Mageborn launch events

Just a quick round up to say I had a fantastic couple of launch events in Birmingham and London last week to celebrate the publication of Mageborn.

In Birmingham, RJ Barker and I were quizzed by Tom Bissell about magic, writing, our influences, and all the while we and the audience enjoyed a nice glass of MAGE real ale brewed by Fownes Brewery with help from myself. Below are some photos from the evening’s entertainment, which also included a brief game of Bluff my Call (not related in any way to a TV show that had a similar name).

In London I sat down with Ed Cox to have a more intimate one on one chat covering a wide range of topics ranging from our origins, the place where we write every, our parents, influences, world building, magic and exciting books we were looking forward to seeing in the coming months. It was a lot of fun to dig into each other’s origin story and to chat to some new people afterwards.

Later this month I’ll be taking another trip down south for the MCM Comic Con at the Excel Centre (October 27-29th) so if you’re in the area come along, say hello and get a book signed.

MAGE is born….or brewed

Today I went over to Fownes Brewery in Gornal to help them put the finishing touching on the special edition real ale I helped them brew, MAGE. This real ale was specially commissioned to tie in with the publication of my new novel, Mageborn, book 1 in the new Age of Dread trilogy. Today at the brewery we were labelling up the bottles and boxing them up. Behold the tasty, delicious darkness that is MAGE, a 5% porter.

I also had my first taste and I was super nervous. What if after all of this I didn’t like it? In the past I’ve ordered or bought beers and in theory they have all the things I like, but when I actually taste them it I’ve been disappointed. I am hugely relieved to say MAGE tastes fantastic. I really like it.

It was really special to see it today having been there at the beginning. And don’t they all look gorgeous lined up together in neat rows in that box! The beady eyed amongst you will also notice there is an abbreviated version of the Mageborn summary on the label as well. I’m pleased to say bottles of MAGE will be there on Wednesday night in Birmingham at the Mageborn launch to drink or take away for later.

Summer might be over, but today it didn’t stop me from sitting out in the sunshine this afternoon and enjoying a nice dark beer. Cheers!

 

October and November events

It’s less than a month until Mageborn is launched so in a few weeks time I will be leaving the writing cave and venturing out into the wide world to meet other people. Seeing an author in the wild is a rare event so you should try to get to at least one of these events before they go back into hibernation for winter.

Both of the Mageborn events are free but you need to contact the organisers to reserve a seat.

Wednesday 4th October – Birmingham Waterstones – RJ Barker and I will be in conversation, with Tom Bissell setting the questions. We’ll be talking about being a published author, magic, world building and having a bit of fun, and maybe a beer or two.

Thursday 5th October – Blackwell’s Bookshop in London – This time I’ll be sitting down with the fantastic Ed Cox for some one on one discussion about writing other races, magic in our worlds and our origin stories. I’ve sat with Ed before on panels but never had a chance to do a proper uninterrupted chat so I think it will be a really interesting discussion.

End of October – I’m probably going to be appearing at another event in London, more info when I have it.

Sledge Lit – Saturday 25th November – This one day event in Derby will have a host of fantasy and science fiction writers on panels talking about all manner of things related to fantasy, science fiction and horror. There will be workshops as well and there are guests of honour. I’ll be on some panels and signing books. You have to buy a ticket to attend this one day event.

That should be it before Christmas, but you never know…..

 

New Podcast Interview

I recently recorded an interview with Hank Garner, the host of the Author Stories podcast. We had a great time talking about my writing process, how I got started in writing, when I first realised I liked telling stories, as well as where Battlemage came from.

I had a great time chatting with Hank as he has a really relaxed and easy going manner and the time flew by. Check out this episode, but also the other episodes where he talks to dozens of fantasy and science fiction authors. The podcast is also available on iTunes.

Listen to the episode

Author stories podcast

Chaosmage Giveaway

Chaosmage Stephen AryanTo celebrate the forthcoming release of Mageborn, book 1 in the new Age of Dread trilogy which starts in October, I’m doing a Goodreads giveaway of Chaosmage.

Win 1 of 5 signed copies of Chaosmage, posted free, worldwide.

All you need to do is be a member of Goodreads (which is free to join) and enter the Mageborn by Stephen Aryangiveaway. That’s it.

Quick reminder, Chaosmage is the THIRD book in the first trilogy (The Age of Darkness). Once you’ve read it and the first two books, you’ll be all up to date in time for Mageborn, October 3-5th depending on where you are in the world.

Enter the Goodreads Giveaway here

Pre-order Mageborn here on Amazon UK, Waterstones, Amazon USA

Mageborn Cover Reveal

Feast your eyes on the cover for Mageborn, book 1 in the new Age of Dread trilogy, which starts this October. Also below is the text from the back of the book to whet your appetite for what is in store for new and old readers alike! Available to pre-order now or soon from Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Waterstones,  and all good local bookshops. Or borrow it from your local library.

I will be doing two signing events in Birmingham and London during the first week in October. More info closer to the time.
Mageborn by Stephen Aryan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s been ten years since the battlemage war, where thousands died as mages sundered the earth and split the sky.

Habreel believes eradicating magic is the only way to ensure a lasting peace. He will do anything to achieve his goal, even if it means murdering every child born with the ability.

As deaths involving magic increase and the seat of magical learning – the Red Tower – falls under suspicion, two students and one lawbringer must do everything they can to combat Habreel and his followers, before magic disappears from the world for good.

Beer and books

Fownes Brewery LogoI am delighted to announce that I will be working with a local brewery, Fownes, to create a special limited-edition real ale to celebrate the publication of Mageborn.

Next month I will taking a trip to Fownes Brewery, based in Gornal, Dudley, to help them brew and bottle a special beer ahead of October’s launch. I have been a long term fan of real ale (there are even a few reviews on this website) and wanted to do something special to celebrate the start of this second trilogy.

A few months ago I paid Fownes brewery a visit to discuss my cunning plan. Over a cup of tea (it was before midday) I found I had a lot in common with brothers Tom and James Fownes, the brewers,  including a love of fantasy books, comics, the animated version of Hobbit from years ago, Jackson and Livingstone fighting fantasy novels and, of course, real ale. My favourite type of ale are typically dark beers and porters, which they also like to brew, so it sounded like a match made in heaven!

As a result of the brothers common interests the brewery and all of their ales are fantasy-themed. Just look at the gorgeous artwork they have on their beers!

We actually tried to sort out a real ale a while ago, and for those with keen eyes, the brothers have a cameo in Bloodmage. But at the time I was living in another part of the country and it was more difficult to coordinate. Now that I’m in the West Midlands it was very easy for me to pop over to chat it through.

So, I will provide more info on the real ale, such as where and when it will be available once I’ve brewed it, but by the time Mageborn comes out in October, it will be ready, if not before!

I also hope to have some bottles with me at both Mageborn signing events in early October in Birmingham and London. Fingers crossed.

Holiday reads 2017

It’s that time of year again. It’s time for me to go away for a week’s holiday in the sun. I’ve been saving up some books, hoarding them to enjoy at my leisure without distraction or interruption for hours on end. I’m also taking some books I’ve heard a great deal about and want to try, so reading them in the sun beside the pool is the ideal time to soak into some new worlds by writers who are new to me.

I typically take 5 books for the week and usually get through most of them. I’m also going with one book in hand so 6 in a week is pushing it, but we’ll see. It depends on the flight, the heat, interruptions, how easy/difficult it is for me to get into the book and so many other things. This year I will be reading the following.

Age of Assassins by RJ BarkerAge of Assassins by RJ Barker – I was lucky enough to be sent an ARC by Orbit, so I’m currently reading this at the moment. I’ve met RJ a few times at events over the last couple of years and he’s a very nice guy with a dark sense of humour which appeals to me. This is his debut which is due out in August. Assassins, intrigue, twisty turny plots, comedy and, slight spoiler for chapter 1, night soil! I’m two chapters in and I’ve laughed a few times already which is a very good sign. Fans of Robin Hobb and her assassins books should definitely take a look at this.

The Last Colony by John ScalziThe Last Colony by John Scalzi – I’ve not read many of his books and this is only my third. I’ve seen he is very popular in America but I stumbled across him by accident when I was after some interesting, character focused SF and a friend recommended him. This is the third book in his Old Man’s War universe, and the books are super lean. I mean the prose is so tight and sharp you could cut yourself on it and it reads like an old school pulp novel. That’s not a criticism at all, I love the style and it’s a funny, creative and clever read. Really enjoyed the first two so this is a nice comfortable read that I know I am going to enjoy.

The Malice by Peter NewmanThe Malice by Peter Newman – Peter’s first book in this series, The Vagrant, is a great book but the main character can also be divisive because he doesn’t talk. At all. That seemed to annoy some people but I thought it was a very interesting and different approach, and that’s what I want in a fantasy book, not another me-too product. The story is a mix of SF, fantasy and horror, set in a sort of post-apocalytic world with demons, magic swords, a goat and plenty of weirdness. It took me a little while to get used to his writing style which is very staccato at times, but once I settled into it the pages flew by. I’ve been saving this one for a while so I’m looking forward to getting my teeth into it and seeing how the world and characters have developed since the first book.

The Relic Guild by Ed CoxThe Relic Guild by Ed Cox – This sounds like such a corker of a book. I’ve been hanging on to this one for a while and can’t wait to read it in peace with no distractions. A lush detailed world. High concept fantasy packed with ideas. action packed and fuelled with magic. Count me in! I’ve known Ed for a few years via conventions and there’s always that embarrassing thing where you meet a fellow author and feel bad for not having read at least one of their books. The problem is there are so many books I want to read now and just not enough time. There’s also the issue of  – what happens if you don’t like it? What if they ask the next time you meet up? What do you say? I’m very confident that I will love this book but even if it wasn’t for me Ed would just shrug, say fair enough and that would be the end of it. He wouldn’t go away to plot my downfall, he’s one of the nicest, warmest authors I’ve ever met. Smart as a whip too, don’t you know, he used to lecture in creative writing so he knows his apples.

A Darker Shade of Magic by VE SchwabA Darker Shade of Magic by VE Schwab – This is the wildcard for me. I’ve never read a book by this author before, but there again, I’ve heard very good things. I recently listened to an interview with her on a podcast and I was so impressed I immediately picked up this first book in the series. This sounds like a very creative and inventive novel with some fantastic ideas. People always ask authors where we come up with ideas. What I find remarkable when reading other people’s work is that I know I would never come up with an idea similar to theirs. Those are the kind of books I enjoy reading the most because it’s so unfamiliar. Different versions of London. Magic. Flawed and well realised characters.

Control Point by Myke ColeControl Point by Myke Cole – This is the second wildcard book for me. A new author to me but once I’ve seen and read a fair bit about. Soldiers with powers. Black Hawk Down meets X-Men. Written by someone who has served in the armed forces, so he knows what he’s talking about, with a huge dollop of creativity. Sounds very intriguing. Again, this is something I’d never write myself so I’m curious to see how he builds the story and the world. High action, fast paced and thrilling is what I’m expecting.

 

 

And that’s a wrap

Just a short post to say the first draft of book 5,  (well book 2 in the new Age of Dread trilogy), is done.

The first draft is raw, rough and it still needs a lot of work, but the main framework of the story is now done. I’ve had this story in my head for over a year and it’s taken me months and months to gradually shape the idea into a real thing. It’s changed a bit, despite planning it ahead of time, and I’ve already got a few things in mind I need to revise before anyone sees it. Then once I’m relatively happy with it I will send it on to my editors.

I know it is going to be edited several times and I’m going to be revising this text for the next year or so, but even so I want to get this current version to a comfortable state. There are a number of things I need to fix. Namely writing tics. Things I’ve realised I’ve started to develop, and some I didn’t even know I was doing but have been pointed out by other people. They’re crutches or cliches I might use too often so I’m going to file them off for starters. Other things are part of the plot that already stick out like a sore thumb. Polish the dialogue to make it more natural. There’s a list.

Now is actually the best time to do this, because once it goes into the publishing process I’m on much tighter deadlines, and working on the next book, so my focus is split. I’m ahead of my deadline at the moment so I have time to knuckle down and sort it now. Hopefully by doing so it will pay off later when I get my first set of editorial notes back on this new book. That’s the plan anyway.

Once this goes off to the publisher it’s back to fleshing out my notes for book 6 and then the hard work of a first draft begins again! No rest for the wicked and all that.

French Interview

Earlier this year I went on a very quick overnight visit to Paris to attend an event to celebrate the first Hellfest Inferno Prize. This was at the offices of my French publisher, Bragelonne, and it was also my first trip ever to France. It was a great party atmosphere and everyone was having a lot of fun, as the video shows.

I was a finalist up against some incredible fantasy writers and was delighted to be nominated. After a public vote I was announced as the winner.

Below is a link to an interview in English with French subtitles I conducted while I was there, intercut with me picking up the award, talking about my books and my influences. There are no spoilers in the video so it doesn’t reveal anything from the plot.