Book Giveaway: The Incorruptibles (25/5/2014)

Posted in Uncategorized

The last major reworking of The Silver Kings is done and I have what feels like a finished book ready now. The spit-and-polish and editing and so forth will now begin. I both love and hate this time in a book’s life. It comes with a great sense of achievement that it’s basically done and with a sense of loss, because now I say goodbye to some characters I’ve grown very fond of, and a (stupid) sense of fear that I’ll never be able to write again.

This week’s giveaway is The Incorruptibles by John Hornor Jacobs. It’s not out yet, so you might have to wait a but, but I’ve read an unproofed ARC and it’s a marvelous. Somewhere across between Deadwood and Rome with demon-powered six-shooters. Here’s the blurb:

“In the contested and unexplored territories at the edge of the Empire, a boat is making its laborious way up stream. Riding along the banks are the mercenaries hired to protect it – from raiders, bandits and, most of all, the stretchers, elf-like natives who kill any intruders into their territory. The mercenaries know this is dangerous, deadly work. But it is what they do.

In the boat the drunk governor of the territories and his sons and daughters make merry. They believe that their status makes them untouchable. They are wrong. And with them is a mysterious, beautiful young woman, who is the key to peace between warring nations and survival for the Empire. When a callow mercenary saves the life of the Governor on an ill-fated hunting party, the two groups are thrown together.

For Fisk and Shoe – two tough, honourable mercenaries surrounded by corruption, who know they can always and only rely on each other – their young companion appears to be playing with fire. The nobles have the power, and crossing them is always risky. And although love is a wonderful thing, sometimes the best decision is to walk away. Because no matter how untouchable or deadly you may be, the stretchers have other plans.”

It’s short and sharp and I liked it. It’s officially out in August, but if you’re lucky you might get an early copy – depends whether our mutual editor is feeling in a good mood or not. Also, if the Gods of Random don’t happen to favour you this time, it’s ridiculously cheap (£1.99) as a pre-order e-book for a limited period.

Usual deal – comment on this post before the end of June and I’ll randomly select a lucky victim.This week you have to help me out, and if you don’t then I’ll know you didn’t read to the bottom of the post and your comment won’t count :-p

I have proposals to submit for something new. Tell me which one most grabs your attention. My editor and agent will probably choose something entirely different and we’ll all fail to agree, but you never know. Am curious to see if a strong favourite emerges:

1: Fantasy. City-based. A misfit gang of thieves accidentally get themselves caught up in an empire-spanning conspiracy and really wish they hadn’t. With occasional zombies and silly hats.

2: A handful of secret and not-so-secret magicians find themselves pulled into the first world war. With arcane tanks, sentient bears, djinn and Rasputin.

3. San Francisco. 1972. Surfers. Hippies. Dope. Aliens. A surreal cold-war conspiracy thriller with an extra-terrestrial prize.

4. A misfit bunch of space-cops in a backwater future world find themselves investigating odd crimes which aren’t as unrelated as they first appear.

5. Baroque Space Opera I struggle to describe better than “Dune meets Game of Thrones”

Comment to tell me which one you like best and you’re in. 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. I am currently a couple of weeks behind.

More Gallow and a Gallow Giveaway (19/5/2014)

Posted in News

Still rewriting The Silver Kings. If I ever try to write a character as vexingly complicated as Zafir again, someone please shoot me.

Anyway, this week there is some good news for any Gallow and Nathan Hawke fans out there. To keep things smouldering along a bit while we all work out whether enough people want to see more Gallow for anyone to want to publish any more novels, I’ve agreed with Gollancz to write three shortish stories. No firm dates for publication as yet since they haven’t been written, but I imagine it’ll be as soon as reasonably possible. There’s also an e-book omnibus of the original novels available here.

That being the case I think I’ll give away another couple of Nathan Hawke books this week, Cold Redemption and The Last Bastion. The Last Bastion picks up from where Cold Redemption leaves off, so they’re pretty much a couple.

cold redemption cover lo-resCover artwork lo-res

Usual deal – comment on this post before May 25th  and I’ll randomly select lucky victims. This week I want to know WHY HAVEN’T YOU READ DRAGON QUEEN YET… No, this week I want you to vote, if you’re eligible. Just vote. I mean in the elections, not for which book you like best (yes, Mike, I’m looking at YOU).

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.

Elite: Wanted (May 2014 UK)

Posted in Books

A tie-in book for the forthcoming Elite: Dangerous game became available to download in e-book form on 15th May 2014. A hardback version will be release later on the 16th October, by which time we should all be busy murdering and pirating each other through the beta release of the game at the very least. Please buy it so I can afford a new PC with which to actually run the damn game…

Here’s an extract and here’s the cover.

wanted cover - lo res

There are the usual Amazon and Goodreads reviews kikcing about. To be blunt, I never expect a tie-in novel to get any sort of review coverage beyond that, but here’s what’s come up do far:

“I’ve enjoyed “Wanted” much more than I was supposed to enjoy any tie-in novel. Deas and Smith spin a mightily interesting yarn and I’ve especially enjoyed the way personal lives of characters influenced their decisions and often completely changed the course of events. This is in spirit of the original Elite which was not about heroes as such – it was more about small people trying to find their place in an endless, violently merciless environment. Having said that, the story does end up rather abruptly. Final 30-40 pages are some of the finest sci-fi I’ve ever read and admittedly I wanted to read more.” Upcoming4me

I’m not going to say anything about the ending except please don’t blame the editor. He hated it. It’s a very marmite last page.

a joy to read for those into action SF

This one actually feels like it’s set in the Elite: Dangerous universe for a start. The characters and situations are a bit more credible. And there’s a lot of fighting in spaceships. What more could I ask for?

“…a fast, frentic space opera that pays homage to Elite in the best possible way.”

Book Giveaway: Dragon Queen (12/5/2014)

Posted in Uncategorized

Ziva rammed the throttle wide open and threw the Fer-de-Lance into a tight spin, spitting out countermeasures in a classic tesseract pattern. Her wingman, a second Fer-de-Lance, shot between the incoming missiles and her countermeasure bloom, adding to the confusion, but it didn’t make a difference. The Cobra Mk. III was still coming at her. Somehow it had shot all four of her missiles before they’d burst and scattered their warheads and now the Cobra was firing steadily at her with frightening accuracy. Whatever software it was running was unreal and she wanted it.

The second Fer-de-Lance twisted away. He always did that. ‘Turn and take him head on you weasel,’ she muttered.

A lucky shot from the Cobra punched a hole through the crystal titanium skin over the Fer-de-Lance’s port engine. Several cubic centimetres of ablative armour vaporised and took most of the laser’s sting, but not quite enough. Even at this range, the beam of the Cobra’s military laser was still needle thin. The last vestiges stabbed into the engine’s heart and wrecked a power relay no bigger than a thumbnail. A magnetic containment field, already strained to breaking point by Ziva’s frantic manoeuvring, collapsed and raw plasma at eight million Kelvin erupted through the port engine, scouring everything. Damage control cut in at once, raising a magnetic shield and deflecting the plasma outward. The starboard engine started adjusting to compensate but it wasn’t fast enough. The rogue plasma burst out of the ship, kicking it sideways, rupturing the port engine cowling as it went. The kick was hard, hard enough that it almost knocked Ziva out. The ship started to tumble, frantically dumping heat from the engines and ruining Ziva’s perfect countermeasure tesseract.

Before she could do a thing about it, the two chasing missiles arrived milliseconds apart. Their proximity fuses triggered and both warheads burst around her into a scatter of pinhead-sized anti-hydrogen mines. Invisible and lethal. Two seconds later, the first mine hit and the Fer-de-Lance bloomed in a blaze of energy. Overwhelmed shields collapsed and the ship, missiles and mines exploded together with the gamma-flash of a dying star. That was the thing about the Fer-de-Lance: it was a true thoroughbred of a ship but with so much performance crammed into such a tight envelope that it didn’t have the backups and built-in redundancy of the more robust Cobra. Too many single points of failure.

The other Fer-de-Lance frantically ejected countermeasures of its own and darted behind the radiation burst that had once been Ziva’s ship. Its fusion plume flared as the pilot floored the throttle to get away. He turned and ran. The follow-up salvo of missiles from the pursuing Cobra fuzed on the decoys.

Ziva crashed out of the simulation and slammed the flight panel of the Dragon Queen in disgust. ‘Fuck! Again!’

- o O o -

More beating The Silver Kings into shape this week. On Thursday Elite:Wanted comes out in e-book, but only in e-book so I can’t give a copy of it away until it comes out in paper form later in the year. So since I can’t, this week’s giveaway is a choice between a paper copy of the Elite book if you don’t mind waiting or else a copy of Dragon Queen, whihc came out in paperback a few weeks ago and after which Ziva’s ship is named. You choose!

wanted cover - lo res

Dragon Queen lo-res cover

Usual deal – comment on this post before May 18th and I’ll randomly select a lucky victim for a free copy of whichever book you choose. Give me a comment with either a cool name for a dragon or a cool name for a spaceship (just for fun – I won’t be using them) and we’ll have a popularity contest: dragons vs. spaceships.

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 am currently very behind so if you’re waiting for a book from a previous giveaway they’re all in the post.

Ignorance, Bigotry and a Free Book (5/5/2014)

Posted in Critical Failures

It’s been a busy couple of weeks, so please excuse the lack of more free books. It’s been dragons and dragons and more dragons as well as some work on some proposals for what might come after dragons. I might post something about the benign annoyance of proposal-writing one day. But mostly it’s been about getting The Silver Kings knocked into shape before Summer, and it’s getting there, and another thing I might post about is how a character can come out of the background and take over what will ultimately be 700k words of prose. Thanks, Zafir. I think.

Usually I skip on to the free book about here. If that’s what you want to do then that’s find – scroll down past the cover art picture and you can skip to the end, but for the rest of this post I’m going to digress and rant a bit about top-ten lists and the difference between ignorance and bigotry, and it’s going to start with my own top-ten list of the greatest explorers of all time. Here goes (in no particular order): Continue reading “Ignorance, Bigotry and a Free Book (5/5/2014)”

Elite: Wanted – an excerpt

Posted in Excerpts

Meet Ziva Eschel, bounty hunter.