Why so serious?

I suppose I should stand up and officially scotch the (self-started) rumour that I’m going to be writing in the Star Wars universe. That was my April Fool, obviously, and probably not a good one either (Mary Robinette Kowal pretty much owned April Fool’s Day for pranking purposes; mine was a 4.30am first-coffee-of-the-day effort). Needless to say, Disney wouldn’t come to me first for a new entry to the canon, and certainly not for a continuation of the Jar Jar Binks story. Anyway, they’ve already got Chuck Wendig, and that’s enough beard for anybody.

It’s interesting to note that there seemed to be a lot less pranking than usual this time around. Paul Cornell posted on Twitter that there was more anger than anything else, though personally I didn’t see any of that through the morning. He wondered if we had been battered too much by the “absurdity” of everyday life.

It’s possible – there hasn’t been much good news this year, both in general and in personal terms. Looking ahead – US elections, idiot fundamentalists, idiot Conservatives, the demolition of the NHS and the return to Victorian-style poverty – there’s not much good on the horizon either. There aren’t too many reasons to laugh out loud. And that’s just the general stuff.

Should I feel bad over posting what was basically just an “unfunny lie”? Has April Fool’s Day become the Heath Ledger of jokes, uncomfortable, unwanted, polarising and vicious (reminds me of the troll-in-law, but less sociopathic)?

As with most things, it depends on what you’re doing and why. For example my own pranking is pointed at myself as much as anything else: I don’t take myself seriously, and I rarely expect anybody else to. I’m happy to set myself up as the butt of a joke (even a bad one) because I’ll most likely be the first one (sometimes the only one) to laugh. The world’s going to hell, led by the Pied Piper of Fart, so rather than drive myself mad worrying about it I’ll turn away for a moment and have a giggle. At myself, not at anyone else. It’s not big, it’s not clever, but it’s not directed at anybody else and it’s not hurtful either, unlike some of the other jokes.

We’re frustrated, we’re angry, we lash out – and the “jokes” hurt people.

Perhaps the world gets the jokes it deserves. If that’s the case, then if we want better jokes, then we really ought to do something about the world.

/rant.

Heir To The North on Fantasy Faction

If I lived in an end terrace, rather in the middle of one, I reckon I’d be up a ladder right now, painting the text of this review onto the side wall.:)

it feels like a book you might have read years ago when you were just discovering fantasy, before you grew jaded by wonder and started demanding that everything should be gritty.

the final set piece is genuine inhale-it-through-your-eyeballs stuff.

This is everything I would hope for from a book that deals with a storyteller as a central character…

Go here to find the full review by AFE Smith: http://fantasy-faction.com/2016/the-heir-to-the-north-by-steven-poore

Meanwhile, over in Starburst…

Reviews are important – and here’s a good one from the friendly folks at Starburst magazine for the Fox Spirit Books anthology Things In the Dark.

Which, as y’all should know, contains my short story Junior Twilight Stock Replacer. Not that I’m bragging, or anything. Except that I am, of course. Aw come on, it’s Friday. If you can’t brag on a Friday, when can you brag?

starburst
Click through to Starburst to see the full review

 

Why You Might Want To Tune In to SFFWorld Next Friday

Well, I’m not saying SFFWorld has an exclusive cover reveal for The High King’s Vengeance, scheduled for 6pm on Friday 19th February… but I’m not saying that they don’t either.

Alright, you got me. Yes, they do. If you don’t already read or subscribe to that rather excellent site, go on – sign up. They’re good people.:)

The Long Road to The High King’s Vengeance Starts Here!

The best thing about Heir To The North (apart from all the other things, of course!) is that the story doesn’t end there. Baum’s quest is completed, he has won, Malessar’s Curse has been broken, and now Cassia can see the enormity of what she has done.

So, what’s next? That’s what all the cool folks want to know. And, as it happens, there is an answer. That answer is The High King’s Vengeance, the second half of the story. This is the one with dragons and princes. This is the one with armies of stone and desperate duels. This is the one with romance and revelations. This is the one where Cassia comes to terms with herself and returns to Caenthell and the North.

Now all I have to do is let my editor beat the actiony action into it.

And all you have to do, for now at least, is add it to your TBR lists on Goodreads.

And soon – maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon – we’ll be revealing the finished cover art for The High King’s Vengeance, and you’ll get your first look at Cassia’s new companion for this second half of her journey…

Voice of the North!

It’s been a bit quiet over here recently. But, much like an iceberg, there’s plenty of frantic paddling beneath the surface. No, wait, that’s ducks…. 90% of a duck is under the surface… or summat….

Anyway.

Here’s some news that you might already know! Heir To The North, which is slowly gathering praise all across t’net, will be coming to Audible as an audiobook later this year! We (that is, Kristell Ink/Grimbold Books and myself) have signed up a wonderful narrator – Diana Croft – who we reckon can more than do justice to Cassia’s story. Obviously, this may take some time, but keep your ears open for the release dates…

And talking of release dates, High King’s Vengeance is pencilled in for late 2016. It may seem months away yet, but it will be upon us before you know it…

And where can you see me this year? Aside from the Sheffield Socials – the first of which will be on February 20th, with guests David Tallerman and Adele Wearing – I will once more be at EdgeLit, FantasyCon and BristolCon. More details on those closer to the time, of course…

Now, back to TFL. Enjoy your weekend!

“Not much of a go-getter”: the 2015 round-up post

It’s that time of the year again, when I look back at my mother-in-law’s tired and less than complimentary put-down¹ and measure myself against it. Well, nothing very memorable happened in 2015, did it?

Apart from (and with no apologies for beating my own drum here):

  • Photo: Sophie E Tallis
    Photo: Sophie E Tallis

    Fox Spirit Books published That Sinking Feeling in the Fox Pockets anthology Under The Waves.

  • Heir To The North launched at Fantasycon in Nottingham, with a platoon of matching t-shirts courtesy of the magnificent folks at Grimbold Books. What an absolute blast of a weekend that was, even if I never made good on my threat to do Holding Out For a Hero at the karaoke (next year…).
  • There was a road trip to Shropshire to scout the lay of the land for Project:TFL (which is being built from the keel up, as they say). So much pub grub…!
  • Being a panelist for the first time at Bristolcon, alongside Rosie Oliver, Misa Buckley, Dean Saunders-Stowe, and Gareth L Powell. And a long-overdue catch-up with Tim Wreford-Bush!
  • Being a panelist, and also moderating a panel for the first time at Sledge-Lit (with Rod Duncan, Julia Knight, Gavin Smith, Susan Boulton, Stephen Aryan, Alex Davis and Natasha Pulley).
  • nibs1We adopted a three-legged cat called Mycroft who now absolutely loves cuddles. This little dude has made himself right at home!
  • I know exactly what the cover for High King’s Vengeance will look like (you folks will have to wait a while longer for that, I’m afraid…).
  • Heir To The North got some awesome reviews from some equally awesome people. Reviews are important. I haven’t had to break out the HMHB “Bad Review” link yet, so let’s cherish the time before it has to happen!
  • We watched John Cameron Mitchell film exteriors for How To Talk To Girls At Parties on the street outside our house. Blink and you’ll miss it!
  • SFSF Social #1 Adrian Tchaikovski close upWe started up the SFSF Social with readings by Adrian Tchaikovsky and Jo Thomas – and going on to feature Dana Fredsti, Ian Sales, Jacey Bedford, Paul Kane, and David Barnett in the Socials after that.
  • We were a part of Sheffield’s Off The Shelf Festival with the 4th SFSF Social and hosted our very first Ask The Agent session with Amanda Rutter!
  • I appeared on Sheffield Live Radio and BBC Radio Sheffield –
  • Myself, Kevin Redfern, Hayley Orgill, Alex Bardy and Roy Grey successfully defended our team’s crown and reputation at the EdgeLit quiz, much to Alex Davis’s evident delight (sorry, Alex!)
  • I got invited to contribute to an anthology (Woodbridge Press – keep them peeled….)
  • It doesn’t signify anything, but I was pleasantly surprised to find myself on the the suggestions list for the British Fantasy Awards next year (not self-nominated, I promise you!).
  • Fox Spirit Books published Junior Twilight Stock Replacer in the Fox Pockets anthology Things In The Dark – as the year started, so it ends!

Yeah, not much, huh? Typing it out makes me realise just how much I’ve tried to fit into the last year – and yes, I’m probably going to try to do the same again next year too. That’s me, diving in like a loon…

Somehow, I found time to read other people’s books this year, as well as all of the above. I’ve been a bit more consistent in logging them on Goodreads, so it doesn’t take long to discover that some of my absolute favourite reads from this year (though not necessarily published this year) were:

  • A Darker Shade of Magic, by VE Schwab
  • Guns of the Dawn, by Adrian Tchaikovsky
  • breedBreed, by KT Davies
  • Planesrunner, by Ian McDonald
  • The Stars Seem So Far Away, by Margrét Helgadóttir
  • All That Outer Space Allows, by Ian Sales
  • The Art of Forgetting: Nomad, by Joanne Hall
  • The Burning Land, by Victoria Strauss

And I heartily recommend them all to you if you haven’t already caught them.

Plans for 2016? Well, there’s TFL to finish, Socials to plan, and conventions to book, HKV to edit, and the next, long-delayed installment of Empire Dance to sort out. And conventions too – Edge-Lit and Fantasycon again, and perhaps Bristolcon again too. I hope to see you all out there somewhere – and may the road rise with you!

 

 

¹Also, obviously, wrong. But hey, smile and wave folks, smile and wave…