On Signing Ebooks, and Winning Them!

The first three days of my week were spent in the writer's room for a brand new TV show.  It's great to get away from my desk, but I do find such sessions tiring.  It's weird having to use people skills and writing skills at the same time, and I worry that I'm not as kind or as useful as I could be.  So it was actually something of a relief to get back to the loneliness of the keyboard on Thursday.  It looks like I'll be delivering the first draft of the sequel to London Falling to Tor, my police officer and intelligence analyst readers, and to the special guest who appears in the book as themselves (and this needs to clear their scenes) by the end of the week, or early next.  That's a great feeling.

The first new thing will be evident to those of you reading this as a website (as opposed to those on iPads, who just see a list of blog posts, if mine is anything to go by).  In the top right corner is a widget which you can use to get (well, not 'any', but I only had so much space for the caption) a range of my ebooks signed and personalised.  (It's just those with an American Amazon identification number.  London Falling will be added when the US edition is out in April.)  It costs you nothing, and you get a PDF which you can file alongside the book.  This rather neat service is called Authorgraph.  Check out my available titles.

Speaking of authors, my publishers, Tor, this week got a bunch of us to share their writing tips, including myself, Cherie Priest and Mark Charan Newton. There's some great stuff there.

And there are two new interviews with me out there, one at Newsarama, addressing the end of Saucer Country, and the other a bit more wide-ranging, touching briefly on my whole career.

I thought I'd mention two things friends of mine are up to. Teresa Jusino has had a comic strip accepted for Monstrous, edited by Mariah McCourt, 'a collection of stories exploring body image through prose, comics, poetry, and art for women and girls'.  I'm glad such a thing will soon exist, and I'm especially pleased to see comics in the mix.

And to celebrate the release of his new short story collection Space Magic, David D. Levine has been kind enough to provide me with two ebook copies as contest prizes.  Here's the press release:

'This Endeavour Award-winning collection pulls together 15 critically acclaimed science fiction and fantasy stories that take readers from a technicolor cartoon realm to an ancient China that never was, and from an America gone wrong to the very ends of the universe.  Including the Hugo Award-winning "Tk'Tk'Tk", the Writers of the Future Award winner "Rewind", "Nucleon", "The Tale of the Golden Eagle", and many other highly-praised stories, Space Magic shows David D. Levine's talents not only as a gifted writer but as a powerful storyteller whose work explores the farthest reaches of space as well as the depths of the human heart.'  (And you can read more about Space Magic here.)

In order to win one of these ebooks, just post the answer to the following question in the comments section: what's the name of the fanzine David co-edits with his wife, Kate Yule?  (Okay, so it's not one of those giveaway questions where the answer's on this page, but it's not up to the grueling standards of one of my Christmas quizzes either.  I manually screen my comments, so if you post your answer while I'm asleep it may not appear until the morning, but don't worry, they appear chronologically.)  First two correct answers win the ebooks and I'll reply with details of how to get them.  Please specify if you want epub or mobi format.

Tomorrow I'll be diving back into the book, and during the week I'll hopefully hear about a couple of very exciting new comics projects, which I'm rather itching to tell you about.  But not yet!  Until next time, Cheerio!

A Whole Bunch of Stuff

Because it's been an immensely busy week (which these days aren't?), I haven't paid enough attention to the blog, and so there's loads of stuff from different areas of my life to catch you up with.  The big news, personally, was that London Falling went to reprint, meaning the first edition sold out, so any remaining shops with it on their shelves don't intend to return them.  If you want a first edition, and you see one in the wild, you'd better act now, as they say in telemarketing.

The Sequence a Science Fiction Writer campaign in aid of Jay Lake has now made more than double its original target, but there are still some exciting 'acts of whimsy' stretch goals ahead for those who donate, including Lawrence Schoen doing pick up lines in Klingon, and the prospect of Jay Lake: The Musical.  Jay was kind enough to respond to our efforts with the following...

Which includes him impersonating me (is that really my accent?) and using a... well, you'll see, as an avatar of Tom.  Tom, seeing this, was initially a little disturbed, but then quite entertained.  Thank you, Jay.

Howard Tayler was also kind enough, as part of his Act of Whimsy, to create the following cartoon of all of us doing our bit...

I'm the one with the sonic screwdriver.

In other news, Big Finish's recent poll of its Best Doctor Who releases of 2012 was won by 'Love and War'! And so there's a special offer on the title this weekend.

And out on 11th April will be Solaris Rising 2, an original SF anthology in which I've got a story (quite an adult one, which many months ago when I wrote it I rather unwisely titled 'Tom', not considering that I might want to soon use that name in a vastly different context).  I'm in the good company of people like Nancy Kress, Nick Harkaway, Norman Spinrad and Liz Williams.  You can take a look and pre-order the paperback here.

My Public Lending Right statement this year made interesting reading.  This is the wonderful service that gives authors monies from books lent by libraries.  My most-loaned titles were my Action Comics run, followed by, oddly, Dark X-Men (I guess that title is intriguing).  This was before London Falling was released, however, so it'll be interesting to see how that does.

I've made my traditional Oscar bets (which normally get a blog post of their own, I know).  This year, with Lincoln looking about to win everything, it's been tough to find value.  Note that I don't think that these are necessarily what deserve to win, nor even what I think is going to win, these are options where, to me, the odds given seem longer than their real chances.  I've put £10 on each, and am looking for one or two of them to come through, thus making me a profit...

Best Picture: Les Miserables (9/1).  It's dramatic, it's political, and it's vaguely possible that if the Academy think Lincoln is too obvious... no, you're right.
Best Director: Ang Lee (5/1).  Good odds for the second favourite.
Best Actress: Quvenzhane Wallis (25/1).  Come on, talented child, aging academy, suckers for the little ones, and 25/1?!  I'll take that.
Best Actor: Bradley Cooper (25/1). Never in a million years, actually.  But I make it a point never to bet against movies about mental illness.
AND Hugh Jackman (8/1), because they'll give him something soon, and it's possible the Academy decide Daniel Day-Lewis has been over-awarded now.
Best Supporting Actress: Sally Field (14/1).  If Lincoln is going to beat everything, I'll take the 14/1 shot from that group.
Best Supporting Actor: I got nothing.  Could be any of them.  Little value.
And I took a punt on Best Animated Feature: Wreck-It Ralph (11/2), because the favourites were Frankenweenie (I don't think the Academy like Tim Burton that much) and Brave (which seemed a bit too all over the place to win) and because in this category nobody knows anything.

Wish me luck!

There's a new (and excellent) Wild Cards story, 'When we were Heroes' up on Tor, this one by Daniel Abraham, and illustrated by John Picacio, as will be my own attempt, appearing in the same place later this year.

The latest episode of The SF Squeecast is now up, in which I discuss the recent 2000AD story 'Trifecta'.

One of my favourite critics, Niall Alexander, now has a regular column at Tor, the very useful British Genre Fiction Focus, which will bring all the news from this side of the pond over to that one.

And finally, here's proof that my wife's former band, Boogie Me, are still going strong...

If you're in Oxfordshire or the surrounding area, and you want to hire an r'n'b orchestra, or just see them in action, take a look here.

Phew, that's it!  I'm off to spend Monday-Wednesday in the writer's room of that new TV series I've mentioned (and Tom gets his second lots of immunisations on Tuesday, so it's awkward to be away from the little chap).  Until next time, then, Cheerio!

The End of Saucer Country

As today's solicitations for forthcoming Vertigo titles revealed, #14 will be the last issue of Saucer Country. I'm very sorry this is the case.  The comic was a labour of love for me, and I'm heartbroken to see it cancelled.

The cancellation happened just as Ryan had nearly finished drawing the first issue of what will now be our last arc.  I therefore had to decide whether or not I could use that completed issue as a starting point for a final plot that, in two more issues, could end our entire story in a satisfying  way.  After much thought, I decided it couldn't be done without turning the remaining issues into, well, just lists of things that happened.  There were just too many questions to answer, too many plot points to fit.

So I've opted to complete the arc as planned, with maybe an added 'end of season' feel, and finish Saucer Country on an 'end of volume one' note, with a big outcome decided (the last three issues are set on election night) and one enormous (and complete) reveal of the truth behind one of our mysteries.  But this will not be an ending, and you won't learn what really happened to Arcadia on the night she was abducted.

I know that'll disappoint our loyal audience. So I make this promise to you: I will, one day, finish Saucer Country, in one way or another, in a dramatically satisfying way.  That is to say, I won't just put up the remainder of the plot on my blog or something, I'll find a professional means to actually complete the story, ideally in comic book form, or as a novel or, hey, go on, a movie.  The rights revert to me reasonably soon.  We'll work from there.

I should say that I have no problem with Vertigo.  Low sales were what killed us, nothing else.  I have no reason to be bitter.  I couldn't have been happier with the wonderful editorial team of Will Dennis and Mark Doyle, some of the best people I've worked for, who were not just meticulous and devoted to the cause, but also kind and friendly, and I'd like to thank Karen Berger and Shelly Bond (and development editor Pornsak Pichetshote) for taking a chance on the title in the first place.

I especially feel for Ryan Kelly, who's put so much hard work and energy into this project.  He's brought this comic to life for me.  He's been a joy to work with.  Here's his cover for #13, our penultimate issue...

Please support him in his next project, whatever that may be, and check out his own Funrama comic, along with many other delights, at his blog.  He's someone I very much want to work with again, and I hope that'll be on Saucer Country.  He gets first refusal.  We'll wait for him.

I want to thank all the readers who stuck with us.  We won't stint on the final issues; you'll keep getting what you like.  Indeed, our next issue, a one off about Michael and his sister and the fairies, is a story that's very important to me.  And our last arc, 'President's Day', is, I think, as with 'The Reticulan Candidate', one of the best stories I've told in comics.  There'll be no ragged randomness, as sometimes happens with comics at the end of their run.  We're going to keep on giving you our best, right to the end.

So that's Saucer Country.  I hope I get to say, one day, that it's coming back.  You can be sure I won't stop trying to make that happen.  Cheerio.

For Jay: A Reply from Mary

Well, it looks like the Sequence a Science Fiction Writer campaign is going to end up with at least twice the cash it set out to raise. Thank you so much, those of you who've donated to help Jay Lake and other cancer patients.

Rather wonderfully, Mary Robinette Kowal saw yesterday's video of me singing 'Wuthering Heights', and checked out YouTube's automatic subtitles to see what they made of it. And, erm, here she is performing the results as beat poetry.  With her cat playing Tom.

I'm sure Bill Clinton and allotments don't feature in the original lyrics.

There's a new interview with me up at Previews, where I talk about my plans for Wolverine.  Something I didn't mention there is that, on the release date of each issue, I'm going to do a blog offering commentary on the writing process and (joyful) reaction to the art.

And SciFi Now have kindly listed Saucer Country as one of their Top Fifteen Comics that should be TV Shows.

It's been a strange week.  Cheerio!

For Jay

I've done some ridiculous things in my time, but rarely for such a good cause.  My friend the writer Jay Lake has, for the longest time, been suffering from cancer of the colon, and it's not looking great.  However, there's a small possibility than some extra help might be available.  A group of those who know and love Jay (and that includes just about anyone who's been to an SF convention) have got together to raise funds for him to have whole genome sequencing.  This may suggest a new treatment path.  And the information gained can help further the whole business of using data like this in cancer treatment, and thus help others to.

You can find out all about what turned out to be an extraordinary gathering of authors promising to do whimsical things for different levels of donations, and see the wonderful sum of money that's so far been raised (and, of course, make a donation yourself), here.

As you can see, when the level of funding reached $9000, which it did within a couple of hours of the appeal's launch, I was thus compelled to do my bit.  And so, with great trepidation, here it is...

Yes, I know.  The best you can say about it really is that it exists.  But I think my co-star is cute.

It can't really compete with Mary Robinette Kowal reading the classics in a way which can only be described as 'bracing'.

Now, Jay is a very popular chap, so it's perhaps no surprise that actually two fundraising campaigns concerning him were started within days of each other.  The other one is Lakeside, a plan (which will now go ahead, because that also has done very nicely in terms of funding) to make a documentary about him.  That's also worth your money.

And here's Jay himself (for those of you on Facebook), reacting to everything that's happened.  He is, as anyone will tell you, a lovely fellow.  I hope he sticks around.

To move onto much less important matters, rounding up a few things from the last few days, there's a new interview with me, chiefly concerned with London Falling, up at Civilian Reader.

Charlie Jane Anders at i09 was kind enough to include the US edition of the novel in that website's list of essential books coming in 2013.

And Joe Gordon of Forbidden Planet International included it in his best of the year list.

Anyhow, I hope I haven't melted your eardrums, but whether or not I've harmed you this evening, mentally or physically, do wander over to the parent site for all our endeavors, and give a little something.  Cheerio!

My Nominables

This is the (now almost required rather than widely abused, thank goodness) post where I list what I had out there last year that is eligible, (or nominable, as I like to say) for the various genre awards at the moment, notably the Hugos.

There is, of course, in the Novel category, London Falling (Tor).

In the Novelette category, there's 'The Ghosts of Christmas' for Tor.com.

In Short Story, there's 'A New Arrival at the House of Love' in Solaris Rising 1.5.

And I've got two shots at Graphic Story: Saucer Country: Run (Vertigo) and Demon Knights: Seven Against the Dark (DC).

If you see fit to nominate any of the above then you have my eternal thanks.  Cheerio!

Peter David and Audio Bastards

It was only the other day I was told, to my surprise, that almost a year ago Starship Sofa had put out an audio adaptation of my Jonathan Hamilton story 'One of Our Bastards is Missing'.  I'd known they were planning one, of course, because they'd asked to do it and also 'Catherine Drewe', but I was kind of assuming they'd tell me when it was out.  And also that they might begin with the first story in the series.  I'm told that 'Catherine' has been recorded but not scheduled yet.  You can find 'Bastards' here, and though I'm annoyed at the offhandedness of the release, I must admit it's an excellent reading.

If you're in the US (because it's not yet available on Amazon UK), you may like to know that Tor.com have released Some of the Best from..., a free anthology of stories from their website, including my own 'The Ghosts of Christmas'.  There's a link there where UK customers can see all the stories in their original versions.

My friend Peter David, acclaimed writer of comics and prose, had a stroke recently, throwing a spanner (hopefully only in the short term) in the works of him making a living.  He's a tremendous human being, who, just a couple of weeks ago, sent Tom some X-Men and Pooh sleepsuits.  I recall especially the New York Comic Con where we shared what turned out to be a highly entertaining Passover with Peter and his family.  He's one of those comics writers who builds a community around every title he's written, and I'm sure those communities will be coming to his aid now.  You can find out what you can do to help here, and I'll be sorting out something myself in the near future.  Please give back to a creator who's given so much.  Until next time, Cheerio!

2013: We Continue

2012 was an enormous year for me, the year my son was born.  Also, and this would have been top of the list in any other year, it was the year when I got back to being a novelist again.  2013, from what I already know, is shaping up to be, well, not just as good, because it's work rather than offspring we're talking about, but good nevertheless.

We got to bed in good order just past midnight, at home, perfectly sober, which is the first time in decades for me that all those things have happened at once.  Today I'm going to enjoy the last day of my holiday and bake a cake, but I felt a few things needed mentioning on the blog.

London Falling is Tor Ebook of the Month, which means there's a nice price cut on the DRM-free version of the ebook (a version you won't get from Amazon).  If you want the freedom to move your book between devices, Tor should be your first port of call.

There's a new interview with me about the book up at Starburst Magazine.

And may I heartily recommend to you the new Verity podcast, six women (several of whom are involved in the Chicks Dig books, including my Squeecast comrade Lynne Thomas) talking about Doctor Who.  It's excellent stuff.

I hope you're having a Happy New Year.  Until next time, Cheerio!