Did I tell you that I have a book coming out before the end of this month? Y’know, part one of an Epic Fantasy duology under the series title Malessar’s Curse? Heir To The North, it’s called. And if you want the digital version of it, you’ll have to wait until the official release date of October 23rd. (But you can still pre-order it, because pre-orders are cool. Like fezes.)
If you want the chance of winning a signed copy of Heir To The North, meanwhile, get thee hither to the SFSF Social this Saturday, at Eten Cafe in Sheffield, where David Barnett will be reading from his latest Gideon Smith novel, and Amanda Rutter will be answering questions in an exclusive “Ask The Agent” session, and buy a raffle ticket or two.
It’s tempting to leave it there and go catch up on my sleep before the day-job looms back into view, but that wouldn’t do justice to the weekend, so here goes.
It was a long and full weekend too – even though Bristolcon is a one-day event it’s far enough from Sheffield, and I’m aware enough of my own limitations, that it made sense to travel down on Friday and come back up on Sunday. The journey down involved a diversion through the Cotswolds to a market town That Time Forgot to pick up some books for fellow Grimmie Sophie E Tallis, and the scenery was stunning enough to make up for the final second-gear crawl along the M4 towards Bristol.
There’s an expanding Friday night programme at the con, and I wasn’t the only participant arriving early – my fellow panelists Rosie Oliver and Misa Buckley were on hand for introductions, and Paul Cornell dropped by the table for a chat about the Witches of Lychford and various matters Who-ish as well as a very animated discussion about fans, Q&A sessions, and the reactions of con guests with my old friend Tim (over for the evening from the other side of the Severn for a long-overdue catch-up).
I did the first public reading from Heir To The North at the Open Mic event, though that was probably quite rightly overshadowed by Jo Walton’s fevered economies-of-Pokemon monologue and Cheryl Morgan’s Camelot slash-fic satire (should that be Satyr?). The room really wasn’t as empty as it looks at this point – everybody was sitting at the back…
Grimbold Books had a table in the dealers’ room this year, and there were several of us Grimmies on hand to keep the table running through the day, though Steven Guscott took most of the shifts on himself. Seeing a poster for Heir To The North behind the table kinda brought home just how close this whole launch thing is getting! Team Grimbold were also launching Joanne Hall’s Spark and Carousel at Bristolcon, which was a show-stopping event in the 2pm slot. Lights, scenery, music, wine and cake – and a stunning book to boot. Little wonder (and deservedly so!) that Jo sold out of copies shortly after 3pm.
I took the opportunity to speak to Juliet E McKenna about the forthcoming reissues (through Wizard’s Tower Press) of her Aldabreshin Compass quartet. I say speaking, mostly I was fanboying in delight while she showed me the fresh layouts for all four covers – hellfire, they look bloody good. If you buy them, WTP might even be able to commission prints of them, which would be awesome, so consider yourselves under orders right now.
That would have been the highlight of the day for me if it wasn’t for the fact that this year’s Bristolcon saw me on a panel for the first time. Quite why I thought I was an expert on FTL travel is a mystery even Mycroft Holmes can’t answer, but given the other panelists included SF author Dean Saunders-Stowe, mathematician, engineer and author Rosie Oliver, Whovian Misa Buckley, and Gareth L Powell (something about a steampunkmonkeySpitfire pilot, I dunno, it’ll never catch on…) maybe they needed a bit of balance from an Epic Fantasist. :P
Somewhat to my surprise, it all went rather well, which is a good thing as I’m scheduled for two panels at Sledge-Lit in Derby this November. Full details on that to come!
Like Tigger on crack, eventually I ran out of bounce and missed the closing announcement that next year’s Guests of Honour would include Ken McLeod and Sarah Pinborough. I had already decided to make a return trip, as Bristolcon has proved its reputation as one of the most fun and friendliest conventions around. The organisers and their team of indefatigable Minions deserve an ovation for their efforts. If that doesn’t convince you to come to Bristolcon next year, perhaps the fact that the Lego-themed Brick-Out room will also be there, as well as, hopefully, Emma Newman presiding over more yarn-a-thons, will encourage you.
Now it’s time to shake some dust into the air for next month’s SFSF Social, which will be followed closely by Fantasycon in Nottingham. If you haven’t already pre-ordered your copies of Heir to the North, or you’re waiting for the paperback links to pop up, rest assured these things are happening and all is on schedule. The South has had a damned good weekend, but The North Will Rise Again.
I’m off prepping for Bristolcon – and hopefully I’ll see some of you there! – but before I disappear, the great folks at Tickety Boo Press have my thoughts on the meaning of overnight success¹ right here.
I’ll return to loudly trumpeting the forthcoming release of Heir to the North soon (October 23rd worldwide, fact fans, and available for pre-orders now!) but meanwhile, it’s time to celebrate and buff the knuckles for another reason.
The new and rather spiffy magazine The Singularity – details here, on sale here – has taken on my shaggy-dog epic space opera The Day Brockwell Park Stood Still. A galaxy-spanning whirl of first contact, bad puns, and nods to the Culture, all in a bite-size portion, it walks small and thinks big. A bit like The Singularity itself – a magazine that is well worth checking out.
Heir To The North is up for pre-order on Amazon right now. Just £3.99 in the UK on Kindle format, and $6.09 for those of y’all Stateside. Paperback links will come shortly! You won’t be able to read it until October 23rd (just before Fantasycon – what a coincidence!), but you can be a part of the rising North today.
Why pre-order? Why not wait until the release date? Here, I’ll let Joanne Hall explain it far more eloquently than I can:
One of the reasons it’s really good to pre-order books by your favourite authors (or even by me ;) ) is that all the pre-order sales count towards the first days sales – a good amount of pre-order sales can boost a book right up the Amazon charts on the day of release, and the higher up the Amazon charts a book is, the more Amazon will promote it and the more exposure it gets, which leads to hopefully more sales. A book can be promoted as a “number one Amazon best-seller” even if it reaches number one in a sub-sub category – it doesn’t have to be Number One across the whole of Amazon, it just needs to be number one in, for example, Coming-of-age fantasy. It still counts. So please, if you’re planning to buy the book on Kindle anyway, pre-order it now and give it a release day ratings boost!
Because more book sales mean more cake for you… And because the better this book sells the more likely it is that Kristell Ink will be able to publish [The High King’s Vengeance]in the future. Books are sold on the performance of the one before. So if you like my books and want to see more of them, please buy this one!
BristolCon happens on September 26th, at the Doubletree Hotel – in Bristol, natch. I’ll be there!
More than that, though – if you’re up for playing a BristolCon version of Where’s Chopper?, you’ll probably find me in the main programme room at 2pm for the launch of Joanne Hall‘s new novel Spark & Carousel, and again at 6pm as part of the panel item “Faster Than Light: If we can go anywhere, any time, what are the implications? FTL Travel will come at a cost: financial, political and socio-economic. How do you choose an FTL system, and why? Our panel fill in the stars on a google map of the universe. May include really cool spaceships!”
It’s been a busy old month – so much so that I even left the multi-talented Alex Davis in charge of affairs for a day while I was elsewhere. (Alex’s own blog is well worth a read, as I’ve already mentioned, especially since it has recent guest posts from such great folk as Issy Brooke, Andy Angel, Mark West, Helen Ellwood, Shellie Horst, and Jonathan Green.)
Meanwhile, I’ve been popping up in all kinds of other places.
Alex Davis hosts my Q&A session with Kristell Ink whip-cracker Sammy Smith.