Em's place

Writing, anxiety-wrangling, tea.

Something I never do…

By Emma on December 20, 2017

I saw The Last Jedi last night and I just couldn’t keep all my thoughts and feelings about it locked up in my head. It is spoiler ridden and a very personal take (I loved it, just FYI) so don’t listen unless you have seen the film.

Comments are disabled because this expresses all I want to say about the movie. Please don’t be offended if I don’t reply elsewhere on social media, as I am horribly busy. That’s why this is an unedited audio response to the film. It’s faster than writing an epic essay on it!

An extraordinary summer

By artemisadmin on September 8, 2017

Here I am, dusting off the blog again, feeling bad for not updating it with all the stuff that’s been happening over the past few months. The thing is, I was so busy doing all those things that I didn’t have a spare moment to write about them!

So much has happened since March (March! For heaven’s sake! It’s now September!) that it feels kind of ridiculous to try and write about it all, so I’m going to list some edited highlights. It’s been that kind of summer.

The Split Worlds series is finished!

All Good Things cover

Yay! The series is complete!

It’s been a long, and sometimes rocky and painful, journey, but the fifth and final Split Worlds novel, All Good Things, came out in June and I am so thrilled that the story is finished and out there in the world. It was quite a challenge to end that series, after four other novels and over fifty short stories. You can find all the linky goodness here if you would like to buy it.

Oh, and if you haven’t dived into the Split Worlds yet (very British urban fantasy with mad sorcerers, evil Fae and lashings and lashings of feminism), you need to start with Between Two Thorns, as it’s one of those series that really needs to be read in order.

Awards, and the winning and losing thereof

It’s been a good year for After Atlas, my second science fiction novel in the Planetfall universe. It was shortlisted for the Locus Best Science Fiction Novel award and shortlisted for the Arthur C. Clarke Award too!

The latter was a real milestone for me. I’ve followed the Clarke Awards for years and simply getting onto the shortlist meant so much to me. I was a nervous mess at the awards ceremony and I confess, even though I was obviously disappointed not to win, I was rather relieved that I wouldn’t have to give a speech!


Tea and Jeopardy was also shortlisted for the Hugo Award for Best Fancast, and I cannot believe I am actually writing this, but we won! It was such an exciting, terrifying, nerve-wracking and bizarre evening and I won’t lie; I still look at the rockets we received and smile. The Hugos are another award I’ve been following for a long time and it was such an amazing feeling to bring one home.

All the travelling!

I was astounded to be invited along on the Writing Excuses Cruise as an instructor. Mary Robinette Kowal, Dan Wells and Howard Taylor gathered an amazing team of people together to offer a week long writing course/retreat during a Baltic cruise.

Reader, it was phenomenal.

I could write about ten posts about that week alone (I don’t have the time, alas!) but highlights included visiting Tallin, Stockholm, Copenhagen and St Petersburg as well as getting to meet, hang out with and develop an even deeper admiration and respect for Ken Liu and Jasper Fforde. I met so many wonderful people and it was an honour and a privilege to be involved.

And, happily, my general life rule of “What would Mary Robinette Kowal do in this situation?” was proven to be excellent yet again.

We had literally one day at home before racing off to Helsinki for Worldcon 75. Such a wonderful city and the people were so friendly and helpful it was a joy to visit. Oh, for that public transport system to be in England too.

Obviously, the Hugo nomination and nerves leading up to the ceremony played a big part in that week, but that was almost eclipsed by the sheer terror of doing a live Tea and Jeopardy show with none other than George R.R. Martin as our special guest! The room we performed in was the largest available, seating, I estimate, over 800 people and they were turning people away at the door. It was a great success and there will be a video of it released very shortly.

In another panel, I had to sing the lyrics of “I’m Too Sexy” to the tune of Frere Jacques. That was all Lee Harris’s fault and I will never be able to hear either of those songs without twitching again.

Wild Cards

So the whole interviewing GRRM on stage was a really big deal, but before that, he became my editor, which is something I still can’t get my head around. He and Melinda Snodgrass invited me to join the Wild Cards team for a new book set in the UK. My new character, Stonemaiden, will be appearing in Knaves Over Queens as George wrote about here. I am tickled pink. Also: sending off a short story draft to George R.R. Martin and Melinda Snodgrass was one of the sharpest experiences of Imposter Syndrome I have ever been lucky enough to experience.

A pause for breath

You know, writing this all out is making me really appreciate how wild this year has been so far. So much has happened, in such a short space of time, I am still reeling.

Audio books

My audio book narration career has also been ticking along nicely and I’m currently narrating Adrian Tchaikovsky’s astounding novel ‘Guns of the Dawn’. I have gushed about this at length on Twitter and to anyone who will listen elsewhere. Seriously, read it, or wait until November when you can listen to me read it to you, but either way, you need this book in your life.

Looking ahead

Weaver's Lament coverThe next novella in my Industrial Magic series (gaslamp fantasy set in England, 1850 where the industrial revolution was brought about by advances in magic, rather than science), Weaver’s Lament, will be released on October 17th (2017) and is available for pre-order now. Incidentally, pre-ordering is known to give a +5 bonus to Charisma, so… Whilst each novella is a self-contained story, I think you’ll enjoy Weaver’s Lament more if you’ve read Brother’s Ruin first.

The next release on the horizon is in April 2018 for Before Mars, my third novel set in the Planetfall universe but as that is a little way off, I’ll write about that more another time. Though I will say that the pre-order Charisma bonus is stackable…

I’m thrilled to say that I will be Guest of Honour at Rikon 2017 in Croatia in early October, which is very exciting for me as I’ve never been to Croatia before!

I am also a guest at Utopiales 2017 in Nantes, France at the beginning of November!

And if all of this hasn’t been exciting enough, I am also going to be teaching a course on writing science fiction and fantasy for Arvon. I mean… this year… I can’t quite believe this is my life!

Sprinkled in amongst all of that are three audio books to be narrated (and more may come in), two short stories to write for a couple of anthologies and a new book to start writing. I guess what I’m saying is, please bear with me if it’s a while before I write another blog post!

That being said, you are far more likely to find me on Twitter (@emapocalyptic) or on Facebook.

Brother’s Ruin is out today!

By Emma on March 14, 2017

brothersruin_cover_hiresIf you’re in the mood for something a bit lighter than my usual fare, set in an 1850s London where magic, rather than science, is responsible for the industrial revolution, then you’re in luck! (Okay, that’s pretty unlikely but hopefully it has whet your appetite.) The first gaslamp fantasy novella in the Industrial Magic series, Brother’s Ruin, is out on sale now.

The thing I am most excited about is the fact that Gail Carriger, an amazing author who I have been a huge fan of since devouring the Parasol Protectorate series, said this about Brother’s Ruin: “A gripping story full of charm and adventure. Newman manages to keep her readers tense and delighted at the same time.” I think the squeal I made when I first saw that quote might have been heard on the other side of the planet, so if that shriek worried you, I’m really sorry.

Gaslamp fantasy is a new genre for me (though I confess I had no idea that the story I’d written would be classed as that until I saw Tor.com’s description!), and Brother’s Ruin is set in a new world with new characters. I had great fun writing this and the next in the series and I have ideas for several more adventures with Charlotte Gunn which I hope I get to write.

Of course, the likelihood of more novellas in the series being approved is all entirely dependent on sales, so if you fancy giving it a try, you can buy it at all your usual booksellers (like Barnes and Noble, Amazon UK and Amazon US, Forbidden Planet, Wordery, Waterstones, and the Book Depository). And if you like it, a review, a tweet about it or even just a ‘hey, you might like this too!’ to a friend will go a long way to securing your place in the hallowed halls of… no, wait, I mean it will go a long way to securing my undying gratitude. Yes, that’s it. After all, I doubt bribing my editor, the lovely Lee Harris, with chocolate and tea will get very far when it comes to buying more in the series.

In other news…

I’ve been rather absent online of late, thanks to major house renovations going on at the moment, coupled with a book deadline. They go so well together. So much fun.

In all seriousness, things are brilliant but also pretty stressful at the moment. That’s why I neglected to mention on here that Roc have bought another two books in the Planetfall universe. The next one, called Before Mars, will be out in April 2018. Here’s the official announcement .

Speaking of Mars…

I was on Radio 4 the other day, talking about Mars funnily enough. I’m only on for about 30 seconds or so, but the program is very interesting and the entire Mars set of programs are brilliant. You can find the one I’m in here and my snippet starts at 11.58 minutes in. I really recommend listening to the others in the series too.

But anyway…

Brother’s Ruin is out now! Yay! You can go and meet Charlotte Gunn and follow her adventures, perhaps with a nice cup of tea and a slice of cake. You can read more about it, along with links to where you can buy and see some reviews on the Brother’s Ruin page.

How Pete feels this morning…

By Emma on February 9, 2017

There’s a bit too much happening at Casa Newman at the moment…

P.S. In case you missed it, we recently released a Tea and Jeopardy blooper reel.

Eligibility and reflection

By Emma on January 17, 2017

It’s that time of year when various awards open their nomination period, triggering the annual calls for creators to share a list of their eligible works, creators fretting about whether this is crass and the inevitable declarations from someone who says it is and then an exhausting week of arguing about it.

Thankfully I was bundled in blankets, hacking up my lungs at the time, so I mostly missed that. Hence my late arrival at the offering table, ready to present my platter with shaking hands and the hope that this is more useful than crass.

Here are my eligible works for any 2016 awards:

After Atlas (Sci-fi crime novel, published November 2016 by Roc.)

The Unkindest Cut (Historical fantasy novelette (14,000 words approx. Published March 2016 by Abaddon Books)

A Little Knowledge (Urban fantasy novel, the 4th book in the Split Worlds series, Published August 2016 by Diversion Books)

Tea and Jeopardy (Podcast, many episodes released over 2016!)

Special note: This year there is an additional Hugo Award category for Best Series. The Split Worlds series is eligible for this award, as it meets the following criteria: “A multi-volume science fiction or fantasy story, unified by elements such as plot, characters, setting, and presentation, appearing in at least three (3) volumes consisting in total of at least 240,000 words by the close of the previous calendar year, at least one volume of which was published in the previous calendar year.” (From http://www.thehugoawards.org/hugo-history/2017-hugo-awards/) If you haven’t read the series, now is a great time to dive in as the Kindle edition of Between Two Thorns (Book 1) is only £2.49!

A tiny bit of reflection

I’m not one for looking back these days. I’m too busy looking forwards. However, I do want to take a moment to catch my breath and talk about 2016 because it was, quite frankly, utterly bizarre. I have never lived through such a frightening, awful and despair-generating year of political news. However, in contrast, on a personal level, it was the most successful year for me in terms of writing and audio book narration.

Over 2016 I did the following:

Narrated 9 audio books
Wrote 2 novels
Edited a third novel
Wrote two novellas (together they are the length of a novel)
Co-wrote and participated in the Split Worlds Masked Ball LARP
Wrote the first 10K words on [redacted]
Made lots of Tea and Jeopardy episodes and the 2016 advent calendar
Had a couple of really good successes that I can’t talk about yet!
Launched two novels
Did a few conventions
Played some AWESOME D&D
Rediscovered LARP and joined my first fest LARP and got to grips with camping!
Started to get involved with local politics (I realised that getting enraged by the news and social media was just going to make me ill. Getting out there and learning how I can actually do something about it takes just as much energy but might actually make things better!)

It’s not a coincidence that this was a year in which I did not have major surgery, complications from major surgery, bereavement nor serious illness in the family, all of which marred the previous three years.

But… by the end of the year, I was utterly exhausted. The deadlines for some of those projects were really tight and really stressful, and there was a lot of juggling and quite simply, I worked too hard. Even as I write this, I wonder if I really believe it is possible for me to work too hard, but even I reached my limit last year. For the last 4 months of the year I was pretty much constantly pushing through exhaustion, doing very little else than work and depending on chocolate and other sweets to give me the energy to carry on.

Not sustainable.

So this year (which is shaping up to be pretty damn busy and exciting too!) I am making a conscious effort to pay more attention to self care. I knew I would fall ill some time around Christmas, it was inevitable, and I lost two weeks of January to it. I am trying not to be stressed and upset about that, and taking steps to make sure I don’t get that exhausted again. I find this hard, but I am trying to see my body as something more than a meat-sack to which my mind is inconveniently tethered. If I don’t care for it, then the mind won’t have something to be tethered to, and all these books in my head won’t get written, right? I’m being flippant, but you get the idea!

So, onwards and upwards. I hope that 2017 is kind to you.