Best tee shirt evah!!!!!

So, jet lag still sucks. But I’m getting there! Slowly …

In other news, I’m sorting through the trip photos for a series of visual essays on stuff I saw and that I hope you’ll find as wonderful as I do. So stay tuned on that.

To whet your appetite, however, here’s a photo of an amazing tee shirt I found in Oxford. There’s a permanent covered market in that wonderful city, and in that market a tee shirt shop that I could have easily half emptied. Luckily sanity prevailed – I bought 2 shirts as gifts and 1 for me.

This has to be the best historical in joke ever, I swear. I’m going to let it stand without comment, because I know you guys are pretty historically literate  … but if you’d like an explanation let me know in comments and I shall oblige!

 

bestteeshirtevah

Home again and — zzzzz ….

I’m back. It’s lovely to be home. Now all I need to do is conquer the jetlag, which is of course compounded by retroactive knackerdom due to the high level energy output of the trip! And of course the various germs accumulated on the trip home, since an airplane is nothing more than a self-contained petri dish of ick.

In other words … sleeeeep! Sleeeeep! And many many herbal drugs.

Going by past experience, I should be back to relative normal by Monday. I have resizing and sorting of photos to do, and then there’ll be a series of photo essays on the trip.

Work on Tarnished Crown bk 2 will resume on Monday too, with much excitement.

Reviews are coming in for The Falcon Throne and I’m both thrilled and relieved to report they’re largely positive. Phew! Will share some asap.

Now I must hie myself off to the chiropractor because naturally my back is playing up now.

Arrivederci, London!

And so my amazing European globetrotting adventure gently draws to a close. I fly home tomorrow night, rested and rejuvenated and ready to leap back into work. Everything I’ve seen and done while I’ve been travelling truly has nourished the storyteller in me. Many many notes have been jotted down, often in the middle of a meal! And scenes continue to take shape and come alive in my imagination. It’s very exciting and I’m so looking forward to diving back into the next book once I’m home again.

I’ll also be posting a series of photo essays on things I’ve seen and what they mean to me, as a writer. I’m really looking forward to that, too.

What won’t I miss? Well, let’s put it this way. What do London – and England in general – have that Sydney doesn’t?

More fabulous theatre than you can poke a stick at? Yes, but that’s not it.

A stupendously effective public transport system? Yes, but that’s not it either.

Easy and financially manageable access to the wonders of Europe? Yes, but no, no, that’s still not it.

More history, culture and exciting adventures to be had on a daily basis than anyone could think possible? Yes, they certainly do, but still that’s not it.

Give up? Well, I’ll tell you. It’s stairs! Stairs! Oh my giddy aunt, there are so many STAIRS. I’ve been here almost a month and I swear on my great aunt’s grave I now have buns of steel. Or at least bronze. Or they would be bronze if I ever did any sunbathing. Bottom line (ha ha, that was a pun, did you notice?) you cannot escape stairs in England. In the museums, in the hotels, in the tube stations! Oy vey, the tube stations! I’d forgotten the stairs in the tube stations. I’d forgotten the stairs full stop.

The only good thing is that this month away has handily laid the foundations for the new get fit regime I’ll be starting when I get home. Stay tuned for that! I have walked many many kilometres on this trip and I have climbed more stairs than any human being should have to. Which is good because I need to get back into shape again, pronto.

But if you’re coming over for a visit? Just remember what I say. Beware the stairs! And make sure you have good trainers for the climbing.

The joy of finding a new author

So, you know how it is. You’re all readers. You get it. That delightful thrill, that frisson of sheer pleasure, when you stumble across a new author whose books hit that sweet reading spot. It happened to me in York, in the lovely Waterstones store in Coney Street. Glenda Larke and I were there signing our stock for them and I, of course, couldn’t leave without a quick squizz at the shelves. Crime, this time. I love crime and mystery as much as spec fic. Grabbed a title and author I didn’t recognise, opened to the first page, and found this:

Between the parishes of Shetfold and Marslake in Somerset existed an area of no man’s land and a lot of ill feeling.

Boom! Sold. The book is The Assassin’s Prayer, by Ariana Franklin. It’s historical mystery, set in the time of Henry II. As it happens, this is the fourth book in the series. As a rule I don’t like reading series out of order but I was enchanted by that first line and needing something new, so I bought it. I’m so glad I did. I now have the first three books as well, and am halfway through book one, Mistress of the Art of Death.

The series’ protagonist is one Adelia Aguilar, a woman doctor trained in the enlightened medical school of Salerno. Think of her as the medieval world’s answer to Kay Scarpetta. Adelia solves murders forensically while fighting the extreme misogyny and superstition of the medieval church. She’s a wonderful hero: brave and ethical and witty and stubborn.

If you like murder mysteries, especially the historical kind, I can’t recommend these books highly enough. The research is impeccable and seamlessly woven into the narrative. It’s world-building of the highest order – aspiring novelists take note!

So there you have it. Two thumbs up for this amazing crime series. Go forth and read! And let me know what you think.

Book day for The Falcon Throne

Well, with much excitement and some trepidation (because there’s always a smidgin of trepidation, you know) I can shout from the roof tops that today is the official UK and US release day of The Falcon Throne.

Many many people are owed thanks for the publication of this book. They’re all mentioned in the acknowledgements, but let me thank again in particular: my lovely agent Ethan Ellenberg; my wonderful publisher, Orbit, and Tim Holman; my superhumanly patient and supportive editor Anna Gregson; the entire Orbit production and sales/marketing team; Anne Clarke in the Orbit US office and her team; the exquisitely persnickety Abigail Nathan of Bothersome Words, copy editor par excellence; my delightfully honest beta readers Mary, Elaine, Pete, Glenda and Mark; and most of all the readers who make it all possible.

Thank you, thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

If you buy the book, thank you. If you like it, I’d truly appreciate knowing that. And if you do, if you could spread the word, that would also be hugely appreciated too. These are strange days for writers and publishers. Word of mouth can do so much to keep our quirky business alive.

A SPECIAL REMINDER FOR USA READERS: since the conflict between my publisher and Amazon US remains unresolved, and all Orbit authors are being penalised as a result, no good will come of you ordering The Falcon Throne through Amazon.com. Please avail yourself of the many other options as outlined on the Where to Buy page of this blog.

Farewell York, and a reminder

Ah, York. What a truly astonishing city. Town. Whatever the technical term is. Place! I love it here, more than I can say, and will carry away some special memories. Possibly one of the most beautiful must be the glorious sound of Evensong sung in York Minster. By coincidence we arrived at the cathedral while the Evensong service was being conducted. Amazing acoustics and the piercing purity of those unearthly voices … shiver down the spine time. And of course, the minster, which is a fabulous building. If you get the chance to visit York, take it. A unique experience, with so much incredible history. And so my time here ends, after an enjoyable time at the British Fantasy Convention and a memorable second visit to magical York. Now it’s back to London and many day trips to cool places. Stay tuned for that!

Finally, can I please remind the winners of the giveaway for The Falcon Throne that not everyone has come back to me with their postal information. I need it by Monday September 15, or getting the signed books to you becomes infinitely more difficult. So chop chop!

British Fantasy Con

Is in full swing, and what a whirlwind! I’ve had the enormous pleasure of sharing a leisurely breakfast with Kate Elliott, moderating a panel with guests of honour Charlaine Harris and Toby Whithouse, and sharing a panel with Joanne Harris (no relation) the author of Chocolat. I’ve chatted with the fabulous Paul Cornell and now have his book London Falling beside me to read.

The con isn’t huge (certainly not by Loncon standards!) but full of interesting people. As well as listening to Charlaine Harris on the panel, I sat in on her Guest of Honour Q&A. She’s a real inspiration, a woman who stuck to her guns and trusted her instincts when nobody thought her first Sookie Stackhouse novel would sell. Of course it did and the rest is HBO history! She’s smart and funny and very down to earth.

Of course I’m biased when it comes to Kate Elliott, because she’s a friend. But I knew her work before I ever knew her and I really do believe she’s one of the best writers we have in the genre. A truly unique voice. If you haven’t read her work, you should check it out.

And now my dinner’s here, so yum! Time to eat!

Book-signing at Forbidden Planet, London

Here’s exciting news! I’ll be signing The Falcon Throne (and any other books bearing my name) at London’s premier science fiction bookshop Forbidden Planet while I’m in town. The details are as follows:

Forbidden Planet

179 Shaftesbury Ave, London

Saturday September 13th, between noon and 1 pm.

If you’re in London town, I hope you can make it.