Month: August 2011

Forgotten Love

I rediscovered this song the other day. Shocking I’d forgotten it, really: I’m a closet U2 fan (shhhh!) – or at least I was until Bono went all “Lookit! I’m the Messiah!” on us. But that’s another story.

Back when they were good, by far their best album was Achtung, Baby. And this is the last song from it.

 

It makes me wish someone was waltzing me round a mirrored ballroom, lit only by candles.

Suppose I should learn to dance sometime really, shouldn’t I..?

*Girly sigh*

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Signal Boost: Summer of Steampunk & D19 Fantasy Casting

Two things of note for you: first, Abaddon Books are up to something.

They’re running a fortnight-long Summer of Steampunk event over on Facebook, all in honour of their long-running Pax Britannia series…

Break out your top hats and holster your Tesla Mark Seven blunderbuss, the Summer of Steampunk from Abaddon Books is here!

To mark a major new direction for the world’s longest-running series of steampunk novels, Pax Britannia, Abaddon is running two weeks of steampunk shenanigans at the new dedicated Pax Britannia Facebook page.

From free eBooks and competition giveaways to debate and word from our authors about what makes steampunk so much fun, join us for two weeks of celebration of this most charming, exciting and ever-growing line of books.

The event will culminate in a major announcement about a surprising new book which throws away the rulebook of how genre publishing works.

A must for any fan of steampunk or pulp adventure action, Pax Britannia is set in a radically different version of the late 20th Century where the age of the Victorians never ended and Queen Victoria remains alive thanks to steampunk technology.

From Jonathan Green’s swashbuckling agent of the Empire, Ulysses Quicksilver, to Al Ewing’s ultra-violent El Sombra, Pax Britannia takes steampunk adventure to a new level.

Jonathan Oliver, editor-in-chief of Abaddon Books, said:
“Pax Britannia is one of the longest running steampunk adventures in publishing, and our Summer of Steampunk will bring a host of goodies bound to appeal to new and old readers of the series alike.”

Whatever it is, it’s bound to be interesting.

Cool Thing Number Two is also on Facebook: the Department 19 Fantasy Casting competition. Very simply, go to the page and leave a comment explaining who should play your favourite D19 character, and why. There’s some amazing prizes, and everyone likes the “If it was a movie…” game.

So what are you waiting for? Off you go….

Walking Away from You

This should come with a public health warning. It *will* drive you crazy.

Shamelessly stolen from Christopher Fowler’s blog (which is one of the few blogs I consistently look at. If you don’t read it, you should, because it’s fascinating: a mix of personal opinion, film trivia and reviews, excerpts from his newspaper columns and – my personal favourite – London history and oddities, it’s clever, surprising and fun), is this brilliant montage of back-of-head shots from films.

Sounds dull, but is incredibly neat (not to mention deeply frustrating!) and you’ll go mad trying to identify them all.

Some are easy, some are tricky and some have got me gnawing at my fingers, thinking “But I know this one…”

The Legend of Bleeding Heart Yard

One of my favourite London street names is “Bleeding Heart Yard”. It’s just off Hatton Garden, right at the edge of the City of London – and not far from the Barbican, where I used to live. Its unusual name stems from a particularly grim London legend.

The land was given to Sir Christopher Hatton by Elizabeth I. When he married, his wife’s dances became a high-point of the social season. One night, as a great ball was in progress, a black-robed man with a twisted hand threw open the doors to the ballroom and walked among the dancers until he found Lady Hatton; first, sweeping her into a dance, then leading her from the room.

Suddenly, there was a crack of thunder and a flash of lightning… and the assembled company heard a piercing scream from outside. Rushing to the aid of their hostess, the party were able to find no trace of her… except for her still-beating heart in the courtyard.

Lady Hatton, so the legend goes, chose to dance with the devil – and paid for it with her soul.

 

The Impossible House & the Inexplicable Genie

Just in case you saw yesterday’s post about our… colourful local street decoration; here he is, for your very viewing pleasure!

(For reasons utterly unknown to me, WordPress has decided that this is best viewed sideways if you click on it… Who am I to question the wisdom of the blog-gods?)

And seeing as I had the camera out, here’s a quick shot of the not-house on our street. It looks just like all the other front doors, but there’s no street number, no doorstep and no letterbox. And that’s because there’s no house behind it.

Don’t even ask about the window next door. I think it might have fallen victim to the Great Pavement Hunger of ’82…

Brighton Rocks

I live in a strange town, I really do.

Yesterday, I discovered that one of the houses on our street is actually a fake: that the front door opens onto a passageway that runs between the houses either side and connecting to the old midden that runs behind the buildings. (It’s a Georgian street. They were big on middens).

And then, while I was on my way to collect Small Boy from his nursery, I spotted one of our street signs has been… decorated. Where there was once a sign telling drivers that no, they could not enter that particular road, there is now a large, fibreglass genie.

Seriously.

I think I’m going to have to go and get a photo of it before someone nicks it. Although quite what you’d do with a large fibreglass genie in your living room, I dread to think. Even in Brighton…

Blood And Feathers

So.

I guess now’s a good time to say that my novel, “Blood & Feathers” has been picked up by the amazing team at Solaris and will be published by them next year.

I’m not sure it’s entirely sunk in yet, but I’m overwhelmed by the lovely messages I’ve been getting on Twitter since it was announced, and incredibly excited to be working with the Solaris guys.

“Blood and Feathers” ended up being a very personal book, and it means a lot to me that it’ll be out there, in the wild, ready to ambush unsuspecting readers.

I warn you, though: it probably doesn’t fight fair…

Signal Boost: Pandemonium

Anne Perry and Jared Shurin – better known collectively as the team behind amazing website Pornokitsch – today unveiled their latest dastardly plan to enslave humanity… project: “Pandemonium“, a post-apocalyptic anthology of original short stories.

Or, as they put it:

We’re very pleased to announce our first anthology of short fiction, Pandemonium: Stories of the Apocalypse.

The collection features stories set at the end of the world, as imagined by some of the biggest names and hottest newcomers in science fiction.

Pandemonium collects over a dozen original stories inspired by the art of John Martin, and will be released this October to coincide with the Tate Gallery’s new exhibition of his work.  Martin (1789 – 1854) was a Romantic painter with a taste for sweeping Apocalyptic scenes. Although he never received much positive critical attention, his huge and wildly imaginative paintings were popular with the masses. Since his death, Martin’s reputation has gone through periods of complete insignificence and others of great renown. In short, he’s our type of guy.

Pandemonium will be edited by Pornokitsch’s Anne C. Perry and Jared Shurin, with a foreword by Tom Hunter, director of the Arthur C. Clarke Award. Pandemonium will be available to purchase as an ebook through Amazon or the project website. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Arthur C. Clarke Award, the UK’s most prestigious prize for science fiction literature.

For more information and to join the mailing list, check out www.pandemonium-fiction.com. A partial list of contributors is already on display, with several more to be announced soon.

This promises to be an outstanding collection, with some fantastic contributors, and looks about as exciting as anything which doesn’t feature Gerard Butler pouring me a margarita possibly could.

And anyway, who doesn’t love an apocalypse…?

And this week’s music crush is…

Not one, but two! Goodness me.

First up, there’s the song that’s been keeping me going this summer…

(Admittedly, this video drives me a little bit crazy. I’m convinced Example looks very like someone I know… and I can’t think who. Which is annoying on the one hand, and doesn’t say very much for my memory on the other)

The other is Drumsound & Bassline Smith’s “Close”, which should be out sometime later this month (audio only).

Enjoy. There’ll be something with a little more sense coming soon…

Moar Wimmin

Comics. Women. Again.

I promise this’ll be the last time I beat this drum for, ooh, at least a week. Honest. Well, honest-ish.

Anyone spot that article in the Guardian about DC and female comics-creators? What does this tell us that we don’t already know? The really fascinating part is the article tucked away on the CBR site, with the audio of the exchange between a fan attending SDCC & Dan DiDio. What I love here is the comments, where everyone is chipping in with names of women DC should hire… big lists of big names.

I’m particularly gratified, too, to see a mention for Womanthology on there (you’ll remember me mentioning that a little while back. If you want to become one of the backers, there’s still time – but not much. They’ve more than reached their target and are now hoping to get enough copies printed to get them into libraries and schools across the US. It’s money well spent).

And, seeing as we’re on the subject, now seems as good a time as any to congratulate the amazing Lauren Beukes, award-strewn author & sloth-wearer extraordinaire, who will write for the Fables spin-off, Fairest. Highly, highly awesome. If it’s anything like her prose, it may just turn out to be the fairest comic of them all.

You see what I did there? Yep. Sorry about that. Still: go Lauren, right?