Friday, 11 August 2017

New Series Announcement - Witchsign and The Ashen Torment

Where the hell have you been?
This blog has been in torpor for some time now, like a vengeful spirit waiting to rise once again, or some other over-written metaphor.
Is there a point to this?
Yes! There is news! Part of the reason I’ve not been updating the blog is that I’ve been working on a new series and I can finally talk about it. Witchsign is the first book of The Ashen Torment, and will be published by Harper Voyager on 22nd May 2018 in the UK.  I’ve set aside the Gothic, Italian stylings of The Erebus Sequence and gone for an Epic Fantasy rooted in the traditional pseudo-European setting more common to genre.
So how did this all start? The original seed of inspiration went something like ‘What if Harry Potter was sent to Russian Hogwarts only to find out he was a Muggle?’ A lot has changed since that initial thought, not least because my ‘Harry’ is called Steiner, an illiterate, blacksmith’s son of eighteen summers. It was perhaps after the second draft I realised the book was really about family, the ones we’re born into and the ones we choose. It also became apparent that Steiner’s kid sister, Kjellrunn was going to need a lot more screen time so to speak. Kjell, as she is known in the book, had a whole bunch of new chapters written for the third draft.
What about the bad guys? Kjellrunn wasn’t the only character in the book that asked for more limelight. The Vigilants of the Holy Synod stalk the continent of Vinterkveld, searching for children with the taint of magic upon them, the ‘Witchsign’ of the title. One such character is Silverdust, who went from being a minor character to having a significant arc of his own. Vigilants wear masks to hide their identities and are often in competition with each other for promotions. There is also a schism within the Holy Synod between the hard line Vigilants and less popular progressives, who seek a different way of doing things.
You said something about Russian Hogwarts?Children displaying the taint of magic are taken away by the Vigilants. The population of the Solmindre Empire and the Scorched Republics believe the children are killed at a secret location.
Sounds like a short book in that case.
Very funny. The children aren’t killed when they reach the island of Vladibogdan. They are instead trained to use their powers in service to the Empire, according to one of four elemental schools.
You’ve been playing a lot Dungeons and Dragons and Magic the Gathering haven’t you? 

Do you want to hear about this book or not?
OK, I’ll be quiet.
Steiner has the misfortune of finding himself on Vladibogdan and soon discovers much that has remained hidden, both in his own family and to the continent of Vinterkveld. And to make matters worse it will only be a matter of time until the Holy Synod revisit his family.
And it’s a trilogy, right?
You guessed it. So buckle up and get ready, because there’s an entire Empire that needs to be brought down, and it’s going to need heroes (and readers) to get it done.
But next May is such a long time to wait.
I agree, but you can always read my previous trilogy while you’re waiting.

Monday, 9 May 2016

Waterstones Colchester – 28th May

Yes, this is the most shockingly lazy blog post I will ever write. What do you want? A free short story or something? Fine. Go here. Otherwise you have a nice poster about Waterstones Colchester and a review of a book you should definitely buy. Seriously. Buy this book.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Where Is Den?

The concluding part of The Erebus Sequence is released this January, on the 21st no less. I’m doing a couple of events to celebrate the publication of The Girl on the Liar’s Throne. And I’ve got company.

British Fantasy Award nominated authors Jen Williams and Ed Cox will be joining me at Blackwells, Holborn on the 19th January. We’ll have a brief discussion of Fantasy and writing from 18:30, before getting down to the time honoured tradition of signing books and drinking wine.

This is a free event, but you can sign up to Eventbrite to help the shop prepare for the number of attendees.

Keen to share out talents with the land (well, Hampshire) Jen, Ed and myself will be venturing to Forbidden Planet in Southampton on Saturday 23rd January. We'll be signing from 13:00 until 14:00.

Again, this is a free event, so come along and grab signed books from all three of us while we escape the confines of London.

Fear not if you are unable to join me at these events, as I'll be at the Forbidden Planet London Megastore on the 12th February with a stellar line up of new and established talent. Marc J Turner, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Pete Newman and myself will be signing books from 18:00 - 19:00.

Please spare a thought for the book shops who go to so much effort to provide these events. The best way you can say thank you is to buy books in the store on the night of the event.

If you’re late to the party (fashionably or otherwise) don’t despair. The first two books of The Erebus Sequence have already been released.

The Boy with the Porcelain Blade has been described as ‘a solid and brilliant book with a unique and engaging voice’ by Starburst Magazine.

The second book, The Boy Who Wept Blood, garnered attention from the Morning Star who wrote ‘this engrossing story of political intrigue, swordplay and hidden horrors has a truly distinctive flavour'. 

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

FantasyCon2015 – Where To Find Me

I'll be attending FantasyCon 2015 this year up in Nottingham.

Here are the panels I'm on and where to find me:

Room: Conference Theatre
Friday 8.00pm Doing ‘It’ Right: Love, Romance & Sexy Times
Why are we often so reticent about love in genre fiction? Conversely sex seems to be everywhere, often done badly. How do we show love in a better light and balance plot tension with sexual tension? Warning: adult references (& childish innuendo)
  • the perfect sex scene: making up making out/making love
  • a matter of taste: where are the ‘no-go’ areas?
  • is love undervalued as a character motivation?
  • how can our characters express their feelings without mawkishness?
  • diversity and sexuality in genre fiction: what works and what doesn’t?
  • are ‘romance’ and ‘conflict’ mutually exclusive terms?
  • finding the right words: choosing appropriate vernacular
Moderator: Den Patrick
Panellists: Hal Duncan, Cassandra Khaw, Kim Lakin-Smith, Foz Meadows

Room: Conference Theatre
Saturday 4.00pm Here Be Dragons: How Can Epic Fantasy Reinvent Itself?
The success of Game of Thrones has thrown a spotlight on epic fantasy, but what does it reveal–a genre of originality or one that is becoming a parody of itself? Our panel of warriors, wizards, paladins and thieves considers the tropes of the genre:
  • 50 shades of grim: darker, grittier, grimmer, longer. . .always?
  • the young hero, the older mentor, the evil wizard, the rogueish sidekick: archetypes or stereotypes?
  • what is diversity bringing to this sub-genre?
How ‘epic’ can fantasy get before it eats itself?
Moderator: Gillian Redfearn
Panellists: Bradley Beaulieu, Den Patrick, Brandon Sanderson, Marc Turner, Jen Williams

Room: Suite 2
Saturday 7.00pm Super Relaxed Fantasy Club
till 9.00pm. A FantasyCon special edition of the monthly genre-fic social gathering, featuring the usual blend of readings, author Q&A and drinks. Hosted by Den Patrick and Jen Williams. Guest authors: Kim Lakin-Smith, Adrian Tchaikovsky

I hope to see some of you there. Please grab me if you want any books signed, don’t be shy.

Friday, 25 September 2015

Gollancz Fest 2015

They say a picture says a thousand words, although I'm pretty sure they didn't mean promotional posters when they said it. Here's what I'm doing for the much anticipated Gollancz Fest at Waterstones Piccadilly and the Prince Charles Cinema.