Posts Tagged ‘Oblivion Storm’

It bee-gins…

Mancunicon badge

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 🙂

Mancunicon logo bee

Advertisements

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].

Wrestling.jpeg

 

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!

Should be writing meme

 

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. . .

Bee Signing.jpg

. . .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:

Insomnia Header.jpg

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!

 

ruf-ctr-01

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!

Only a week after the event, here’s my event report. Just like back in school. The short version: a great time was had and lots of new and interesting people were met, including some heroes of mine in within fiction writing. Can’t say fairer than that…

 image_00004

So I arrived on Wednesday evening, and stayed through to Sunday evening. We managed to get in early on the whole registration thing, which was good because it got kind of lively when the convention proper commenced. All told, this one had 10,000 guests which makes it the biggest World Science Fiction Convention held yet! So it is just as well the ExCel Centre in which it was held happens to be HUGE. Seriously, this thing is so big, it has TWO Docklands Light Railway stations for access.

Now, I’ve never been to this particular type of convention before, and discovered rapidly that having that word in the title can mean many different things. I looked at the event and thought it looked interesting, but got a nudge to do some stuff for it several months back by some good friends in Emma and Esther and said, ‘sure, I’ll happily do a panel or two’ (having never done panels before). By the time I reached the event, I had signed up for six, and a book signing spot. I approached initially with a fine combo of eager excitement and a degree of terror, but actually found the sheer scale of fixtures a great help on this one. I spent more time on the Wednesday night finding my way around a wonderful iPad app, which essentially provided a scheduler for me, choosing which other events and panels I was provisionally interested in attending, that I kind of forgot about the pre-panel prep.

Well, apart from the first one, for which I needed to source good examples and stories behind fiction and film which ‘got London wrong’. I had a little chat over a tea with Michael, (who was kind enough to put us up for the duration, even lending us his bedroom. Hero!) and between him, Joy  and myself, we managed to add a couple of examples to the reserve. For the record, I now need to watch the Guy Ritchie Sherlock Holmes at least twice, so I can finally get round to watching it, and to spot everything we cited both at home and at the panel . Thor’s rather curious London Underground travel route in Thor: The Dark World I knew about already.

The first panel I attended was amusingly titled, ‘LOLcats in Space: Social Media, Humour and SF Narratives’, and had a frankly brilliant line-up, including Jean Johnson as moderator and Charles Stross on bass guitar (the instrument part may or may not be an untruth).  Energetic, insightful and packed, I couldn’t have asked for a better way to have got started on my little tour.

image_00033

Then, very relevant to my current chosen path and equally entertaining, The Changing Face of the Urban Fantastic. Another cracking panel team including none other than Paul Cornell and Robin Hobb, moderated by the excellent Liz Bourke. Good as this panel was, migration started quite early, though I soon remembered why. Straight after this, A Conversation with George R.R.Martin, Connie Willis and Paul Cornell. Yep—that did mean Mr Cornell needed to run, or figure out how to co-locate. He chose the former. Luckily, that meant he could go straight in, whereas when I left at the end, I got into the first very large queue to get into the double suite that this popular fixture hosted. That was a lot of people. Paul did a great job keeping the conversation and the questions flowing, and a good time was had by all. I finally got to my panel that evening and for a first one, I was happy enough with it. I did discover a thing though; being on panels with other authors often just helps you part with money as you seek out their work. Mike Shevdon was on this one with me, and I am now the proud owner of a copy of Sixty-One Nails, following a fascinating conversation about some of London’s more interesting traditions still kept today. The source of that book title is one…

image_00042

Two readings concluded the day, catching some from Frances Hardinge, as usual sporting her trademark stylish hat, and Adrian Tchaikovsky, reading cool new things.

And that was only Thursday!

On Friday, I arrived to be overwhelmed with panels I wanted to attend, and ended up not making either of the 10ams I wanted to see. I will keep checking for transcripts. However, this was because I was queueing for a Peter V.Brett signing with Joy. Well worth it, and got Sixty-One Nails signed by Mike Shevdon in the same hour. Being there got us a chance to catch Paul Cornell just before his signing and say hi too.

image_00038 image_00040 image_00044

 I really enjoyed a swordplay for writers workshop, of which I was sure to take photos and odd notes here and there. Definitely educational. I sat on two panels, Developing LARPs—World vs. Character and got plenty of interest out of that, then Urban Fantasy: London, which I enjoyed immensely. There was a lot to talk about in an hour, including the obvious question of ‘why London’? and mentioning a bunch of other cities, with Manchester coming up too thanks to certain questions and myself and Tony Ballantyne being resident there at present. Learned a lot, talked even more, both after the panel and throughout the con. I also managed to get to the Titan/Tor party thanks to Tony, and enjoy a beer and a chat with a bunch of people in the publishing world. Finally met artist Sarah Anne Langton thanks to Ian Whates and a natter with Peter V.Brett, to name a few. Also, got a bit of tasty birthday cake.

Saturday, I went wandering around the gallery section and chatted to Ade Brown after seeing some tremendous artwork. He has the Where Angels Fall website currently under development, but I’ll be sure to check in once it is done. There were many other incredible exhibits, but no photos of course from me. However a chance wander helped me bump into none other than Ben Aaronovitch, author of the Peter Grant series [Rivers of London/Midnight Riot in US) being the first]. We ended up going for a coffee and effectively a small kaffeeklatsch, which was about as pleasant a way to spend a morning as I could ask for.

image_00086

I sat on two panels, Race and British Speculative Fiction, which may have run from 13:30 to 15:00 on the programme, but I was still talking with panellists and guests two hours later on that one. And enjoyed every minute of it. Then LARP Safe: Building Inclusive Worlds in the evening. Perhaps my smallest-attended panel of the con, but that wasn’t a bad thing. Also, I collected a surprise moderator badge for this one due to the original not being able to make it. I would like to say now that this wasn’t anything to do with me seizing an opportunity and bundling the original moderator into a cupboard for an hour. That’s not how I roll.

Finished up the day with a top-quality 80s Night Dance. No, really. It had exactly the right level of cheese for my tastes, though they almost killed this poor chap by seguing several 80s wolf-themed or mentioning songs in. Go on. Think about it. There were a quite a few. In fact, perhaps a competition is worth thinking about…

image_00090

Though the con did run to Monday, Sunday was my last day there, regretfully.

image_00091

The morning schedule proved relentless, with a signing first thing, sharing a table with the delightful Melinda Snodgrass, straight into a kaffeeklatsch with Adrian Tchaikovsky,  great fun, and then a rush out to my final panel, Representation, Whitewashing and Internationalism in Fandom. My last panel, and a superb one, thanks to a brilliant audience and a top panel in Zen Cho, Mark Oshiro, Eylul Dogruel and Andrea Horbinski. I felt we all had something different to bring to that table, and we again had a long chat afterwards. Sadly couldn’t get into the Charles Stross reading because I’d been beaten to it, and my final official thing was getting along to the Robin Hobb signing.

image_00101

A note on that signing. I thought I was mostly going along to help Joy carry some books at first, but over the panels and events attended where Robin was present, she very much sold me on reading her books. So by the time I got into this photo, I was very definitely a fan!

I didn’t attend the Hugo Awards, just because we had a long drive back that evening, so had to content myself with reading the results. But we did stop to quickly chill before we left, reminding me that I hadn’t mentioned any of the many parties going on in the evening. As well as advertising future events in the Fan Village, some other entertainments were laid on including the Tolkien Society running a big quiz, bidders for future WorldCon events giving us a flavour of their nation and city, quite literally in most cases. I’ve tried a salty liquorice liqueur courtesy of Helsinki’s bid for 2017, Kansas fed us several times some delicious pulled pork, and Japan introduced us to several fine whiskies and the wondrous green tea flavoured Kit-Kat, to name but a few.

image_00102

Overall, this was a truly amazing experience in which I got firmly bitten by the convention bug. I’m already setting plans in motion for next year! Next up this year, an entirely different affair by way of the Labyrinth Literary Festival up in Stockton, where I shall have a reading and be happily to sell you and/or sign books. I look forward to seeing some of you there!

image_00095

My Author Spotlight

Linked from the Xchyler Publishing website, an interview I did with them. Have a read, see how you get on 🙂

 

Image

It’s been another long, hard scrap, but the world can now get its hands on the second installment of the Grenshall Manor Chronicles! Primal Storm is now on sale, in paperback and e-book formats as linked below.

Even if you haven’t read Oblivion Storm, you should be able to hop on to the new story. It’s a different journey, for sure, but expect some familiar faces and a bunch of new ones. If you want to know a little more about the background behind it, I wrote a guest post for my publisher’s blog page just a few days ago.

I’ll be back with a lengthier post some time when I’m fully recovered from all the last minute work, but for now, I’m just sitting around, excited to see how you all get on. Until then, take care, and stay tuned! This is going to be a busy year. 

See some reviews of Oblivion Storm for yourself!

Primal Storm on sale now!

Come find me on Goodreads if you haven’t already 🙂

 

Once again, I inevitably find myself apologising for the length of time between my previous post and now. There are many reasons, mostly the length of time it’s taking me to get my final edits together, but also the emergence of a new day job at the end of August. All good things, as it turns out, but they are proper time-eaters. And unfortunately, have turned out to be at the neglect of aspects of my social media.

Now, there have been some good things too. For a start, I’ve been getting out and seeing people buying my books live (and indeed signing some of them!) This, in turn, has generated some rather nice photo albums. If you’d like to have a look for yourself, I’ve put links on here and here, for example.

The other part of this has been a few bits of novel news that others may know about, but I haven’t put up here yet. So first of all, the fact there’s a second edition of Oblivion Storm now [for those interested in such things, it’s a different ISBN as well, of course]. Have a look for yourself on the links, and whilst you’re there, I’ve got a few reviews too. Maybe I’ll have a few more after this!

Image

News the second: the follow-up to Oblivion Storm is currently on schedule for a JANUARY 24, 2014 release, so mark it in your diaries! It has the title, Primal Storm, and takes you on around a year after the first adventure. I’m busting a gut putting finishing touches on this, and hope you like what I’ve done with the place! Some familiar characters will be there, with new hobbies and fresh challenges. Parkour, for example. It’d be great to see you all on board. 

Image

Now, a goal for early next year is to ensure I have a website up and running for my writing work too. I’m very happy with initial talks getting it organised, so that’ll be something else to look forward to, on my part at least.

As I can’t guarantee I’ll get another post up before Christmas, I should also like to take this time out to wish all readers a merry Christmas, whatever they may be doing, and hope you all have a wonderful 2014. I’m certainly looking to make it another big one!