Aliens! Out Now!

It’s Wednesday, the sun is shining, and I have toast and tea. All is good. And, even better, you can now buy the new anthology ALIENS: THE TRUTH IS COMING from Tickety Boo Press, featuring my story Rent alongside stories by Adrian Tchaikovsky, Tim James, Alex Davis, Juliana Spink Mills, and more.

Here’s the cover, with handy Amazon links as well. Go then – there are other worlds than this…

Aliens – Amazon.co.uk
Aliens – Amazon.com

Aliens!

aliensThe truth is out there – almost. Tickety Boo Press release their next anthology, Aliens: The Truth is Coming, at the end of the month, and the full list of stories goes as follows:

In Plain Sight by Juliana Spink Mills

Geometry by Alex Davis

Gods of the Ice Planet by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Island Visit by Nathan Hystad

Even the Klin Are Only Human by Bryn Fortey

A New Dawn by Liz Gruder

Rent by Steven Poore

Salvage by MJ Kobernus

The Devil’s Rock by William Anderson

The Man Who Wasn’t Dead by Terry Grimwood

We Three Remain by Stewart Hotston

Welcome to Cosmic Journey by Michael Chandos

The Zoo of Dark Creatures by Leslie J Anderson

Here by Tim James

If that’s not a line-up to whet your whistle, I’ll eat your hat. Rent is a rare excursion into SF short fiction for me, as most of my recent short stuff has been set firmly in the modern era. Rent harks back to This Place Sucks in tone and style, so if you enjoyed that little shaggy-dog tale, I hope you’ll enjoy this one too.

I don’t have buy/reserve links for the anthology yet, but I’ll add them to this post (and the forthcoming short fiction links page) as soon as they appear. Meanwhile, you can find out more over at the Tickety Boo Press Facebook page. And, as ever, we stand and fall on our ratings and reviews – add Aliens to your Goodreads TBR and leave honest reviews, and make a bunch of authors happy. 🙂

We Have A Roy – EdgeLit 2015

EdgeLit is a highlight of my calendar, and as close to a “home convention” as it is possible to get right now – I’ve attended each of the previous three events in Derby, and I certainly wasn’t going to break the habit this year. Not least because I had a reputation and a crown to defend…

That crown being EdgeLit Quiz Champion, of course. Our team – Kevin Redfern, Hayley Orgill, Alex Bardy, Roy Gray, and myself – have beaten allcomers for the last two years, and we were looking for an unprecedented third win in a row. This year’s quiz promised to be a mighty tight and difficult affair, with organiser, host, MC and all-round decent chap Alex Davis out to break our winning streak… but more on that later.roy2

EdgeLit has grown year on year into an absolute must. Guests included Joanne Harris, Mike Carey, Samantha Shannon, Claire North, Paul McAuley, and John Connolly; workshops were being run by Kim Lakin-Smith, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Rod Duncan, Jenny Colgan, and Gav Thorpe amongst others; the programme was packed full of book launches from exciting British small presses, panels, readings, and the now-infamous Edge-Lit Raffle. It’s a two-day con condensed down into a single day, and there’s so much to do and so many people to chat to that it’s outright impossible to do everything you’ve marked as interesting on the schedule (although that didn’t stop one member of our writers’ group trying!).

That’s not a criticism, by the way – hell no, it’s the mark of a good convention. I used the schedule as a starting point, and then just wandered about. Stephen Deas chaired an interesting discussion on the interface between history and fantasy fiction, although it was obvious early on that all the panellists were on the same page; Fox Spirit author and SFSF Social regular Jo Thomas launched her new book Pack of Lies alongside Alec McQuay and writers from Boo Books. Spectral Press launched three novellas – Stephen Volk’s Leytonstone really did catch my attention, although by that point I was already running low on funds. One for the future, however.

Gary Compton, main man behind Tickety Boo Press, had come down from the North-East with a truckload of books to sell. I helped set his table up, just outside the main dealers’ room. I recommend you buy Goblin Moon, Abendau’s Heir, The Last War, Oracle, A Prospect of War – it’s a bloody good catalogue he’s building up there. He had cakes too; I managed to stop myself eating more than one.

I hadn’t seen Kate Laity for several years – not since AltFiction in Leicester – so it was cool to be able to say hi to her and get a signature on my copy of White Rabbit. I also chatted to David Tallerman (who will be running a workshop at Nine Worlds later this year), Ian Sales (also promoting the fourth volume in the Apollo Quartet; more on that when I’ve read it), Aunty Fox Adele Wearing, Paul Kane and Marie O’Regan, Amanda Rutter.

Oh, and there was a quiz too. Did I mention that?

See, we have a secret weapon – we have a Roy.roy1

Roy promotes TTA Press titles – Interzone, Black Static, novellas – at pretty much every convention in the UK. But to say he just does that would be doing him a great disservice. A convention without him would be a dull place indeed. And believe me, he knows his stuff.

Did we win?

Just a bit.

🙂

Chopper on (Blog) Tour, 2015

The mighty Alex Davis, author of epic space opera The Last War,last-war-cover available now through Tickety Boo Press (he’s also an event wrangler extraordinaire and I’m totally convinced he’s found the extra three hours in the day nobody else knows really exist) is running a whole month of guest blogs over at his place here. In fact, it’s a whole month of blog swaps. So on July 20th, he’ll be taking over the top post on this blog, and I’ll be over there, thattaway.

There’s a pretty sweet line-up for the rest of the guest posts on Alex’s blog and I recommend dipping in to check some of them out over the course of the month. For example –

James Everington
Kim Lakin-Smith
Susan Boulton
Andrew Angel
Stephen Palmer
Jo Zebedee

That’s not all, not by a long chalk, but I’ll let you swing by Alex’s pages to see the full list. Then, you’ll just have to collect the whole series of blog posts – see, you gotta catch ’em all…

Reasons to be Cheerful – 2014 edition

Granted, there aren’t all that many reasons to be cheerful, looking back at the mess the world made of 2014.¹ But on a personal level, it’s been pretty stellar. The year has built and built like an over-extended Zarathustran overture. I can’t guarantee obelisks, but we’re definitely leaving the under-developed grunters behind…

Anyway, what have I got to be so happy about?

Heir To The North, the first part of Malessar’s Curse, will be released in print and e-formats by Grimbold Books/Kristell Ink in late summer 2015. I may have mentioned that already. I make no apologies for mentioning it again. The cover art looks plenty cool so far, and I’ll share it as soon as I’m allowed to!

All welcome!

The deal was pretty much done at FantasyCon in York, back in September. That was a brilliant weekend. At the same time, I accidentally became the point man for Sheffield’s own variant of the successful Super Relaxed Fantasy Club and York Pubmeets. The first of these SoYo genre afternoons, the SFSF Social – in which there will be readings, and prizes, and all for the grand price of £absolutelynowt – takes place in January. If you’re interested – and with guests Jo Thomas and Adrian Tchaikovsky, why wouldn’t you be? – click this way and see the details. There’s been a bit of a dearth of this kind of thing in Sheffield, despite the city being home to the annual Off The Shelf literary festival, so we’d like this to become something of a regular fixture.

Empire Dance 4: The Packard Defence came out on or around May 4th, and while it didn’t set the world alight (and nor did I expect it to) it did seem to go down particularly well down in the Antipodes. Thank you all ever so much!

Creatively and businesswise, we’ve never been in a better place. When Rachel led a macrame workshop at an event organised by Sheffield Museums, the response was staggeringly positive. So much so, in fact, that I had to rope myself in as an emergency backup demonstrator – learning the knots as I went! Now, if you want to include the Social in the numbers, there are three businesses in the house. And that’s not counting the day job². Meanwhile, my former employer (and I’ll note officially that it’s good to see them still trading) wants to give me more money. How can I reasonably refuse?

Stuff I’ve enjoyed this year? Bear in mind that some of it is probably older than 2014… (and none of these are affiliate links, by the way)

Cool cover, cool book!

Sebastien de Castell’s Greatcoats series started with a fantastic bang in Traitor’s Blade. Django Wexler’s The Thousand Names, Brian McClellan’s Promise of Blood, Ack Ack Macaque by Gareth L Powell, The Art of Forgetting by Joanne Hall, Kameron Hurley’s Mirror Empire – all wonderful stuff and highly recommended. The cool Tales of the Nun & Dragon. I’m in the middle of a massive re-read of Kate Elliott’s Crown of Stars series, enjoying the depths once more. Alastair Reynolds wrote a fantastic Pertwee-era Doctor Who novel, Harvest of Time, which hits all the right notes while still being far-future epic. Ian Sales – Then Will the Great Ocean Wash Deep Above – a brilliant continuation of the award-winning Apollo Quartet. And holy frack, Paul Cornell’s London Falling. It Shit Me Up Bad. Due to time constraints I didn’t even get to the parts of the TBR pile I really wanted to (KT Davies, Stella Gemmell, The Expanse, the BFS award winners from this year – and is it wrong that I still haven’t read A Dance With Dragons?). I still can’t bring myself to finish Thea von Harbou’s original novel of Metropolis (prose thicker than gravy). The Demi-Monde started off so well and yet didn’t quite do it for me.

So what’s coming up? What does 2015 hold aside from the publication of Heir To The North? (yep, I said it again…)

  • High King’s Vengeance will be following on HTTN’s heels. Not immediately, obviously, but fear not – it will come…
  • Short story fans will love 2015. Fox Spirit Books will be publishing That Sinking Feeling, Junior Twilight Stock Replacer, Take Me With You, and Full Compliance across their  expanding range of Fox Pockets anthologies. Two more stories are out at different markets.
  • With three completed Johnny Silver stories, and two more at the plotting stage, Silverdale’s last best hope for peace and the star of Full Compliance will strike out on his own either at the end of the year or in 2016.
  • There’s another novel project. This one, Project:TFL, is coming together at a rate of knots. That’s an intentional pun. I’ve been locked up for worse. Without spoilering the plot, I think it’s safe to say that there isn’t another fantasy like this on the market (Drayton). I’m rather excited about it. All that remains is to write the blessed thing.
  • Which means that something has to give: ED5 is slipping back down the list of priorities, but when something as cool as Project:TFL comes along, and there’s only so many hours in the day, well…
  • More conventions. I’m already booked for Fantasycon once more – this time in Nottingham – and the Grimbold/Kristell Ink stable will have its very own “holiday home”. Excited? Me? OK, yes, definitely. Especially since either Fantasycon or Bristolcon (which I’ve also booked holiday for!) will probably see the official launch of HTTN. Naturally there will also be EdgeLit in Derby, since the crown of quiz champions held jointly by Roy Gray, Kevin Redfern, Hayley Orgill, Alex Bardy, and myself must be stalwartly defended!

And it’s not all about me either. There’s no feeling like that of seeing other people – your friends – be successful too. Watching small presses like Fox Spirit, Boo! Books, Grimbold, Tickety-Boo, and people such as the excellent folks who comprise the Inkbots and the active writers on SFF Chronicles all ramp up their careers and gain the credits and successes they all deserve is just as rewarding as putting in all the hard work yourself. This isn’t a zero-sum game, after all.³

I look forward to more successes and reading cool stuff by (amongst others!) Laura Lam, Josh Vogt, JB Rockwell, Kate Shaw, Susan Boulton, Wes Chu, Joanne Hall, Joel Cornah, AJ Dalton, Mhairi Simpson, Ian Sales (last of the Quartet!), Jo Zebedee and more….

And with that, I’m off to don the writing mittens and get this thing drafted. Happy New Year, everybody!

Should’ve gone to Specsavers…..

¹ We’ll relegate being miserable to a footnote, however, as is proper. Miserable even has a postcode – DN17 2LB. Fortunately, Happy postcodes (WR2 5DQ & BH21 3DP, for example) are also available.
² I’ve never had so many Saturdays and weekends off in my life! Less stress, better pay, more weekends? Turns out redundancy was a step forwards, not back.
³ Zero-sum games have a postcode. Funnily enough, it’s the same postcode as Miserable.

Reissue Reading Recommendations

GM-ebookIt hasn’t been all that easy to find Teresa Edgerton’s books in print of late, which is a massive shame. I’m certain I borrowed at least one from Sheffield Library during the late 1990s and got thoroughly lost in the detailed world she had created, but these days my mind resembles Swiss cheese in its inability to hold details from so long ago.

So it’s a damned good thing that Tickety Boo Press, the brainchild of one Gary Compton, has recently reissued Teresa’s Goblin Moon. A dashing Regency-style fantasy of manners, complete with “gentlemen trolls”, no less, it has long deserved a UK release, and all power to Gary for putting it back into the full glare of the sun.

And like the buses on Ecclesall Road, two come along at once: HarperCollins have decided that the time is right to reissue another of Teresa’s backlist titles – The Queen’s Necklace, which originally came out way back in 2001.

I think they were right [to reprint], because it’s the kind of swashbuckling adventure that is popular right now. Naturally, I am thrilled, and so I am going to tell you all about it.

It’s a stand-alone (which is not to say that I’ve never thought about writing sequels) in a setting similar to 18th century Europe. It is not the same world as Goblin Moon and Hobgoblin Night, but writing it I found myself being inspired by that same era. They called it the Age of Reason, but a little research reveals that it was also an Age of Unreason. So while you shouldn’t expect to meet the dashing Francis Skelbrooke in this novel, there is, instead, the equally dashing Will Blackheart. And an opportunity to meet the original Goblin Princess.

The Queen's NecklaceWhile there’s no sign of either a UK print edition or an e-book yet, the reprint is available from The Book Depository with free shipping, so it’s a bit of a no-brainer. And since Kate Elliott calls it “Wonderful, lush, and enchanting”, why haven’t you gone and ordered it yet?