the angels are coming

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.

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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.

The Angels Are Here…

The launch day for BLOOD AND FEATHERS is here.

It’s almost exactly a year since I got the mail from Solaris telling me they wanted to publish the book, and that time’s been taken up with the most incredible journey. (I know. I went down the “journey” route. Get me, right?)

The editing, the reading, the re-reading, the re-editing, the re-writing, the planning… the sheer amount of hard work. And not just mine, but everyone who’s had a hand in this somewhere, and particularly the lovely team at Solaris – Jon Oliver, Ben Smith, David Moore, Pye Parr and Michael Molcher.

Without them, I wouldn’t be able to say all this.

So thank you. And thank you to everyone who’s been so supportive. It’s been an incredible ride so far… and this is only the start.

***

Now I hand them over to you. Alice, Mallory, Vin… all the angels. They’re yours. Take good care of them, and I hope that maybe someone out there will love them as much as I’ve come to.

 

Today the internet…

So, who wants to hear me talking? No, really. On the off-chance you’ve not had enough of my wittering on here, you can actually listen to me waffling on (with the lovely Stephen Aryan trying to steer me vaguely in the direction of sense…) on the first Head Space podcast, which went up yesterday.

I’ve tried to listen to it (to idiot-check it, at least) but I haven’t yet been able to make it all the way through. It’s the sound of my voice, you see – I sound so much posher than I thought, and so terribly, terribly British! From what I could gather on Twitter yesterday, pretty much everyone feels exactly the same when they hear their own voices recorded. Is there anyone out there who sounds like they think they do? Or prefers the sound of their voice the way others hear it? Terrifying.

There have been a couple more reviews of BLOOD AND FEATHERS: one from Elitist Book Reviews, which was very cool and incredibly insightful (if a touch spoilerish in that last paragraph… consider that fair warning if you want to go in pretty cold…) who called it, amusingly, an “anti-Twilight” and said:

This is urban fantasy, colored in plenty of shades of blood-spattered moral gray. Morgan’s angels are vengeful, ferocious, and downright psychotic.

You can read the full review – spoilers and all – here.

A Fantastical Librarian has also posted a review, which is fab – and quite rightly mentions Pye Parr’s gorgeous cover art. I think my favourite part of it was this:

if it were possible to enter a book and explore its universe on your own, we could just walk in there and find it fully formed.

… but again, you can read the full review here.

I’m enormously grateful to everyone who takes the time to review the book, and to put their reviews online – and I’m obviously over the moon that it seems to be getting such an encouraging reaction so far. It means a lot.

In other news, Americans! I believe we are now a “GO” for publication… which means you should be able to find BLOOD AND FEATHERS… well, everywhere. So spread the word and catch an angel. Before they get away.

To celebrate, the Qwillery invited me on to the site to talk a little bit about the book, about writing, research and inspiration. They’re also running a giveaway, so if you want to win a copy, head on over and enter.

And finally, you can also find me talking about life as a debut author over at The Debut Review: including the road to publication and just how the editing process messes with your head…

Actually – one more thing. Very, very finally, thanks to Tor.com for mentioning BLOOD AND FEATHERS in their round-up of July releases.

Easter (egg) Monday

Look what Solaris sent me!

 

So now, not only do I have books, I have bookmarks for them too. They’re extremely pretty (rather like the cover…) and generally lovely and I keep fanning them out across my desk and cackling at them. I may have stroked one or two. I’m not ashamed to admit it. Well, not entirely ashamed. However, some of the ones which remain unstroked will be coming with me to the launch on Thursday, so if you want one then make sure you let me know.

You can also win one… and, indeed, a copy of BLOOD AND FEATHERS to go with it over on Goodreads, where we’re running a giveaway to celebrate launch week. If you’re entering, good luck!

I also promised something extra this week, what with the impending launch and whatnot (cue: shivering, trembling and generally gibbering like an idiot. Whether that’s with joy or fear, I’ll leave you to decide…).

So, with that in mind, here’s an Easter-egg of sorts for you: a (very) short story featuring one of the characters from BLOOD AND FEATHERS. It’s not an extract from the book, but is rather an idea I had while I was working out some of the backstories for everyone, so it’s a little rough and ready, but hey. It’ll stay up on the other site, on the “Bonus Features” page, hopefully along with a few more bits and pieces when I get the chance to put them there! In the meantime, enjoy….

 

THE NIGHT WATCHMAN

They look oddly innocent while they sleep: stripped of their uniforms, their endless kit, their weapons, and curled into close-eyed crescents beneath thin sheets, the soldiers of the Royal Corps of Signals could almost be children again. Some mutter through their dreams and shift in their beds before settling, the darkness covering all the things that they’ve seen.

And while they sleep, a single soldier walks among them; patrolling the narrow bunks in silence.

Few of them pay any attention to him by day – drafted from another regiment after the last batch of green-on-blue attacks, he keeps himself to himself. They’re friendly enough towards him, of course: it doesn’t pay to be rude to the only man awake while the whole unit’s getting some shut-eye, but they have more important things on their minds than making friends with the new guy. Things like keeping themselves and each other alive.

It suits him just fine, the brown-eyed soldier who moves in his uniform like he was born in it. This way, no-one comments that they’ve never seen him sleep; no-one questions the wisdom of bringing a stranger in to watch them. And if they should hear the sound of feathers rustling just around the corner, they simply shake their heads and put it down to the desert wind.

They’ve watched him strip down his gun in silent awe because his hands move over the parts faster than any of theirs could: twisting, pulling, sliding until they are little more than a blur.

He doesn’t join in the banter, doesn’t wait for the mail drops like they do. They’ve never seen him queue for the satphone, never seen him with a picture of his girl… and if they ask he just looks at them with those sad eyes of his and smiles.

Even if he isn’t one of them, things have been easier since he arrived on the base. No longer afraid to sleep, they’re feeling fresher – better than they have done in months. Morale is higher and even the heat and dust and that quiet fear that each dawn could be the last no longer weigh on them. For the first time since their tour began, they have hope.

They call him their ‘Guardian Angel’ – the one who watches over them while they sleep.

Guardian angel.

They have no idea…

 

(with thanks to John, for the bit I didn’t make up… )

An Assembly of Angels

It’s been a really exciting (and busy) couple of days, and I can’t quite believe how fast they’ve gone. Or how fast the release date for BLOOD AND FEATHERS is hurtling towards me!

The biggest thing for me, amongst a few big things, is that the first review for the book came in, and I’m absolutely thrilled. My Bookish Ways said:

… expertly weaves fantasy and horror elements into a creepy, exciting, roller coaster ride of a book. Lou Morgan’s angels aren’t warm, fluffy, and halo’d, either. They’re fiercely beautiful warriors, and distinctly “other.” The angel mythos is fascinating and rich, and the author has laid the groundwork for what promises to be an explosive sequel

(You can read the full review here.)

Basically, this brought a huge smile to my face – and not just because it’s a lovely review. It’s because it’s the first sense that other people have read the book: people I don’t know and who don’t know me, and that it’s now out there on its own. Being its own thing and standing by and for itself. It’s terrifying exciting. And it’s wonderful. The fact that the first review I’ve seen is also so positive just adds to the whole thing.

Kristin, who runs My Bookish Ways, was also kind enough to invite me to waffle on about all manner of things from medieval art to Prince Hal to angels via the City of London, and you can read that here.

If you’ve not yet had enough of me waffling (some of you have tremendous stamina, I know) then you can also join in the Friday Five fun on Pornokitsch. Every week, they ask a couple of people to choose 5 of something, and this week it’s… yep, you guessed it: angels.

I particularly love that Castiel has made 2 out of the 3 lists, proving that he really is All The Awesome. It also reminded me of something I found on Etsy yesterday which I reallyreallyreally want:

Knitted Castiel

He may be just about the coolest thing ever. Seriously.

Well.

Until someone knits a Mallory, that is…

Pinned Down

Because I simply don’t have enough things filling my time (insert mildly hysterical laugh *here*) I’ve now joined Pinterest, and you can find my boards here.

They’re still very much a work in progress – again with the whole “time” thing – but if you’re on there, do swing by and take a peek. I’m building up a nice collection of angels in the wild, and am always looking for more to add. If you see any, give me a shout so I can add them. What’s particularly interesting to me is how many turn up in street art at the moment, so those are always extra-welcome.

There’s also the slightly mysterious one labelled “Faces“. Because that couldn’t possibly be connected to anything.

Speaking of pretty pictures, by the way, this month sees BLOOD AND FEATHERS’s turn in the Cover Wars at the Qwillery site. There’s some very pretty books on there this time around, but I know where my heart lies. If you’re thus inclined and want to go and show Pye’s gorgeous artwork some love (and of course you do) then head over and vote.

And one more thing. There’s a few more character notes gone up on the Characters page on the B&F site, including one of my favourites, Brieus.

“We’re talking about the Fallen. Of course they’re stupid.” Brieus peered into the eye-socket of a skull. “This guy must’ve been a looker; just get a load of those cheekbones.”

“That’s a woman’s skull, Brieus.”

“Even better. Hellooo.”

That guy just can’t help himself…

Blood & Feathers: Meet the Angels

… and the Fallen, and everyone in between.

You might have noticed the site for BLOOD AND FEATHERS which is now up and running (well… maybe not running. Sort of… strolling. Possibly along a sunny pavement beside the Seine on an unseasonably warm Tuesday afternoon in April. But that’s beside the point) and has actual things on it.

There’s still more to go up, but there’s the beginnings of bios for the main characters, and over the next few weeks I’ll be posting a few others – mainly a snippet of dialogue here and there for some of the major players. Nothing spoilery, but as something of an Easter egg for everyone who tolerates my online gibberish.

There’ll also be an FAQ going up there – which admittedly won’t be terribly busy for a while yet… but if there’s anything you do want to know about the characters or the settings or anything like that, feel free to ask and that’s where the answers will go.

At some point over the next couple of weeks, there will also be a (very) short story about one of the main characters in the book hiding on there – again, as a thank you for listening to the rambling and wittering… and for your support, because it really does mean a lot.

The plan is for that to become a site for the book(s) – plural, now we’re counting Rebellion… and I’ll just let Dean cover my feelings for that one…

… so, um, yes. I’ll keep adding bits to it, so do check in once in a while.

Also, while I remember, I was very excited to guest-blog on the Qwillery site the other week, talking about playlists and writing to music (and the perils therein…). (The B&F playlist is, of course, on the B&F site…)

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…