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21st April, 2011: Cool things

Two cool things happened this week.

Yesterday I joined the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of AmericaSWFA – a sort of association/union of professional writers. It might sound a bit odd, but SWFA is an organisation I’ve dreamed of joining, because to join you need to have a qualifying sale. And guess what, I qualify now. I still need to expand my profile a bit, but you can find it under the member directory link.

Cool!

Secondly, I was lucky enough to be asked by author John Hornor Jacobs to read and blurb his debut novel, Southern Gods, which is due from Night Shade books in August this year. I’d been looking forward to reading this Lovecraftian horror ever since I read the description – you can read that, and my endorsement, over at John’s blog. I believe the endorsement will also be printed in the book. It was a real privilege to be asked to blurb it, and the book really is brilliant – as I hinted at earlier this week!

Also cool!

Tomorrow I’m off to EasterCon. I’ll be taking Seven Wonders with me to edit (well, I have to try, right?) – the edit is going well, and I’m finding it quiet enjoyable. There is a satisfaction in improving a work, knowing that you are slowly but steadily improving it.

So, 43 pages down, 375 and 41 days to go.

20th April, 2011: Elisabeth Sladen

I’ve been a Doctor Who fan nearly my entire life, but thanks to growing up in New Zealand, “my” Doctors were actually Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker. Which means, despite being part of the wrong generation, I grew up with the Brigadier, and Sarah Jane Smith.

Elisabeth Sladen, 1948 – 2011

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!

13th April, 2011: The British Fantasy Awards longlist

The British Fantasy Awards are the “other” awards, handed out at FantasyCon in September. I say “other” just because they come second in the year – the first being the British Science Fiction Association awards given at EasterCon.

The longlist for the BFS awards went up the other day, and I have two short stories nominated – The Nightmare of You and Death in the Room, and The Unpopular Opinion of Reverend Tobias Thackery.

My reaction in essence can be summed up as: oh hell yes!!

I mean, I could be all cool about it, and just shrug, and go, yeah, hey, BFS? Sweet. But the one thing about this writing lark is to never, ever take anything for granted. I’ve met authors who do/have, and you know what? Those encounters usually haven’t been that nice. So far I’ve had an amazing year, and every single achievement is worth celebrating.

So, where was I? Oh yeah: oh hell yes!! Nightmare was also longlist-nominated for the BSFA awards this year.

I’m not sure how many rounds of voting there are but BFS Members and registered attendees of FantasyCon 2010 and 2011 can vote on round one now. Voting is open until 31 May 2011. My two short stories are available, complete and free, here (Nightmare) and here (Thackery).

It’s a real honour to be on this longlist – I mean, just look at the names on it. Lauren Beukes, Stephen King (fortunately I’m not up against him in my category!), Joe Hill… the list goes on. Go take a look, and if you qualify to vote, vote!

One more thing from yesterday – I got a namecheck in episode 15 of ThrillerCast, a writing podcast hosted by Alan Baxter and David Wood. Alan and David said some very nice things – thanks guys! Their podcast sounds really cool, and I’m certainly going back to listen to it from the beginning.

Back to the editing…

5th April, 2011: Locus magazine

Well, there it is:

I’m in the April edition of Locus, as the very last item in the Books Sold section. Locus magazine is THE trade magazine for the genre publishing industry, and a subscription is pretty much essential for any writer.

For some reason, this little news snippet – a single tiny paragraph at the bottom of a list of authors that makes the mind boggle – was what I was waiting for. One of the weird things about your dream coming true is that it doesn’t feel real – okay, that sounds both obvious and twee at the same time, but it’s true. It’s not so much the fact that I have a book deal with a terrific imprint, and I have an agent with a terrific agency. It’s more basic than that – people are going to read my stuff. People are going to BUY my stuff? Like, Empire State? And Seven Wonders? Like, what?

It must be true. It was in Locus magazine!

Writing this week consists of Hang Wire, which is now heading into the endgame, two synopses (for Dark Heart and Ludmila, My Love), and plotting for Night Pictures. The synopsis for Dark Heart is interesting, considering how long ago I wrote the book. The manuscript itself is going to need a very strong edit – this was the first full-length novel I wrote. I’ve been skimming it as I compiled the synopsis, and it seemed pretty interesting, which is a good sign. Hopefully I’ll get that out of the way (the synopsis, not the edit!) today.

Project: Hang Wire (serial killers and superheroes in San Francisco)
Words yesterday: 2,030
Words total: 72,629/100,000 (72%)
Total words for 2011: 102,610

2nd April, 2011: March madness

So 2011 is now one-quarter gone… and what a quarter it was! To paraphrase a line from Firefly, I feel like I’ve done the impossible and achieved two dreams – to get a book deal, and to get an agent. It still feels very surreal, but I’m very grateful for the opportunities those two achievements represent. This is just the beginning of a big long adventure!

I’d been in negotiation with Angry Robot since February, but the beginning of March was when everything was made official. With Stacia taking me onboard on the very last day of that same month, March was certainly an eventful one.

During the month I also:

  • Continued work on Hang Wire
  • Wrote the synopsis and sample chapters of my post-apocalyptic horror The Suicide Tree and submitted them to a publisher
  • Had my shorty story The Walker appear in Hub magazine
  • Began working up notes on my next book, Night Pictures

So, pretty busy. But busy is good. Busy means things are happening. April looks like another packed month, although a little more relaxed, I hope. I need to:

  • Finish the first draft of Hang Wire
  • Attend EasterCon, where I’ll be on my first convention panels ever (!)
  • Prepare the final draft of Ludmila, My Love based on beta-reader critiques
  • Complete a proper outline for Night Pictures
  • Write full synopses for Ludmila, My Love and Dark Heart

I’ve also got two other things on the horizon. One is to start the final edit of Seven Wonders, which I am due to deliver to Angry Robot later this year. After that edit it needs to go through my beta-readers again like any other novel.

Secondly, as mentioned in my April list above, I’m going to unearth Dark Heart, my steampunk novel and the first full-length novel I actually wrote. This has been edited, at least in part, but the draft is still fairly rough. I’m going to get this ship-shape this year.

Yesterday I didn’t hit 2k on Hang Wire, but that was because I spent a large chunk of my writing time preparing a project status list for my agent. I’ve got a lot of material stashed away, several pieces out in the world, and a few things planned ahead, so compiling the list took a little time. But it was useful exercise for myself, as well. We’re off to New Zealand for nearly all of May, and while I’m going to try and get some writing done as usual, my writing time will be unpredictable and I’m not going to force it. I need to take that month into consideration, hence a project list is very useful in helping plan my work for this year.

Project: Hang Wire (serial killers and superheroes in San Francisco)
Words yesterday: 1,133
Words total: 66,422/100,000 (66%)
Total words for 2011: 96,403

News! I have an agent!

I’m pleased to announce that I am now represented by Stacia Decker of the Donald Maas Literary Agency. I’m thrilled to be joining DMLA – they’re a top-flight genre agency based in New York, and a huge number of my favourite authors are represented by them.

Coincidentally, last month Stacia was interviewed about author platforms – Twitter, blogs, that kind of thing – over at The Night Bazaar. Head over there and check it out!

17th March, 2011: Dancin’ machine

Jump left, and now jump right. Spin around, that was tight…

It’s not often that the MC Hammer dance is appropriate, but I’ll indulge after a good (2k+) writing day. I like to think that the MC Hammer dance is just one step down from the Snoopy dance, which is reserved for very special news.

Some more links from yesterday:

Also out yesterday was my new short story, The Walker, which appeared in Hub magazine #136. The Walker is a little period ghost story, and you can read it entirely for free over at their website. You can actually subscribe and get Hub delivered to your inbox too. I recommend it, as not only does it feature free fiction, but reviews and interviews. Did I mention it’s free?

The SFX Blog Awards are kicking off, with online voting now open here. There are many fine blogs nominated, and in the best podcast category you’ll find Escape Pod! As a guest blogger on Escape Pod, I know where my vote is going, but I recommend you check out the whole list of blogs over at the SFX website. I’ll certainly be taking a look at some of the nominated sites.

Speaking of Escape Pod, I’ll soon be starting an epic readthrough of the stories of HP Lovecraft for them, in publication order. First up is The Alchemist, written in 1908 and published in 1916. If you fancy reading along, you should be able to find an online version of the story from that link. You can also get Lovecraft’s work in epub and mobi format from here, among other places (although I see that pack doesn’t include the first story I’m covering).

Writing

As I mentioned, a good day yesterday. Work on Hang Wire was a lot of fun as the particular sequence written features the first appearance of a Korean superhero, Tangun. Tangun, as it turned out, is quite a jolly fellow, and I suspect is going to be a hoot to write.

Project: Hang Wire (serial killers and superheroes in San Francisco)
Words today: 2,223
Words total: 42,293/100,000 (42%)
Total words for 2011: 74,246

16th March, 2011: The morning after the night before

I’m not quite sure what I expected, but yesterday was a bit… crazy. Good crazy, of course. In case you missed it, my deal with Angry Robot was announced. Very quickly my Twitter feed went bananas, and my inbox began to fill up. In fact, last night I sat down to reply personally to the many kind emails I received, and almost in perfect synch as I sent one email out, another came in. Which was bewildering but very nice, and thanks to everyone who took the time to get in touch!

So here’s a round-up of links:

Commentary from Genreville at Publisher’s Weekly.

Brief mention at the British Fantasy Society.

News item at io9.

The original announcement, with some comments.

One of my beta-readers posts some thoughts.

The mention at Genreville was a big surprise, and my editor Lee has added a comment there. Becoming a news item at io9 was an even bigger surprise (especially seeing my photo on the front page for a while!), although some of the comments are a little odd. I suppose I’ll have to get used to that – this is the internet, after all! But this is my favourite one:

Now I know what has been keeping me from getting a book and movie deal all my life, it’s not talent, or wit or charm, it’s boy-ish good looks. Damn. It.

Ha! Thanks, mysterious commenter!

One interesting thing that came up yesterday was the detective’s name in Empire State – Rad Bradbury. Obviously, it is derived from the legendary SF author Ray Bradbury, and it seems that most people love it, and some people don’t.

I had the name Rad Bradbury floating around well before I started writing Empire State. I had been searching Amazon for something, and mistyped ‘Rad’ instead of ‘Ray’. Obviously no results came up, but it occurred to me that ‘Rad Bradbury’ had a nice sound, and would be a good name for a pulp detective. Later, when it came time to write the book, the full title was Rad Bradbury: Empire State, but I dropped the first bit because I knew if that ever appeared on a cover, people would get confused.

Rad Bradbury isn’t a spoof of Ray Bradbury at all – and really I’m not sure how you would spoof a famous SF author anyway, and Empire State certainly isn’t a comedy or satire. Rad is a 1930s private dick, not quite down-and-out but certainly in need of a new shirt or two. I guess his full name is Bradley, although that doesn’t come into the story. At one point someone does comment on his first name, but aside from that, Rad Bradbury is just Rad Bradbury. That’s his name. There’s also a character called Kane Fortuna, but he’s not related to this guy.

So I guess Rad’s name will always raise a few eyebrows. I hope most people will dig it for the pulpy/noirish quality I think it has and the way it rolls off the tongue.

Needless to say, not much writing got done yesterday, but then it’s not everyday that you get to announce some cool news. Thanks again for all the lovely comments. Hopefully today will be a little calmer!

15th March, 2011: I have a book deal!

Sitting on this news has been hard work, but today’s the day.

I’ve signed a two-book deal with Angry Robot for Empire State and Seven Wonders. From the official press release:

Press Release

15th March 2011 ~ For Immediate Release

Angry Robot unveils debut author – recruited from Twitter

Those busy metal fellows at dynamic SF publishing imprint Angry Robot have pounced upon the debut novel of British-based New Zealander ADAM CHRISTOPHER.

Christopher is well-known to many at the heart of the British science fiction community through his strong presence on Twitter, under the nickname @ghostfinder. It was through reading his posts that AR first became aware of him – a lesson to other prospective authors, perhaps. In keeping with Angry Robot’s emphasis on the new channels for promoting all of its authors, he will of course continue to promote his work via Twitter.

The deal, for world rights to two novels across all formats, was done between Christopher and 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 futures of both realities are at stake.

Lee Harris of Angry Robot said, “It’s always a great feeling when you find a new author – especially one with Adam’s talent. Empire State is reminiscent of China Miéville’s The City & the City – the existence of superheroes within Adam’s world serving to underline the very human struggle for survival. We’re pretty excited.”

Adam Christopher added, “I’ve been following Angry Robot ever since their mothership landed in 2009, and they quickly became one of my favourite imprints. Over the last couple of years they’ve built a brilliant list of authors and titles, and to be part of it all really is a dream come true.”

Empire State will be published in January 2012, with a second superhero-themed fantasy, Seven Wonders, to follow before the end of the year too.

:::

More information can be found at angryrobotbooks.com and Adam’s site adamchristopher.co.uk … and of course via @ghostfinder and @angryrobotbooks

Angry Robot is a new genre publisher, bringing readers the best in new SF, F and WTF?! All titles are released as paperbacks and in all major eBook formats. Distribution is through Random House (North America) and GBS (UK). Angry Robot is part of the Osprey Group.

For more information, review copies, interview and feature requests contact Mike Ramalho (mike.ramalho@angryrobotbooks.com or +44 (0) 186 581 1325).

Well, what can I say? I’m not lying when I say this is a dream come true – it really is. I have literally dreamed of getting a book deal, and I’ve been pinching myself ever since I signed the contract.

My new author photograph at the top there was once again taken by the brilliant DC Sterne. We spent an extraordinarily cold afternoon just before Christmas stalking some railway foot tunnels in Levenshulme, Manchester, which produced some excellent shots. I’m quite in awe of their skill, and they have my eternal gratitude in granting permission to use that picture. You can find DC Sterne on Twitter, and their website is here.

The news is up at Angry Robot, I have my own author page, which you can see here. Also, over at Floor-to-Ceiling books, I’ve given my first ever interview, where I talk about Empire State and a bit about the whole process from the initial contact with Angry Robot to signing the deal.

So, yesterday was a little busy, as I’m sure you can understand, but I did manage to get some words down on Hang Wire. Today I’m aiming for the 2k.

Project: Hang Wire (serial killers and superheroes in San Francisco)
Words today: 1,044
Words total: 40,070/100,000 (40%)
Total words for 2011: 72,023

The first beta-reader return of The Suicide Tree sample chapters came back as well, and I took a look at the problems and typos they spotted. I was very pleased with their response, so now I just need to wait for the rest of them to send their commnets back.

Phew. What a day!