solaris

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

The Lists

So, I had a bit of an odd evening yesterday. Mainly because this happened.

Screen Shot 2013-06-18 at 11.53.27

 

The British Fantasy Society announced the shortlists for their annual awards (the British Fantasy Awards). And I was delighted to find I’ve been included in the list for the Sydney J. Bounds Award, given to a newcomer every year [insert debate about all possible meanings of the word “best” here].

I was even more delighted to see the other names on that list – partly because there are some wonderful books on there, and partly because I’m lucky enough to be able to call a good few of the authors of them friends – particularly Kim Curran, Anne Lyle and Helen Marshall. All three of them are doing very different things – something which extends to the rest of the shortlist, incidentally – but I’d be more than happy for any of them to win. (Of course I won’t win. Don’t be so silly.)

The point is that this is an exciting shortlist. I can’t claim to have read all the books on it – although I certainly will try to – but of the ones I have read, there’s an enormous amount of scope. There’s YA in there (and not crossover YA, either: solid, properly-teenage YA) and there’s historical fiction and there’s SF and there’s literary. And there’s urban fantasy peppered with angels and a fair amount of swearing. Cough. Moving on…

It’s a shortlist I’m immensely proud and honoured to be part of, because it’s completely unpredictable and reflects what’s emerging from writers working in genre right now.

That made me happy.

And then there was this.

Screen Shot 2013-06-18 at 11.53.42

 

Which – I’ll be honest – gave me a funny ringing sort of sound in both ears and made me need a bit of a sit down. It was a shock, let’s put it that way, and I still don’t quite have the words for how I feel. The closest I can get is a sort of “Snnnngggzzztzttp” noise, followed by a high-pitched giggle and needing to sit down again.

I cannot even begin to emphasise how much I won’t win this (because come on. Seriously.) but I will enjoy seeing someone else win it (and I know who I’d like it to be…) because it’s a fantastic party to be invited to.

It’s also a lovely thing to be able to say that the Solaris Books “Magic” Anthology is also on the shortlist for best anthology (and it’s a very tough category this year) and there are appearances by friends throughout the nominations. All in all, it’s an exciting list – and I can’t wait to see what happens.

I should also point out that Blood and Feathers being there at all has everything to do with the members of both the BFS & FantasyCon, who nominated for the shortlists. And it also has to do with the tremendous trust and hard work of my editor, Jon Oliver, and everyone at Solaris. So thank you all. You’ve rendered me speechless(ish) and that’s pretty damn hard to do.

Take it away, Dean…

 

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.

Pledge & Turn

… and, of course, “Prestige.”

(Thank god for that. Leaving it out makes me feel like I want to sneeze.)

And the prestige is, of course, MAGIC: AN ANTHOLOGY OF THE ESOTERIC & ARCANE

Watch closely…

Pretty, isn’t she? And it’s not just the cover that’s pretty: the interior design is also gorgeous, making this one of the nicest-looking anthologies I’ve seen. And I’m not just saying that because I’m biased. Promise.

MAGIC is released this week, with a special launch event at Foyles in Charing Cross Road, London, featuring Audrey Niffenegger, Sophia McDougall and Dan Abnett in conversation with editor Jon Oliver. It’s a free event, but it’s not a bad idea to reserve a space via the Foyles Events site.

If you were at FantasyCon in Brighton this year and swung by the reading room on the Friday evening, you may well have heard either me or Will Hill reading our stories from the book. The theme was, unsurprisingly, “magic” but the brief was specifically for something new; something that looked away from traditional witches and wizards… and judging by the finished anthology, every single contributor took that to heart.

My story, “Bottom Line” is about a man who works in a magic shop; a man who would do well to avoid magic altogether… not that it stops him.

I can still remember the look on his face when I asked for a job. He was sitting at the counter, stringing cards onto wire for the window display. He put the wire down, and he looked me dead in the eyes and said, “Donnie. Of all the places in the world, with your history, why in God’s name would you want to work in a magic shop?”

He had a point. You don’t send an alcoholic to work in a distillery, do you? But that’s just it. There’s magic and there’s magic. There’s tricks and illusions and sleight of hand… and there’s what I do. What I did.

“Bottom Line” is a story about addiction and regret and – maybe – redemption. I’m very proud of it, and it was one of those stories I was sad to leave. I liked Donnie, and I hope you do too.

It’s a pleasure and an honour to be included in this anthology: the line-up is beyond intimidating (if you’re me, anyway) and includes Audrey Niffenegger, Will Hill, Rob Shearman, Alison Littlewood, Sophia McDougall and Sarah Lotz as well as many other people. And muggins here.

You can order online (Amazon UK & US) or pick up a copy at Foyles on Wednesday evening. As well as the official participants of the event, several other contributors will be there to sign copies if you’d like your book scribbled on! There will be ebooks, too, the links for which I’ll add once I’ve dragged them out of the lower recesses of the internet.

If you’re in London this week, come along and help us launch this fantastic book; come and say hi. And if you can’t make it, not to worry: with a line-up like that, there’s bound to be something in this anthology which will enchant you…

 

Join the rebellion…

This won’t be news to most, admittedly, but it still makes me happy.

I’m delighted to announce that Solaris Books have picked up the follow-up to BLOOD & FEATHERS.

The next book: BLOOD & FEATHERS: REBELLION will be published in August 2013.

The full press release is over on the Solaris blog.

So, um, yeah.

Am I happy-dancing?

Just a bit…

The Blurbs

I’ve not talked about the blurbs we’ve had in for BLOOD & FEATHERS yet – mainly because I can’t quite believe them and have to stop and pinch myself every time I start. But I figure I’m going to have to stop pinching soon, because my arm’s getting kind of sore, so.

Anyway, for your very delectation, here they are – and I’m so grateful to all the lovely people who took the time to read the book and to give us a few words…

“A hell of a ride, but heaven to read: eerie, compelling and very funny.” -Michael Marshall Smith

“It’s a challenge to take concepts older than the calendar and make them seem new. Louise Morgan has done just that. How to describe this, her debut novel?  Bloody Heavenly!”– Guy Adams

“Dark, enticing and so sharp the pages could cut you, Blood and Feathers is a must-read for any fan of the genre.”- Sarah Pinborough

“A storming debut! Lou Morgan writes with confidence, style and verve. Who would have thought that going to Hell could be so much fun? A must read.”  – Mike Shevdon

“Dark, surreal and wickedly funny, Lou Morgan’s reimagining of the war between Heaven and Hell mixes angels, alcohol and ammunition to serve up a joy of a read.” – Tom Pollock

Fresh Hell

My eyes are bleeding. My head hurts, and I’ve spent much of the last two days trying to deal with the toe-curling embarrassment of knowing that at least one person has already read my book*, and that they’ve been paying close attention. Very, very close attention.

Yes, I’ve just finished the first pass of my line edit on “Blood & Feathers”.

Things I have learned: firstly, that I use too many words (like that’s a surprise to any of us).

Secondly, that I create elaborate back stories for stuff which I don’t actually mention on the page, but which I expect everyone to know, because they’re in my head and therefore Must Be A Universally Acknowledged Truth (ooh, and second-and-a-half-ly, trying to say “an universally” makes you feel and sound like a numpty).

And thirdly, that my editor, Jon Oliver is a saint, whose quiet comments in the margins are terribly sensible and clever, and manage not to roll their eyes and tell me to go stand in the corner. He’s taken the thing I wrote, and he’s poked it, threatened it (politely, of course: Jon is nothing if not well-mannered) and made it behave itself; turning it into something I can be really proud of.

And that, if you ask me, is worth the bleeding eyes..

*I suspect this is a reaction I’m going to have to get past, and hopefully a very pleasant occupational hazard I should get used to…

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.

The Angels Are Coming

Squee!

“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.

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…