On the road again

It actually was this sunny

Quick shout-out to GW Reading, where I spent a very enjoyable couple of hours on Saturday signing copies of Battle of the Fang. We got through a fair few books by the end, and it was a lot of fun chatting to the fans that came into pick up a sig. Thanks to Quinn and Matt for the (life-saving) cups of tea and general welcome. For anyone who couldn’t be there on the day, I left a few signed copies behind at the store, which you should be able to pick up if you get there soon.

It was a busy week last week, which included a trip up to GWHQ in Nottingham for a meeting with a bunch of other BL authors. All highly classified stuff, unfortunately, but very interesting. There are some intriguing things in the pipeline. So intriguing, in fact, that I managed to almost miss my train home again, which would have been Very Annoying.

Now I’m back at my desk, working hard to finish off the midpoint for the Luthor Huss novel, as well as a 40K short story, both of which have been disrupted a bit by all that travelling around. Ah, the whirlwind life of an author…

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Battle of the Fang reviews and signings

Almost there…

Still a week before the official release, but the book I’ve started fondly referring to as Fang has been seen in the wild in increasing numbers. The SF review site Civilian Reader posted this write-up at the weekend, calling ‘evocative, brutal, and brisk, […] exactly what I was hoping for’. The newly renamed Boomtron site has also posted a review, courtesy of Phillip Sobel, who says that ‘it’s in the must-read category for any Space Wolf aficionado’.

There’s also been a review on the Founding Fields site, where the reviewer also enjoyed it: ‘Nobody is safe in this epic adventure that will keep you turning pages until you reach the end’. And the Claws and Fists blog has had its review up, seemingly, forever. They liked it too: ‘Certainly for me the definitive Space Wolf book’.

So, lots of early feedback from the blogosphere. For anyone who missed it on the main BL site, here’s a link to my post there with some info about the project.

I’ll post more stuff as more reviews emerge. In the meantime, I’m down to visit GW Reading on 4 June to sign copies and chat about the book. If you’re in the area then, come over and say hi.

Iron Hands and Warrior Priests

There’s a place for everyone

Which First Founding Chapter gets the least love? It used to be the White Scars, possibly, but now they’ve got their very own novel, Savage Scars, by the very talented Andy Hoare. And although the Imperial Fists don’t seem to get a huge amount of attention, there’s recently been Chris Roberson’s Sons of Dorn. The Salamanders, Blood Angels, Space Wolves, Ultramarines, Dark Angels and Raven Guard have all had books recently, whether standalone or as part of the Space Marine Battle/Horus Heresy range.

So who’s missing? That’s right: the poor old Iron Hands. These guys haven’t had a book written about them for a long time (2004, as far as I can see, with Jonathan Green’s Iron Hands). On the surface, I can see why this is. The Sons of Ferrus aren’t obviously appealing. They don’t talk a lot, they kill plenty of people on their own side, they have this weird body-hate thing going on, and their paint scheme is, frankly, dull.

But scratch the surface, and there’s plenty to like. The more I read about them, the more I warm to them. Psychologically, they’re about the most interesting of all the First Founding Chapters. The trauma of the Heresy, combined with long-term gene-seed issues, has made them very odd bunnies indeed. And what’s more, they choose to be the way they are, believing that any lessening of commitment to their extreme ideas of flesh-removal and bionic augmentation is somehow weakness.

So they’re rather tragic, flawed heroes, just like Space Marines ought to be. In addition, they have access to all sorts of crazy Adeptus Mechanicus toys, and they spend their shore-leave in gigantic moving fortresses, churning their way across the grim plains of Medusa while sawing more bits of themselves off. They may not be the most flamboyant warriors in the Imperium, but they’re properly scary guys. If you see what they’re prepared to do to themselves, it doesn’t take much imagination to guess what they do to people they really don’t like.

Any colour you like, so long as it’s black

So Iron Hands are great. I liked them so much that I bought the company wrote a story about them, and it’s out in next month’s Hammer and Bolter. If you know any Iron Hands players who are feeling a bit neglected, I hope that this cheers them up a bit. And, the fates willing, I’ll be writing more about them in the future too.

As for other stuff, I’m currently up to my armpits in Luthor Huss. He’s another interesting chap, psychologically speaking – the more I write about him, the more that’s becoming obvious. Aside from the pleasure of telling his particular story, it’s nice to be back in the Empire. There’s something comforting about all that grime, horror and superstition. This latest book will be a little different from the ‘Swords’ books: Huss works and lives on the margins of the Empire, and the forgotten, pox-ridden masses are his concern. Expect to see a slightly darker story this time around, as there are some very creepy things lurking under the branches in the Drakwald, some very creepy things indeed…

Finally, don’t forget Salute this weekend. I’ll be there, along with Aaron Dembski-Bowden and James Swallow. So that’s a chance to chat about the awesome Blood Reaver, the magnificent Hammer and Anvil, and of course Battle of the Fang. I’ll be around from about 10am (possibly slightly later, depending on trains) until about 3pm. See you there!

Salute 2011 et l’apocalypse

Fancy getting your hands on a signed copy of Battle of the Fang? Don’t want to wait until the June release date? Then come along to the Salute show in London on 16 April. There’ll be a big Black Library presence on the day – according to the Salute website, Nick Kyme, Andy Hoare, Gav Thorpe and Aaron Dembski-Bowden will all be there, as well as me brandishing fresh copies of Space Wolf niceness.

Salute: So big, it has its own roads

I’ll post nearer the time with more details, but I expect to be there from about 10am up until about 3pm, and would be more than happy to talk nonsense about WHF and 40K, as well as signing anything you might have with you.

Also, there’s a very good review of Iron Company up over at BSC Review, penned by the prolific Phillip Sobel. Always nice to see older titles getting a bit of attention. Interestingly enough (for me, at least), this is also the first of my books to be translated in French.

Les Anglais! Tuez-les tous!

Very excited to see this cover. Though my French isn’t really good enough to assess how good the translation is, I’m sure the effusions de sang will be well and truly incluses, and that, as the website says, l’apocalypse arrive dans la langue de Molière. Merveilleux!

The Journey Home

Well, that was BL Live 2011. I’ve mentioned a few times before that it’s my favourite of the various BL events, and this year was no exception. The more I get immersed into writing, the more I’m convinced that such shindigs are pretty much essential for boosting occasionally-flagging morale/energy. It’s such a buzz to talk to informed, enthusiastic readers about the books. While it’s obviously lovely to hear nice things about what you’ve written (and thanks to all those who popped over to do that), it can also be fascinating to hear constructive criticism too – the fact that someone’s interested enough in what you do to come and chat about it never ceases to be gratifying.

Anyway, the first thing to convey is huge thanks to the BL and GW staff. The day was organised wonderfully, and the authors were looked after spectacularly well – definitely not something to be taken for granted. I liked the slighter bigger format for this year’s event – still small enough to allow proper conversations, but with a nice buzz throughout the day.

Ooh…

As it turned, out, the nicest surprise for me was a real, physical copy of Battle of the Fang. I hadn’t expected these to be ready yet (the official release isn’t until June), so to get my hands on one was a bit of a shock. It looks lovely – my doodled maps have been turned into proper artwork, and there’s some cool Space Wolf livery running throughout. Some copies were available to buy, but I’m told these sold out fairly quickly. It was great to sign so many of these, and I hope everyone who got hold of a copy enjoys the read. Staggeringly, there was a review online by 6.30pm of the day of release! Thanks to Simo429 on Bolter and Chainsword for that astonishingly quick turnaround!

Aah…

Also good to catch up with some familiar faces. I’m now the very proud owner of a pair of DakkaDakka dice, which are sitting on my desk in front of me as I type – thanks to Mike Sault for those, and excellent to catch up, as ever. And I have fond, if fleeting, memories of some very nice cookie fragments and a chunk of chocolate brownie. Though in the whirl of everything going on I may have misremembered, I think these originated from Graeme Lyon and Tim Kenyon respectively.

A good day was made complete by Matt, who had solved the code in Sword of Vengeance and had brought a handwritten copy of the deciphered letter to prove it. Many congratulations – this was the first time I’d actually seen irrefutable evidence of anyone cracking it – I must admit, I’m somewhat relieved to find that it is crackable…

So, now I’m back in front of the screen, re-energised and gearing up for more writing. I’m in the middle of revising a WHF novella at the moment, after which it’s the next Warhammer Heroes novel. After that, it all gets a bit hazier, but there’s every chance of delving further back into the Warhammer World past, which will be very cool indeed. Talking of Fantasy, there’s a very comprehensive review of Sword of Vengeance over at Heresy Online – thanks to increaso for posting that.

Phew. Think that’s everything. Again, many thanks to everyone who came over to talk, and for making the day so enjoyable. Here’s to 2012…

Going Live!

Your hosts

Off to Nottingham at the weekend for BL Live 2011, which I’m looking forward to enormously. Always good to have a chat with the editors, the other BL writers, and those who’ve queued for weeks to get hold of some tickets. I’ll be on the Space Marine Battles panel at 10am, and also signing books at 12.30 and 3pm. In between those sessions, feel free to come over and say hi.

It’ll hopefully be possible to drop some hints about up and coming stuff on the Saturday. I’ve just finished my first ever novella for BL (which was an unusual experience – somewhere in between a short story and a ‘proper’ novel), and am about to embark on my next WHF book. And of course June sees the release of Battle of the Fang, which I’m naturally very excited about. Oh yes.

So there’s lots going on – hope to see some of you there. I’ll post about it when I get back, just so those without tickets don’t feel (too) left out. In the meantime, why not read this nice review of Sword of Vengeance?

Going conventional

2011 has been the busiest year for events that I’ve had since embarking on this writing-as-a-career malarky. I was up in Nottingham in January, went down to Camber Sands a couple of weeks ago for the SFX Weekender, and have BL Live coming up in the first weekend in March.

All lots of fun. SFX Weekender was particularly eye-opening, being my first SF Convention experience. Prior to that, all I had to go on was the Comic-Con episode in Entourage, which was memorable for all sorts of reasons. Yes, there were guys dressed up as Stormtroopers, and, yes, George Takei was there, and, no, there were no blonde policewomen in trenchcoats.

So this is… Pontins

The star of the show was probably the Pontins resort itself, which was another first for me, and finally made sense of all those Hi-de-Hi shows I watched as a kid (sort of). The other highlights were the chance to go on a discussion panel and try to sound like I knew what I was talking about, nearly disemboweling BL’s Andy Smillie with an overenthusiastic air hockey manoeuvre, and watching Nick Kyme deal extremely elegantly with a rather, er, blunt question about Firedrake.

Somewhere in amongst all that, I’ve actually done some writing. Current project is still under wraps, sadly, but hopefully I’ll be able to spill the beans soon. In the meantime, it was good to read this very nice review of Sword of Vengeance over at Graham’s Fantasy Book Review. If you’ve read any of the comments under previous posts, you’ll know there are some code-based games in the plot which are solvable by the reader. Once a bit more time has passed, I’ll be writing about the background to that, and adding some more details on how to solve the extract on p207…