Em's place

Writing, anxiety-wrangling, tea.

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.

A launch and a challenge

By Emma on November 21, 2016

In case you missed it, my latest sci-fi novel, After Atlas was recently launched at Forbidden Planet in London. (You can buy a signed copy of it as a result! Limited stock and FP do post internationally.) The event was wonderful and lots of people braved the awful rain to come, for which I am very grateful.

Once the signing was over, a few of the attendees stayed on and volunteered to do a mannequin challenge before we headed off for milkshakes and the video of it is below. It’s just something silly that I wanted to do as a memento. Thankfully you can’t see my face because it was so damn hard to keep frozen for thirty seconds or so and I was struggling not to giggle throughout. Everyone else did an amazing job though! Big thanks to Spindles of the Wonky Spanner podcasting network for filming and editing it. Oh and don’t worry – there’s deliberately no sound.

This might help

By Emma on November 8, 2016

Scary things are happening today. For all of us: the US Presidential Election. For me: the release of my latest novel, After Atlas.

I thought this might help


Please be kind to each other today. And if you’re able to, please vote.

Em xx

P.S. Info on After Atlas
P.P.S. There’s a launch event at Forbidden Planet, London, Saturday 12th 1pm. I’d love to see you there if you can make it!

Sleepless nights

By Emma on November 1, 2016

afteratlascoverIn seven days time, there are two nerve wracking events taking place:

The US Presidential election AND the launch of After Atlas, my next science fiction novel, set in the Planetfall universe.

They are incomparable, of course, but both are keeping me from sleeping well, so they get to share a blog post. Here is an insight into what my brain does when I am trying to sleep:

Brain: Hey, Em, I know we’re exhausted, cos we’ve been working insanely hard, but let’s think about your new book coming out, and all of the terrible things that might happen.

Em: No, please don’t. Let’s talk about something else.

Brain: So. That election eh? I wonder who’s gonna win?

Em: I know who I really don’t want to win.

Brain: Yeah, surely they wouldn’t elect someone like that.

Em: Yeah, it’s going to be fine. They are incomparable. One candidate is clearly a million times more awful than the other. Surely, surely the worst won’t happen.

Brain: Yeah. Surely not. That would be terrible. Hey! Remember Brexit?

Em: (Starts panicking) Oh God. Let’s think about something else.

Brain: So… new book coming out-

Rinse and repeat…


I’m not going to talk any more about the election because URGH! So I guess that leaves the whole book coming out thing….

So! Here’s a little bit of a Q and A for you. If you have a question that isn’t answered here, ask in the comments!

What is After Atlas about?

Here’s a handy blurb that my publisher wrote (you can tell it wasn’t me as I could never call myself “acclaimed author Emma Newman” without dissolving into a puddle of British embarrassment):
Acclaimed author Emma Newman returns to the captivating universe she created in Planetfall with a stunning science fiction mystery where one man’s murder is much more than it seems…

Gov-corp detective Carlos Moreno was only a baby when Atlas left Earth to seek truth among the stars. But in that moment, the course of Carlos’s entire life changed. Atlas is what took his mother away; what made his father lose hope; what led Alejandro Casales, leader of the religious cult known as the Circle, to his door. And now, on the eve of the fortieth anniversary of Atlas’s departure, it’s got something to do why Casales was found dead in his hotel room—and why Carlos is the man in charge of the investigation.

To figure out who killed one of the most powerful men on Earth, Carlos is supposed to put aside his personal history. But the deeper he delves into the case, the more he realizes that escaping the past is not so easy. There’s more to Casales’s death than meets the eye, and something much more sinister to the legacy of Atlas than anyone realizes…

Is this a sequel to Planetfall?

No. It’s set in the same universe, but it has completely different characters and is set on Earth.

When can I buy it?

Well, you can pre-order now (and that would be amazing, please do that if you can!), or you can wait until November 8th 2016 to buy it in shops.

Where can I buy it?

Here is a handy page containing linky goodness.

What about a signed copy?

You can order a signed copy from Forbidden Planet.

Are you having a book launch?

Why, yes, I am! Come and join me! It’s at Forbidden Planet, Shaftesbury Avenue, London on Saturday November 12th 1-2pm. Afterwards we’ll decamp somewhere to have milkshake/hot chocolate/booze. Here’s a Facebook event thingy for it.

Will there be an audiobook version?

There will! However, I haven’t narrated this one, as the protagonist is male. When I have all the details for it, I’ll add them here.

What if I haven’t read Planetfall?

You can read After Atlas first if you like. Even though they are connected and set in the universe, they can be read in any order.

What if I’ve only read the Split Worlds series?

Well, you’re still awesome. All I would say is that my science fiction novels have a different feel as they are written from the perspective of one character that you follow through the story.

What if I want to try this but I don’t read science fiction?

I’ve had lovely letters from people who have said they loved Planetfall even though they don’t read in that genre. If you generally stay away from sci-fi because you’re worried it’s too focused on tech and not on people, you don’t need to worry about that here. My books are about people first, tech second. And it’s really cool tech too.

I’m still not sure. What have other people said about it?

Well, Publisher’s Weekly gave it a starred review and have listed it in their best books of 2016. Which is nice.

And Starburst Magazine gave it 10/10 stars and said “Expect to see this book on various award shortlists in 2017. It’s that good.”

And Barnes and Noble said it’s “painfully good Sci-fi” 

Okay, okay, blimey, enough already! So this pre-ordering lark, why is that a good thing then?

Well, it’s good for you and for me. It’s good for you, because it means the book arrives as soon as it’s released. It also means that if you pre-order the e-book, it will be there, waiting for you, ready to take you away from the US election.

It’s good for me because these days, a book has to perform very well, very quickly in order to increase its chance of success and also make it more likely that I get to write more books and have them published by Roc (and I really want this to happen as they are brilliant). Pre-order sales are the best way to reassure the publisher and the book stores that there is demand for the book, and that they haven’t made a mistake investing in me.

In short, if you possibly can, please pre-order. And if you want it signed, pre-order from Forbidden Planet.

So there we go! If I’ve left anything out, ask me in the comments! I’m off to build a blanket fort.