The fifth and final Slab City Blues story – An Aria for Ragnarok – will be released on October 1st and is now available for pre-order. In contrast to the short-story or novella length previous installments, this is a 50,000 word novel which concludes the series. Slab City Blues: The Collected Stories which will be released simultaneously and contains An Aria for Ragnarok together with all four preceding stories: Slab City Blues, A Song for Madame Choi, A Hymn to Gods Long Dead and The Ballad of Bad Jack. The Collected Stories will also be released as a print-on-demand paperback for those who prefer the dead tree option (buy link to come when it’s ready). Ebook pre-order links below:
The latest Slab City Blues novella, The Ballad of Bad Jack, is now available on amazon.com, amazon.co.uk and Smashwords. Links also on the books page. Thanks to James at Humblenations.com for the excellent cover.
Thanks to Riyria Revalations author Michael J. Sullivan for tagging me in the Next Big Thing meme, a mechanism for authors to talk about future writing projects. Basically, each author answers ten questions about their next book and tags someone else to do the same. I’ll post links to whoever I tag when their own answers go up, in the meantime here’s mine:
1) What is the working title of your next book?
My next book is a novella entitled Slab City Blues: The Ballad of Bad Jack.
2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
My ideas normally take a long time to gestate. In this case the character name ‘Bad Jack’ popped into my head a long time ago. I knew he was some kind of criminal but it was several years before I formed a clear idea of who he was and what he did.
3) What genre does your book fall under?
It’s the fourth story in my Slab City Blues SF-noir series which takes place in an orbital society which has gained independence from Earth after a bloody revolution.
4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
I wouldn’t. Writers are notoriously bad at casting and there’s a reason why movie producers pay lots of money to casting agents. Plus, as a reader, I like to formulate my own image of how characters look. That being said, Janet the gene-spliced vampire in A Hymn to Gods Long Dead (the third Slab City Blues story) is just crying out to be played by Olivia Wilde.
5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? The Bourne Supremacy meets Firefly.
6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I’ll be self-publishing this one via the usual outlets on February 1st. Novellas are a tricky thing to sell, being too short to justify the expense of a print run and too long for magazines. Plus, I’m keen to keep hold of the series as it gives me room to enjoy the writing without worrying about a deadline.
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Longer than it should. I was hoping to get it down in a month, in fact it took three. I started not long after finishing Tower Lord (Book 2 of the Raven’s Shadow trilogy), and was frankly pretty exhausted after writing 2000+ words a day for six months whilst holding down a day job. Also, I ran into a few thorny plot-issues that took time to resolve.
8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I do owe a debt to William Gibson’s Sprawl Trilogy, but that’s true of pretty much everything I write. Richard Morgan’s Takeshi Kovacs books are also a major influence.
9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I wanted to explore the more of the world I’d created in earlier Slab City Blues stories, all of which had been set on the same orbiting slum. This one takes us to the Asteroid Belt and provides an expanded view of the solar system beyond Earth orbit. However, the main inspiration was simply need to keep writing. I’m a full-time author now and I’m realising the more content I can produce, the greater the chance of continuing as such.
10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
If you’re a fan of hard-boiled crime fiction, armoured power-suits and space battles, then there’s probably something in there for you.
Thanks to the folks at Ereadernews for listing Slab City Blues: A Hymn to Gods Long Dead. Also listed on their Facebook page. Tell your friends and watch out for the next instalment in the series next year.
I’d also like to say a heart-felt thank you to everyone who helped me get to the point where I’ve quit the day job and will be writing full-time from now on. I really couldn’t have done it without you. Merry Xmas, secular holiday and New Year to one and all.
I’m very happy to announce that I recently agreed to sign a contract with Berkley Publishing Group in the US for publication of the Raven’s Shadow trilogy. Berkley is a US imprint of Penguin Books which includes the Ace and Roc Sci-Fi/Fantasy lines, so it will be an honour to have my work appear on the same imprint as Stephen Donaldson, Joe Haldeman, Ursula LeGuin and William Gibson (among many others).
It will take some time for the print edition of Blood-Song to appear so rest assured the current ebook version will remain available, at the same price, probably into 2013.
I’m aware of the ongoing debate about traditional versus indie publishing and fully appreciate why some authors have chosen to stick with the independent route. However, having thought about it long and hard, I decided this was the best choice for me. If I’m ever going to get to the point where I can start writing full time I need my work to reach a wider audience, including foreign language markets and bookstores, neither of which are open to me at present.
Many readers will no doubt be wondering what this means for Tower Lord. The fact is, at this stage I just don’t know. I still intend to finish it this year, but giving any indication as to a publication date would be pure speculation at this point. I’ll post any news here in due course.
Now, off to celebrate with a marathon session on Sniper Elite V2 (buy it, it’s really good).
Just finished the first draft of A Hymn for Gods Long Dead, the third in my Slab City Blues SF-noir series, set on a crime-ridden orbiting slum about two hundred years from now. I intended this one to be about 8,000 words but ended up with a 34,000 word novella which may grow even more in rewrite. I hope to get this published via the usual ebook outlets by mid-March, other commitments permitting. I’ll be putting it up as both a stand-alone ebook and as part of a collected Slab City Blues anthology – both for $0.99. The first two stories will still be available as free ebooks on Smashwords, B&N, Kobo, etc, but not on the Amazon Kindle store since they only permit publication of free books via their silly KDP Select thingamajig.
Once this is out of the way I face the looming mountain to climb that is Tower Lord, the sequel to Blood Song, Book One of my epic fantasy series Raven’s Shadow.Blood Song came in at 220,000+ words after rewrites and I expect the next one to be of similar length, a prospect which fills me with equal parts dread and delight.