April Update

Quarancon 2021

This Thursday night at 7pm (UK time) I’ll be taking part once again in Quarancon. This is a totally FREE online science fiction and fantasy convention with panels. It runs April 8th to April 12th. The panels will be broadcast live on YouTube and then available soon after if you didn’t watch them live, but if you do watch live then you have an opportunity to ask the panellists questions.

The full schedule for the convention is here. And the YouTube channel is here.

To Wait, Or to Buy

There’s a great article you should read that looks at the impact those people who wait for the last book in a series to be published before picking up the first and the impact that can have on the book writing business. For mid-list writers like me, if people wait then it can mean that a series is cancelled by the publisher before it finishes and the end never arrives.

The article talks to several authors about their experiences and how it impacted their work.

New Author Interviews

I’ve recently done some new author interviews. Last week I spoke to Gabriela Houston, a debut fantasy novelist, about her Slavic-folklore inspired fantasy book, The Second Bell. We talked about her influences, getting published, trying to explain things to non-writers and in part 2 I also go into a bit of detail about the genesis of The Coward. Also if you’ve not already, please subscribe to the YouTube channel.

Before Gabriela I spoke to Peter McLean who contributed to the above the article and he talks about the fact that despite his books being optioned for TV, the series was still cancelled by his American publisher and if not for his UK publisher it would not have concluded. We discussed this a little in his interview with me as well.

Book News

The new, secret, book is currently with my agent and I’m awaiting feedback on the first draft. In the meantime I’m working on my grimdark-ish, fantasy crime novella. It’s weird, and possibly niche, so who knows where it will turn up and I may end up self-publishing it, but it’s very early days at the moment.

In the meantime the countdown begins to The Coward. Only a couple of months away now. So expect more interviews and blog posts about it in the near future. It’s available to pre-order from all good bookshops here.

March Update

Just a quick update on what’s going on with various projects.

The Coward – It’s just under 3 months until the book is published on 8th June. I’m busy working with the publisher on various things to get the word out. So closer to the time expect a flurry of posts, interviews and so on. I expect more individual reviews to start coming in fairly soon from those who received advanced reading copies of the book. It will also be available on NetGalley very soon, so more people will be picking it up there to read and review ahead of publication.

I should also point out that book 2 of 2 in the series (it’s a duology NOT a trilogy) is written and the first draft is with my publisher. I will begin edits on that later in the year.

The New Book – This is the first in a new trilogy. I can’t say very much about it, not even the title, mostly because it’s very likely the title will change from my original! However, what I can say is that the first draft of this book is done. It’s also a bit of a whopper for me. My books tends to drift in the 110-130K space, but this is currently 146K, and I suspect with editing and later drafts it will only increase and easily break the 150K mark. So maybe 550-600 pages in a normal book. Maybe.

This book was difficult to write for a number of reasons, which is actually a good thing, as it challenged me. I never want to write the same thing twice and become lazy and predictable. It’s very different to anything I’ve done before but it’s also closer to our own world than any of my other books. It is fantasy, and is not historical fantasy, but it does have historic elements. Ugh. It’s hard to talk about. Let’s just say it’s inspired by historic events but there’s a lot of creativity in there as well.

Weird Book – So with the New Book sent off to my agent for feedback, I’m moved back to working on Weird Book. This is an odd project. I previously abandoned it as I didn’t know know if it would find a home and still don’t. It’s a very cross-genre book. It’s different there again to all my other books and an odd duck. I’m enjoying writing it though and it is stretching different muscles, so that’s a good thing.

SF Book – This is something I’ve co-written, also a first. We have a first draft but after some thought and discussion, we felt that we had only scratched the surface of the world we created. So we’re going back to the drawing board and are in the process of restructuring it and rebuilding it, to focus on other areas and I think it will be much better for the additional work. It’s a backburner project, so we are not rushing it. Co-writing is another challenge which keeps me fresh and open-minded.

Other Projects – There are a couple of screenwriting irons in the fire but no news to report on them. Early days but they are ticking along nicely.

That’s about it for the time being. I’m still doing interviews and writing advice videos over on my YouTube channel here, so take a look and subscribe. My most recent interview was with Andrea Stewart, the author of The Bone Shard Daughter.

Making notes on ideas for book 2 of the new trilogy, and scribbling down things for what I want to do after that. Hopefully 2021 will be a better year and by 2022 I’ll be able to walk into a bookshop and attend events in person. Fingers crossed.

First review of The Coward

the coward book cover

Publishers Weekly is the first mainstream industry website to review The Coward. They have normal reviews and then starred reviews.

The Coward received a starred review.

The review in full said:

Aryan (Battlemage) takes an unlikely band of heroes on a nail-biting trek into a frozen world in this impressive fantasy, the first in the Quest for Heroes series. The legend of Kell Kressia is celebrated throughout the Five Kingdoms. Kell, initially an unwanted tagalong with the land’s greatest heroes as they set out to kill the Ice Lich that brought a killing winter down upon their world, is the one who beheaded the Lich and returned as the expedition’s only survivor. But Kell harbors deep guilt over the secret that his success was pure luck—and that his martyred fellows were all horrifically flawed.

Now 10 years later, a new threat rises in the Frozen North, and Kell is the natural choice to put it down. He reluctantly takes up the mission, joined by a small band of warriors and misfits, each with secrets of their own. Hunted by humans and horrors, they face reckonings with Kell’s guilt and their world’s past.

Packing in an epic’s worth of action and feeling, this thought-provoking fantasy argues that even the most vicious monster battles are less harrowing than the struggles within men’s souls. This is a knockout.

TBRcon21 – SFF convention Jan 25th-30th

Next week, starting on Monday 25th January and running through to will be TBR (to be read) convention 21, a totally FREE online science fiction and fantasy convention with over dozens of authors taking part. There is a live D and D session and also book giveaways.

There will a lot of panels, and all information is shown below with dates and times. It will be streamed live on a number of different platforms (Twitch, Facebook Live and YouTube). However, if you can’t watch any panels live, you can watch them again later.

You can sign up now to the following links so you don’t miss out and can watch any panels later that you miss.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCObUCiZk90lu5sqDSZ3lJlg
https://www.twitch.tv/fanfiaddict_
https://www.facebook.com/FanFiAddict

As this virtual convention is free to everyone, and all of the authors are giving their time for free, the organiser are accepting donations to charities, if you enjoy the event and can afford to do so. There will be links for each charity on every panel, however, they are also available now if you want to immediately donate, on the website of the convention organiser, David Walters, which you can see here. The three charities are Shelter, No Kid Hungry and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

As mentioned there are a lot of authors involved so I can’t list all of them here, but some of the people involved are Steven Erikson, Peter V. Brett, John Gwynne, Sebastian de Castell, Mike Shackle, Andrea Stewart, Adrian Tchaikovsky, RJ Barker, Anna Stephens, Mike Carey, Evan Winter, R.F Kuang, Nicholas Eames and Peter McLean.

I’ll be appearing on a panel on Friday 28th January. I hope to see some of you there.

December post

Just a quick post to say I’m still busy writing, right down to the wire, and then I will be stopping for a bit over the Christmas holidays.

The Coward has been edited and has now gone back to my publisher. First thing in January will be the copy edit, the next stage of intense edits.

Also happening in January, is TBRcon, a FREE completely online SFF convention with over 85 authors taking part in a series of panels. More info about that can be found on my events page here. I’ll post the full schedule too when it’s made available.

Happy holidays.

Author Interviews

Tomorrow, part 2 of 2, of my interview with RJ Barker goes up on my YouTube channel. I will be doing regular interviews with other fantasy and science fiction authors so if you subscribe you will receive updates on new content.

RJ is the author of the Wounded Kingdom trilogy and the Tide Child trilogy, book 2, Call of the Bone Ships is published this month, book 3 next year. Both series are published by Orbit books and when I was published by Orbit, RJ and I shared an editor. We discuss his current series, influences, and stray off into other topics including good TV.

RJ Barker
The first half of my Interview with RJ Barker is available to watch here
Part 1 https://youtu.be/wSqPFCuY0Xo

Anna Stephens
Below are links to my interview with Anna Stephens, author of the Godblind trilogy and her new series, Songs of the Drowned. We talk about writing and her new novel out this month, The Stone Knife. During this chat we also discuss my new book, The Coward, will comes out 8th June 2021 from Angry Robot Books.

Part 1 – https://youtu.be/mNCPnOBoGQc
Part 2- https://youtu.be/0IQioNgPdII

Steve McHugh
Both parts of my interview with Steve McHugh, author of the Hellequin Chronicles, which wraps up with book 13 this December – Horsemen’s War

Part 1 – https://youtu.be/swGenAsxh9Y
Part 2 – https://youtu.be/X6sQh5GbXek

Angus Watson
Both parts of my interview with Angus Watson, author of The Iron Age trilogy and West of West trilogy from Orbit books

Part 1 – https://youtu.be/XaJiWp2QCIs
Part 2 – https://youtu.be/IjePIfb3fe8

More interviews coming soon.

The Coward – cover reveal

I’m delighted to be able to announce that the cover, and more information about my new novel, The Coward, is now available on Tor.com. The book will be published 8th June 2021, so less than a year to go. Click on the link below for more info!

Writing and Late Night Talk

As mentioned in my last post I’m doing some late night talks with authors. I’m speaking with Angus Watson this week and I’ve got another two arranged for the coming weeks. We’ll be talking frankly about writing, publishing, being an author and anything else that takes our fancy.

Once I have edited the videos they will then be available on YouTube.

On the same YouTube channel, I am also going to be regularly posting writing advice videos. So if you are an aspiring author, or you know of anyone who is, then please direct them to my new channel and ask them to subscribe.

There are 2 videos up there at the moment. An introduction one, explaining who I am, my background, a bit about the books and what I’m going to be doing on the channel.

There is also my first advice video about The Trap, which is something that many aspiring writers fall into when they start work on a novel.

If there are any topics you would like to see me cover on the channel, get in touch and let me know.

 

Authors Talking About Writing

Given that there are no conventions at the moment, a lot of stuff is moving online. I miss talking to authors about writing, characters, world-building and so on.

With that in mind I’m going to do a late night talk with Angus Watson on Tuesday 15th September.

If this one goes well I might do some more in the future.

Angus’s first series, the Iron Age Trilogy, debuted a year before me, also published by Orbit books. And this month, it will be 5 years since Battlemage was published. It’s also 5 years since the final book in his first trilogy, Reign of Iron, was published. So we’re going to celebrate that and talk about writing.

Tweet any questions about writing, books, publishing, whatever you fancy to @LateNightTalk3 and we’ll answer what we can.

The video will be uploaded to YouTube a few days after 15th September and I’ll the links.

Good and Bad Advice About Writing and Getting Traditionally Published

I’ve been working on this for a while in parallel with other projects. Over the last few months I’ve been working on an ebook for writers. It’s called – Good and Bad Advice About Writing and Getting Traditionally Published.

This is predominantly aimed at fiction writers and those looking to be traditionally published. The rules are different for non-fiction (which I touch on briefly in the book) and I have little experience with self-publishing, so I can’t really talk about that. I briefly explain some of the alternatives to traditional but not in any great detail.

The ebook is now available to pre-order. It will be published on 24th August.

ebook on Amazon UK

ebook on Amazon.com

This is a kindle ebook and it has a lot of information about good advice to listen to and bad advice you should completely ignore. I debunk a lot of the myths around writing a novel, debunk the rules people claim are necessary for success, information about writing a novel, finding an agent and then submitting to an agent.

Writing a synopsis is difficult and painful (and I still don’t like doing it), so I’ve also included my original synopsis for Battlemage (which then got me an agent) together with the back and forth correspondence from my agent. She explains what she liked about it and so on. Hopefully it will help you to write your own synopsis.

I also pull the curtain back a little on traditional publishing and explain the typical stages a book will go through from when you sent it to your agent to when it lands on a shelf in a bookshop.

There is information in there about lessons I’ve learned about being published, information about finding your style and other practical help for writers who are struggling.

There’s a lot of good information in there, plus some topics I don’t see people often writing or talking about. Hopefully it will help you if you’re trying to get published or find an agent.

If you know anyone who would be interested, please send them the link to pre-order the book, which will be published Monday 24th August.

ebook on (Amazon UK)

ebook on Amazon.com