All posts in angry robot

Tonight! Angry Robot Live 3 with me, Chuck Wendig, Anne Lyle and Carrie Patel!

A quick note to say: come join me and three other Angry Roboteers in a Google Hangout, as we discuss series writing!

The hangout starts tonight (Wednesday 25th June) at 7.30PM BST (11.30AM PDT/2.30PM EDT). Full details, the hangout link and sign-up, can be found over at Angry Robot.

What I did in 2013. What I’m going to do in 2014.

I was mulling over a wrap-up post for 2013, but this year has been a little weird, writing-wise, and I wasn’t sure there would be much to post. However, inspired by Chuck Wendig’s wrap-up – in which he mentions an interesting project or two that I have a hand in – I figured I should really sit down and work out what the hell I’ve been doing this year. And what I need to be doing next.

So! 2013?

Despite feeling like I haven’t done much, 2013 was a really good year for me. Having sold The Burning Dark to Tor around Easter 2012 as a standalone novel, this year I sold them two more books – The Jovian Conspiracy and The Stars Below – in the same universe. A few months later, UK and Commonwealth rights to all three books were sold to Titan. Tor revealed the amazing cover, by Will Staehle – who was also responsible for each of my Angry Robot covers – back in July.

I also wrote – and sold – Cold War, a standalone novelette set in the universe of The Burning Dark, to Tor.com.

ColdWar

I had one book published – The Age Atomic, a sequel to Empire State, came out from Angry Robot in April. Alongside the US and UK paperbacks came a limited, numbered collector’s edition hardcover of this title and of Empire State, complete with a new cover by Will Staehle. This made me the only Angry Robot author, so far, to have each of their novels released as a hardback.

TAA

ESLE

In June, I released Two Tales of San Ventura, a pair of short stories set in the world of Seven Wonders. Will Staehle was once again on cover duties.

2T

On top of this, as Chuck mentions over at his blog, I worked with him on a comic pitch that, with a bit of luck, we’ll be able to talk about next year. Speaking of comics, the first three parts of my Prohibition urban fantasy, The Sentinel, came out as part of the VS Comics digital anthology.

Events I attended were the Sci-Fi Weekender in North Wales (I had the flu the whole weekend, and have never been so cold in all my life), EdgeLit in Derby, Andromeda One in Birmingham, Nine Worlds in London, LoneStarCon/WorldCon in San Antonio, and World Fantasy in Brighton. If I to pick a favourite, it must be Nine Worlds – from tremendous organisation to imaginative and fresh programming, this was THE event of 2013.

So, behind-the-scenes, things were pretty busy, and work-wise this was a really good year. In fact, my biggest year yet.

Writing-wise, it was an odd one. From October 2012 through to August 2013 I was editing two books at once – The Burning Dark, and Hang Wire – which was a bit of a challenge. Once those were done, I spent a couple of months outlining The Jovian Conspiracy and got that book underway.

Which means it doesn’t feel like I’ve written much this year, even though “editing” really means “rewriting and rewriting and rewriting”. It’s also hard to track, as a straight eight-hour day of work on novel edits can actually result in a negative word count. There’s probably an easy way to track it, but I haven’t tried it yet!

As for 2014…

I’m under contract to write three novels, only one of which (The Jovian Conspiracy) is due next year. I’m working on it now, and that’s the number one priority.

Once that is in, I’ve got an urban-ish fantasy novel to finish, and a crime novel to write, before I get started on The Stars Below. So that’s one novel to finish, two to start and finish, and one to at least start. Minimum. I also have another long-short story to do, although hopefully I can knock that off before the end of 2013.

That comic project with Chuck should start to kick off… and there may be a couple of other projects in this field to talk about. The final part of The Sentinel should drop from VS Comics early in the year, although that was actually written a while ago.

The only event I’m locked in for so far is WorldCon, which in 2014 is being held in London, but there’s no doubt I’ll be at other events too.

But the big thing for 2014 is that I’ve got two books out! Hang Wire is released by Angry Robot on January 28th (US/eBook) and February 6th (UK), and The Burning Dark is out March 25th from Titan (UK/Commonwealth) and Tor (US). There’s not much of a gap between them and launch-wise, we’re cooking up something big, so stay tuned. There’s also a kick-ass pre-order contest starting in January. Cold War will be out around the same time as The Burning Dark.

So that was my 2013. An odd year, but a good one. 2014 is shaping up to be much bigger and busier, which is just how it should be. Onward!

Guest post: Angry Robot’s new signing, Emma Newman

I love it when friends find success – as writers, we’re all just trying to create cool stuff for other people to enjoy, so when I learned that Angry Robot had signed Emma Newman for a three-book series, The Split Worlds, I was pretty chuffed.

I first met Emma back in October 2010, when she sent me a tweet asking whether I’d ever thought of turning a novella I’d written, The Devil in Chains, into an audiobook. That reading was then stripped five nights a week over at Dark Fiction Magazine, earning a Parsec award nomination in the process. Emma later recorded a short ghost story I’d written for Christmas 2010, which you can listen to here.

Aside from her audio work, Emma is a talented writer – a very talented writer, author of the post-apocalyptic YA novel 20 Years Later and stunning collection of short fiction, From Dark Places. I quickly became a fan of her work, and I’m very pleased to have her as not only a fellow Angry Robot author, but fellow client of the Donald Maass Literary Agency.

Emma’s road to publication is really quite brilliant, so I invited her here to tell us about it.


Sitting here, about to tell you about how this three book deal with Angry Robot came about, I’m really starting to appreciate how unlikely it is. In fact, I wouldn’t be writing this now if it hadn’t been for a trip in scary weather, a kind man and a missed train.

The Split Worlds series was originally conceived as a self-publishing project with a twist: I secured funding from a private investor to enable me to give up the day job and work on it full-time. If tech companies can find venture capital for the development of tech-based ideas, I thought, why couldn’t I do the same but for a creative endeavour instead? I had no intention of finding a publisher, the project was about finding a way to truly immerse myself in a project without having to write SEO press releases to pay the bills.

That all happened last summer, I started writing the first book of the series in October and in November launched my year-and-a-day long build up to the release of the first book in the series –  The Split Worlds: Between Two Thorns – consisting of a short story set in the Split Worlds being released in text and audio formats every week. One was published on this very blog not so long ago.

The Scary Weather
In early January this year, a friend of mine had a certain book launch. That friend was Adam, and the book was Empire State. I live in Somerset, the launch was in central London and that morning there were gale force winds battering the country. I stood at the window, watching the trees bending outside and had doubts about driving, but couldn’t stand the thought of letting Adam down; I know how important launches are, and having friends there to celebrate with you. So I put on my brave hat and drove.

The Kind Man
When I arrived, I knew only two people: Adam (who was a tad busy doing his reading and being the star) and Paul Cornell. I met Paul at Bristolcon in October last year and bless his heart, he looked after me from the moment I went over and said a rather shy hello. He introduced me to people, made me feel welcome and secure and believe me when I tell you he is one of the loveliest people I’ve ever met.

Anyway, after the reading and signing we all went to the Phoenix bar. We were talking, having a great time chatting and celebrating with Adam and lots of other ace people, when Paul asked me what I did for my day job. I told him about the investor and he was quite surprised. He said I should tell Lee Harris of Angry Robot Books about it, who was there for an obvious reason, as Paul hadn’t heard of anyone doing something like that before.

It being Adam’s night, I didn’t feel it was right to do it then and there, I didn’t want to draw attention to myself. I decided I’d talk to Lee about it at some nebulous point in the future, we partied on, Lee left and I thought nothing more of it.

Then Lee came back.

The Missed Train
He’d missed his train home and in the time it had taken him to go to the station, shake a fist at the departing train and find his way back to the bar most people had left. I asked Adam if it was okay to talk to Lee, as Paul had suggested, and he said it was fine! So I did.

That conversation changed my life. I told Lee what I’d done, the reasoning behind it and my plans for the series and he was… gobsmacked. He couldn’t believe I’d pulled off something so crazy. We talked for some time; Adam told me later that he and Lee continued to talk about it as they headed back to their hotel long after we’d parted ways for the evening.

Lee asked to see my work, he was curious, so I sent a copy of From Dark Places and an ARC of 20 Years Later. Then he asked to see the first Split Worlds book. I saw it as the best opportunity to get amazing advice and feedback: what better beta-reader could I hope for than a commissioning editor for my favourite publisher?

So a few weeks went by, Lee and I chatted on Twitter, I wrote the second book in the series, all was well. Just before Eastercon I had an idea about what to write after The Split Worlds and I decided my goal was to aim for Angry Robot as my next publisher. I mentioned this to Lee and he invited me to pitch at Eastercon (cue immense nerves and excitement). A few days later I described my idea to him. “I like it,” he said and then described the process of sending in a sample for consideration. I was thrilled. “But what about The Split Worlds?” he added and then told me he’d read the first few chapters and really liked it. He wanted to know if I would consider offering it to Angry Robot for consideration.

All Change Please, All Change!
I was flattered, desperately excited and then mostly angst-ridden: not the emotion I had expected to feel when the publisher I was aspiring to be published by in two years’ time was asking for my current WIP. But I’d planned it all differently and there was my investor to consider. It would mean relinquishing total (and slightly neurotic) control over the project, particularly the timeline. After mulling it over and discussing it with a good friend, I promised to talk to my investor to see if it was plausible to change direction.

My investor was unsurprised this had happened (I was still gobsmacked!) and we negotiated a new arrangement. I sent the latest version of the book to Lee, fully expecting him to read the rest and decide to not take it further.

He took it to acquisitions. I fully expected the rest of the decision-making team to turn it down.

They didn’t.

After an agonising wait, I had the magical phone call from Lee. I might have screamed. I remember saying “I can’t believe it!” over and over again. In fact, I still say that a couple of times a day. I now have an agent, Jennifer Udden at the Donald Maass Agency (I can’t believe that either – there’s a theme here…) and it feels like the beginning of my writing career all over again.

So there we have it, the unlikely tale of how this book deal came about. If I hadn’t driven to the launch that day, none of it would have happened. Then I think about how I became friends with Adam, which really stemmed from the decision to be brave and ask him whether I could narrate a novella he’d written that I’d really enjoyed. If I hadn’t taken that deep breath and sent him that tweet…

But if I keep thinking like that, I’d go crazy. If you want a take away from all this, I would say it’s to be brave, go out and meet people in your niche and when the unimaginable opportunity comes in ways you probably didn’t expect, grab it.

And always drive carefully in gale force winds…


Emma’s website and blog are here, and you can find her on Twitter as @emapocalyptic.

Tony Prosdocimi versus the Seven Wonders

Angry Robot books have announced their schedule through to September 2012, which includes my second novel, Seven Wonders. Oooh yeah.

Seven Wonders also has its own page now, and official back-cover blurb:

Tony Prosdocimi lives in the bustling Metropolis of San Ventura – a city gripped in fear, a city under siege by the hooded supervillain, The Cowl.

When Tony develops super-powers and acts to take down The Cowl, however, he finds that the local superhero team Seven Wonders aren’t as grateful as he assumed they’d be…

File Under: Science Fiction [ Heroes In Action | A Double Cross | Kapow! | Tables Turned ]

Seven Wonders, a widescreen superhero epic, is out in the US as a trade paperback on August 28th, 2012, with the UK B-format paperback following on September 6th.

That sounds like a long way off… but it feels like just yesterday that I was saying the same thing about Empire State, so it’ll come around soon enough. Also, that’s a good 3-4 months before the world is due to end, so you’ll be able to enjoy a good superhero romp before armageddon. Rock on.

EMPIRE STATE review, honourable mention, and some links

Here’s a list. I like lists:

  • Still editing Hell Space, which – after an initial round of very heavy cuts (from 106,000 words down to 94,000) – is now cruising back towards 105,000 words. Oddly, when I’m writing something, I aim for 2,000 words a day. Sometimes this is easy and I can write more. Sometimes it’s a struggle. But when I’m editing, it’s less about words and more about getting something done on time. Yesterday I added about 4,000 new words to the manuscript to fix a couple of problems, and didn’t think anything of it. Hmm.
  • Speaking of words, Nanowrimo has started. I don’t take part myself, but my own November routine is to listen to Stephen King reading his memoir/writer’s guide, On Writing. At over eight hours, unabridged, that usually sees me through the month. I recommend it! Seems I reminded Lauren Beukes about it too.
  • I realised the other day that I just missed the one-year anniversary of submitting the first five chapters and synopsis of Empire State to Angry Robot (21st October, 2010). I’m not really one to keep track of such things, but when I mentioned it on Twitter, Eric Lundqvist pointed out that 21st October, 2011, was the date on which Angry Robot made the eARC of Empire State available to reviewers. Well, fancy that!
  • And, appropriately enough given the whole book-deal-via-Twitter-thing, the first review of Empire State has appeared – on Twitter! Brian Lindenmuth (private feed) said: “Empire State by @ghostfinder – an eclectic mix of influences come together winningly in a heady pulp mix. Recommended.” Thanks Brian!
  • Empire State also made Fantasy Faction’s list of books to look for in 2012, where Angry Robot mention that it is their fiftieth published novel. Yay!
  • Out today is the new issue of Focus, the magazine of the British Science Fiction Association, in which you’ll find an article by me about how I was signed by Angry Robot and the role Twitter had to play.
  • Finally, while I’m off to New York to give Empire State a US launch, I’m also planning something for London. More details as I have them!

Empire State cover revealed!

I’ve been waiting for ages to show this off (click for full size):

Good, no? Will Staehle is a bloody genius. You can read more over at Angry Robot, and over at Floor-to-Ceiling Books I talk about the cover design process and my part in it.

Meanwhile, yesterday’s battle of man versus words was hard-fought, but I’m pleased to report man won.

Project: Night Pictures (missing persons, ghost towns and TV hackers)
Words yesterday: 2,187
Words total: 18,648/100,000 (18%)
Word to go: 81,352
Days to go: 53

You know what I mean

It was pointed out to me yesterday that with the launch of Angry Robot’s ebook subscription service on Friday, people have actually now bought Empire State. Which is very cool, and for those who have taken out a sub, my thanks are many. And if you haven’t yet, head over to the Angry Robot store and check it out. £69 for a year, for at least 24 books – that’s good value. Do it.

Okay, you back? Good work.

As I mentioned the other day I’m in deadline hell at the moment, and in fact am on day 1 of a straight 13-day run of work. When that’s all done, I’ve got two uninterrupted weeks of writing and editing – I’m not sure I have the words to describe how much I’m looking forward to the second half of July!

But, while I’m unlikely to set the world afire with my blogging during this period, I did say I’d try and post something useful or entertaining every day.

Today’s entertainment takes the form of Cults, a new band from New York that I’ve just discovered. They’re kinda indie-pop with a touch of Motown, and are responsible for the rather excellent album Cults. The standout track is You Know What I Mean, and while there is no official music video or officially live video of it, here’s a pretty decent version recorded at the SXSW festival earlier this year.

Please to enjoy!

Angry Robot turn 2!

Yesterday my publisher Angry Robot celebrated their second birthday by announcing two awesome things: a merchandise store, and a subscription service for their ebooks. The merchandise store looks pretty rad, not least because I’m actually in the market for a sweatshirt and tee. The subscription service is a fascinating idea – soon after Angry Robot arrived, it became clear to me that they were one of the few publishers that were absolutely guaranteed to provide a good read. I thought that some kind of standing order system, whereby you’d just take everything they published regardless, seemed like a good idea. And now, for ebooks at least, you can do just that. At just £69 a year (more than a third off), with further discounts for backlist titles, it’s a very good deal indeed.

My publisher… see, that still feels pretty gosh-darned cool when I say it. I was a fan of Angry Robot, and now I’m one of their authors. I’m proud to be part of their family of amazing authors, and at the next con you might just see me in an Angry Robot shirt.

Happy birthday!

27th April, 2011: Zoo City wins the Arthur C. Clarke Award

What more can I say? Zoo City was my favourite book of 2010, and Lauren Beukes is a great friend. She – and the book – deserve this award.

There are some links of interest over at Angry Robot, and you can hear an interview with Lauren and a reading from Zoo City over at Escape Pod.

Rock on.

16th April, 2011: Sci Fi Now magazine

Here’s something nice to start the weekend. If you turn to page 80 in the new Sci Fi Now magazine (the one with Terra Nova on the cover), you’ll see this:

So… my first mainstream press clipping! Wow. The little piece isn’t quite accurate – I’m a science fiction writer, not a fantasy one (although Angry Robot have described Seven Wonders as a superhero fantasy, mainly because superhero “novel” sounds a bit lame), and both books are standalone – Seven Wonders is not a sequel to Empire State and the two bear no relation to each other.

But hey, I’m being picky. I’m in freakin’ Sci Fi Now magazine. That rocks a lot.

Another ping yesterday too, this time from Concatenation, and periodical online review zine, which has my book deal listed under PEOPLE: MAJOR SF & SCIENCE AUTHOR AND ARTIST NEWS:

Adam Christopher has probably become the first SF author to have been discovered by their publisher on Twitter. Angry Robot has pounced upon the debut novel of British-based New Zealander in a deal for World rights to two novels across all formats by Angry Robot editor Lee Harris. Empire State is a story of superheroes, and a city divided in two. Detective Rad Bradbury picks up the trail of a murderer, only to discover that the world he has always known is a pocket universe, recently brought into existence by an explosion of phenomenal power. With a superhero on his tail he crosses into a city that bears a remarkable resemblance to his own – a city called New York. There he uncovers a deadly threat to the Empire State, and finds that the future of both realities is at stake. Empire State will be published in January 2012, with a second, superhero-themed fantasy, Seven Wonders, to follow before the end of that year.

Wee! Back to the editing now. Have a great Saturday everyone!