Archive for AR Authors

Feb
26

Ferrett Steinmetz: Touching A Dream

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Behind every new book published is, not only a happy publisher but also, a delighted author. Some journeys to publication are longer than others, but no matter how long it takes the result is still the same: physical proof of what was once an idea, formed, created, and worked on, probably over and over again. As Ferrett Steinmetz approaches publication day (3 March) for his debut novel, Flex, yesterday Ferrett realised a dream: author copies of his very own book arrived. The wonderful moment was captured on video, but I do warn you…it has been known to induce some tears. Congratulations, Ferrett!

Ferrett has also written about this moment over on his blog: A Thing I Have Waited For, Literally, All My Life.

Categories : Angry Robot, AR Authors
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To launch her debut novel, The Buried Life, Carrie Patel will be at Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego on Saturday, March 7 at 2pm. This event will be held at Mysterious Galaxy’s new location: 5943 Balboa Ave, Ste. 100, San Diego.

If you’re interested in attending, there is an event page on Facebook with all details, and check out Mysterious Galaxy on TwitterThe Buried Life is the first in Carrie’s series and is set in the gaslight and shadows of the underground city of Recoletta. With a strong female lead, Inspector Liesl Malone, The Buried Life has been praised by Beth Cato and Cherie Priest, as well as receiving a starred review in Publishers Weekly, being listed as an anticipated read not only in the UK’s Guardian newspaper, but also on Buzzfeed.

WHAT: Carrie Patel signing copies of The Buried Life
WHERE: Mysterious Galaxy, San Diego
WHEN: Saturday, March 7 at 2pm

The Author, Carrie PatelThe Buried Life, by Carrie Patel

Categories : AR Authors
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We are delighted to have shared with you our recent re-signings and new author deals. There are two new author announcements to come very soon, but today we are thrilled to tell you that James A. Moore will be writing two more books in his Seven Forges series, following Seven Forges and The Blasted Lands. Not only that but the next instalment, entitled City of Wonders, will be released this November, 2015. More details on City of Wonders below. James is a wonderful member of our Robot Family and we are excited to have his soul belong to continued involvement with Angry Robot Books.

James A Moore. He rocks!James A. Moore: “I am, of course, delighted to be working with my Robot Overlords once again. There have been rumors about them holding my family hostage through the negotiations and I want to make clear that nothing of the sort has happened. I am assured that the sudden disappearance of family members was merely a coincidence and not, as some AR authors have previously stated, a negotiating tool of any kind.

I have also been informed that so long as my manuscripts are delivered in a timely manner no more unexpected vacations to the “Lunar Gulag Wonderland” will be necessary.”

Marc Gascoigne: “I’m so pleased that Jim has agreed to write not one but two more Seven Forges books for us at Angry Robot. Clever, action-stuffed fantasy like his is why I became a fanatical fantasy fan in the first place.”

 

City of Wonders

Old Canhoon, the City of Wonders, is having a population explosion as refugees from Tyrne and Roathes alike try to escape the Sa’ba Taalor. All along the border between the Blasted Lands and the Fellein Empire armies clash and the most powerful empire in the world is pushed back toward the old Capital. From the far east the Pilgrim gathers an army of the faithful, heading for Old Canhoon and the growing masses of the lost and the desolate, on a mission of which he will not speak and looking for the faithful who will join him in his exodus.

In Old Canhoon itself the imperial family struggles against enemies old and new as the spies of their enemies begin removing threats to the gods of the Seven Forges and prepare the way for the invading armies of the Seven Kings. In the distant Taalor valley Andover Lashk continues his quest and must make a final decision, while at the Mounds, something inhuman is awakened and set free.

War is Here. Blood will flow and bodies will burn.
Seven Forges by James A. Moore, artwork by Alejandro Colucci

Seven Forges

The Blasted Lands by James A. Moore

The Blasted Lands

 

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From Forbidden Planet’s website:

PETER NEWMAN and EMMA NEWMAN will be signing at the Forbidden Planet Bristol Megastore on Thursday 30th April from 6 – 7pm!

In Peter’s debut novel, THE VAGRANT, years have passed since humanities destruction emerged from the Breach. The world and its inhabitants have been changed from what they once were. Friendless and alone he walks across a desolate, war-torn landscape. As each day passes the world tumbles further into depravity, bent and twisted by the new order, corrupted by the Usurper, the enemy, and his infernal horde.

Emma’s BETWEEN TWO THORNS was shortlisted for the BFS and Best Newcomer awards. And something is wrong in Aquae Sulis, Bath’s secret mirror city. The new season is starting and the Master of Ceremonies is missing. A rebellious woman trying to escape her family may prove to be the answer to the mystery. But can she be trusted? And why does she want to give up eternal youth and the life of privilege she’s been born into?

Together, Emma and Peter co-write the Hugo-nominated podcast ‘Tea and Jeopardy'; Peter also voices the butler, Latimer, and Emma handles the interview and audio production. The podcast features interviews with creative people alongside tea, cake, mild peril and singing chickens

Categories : Angry Robot, AR Authors
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We are delighted to announce our latest robot recruit in Adam Rakunas with his debut novel, Windswept. Acquired from Sam Morgan at JABberwocky Literary Agency, Windswept is the first in a two-book deal and will be released in September 2015. The as-yet-untitled sequel will follow in 2016.

Windswept stars Padma Mehta, a long-time labor organizer who is on the verge of making the deal of her life when it all falls apart. Now, she has to rely on the neighbourhood scam artist and a handful of stowaways to save her city, her planet, and Occupied Space — all before Happy Hour. With a host of well-crafted characters, Windswept is part detective story, part space operetta with snappy dialogue, futuristic adventure, and plenty of comedic timing.

AdamNewZealandAuthorPhotoAdam Rakunas: “I’m stoked to join the assimilated masses at Angry Robot, especially after I was informed that the process no longer hurt as much as before. Some of my favorite books and authors have come from the digital mines of AR, and I’m honored that my little book about sex, violence, and labor relations will join them.”

Phil Jourdan: “I was only a few pages into Windswept before I knew we had to take it on. Adam Rakunas has created one of the best ass-kicking protagonists around. He has mixed space travel with union politics and a deadly plague without ever sacrificing character and human warmth. He’s also annoyingly good at one-liners.”

Adam Rakunas has worked a variety of weird jobs. He’s been a virtual world developer, a parking lot attendant, a triathlon race director, a fast food cashier, and an online marketing consultant. Now a stay-at-home dad, Adam splits his non-parenting time between writing, playing the cello, and political rabble-rousing. His stories have appeared in Futurismic and the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Windswept is his first novel.

Fun fact: Adam was the bartender for Angry Robot’s legendary robot-stuffed launch party back in 2009 at the Montreal WorldCon! Adam has been a member of our Robot Army for many years and it is extra special to celebrate this ladder-climbing step.

Join us in congratulating Adam; you can reach him online:

Twitter: @rakdaddy
Facebook: Adam Rakunas Books
Tumblr: rakdaddy
Website: Giro.org

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2015 will be busy and exciting for Angry Robot as our publishing schedule is back under full steam in March, and we also still have some new authors to share with you. The first of these is Patrick S. Tomlinson with his debut novel, The Ark, acquired from Russell Galen of Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary Agency in a two-book deal with translation rights. Scheduled for November 2015, The Ark is a thrilling mystery set in deep space.

AURALBW-IMG_1134Patrick S. Tomlinson: “When my agent first told me I’d be working with an Angry Robot, I was skeptical. “Oh, no,” I said. “I’ve seen this movie and the whole human race gets eradicated.” But then I started to wonder why the robot was angry. And if it was angry, did that mean it had human emotions instead of cold, inflexible machine logic? If a robot can be angry, can it also learn to… love?

Oh, and I wrote a book set on a generation ship called THE ARK. It contains many words. Some of them are even in the right order.”

 

Angry Robot’s Consulting Editor, Phil Jourdan: “What a pleasure it will be to unleash this blend of mystery, action and Really Big Spaceship madness on the world. The Ark has one of those great, mega-satisfying endings that will make readers squeal with delight a little bit. Be warned.”

The Ark

Sherlock Holmes meets 2001: A Space Odyssey

Humankind has escaped a dying Earth and set out to find a new home among the stars aboard an immense generation ship affectionately name the Ark. Bryan Benson is the Ark’s greatest living sports hero, enjoying retirement working as a detective in Avalon, his home module. The hours are good, the work is easy, and the perks can’t be beat.

But when a crewmember goes missing, Bryan is thrust into the center of an ever-expanding web of deception, secrets, and violence that overturns everything he knows about living on the Ark and threatens everyone aboard. As the last remnants of humanity hurtle towards their salvation, Bryan finds himself in a desperate race to unravel the conspiracy before a madman turns mankind’s home into its tomb.

About Patrick: Patrick S. Tomlinson is the son of an ex-hippie psychologist and an ex-cowboy electrician. He lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with a menagerie of houseplants in varying levels of health, a Ford Mustang, and a Triumph motorcycle bought specifically to embarrass and infuriate Harley riders. When not writing sci-fi and fantasy novels and short stories, Patrick is busy developing his other passion for performing stand-up comedy.

 Join us in offering Patrick a robotically warm welcome: @stealthygeek on Twitter, Facebook, and Patrick’s site, www.patrickstomlinson.com.

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The Bullet Catcher's Daughter by Rod DuncanWe’re absolutely delighted to start 2015 with some awards news. Rod Duncan’s superlative alternate history The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter has made the six-book shortlist for the Philip K Dick Award 2014.

When he’d come down from the ceiling, a joyous Rod Duncan said:

I had no idea that The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter was even in the running, so discovering it on the shortlist was a complete surprise. If you’ll excuse the British slang – I was gobsmacked! To be standing alongside such wonderful writers and to be up for an award bearing the name of Philip K. Dick – it is a great honour. I feel hugely grateful.

The award’s winner will be announced at Norweson in Seattle, USA on 3 April this year. Further details of that lovely shortlist – really, you should just buy all of them! – and everything else you need to know are on the Philip K Dick Award website. Rod’s sequel Unseemly Science is fast approaching too – it hits stores in May 2015, with a third novel in the Fall of the Gas-Lit Empire series, The Custodian of Marvels, due Spring 2016.

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We are delighted to announce that Kameron Hurley‘s The Mirror Empire has been sold to Talpress, the Czech publisher of George R. R. Martin, Terry Pratchett, Steven Erickson, and Brandon Sanderson, amongst others.

Kameron’s gripping and ambitious novel has delighted readers since its September release, and we are thrilled that more readers will have the opportunity to read this epic fantasy tale. Publication is due for Spring 2016, and in the run-up to the London Book Fair, we hope to have more deals to announce in the near future.

Kameron Hurley’s reaction to the foreign rights deal: “I’m beyond pleased that The Mirror Empire will be reaching a wider audience in the capable hands of Talpress.”

Watkins Media’s Senior Rights Manager, Alex Thompson, had this to say: “I’m delighted that Talpress bought the Czech rights for The Mirror Empire so quickly – we’re looking forward to selling it in many more languages so that this fabulous book gets the global readership it deserves! The Watkins Rights team have been enjoying letting out their inner sci-fi geeks and reading through the AR backlist, and we can’t wait to start selling lots more foreign rights.”

For further rights enquiries to The Mirror Empire, or other Angry Robot titles, please contact Alex at alext@dbp.co.uk.

 

 

 

Dec
18

The Buried Life in Japan

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We are delighted to announce that Carrie Patel‘s sci-fi mystery The Buried Life has been sold to Japanese publisher, Tokyo Sogensha. The Buried Life has been reviewed and featured by many in most-anticipated lists and we are looking forward to its Japanese release in Spring 2016; English-language readers, The Buried Life will be with you in March of next year.

This is our second Japanese deal, after Madeline Ashby’s vN whilst agents have also sold Lavie Tidhar and Lauren Beuekes’ books to Japan. Thanks to our Rights Manager, Alex, at Watkins Media who is off to a great start with this deal with Japanese agent Tuttle Mori. As 2014 ends on a high note for Angry Robot Books with acquisitions, rights sales, and world domination plans afoot, we’re looking forward to a wonderful 2015.

vN Japan

vN

The Bookman

The Bookman

 

Camera Obscura

Camera Obscura

Zoo City-japan

Zoo City

 

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Over the past few years we’ve brought you some great 12 Days of Christmas treats and this year is no different. From tomorrow, Saturday 13 December, we will be releasing at least one book on our Robot Trading Company site at only £1 , or the currency equivalent. As we celebrate this festive ebook promotion, each day one of the selected authors will be on this site with a special guest post, whether it be a Christmas memory, family tradition, or a short story.  To redeem this offer, simply use the special code which will be featured on each day’s blog post.

In the advent calendar tradition we’re not going to tell you which authors or books have been selected, but the posts will be released at 12pm BST each day and you can find out what goodies are on offer.

We hope you enjoy these festive posts by some of your favourite authors and pick up some bargains!

Happy Christmas from all at Angry Robot HQ.

C: http://www.thedoorknobsociety.com

 

Angry Robot Books is delighted to announce the signing of a World English two-book deal with Arthur C. Clarke award-nominated Matthew De Abaitua, acquired from Sarah Such of Sarah Such Literary Agency.

The first of these two novels, If Then, is a novel in two parts, bringing the First World War to an English town of the near-future, where an economic collapse has left the citizens under the control of an algorithm known as the Process. If Then will be published in September 2015. Matthew’s second SF title, The Destructives described as Mad Men in space, will be published in 2016.

MDA author photoMatthew De Abaitua: “The disturbing contours of the future are becoming clear. Angry Robot are publishing tremendous novels that explore this strange, exciting, terrifying territory, and I’m excited that they will include my next two new novels If Then and The Destructives on that map.”

Marc Gascoigne: “I was and am a big fan of Matthew’s debut novel The Red Men, so leapt at the chance to read his new novel, If Then. I think I was about two chapters in when I knew we had to buy it for Angry Robot. Then the swine let me read the opening of The Destructives too, and of course we bought that as well. He reminds me of the very best boundary-pushers of English SF, including Christopher Priest and M John Harrison, and I’m delighted we will be bringing you his exceptional novels soon.”

About Matthew De Abaitua: Matthew lived and worked as Will Self’s amanuensis in a remote cottage in Suffolk, after he graduated with an MA in Creative Writing. His short story ‘Inbetween’ was included in the best-selling anthology Disco Biscuits and adapted as a short film by Channel 4. His first novel The Red Men (Snowbooks 2007, Gollancz ebook 2013) was shortlisted for the Arthur C Clarke Award. In 2013, the first chapter was adapted as a short film ‘Dr. Easy’ by directors Shynola (produced by Film4 and Warp Films) as a precursor to a feature film, currently in development. ‘Dr. Easy’ has had over 250k views on Vimeo. He currently lectures on Creative Writing at Brunel University and Writing Science Fiction at the University of Essex.

Reach Matthew on Twitter: @MDeAbaitua and his website: http://harrybravado.com
View Dr Easy here: http://tinyurl.com/o79wl6t

If Then

James has a scar in the back of his head. It’s where he was wounded in the Battle of Suvla Bay in August 1915. Or is the scar the mark of his implant that allows the Process to fill his mind with its own reality?

In IF, the people of a small English town cling on after an economic collapse under the protection of the Process. But sometimes people must be evicted from the town. That’s the job of James, the bailiff. While on patrol, James discovers the replica of a soldier from the First World War wandering the South Downs. This strange meeting begins a new cycle of evictions in the town, while out on the rolling downland, the Process is methodically growing the soldiers and building the weapons required to relive a long lost battle.

In THEN, it is August 1915, at the Battle of Suvla Bay in the Dardanelles campaign. Compared to the thousands of allied soldiers landing on this foreign beach, the men of the 32nd Field Ambulance are misfits and cranks of every stripe: a Quaker pacifist, a freethinking padre, a meteorologist, and the private (once a bailiff) known simply as James. Exposed to constant shellfire and haunted by ghostly snipers, the stretcher-bearers work day and night on the long carry of wounded men. One night they stumble across an ancient necropolis, disturbed by an exploding shell. What they discover within this ancient site will make them question the reality of the war and shake their understanding of what it means to be human…

Categories : Angry Reboot, AR Authors
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Not only do we have a third Gas-Lit Empire book to tell you about, but we also have an exclusive Cover Reveal for the second, Unseemly Science, over on Tor.com right now! Click here to see the cover, and below for all the new title news.

Angry Robot Books is delighted to announce the re-signing of Rod Duncan for a third book in the Gas-Lit Empire series, The Custodian of Marvels (April 2016), acquired from Ed Wilson of Johnson & Alcock.

The first in the series, The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter, was released in September 2014 and has won the Leicester Writers’ Norman King Award as well as receiving rave reviews from readers and reviewers alike. Unseemly Science, the much anticipated second in the series, will be published in May 2015.

Rod Duncan: “Being part of the Angry Robot family has been a joy, so I am delighted to be signing up with them for the third novel in the series. Significant secrets will be revealed in this book. I can also promise a daring crime. But this time it’s Elizabeth, our protagonist, who’s going to be committing it.”

Marc Gascoigne: “In Elizabeth Barnabus, as readers of The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter have already discovered, Rod Duncan has created a wonderfully engaging and resourceful heroine, and in the Gas-Lit Empire a tremendous alternative version of English history. Angry Robot has Unseemly Science, its miraculous sequel, on our list for Spring 15 but we couldn’t leave the story there, so I’m delighted to have snapped up another installment, The Custodian of Marvels.

The Custodian of Marvels
(The Gas-Lit Empire #3)

Elizabeth Barnabus is in hiding, outside the borders of the Gas-Lit Empire. Her late father’s nemesis, the Duke of Northampton, is using all his influence to have her arrested and ragged back to the Kingdom. To fight back against him, Elizabeth will have to put her trust in that most dangerous of men, John Farthing, agent of the dreaded Patent Office.

Praise for Rod Duncan

Chris D’Lacey: “If I had a bowler hat, I’d take it off to the author of this beautifully crafted steampunk novel.”

Graham Joyce: “Rod Duncan’s The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter is itself a magic box pulsating with energy. Compulsive reading from the get-go, the blend of steampunk alternate history wrapped in the enigma of a chase makes for first-rate entertainment in this finely crafted novel. A superb book.”

SFX Magazine: “a breath of fresh air is the setting… It does what the very best steampunk does: it creates an alternate reality with a firm grounding in history… set against such a strikingly different, well-crafted background it’s really engaging.”

Publisher’s Weekly: “Steeped in illusion and grounded in an alternative history of the Luddite Rebellion, Duncan’s strong supernatural mystery serves ably as both a standalone adventure and the start to a series.”

Washington Post: “It’s all steampunk and circus wonder as we follow the adventures of Elizabeth Barnabas… The double crosses along the way keep the plot tight and fun, and the conclusion sets us up nicely for book two.”

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Nov
18

And the winner is…

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Guest Post: Rod Duncan, author of The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter, on what winning an award – no matter the size – means to him.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that for every novel being written, an award acceptance speech is also being rehearsed. Novelists are, after all, professional fantasists.

“Me? Are you sure? I really didn’t expect this…”

There are a LOT of words in a novel. No matter how bad the story, the only way you can keep writing to the end is by deluding yourself that it is a gift to global culture. Punters will be grateful to hand over their hard earned cash for the privilege of owning a copy. These aren’t just words – they’re footprints in the sands of time. Of course you’re going to get an award.

“I’d like to thank my English teacher, who spurred me on by telling the class I wouldn’t amount to anything…”

The mind of the novelist is a paradoxical place. As well as being home to this almost pathological narcissism, it is a nest of venomous self-doubts. In the mid-watches of the night you wake with the conviction that all your pathetic scribblings are doomed to failure. Your prose is purple. That plot line at the core of your novel – you subconsciously copied it from an episode of Dr Who. And your grammar! You should have listened to your English teacher after all.

Or is that just me?

Nowhere is this impossible balance of opposite emotions more vividly experienced than at the awards ceremony, itself the focus of hopes and fears. Having consumed a sumptuous meal, which now lies curdling in your stomach, you silently contemplate your chances. It’s not going to be me. Though my book is really good. So it might be me. It should be me. Unless my book is bad and I hadn’t noticed. I’ve just realised that my book is terrible. It’s not going to be me. You continue with this neurosis spin-cycle until the moment arrives and you find yourself staring with a concrete smile at the envelope in the hands of the host.

“The winner is…”

…the other guy. At all costs don’t let the disappointment show. There are cameras pointing at you and everything is HD these days.

But if you do win, it is de rigueur to clutch hands to chest as if in surprise. Then humbly approach the microphone and deliver that acceptance speech you’ve been rehearsing since writing the opening lines of the novel X years ago.

In 2003, I was lucky enough to be shortlisted for the John Creasey Dagger – an international award given for the best debut crime novel in the English language. (Note: when an author says “lucky” in this context it means: “I worked damn hard for that and richly deserved it.”) I didn’t get the prize, though there were only three of us on the shortlist, so it felt like a podium finish.

I found myself in the running for another award that year, for the same novel. And at the second time of asking, I was lucky enough (sic) to win. The Norman King Award for Novel Writing was named in memory of a tutor who taught creative writing in the Adult Education College in Leicester back in the 1950s. Though it is a strictly local affair, the award is taken seriously. There is a meal, followed by speeches. And there is a trophy, resplendent on a wooden plinth. The engraved names of previous winners go back over 50 years, adding historical gravity to the honour.

Last Thursday, the Leicester award ceremony came around again. And I am delighted to report that I found myself being presented with the Norman King award once more – this time for my novel The Bullet Catcher’s Daughter.

As I lined up to have my photograph taken with winners of other prizes, it occurred to me that literary awards really do matter. Even the small ones. Because clutching that trophy, I found all the self-doubt and narcissism melting away. Having someone else say “I value your work” means that, for a time, neither extreme is needed.

Now, where did I put that speech? Ah yes. “I’d like to thank my publisher…”

With thanks to Jacob Ross for the photos!

Categories : AR Authors, Awards
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We are delighted to announce that Wesley Chu, author of the award-winning Lives of Tao series, has signed on for three new science fiction novels in an Angry Robot Books record six-figure deal.

The World English deal, signed with agent Russell Galen, is for Wesley’s new standalone series starting with The Rise of Io, publishing in August 2016. Although The Rise of Io is set in the same warring Genjix and Prophus universe as the Lives of Tao books, this brand new series will open the Quasing world to new readers as well as fans of the hugely successful Lives of Tao books.

The new trilogy picks up eight years on from the events of The Rebirths of Tao, the conclusion of Chu’s current series, which will be published by Angry Robot in April 2015. For more detailed information on The Rise of Io, click through to the book’s page here.

WesleyChuFINAL-9559 copyWesley Chu: “Batteries recharged. OS upgraded. Sharks with frigging lasers fed. It’s time to kick some ass! When I first made my strategic alliance with the metal overlords to take over the world, I didn’t think humanity stood a chance. Now with Watkins Media joining the team, victory is inevitable! Still dibs on New Zealand!”

Marc Gascoigne: “Wesley Chu’s Tao series has been a runaway success for Angry Robot, and we’re delighted that he has re-signed for us for this brand new trilogy of novels. He manages to combine lofty science fiction themes with pure Hollywood pacing, and quite frankly his novels just rock. With Angry Robot recently moving to new owners, Watkins Media Ltd, we’re delighted to have the resources to take Wes’ sales to a whole new level. His world domination is now only a matter of time.”

About Wesley Chu: Wesley Chu’s best friend is Michael Jordan, assuming that best friend status is earned by a shared television commercial. If not, then his best friend is his dog, Eva, who he can often be seen riding like a trusty steed through the windy streets of Chicago. In 2014, Wesley Chu was shortlisted for the John W Campbell Best New Writer Award. His debut, The Lives of Tao, earned him a Young Adult Library Services Association Alex Award and a Science Fiction Goodreads Choice Award Finalist slot. The sequel, The Deaths of Tao, continues the story of secret agent Roen Tan and his sarcastic telepathically bonded alien, Tao. Chu has two books scheduled for 2015: The Rebirths of Tao from Angry Robot plus Time Salvager from Tor.

Wes took the time to talk further about the deal with Aidan Moher over at A Dribble of Ink.

Reach Wesley Chu on Twitter: @wes_chu and his website: www.chuforthought.com

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Oct
23

Alyc Helms: Achievement Unlocked

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Yesterday we announced the exciting news that we have signed Alyc Helms as an Angry Robot author, with her debut novel – The Dragons of Heaven – due for publication in Spring of 2015. Alyc has written an insightful piece on her blog about her journey to publication which we have extracted here. For the full piece, click through to this page. Over to Alyc…

The exciting news that I’ve been sitting on since early January is that Angry Robot offered for my novel The Dragons of Heaven and an as-yet unnamed sequel, to be published in April 2015 and 2016. The initial muppet-flailing has quieted to a Fluttershy ‘yay,’ but my enthusiasm is not lessened for all of that. I’ve been riding this high for months, and I don’t think it’s going away.

However, I look at all the hard work and revision and rejection and depression and revision and rejection and depression and revision and and and… And I have to admit to myself: I got lucky.

Here’s what luck looks like to a writer:

I’ve always loved books, and I scribbled stories and poems starting when I was a kid and continuing well into my twenties: band-fic and blood-soaked vampire odes, re-hashed fairy tales and snarky swordswomen. I finished three stories, sent them out to Realms of Fantasy, got rejected, and moved on to other things. Becoming an author seemed impossible, something that had been done long ago by people I admired but not something I could ever do. I returned to school in my late twenties with the plan to become a research anthropologist, childhood dreams of being a fantasy novelist packed away alongside the Prima Ballerina thing.

I met Marie Brennan at a field school in Wales. In the evenings, when I wasn’t running a cobbled-together Changeling game for her and a few other women, Marie was writing the first draft of the book that would eventually become her first novel sale. I had met authors before, but this was the first time I met a peer who was serious about writing. Even then, and over the years as we solidified our friendship, I had no question that Marie would someday succeed as an author. It was inevitable.

Seeing her determination changed me. I had a reference point. A template. My academic work was in representation and identity, so I recognized why that was so important. If you see someone like you achieving something you thought was impossible, it renders that thing possible for you.

Becoming friends with Marie was my first lucky break. I started noodling around with fiction again. At this point, I was in grad school for anthropology and folklore. I’d spent several years thinking about the structure of stories, about representation, about cultures and cultural relativism and worldbuilding, about the intersections between gender, race, economics, and politics. I had THINGS TO SAY. I was crap at saying them, but I had some solid material to start from.

Some friends and I formed a writing group. Scat Hardcore included Marie, Mike Underwood, Darja Malcolm-Clarke,Siobhan Carroll, Emily Dare, and Ryan Markle, all of us still figuring out who the hell we were as writers and what the hell we were doing. We helped each other learn about writing, but also about the business of writing: networking, submission, rejection, markets, publication, conferences, workshops, etc. We learned how to take the craft and our dedication to it seriously. Scat Hardcore was my second lucky break. I can’t emphasize enough the value of a solid and serious writing community filled with people who are just slightly more talented, more dedicated, or more professionally focused than you.

At that time, I was still concentrating on my academic work and only writing short stories. I wrote a couple stories–I had learned from my academic writing about this thing called revision, and it turns out it can make your writing better!–but I didn’t really grok short stories. I still don’t think I’ve quite cracked how to write a good short story, even though I’ve managed to sell a few. Novels are my thing. Novels I grok. Novels are where my heart is.

Novels are a hell of a lot longer than short stories.

In 2006 I was playing in a supers tabletop game run by my friend Jason Pisano. I wanted to make a shift in the character I was playing–a legacy pulp hero with a lot of heart and no heroing experience–so I asked Jason if she could go to China to train with the ancient dragon who’d trained her grandfather. He said sure. I asked him to fill in the details for me. He looked at his stable of ten other players waiting for him to adjudicate things and told me to write it up myself and submit it for XP.

That was my next bit of luck. Along around the time my ‘little side-adventure write-up’ hit 40k words, I realized I had the longest thing I’d ever written, the seed of a novel, and I still wasn’t bored. Of course, it was a character fic. It wasn’t novel-shaped at all. Missy was unfocused as a character, and the story was based in a world owned by a large corporate gaming company. But at this point, I’d seen Marie take a seed from a gaming experience and turn it into a series of amazing novels–her Onyx Court books. I knew I could reshape The Dragons of Heaven. Read More→

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