solaris books

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.

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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.

Rising

I was going to blog yesterday – really, I was – but I went to see The Dark Knight Rises in the morning, and frankly, by the time I got home, I was ruined. All you’d have had was an essay on why I want to live inside Christopher Nolan’s head. Because I do.

If you haven’t gone to see this yet, do. Like its predecessors, it’s dark and brooding and often chaotic; it’s ambitious and clever and beautifully acted and shot… and as an ending to the trilogy, it manages to pick up, to revisit, themes and ideas from both previous parts. And the final few scenes are perfect. I wouldn’t have wanted it to end any other way.

(It was also fantastic to see Senate House back as a location – like Nolan, I studied English at UCL and I’m very familiar with that particular building and its place in both history and fiction. It did look a *bit* different this time round, though…)

Anyway. You’re going to get plenty of me now. Sorry.

Possibly the most exciting thing is that I’m featured in this month’s (September, issue 225) SFX Magazine as their “New Author”, talking about the Fallen, my influences and why Supernatural is one of my favourite shows. The BLOOD AND FEATHERS launch at Forbidden Planet on the 2nd is also on their monthly calendar, which is basically amazing and has brought me out in a huge grin.

Secondly, this won’t be news so much as More Stuff About Things You Already Know Because I’ve Rattled On About Them Before… but Solaris have now announced the final line-up for MAGIC, which will be out later this year, and includes my story “Bottom Line”. The authors involved are absolutely incredible, and include some of my very favourite writers right now – it’s a huge honour to be included and I’m very excited about the whole project.

I’m also guest-posting over on Book Chick City today as part of their “Author Top Ten” series – in my case, talking about my favourite heroes and anti-heroes. The emphasis is on action (this being me) and we tour the heroics variously of Gladiator, Drive and The Hurt Locker, by way of the ubiquitous Dean Winchester and Roland Deschain. Swing by BCC and feel free to comment, add to or generally mock my list.

Finally, I’ve added a couple more sneaky character updates to the list on the BLOOD AND FEATHERS site – including the first  of the major characters. The remaining ones will be going up over the next couple of days, and there might even be something a bit different on there next week: you never know…

Privilege

With less than a month now to the release of BLOOD AND FEATHERS, I’m starting to get a little nervous.

Actually, that’s a lie.

I’m a lot nervous.

I’m almost as nervous about the idea of the book – my book – being out there, in the world, in front of actual people as I am excited. And I am excited: I’ve spent a long time living with Alice and Mallory and Vin and all the others. I know what they sound like, I know what they look like, I know how they think and how they move. I understand their world; quite possibly better than I understand my own. I know the rules, I know which ones can be broken and how to break them…

And now the two worlds – theirs and mine – are coming together, and it’s a strange, strange thing.

It’s also an unbelievable privilege.

To work so hard on something, and to be able to share it with others…

To know that someone believes in you, and in these unreal things which feel so real, enough to invest their own time and energy to make them the very best that they can be; to know that so many people have supported you along the way…

To know that this little story, these people made of nothing more than words and dreams, will go out into the world and have their own lives – and hopefully mean something to someone else; something quite different from what they all mean to me, and that’s the beauty of it…

To be in this extraordinary position of fear and hope and hope and fear…

What a wonderful, wonderful place to be.

Launching BLOOD & FEATHERS

Just a quick one to set you up for the weekend: I’m absolutely thrilled to say that we’ll be holding the official launch for BLOOD & FEATHERS at the Forbidden Planet megastore in central London, on August 2nd (which, as luck would have it, is publication day)!

It means an enormous amount to me to be launching my first book in FP – after all, Forbidden Planet was where I went to my first ever book signing: Neil Gaiman, in (I think 2007) and where I queued for hours in the rain with a bunch of people who were both fantastic in every way and – equally – quite as mad as me. Oddly enough, I wrote my first published short story – “The Cloth of Heaven” the very next day, so I can’t think of anywhere more appropriate.

If you’re in town, and fancy coming along, we kick off at 6pm.

(Further details are on the Facebook event page, and even if you can’t make it, you can order a signed copy via the Forbidden Planet site and I’ll sign one for you on the night…*)

 

*Get me, being all professional and writerly with the signing. Me! I know, right? I still can’t really believe my luck…

Ego, Ego, Ego

One of my mad-dash self-pimping posts, this. If you’re averse to the odd spot of self-promotion and shoes with goldfish in the heels* then this is probably the time to look away…

If you’re still here, that’s good. This was worth sticking around for.

Last week, Solaris announced the line-up for their autumn anthology (you might well have read “End of the Line” or “House of Fear”, which were released in 2010 and 2011 respectively). This year, the theme – and the title – is Magic.

Full details including the line-up are on the Solaris blog, and if you look carefully, you’ll see that the “and others” includes, umm, me.

I can’t even begin to explain how excited I am about being involved in this: quite apart from the fact that so many of the people on that list are authors I admire hugely, Audrey Niffenegger is the kind of name that makes my jaw go from here ^ to here _.

The Time Traveler’s Wife is one of my favourite books (because I am a girl and in love with Henry, even though he’s an idiot for most of the book, yes, I know, don’t even try.) and so for me, this is a very, very big deal.

Random other pimpening: I’ll be turning up at the SFX Weekender coming up next weekend – I won’t be doing anything other than mooching around and enjoying myself, hopefully, but there’s a good chance I’ll be lurking around the Rebellion / Solaris & Abaddon crew at least some of the time so if you spot me, come and say hello! You can even ask about the fish.

I’ll be at a couple of conventions this year, attempting to sound intelligent… or at the very least, to smile nicely while failing to sound intelligent.

You can catch me at AltFiction in Leicester (April 14th & 15th), where I’ll be wearing my editor’s hat (which has a really big feather in it and goes nicely with the shoes) for one panel to discuss SFF non-fiction. Then I’ll be joining in with the “New Writers” panel, with Jon Weir, Tom Pollock and Vincent Holland-Keen – I’m particularly looking forward to this one.

I’ll also be at the Discover Festival in Snibston (May 18th – 20th), where it’s entirely possible I could be wearing a different hat. With or without feather…

*Note: no goldfish were harmed in the making of this blog post.

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.

Linkpunk

There’s a bunch of odds, sods and general bits & bobs I need to tidy up, I suspect.

Several are here.

The Pandemonium: Stories of the Apocalypse anthology is now available to buy. Go here (UK Kindle edition) or here (US Kindle edition) for all your end-of-the-world needs. There are some seriously awesome stories in there. And there’s mine, too.

Next.

Solaris have put out a press release with a few more details about “Blood & Feathers”, and said some very lovely things indeed. This makes me happy and not a little nervous. But basically, if you’ve ever wondered what Alice in Wonderland would be like if it was set in Hell, I think it’s fair to say you’re in safe hands here. Or possibly insane ones.

Finally (somewhat fittingly) I’ve been recruited by the Apocalypse Girls, so expect to see me popping up on the site every once in a while, along with some fabulous ladies offering their practical tips for surviving mass annihilation. Just because it’s the end of the world, it doesn’t have to mean we can’t handle it with grace, poise, and a truckload of attitude.

Welcome to The Girls Guide to Surviving the Apocalypse.

Over the next few months a collective of experts will be posting their top tips for survival of all kinds of apocalypse, large or small. There will be alternative takes on the best way to tackle zombies, what shoes work in the next ice age, weapons selection, care and maintenance and every thing else the modern girl needs in the end of the world.

Be ready for Zombies, Werewolves, Hell literally freezing over, Skynet and the worst hair day ever.

Lock and Load ladies, the end of the world is coming.

Building a Book

Solaris security. He is the law.

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know that I had an exciting excursion to Oxford last week. (For some reason, I now have a chorus of voices repeating “all the way to Oxford!” in a pseudo-Stardust style. Ah yes: I remember why. I’m a Gaiman-fangirl. That’ll be it. Anyway, moving on.)

I was in Oxford to visit the office of Solaris Books, who will be publishing “Blood & Feathers” next year, and to meet with the editorial team to talk about stuff, nonsense and the book–as well as to discuss some ideas for covers. Was I excited? What do you think?

And, yes, while I was there, I did get a chance to relieve the groaning office bookshelves of a few choice items… I’m doing them a favour, really. Honestly.

Besides, I did take cakes.

Jon Oliver: Captain of the Good Ship Solaris

I feel exceptionally lucky to have landed with the Solaris team; I mean, I already felt incredibly lucky that something I’ve worked so hard on, and which means so much to me, is being published at all–and I keep wondering whether it’s all a bit of a dream, really, and hoping no-one pinches me!

But above and beyond that, I’m very happy to have the opportunity to work with such passionate people who encourage their writers every step of the way–and have so far allowed me to stick my nose into the business left, right and centre.

Take the cover, for instance.

They’ve gone out of their way to involve me in cover art discussions… although, disappointingly, I was told in no uncertain terms that no, a cover featuring a sparkly pink angel-unicorn riding a tentacle-covered tank was not going to cut the mustard with distributors. I’m thinking: maybe for the next one?

*The* Ben Smith: knower of things, keeper of answers; sometime crusher of unicorns.

I was a bit daunted by the prospect of getting involved in the cover. It’s such a big deal these days: how do you come up with a single image to fit an entire book?

And if that whole “picture’s worth a thousand words” thing is true, don’t we need, like, a hundred of them?

Where do you even start (particularly when, like me, you got a C in GCSE Art–which if you’re entirely honest, you’ll admit you only took because it got you out of playing netball for two years)?

Jenni Hill: I could tell you what she's busy editing, but then she'd have to kill you. And me. *Messily*.

Thus far, though, unicorn/tank issues aside (seriously. I’m having that on something. It’s genius) everyone has been amazing: providing exactly the right combination of hand-patting and “don’t-be-so-bloody-stupid”-ing.

Possibly the most surreal moment of the afternoon came when it dawned on me that I was sitting with a group of people who had all read my book. All of them. And–apparently–rather liked it. Not only that, but suddenly it struck me that it wasn’t just mine any more–it was theirs too.

I had a bit of a wibble then, and had to hang on to the edge of my chair so I didn’t fall off.

The mellifluous David Moore: easily recognisable from the Abaddon & Solaris Podcast (or, if you were there, FCon 2010's metal karaoke...)

I had a good poke around the office, and we talked about the books they’re working on at the moment (I’m desperate to read one in particular: Gaie Sebold‘s “Babylon Steel“, due out in January next year) as well as The Actual Business Of Publishing, about which it turns out I know absolutely nothing.

Then they let me loose on the bookshelves…

It’s a nice feeling, this. I could get used to it.

By the way, I should point out that some of the Solaris team will be at Fantasycon at the end of this month, and they’ll be holding a special event on the Saturday afternoon (2 – 3pm in the Royal Albion’s Regency Lounge). Come along, say hello and pick up a book or two. I should warn you: I might well be there, but don’t let that put you off.

If you’re London-based, too, next Tuesday (September 27th) sees the launch of the latest Solaris anthology, “House of Fear” at Foyles on Charing Cross Road. It’s a ticketed event (although tickets are free) so make sure you reserve a spot if you’re thinking of coming.

And, apropos of absolutely nothing at all, here’s an Elliot Minor video. The song? Why, that’d be “Solaris”, of course…