Stormblood: Wheeling and Dealing Details

So. As you might have seen, I announced last month that we signed a three book deal with Gollancz for my space opera novel STORMBLOOD, as the first in a trilogy. Gollancz announced it over on their website, so it’s officially official. Here’s the blurb-in-progress for it:

Vakov Fukasawa used to be a Reaper, a bio-enhanced soldier fighting for the intergalactic governing body of Harmony against a brutal invading empire. Now, he fights against the stormtech: the DNA of an extinct alien race Harmony injected into him, altering his body chemistry and making him permanently addicted to adrenaline and aggression. It made him the perfect soldier, but it also opened a new drug market that has millions hopelessly addicted to their own body chemistry.

But when Harmony tells him that his former ally Reapers are being murdered, Vakov is appalled to discover his estranged brother is likely involved in the killings. They haven’t spoken in years, but Vakov can’t let his brother down, and investigates. But the deeper he goes, the more addicted to stormtech he becomes, and Vakov discovers that the war might not be over after all. It’ll take everything he has to unearth this terrible secret, although doing so might mean betraying his brother. If his own body doesn’t betray him first.

Stormblood is The Wire meets Mass Effect with a dash of David Cronenberg.

It seems like something that happened overnight, but in reality it is the culmination of almost 9 months worth of emails, submissions, discussions, meetings, editorials, acquisitions, and then a heavy revising between me and Gillian Redfearn, and that was before the final version passed through the editorial meeting, and then the acquisitions meeting, and then back and forth for the contracts. It’s a lot of boring stuff, which is why other people do it for me. The good news is: the deal is done, the contract is signed, and my books are going to become real books. I’m here to talk about the interesting and cool details surrounding the deal.

 

You got a book deal? That’s so cool!
Yes, yes it is.

Does it have a release date?
February 2020 is the official hardback release. It will also be available in trade paperback and mass market paperback and audio, but I do not know when.

Can I get some sort of reminder for when it’s out or available for pre-order?
The book is already on Goodreads, and can be added to your lists there. I would be very happy if you did.

Where will it be available/published?
At the moment, the book deal is only for UK/Australia/New Zealand/Ireland. It does not include the US, and as of now the book will not be published there. Making that change is next on the agenda, but not in concrete. Whichever country it is published in, it will be available in all major bookstores and chains and e-stores, as well as audiobook stores. Of course, there’s also online shopping like Book Depository for free international shipping, so US/Canada dwellers can get their hands on it easily enough.

Will there be ARCs or early preview copies?
Absolutely. It will happen sometime during 2019, although I also don’t know when. I’ve seen ARCs floating around and in the hands of reviewers up to 9 months before official release, so it could be sooner rather than later. It will be up on Netgalley and (hopefully) at cons and press releases, but I also do not know. Being with a major publisher means they handle the majority of messy, complicated itinerary like publishing, printing, distributing, formatting, that I’d otherwise have to pay for myself. It also means they know the details that I don’t. More info when I have it.

Will it be possible to get signed copies?
I’m including this because I’ve had a few folks (many from the US) ask me this. Assuming we don’t get a US deal, I visit Europe (…yes, that includes the UK too) every year and will be signing every copy I come across, will presumably be doing signings at launches, at cons, and for book specialists like Goldsboro. If owning a copy of my book with my scribbling in it makes you happy, it won’t be that hard to get. Failing that, I’m very happy to send out signed book-plates or stamps to be inserted inside the books.

Who will be narrating the book?
No idea. I’m going to fight like hell to have an English narrator (unless that person is Jonathan Banks), and I think it likely to happen. Gollancz has terrific people lending their voice boxes to bring their books to life, and I’m sure they’ll make a fine choice.

Is the book finished?
No. I have yet to go over edits. But if the edits I already received in my R&R are any indication, the edits will be very very thorough and possibly brutal. There are also some changes I want to make, too. We’ll see.

When will the sequels be out?
I’m only 37k into the first draft of the second book, so not for years. I’m hoping the sequel will be out a maximum of one year after STORMBLOOD is released, but right now I’m focusing on making the book good. Easier said than done.

What tense/PoV is the book in?
First-person, past tense.

How much was the advance?
Nope, I won’t be sharing that information. I’ve had at least three people ask me that, which is three too many. I’m happy with the advance and my contract, and that’s it.

Can I have some of it? Pretty please?
No.

Release date seems ages away. How are you not going insane?
By busying myself writing the sequels, preparing to do edits, talking with my agent and editor and the Gollancz team…and focusing on the upcoming year of self-promotion.

Who’s going to provide blurbs/cover quotes for the book?
We (bizarrely) already have authors and editors getting in the early queue to receive the book and to say something about how awesome/weird/wonderful it is and to have their words splattered across the cover. If you’re an author or editor or reviewer and would like to be one of those people, please do get in contact with me, my agent or the Gollancz team. The more the merrier.

How did you celebrate the book deal?
In style. Alcohol and zebras were involved. Attorneys, too. I shall say no more.

What’s special about it being with Gollancz?
Gollancz is the speculative fiction imprint of Orion Publishing, one of the biggest publishers in the entire world. Gollancz alone publishes Richard Morgan, Charlene Harris, Joe Abercrombie, Brandon Sanderson, as well as classics like The Forever War, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, I Am Legend, and Dune. Every Big Five publisher has been responsible for publishing landmark titles, but Gollancz’s long history and their reputation for publishing books that are often original, sweeping and dark (especially epic fantasy and space opera), while still catering to a large audience means I’m delighted to join their lists. I’d be happy with any Big Five publisher, but I always wanted to make Gollancz my home, and now I have.

Are you going to reveal more about the process of getting the book deal and going over revisions?
I will, in a future blog post. Just need to verify from relevant parties that certain info can be shared and then it’s a go.

Are you open to discussing anymore details or questions in the meantime.
Absolutely! If you’d like to chat, hit me up. There’s a lot about this industry that’s not transparent that probably should be, and I’m all for chatting about it.

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THREE BOOK DEAL: Stormblood

We can finally announce this: My far-future science-fiction novel STORMBLOOD, about alien DNA that makes people permanently addicted to adrenaline and aggression is going to be published as a trilogy with Gollancz/Hachette.

It’s The Wire meets Mass Effect and contains lots of gooey body biotechnology, good people forced into tough decisions s for the right reasons, colonialism, weird aliens, space opera exuberance, drug trackiffing, power-hungry empires, sibling relationships, overcoming past trauma, and flawed characters you’ll (hopefully), come to know and love and hate as they get fight for the people they care about.

Anyone who knows me knows I’ve been writing to get a novel published since forever. It’s taken years of blood, sweat and tears and revising and re-editing, but here we are. There’s too many of you to thank for helping me along the way, you know who you are. I packed so many of my passions and things I love into these books, and having them being professionally put out into the world is a dream come true and I cannot wait to introduce them all to you. This is going to take my life in a very different direction for the next few years.

One of my earliest memories as a child is going to the bookstore with my mother and picking out things I wanted to read, and soaking them up at home. Somewhere in my early teens, I found I wanted to write my own books. And every-time I went to the store, I’d tell myself that something of mine would be released here one day. I’ve never stopped believing it.

And now, miraculously, three of them are going to be.

I had tremendous fun writing this one. It’s my favourite thing I’ve ever written, and I feel it’s where I grew significantly as a writer and discovered exactly what I wanted to write, and how to do it.

I’ve always loved Gollancz as a publisher and their books they published. Now, I’ll be sharing space with the greats: Joe Abercrombie, Richard Morgan, Charlene Harris, Brandon Sanderson, and so many authors I grew up reading. I always hoped, as stupid as it was, that my books would end up with Gollancz. The dream, quite literally, came true.

I haven’t had an easy year, and the endless stress from emailing, checking in, communicating with my agent revising, editing, more emailing, over the last 8 months left me drained. But that’s past now, and not only will Gollancz be publishing my dream novel, I get to write two more! And they’ll pay me for it!

The first book is going to be released in Feb 2020, so 2019 will be the year of self-promotion for me. Suffice to say, my writing life is going to get very interesting from here on out.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m heading off to the bar.

More details at my agent’s website.

Traveling, Euro-holiday and Nineworlds

If you haven’t seen me online much, it’s because I’ve been traveling. I had a fantastic six week holiday across Europe, starting at Poland and gradually moving West, to Germany, France, England, Scotland and Isle of Skye (I know it’s not a separate country but hey, neither is Scotland according to some folks). I had a fabulous time, ate waaay too much food, consumed far too much local beer and gin (got to try the local colour!) and bought too many books and movies in the UK. They’re stupidly cheap compared to Australia, with the max price of a paperback being 8.99 pounds (about $15 AUD), whereas books are no less than $20 here, if you’re lucky. And I like supporting bookstores and fan-stores like the awesome Forbidden Planet, which I’ve always heard people gushing about but never been myself, where I got most of my haul.

I’ve also been known to have a gin or two. Or three. Or more, if the company is right. But if you want the good stuff, you’re looking at bleeding your wallet dry sooner rather than later. Thankfully, we stopped by a gin boutique store in Berlin, which had gins from across the world. Combined with duty free shopping, I got to add a few to my collection.

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There was also a meeting with my awesome agent, John Jarrold. Can’t talk too much about what we discussed, but things are moving along and I hope I’ll be able to talk in more detail soon.

I also got to stop by Nineworlds, which is significantly smaller than WorldCon…and very, very different. I’ll go into more detail with another blog, but I’ll admit that while I got to catch up with some friends, I was very disappointed with the programming, the panels (including one I was on, which was a disaster), the general audience and mood of the con. It wasn’t a place for the majority of readers or writers or creators, with half the panels being very fan-driven, most of which were about dating simulators, the sexual politics of anime, or how *insert piece of media here* is problematic. None of these things are bad, of course, but when they become pretty much all a con’s got to offer…it makes for a very specific and one-sized audience. But that will be discussed later, but suffice to say I felt very isolated and out of place, and the people I was with shared my feelings.

Anyway. It’s back to normal life, work, study, gym and writing. I do wish I was back driving along the highlands of Scotland, scoping out the pubs and eateries of London and walking down the sun-showered streets of Paris, but I like getting back into my routine, and living for 6 weeks out of a suitcase is more tiring than it sounds. I’m already deep into some new projects and should have more news on that front soon.

Onwards!