I friend of mine on Facebook tagged me in a challenge to name 10 books that have stayed with me. Not necessarily the best 10, or anything like that, but the ones that affected me. Also there’s no comics here, although I’m considering doing one of those separate. These are in no particular order.
1. Men at Arms – Terry Pratchett. My first Pratchett book. Not even close to being my last.
7. The Girl with all the Gifts – Mike Carey. The newest book on the list, but the only book I’ve read this year that I had to take a break from reading for a few days, just to let it all sink in. I think this will stay with me for a long time.
Some of you may know that my books are published by 47North, the Fantasy, Sci-fi and Horror imprint from Amazon Publishing.
For many reasons, most of which I barely understand, most shops don’t stock Amazon Publishing’s authors. It’s a bit crap, but there’s very little I can do to change that. Or so I thought.
In May I got a phone call from Mike, who works at Romford Waterstones (a place in London). He told me that people were coming into his shop and asking for my book, which as it wasn’t stocked by Waterstones he couldn’t give it to them. He asked if it was okay with me if he arranged for my books to be on the Waterstones system, I said yes and went away with a smile.
A month later, I got another e-mail. Mike said he wanted to update me as to how the books were doing. Apparently they were selling out of the store as quickly as he could get them in. This was awesome. He then said that other stores in his area would be stocking them too based on how the sales had gone. They were going to get books 2 and 3 stocked.
This was awesome. I have my books for sale in a shop that isn’t meant, due to aforementioned boring reasons, to be selling my books.
Other than the warm glow this gave me, I thought very little more about it for another month. Then I was in Waterstones in Doncaster.
I thought, lets test this out. So I went to the desk and asked if they had my books. They looked on their computer and said no, but that they’d get them in store for me if I wanted a copy. There was then the slightly weird exchange as I explained who I was, and that I wasn’t in fact trying to buy my own book. They gave me some advice. Go back to the Southampton branch, explain who I am and see if they’ll stock the books.
Well long story short (which is something I probably should have started with), they said they’d love to. So on 18th September at 5pm there will be a launch party for Crimes Against Magic in the Southampton West Quay.
It’s a fairly astonishing thing to consider. Especially when I’d pretty much decided that there was no way Waterstones would ever stock an Amazon Pub Author.
Turns out I was wrong.
In this case, that’s a pretty cool feeling.
So, here’s a Facebook link to the event (or click the covers above). If you’re about then pop in and say hi, or buy a book. I’ll sign it and everything. There’s even going to be free wine, which depending on how long after it starts, depends on how good my signing will be.
Thanks to everyone who helped make this possible. To Waterstones staff, Mike in particular, for starting this road. To West Quay Waterstones staff for being awesome. To 47N and Amazon Publishing for basically being pretty damn cool publisher. To everyone who loved my books enough to tell their friends and family about them. To those who went into a store and asked to get a copy. I hope to see some of you there.
I’ve just gotten back from seeing Guardians of the Galaxy and thought I’d leave a quick review. I love the GotG comics, especially the Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning version of the comic, so I’ve been looking forward to this for some time.
So here’s my review of the film.
It’s not only one of the best films I’ve seen this year, it’s probably the best of all the Marvel comic book films. Seriously, go watch it.
It’s been a little while since I last had a guest post on my blog, so here’s fellow 47North writer, and all round awesome person, Charlie N. Holmberg.
Take it away, Charlie.
I love a good book. Who doesn’t? So when Steve invited me to guest post on his blog, I thought I’d share some of my favorite books from the last few months and spread the reading love!
Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
Cruel Beauty is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, with a bit of a Rumplestiltskin flare. I loved this upper-YA read because the protagonist has nursed a hateful streak in her heart over eight years, and she’s sent to marry a “hateful” demon with the intention of killing him and saving her country. There are some great twists and character developments in this novel, and the way Hodge pieces together the ending is perfect.
Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan
This is my first Audible.com book! I’m a huge Jim Gaffigan fan, though I admit this is more a satirical book on parenting then standup-on-paper. But it’s an enjoyable read/listen, especially if you’re a parent (actually, if you’re not a parent, you probably won’t enjoy it as much. Recommended for parents!). It’s clever and a dash sentimental, too.
Shadows Beneath by the Writing Excuses Podcast Team
Shadows Beneath is the new Writing Excuses Anthology, put together by Mary Robinette Kowal, Howard Tayler, Dan Wells, and Brandon Sanderson. The quirky thing about this book is that it includes a transcription of the brainstorming sessions for each short story, as well as the stories’ first drafts and edits. It’s interesting if you’re a writer, or even just an avid reader.
I really enjoyed three of the four short stories, with Kowal’s “A Fire in the Heavens” being my favorite (“Sixth of Dusk” by Sanderson is a close second). And the cover is fantastic to boot!
Homegrown in Salt Lake City, Charlie was raised a Trekkie with three sisters who also have boy names. She writes fantasy novels and does freelance editing on the side. She’s a proud BYU alumna, plays the ukulele, and owns too many pairs of glasses.
So, based on the number of messages I’ve received recently, I guess some people are wondering what’s going on with Hellequin Chronicles book 4, Prison of Hope.
Right, well it’s been written and will be with my publisher soon. Then the fun part of editing takes place. I don’t have an exact date for it’s release yet, although the beginning of next year is a good bet.
On the plus side, I should have news for the release dates for books 4 and 5 soon.
On the minus, there probably won’t be a novella out before book 4 as I simply don’t have time at the moment. I do have plans for future novellas, but they’re a sort of time willing basis.
Update 2 will be as soon as I get more info, but until then I hope this at least lets everyone know where things are.
I saw the trailer for Dracula: Untold yesterday. I’d seen people on Facebook making happy faces at it for a few weeks now, but shrugged it off as yet another depressingly dreadful vampire movie.
The trailer is actually pretty good. A nice mix of vampire and non vampire Dracula. The big draw here is Luke Evans.
If you’ve never seen No One Lives, it’s a fun horror film, where Luke plays… well, basically the nastiest, most horrific badass.
He’s an unrelenting villain who enjoys creating terror and fear. It’s not the greatest horror film of all time, but it’s an entertaining 90 minutes. But more importantly Luke steals the show. And that lends me hope that he’s the perfect fit for Dracula.
I hope the new Dracula film is good, I really do. I love vampires when they’re scary. And I’d rather see more like Angelus, or the Dracula of old, than those that sparkle when it gets sunny out.
This post has nothing to do with writing. Well, at the moment it doesn’t, maybe toward the end I’ll throw in an anecdote and it’ll be witty and clever, and I’ll look back on this opening and wonder why I didn’t think of it earlier. Or I’ll mention I’m an author and feel good about dropping it in. But at the moment no writing.
It’s about driving.
I’m 34 years old (35 in a few weeks) and a few months ago I took the steps to start driving for the first time. Being 34 and being unable to drive never really felt that weird, I live near a big city, there’s lots of public transport, so I wasn’t too concerned.
But I have 3 kids, and a new career as an author…
Anyway, it’s become evident that I need to learn to drive. So I’ve set about having lessons. I passed my theory a few weeks ago and today I set my practical test for a few months time. It was a nervous moment, knowing I have this test in a few months, but I feel okay. I’m going to to suggest that I’m some sort of genius when I get behind the wheel. Unless you count stalling it, I’m damn fine at that, but for 14 hours of driving time, I feel fairly confident I’m not going to mount the pavement and squash someone who annoyed me. Yet, anyway. We’ll see how much pedestrians keep annoying me.
Seriously people, watch the road, not your damn phone. Also to the people who beep me because I’m not going fast enough. Firstly, I’m obeying the speed limit. Secondly, I’m in a car with a big bloody great ‘L’ on top of it, give me a break. And lastly, you see that gear stick right next to you. Well, you can just shove it up your ass.
Anyway…to be honest, I’m quite enjoying driving (apart from a few other ‘drivers’), something that whenever I mention it to people who have driven for a while their response is either, “it’s awesome, you’ll love it” or “that won’t last.” Apparently the act of driving is incredibly polarising. Who knew?
So, that’s what I’ve been up do. Learning to drive being all grown up and stuff. I guess it took longer than usual, but it’s actually okay.
Oh, yeah, I’ve been editing book 4 too. I promise I’ll have a release date soonish for everyone. Book 5 should have one too. Just to drop that in at the end there.
Have a good week, all. I’ll be back soon.
I’d like to welcome J. Lincoln Fenn to my blog today. She’s the author of the excellent Poe, which you can find by clicking the cover
About 50 pages into my novel I realized I was screwed—royally. And I had no one but myself to blame.
I’d pitched a horror novel—evil spirit, demons, gore…galore—which had attracted the attention of a publisher that loved the concept, but when I started writing this wonderfully snarky character emerged that seemed to have a mind of his own. And he wasn’t a hero. Nor did he sparkle. In fact, he could sometimes be a bit of an ass. But he had things to say, funny and occasionally wise things. It wasn’t until about page 40 that I remembered oh yeah, there’s supposed to be some satanic shit and a ghost or…something.
I almost thought about scrapping and starting from page one because I didn’t know how to blend these two seemingly anti-thetical tones—how do you land a joke in one chapter and trigger a shiver in the next? I’d seen it done in film a few rare times—Sean of the Dead, Zombieland—but not so much in novels. Nothing deflates tension as quickly as making light of it, which is probably why It isn’t known for making wisecracks before it teaches kids how to float.
Netflix to the rescue. Desperate for something different to watch, I landed on the BBC’s Being Human and found a workable horror/humor/human model. Being Human made the paranormal…normal, with relatable characters and plots that easily arced between an evil vampire takeover and a werewolf nervous about what to cook for his first date. When scenes were domestic, or funny, or exploring humanity through the eyes of paranormal characters, nothing serious happened. But when lives were at stake (or about to be staked), no jokes were allowed in. I think I watched the entire season three times. Okay, maybe four.
The result was POE, which people have called quirky and sardonic, and likened to the lighter flavor of horror like Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Supernatural. I’ll take that. But I have to give props where props are due, and I don’t think I would have dared to take a stab at comedic horror without seeing it done as brilliantly as Being Human.
Thanks to J Lincoln Fenn for popping in, you can learn more about her and her work at her blog: HERE.
It’s America’s time to join in the sale fun. For today only the 3 Hellequin Chronicles are only $1,99 each. The novella is also $1.99.
Review from Liz Loves Books:
If you like Urban Fantasy you will love this. If you love Thrillers and Mystery but have not yet dipped your toe into the world of UF, then this is for you – you will get the best of all worlds. I don’t think I have ever been so pleased to see the great words “Book 1″ in the title! “Born of Hatred” Book 2 is now sitting on my Kindle and I will be heading back to see what Nate is up too very very soon. You should come too…
Review from Bitten by Books:
“Nate is going on my list of favorite urban fantasy characters after reading Born of Hatred. I appreciate his absolute ruthlessness against evil, and his sense of integrity. While some might consider him an antihero, I definitely feel he is a good guy, even if he wears tarnished armor at times.
I definitely recommend the Hellequin series to readers who enjoy urban fantasy. They will find a lot to appreciate in these books, especially if they do not mind some gritty and violent content that is integral to the storyline.”
Review by Liz Loves Books:
“This is definitely a set of books that has grown in stature since its humble beginnings as Nate and the mythology surrounding him has grown, developed and taken on a life of its own. So, all in all a terrific 3rd book in a series that is now absolutely one of my favourites in the Urban Fantasy stakes alongside Felix Castor and Alex Verus. Possibly not for the faint hearted but if you like your Urban fantasy absolutely Urban and fantastical these will probably bring great satisfaction.“
A few weeks ago I launched a competition for 2 lucky people to win all 3 Hellequin Chronicles books on MP3.
The competition finished a few days ago and I’ve been going through the entries to pick the winners. The one thing I discovered is that a lot of people nominated people, several dozen in fact, which is fantastic. So, because of this, I’m going not only give away 2 copies of all 3 Hellequin books, but 10 other people will get Crimes Against Magic as an MP3 or as an ebook, it’s your choice.
So, the 2 winners are:
Sarah Flynn Vilic – who picked Steve Conibear
Gareth Allen – who picked Darcy
Congrats to you both. If both of you can contact me with their address, I’ll get the copies sent out.
As for the 10 other winners, these are:
Donna Hayman Milton
If each of you can give me the e-mail address of the person you want it to go to (and whether they’d like the ebook or MP3), I’ll get the copy sent out to them.
Congrats to everyone who won, and thanks for taking part. Commiserations to those who didn’t, but I’m sure there will be more opportunities to win.