2020. Fuck 2020. Actually, if I’m being honest, it was a nothing year, a hollow year. No-one close to me got terribly ill, no-one’s in dire circumstances. Finances are healthy. The kids are doing fine. Everything is on track – but it’s all been a dull grind of worry and mere survival. A slow and boring disaster, at least here. You talk to friends you haven’t spoken to in months – haven’t seen in person in a year – and no-one has any news, because no-one can have any news. The only news is numbers – infection numbers, hospitalisation numbers, r-values, lockdown levels, distance-from-home limits. Electoral college percentages, Georgia opinion polls. And now, mercifully, vaccine percentage effectiveness, vaccination schedule estimates. Better numbers, but still… It’s all fine. Work-wise, I always knew it was going to be a bit of a down year, as I switched to doing more child-care – but I assumed there’d be the option of the occasional
Here’s a lovely thing – Will Musser wrote a track for the Gutter Prayer, and I borrowed some of Dejan’s art to make a sort of music video. Book 3 of the Black Iron Legacy, The Broken God, is through copy-editing. Publication has been pushed back to May ’21 because… actually, I’ve no idea why, exactly. The world is on fire. I’ve written some stories for Black Library, most recently in Warhammer Crime. Out soon, at least for preorder – The Borellus Connection. Also I’m back – at long last, on a Moria project for the new publishers of the One Ring roleplaying game. Off to the word mines I go once more. Now that I sit down to blog, I look and realise that I last updated in June. I would have sworn it was only a few weeks ago. The world’s on fire, and time’s melting. I met a friend for coffee earlier today – a last bit
Here’s the colour version of the map in The Shadow Saint, by my wonderful friends over at Handiwork Games. Guerdon – the setting for the entirely of The Gutter Prayer, is up there a little north of the middle of the map. The Shadow Saint and The B***** G** (book 3) take place partly in Guerdon, and partly further afield. There’s a map on the wall. It’s old and hopelessly out of date, which, as a student of history, makes it all the more fascinating to her. It’s centred on the city of Old Haith, a hundred miles north of Guerdon. The Empire of Haith – a necrotic purple – spreads out inland north and west. It arcs north-east, along the foothills of the icy mountains, into Varinth. South, the map is speckled and blotched with purple. Speckles, for trading stations and outposts. Blotches for lands conquered by Haith in centuries past, when the undead legions and magic blades of
Black Iron Legacy #3 is finished, in so much as a book can be finished six months ahead of publication (still to come: cover, copy-edits, proofing and the like). I’m catching up on other projects, pitching new ideas, signing up for stretch goals, and doing some more writing for Black Library. My first story for them, Castle of the Exile, came out in Inferno #5. It was my first work in the 40k setting, so some more tips on getting up to speed with big licensed properties. When you get hired to work on such a property, the publisher provides you with a bunch of background reading. Sometimes, it’ll be a huge pile of stuff to read (I recall doing a tiny bit of writing for one RPG line, and getting 20+ books to read first); sometimes, it’ll be a sketchy overview document about the current project without a lot of information about the wider setting. Stay Current Geek culture’s defined by
Photo by Sara Kurfeß on Unsplash My kids watch a lot of youtube at the moment, and it’s fascinating to watch the lingo seep out of the internet. Years ago, when we first brought them to the cinema, they couldn’t understand why we couldn’t skip the ads. THE GUTTER PRAYER hit 2,000 ratings over on goodreads this week, so in celebration, I’ve recorded a reading of the prologue of Book 3. This is still a draft, by the by – everything may change when it comes back from the first editorial pass, but I think the bones are there. In other video news, I did a lovely chat with Matthew Ward for Orbit. https://www.pscp.tv/w/1YqKDEELVvNGV And in other other video news, I did a reading for the Super Relaxed Fantasy Club. And – my word, it’s like we’re all locked in our houses – there’s YET more video stuff over on the Pelgrane channel.
Book 3 – still officially untitled – has been handed into my agent, and from his hands to Orbit. The only thing that moves more slowly than these strange days is the publishing industry, so it won’t be out in the world until January. I don’t know what things will be like in January. Things certainly won’t be normal – I don’t think there will be anything like what we used to think of as normal ever again, because by the time we’ve got this situation under control, technology and culture and politics will have moved on. Then again, normal was something of an aberration anyway. Historically speaking, the last fifty years have been bloody weird. I’ve been walking a lot – you’re not supposed to go more than two kilometres from home, but fortunately there’s plenty of space for walking down scenic country lanes here. In some vague attempt to chronicle this weird time, or to share this countryside
I last updated this blog two months ago – apologies for the radio silence. It was a world ago. Like
A brief update to mark this milestone – an interview in the Irish Examiner! Also, Orbit released this lovely promo video for the Black Iron RPG. Book 3 is entering the endgame of first draft; currently at just short of 150,000 words. I suspect it’ll end up around the same length as Shadow Saint, maybe a little shorter. Current mood of Carillon Thay, expressed in visual metaphor: Shadow Saint signing in Waterstones Cork on Saturday. Be there if it’s convenient for you, because it’d be lovely to see you.
Longer updates forthcoming – between the launch of The Shadow Saint, moving house, freelancing, and Book 3 moving from doldrums to full sail, things have been busy.Admire this new website, courtesy of the wonderful Edel! Reviews for The Shadow Saint are still coming in. I’ll do a full round-up soon, but they’ve generally been wonderfully positive. It made the Guardian again, which is pleasing to me (and would be even more pleasing to my late mother). Over on twitter, I ran a little name-a-Guerdon-district thing. There are lots of great entries. Find them all here: The winner, in the eyes of the random number generator, is I’m doing a signing in Waterstones Cork in February. If you’re in Cork, please come along. I’ll also be at Warpcon, of course, this weekend. https://www.facebook.com/events/2447420828907748/ More and much more to come!
As part of the promotion for The Shadow Saint, I wrote up a self-contained one-shot roleplaying game. A handful of