Annotated Excerpt: GLITTERATI by Oliver K. Langmead (Titan)

LangmeadOK-AuthorPic2021Hello – yes! I have been asked by the fabulous owner of Civillian Reader to share an annotated excerpt from my forthcoming novel Glitterati, which is a dystopian satire about fashion, family and the feckless billionaire class.

Simone is a fashionista – one of the fashionable elites, who live in a sumptuous, opulent utopia, with their every whim catered for. Early in the novel, it is only Simone’s strange anxieties holding him back from being one of the most fabulous people around.

Let me introduce you now to Simone, and one of the most acute sources of anxiety in his life…

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Interview with JOSH WINNING, Author of THE SHADOW GLASS

WinningJ-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Josh Winning?

A goblin babe masquerading as an author! You’ll usually find me either reading, writing, or fending off attacks by my very needy cat Penny.

Your new novel, The Shadow Glass, will be published by Titan on March 22nd. It looks really cool: How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

Thank you! The Shadow Glass is my love letter to 80s fantasy films like Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal and The NeverEnding Story. It’s about the son of a movie director, who goes on a real-world quest with the puppets from his father’s fantasy film. Expect bloodthirsty puppets, found families and a big dollop of The Feels! Continue reading

Interview with J. L. WORRAD, Author of PENNYBLADE (Titan)

WorradJL-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is J. L. Worrad?

A fantasy and science fiction author from Leicester, UK. My flat’s a stone’s throw away from Richard III’s corpse. We’re always finding monarchs under carparks around these parts.

Your debut novel,Pennyblade, will be published this month by Titan. It looks really intriguing: How would you introduce it to a potential reader?

It’s about Kyra Cal’Adra, a disgraced noblewoman who sells her sword skills to get by and runs from the pain of her past by living in the moment, distracting herself with booze, violence and sex. All the good stuff. Unfortunately the past has not given up chasing her. It’s a pretty wild grimdark novel, inarguably, but under all that spiky filth there’s a big heart. Continue reading

Excerpt: STARS AND BONES by Gareth Powell (Titan)

PowellGL-StarsAndBonesToday, we have an excerpt from Gareth L. Powell‘s new novel, Stars and Bones. The author’s latest highly-anticipated science fiction epic, it was published by Titan Books yesterday. Here’s the synopsis:

Seventy-five years from today, the human race has been cast from a dying Earth to wander the stars in a vast fleet of arks — each shaped by its inhabitants into a diverse and fascinating new environment, with its own rules and eccentricities.

When her sister disappears while responding to a mysterious alien distress call, Eryn insists on being part of the crew sent to look for her. What she discovers on Candidate-623 is both terrifying and deadly. When the threat follows her back to the fleet and people start dying, she is tasked with seeking out a legendary recluse who may just hold the key to humanity’s survival.

Now: on with the excerpt! Continue reading

Annotated Excerpt: TEN LOW by Stark Holborn (Titan Books)

HolbornS-TenLowA large chunk of this book was written as a NaNoWriMo project a few years ago. I’d never done NaNo before (I did write most of Nunslinger’s 180k words in about eight hazy months, so I wasn’t too worried about word count), but I’d come out of a crappy year in terms of publishing, and wanted to write something just for me. An idea that had zero ties to the publishing world, didn’t have the market in mind and was just a mash up of influences that had been percolating, which ranged from Mad Max: Fury Road to Hard to be a God.

I think I write best in intense, consuming bursts – I like writing that way, at least. Most of Ten Low was written with headphones on, ambient desert wind roaring, getting words down without worrying too much about where things were going. I ended up with 50k words that way. Of course, when it came to fleshing those words out into a full novel, I completely ran out of gas; spent weeks agonising over the fact I didn’t know what the plot was or why; resorted to augury in the form of flipping through a dictionary, stabbing at random words, which – horrifyingly – worked.

So, writing an annotated excerpt has been an interesting experience, because so much of what I wrote at first was subconscious, especially this first chapter. I knew where I wanted to set the book. I knew who the main character was, roughly who else she would meet and… that was it. This chapter hasn’t changed all that much since I first scrawled out those first 1000 words for NaNoWriMo. I hope it does the job and welcomes you to the dusty, teeming moon of Factus, where an ex-convict medic sits alone by a fire, one dark night…

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Guest Post: “Deleting Digits” by Oliver Langmead

LangmeadO-AuthorPicA confession: I don’t know how much a billion dollars is. Not really. Sure, I can write it down ($1,000,000,000), but that number doesn’t really mean much to me. I imagine that it gets even more meaningless the more zeroes you put on the end. I know how much a tin of beans costs, and I know how much my monthly rent is, but I would genuinely struggle to tell you the major differences between a millionaire and a billionaire, despite the staggering disparity between their relative fortunes (billionaires have more jet planes?).

Similarly: I don’t know how long a thousand years is. It’s beyond my ability to comprehend. When it’s written down as a figure (1000) it’s lovely and neat, and I know it’s a hundred decades, or ten centuries, or any amount of artful mathematical ways of putting it, but I struggle to imagine what living through a thousand years would actually be like; how that vast amount of time would feel. Neither can I effectively contain all the events that would happen during a span of a thousand years in my head. Continue reading

Upcoming: TEN LOW by Stark Holborn (Titan)

HolbornS-TenLowI first discovered Stark Holborn via the excellent Nunslinger novel, which was initially released in a serialized format. More recently, I very much enjoyed the novella Triggernometry. This year, Holborn returns with Ten Low, a new science fiction novel, which I’m really looking forward to reading:

Ten Low is an ex-army medic, one of many convicts eking out a living at the universe’s edge. She’s desperate to escape her memories of the interstellar war, and the crimes she committed, but trouble seems to follow wherever she goes. One night, attempting to atone for her sins, she pulls a teenage girl – the sole survivor – from the wreck of a spaceship. But Gabriella Ortiz is no ordinary girl. The result of a military genetics programme, she is a decorated Army General, from the opposing side of the war to Ten. Worse, Ten realises the crash was an assassination attempt, and that someone wants the Ortiz dead…

The pair bury their hatreds and strike an uneasy deal to smuggle the General off-world. Their road won’t be easy: they must cross the moon’s lawless wastes, facing military hit squads, bandits and the one-eyed leader of an all-female road gang, in a frantic race to get the General to safety. But something else waits in the darkness at the universe’s edge. Something that threatens to reveal Ten’s worst nightmare: the truth of who she really is and what she is running from.

Stark Holborn’s Ten Low is due to be published by Titan Books in North America and in the UK, on June 1st, 2021.

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Guest Post: “What I Ripped Off From My Life And Used In My Book” by Sharon Doering

DoeringS-SheLiesCloseWhen I was writing She Lies Close, my debut psychological thriller, I was feeling desperate for the first time as a writer. I hadn’t felt it before in my twenty years of writing (countless short stories, a horror novel, a romance, a PI novel, and three tech thrillers). Out of nowhere, a terrifying thought hit me. Wait. Wait. What if I never get published?

That desperation I was experiencing in my writing career? I gave that to my main character, Grace Wright. Grace wasn’t worried about her writing career, but she was worried about, well, pretty much everything.

My desperation didn’t just work its way into Grace’s psyche, it weaved into the novel’s plot. I threw the kitchen sink into this novel. I wanted She Lies Close to be a car crash where you (and first, an editor) couldn’t look away. Grace is running; she’s crying; there’s an attack. Put her on stimulants. She can’t sleep. Her neighbor might be violent. She’s sleepwalking. What about the missing girl? Oh my god, who just ran across the lawn? Did her menacing neighbor give her three-year-old candy? Continue reading

Interview with MARIE BRENNAN

BrennanM-AuthorPicWelcome back to CR! It’s been a little while, so let’s start with an introduction for new readers: Who is Marie Brennan?

Well, at one point I wound up calling myself “an anthropological compost heap from which stories sprout,” which might be as good a description of my writing as any. I’m a fantasy novelist and short story writer (and occasional game writer, too), with an academic background in anthropology, archaeology, and folklore, which leaves its fingerprints all over my work.

Your new novel, Driftwood, will be published soon by Tachyon. It looks really interesting: How would you introduce it to a potential reader?

The tagline is “where worlds go to die,” but that sounds a little grim, doesn’t it? Driftwood is a setting composed of the fragments of broken worlds, brought together by some unknown force. Driftwood the novel is a fix-up of short stories previously written in that setting, with a new novelette and a frame story to link all the pieces together. If you feel like there might be a thematic connection between the setting and the form of the novel, well, you’re not wrong! Continue reading

Interview with TIM MAJOR

MajorT-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Tim Major?

I’m an SF/horror writer. I live in York in the UK with my wife and two sons, and I’m a freelance editor by day and a writer… well, also by day, actually – I need as much sleep as I can get, with two young kids in the house. I’ve published four novels, a short story collection, and a non-fiction film book about the 1915 silent film Les Vampires, as wells as lots of stories in various places.

Your latest novel, Hope Island, was published recently by Titan Books. It looks really interesting: How would you introduce it to a potential reader?

Different readers have described it in quite different ways. I’d say it’s about a mother trying to reconnect with her daughter on a remote Maine island, who encounters a bunch of strange things: creepy island children, a strange artistic commune that has a mysterious archaeological find on its property… and lots of dead bodies. But there’s a lot about sound and silence, which some readers have really responded to – I suppose the book’s a bit unusual in that respect. A lot of the horror elements revolve around sound. Continue reading