Month: July 2012

Today the internet…

So, who wants to hear me talking? No, really. On the off-chance you’ve not had enough of my wittering on here, you can actually listen to me waffling on (with the lovely Stephen Aryan trying to steer me vaguely in the direction of sense…) on the first Head Space podcast, which went up yesterday.

I’ve tried to listen to it (to idiot-check it, at least) but I haven’t yet been able to make it all the way through. It’s the sound of my voice, you see – I sound so much posher than I thought, and so terribly, terribly British! From what I could gather on Twitter yesterday, pretty much everyone feels exactly the same when they hear their own voices recorded. Is there anyone out there who sounds like they think they do? Or prefers the sound of their voice the way others hear it? Terrifying.

There have been a couple more reviews of BLOOD AND FEATHERS: one from Elitist Book Reviews, which was very cool and incredibly insightful (if a touch spoilerish in that last paragraph… consider that fair warning if you want to go in pretty cold…) who called it, amusingly, an “anti-Twilight” and said:

This is urban fantasy, colored in plenty of shades of blood-spattered moral gray. Morgan’s angels are vengeful, ferocious, and downright psychotic.

You can read the full review – spoilers and all – here.

A Fantastical Librarian has also posted a review, which is fab – and quite rightly mentions Pye Parr’s gorgeous cover art. I think my favourite part of it was this:

if it were possible to enter a book and explore its universe on your own, we could just walk in there and find it fully formed.

… but again, you can read the full review here.

I’m enormously grateful to everyone who takes the time to review the book, and to put their reviews online – and I’m obviously over the moon that it seems to be getting such an encouraging reaction so far. It means a lot.

In other news, Americans! I believe we are now a “GO” for publication… which means you should be able to find BLOOD AND FEATHERS… well, everywhere. So spread the word and catch an angel. Before they get away.

To celebrate, the Qwillery invited me on to the site to talk a little bit about the book, about writing, research and inspiration. They’re also running a giveaway, so if you want to win a copy, head on over and enter.

And finally, you can also find me talking about life as a debut author over at The Debut Review: including the road to publication and just how the editing process messes with your head…

Actually – one more thing. Very, very finally, thanks to Tor.com for mentioning BLOOD AND FEATHERS in their round-up of July releases.

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Easter (egg) Monday

Look what Solaris sent me!

 

So now, not only do I have books, I have bookmarks for them too. They’re extremely pretty (rather like the cover…) and generally lovely and I keep fanning them out across my desk and cackling at them. I may have stroked one or two. I’m not ashamed to admit it. Well, not entirely ashamed. However, some of the ones which remain unstroked will be coming with me to the launch on Thursday, so if you want one then make sure you let me know.

You can also win one… and, indeed, a copy of BLOOD AND FEATHERS to go with it over on Goodreads, where we’re running a giveaway to celebrate launch week. If you’re entering, good luck!

I also promised something extra this week, what with the impending launch and whatnot (cue: shivering, trembling and generally gibbering like an idiot. Whether that’s with joy or fear, I’ll leave you to decide…).

So, with that in mind, here’s an Easter-egg of sorts for you: a (very) short story featuring one of the characters from BLOOD AND FEATHERS. It’s not an extract from the book, but is rather an idea I had while I was working out some of the backstories for everyone, so it’s a little rough and ready, but hey. It’ll stay up on the other site, on the “Bonus Features” page, hopefully along with a few more bits and pieces when I get the chance to put them there! In the meantime, enjoy….

 

THE NIGHT WATCHMAN

They look oddly innocent while they sleep: stripped of their uniforms, their endless kit, their weapons, and curled into close-eyed crescents beneath thin sheets, the soldiers of the Royal Corps of Signals could almost be children again. Some mutter through their dreams and shift in their beds before settling, the darkness covering all the things that they’ve seen.

And while they sleep, a single soldier walks among them; patrolling the narrow bunks in silence.

Few of them pay any attention to him by day – drafted from another regiment after the last batch of green-on-blue attacks, he keeps himself to himself. They’re friendly enough towards him, of course: it doesn’t pay to be rude to the only man awake while the whole unit’s getting some shut-eye, but they have more important things on their minds than making friends with the new guy. Things like keeping themselves and each other alive.

It suits him just fine, the brown-eyed soldier who moves in his uniform like he was born in it. This way, no-one comments that they’ve never seen him sleep; no-one questions the wisdom of bringing a stranger in to watch them. And if they should hear the sound of feathers rustling just around the corner, they simply shake their heads and put it down to the desert wind.

They’ve watched him strip down his gun in silent awe because his hands move over the parts faster than any of theirs could: twisting, pulling, sliding until they are little more than a blur.

He doesn’t join in the banter, doesn’t wait for the mail drops like they do. They’ve never seen him queue for the satphone, never seen him with a picture of his girl… and if they ask he just looks at them with those sad eyes of his and smiles.

Even if he isn’t one of them, things have been easier since he arrived on the base. No longer afraid to sleep, they’re feeling fresher – better than they have done in months. Morale is higher and even the heat and dust and that quiet fear that each dawn could be the last no longer weigh on them. For the first time since their tour began, they have hope.

They call him their ‘Guardian Angel’ – the one who watches over them while they sleep.

Guardian angel.

They have no idea…

 

(with thanks to John, for the bit I didn’t make up… )

An Assembly of Angels

It’s been a really exciting (and busy) couple of days, and I can’t quite believe how fast they’ve gone. Or how fast the release date for BLOOD AND FEATHERS is hurtling towards me!

The biggest thing for me, amongst a few big things, is that the first review for the book came in, and I’m absolutely thrilled. My Bookish Ways said:

… expertly weaves fantasy and horror elements into a creepy, exciting, roller coaster ride of a book. Lou Morgan’s angels aren’t warm, fluffy, and halo’d, either. They’re fiercely beautiful warriors, and distinctly “other.” The angel mythos is fascinating and rich, and the author has laid the groundwork for what promises to be an explosive sequel

(You can read the full review here.)

Basically, this brought a huge smile to my face – and not just because it’s a lovely review. It’s because it’s the first sense that other people have read the book: people I don’t know and who don’t know me, and that it’s now out there on its own. Being its own thing and standing by and for itself. It’s terrifying exciting. And it’s wonderful. The fact that the first review I’ve seen is also so positive just adds to the whole thing.

Kristin, who runs My Bookish Ways, was also kind enough to invite me to waffle on about all manner of things from medieval art to Prince Hal to angels via the City of London, and you can read that here.

If you’ve not yet had enough of me waffling (some of you have tremendous stamina, I know) then you can also join in the Friday Five fun on Pornokitsch. Every week, they ask a couple of people to choose 5 of something, and this week it’s… yep, you guessed it: angels.

I particularly love that Castiel has made 2 out of the 3 lists, proving that he really is All The Awesome. It also reminded me of something I found on Etsy yesterday which I reallyreallyreally want:

Knitted Castiel

He may be just about the coolest thing ever. Seriously.

Well.

Until someone knits a Mallory, that is…

Rising

I was going to blog yesterday – really, I was – but I went to see The Dark Knight Rises in the morning, and frankly, by the time I got home, I was ruined. All you’d have had was an essay on why I want to live inside Christopher Nolan’s head. Because I do.

If you haven’t gone to see this yet, do. Like its predecessors, it’s dark and brooding and often chaotic; it’s ambitious and clever and beautifully acted and shot… and as an ending to the trilogy, it manages to pick up, to revisit, themes and ideas from both previous parts. And the final few scenes are perfect. I wouldn’t have wanted it to end any other way.

(It was also fantastic to see Senate House back as a location – like Nolan, I studied English at UCL and I’m very familiar with that particular building and its place in both history and fiction. It did look a *bit* different this time round, though…)

Anyway. You’re going to get plenty of me now. Sorry.

Possibly the most exciting thing is that I’m featured in this month’s (September, issue 225) SFX Magazine as their “New Author”, talking about the Fallen, my influences and why Supernatural is one of my favourite shows. The BLOOD AND FEATHERS launch at Forbidden Planet on the 2nd is also on their monthly calendar, which is basically amazing and has brought me out in a huge grin.

Secondly, this won’t be news so much as More Stuff About Things You Already Know Because I’ve Rattled On About Them Before… but Solaris have now announced the final line-up for MAGIC, which will be out later this year, and includes my story “Bottom Line”. The authors involved are absolutely incredible, and include some of my very favourite writers right now – it’s a huge honour to be included and I’m very excited about the whole project.

I’m also guest-posting over on Book Chick City today as part of their “Author Top Ten” series – in my case, talking about my favourite heroes and anti-heroes. The emphasis is on action (this being me) and we tour the heroics variously of Gladiator, Drive and The Hurt Locker, by way of the ubiquitous Dean Winchester and Roland Deschain. Swing by BCC and feel free to comment, add to or generally mock my list.

Finally, I’ve added a couple more sneaky character updates to the list on the BLOOD AND FEATHERS site – including the first  of the major characters. The remaining ones will be going up over the next couple of days, and there might even be something a bit different on there next week: you never know…

Pinned Down

Because I simply don’t have enough things filling my time (insert mildly hysterical laugh *here*) I’ve now joined Pinterest, and you can find my boards here.

They’re still very much a work in progress – again with the whole “time” thing – but if you’re on there, do swing by and take a peek. I’m building up a nice collection of angels in the wild, and am always looking for more to add. If you see any, give me a shout so I can add them. What’s particularly interesting to me is how many turn up in street art at the moment, so those are always extra-welcome.

There’s also the slightly mysterious one labelled “Faces“. Because that couldn’t possibly be connected to anything.

Speaking of pretty pictures, by the way, this month sees BLOOD AND FEATHERS’s turn in the Cover Wars at the Qwillery site. There’s some very pretty books on there this time around, but I know where my heart lies. If you’re thus inclined and want to go and show Pye’s gorgeous artwork some love (and of course you do) then head over and vote.

And one more thing. There’s a few more character notes gone up on the Characters page on the B&F site, including one of my favourites, Brieus.

“We’re talking about the Fallen. Of course they’re stupid.” Brieus peered into the eye-socket of a skull. “This guy must’ve been a looker; just get a load of those cheekbones.”

“That’s a woman’s skull, Brieus.”

“Even better. Hellooo.”

That guy just can’t help himself…

The History Boys

I’ve been watching the BBC’s astonishingly good productions of Shakespeare’s History Plays (which if you’re not watching, and you can, you really should) and they prompted me to comment on my assorted historical crushes on Twitter. The response to this – from a couple of different people – was that they’re all a bit, well… battlefield-y. (In fact, one comment was that there was a theme of “spur-winning”).

This is me we’re talking about, after all. And, given the four years spent reading assorted medieval stuff, there’s plenty of battlefield action to choose from. So here, in no particular order, are the History Boys.

(I should also add that these are entirely biased sketches, and gloriously coloured by my own opinions. I have wildly overlooked Actual Historical Facts in favour of being generally impressed by this lot. So you can take anything I say with a reasonably large pinch of salt…)

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Blood & Feathers: Meet the Angels

… and the Fallen, and everyone in between.

You might have noticed the site for BLOOD AND FEATHERS which is now up and running (well… maybe not running. Sort of… strolling. Possibly along a sunny pavement beside the Seine on an unseasonably warm Tuesday afternoon in April. But that’s beside the point) and has actual things on it.

There’s still more to go up, but there’s the beginnings of bios for the main characters, and over the next few weeks I’ll be posting a few others – mainly a snippet of dialogue here and there for some of the major players. Nothing spoilery, but as something of an Easter egg for everyone who tolerates my online gibberish.

There’ll also be an FAQ going up there – which admittedly won’t be terribly busy for a while yet… but if there’s anything you do want to know about the characters or the settings or anything like that, feel free to ask and that’s where the answers will go.

At some point over the next couple of weeks, there will also be a (very) short story about one of the main characters in the book hiding on there – again, as a thank you for listening to the rambling and wittering… and for your support, because it really does mean a lot.

The plan is for that to become a site for the book(s) – plural, now we’re counting Rebellion… and I’ll just let Dean cover my feelings for that one…

… so, um, yes. I’ll keep adding bits to it, so do check in once in a while.

Also, while I remember, I was very excited to guest-blog on the Qwillery site the other week, talking about playlists and writing to music (and the perils therein…). (The B&F playlist is, of course, on the B&F site…)

Privilege

With less than a month now to the release of BLOOD AND FEATHERS, I’m starting to get a little nervous.

Actually, that’s a lie.

I’m a lot nervous.

I’m almost as nervous about the idea of the book – my book – being out there, in the world, in front of actual people as I am excited. And I am excited: I’ve spent a long time living with Alice and Mallory and Vin and all the others. I know what they sound like, I know what they look like, I know how they think and how they move. I understand their world; quite possibly better than I understand my own. I know the rules, I know which ones can be broken and how to break them…

And now the two worlds – theirs and mine – are coming together, and it’s a strange, strange thing.

It’s also an unbelievable privilege.

To work so hard on something, and to be able to share it with others…

To know that someone believes in you, and in these unreal things which feel so real, enough to invest their own time and energy to make them the very best that they can be; to know that so many people have supported you along the way…

To know that this little story, these people made of nothing more than words and dreams, will go out into the world and have their own lives – and hopefully mean something to someone else; something quite different from what they all mean to me, and that’s the beauty of it…

To be in this extraordinary position of fear and hope and hope and fear…

What a wonderful, wonderful place to be.

The Manuscript Confessional

I was clearing out my desk drawers yesterday, and I quite unexpectedly found an old manuscript of mine: written when I was maybe 14, I suspect it’s the beginning of a sequel to my first attempt at writing a book. (I can say this with reasonable confidence because I know the first one was handwritten, in its earlier form. This one’s done on the typewriter saved up for all through one summer. I loved that typewriter, but I digress.)

Out of curiosity, I started flicking through it – and it really didn’t take long before I wished I hadn’t.

It starts with the weather. Of course it does. It’s a vampire story, so obviously, it’s night time, and it’s raining. Because that’s what happens in vampire stories, right? A sure sign that I had discovered Anne Rice by this point in my teens comes with the appearance of a “heavy black velvet cloak” in line 7. Later, there’s a clifftop castle with waves crashing below: also inhabited by a vampire.

I won’t go on – I can’t bear to – but it’s fair to say that by three pages in, we’ve pretty much covered emo-vampire bingo.

I was fond of adverbs: it’s littered with them. There’s 8 in the first paragraph alone. I was fond of moving from one thing into another with “And then, something strange happened:” Once is forgivable. Maybe. Twice, not so much. Four times – which is how many I counted in the first couple of chapters? Ouch.

There are fifteen characters mentioned by name on the first page. Frankly, it’s a wonder there was even space for the cloaks and the adverbs and the rain. Fifteen! What was I thinking? Was I drunk?

Well, no. The answer’s simple. I was 14, and I thought I was clever. I thought I was good.

I wasn’t.

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