UKYA Extravaganza

ukya extravaganza

I’m delighted to be part of the UKYA Extravaganza event taking place from 2pm on Saturday 28th February at Birmingham High Street Waterstones.

It’s going to be a hugely fun afternoon full of readings and general hanging out, talking about everything good in YA. I think one of the reasons I’m so excited about it is that I’m a relative newbie to the UKYA community (as a writer, at least) but the welcome I’ve found there has been absolutely wonderful. And it does have a real community feel to it – writers and readers and reviewers all together, talking about the books they love. There’s a huge amount of passion there, and every time I get involved in a conversation about this stuff, I come out of it with a huge stack of recommendations to read.

The event is ticketed – and, as far as I know, has already sold out. If you’ve got your ticket, then I’ll see you there: come and say hi!


Event: 42 Worcester, 25th June

A quick reminder: tomorrow (Wednesday 25th June), I’ll be in Worcester as part of the Worcestershire LitFest & Fringe: I’m delighted to be a part of the 42Worcester festival special, talking about YA, horror, urban fantasy, writing and… pretty much anything you like. There’s also a chance I’ll be doing a secret surprise reading (I guess the surprise being that I’ve told you I’m going to do it…?)

You can find me at Drummonds, The Swan With Two Nicks, from 7.30pm.

As an added bonus, if you fancy a free signed copy of both BLOOD AND FEATHERS and REBELLION, both of which have been nominated for British Fantasy Awards, all you have to do is be the first person to come up to me that evening and say “They’re only noodles, Michael.”

(And then poke me and remind me that I told you to say that, because I have the memory of a goldfish…)


(This man is unimpressed by my memory…)

Edge-Lit 2

This weekend sees the return of the one-day Edge-Lit festival up in Derby (Edge Lit 2: Edgier!) and I’ll be dropping by to chat and take part in a couple of panels.

At 5pm, I’ll be involved in the “Urban Renewal: what makes urban fantasy so popular?” panel, along with Suzanne McLeod, Emma Newman, Freda Warrington and my Solaris stablemate Gaie Sebold; and after dinner I’ll be talking with Adam Christopher, Gary McMahon and Gavin Smith about where it all started on the “My first genre reads” panel.

I think this second panel was originally scheduled for 8pm, but has since been moved to 9pm: if you’re coming along, do be sure to check the programme!

There’s some great panels and events on the line-up, and the guests of honour include the fabulous Mike Carey – so if you’re in the area, do swing by. It’s going to be a fantastic day. (See what I did there?)




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?


2012 Gemmell Awards

I was lucky enough to be invited to this year’s David Gemmell Legend Awards, held at the Magic Circle in London. The annual awards aim to recognise achievement in the field of fantasy writing, as well as to promote and raise public awareness of the genre. This year’s winners can be found listed on the Gemmells site.

It was a fantastic evening, with a lovely awards ceremony and reception, with lots of familiar faces in a venue full of fascinating magical bits & pieces. The dress code had said “dress to impress”, so that’s what people did. (I have now used up my entire quota of “looking posh” for the year and fully intend to spend the next six months back in my Converse and my jeans with holes in.)

Yes, there are photos. The ones of me I have shamefully stolen from other people (who I hope will forgive me!) and the ones taken by me are probably a bit blurry…


This is as good as it gets, basically. And even then, I manage to un-glam myself by chewing in the photo. (I’d never make a model. Too busy scarfing down food, if nothing else.)


With Marie O’Regan and Paul Kane.


One thankfully not of me: Gillian Redfearn of Gollancz and Lizzie Barrett looking fabulous at the pre-awards drinks reception.


Sarah Pinborough is busy tweeting incriminating photos of… well, *everyone*.

The whole evening ran beautifully, and the organisers can feel tremendously proud of themselves and their efforts. Congratulations, too, to all the winners and the nominees.

Next year, the ceremony will be held later in the year, and in a different location. It will, in fact, be the opening event of the 2013 World Fantasy Convention in Brighton, which promises to be pretty spectacular…