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Brighton Shock – notes on the World Horror Convention 2010

Last weekend I attended the fabulous World Horror Convention in Brighton, a celebration of horror fiction from the Victorian age to the present, and the first time this event has been held outside North America.

Horror is a fascinating area and, as with SF and fantasy fiction, the definition seems interestingly fluid and has the capacity to evolve in new and exciting ways with each new generation of writers. We have the legacy of 19th century gothic horror (Mary Shelley, Edgar Allen Poe and Bram Stoker). This was followed by Lovecraftian horror, and more recently we have seen contemporary horror wordsmiths such as Stephen King, James Herbert and Ramsey Campbell.

One of the highlights of the convention was watching Neil Gaiman interview grand master of modern horror James Herbert (while I sat next to the agent who discovered him). Neil Gaiman appeared unannounced as a surprise guest interviewer, and it was as if Elvis had entered the building as news of his arrival rippled tantalisingly through the convention … James Herbert focused on his epic career and on his underprivileged East End origins which inspired him to write. It’s interesting to think how the supernatural thriller/disaster fiction of the 1970s and 80s, turbulent decades of wealth and deprivation lived under the shadow of the bomb, might differ to what is being produced today.

We now have an explosion of new vampire fiction, as Kelley Armstrong discussed with other Read the rest of this entry »

Cover Launch: THE HEROES by Joe Abercrombie

And you thought we couldn’t get any bloodier than Best Served Cold? Here to prove you wrong is the cover of The Heroes, by Joe Abercrombie. It’s a standalone story, which is great for readers who haven’t read Joe Abercrombie before, but it’s set in the same world as The First Law Trilogy and Best Served Cold, and fans of those books will definitely be recognizing returning characters.

This is the hardcover version, so we’re keeping the general style of the somewhat controversial Best Served Cold hardcover, then we’ll be repackaging for mass market paperback with the graphic Best Served Cold mass market style. Just a quick note: the map in the background is not final, it’s the one I stole as a placeholder from BSC, until the artist finishes the new map. Steve Stone, an Orbit Books favorite, was responsible for the image reflected in the, um, gore. I’ll repost the cover with the new map when it’s finished, but this one was drawn by Dave Senior. (Yours truly was responsible for the agonizing blood photoshopping.) Read the rest of this entry »

Author post

The Tools of My So-Called Trade

So, you imagine that all a writer needs to get the job done is some ideas, a wordprocessing package and a keyboard, right?  Wrong.  Writers are fragile, delicate creatures who require far more in the way of equipment to armour themselves for the daily, soul-destroying struggle with the blank page.  Or just to distract themselves from it.  Read the rest of this entry »

Author post

Digging Up the Story

People ask me all the time how I write. It’s not just aspiring writers either. Story craft seems to mystify the average Joe too. “How do you do that?” they ask.

Well, I can’t speak for other writers, but today I’m going to tell you how I do it. Kind of.

But first, imagine for a moment that I am not Jaye Wells, author and bon vivant. Instead, picture me in an kicky fedora and wielding a spade (the shovel, not the playing card). That’s right, my friends, today I am Jaye Wells, international archeologist of mystery. If this were a movie, it’d be titled  Indiana Jaye and the Book of Doom. Read the rest of this entry »

Author post

Strong Women, Child Soldiers and Geniuses

I went and got myself tagged by Kate Constable. Kate posted six things which inspired her writing in general, and then asked other writers to reveal six things that inspired their work.*

I thought I’d specifically post about the Moorehawke Trilogy. So here they are! Read the rest of this entry »

A Day in the Life of an Author…

…or a day in the life of Jeff Somers at least.  If you haven’t already spotted it on his site, see below for a glimpse of an artist at work. Seem familiar to anyone?

Only days left to vote on both Gemmell and Locus Awards …

There seems to be plenty of award talk going around at the moment, with the Clarke Award lists of nominees out, British Fantasy Society Awards longlists released and the BSFA only a few weeks away from its own Awards announcements. Perhaps these represent the first signs of Spring for the genre community…

But currently more pressing than all of the above are the imminent voting deadlines for the David Gemmell Awards (a few days away, with voting closing at the end of March) and the annual Locus Awards ballot (closing 1st April). The David Gemmell Awards are designed to honour the memory of David Gemmell and also to raise the profile of fantasy fiction in the UK, and this will be their second year. The whole team is crossing fingers for all our authors on the Gemmell longlists, including those down for the Legend Award for best fantasy novel here. You can also vote by following that link – and see above for the cute mini-Snaga that Brent Weeks was awarded last year for his shortlisted The Way of Shadows (UK I US). Also included within ‘the Gemmells’ are the Morningstar Award for best fantasy debut and the Ravenheart Award for best fantasy cover art.

The Locus Awards are in their 40th year and their longlist is the prestigious Locus Recommended Reading List of works published in 2009. So as well as crossing fingers for the Gemmells, we are also holding our collective breaths for Orbit authors in various Locus categories (this could get complicated!). Orbit nominees are  Iain M. Banks, Walter Jon Williams, Daniel Abraham, Gail Carriger and Charles Stross.  You can vote for the Locus Awards here.


Mr. Shivers, the debut novel by Robert Jackson Bennett, has been getting some fantastic praise around the review circuit, with a lot of comparisons to Stephen King + John Steinbeck, which is pretty awesome in my book. The Company Man is not a sequel, but if you liked Mr. Shivers, you will definitely like this one. It also takes place in an alternate history of America, and I would say this one, to me, feels like H.P. Lovecraft + Chinatown (the movie) happening in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. If that doesn’t sound cool to you, well, then, I don’t know what else to say. Haha.

Read the rest of this entry »

Defend your Orbit Favorites to the Death!

A bunch of Orbit books have been included in the “Fourth Annual BCSreview Tournament” and I expect you all to go vote. I think the competition is paltry, and should be easily trounced, but still, go vote.

Book Cover “Mind Meld”

I know you guys are big fans of hearing about covers and design from the artists/publishers side, so I thought I’d send you guys over to SciFi Signal, where they just posted a “Mind Meld” (dorks) on recent scifi/fantasy bookcovers.  I was asked to post, and in fairness I excluded all our books, but it was great to see so many Orbit books getting a mention! Here was the question:

Q: It’s generally well accepted that a book cover’s primary responsibility is to sell the book. But artistically speaking, what makes a successful sf/f/h book cover? Which recent sf/f/h books had a cover that blew you away?

Which makes me ask you guys….what’s your favorite ORBIT cover? Let me know in the comments, I’m curious.

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