Em's place

Writing, anxiety-wrangling, tea.

Pseudo end of year post

By Emma on December 27, 2015

I’m not very good at looking back, and even worse at blogging about it, but there’s a lot that’s happened recently and I want to pick out a few things to process, and also explain something I’m going to be doing. I’ve packed about 6 months worth of stuff into the past 3 months, so I am bound to forget something and also not give each thing enough space, but I’ll do my best.

Okay. Let’s do this.

Octocon

So back in October I was Guest of Honour at Octocon in Dublin and it was such a wonderful experience. I was GoH at Bristolcon last year, but I was so deep in grief (Kate, my best friend, died only 3 weeks before it) that I barely remember the day. This year I was in good health, myself again and ready to wear my brave trousers.

Reader, it was amazing. I had such a great time. I met Maura McHugh, fellow GoH and she is awesome. I met people I’ve only spoken to on Twitter and I got to hang out with someone I met at CONvergence back in 2013 and it was wonderful. I was looked after so well and I want to thank the Octocon committee once again for inviting me.

Fantasycon was only two weeks later (I think, my goodness, it’s all blurring into one long frenzy of activity) but I had a great time again and even sang in the karaoke!

Tea and Jeopardy live shows!

At both Octocon and Fantasycon we put on live Tea and Jeopardy shows for the audiences there and also filmed them. At Octocon, our guest was the splendid C.E. Murphy and you can watch the video of that show here and at Fantasycon our guest was none other than the amazing Brandon Sanderson, which you can watch here.

A particularly lovely thing was seeing people wearing the wonderful Tea and Jeopardy t-shirts that were part of the Worldbuilders fundraiser. My heart did a little flip flop every time I saw one!

I won an award!

BFS Best Short Story Award 2015

BFS Best Short Story Award 2015

I was on the shortlist for the British Fantasy Society Best Short Story award and didn’t think I would win. I mean, that sort of thing happens to other people. But it happened to me and I was so utterly thrilled and flabbergasted. The story was “A Woman’s Place” which was published in the 221 Baker Streets anthology published by Abaddon Books. Something that made it all the sweeter was that it was the only thing I had published in 2014, otherwise known as the Year of Complete Hell. My lovely friend Annie was in the audience when I collected it and filmed my speech.

Speaking of the Year of Complete Hell…

I want to pause a moment to reflect upon how things have totally turned around since then. This time last year my Mum was in the middle of chemo and really unwell. Now the worst of her treatment is over, her prognosis is excellent and she’s pretty much back to her old self in terms of cheeriness and energy. I cannot express the depth of thankfulness and gratitude I felt on Christmas day when we were all sat round the table as a family. We are through the worst and I feel we are stronger and closer as a result.

I still miss Kate, I don’t think that will ever stop, but I feel I have found a way forwards now, over a year on from her death. I still get the odd sucker punch to the guts when something happens I’m desperate to share with her, or when I think about how she’ll never know how the Split Worlds series ends, but I am living with it better now. At my son’s school they tie ribbons on a tree every year to remember a pupil who passed away. It was before my son joined the school, so for him and others who didn’t know the little boy, they were invited to remember someone else they’ve lost instead. My son tied a ribbon for ‘Auntie Kate’ and it felt important and good.

Planetfall

Of course, Planetfall came out at the start of November and is one of the main reasons I haven’t had a moment to blog. Things went kind of crazy there for a while. From the amazing reviews, to the Mary Sue guest post, to all the wonderful messages I’ve been sent by readers, it’s safe to say that I am thrilled with how it’s been received. After only a month on sale it went into its second printing so I am immensely relieved too!

Squares by Geeks

Remember how back in September I wrote about the Squares by Geeks group? Well, the geek community got on board and proved, yet again, that they are a gorgeous, caring bunch of people. At the three cons I went to I was given huge numbers of squares and even a few knitted hats. Over the dark nights of October and November I sewed them all together and made a total of 5 large blankets as you can see here. I delivered them all to the local collection point well before Christmas, so it’s my hope that they are keeping people warm now.

I knew, even as I stitched, that they were a tiny, tiny thing in the face of such huge amounts of suffering. Sometimes I felt guilty that I was sitting in my safe, warm house, deluding myself into thinking I was doing something of merit when it was just as likely I was simply soothing the part of me so distressed by tales of the refugee crisis. But I kept sewing because I kept coming back to the simple idea that no act of kindness is a waste. I cannot solve problems on this scale, but I can make something that might keep someone warm, that might make someone feel just that tiny bit better. And doing that is better than throwing my hands in the air and divorcing myself from it all together because it’s too big and too awful for me to fix. I am giving careful thought to what I’m going to do next; whether it’s rallying more people to send in squares now I have a P.O. box and therefore somewhere for people to send them to me directly, or something else – perhaps in addition to blankets – that I can contribute towards.

Looking ahead

So, 2016 looks like it’s going to be one hell of a busy year and I couldn’t be more excited, and more ready to tackle it than I am now.

A fantasy novelette

First out of the blocks will be the release of a novelette I’ve written for Abaddon Books and their ‘Monstrous Little Voices’ collection. There are five novelettes in the collection in total, all set in the fantastical world created by Shakespeare. You can find out more here. Interestingly, the novelettes are going to be available for sale individually too, so that post contains a pre-order link to my story “The Unkindest Cut” as well as everyone else’s.

The re-launch of the Split Worlds series

The first three books are being re-launched by Diversion Press on February 23rd 2016 with lovely new covers (I’ve seen the initial drafts and they are fantastic!). The current edition e-books and paperbacks won’t be available for sale between December 31st and February 23rd, but the audio books will be, just FYI.

The Split Worlds Masked Ball LARP

On May 7th we will be creating a sliver of the Nether in mundane Bath with the Split Worlds LARP and I am so damn excited! We sold out of the full RPG tickets in only 9 days but there is a waiting list if you are still interested. Find out all about it at www.splitworlds.com!

I am Guest of Honour at Edge-Lit 5

And I am pleased as punch about it. It’s a lovely one day con that I’ve been to a couple of times, located in Derby on July 16th, 2016. You can book tickets here.

Two new novels will be published!

The fourth Split Worlds book, currently titled ‘A Little Knowledge’ will be released on August 2nd 2016 which also happens to be my birthday, so I think I might have to have a bit of a do! Then at the beginning of November 2016 my second science-fiction novel will be published by Roc. It’s called After Atlas and is set on Earth forty years after the Pathfinder took 1000 people into space to find God. It is also a standalone, just like Planetfall is.

I also have tentative plans to do a bit of self-publishing, but as next year is so busy I’m not announcing anything formally until I know it’s all ready to be released.

A period of radio silence

So, now that’s all written down, all I’ve got left to tell you about is my decision to take the next 3 weeks or so off social media. In all honesty I feel like a need a break after all the Planetfall stuff and the daily Tea and Jeopardy advent calendar episodes of the past few weeks. I have Split Worlds novels and a LARP to write and I want to fully immerse myself without feeling the need to reply to things online for a while. I just wanted to let you know so you don’t think I’m being horribly rude and ignoring you!

Seeing as I won’t be online when the New Year ticks around, allow me to take this opportunity to wish you all the best for 2016. Love, health and happiness to you all.

News for fans of the Split Worlds series!

By Emma on December 1, 2015

The Split Worlds series has found a new home and now ALL FIVE books are going to be published! AT LAST! YAY!

*ahem*

Okay, now that’s out of the way, let me tell you all about it. Actually, before I do, I want to say something to those of you who have loved the books and written asking when the 4th will come out:

Thank you for your support, and I am so sorry this took so long!

This is a recent development so for most of the last 2 years the series – and I! – have been in the most awful limbo. I’ve always known I would finish the series, I just had no idea how the books would find their way into the world. It’s been an agonising wait for me, with so much uncertainty, so I am absolutely delighted to be able to give you firm news at last!

The whole series has been acquired by Laura Duane, Senior Acquisitions Editor at Diversion Books. This is an American press which has a lot of experience in looking after series that have transferred over from another press, so I feel the first 3 books will be in safe hands, as well as the next 2 books.

The plan is to re-issue the first three books with new covers to come out in late January 2016. Then on August 2nd, 2016 the fourth book in the series “A Little Knowledge” will be released. Weirdly, that’s also my birthday, so there will be a lot of celebrating that day! The fifth and final book in the series, “All Good Things”, will be released in August 2017.

2016 is going to be an epic year for the Split Worlds

There’s the re-release (I haven’t seen the covers yet and I cannot wait!) of the first three books in January, the Masked Ball LARP on May 7th and then the launch of “A Little Knowledge” in August. Incidentally, all of the roleplaying tickets have sold out for the LARP (there is a waiting list) but there are lots of non-RPG tickets left.

I know I’ve said it already, but it bears repeating:

Thank you so much for your support and the love you’ve shown for the Split Worlds. It’s gone a long way to securing this new home for the series and I am so excited to share the rest of the story with you.

With lots of love,

Em xx

P.S. Day 1 of the Tea and Jeopardy advent calendar went up today. If you want some festive whimsy, you can find it here.

Planetfall is coming!

By Emma on September 21, 2015

Someone, somewhere has evidently been eating time because weeks just keep disappearing! Before I know it, it’s going to be November 3rd – otherwise known as <kermit flail> Planetfall release day </kermit flail> – so I am writing this now. Otherwise I’ll turn around and it will be August 2016 or something.

So… Planetfall. My fifth novel (to be published, that is!) and my first foray into science fiction. Quite a lot of people have been surprised by this, seeing as they discovered me through my urban fantasy series. For me, it was always surprising I was published in urban fantasy first! Science fiction was always my first love and writing a novel in the genre was like coming home for me.

And here I am, on the brink of another book release and it’s just as wonderful and terrifying as the first! This post is all about pre-ordering – namely me asking you very nicely to do so if you are planning to buy the book. Why? Because those first weeks of sales are critical and if there is a nice boost right off the bat from pre-orders, that is fantastic. It tells my publisher (Roc) that there is interest in the book and that they were right to sign me (and hopefully makes them feel good about looking at future novels). It tells bookshops that there is demand for the book, so they are more likely to stock it and that makes it more likely other people will stumble across it. It also has the advantage of demonstrating demand for science fiction which happens to have been written by a woman, which is nice.

In short: you will really be helping me and Planetfall out by doing this. But that shouldn’t be the main reason! Let me tell you a bit about it and what some fine people have said about it, so you can see if it tickles your fancy.

Planetfall cover

I am so delighted with this cover!

About Planetfall

From Emma Newman, the award-nominated author of Between Two Thorns, comes a novel of how one secret withheld to protect humanity’s future might be its undoing…

Renata Ghali believed in Lee Suh-Mi’s vision of a world far beyond Earth, calling to humanity. A planet promising to reveal the truth about our place in the cosmos, untainted by overpopulation, pollution, and war. Ren believed in that vision enough to give up everything to follow Suh-Mi into the unknown.

More than twenty-two years have passed since Ren and the rest of the faithful braved the starry abyss and established a colony at the base of an enigmatic alien structure where Suh-Mi has since resided, alone. All that time, Ren has worked hard as the colony’s 3-D printer engineer, creating the tools necessary for human survival in an alien environment, and harboring a devastating secret.

Ren continues to perpetuate the lie forming the foundation of the colony for the good of her fellow colonists, despite the personal cost. Then a stranger appears, far too young to have been part of the first planetfall, a man who bears a remarkable resemblance to Suh-Mi.

The truth Ren has concealed since planetfall can no longer be hidden. And its revelation might tear the colony apart…

What other people have said about Planetfall

“Planetfall is gripping, thoughtful science fiction in the vein of Tiptree or Crispin. Emma Newman has crafted a story that turns inward on itself in a beautiful spiral; the written equivalent of the golden mean. I have been waiting for this book for a very long time.”

—Seanan McGuire, New York Times bestselling author of A Red-Rose Chain

“You’ve never read a science fiction book like this. A masterful study of mental illness, with the ruins of an enigmatic alien race serving as therapist for one of the most unsparingly drawn fictional characters you’ll ever read.”

—Melinda M. Snodgrass, screenwriter, author of the Edge series

“Newman has crafted a thrilling tale of murder, mystery and madness on a world where humanity is still its own worst enemy. Horrifying and heartbreaking in equal measure, the catastrophe driving this narrative will keep you riveted until the very last page. Don’t miss this one.”

—Kameron Hurley, author of the The Mirror Empire

“We have a destiny waiting for us among the stars, and now it’s calling to us. A great genre debut, and beautifully written: an unfolding alien mystery, and complex, utterly believable characters. You will want to believe.”

—Stephen Baxter, National Bestselling Author of Ultima

“Filled with wonders, revelations, and edge-of-the-seat suspense, Planetfall is a fascinating, heartbreaking exploration of love and loneliness set against an awe-inspiring backdrop. An instant classic of the genre.”

—Gareth L. Powell, BSFA Award-winning author of Ack-Ack Macaque

Early reviews

It’s early days so there are only 3 reviews (that I know of anyway!).

PLANETFALL RT Review

That one on the left is from RT magazine – yay!

Michaela Gray reviewed Planetfall for Geek Syndicate – Read the full review

Planetfall is a brilliantly gripping psychological study of the ties that bind a diverse community together, of spirituality and science, love, loss, and the price of keeping up a pretence over a long period of time. Slowly unfurling its layers of lies until the worm in the bud is revealed, Planetfall is a story to be slowly savoured, a sublime mix of science fiction and faith. This is what Prometheus wishes it was.
Planetfall confirms Newman as one of the most versatile, talented and thoughtful voices currently in science fiction and fantasy. I can’t wait to see what she does next.

And Jane Hanmer reviewed it on her blog too. Read the full review here.

This novel left me bruised and heartsore. It is about love and grief as well as power and lies. I loved it, you need to put this on your to read list now.

Where you can pre-order

So, if this sounds like your kind of book, here are the places where you can pre-order it. I’m dividing into US and UK readers for the sake of ease, if you live outside of the US and UK I’m guessing that Amazon and The Book Depository would be your first ports of call.

There will also be an audio book version, narrated by yours truly. That’s available for pre-order in the States at Audible.

In the US

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Books A Million

Hudson Booksellers

IndieBound

Powells

Target

Walmart

In the UK

(Forbidden Planet may well have signed books you can pre-order – will tell you more when it has been confirmed!)

Forbidden Planet

Books on the Hill bookshop

Topping Books

Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights

Waterstones

The Book Depository

Amazon

So there you go! Go forth and be gloriously pre-ordery! And if you could help me spread the word, I would be very grateful and you would most definitely be a bless poppet!

A light in the darkness

By Emma on September 4, 2015

Like thousands of other people, I’ve been despairing about the refugee crisis and feeling utterly impotent in the face of so much suffering. Yesterday that ramped up to a whole new level and there’s no need for me to explain why.

Then Patrick Ness started something wonderful. Authors have been getting together to help raise money for Save the Children and it’s rocketed off to a great start. You can donate here.

I did just that, but still felt like it wasn’t enough. I don’t have a lot of money so can’t make big donations and whilst I understand that little donations on a massive scale all add up to something effective, I still felt that it wasn’t personal enough.

Then I saw a tweet saying that some geeky knitters and crocheters are getting together to make blankets, hats and gloves etc. The cold killed thousands of refugees fleeing last year and, at the risk of inappropriate quoting, winter is coming. The Squares by Geeks Facebook Group is here if you’d like to join: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1005242656207028/

Now this summer, my little boy and I have been learning to crochet (I mentioned that people crochet TARDISs and sonic screwdrivers and he wanted to learn, bless him) and a couple of days ago we started to learn how to do a Granny Square. We plan to make a blanket together. When he comes home from school tonight, I’m going to ask him if he’s happy for us to donate it. We’ll take a while – we only know how to do the two inner rounds at the moment but next week we have a lesson on how to finish the square.

This feels better, I thought. I can donate time and love to make something that will keep someone warm, someone who has lost everything. It is only a small thing, but it feels more personal to spend hours thinking of and caring for someone distant who is in pain and who is in need and making something to alleviate that directly. Perhaps I have some notion that it will be felt in that blanket when it leaves my hands and is wrapped around someone’s shoulders. Only a little thing, one candle flame in so much darkness, but better than none.

Then I had a thought. Over the next two months, I will be going to Bristolcon, Octocon and Fantasycon. At the recent Nine Worlds convention I saw so many people yarning like a boss. How about we do something together?

So, I propose this: For each of these three conventions, once I have my schedules, I’ll post up times that I’ll be in one of the public spaces, making my granny squares for blankets to donate. Anyone who knits/crochets can join me and we can talk geeky stuff or I could help you with fears about writing, whatever. We can all crochet/knit whilst watching panels etc, then on the last day of the con, everyone gives me the squares they’ve made over the con. Then I will sew them up and take a picture of a beautiful thing we have made together that will keep someone warm when they need it most. I will then make sure they are sent off to the collection points that are springing up as I type this.

Who’s in?

EDIT: Since posting this, lovely people who can’t make it to those cons have been asking whether they can make squares and post them. The very lovely Books on the Hill bookshop in Clevedon, near Bristol, have agreed to accept posted squares on my behalf. Any that arrive before the 28th of September will be brought to Bristolcon and added to that blanket/s. Any that arrive after that, I will go and collect at the end of October to stitch up into blankets, and the month after etc for as long as is needed.

Practical stuff:

PLEASE MARK YOUR PACKAGES WITH: “Blanket Squares enclosed” so Alistair and Chloe know they just need to keep it to pass on to me.

Their address is: Books on the Hill, 75 hill Road, Clevedon, BS21 7PL

From the Squares by Geeks FB page: “Whether you’re crocheting or knitting, using DK/Aran/Chunky/whatever, please make your squares either 4″ or 8″. If you have outliers, don’t worry! We’ll use them for borders or smaller blankets :)
If you’d rather make gloves or hats, that’s brilliant! Word is that most charities have received lots of stuff for women and children, but far less for men, of whom there are more in need. So it would be great if you could make stuff in larger sizes.”

Also, you should totally buy books from them because they are an independent bookshop and there aren’t enough of them in the world. Also, Alistair and Chloe are lovely, geeky people. They are @booksonthehill on Twitter.

Nine Worlds and other news

By Emma on August 3, 2015

Nine Worlds? Already?!

Well, someone is definitely stealing time from me as it’s August now and I am pretty certain it’s supposed to be May. But anyway, everyone else seems to think this much time has passed, so it’s high time (no pun intended) I told you about my schedule at Nine Worlds this year.

But before I do that, I just wanted to squee about the fact that my short story “A Woman’s Place” has been shortlisted for the British Fantasy Society Best Short Story award! Blimey! It was published in the 221 Baker Streets anthology published by Abaddon Books. You should check it out as there are lots of great stories in there.

This is the first short story award I’ve been shortlisted for – which thrills me in and of itself – but in addition, that story was the only thing I had published last year, otherwise known as the year of absolute hell. It’s like finding a gold nugget in a pan full of crap. Yay!

So, Nine Worlds…

No wait, sorry, there’s an event happening just before Nine Worlds, on Thursday 6th August called Fantasy in the Court where authors and readers can chat at the wonderful Goldsboro Books. It’s a ticketed event and I will be there with my husband Pete, which is just as well as it will also be our ten year wedding anniversary and spending it getting tiddly at a gorgeous bookshop could not be more perfect. Details are here: https://www.goldsborobooks.com/event/fantasy-in-the-court-2/

No, really, here’s my Nine Worlds schedule now!

Friday 7th August

You’re in our world now – The invention of myths for a modern audience

County C&D, 11:45am – 1:00pm

Tom Pollock, Anna Caltabiano, Emma Newman, Snorri Kristjansson, Joanne Harris, Peter Newman

How are authors finding new and exciting ways to reinvent myths and fairy tales for the modern era and why are there some stories we just can’t get enough of?

(This is also my very first time as moderator. Hold me.)

 

Newbie Meetup

County A, 1:30pm – 2:45pm

New to Nine Worlds? Come and have a nice cup of tea with authors Emma Newman and Peter Newman of the Hugo nominated Tea and Jeopardy podcast, and before you know it, you’ll feel right at home. (Mild peril not included).

 

Fear and Writing Workshop

Royal A, 5:00pm – 6:15pm

Are you struggling to write the first draft of your novel? Are you researching endlessly but not actually writing the book? Have you had a book in your head for years but been unable to start it? Do you have a drawer full of unfinished stories and manuscripts? Emma Newman’s workshop is designed to help authors explore the reasons they’re not getting that book written: we’ll cover practical tasks to take home, all designed to help you start – and finish! – that manuscript lurking in the back of your mind.

(Please bring a pen and paper!)

Saturday 8th August

Collaborative Writing – How to write with others (and stay friends) 

Royal A, 11:45am – 1:00pm

Tiffani Angus, Gavin G Smith, Stephen Deas, Naomi Foyle, Emma Newman

Our panel discusses the trials and pitfalls of collaborative writing, examining why people write together, and the best techniques and technologies to use.

 

Newbie Meetup

Commonwealth East, 1:30pm – 2:45pm

Peter Newman, Emma Newman

New to Nine Worlds? Come and have a nice cup of tea with authors Emma Newman and Peter Newman of the Hugo nominated Tea and Jeopardy podcast, and before you know it, you’ll feel right at home. (Mild peril not included).

Sunday 9th August

Can’t Stop the Signal – Taking your podcast to the next level

Room 32, 10:00am – 11:15am

Emma Newman, Michaela Gray, Ed Fortune, Paul Davies, Peter Fagan

There’s more to hosting a successful podcast than recording and posting audio. The key to taking your podcast to the next level is engaging with your fans. Join the hosts of a number of successful podcasts in a discussion and Q&A session to find out how they use podcasting, social media and conventions to build an audience.

Writing the Other

Commonwealth West, 3:15pm – 4:30pm

Stephen Aryan, Stark Holborn, Adam Christopher, Guy Haley, Naomi Foyle, Emma Newman

 

Good grief, I’m busier than I thought I would be!

Are you a sci-fi book reviewer who is going to be at Nine Worlds?

I have a very small number of ARCs of my upcoming novel Planetfall which will be released on November 3rd (published by Ace/Roc). If you would like one, drop me a line in the comments below with a link to your review site (so I can keep track for the publicist) and I will arrange a time that I can give you a copy. First come, first served!

Right. Now I am going to try and do about 7 day’s worth of work in less than three. WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG? If you need me, I’ll be over there, mainlining tea and maybe crying. Wheeeee!