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Signed, sealed, delivered…

Actually, those first two words were a lie. It was neither signed, nor sealed, unless you mean by the cosy electronic non-security of cyberspace. But The Iron Jackal is now in the paws of my editor, and I’m about to head off to Eastercon, and it’s April and somehow the sun is shining. I feel like I’m about to burst into song, Heidi-style. Tra-la!

Gotta go. Somebody, somewhere, owes me a beer… 😉

New Braided Path Delayed Till July 21st

Publishing books is a complicated affair, involving lots of departments all trying to get their ducks in a row, so it’s a writer’s lot to see their books delayed from time to time. I’ve just got the news that the Braided Path reissue – a shiny shiny gorgeous hardcover edition – has been bumped back two months to July 21st. Possibly this uncertainty was why Amazon cancelled the pre-orders of some people. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks Amazon will sort itself out and allow preorders of this new edition.

Anyway, it’s a small delay and it’s for a good reason, and now you get to read it in the sun instead of the rain 😀

Honking Great Excerpt of Retribution Falls for your Eyes to Behold

As part of Suvudu.com‘s 50 page Friday promotion, you may now read the first FIVE CHAPTERS of Retribution Falls free, in celebration of its imminent release in the US. Oh yes. If you haven’t bought it already (why not? hmm?), check it out here.

The Iron Jackal will be delivered to my editor in the next few days. Praise be. I’m gonna be a happy bunny at Eastercon.

Done! (Random machine gun rampage to follow)

The Iron Jackal is finished. And by finished, I mean it’s halfway done. Now comes the editing, trimming, sending to my editor and agent, and the mildly nervous wait to find out if it’s any good. And after that, more editing, honing and polishing, until I’m thoroughly sick of it. Those of you that have been following this blog will know that this was one of those, erm, testing books like The Fade and The Weavers Of Saramyr before it that took about twice as long as I thought they would. Fans of value for money will also be pleased to know that it currently hefts in at 175,000 words of lean white meat (Ret Falls was about 140, Black Lung was 160), which isn’t bad since I started the rewrite in August. Likely it’ll lose a bit from that by the time I’m done.

Soon will come the first read-through and the chopping and the scrutinising and all of that. But damn, just for today, does it ever feel good to write that final line. It fact, it feels a little bit like this.

Iron Jackal Delayed Until October

I know, I know. I did my level best to get the damn thing in on time. In fact, as it turns out, it’ll probably only be about two weeks late once I’ve edited it all. But myself and my editor, well, we just think the schedule is too tight now, and so it is with heavy heart that I announce the Iron Jackal’s new release date of Oct 20th in the UK. Tsk.

Here’s the thing. I don’t want to rush the editing to get it in on time, I want to get it right. I also don’t want my editor to rush it. And after I’ve rushed through her rushed edits, we have a copy editor who will have to rush it, and then it’ll go to a sales team who won’t have adequate time to prepare so it’ll get rushed out to the bookshops and somewhere along the line one of us is gonna drop the ball. And then it’ll be published and I will rue my haste till the end of my days. So we’ve knocked pub date back by two months, and that means no-one has to panic any more, and you’ll get to read a book that’s been done properly. Trust me, it’s better this way.

No idea on foreign release dates yet; Spectra will be looking at it once it’s complete and will decide whether they want to buy it up then. In the meantime, Retribution Falls is just about to be released in the US, so help persuade them by buying six copies each (five angels will thank you for it) 😉

Bleh.

Also, I’ll be doing several panels at Eastercon this year, sometime on the Friday and Saturday (and possibly Sunday morning). Times TBA. So if you’re about, come by and say hi.

Retribution Falls Kindle Edition Price Drop

As was pointed out by a keen-eyed poster a few weeks ago, Retribution Falls for the Kindle was an unusually pricey beast. So I did some chasing and pestering and my editor unleashed her Hounds Of Doom ™ from their stygian pens, and after a bit of toing and froing you’ll be pleased to know this has now been officially rectified. Ret Falls is now available at £4.99 from Amazon UK, or $8.28 in the US, or one and a half beers. So now you can read about sky pirates AND reduce your alcohol intake AT THE SAME TIME.

Amazing!

YA Genre Fiction: Who Needs It?

So I was sifting through my documents folder on my Hyper Awesome iMac of Destiny (+1, +5 vs Books) and I came across an old article that I did for Sci-Fi Now magazine sometime last year. So I figured I’d stick it up here to keep you guys happy till I finish my book 😉

This may help to illustrate why I still write books for kids as well as adults…

PS, right at the end of Iron Jackal. Will be done in a couple of weeks, then I’ll edit the hell out of it, then it’ll go to my editor for some proper editing. But all the production machinery is geared up and ready to go, so we’re still looking good for August.

And now, for your edification:

Young Adult Genre Fiction: Who Needs It?

SF, fantasy and horror for young adults is notoriously tricky territory for publishers.

Many advanced readers have already progressed to adult books by the time they reach secondary school. Plenty of the most popular genre writers are well within the grasp of teenagers anyway. So is it actually necessary to have genre books that are specifically aimed at younger readers? Is there really any point in dividing our shrinking share of the bookshelves further, just for the sake of a small, rapidly shifting market that spans a few years at best?

Well, yes. Here’s why.

That thin sliver of years between childhood and late adolescence is fertile ground for the genre writer. Yes, you might have to forego your tendencies towards megaviolence and ultra-porn, and you’ll never be able to write an epic of Erikson-esque complexity. Yes, you’ll be forced to limit the age of your protagonists. But your reward will be freedom of a different kind.

A publisher of young adult books doesn’t have to deal with the genre prejudice of the adult market. Children’s books are divided on the bookshelves by age, not by subject. Genre works are mixed in with the others where the browsing public can see them. My own YA books – a jumble of SF, fantasy and horror – sit happily next to Jacqueline Wilson’s stories for pre-teen girls. In contrast, you’d have to visit the Fantasy/SF section to find my adult-market books, which you wouldn’t do if you weren’t already a genre fan.

There’s a similar lack of boundaries within the YA genre field. There’s no high fantasy or hard SF, no New Weird or urban fantasy. Genre definitions mean nothing. You want to write a steampunk post-apocalypse adventure full of cities that drive around eating each other? Or a book about a child passing through alternate realities in search of a weak and feeble God? Or a dystopian sci-fi about an underground city that’s running out of light? Go for it!

Such ideas would be risky prospects at best in the adult market. Books that don’t fit into easily recognisable pigeonholes traditionally struggle in comparison to those that do. Straight-out fantasy and SF are much safer bets than something genre-straddling and unfamiliar. Just look at the big sellers in the field if you need evidence.

Not so the YA market. Mortal Engines, Northern Lights and The City of Ember went on to sell bucketloads. And it’s books like these that prime our next generation of adult genre readers. If we’re ever going to break down the mentality of pigeonholing, if we’re ever going to tempt readers into that vast, scarcely explored territory between Tolkien and Asimov, then the YA market is the best place to start.

YA genre fiction isn’t interested in the rules and regulations of the adult world, which is exactly why we need it most. It’s innocent, unjaded, full of possibility and promise. And, just like the readers it represents, it might even have a thing or two to teach the grown-ups.

Maintain Holding Pattern

Not a vast amount of news, since I’ve been buried in The Iron Jackal, but let me magic something up.

Am on, er, chapter 39 of about 46 now. Bombing through it. It’ll probably be about the same length as The Black Lung Captain when I’m done – I may yet go back and cut out a chapter or two, which I’ll save for the next book. That means we’re all still looking good for an August release, as per Amazon. Speaking of Amazon, ignore the blurb they’ve put up. It’s so far beyond wrong it’s… well, I can’t think of an accurate comparison, but it’s pretty wrong. None of that stuff happens in the book.

After that I’ll be back on Vendetta, which is the current working title for the movie-that-used-to-be-called All Fall Down.

Cover for The Iron Jackal and the revamped Braided Path coming very soon. The design dept is just tweaking font size and stuff like that. I’ll post ’em up as soon as they’re finished.

Cassandra Diaz is busy doing her artwork sorcery for Pandemonium – I probably won’t get to see it till it’s all done now, so it’ll be a while. No movement on the Malice movie.

Also, it’ll soon be Eastercon time again! It takes up the Easter weekend, and this year it’s in Birmingham. I’ll be there all day Friday and Saturday, I should think, and I may well be appearing on a panel or two – I’ll know when the organisers get the schedule together. News when I have it, as ever.

Back to work…

A Bunch of Stuff

Frosty Christmas Updates!

I’m over half way through The Iron Jackal and motoring. Still looking good for an August release, although it will require some heroics from the editorial team and production department behind the scenes.

Pandemonium has been given a very tentative publication date of early 2012 in the US, possibly as early as January. Which is pretty fast if we hit it, actually: 13 months from now to the bookshelf, and Cassandra Diaz, the artist, has only just started final drawings on a 158-page graphic novel. As to other countries, including the UK: don’t ask, cos I have no idea.

To the 80 blillion people asking about the Malice movie, when it’s gonna be out, who’s gonna be in it, etc, all I can say is: I’ll let you know when I do. If it gets made (and that’s an IF so big that if it actually existed its weight would knock the Earth off its axis and send us all howling into the sun) it might happen very fast, or it might not happen for years. Could be shooting by this time next year, could be ten years, might not be at all. Might take three drafts to get the script right, might take thirty (and I’m not even exaggerating on that score – you wouldn’t believe how much some movies get rewritten). Each draft, depending on the writer, might take a month, might take six. Additionally, I’m not exactly on the inside with this process: the producers keep me informed about the stuff I need to know, but not about the day-to-day, and just like writing, six months can pass without any major news because long projects are, um, long.

Speaking of long, readers of mine from back in the day will no doubt wryly remember the palaver about the movie of The Haunting Of Alaizabel Cray that we all got excited about for a couple of years until it fizzled and died (along with the Broken Sky TV series… *wistful sigh*). Those same readers may now want to turn off the Internet completely at the news that, after being dormant for about 5 or 6 years, Trademark Films have optioned the story for development into a movie 😉 So now we’re effectively at square one again, but at least we’re back on the board! See, I warned you back then that this could take ages! Them’s movies, folks!

Also, US Covers for Ret Falls and Black Lung:

Pretty! And if you want to know why they’re different to the UK versions, there’s a quick post about it from my US editor here.

Aaand, that’s your lot.

The Black Lung Captain makes Amazon UK’s list of the 10 Best SF/Fantasy Books of 2010

Well, it did!

In your face, Universe!