rebellion

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…)

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All Un-Quiet on the Western Front

The last time I was heard from, I was about to venture up to EdgeLit 2 in Derby, wasn’t I? Did you think you’d lost me? No such luck…

EdgeLit was fun and very, very hot indeed. I got to hang out with some of my lovely writer-friends, which was brilliant, and I really enjoyed the panel on urban fantasy’s popularity, which covered everything from Buffy as the archetypal “kick-ass” female character (and the fact that she works as such because she has flaws: she may be able to put a vampire through a wall, but she still gets grounded…) to the perception that urban fantasy and paranormal romance are the same thing – and where that came from. For what it’s worth, I strongly believe that they are separate sub-genres with a hefty amount of cross-over in both directions – but that doesn’t necessarily mean that one has to contain the other. But maybe that’s just me. Moving on.

Anyone who follows me on Twitter or Facebook will probably know about the racing. As I’ve mentioned on here before (and whinge about at length anywhere I can possibly get the words out) my husband is the proud owner (and driver) of a race car, which is running in the UK Time Attack series. This means I spend a lot of weekends in the paddock at racetracks, and last weekend was no exception: that was Oulton Park in Cheshire.

This time didn’t go entirely to plan, as you’ll see from the video…

It might not look like much from inside the car – and he was absolutely fine, thankfully – but standing on the other side of the track and knowing that not only has there been a crash but that your husband’s is the only car not back in the pits (and watching the track doctors go screeching off in their car…) is a deeply, deeply unpleasant thing.

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(Photo: Togethia Media / James Young)

Still, driver fine. Car not so much, but there’s a few weeks before the next race – at which the car will have some shiny new livery.

BFR new car livery

Isn’t he pretty? Yet again, that’s the work of my fantastic cover artist, Pye Parr. (The large blank space, in case you’re wondering, is for the series sponsor stickers which have to be applied to the door of every car competing.)

Minor catastrophe aside, the highlight of the event was watching the vintage F1 cars on the track – one an old Schumacher car, and one an old Senna one. Because I’m part of the race team, I get a pit wall pass meaning I’m free to come and go in the garages and pits as well as out onto the safety wall dividing the pits and the track – and for a long-time F1 fan, being able to watch (and hear) them go past from there was something else.

F1 car

Away from motor racing, I popped in to Kim Curran and Bryony Pearce’s launch for their new Strange Chemistry books, CONTROL and THE WEIGHT OF SOULS at Forbidden Planet. It was enormous fun, and it was fantastic to see so many people turn out to support them – including a big group of teen readers. I was lucky enough to read a draft of Kim’s book, “Control” a little while ago, and thoroughly recommend it. She’s one of the most exciting new YA authors working in genre, and I hope there are many more books to come.

Speaking of new books, I’ve been popping up here and there to talk about REBELLION a little more. You can find me lurking at Chuck Wendig’s Terribleminds, talking about the challenges of REBELLION (and my favourite paragraph) as well as talking about angels at Winged Reviews. And if you’re interested in the “story behind the story”, pop over to Upcoming4me to find out about REBELLION’s history.

I’ll also be doing a couple of things at the upcoming Nine Worlds convention in London in a few weeks – but I’ll post on that separately. I’m not sure I can compete with the car…

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.

Bite the Rebellion

If you’re coming to the Blood and Feathers: Rebellion launch at Forbidden Planet this Thursday, we’ve got an extra-special treat in store for you.

Now, as well as being able to pick up a copy of the book ahead of its official publication date, you’ll also be able to show your allegiance to the angelic choir of your choice thanks to the fantastic Mutherfudger – codename @Madnad – who will be providing us with some of her amazing baked goods.

Exactly what the Mother of Cookies has in mind is a surprise for now – and I’m far too scared of her to let it slip… but come along on Thursday evening and find out.

The angels are coming. And they’re bringing biscuits.

REBELLION playlist

As we’ve long established, I usually write to playlists. And here, as promised, is Blood & Feathers: Rebellion‘s…

Bleed it Out – Linkin Park

My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark – Fall Out Boy

Iron – Woodkid

In My Remains – Linkin Park

Devil’s Choir – Black Veil Brides

Hell Above – Pierce the Veil

Professional Griefers – Deadmau5 feat. Gerard Way

iLL Manors – Plan B

Titanium – David Guetta feat. Sia

Finale (Original Mix) – Madeon

Edge of the Earth – 30 Seconds to Mars

Unknown Soldier – Breaking Benjamin

21 Guns – Green Day

Like A Dog Chasing Cars – Hans Zimmer

My Body is a Cage – Peter Gabriel

Skyfall – Adele

Jar of Hearts – Christina Perri

First Responder – Michael Wandmacher

Razors.Out – Mike Shinoda & Chino Moreno

P5hng Me A*Way – Linkin Park

As usual, all of these fit somewhere – and some are probably more obvious than others. Feel free to try and figure it out once the book hits (and let me know if you do!)

One hint, though? If Michael & No Man’s Land had a theme, it would undoubtedly be this one

A quick update: once again, the fantastic Paul (@pablocheesecake / The Eloquent Page) has been kind enough to compile a Spotify playlist of the tracks, because he’s brilliant: you can find it here.

 

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.

No.

(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…

Daunting?

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?

Never.

Join the REBELLION giveaway

It’s less than 2 months to the release of BLOOD AND FEATHERS: REBELLION (eeeeeeep!) on July 9th, so I’m going to do one more giveaway. This one’s a little different to last time.

Why?

Because as well as a signed copy of the first book, I’m giving away the opening chapter of the REBELLION manuscript, marked up with notes and amendments.

This means that you’ll be able to see the changes between the draft I sent to Solaris and the text that will appear in the finished book, giving you an insight into the edits we made – as well as getting a look at the first chapter before anyone else.

Publishing being the modern and new-fangled thing that it is, all my edits are sent through in soft-copy. However, me being the Luddite that I am, I always work in hard-copy, and transfer everything back onto the screen. This does, unfortunately, mean that you’ll be getting pages covered in my scrawl, but hey.

All you have to do is tell me where you think you belong.

I’ll explain…

In the world of BLOOD AND FEATHERS, the angels are divided into choirs. Each choir has their own specific talents and gifts.

Every choir has a part to play in the battle.

Michael’s choir – like the Archangel who leads them – are the elite soldiers. They’re known for their loyalty and their single-mindedness… and the fact they tend to burst into flame. Quick to anger, they’re by far the smallest choir, but are almost certainly the strongest.

Gabriel’s choir are able to control lightning (and, by extension, electricity). They often come across as aloof and detached… but they’re simply considering all their options, and it gives them a distinct advantage when it comes to emotional situations.

Speaking of emotions: next comes Zadkiel’s choir. Able to manipulate memories, thoughts and feelings, they can read your mind – or make you see exactly what they want. It’s a more useful trick than you’d imagine. Or maybe that’s just what they want you to think…

If you’re a gambler, it pays to have Barakiel on your side. His choir are, generally speaking, lucky. This manifests itself in funny ways: some of his choir are always in the right place in the right time, some can influence the outcome of a fight or a hand of poker… some keep getting themselves in a mess. The thing is, they always get out again.

Raphael is a healer. They say time heals everything? They mean “Raphael”. Many of his choir are also healers – and others are empaths. Able to feel what others around them feel – not to alter or influence, like Zadkiel’s choir, but to understand. Sometimes, though, feeling what others feel hurts...

And then there’s the Fallen. The outsiders. The rebels. Dangerous and desperate, how many of them wish they could go back and make different choice – and how many of them like things just the way they are?

 

See? Easy.

Which choir do you think you would belong to, and why?

I’d love to know!

 

You can leave a comment on this post, tweet me or mail me. I’ll randomly draw one response this Sunday, May 19th. I’ll also collect all the entries and put them on the blog a bit further down the line – along with my own answer.

Choose your choir.

The REBELLION is coming.

BLOOD & FEATHERS: REBELLION… the playlist

Or, at least, the first part of it.

I always write (and rewrite, and edit, and all those other things…) to a playlist – and REBELLION is no exception.

The whole playlist will appear in the back of the book when it’s published on July 9th this year, and I’ll be putting it up on here too. But not quite yet.

In the meantime, you won’t be surprised to learn that this is the first track…

BLOOD AND FEATHERS: REBELLION cover

REBELLION final cover

Once again, I’ve got the amazing talent of Pye Parr to thank for this, as well as the team at Solaris Books. It perfectly matches the feel of the book, and (for once) I’m kind of lost for words.

I. LOVE. IT.

(And I hope you do too…)

You can pre-order the book from Amazon (UK) (US), BN.comWaterstones and, of course, your local bookshop.

The angels are back…