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FantasyCon 2011

FantasyCon is a little later in the year than usual and in Brighton instead of Nottingham, giving those in the south of the country and opportunity to come along and meet your favourite genre fiction authors. This year has special guest, Christopher Paolini, famous not only for the Inheritance series but also for his somewhat unconventional rise to fame.

There will also be Guests of Honour: Gwyneth Jones, Sarah Pinborough, Peter Atkins, John Ajvide Lindqvist, plus Brian Aldiss, author of over 80 novels including the superb Helliconia trilogy, two of which won BSFA Awards with the other nominated, and Joe Abercrombie, author of The First Law trilogy, one of my personal favourite fantasy series. Details of the Guests of Honour can be found here.

I shall be reading on Saturday at 4:30 in Reading Room 134, but come early and hear Anne Lyle read from her Elizabethan historical fantasy, The Alchemy of Souls, at 2:30, the incomparable Mike Carey at 3:30, and M D Lachlan‘s norse Wolfsangel series at 4pm, then stay for Jaine Fenn after my reading at 5pm. It’s looking like a superb afternoon, and that’s without leaving the Readings Room.

Hope to see you there.

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The Write Fantastic 2011

The Write Fantastic

You will remember last year that it was the 5th Anniversary of The Write Fantastic and that lots of us went along and celebrated with them in Oxford. Well, it was such good fun that we all  agreed it should become an annual event.

This year’s TWF May Event will be at St Hilda’s College Oxford on Saturday 28th May – there will be lots of genre authors there including TWF authors Juliet E McKenna, Kari Sperring, Ian Whates and others, with guests including Ben Jeapes, Jon Courtenay Grimwood, Pat Cadigan, Anne Gay – you can see it’s grown a bit in the last year and promises to be a fantastic genre day out.

There will be some books available at the event, but feel free to bring along your own copies as I am sure there will be opportunities to get books signed by the many authors attending.

The event kicks off at 10:00 and full details can be found at The Write Fantastic website.

Hope to see you there!


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Genre for Japan

We have all been made aware of the terrible events in Japan since the earthquake and tsunami on 11th March and many of us have felt that we ought to be able to do something to help. Well thanks to the efforts of a group of genre enthusiasts we can.

Genre for Japan is an online auction of prizes donated by authors, publishers and others involved in genre fiction. It’s an appeal to the speculative fiction community to raise money for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami.

The press release is below: ~

Press Release: Time to Donate Prizes!

Genre for Japan

We’ve all heard the news and seen the horrific pictures coming from Japan in the aftermath of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami – and no doubt we’ve all wondered how to help.

Following the example of Authors for Japan, where bids are now closed, we’d like to introduce Genre for Japan, a chance for the comics, science fiction, fantasy and horror communities to unite and show our generosity to those who need it right now. We are planning to run auctions for genre-themed prizes and we need YOU to donate. We are looking for really fantastic prizes: examples might include signed first editions, coaching sessions with agents for that perfect submission letter or original artwork!

Some of the prizes already donated include a year’s supply of books from Tor, signed artwork from Solaris Books and editing/critiques from professional authors and editors.The prizes will be auctioned on our website, through JustGiving, in aid of the British Red Cross Tsunami Appeal.

If you have something really special to donate, please drop us a line at including information such as a starting bid amount, a sentence or two about the item, and whether you wish to send the prize to a central collecting point or would be willing to post it to the winning bidder. Photos would also help us to list the item, if relevant.

The deadline to receive offers of prizes is 25th March, with the auction set to begin on 28th March.

Find out more information on our website:

Follow us on twitter: @genreforjapan
E-mail us:

Genre for Japan is organised by:

Amanda Rutter: reviewer and webmistress at Floor to Ceiling Books
Jenni Hill: editor for science fiction, fantasy and horror publishers Solaris Books
Louise Morgan: author and interviewer for the British Fantasy Society
Ro Smith: writer and reviewer; blogger at In Search of the Happiness Max
Alasdair Stuart is the editor of Hub magazine.

If you’re an author or publisher, I encourage you to get involved. If you have collectables that you would be willing to donate, then likewise. If you are a speculative fiction reader, please take a look at the fabulous items available – tell your friends about it – tweet about it – put it on Facebook – Phone your auntie and tell her.

For my part I am offering the following: ~

For Readers

The winning bidder gets to have one of the fey-human characters in the third book of The Courts of the Feyre series named after them, with a mention in the explanatory notes at the back of the book which Mike always includes. He is also open to discussions on physical appearance and magical ability, though within the constraints of the plot and story arc. Note that this character may or may not ‘survive’ the book to appear in later work and may or may not be one of the ‘good guys’.

For Writers

Not for the faint-hearted, this is a no-holds-barred detailed critique of up to 10,000 words of a single piece of prose with explanatory notes, comments and suggestions. The work can be a short story, part of a novel, or even a synopsis and agent query. As a professional author, Mike will endeavour to help you take your writing to the next level. Submission and critique via email.

The auction will start on Monday 28th March, so start saving your pocket money.

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Castle Quay Weekender 2011

Castle Quay Weekender

On Saturday 19th March at 2pm, I will be joining live Storyteller Mark Steinhardt and poet Ian McEwen for an hour or so of literary entertainment as part of the Castle Quay Weekender.

The Bunyan Museum is kindly acting as host for the afternoon and will be offering tours for those with an interest in this particular part of history.

Ian will be reading from his Templar-prize winning collection of poems, Mark will be telling a story with a Bedford theme based on true events, and I will be talking about how I became a writer, with a particular emphasis on the structure of stories.

It promises to be an interesting and entertaining afternoon and the writers will be around afterwards to chat and mingle over tea and to sign books – you can bring along your own copy or alternatively there will be a small number available for purchase on the day.

Hope to see you there

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LiveJournal Users Welcome

I would like to particularly welcome any LiveJournal users that are visiting, as from today I will not be updating the account over there and all the latest stuff will be here.

You can access all the material that was cross-posted over there from here using the various links on the right or using an RSS reader with the link We’ll try to make you feel as welcome as possible. If you have any comments or you can’t find something you’re looking for, please get in touch either using the contact form or vial the email address posted on the Contact Mike page.

The reasons for this change are economic and practical.

They’re economic in that I have to pay LiveJournal not to post inappropriate advertising over my articles – which seems like a kind of extortion when you think about it, but is actually  just the way they fund their activities. However, if I’m going to have advertising I would like to have some control over what is advertised and how, and not just be at the mercy of someone else’s whim. The advertising and promotion over there has become more intrusive recently and it was time to go.

They’re practical in that I have much better management facilities on this site and more control over issues like spam and security, plus it puts all the comments on articles in one place so that people can see what other people have posted. One of the great things about having a site like this is the discussions that are sometimes sparked.

I wish all the best to LiveJournal and to the communities still hosted there. I hope you will come and visit me and post things here as well. Feel free to link back to discussions there if you feel that’s relevant, though be aware that people following the link may have to wait while an advert runs before they can see what you are referring to – just life, I guess.

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Bedford Signing Sat 27th Nov

Tomorrow is an anniversary of sorts.  Last year, about a month after the launch of Sixty-One Nails, I did a signing session at Waterstone’s Bookshop in Bedford and signed and sold every copy they had apart from the ones in the display window, which I signed for stock later.  It was a fun day – the Waterstone’s staff were brilliant and very supportive – and I met lots of new and interesting people, some of whom were kind enough to purchase my book.

Almost a year later, I am back at Waterstone’s on Saturday 27th November for another session and will be signing books from about 11am onwards until we run out of books or time.  If you are in or around Bedford on the day, please come and say Hi and if you already have a copy that you would like signed, feel free to bring it along and I will sign it for you.

Hope to see you there!

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BristolCon 2010

This Saturday 6th November I am heading to the South West for BristolCon in the fine company of Juliet E McKenna (Irons in the Fire, Blood in the Water, Banners in the Wind) where we will be doing a panel on the tricky business of getting published and we will both be doing readings – Juliet at 10:50 and me at 14:50.

Joe Abercrombie (The First Law series is one of my all-time favourites) will be there being interviewed by Clarke-award winning Cheryl Morgan (Salon Futura) – also there will be Colin Harvey (Winter Song, Damage Time), Paul Cornell (Dr Who and far too much else to mention), Kim Lakin-Smith (Tourniquet, Myth-understandings) and Alistair Reynolds (Revelation Space, Poseidon’s Children), to name but a few.  The full programme (organised by the wonderful MEG) can be downloaded here.

I’m really looking forward to the day and the chance to catch up with old friends and make new ones – if you’re within travelling distance from Bristol it’s definitely worth a day out.  If you do come along, please come and say Hi, I’m easy to spot and I don’t bite (mostly).

Hope to see you there.

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