Regular readers won’t be surprised to learn that I’ll be part of the @ZNBLLC Kickstarter for three new anthologies this year. I’ve had stories in four of these collections so far, as well as two earlier projects from this team. Sometimes that’s been as an invited author, sometimes I’ve gone through submission because I had an idea that was too much fun not to write. That’s the thing about these projects – they’re always full of intriguing possibilities.
That makes for great collections of stories and excellent value for readers at the entry levels. For those of you looking for something extra, there are a whole range of bonus reward levels. I’m offering assorted books and a couple of Tuckerisations (your name for a character in my story). There will be more detail on each theme soon, but for now, readers aware of my alter ego’s mystery novels set in Ancient Greece will not be surprised to lean that I’ll be writing a story for the ‘Deities’ anthology – as long as the Kickstarter funds.
Alongside the designated authors anchoring each book, there is always an an open call for submissions offering first rate editorial advice as well as professional rates of pay for the stories that make the cut. ZNB are also very keen to offer debut publication opportunities. Any SFF writers starting out should definitely go and take a look.
When I was asked to offer a story* for this digital anthology, I immediately said yes. So did a whole lot of other writers, making this an outstanding collection of quality short fiction. All proceeds are being donated to support NHS staff and other healthcare workers.
So for £5.99 you get 53 stories, 253,000 words of fiction, including several pieces that are original to this volume, featuring some of the finest writers of science fiction, literary fiction, fantasy, horror, and more. Click here to buy it
Boost the signal! Spread the word! And raise a cheer for Ian Whates of Newcon Press, and those who helped him, for doing an amazing job so quickly.
* I opted for The Sphere, previously published in the 2016 ZNB anthology Alien Artifacts
There’s been a flurry of SF&F authors having a look in the back cupboards of their hard drives this week, to see what stories they could make available for free. We know a lot of readers have time on their hands just at the moment, but we are also well aware that they may be finding themselves uncertain as to prospects for their bank balance and bills for the next however-long.
With the always invaluable assistance of Cheryl at Wizard’s Tower Press, and artist Ben Baldwin, I’m offering up The Wizard’s Coming, a short story that stands alone, and as such, should give a good introduction to my style and my approach to epic fantasy. In the overall chronology of my successive epic fantasy series, it sits between The Lescari Revolution trilogy and The Hadrumal Crisis trilogy, so there’s added interest if you’ve read those books.
I’ve been pals with multi-faceted writer Steven Savile for years now, so when he asked if I might be interested in doing an event in Sweden, naturally I said yes. A little while later, Jan Smedh of The English Bookshop in Uppsala got in touch to invite me to the evening he was organising for the city’s annual Culture Night. When everything was finalised, we had a mini-SF-Crime convention, with me, Steve, Stephen Gallagher and RJ Barker being interviewed together by way of an introduction, followed by us discussing crime fiction and then a session on fantasy fiction, since one way and another, we’ve all written across both genres. There were intervals for book signing, and to give fans of one genre or the other to come and go as they felt inclined – not least because there were so many other events going on. The city was packed all day.
Now, I’ve only ever met Stephen Gallagher on a handshake-and-hello basis before, and never crossed paths with RJ Barker, but once we met up on Friday, it soon became apparent that Saturday evening would go with a swing, as we chatted about what we write and what we read. That’s exactly how it turned out, as we had different things to say as well as enough interests in common to generate really interesting conversations. We were also made wonderfully welcome by Jan, his wife, and the bookshop staff, as well as by Uppsala’s SF and Fantasy fans. Feeling so at ease made Saturday evening even more fun, and the time simply flew by. The audience certainly seemed to enjoy themselves as much as we did.
Those of you who
couldn’t make it will get a flavour of the event in a little while,
as Stephen, RJ and I were all interviewed on video by Magnus, another
of our new friends, earlier in the day. We did that on the deck of
the floating hotel Selma, where we were staying, moored on the river.
I’ll post links in due course. Those of you who travel to European
conventions should also note that Uppsala fandom are putting in a bid
to run the 2023 Eurocon – follow @Uppsala2023 on Twitter to keep in
touch with their progress.
Before that – yes,
we really did make the most of our time – Jan had arranged for us
to have a short introduction to the city’s history and a guided
tour of Uppsala Cathedral with a brief visit to the museum now housed
in one of the original University buildings. The cathedral is
beautiful and full of fascinating memorials and stories – and
something of more personal interest. Thanks to local Swedish fan
Jonathan, who I first met at the Worldcon in Dublin, I knew to keep a
look out for the Green Man carved on a pillar capital as we went
round. I could go on and on, but I’d be writing this all day if I
attempted a full recap. Put Uppsala on your own holiday destination
list, that’s the best idea. Seriously. There are great places to
eat as well as everything else to see in the city.
The museum was equally enthralling, and has one of the most ornate and astonishing examples of a Cabinet of Curiosities in the world – the Augsburg Art Cabinet. Other treasures include the original prototype Celsius thermometer. Carl Linnaeus is by no means the only globally renowned scientist that the university is rightly proud of. Mind you, the students Linnaeus sent out worldwide to collect his samples often came to an unexpected and early end… Of course, as authors, we love this sort of thing, so I suspect echoes of our trip will appear in all our writing one way or another over the next little while.
So that was
Saturday, and on Sunday morning, Steve, Stephen and I took a train to
Stockholm to walk around and get a flavour of the city, old and new,
before it was time to head for the airport and our flights home. Now
I must find time to rewatch my DVDs of the original Swedish TV series
adapting the Millenium trilogy (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo etc.)
and see what I can see differently.
But now I must get some work done today. Still, I know that will come all the easier after a trip like this. Not only did we see countless things to fire the imagination, but meeting keen readers and enjoying so many varied conversations always inspires me to do my very best for the people who I ultimately write for.
official publication date for Brightfall by Jamie Lee Moyer, and I
was lucky enough to get an advance reading copy of this intriguing
and engaging book. Though I approached it with a degree of …
reservation, I suppose is the best word. Even experienced writers are
setting themselves a high bar when it comes to finding an original
and unexpected perspective on a myth as well-known and as oft-told as
Robin Hood. Moyer more than succeeds in this, and does a whole lot of
other interesting things with this story as well.
We see events from
Maid Marian’s perspective, and an older Marian at that. The days of
high adventure in the greenwood are long behind her and all the Merry
Men. Marian is now raising Robin’s children on her own, and not by
her own choice. Robin has retreated to a monastery, to atone for his
sins. This is the first of many sideways glances the story takes at
the notions and conventions of heroism in old-fashioned tales – as
well as too many modern ones. Robin’s solitary self-sacrifice has
serious costs for other people. The flip-side of that heroic coin is
plain selfishness, and his retreat soon looks a lot like cowardice.
Marian copes because
she has no choice, and because she has a community to support her.
Not just the erstwhile and no longer so merry men, but also the wild
animals and faery folk of the forest. It turns out she has unexpected
resources to draw on, and no need to conform to heroic story
expectations of damsels in distress. However, it’s increasingly
apparent that her friends and family are under threat. Tackling this
menace means finding Robin and making him face up to his past and his
present. Other people’s stories don’t end just because he wants
to lay down his sword/bow and walk away. Now Marian must find other
ways of dealing with this danger besides picking up those weapons
All this plays out
in a vivid and immersive setting that’s somewhere uniquely
effective between well-researched medieval historical accuracy and
the world of Robin Hood as seen in old British folklore instead of
more recent film and TV portrayals. The fabulous cover art evokes
this wonderfully, as it mirrors those old fashioned, pictorial maps
that show both the practical detail of towns, roads and rivers as
well as an artistic, atmospheric portrayal of a living world.
time to share some news about a writing project I started around five
years ago, to broaden the scope of my writing in these challenging
times for authors. As a lifelong crime fiction fan and an erstwhile
classicist, I reckoned historical mysteries set in Ancient Greece
between the Persian and Peloponnesian wars, had potential. There are
plenty of good books set in Rome after all, so how about a change of
started my research, and thirty years after my undergraduate days, it
was fascinating to see where thinking had changed, and what
discoveries had been made. I plotted out a story, wrote a draft,
sought no-holds-barred feedback from selected academic friends, and
revised that draft. Then I started sending the project out on
submission, working my way through a list of selected literary
year of so later, I found an agent as keen on the project as I was.
With the benefit of his fresh viewpoint, I reworked some aspects of
the book, and he started pitching it to publishers. Six months later,
we had a two book deal, with a view to launching an ongoing series.
The plan was I’d write these books alongside my SF & fantasy,
using the pseudonym J M Alvey to keep these books separate from my
have not gone to plan. Not for any reason to do with my writing.
Circumstances arise in publishing that authors can do nothing about,
despite the seriously adverse impact on their careers. There’s no
point in me going into the details. That would be unprofessional as
well as unproductive.
I would simply like readers who might be interested to know these books are there to be enjoyed. Advance readers and reviewers have certainly taken to Philocles, a writer for hire in 5th century Athens who dreams of making his name writing comic plays for the great festivals. Check out the quotes on Amazon.
In Shadows of Athens, Philocles discovers a murdered man outside his front door, a few days before his new play is to be performed in the Dionysia drama competition. Is it just a robbery gone wrong? If so, why didn’t the thieves take the dead man’s valuables? Philocles wants answers, even though he has no idea where his investigations will lead. But who else is going to see justice done? Ancient Athens is a city with no police force, still less any detectives.
In Scorpions in Corinth, Philocles and his actors have travelled to the Isthmus, gateway to the Peloponnese. They are relying on a local fixer to help them stage a play there, to promote ties between the two cities. But Eumelos is killed soon after the Athenians arrive, and it’s clear that someone is out to wreck their performance. Philocles must find out who, but how? He knows his way around Athens but making enquiries in Corinth is a very different story.
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The latest anthologies from ZNB are now out, and my story The Echoes of a Shot can be found in Alternate Peace. These tales of alternate history look at what might have happened if something dramatic didn’t happen; a war, an assassination, a battle that we know was pivotal in our timeline. My starting point was thinking about the way that warfare accelerates technological change. What could it mean for politics on both sides of the Atlantic, if progress in key areas never happened in the second decade of the 20th century? The 1930s could look very different…
This year I’ll be taking part in the “Read For Pixels” 2018 Google Hangout campaign (Fall Edition), in company with a veritable host of other authors supporting this non-profit fundraiser backing initiatives to end violence against women.
Google Hangout sessions will run on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings from September 1st to September 30th 2018. Each session will feature an author reading from one of their books and discussing women and girls in their books, why they support ending violence against women, and women in the media, geek culture, and popular culture. Each session will also include a live moderated Q&A session for fans and book lovers to ask their favourite authors questions in real time. My slot will be 4pm UK time, on Sunday 2nd September.
The first Read For Pixels Google Hangout live panel session will tackle Trashing The Rape Trope: Writing Violence Against Women in Fantasy. Martha Wells, Kate Elliott, and Jim C. Hines will be discussing violence against women in the Fantasy genre and techniques for tackling the subject without dehumanising female characters. There will also be a live Q&A segment for writers and fans interested in writing about female characters and approaching themes such as misogyny, sexism, gender, and violence against women with depth, empathy, and accuracy.
There are giveaways and gifts to be had from Adrian Tchaikovsky (with Macmillan Books UK), Aliette de Bodard, Ann Aguirre, Charles de Lint, Jodi Meadows, Ken Liu, Leigh Bardugo, Peter V. Brett, Steven Erikson, Susan Dennard, Juliana Spink Mills, and more. These include swag bags and book bundles, signed first editions or special editions of participating authors’ books, a chance to be a minor character in someone’s upcoming books, and more. Katherine Tegan Books at HarperCollins and award-winning NewCon Press are each donating a Mystery Book Box. Donations begin at as little as US$5 and the goodies are available to donors as “thank you” gifts and perks depending on the donation amount. I’m donating three book bundles; The Chronicles of the Lescari Revolution trilogy, the Hadrumal Crisis trilogy, and my two Wizard’s Tower Press books, The Secret Histories of the River Kingdom and The Green Man’s Heir. I’ll cover the postage worldwide.
Fundraising will take place on Rally Up in tandem with the Google Hangout series over the month of September 2018. Authors involved include Alison Goodman, Brandon Sanderson, David D. Levine, Fonda Lee, Fran Wilde, Jay Kristoff, Julie Czerneda, Marie Brennan, Richard K. Morgan, Sarah Beth Durst, and Tananarive Due.
For more information about Read For Pixels, contact Regina Yau at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit: http://is.gd/Read4Pixels.
This August/September will see SECOND ROUND: A RETURN TO THE UR-BAR, one of three new anthologies from Zombies Need Brains. As with all ZNB’s anthologies, you’ll find stories by established and best-selling authors alongside new authors who’ve impressed ZNB’s eagle-eyed editors.
For those of you unfamiliar with the Ur-Bar, it’s a time-traveling hostelry where patrons are served by Gilgamesh. The Assyrians invented beer, after all…
(If you’re already intrigued, you can read the first anthology AFTER HOURS: TALES FROM THE UR-BAR, available from DAW Books in mass market paperback and ebook – Amazon US – Amazon UK)
The stories in this new collection are –
“Honorbound” by Russ Nickel
“Forest Law, Wild and True” by Phyllis Irene Radford
“The Wizard King” by Kari Sperring
“A Favor for Lord Bai” by Jean Marie Ward
“A Lawman, an Outlaw, and a Gambler Walk Into a Bar …” by Gini Koch (writing as A.E. Stanton)
“Make Me Immortal With a Kiss” by Jacey Bedford
“Bound By Mortal Chains No More” by William Leisner
“Welcome to the Jungle Bar” by Garth Nix
“But If You Try Sometimes” by Diana Pharaoh Francis
“The Whispering Voice” by David Keener
“Ale for Humanity” by Mike Marcus
“West Side Ghost Story” by Kristine Smith
“Thievery Bar None” by Aaron M. Roth
“Wanderlust” by Juliet E McKenna (…in which we go to Mars…)