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TOWER LORD by Anthony Ryan

TOWER LORD Anthony Ryan

Following on from 2013′s bestselling epic fantasy debut is the second novel in the Raven’s Shadow series – a powerful epic fantasy from an exciting new British talent.
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VALORJohn Gwynne

War has erupted in the Banished Lands as the race for power intensifies. Sides are chosen and oaths will be fulfilled or broken in a land where hell has broken loose.
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ANCILLARY JUSTICE is the Nebula Award winner!

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America announced the winners of the 2013 Nebula Awards this past weekend and we are thrilled to report that Ann Leckie has won the Nebula award for Best Novel!

Congratulations to Ann, who adds the Nebula Award to her Clarke Award, her BSFA Award for Best Novel and her Kitschie Award for Best Debut Novel, all for her spectacular first novel.

You can read a sample from ANCILLARY JUSTICE here. To find out more about the author, check out her website or follow her on twitter at @ann_leckie.

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The New Trudi Canavan THIEF’S MAGIC – out now!

The wait is over! THIEF’S MAGIC (UK|US|ANZ), the brand new fantasy novel from Trudi Canavan, is available this week.

It’s set in a brand new world, featuring a whole new cast of characters, and it’s her most thrilling fantasy adventure yet! You can read a free extract right here on Trudi’s Facebook page.

Trudi Canavan is an absolute phenomenon, with over 2 million copies sold worldwide. Last Christmas, we asked Trudi’s legions of fans to tell us exactly what they love so much about her books. Here’s a selection of the amazing feedback we received – this is why Trudi is loved by millions of readers all around the world:

‘Few fantasy authors can create characters so endearing that you fall in love with them. Trudi takes you on such an enjoyable journey with these characters that it leaves you wanting to re-read the same stories time and again

‘The only author that wakes my imagination!’

‘I love reading fantasy but Trudi Canavan really stands out. She is one of those rare authors who manages to be both completely accessible and massive in scope

‘She takes me to another land, a land full of magic and excitement’

‘Trudi’s books really let me escape from normal life, I feel like I’m actually there with the characters!’

An exceptional author who writes stories that are left in the imagination for years’

‘Her books help me escape everything that goes on in my day/week, have helped me to accept myself and inspire me to be creative everyday. Thank you Trudi for changing my life

‘The interesting characters, the amazing world building and the mind-blowing make Trudi Canavan’s books the perfect read!’

WIN a one-of-a-kind ereader or tablet cover designed by Trudi Canavan

Orbit is about to publish the first book in a brand new series from No. 1 Sunday Times bestseller, Trudi Canavan. THIEF’S MAGIC is set in a brand new world and features all new characters.

To celebrate the release, Trudi Canavan is designing a one-of-a-kind ereader or tablet cover featuring one of her own beautiful illustrations, bringing two characters from THIEF’S MAGIC to life.

In a world where an industrial revolution is powered by magic, Tyen, a student of archaeology, unearths a sentient book called Vella. Once a young sorcerer-bookbinder, Vella was transformed into a useful tool by one of the greatest sorcerers of history. Since then she has been collecting information, including a vital clue to the disaster Tyen’s world faces.

Elsewhere, in a land ruled by the priests, Rielle the dyer’s daughter has been taught that to use magic is to steal from the Angels. Yet she knows she has a talent for it, and that there is a corrupter in the city willing to teach her how to use it – should she dare to risk the Angels’ wrath.

See these two characters featured on the ereader/tablet cover below:

Trudi Canavan Ereader Cover

This will be the perfect accessory for one lucky Trudi Canavan reader, and a brilliant way to start this tremendous new series.

To enter the competition, simply fill out the form below in full.


Please read our full terms and conditions before entering. Please note the above image is a mock-up of the ereader cover the winner will receive. Final cover to made specifically to fit brand of ereader owned by winner, and design may vary depending on brand.

Read the first three chapters now on the Trudi Canavan Facebook page.

CharlieFletcher

I’m aware this is a Quality Problem and expect not a bit of sympathy here, but a new book (THE OVERSIGHT) does mean book launches etc, and at some stage public speaking will inevitably be involved, and people who spend most of their lives being articulate on the page (where they have the great advantage of a) not having to do so in real-time and b) being able to edit and re-polish their words before public consumption) now have to perform without those safety nets. Talking in public and the demands of real-time articulacy are, on balance, probably good for you, like getting some bracing fresh air after the fug in the office, but the moment I dread is when the chairperson turns to the audience and wonders if anyone has any questions . . .

The truth is, I don’t mind the questions. I don’t even mind that they are usually the same ones, because at least the questioners are different each time. I mind my answers. I mind them because it’s always me replying, and I know what I’m going to say and that I for one am going to have to listen to it all again. So, to try and end-run the inevitable, here’s a pre-cooked answer to a couple of the Top Five FAQs, in the hope we can skip them next time and enable me not to have to suffer my own repetitiveness any more.

The questions are “How do you get your ideas?” and “Do you always have a clear plan when you start writing?”

The short answer to both of these is conveniently the same one: I like getting lost. More specifically, I like getting lost on purpose.

I got the habit a long time ago, when I was first working in London and trying to get to know my way around. It wasn’t anything like The Knowledge, that heroically compendious act of street-memorizing that all London cabbies have to master, but it was my small version of it. I worked a three-day shift at the time. That left me with four days off per week in an expensive city on a not enormous wage. So walking around and exploring was a good way to divert myself without spending all my cash. I would set off in one direction and when I got to a junction where I had previously turned left, I would turn right, and so on until I turned myself round and tried to get home as directly as possible. London has never been subject to any uniform grand design (though Wren had unbuilt and rather wonderful plans for a refurb following the Great Fire) so it’s an organic jumble with no grid to orient you, which made getting lost a doddle. If you want to conquer a city and make it your own, you need boots on the ground: and so I tramped the streets, loafing and looking.

Christchurch SpitalfieldsI remember first stumbling across the ominous façade of Hawksmoor’s Christchurch Spitalfields with a perfect hunter’s moon hanging in the sky beside it. That led me to Peter Ackroyd’s book Hawksmoor in particular, then his London-centric writing in general (which stimulated a deeper sense of the historic weirdness in the city’s many shadows) and a renewed interest in Blake and Dickens that sprang from that. That led me to Dickens’ Household Words which contains masses of fantastic articles he wrote about walking around London. I’d take a reprint with me while I walked and read and compare past with present when I stopped in whatever café or pub I found myself outside at lunchtime. Sometimes the book was HV Morton’s London, which provided similar first-hand views of the same cityscape but nearly a hundred years later. Walking cities with a book (and a notebook) became a habit I still have. Not a bad result from a single serendipitously taken turn in the road whilst involved in the act of purposely getting lost.

More specifically, I got the idea for the plot of the entire Stoneheart trilogy (in which London’s Statues come alive, but only visibly to two children) simply by walking from statue to statue and letting the thing join itself up in my head. For example, I had to get my characters to the Blackfriar’s pub (conveniently situated outside the Orbit offices, by the way) and so just meandered in that general direction, picking up characters like Sphinxes, Dr Johnson and the tremendously lithe Temple Bar Dragon on the way. (An American academic called Andelys Wood has rather amazingly photographed all the statues mentioned in the Stoneheart books, efficiently mapping that all that serendipity.)

Of course ideas don’t only come from the simple act of getting lost; you have to be paying attention. You have to have a good memory, or failing that, the notebook in your back pocket. Most of all you have to follow up those unexpected links. Like good luck, serendipity happens most often to those alert enough to notice it and well enough prepared to grab it as it passes. Which is why even the most aimless loafer needs to keep their pencils sharpened.

“I like getting lost” is also the answer to that second FAQ. Getting lost in London is pretty stress-free for me. I’ve been lost in other more stressy paces so I’m well aware this isn’t always the case. I know that there’s usually an Underground (Subway) station close by, or failing that a bus stop to take me back into charted waters. In London the Underground is a hidden organic grid beneath the randomness of the city. It’ll get you from A to B, but it doesn’t tell you any interesting detail about the terrain you’re travelling beneath. When I write I have a similar schematic, at least a beginning, middle and end, but usually some more connecting stops along the way, but I don’t have the whole work mapped out as a detailed beat-sheet. Doing that detail of planning is, for me, wildly unproductive. As a novelist the real pleasure is 100% freedom to get lost in your own story and see what presents itself unexpectedly, but process can only be stress-free if you have at least a bare schematic underpinning everything. The very best days are the ones in which you re-read yesterday’s pages and can’t quite remember writing them, or how those associations happened or indeed where that new character jumped in from, as if you have been working in a fugue state (I think that’s what the “Flow” is). I’m not going to get all spoilery about the The Oversight, but when Lucy Harker first opened her mouth I, like anyone else, was entirely surprised by what came out.

And that’s why, for me, for at least why writing is inextricably all about getting lost: “It’s the serendipity, stupid”.

Of course that’s a steal from James Carville and the sign he put up in the Clinton campaign office in the ’92 election to keep everyone on-message, but then stealing is a big part of the answer to another prime contender for the FAQ Hall of Fame, which is “Where do your characters come from?” And that’s a question I do like, because the answer changes with each book. Maybe we’ll get to that . . .

Will McIntosh

Author post

My Crash-Course on Military Strategy

Global war is raging throughout most of my new novel, DEFENDERS (US | UK | AUS). In fact by the end of Defenders, humanity has fought more than one global war, because at its heart the book is about war veterans, and what becomes of them once they come home and the parades are over. Once I’d outlined Defenders and very broadly mapped out the wars that are the backdrop for the unfolding drama, it occurred to me that I knew absolutely nothing about war. I knew a bit about military history, but little or nothing about strategy, tactics, weapons. I had, for example, no idea what an invading army did. Once they dropped into enemy territory, where would they go? How did you win a war?

This was a problem. It was also surprising, because my father is a retired Brigadier General. Over the years we’d spent countless hours talking about investing and baseball, politics and comic collecting, but never military strategy. That changed as I began writing Defenders.

I was on the phone with my father nearly every day, describing what was happening in my world, and asking what a military leader would be thinking and doing in those various situations. I didn’t make things easy on him. No military commander in history has ever had to deal with an enemy who can read minds, who knows exactly what you’re planning at every moment. And no commander has had millions of somewhat deranged, genetically engineered super-warriors as allies. Dad played along, though, sometimes sending elaborate battle plans.  In fact, let me cut and paste a small sample to give you an idea. This is part of his battle plan for the defenders (the deranged super-warriors), whose mission is to seize a nuclear power plant.

Two separate LZs (landing Zones) will be utilized.  The first LZ will be approximately 5 miles NNE of the objective, the second, 5 miles SSE. Both LZs are between Highways 60 and 5. One additional squad from each drop zone is designated as a security squad and will move as follows: From drop Zone one, directly North; from drop zone two, directly South. Northern moving squad cuts off and secures Highway 60 and establishes a perimeter defense. Southern moving squad secures highway 5 and establishes perimeter defense. Full security squad will deny Luyten movement from West to East.

By the time I finished writing Defenders, I knew a lot more about military strategy. I’d learned, for instance, that winning a war was about controlling resources. Power. Water. Food. I understood that one of an army’s most pressing concerns was supply routes–both theirs and the enemy’s–because if food and ammunition can’t reach you, you’re done. I also learned about protecting your center of gravity–the place where your leadership is located. If the enemy takes out your center of gravity, you’re in trouble. Also, an army never invades an area right away if they have an air force. First they bomb it for a few hours to a few days in order to weaken resistance.

If you decide to read Defenders (and I sure hope you will), you’ll find the book opens with a prologue. In it, an army platoon is on a mission to salvage tons of World War II era weapons (pistols, rifles, flame-throwers, machine guns, hand grenades) that the U.S. Army sealed in an abandoned coalmine in Pennsylvania decades earlier. The weapons were coated in cosmoline, a greasy substance that keeps the weapons fresh and rust-free. This is all true. There are weapons caches like this in abandoned mines the U.S. Government purchased for just this purpose. The weapons are down there just in case. I’m guessing psychic alien invaders were not one of the “just in case” scenarios considered when those weapons were sealed away, but they sure came in handy in writing Defenders. I’m glad my father told me they were down there.

 DEFENDERS (US | UK | AUS) is available now! Look for it online and in bookstores everywhere. Here is an excerpt from the novel. 

The Hugo Voter Packet

In this year’s voter packet for the Hugo Awards, Orbit will be including extended previews of three novels we’ve published. These are:

PARASITE by Mira Grant

ANCILLARY JUSTICE by Ann Leckie

NEPTUNE’S BROOD by Charles Stross

We hope that these long extracts will provide a helpful introduction to these fantastic novels – and that they will encourage anybody who has not read them to read more.

We appreciate that some Hugo voters might be disappointed that the entire novels will not be available in the packet, and we would like to offer a word of explanation.

We are of course very much in favour of initiatives that help readers to engage with important awards, and we are always looking for new ways to help readers discover new authors. However, in the case of the voter packets, authors and rights holders are increasingly feeling that if their work is not included in the packet it will be at a disadvantage in the awards. It’s difficult for anyone to know for certain whether this is the case, but either way we don’t feel that authors and rights holders should feel under pressure to make their work available for free. There are a lot of different attitudes to the idea of giving work away for free, but we hope most people would agree that writers and rights holders should be able to make their own choice, without feeling that their decision might have negative consequences.

We would like to make it clear that this was our decision, and not one requested by any of our authors. It is a complex issue, with many different perspectives and opinions, and we believe that we are acting in the best interests of our authors while continuing to support the voter packet.

Going forward, we very much hope that awards administrators give careful consideration to voter packets, particularly in those categories in which shortlisted works are already widely available, and that they continue to look for new ways to encourage participation in awards.

In the meantime, I hope everyone eligible to vote in the Hugos who has not yet read the shortlisted novels enjoys the extended previews in the voter packet.

Tim Holman
Publisher, Orbit

Parasite9780356502403Neptune's Brood

Publisher of the Year!

Publisher of the Year Award 2014 for Little, Brown Book Group UK (with Orbit team))As some of you may know, Orbit UK is an imprint of Little, Brown Book Group – and we’re proud to report that Little, Brown scooped up the prestigious Publisher of the Year title in the Bookseller Industry Awards last night.

Here’s a photo of the award and some key members of our team.

 

 

Kristen-Painter-profile

The Trouble with New Orleans

Just say the words New Orleans and you probably think of jazz music, cobblestone streets, cemeteries filled with monuments, and scrolling iron balconies. You might also think about vampires, ghosts and who knows what else that might be lurking in the shadows. The Big Easy has a certain reputation for the mysterious. And indeed, it is definitely a place filled with a special kind of magic. The tales that surround this city are part truth, part legend, part good old fashioned story telling.

As a writer, it’s hard not to be mesmerized by this place. I’ve been to New Orleans more times than I can count and it never fails to enchant me in some new way. There are moments when I could easily believe I’ve crossed a threshold where all the creatures of my imagination could truly exist. Maybe it has something to do with the city’s own sense of immortality. Very little changes here, whether it’s the architecture, the colorful presence of art and music, the tantalizing aroma of chicory-laced coffee, or the ever-present sense that an undercurrent of something dark and magic thrums just below the surface.

I promise it’s nothing to be intimidated by. The locals are friendly and the tourist even more so, perhaps helped by the loose liquor laws. Whatever the reason, the city welcomes everyone and has become a favorite for so many authors, myself included.

In my new Crescent City series, it became the perfect setting for my fae characters. A place where mortals and othernaturals could indulge in food, drink, music, love, and war, all while fully aware of each others’ existence.

If you find yourself in New Orleans and want to check out some of the places where the lines between this world and the supernatural seem to blur, take this list with you. A few of these spots show up in my series.

The cemeteries of New Orleans

Sometimes called the Cities of the Dead because their towering crypts and monuments create mini-skylines, a stroll through any one of these final resting places is something you’ll always remember. My favorite is Lafayette Cemetery No. One in the Garden District and conveniently located across from Commander’s Palace restaurant. Both spots make an appearance in, HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN (US | UK |AUS), but the cemetery gets top billing as it’s also the location of the fae’s underground headquarters (via a secret entry through one of its crypts). Read the rest of this entry »

Orbit on the Locus Awards Shortlist!

Locus award shortlistWe’re very pleased to report that we have three shortlisted nominees on the Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel! Our congratulations go to ABADDON’S GATE by James S.A. Corey, SHAMAN by Kim Stanley Robinson, and NEPTUNE’S BROOD by Charles Stross (also nominated for a Hugo Award this year). The awards are voted on by readers of Locus magazine, and the full shortlist is:

MADDADDAM, Margaret Atwood (McClelland & Stewart; Bloomsbury; Talese)
ABADDON’S GATE (US | UK | ANZ), James S.A. Corey (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
THE BEST OF ALL POSSIBLE WORLDS, Karen Lord (Del Rey; Jo Fletcher)
SHAMAN (US UK | ANZ), Kim Stanley Robinson (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
NEPTUNE’S BROOD, Charles Stross (Ace; Orbit UK) (UK | ANZ)

Congratulations also to Ann Leckie, whose debut ANCILLARY JUSTICE (nominated for many awards this year including the Hugo and Nebula, and winner of the Arthur C. Clarke award, the BSFA and a Kitschie) was nominated in the Best First Novel category. The shortlist is as follows;

ANCILLARY JUSTICE (US | UK |ANZ), Ann Leckie (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
THE GOLEM AND THE JINNI, Helene Wecker (Harper)
THE GOLDEN CITY, J. Kathleen Cheney (Roc)
A STRANGER IN OLONDRIA, Sofia Samatar (Small Beer)
THE THINKING WOMAN’S GUIDE TO REAL MAGIC, Emily Croy Barker (Dorman)

And finally, we ourselves are shortlisted in the Best Publisher category! Best of luck to the other nominees.

Read a free extract of THIEF’S MAGIC by Trudi Canavan

It’s now just over a week until the release of THIEF’S MAGIC (UK|US|ANZ), the brand new fantasy adventure from No. 1 Sunday Times bestselling author Trudi Canavan.

Millions of readers worldwide have read and enjoyed Trudi’s fantastic books – and this new novel is something to get VERY excited about.

It’s set in a brand new world, featuring a whole new cast of characters. It’s time to forget what you know about the nature of magic . . .

You can read a free extract of the book right now by visiting Trudi’s Facebook page. The more you share the extracts, the more we’ll unlock!

 

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