blood & feathers

Join the rebellion…

This won’t be news to most, admittedly, but it still makes me happy.

I’m delighted to announce that Solaris Books have picked up the follow-up to BLOOD & FEATHERS.

The next book: BLOOD & FEATHERS: REBELLION will be published in August 2013.

The full press release is over on the Solaris blog.

So, um, yeah.

Am I happy-dancing?

Just a bit…

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The Blurbs

I’ve not talked about the blurbs we’ve had in for BLOOD & FEATHERS yet – mainly because I can’t quite believe them and have to stop and pinch myself every time I start. But I figure I’m going to have to stop pinching soon, because my arm’s getting kind of sore, so.

Anyway, for your very delectation, here they are – and I’m so grateful to all the lovely people who took the time to read the book and to give us a few words…

“A hell of a ride, but heaven to read: eerie, compelling and very funny.” -Michael Marshall Smith

“It’s a challenge to take concepts older than the calendar and make them seem new. Louise Morgan has done just that. How to describe this, her debut novel?  Bloody Heavenly!”– Guy Adams

“Dark, enticing and so sharp the pages could cut you, Blood and Feathers is a must-read for any fan of the genre.”- Sarah Pinborough

“A storming debut! Lou Morgan writes with confidence, style and verve. Who would have thought that going to Hell could be so much fun? A must read.”  – Mike Shevdon

“Dark, surreal and wickedly funny, Lou Morgan’s reimagining of the war between Heaven and Hell mixes angels, alcohol and ammunition to serve up a joy of a read.” – Tom Pollock

Burn it Down

Chances are, if you’ve been here before, you know I’m a Linkin Park fan. I’ve made no secret of the fact “When They Come For Me” from the A Thousand Suns album (my favourite, although I know it’s a divisive one) was hugely important to the writing of BLOOD & FEATHERS, so a new album looming on the horizon is a very big deal. And the first single will always get my attention…

As an aside, anyone with a Pendulum / LP-fandom crossover (like me) will either love or hate this.

Fresh Hell

My eyes are bleeding. My head hurts, and I’ve spent much of the last two days trying to deal with the toe-curling embarrassment of knowing that at least one person has already read my book*, and that they’ve been paying close attention. Very, very close attention.

Yes, I’ve just finished the first pass of my line edit on “Blood & Feathers”.

Things I have learned: firstly, that I use too many words (like that’s a surprise to any of us).

Secondly, that I create elaborate back stories for stuff which I don’t actually mention on the page, but which I expect everyone to know, because they’re in my head and therefore Must Be A Universally Acknowledged Truth (ooh, and second-and-a-half-ly, trying to say “an universally” makes you feel and sound like a numpty).

And thirdly, that my editor, Jon Oliver is a saint, whose quiet comments in the margins are terribly sensible and clever, and manage not to roll their eyes and tell me to go stand in the corner. He’s taken the thing I wrote, and he’s poked it, threatened it (politely, of course: Jon is nothing if not well-mannered) and made it behave itself; turning it into something I can be really proud of.

And that, if you ask me, is worth the bleeding eyes..

*I suspect this is a reaction I’m going to have to get past, and hopefully a very pleasant occupational hazard I should get used to…

Angel Face

So, I have a new favourite page on the internet.

It’s this one.

Yes, kids. That is the “Blood & Feathers” page on Amazon’s UK site (what’s that? You want to see the US one? Oh, go on then... I like that one too.) You may have seen it before. Perhaps you have. In that case, you should go and look again. Seriously, because I’m worried that if I take my eyes off it for a second, it’ll scuttle off somewhere and hide. And sooner or later, I’m going to need to blink.

I have a cover. And it’s, like, out there. With pictures and words and cool stuff.

There’s still one or two tweaks that need doing, so the Amazon sites are likely to update once they’re complete, but–give or take the odd detail–this is how it’ll look.

I’ve been sitting on the draft version since late September, when we’d talked about ideas for it at the Solaris offices… and then the amazing Simon Parr (who is also Pye. It’s a thing. I don’t ask. He may well be some kind of gestalt art/comics/awesome guru) went off, had a think, and came back with what you see there.

I absolutely adore it. It’s gorgeous and feels completely right and you must all immediately rush over and tell @PyeParr that he is, basically, a genius.

Keep an eye out for the final version, which I hope I can put a big, shiny high-res copy of on here soon so you can see it properly.

Flynn Rider totally approves.

Building a Book

Solaris security. He is the law.

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know that I had an exciting excursion to Oxford last week. (For some reason, I now have a chorus of voices repeating “all the way to Oxford!” in a pseudo-Stardust style. Ah yes: I remember why. I’m a Gaiman-fangirl. That’ll be it. Anyway, moving on.)

I was in Oxford to visit the office of Solaris Books, who will be publishing “Blood & Feathers” next year, and to meet with the editorial team to talk about stuff, nonsense and the book–as well as to discuss some ideas for covers. Was I excited? What do you think?

And, yes, while I was there, I did get a chance to relieve the groaning office bookshelves of a few choice items… I’m doing them a favour, really. Honestly.

Besides, I did take cakes.

Jon Oliver: Captain of the Good Ship Solaris

I feel exceptionally lucky to have landed with the Solaris team; I mean, I already felt incredibly lucky that something I’ve worked so hard on, and which means so much to me, is being published at all–and I keep wondering whether it’s all a bit of a dream, really, and hoping no-one pinches me!

But above and beyond that, I’m very happy to have the opportunity to work with such passionate people who encourage their writers every step of the way–and have so far allowed me to stick my nose into the business left, right and centre.

Take the cover, for instance.

They’ve gone out of their way to involve me in cover art discussions… although, disappointingly, I was told in no uncertain terms that no, a cover featuring a sparkly pink angel-unicorn riding a tentacle-covered tank was not going to cut the mustard with distributors. I’m thinking: maybe for the next one?

*The* Ben Smith: knower of things, keeper of answers; sometime crusher of unicorns.

I was a bit daunted by the prospect of getting involved in the cover. It’s such a big deal these days: how do you come up with a single image to fit an entire book?

And if that whole “picture’s worth a thousand words” thing is true, don’t we need, like, a hundred of them?

Where do you even start (particularly when, like me, you got a C in GCSE Art–which if you’re entirely honest, you’ll admit you only took because it got you out of playing netball for two years)?

Jenni Hill: I could tell you what she's busy editing, but then she'd have to kill you. And me. *Messily*.

Thus far, though, unicorn/tank issues aside (seriously. I’m having that on something. It’s genius) everyone has been amazing: providing exactly the right combination of hand-patting and “don’t-be-so-bloody-stupid”-ing.

Possibly the most surreal moment of the afternoon came when it dawned on me that I was sitting with a group of people who had all read my book. All of them. And–apparently–rather liked it. Not only that, but suddenly it struck me that it wasn’t just mine any more–it was theirs too.

I had a bit of a wibble then, and had to hang on to the edge of my chair so I didn’t fall off.

The mellifluous David Moore: easily recognisable from the Abaddon & Solaris Podcast (or, if you were there, FCon 2010's metal karaoke...)

I had a good poke around the office, and we talked about the books they’re working on at the moment (I’m desperate to read one in particular: Gaie Sebold‘s “Babylon Steel“, due out in January next year) as well as The Actual Business Of Publishing, about which it turns out I know absolutely nothing.

Then they let me loose on the bookshelves…

It’s a nice feeling, this. I could get used to it.

By the way, I should point out that some of the Solaris team will be at Fantasycon at the end of this month, and they’ll be holding a special event on the Saturday afternoon (2 – 3pm in the Royal Albion’s Regency Lounge). Come along, say hello and pick up a book or two. I should warn you: I might well be there, but don’t let that put you off.

If you’re London-based, too, next Tuesday (September 27th) sees the launch of the latest Solaris anthology, “House of Fear” at Foyles on Charing Cross Road. It’s a ticketed event (although tickets are free) so make sure you reserve a spot if you’re thinking of coming.

And, apropos of absolutely nothing at all, here’s an Elliot Minor video. The song? Why, that’d be “Solaris”, of course…

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…

Bring the Noise

I realise I’ve posted quite a lot of music-y entries lately, so I thought it might be a good time to do something which is both largely the same and completely different.

I’ve been forced – forced, I tell you – to upgrade to itunes v. 10, and so I’ve been faffing around in my music library and playlists and quite by accident selected the playlist that I’ve used for my last WIP (what’s the past tense of work-in-progress, I wonder?).

These are the songs I listened to while I was first writing, then editing, shredding and weeping over it, then piecing it all back together. I’ve seen a few “Writing Playlist” blogs recently, and I always find them interesting… so apropos of nothing, here’s mine.

It might well not mean much (other than to my lovely, lovely beta readers and the other exceptionally brave souls who’ve asked to read the manuscript, and to be honest, it might well not mean much to them, either!) but you know I always enjoy an opportunity to bang on about my favourite noises. And you never know, you might find something new in there. So, in no particular order…

OneRepublic: All the Right Moves

The Pretty Reckless: Make Me Wanna Die

Fort Minor: Believe Me

Fort Minor: Slip Out the Back

LostProphets: It’s Not the End of the World

Audio Bullys: Only Man (Jakwob remix)

Linkin Park: Burning in the Skies

Linkin Park: When They Come For Me

Linkin Park: New Divide

Unicorn Kid: Dreamcatcher

Pendulum: The Island, Part I & II

Pendulum: Watercolour (Rob Swire’s Drumstep remix)

Rammstein: Ich Tut Dir Weh

My Chemical Romance: Bulletproof Heart

My Chemical Romance: The Only Hope for Me is You

Lady Gaga: Teeth

Dead by Sunrise: Walking in Circles

Clint Mansell: Dead Reckoning

Chase & Status feat. Plan B: End Credits

Yeah. It turned into that kind of story.