Month: May 2013

Blood and Feathers site

Just to let you know I’ve started updating the BLOOD AND FEATHERS series site with some new bits for REBELLION.

I don’t tend to tinker with it too much on an ongoing basis (I don’t want it to get too out of control!) so it’s been fairly quiet over there for a while, but in the next few weeks there will be more stuff popping up – starting with more locations being added to the “world” page and some introductions to some new characters.

I’m also updating the FAQ: it’s pretty basic at the moment, so if there’s anything you want to ask about the characters or the books, then ask away and I’ll do my best to answer it…

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The Return of the Black Dove

You might remember a while back, Jurassic London launched their series of anthologies with Pandemonium: Tales of the Apocalypse. Stories of destruction, chaos and… John Martin. It was an anthology I was very proud to be part of – I say “was” because, as is the way with Jurassic anthologies, it went out of print after one year. This meant my story in there, At the Sign of the Black Dove… apocalypsed.

Until now.

It appears in this week’s episode of the Tales to Terrify podcast, read by Simon Hildebrandt (the story starts at around the 24:00 minute mark if you want to skip straight to it) – and while I’ve still not entirely got used to the idea of someone reading out my stories – and you know, my actual words – he does an amazing job.

As well as the website. you should be able to get it via iTunes, too: search for the Tales to Terrify podcast and look for episode 71.

It’s the story of a group of friends who wander into their local pub one night for a drink, and find that they’ve got more than a hangover to worry about the next morning.

So if you missed it as part of Pandemonium and you’d like to hear it now (or maybe you’re brave enough to venture back to the Black Dove…) click away… and bottoms up.

If, by the way, you can ever get your hands on one of the limited edition hardcovers, I really do recommend it – and not purely because I was involved in it. There are some incredible stories in there by incredible writers, and you won’t be disappointed.

Join the REBELLION giveaway

It’s less than 2 months to the release of BLOOD AND FEATHERS: REBELLION (eeeeeeep!) on July 9th, so I’m going to do one more giveaway. This one’s a little different to last time.

Why?

Because as well as a signed copy of the first book, I’m giving away the opening chapter of the REBELLION manuscript, marked up with notes and amendments.

This means that you’ll be able to see the changes between the draft I sent to Solaris and the text that will appear in the finished book, giving you an insight into the edits we made – as well as getting a look at the first chapter before anyone else.

Publishing being the modern and new-fangled thing that it is, all my edits are sent through in soft-copy. However, me being the Luddite that I am, I always work in hard-copy, and transfer everything back onto the screen. This does, unfortunately, mean that you’ll be getting pages covered in my scrawl, but hey.

All you have to do is tell me where you think you belong.

I’ll explain…

In the world of BLOOD AND FEATHERS, the angels are divided into choirs. Each choir has their own specific talents and gifts.

Every choir has a part to play in the battle.

Michael’s choir – like the Archangel who leads them – are the elite soldiers. They’re known for their loyalty and their single-mindedness… and the fact they tend to burst into flame. Quick to anger, they’re by far the smallest choir, but are almost certainly the strongest.

Gabriel’s choir are able to control lightning (and, by extension, electricity). They often come across as aloof and detached… but they’re simply considering all their options, and it gives them a distinct advantage when it comes to emotional situations.

Speaking of emotions: next comes Zadkiel’s choir. Able to manipulate memories, thoughts and feelings, they can read your mind – or make you see exactly what they want. It’s a more useful trick than you’d imagine. Or maybe that’s just what they want you to think…

If you’re a gambler, it pays to have Barakiel on your side. His choir are, generally speaking, lucky. This manifests itself in funny ways: some of his choir are always in the right place in the right time, some can influence the outcome of a fight or a hand of poker… some keep getting themselves in a mess. The thing is, they always get out again.

Raphael is a healer.¬†They say time heals everything? They mean “Raphael”. Many of his choir are also healers – and others are empaths. Able to feel what others around them feel – not to alter or influence, like Zadkiel’s choir, but to understand. Sometimes, though, feeling what others feel hurts...

And then there’s the Fallen. The outsiders. The rebels. Dangerous and desperate, how many of them wish they could go back and make different choice – and how many of them like things just the way they are?

 

See? Easy.

Which choir do you think you would belong to, and why?

I’d love to know!

 

You can leave a comment on this post, tweet me or mail me. I’ll randomly draw one response this Sunday, May 19th. I’ll also collect all the entries and put them on the blog a bit further down the line – along with my own answer.

Choose your choir.

The REBELLION is coming.

Workspace

There was a Twitter conversation the other night (I clearly spend far too much time on there – I’ve started a few posts with “So, I was on Twitter and…”) about the spaces people wrote in. Naturally, being nosy, this caught my attention. It’s always fascinating seeing how people arrange their space – be it writing space, kitchen space or living space. It says a lot about them, and about us as humans, because they’re often pretty similar.

Having gone and nosed around Laura Lam and Stephen Aryan‘s, I thought it’s only fair if I put mine up too. (And if you’re interested, you can even take a look at an agent’s desk, too: Juliet Mushens, who represents both Laura and me, has put up a photoblog of her day – including a desk shot…)

I’ve written in a lot of places – mostly because I’ve lived in 3 different houses in the last 2 and a half years, and stayed in a handful of short-term rentals too. This has led to me not being too picky about my writing setup. In our house in London, I used to write at the dining table in our living room. Then we got stuck in the middle of an awful move, which led to me spending a week or so writing the last third of Blood and Feathers sitting in the window of my parents’ Barbican flat, 13 floors up and looking out over Smithfield and towards St Paul’s cathedral. I also wrote a big chunk sitting on the mezzanine floor of the Barbican centre (interestingly, hell in the book is a labyrinthine complex of levels and stairways. It never occurred to me how closely this fits with how most people find navigating the Barbican…)

We then stayed in a few more places before we moved into our Brighton house: a tall, narrow townhouse by the seafront, spread over 5 storeys. I had a teeny study there, but as it had no insulation and was essentially a little box jutting out of the house, with external walls on 3 sides, it got incredibly cold… so I moved down to our basement kitchen, and that old dining table. And the underfloor heating.

Which brings us to here. I’d planned to work (again) in the kitchen – there must be something about the proximity to the kettle and the fridge which appeals to me – but instead, I’ve annexed the not-quite-big-enough-to-be-a-proper-spare-room bedroom…

 

workspace main desk

 

This (somewhat dark) photo should give you an idea of my desk. It’s new and tiny and the idea was that I wouldn’t be able to cover the top of it with crap like I used to do my old – much larger – one. As you can see, that plan is working out perfectly.

 

workspace proofing sofa

The “proofin'” sofa. Technically, it’s our spare bed. The rest of the time, it’s where I read – having dislodged the cat, who likes to lie right across the middle of the thing. Because we’ve not decorated the room since we moved in, most of my pictures are still waiting to be hung up, so they sit along the back of the sofa.

There’s a couple of my friend Vinny Chong’s prints (the face is one of my favourites of his. I have a few. It’s a problem, OK?), a photo of Brighton’s West Pier lit up with lasers and a Jefferson Starship LP that my husband found in a charity shop. (It’s an in-joke and you need to have watched a lot of Supernatural to get it. But they’re horrible, and hard to kill.) Frankly, I hate the cover art but it makes me laugh every time I look at it.

 

workspace shelves and sofa

My shelves. The narrow ones in the middle are mostly research books, along with some copies of Blood and Feathers, notebooks, playing cards and a tin of Monster Supplies’ Escalating Panic – just in case. If you look carefully, you’ll also see my mother’s teddy bear looking after the graphic novels. Below the printer is Fred. Fred is an antique; part of the anatomy skeleton my father bought while he was in medical school back when they still used real skeletons. I’m told his hand went missing during a medical school drama production – and I think he appeared in the same club’s version of Hamlet. Lucky old Fred.

 

workspace side of desk

 

A slightly less gloomy one of the desk (note the super-glamorous black wrist brace there. I’ve had RSI in my left arm for years, and this has been an absolute lifesaver). The grey crate on the floor is my somewhat-erratic filing system. Basically, if I’m working on it in any way, shape or form, it’s in there. The notice board is all sorts of bits and bobs: mostly drawings my little boy has done. I also have a few photos around. And teetering piles of manuscript pages and notebooks. See how that “small desk” thing’s working out for me?

 

workspace view from desk

The view from the desk. It’s one of the best things about the room: we have a huge beech hedge running alongside the house, and I’ve watched the trees go from completely bare when we moved in to… this. On windy days (like today) the leaves make the most incredible sound. The winged mug was a present from Anne Perry and Jared Shurin – the amazing powerhouse behind Pornokitsch, Pandemonium and The Kitschies. The framed dollar on the windowsill is (and this sounds absurd, but there’s a point. I think.) the first money I ever earned from writing. It was for a story that appeared in a tiny little American magazine, and that was the entire payment. $1. But it meant so much to me that I decided to frame it. It felt important. It still does.

So there you go. Where do you work? What do you have around you, and why? Is there one area of your workspace you like the most? Take photos, tell us about your desk, your kitchen table, your office… wherever it is you do what you do. Tell us about the things there that matter to you, and link it back so we can all see and compare notes!