As ever, The Book Depository is your friend if you don’t live in the UK. Free postage worldwide. Probably cheaper than waiting for it to come out in your own country.
The eagle-eyed among you who’ve been reading the comments will also note that I’ve also been asked to be a Guest of Honour at the Steampunkfestivalen 2014 in Gävle, Sweden. Highly excited am I. The festival is still being planned so details as they emerge, but any excuse to engage my steam-powered Death-Suit and rampage among unsuspecting attendees firing bolts of electricity from my Tesla Cannon is frankly not to be missed.
What have I been up to, you ask? Oh, I’ve been working on some secret TV & movie projects, can’t tell you, very hush hush etc. God, screenwriting is fun though. A much needed break from books. Things are all going to come screeching to a halt at the end of the week however, cos I’m off to Japan & China for a month to hang out in mountain ryokans, primeval forests and sweaty heaving markets. Why? Just because. Seems ridiculous given my profession, but I haven’t had a holiday longer than a week in about five years. So now I am
Keen followers of the comments section will already know that there is an audio version of Retribution Falls available to buy, narrated by Rupert Degas, who does a bang-up job even if I do say so myself. Here’s a sample so you can check it out!
The file is available from Audible either from their site or through Amazon here.
I understand The Ace Of Skulls‘ release date has come forward a month and will now be 19th September in the UK & Commonwealth. US I don’t know, that’s up to Titan Books.
Meantimes, I have been tapping away at some screenplay stuff, which I shall keep all very close to my chest as I’m still getting emails from kids who’ve found posts from 2003 about an Alaizabel movie and are all like ‘OMG can I be the star?’ The Internet never forgets. Dear God, what have we created?
The back-jacket summary is up on Amazon now, so I guess it’s out there. Consider yourself blurbed, people!
(NOTE – SPOILERS FOR PREVIOUS BOOKS IN THIS TEXT. DON’T LOOK IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THE FIRST THREE)
Everyone still with me who wants to be? Good.
Just making sure…
All good things come to an end. And this is it: the last stand of the Ketty Jay and her intrepid crew.
They’ve been shot down, set up, double-crossed and ripped off. They’ve stolen priceless treasures, destroyed a ten-thousand-year-old Azryx city and sort-of-accidentally blew up the son of the Archduke. Now they’ve gone and started a civil war. This time, they’re really in trouble.
As Vardia descends into chaos, Captain Frey is doing his best to keep his crew out of it. He’s got his mind on other things, not least the fate of Trinica Dracken. But wars have a way of dragging people in, and sooner or later they’re going to have to pick a side. It’s a choice they’ll be staking their lives on.
Cities fall and daemons rise. Old secrets are uncovered and new threats revealed.
By which I mean I’ve actually delivered it now, all edited and everything. Almost exactly a year after I started plotting it. Man, this one took me a long time!
As ever, the feeling of delivery is actually kinda anticlimactic. I email it away to my editor, I look around the empty room a bit, I think ‘Hm, what shall I do now?’ Then I toddle off and tidy up a random corner of the flat or make some toast or bat at the toggle of a window blind for a while. I know it’ll be coming back to me in about a month with various corrections and changes. I hope they won’t be anything serious that can’t be fixed with a couple of sentences here and there, rather than the old finger-busting rewrites I used to have to do back in Braided Path days. I’ll probably take the rest of the week off (ie tomorrow) and next week I’ll start thinking about something new.
Not a book, though. Right now I feel like I never want to write another description of anything again, ever. I really badly need a break from prose work to freshen up the ole batteries or whatever. Probably I’ll get into doing some screenwriting for a bit. Comics. Video game work. Maybe a pamphlet of haiku. Some performance poetry. Copywriting for adverts. Possibly not those last three.
A world of possibilities has opened before me. I stare into the wide open spaces and think: ‘Ooo. What sort of story shall I tell next?’
See the trend there? I’m sure there must be some equation for this. I’m a zesty campaigner versus bloat in F/SF books, and I’m very aware in my own books that any scene in it needs to justify its inclusion. Yet even keeping it as trimmed as I possibly can, plotlines multiply, characters grow and demand more page time, payoffs need to be paid off… more and more needs to be fitted in. And there was a hell of a lot to be fitted in to this last book. You’ll see
I actually thought AOS was shorter than Iron Jackal till I totted it up. No wonder it took me so bloody long!
Anyways, I’m embarking on the edit proper tomorrow. Am actually quite excited to get out the editorial axe, even though I don’t usually have to swing it much these days, what with my hyper ruthless plotting techniques. Probably it will still end up the longest of the four, but that’s only natural. Each of the three previous books set up many things for the biggie at the end. So, er, here’s hoping you all like the finale! No pressure :-/
Yes, you heard me. The Ace of Skulls is done. In fact, the whole Ketty Jay series is done. To see it all come together at the end, payoffs that have been five years or so in the making, it’s all rather spooky. All those characters I’ve had in my head all that time. Wow.
Those of you who’ve followed this blog will know that finishing the first write-through is not the end of the process; there’ll be edits, and re-edits, and all kinds of tweaking and bolt-tightening and all of that. But, like… it’s done! I wrote the final line and everything. In fact, the entire finale was written in a frenetic rush amid flat-moving and Christmas and half a dozen other things, and I’ve been so ridiculously busy that all of a sudden it feels like a runaway train just shot off the end of the tracks and is now soaring gracefully through the air and into a very large and very deep canyon.
I’m off out to where beer lives. It seems the sensible thing to do.
Ah, Christmas. When I was a spry young thing I used to work 7 days a week, more or less, and Christmas was faintly annoying because it’s very hard to write while drunk and food is oozing out of your every orifice. But now I’m a raddled old shell of a man I actually have things like weekends and sometimes, rarely, even holidays! So right now I’m officially downing my quill for a week or so, the better to wallow in my own crapulence.
I said crapulence, not cr… ah, forget it.
Progress update: 39 chapters of The Ace of Skulls have been clubbed to death; 7 or 8 of the little critters are still gnashing at my ankles. I’d say it’s gonna come in about the same length as The Black Lung Captain, a little shorter than The Iron Jackal. Still well on course for an autumn release next year. We’ve already had the cover art in and it looks ace. I’ll post it up once the designers have done their bit.
Broken Sky re-edit is crawling along slowly as I’m only really doing it on trains and buses and so forth: am concentrating on getting the Ketty Jay stuff done for the moment. I’m some way into Act 2. I’d forgotten, like, everything that happens in that book.
No other news, really. It’ll pick up in the new year, honest!
Wow, you didn’t have to be patient for long! So here’s the news. I’m very pleased to announce that Titan Books are picking up the Ketty Jay series in the US. The first two books were published by Spectra but when the editor who commissioned them left the company, the series was stuck in limbo for a long while. Thanks to Titan Books, US readers will now be able to complete the series without having to import them.
Though it’s early days and I don’t have all the details, I do know that various ebook rights were wrapped up in the deal too. So it’s a virtual certainty that ebooks will be made available alongside the print editions. I gather that this affects Canadian ebooks too, though I’m still probing and poking about to be sure that Kindle editions get out there in the Canadian market too, as I understand there’ve been problems getting them in the Amazon store.
Today I hit the three-quarter mark on Ace Of Skulls and am into the home straight. A part of me will be sad to end it, but mostly I’m excited. Four books is a long haul, the longest I’ve ever done, and I’m looking forward to getting closure on a series I’ve worked on and loved for four or five years now. I don’t think I have it in me to be a GRRM or a Robert Jordan, to devote decades to a story the way they have. One of the best things about a story, for me, is ending it: whether it’s something I write or something I read. I guess that’s the moment when you really comprehend the tale, and until it comes, you never knew quite what you were reading. Or indeed, what you were writing…
Been a while. As it stands, I’m almost three quarters through The Ace Of Skulls, and I’ve completed the frankly epic task of editing The Twilight War (which is Act One of Broken Sky for all you old-schoolers, not a battle between glittery vampire bad-boy cliches over the heart of a simpering loser with no will of her own). Not sure when I’ll get to the next two but a quick skim tells me I won’t have to do half as much work on those guys. They’ll be done eventually, at which point I’ll make all three available together. That, at least, is the plan.
Now, for all you very lovely patient people who haven’t totally flipped out yet because The Iron Jackal is still not out in ebook in the US, and apparently the Ketty Jay series isn’t available at all on ebook in Canada… I do have the answer. I just, er, can’t tell you If you hang on juuuust a little longer I ought to be able to. I can say that they will be available, barring some kind of disaster, but I can’t tell you when, ’cause that part I don’t know myself yet. Anyway, it’s in hand. Apologies for the secrecy, but that’s the way business works I guess: slow and behind the scenes. It’s why it takes ages before I’m able to give definitive announcements on perennial favourites like:
1) Will there be a third Malice book? (I doubt it. Let’s just say no, shall we? It’s easier.)
2) Will there be a sequel to Pandemonium? (I hope so, but it’s up to the publishers.)
3) When will the movie version of (insert book here) come out? (Never, stop asking.)
4) Why don’t you make a movie of (insert book here)? (Because I don’t live in a house made of gold so I can’t afford to).
The Ace Of Skulls is taking a bit longer than I thought but is still well in hand for an October 2013 publication. Silver is just getting the final checks before it goes to the printers so that’s all ready for its May release. Woo for 2013!