THE SKY SLAYER | OFFICIAL RELEASE

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At last, my second novel, The Sky Slayer, has been released into the world!

My first novel, The Sea-Stone Sword, feels like something I did a hundred years ago, and a lot of the mistakes I made in it still haunt me. The Sky Slayer is a better book, in my honest opinion. Building off all the good things I think I did in Sea-Stone, making the characters more interesting, making the plot more devious, and ultimately making the whole reading experience better.

Pterosaurs, penguins, dinosaurs, and moral dilemmas. The Sky Slayer is a book that explores what happens after someone has become a legend through questionable means. After the hero has sailed off into the sunset and has to live with what they have done, with all of the terrible consequences, the trauma, and the political fallout.

Pirates roam the sea under the banner of an immortal self-styled villain. The Pengish Empire spreads into the Eastern continent. Refugees from the fall of the Air King flee to other lands, seeking help. And all the while, Rob Sardan sits in prison, haunted by the terrible things he did in the name of becoming a hero.

The Sky Slayer is out now!

Get a signed copy direct from the author


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OR click HERE to buy from:
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Smashwords
Barnes and Noble
Book Depository (FREE worldwide shipping!)
Waterstones

Best of the MiliVerse

I started a parody Twitter account to amuse my friends who have been feeling a bit down in the wake of political upheaval here in the UK.

Imagine a world without Brexit. A world where the news is duller, stranger, and softer. A world where Ed Miliband is Prime Minister. Imagine… The Miliverse.

It was inspired by this

And it only grew from there!

It sometimes seems like a message is trying to get through from the other side…

The headlines are still sensational…

 

In this timeline, Jeremy Corbyn is a humble backbencher…

Things get a bit meta…

Ed maybe has a bit of a thing for Canadian PM Justin Trudeau

And then the Fan Art happened

There were more awkward moments to come.

In the end, the Miliverse is a calmer, stranger, more awkward world. Tell your friends, tell your neighbours, and maybe your local quantum physicist. Just in case.

Karen Miller Interview

falcon-throne-197x300Our Writers of Fantasy series continues with an exclusive interview with Karen Miller, best known for her epic fantasy novels such as the Innocent Mage (Kingmaker, Kingbreaker series) as well as her new book, The Falcon Throne.

She has also written Star Wars and Stargate novels and under the pen-name K.E. Mills writes the Rogue Agent series, about a wizard with special skills who works for his government under unusual circumstances.

SFFN: When you look back on your first books, such as The Innocent Mage, and compare them to something more recent, like The Falcon Throne, how do you feel you’ve changed as a writer? Has your process or method changed?

KM: Innocent Mage was a fairly uncomplicated, straightforward book. It doesn’t have a really big cast, or a challenging narrative structure, and the landscape is restrained. It was enough of a challenge for me to just to finish it, and polish it to the best of my ability, and then sell it, without burdening myself more!

But the first two books in that series (Innocent and Awakened) gave me the courage and confidence I needed to challenge myself a bit more, and so that’s what I’ve been trying to do with every book since.

The end result of that process is the Tarnished Crown series, The Falcon Throne being the first one, where the narrative structure, the landscape and the scope of the story are by far the most vast, complicated and challenging I’ve aimed for. This story is making me sweat! But that’s a good thing, even when I’m banging my head against the keyboard. *g*

The other shift, I’d say, is that the characters I’m working with are becoming progressively more layered, more convoluted, less easy to pigeon hole. Don’t get me wrong, I adore Asher and the rest of the Mage books cast, but they are all fairly uncomplicated, in terms of their motives and personalities. The Tarnished Crown cast still has good guys and bad guys, but the waters are muddier. Balfre, for example, is not a good man – but I think some of his actions are at least understandable, if not forgivable, because life has not been kind to him. I think he could have been a good man, if his circumstances were different.

Likewise Liam is a complicated person, someone whose basic nature has been distorted by events beyond his control.  Benedikt is a far sunnier, simpler man – but even he has his moments.  LIkewise Catrain. She’s a hero, but she has her flaws. And Izusa, who willingly embraces evil, and does terrible things, she’s actually motivated by love. I think that’s because to be human is to be complicated and multi-faceted. Even very good people have their very bad moments. And bad people are capable of selfless, loving acts. That can get confusing, and even confronting, but it’s also human. It certainly keeps me on my toes, as a writer.

I wish I could say, after some 19 books under my belt, that the process of writing a novel has become easier, but no. It’s not. Maybe if I didn’t keep asking more and more of myself it would be! But I still struggle with the doubts and the demons. I suspect most writers do. At the end of the day, it’s about you and the empty page (or screen) and the only cure is to sit your arse in the chair and apply your fingers to the keyboard and wrestle that story out of your head, then polish it until it shines.

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10 Days until The Sky Slayer

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The Sky Slayer [Paperback] £9.99

It’s only 10 days until the official launch of my new book, The Sky Slayer! It’s been a really odd process compared to the first book. Now I have a canon to stick to, a continuity to keep in mind and I can’t change it, even if I think an ida would work better.

I made a lot of mistakes in the first book, followed some tropes that were unhelpful, unkind, and even hurtful. So, with The Sky Slayer, I took a very different approach. While The Sea-Stone Sword certainly has its shocks, its plot twists and devastating moments, The Sky Slayer tries to earn them properly. I wanted to build the characters more, explore them in depth and give them space to breathe. I wanted to really delve into the consequences of the hero’s quest and pull it apart.

If you do something monumental that changes the world, how does it change you?

If you were a hero, how could you live with it?

If you’d done some terrible things, could you be trusted by others, and  could you trust yourself again?

It’s a story about finding hope again, but it’s also a deconstruction of the hero narrative. It’s the story of a boy who lost the boy he loved, and chooses to love the rest of the world instead. He finds new friends, a new crew, and a new quest.

The quest is not the quarry.

The quest is the quest.

THE SKY SLAYER IS COMING.

Click HERE to Pre-Order from:
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Waterstones

Sylvester McCoy at LFCC – Doctor Who Interview

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At London Film and Comic Con this past month I got to interview Sylvester McCoy, Doctor Who star, who now sports a beard. But why the new beard, you may wonder. Well, I asked him this and other hard hitting questions.

The beard is for a part that Sylvester is, as yet, not allowed to talk about beyond ‘it’s for Netflix’. But what clues can we glean from this? Well, not much, admittedly. We also talked a bit about how he got his start in showbiz and Sylvester told us how he was picked out for the Ken Campbell roadshow while in his late 20s and never looked back.

Also, it is now 20 years since he and Paul McGann starred in the Doctor Who TV movie, so we talked a bit about that, too. There are some audio issues on the video, so you’ll find a handy transcript here.

Transcript:

Sylvester McCoy at LFCC – Doctor Who Interview

 

The Heir to the North – Audiobook Review

Heir of the NorthFor my first review on this here blog I’ve decided to cover The Heir to the North by Steven Poore, which I finished listening to on audiobook the other day. I had read the paperback about a year ago, but still the story felt fresh and bursting with life. The performance is top notch, with each character’s voice distinct and clear as well as full of life. The story is packed with intrigue, mystery, action and more.

Don’t be fooled by the seemingly standard epic fantasy you might think this is. Heir to the North is a surprising and beautifully crafted book that will no doubt stand apart from the crowd if enough people give it the chance it deserves.

The narrator, Diana Croft, has so much talent! This is a brilliant performance. Stunning, emotional, and dripping with depth.

I’d have liked there to be more female characters. For a story that contains so much emphasis on the lead character being a woman and overcoming social prejudices, there really aren’t a lot of female roles and role models. The general absence of female voices made me feel Cassia’s isolation, so maybe that was the point?

There’s much to be said about this book. A story about stories. There’s a lot being done with the idea of how powerful a story can be, with how they can affect one’s outlook on the world, and with how they can twist the choices people make. There’s subtlety, depth, and areal sense that the author has spent long and hard crafting each and every tale into this larger tale.

If you fancy a rip roaring fantasy of depth and intrigue, give it a go! Audible has it on sale at the moment for almost half price!

 

Sky Slayer Launch Party

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Gather round, people, the official launch party for The Sky Slayer will be in the Oxford University Parks (the corner of W walk and N walk, probably) on 11th September 2016. We will have a picnic, music, food, reading, signing, and all sorts of fun!

Here’s the Facebook Event Page

Should it rain or be too windy or something, we will be relocating to St Anthony’s College bar instead. The bar itself won’t be open, but we’ll use the tables and chairs for a nice sit down and general merry making.

If you can’t make it, you can always pre-order it from Waterstones. If you ask to pick it up from your local store they’re more likely to stock it, just saying. 😉

The-Sky-Slayer-Digital-Cover-Master-1-623x1024Glory is like a circle in the water which never ceaseth to enlarge itself, till, by broad spreading, it disperse to naught’.

All who kill a pterosaur are cursed. But Rob Sardan went a step further – he killed their King.

To break the curse he must escape a prison of ice and crystal, south of south, beyond all hope. With a ragtag team of former pirates, a failed thief and a strategist who cannot be trusted, they seek a ship that can sail on a sea of fire.
They must cross the grinding ice, challenge an empire, and face the dread pirate Skagra before she unleashes the Crown of Black Glass. But above all, Rob must face the ghosts of what he has become…
King Killer. Sword-breaker. Sky Slayer.

Click HERE to buy from:
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Smashwords (Coming soon)
Barnes and Noble (Coming soon)
Book Depository (FREE worldwide shipping!) (Coming soon)
Waterstones (Pre-Order Paperback)

 

Martha Wells Interview

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Martha Wells is the latest subject of our Writers of Fantasy Interview series. She has been writing ground-breaking fantasy for over two decades now. Her Books of Raksura series in particular has challenged gender stereotypes and more in every way imaginable and she still has more coming! She has also been doing a Patreon for short Raksura stories!

We chatted about how she has changed as a writer, what her process is, and what she thinks of the industry at large. Even if you’ve never read a word of her books before, this interview is well worth checking out as she has great insights into the world of being a writer.

– When you look back on your first novels, such as The Element of Fire, and compare it to something more recent,like The Edge of Worlds, how do you feel you’ve changed as a writer? Has your process or method changed?

As a writer, I think I take more chances. I think I’m more in touch with the kinds of characters and relationships I want to write. My process has changed in that I write faster, I’m more productive,and I’m more confident in my abilities.

– Many of your works, Books of the Raksura in particular, explore gender and sexuality and there is great diversity within the cast. How important is representation and diversity to you?

It’s very important. Books that explored gender and sexual orientation were very important to me when I was was growing up, and helped teach me about the world in a way that I was not going to get from any other available source. And for me I think it’s an ongoing process and that I still have room for improvement.

– (Related) Is this something the genre as a whole needs to get better at, and have you seen it improving?

It definitely needs to get better. I think there has been some improvement, or at least more awareness of the problem. And some of the most critically acclaimed, award-winning, most exciting and original SF/F in the past years has come from writers who are POC, LGBT, and women,which you would hope would make a dent in the belief that only straight white men write SF/F. But you still see people saying things like “women don’t write fantasy” or “women don’t write SF” and believing it, which is depressing.It’s not encouraging to see the work of hundreds of women writers erased.

The popular, most visible bestsellers are just the tip of the genre’s iceberg, but for most people the rest of the iceberg doesn’t exist. It’s hard to be optimistic about it sometimes.But the other day on Twitter, Kate Elliott said “It’s hard to change the narrative when so many of the narratives that get the most visibility aren’t changing. But change is coming.” I think that’s very true.

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