It’s always worth taking a look at the novels long- and shortlisted for genre awards – even if you’re not a member of organisations like the BSFA, the BFS, or SFWA. Likewise, it doesn’t matter if you’re eligible or not to vote for awards linked to conventions such as the Hugos. These are books that have appealed to a solid number of well-read SF&F fans. The juries who pick the winners for accolades such as the Arthur C Clarke Award and the World Fantasy Awards are fans first and foremost, and assess all submissions diligently. Not every book is for every reader, but there’s every chance you’ll find something to your particular taste that you haven’t come across before.
Then there are the short stories, the novellas, the non-fiction and related works. The odds are good that these lists will offer you unfamiliar names whose writing you’ll want to check out, both of authors currently published and of authors being written about. There’ll be discussions about aspects of the genre which you may very well find of interest. When something on any of these lists comes from a small press you haven’t previously encountered, it’s definitely worth seeing what else they’re publishing. And don’t forget the art awards, which invariably illustrate the breadth and depth of skill enhancing SF&F stories these days.
Why am I mentioning this now? Because the BSFA long lists have just been announced, and yes, I have an interest to declare because The Green Man’s Quarry is among the nominations for best novel. Will it be shortlisted? Who knows? At the moment, knowing enough readers enjoyed Dan Mackmain’s latest to nominate the book gives me a nice, warm feeling on this chilly wintry day.
If you are eligible to vote, but haven’t read this latest in the series yet, this is great timing, as the ebook is currently a Kindle UK limited time deal for the bargain price of 99p – and so are a good few other BSFA longlisted titles. Amazon have a wide-ranging SF&Fantasy offer on at the moment. That’s well worth checking out whether or not you’re interested in voting for any awards at all.
This month’s a busy one. On 15th October, I’ll be running an online writers’ workshop for the British Fantasy Society, looking at revising your own work. I’ll share examples of ‘before’ and ‘after’ drafts of a piece I wrote some years ago, and discuss the changes I made and why, to highlight the underlying principles of being your own editor. Full details here on the BFS website.
As I imagine you already know, The Green Man’s Quarry will be published on 21st October. You can pre-order paper editions from the Wizard’s Tower Press bookstore (UK only) which includes the ebook free.
You can pre-order ebook editions from your local Amazon, Barnes & Noble Nook in the US and Kobo. Paperback and hardback editions can also now be pre-ordered through Amazon and in the US from Barnes & Noble. Bookshops, chain and independent, should be able to order through their usual wholesalers.
We will be launching the book on the Friday evening before Bristolcon, 20th October, at the Hilton Doubletree hotel, Bristol. By the way, Wizard’s Tower Press are starting their own newsletter as social media fractures. You can sign up here for all their updates.
The first enthusiastic reviews are appearing on Goodreads – spoiler-free, which I very much appreciate.
Alas, I cannot stay to take part in Bristolcon on the Saturday. The diary gremlins have got me good and proper this year. I’ll be travelling to Sheffield to join dear friends as they celebrate a notable anniversary with family and friends, theirs and mine.
Looking further forward, I’ve selected the short stories for my Polestars collection, coming from NewCon Press. Choosing those and writing a short note for each one has been fascinating. More news on that in due course on the NewCon Press website.
Readers may recall the anthology Fight Like a Girl, from Kristell Ink. I’m delighted to say a second volume is on its way. Following extremely helpful feedback from the editors, I’ve revised my story and I am very pleased with it.
I’m currently working on my story for Ampyrium, the shared world project for the American small press ZNB, now that this year’s Kickstarter has funded. The open call for submissions for their other two 2024 anthologies, ‘Familiars’ and ‘Last-ditch’ has started and will run until December 31st. Remember, ZNB are committed to giving debut writers opportunities.
Looking back, long-standing pals may recall the days when I wrote a review column for Albedo One, Ireland’s foremost SFFH magazine, founded in 1993. As with so many genre publications, this has been a labour of love, and as happens for many reasons, the project has reached the end of this particular journey. Issue 50 is the final, valedictory, fiction edition, and that’s an honourable number for such a conclusion. My story is called ‘The End of the Road’, and you can buy the magazine through Amazon here.
Social media update: I’m using Twitter-as-was less and less as it becomes more and more pointless, and I look forward to the day when I can bin it, frankly. You can find me on Facebook at facebook.com/jemck, on Bluesky @julietemckenna.bsky.social, and on Mastodon @JulietEMcKenna@wandering.shop.
The Green Man’s Quarry will be published by Wizard’s Tower Press on 21st October 2023, following our launch on Friday evening 20th October at Bristolcon. Artwork once more by the supremely talented Ben Baldwin.
So what’s this story about? Here’s the cover copy…
“The Green Man sends Daniel Mackmain to stop threats from folklore making trouble in the everyday world. Now a naiad and dryad want him to deal with the big cat they’ve seen prowling in their woods. Reports like this turn up in the tabloid press from time to time, though no one has ever caught such a cat, or even found evidence of a large carnivore’s kills.
Can Dan discover the truth behind this modern myth before social media turns his hunt into an internet sensation? He knows that not all animals are what they seem. A huge cat which can appear and disappear without a trace must be more than meets the eye. Dan knows one thing for certain. He’s on the trail of a killer.’
Pre-orders are open. Here are the links so for. For more buy links as soon as they become available, check the Wizard’s Tower Press website.
Feel free to spread the word!
Cover art – Ben Baldwin