER TIDE from Amazon, please have a look at the bottom of this post for a slightly boring but essential PSA)

The US/Canadian covers of THE COPPER PROMISE and THE IRON GHOST have been revealed. Go to Barnes & Noble for the full deets. I know the whole UK cover vs US cover thing can be slightly fractious in SFF circles, so I am chuffed to see such a positive response. I think they are sexy and brilliant, and they punch you in the face with sword and sorcery attitude. Big thanks to Gene Mollica and the team at Angry Robot for creating what essentially look like movie posters for a bad-ass film version of the books. YASSS.

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You know Wydrin is just about to kick someone’s butt

And next week (how is this happening already? Where did the last few years go? Who am I even?) THE SILVER TIDE will be making its way out into the world. The kindle version and the trade paperback (more on that in a second) will be released on the 25th of February. And I’m doing two celebratory event things to celebrate.

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On the 23rd of February, instead of running Super Relaxed Fantasy Club from behind the scenes, like some sort of shadowy figure of mystery, I will be reading from THE SILVER TIDE and answering questions (easy ones, I hope). There will also be early copies of the trade paperback to buy. Hooray! Remember, SRFC is always free, everyone is welcome, and on Tuesday the fabulous Adrian Tchaikovsky and Simon Morden will also be reading.

On Thursday the 25th of February we’ll be launching the book at my favourite shop since I was ten, Forbidden Planet. I will sign books and draw increasingly erratic dragons. There will be drinks afterwards, of course, and I suspect I will be super emotional. I hope to see you all there to celebrate and lift a glass of something evil to the Black Feather Three.

Now, the PSA portion of the blog post. There have been some problems with the Amazon listings of THE SILVER TIDE that I have only recently been made aware of. Essentially, for some time the kindle edition (out on the 25th of Feb) was listed alongside the small format paperback edition (out in July), while the trade paperback (out on the 25th of Feb) was listed, confusingly, separately. It’s on it’s way to being fixed, but as you can imagine this has been confusing.

If you want the physical book that’s out next week, and you’re ordering from Amazon, you want this one.

If you have already pre-ordered a copy, please do check you’ve got the right one. This probably only affects a few people, but I get very twitchy when I think of someone expecting their book to arrive next week, when it will be merrily going nowhere until July.

ANYWAY. How chuffed am I at the moment? Very chuffed. I love THE SILVER TIDE – it nearly broke me, but it’s the ending I wanted. A few lovely reviews have come in for it so far and I am not above dropping a few of them into this post.

“The result is more action, more adventure, more unlikely rescues, and more fun … the entire series is a delight” STARBURST magazine

“So it’s time to say goodbye to this amazing trilogy. I DON’T WANT TO … a story that’s true in every way to the spirit of epic adventure, while giving us something that’s right up to date at the same time” Over the Effing Rainbow 

“In the immortal words of The Copper Cat, Wydrin of Crosshaven: ‘Ye gods and little fishes, what are you waiting for?'” SCI-FI NOW magazine

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!

An End of the Year Waffle: featuring books, life & Star Wars

I like the idea of an end of the year post very much, but I am always somewhat scuppered by my terrible memory, where I’m never completely sure if what I remember happened this year, or when I was seven, or that night at Uni when I’d been at the Red Bull and vodkas. Anyway, here’s some stuff I’m almost certain happened in 2015:

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The Iron Ghost was published, and I survived releasing my second book into the wild

The sequel to The Copper Promise was a difficult book for me to write (I think I’ve waffled on before about the weird pressures of writing your first book to deadline when you know people will actually want to read it) so it was lovely to launch it with a bunch of friends and family, and generally people seem to be of the opinion that it’s a better book than the first one – even people who really loved the first one. I was worried about The Iron Ghost, but looking back on it, all the blood I sweated was worth it.

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The Silver Tide was written and edited, and I wrote the end of the Copper Cat trilogy

The last book in the trilogy was difficult for a different reason – I had enormous fun writing it, but ultimately I was saying goodbye to characters I love very much. It was the longest book I’ve written (so far) and I put everything I had into it, so suffice to say, what with all the crying and gnashing of teeth and general stress, I’m bleeding knackered. But happy. I have finished the trilogy and I am enormously proud of it. Roll on February, when we’ll be having the biggest Copper Cat party yet (come to the launch, it will be EPIC)

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Please note: Not an accurate depiction of the events of The Ninth Rain

 

I signed a new three book deal with Headline, and The Ninth Rain was born

I’m still getting over this, to be honest. I cannot tell you how much it fills me with glee to know that I get to continue writing books for a living, and that this next series has a home already. I’m writing the first book at the moment, and its too early to say too much about it I think, but I’m having a lot of fun with it – new world, new characters, new crazy stuff to engineer. It’s a challenge, this one, there’s no doubt about it, but I have witches blowing things up so I’m happy. Big love to my amazing agent Juliet Mushens for making amazing things happen.

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Angry Robot are sending The Copper Promise and The Iron Ghost to the USA

ROAD TRIP! I’ve had a lot of people ask me over the last couple of years why they can’t get the Copper Cat books in the States – you might think it’s to do with Wydrin trying to smuggle in copious amounts of rum, but actually its because no one had bought the rights. Thankfully, the most excellent legion of metal overlords have taken up the meady chalice and readers across the pond will finally be able to enjoy my nonsense. There will be new covers for the books, which I am very excited about – they are very different to the UK editions, but huge bags of fun, in my opinion.

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I was nominated for Best Newcomer at the British Fantasy Society awards

This was one of the biggest surprises of the year for me! And a totally lovely one. I didn’t win, but I did have a high old time at the banquet with fellow nominees Den Patrick and Ed Cox. It feels exceptionally cheesy to say it, but I’m honestly touched I was nominated at all, and super chuffed that The Copper Promise made such a favourable impression.

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I changed my day job!

I’m a copywriter at a creative agency now, which as well as sounding dead swish, also means I am a professional writer in both aspects of my life. When asked what I do, I can (almost) confidently say ‘I’m sort of well I’m a writer actually technically I suppose’ without looking too awkward. It’s fun, and it’s great to be using my actual skills between 9am and 5pm.

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I read lots of excellent books!

This is where it gets tricky, because I am awful at remembering what I read when, but off the top of my head here are a bunch of books that I enjoyed this year (If you want excellent reads, look them up): Fool’s Quest by Robin Hobb, The Devil of Nanking by Mo Hayder, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell, Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel, Uprooted by Naomi Novik, Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neil, The Vagrant by Pete Newman, The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule, Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel.

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So many amazing films

2015 gave us Age of Ultron (which I liked very much) and Mad Max: Fury Road which was fucking incredible. I’m currently obsessed with Star Wars: The Force Awakens (going to see it again soon) and feeling over the moon, tbh, that one of my favourite franchises has returned not just with a fantastic film, but with a fantastically diverse film. John Boyega is so enormously charismatic as Finn (how cool to finally get a Stormtrooper’s POV?), Rey is all I could have possibly wanted (I shan’t dally in spoiler territory, but thanks to her Star Wars has truly won my heart again) and like most of tumblr I now have a terrible crush on Poe Dameron (stormpilot trashlords unite).

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And we watched all of Thundercats. It was amazing. 

On that ridiculous fangirl note, I will stop waffling on, save to wish you all an excellent winter holiday and to hope that your 2016 will rock your socks off. I am looking forward to it.

Books you should buy for Christmas (and not just mine!) :D

It’s that time of the year again: the weather gets a little rougher, the nights are seeping into our days, and you start saying things like ‘I can’t believe it’s dark at four o’clock!’ even though you have experienced this strange phenomenon every year of your life… It’s actually my favourite time of the year, being an Autumn/Winter person rather than a Spring/Summer type person, and this is despite the looming stress of Christmas – what to buy? What for dinner? Who are we eating dinner with? What lingering family resentments need to be avoided? Posting cards this year or just pretending that I did?

So this year I offer the following to help with some of the Christmas stress. Have a fantasy reader you need to buy for? Or just need to alleviate the pain of buying presents with buying some for yourself? (I do this a lot). Then may I recommend, um, my books?

Here are some excellent reasons to buy the Copper Cat books:

The covers are really very beautiful and feature dragons. They will beautify anyone’s bookshelves and immediately convey a sense of good taste and gravitas.

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The books themselves are quite hefty, so you are a) getting good value for your money b) could potentially use them to batter an intruder with.

Some quotes from people who have enjoyed the Copper Cat books:

‘Tolerable. Needed more elves.’ – Aragorn, son of Arathorn*

‘I liked the bit with all the horses. Wait, which book was this again?’ – Shadowfax

‘There’s fighting, dragons, treasure. What’s not to like?’ – Beowulf

Alright, okay, some quotes from people who have actually read the books (and do really exist):

‘Near perfect fantasy-adventure… read it and remind yourself what made you fall in love with fantasy’ – Starburst Magazine

‘Williams has thrown out the rulebook and injected a fun tone into epic fantasy without lightening or watering down the excitement and adventure… Highly recommended’ – The Independent

‘Highly inventive, vibrant high fantasy with a cast you can care about’ – The British Fantasy Society

The Copper Cat books are sword and sorcery with a modern edge – adventure, snark, terrible dark deeds done in the name of magic, and a sprinkling of sexy times. You can buy The Copper Promise and The Iron Ghost right now, and even pre-order the final volume in the trilogy, The Silver Tide. However, if chunky sword and sorcery books aren’t your thing, then here are some other fantastic books from across the genre spectrum, all of which would be spectacular additions to the space underneath your Christmas tree:

The Boy with the Porcelain Blade by Den Patrick – a darker shade of fantasy, with delicious gothic horrors and lashings of swordfights. The sequel, The Boy Who Wept Blood, is also available.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik – a gorgeous fairy tale with probably the most beautiful depiction of magic use I’ve ever read. Also, it’s quite sexy.

Battlemage by Stephen Aryan – like magic that punches you in the face? This is the book for you.

Banished by Liz de Jager – if you have young people to buy for (or you just fancy a bit of ass-kicking adventure yourself) then may I introduce you to Kit Blackhart? She is going to knock your socks off. The sequel, Vowed, is also available now.

The Vagrant by Pete Newman – a book that defies description, but it’s likely you won’t have read another fantasy book like it.

Anything by Robin Hobb – You’re a person of taste and distinction, so you don’t need me to recommend Robin Hobb to you, but perhaps you know a burgeoning fantasy fan who hasn’t read Assassin’s Apprentice yet. You know what to do.

The Devil of Nanking by Mo Hayder – a sudden horror/crime recommendation for you. If you like unreliable narrators and unspeakable evil (and who doesn’t, at Christmas?) I can’t throw this book at you fast enough.

Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky – a science-fiction reader you need to buy for? Expand their minds with this and never look at spiders in the same way again.

I hope that one of the books I’ve banged on about here will tickle your fancy, and remember that the greatest present you can give an author is a photo of you gleefully hugging their book you have just willingly purchased with actual money in a bookshop, or even, praise be to all the little goblins, a review.

Wishing you the best of times at the best time of year,

Jen x

 

*please note, there are no actual elves in the Copper Cat books.