Giveaway – The Lies of Locke Lamora (again) (28/1/2013)

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Yesterday I signed a contract to write some SF with Gollancz. With spaceship and everything. More shortly…

Anyhow, this week I’m going to mention the old news of the freebie novella up on the Gollancz blog – a prelude to The Thief-Taker’s Apprentice. PDF here later this week. Or maybe next. But the reason for going a bit retro is that I’m giving away a book I’ve already given – away once before – a copy of The Lies of Locke Lamora, the first volume in the Gentlemen Bastard septet, the second of which is also out, the third of which still  appears to have vanished into a time loop. It remains, however, a damn fine read. Several attempts to contact the previous winner have failed and so it’s back. If you are the previous winner, and you’re just wondering why all those replies to all those mails I sent to that never got picked up, er… that’s a mystery to me too. But comment here and I’ll see if I can get a second copy and have two winners.

Usual deal – comment on this post before November 17th and I’ll randomly select a lucky victim for a free copy of the book. There’s no challenge again this week, although I’m quite curious to know what sort of things people would actually pay extra money (in a Kickster-esque tiered rewards sort of structure) for in a book – named characters, obviously, but what else…?

If you come up with something good, I’ll send an exciting bonus goody your way[1]. Although, though no one has yet complained about how long it takes me to get to the post office and post things, it can take a while and if you live abroad then it can take even longer. Sorry about that, but they do get there eventually. Well, so far.

[1] Exciting bonus goody not guaranteed to be exciting, but I do have an Angry Dragons mug to give away.

The Medusa Myth – Evan Style (25/1/2013)

Posted in Critical Failures

Yes, this is a proud-parent post. You have been warned…

A couple of years ago, number one sithling wrote his first story and I put it up because it had knights and dragons in it and also hog-roast, and you can’t say no to hog-roast. Number two sithling has a story too that he’d like to share. So here it is:

The Medusa Myth – Evan Style

by Evan

Age 7

Long ago, there lived a boy called Evan how was living with his mother. During a visit to Rome the Emperor falls in love with Evan’s mother  and kidnaps her. Evan is furious and sends a message to the Emperor demanding for his mother back. The Emperor said: NO! Only if you bring me the head of the fiercest lion in all of Rome. Evan goes to an island in a chariot and meets the goddess Diana who gives him a shield and a magic sword and flying sandals. Evan travels to another island to meet the three sisters who tell him where to find the great beast. The lion lives in a tunnel underneath an old amphitheatre in Rome. Evan uses his flying sandals again to get to Rome quickly and finds the lion in one of the tunnels. During a big long fight,Evan chops off the lion’s head and kills him. He puts the lion’s head in a bag and takes it to the Emperor. The Emperor is very surprised and agrees to let Evan’s mother go.

I believe I may have a synopsis for a short story…

Book Giveaway – The Black Mausoleum (21/1/2013)

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Here’s a thing not to do: Write 80% of the first draft of something, go and do a stack of other things for three months, then come back and try to write the last 20% imagining you still know everything that was going on and understand the characters. . . Anyway, the first draft of The Black Mausoleum III: The Splintered God is almost done now. The Black Mausoleum II: Dragon Queen is apparently coming out in August now (Not My Fault this time!), and it’s been a while since I put up a precious original Black Mausoleum title, so here goes. There probably won’t be another copy going up for quite some time.

The Black Mausoleum was a deliberate change of approach over the previous dragon books. Gone are the political machinations and the wheels within wheels – this is much more about survival and a rag-tag band of characters who really can’t stand each other. Probably the best cover in the series too. Signed and lined to the luck winner, of course.


Usual rules apply – comment here to be entered and I’ll pick a winner at random on Friday evening. Competition (as usual) is open worldwide. Outside Europe I ship by surface mail to keep the costs down so please be patient.

Giveaway – Poison ARC (15/1/2013)

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This week, thanks to the kind ediors at Gollancz, I have an ARC of Poison by Sarah Pinborough to give away.

“…a beautifully illustrated retelling of the Snow White story which takes all the elements of the classic fairytale that we love (the handsome prince, the jealous queen, the beautiful girl and, of course, the poisoning) and puts a modern spin on the characters, their motives and their desires. It’s fun, contemporary, sexy, and perfect for fans of ONCE UPON A TIME, GRIMM, SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN and more.”

I haven’t read it yet, but knowing Sarah, expect something sharp, sexy and deeper than it look.

Poison cover

Usual deal – comment on this post before January 19th and I’ll randomly select a lucky victim for a free copy of the book. No special requests this week, just any old comment will do.

Although, though no one has yet complained about how long it takes me to get to the post office and post things, it can take a while and if you live abroad then it can take even longer. Sorry about that, but they do get there eventually. Well, so far.

I Have Nothing To Say So Here’s A Cat Picture (10/1/13)

Posted in Critical Failures | Temp

The Ferg

Giveaway – The Warlock’s Shadow (7/1/2013)

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Yay! New Year! It’s been an interesting few days. Two proposals sent to agent last Friday (proper news if they ever come to anything), my publisher is doing three tie-in novels for Elite: Dangerous and Ezio is now about a quarter of the way through kicking the Borgias out of Rome. Yesterday I was writing about turning Europa into a single vast detector for tau-neutrinos, today some dodgy ex-soldiers are about to raid a Brixton nightclub and tomorrow someone gets blown up by a bomb meant for someone else. Back to dragons next week though. Speaking of dragons. . .

warlocks shadow cover - shrunk

I have another copy going begging. And it doesn’t have any dragons in it but it does mention something about that that might just come back again in Dragon Queen. Usual deal – comment on this post before January 12th and I’ll randomly select a lucky victim for a free copy of the book. I liked the new year resolutions suggestions from last week so feel free to make some more, though I’ll not make it a pre-requisite this week. Since it’s one of mine, I’ll sign and line it of you like.

Although, though no one has yet complained about how long it takes me to get to the post office and post things, it can take a while and if you live abroad then it can take even longer. Sorry about that, but they do get there eventually. Well, so far.

The Meaning of Life (4/1/2013)

Posted in Critical Failures

So this is a bit of a counterpoint to last week’s gloom about dementia and the inevitability of people you love coming to an end. This is about wonder.

Number two sithling is a bit of a charmer and a bit of a fireball. He’s seven and lives entirely in the moment. Not all children are like this. Certainly number one was more measured even at that age, but for number two the world is either one vast apocalyptic calamity as far as the eye can see or else it’s a single massive candy-park entirely made of awesome. I rather envy him how everything is all right here, right now. He’s also disgustingly cute, with big brown eyes and the sort of lashes that women kill for and dimples when he smiles that annihilate all cynical thought within fifty paces.

It is entirely possible that some degree of parental bias crept into that last sentence.

Anyway, the sithlings and I went and found one of these leisure centre swimming pools with windy-bendy waterslides. Number one sithling has much love for waterslides and so do I, but number two was scared of them, and since he’s too young to leave on his own that’s always been the end of that. This time we showed up to find the place half empty. We could see right away that the queues were going to be really short. It took a while but eventually we persuaded number two to at least climb the tower so number one could slide. He wasn’t much impressed, but it was obvious what was going to happen next, because when you’re a younger sibling, there’s no way in hell your big brother can be allowed to be better at anything. So we watch number one sithling vanish into a tunnel and number two sithling asks if maybe he and I can slide together, and I say OK, and do we get up to give it a go, only as we’re about to slide, he lets go without me and he’s off, and I hesitate and then I know that if I follow now, he’s going to be floundering in the water right there at the exit and I’m going to hit him like an express train and it’ll be all kinds of bad. So I wait, ears pricked for the terrified wails coming out of the tunnel. Nothing. As soon as it’s safe, I dive in. At the bottom I find him waiting by the splash-pool with a bemused look on his face. No sad-clown face at least (he can still do the sad-clown face when he’s really upset) but I’m fully expecting to take both barrels of parental guilt as he demands to know why I didn’t do what I said and slide with him and keep him safe.

Instead I get the big wide eyes and the baffled what-the-hell-just-happened look, and everything hangs in the balance.

“You OK?” I ask. He nods, so bite the bullet. “How was it.”

And that’s the moment. The moment when his face lights up and a huge grin rips across his face with all three dimples turned up to ten. “It was awesome.”

We spend the rest of the of the afternoon running up the tower and sliding down. And it was, indeed, awesome, but what I still carry with me is the moment he lit up. The moment of discovery when what was forbidden or barred or too frightening to approach suddenly snap-changes into a whole new world of possibility. When I was younger, I used to think the meaning of life lay in those moments, in crossing the boundaries of my own fears, but now I think I only had it half right. It lies, truly, in watching someone else take to the wing and knowing you had a part in showing them their possibilities.

We should give each other wings, not cages. And water-slides too. Because water-slides are indeed awesome.