Monday, 10 October 2016

I have an Agent!

In other writing news, I received an email last week from a literary agent. Expecting the old ‘I liked it, but…’ rejection that every writer who has ever submitted anything gets, I found myself stopping and reading again. Why? This was no rejection email - this was an agent saying she loved my novel and was offering a Skype call to discuss representation!!!

We arranged a day and time and a few days passed in a daze. I logged into Skype 45 minutes early…or I tried to, on two machines… panicked searching revealed logins to Skype were down worldwide. Argh!! Nightmare! Except, it was only for apps, and Skype for Web worked fine, phew, last minute save.

The discussion went incredibly well and I’m ecstatic to say that I’m signing with Amanda Rutter of Red Sofa Literary. This novel of mine will be heading out into the world after a few nips and tucks.

FantasyCon 2016 and Book Launches

It’s been an eventful and exciting month for me on the writing front, a whirlwind of new experiences, nerve-wracking waits and last minute panics (more on this in the very next post).

First up we had FantasyCon 2016, FantasyCon by The Sea, in Scarborough at the end of September. It was great catching up with friends from all over and talking books, writing, and nonsense of all sorts. As always happens at these conventions, my best intentions of going to see a wide range of interesting panels goes mostly unfulfilled in favour of talking in the bar. That said, some of the things I did go to included:

-Author Miles Cameron (of The Red Knight fame) talking about war logistics, scouting, water supplies, and why Sauron should have waged economic warfare on Gondor to bring it to ruin instead of going for ‘The Big Win’.

-Jonathan Oliver, editor-in-chief of Solaris and Abaddon books had a candid and informative talk on the world of agents and publishing and on how much input his authors have on cover ideas (a lot): “I want a picture of me punching a bear in the face.”  “Yeah, OK.”

-Marcus Gipps, editor with Gollancz, answering questions on his life as an editor and on just how few books he is allowed to buy a year. He also refused to provide me with any blackmail on Edward Cox, drat him for his closed-lip ways :p

-An interesting panel on anti-heroes that featured, amongst others, Neil Williamson and Adrian Faulkner.

-The Gemmell Awards, where a lot of truly excellent books were up for the Morningstar award, including Battlemage by Stephen Aryan, The Vagrant by Peter Newman, and Starborn by Lucy Hounsom… with the frankly huge award bust eventually won by Peter Newman for The Vagrant.

And then there was my stuff…
On the Saturday of the con’ Thirty Years of Rain launched alongside offerings from the excellent Newcon Press and a small selection of our authors were signing books – my first ever signing! At which point I realised I need to come up with a list of witty comments to write in books. Also, remember to bring a pen, you fool! Oops.

This was then followed by my first ever story reading, to a small room of people. Eep! *Has flashbacks to horrible high school English talks (it was on sharks if you are interested)* It went well, and I had excellent reading-mates in Neil Williamson, Ruth EJ Booth and Ian Hunter.

The week after heralded the second launch of Thirty Years of Rain, and this time a horde of people packed into Watersones on Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow. There were excellent readings from Elaine Gallagher, Ruth EJ Booth, Elsie WK Donald, Ian Hunter, Michael Cobley and Hal Duncan. Then followed a Pokemon hunt (gotta catch em all) to track down the contributing members of the Glasgow SF Writer’s Circle in attendance to get their scrawl down on paper. All in all, an excellent night!

Photo thanks to Stewart Horn

Monday, 29 August 2016

Thirty Years of Rain book launch

Celebrating 30 years of the Glasgow Science Fiction Writer's Circle (yes, really, 30! Years!), Thirty Years of Rain is being launched next month. It being the rainy city of Glasgow, we feel it is an entirely appropriate title.

Many fine wordsmiths have sat in a circle on a rainy night critiquing stories at the GSFWC before decanting to a nearby pub to buy the poor author a pint to numb the pain. A large number of weird and wonderful stories have been born from that very post-crit pub chat. Many of our members have gone on to have stories and/or novels published professionally, people like Gary Gibson, Hal Duncan, Neil Williamson, William King, Michael Cobley, amongst many others.

There will be a book launch at FantasyCon this year at 3pm on Saturday 24th alongside NewCon Press in the Main Ballroom of The Grand hotel.

We will also be holding a more local launch on 30th September in Waterstones Sauchiehall St, in Glasgow at 7pm (details here)

Come along for the launch, buy a book, join the chat. Or maybe even join the group and come along to the GSFWC sometime.

Thirty Years of Rain, featuring:

T.J. Berg
William King
Gary Gibson
Elsie W.K. Donald
Ruth E.J. Booth
Heather Valentine
Anya Penfold
Brian M. Milton
Ian Hunter
Michael Cobley
Cameron Johnston
Jim Campbell
T.W. Moses
Stewart Horn
Fergus Bannon
Hal Duncan
Elaine Gallagher
Peter Morrison
Louise Welsh
Kenneth Kelly
Duncan Lunan
Jim Steel
Matthew Horsley
Richard Mosses
Eliza Chan
Neil Williamson
Amal El-Mohtar
Michael Mooney
Phil Raines

Friday, 26 August 2016

The Literary Murder

It's a special kind of honour when a friend gives you a cameo in their novel, especially when they kill you off in horrible ways.

Hat's off to Edward Cox for including me in The Watcher of Dead Time - an excellent end to a fascinating series.

May I return this favour sooner rather than later ;)

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Dr Strange LEGO

I an unashamedly a fan of LEGO, having rekindled my love for it over the last five years. At some point I will even post my ye olde fantasy tavern for villains that I've been building, a haven away from those pesky do-gooder adventurers. 

The Dr Strange set was a lot of fun to build, much more interesting than many smaller sets, and the tentacle monster o'doom is fantastic. Of course I livened the scene up with a few of Dr Strange's colleagues. The story here is: Never let Deadpool play with your stuff!

Monday, 15 August 2016

Thirty Years of Rain

The Glasgow SF Writers' Circle 30th anniversary anthology is almost finished! *much excitement and celebration* We have called it Thirty years of Rain, and as anybody living in Scotland can tell you, it's an incredibly apt name.

A whole heap of work has gone into this, and some hard decisions too, and I'm so happy with how it has turned out. We have some truly amazing and wonderful, and creepily disturbing stories between the pages from well-known authors, and some old hands and up-and-comers alike.
Expect more exciting details soon! :)

I'm very happy to be returning to writing my own fiction, but I think I've learned some important things from this, not least polishing of my editorial skills, an improvement that I can hopefully apply to my own writing.

Friday, 27 May 2016

Satellite 5 - HEMA: put­ting fen­cing in­to fight s­cenes

On Sunday I will be on a panel at the Satellite 5 convention in Glasgow:

HEMA: put­ting fen­cing in­to fight s­cenes
17:30 - 18:30 in Destiny

HEMA is His­tor­ical European Mar­tial Arts. Jo an­d h­er help­er­s provide a quick tour of the weapon­s used in dif­ferent peri­od­s, with the main fo­cus be­ing on s­word­s.

Jo Thomas (M), Rob Adams, Cameron Johnston

Hope to see you there! Some of my esteemed minions will be taking photos, so after carefully eradicating the ones that make me look bad, I will post some up on here.
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