BSFA Award Long Lists

The British Science Fiction Association has released their long lists for awards for works published in 2019. I’m deighted to note that The Green Man’s Foe features twice on the lists. Juliet McKenna is listed for the novel, and Ben Baldwin for the cover. There is, of course, a long way to go yet. There are two more rounds of voting to go before they end up with winners. But hey, this is unexpected and much appreciated success for Wizard’s Tower. I am really pleased.

Well And Truly Launched


Photo by Donna Bond

BristolCon happened, and Airship Shape & Bristol Fashion II is now well and truly launched. Above you can see most of the crew posing at the launch event, and below there is a close up of the magnificent cake that the convention provided for us.

As is usual with conventions, not everything went entirely smoothly, but a great deal of frantic paddling ensured that it was almost all OK on the day. I will have more to say about the convention in the November issue of Salon Futura. For now all I really want to talk about is the fact that I sold 74 books on the day. I sold 50 at Worldcon, which was great, but 74 in one day at a much smaller convention is spectacular.

Of course I still want to sell more. Airship II won’t earn out just yet. I doubled everyone’s advances on the basis of how well the first book sold, and I’m pretty confident that there will be royalties eventually, but in the meantime you folks need to buy copies.

The book is in all of the major stores. You can find links here. Google will follow in due course. They are just a bit of a pain to deal with.

Paperback copies are available from Amazon, and from all good bookstores. Just quote the ISBN (978-1-908039-91-0) and ask them to order it. The hardcover isn’t available yet because Andy Bigwood is snowed under at work and hasn’t had time to do the cover for me, but we’ll get there eventually.

Bay Area people, I’ll be working with Kevin to get both this book and The Green Man’s Foe to you for next time he’s at BASFA. Look at for an email about orders on the BASFA mailing list. Or just get Borderlands to order it for you.

Australians, I know you are still sore about the rugby, but you can get Wizard’s Tower books in your country now, either from Amazon or from bookstores. We print in Australia so they only cost an arm, not an arm and a leg.

Why should you buy this one? Well there’s a whole load of reasons, but my favourite one is that we have three stories in it by trans women. Bogi, I’ll be sending you a copy to look over for the next Transcendent anthology.

Off To FantasyCon

I will be spending the next few days at FantasyCon in Glasgow. The full schedule is available online here, but if you are just looking for me this is what I’m doing:

Saturday, 14:00 Panel Room 3 – Reviewing and Non-Fiction (with Rob Malan & Alasdair Stuart)

Saturday, 17:00 Panel Room 3 Panel Room 3 – Fantasy in Translation (with Ali Nouraei, Max Edwards & Tasha Shuri)

Sunday, 11:00 Panel Room 2 – Writing Queer Characters From History (a workshop, run by me)

Sunday 13:00 Waterhouse Room – British Fantasy Awards Banquet (cheering on Juliet)

The rest of the time I will either be a) at the Luna Press table in the Dealers’ Room or b) watching rugby, presumably in the bar. There will doubtless be some eating and sleeping as well. And showering because I am a good con-going-person.

Obviously I am very much hoping that Juliet wins the Rob Holdstock Award (for Best Fantasy Novel). But it is an incredible honour for a little press like mine to be a finalist so I really can’t complain if she doesn’t. It will be a great weekend regardless.

The BristolCon Programme is Live

The BristolCon programme went live today. There are things that I will be doing. Here they are.

Friday 20:00 Programme Room 1 Open Mic — I and a number of other authors will be doing 5 minute readings. Some of the readings will be from Airship Shape & Bristol Fashion II.

Saturday 12:00 Programme Room 2 Broader Horizons: Despite some sterling work in recent years, big commercial fantasy is still in thrall to the tropes of medieval Europe. How do we break out of that setting? (With Ian Millsted, Zoe Burgess-Foreman, Mark Lewis & Anna Stephens).

Saturday 14:00 Programme Room 1 Airship Shape & Bristol Fashion II Launch

Saturday 17:00 Programme Room 1 Opening the Door: The Panel share their experiences of discovering genre and the world beyond the everyday. A celebration of childhood imagination. (With Jo Hall, Steven Poore, Janet Edwards & Phil Gilvin).

At all other times you will be able to find me at the Wizard’s Tower stall in the Dealers’ Room.

New Book on the Way

It is a very busy month for Wizard’s Tower Press. We have Juliet being up for the Robert Holdstock Award with The Green Man’s Heir at FantasyCon. We have Airship Shaped & Bristol Fashion II being launched at BristolCon. And in the meantime I’m busy working on next year’s releases. As part of that I am delighted to announce that we have exchanged contracts with Tate Hallaway (aka Lyda Morehouse) for a new novel.

Unjust Cause is a sequel to Tate’s highly enjoyable urban fantasy novel, Precinct 13. Despite getting great reviews, Tate was unable to interest the original publisher in a sequel, so I get lucky. Tate fans will be aware that an incomplete version of the novel was posted online, but the new version has been almost completely re-written and will be available as a paper edition as well as in ebook format.

Work is progressing on the book. The plan is to have it ready to go for sometime in Spring next year. I’ll let you know when we have a cover, and when pre-orders open. The official press release is here for anyone who is interested.

Airship II Nears Launch

Yeah, I have been quiet for a while. The politial situation in the UK doesn’t help. But also I have been busy working on this here book. Airship Shape and Bristol Fashion II is due for launch at BristolCon. I posted about the Table of Contents a while back. I can now show you the cover, which is once again by Andy Bigwood.

The ebook will be available for pre-order in the usual online stores any day now (well, except for Google for arcane reasons best known to them). If any of you would like an eARC to review, do let me know.

Airship II – Table of Contents

Yes folks, the Little Airship that Could is back for a second helping. Airship Shape and Bristol-Fashion is still selling steadily, five years after publication. So it is about time for Airship Shape and Bristol Fashion II : Planes, Trains and Automatons.

Once again the book is being edited by Joanne Hall and Roz Clarke. Today Jo posted the table of contents to her blog. The over reveal will be coming fairly soon, and we are expecting a launch at BristolCon.

The sharp-eyed will notice that I have a story in the book. I put some trains in for Kevin. There’s also something else… Kaiju!

I’m looking forward to you folks being able to read it.

Juliet on the Road

Today on her blog Juliet E. McKenna has announced several public appearances. The first is at The English Bookshop in Uppsala, Sweden on Saturday 14th September. She will be appearing alongside Steven Savile, Stephen Gallagher and R J Barker. It is quite a novelty for me to be asked to send books to Sweden for an author event. So if you happen to be in striking reach of Uppsala, do pop along and buy some. (Not that I’ll be asking Juliet to bring them back. Any leftovers will be going to Swecon, Åcon and Finncon next year.)

The next event in her diary is BristolCon Fringe on Monday September 16th, where she will be reading alongside Rosie Oliver. I will be on hand with books. So listen up:

If you want a hardcover copy of The Green Man’s Foe (or indeed The Green Man’s Heir) then please let me know, because I’m only planning to bring paperbacks.

After that Juliet and I will be at FantasyCon and BristolCon. I will have a dealer table at both events and will therefore have a bigger selection of books.

Also at BristolCon I expect to have something else, but that’s a subject for a whole new post…

Worldcon #77 – Day 5

I woke up from not enough sleep to discover that social media was aflame with drama at the Hugo Losers’ Party. I’m still not entirely sure what went on, but Twitter is full of ranting by people who know nothing of the history of the event so I will try to get to the bottom of it before I post a con report.

The Hugo Losers’ Party has traditionally been the ugly duckling of Worldcon. For reasons lost in the midst of time it has normally been run by the up-coming Worldcon, which in this case would mean New Zealand. The up-coming Worldcons hated this, because it was a major expense and trouble when they had no money and were exhausted from the bid campaign. It was always a terrible party with a minimal budget and too-small room that was ferociously gate-kept by SMOFs who felt it was their duty to police who was worthy of entry.

Then the Puppies happened, and GRRM decided to throw a big party for the convention to give out his Alfie Awards to people who should have won Hugos but didn’t because we’d had to No Award most of the categories. Although the Puppies have been well and truly routed, George holding the party has become a tradition. This is an example of Cheryl’s Second Law of Fandom in action: anything that has happened twice is a Sacred and Holy Tradition that must be retained at all costs.

In the old days, Hugo Loser Party nonsense wasn’t a big deal. If some snooty SMOF decided that you weren’t worthy of your place on the ballot and wouldn’t let you in, you could just move on to one of the other parties that would probably have more and better food and booze. But George runs his parties at off-site locations and if you can’t get in, which happened to a bunch of finalists last night, you are left outside in your award ceremony finery feeling cold and wet and miserable, with no choice but to get a cab back to your hotel.

Quite why so many finalists were turned away isn’t clear. It isn’t the fault of the Dublin committee, because they have nothing to do with the party other than pass on invitations to the finalists. It probably isn’t the fault of the NZ people because these days I understand that organisation of the event is passed on to people who work for George. People on Twitter inevitably blamed George personally (and doubtless complained that he should be writing books rather than running parties). The fault may lie with the staff at the venue. It is all a bit murky.

What is clear is that a whole lot of people who were not Hugo finalists had got into the party long before the Hugo Ceremony finished. This is the publishing industry in action. If there is a swank party going, publishing people will find a way to get into it. And the fact that they did led to the venue being (allegedly) overcrowded and people being turned away.

It is also clear that a whole lot of people who were Hugo finalists, many of them for the first time, had a really shitty experience.

I confess to being a little lacking in sympathy here. The year I won my first Hugo I had been blacklisted from programming at the convention because the head of Programming thought I wasn’t worthy of being on the ballot. And after I won a rant attacking me was posted on the convention’s website by convention staff. (Deb Geisler, who was the con chair, ordered it taken down as soon as she heard about it.) However, I too hate standing out in the cold and rain wearing party clothes so I can imagine what it must have been like.

I’ll have some more thoughts on how we fix this for subsequent years when I write the con report, but a core issue is that throwing a good party is really expensive and the number of finalists you have to cater for has been going up year-on-year.

Meanwhile there was still a day of convention to go. I sold the last copy of The Green Man’s Foe this afternoon so Wizard’s Tower officially sold out. That’s 45 paperbacks and 5 hardcovers in total. As I had an unexpected vacancy in my luggage I offered to take the remaining Twelfth Planet stock to Belfast with me to sell there. If you are going to be at Eurocon, do come to the Future Fiction table to see what I have.

The rest of the day was spent on things like wrangling luggage, saying goodbye to people I’m not going to see again for years, and listening to people say what a wonderful time they had at the convention.

I am now in Belfast. I will be here for a week. The next two days will be mainly sleep, work and tourism. The Eurocon starts on Thursday.

Worldcon #77 – Day 4

Today was mostly a do nothing day. I didn’t have any panels, and I knew I needed to save my energy for a long evening covering the Hugo Award Ceremony.

I did spend some time in the morning shopping for whiskey, which was very successful. I then spent quite a bit of time just being off my feet. That allowed me to have a chat with Roz & Jo about Airship 2, which is progressing nicely.

To the great relief of all concerned, the Tech team in Dublin had managed to acquire a dedicated wifi connection for Kevin, Susan and I to use for the live coverage of the ceremony. Special thanks are due to Rick Kovalcik for doing all of the leg work on this.

Aside from some rather dodgy speech-to-text conversion software, the ceremony went off very well. The winners seemed very popular except in the Puppyverse. A few of them were even things I had voted first. The full results, with a link to The Numbers, are available here. Kevin and I have been busy getting the official Hugos website updated, so we are not at any of this evening’s parties.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I am going to read those voting breakdowns.

Worldcon #77 – Day 2

Well that was eventful.

I was fortunate enough to be able to sleep in a bit this morning because the first thing I had to do was be at the convention centre for 11:00pm as Juliet McKenna was doing a signing. That went very well. We sold a whole bunch of books, both The Green Man’s Heir and The Green Man’s Foe. We were very happy.

Immediately after that I was moderating a panel on promoting translations. I was very pleased with that. I had a very knowledgeable panel, including Neil Clarke and Francesco Verso who are doing far more to promote translations than I am. We had an interesting discussion on how awards might help, what sort of awards were needed, and why the proposal for a Best Translated Novel Hugo is a bad idea.

While we were doing that, the Friday Business Meeting was in progress. While they rarely do Objection to Consideration any more, they can ask for a motion to be deferred for a year to allow more discussion to take place, and that’s what happened to the translation Hugo proposal. I do hope that the people who put it forward will listen to people in the translation community over the next 12 months rather than stubbornly bring back the same flawed proposal in Wellington.

During the panel, Julie Nováková said that she’d like someone to revive the SF&F Translation Awards (or something like them). The charitable organisation that we set up for them has been disbanded, but the website still exists and I’d be happy to talk to anyone who wants to take this on.

After the panel and a quick lunch I headed down to the other venue to check out the tech situation for tomorrow. I have to give my robotics talk in one of the Odeon rooms at The Point and I needed to make sure everything would work. These rooms are effectively overflow programming space, which is great because the con is much bigger than anyone initially expected. However, they are actually in an Odeon. The rooms are part of a multi-screen cinema. This means that the seating is great, but there isn’t much of it. Screen 4, where I will be, only seats about 80 people. What’s more, there is a queueing system. You can’t go and wait outside the room. If you don’t go through the official queueing process then you may not get in. Please bear this in mind if you are coming to listen to me tomorrow.

While I was at The Point I had a look around the Art Show which is very impressive. There are a lot of really good artists in there, the show itself is very big, and the large amount of natural lighting it gets is ideal. I have finally got to see some of Emma Newman’s art in the canvas, so to speak, and it is very pretty.

Unfortunately I also managed to lose my phone while I was down at The Point. I put this down to being very tired by that point and not thinking straight. Fortunately I was able to cadge favours of friends (thanks to Kevin & Andy and to Alan) and get the deivice disconnnected, and I didn’t have anything irreplaceable on it anyway, but it does mean that no one can phone me right now. I will go and talk to the phone company tomorrow, but I may not be able to get a new phone with my old number until I arrive in Belfast next week. If any of you are in the habit of contacting me on WhatsApp please bear this in mind.

Back at the Convention Centre, I inhaled a sandwich and headed off to moderate a panel marking the 50th anniversary of The Left Hand of Darkness. I was pleased with that, so thanks again to a great group of panelists. We all agreed that the book is very relevant, even if part of modern society are less hidebound in their attitudes to sex and gender than poor Genly Ai.

During the panel Nick Hubble mentioned Genly’s suspicion that the Gethenians were genetically engineered from baseline humans sometime far in the past. Genly thinks this was an experiment of some sort, but we only have his word for it and the details appear to be lost in the mists of Hainish history. I would love to see someone write a novel that tells the story of how the Gethenians came to be. Obviously there would be copyright issues, not to mention the jaw-dropping terror of trying to write a novel in one of Le Guin’s worlds, put I’m putting the idea out there just in case.

That was me done for the day. Thankfully I don’t have to go to the Business Meeting tomorrow to fight the translation Hugo proposal, so I have time to see about the phone situation. Over lunch I am being interviewed by Scott Edelman for his Eating the Fantastic podcast. Then it is off to The Point to give the Prehistory of Robotics talk.

We may have a solution to the issue of internet access for the Hugo Award Ceremony coverage, but there’s no guarantee that it will work. I must say that I am deeply disappointed at how successive Worldcons continue to not care in the slightest whether we are able to do this coverage. Despite Josh Beatty trying really hard for us, the Award Ceremony Director simply doesn’t have enough clout to make this happen. We have to get made an official part of the convention staff, with someone on the committee who can fight to get us what we need from the outset. I think WSFS Division is the only logical place for us, because we are an official WSFS function. I shall probably rant about this again after the convention.

Worldcon #77 – Day -1

Hello Dublin, thank you for having us!

I am safely arrived at my apartment for the week. It is a lovely little Air BnB near the Castle. The travel all went more or less according to plan, despite the best attempts of the West Country weather to have everyone phoning Mr. Noah to ask if he still has that big boat. I haven’t got to the convention centre yet, but I know how to get there and have bought a ticket for the Luas (the city tram network).

Dublin is teeming with fannish persons. When I arrived a flight from Helsinki had just disgored a legion of Finns. I knew three of my fellow passengers on my flight, and several others were clearly fans from their dress and hair color. I ran into John Picacio while I was out shopping for supplies.

The other thing I have been doing today is making sure that The Green Man’s Foe is available online tomorrow. Amazon and Kobo should go live at midnight. B&N and Google may take a little longer. And of course the ebooks will bbe available through the Wizard’s Tower shop.

Reviews Come In

Reviews for The Green Man’s Foe are starting to come in. There is a rather spoilery, but very enthusiastic, one up on The Monday Review. Michele is less spoilery, but no less enthusiastic, on Goodreads, where you can also find comments from KJ Charles and Jacey Bedford.

Meanwhile Juliet informs me that The Green Man’s Heir now has 125 reviews on Amazon UK, with an average rating of 4.5 stars.

I am so very happy for her.

The Green Man’s Foe at Worldcon & Eurocon

Worldcon is approaching fast, and The Green Man’s Foe is officially launching on August 15th, the first day of Worldcon. We should, barring disasters, have paper copies for sale at both Worldcon and Eurocon. One of my current tasks is to work out how many copies to have shipped to Ireland.

The convention sale prices for the book will be €10/£10 for the paperback and €15/£15 for the hardcover. They’ll probably be about 1:1 by then. If you want to pay in US$, talk to Kevin or myself.

If you want to be sure of getting copies, please email me and let me know how many and which format(s). If you want copies of The Green Man’s Heir as well, let me know.

The book will be available from Francesco Verso’s Future Fiction company in the Dealers’ Room. I’ll be on the stand as much as I can. While you are there I suggest you pick up a copy of his new anthology, World Science Fiction #1: Visions to Preserve the Biodiversity of the Future, which contains stories from authors from all over the world. He’s also having a launch party (Saturday, 17 August, 12:30-13:30, Warehouse 2 (WH2), first floor, Point Square) but I won’t be there as I’m being interviewed for Scott Edelman’s fabulous Eating the Fantastic podcast.

I will also carry some books around with me, so you may be able to get a copy at one of my programme items. Juliet may do the same. I don’t know as yet whether she will have a signing, but I don’t know if you are allowed to sell books at a signing.

Francesco and I will also be at Eurocon in Belfast so if you are only going to that convention you can pick up there book there. Be warned that we may try to sell you a pre-support for the Fiuggi Eurocon bid, which you will want to buy because a) it is near Rome, and b) the 2021 Worldcon will be in the USA which may be an unsafe destination for many of us.

And finally a reminder that you can pre-order the ebook from either Amazon or Kobo. Those links are for the UK stores, but the book is available internationally.

Congratulations, Juliet!

Here’s a piece of news I have been sitting on excitedly for a few days now. The Green Man’s Heir is a finalist in the Best Fantasy Novel category at the British Fantasy Awards. Naturally I think this is thoroughly deserved. Juliet is a great writer. She was a finalist in the BSFA Awards last year in the Non-Fiction category (for an essay in Gender Identity and Sexuality in Current Fantasy and Science Fiction, a book which won Non-Fiction in the BFS Awards), but this is her first major fiction nod since 2000 when The Thief’s Gamble placed 5th in the Locus Award for First Novel. This has been way too long in coming.

Congratulations are also due to Ben Baldwin whose magnificent cover has played a huge part in the book’s success. And to editor, Toby Selwyn, because everyone needs an editor and Toby certainly made the book better.

I am, of course, irrationally pleased that a book that draws its inspiration from a legend of the wild wood is up for the Robert Holdstock Award.

This is the first time that any book I have published has been up for a major award. I am absolutely delighted about it. It shows that even the smallest presses can produce great fiction. And more importantly it shows that the original premise of Wizard’s Tower — the idea that previously successful writers whose sales have taken a dip are not over the hill and can produce great work again if properly supported — is indeed correct. Mainstream publishers please take note.

Obviously I will be in Glasgow for FantasyCon. This will involve a certain amount of rearranging schedules because I was supposed to be elsewhere that weekend. But somehow I have to be at that award banquet.

The Green Man’s Foe – Open for Pre-Orders

Preparations for the publication of The Green Man’s Foe continue apace. I’m hoping to get proof copies of the paper editions later this week, but in the meantime you can pre-order the ebook editions via the following links:

Pre-orders aren’t a huge issue for me because I’m not going to be making any publisher decisions based on them. Nor do I expect to see the book in best seller charts, or indeed stocked in bookstores. However, they are very important for Juliet because mainstream publishers look at those figures and if they see a book they don’t know from an author they do then they ought to pay attention. And of course Amazon will take notice. Discoverability is everything on Amazon, and a large number of pre-orders will help the book hugely when it becomes available.

What does matter to me is how many copies to take to Ireland. I don’t want to run out early in Worldcon, and equally I don’t want to be stuck with a large pile of books to take home. So I’m looking into possible ways that I could allow people to buy the book for collection at Worldcon or Eurocon.

Happy Solstice, McKenna Fans

When considering when to do a cover reveal for The Green Man’s Foe, Juliet and I decided that the Summer Solstice would be an ideal time. The Green Man, after all, is deeply connected to the natural world. And frankly, he’s going to need a bit of sunshine to help deal with this guy.

When you do a good job for someone, there’s a strong chance they’ll offer you more work or recommend you elsewhere. So Daniel Mackmain isn’t particularly surprised when his boss’s architect brother asks for his help on a historic house renovation in the Cotswolds.

Except Dan’s a dryad’s son, and he soon realises there’s a whole lot more going on. Ancient malice is stirring and it has made an alliance in the modern world. The Green Man expects Dan to put an end to this threat. Seeing the danger, Dan’s forced to agree. The problem is he’s alone in a place he doesn’t know, a hundred miles or more away from any allies of his own.

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

It is, of course, another genius piece of art by Ben Baldwin. Juliet and Toby-the-Editor are just putting the final touches to the text. And when they are done I get to do the layouts. I’m still planning on having the book available at Worldcon. Once I have everything I need in my paws I will put the book up for pre-order.

More Champagne for Juliet

Last March I happily announced that The Thief’s Gamble by Juliet E. McKenna had become the first book from Wizard’s Tower to reach 1,000 sales. I was really pleased by that. It had taken 6 years to get to that point.

Sales of that book are now fast closing in on 1,500, because Juliet’s stock has risen significantly among readers. That’s because of The Green Man’s Heir, which I can now happily announce has sold more than 10,000 copies.

Never in my wildest dreams did I expect that Wizard’s Tower would ever publish a book that was that popular. The additional good news is that I have just read the sequel, The Green Man’s Foe, and it is a real page-turner. Juliet is already posting snippets of it on her Twitter feed, and we’ll have more news about it later in the month. I am expecting to have the book available at Worldcon.

Best Seller Again

The Green Man’s Heir has been on sale at Amazon UK all month. A month-long deal is never going to reach the intensity of sales of a single-day sale, so we won’t be #1 in all science fiction and fantasy again, but the book is currently #1 in Folklore, which is nothing to be sneezed at because it gets us a fancy ribbon on the sale page and more exposure.

It looks like the book will sell around 900 copies in the month, which will take us very close to 10,000 lifetime sales. I’m very pleased with that. And it bodes well for the sequel which is well underway and should be available at Worldcon.

And this, folks, is the sort of thing that can happen when you show faith in a brilliant writer like Juliet E. McKenna. Mainstream publishers please take note.

Also, if you are in the UK and still don’t have a copy of The Green Man’s Heir, go get one now while the sale is still on.