It bee-gins…

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For those of you attending, I’ll be on the following panels, by way of reminder:

Dealing with Anxiety in Fandom

Friday 14:30 – 15:30, Room 7 (Hilton Deansgate)

Many fans experience anxiety, whether as part of their daily life, in recurring bouts or just for one period in their life. However often a fan experiences anxiety, managing this at conventions and in online communities is a major skill. In this session people who have found their own ways through the difficult process open up about their own experiences.

 

Manchester in Speculative Fiction

Sunday 10:00 – 11:00, Deansgate 2 (Hilton Deansgate)

We’re surrounded by the bricks and mortar of the city itself, but what about all the alternate, futuristic, fantastical, or not-quite there Manchesters we know from SF and fantasy?

Place, Identity, Story

Monday 13:00 – 14:00, Room 6 (Hilton Deansgate)

A story does not exist in a vacuum. Stories are shaped by (among other things) the people they happen to, and characters are shaped by (among other things) the places they inhabit. How do SF and fantasy explore the inter-relationship of place, identity, and story? Which SF protagonists are uniquely tied to their places, and which SF places only make sense when seen by specific protagonists?

If you’re terribly lucky, you might catch me helping out elsewhere. More likely though, you’ll catch me just wandering around the event. In which case, come say hi! I’ll be carrying those lovely business cards around, should you like one, and also will hopefully have a few copies of Oblivion Storm and Primal Storm available on the Newcon Press stand. They have a 5:30 pm book launch you should get to as well!

There is a readings open mic on Sunday at 17:30 that I can be at if people would like to hear me do a reading of one of the two books, but you’d have to let me know first!

And now, I shall begin the journey in to actually start doing these things! Enjoy whatever you are doing this weekend, and if you’re joining me, I won’t say no to a drink if you’re offering🙂

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I feel as if I’m guest writing on my own page, I’ve been away so long. But it’s all been for important reasons. I wouldn’t say good, necessarily, because some of them weren’t, though certainly there were reasons. Enough upheaval has occurred to move me across the country and things haven’t decided to settle down yet by any means. But it’s important to take this positively, because thanks to the support you’ve all given me over this time, I feel like really good things are about to be happening. Actually, I can go one better, and show you that they are!

I meant to have this done in time for LarpCon, which I attended last month. A great venture, I can assure you it’ll be way different to every other con I go to this year. As well as  all the wonderful live action roleplaying stuff you can buy, see, or talk about, there were also professional wrestlers this year! And they were wonderful! Look at me enjoying myself with this lot! [EDIT: See how this went down with the local press here].

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From this, I did a talk, which I’ll be refining and redoing for a different audience when I return to Nerd East on the 11th of June. I promise you it’ll be a fun one—I mean, just look at some of the out-takes my friend D.A. Lascelles got for me!

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And by the way, you should check out his page anyway because it’s Vampire Month and you know you all want to. Remember I wrote for this last year?

This isn’t in order of upcoming events for me though. Next up is actually Mancunicon. Some of you who follow my Facebook page will already have seen my lovely bee T-shirt. . .

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. . .but I’ll be attending, am very excited about doing so, and on top of all that, have three panels I will be partaking in:

Dealing with Anxiety in Fandom

Friday 14:30 – 15:30, Room 7 (Hilton Deansgate)

Many fans experience anxiety, whether as part of their daily life, in recurring bouts or just for one period in their life. However often a fan experiences anxiety, managing this at conventions and in online communities is a major skill. In this session people who have found their own ways through the difficult process open up about their own experiences.

 

Manchester in Speculative Fiction

Sunday 10:00 – 11:00, Deansgate 2 (Hilton Deansgate)

We’re surrounded by the bricks and mortar of the city itself, but what about all the alternate, futuristic, fantastical, or not-quite there Manchesters we know from SF and fantasy?

Place, Identity, Story

Monday 13:00 – 14:00, Room 6 (Hilton Deansgate)

A story does not exist in a vacuum. Stories are shaped by (among other things) the people they happen to, and characters are shaped by (among other things) the places they inhabit. How do SF and fantasy explore the inter-relationship of place, identity, and story? Which SF protagonists are uniquely tied to their places, and which SF places only make sense when seen by specific protagonists?

 

In addition to that, I am hoping to be in the incredible Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Dungeons and Dragons game for authors! AND…I get to reunite for a while with some of my Radio Book Worm team for what I can assure you will be a great live show. You should tune in!

Fab Band

And while I’m attending strictly as an audience member, I have made a written contribution (somewhat inspired by my Grenshall Manor experiences) to this innovative theatre production, Insomnia:

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The tickets are exceptional value at £8/£6 concessions, and it is happening this weekend, and the next! Go and see it if you get the chance, and if you can’t make that particular show, then it is also playing at the Brighton Fringe.

Oh yes – World Book Night 2016! I have been given books, and will be doing a thing, so watch this space!

WBN 2016

I suspect there will be other things this year I’ve either neglected to mention or not signed up for yet.  And the big question I’m sure you all have, is where is Book 3? Well Winter Storm is in progress, I can tell you that, but due to last year being last year, got quite horribly delayed. You should have been reading (and reviewing it in some cases) now, but yeah, last year happened. Also, you may have noticed that mentioning Winter in your titles is a delay affliction for bigger authors than me. I promise you, I won’t be as happy to have had any of the series finished than this one, and I will ensure it has been worth the wait. I’ve had some art commissioned especially, but I want you to see it nearer the time of completion, and have something fun to do with the reveal too. Good suggestions of course welcome!

That’s me for now, though I am definitely going to be blogging more regularly this year. I have a lot to keep track of, for a start!

 

I may be heavily side-tracked on my own posts, but the guest blogs are of course coming in thick and fast! Today we have another member of Team Xchyler about to launch the second in the series of the Kingdom City saga and some fine, fresh sci-fi for you all.

And so, without further ado, visitors to Omega W, I give you Mr Ben Ireland! Now to grill him for answers…

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How did you come up with the concept of your story?

Before I wrote books, I thought to myself “I want to write something, but it needs to be cool.” I decided that epic items, like swords, are cool. And then those epic items being needed for something completely unexpected. It was around the swords Fury and Serenity that the entire Kingdom City universe grew. Admittedly, it’s a much more manual thought process than I’ve had with most of my other story ideas; they usually just come to me. But I don’t think that Kingdom City is any less rich or exciting for that.

How did you come up with the title?

My little brother LOVES Dungeons & Dragons. Years before I called myself a writer, he was drawing a map for a campaign he was planning and I walked up behind him. He couldn’t think of a name for the capital city of the kingdom, so he called it Kingdom City. I thought that had an amazing ring to it so I stored it away for later use. Once you read the books, you’ll understand why they are subtitled Resurrection, and Revolt.

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What was the most surprising part of writing this book?

I was most surprised by how dark it was. I was always fascinated by things that were a little dark and gritty, so I set out to create something edgy. Once I was done and I reread the book, I was taken aback by how dark it had actually become. Reading the first chapter again after not seeing it for several months made me think ‘oh gee, I wrote that?’ I think darkness in art is important to help us see the light and good in life. Though I believe some authors take that too far. R.R Martin is a prime example. I feel that artists that write darkness simply because it’s “realistic” miss the point of art.

What was the hardest part of writing your book, and how did you overcome it?

Finding time! I love writing and I love telling stories. I haven’t experienced writer’s block, so to speak. My mind it brimming with stories and ideas and the fountain hasn’t run down, let alone run out. As a worker and a father I did the only thing I could do to find time. Sleep less. Some weeks I was going on three and a half hours a night when I had to.

What is your preferred writing genre?

I lean towards fantasy, especially urban fantasy. I get a rush when someone isn’t only smart enough to solve their problems, but they can also solve them with fire. Lots and lots of magically invoked fire.

Who is your favourite author? Who has most influenced your work?

Early on, I loved The Hobbit—it was the first big-kid book I read twice (One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish was the first little-kid book I read more than once). I read a lot of Asimov growing up, too. Just prior to my writing really taking off, I fell in love with Harry Potter. JK’s world is so colourful and engaging it’s hard to not fall in love. Today I’m an avid fan of Harry Dresden. The engrossing characters and thoroughly conceived world that Butcher has created is something I’m constantly trying to emulate.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I’ve always loved creating. Probably the worst thing that happened to me is when I took a creative writing class in college. The professor told me that my story was the best thing he’d read “in a long time.” I’ve been spiralling since then. That story ended up being a scene of Kissed a Snake, in Xchyler’s A Dash of Madness short story anthology.

What is your writing drive? The power that keeps you going when your writing gets difficult?

My brain is full of story ideas and it hurts when I don’t let them out. Writing isn’t a choice, it’s a compulsion.

What are some of your other published works?

Kingdom City: Resurrection (Kingdom City Book 1) 

And two short stories. Kissed a Snake in A Dash of Madness anthology, and Fairykin in Moments in Millennia .

What’s up next for you?

Kingdom City part3. Working title is Retribution. The original working title was Redemption, but that sounded way too optimistic for Kingdom City.  

Is there anything else you’d like your readers to know about you?

I want my readers to get to know me through my work. Please pick up any of my stories and see what you find.

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Today is a busy day for parties and celebrations.

Today also marks fellow Xchyler Publishing author Ben Ireland’s cover release! Part 2 of his series on the way, and here is the next phase…

By way of catch-up, part 1: Resurrection…

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And now for the next installment in the Kingdom City series – Book 2: Revolt!

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Have a wonderful weekend, one and all!

Finally, want to know a little more about Ben?

Ben churns out his prose from his home in Southeast Texas, where he lives with his wife and three children, and works in IT. When he isn’t writing, he’s either thinking about writing, or he’s driving his winfe insane talking about his novel ideas. His work has appeared in two X-anthologies: “Kissed a Snake” in A Dash of Madness: a Thriller Anthology (July 2013), and “Fairykin” in Moments in Millennia: a Fantasy Anthology(January 2014). His first novel, Kingdom City: Resurrection was published in February 2014.

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Hey all,

You may remember a recent link I had to Xchyler Publishing accomplice and friend of mine A.J. Campbell, and her new book? Well, here’s a little more on her and her fabulous Sigil of the Wyrm, which launched THIS WEEK! As I’ve been a little distracted this week, I’m actually going to make A.J. a further invite on my page as I’ve got a few questions I want to ask her…

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Here’s a little bit that I can share about the author anyway:

Born and raised in the wilds of Northumbria, A.J. Campbell was brought up on a diet of stories and local folklore, of which the Legend of the Lambton Worm was a perennial favourite. She eventually left her hometown to study English and Creative Writing at the University of Warwick and now lives in Hampshire, (which she persists in calling the “wrong” end of the country), with her fiancé and a succession of dead houseplants. At weekends she can often be found dressing up and pretending to be other people, immersing herself in the lives of fictional historical characters—or as it is better known, “LARPing”. She makes her own costumes and has a weakness for detective stories.

Here’s a few more links for now, but this shall continue…

Saturday, Aug. 29
Alex Campbell
Perpetual Chaos of a Wandering Mind

Sunday, Aug. 30
Lurking Musings

Slithers of Thought

Monday, Aug. 31
The Deep, Dark Library
Cobblestone Scribe

Tuesday, Sep. 1
Lucy Ayrton, Performance Poet
T.N. Payne, Author

Wednesday, Sep. 2
Richard A. Usher, Media Creative
Alex McGilvery’s World

Thursday, Sep. 3
Scott E. Tarbet, Author

Are You Afraid of the Dark

Friday, Sep. 4
OMega W
Danielle E. Shipley
The Author Visits

Saturday, Sep. 5
R. A. Ridley
Didi Lawson, Author
Musings, Amusings, and Bemusings

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I’ve spent just about the entirety of 2015 in a perpetual state of turbulence. Some seismic shifts have occurred on a personal basis and obviously, this has, as a thing, been rather time intensive.

So here’s the thing. This month is the start of a promise to myself that I’m going to get back on track with what I want to be doing in life, and by necessity, changing up a bunch of less positive matters that have been going on around me.

Day job is an enforced all change. My geographical location has a good chance of changing. A fresh start is due. And if you’re reading this, the odds are that you’ll follow my writing in some capacity. This is an important thing to me which has rather brutally stalled as a bunch of hard work has led me up blind alleys elsewhere. That needs putting right too.

Those of you who have read bios of mine in the past will know that I rather like my cars; a trait that at least one of my novel characters has thoroughly inherited. This featured vehicle is not as it may first seem in its iconic shaping, and is in fact not exactly a Porsche. Some of you will already know this is in fact a RUF CTR, known as ‘Yellowbird’ due to the famous colour and model.  It is this that I have named a list of personal objectives after, for reasons that I’ll tell you in person if you ask me. Think of it as my own personal Mockingjay.

The start of this operation is well marked with a concerted effort to get back on with blogging proper. And to make some important appearance updates. Thanks to the kindness of several people, including Con or Bust, I am getting to Nine Worlds this weekend, a convention I have not previously been able to attend due to a regular clash with one of my two trips to Atlantis in a year. Only three to go ever, so I want to make them count. I’ll be speaking on three panels in the Race and Culture track, about videogames, about dystopias and one called ‘I Don’t See Race’. I will also be joining my pals at Radio Book Worm, which I of course guest present from time to time, and The Missing Monkey Geek Podcast Quiz, which I have competed on and will again!  Have a look on the panel info if you want to know more! And incidentally, I’d love to see most of you there.

At month end, I shall be attending Mancstercon, and the panel I shall be sat on there will discuss Irony In Fantasy.

In between times, as well as working out where this tornado lands, I will of course be catching up with the third instalment of The Grenshall Manor Chronicles. I’ve been looking forward to this project for a while, though up to now there have been disruptions like none I’ve known since I picked up this writing business.

Finally, I just wanted to offer my gratitude to you all for bearing with me. I’m not going to say ‘normal service will be resumed shortly,’ because that simply won’t be true. New service begins now. Those of you who have been along for the ride thus far, thank you for hanging on!

A brief Xchyler Publishing Service Announcement.

A J Campbell, friend and now accomplice at Xchyler Publishing, has a release for Sigil of the Wyrm.

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Out on August 25, this is one you want to be around for. Enjoy the trailer, spread the love.

And here is the trailer. Enjoy!