Archive for Strange Chemistry

Jun
19

Phoenix Comic-Con report

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At the start of the month, Senior Editor Lee Harris and Exhibit A editor Bryon Quertermous and I all climbed into our Angry Robotic jets and hurtled through the sky to Phoenix, Arizona, where we promptly melted.

End of story.

Not quite. The heat was intense, and it put our cooling systems into over-drive, but we managed to make our way to the convention center for Phoenix Comic-Con.

We had a booth in author’s alley, proud neighbors to many of the members of the illustrious Taco Chuch. We were excited to be supporting three Angry Robot authors (Wesley Chu, Jay Posey, Chuck Wendig) and one Strange Chemistry author (Danielle Jensen) at the convention, and to spread the good word of SF/F/WTF? to new readers.

Our authors had panels here and there all weekend, taking breaks by hanging out at the booth and selling books by their sheer radiant presence.

Lee Harris and I lead an Angry Robot preview panel, which has been summarized in great style here. (Highlights – interpretive dance, competitive comps, and manstresses).

Phoenix Comic-Con had a very well-designed and well-run literary track, and the staff overall did a great job, especially considering how rapidly the convention has been growing (It had 55,000 attendees last year, and 77,000 this year). Despite the brutal heat, all robot units returned home operational and ready to continue operation.

Next stop, CONvergence!

total-film-magazine-4367-a-1389784791-470-75January’s issue of Total Film not only features on-set exclusives for Spider-Man 2, interviews with Colin Farrell, and reviews of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug but excitedly, there is a FREE eBook of Ramez Naam‘s Nexus for every reader!

In 2013, the screen rights to Nexus, Ramez’s nanotech mind-control novel, were acquired by Paramount Pictures, with the project to be produced by Mary Parent and Cale Boyter through their Disruption label and Darren Aronofsky and Scott Franklin through their Protozoa banner. Rights acquisitions don’t always mean the movie will come to fruition, but with such fantastic names involved, it’s worth celebrating again!

Lucky Total Film readers can also download copies of Exhibit A‘s Scare Me by Richard Parker which was bought by Relativity Media with Wentworth Miller adapting the novel for the big screen, AND Strange Chemistry‘s Blackwood by Gwenda Bond which MTV has put in development, from Lionsgate Television and Kelsey Grammer’s Grammnet Prods.

Have you read these books? Did you know about their TV/movie potentials? Pick up a copy of this month’s Total Film - either online on Apple or here’s where you can order your print copy - and find out how to download your free copy of these books!

total-film-magazine-4367-a-1389955247-470-75

Nov
28

Team Robot Blogger Award: The Winners!

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The Winners

 

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Well done to all our short-listed blogs, and those nominated by the authors. But we can only have one winner for each award, and here they are: Read More→

Nov
28

Team Robot Blogger Award

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As most of you are probably aware, we here at Robot HQ adore our blogs, bloggers, readers of blogs, and all things related. We really appreciate everything they do to help us promote our books, authors, and indeed Angry Robot, Strange Chemistry, and Exhibit A. With today being Thanksgiving, we thought it was the perfect time to announce our Team Robot Blogger Award. We want to give back to those bloggers who work tirelessly, for no financial gain, and in their own free time, to read more books than we can even publish, and spread the word to the reading – and buying – public. Read More→

Hi folks,

The Open Door process was brought in by Angry Robot a few years ago, and whilst we know – and celebrate – our authors that made it through, we realised that you, the lovely reader or busily-searching-for-publishing-deal author, mightn’t be aware which of our wonderful authors came through the process.  So, we’re taking a moment to mark those authors who made it through, and hear their thoughts on it. Strange Chemistry are currently running an Open Door at the minute, so do head over if YA SF/F/WTF is right up your alley! But for now, over to Amanda, and the authors.

C

*** 

As some of you are no doubt aware, at Strange Chemistry we’re very keen to find new writing talent, and, as such, we have opened to unagented submissions for the second year running. The Open Door is something that Angry Robot began a couple of years back and they enjoyed enormous success, signing some immensely talented authors. We caught up with a few of them to ask them what the Open Door has meant for them and how their lives have changed.

Freya Robertson

Freya-Robertson-300x300Hi! I’m Freya Robertson and my first book with Angry Robot—an epic fantasy called Heartwood—comes out on October 29th this year.

My story starts in 2011. I’d finished Heartwood and touted it around a few agents, but had little interest. Then in April 2012 I saw that Angry Robot had an Open Door submission policy for two weeks. Bloggers were full of praise for the publisher, so I decided to take the plunge.

I read the first 10,000 words, polished, and worked hard on the two-sentence summary and synopsis. Then I emailed it off, put it to the back of my mind and carried on writing other things.

In September Amanda sent an email saying she’d enjoyed what she’d read and would like to read more. This is about when my head exploded. I had a request for a full! I read through the whole manuscript in two days, polishing and tweaking, and sent it off.

In October Amanda returned to say she had enjoyed the full and passed it onto Lee Harris. She said “You’ve basically reached the final stage – he’ll either reject or make an offer.”

Any writer will tell you that the hardest part of the submission process (apart from actually pressing Send!) is the waiting. I managed to make it until February before I queried. Lee came back to me to say he liked it and was taking the book to his colleagues, and could I send any plans I had for a follow-up novel please. After picking myself off the floor, I wrote up my ideas for a sequel and emailed it off. A week later Lee emailed back to offer me a two book contract with an option on a third.

Apart from my wedding day and the birth of my son, that was the happiest day of my life. A good friend announced it in the staff meeting of the school where I work, and all day people came in to congratulate me. That night we had a party and it’s possible I may have drunk too much :-)

I’d already had twenty digital romances published. But fantasy and sci-fi are my first love, and I put my heart and soul into Heartwood. To think it is going to be on the shelves soon as a real book is a dream come true.

I thank AR for the opportunity to submit without an agent from the bottom of my heart. The process now of seeing my cover, the map I drew by hand translated by a proper cartographer, and my story tightened and made better by Lee’s careful touch is just wonderful.

AR continues to go from strength to strength gaining spectacular reviews and praise, and I’m thrilled to be a part of the team. So if you’re wondering whether to push that Send button, I urge you to go for it! And may the luck of the ‘Verse be with you :-)

Cassandra Rose Clarke

I hate writing queries. Hate them, hate them, hate them. Moreover, I’m apparently bad at them, as evidenced byCassandra-R-Clarke-400x560 the fact that I sent out almost a hundred of the things and only had two or three agents look at my work. The AR Open Door was a miracle to me.

The Mad Scientist’s Daughter was the second book I wrote and the first that I queried, which got me nowhere. I was about to give up on the whole writing professionally thing (yes, really) when I decided to submit The Mad Scientist’s Daughter to the first Open Door Month. I expected my submission to be rejected as my queries had, and every time it moved up the chain was a pleasant surprise.

I’ve written about and GIF-ified my experience on the day that I learned the novel had been accepted, so I won’t repeat that here. But I will say this: I received that initial Yes, we’ll take it! email in October 2011. In the not-quite-two years since, I’ve published three novels. Two more are on the way. And one of my novels, the first one, was nominated for YALSA’s 2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults list.

Not bad for someone who was ready to throw it all to the wayside and expend her creative energy on Harry Potter fanfiction, huh?

I’m still not convinced I’d have an agent, much less a publishing contract, if it weren’t for the Open Door Month. That one little decision to submit, made with the expectation of failure, completely opened up my writing career. Now, the process hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows and starred Kirkus reviews—the increased anxiety in particular hasn’t been what I’d call fun—but at the same time, I’m fulfilling a dream I’ve had since elementary school, when I took a future career test on my school’s computer and got “novelist” as my top result (again, really). I know there aren’t a lot of people out there who get to say that, and I’m incredibly grateful for the team at Angry Robot and Strange Chemistry for giving me that opportunity.

Laura Lam

lauralam1

When I submitted to Angry Robot’s Open Door Month on March 30, 2011, I had no idea how much my life would change. I’d been writing for several years, but I knew nothing about the publishing industry. I was woefully ignorant, but learned from my mistakes (eventually). After subbing a manuscript that needed more editing than I knew how to give it at the time, I settled down for the wait. A few months later, I flew to the East Coast to meet my extended family and had a request for a full manuscript, which made me realise—hey, maybe I don’t suck at this writing thing. After the full manuscript was called in, I started learning more about the publishing industry, making friends via the forum Absolute Write. Then I found out I was going to the editors of AR. It was another AR author, Anne Lyle, who gave me the confidence to go to my first convention, and I angsted with the other people who had their full manuscripts called in (we dubbed ourselves the Anxious Appliances, though now we call ourselves the Inkbots). It was there I became friends with AR author Wesley Chu, who’s now one of my closest friends.

When I sent off that manuscript, I’d daydreamed about getting through the various rounds and getting a book deal, and sometimes I’m still amazed it happened. It wasn’t a bumpless road—that manuscript needed more work and so I had a revision request. They also thought it was more YA, and luckily they were deciding to go that way anyway, and my reader Amanda was promoted to the editor of Strange Chemistry. It was almost a year before I had my final decision about Pantomime, but that gave me time to grow. I learned so much more about writing by gutting Pantomime, re-arranging it, and making it shine. Now I’ve written a sequel, and I’m writing other books, and Pantomime is on the shelf, a real physical book. And that’s awesome.

Wesley Chu

Wesley-ChuOh great Angry Robot Open Submission of 2011, you were a sneaky punk-ass bastard. I shall fondly remember you for the sources of my upset stomachs, mild cases of syphilitic crazed episodes (without the syphilis of course—I swear), and extended struggles with insomnia, but you were so fucking worth it you little sweet, sweet pain in the life-changing ass you.

I know what’s going through your head. If you think syphilis and insomnia sound like a crappy time, you’d be right. I mean, not that I know or anything about syphilis being unpleasant. I’m only assuming it ranks down there somewhere between getting tickled and getting kicked in the gut. Wait, what am I talking about again? Oh yes, back to the great Angry Robot Open Submission of 2011.

Hi, I’m Wesley Chu and I like to write, and through the gentle grace and heavily anodized fist of the mighty robot overlords, I’m the published author of The Lives of Tao and the upcoming The Deaths of Tao (October 29th).
How has the open sub changed my life? There’s something about that first time you make the bookstore pilgrimage to see your little newborn baby sitting on the shelf in its punch-you-in-the-face yellow glory right next to Arthur C. Clarke (because Ch is next to Cl) that you realize that “shit just got real.”

To be honest, I can barely remember what my life was like before the open submission. I was just a squatter who spent countless hours abusing the bottomless cup of coffee policies at cafes chasing a dream. Now…wait, that hasn’t change. What has changed is that now I have a career doing what I love. Someone actually pays me to write! I mean, how ridiculous is that?

So what’s the open door process like? Not gonna lie; it’s going to be long. You’re going to be excited. You’re going to have to wait. You’re going to lose sleep, then you’re going to wait some more. And then maybe, like I did, you’ll seek out others who have also submitted to the open sub as well. You’ll commiserate with them and maybe form an online social group. Maybe they become your writing besties as you all eagerly hit F5 on your inbox every few seconds. Some of you will get rejected, some will be fortunate enough to move on to the next level. The numbers of rejections will eventually begin to pile up and people you grow to care about will drop out one by one.

In the end though, after you’re exhausted from the wait and the many nights of insomnia, when you’re least expecting it, you might get an email from the awesome Ms. Amanda Rutter, telling you how much she enjoys your book and how she wants to share it with the rest of the world.

Then you might suddenly need to sit down as you think to yourself “shit just got real.”

There you go! So, exactly why are you waiting on submitting? You could be the next great novelist on our list!

Sep
04

Strange Chemistry lives!

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I wouldn’t claim it’s the longest gestation in history, but I can say that today all the hard work and surprisingly proficient swearing behind the scenes getting everything ready is realised… for our first two Strange Chemistry titles are officially on sale today! (Um, in the USA and Canada, that is, with the official UK date this Thursday… but frankly most UK shops have them out on shelves already, bless ‘em.) Read More→

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Jan
25

The Return of Open Door

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Yes, you heard correctly – we’re running another Open Door submission period this year.

Last year we relaxed our submissions guidelines, and opened the door to unagented authors who had written novels they thought would interest us. Throughout March we received an average of 32 submissions a day! And that’s in addition to all the great work we had being submitted through the usual channels!

So far we’ve contracted three authors (a minimum of six books) from that process:

Cassandra Rose Clarke (The Mad Scientist’s Daughter, The Assassin’s Curse)
Lee Collins (The Dead of Winter, She Returns From War)
Lee Battersby (The Corpse-Rat King, Marching Dead)

and we’re not quite finished, yet!

This year, we’re going to narrow the focus, somewhat. Angry Robot are specifically looking for classic fantasy (high, epic, medieval, magical, etc etc), and Strange Chemistry (our YA imprint) will be looking for all forms of sf and fantasy YA. The doors will be open from April 16th through April 30th.

Full details can be found here.