Dragons with new faces (20/6/2012)

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New covers for old words: The Memory of Flames re-release has entirely new art. Although less entirely new if you’ve seen the US covers.I’ve never quite been able to decide which ones I like more…



adpalaceCover first draftORDER OF THE SCALES draft cover

A timeless classic sort of look… or DRAGONS! RAAAARRRR!

And I get to have both :-)

Publication Day (again) (25/2/11)

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The Order of the Scales officially became published on Thursday last week. Since there were no ARCs or review copies sent out, much nail-biting continues; but if covers sell books, this one should be a winner. Have I mentioned how good the cover is? Have I mentioned it enough yet? The online pictures simply don’t do it justice. Foil! Flames! Dragons! Complete lack of anything obvious to say it’s the third book in a trilogy… oh, wait, maybe that’s not so great. Ah well.

So apart from the nail-biting, that’s that.I’d post an excerpt, except I already did that. So here’s a tiny tiny snippet of the next book to come out instead: The Warlock’s Shadow.

Sailors swaggered back and forth, some of them bleary-eyed from a sleepless night in one of the drinking holes that filled the darker alleys beyond. A line of burly men had formed a human chain, picking up sacks and crates from boats drawn up against the edge of the harbour and passing them along to a milling cluster of carts. Further along the waterfront, another chain was passing supplies across the dockside from a warehouse out onto a cluster of jetties. A party of black-skinned Taiytakei traders in their rainbow robes and their bright feathers walked serenely out from the Avenue of Emperors, discretely escorted by half a dozen snuffers to keep the worst of the riff-raff at bay. A squad of imperial soldiers lounged around a covered wagon. Yellow and silver robed priests of the sun and the moon walked side by side, the faithful and the desperate following in their wake like the tail of a comet. Gangs of rough men, press-gangs, lurked by the dockside flophouses like sand-spiders waiting to pounce. Boys ran weaving between them all, carrying news and messages, or else simply mischief. Berren smiled to himself. He could never quite shake the feeling of coming home whenever he visited the docks.

Uncaged Alchemists (17/5/2011)

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In two days, The Order of the Scales is officially published in the UK, although you can probably wander into Waterstones and buy it now. That’s the end of the memory of Flames trilogy, for better or for worse. It’s a series that has tried to dig a little deeper with each book. We started with politics and intrigue, murder, sex and betrayal in The Adamantine Palace. Now it’s a battle for survival, one species against another, and both of them will do terrible things. There was never meant to be a ‘right side’ or a ‘wrong side’ and there are certainly no traditional heroes in either camp (and hopefully by the end, the villains will turn out to be more complex than they initially seemed). What there is is a big fucking great problem and not enough being done about it. For some, it’s simply too difficult, but for most, it’s simply that dealing with it gets in the way of their own ambitions, and frankly, the problem belongs to someone else – it’s what the alchemists are for, dammit.

If you read the book and read the dedication, you’ll probably guess that I, personally, would root for the alchemists. And whether they suceed in the end and somehow put the genie back in the bottle, whether they fail and all burn, whether they manage some sort of ugly compromise, or mysteriously unite into a future of happy co-existence, you can be sure it would have been a lot easier without any of the people with crowns on their heads getting in the way.

By co-incidence, I happened to be at a talk last night given by a a group of people I will describe as contemporary alchemists. Bad Science (Ben Goldacre’s blog – I particularly liked this one) is worthy of your attention. As is this, this (sorry to pick on Canada) and this if only for the mission statement.

Support your neighbourhood alchemist! Or dragons will get you :-)

Nothing Better to Do (18/4/2011)

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Until Easter I’ve given myself a little downtime. After Eastercon I’ll be working on The King’s Assassin and Prince of Swords until summer, but I thought hey – a few days off, right? And there’s that Genre for Japan story to write.

In the meantime, here’s a couple of tasters for your amusement: For the Order of the Scales and for The Warlock’s Shadow. Enjoy.

The Order of the Scales – Taster

Posted in Excerpts

They hate us. They fear us. They revile us. They outlaw us. And as they do these things, they forget what we truly are. But we do not. We remember. For we tamed dragons.

No News (2/3/2011)

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There was going to be a long post about the Jorvik Viking festival today, filled with juicy facts and photos of people covered in lots of metal hitting each other with more metal. It’s certainly the first time I’ve seen sparks really fly when two fellows have at each other with swords and the whole experience was quite educational for anyone wanting (as I do) an understanding of the evolution of military tactics and technology in the middle ages.

But then some stuff came up that was more exciting. MUCH more exciting. And rather appropriate to the setting but sadly I can’t talk about it just yet. There will be an announcement at the start of April, and that’s all I can say. In the mean time, I leave you with the facts that the vikings used to wash their hair in horse piss to burn the nits out, which is why they often had yellow hair, and that a certain kind of parasitic worm was rife that just wandered around inside viking bodies as it pleases. So add to your generic picture of a viking a strong scent of horse wee and maybe a worm hanging out of his eye. Yum.

Proof-reading for The Order of the Scales is done. Working on The Kings Assassin now – should have a finished first draft in the next couple of weeks. No flying castles in this one, but a nasty, nasty little girl.

There’s also a nasty rumour going around that Diamond Cascade was eaten by a sand-shark while I wasn’t looking. There. Will. Be. Trouble.

The Grudge (14/12/10)

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So here’s a rather soundtrack for the whole Memory of Flames trilogy. It’s not music that I write to, but they’re a few songs that resonate with the story or the characters within it.

Ultravox: Young Savage

Placebo: EveryYou Every Me

Tool: The Grudge

Muse: Knights of Cydonia

OK, not much of a soundtrack for three whole books, but it makes quite a good set for a session on the cross-trainer :-)

And here’s a little taster for book three. It was quite hard to find a chapter that didn’t have a spoiler in it, but I don’t think it’s giving too much away to let it be known that there are some seriously peeved dragons on the loose. I reckon y’all were expecting that…