Review by the British Fantasy Society

I got a lovely review of Drake from the British Fantasy Society, which I have to say has made my day!

Drake. Book Review

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Writing a new book

I’m writing a book at the moment. That’s not all that unusual for me, I do that sort of thing.

This will be the seventh novel I’ll have written (we won’t talk about the first three that didn’t get published), but somehow every time I sit down to do this I realise I’ve forgotten how.

The thing is, writing a book takes a while. Around five or six months, for me. By the time it’s “finished”, by which I mean sent off to my editor, Phil Jordan, I can barely remember starting it.

I can remember revising it all too well – by the time Phil sees one of my books I’ll have read it probably eight or nine times back to back, tweaking and changing things and making it the best I can on my own. I wouldn’t read the best book in the world eight or nine times back to back for pleasure, trust me, but the work needs to be done.

If I was a classical sculptor, this would be the bit where I chiselled the statue out of the block of marble.

Then Phil comes back and tells me everything that’s still wrong with the book, and that’s great. That’s what editors are for, and dear gods I wouldn’t be without him. So I follow Phil’s advice (most of it, usually), and I revise the book some more, change the things that need changing and add the bits that need adding. Then it goes back off again to Phil to approve then on to Paul the copyeditor for him to weep over my abuse of commas and remind me of the things I’d forgotten happened in the last book, and all the other subtle magic he does.

Again, if I was a sculptor this would be the sanding and polishing and smoothing off of the rough edges of the statue.

I like doing all that stuff. That’s the part where you hammer a statue out of your block of marble and make it the best statue you possibly can, then you refine it and smooth it and polish it, and eventually it’s done and people can come and see it and hopefully enjoy it.

But writing the first draft? That’s the bit where you have to drag the sodding block of marble into the studio in the first place.

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News round-up

Oh spare me, I’m hopeless at keeping this page up to date. I need a blog-bot or something, I really do.

Anyway,  so Things have been Happening while I’ve been head-down in editing Dominion and also trying to finish the first draft of Burned Man #3.

There’s this:

Drake has been sold  in translation to the Czech Republic! Does this mean I get to go on a drinking (I mean book signing, obviously!) trip to Prague next year? Wouldn’t that be nice?

Also there’s been this:

A new guest column at Black Gate magazine, about EasterCon and meeting your heroes:

And lastly…. wow! There’s this:

Drake got an honourable mention in Locus Magazine‘s April bestseller’s list as the runner-up for the month!

Thanks for buying the book, everyone! And pretty please, consider leaving a review on the website of wherever you bought it from. It really would help!





Dominion now has a proper blurb:

In the tunnels deep under London, the Earth elementals are dying. Hunted by something they know only as the Rotman, the elementals have no one trustworthy they can turn to.

Enter Don Drake, diabolist and semi-reformed hitman, and an almost-fallen angel called Trixie. When the Matriarch tells Don that Rotman is actually the archdemon Bianakith, he knows this is going to be a tough job.

Bianakith is the foretold spirit of disease and decay whose aura corrupts everything it comes near, and even the ancient foundations of London will crumble eventually. Now Don, Trixie and the Burned Man have to hatch a plan to keep Bianakith from wiping out the elementals and bringing down the city.

But the Burned Man has other plans, and those may have dire consequences for everyone.

The past never stays buried, and old sins must be atoned for. Judgement is coming, and its name is Dominion.

Available November 2016, open for North American pre-orders now


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The Burned Man #2!

I’m delighted to say that book two of The Burned Man series is now confirmed!

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Dominion, Burned Man #2, will again be published by Angry Robot books and will be released in November 2016.

The past never stays buried, and old sins must be atoned for. Judgement is coming, and its name is Dominion.

In fact if you’re in the USA  or Canada you can already pre-order it from Amazon and Chapters Indigo should you be so inclined!


Fuck cancer

I’m 43 years old.

When I was a young man I did a lot of stupid shit, and I lost a lot of friends who did stupid shit too. I lost friends to drugs, to prison, to violence and to the road. I went to a lot of funerals.

I’ve grown up now (sort of, anyway), and these days most of the people I’m friends with are grown ups too. And they’re still dying.

I’ve lost two friends in two weeks, both of them to fucking cancer. Another has an illness he’ll never recover from.

It sucks. Getting older sucks.

Oh there’s a lot to be said for it, don’t get me wrong. Age brings confidence, and experience, and a lot less giving of a shit. And those are really good things. I wouldn’t go back to being twenty if you paid me, but that’s not the point. The point is that age takes away as much as it gives. Age takes away friends, and that’s a sad thing.

RIP my brothers.




Release Day Musings

So today was Drake’s release day.

Well actually it went out into the wild in America and Canada on Tuesday but I’m English so today’s UK launch was my real release day. This was the day my friends and my colleagues and some total strangers started reading it.

Except some of them they already have, of course. No book goes out unread, and I don’t just mean by the publisher’s editorial team. Every author has their own tireless beta readers, those poor sods who get to read your book while it’s still “rough around the edges” and who help guide you towards making it a tad more presentable before your agent or editor ever sees it. Nila, Chris – thank you.

Then of course there are the pre-release reviewers, the journalists and bloggers who get sent what’s called an ARC or Advance Review Copy for free in exchange for writing an honest review of the book. People who receive ARCs really are honest too – if they don’t like it they’ll say so, don’t worry on that score. Thankfully Drake’s pre-release reviews have all been very positive, but that’s by no means guaranteed.

Even so, all these folks are still part of that strange amorphous entity you might call “publishing”. They’re not end-user consumers. They’re not the punters.

This week the actual punters got hold of it – quite a few of them I think, as Amazon UK sold out on the first day. Reviews are now starting to trickle in, reviews from people who paid their own money for my book, out of choice, because they wanted to read it.

I don’t want to get sappy about this but it’s hard to describe just how fucking amazing that is.

All I can say is thank you, and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.