All posts in Conventions

New interview with Adventures in Sci-Fi Publishing, and my WorldCon schedule

Just a couple of weeks until Seven Wonders hits the shelves in the US (UK readers have to wait another week), but in the meantime over at Adventures in Sci-Fi Publishing I talk to Shaun Farrell about the book, superheroes, and writing in general. I’ve got a couple more podcasts coming up too, as well as the one over at Functional Nerds which I mentioned yesterday.

WorldCon is now exactly two weeks away, and the draft programme is now online. It’s a real monster (I’m almost expecting there to be an opening panel on the Thursday morning called “Reading the Chicon Program Grid”) with a whole tonne of stuff that looks excellent.

My own schedule is as follows:

Thursday Aug 30 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm
Researching history that never happened
Room: San Francisco
With Kenneth Hite, Martin Berman-Gorvine, Mary Robinette Kowal and Nick DiChario

Thursday Aug 30 4:30 pm – 5:00 pm
Reading (a little Seven Wonders, and maybe a sneak peak at The Age Atomic, the sequel to Empire State due out in May 2013)
Room: Dusable

Friday Aug 31 10:30 am – 12:00 pm
The new pulp fiction
Room: McCormick
With Chuck Wendig and Stephen Blackmoore

Saturday Sep 1 10:30 am – 12:00 pm
Social media for writers
Room: Gold Coast
With Amanda Leudeke, Emma Newman, Lillian Cauldwell and Peadar O’Guillin

Monday Sep 3 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm
Autograph session 18
Room: Autograph tables

Also on the Friday is the Angry Robot Author Showcase, being held at The Book Cellar, 4736-38 North Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, IL 60625 – full details here. Come and join myself, Chuck Wendig, Kim Curran and Gwenda Bond as we launch our new novels!

There will be other stuff going on as well – there’s the famous Tor party, which I get to go to as a Tor author (OMG!!), and of course the Hugo Awards on the Sunday night, and the associated pre-parties and after-parties.

It should be an absolute blast – if you’re going, come and say hello!


Event update: ChiCon 7, the 70th World Science Fiction Convention

A quick event update: I shall be at ChiCon 7, also known as WorldCon, in Chicago at the end of August! It promises to be an epic event, with a huge contingent from both of my publishers, Angry Robot and Tor, attending.

It also coincides with the release of my next novel, Seven Wonders, as well as the second novel from fellow Angry Roboteer and ink brother Chuck Wendig, Mockingbird. Needless to say, as we will both be at ChiCon, Chuck and I are planning something to mark the occasion. Stay tuned!

Writerly update, April 2012

Been a while since I’ve done an update post, so here goes:

Alt Fiction was last weekend – I was only there for the Saturday and only on one panel, so I’m not going to bother with a write-up – you can read some good post-event blogs here, here and here. I do have some photos somewhere which I’ll upload once I’ve found the camera! Overall I did have an enjoyable day, and it was great to catch up with friends, even though a] the panel I was on was not exactly a success (as those links above mention) and b] I was pretty exhausted from EasterCon the previous weekend (which remains the best convention I’ve yet attended).

With the Discover Festival cancelled, that’s me done for events until FantasyCon in September, which I’m really looking forward to.

Writing wise, the first set of copyedits on Seven Wonders have been sent back to Angry Robot. Seven Wonders, my superhero adventure novel, is out in September worldwide and can be preordered from or – I’ll put up a page of more varied order links this week. Twitter followers may have noticed a little chat about the cover the other week. It’s Will Staehle again (yes!), and hopefully we can reveal the final version soon. And… it’s good, put it that way!

I’m making progress on The Age Atomic, the sequel to Empire State, which features quantum ghosts, atomic robots, the Cloud Club, and a mysterious woman from New Amsterdam. This is the first book I’ve actually written to a contract, rather than having had a novel done in at least first draft form beforehand. Which is a new thing, as is writing a sequel. But so far, so good. Onwards towards 120,000 words. I need to get the first draft done by the end of June, so my beta-readers and agent can tear it to shreds while I’m away for a month in Europe and Ireland.

Also kicking around is Secret Project S, but more on that when the stars are right.

There’s been some cool stuff going up on the Empire State Worldbuilder site, including a comic, The Silver Specter, by triple-Hugo-award-winning Cheyenne Wright, and a song, The Empire State, by John Anealio. The Forbidden Planet International blog made a nice mention of The Silver Specter, while SFSignal covered John’s song not once, but twice. And finally, Worldbuilder producer-manager-maestro – not to mention John Campbell Award-nominated writerMur Lafferty was also interviewed about the project over at Shared Story Worlds.

And I’m off this Friday and Saturday to see/stalk (delete as applicable) one of my favourite bands, The Dandy Warhols, so I’ll leave you with one of my favourite songs (and one which appears on the Empire State playlist), Good Morning (which is, absurdly, now 15 years old… where the heck did 1997 go?)


2012 event update

My brain is still absent without leave, possibly rattling somewhere around the Radisson Edwardian, Heathrow. So until it returns, just a quick update.

I’m at Alt Fiction this Saturday (14th April), where I’m on the following panel:

Saturday 14th April, 2pm (Screen 1)
Genre TV, with Steve Volk (moderator), Mark Morris, Alasdair Stuart, and Selina Lock

It’ll be fun not being on a book-related panel for a change – in case you were wondering, the Sir Julius Vogel Award that I won in 2010 was for editing TSV, the journal of the New Zealand Doctor Who Fan Club, so I guess that qualifies me as being something of a genre TV fan at least.

However, there are plenty of writing panels on at Alt Fiction. The complete programme can be found here. Alt Fiction has shifted cities this year, so I’m interested to see what the new event (and venue) is like.

Also, the Discover Festival, a new convention which was to have run on 18-20th May at the Snibston Discovery Museum, Coalville, Leicestershire, has been cancelled. I was a guest, so now I have that weekend free I think I’ll be heading to the Kapow! comic con in London instead.

And that’s it for me until FantasyCon in September, which is back in Brighton (hurrah!)… and which I still need to book. On it!

EasterCon 2012

It was one of those moments. I was in the dealer’s room, checking out the Forbidden Planet stand and saying hello to my friend and fellow author, Danie Ware, when the other guy working the stand asked whether I could sign their stock of Empire State. Sure, I said, and as I signed copies, I talked to Danie about her forthcoming novel, Ecko.

Two years ago, I was in the dealer’s room at my first EasterCon. It was at the same hotel, and the Forbidden Planet stand was in the same place in the dealer’s room. I had gone over to introduce myself to Danie, whom I vaguely knew online. Before she saw my name badge, she asked whether I was an author who wanted to sign their stock of books. I laughed and introduced myself, and thought how cool it would be if that were the case. Cool, and impossible. Right?

EasterCon 2012 was an event of epic awesomeness, filled with strange little memories and connections and things like that. At EasterCon 2010, I met Lee Harris from Angry Robot for the first time in person, and he informed me that I’d just won their World House short story competition. Two years later, there we were in the bar, discussing copyedits of my forthcoming second novel from them, Seven Wonders. Later that night, Amanda Rutter and I reminisced over that first convention, where we had both wandered around, somewhat in awe of everything going on. She had just started her book blog and I was working hard on a novel.

This year she was representing Strange Chemistry, the YA imprint of Angry Robot that she’s now editor of, while I was on a couple of panels as the author of one book, with another three coming.

A lot can happen in two years, can’t it?

But, okay, enough with the smug nostalgia. EasterCon 2012 was special for other reasons. It really felt like there was Something Going On, that genre was alive and well and partying hard in a hotel near Heathrow. Much of the weekend was spent ensconced in the bar, talking about anything and everything to do with books and writing and making friendships that will last forever – my thanks especially to Kim Curran, Laura Lam and Emma Newman, three wonderful writers, all of whom were attending their first EasterCons. And to Tom Pollock, and Tom Hunter, and Nick Harkaway, and Lee Harris, and to everyone who came to my panels and my reading and who – to my continued surprise and delight – came up to say they enjoyed my work and asked if I would mind signing their book.

It goes the other way too, of course. I eventually summed up the courage to introduce myself to Cory Doctorow and say thanks for his Empire State review and blurb, and seeing the one marvellous George RR Martin wandering around – and him joining our corner of the bar late on Sunday night – really was pretty cool. I also managed to say hi to Gail Carriger, who I’ve known online for ages but had never met in person.

On the Thursday night, Guest of Honour (and early arrival) Paul Cornell tweeted to say that he “felt very cosy in genre”. I think this it actually, in a strange way, kinda sums it up. For perhaps the first time, it really felt like I was part of a big, supportive community of peers. It was the same at the Hugo Award nomination announcements on the Saturday night, where I clapped and cheered as the names of several friends and colleagues were read out. Paul even did a dance, and I ate a lot of chocolate biscuits. That was a good night. There was Something Going On. And it seems I wasn’t the only one to notice.

Roll on FantasyCon!

SFX Weekender 3

The official website hasn’t been updated yet, but as mentioned in the new issue of SFX magazine out yesterday, I’m a guest at the SFX Weekender 3, being held at the Pontins holiday camp in Prestatyn Sands, North Wales, next February. It’ll be the first convention where Empire State will actually be out, and I know there will be some Angry Robot signing action going on. Incidentally, SFX magazine, bless them, describe me as a “hotly tipped debut author” on page 48. Just don’t ask me which horse is going to win the 3.30 at Cheltenham…

Meanwhile, work continues on Hell Space. Due to an alignment of the stars, I’ve found myself with a couple of weeks to devote to the edit, which means I can get a big chunk done. Every edit is different because every book is different, and for Hell Space I’ve found I’m making so many notes on a chapter-by-chapter, scene-by-scene basis that once I’ve made the initial pass, I’m actually going to re-import the manuscript into a brand new Scrivener file and start to work in there. There’s a lot of backstory and new material to add to the first half of the book, and Scrivener’s scene splitting/re-ordering functionality is going to make it a heck of a lot easier than trying to wrestle a single 500-page Word document.


On holiday in Brighton

Well, I say on holiday. I have a boatload of copyediting to do and a convention to go to on Friday. But in the meantime we’re kicking back and enjoying the 27 degree C autumn sunshine.

Yeah, I know.

Guilty pleasures

Wa-hey! Empire State, my debut novel, is now listed over at Random House.

Wowsa. That’s pretty cool. Random House are Angry Robot’s US affiliate publisher/distributor, in case you’re wondering what the book is doing there.

Don’t forget, you can pre-order the US version now (out 27th December). All the info you need is here. Clicky click!

It’s also one week to go until Alt Fiction, at which you can hear me read a chapter of Empire State. I’m also on two panels, and I’ve even got my own author page over at the Alt Fiction website. Speaking of Alt Fiction, I’ll be there with fellow writer and co-panellist Jennifer Williams, who talks about Alt Fiction over at her site here.


I’ve come up with a new name for this phase of novel creation – readiting. It’s not the huge big edit that happens when you take a manuscript from draft 0/1 to 2. It’s not the copyediting once you get everything back from whoever you sent it to. This is the middle bit, when you (as I may have mentioned before) read it, and read it, and read it again. Then edit, and re-edit, and re-edit (usually in small chunks, hopefully), then read, and re-read. Just saying you are “editing” doesn’t quite seem to cut it. And “polishing”, or “revising” doesn’t sound right either.

So Seven Wonders is being readited.

While I’ve been readiting, I’ve been watching some old school Sesame Street. I grew up with it, and thanks to the archaic state of New Zealand television in the early to mid 1980s, most of what was screen was 10-15 years old. Which meant the Sesame Street I watched in 1983(ish) was really from the very early says of the series. For this reason, the old school DVD releases are a real trip down memory lane. Surprisingly so – there are sketches and songs that I haven’t seen or heard in more than 25 years came back to mind instantaneously. Which, to be honest, kinda freaks me out.

Here’s something you won’t find in the old school DVD set, however:

28th April, 2011: Creative Consequences

No, this isn’t about the state of my office this week as I split my time between the day job and getting a bucketload of writing/editing down before departing for New Zealand. Creative Consequences was a writing game played by myself, Ro Smith, Lou Morgan and Anne Lyle on Saturday night at EasterCon. It’s pretty easy – write one line of a story, fold the paper over so the next person can only see the previous line (or the first line), and pass it on.

With eight completed masterworks, we vowed (however unwisely) to post them online. Anne has put one up already, so here are the two I have. To protect the innocent, I shall not identify who wrote which line.

The man in the black hat took a drag on the cigarette, pulled back the

covers to examine the body; it wasn’t pretty.

But then again, it never had been.

So they decided to give it another try, and with a mighty effort, off it went.

As the countdown raced towards zero, they both saw the

massive mice were leaping into the breach to help.

The sharks turned and – as one – they fled.

Fortunately the padre had worn his snorkel and flippers, but the others were not so lucky.

“Never fear”, the sergeant barked, twirling his moustache.

“I have a cunning plan.” Sadly, the plan involved far too much periperi sauce, and didn’t end well.

Hmm. Not bad. It starts as a hardboiled detective story and then turns into military SF with added cooking. Okay…

And the second:

The glass shattered, and Camila’s necklace slid from her neck to the floor.

Her head followed a second later, hitting the marble tiles with a sickening thump.

Blood trickled into her eyes as she stood, turned, and took the scimitar from its scabbard. “Now you die!”

“Holy shit!” screamed Paul. “I didn’t mean it!”

But it was already too late, and the prince was running barefoot through the snow.

“After him!” his uncle bellowed. “A hundred sovereigns to the guard who brings me his head.”

The soldiers marched out of the throne room, determined to rid the land of his terrible evil.

But in their heart of hearts, each knew he was truly afraid of the wizard.

His magnificent shoes couldn’t disguise the fact that he had terribly large feet.

It was only then that they realised that Uncle Frederick had run away to the circus for a reason.

Huh. An epic fantasy, Camila apparently able to survive decapitation. Must be something to do with the wizard. This one makes a surprising amount of sense, actually.

I look forward to the next round at Olympus 2012!

26th April, 2011: The list that never ends…

So… I got back from EasterCon with a to-do list straight from hell.

Actually, that doesn’t make sense, does it? Writing is what I do, and to now have so much of writing and writing-related business to attend to I’m actually in hog heaven. It’s just a shame that there are only twenty-four hours in a day to get things done. Damn you, science!

But, if you’ll excuse me, normal blog posting will resume tomorrow. Let’s just say this one got caught in post-con “stuff” and we’ll be back tomorrow. In the meantime, go check out the wonderful result of Paul Cornell’s Beard for Lent charity drive.