Terra Nullius

Good news! (Because there’s not much of that around these days, so let’s take what we can!)

Terra Nullius, a forthcoming anthology from Kristell Ink Books, edited by Kate Coe and Ellen Croshain, will include a brand new story by yours truly.

Terra Nullius: land belonging to no-one. An anthology of speculative fiction that explores the colonisation of our Solar System and far beyond, where pioneers carve out a new existence under other stars. New worlds and new challenges, with alien races and strange technology, but also the many facets of human emotion during the struggle to make a new home…

My story, Escape, looks at a team of far-future explorers discovering a long-lost colony world from the first, pre-hyperspace diaspora. Of course, not everything is as straightforward as the exploitative explorers expect…

Other stories in the anthology will include:

Regolith – Nina Johnson
A Salt Moon – Jessica Reisman
Reaper – Matthew Pederson
Terra Incognita – Jessica Rydill
The Chlorophyll Run – Erica Eastick
Countdown to Deliverance – Thomas Spargo
My Sister’s Grave – Jonathan Oliver
Tap – Shaun Brassfield-Thorpe
Wind and Stars and All Creation – Gregor Hartmann
No-Name – John Bayliss
The Brides of Rack and Ruin – Jill Hand
First Contact – Will McMillan-Jones

Now that’s a fantastic line-up of new and established names, and I’m looking forward to reading them all! Oh, and there’s already artwork for the anthology – check out this fantastic Nele Diel cover art, and look out for Terra Nullius later on this year!

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Chopper on Tour 2016 – Fantasycon by the Sea!

What a weekend that was. Seriously, never has a convention felt both more and less like a holiday than this one. And I say that as a good thing, looking back at it now after all the dust has settled and we’ve shaken the sand out of our shoes and beaten off the seagulls with very long sticks. (And apologies for the belated write-up – it’s been a long month already!)

Low points? Okay, there were a few; let’s get them out of the way now so we can focus on the good stuff. The Grand Hotel was grand in name and decor, but like so many old galleons, there were leaks below the waterline, ghosts in the closet, seagulls in the bathroom… It didn’t affect me, for the most part – the room Joel Cornah and I shared had a glorious sea view and was serendipitously directly opposite our dealer’s table on the first floor balcony. It was basic, and the window onto the balcony had last closed properly in 1945, but there was a kettle, and hot water in the morning, and it was somewhere to sit and breathe for 10 minutes any time I needed to give myself a break. At conventions, that’s the most important thing.

The food? I’ve had worse at many Tesco cafes, though the scrambled eggs did stretch the definition of edible and they certainly made the homeward journey windy. The word basic will be rolled out more than twice in this post. Customer service in the bar was hopelessly slow.

But.

But.

The package – the convention as a whole – was excellent. I’ve always wanted to sweep down that sort of staircase with an entourage. I panelled with brilliant authors and editors. I busted the karaoke with a rendition of Bonnie Tyler’s Holding Out For A Hero that the audience won’t soon forget. I said hi to Joe Hill and Scott Lynch, and talked with Elizabeth Bear. I made tentative SFSF plans. For half an hour I abused my PLH to serve wine from behind the cocktail bar. James Bennett proposed marriage¹. I finally met the wonderful Stan Nicholls, and nearly made off with Pete Newman’s freshly-won Gemmell Award before he could flee with it back to the Grand. The lovely folks at Unsung Stories

And as a co-frontperson (with Joanne Hall and Joel) for the Grimbold Books stall, we defied the dispersed layouts to strike fear into the wallets of everybody at the con. 🙂

Oh, and there was the small matter of a book launch, or three. The Summer Goddess (Joanne Hall), The Book of Angels (AJ Dalton), and my own The High King’s Vengeance all got officially launched on the Friday evening in a frenzy of wine and badges. A successful little party it was, and thank you to all who came!

And last, but definitely not least, there were the British Fantasy Awards. You won’t be surprised to learn that I didn’t win – Zen Cho took Best Newcomer, and deservedly so to be honest – but I’m still incredibly honoured to have been shortlisted alongside such a talented fire-team of authors. That makes Zen Cho the honorary Heir to the North, I reckon.

Next up in the tour diary – Derby Writers’ Day on October 15th, and Bristolcon on October 29th. Hope to see some of you at either of those!

 

¹Dear reader, what can I say? I had to decline – I’m not sure Rach would have been very understanding…

Caenthell Lives!

It’s here, folks – it’s here! High King’s Vengeance launches TODAY. If you’re at Fantasycon-by-the-sea, you can swing by the Cocktail Bar in the Grand Hotel at 5pm to join the launch party, along with Joanne Hall (The Summer Goddess) and AJ Dalton (The Book of Angels). If you’re not at FCon (and why not?) you can follow all the weekend’s fun on Twitter with the hashtag #FCon2016 while you wait for Online Retailers to deliver your copy!

Pic: Tim Wreford-Bush

In fact, some copies have already been seen in the wild – here’s Crunchie, of South Wales, with one of the first! Send me – or Kristell Ink Books – your book pics, preferably with cats, because we’re like that – and we’ll post them up!

Meanwhile, it’s time to load up Elsie with all the launch stock and get on the road. Next month I’m in Derby for their Writers’ Day (15th October) and Bristol for Bristolcon (29th October) and I’ll be happy to sell and/or sign at both events.

Enjoy your weekend, and enjoy the book!

High King’s Vengeance Launch Details!

You might have missed the news last night, so here’s the deets as we know them!

High King’s Vengeance, the sequel to Heir to the North and the concluding volume of the Malessar’s Curse duology, will launch at 5pm on Friday 23rd September at Fantasycon-by-the-sea in Scarborough. There will be paperbacks. There will be hardbacks. There may even be alcohol. If you’re dreadfully unlucky, I’ll read a few pages too!

But, that’s not all, not by a long chalk.

Kristell Ink doesn’t do things by halves – which is why this launch slot is a co-launch with Joanne Hall‘s latest fantastic standalone novel in the world of Hierath, The Summer Goddess. Summer_Goddess_Cover_by_Jason_Deem_largeHaving deservedly won Grimdark Magazine’s “Battle-Off” last year, Joanne has got stunning cover art by Jason Deem to show off as well as a rocket-paced rescue quest.

So, come and join us for what, in my humble opinion, will be the best launch of Friday night at Fantasycon so far!

Oh, and if you want sneak previews of both books, as well as bonus short stories and notes about our writing processes and themes, and you want to support one of the very best indie fantasy publishers in the UK today, go visit the Grimbold Books Patreon site and join our club.

The Sound of the North!

It’s here! It lives! The North has risen!

Diana Croft’s epic reading of Heir to the North is live now on Audible. You can listen as Cassia, Baum, Meredith, Arca, and all the rest of the cast, come alive in your imagination. And all it will cost you is one – one! – Audible credit. If you’re not already an Audible listener, go ahead and choose Heir to the North as your introductory title in a 30-day trial period.

The Heir to the North Audiobook
Click the pic to go straight to Audible!

And, as with everything else in this creative world, feedback is everything. Like it? Review it. Love it? Review it. Not your cup of Earl Grey? Review it. I won’t hold it against you. 🙂

Cassia hits the long lists!

It’s Friday the 13th, a good day for burying your head in the cushions, locking the doors, and generally avoiding the world altogether. But if you did that today, you’d have missed the announcements coming from the David Gemmell Awards for Fantasy – the long lists are up, and open for voting!

A slice of the long list!
A slice of the long list!

For the last eight years the Gemmell Awards – there are three in total, the Legend Award itself, the Morningstar (best debut), and the Ravenheart (best cover art) – have looked to honour the very best in fantasy fiction, especially those works that chime with some of the themes in heroic and epic fantasy that David Gemmell himself wrote about. Nominated authors in the past have included Kameron Hurley, Patrick Rothfuss, Brian Staveley, Brandon Sanderson, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Helen Lowe, Kristen Britain, Saladin Ahmed, Juliet Marillier… the list goes on, it really does.

This year’s long lists look strong. And this year, I have a very personal interest in them. No, the screen shot does not lie – Heir to the North is there in the main Legend Award long list. You could, if you feel strongly enough that Cassia’s quest to overturn the centuries-old curse on the lands of Caenthell was one of the best books you read last year, vote to put Heir to the North through to the whittled-down shortlist. Of course in doing so you’d be ignoring the frankly brilliant Guns of the Dawn (Adrian Tchaikovsky), the riproaring, levelled-up The Iron Ghost (Jen Williams), Edward Cox, Kate Elliott, Joanne Hall, Robin Hobb…

but, well, I wouldn’t stop you.

Whichever way you want to vote, you can do so here, until Friday 24th June: http://www.gemmellawards.com/award-voting-2016/

And those lists should sort your reading out for the rest of this year too. 🙂

Heir To The North: Cover Reveal!

It’s here!

Heir To The North
Heir To The North

If you need a reminder, here’s the deal:

The Warlock Malessar destroyed Caenthell centuries ago, murdering the High King Jedrell and his bride, and cursing the land itself. Since that time, the mountain kingdom has become little more than a dark legend, and the bloodline of the High Kings has been lost.

Until now.

Old soldier Baum and heroic warrior Meredith seek to defeat Malessar and his foul curse. Conscripted into their quest, young Cassia quickly realises she could make her name as a storyteller by witnessing such an epic confrontation. But neither of her companions are quite as they appear, and the truth lies deep within stories Cassia has not yet heard.

By the time she discovers that both Baum and the Warlock have hidden devastating secrets from each other for centuries, it may be too late. Cassia must decide which side she will stand upon and for whom she will fight – for Malessar, or for The Heir To The North.

Coming in paperback and e-formats from Kristell Ink/Grimbold Books in Summer 2015, The Heir to the North is an epic fantasy of legends, love, and slow revenge.

That’s Meredith and Cassia right there on the cover – ready for action, ready to take the fight to Malessar, ready to reclaim Caenthell. I love the traditional feel of this – it’s about the characters themselves, rather than a slightly abstract object (with apologies to fans of slightly abstract objects – I have nothing against you!), and I think it reflects the tone of the first stage of Cassia’s journey and the way she sees that quest herself. Optimism and heroics, that’s what Cassia wants! Ah, naivety… 🙂

Our artist, Jorge Torres (you can see his work here) has done a proper spiffing job on this. His work on the cover for the sequel, The High King’s Vengeance, takes it to another (darker, more desperate) level – but that, dear reader, is a reveal for another day…

Meanwhile, if this tempts you to adding it to your TBR pile, here’s a link to Goodreads… 🙂