Tag Archives: podcasts

Post-birthday blog

Friday was another birthday for me, not a landmark one, so following that and a few other developments, I thought I’d do a bit of a round-up blog for the end of this month.

Today I just received copies of the French version of Battlemage – Mage de Guerre – from my French publisher – Bragelonne. So if you want more info or to get your hands on copy in French, their website is the best place to start. It looks amazing and I love the cover.

Next month Bloodmage comes out and I’ve got a few signing events around the UK. I’m really excited about this book in a different way to Battlemage. It was my début book and this is now a chance to show readers that it wasn’t a fluke, and I can do it again. It’s a very different kind of book, so there’s some anxiety about how it will be received if people are expecting more of the same. In some ways I think it is a more accomplished book, but that’s just me.

I’m also doing a Goodreads giveaway, and this is open to people all around the world. I will sign and post 5 copies to 5 winners. There’s still a week left, so you just need to be a member of Goodreads to enter which is free to join.

I’ve just sent back the proof amends for book 3, title currently not announced, which means that is the last time I will see it before it comes out in print later this year. So, technically in terms of writing for the Age of Darkness trilogy…I’m done.

So that brings me on to the next thing. I’ve made a start, and I have a stack of ideas and have written several thousand words in notes. Character arcs, exciting tentpole moments from the story, ideas for where I see the story going at a top level. Then I start breaking it down into segments and themes and chunks. I’m writing it all down and then I start to sift it into some kind of semblance of order. I’ve not booked to attend any conventions this year until Fantasycon at the end of September in Scarborough. So that gives me a few months clear to knuckle down and focus on this next set of books and getting some words done on the first draft of book 1.

Other things are ticking along in the background, comic book projects are still going and also I’m still doing two podcasts a month with Bags of Action and Comic Book Outsiders. There will be an announcement next month about the podcasts, and an adjustment, but generally not a lot will change. I still love doing it which is why I’m still doing them 8 years on from when we started.

Spring is here so that means it’s time for me to start planting stuff out again in the garden, fruit and veg. I never thought I’d become a bit like Tom and Barbara from The Good Life, but hey, it’s happened. I enjoy it, it keeps me active, and home grown stuff tastes yummy.  That also reminds me, now that I’ve moved to a new area of the country, there are a lot of different local breweries to try. So I might be posting a few more real ale reviews on the website soon.

My reading has been pretty slow lately as it’s been busy with book 3 work, but I’m gradually getting to the end of Assassin’s Quest. I am enjoying it, but the book is very dense and about 800 pages, so it is taking me a while. My to read pile is mocking me, so I’m going to try make more time to read as it becomes a bit quieter for the next few months. Right, time to get back to pondering the next big thing.

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Filed under Books, Events, Stuff, Writing

What comes next

Last night my co-host, Scott, and I recorded the last episode of our podcast Comic Book Outsiders. We broadcast and recorded it live and some listeners joined in with questions and we even had a guest listener on the show. Unfortunately for him he’d only just discovered the podcast, but at least there is a back catalogue of episodes for him to listen to and lots of interesting comics to discover.

During the show Scott also played a small portion of episode one, where we outlined why we were doing the podcast. Our goal at the time was to promote comics outside the spotlight, those that didn’t get as much attention in the press and comics press, but are equally as fascinating, thought provoking and of equal quality in terms of the writing and art. Over the five years we talked to, and even met, many creative people all around the world making great comics and I hope we managed to open a few eyes and widen a few horizons.

So, what next? Well, I’m not getting out of the podcasting game, but I am easing off on the throttle and I will be doing less. I’ve always been a big SFF reader and as part of the podcast we started The Book Club about 3 years ago. Every 6-8 weeks we talk about a novel, alternating between a classic work of fiction and more modern novel. There are no hard and rigid rules, but we tend to term modern as anything from the last fifteen years or so. We’ve covered a wide range of books from I Am Legend, Caves of Steel, Slaughterhouse 5, Fahrenheit 451, The Handmaid’s Tale to more contemporary work such as The City and The City, Empire in Black and Gold, Hull Zero Three and Zoo City. We’ve even been lucky to get some of the authors on the podcast, among them Adrian Tchaikovsky, China Mieville and Lauren Beukes, and pose questions from listeners. For me this podcast is great because it forces me to read some of those novels I’ve always talked about getting around to but never quite managed, both classic and modern. It also forces me to try new stuff and get me out of my usual comfort zone which can make me a bit of a lazy reader. I always have a massive To Read Pile, but the deadline makes me get it done. Another part of the book club I enjoy is receiving feedback from listeners, as they often pick up on things I’ve missed and we always get a wide spectrum of opinions on the book.

There is a Good Reads group here, where you can post comments on the current book club selection and make recommendations for future book club selections if you want to take part.

Every month, but something I’m only taking part in every now and then, is a new podcast called Bags of Action. It mirrors the Book Club in a way, as every month a bunch of people will watch an action movie and then talk about it. We had lots of fun talking about our favourite action heroes on a recent episode of CBO and this is where the seed of the idea came from. There are about seven hosts, and we’ll have guest hosts too, so it will be a rotating cast of people talking about classic and recent action movies. It will be fun and silly and I am really looking forward to taking part. I enjoy movies that make me think and have something to say, but I also like the crazy action-hero popcorn movies. I don’t want to say CBO has not been fun, because it has, but there is an element of work that goesBags of Action into every episode, preparation for interviews, gathering news etc, and then the post-show work, editing, uploading and distributing. The only thing I need to do for this podcast is watch a movie. We’re recording the first episode later this week, so it will be out in another week or so. You can follow Bags of Action on Twitter here and there is also a Facebook group here if you want to talk about action movies, action heroes and all related geek and sundry. Also if you want to recommend action movies we have to watch, then post it on the Facebook group.

The last podcast I’m doing is a new writing focused podcast called Head Space. At the moment it’s monthly but we’ll see if I stick to that schedule. Episode 1 is already out and it is focused on the craft of writing. Every month I will chat to a writer about their process and how they create characters, story, worlds, their influences and where relevant, their experiences with the editing and publishing process. This is not intended to be a teaching podcast or a How To, it’s just a discussion about writing and how that particular personHead Space Podcast approaches it. I enjoy talking to other writers and finding out how they create and hopefully this podcast will provide interesting food for thought for myself and other writers out there. In episode 1 I spoke with Lou Morgan and you can visit the Head Space blog here (it will soon be available on iTunes under its own name if you want to subscribe there), to download the podcast. We talk about her debut book, Blood and Feathers from Solaris Books, which is released on August 2nd 2012 and her approach to writing. The book is being launched this Thursday at Forbidden Planet in London where Lou will be reading from the book and signing. Next month on the podcast, I’ll be speaking to Kim Curran and there will be more info on the Head Space blog closer to the time.

The last podcast on the new CBO network is called the Outsider Files and this is Scott’s new solo venture. I’m not sure about the schedule but every episode he will have a guest host on the show and talk to them about all of the stuff that they’re currently enjoying – comics, books, movies, TV etc and just have a nice chat.

That probably sounds like I’m doing more podcasts than before and committing myself to even more, but it’s actually less. We used to do CBO 3 weeks out of four every month and then moved it to a fortnightly schedule. I am always reading something, so The Book Club just makes me read certain books to a deadline, and 6-8 weeks is not tough. I’m not going to be on Bags of Action every episode, so that’s an every now and then thing, maybe every other month or one in three. And while Head Space is monthly, it might drift and become less often, but I’m not worried as I want to enjoy all of the podcasts I’m involved with and not punish myself if it runs late.

One of the questions we received towards the end of the live podcast last night was, am I still excited about comics? In all honesty, I am more excited now than I was five years ago. There are more independent comics now than five years ago and more importantly, many of them are receiving more widespread attention. Of course it’s still a struggle to get noticed in this crowded market, but some great independent comics are now enjoying remarkable sales and widespread attention because of adaptations on TV, animation and even films. Even a rumour of a TV or movie adaptation can cause a massive spike in sales as some properties are bought and then sit in development hell for years. But that’s fine, as long as it helps the creators, increases sales and gets the name of the comic out there into the wider market. So CBO is done, but I’m still very passionate about comics and am now creating some of my own. I hope to have some news about those projects next year but we’ll see how things go.

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Filed under Comics, General, podcast, Writing

Bits and pieces

Bit of a general round up post of some recent stuff I’ve been involved with. As part of the podcast we do a SFF book club and looking back we’ve been going now for two years. We’ve covered a whole bunch of different books, both classic works of fiction including The Handmaid’s Tale, Fahrenheit 451, Slaughterhouse 5, Stranger in a Strange Land, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, I Am Legend, The Caves of Steel and we’ve looked at some modern SFF including Empire in Black and Gold, The City and The City, Zoo City, American Gods, Masked, The Winter King, Horns, and The Dresden Files. We’ve been lucky enough to speak to some of the authors of these great books and have interviewed China Mieville, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Lou Anders and Lauren Beukes.

Our most recent selection is Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card which is under the popular spotlight at the moment because a movie adaptation seems to be moving ahead. Our discussion proved to be really interesting as Scott and I came down on different sides with the novel and the author attracts a fair amount of controversy because of his views. A quick internet search will tell you more about that. Our current book club selection is a debut novelist, Mazarkis Williams, and his first book The Emperor’s Knife is being published by Joe Fletcher books, someone who is very well known in the SFF publishing business. So, if you’ve got some time over the holidays or beyond that in the months ahead and want to listen to some discussion of SFF books, check out The Book Club blog where we post new episodes.

This week we’re also recording the last Comic Book Outsiders episode of 2011 and we will take a longer break over the holidays and be back in January. I’ll end up with about two weeks off work, but I’m going to be busy with family and then I’ve got to get my teeth into some writing projects that have been put to one side in recent weeks because work has kept me very busy, away from home, and made me very tired.

I’m not one for making new year’s resolutions but I am looking forward to next year with a renewed sense of hope. Some creative projects that have been slowly gestating are starting to bear some fruit and the increased momentum is getting me excited about writing in a way that I’ve not been for a while. I think next year is going to be an interesting and creatively rich and rewarding year. So while I’m not keen to wish away the rest of December, I am looking forward to seeing what happens next.

 

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Filed under General, podcast, Writing