Spotlight on … Dave DeBurgh

South African bookseller Dave DeBurgh, long time fan of all things speculative fiction, has recently seen the release of his debut epic fantasy novel. Here’s Dave in his own words, talking about his experiences as a first-time novelist …

DaveDeBurgh meWhen I began writing (and this may surprise you) it wasn’t because I wanted to write.

You see, there were two reasons I began writing – one was because I couldn’t draw or sketch well enough, and the second was because the only way I could truly try to explore the images and stories in my mind was by writing it all down.

Understand, it wasn’t what I was doing which was important or what drove me – it was what I was letting out.

And when I was trying to write what would eventually become “Betrayal’s Shadow” it was that push to release it all which still drove me. I was struggling – probably because I hadn’t made the decision to take what I was trying to do seriously; so I decided that taking a writing course was the next step, and it helped massively. I finished writing the first draft of the novel, which lead to that all important choice to take it seriously. And which also lead to me realising that I wanted to be a writer.

I’ve explained “Betrayal’s Shadow” in a lot of different ways to many different people over the years. One of these explanations was, “It’s an uncomplicated, less-dense combination of Lord of the Rings and A Song of Ice and Fire, in terms that it has more magic than GRRM’s work, is as brutal in some sections as his, but also tells a sprawling tale more akin to Tolkien’s exploration of his worlds.”

Is that ambitious of me? Certainly, but it’s also what I believe the novel (and the trilogy, when it’s done) will be – well, one of the things.

I’ve also said that the novel is (surprise-surprise) about betrayal, and how betrayal casts shadows on many different people (in this case, characters) and that betrayal can follow down through the years (along with the immediate effects).

The novel is also an exploration of slavery, abuse, the dangers and pitfalls of love, how very easy it is unknowingly abuse trust and usurp the few good aspects of religion… And I didn’t set out to ‘explore’ all these aspects of society and life – not intentionally. Every time I try to make a character conform to the idea in my head, the character balks and does something different. So I let them do what they wanted to do, while keeping the plot and the novel’s climax in my head. In other words, I let them work their way towards it.

The plot itself will probably surprise you. “Betrayal’s Shadow” is not the kind of Epic or Heroic or High Fantasy novel you might expect it to be. It has elements of SF and Horror in it, too, since those are the other two genres I love reading.

One of the most compelling and formative things I’ve ever read is when Steven Erikson wrote that editors had told him that ‘Garden’s of the Moon’ was too ambitious, and sure, I might not be as ambitious yet (a ten-book saga is in me, somewhere, but I’m not yet the kind of writer and storyteller who can pull that off), but some readers have compared my novel to Erikson’s Malazan saga. I’m still smiling because of that.

So, in it’s own way, my novel is ambitious, and perhaps even brave. It was damned fun to write, though it was also damned difficult. It represents the beginning of my career as a storyteller and writer. It’s my leap into space.

I hope you enjoy it enough to catch me. 😉

 

And here’s all of Dave’s contact and book info:

 

Kindle edition Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Betrayals-Shadow-Mahaelian-Chronicle-Book-ebook/dp/B018S2U4Z2/

Kindle edition Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B018S2U4Z2

Limited Edition hardcover releasing on the 13th of January – pre-order link: http://www.ticketyboopress.co.uk/dave-de-burghs-signed-hardback-now-available/

My official website: http://davedeburgh.weebly.com/

My Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/davedeburghwriter/

My Twitter profile: D-B de Burgh (@DaveSASFFAuthor) | Twitter

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Falcon Throne in paperback!

I’m thrilled to announce that The Falcon Throne, book 1 in The Tarnished Crown series, has been released in paperback in the US and UK. It’s a big book, a big series, and I’m having the time of my life writing it. If you weren’t able to read it in hardcover, I hope you can in this new paperback edition – and that you enjoy it!

(If you’re an Australian fan, I’m afraid there’s a little more waiting to do. July 1st is the local release date!)

Falcon Throne_B Uk final-1250x822

Guest Post: Lucy Hounsom

Starborn cover   It’s now my great pleasure to introduce Lucy Hounsom and her debut fantasy novel, Starborn. This is the first in a new trilogy.

LucyHounsomLucy works for Waterstones Booksellers in London, and has a BA in English & Creative Writing from Royal Holloway. She went on to complete an MA in Creative Writing under Andrew Motion in 2010. She lives in Devon.
Here’s Lucy in her own words …
“Both the characters and the central idea that drives Starborn have been around for a long time. I wrote the first chapter over ten years ago as a naïve seventeen year old and then set the story aside when I went to university. But it bubbled away beneath the surface, never leaving me alone, until I knew that I had to write it even if it never got published. That’s the thing about stories – they beg to be told, to be shared and this one is a culmination of everything I’ve ever loved about fantasy. Books by authors like Tolkien, Robin Hobb, Patricia McKillip Ursula Le Guin and countless others made being an awkward teenager bearable, and at the same time convinced me that I wanted to write too. The idea that people could enjoy my stories in the same way is part of why I write. To create a world so immersive that it’s able to sweep you away for a time – that’s my goal. And fantasy is a wonderful cloth to weave; its threads are rich and steeped in history. It’s able to express archetypes in a way quite unlike any other literary genre. To me, writing and fantasy are seamlessly interwoven and in all honesty I’m not sure I could write anything else. So what do I love about this genre? The worldbuilding for starters – I love exploring worlds so like and unlike our own. In those worlds, the impossible becomes the possible, lands are populated with strange peoples and creatures, and there’s an overriding sense of the epic – the struggle that so defines our race. I love the characters we meet in fantasy, the heroes, the antiheroes, the villains, the rogues, the innocents. When we read a story, we automatically become the protagonist; we suffer through their trials, we’re with them when they fall in love, we look out of their eyes at the unfolding of events. When it comes to character, traditionally fantasy has drawn rather distinct lines between ‘good’ and ‘evil’; the hero is often Campbellian, the villain his recognisable opposite. While movements like grimdark have turned that tradition on its head, I set out with a different aim, which was to tell a story that explored heroism as a concept instead of a given trait. I started with the phrase, ‘one man’s heroism is another man’s tyranny’ and thought about the subjectivity that statement embodies. It suggests heroism is defined by context and individual perspective, instead of objective characteristics. The crux of Starborn – as Kyndra, my protagonist, comes to discover – hinges on the actions of one man, whose crowning achievement makes him a saviour in some eyes and a monster in others. It’s up to the reader to decide which he is, or even whether it matters to the histories. This discussion provides the background context for Kyndra herself. I wanted to move away from the established rendering of the Garion[1]-type hero as a hard-working, honest sort, instead drawing Kyndra as she would more likely be, living in a small community: sheltered, idealistic, stubborn. We are shaped by our childhood and our childhood environment and our earliest experiences colour everything we do. Kyndra has an unbelievably long journey ahead of her, which changes her more than she could ever imagine, so I wanted her to retain the roots of her thinking, to see the world – rightly or wrongly – through the eyes of someone who has grown up in an isolated community at peace. The very concept of war is alien to her, as are the attitudes that foster it, and she struggles to understand the divisions responsible for fragmenting a society. When you want to explore a particular subject, I think it’s important to have a recognisable base as reference, so there’s a lot you’ll find familiar about Starborn. It’s a rite of passage novel where the protagonist is living an ordinary life in a small corner of the world, but is inevitably swept up in wider events. Kyndra learns what it means to take control of those events instead of letting them steer her course and she comes face to face with the idea of destiny and what it might require of her. Of course Starborn is also full of magic, mysterious citadels, buried truths and unresolved conflicts – all the elements that make epic fantasy such fun to read and write. I love this genre for its possibilities, its powerful nostalgia for bygone eras. I love its various characters and settings, from dragons to sorcerers to epic battles. Fantasy allows us to ask poignant questions about society while sweeping us off on an epic journey with people in whom we can see ourselves. I’ve just finished the first draft of Book Two, where Kyndra and her companions encounter a host of new challenges. I always envisioned the series as a trilogy, so that the characters I’ve come to love have room to grow and time in which to tell their stories, and I can’t wait to share them with you.” [1] The hero of The (excellent ) Belgariad by David Eddings
Starborn is available now in-store and online. If you enjoy fantasy adventure with a strong female central character, some mystery and some romance, give it a read!

The Falcon Throne paperback: Giveaway!

Well, the paperback edition of The Falcon Throne, book 1 in The Tarnished Crown series, is due to hit bookshelves in the real world and in cyberspace very soon. So I’d like to celebrate by offering 3 copies as giveaway prizes. All you need to do is send me an email via the Contact button on this website, and you’ll go into the draw. Good luck!

EDIT TO ADD: THE COMP IS NOW CLOSED, I’M SORRY. WINNERS WILL BE ANNOUNCED SHORTLY. THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO WANTED TO WIN A COPY.

The Books for All initiative

The US government is launching a new program called Books for All. Its purpose is to make free ebooks and ebook readers available to kids from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. It’s a great idea and I hope it really takes off.

My parent publisher, Hachette, has included The Innocent Mage in the first round of books being made available. This makes me so pleased, I can’t tell you! If you’re on Twitter (I’m not, I have enough trouble keeping up with a blog!) it would be great if you could pass along the news.

Let’s hear it for Glenda Larke!

One of the most creative and innovative writers in the fantasy genre today is Australian author Glenda Larke. For those of you who want to see a story not based on medieval Europe, Glenda is the writer for you. And even if you do love the medieval backdrop (as I do, obviously!) she is still the writer for you. Glenda has led probably the most astonishing and unique life I ever heard of, and all of that amazing experience finds its way into her books.

The Daggers’s Path, the second book in her Forsaken Lands trilogy, is out on sale now. Below is the lovely cover. Here is a link to her blogsite where she talks some more about the story. Stay tuned for a guest blog post, as soon as she’s got a moment to herself!

Daggers Path

 

I count myself privileged to be Glenda’s friend, but that’s not why I’m celebrating the release of her new book. It’s a great story – and great stories should always be celebrated!

 

Spotlight on … Terry Pratchett

Of all my favourite fantasy series, I’m pretty sure I’ve re-read Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series the most times. In fact, I’ve re-read my favourite Discworld novels so many times that some of the books are starting to fall apart. The bugger of that is not all of them are available to repurchase as hardcovers – but I keep my eyes peeled and I grab a backup copy whenever I can. Because one of these days one of his books will fall apart – and I’ll be heartbroken.

Want to know why I hold Terry Pratchett and his work in such high esteem? Then read on …

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Spotlight on … JD Robb

The best thing about JD Robb’s In Death series is that she neatly combines two of my favourite genres: romantic suspense and science fiction. Robb, better known as international romance phenomenon Nora Roberts, introduced her classic protagonist Eve Dallas  to readers way back in 1995. The fiftieth novel in the series will release next year … and if that’s not an achievement, I don’t know what is!

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Interesting book trade article

So, real books are making a comeback, apparently.  Yay! Nothing against ebooks and the folks who swear by them, but I gotta say I’m a boring poky stick-in-the-mud traditionalist. I like me a real book that I can hold in my real hands. Also interesting in the article is the realisation that Hey! Every bookshop is different because every location and demographic is different! No, really? she said sarcastically. Sorry, guys. I adore Waterstones, I really do, they have been brilliantly supportive of me, but as a former bookseller and a current author, sometimes I do roll my eyes so hard they nearly roll out of my head.

I can’t believe the professionals need reminding about stuff like this. Bookshops are retail, but not all retail is the same. When was the last time a customer rushed into a supermarket demanding the newest Colgate toothpaste release????? Um, I think that would be never. Unless of course the customer is a dentist, in which case there is no hope for them. *g*

Of course managers should have the power to do their own ordering, based completely on what their regular customer base wants to buy. By all means make sure there’s other stuff to broaden the reading base, but core customers? They make the world go round. Also of course this means you must make sure to hire really good store managers, who love books and love readers and get their jollies interacting with them and talking books and reading  books which they then recommend and who encourage their staff to be the same way.

So hooray for Waterstones, who are getting back to good, old-fashioned basics. And let’s hear it for real books and the people who love them!

Spotlight on … Lois McMaster Bujold

When I think about my literary tastes with regards to science fiction (as opposed to fantasy) I realise that from the get-go I’ve always been attracted to more adventury, character focused, space-opera kind of stories. When I was at school I devoured all the Andre Norton I could lay my hands on – and I still have super fond memories of the Tom Swift novels in my high school library. The Norton was undeniably superior fare, but even so … for me it was all about the fun and the imagination and the characters. Hard science was never my thing. Ideas over people never floated my boat.

So I suppose that makes it pretty much inevitable that I would fall hook, line and sinker for Hugo and Nebula winner Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan saga novels.

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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.

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.

Angers, and a reminder …

So Anger is fantabulous. If you’re in France, I couldn’t recommend it more highly. Wonderful medieval section of town, castle, cathedral, great food, great shopping, apparently great wine (but I don’t drink, so I wouldn’t know!). Much excellent research material has been gleaned. Also, photos. There are so going to be some photo essays when I get back …

Also, a reminder for you to enter the giveaway comp for The Falcon Throne. Deadline is September 1st and I’ll be announcing the winners asap after that date. I’ll be in  London and based at a hotel, so it shouldn’t be too long a wait!

Guedelon!

So, one of the reasons I wanted to research in France was so I could visit the amazing Guedelon — where they’re building a medieval castle from scratch, using only medieval tools, techniques and materials. The project started in 1998 and they anticipate the castle being finished in 2023. I’d love to come back for that.

It’s an amazing experience and I look forward to putting up some photos when I get home. Mind you, it’s not the most straightforward place to get to! We hired a car in Nevers and drove there. Cue the white knuckles — they drive on the wrong *g* side of the road in France and the sat nav was in French to boot and neither of us is fluent! But we made it. On the way back we detoured via St-Fargeau to see the amazing castle in that small town. The castle has a 1000 year history, but had been let deteriorate. Not all of it is open, but what we did see was amazing in a bizarre kind of way … plus there was something truly ick, but I’m not saying what because it is so going to feature in Tarnished Crown book 2! In due course I will post photos, when it comes time to talk about the book.  Less icky was the truly stupendous tartlette citron we enjoyed after our hours of tramping through the woods and half built castle, and then the chateau.

Tomorrow we sally forth to Angers, where there is another astonishing castle to explore. And then we head back to the UK, and part ways. But I catch up with Glenda Larke again then – so stay tuned for more whacky research adventures!

It’s Book Day in Australia and New Zealand!

Mad as it sounds, the wifi in our Nevers hotel is a million times better than the wifi was in Paris. And Nevers is a small, fairly sleepy township, unlike Paris. So go figure. That means updates have been a bit sparse, so I’m a day late to leap up and down waving my hands in the air to say:

The Falcon Throne is now available for purchase in Australia and New Zealand! It’s very exciting, also terrifying, and I’d like to say thank you in advance to everyone who’s looking to buy a copy in either trade paperback or as an ebook. I just really really hope you enjoy it!

For more information, Australia and New Zealand readers, go here.

Last day in Paris … sniff …

First of all, it’s publication day in Australia/New Zealand! The Falcon Throne is officially let loose into the wild. If you do buy a copy, Oz and Kiwi readers, I hope I haven’t disappointed you!

In other news, Sharon and I had a wonderful morning stroll along the Rue de Rivoli then along the Champs d’Elysee, all the way up to the L’Arc de Triomphe. We may have perpetrated French pastry and bread along the way. Yes, all right, we did. I indulged in a small pistorale avec olives (yum!!! French bread! Yum!! It doesn’t make me unwell the way bread at home does. A good thing then that I don’t live here, or I’d end up looking like a baguette.) I also bought a beignet chocolate, petit, and a tartlet citron. The tartlet I will share with Sharon for dessert after our final dinner in Paris at Chez Claude’s.

Then we strolled back (in the rain, sigh) and enjoyed the wonderful artefacts in the Musee des Artes Decoratifs. Some truly beautiful pieces and many many stairs, which made up for the beignet and the bread.

Now I’m about to download all my photos, then relax until dejeuner. Tomorrow we bid adieu a Paris, and frolic our way to Nevers. Stay tuned!

And in closing, here’s a link to the Oz/NZ edition of The Falcon Throne, now available in trade paperback and ebook.

More information about it here, at this link.

 

 

Gargoyles!!!!!

If I had to pick one reason to love Paris, it would have to be the gargoyles. I don’t know why I love them so much. I just do. If it’s not the ones right outside my hotel window (courtesy of St Germain church) then it’s the ones that populate the exterior of Notre Dame. I got some wonderful photos of them today with my handy dandy emergency purchase camera (it’s brilliant, I’ll talk more about it later) and will post a gargoyle photo essay upon my return to Oz.

A couple of days in Paris just isn’t enough. There is so much to see and explore. But I had to choose between all Paris or chateaux in the countryside, so of course the chateaux won. But next time … more Paris!

The writing continues. Oddly enough, the weird sleep cycle helps. If I’m awake at 3 am, what else is there to do???  I’m already having lots of fun with it. Plus it helps take my mind off the fact that The Falcon Throne is released very soon now. Arrgghhhh! My knees, my knees, they are knocking!

Also? Apparently the French govt just fell over. I swear, it wasn’t me.

Paris!!!!!

How wonderful. I’m in Paris! And there are gargoyles almost close enough to touch right outside the hotel window. Around the corner there’s the Louvre. C’est magnifique!

Having a fabulous trip. Winchester and Canterbury were beautiful, with many photos and much inspiration. The writing for Tarnished Crown bk 2 continues, a little slow but good work, I think. Writing on the road can be a challenge! So can having a stupid bloody cold, but I’m fighting it with many remedies. I seem to be winning, just …

After Paris it’s Nevers, and then Angers. All too exciting for words. Can’t post photos while I’m travelling, but be warned — there will be many once I’m home again!

Guest Post: Angus Watson

Welcome to the Talkative Writer’s guest post with British speculative fiction writer Angus Watson.

Angus WatsonIn his twenties, Angus Watson’s jobs ranged from forklift truck driver to investment banker. He spent his thirties on various assignments as a freelance writer, including looking for Bigfoot in the USA for the Telegraph, diving on the scuppered German fleet at Scapa Flow for the Financial Times, and swimming with sea lions off the Galapagos Islands for the Times. Now entering his forties, Angus lives in London with his wife Nicola and baby son Charlie. As a fan of both historical fiction and epic fantasy, he came up with the idea of writing a fantasy set in the Iron Age when exploring British hillforts for the Telegraph, and developed the story while walking Britain’s ancient paths for further articles.  Age of Iron, the first book of his Iron Age trilogy, will be published on September 2nd. You can find out more at his website.

AGE OF IRON Final cover

Now here is Angus in his own words …

I’m going through the copy edit of Clash of Iron – book two of the Iron Age trilogy – at the moment. The copy edit is the second last edit before publication, when an expert reads your book and says ‘this bit doesn’t work, that word’s wrong’ and so on, then you get to go through what they’ve said and lament how they just don’t understand you and change it all back…. Not really, my current copy editor, a man named Richard Collins, is excellent (the final edit is the proof edit – basically a spell check).

Anyway, reading this copy edit almost a year after I finished writing the book, I’m surprised to be surprised by the gore. It’s not wall to wall by any means – most of the book is Continue reading

United Kingdom Ebook Promotion for The Falcon Throne

Orbit UK has launched a limited-time offer to purchase the UK ebook edition of  The Falcon Throne at a very good price. If you’re an ebook reader and you live in the UK, you might like to take advantage of it while you can. For readers in other regions, please stay tuned …

Here are the links:

A word about pre-ordering The Falcon Throne

Well, The Falcon Throne will be available from Australia/New Zealand’s physical and online book shops at the end of August. For readers in the UK and the US, B-Day is September 9th. Four weeks! A tiddy month!

So I’d like to take a moment to discuss the impact of *Amazon US’s ongoing war with my publisher Hachette as it pertains to me, and my fellow authors who live under its umbrella.

These two large publishing entities are currently locked in a bitter battle over the pricing of ebooks. For lots and lots of useful information and insights on this, I refer you to SF author John Scalzi. As part of their negotiating tactics, Amazon US has made it impossible for readers to pre-order new books by Hachette authors, and effectively ended its shipment of back list titles by extending the delivery estimate far beyond the reasonable. This is having a serious impact on Hachette’s authors’ ability to make a living. Of course, Amazon US doesn’t care about that. It cares nothing for the pain it’s inflicting on people who have no power to impact the negotiations. It doesn’t even care about its own customers, since it’s depriving them of access to authors and books they might well love.

So this is what I’m asking of readers in the US, for me – because I have a new book coming out and how the first book in a new series performs has a significant impact on the future of that series and the author’s ongoing career – and also for every Hachette author who’s being crushed in this fight, and for all the other authors out there who are published by different companies but who will, in their turn, be facing Amazon US’s predatory business practices —

Please look at my Where to Buy links page, and purchase The Falcon Throne from someone on that list. Maybe buy a few more books from them while you’re there.

Because here’s the thing: when I started my own book shop, back in the ’90s, it was at a time when the huge chain stores Borders and Barnes & Noble were moving into the bricks and mortar scene. Within a handful of years they had put some 70% of independent booksellers out of business. Everywhere you looked you found one of the big box stores’ huge shops. And while they had much to recommend them, so did the independents. But the independents got slaughtered and who ended up the biggest loser in that fight? Book lovers. Local communities. Authors. The moral of the tale is that monopolies are bad. Industries that end up in the power of one or two giants do not improve the lives of their customers or the people who supply the goods they sell. Healthy business competition is a good thing, big isn’t always best, and sometimes a small business with real people who love and understand both what they sell and who buys it is the best gift a consumer can receive. It’s definitely the best gift an author can receive, because great hand selling and word of mouth often make a writer’s career.

This isn’t about hating on Amazon US. They’re doing what a big business with dreams of monopoly does. And they have done me great service in the past as I research the books I write. But here’s the thing — they take my money and then they turn around and try to destroy my career. And they expect me not to be angry because hey, it’s just business.

And it is. It’s just business. So for now I’m taking my business elsewhere and I hope you do too. So that everyone can win — not the least those wonderful independent booksellers you’ll find on the links page. Those guys are the backbone of the book business and they deserve our support.

So that’s my pitch. Whatever you decide to do, I’ll respect it. I owe everything to you guys, the readers, and I’m not about to get too far into your faces over this. I just wanted you to know what the stakes are, and show you how you can help me and other authors and maybe yourselves too. Because I’m hoping you’re going to love The Falcon Throne and I don’t like to think that Amazon US is going to get in the way of something you might love.

ETA (Thanks, Adam!) That, to the best of my current knowledge, Amazon Canada isn’t part of the action against Hachette’s authors. If that changes, I’ll let you know!

* Note that Amazon UK is not involved in this dispute. UK customers can pre-order and order my books from them without trouble. Even so, you might like to check out the alternatives once in a while. It never hurts to keep the big guys on their toes.

The Mage books have new covers

My wonderful publishers Orbit are releasing a brand new cover look for my first fantasy series, which I tend to think of as The Mage Quintet.

It’s odd, how things unfold. The first time I sat down to tell the story of Asher and Gar and the mages of Lur, I imagined it as a stand alone novel (I know, I know, hard to believe!) and for myself I titled it Kingmaker, Kingbreaker. That single novel ultimately became the Kingmaker, Kingbreaker duology, comprising The Innocent Mage and The Awakened Mage. After writing the Godspeaker trilogy I returned to the Mage world and wrote what became known as the Fisherman’s Children duology: The Prodigal Mage and The Reluctant Mage. Last of all I went back to the beginning and wrote the prequel story of Barl and Morgan, A Blight of Mages.

I love these books. I love these characters. And I really, really love these new covers. I hope you do too and if you’ve not read the Mage books I hope one of these days you’ll give The Innocent Mage a try!