My annual review of the year post is up on the Aqueduct Press blog. Mostly it covers what I have written about in Salon Futura, but it is in a condensed and accessible form and there is a little bit of other stuff too. You can find it here.
Those of you who have ebook editions of Juliet McKenna’s Adabreshin Compass books should be getting notifications of new editions that are available. The main reason for this is to incorporate the fabulous new map of the Aldabreshin Archipelago that Oisín McGann did for us for the paper editions. Enjoy.
The new Chaz Brenchey novel, Dust Up at the Crater School, is ready to go at last. The fabulous Ben Baldwin cover is above, and links to pre-order are available here. It is just Amazon and Kobo right now because the B&N website has been having a bit of a moment, but I have finally got the book uploaded so they should have it available soon.
Print copies will be a little longer coming because of the time of year, and the supply chain crisis. But the ebooks will be available on December 24th. That’s a significant date. Does it mean something? Why yes! Here’s the blurb:
Christmas is coming to the Crater School, so the girls must celebrate. So says the Earth calendar. But Mars does not respect school rules. Nor does the Red Planet have much respect for Earth weather. Why bother with a white Christmas when Martian weather can be far more dangerous?
Then again, perhaps this is for the best. The people most likely to arrive at the Crater School with snow on their boots are Russian spies.
Yes, we have a Christmas story for you. But before that we have the whole of the autumn term, so there’s plenty of time for our girls to get themselves into trouble. And they do, of course.
As you may have noticed, we have a front page quote from the inimitable Francis Spufford. He’s also provided a blurb for the book. Here it is:
Only in the laboratory of Chaz Brenchley could the British school story be lovingly sutured together with the Old Mars of the pulps, animated with the crackling static of a planetary dust storm, and sent lumbering down to the village. No – *skipping* down to the village, with a beret, and a paper bag full of bulls’-eyes, and a wholesome desire to excel at lacrosse.
Do keep an eye on the Wizard’s Tower Press Twitter feed (@WTPress) as I’ll be teasing a few things about the book over the next few weeks. Also Chaz has promised a few Christmas recipes from Mrs. Bailey, the school’s legendary cook.
Finally, if you read and enjoyed Three Twins, do please consider posting a review on Amazon. I’ve seen from Juliet and Tate what a massive difference getting to 50 reviews makes to sales. We currently have 36, so we don’t need many more.
This took rather longer than expected due to the pandemic and the need to get the map re-done, but finally we have Juliet McKenna’s Aldabreshin Compass series back in print. The image above is of the paperbacks, and showcases Ben Baldwin’s brilliant new covers. I don’t have all of the hardcovers yet, but UPS has promised they’ll be delivered tomorrow and that should be before I have to leave for BristolCon.
I’m particularly pleased to have this series back in print because it shows that fantasy writers have been aware of diversty issues for some time. The majority of the people we meet in these books are black, and the US edition of Southern Fire had a good picture of Daish Kheda on the cover. It was published in 2003. The culture of the Aldabreshin Archipelago is also fascinating. Men have multiple wives, but their role in society is limited to law and war. Economic power is firmly vested in the women who do all of the trading. Eunuchs are commonplace. And magic is viewed with deep suspicion, if not horror.
Thanks to the worldwide paper shortage, and my being off to Canada next week, I won’t be able to fulfill orders from the Wizard’s Tower store swiftly, but the books should all be orderable from bookstores as of today. I will be looking for links and updating the Wizard’s Tower main site accordingly.
Every so often an author finds herself storing rather a lot of author copies of some of her books. What are you going to do with them? Well, sell them, obviously. But you probably don’t have enough stock for a dealer table at a convention. Which is where your friendly, neighbourhood small press comes in. As I’m now selling paper, I can help.
I have just added a coupe of massive bargains to the Wizard’s Tower bookstore. You can get the complete series of The Chronicles of the Lescari Revolution, and The Hadrumal Crisis, for just £5 + postage each. The postage is as much as the cost of the books. And if you will be at BristolCon you can reserve copies to pick up there and not pay postage. Honestly, bargain. See here.
UK only, of course. Curse you, Brexit.
Yes folks, BristolCon is fast approaching, and I will be in the Dealers’ Room with lots of lovely books for you to buy.
The book that will probably be most in demand is The Green Man’s Challenge. I should have enough paperbacks, but if you want a hardcover it would be best to reserve one. Equally if you want a copy of something else that is low on stock.
Anyway, the bookstore now sells paper books to UK customers. Mostly that means postage, but if you expect the pick up the book at a con then just select that delivery option instead. Please check any books that you want, because the website does have stock levels so it is easy to see if anything is in short supply.
Did I mention that you get a free copy of the ebook if you buy a paper book direct from us?
See (some of) you at BristolCon.
It being October, BristolCon is not far away. However, to whet your appetite, there is another science fiction event taking place on Tuesday the 19th. As part of the Festival of the Future City, Bristol Ideas is doing an interview with Kim Stanley Robinson about his latest novel, The Ministry for the Future.
Stan will probably in the the UK at the time, but that’s because he’s been invited to speak at COP26. He had no idea what his schedule would be in advance, so the Bristol Ideas folks decided to pre-record the interview. And they kindly asked me to set the scene by giving an overview of Stan’s career.
That of course means that I was present for the pre-record, so I can promise you that Stan and interviewer, Andrew Kelly, put on a great show. If you are interested in practical political and economic ways to solve the climate change issue, you will probably find it fascinating too.
The Green Man’s Challenge is now out in the wild, and the several hundred people who pre-ordered the book should now have it on their reading devices.
If you haven’t ordered a copy yet and will be at BristolCon, I will be putting up links for you to reserve a copy for collection there. Or, if you are in the UK, you can order a copy to be mailed to you.
I note that if you buy paper books direct from Wizard’s Tower you can elect to have a copy of the ebook sent to you for free.
If you were at FantasyCon you might also have noticed a proof copy of the paperback of Southern Fire. The rest of the Aldabreshin Compass series will be following this month. It will be great to have that series back in print again, especially with those lovely Ben Baldwin covers.
Now that I’m doing actual physical sales from the website (again, apologies, UK only), a few other things will turn up there. Keep your eyes peeled.
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.
John’s official press release is here.
And I am a very happy publisher.
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.
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…
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!
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.
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.
Back in February I did an event for Bristol Libraries in which I interviewed Frank Wynne about his fabulous anthology, Queer. The library people, being very wonderful, recorded the event and have turned it into a podcast. So if you missed it at the time you can now catch up with it through the player below.
The May issue of Salon Futura went live over the holiday weekend. Here are the things I review in it:
- A Master of Djinn – P. Djèlí Clark
- Fugitive Telemetry – Martha Wells
- Defekt – Nino Cipri
- The Vanished Birds – Simon Jimenez
- Requiem Moon – CT Rwizi
- The Old Guard
- Wonder Woman 1984
You can read it here.
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.
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.
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.
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.