Category Archive for ‘news’

The Gemmell Awards

Posted on April 10th, 2015 in news, opinion

The David Gemmell Legend Awards are entering their seventh year and have a new and improved website.  I’ve talked about the Gemmells in the past – in essence I’m a strong believer in them.  In the notion of something that celebrates Gemmell’s very considerable contribution to British fantasy.  In the notion of something that aims to involve as wide a range of voters as possible.  In the notion of having an award for full-on, commercial, epic and heroic fantasy which, despite its very great popularity, does tend to get somewhat ignored by a lot of the other SF&F prizes.  I’ve no particular problem with that, incidentally, it’s totally right and proper they should all have their own emphasis, but I see no harm in having one award that aims to celebrate the core, commercial epic fantasy which is, after all, bought, read and beloved by many.

So, please, go forth and vote. Anyone can do it. There are three categories – Legend for Best Fantasy Novel, Morningstar for Best Debut, Ravenheart for Best Cover Art and there are plenty of great books and writers on there.  There’s a first round of voting to narrow down from a lengthy long list (which includes much of the epic/heroic style fantasy published this year) to a shortlist of 5, then a second round of voting to select a winner.  I’ve often said I liked the original plan of a public vote to establish a shortlist and a jury to pick a winner, but they decided to go fully open public voting all the way and, though the Gemmells have come in for a fair bit of stick for being pointless and populist, in the light of what’s gone on with the Hugo award nominations this year, it’s suddenly looking like there’s a fair bit to be said for the Gemmell approach…

I join Adam Roberts in feeling a bit uncomfortable about the old self-pimpage, but I also think the Gemmell is in its infancy and relies to a degree on authors encouraging people through the doors so, yes, I will observe that Half a King is on the long list for the Legend this year, but I’ll keep it to a mention now and a reminder when the shortlist comes out, so I can shake my head wearily when I lose and blame it on the log-rolling rabble-rousing dirty tactics of the winner…

2014 in Review

Posted on December 31st, 2014 in announcements, appearances, film and tv, games, news, reading, reviews, whisky deathmatch

New Year’s Eve, my friends, and you know what that means?  Yes, indeed, I am 40 years old today.  You would never think I used to be young.  Truly horrifyingly, this is my 6th yearly review post. I’ll have to have a review of my best yearly review posts one of these new year’s eves…

A YEAR IN BOOKSELLING – Again, in spite of all my complaints, I really can’t complain. Partly due to the ongoing success of Game of Thrones, I’m sure, The First Law books continue to chug along very, very nicely.  I had a short story in Martin and Dozois’ highly successful Rogues anthology in June.  Then Half a King came out in July and made no. 3 on the Sunday Times hardcover list, which matches the ranking of The Heroes way back in 2010 but at a much more competitive time of year.  I toured more extensively than I ever have before, with some 15 events in the UK, all of them pretty well attended, and I did a few bookshop events down the west coast of the US for the first time too and made it to Comic Con in San Diego, to Sicily, to Lucca, and a third visit to my old friends in Aviles, Spain.

A YEAR IN BOOK WRITING – The heavy touring schedule through July and August got in the way somewhat, but even so it was a good year in the writing department too, if a pretty demanding one.  I wrote the last quarter of Half the World, revised and edited it, then wrote a first draft of Half a War, and gave it a fair hammering this month to produce a second draft that I’m starting to get happy with.  I’ve a few more things to do and another pass through focusing on the secondary characters to get to a decent third draft which I can hand in to my editors mid January, but the book’s mostly there.  Seems like only yesterday I was pitching this series to publishers and now it’s nearly done…

BOOKS – I really am hardly reading at all these days, it’s a disgrace.  When I finish Half a War I desperately need to take my foot off the gas and start reading again, hoover up some ideas and inspiration, catch up on the truly massive backlog I’ve got sitting in tottering heaps all around me. But two things I read this year that I’d certainly recommend are Kameron Hurley’s God’s War, and Jeff Vandermeer’s Annihilation. Neither the kind of thing I write, particularly, but then who wants to piss where they eat…?

TV and FILM – Boy, the cinema has barely registered this year.  I think the only film I reviewed was Fury, which was OK but ultimately a gritty wrapper around a rather traditional, sentimental war movie.  Guardians of the Galaxy was good fun but I was a little underwhelmed after all the nerdgasms I’d seen about it – seemed like more of the Marvel same in the end, if with a few more laughs.  Gone Girl was a very well-made film but seemed a bit hamstrung by a really odd casting choice in Ben Affleck – the guy just comes across as too much of a likeable lunkhead and I felt they needed someone much darker and more dangerous to really balance the central relationship and make us unsure what was going on.  Rather than equally evil couple of bastards reap the whirlwind they sow for each other, we got mildly unpleasant idiot is totally screwed over by his psychopathic wife, and that’s a lot less interesting in all kinds of ways.  For me the TV standout was the searing climax of Breaking Bad, which has to be one of the greatest pieces of TV I’ve ever seen, about as close as you’ll get to a single 5 season story arc with novelistic coherence of theme and character.  Highly honourable mentions to a bloody, strange and gritty second season of Vikings and the punishing 3rd and 4th seasons of The Walking Dead after its slightly limited 2nd season.  Justified continues to be elevated way above its rather banal set-up by great script and acting in which every character overflows with Elmore Leonard-y detail.  Orphan Black was good largely thanks to its brilliant central multiple performance.  Suits is entertaining if a little lightweight.  The Good Wife continues to be highly watchable and always that little bit darker than you expect.  Arrow was enjoyable enough superhero hokum but fell short of its gritty ambitions.  Black Sails was enjoyable enough pirate hokum, good when it put to sea but too often foundering on land.  The 1st season of House of Cards was very strong, with a great mood and super central performances from Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright, but I felt the 2nd season was a lot less believable.  Hell on Wheels sadly crashed off the rails for me in its 3rd season after an action-packed 2nd.

GAMES – Last year had some splendiferous stuff in the form of The Last of Us, Bioshock, Tomb Raider, Telltale’s Walking Dead etc. as developers pushed the last generation of consoles to their limits and stretched unused storytelling muscles while doing it.  This year began on a high with Dark Souls II, more ultra dark, ultra hard Japanese/Western hybrid roleplaying but with the difficulty softened just a little this time around.  Moving over to PS4, the results have been a little more pedestrian than last year.  Destiny was pretty and compelling and did give me a hell of a lot of gaming hours but ultimately was a slightly empty experience.  Diablo III I found rather by-the-yard-y.  Far Cry 4 good, but very much like Far Cry 3.  Which leaves Dragon Age: Inquisition as my personal game of the year.  One could criticise the gameplay, the voice acting, and the somewhat vanilla plot line, but the world, characters, detail and sense of immersion were top class.

WHISKY – Lack of time meant my planned Whisky Deathmatch: Islay Bloodfeud never happened.  Well, it happened in the sense that I drunk the whisky, I just didn’t get round to writing about it. In brief, though, bottles I’ve particularly enjoyed this year: Lagavulin 12yo cask strength (smashed in the face with a sack of burned lemons), Ardbeg Supernova 2014 (Ardbeg, only more so, and with a touch of sweetness to it), Laphroaig Triple Wood (salty medicinal goodness with a sherry-wood softening), Amrut Fusion (awesome whisky distilled in India from Scottish and Himalayan barley), Talisker 30yo cask strength (full fathom five thy father lies).

CONTROVERSIES – I noted last year that after 7 or 8 years in the business I’m getting less and less interested in the cyclical nature of genre commentary.  I’ve already expressed my opinion one way or another on most issues of note, and when they come up again, I find a world weary sigh gets across most of what I feel, an attitude reflected in my post on this year’s controversial Hugo Awards.  That’s part of the reason for the greatly reduced blog presence of late, though that’s also a function of the sheer amount of stuff I’ve got going on.  I’m finding twitter (@LordGrimdark) a better medium for general conversation, and I’m tending to use the blog only for more considerable announcements and reviews.  This relatively thin level of posting may well continue next year, because…

THE YEAR AHEAD – My, oh, my, but 2015 is shaping up to be a busy one. I’ve already got visits confirmed to Detroit in Jan, Australia in Feb, Dubai in March and St. Petersburg in April. I’ve got not one but TWO books coming out: Half the World in February and Half a War in July, the first time I’ve done a publishing schedule anything like so densely packed.  Since I toured in the UK and US only a few months back there probably won’t be a lot of events for Half the World, but expect another full-on tour in July for Half a War.  Writing-wise, I’m going to be kept fully busy until the end of February with edits and revision on Half a War, then I’ve got a few short stories to write to complete a collection which will hopefully come out some time in 2016.  It’s looking as if the main part of next year may be given over to some exciting non-book projects, of which more in due course, but I also need to lay the groundwork and do some thinking for another trilogy in the First Law world, although the publication of that looks like it will be some way off…

Happy new year, readers!

Half the World Extract

Posted on December 16th, 2014 in announcements, news

Half the World, second book in my Shattered Sea series, is out in hardcover, e-book and audiobook in the UK on February 12th and US February 17th, and you can now read the first three chapters right here.

Blurb, a couple of early reviews, further information, other options for viewing and downloading the extract, and those all important preorder options over here.

More UK Events, plus Worldcon

Posted on August 7th, 2014 in appearances, news

More events?  Are you insane?  Well, yes, I very well might be, but there is no rest for the grimdark, my friends.  Here’s my appearance schedule for the next couple of months…

Tuesday 12th August

11.30 – Google Hangout for the Gollancz Online Festival.

18.00 – Fantasy in the Court, Goldsboro Books, alongside a whole host of other writers including but by no means limited to Ben Aaronovitch, James Barclay, Lauren Beukes, Paul Cornell, Peter F. Hamilton, Joanne Harris, Adam Nevill, Sarah Pinborough, Adrian Tchaikovsky, and those are just some of the ones I know well myself.

Wednesday 13th August

18.30 – Fantasy Faction’s Grim Gathering, Waterstones Kensington, 193 Kensington High Street, London, alongside authors Peter V. Brett, Myke Cole, and Mark Lawrence.

Thursday 14th - Sunday 17th August

LONCON, the 72nd World Science Fiction Convention where I will be hanging out and haunting the bar, but specifically can be found:

Friday 15th August

12.00                          Kaffeeklatsch, London Suite 4 (1hr)

Saturday 16th August

11.00 – Panel: Moving Shelves: Famous Adult Writers Who Have Written YA with Carrie Vaughn, Kelley Armstrong, Ian Macdonald and Peter F Hamilton in Capital Suite 15 (1hr)

13.30 – Signing: Big Autographing Space (90mins)

18.00 – Panel: Writing 101: Young Adult and Middle Grade Fiction with Ruth Frances Long, Amy H Sturgis, Laure Eve and Sanna Lehtonen in Capital Suite 5 (1hr)

19.00 – Panel: Meet the New King, Same As The Old King with Juliet E McKenna, Peter V Brett, Rjurik Davidson and Delia Sherman in Capital Suite 14 (1hr)

Sunday 17th August

12.30 – Reading: London Suite 1 (30mins) – and this will probably be from the forthcoming Half the World.

16.30 – Panel: Book Covers: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly with John Picacio, Bella Pagan, Greg Manchess, Maurizio Manzieri and Irene Gallo in Capital Suite 4.

Sunday 28th September

18.00 – Bath Children’s Literature Festival, The Guildhall, High Street, Bath BA1 5AW. An event with Garth Nix, chaired by John McLay

Friday 10th October

20.30 – Cheltenham Literary Festival.  An event with Sarah Pinborough, Ben Aaronovitch, David Barnett and Mitch Benn.

So that’s me taken care of for the next couple of months…

Back Home

Posted on August 4th, 2014 in appearances, news

I have finally returned from my quick tour of the US, San Diego Comic Con, and Celsius 232 in Spain. It’s only a couple of weeks ago that I left but it feels like months.  10 flights in less than two weeks and a hell of a lot of signing, hand-shaking, and talking to readers, authors, publishers and other folk of all kinds.

San Diego Comic Con is quite the event – beyond massive.  The focus these days is obviously on the big media stuff but there’s still a hell of a lot going on with writers and publishers.  I’ve since realised there were all kinds of people there I know and never got to see.  I did many dinners, lunches and breakfasts.  I was driven in a golf cart through some dirty service tunnels beneath the convention centre wedged between George RR Martin and Diana Gabaldon and with Lev Grossman on the back.  Truth is, indeed, sometimes stranger than fiction.  I did four signings and was on two panels, one the yearly epic fantasy panel this year moderated by my arch-nemesis Brent Weeks (and I shall be revenged upon him, oh yes I shall), and featuring no less than eight authors.  Great authors, but that’s actually way too many, I think, it makes it impossible to really get any flow or conversation between them.  The introductions take ages, then you maybe get a response from each to one question, half a response to another, an effort from the audience and you’re basically done.  Still, you can watch that one over here.  Much better was a five-author effort with GRRM, Diana Gabaldon, Lev Grossman, and Pat Rothfuss, covering various elements of world building and writing epic stories.  There were maybe 6 or 700 people in the audience, I’m told (all there for me, I’m sure) and it was one of the best panels I’ve been on.  You can watch that one over here.

I also did some great events at independent bookstores – University Bookstore Seattle, Mysterious Galaxy San Diego, and Borderlands Books San Francisco, and ended up at the Cocteau Cinema in Santa Fe being interviewed by GRRM along with Cherie Priest discussing our careers and approaches to writing.

I then set off from Santa Fe for the Celsius 232 festival in Aviles, Spain.  They started this event three years ago and I’ve been every time – it’s amazing to see how the attendance has increased year on year.  It was always going to be a gruelling journey but as luck would have it the first plane was delayed, then broke down in Albuquerque, so I missed my connection from Dallas to Madrid and instead had to get to Madrid via Heathrow, and work out a new connection from Madrid to Oviedo.  To call it a total nightmare would be unfair to other nightmare journeys I’ve been on, it took 30 hours, 4 flights, 2 of them delayed, plus two lengthy car journeys, a bag mislaid, a bag search (though the officers did appear to have pressed my jacket afterward, which was nice).

The downside was that I missed my panel in Aviles and therefore the chance to talk at length about how great I am.  The upside was that Pat Rothfuss agreed very kindly to fill in and talk about how great I am instead, which I’m sure had far more impact on the audience, and I was able to do a great panel along with him and Brandon Sanderson the following day.

All in all an amazing time, but it’s a good thing I don’t have any other events coming up.

Until Worldcon in London next week…

US Events, now with SDCC

Posted on July 16th, 2014 in announcements, appearances, news

Greetings American cousins, my new book Half a King should now be available across the nation in hardcover, electronic, and audio formats.  But that’s not all, for on the 22nd July I shall be flying out to be present in your country in my actual person.  The main event is San Diego Comic Con, so I’m afraid there’s a West Coast flavour to my visits this time around but, fear not, I’ll hopefully be fitting in some east coast action early next year with the release of the sequel, Half the World.

Here’s the full itinerary, including my panels and signings at Comic Con:

Wednesday,  July 23 – SEATTLE, WA
Time: 7:00pm
University Bookstore
4326 University Way NE
Seattle, WA 98105

July 24 – July 27 – SAN DIEGO, CA
Comic-Con International

Thursday July 24, 4:00-5:00pm
PANEL: Putting the Epic in Epic Fantasy
Room 25ABC
Panelists: Robin Hobb, Raymond Feist, Django Wexler, Morgan Rhodes, Sam Sykes, Patrick Rothfuss, Brent Weeks
*Signing to immediately follow in Autograph Area

Friday, July 25, 11:00am-12:00Noon
SIGNING, Random House booth #1514

Saturday, July 26, 11:00am-12:00pm
SIGNING, Orbit booth #1116

Saturday, July 26, 3:00-4:00pm
SIGNING, Random House booth #1514

Saturday, July 26, 4:15-5:15pm
PANEL: Rulers of the Realm
Room 6A
Panelists: George R. R. Martin, Diana Gabaldon, Lev Grossman, Patrick Rothfuss

Sunday, July 27 – SAN DIEGO, CA
Time: 2:00pm  
Mysterious Galaxy
7051 Clairemont Mesa Blvd
San Diego, CA 92111

Monday, July 28 – SAN FRANCISCO, CA
Time: 7:00pm
Borderlands Books
866 Valencia St.
San Francisco, CA 94110

Tuesday, July 29 – TORRANCE, CA
Time: 7:00pm
Barnes & Noble
21500 Hawthorne Blvd
Torrance, CA 90503

Wednesday, July 30 – SANTA FE, NM
Time: 7:00pm
Jean Cocteau Cinema
418 Montezuma Ave
Santa Fe, NM 87501
*event with George Martin and Cherie Priest

And THEN it’s straight on to Celsius 232 in Aviles, Spain, along with Patrick Rothfuss and Brandon Sanderson, among others, with further details in due course.  I shall hope to see some of you at these events…

Half a King Published in the US!

Posted on July 15th, 2014 in announcements, news

Yes, celebrate, my cousins across the pond, for Half a King is published throughout the Land of the Free today.  It’s the Sunday Times no. 3 Hardcover Bestseller that GRRM called, ‘A fast paced tale of betrayal and revenge that grabbed me from page one and refused to let go,’ while Robin Hobb found it, ‘Enthralling. An up-all-night read,’ and Rick Riordan said it had, ‘eye-popping twists and rollicking good action.’  I could go on, but I already have, over here.  Take a look if you fancy seeing a trailer, reading an extract or further reviews or, I don’t know, maybe finding some buying options…

Off on Tour

Posted on June 28th, 2014 in appearances, news

I leave tomorrow for a tour of the UK, and in due course the US, for the release of Half a King. Bad news if you’re a devotee of this blog. Great news if you’re a resident of Edinburgh, Newcastle, Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Nottingham, Birmingham, London, Milton Keynes, Oxford, Bristol, Yeovil, Bath, Seattle, San Diego, San Francisco, Los Angeles, or Santa Fe OR if you’ve got any plans to attend the YA Lit Con/London Film and Comic Con, Edge Lit Derby, San Diego Comic Con, Celsius 232 Festival in Aviles Spain or Worldcon London. Phew. I’m going to be knackered.

Further details on the UK events HERE (with a quick note that the Edinburgh event has moved from the Pleasance Theatre to Blackwells store) and on the US events HERE.  Hope to see some of you out there…

Rogues Published, Half a King Soon

Posted on June 17th, 2014 in announcements, artwork, interviews, news

GRRM and Gardner Dozois’ latest cross-genre mega-anthology ROGUES has published in the US today, featuring stories from GRRM himself, Gillian Flynn, Neil Gaiman, Connie Willis, Pat Rothfuss, Scott Lynch, Paul Cornell, Cherie Priest and little old me, among many others.  My contribution is a hefty 12,000 word novelette, as it goes, following an eventful night in the life of a whole series of disreputable inhabitants of Sipani, a few old friends among them…

In other news, Half a King is out in just two and a half weeks in the UK on the 3rd of July (bites nails) and a week and a half later in the US on the 15th of July (bites them again).  I’ve got a piece up on the Waterstones blog about the genesis of the book AND there’s an interview with me at Den of Geek about writing for the (slightly) younger audience.

Hardcover copies of both are now in my possession.  They definitely do exist…

photo

UK in white, US in black, both looking rather beautiful, I would say, with silky, foil, and spot gloss finishes and all and they’re a pair of handsome hardcovers without the dust jackets too…

Half a King UK Events (update)

Posted on June 6th, 2014 in appearances, news

I now have all the details for late June/early July’s UK Events for the release of Half a King, including the Oxford event on the 4th July and the YA LitCon on the 12th…

Sunday 29th June

6.30pm – Evening talk with Blackwell’s Edinburgh at Blackwell’s Bookshop, 52-63, South Bridge, Edinburgh, EH1 IYS (MOVED FROM THE PLEASANCE THEATRE). Tickets are £5 available in store or on tel: 0131 622 8218.

Monday 30th June

12.30pm – Signing at Waterstones Newcastle, Emerson Chambers, Blackett Street, NE1 7JF. For more information please contact the store on: 0191 261 7757

7.00pm – Talk at Waterstones Liverpool One, 12 College Lane, L1 3DL. Tickets are £3 / £2 with loyalty card and available in store or on 0151 709 9820

Tuesday 1st July

6.30pm – Talk with Waterstones Manchester Deansgate at Manchester Central Library, St Peter’s Square, M2 5PD. Tickets £6/£4 loyalty cardholders and available in store or on 0161 837 3000

Wednesday 2nd July

12.30pm – Signing with Waterstones Sheffield, 24-26 Orchard Square, S1 2FB. For more information please contact the store on: 0114 272 8971

7.00pm – Talk with Waterstones Nottingham, 1/5 Bridlesmith Gate, NG1 2GR . Tickets are £3 and available in store or on: 0115 9470069

Thursday 3rd July

12.00pm – Signing with Waterstones Birmingham, 128 New Street B2 4DB. For more information please contact the store on: 0121 631 4333

4.30pm – Signing at Goldsboro Books London, 23-25 Cecil Ct, WC2N 4EZ. For more information please contact the store on: 020 7497 9230

Friday 4th July

12.00pm – Signing at Waterstones Milton Keynes Unit 72, Midsummer Place,  MK9 3GA. For more information please contact the store on: 01908 395384

Evening – Talk at Waterstones Oxford, William Baker House, Broad Street, Oxford, OX1 3AF. Tickets £5 / £3 with a loyalty card. For more information please contact the store on: 01865 790212

Saturday 5th July

1.30pm – Signing with Waterstones Bristol, 11A Union Galleries, BS1 3XD. For more information please contact the store on: 0117 925 2274

7.00pm – Talk with Waterstones Yeovil, 37a Middle Street, BA20 1LG. Tickets are £3 and available in store or on: 01935 479832

Friday 11th July

6.00pm – Signing at Forbidden Planet London, 179 Shaftesbury Ave, London WC2H 8JR. For more information contact the store on: 020 7420 3666

Saturday 12th July

10.30am – Talk and reading at YA Lit Con/London Film and Comic Con, on the book zone main stage, followed by a signing.

Wednesday 16th July

7.30 for 8.00pm – Talk at Toppings Bath, The Paragon, Somerset BA1 5LS. Tickets are £6 and available in store or on 01225 428111

Saturday 19th July

Edge Lit festival Derby

3.00pm – Panel: Are We Entering a New Era of Fantasy Fiction? Graham Edwards, Janet Edwards, Freda Warrington, Joe Abercrombie in Cinema 2

4.00pm – Guest of Honour Interview/Q&A in The Box

Copies of Half a King should be readily available at all events, even the ones before the 3rd July publication date.  Lunchtime events tend to be signings of a queue up and get your book signed variety, evening events tend to be ticketed and follow a short talk, reading, Q&A style format, followed by signing.  It would be only good manners to buy something from the store that’s hosting, but if you bring other books of mine to sign I’ll do my very best to oblige you. If you bring a lot of books (typically meaning you’re a dealer and are going to sell them) or have extravagant requests above and beyond simple signing and dedication, you might have to join the back of the queue and wait for the end.  We are somewhat at the mercy of the various shops’ staffing policies, so can’t absolutely promise to get to everything, but we certainly will try.

Incidentally, you will find dates for events in the US towards the end of July over here.