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2016, 2017, man oh man.

Suffice to say that 2016 was a somewhat strange year. Let’s leave it at that. But hey, personally I had some good times. Phoenix Comic Con was amazing. San Diego Comic Con was amazing. I made new friends at both. I saw my favourite band, The Cure, twice. Art is important and we need to celebrate it, now more than ever, and I refer m’learned readers to this blog post here which says a lot of things about the year gone and the year ahead that I agree with.

I had two books out this year, both tie-ins: Elementary: Blood and Ink, and Dishonored: The Corroded Man, as well as a couple of issues of The Shield, co-written with Chuck Wendig, for Archie/Dark Circle Comics. That makes 2016 a little quiet for me, and it feels like I spent most of the year editing or writing outlines, but I did write two things that will be out in 2017 – Standard Hollywood Depravity, a Ray Electromatic novella out from Tor.com in March, and the next Ray novel, Killing Is My Business, out in July.

But 2016 was a record year for me for reading. As of today, I’ve read 53 books this year, and there’s a fair chance I’ll make it to 54 before January 1st. And here’s what I read, in reverse order of completion:

I hate to pick favourites, as every book in that list I enjoyed a great deal. But if I limit it to books that actually came out in 2016, then I have to say my joint favourites were You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott, The Long and Faraway Gone by Lou Berney, and Star Wars: Aftermath: Life Debt by Chuck Wendig – that last book actually giving me my biggest geek-out moment of the year, when me and my robot assassin sorta maybe not quite make a cameo, kinda.

I think that makes me at least as canonical as the Star Wars Holiday Special, so hey, I’ll take it.

As if to even things out, 2017 looks rather busy for me. Apart from the Ray Electromatic novella and novel, the next Dishonored novel, the title of which remains a closely guarded secret, will be out at the end of July. I have to write the third Ray novel, as well as revisiting and rewriting a strange novel from a while back and writing a couple of brand new things too. There may also be comics to do.

I think I need to make a list.

Until 2017 then!

 

 

2015 end of year round-up

Turns out 2015 was pretty busy for me, and included a number of firsts! So here’s a quick run down of what happened…

I had three books out this year:

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Elementary: The Ghost Line came out in February, and was my first tie-in novel, for one of my favourite TV shows. One to tick off the bucket list! Two more Elementary novels are on the way, with the second one – Blood and Ink – out in April 2016.

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The Machine Awakes was out in April, the second in my three-book space opera series. The final volume, The Dead Stars, is out in Summer 2017.

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And this was the big one – Made to Kill, the first book in The LA Trilogy, came out in November. A lot of stuff happened with that book – it was an Indie Next Pick for December and I did two book tours on that back of it. You can read more about the adventures of Made to Kill here.

This year also saw my first pro comics work, with the first issue of The Shield dropping in October from Dark Circle Comics, the superhero imprint of Archie Comics.

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The Shield is co-written with Chuck Wendig, with art by Drew Johnson, colours by Kelly Fitzpatrick, and letters by Rachel Deering. Issue two is due early 2016, and hopefully we’ll be on a more regular schedule after that.

Writing-wise, I was so busy this year I kinda lost track. I know I wrote Elementary: Blood and Ink, The Dead Stars, and the first novel in another tie-in trilogy I can’t talk about yet, as well as issues of The Shield with Chuck, and about a dozen or so pitches and proposals for other comics. It was all a little crazy and nearly broke my brain, but hopefully that work will all pay off.

As I mentioned, a lot of stuff happened with Made to Kill, which resulted in a number of other first-time experiences and some amazing opportunities. In July, I went on my first book tour to support the book – which was still five months away – starting with the Locus Awards in Seattle, travelling down the West Coast, and ending up at my first San Diego Comic Con.

Me and Daryl Gregory and our Hawaiian shirts at the Locus awards.

That trip was amazing – I met booksellers and toured their stores, I signed roughly five billion ARCs at the American Library Association expo in San Francisco…

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…having negotiated my way through the amazing pride parade (the Supreme Court having just ruled the ban on same sex marriages unconstitutional, so you can imagine atmosphere and the crowds!), and I had the most incredible SDCC experience.

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Actually, SDCC was probably the highlight of my year. I was braced for sheer insanity and a mind-numbing volume of bodies… and I loved every minute. I had a Made to Kill ARC signing with a queue that had its own queue. I was on an SF panel in a ballroom packed to standing. I was on the Dark Circle Comics panel. I met hung out with Mixmaster Mike…

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…I was pushed out of the way by Guillermo del Toro’s bodyguards, and I met loads of friends I had only ever known online, and me and Chuck got to admire The Shield in person. Kinda.

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Oh, and I saw Rey’s speeder!

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But it was also a very businessy con – more than I had expected. I did at least four interviews, two of which were on video, one of which was for the SyFy channel. I had meetings on meetings, including one scheduled for midnight as that’s how busy everyone was.

I think I’m hooked for life.

In November, I did a second book tour, this time hitting the East Coast. Made to Kill was published on November 3rd, and we kicked it off with a joint Shield/M2K launch party at KGB in NYC. Then I headed up to World Fantasy in Saratoga Springs, before a multi-city tour that included my second television interview (this time on the breakfast news on CBS6 in Richmond, Virginia) and bookstore events with Max Gladstone, Chuck, and Mur Lafferty.

And to go with the tours and all the Made to Kill goings-on, my publisher created my first book-specific website, and even made a trailer!

And I’m forever grateful to them – my editor Miriam and my publicist Patty, and everyone else who supported Made to Kill, for the opportunities that came along. Book tours are increasingly rare, and the efforts that went on behind the scenes to give this novel the best launch possible were gargantuan. I’m very lucky, and I know it.

Finally, I rounded off the year with another little book deal, this time for a novella for Tor.com – Standard Hollywood Depravity, a Ray Electromatic Mystery, will be out around September/October 2016, and will set the scene for the second novel, Killing is My Business, which is out in January 2017.

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So that was 2015. What about 2016?

The first bit of next year is going to be busy – if not busier – than 2015 was, but one of my goals is to slow down a little. This year was too busy, and there are a couple of upcoming projects I need to stretch my legs on. If I can hit the middle of the year and have stayed on target, then it’ll be golden.

I have three books out in 2016:

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  • Elementary: Blood and Ink is out in April.
  • Also out in April (I think) is the first of another tie-in trilogy that I can’t talk about yet, so you ain’t seen me, right?
  • October/November is the Tor.com novella, Standard Hollywood Depravity.

I also have some more comics coming:

  • The Shield continues, with issue 2 coming in the early part of the year, and then, as mentioned, hopefully we’ll hit a more regular schedule.
  • I have another one-shot on the way. Can’t talk about it.
  • I have two other projects on the go, both creator-owned. I’m not entirely sure either will appear in 2016, but I’m hopeful. And no, I can’t talk about those either.

Writing-wise, there’s a lot to do – a novella, at least five novels, however many comic scripts, a rewrite, and a half-done novel to resurrect and finish. Err, yeah, should keep me busy. With that in mind, one of my New Year’s resolutions is to be more organised – I am quite well organised already, but there is more I can do in that regard.

I’ll also be travelling a fair bit – I’ll be at Phoenix Comic Con, San Diego Comic Con, and if I can swing it, New York Comic Con. I’m not sure about UK events yet, although EasterCon is practically on my doorstep next year so I might go along.

Phew! I hope everyone has a good New Year’s Eve, and I’ll see you in 2016!

The state of the writer, autumn 2014 edition

Phew. Not dead, just working. And maybe pining for the fjords just a little.

So, WorldCon (and Nine Worlds and Fantasy in the Court) happened about a million years ago and was Fun Times and included highlights such as seeing my book cover on a cake…

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…then meeting David Tennant…

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…before escorting Gail Carriger to the Hugo Award ceremony…

©2014 John O'Halloran johno@tyedye.org(photograph ©2014 John O’Halloran, used with permission)

And with convention season a distant memory, it’s time to take stock of what I’m actually working on at the moment:

  • Writing the first book in The LA Trilogy, about a robot “detective” in 1960s Hollywood. I say “detective” because… well, you need to go read the prequel novelette, Brisk Money, which is up on Tor.com. The events of book 1 – which has a title, albeit one I shall keep to myself a little longer – follow from this, indirectly, and will be out in September 2015.
  • Copyediting The Machine Awakes, the second book in the Spider Wars sequence, following on from The Burning Dark. It’s not a direct sequel, but what happened in the first book certainly had repercussions. The Machine Awakes will be out in April 2015.
  • Writing The Shield with my co-conspirator Chuck Wendig. While everything is swathed in secrecy at the moment, I think we should be able to give you some more info and even show a little artwork very soon. And in the meantime, you can find us at our shared comics tumblr, Adam And Chuck Make Comics.
  • Editing the big secret novel. I’ve been dropping hints about this for about three months and it still hasn’t been announced, but hot dang, I’m looking forward to being able to talk about this book. It even has a secret cover. More on that when I’m allowed to spill the beans.
  • I’ve also got a comic short on the boil – this is something of a long-term project with a good artist friend of mine. Alas, nothing I can talk about yet. Again.

All of which is keeping me pretty busy, but in a rather exciting kind of way. I’m off to London tomorrow for two days of meetings, but I’ll be back later in the week to post more info on some of the above projects.

 

The 2014 experiment – review and update!

Before I get into it, I’ve started a newsletter! It’ll be monthly, pretty brief, but alongside news and the usual bits it’ll feature some exclusive content, including giveaways, early sneak peaks at things, and even, perhaps, the chance to be a beta reader on various things. You can subscribe to my newsletter here – the first issue will be out in February!

At the end of last year, rather than make New Year resolutions, I more made a set of promises to myself. I’ve got a lot on in 2014, so I need to fine tune a few things about the way I work in order to get the most out of my time – which is the one thing we never have enough of.

Two weeks into 2014, it’s time to see how things are going. I know the general thing is to do something for 21 days – which seems to be the right amount of time for something to become a habit – but I’ve got a book deadline steadily approaching. Two weeks it is.

1. Work Harder

I’ve had some ups and downs with this. I can hit 4,000 words a day. I can hit 5,000 words a day. My problem is consistency. When I do 4,000 words, I tend to only do 1,000 the next day. Looking at my little progress tracking spreadsheet, it’s clear it would be better for me to do far fewer words each day and do that consistently.

But that’s not actually how I want to do it – I don’t want consistent writing days with smaller word counts, I want consistent writing days with larger word counts.

So, what’s the problem? Basically, it comes down to one thing: distraction.

But I’m not talking about Twitter, or the internet in general. With two books coming out in quick succession this year, I’ve got a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff and admin to deal with. Which is fine, but sometimes it tends to all come in at once, which means I spend four hours sorting stuff and organising stuff and replying to emails. So if I do any writing, I don’t start until after lunch, and I usually find that the day has sometimes vanished before I’ve got any words down.

All of which is just an elaborate excuse to say that I have terrible time management skills. I let myself get distracted by stuff which is not The Work. Sure, it supports The Work, and I have to do it – but it’s not The Work. And without The Work… well, I haven’t got a job in the first place.

The solution? I need to change a couple of habits. Firstly, writing needs to be the first thing I do each day. I’m an early riser, so it should be perfectly possible to get some good words down before anything else. I used to do it quite easily – when I worked in an office, I had to get up and get writing before I headed out the door, because that was the only time I had. Now that I’m more in control of my own daily schedule, it turns out I’m not great at figuring out what it should be.

And on the very busy days when I do get writing straight away, it all works out – I can hit 4,000 words, I can answer all my emails, I can do all that admin stuff no problem.

So – I need to Work Harder, yes, but I also need to shift my working day around a little and put in a couple of new rules, the most important of which is: Write First.

2. Blog Every Day

I’ve actually done better on this than I expected, but there have still been some days where I’ve lost all sense of time (see above!), or have been so flat-out with something else that the blog becomes an extremely minor consideration.

Weekends are also a problem. I write a bit on weekends, but I also do other weekendy stuff.

So – Blog Every Day becomes Blog Every Weekday. I can do five a week, Monday to Friday. Weekends off. Which is probably the way it should be.

3. Use Time Effectively

Tied in with the first point above, but this is more to do with my innate desire to do absolutely nothing if I can help it. Which means burning time on Twitter or the same three websites I find myself compulsively reloading without really knowing why.

I’m making an effort with this, and I’m getting better! This is an ongoing process – the internet is a vital tool, so I need to use it as such. But I need to be careful about how I manage that. But of my three 2014 promises, this one isn’t going too badly at all.

So, some adjustments, some tweaks, some fine-tuning, but having just three broad promises to myself makes it relatively easy to monitor and assess, which seems to work for me. Now, let’s see if I can improve on things for the second half of January.

How my Macbook Pro with retina display has ruined my (online) life

I must admit I’m a bit of a tech junkie. I like computers and TVs. My second ever job was working on the help desk of a major ISP. I was staff writer on New Zealand MacGuide Magazine for its first year of publication. My first computer was an Amstrad CPC464 (colour display, tape drive) in 1985, and I have never looked back.

Which means getting a new computer is a major event. Not just because of the cost involved, but because it’s a new piece of kit and – because that’s the whole idea – a significant upgrade from what I already have.

On New Year’s Eve, I took delivery of a 13″ MacBook Pro with retina display, replacing my 11″ MacBook Air. The Air wasn’t that old, but after about two years of continual use I found it just a fraction to small to work on comfortably.

I’ve also lusted after the retina displays since they were announced by Apple, at a suitably ferocious price point, but it wasn’t until the latest update to the MacBook Pro range that the 13″ model came within my budget.

So, after a week or more or use, what’s it been like?

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Actually, pretty darned great. In fact, more than that – this is the best piece of computer kit I’ve ever used. Apple’s laptop line have immaculate build quality, being carved out of a single lump of aluminium (well, two lumps – lid and base). The design is minimal, elegant and beautiful. There is nothing in the design that is out of place – I recall with horror a high-end, creaky plastic Lenovo laptop I once had for a week on a work trip, and I can still remember the row of 24 different coloured lights that ran under the screen, notifying me of various uninteresting functions (Wow, the hard drive is being accessed? I should hope so! Say, I’m plugged into the mains power? I was wondering what that big cable was!) that actually woke me up in the middle of the night in my pitch-black hotel room.

But forget all that (and I’m sure some PC laptops are pretty nice too). The killer feature of this Macbook Pro is the retina display. It is wonderful. So good, in fact, it has basically spoiled me for anything else.

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According to the tech specs, the retina display is a 13.3-inch LED-backlit display with IPS technology, with a native resolution of 2560 x 1600, running at 227 pixels per inch. It uses supersampled pixel doubling to produce a 1280 x 800 display, making everything pin sharp. Individual pixels cannot be seen, even with your nose against the display, giving a computer experience that is really pretty amazing. Mac OS X has ultra smooth rendering anyway, thanks to the Quartz graphics layer of the operating system (one bugbear I have with Windows – which I actually really like [there’s a big PC gaming rig sitting behind me as I type this] is that its rendering is spectacularly awful). On the retina display, the results are incredible. It’s the same tech used on the iPad and iPhone – the Macbook Pro’s screen is as clear and sharp as those devices.

This gives rise to two problems.

Firstly, after using a retina display constantly for more than a week, every other computer display looks terrible. Even my 27″ Thunderbolt display, which runs at 2560 x 1440, looks fuzzy.

Secondly, a lot of the internet is low res – text and 2D design is fine, as these are rendered by the OS. But images are a problem. Because the retina display uses pixel doubling, any image is really displayed at twice the size. Take any image on a computer and blow it up to 200%, and it looks bad.

It is easy to fix – websites just need to use images at twice the regular resolution, then scale them down. I spent a couple of hours working my way through my own site to address this, swapping out all my book covers for double-sized versions, hacking the fixed-size slider on the front page to accept larger images which WordPress then scales to fit. Now my site looks sharp whether viewed on a retina display or a regular one. There are other way of doing it – there are plugins and code that can be used to detect the display and render either the regular images or the high-res, retina-ready ones.

High-density displays like Apple’s retina ones are still in the minority, but they’re only going to increase in use over time. It makes sense, then, to future-proof your own site to ensure that all visitors get the best experience. And it doesn’t take too long.

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If anyone has been looking at the retina Macbook Pros, I can heartily recommend them – even if the internet still has a little catching up to do.

Black Flash is looking over my shoulder…

…from the bookshelf as I work in the library, threatening to go back in time and destroy the world if I don’t focus on work today.

Would you argue with that look?

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See you tomorrow!

2014 writing spaces

Happy New Year!

So, my action plan for 2014 starts today. And here’s where I do most of my work, along with the tools I use to do it.

My main working space is the upstairs office. My wife has half the space, and I occupy the opposite side. We both use the same simple Ikea desk.

The set-up here is my primary computer – a Mac mini (2.3 GHz Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, 1TB internal hard drive with two external 2TB backup drives hidden on Twelve South backpack behind the display) running Mac OS X Mavericks. This is paired with an Apple bluetooth keyboard, and I use a Razer Deathadder 2013 mouse.

IMG_2206I’m a big fan of quality mice – like socks, you will never regret the expense, and my accidental discovery of “pro” mice about ten years ago (while I was browsing for something in Apple store, I played around with a Logitech MX510 that was plugged into an iMac and couldn’t believe the difference it made) pretty much changed everything!

The display is an Apple Thunderbolt display – 27″, which runs at 2560 x 1440 resolution. Perfect for side-by-side display of three full-size A4 pages, when the need arises.

On the wall is a pair of Sennheiser HD210 headphones (the bottom end of Sennheiser’s offerings, but a giant step up from the crappy Sony pair I used to have).

The chair is a copy of an Eames office chair – the real thing costs thousands, so I’m just fine with a knock-off.

Downstairs is my secondary working space, the library.

IMG_2208The library is actually a dining room, better served with six large bookcases and a repro Eames lounge chair.

The computer is a 13″ Macbook Pro (2.4 GHz Intel i5, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD) with retina display, which actually showed up just yesterday, replacing my old 11″ Macbook Air.

IMG_2212The Macbook Pro is something of a revelation – the retina display has a native resolution of 2560 x 1600, and then uses pixel doubling to produce a 1280 x 800 image of, quite frankly, jaw-dropping quality. It’s also pretty light, while giving me some useful screen real estate, making it an obvious upgrade from the Macbook Air.

I’ve mentioned software a few times on Twitter, as it’s a conversation that comes up with reasonable frequency. I use Scrivener for all first drafts, as I find its project statistic tools a wonder when it comes to managing deadlines and word counts. From the first draft, I export the file as a Word doc and use Microsoft Office 2011 (Mac edition) for the subsequent edits and rewrites.

When it comes to editorial notes from my agent and editors, I switch to the Windows version of Word 2010, running in Windows 7 inside Parallels, which lets you run Windows apps inside Mac OS X almost invisibly. I resorted to this as the Mac version of Word is still very buggy, especially when using track changes. To ensure maximum compatibility – and to ensure I never lose any more work to random crashes – Word 2010 was the answer.

And in Parallels, the Windows version of Word is much more responsive than the Mac native app anyway, which is slightly depressing! However, my primary complaint with Windows is its appalling font rendering, and using Windows 7 in Parallels is no different.

So that’s me all set for 2014. I suppose I should actually do some writing then.

See you tomorrow!

 

 

That end of the year thing

Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve. I know. Like, what? Already? I mean, I know this is the holiday season, and we just had Christmas, but honestly I’ve lost track of the date. The year is up, over with, finished. It is soon to be an ex-year. But… what a year it was. A lot happened for me.

I signed my first book deal, with Angry Robot, in March 2011, and in January 2012 I became a published author when my debut novel Empire State came out. We launched it at the Forbidden Planet Megastore in London, which was a dream come true, and at the New York Public Library, which was surreal and wonderful.

People seemed to like it, which was awfully nice, and SciFiNow magazine even made it their book of the year. It’s also appeared in various Best Of lists, including those of The Financial Times and Forbidden Planet.

All in all, I’m pretty chuffed. I mean, writing is hard work and getting published is even harder, yet somehow my book was in Waterstones and Barnes and Noble and on Amazon and people were reading it in Finland. It’s all very weird, and very cool, and I’m very grateful.

But, that’s not all. Angry Robot published my second novel, Seven Wonders, in September. We launched it in Chicago at the Book Cellar, along with Chuck Wendig’s Mockingbird, Kim Curran’s Shift, and Gwenda Bond’s Blackwood. That was a great night, as was the whole week of WorldCon, at which I met so many wonderful people and friends I’d only known online. Back in the UK, Seven Wonders was given a limited edition hardcover as well as the regular paperback, and we had another Forbidden Planet launch.

In March, a year after my first deal, I signed a second with Angry Robot for two more books. Then things went a little crazy, because in April I signed a third contract, this time with another publisher, Tor. This was for a dark space opera, coming out in hardback in winter 2014.

So… like, wow. Angry Robot and Tor? I have to say, that still hasn’t quite sunk in yet.

In terms of writing, 2012 was furiously busy, but mainly on one project – The Age Atomic, which went from blank page to edited, accepted manuscript between March and December. I can barely remember November – a mix of looooong days editing interrupted with a week of illness which put me in hospital (unrelated to the work, I should point out!). Other writing work this year was mostly the last pre-sale edits on the book for Tor, Shadow’s Call, some preliminary work on the rewrite of the fourth Angry Robot book, Hang Wire, and a variety of synopses and proposals which are still ongoing.

This year I also broke into another field, that of comics, with my debut serial, The Sentinel, coming from VS Comics in 2013.

All of which means next year is going to be even busier, which is fine by me. In fact, I’ve got some other stuff I need to get done as well, so my plans are ambitious. In 2013, I need to:

  1. Finish the edits on Shadow’s Call for Tor
  2. Finish the edits on Hang Wire for Angry Robot
  3. Write the second half of Night Pictures, which has been on hold while I worked on contracted books
  4. Write Sleep to Dream, an SF thriller
  5. Write New York Ghost Story, an urban fantasy/crime novel
  6. Write the rest of the first story arc for The Sentinel

Which means, by the end of 2013, I’ll have completed five books – two in-progress edits, one-half of a manuscript, and two brand new novels – and written at least 24 comic pages (which isn’t a lot, but VS Comics is bimonthly so that takes me to the end of 2013). All-in-all, it’s a lot, but I have Things To Do.

Amongst all that, I have two books actually coming out in 2013 – The Age Atomic drops in April, and Hang Wire comes out in November.

Overall, 2012 was a phenomenal year. So many wonderful things happened for me professionally, and I am grateful to so many people that I’m not even going to try to name them.

But thanks also to my readers – you’re who I’m doing this for, after all. Here’s to 2013!

A whole bunch of stuff about THE AGE ATOMIC and SEVEN WONDERS and EMPIRE STATE

Okay… just five days to go and I’m off on holiday for a few weeks (France, back to the UK, then Ireland), and there’s lots of stuff to update, so let’s dive straight in.

Work rattles onwards on The Age Atomic, the sequel to Empire State. Due to the aforementioned holiday, the last fortnight has been a bit of a dash to get as much done as possible. Currently I’m at around 90,000 words, with a first draft target of 150,000. This is certainly the longest book I’ve written, and the most complex in terms of subplots and cast of characters too. I generally aim for 100,000 words in a novel, but sometimes you just need to go with it and let the work do its own thing. And while The Age Atomic‘s first draft is going to be long, I tend to overwrite, and I’m sure it’ll be pared down in draft two. But so far, it’s a lot of fun.

Seven Wonders, my superhero novel, is out in less than a couple of months, and has popped up in a couple of “Waiting on Wednesday” posts (wherein bloggers highlight a book they are looking forward to) at Beauty in Ruins and Starmetal Oak Reviews. Also, a reminder that the book is up at Goodreads, so make sure you add it to your shelves as in mid-July I’ll be running a Goodreads competition, so keep an eye out for that.

And don’t forget the book will be launched – in glorious limited edition hardcover – at Forbidden Planet London on Thursday, 6th September, 6pm. You can pre-order the hardcover now, and there will be a Facebook event page setup shortly, but there’s a lot going on at Forbidden Planet (including book launches for the wonderful Blood and Feathers by Lou Morgan and The City’s Son by Tom Pollock – I’ve been lucky enough to read both books early, and it is well worth your time picking them up on release, and getting along to the Forbidden Planet launches if you can), so we’re going to hold off until closer to the date. But you don’t need to RSVP or pre-order to attend, just set yourself a reminder to come along and there will be hardcovers on sale (as well as the regular paperback). However, the hardcover is limited to 100 copies, so pre-ordering is recommended to ensure you can get one.

Some more reviews of Empire State are filtering in and this… this is wonderful. A video review, apparently for a school project, complete with a re-enactment of key scenes. This video contains some minor spoilers, but had me grinning from ear to ear.

Two other new reviews have also appeared recently. Dean Fetzer says that Empire State

…has a polished feel and tells a great story. The interactions between the characters as well as the two New Yorks has been crafted with great care and it shows. In terms of storytelling, this is some of the best I’ve read for a long time and it’s got a great deal to recommend…

And over at SF Crowsnest, Vinca Russell says:

Incorporating classic detective fiction, a little steampunk, super-heroes and parallel worlds, this could easily have become over-complicated, but the different elements blended together well and the strong plot tied it all together neatly. With enough twists and turns to keep you engaged throughout this was an entertaining novel and a highly promising debut from Adam Christopher.

There’s some new content up at EmpireState.cc too, in the form of a hilarious short audio drama, The Adventures of Johnny Ironclad.

Johnny Ironclad is in the style of a 1940s radio serial, complete with Wurlitzer organ, and is… well, it’s awesome. Go listen!

And while we’re on the subject of audio, the winner of the Facebook Empire State audiobook competition was Joe McCourt, who should receive his 10-CD audiobook any day now. My Facebook author page is here, and I’ll be running some more exclusive competitions and things there in future, so make sure you give the page a like.

And finally, to be filed under “Any Other Business”, or possibly “Stalking, The Internet and”, I was told last week that I have a biography and bibliography on this Russian SF site, which is cool and bizarre at the same time, but at least I now know how my name looks in Cyrillic. Google’s English translation is a little funky, but the compilers of that page have done a pretty thorough job.

There is also now a Wikipedia page for me, which is short but sweet, and seems accurate. I don’t know if it was made by the Russian fans as well, but anyone who isn’t me is welcome to expand that entry!

Back to work!

Writerly update, March 2012

I’ve been pretty busy the last few weeks, working on a new novel that I hope to be announced sometime soonish. Having spent the previous two months editing, it feels good to be back creating something new, although it’s going to take a a little time yet to get the daily word count back to what it should be (2000 words a day).

Last weekend I was in Macclesfield, where we first moved to from New Zealand, and was delighted to see Empire State on display at the local Waterstones with the following sign:
… which is pretty neat! (my thanks to Anna too – Waterstones booksellers are wonderful people who really know what they are talking about, and that face-to-face interaction is just something you can’t get from the likes of Amazon).

Actually, while I was signing their stock, a customer came into the SF section looking for a particular Robert Rankin book to take on holiday. The store didn’t have it, but the bookseller who was helping me sign copies quickly introduced me, and quite literally hand-sold him a copy of Empire State! He seemed pretty happy to meet an/the author, and I hope – whoever you are! – that it makes for good reading on the plane.

There’s a couple of new things online too. Firstly, Starburst magazine interviewed me – my first telephone interview too, which was cool. There’s also a great new review over at Book Monkey.

Finally, we got around to watching the 1998 film Dark City for the first time, because so many reviews of and comments on Empire State have mentioned the similarities. I hadn’t heard of it until last month, but I’m glad I checked it out. It’s smart and stylish, without being pretentious, and has a number of similar concepts to my book. We watched the director’s cut, but apparently the theatrical version is also worth a look. Oddly enough, when I mentioned on Twitter that we’d watched the film, several people replied to say they’d go and buy Empire State, as Dark City was their favourite film and they hadn’t realised the book had certain similarities!

Of course, should Empire State ever be adapted for the big (or small) screen, I’d really want Jennifer Connelly to be in it. I can dream, right?