dean winchester

Second Book Syndrome

We’re launching!

I will never get sick of saying that, I don’t think. My author copies of Rebellion arrived last week, and as I opened the box I wondered whether anyone ever could get tired of the way that feels. All those words, all those hours, all that work (and not just mine: in any book, there’s the writer, there’s editors, copy editors, artists, publishers, PR guys, printers, warehouse guys…).

And suddenly, you’re holding a book. I’ll come back to that.

Anyway. Yes. Launching.

Blood and Feathers: Rebellion is published on July 9th. However, Solaris and Forbidden Planet have been awesome enough (for which read: I’m driving them crazy with the “YAY!” and the “WOOOHOOOO!” and my generally excited demeanour) to arrange a launch event on Thursday 27th June, at the Forbidden Planet Megastore in central London. There’s also a Facebook event page, which you’ll find here.

This means that anyone rocking up to the launch will be able to get a copy well before the actual proper publication day.

Which is on the one hand fantastic, and on the other (for me, at least) terrifying. Because the other lovely thing about the box of author copies is that they’re among the first ones that exist. It’s a kind of grace period, if you like: I get to cuddle my brand-new book without yet having to panic about what everyone else will think of it.

That bit comes later.

And it will come. I’m expecting it any time now, as it happens.

I don’t know what I was expecting. Maybe, having done this once, I thought I’d be calmer about it.


(Alright, Dean. Dial it down a notch, yeah?)

I am just as neurotic about the whole thing as I was before. Possibly more so. Because I’ve done this before.

There’s something about being a debut novelist. You’re all shiny and new and untested – and you have no idea what’s coming. All this in itself is worth something, and it’s wonderful. But you only get to do it once. After that, you have to earn it. More than that, you have to convince people that not only was the first thing you did worth their time and money… the next one is too. And the one after it. And the one after that…


Give me a second…

Yes. Daunting.

So your grace period is not only filled with “Ohmygodwillpeoplelikethis?”, it’s now mixed in with a healthy dose of “OhmygodhaveIearnedthis?”.

Of course, not only is there the knuckle-chewing neurosis, there’s the ridiculous excitement.

(No, Dean. There is no pudding.)

Because while Second Book Syndrome is just as nerve-rending – if not more so – than the first time round, you still wrote a damn book. And someone published it, and now it has a spine and pages and a cover. A cover! Someone took your crazy and actually bound it! And then put a pretty picture on the front of it!

And maybe more even than that: you remember.

You remember how it felt when the first book was fresh out there in the world, and the first person told you that they liked it; that they got it. And it was like the best kind of drug.

Am I nervous? Yes. Am I excited? You bet.

Will I ever get tired of doing this, neuroses included?



The end of the Rebellion

The reason I’ve been so quiet lately? Oh, nothing. It’s just… well.

REBELLION’s finished, at least in first draft and has survived its first reading by Other Half.

And now I’m all:

It is only the first draft, and there’s lots of work still to do – but even so, it feels like victory.

This will doubtless turn to utter despair, and reaching for the gin once my editor Jon gets his hands on it (and that’s just his reaction…) but at just over 100,000 words in this version, it’s by far the longest thing I’ve ever written – and when I started, I genuinely didn’t realise how much I would enjoy being back with Alice, Mallory and Vin. Which I did. And I do.

I still have to make my own passes on it, and that’s before we start the real heavy lifting of making it fit for actual human consumption… but I’m happy.

I was made even more happy, as it turns out, by discovering that Book Chick City have made BLOOD AND FEATHERS both their December “Book of the Month” and one of their “Books You Should Be Reading Right Now.” I love the BCC site, so this is a big deal.

(Dean? If you would…?)

I’ll stop now. I promise.

And as it’s my birthday tomorrow – when I’ll be turning the grand old age of 22 (ha!) – I’ll leave you with this. A while back, the excellent Hub Fiction published my Lovecraftian Anglo-Saxon mash-up story, “And the Northmen Brought Their Gods.” It’s now available as a podcast to stream or download, thanks to the lovely team at Dark Fiction Magazine.


The Answer is Always Dean.

Running in (and, sadly, out again) to wave and say hello, and yes, I’m a very bad person because I’ve still not updated the blog.


Hopefully this will put me in your good graces for a while. Especially if – like every right-minded person in the world – you know that Dean is by far the better of the Winchester brothers. And this is why.

Monsterwatch: Jefferson Starships

This is possibly a slightly esoteric one. God knows it took me long enough to get, and I really should be in on the joke.

Last night, the Other Half came trit-trotting into the hall, saying: “I bought you a monster!”

Believe it or not, this isn’t actually that unusual a topic of discussion in our household. Last Saturday, for instance, we spent a good portion of the evening arguing whether you could actually fit a whole human corpse inside a domestic tumble-dryer. He said yes. I said no, I could barely fit a double quilt cover into ours. (I’m not unreasonable: I did accept that you could probably fit a dismembered body in, although it’d play havoc with the motor. “My Bloody Valentine 3D” – which was the whole reason we were having this discussion in the first place – sided with him.)

Anyway. Where were we? Oh, yes. “I bought you a monster.” It sounds like the album My Chemical Romance never made. So, he holds out this… thing. It’s square. And vaguely psychedelic. And has a woman smoking something that turns into a dragon on the front (I’m going to go out on a limb and say… opium?).

It’s a Jefferson Starship vinyl.

I look at the cover.

I look at Other Half.

Other Half beams back, expectantly.

I look at the cover.

This goes on for some time.

Then… finally, it hits me.

Jefferson Starship.

Jefferson Starship.



Jefferson Starships.

Too bloody clever for his own good.

Double Identities


Somewhere near Ludlow.

The roads are awash, partly due to all that melted snow, and partly due to a genuine god-almighty downpour. They’re awash with mud.

More to the point, there’s so much water knocking (or more accurately, sloshing) around that it’s pretty much knocked the bridge into one side of Ludlow down.

And we’re on the wrong side of the river.

To get to the right side requires a twenty-minute detour through woods, fields and quaint little villages; up steep hills, down twisty roads and–eventually–past a windmill.

I’m beginning to feel like I’m in Sleepy Hollow.

Other Half operates on much the same sort of frequency, so at one point he looks up from the steering wheel and says: “Don’t you feel like we’re in the middle of an episode of Supernatural?”

I shriek at him to watchtheroadwatchtheroaddeargodpleasewatchtheroad (which is my default response in a car with him) and then it occurs to me–just as Kansas shuffle their way onto my ipod–that he’s sort of got a point.

And this raises the immediate question: “So who’s Sam & who’s Dean?” (side note: these links are wiki bios & may be slightly spoilery).

All family relationships aside, this becomes a more heated debate than you’d imagine. I’m adamant that really, I have to be Dean because not only do I have much better taste in music, as evidenced by the ipod, but… well, there’s no easy way to put this: I’m just cooler. Plus he’s got that Sam-scowl thing down pat. His response is that he’s Dean, because Dean drives.

This continues for quite some time round the backroads of Worcestershire… and all the while, Castiel snores in his child-seat in the back, clutching his toy bunny.


This sort of thing happens to me a lot. I get into these conversations. They’re brilliant, aren’t they? You find yourself arguing in an utterly irrational manner about utterly, utterly trivial details–the same utterly, utterly trivial details which are absolutely fundamental to your case and establishing your General Rightness (plus your superior level of both pop culture and self-knowledge. And stuff).

Most recently, it’s been Hawaii Five-O based, and with the ever-lovely Judo ninja,¬†Alasdair Stuart: he’s fairly confident he’s a Danno. Other Half is quite clearly a Mcgarrett (which seems to please him). I suspect I’m basically Chin Ho Kelly, but I freely admit that much of this is based on the fact that he rides around on a motorbike with a shotgun and just looks¬†amazingly cool doing it. Which is me all over, right?

But in a wonderfully meta piece of writing, while we’re all obsessing over which TV characters we’d be, they’re doing it too…

Geektastic. And it makes me love the show that little bit more.

But the Dean thing? I’m totally right.

So, tell me: who would you be?