book

Announcing… SLEEPLESS

I’ve been sitting on this news for ages, and – as you can imagine – for someone as gobby as I am, it’s been a real challenge keeping quiet. But I’m told I don’t have to keep my mouth shut any longer (and if it turns out I’m wrong on that then we’ll just carry on and pretend that nothing ever happened, m’kay?).

It’s pretty common knowledge that I love horror – and having grown up on Point Horror and Christopher Pike books, I’m a big fan of horror in YA and teen literature in particular.

So… I’m delighted to announce that my first YA horror book, SLEEPLESS, will be published by Stripes Publishing later this year as one of the launch titles for their new Red Eye series.

I’m incredibly excited by the idea of writing YA horror, as it’s an area where there are fantastic books which I love – books like ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD, HOLLOW PIKE, DEPARTMENT 19… all of them properly frightening.  You can imagine how I felt about getting the chance to come up with my own.

And when Katie – my wonderful editor at Stripes – told me I didn’t have to worry about it being too scary… well. SLEEPLESS was the result.

SLEEPLESS

Don’t go to sleep…

With their wealthy parents and expensive homes in the exclusive Barbican complex at the heart of the City of London, Izzy Whedon and her friends at The Clerkenwell School seem like they have it all… but success comes at a price.

As the pressure of the upcoming exams gets too much, Izzy and the others resort to taking a “study drug” they find on the internet – and by the time they realise there are side effects, it’s already too late. When one of the group disappears, the others discover the horrifying truth behind their miracle pills.

Plagued by hallucinations and paranoia, they learn there’s only one way out: to stay awake until the drugs are out of their systems.

If, that is, they can last that long…..

Writing SLEEPLESS has been a huge amount of fun, and although I’m embarrassed to admit it I even managed to creep myself out a couple of times (how does that even work?).

The team at Stripes are awesome, and I knew that I was in safe hands with Katie when we spent a whole morning going over ideas and talking about terrible B-movies from the 1980s (for which I have an unashamed passion).

It’s also given me the chance to do something I’ve liked the idea of for a very long time – using the Barbican Estate as the setting for a novel. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a hulking great Brutalist complex of flats, walkways, gardens, tower blocks and restaurants. It’s best known for the hub of theatres, galleries and cinemas in the Barbican Centre, but it also contains a church, a lake, a library, a girls’ school, the Museum of London, two residents’ gardens, several playgrounds and the Guildhall School of Music – as well as miles and miles of labyrinthine walkways. It’s an easy place to get lost in, put it that way.What better setting could there be for a book like this one?

I’ll be posting more details and more about the world of SLEEPLESS further on down the line.

Huge thanks go to Stripes and my fabulous agent Juliet Mushens for making this possible.

And in the meantime? Whatever you do… don’t go to sleep.

Rebellion breaks out in the UK

Running in very quickly (because you’re almost certainly sick of me going on about it) to say that BLOOD AND FEATHERS: REBELLION is officially out and in the wild in the UK, and you should now be able to find it in all places that books can be found – especially, seeing as it’s Independent Booksellers’ Week in the UK, in your local indie. Here’s the Hive link for Rebellion, if you’re wanting it…

I’ve been incredibly busy doing some guest posts and interviews for some lovely blogs, which I’m linking to on the “Interviews” page as they go live, and which I’ll probably also collate into a single Lou-a-palooza blog tour post once they’ve all gone up. Huge thanks to everyone who’s been kind enough to ask me to come and chat for a while. It’s enormously appreciated.

I put a couple of the photos from the REBELLION launch at Forbidden Planet onto my Tumblr (yes, I have one of those too. I’m everywhere. Like, umm, dust bunnies) in case anyone’s interested. I may or may not put some more up, depending on how goofy I look in the rest. If these are anything to go by, the answer will be somewhere on a sliding scale from “slightly” to “incredibly”. So it goes.

As a release-day game, I’ve also got an experiment for you. Over on my Pinterest (like I said: dust bunnies) I have a board called – rather enigmatically – Faces. Most of these guys have served as an inspiration for characters in either BLOOD AND FEATHERS or REBELLION (some both). One or two aren’t taken – yet. If you’re at a loose end, take a look and see if you can match up the face to some of the characters whose fantasy casting actor is on the board. You’ll definitely find Michael, Gabriel, Zadkiel, Castor, Rimmon, Xaphan, Brieus, Pollux and Lucifer on there. And maybe one or two more. It’s not a competition and there’s no prizes – I’m just always fascinated by how differently we see characters in our heads. I may not even tell you whether yours match mine… I don’t know whether that would spoil the fun!

Thank you again to all the team at Solaris and to every single one of you who’s supported me and the books by reading them, talking about them, reviewing them… all of it. I owe you more than I can ever tell you.

REBELLION is all yours.

REBELLION final cover

Launching the Rebellion

It’s a strange thing, launching a book. A lovely strange thing – but a strange thing nonetheless. You see, when you launch it, you take it from being something that is yours (and, grudgingly, your editor’s. Grudgingly.) to something that belongs to… everybody.

Well. I say “everybody”. More truthfully it’s “anybody who cares to pick it up”, because let’s be sensible here.

So it’s exciting and nerve-wracking and brilliant and terrifying, and ohgod will I lose the power of speech halfway through my reading and will I fall over and what if someone asks me a question and I don’t know the answer and it’ll be just like that time in Maths in the 2nd Year all over again and…

You get the idea.

It still feels very special to launch a book at Forbidden Planet, because it was where I went to my own very first signing (Neil Gaiman. Predictably.) It feels like my tribal home, in a lot of ways. It means something. And this time, we brought BAKED GOODS!

biscuits

Those beautiful biscuits are the work of Mutherfudger, who not only made them and iced them but decorated every single one of them with the sigils of the angelic choirs.

Michael’s is the orange one (being of a fiery temperament…) while chilly Gabriel is blue. Raphael’s was clean white, lucky Barakiel’s was green – and newcomer Zadkiel’s was an enigmatic silvery grey.

And yes, people did rummage for their favourite angel. I certainly have fewer left of some than I do others – and as an entirely unscientific experiment, that was interesting!

Biscuits aside, I read a short chapter from early on in REBELLION called “Dancing on Pins”, which was Michael and Zadkiel on fine form, and we had a brilliant time talking about angels on book covers (Angel Dude’s Revenge!), the devil and which of them is the biggest badass of all (tricky).

And there was this:

dave badge

I don’t think there’s any doubt whose team my lovely copy-editor David is on, do you? (He’s actually made me my own badge too: I’m now an honorary member and angel-wrangler. YEAH BABY.)

Thank you to everybody who came along, and to MadNad for the biscuits and to Forbidden Planet for having me back. It meant a huge deal and I had a great time.

I ended the evening in a basement bar drinking a cocktail called “Blood of the Scribe” with Kim Curran. It felt appropriate, somehow. It wasn’t the Halfway, granted, but Mallory would have approved…

Apart from the launch, there’s several tabs which need closing, so here we go.

First: there are three signed copies of REBELLION up for grabs on Goodreads. All you need to do is pop over there and enter – nothing complicated! That’s a worldwide giveaway.

Secondly: Sci-Fi Bulletin has the first review of REBELLION (spoiler: they liked it) which makes me very happy indeed.

Thirdly: I’m on something of a blog tour over the next few days, so you may well end up seeing quite a lot of me (as it were). To kick things off, I talk about the use of scent in the BLOOD AND FEATHERS books – again, on Sci-Fi Bulletin, and let slip 5 secrets about the books over on Fantastical Imaginations.

That’s it for now. Other than dealing with those leftover biscuits. And when I say “dealing with”, I naturally mean “eating…”

And just for the hell of it – to say thank you, and because it’s one of my favourite songs (and certainly one of my favourite videos) and because I’d quite like to be even half as cool as Dave Grohl when I grow up – have some Foo Fighters.

REBELLION release date and pre-order

Just a quick one because yes, I’m still supposed to be doing edits, and yes I have started – I promise. I’ve even written a couple of new scenes and done some swearing at Word’s “track changes” function. It’s a thing.

Where was I?

Oh yes.

BLOOD & FEATHERS: REBELLION now has a release date for this summer: July 9th.

As far as I know, this is the same for the UK and the US – although if that changes, I’ll let you know as soon as I do.

There’s also a pre-order page up on Amazon both for the UK & the US (before anyone asks me, yes, the cover they’ve got up there’s a draft!)

So there it is.

July 9th 2013.

The Fallen will rise, the angels will fight… and the rebellion will begin.

BLOOD & FEATHERS giveaway and winners!

UPDATE:

Thanks to everyone who entered the competition and spread the word on Twitter. I’ve now drawn the victims… winners and notified them.

The lucky three are:

@DogEarDiscs and @RichardKellum, who each win a signed copy of BLOOD AND FEATHERS

@CatHawkins, who wins the signed copy and the handwritten version of “The Patron Saint of Wishful Thinking” (which you’ll be able to read on here in a couple of weeks)

b and f giveaway

Congratulations to the winners, and thank you again to everyone who entered.

By the way, if you weren’t lucky this time, I’ll be doing another giveaway in the not-too-distant future, so keep your eyes open…

###

I’ve decided. I’m doing a thing.

I have THREE signed (and dedicated if you’d like) copies of BLOOD AND FEATHERS to give away.

One of these copies will come with a special bonus. Allow me to explain.

In the run-up to Solaris publishing BLOOD AND FEATHERS: REBELLION later this year, I’ll be putting some short stories and flash fiction online. Some of it will tell you more about characters like Mallory; some of it might be deleted scenes. It could be anything: you’ll just have to wait and see.

I’ll be putting the first of these new stories, The Patron Saint of Wishful Thinking, up in the next couple of weeks… but whoever wins the “book-plus” giveaway will get the chance to read it first, because they’ll get a handwritten copy of it along with their book. And yes, I’ll try to keep my handwriting legible…

So that’s three copies, one with a bonus you won’t get anywhere else.

I’ll be doing this via Twitter: all you have to do is include a link to this post in a tweet along with the hashtag #bloodandfeathers. (If you want to @ me at the end of your tweet too, it’ll make you easier to find.)

I’ll be keeping an eye on everyone who tweets and will pick three names at random on SUNDAY 24th FEBRUARY, starting with the two signed books, and then drawing for the book-and-short-story.

This is an international giveaway, so it doesn’t matter where you are: I’ll post the books to you.

I’ll notify winners via Twitter and the blog.

Good luck!

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.