High Standards

I went to see some Romans at the weekend. Look! Actual Romans!

roman flag photo


Well, alright. Sort-of Romans. (They are, in fact, the Ermine Street Guard, who were lovely and friendly and actually quite intimidating when they marched right at you in formation… If you get the chance to go and see them at an event, do.)

While I took far too many photos, had a brilliant day and got slightly sunburned into the bargain (pale post-winter skin, meet early May sunshine… sigh), this photo is the one I wanted to talk about.

Every now and again, I get asked about the Fallen in BLOOD AND FEATHERS – why they fell, how they function, what they do… and about hell.

One of my favourite things about the battle on the plains of hell was the fact I got to bring two armies together: one, the angels, was a mix of Earthbounds, Descendeds and Archangels – each with their own distinct fighting style, depending on the status and their Choir.

The other, the army of Fallen, was an entirely different proposition.

This was the home army, defending their turf. We’d not seen them en masse before this, and there they were, lined up and ready to take on their enemies. The angels used to be their brothers – they know them, they’ve fought beside them and against them for endless, endless years (because these guys are old). Most of them have grudges. Most of them have scores to be settled. All of them are scary. All of them are scared of Lucifer and his generals. All the sensible ones are at least as scared of Michael – and every last one of them is scared of Mallory.

How do you bring that many disparate parts together into an army?

You give them a flag.



Rue Morgue & the Door to Hell

I’ve been a bit sporadic on here of late – mostly because I’m seriously getting into REBELLION, the follow-up to BLOOD AND FEATHERS at the moment. So that means you’ll see less of me online. In theory. I still waste far too much time on Twitter, partly because it’s become my office watercooler, really, and if I didn’t have that I’d be reduced to just talking to the cat. Or possibly waiting for him to talk back to me.

Meantime, you can find me talking about BLOOD AND FEATHERS, Buffy and many other things in Hell’s Shelves, on the Rue Morgue site.

And for your very entertainment, seeing as we’ve mentioned the “H” word, might I present the “Door to Hell“?

It’s a crater in Turkmenistan, discovered when Soviet geologists were drilling for gas in the 1970s (or so the story goes). The ground beneath the rig collapsed, taking all the equipment with it. Fearing a poisonous gas discharge, the scientists decided to try and burn off as much as possible, assuming it would take a couple of days to burn out.

It’s still burning today.

S’mores, anyone?

The Angels Are Coming


“Blood & Feathers” just appeared on the list of publisher picks for 2012 over on Fantasy Faction,* where the guys at Solaris said lots of nice things about the book. As in: very nice things. This is both massively exciting and just a teeny bit daunting. Mostly because… well… it sort of brings it home to me that the book suddenly isn’t just me sitting at the computer any longer. It’s honestly, genuinely going to be out there. In the wild. Which is a little intimidating.

So, you know, squee. And wibble. Lots of wibble.

*Yes, that is me in the photo. No, I wouldn’t say that being photogenic was one of my talents.

Abandon Hope

Mark Deniz left this link tucked away in the comments section of one of my posts last week – and you know what? It’s just too darn good to stay there.

So here it is: for your viewing pleasure, the entire catalogue of UK entrances to Hell.

My current favourite is this beauty: Was. It’s minimalist and yet menacing: no mean feat, as I’m sure you’ll agree.

(And as someone who used to regularly ride the 242 bus route out of Tottenham Court Road all the way to the end of the line in Homerton, I can assure you that I’m a veritable expert on gateways to Hell.)