Outremer Returns


When I started Wizard’s Tower, my primary business plan was to help authors whose books had gone out of print to get them available to the public again. In particular I was looking at books for which an ebook edition never existed, because making an ebook was easy. Of course a lot of water has flowed under the bridge in the past 10 years. I certainly never expected to have a huge hit with original fiction published in paper. But equally I haven’t lost sight of the original goal. It is therefore with great pleasure that I can announce that Wizard’s Tower will be producing new editions of Chaz Brenchey’s Books of Outremer.

I read these books back in 2004 and was struck by how they provided a nuanced and understanding view of the Crusades at a time when simplistic and Islamophobic Crusader imagery was being widely deployed in support of the Iraq War, and that they featured a gay relationship between two major characters. In 2004 that was massive. But Chaz was a UK writer largely cut off from the UK scene, and positive coverage in Emerald City wasn’t enough to break him in America. These days he lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, so hopefully the new editions will find their way to US conventions, at least on the West Coast.

An interesting piece of synchronicity is that John Jarrold, who was the commissioning editor at Random House back in the 1990s who originally bought the books, is now Chaz’s agent and was responsible for negotiating the deal with me.

Those who know the books will have questions. Here are some answers. We will publish the series in six volumes as per the US edition. There will be new cover art. (I’ve given Ben Baldwin some ideas.) And there will be hardcovers. The first book will be out early in 2022, hopefully for LGBT History Month here in the UK. The rest of the books will follow over time, but we have the Crater School books to do as well and there’s a limit to how quickly Chaz and I, not to mention Ben, can get through all of this.

If you are unfamiliar with the books (and don’t mind spoilers) there is a website devoted to the series. Also I reviewed all 6 books for Emerald City.

John’s official press release is here.

And I am a very happy publisher.

The Green Man’s Challenge


Yes folks, the latest book in Juliet McKenna’s hugely successful Green Man series is coming very soon. Publication is planned for September 28th, and pre-orders are opening up around the internet. More on that later, but first some blurb.

A while back, Daniel Mackmain’s life took an unexpected turn. Now the Green Man expects him to resolve clashes between those dwelling unseen in wild places and the ordinary people who have no idea what’s out there. Dan’s father is human and his mother’s a dryad, so he sees what’s happening in both these worlds.

Once upon a time, giants walked this land. So says everyone from Geoffrey of Monmouth to William Blake. This ancient threat is stirring in the Wiltshire twilight, up on the chalk downs. Can Dan meet this new challenge when he can only find half-forgotten fairy tales to guide him? Will the other local supernatural inhabitants see him – or the giant – as friend or foe?

A modern fantasy rooted in the ancient myths and folklore of the British Isles.

The book also features a bonus short story starring Dan’s boss, Eleanor Beauchene.

There you have it. But who is that person on the cover? Obviously you will need the book to find out.

Links to various stores that have the book available can be found here. It is a bit sparse at the moment, but it should fill out over the next few days. I’ve just approved the paperback for printing, so that should be appearing in stores soon.

If you are going to be at FantasyCon then you will be able to get paper copies a few days early. Juliet and I will be there, and to help me judge how many copies I need to take with me I have opened up a special pre-order page that is for at-con pickup only. Juliet will sign the book for you at the con, and the price is a lot lower than you’ll pay in a shop.

We’ll also be at BristolCon, of course, but that means waiting another month.

The other way to get the book quickly would be to ask me for an eARC so you can write a review.

With all of the nonsense resulting from Brexit and the pandemic, getting paper books to customers has become much harder, so I am taking the plunge and looking into selling direct to the public. This will be UK only, thanks to Brexit, but hopefully it will shift some stock. More on this later. Right now I’m looking into environmentally responsible packaging.

There are other things I’m working on to make our books more easily available. Also there will be some exciting Chaz Brenchley news real soon now. Watch this space.

Top of the Charts Again


Yesterday The Green Man’s Heir was on sale at Amazon UK again. I wasn’t expecting a lot, because it has been on sale a few times before. I figured everyone I knew would have a copy by now. Nevertheless, little ebooks flew off the virtual shelves, and soon things got exciting. By early evening the book was once again #1 in paid SF&F on Kindle.

To get there once in a book’s lifetime is pretty incredible. To do it twice… I’m flabbergasted.

Of course there is also the special thrill that comes from seeing a book that I published ahead of works by She Who Must Not Be Named in the charts.

I should add also that GMH was by no means the only quality book on sale yesterday. We spent the whole day locked in a contest with two of Mary Robinette Kowal’s Lady Astronaut books, the most recent of which ended up #2 in the charts. There were also books on sale from the likes of Joe Abercrombie and Neil Gaiman. Possibly those were on longer-term sales, which would mean less concentrated action on one day, but even so it is very pleasing.

A lot of it is down to Ben Baldwin’s brilliant cover, of course. Juliet and I have been lucky enough to see some drafts of the cover for The Green Man’s Challenge, and y’all will get to see it later this week.

Also of note yesterday was a tweet from Fonda Lee noting that only three things can make a book a huge hit: a big marketing campaign; the author being a celebrity; or word of mouth. There’s no way Wizard’s Tower can afford a big marketing campaign. Juliet is nowhere near that famous. And so, as she said in response to Fonda’s tweet, we owe all this to you. Without all of the positive reviews, the encouraging your friends to buy the book, and so on, we would not have this massive hit on our hands. Thank you!

By the way, if anyone ever tells you that books with green covers don’t sell…

A Daily Deal


In case you haven’t noticed, The Green Man’s Silence is a Daily Deal on Amazon UK today. That means you can pick it up for just 99p, but today only. It being the third book in the series, it isn’t going to do quite as well as when The Green Man’s Heir got to be #1 in Science Fiction and Fantasy, but it is doing very nicely. If you don’t have a copy yet, do pick one up while you can. It will help encourage Amazon to promote the new book when it comes out. And these sales figures do wonders for Juliet’s ability to sell to mainstream publishers.

By the way, I haven’t forgotten this. Take that, Rowling!

Luna Press News


The latest volume in the Luna Press Academia Lunare series is now available. This one is called Worlds Apart: Worldbuilding in Fantasy and Science Fiction. As always, it is filled with fascinating essays on the titular theme, and an essay by me. This time I have written something about worldbuilding with sex and gender. Yes, it is a paper version of the funny animals talk. There are a few new creatures in the mix this time, and of course you’ll have the text to refer to rather than having to listen to me. I’ll talk a bit about the other essays in the next Salon Futura.

But that’s not all, because the short lists for this year’s British Fantasy Awards have been announced, and last year’s Academia Lunare book is honoured in the non-fiction category. That’s Ties that Bind: Love in Fantasy and Science Fiction, which features my essay, “Robot Love is Queer”.

The BFS Awards contain lots of other great works and people as well, many of them in that non-fiction category. I’d like to make particular mention of two of our Bristol people: Stark Holborn and Pete Sutton. Well done folks, great to see you getting honoured.

New From Luna Press

The lovely people at Luna Press Publishing have a new non-fiction collection on the way. This one is titled Worlds Apart: Worldbuilding in Fantasy and Science Fiction. I have an essay in it. As you can probably guess, it is about queer animals. You can read a bit about it here.

Obviously there will be many other essays in the book, all of them covering different aspects of worldbuilding, and doubtless most of them better than mine (if perhaps less funny). There are posts about some of them on the Luna Press blog, and more will be coming in due course.

UK, What Are You Thinking?


No, this is not a post about the Cummings and Goings in Westminster. This is about book. That lovely cover is for Tate Hallaway’s fabulous Unjust Cause. It is selling like the proverbial hot cakes in the USA — well over 100 copies a month at full price. And it has the magic 50 reviews so it should be nice and visible. In the UK it has been priced at around £2 all month. Nothing to do with me, it is an Amazon thing that they didn’t tell me about. And yet, in 26 days of it being on sale, not one UK customer has bought a copy!

People, what are you thinking? This is a great fun book about a girl coroner and her dragon boyfriend, with a very serious punch to the ending. I know it is book #2, but you don’t need to have read Precinct 13 to enjoy this one. Get out there and snap it up while it is cheap.

Non-Binary Translated Fantasy

I have just backed a Kickstarter for a book called Alia Terra by Ava Kelly. It is a short book of fantasy stories, based on Romanian folk tales, about non-binary people, by a non-binary writer, that will be in both Romanian and in English translation. The money is being raised primarily for the illustrations, which will be by an American-Romanian trans artist, Matthew Spencer. The project is being put together by the lovely people at Atthis Arts.

You can get the ebook for $7. That has to be worth doing, right? Pledge here.

Green Man Sale Final Week


If there are any of you, and I confess I’ll be a bit disappointed if there are, who do not yet have the full set of Juliet McKenna Green Man books, you have just one week left to pick them up cheap. Amazon has The Green Man’s Foe at 99p in the UK and Europe. We’ve reduced prices elsewhere, and on the other two books, though ebooks only I’m afraid. But you do need to buy before June. After that it is all back to full price.

Mars Lives!


Well, not actual Mars, of course. That is still only inhabited by robots. But, in the world of the Crater School, Mars is most definitely alive. Three Twins at the Crater School is now available for purchase. There are links to various stores here. I’d love to be able to link to Bookshop.org as well, but for some reason they are listing it.

Anyway, enjoy. And if you can do so please leave a review on Amazon. I know this gets very boring, but it really does make a difference.

Go Green (Man) for May


It being Beltane today, what better time to celebrate the Green Man. Amazon thought so too, and they have put The Green Man’s Foe on sale in the UK and Europe for the whole of May. Not wanting the rest of the world to miss out, and also wanting to encourage new readers to try the books, Juliet and I decided to extend the sale to the rest of the world, and to reduce the prices of The Green Man’s Heir and The Green Man’s Silence as well. And if you prefer ePub you should soon be able to get the sale on Nook and Kobo as well. Given the complexities and flakiness of store websites, this won’t all happen at once, but of there’s somewhere you think you should be getting a sale and are not, please let me know.

Somewhat to my surprise, Amazon UK has also decided to drastically reduce the price of Unjust Cause. It isn’t in the 99p sale, so it is not getting the same level of promotion as The Green Man’s Foe, but it is a great price for a very lovely book. It is selling very well in the USA, and the number of sales per month is actually going up, which is unusual for a book that has been out for a while and is not getting any special promotion. Sales in the UK have been much lower, but this is your chance to see what the Americans are so excited about.

Chaz Does a Crater School Podcast


With only a couple of weeks to go before the release of the first Crater School book, publicity is happening. Fortunately for me, Chaz Brenchley is part of a fine writerly podcast called Writers Drinking Coffee. In the latest episode he talks a bit about the inspiration for the Crater School books, and reads from Three Twins at the Crater School. If you want to know what is going on in the scene we used for the cover, listen in to Chaz because he will tell you. You’ll also get to find out a bit more about the Martian fauna, and what the dastardly Russians are up to.

Life Beyond Us

Life Beyond Us
Into hard (biological) SF? Fancy an anthology with top name writers produced in collaboration with the European Astrobiology Institute? That’s your serious speculation on alien life right there. The only catch is that it is currently on Kickstarter, so it needs pledges in order to happen. But look, it will include stories by Mary Robinette Kowal, Peter Watts, Premee Mohamed, Gregory Benford, Tobias S. Buckell, Julie E. Czerneda, Malka Older, Stephen Baxter, Bogi Takács and many more. And it is co-edited by my good friend Julie Nováková. The title is Life Beyond Us, and you can back it here.

Dyslexic-Friendly Books

The lovely people at Books on the Hill have a Kickstarter campaign running to produce a line of dyslexic-friendly books. Because of who they are, most of the initial titles will be SF/F/H. Thanks to a modest early target (to produce just 3 books) they are funded already, but there are stretch goals for another 5 books so there’s definite value in joining the campaign. You can get the full details from the campaign website. Go ye forth and pledge!

Three Twins in Paper

Three Twins at the Crater School
Pre-orders for paper editions of Three Twins at the Crater School are now available in a variety of places, incuding Amazon stores around the world and Waterstones. I expect other stores to follow in due course. I got a proof copy of the paperback in the mail today and it looks lovely, though not as lovely as the hardcover which I expect to arrive next week.

As usual, all of the links to places where you can pre-order the book are on the Wizard’s Tower website.

Oh, and Juliet announced today that she’s sent Green Man #4 off to the editor. More on that soon.

The SAGE Encyclopedia of Trans Studies


I’m in another book. It is a massive, two-volume encyclopedia, and my contribution is very small, but I am in it. I have a small section on trans people in the ancient world.

I won’t be getting a copy of the book, because this is academic publishing and even with my author discount it would be a ridiculous amount of money. But books like this are not intended to be purchased by humans. They are aimed primarily at academic libraries. If you happen to work in such a place, then do please consider buying this book because every university should have one. Purchase details are here, and I can probably get you a discount.

Three Twins Cover Reveal


Today on social media I unveiled the cover for the first of Chaz Brenchley’s Crater School books. Three Twins at the Crater School introduces us to the eponymous school, and some of its staff and pupils. We also get to meet some of the Martian fauna which, as you can see from the cover, look pretty scary.

I have put the book out for pre-orders, and hopefully the links will be available tmomorrow, but Kobo are on vacation for Easter and you can never tell how long it will take Amazon to do anything. I will tweet as soon as links are availalble. In the meantime here is the promo blurb and some reactions from early readers. (eARCs are available.)

Mars, the Red Planet, farthest flung outpost of the British Empire. Under the benevolent reign of the Empress Eternal, commerce and culture are flourishing along the banks of the great canals, and around the shores of the crater lakes. But this brave new world is not as safe as it might seem. The Russians, unhappy that Venus has proved far less hospitable, covet Britain’s colony. And the Martian creatures, while not as intelligent and malevolent as HG Wells had predicted, are certainly dangerous to the unwary.

What, then, of the young girls of the Martian colony? Their brothers might be sent to Earth for education at Eton and Oxbridge, but girls are made of sterner stuff. Be it unreasonable parents, Russian spies, or the deadly Martian wildlife, no challenge is beyond the resourceful girls of the Crater School.

“For every fan of The Chalet School”
Farah Mendlesohn

“A rollicking good read from start to finish!”
Ellen Klages

“I wish I were a Crater School girl”
Marie Brennan

“Splendidly full of peril and charm”
Gillian Polack

“Brenchley had me at ‘British girls’ school on Mars’”
Jennifer Stevenson

“I sincerely hope there will be further instalments”
Marissa Doyle

“This is a one-sitting page-turner!”
Sherwood Smith

“Highly recommended”
Juliet E. McKenna

“Twins we will never forget and cool Mars creatures.”
Miranda and Talia, age 9

De Lint on McKenna

One of the first things I always do when I have a new Juliet McKenna book to publish is send a review copy off to Charles de Lint. He has been wonderfully supportive of the Green Man series in his column in Fantasy & Science Fiction. The Green Man’s Silence is no exception. You can find his review of the new book in his March/April 2021 column. Right after his review of the new Garth Nix. Am I a proud publisher? You bet! Thanks Charles.

He’s right, of course, the Green Man books are fabulous. Thousands of readers can’t be wrong. You can find purchase links here.