Green Man News

I’m delighted to report that The Green Man’s Silence is now available for pre-order on Amazon and Kobo. Barnes & Noble should follow suit very soon. Here are some links:

But that’s not all. Amazon has decided to put The Green Man’s Foe on sale in the UK for the whole of August. So if you haven’t read book #2 in the series yet, you can pick it up early and get it read before the new one drops.

And given that all this is going on, we have put The Green Man’s Heir on sale in the UK at £1.77 (which is the new £1.99 since VAT on ebooks was zero-rated), just in case there’s anyone out there who doesn’t have a copy.

CoNZealand – Day 2

First up, we had a very successful party. Huge thanks to all who attended, and to Kristen and her team running the CoNZealand parties.

A lot of yesterday was taken up with preparing for the party, but I did get some time to see programme. The Representing the Other panel was very good, and led to some very lively discussion on Discord afterwards. I also watched the Conventions in the Age of COVID-19 panel, and the The Future is Female panel.

The big event last night was the Retro Hugo and Sir Julius Vogel Awards panel. Unfortunately there were major bandwidth issues with the stream and I bailed early on so as to reduce the load. Kevin stuck with it so as to be able to tweet from the official Hugo Awards feed.

This year’s Retro Hugo Award trophy is gorgeous. You can find out more about it here.

The results of the 1945 Retros can be found here. I was very pleased with the recognition for Margaret Brundage and Leigh Brackett. There has been anger expressed about the awards going to Campbell and Lovecraft, but results like this are inevitable with the Retros because most people don’t take an interest in them. According to the official statistics, only 120 people participated at the Nominations stage, and only 521 in the final ballot. If Worldcons can’t drum up more interest in the Retros then they should stop doing them (they are optional, after all).

Getting to the Wizard’s Tower Party

Now that I have had a chance to attend a party at CoNZealand, I know a lot more about how they will work. If you are planning to attend, here are some pointers.

The easiest way to find the party is through Grenadine. If you select the Schedule tab and then Thursday you will find us right at the top of the list. The title is “Parties: 30 July, party band #2”. It is at the top of the list because it starts at 7:00am on Thursday in New Zealand, even though it is still Wednesday for most of us.

If you click on that programme item you will find a Zoom link button. Go through the usual process of starting a Zoom event.

That will take you to a main room where the friendly CoNZealand party staff will direct you to the party you want to join. There are three other parties happening at the same time, so you need to get to the right one.

Zoom’s features for this sort of thing are not great, but CoNZealand has come up with a clever trick to help get people into party rooms quickly. Each party is assigned a number. You need to edit your name in Zoom to put that number in front of your name. We are party #1 (obviously). So if your name is “Kevin Standlee”, you would edit that to “1 Kevin Standlee”. Once you have done that, the party staff can press a magic button and you will be teleported into the Wizard’s Tower party room. You can edit your name back to normal once you have arrived.

As a reminder, the rough schedule (in UK times) is as follows:

  • 20:15 – Tate Hallaway (Lyda Morehouse) reads and does Q&A
  • 21:15 – Juliet McKenna reads and does Q&A, plus we reveal the cover of The Green Man’s Silence
  • 22:15 – I read from a forthcoming collection by Croatian author, Aleksandar Žiljak, which we wll be launching at the Eurocon in Rijeka in October

See you all soon.

One more thing. If you still can’t find us, Info Desk in Discord may be able to help, but in an emergency write something anywhere in Discord including @Parties and one of the party still should get pinged and come to help.

Worldcon Schedule

Here we are again. Well, here we are virtually. I am signed into the CoNZealand web presence and Discord sever. Other people are arriving from all over the world, so I am doing the British thing of complaining about our weather.

But what will I be up to at Worldcon? Well, I am not on any panels. Huge thanks to Kalin from Bulgaria for heroic attempts to get me into a translations panel, but I entirely understand that with a virtual con people can’t easily be added to a panel at the last minute.

However, I am running a party. Believe it or not Wizard’s Tower Press is 10 years old. Also we have stuff to promote. The party will be in Band #2 on Thursday, which is 7:00-10:00 in the morning on Thursday in New Zealand. That means it is 20:00-23:00 on Wednesday in the UK. For my own sanity I’m going to use UK times from now on. Apologies to people elsewhere.

There will be entertainment. Here’s the approximate schedule:

  • 20:15 – Tate Hallaway (Lyda Morehouse) will read and answer questions about her work, in particular Unjust Cause.
  • 21:15 – We will reveal the cover for The Green Man’s Silence. Juliet McKenna will read and answer questions.
  • 22:15 – I will introduce a new short story collection by Croatian writer, Aleksandar Žiljak, which we will be publishing in October with a launch at Eurocon in Virual Rijeka

There should be plenty of time for general chat as well.

Pre-orders for The Green Man’s Silence should go live sometime this week, after the cover reveal.

There will be more Worldcon news soon, but lots of stuff is still in the works so I can’t post yet.

Coronavirus – Day #127

There was no need to do any Day Job work today, so I have been able to get on with other things, including doing some planning for Wizard’s Tower’s presence at Worldcon and the cover reveal for The Green Man’s Silence.

Also the cricket was quite exciting.

Elsewhere Bozo has apparently announced that no announcement will be made on trans rights issues until the start of the next Parliamentary session in September. This does not surpise me. Announcing a hugely controversial new policy at the start of the summer recess and giving those affected the whole summer to campaign against it is so monumentally stupid that only this shambles of a government would ever have thought of it.

Of course this does mean that trans people in the UK have at least another 6 weeks to wait before we find out if we all have to start seeking political asylum elsewhere, which is not great for the mental health, but I will try to use the time constructively.

One of the other things I have done today is add a new section to this site about booking me for various types of speaking engagements. You can find it here. Let me know if there’s anything you think I should add.

Wizard’s Tower and BLM

Lots of organisations have been posting statements about how they intend to be better at supporting people of colour, and in particular Black people, in the future. Many of those, I suspect, will prove to be PR exercises, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that I haven’t yet said anything about Wizard’s Tower, so here we go.

None of the novels we publish are by people of colour. Nor, to my knowledge, are there any stories by people of colour in any of the anthologies that we publish. There are people of colour in the non-fiction parts of Adventure Rocketship, for which we have the ebook rights. I’m very pleased about that because the book is about the intersection between science fiction and music.

I would very much like to publish more work by people of colour, but when someone, anyone, comes to me and inquires about getting published my first reaction is always to ask them if they are sure, and can they not get a better deal with someone else. There are plenty of very talented people of colour out there, and they should be getting published by mainstream publishers, not having to resort to a tiny outfit like mine.

I will note that I have one anthology of translated fiction in publication, and have another two hopefully forthcoming this year. That’s something else that is a hard sell with bigger publishers, but I’m always happy to look at.

I try to do the LGBT+ stuff too. Lyda, of course, is a lesbian. Airship Shape & Bristol Fashion II has three stories by trans people in it. If you have books that bigger publishers won’t touch because of queer content, do come to me. Ditto any other marginalised theme.

It is embarassing not to have any writers of colour on our books. All I can say is that it is not by design. Given the way that publishing works, a whole bunch of the writers of colour who are being taken on by the big companies right now will get dropped after a couple of books. If that happens to you, do come to me for future projects, because rescuing mid-list writers who have been dumped is what Wizard’s Tower was set up to do. If you are not published yet, keep an eye on any anthology projects we might announce, but have ambition. You can crack professional markets. Go for it!

Farewell Milena

In the midst of all of the pandemic crisis, normal threats to health haven’t gone away. I got word this afteroon that my Croatian friend, Milena Benini, died today of lung cancer. It was apparently very quick — only a couple of weeks from diagnosis to death — and having had two parents die of cancer I am convinced that quick is good. Milena had two daughters aged, I believe, 17 and 23. They were a lot smaller when I visited her on one of my trips to Croatia a few years back.

Milena was a fine writer of science fiction. She has a story in Kontakt, the anthology of Croatian SF&F that I published through Wizard’s Tower. I understand that she had her first published story when she was aged just 14. She was also a staunch feminist, and fond of whisky. Needless to say, we got on very well.

That’s about as much information as I have right now. If you knew Milena, or admired her work, I’m sure that more information will be coming from Croatian fandom in due course.

New Lockdown Reading – Steampunk! Kaiju!

Oh, wait, it is Thursday! I’m supposed to give you a free story. Well, here we go. This one is mine. It has trains, it has a kaiju. I really enjoyed writing it. I hope you like it to. Here’s the blurb:

The British Empire is being blackmailed by mad scientists. Prime Minister, Lord Palmerston needs a new and efficient means of defending the country, and he turns to the great engineer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, for help. Which is how a survivor of the Charge of the Light Brigade and a young Welsh artilleryman end up crewing Britain’s latest and most terrifying piece of military hardware: a train.

It is from Airship Shape & Bristol Fashion II, which I would love y’all to buy.

New #LockdownReading – Distant Thunder

Yes, it does appear to be Thursday again, so there’s a new short story available for free at Wizard’s Tower. Distant Thunder is the second in Juliet McKenna’s Quartering the Compass which looks at the adventures of one of the minor characters from the Aldabreshin Compass books.

You can find the full list of Lockdown Reading stories here. Please also consider buying a copy of Colinthology as all proceeds from sale of the book go to help Bristol hospitals.

Today on Ujima – Contraception and Books

Today’s show began with an hour-long chat with Dr. Donna Drucker who has recently written a great little book on the history of contraception. Our conversation goes all the way from herbal rememdies to cybersex.

The other half of the show was devoted to books. First up we had Stark Holborn with Triggernometry. And then part of my Lyda Morehouse interview from Salon Futura, which is mainly about Unjust Cause.

The playlist for this week’s show was:

  • Salt ‘n’ Pepa – Let’s Talk About Sex
  • Ike & Tina Turner – Sexy Ida
  • Parliament – I’ve Been Watching You
  • James Brown – Sex Machine
  • Janelle Monae – March of the Wolfmasters
  • Janelle Monae – Violet Stars Happy Hunting!!!
  • Janelle Monae – Let’s Get Screwed
  • Big Audio Dynamite – Medicine Show
  • Amazing Rhythm Aces – King of the Cowboys
  • Santana – Full Moon
  • Prince – Little Red Corvette

For the next few weeks you can catch the whole show via the Ujima Listen Again service.

Coronavirus – Day #51

I seem to have been productive today. I finished reading a book. I finished editing next week’s radio show. And I finished doing the Wizard’s Tower accounts for April.

Regarding the latter, as a small press, any month in which you sell over 3,000 books has to be a good month. Admitedly more than half of those were copies of The Green Man’s Heir when it was on sale for 99p at Amazon, but even so it is a lot of readers.

Also we were treated to a fantastic F1 race this evening. OK, it is only sim racing, but Charles LeClerc and Alex Albon put on a brilliant show. There are two major benefits of the sim races over the real thing. Firstly overtaking is much easier because the game doesn’t model the slipstream effects that make it so difficult in real life. And although the cars might appear to be in different liveries, they are actually identical in performance so the race is down to driver skill, not who has the best aero package and engine.

By the way, I have discovered that as a community radio presenter I do actually qualify as a key worker and can apply for a C-19 test. However, my nearest testing station is, I think, at Bristol Airport, which is over an hour’s drive away. I’m very comfortable just staying at home, thank you.

New #LockdownReading from Lyda Morehouse

It’s Thursday, and that means it is time for another free short story from Wizard’s Tower. This one is Bright, Bright City Lights by Lyda Morehouse. It is a story set in Lyda’s home city of St. Paul, which she has particular affection for as we discussed in her interview for the new Salon Futura. It also has some resonance with the new NK Jemisin novel, The City We Became, which I reviewed here. And, given that it is a story about left-wing politics, it is very much speaking to the present day, even though it was first published in 2010 and is inspired by an event that happened in 2002.

You can find the full list of free Lockdown Reading stories here.

New Lockdown Reading – Fire in the Night

Thursday means Lockdown Reading day. Today we have a new story from Juliet McKenna. Fire in the Night takes place after the events of Southern Fire, the first book in the Aldabreshin Compass series. There are two more short stories that follow on from this one. We’ll put them both out if Lockdown lasts that long. Juliet talks about the genesis of the stories here.

I am reminded that Southern Fire came out in 2003. It featured a black lead character, and is set in a majority-black society, long before such things happened. Tor, who did the US edition, even put the hero, Daish Kheda, on the cover, which of course meant that the book sank without trace. Thankfully things are better these days.

New Lockdown Reading – Answering Back

It is Thursday, so that means another release in the Wizard’s Tower Lockdown Reading series. This one is by Roz Clarke, whom most of you will know as one of the editors of the Airship Shape & Bristol Fashion series, but she’s a great writer as well Answering Back is quite short, but I found it very amusing. Here’s what I wrote about it for the bookstore:

A short story by Roz Clarke in which the greatest mind of his generation (possibly of all time) discovers that in the real world people don’t always follow the scripts you have written for them. Feminist and funny (unless you are the sort of person who thinks that Victor von Doom is a great role model).

It also has what has become one of my favourite lines in fiction, but I can’t tell you what it is as there’s enough spoilery stuff for a very short story already.

You can download a free copy of the story via the Wizard’s Tower bookstore. And please consider buying a copy of Colinthology, which Roz helped edit and has a story in, because all proceeds from the sale of that one go to support hospitals in Bristol.

You can find the full list of Lockdown Reading titles here.

New Free Fiction – A Piece of the Puzzle

I released another free short story in the Wizard’s Tower Lockdown Reading series today. This one is by me.

Yes, yes, I know. But I wanted to encourage people to buy the book it comes from. The Hotwells Horror is an anthology put together by a group of Bristol-area writers to honour the memory of David J Rodger. All of the proceeds from the sale of the book are being donated to Mind. That’s a charity that will be very busy right now. There are better stories than mine in the book, promise.

On the other hand, mine has tentacles. Well, not exactly, but it does have a few familiar faces from the Cthulhu Mythos. The story also features a young widow from New York called Sonia Greene. She has a passion for weird fiction, and a need for a husband. If you have a bad feeling about this, you are probably right.

You can get the story, for free, here.

Unjust Cause – Launch Week

Unjust Cause, the latest new book from Wizard’s Tower will be available to buy on Wednesday. In the meantime you can pre-order copies from the major ebook stores.

Tate/Lyda and I will be doing more PR over the coming days. It’s a NEW BOOK, people!

By the way, I have been asked whether it is necessary to have read Precinct 13 before you read this book. My own experience, having read Precinct 13 years ago and therefore having forgotten most of it, is that you’ll be fine. Obviously it helps to know some of the characters, but mostly you will pick it up as you go along.

Coronavirus – Day #20

Today has been a bit crazy. Not quite as crazy as the first time The Green Man’s Heir got to be a daily deal on Amazon. You can’t really expect the same results the second time around. Not when over 10,000 of you lovely people already own the book. But very pleasing all the same. That will mean a nice chunk of cash for Juliet.

And frankly I have been so busy that I haven’t worried much about the virus today. I gather that the infection and death rates are still increasing, and that the government is making more worthless promisies to do things that we all know it has no intention of doing. Quite why Bozo wants to go down in history as the man who killed thousands of his own people is a mystery to me, but I guess someone must be paying him well.

Anyway, I cooked today. Actual spag bol. Well, technically linguine bol, but we can’t be fussy these days. It was good, even though I forgot to put any chili in.

Tomorrow I start doing interviews for next week’s radio show.