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.
How’s this for a shelfie? I am thrilled to show you the new editions now available from Wizard’s Tower Press. We’ve been working on this for a while now, around our other commitments, and the plan was a (re)launch at this year’s UK Eastercon. So much for that… but hey, that means we can make them available a few weeks earlier now. So spread the word! All signal boosting will be very much appreciated.
We’ve given the source texts a thorough proof read – and then gone over them again. I printed them all out and sat down with a ruler and red pen to go over them the old school way, to check the formatting etc. Having done that we’ve also taken the opportunity to update the ebook versions to catch any remaining glitches, and to share the new cover design by Ben Baldwin, using Geoff Taylor‘s original artwork.
But wait, there’s more! Hardback versions are also in the pipeline – with an added bonus that you’ll find out about soon. So those of you who like a physical book rather than digital will have your choice of formats. One reason for doing this is conversations with readers who have been keen to have their own copies for their bookshelf – as well as chatting to second-hand booksellers who tell me how hard it is to find copies of my early books. Apparently readers who’ve bought them hang on to them – which I am naturally delighted to learn.
And finally… we’re taking the opportunity of this forced hiatus to put together some other things that we’ve had in the ‘when we get around to it’ folder for a while now. Not that Cheryl or I are short of other things to do. As freelancers who both work mostly from home, we’re already set up for remote working so a lot of that side of life is carrying on as usual for us. Anyway, there’ll be more news about what we’re up to in due course.
I’m off on a mini adventure this weekend, joining authors Steven Savile, Stephen Gallagher and R J Barker at The English Bookshop, Uppsala, Sweden on Saturday 14th September for an evening discussing writing crime novels and fantasy fiction, from 6 pm onwards. I’ve never been to Sweden, so I’m really looking forward to the whole trip.
After getting back on Sunday, I’m on the road to Bristol to take part in the Bristolcon Fringe on Monday evening, September 16th. Alongside Rosie Oliver, I’ll be reading and chatting, from 7:30pm in the function room of The Gryphon (41 Colston St, Bristol BS1 5AP). Doors open at 7.00.
Next up, I’m heading for Scotland and FantasyCon 2019, to be held in the Golden Jubilee Conference Hotel, in Clydebank, Glasgow from 18th to 20th October. Among other things, The Green Man’s Heir is shortlisted for this year’s Best Fantasy Novel Award which is an honour in itself. Programme details will follow in due course.
Then I’m back to Bristol for Bristolcon itself, on 26th October at the Hilton DoubleTree Hotel, Bristol. The Guests of Honour are authors Diane Duane and Gareth L. Powell, and artist Andy Bigwood. It promises to be a great day – as always.
So hopefully our paths will cross somewhere – and my fabulous publisher Cheryl Morgan is making sure that my Wizard’s Tower Press titles will be on sale at all these events.
Firstly, I am very pleased to confirm that there will soon be an audiobook edition of The Green Man’s Foe. I’ll share the release date when I have it.
Secondly, for those of you who will be at the Dublin 2019 Worldcon, there will be copies of both The Green Man’s Heir and the Green Man’s Foe for sale copies at Francesco Verso’s Future Fiction stall, which I think is #51 in the Dealers’ Room.
Third and lastly, we have another very positive advance reader’s verdict for your perusal over on The Middle Shelf – SF and Fantasy reviews blog.
” The Green Man’s Foe is the second in a fantasy series but you could dive into it without having read the first (though I recommend it!). It’s one of McKenna’s particular strength: she lets you catch up with ease. For those of you coming back to it, you’ll be delighted to know that Dan is back and in fine form, along with all the things that made The Green Man’s Heir so entertaining.”
I’m just back from a week away, and I’m currently dealing with the post-holiday admin pile up. While I do that, here’s what I’ll be doing in Dublin and when. It’s going to be a lot of fun!
Aug 2019, Thursday 15:00 – 15:50, Liffey Hall-2 (CCD)
you fancy a trip to a fantasy realm? Want to avoid stumbling into
Moria or falling off the edge of the Discworld? Our panel of authors
are here to help you by roleplaying as one of their characters and
trying to persuade you to travel to their fantasy worlds.
Aug 2019, Friday 13:00 – 13:50, Wicklow Hall-1 (CCD)
in 2013, Gollancz’s Twitter account made the claim that: ‘Epic
Fantasy is, by and large, crushingly conservative in its delivery,
its politics and its morality’. The question sparked a discussion
that is still relevant and ongoing. Is epic fantasy politically
conservative and, if so, what does this tell us about the genre?
lack of technological progress in fantasy
Aug 2019, Sunday 11:00 – 11:50, ECOCEM Room (CCD)
the cotton gin to the printing press, technology doesn’t seem to
advance in many fantasy worlds – despite hundreds of years of
history in which an industrial revolution could happen. Why doesn’t
it? Does magic replace the need for technology? What about the growth
of magic-powered technology within a fantasy world? What does it take
to get a little scientific progress?
islands: exploring Irish and British fandom
Aug 2019, Monday 11:00 – 11:50, Liffey Room-1 (CCD)
decades fans from Britain and Ireland have participated in and even
run each other’s cons. Has this created a shared British and Irish
con culture, or does each country have its unique traditions? And
have modern social media and travel options diminished or enhanced
our close ties?
I am naturally delighted to see The Green Man’s Heir shortlisted for the British Fantasy Society’s ‘Best Fantasy Novel’ award, alongside a selection of extremely fine writing. Thank you to everyone who has enjoyed the book and boosted the signal to help make it such a success.
You can find the full list of nominees here on the British Fantasy Society website. As you can see I’m shortlisted alongside a selection of very fine writing from extremely talented authors. I’d also encourage you to read down through all the categories and shortlists, to see the excellent work being done in all sorts of ways. The UK fantasy reading and writing community is so very served these days.
One last thing. I’m not sure which agents represent every author on this best novel lists, but I reckon it’s definitely worth noting that Max Edwards of Apple Tree Literary is working with two of us.
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…
Since we know how many eager readers are looking forward to this book, we thought, let’s celebrate Midsummer’s Day by sharing Ben Baldwin’s fabulous artwork, and letting you know a little bit about this new story.
When you do a good job for someone, there’s a strong chance they’ll offer you more work or recommend you elsewhere. So Daniel Mackmain isn’t particularly surprised when his boss’s architect brother asks for his help on a historic house renovation in the Cotswolds.
Except Dan’s a dryad’s son, and he soon realises there’s a whole lot more going on. Ancient malice is stirring and it has made an alliance in the modern world. The Green Man expects Dan to put an end to this threat. Seeing the danger, Dan’s forced to agree.The problem is he’s alone in a place he doesn’t know, a hundred miles or more away from any allies of his own.
A modern fantasy rooted in the ancient myths and folklore of the British Isles.
We’re in the final stages of production, and as soon as we have a firm date for publication, we’ll share that too!
I’m very pleased to say that I will have a story in this anthology coming soon from Newcon Press. This is going to be a particularly interesting collection of original stories blended with reprints from classic writers whose names you may or may not recognise. We’re all exploring the dark corners and shadows of life in London from the Victorian era onward. In my case, I’m looking at the harsh lives of peripatetic governesses, and an unexpected opportunity for one unjustly dismissed young woman.
My story also proves the old maxim that no writing is ever wasted. I wrote it for a different project entirely which never came together, alas, quite a few years ago now. Editor Ian Whates remembered seeing it back then, and he realised how well it would suit this particular collection. I’m delighted to see it in print in such fine company.
The full table of contents –
Introduction by Ian Whates
Hunger – Bryony Pearce
A Street – Arthur Morrison
A Maze for the Minotaur – Reggie Oliver
The Phantom Model (A Wapping Romance) – Hume Nisbet
The Ghost of Cock Lane – Rose Biggin
The Hand That Rocks The Cradle – Juliet E. McKenna
Watercress Girl – Henry Mayhew
Queen Rat – David Rix
Christopherson – George Gissing
From The Casebook of Master Wiggins, Esq. – Paul di Filippo
If you’re within striking distance of London on Saturday June 8th, I will be the BSFA guest of honour at the annual one-day convention jointly run by the BSFA and the SFF, alongside their respective AGMs. More from the BSFA here.
The venue is the Department of Physics, South Kensington Campus, Imperial College, and the programme is as follows:
1000: Intro/welcome 1005-1100: Panel 1 – BSFA The Zero Sum of Literature: are some SF writers wrong to not welcome “literary” writers with open arms to the genre? 1105-1200: Interview/talk 1 – Rachel Livermore 1200-1230: SFF AGM 1300-1330: BSFA AGM 1330-1430: SFF panel – “Return to the Moon: how and why?” – GS (M), Dave Clements, Rachel Livermore 1430-1530: Interview 2 – Juliet E McKenna interviewed by Sophia McDougall.
The Convention is free to attend and open to the public. Hope to see you there!
And now as promised, here’s another taste of The Green Man’s Foe, using the Book Quote Wednesday word ‘promise’. If this seems a little opaque at the moment, trust me, it’ll all become clear when you read the book.
There was an edge of desperation in Ben’s voice. I have to admit, that did intrigue me. ‘Just come down to take a look at the place,’ he pleaded. ‘We really need to get the project moving, and I honestly can’t think of anyone better than you.’ I wondered how much of that urgency was some instinct stirred by his dryad ancestry. Then there was my dream last night to consider. I had learned the hard way that the Green Man didn’t like being ignored. ‘I’ll talk to Eleanor.’ I raised a warning hand. ‘No promises.’ ‘Great.’ Ben’s relief was obvious. He took a pen from an inside pocket and scribbled on the front of the Brightwell folder. ‘That’s my mobile, and my email. Let me know a good time for you to visit. Later this week, if you can?’ I nodded, still non-committal. There were potential complications I needed to discuss with Eleanor that I couldn’t explain to Ben.