anthology

Rebellion and the weaver

BFS_Logo_red_SMALLI had a pretty awesome piece of news last week: BLOOD AND FEATHERS: REBELLION has been shortlisted for this year’s British Fantasy Awards, in the “Best Fantasy Novel” category.

It’s a fantastic shortlist (you can see the other nominees here, plus the shortlists for all the other BFA categories) and I’m absolutely thrilled to be a part of it… and making it even lovelier is the fact that the first B&F book, BLOOD AND FEATHERS, was nominated in the same category last year. Thank you so, so much to everyone who voted it onto the shortlist – it means an enormous amount.

Other good news comes in the form of a short story: I’m delighted to announce that my story, “Death and the Weaver” will appear in Alchemy Press‘s URBAN MYTHIC 2 anthology, launching later this year. My contribution is set in an area I know very well and have a huge amount of affection for: Brittany in northern France, and is the story of what happens to a woman who moves back to the small town where she spent her summers growing up.

The idea behind the anthology (which like its predecessor, the original URBAN MYTHIC, has a great line-up) is to reinterpret myths and legends in a modern way – and there’s no shortage of myths in Brittany. I’ll talk a bit more about the story and this particular myth in “Death and the Weaver” closer to release – which should be at FantasyCon in September.

Another thank you too, to everyone who commented on the SLEEPLESS cover: I’m so pleased you like it as much as I do!

 

 

 

 

Pledge & Turn

… and, of course, “Prestige.”

(Thank god for that. Leaving it out makes me feel like I want to sneeze.)

And the prestige is, of course, MAGIC: AN ANTHOLOGY OF THE ESOTERIC & ARCANE

Watch closely…

Pretty, isn’t she? And it’s not just the cover that’s pretty: the interior design is also gorgeous, making this one of the nicest-looking anthologies I’ve seen. And I’m not just saying that because I’m biased. Promise.

MAGIC is released this week, with a special launch event at Foyles in Charing Cross Road, London, featuring Audrey Niffenegger, Sophia McDougall and Dan Abnett in conversation with editor Jon Oliver. It’s a free event, but it’s not a bad idea to reserve a space via the Foyles Events site.

If you were at FantasyCon in Brighton this year and swung by the reading room on the Friday evening, you may well have heard either me or Will Hill reading our stories from the book. The theme was, unsurprisingly, “magic” but the brief was specifically for something new; something that looked away from traditional witches and wizards… and judging by the finished anthology, every single contributor took that to heart.

My story, “Bottom Line” is about a man who works in a magic shop; a man who would do well to avoid magic altogether… not that it stops him.

I can still remember the look on his face when I asked for a job. He was sitting at the counter, stringing cards onto wire for the window display. He put the wire down, and he looked me dead in the eyes and said, “Donnie. Of all the places in the world, with your history, why in God’s name would you want to work in a magic shop?”

He had a point. You don’t send an alcoholic to work in a distillery, do you? But that’s just it. There’s magic and there’s magic. There’s tricks and illusions and sleight of hand… and there’s what I do. What I did.

“Bottom Line” is a story about addiction and regret and – maybe – redemption. I’m very proud of it, and it was one of those stories I was sad to leave. I liked Donnie, and I hope you do too.

It’s a pleasure and an honour to be included in this anthology: the line-up is beyond intimidating (if you’re me, anyway) and includes Audrey Niffenegger, Will Hill, Rob Shearman, Alison Littlewood, Sophia McDougall and Sarah Lotz as well as many other people. And muggins here.

You can order online (Amazon UK & US) or pick up a copy at Foyles on Wednesday evening. As well as the official participants of the event, several other contributors will be there to sign copies if you’d like your book scribbled on! There will be ebooks, too, the links for which I’ll add once I’ve dragged them out of the lower recesses of the internet.

If you’re in London this week, come along and help us launch this fantastic book; come and say hi. And if you can’t make it, not to worry: with a line-up like that, there’s bound to be something in this anthology which will enchant you…

 

Ego, Ego, Ego

One of my mad-dash self-pimping posts, this. If you’re averse to the odd spot of self-promotion and shoes with goldfish in the heels* then this is probably the time to look away…

If you’re still here, that’s good. This was worth sticking around for.

Last week, Solaris announced the line-up for their autumn anthology (you might well have read “End of the Line” or “House of Fear”, which were released in 2010 and 2011 respectively). This year, the theme – and the title – is Magic.

Full details including the line-up are on the Solaris blog, and if you look carefully, you’ll see that the “and others” includes, umm, me.

I can’t even begin to explain how excited I am about being involved in this: quite apart from the fact that so many of the people on that list are authors I admire hugely, Audrey Niffenegger is the kind of name that makes my jaw go from here ^ to here _.

The Time Traveler’s Wife is one of my favourite books (because I am a girl and in love with Henry, even though he’s an idiot for most of the book, yes, I know, don’t even try.) and so for me, this is a very, very big deal.

Random other pimpening: I’ll be turning up at the SFX Weekender coming up next weekend – I won’t be doing anything other than mooching around and enjoying myself, hopefully, but there’s a good chance I’ll be lurking around the Rebellion / Solaris & Abaddon crew at least some of the time so if you spot me, come and say hello! You can even ask about the fish.

I’ll be at a couple of conventions this year, attempting to sound intelligent… or at the very least, to smile nicely while failing to sound intelligent.

You can catch me at AltFiction in Leicester (April 14th & 15th), where I’ll be wearing my editor’s hat (which has a really big feather in it and goes nicely with the shoes) for one panel to discuss SFF non-fiction. Then I’ll be joining in with the “New Writers” panel, with Jon Weir, Tom Pollock and Vincent Holland-Keen – I’m particularly looking forward to this one.

I’ll also be at the Discover Festival in Snibston (May 18th – 20th), where it’s entirely possible I could be wearing a different hat. With or without feather…

*Note: no goldfish were harmed in the making of this blog post.

Pandemonium: At the Sign of the Black Dove

You’ll have seen me mention the new John Martin-inspired anthology, “Pandemonium: Stories of the Apocalypse” before; partly because it’s veryveryvery cool, and partly because I’ve somehow been fortunate enough to be involved.

Excitingly, the e-book launches this Friday (4th November) at Tate Britain. Last time I checked, there were still a couple of tickets left, but not many. The demand has been absolutely staggering, which is both fantastic and utterly and completely jealous-making as I can’t actually be there. However, lots of other lovely people will be (including many of the other writers as well as Jared & Anne, our apocalyptic editors) and it sounds like it’s going to be a great evening.

Hence the sulking and the pouting over here. Ahem.

If you can’t make the launch, don’t fret. You’ll still be able to buy the e-book (details on the Pandemonium site) and indeed, you should. There will also be an extremely limited hardcover edition available through the Tate.

I am absolutely thrilled to have been involved in a project like this one, with some incredible authors. It’s also been a tremendous privilege to work with Anne and Jared as editors, and to see their enthusiasm for the anthology mirrored by so many others. They have worked so hard on putting together the best collection of stories they possibly can, and I very much hope you’ll buy it and enjoy it.

My story in there, “At the Sign of the Black Dove” is set in and around a pub (called, enigmatically enough, the Black Dove). Look at it as the anti-Winchester, if you like. It’s about faith and friendship, and why you should always tip your bartender. You never know what else he might be…

Jude wasn’t quite sure when it happened.

He remembered the barman ringing the bell, his voice carrying across the bar. “That’s it, boys and girls. Last call.”

He remembered Charley’s face swimming in and out of focus; Hope suddenly lurching forwards, slumping over the table.

He remembered the world tipping. Maya leaning over him, her eyes larger than the moon and shining like all the stars in the sky together. “Jude? Jude…? Can you hear…?”

And then he heard nothing more.

It was dark when he opened his eyes, and Jude had no idea where he was. He was lying on something rough and slightly sticky. It smelled of stale beer and old sweat and other, worse things. Everything was quiet, and his first clear thought was to wonder exactly how much he’d had to drink.

And there was the answer. He was still in the Black Dove. The floor of the Black Dove.

That was not good.

His head hammered as he sat up.

That was even less good.

The room was almost entirely dark, heavy curtains pulled across the windows. One dim shaft of light had found its way through, and dust motes danced in it, spiraling towards the ceiling. Jude listened, his ears straining to hear whether anyone else was in the room with him.

Nothing.

Poor old Jude. He doesn’t know it yet, but that hangover’s really the least of his problems…

 

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…?

End of the Line

"End of the Line": Solaris books. Artwork by Luke Preece

Last night, I headed off to the launch of Solaris Books “End of the Line” anthology: a collection of horror stories set on the Underground (and the Metro, and the New York subway… but you get the idea).

It was an interesting evening: Jon Oliver chaired a small panel consisting of Christopher Fowler, Pat Cadigan & Adam Nevill, all of whom feature in the collection. There was talk of why going underground is scary – for Adam, it’s the clautrophobia, the confusion and the packed-in flesh. For Pat, it’s the idea of being buried alive, of descending into an untimely tomb; while for Chris, the Tube was such a part of his childhood that he can’t bring himself to fear it – although he’s not terribly keen on the sliding flood doors. (I’m with him on that, actually. I remember seeing a few of those when I first came to London in 1998, but now I come to think about it, I’ve not noticed one for years. Maybe they’re all gone – or maybe they’re just not obvious enough to make you notice them and immediately think “OhmigodI’mgoingtodie!”)

There was a brief discussion, too, of the Underground in movies: Creep, Death Line and Control being the notable mentions, along with An American Werewolf in London. There was a small signing, where we had another classic Lou-fail (note: must learn to stop presenting my book at signing tables with a cheery: “Hi! I’m Lou!”. It only ever ends in, “Well, that’s nice for you,” from a slightly bemused and wrist-weary author – this time, Christopher Fowler, although he did go on to tell me how big the new Superdry store in One New Change is, so I may not have broken him entirely. This is good, as despite having used “Disturbia” as a virtual guide to London when I moved here, I’ve not long discovered the Bryant & May series, and would kind of like to see how that pans out…) and then on to the Phoenix Artist Club for drinks.

These things always remind me how absolutely right the decision to go to WHC in Brighton in March was. I went there alone, knowing no-one, but it served as the most incredible introduction to a group of people who are – individually and collectively – genuinely lovely. I had a great time – I was only sorry I had to leave as early as I did, as I’d have loved to stay longer and talk more (you know me. Talking. It’s what I do. A lot).

As it was, I contented myself with having a good read on the train on the way home (note #2: best not to read horror stories set on any kind of railway while you’re sitting alone in a train carriage with slightly dodgy lights. It’s not good for the nerves).

Thanks to the Solaris team – Jon, Jenni and Dave, all of whom are most excellent people – for a great book and a great launch. And if you’re looking for something to read on the commute (and your boss doesn’t mind if you arrive in the office a bit pale & in need of a stiff drink) you could do worse than look this one up.