What a wonderful launch for Bound

I’m on the train heading home from Sydney, tapping away on my iPad, still a little stunned by the awesome night I had last night. Bound was launched at Kinokuniya Bookshop and I have to admit, I was a little nervous.

The bookshop were being wonderfully supportive, the truly excellent Margo Lanagan had agreed to be my official launcher, my publishing team (Rochelle Fernandez, Amanda Diaz, Shona Martyn, my agent, Alex Adsett, and many others) were all in my corner and assuring me it would be great. But what if no one showed up? What if it was a complete flop? At 6pm I started hoping we’d get enough people to have at least one or two folk in each row of seats. By 6.30, all the seats were full and there was an arc of people two or three deep across the back. I couldn’t believe it!

My editor, Rochelle, did a great job introducing us and said things about the book I didn’t know. Things like how it was the third biggest seller at Sydney Supanova. Wow!

Then Margo did a fantastic job of launching, saying truly humbling things about the book and asking me searching questions. There is now such a thing as a “kettle scene”. Here’s a great photo by Jodi Cleghorn of Margo and I enjoying ourselves immensely:

Alan and Margo

I really did enjoy the whole experience and it seems that everyone else there did as well. They laughed in all the right places and I signed a load of books afterwards and got to chat with an array of excellent people. If I didn’t get to chat with you for long or at all, I’m sorry. The whole evening is a bit of a happy, hazy blur for me and not only because of the wine.

I’m utterly humbled by the event. I am genuinely living the dream here and I plan to soak up every bit of it I can. And it’s all due to the best people out there: my publishers and their belief in me, my friends for their support, and all the people who have taken a chance on buying Bound. I really hope you enjoy it and come back for the next books in the series. I can’t thank all of you enough. All I did was write the best book I could – you all made it real. I couldn’t be happier.

The always generous Cat Sparks took photos throughout the evening and you can see them at her Flickr page here. Thanks Cat!

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Photoshop Bound giveaway winners

So I stole this idea from Mark Lawrence and asked people to photoshop the cover of Bound into whacky pictures, just for a laugh. I was going to pick a winner. Then I couldn’t decide and asked people to go the Facebook album where I put all the pics and Like their favourites. Then I decided to reward the top three, which turned out to be four due to a tie! So I’ll be sending out four signed copies this week.

Here are the results:

Geoff Brown’s entry was a clear winner with 27 Likes (plus it panders beautifully to my ego.)

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Also:

David Wood with 11 Likes (you sick fuckers, all o’ya!)

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And joint third:

Voytek Zochowski and Josh Connolly with 7 Likes each. And come on, Bruce Lee and CoD Predator? Top work.

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Click on each image for  larger version. Those Likes might change, but that’s how they stood at 11pm Sunday when I decided to call it.

I’ll contact the winners privately for address details. Congrats all, and thanks to everyone who entered. What a lot of fun that was!

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Ecstatic to announce my three book deal with HarperVoyager Australia

There is no doubt in my mind that October 2013 will live on as possibly the most amazing month of my life. Not only is my first born child due at the end of this month, which is amazing enough news on its own, but I’ve just signed a deal with Harper Collins Australia for their Voyager imprint to publish my new trilogy in the second half of next year. Honestly, I’m bouncing off the walls here. Never has so much Snoopy dancing been done.

This news has been burning me from the inside out while the deal has been negotiated, so it’s an incredible relief to finally be able to announce it publicly. The trilogy is the start of The Alex Caine Series. If it does well, there could certainly be further Alex Caine books in the future. Voyager are looking to publish all three books throughout Australia and New Zealand through the second half of next year, between July and December. The books are modern grim dark fantasy thrillers called Bound, Obsidian and Abduction. They follow the trials of an underground MMA fighter, Alex Caine, and his introduction to a world of magic, monsters, mayhem and life-threatening danger he could never have imagined. That’s all I’m going to say about the books for now, but I’ll certainly be talking a lot more about this series as things progress.

I want to thank my amazing agent, Alex Adsett, for her hard work on this, and the wonderful Rochelle Fernandez at HarperVoyager. I also need to thank three very special people who helped me turn the books from good idea into publishable gems. Firstly, the late, great Paul Haines. I wish he was still here for so many reasons, but not least of which to share this. He was the first person to critique the original manuscript of Bound, even as he was fading to cancer, and he ripped that thing to pieces and helped me make it so much better. I miss you, Haines – thanks, mate. I also need to thank Angela Slatter and Jo Anderton, who subsequently read, critiqued, flensed and cajoled me about both Bound and Obsidian, to really turn those books into something of which I can be very proud.

And above and beyond all that, I have to thank my fantastic wife, Halinka. She puts up with me and believes in me all the way. Extra special thanks are due because I’ve been a fucking mess while this deal was being sorted out and she not only supported me through that, but did so while heavily pregnant! Amazing woman.

So I couldn’t be more excited to be working with HarperVoyagerAU. With any luck, the series will sell into other territories too, as I would obviously love to see it released in the US and UK as well, and then the world! But for right now, I’m having trouble peeling myself off the ceiling with this tremendous news. Please excuse me, while I Snoopy dance into a wall. Again.

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Great Inspiration… or not – with Peter Watts

Since I wrote this post about a moment of great inspiration I wasn’t even aware of at the time (when I met Neil Gaiman in 1989), I’ve been hosting some guest posts from other writer friends where they share their moments of equally great inspiration. You can read all the posts so far under the Great Inspiration category here. It’s really cool to have these people share inspiring moments with us. Or not, in the case of Peter Watts. And Peter’s response made me realise that some readers might be a bit concerned if they couldn’t put their finger on a moment of equal importance in their own lives. As you can see from his comments below, you really needed worry about that. After Peter responded to my email, making me realise this potential angle, I asked if I could post his comments anyway, as an example to others that a moment of great clarity (even realised much later) is not actually necessary. I mean, this is Hugo Award-winning Peter Watts. Author of the Rifters and Blindsight (the seminal first contact novel.) So take heart:

Your email got me thinking– and oddly, I can’t think of anything in my life that proved especially pivotal or inspirational. I wanted to be a writer ever since I plagiarized 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea at the age of seven; I wanted to be a marine biologist ever since I stumbled across a friend’s 10-gal aquarium the year before. Ever since then, y trajectory’s been relatively unwavering.

I discovered the three brands of author most relevant to my own development (1 – How can this bozo be selling so well when he can’t write his way out of a goddamn fortune cookie?; 2 – Oh, I see how you did that, that’s brilliant. Now I know how to do it too. Too bad I can’t because you already did it first; and 3 – You told me exactly what you were going to do before you did it, and I thought you were crazy, and then you went ahead and did it and I still have no idea how you pulled it off.)

I think I may have petted William Gibson’s cat once (at least, I’m pretty sure it was Gibson’s doorstep the cat was sitting on). But there was no one-on-one meeting, no life-changing experience that set my course. I’d like to say that some Monty Python cutout God appeared in the heavens and told me I’d have to get a day job as a marine biologist before I could break out and become a midlist SF writer, but really, it was just kinda steady-as-she-goes.

Sorry.

No apology needed, Peter. That’s actually quite inspiring in itself.

Peter Watts is an outstanding author and fascinating guy. I highly recommend you read his full bio here, on his site, rifters.com

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Great Inspiration – guest post from Jason Nahrung

Last week I posted about the time, back in 1989, when I met Neil Gaiman and got a signed copy of Sandman #1, with no idea at the time of the significance of the event. You can see that post here. At the end of the post I said I would put the call out to my writerly friends and see if any of them had similar inspirations in their lives they might like to share. The wonderful Thoraiya Dyer got back to me with this excellent post and Martin Livings wrote me this great post. Now I have a little something from Jason Nahrung:

When art and circumstance collide.

It was back in 2011 when I’d been to an exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria about the Secessionist movement — Gustav Klimt is probably the most famous of them. But it was a painting by Oskar Kokoschka, of a Count Verona, and the enigmatic personality of seamstress and muse Emilie Floge that really got under my skin.

Lo, the very next day, an email arrived announcing a new anthology, Tales from the Bell Club (KnightWatch Press, 2012), looking for stories set in a time period that included the Secessionists. A little more research about Verona and the group, and ‘The Kiss’ was born, incorporating Emilie and Gustav and Oskar, a tuberculosis clinic and a cult led by another enigmatic figure, the Comte de St Germain (under one of his nom de plumes).

One of those wonderful moments when arts and circumstances collided, and I got to be an Austrian suffragette of the early 1900s.

Thanks to Amazon’s Look Inside feature, you can read (and buy) the end product here.

This is the Verona painting:

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And here’s Emilie:

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Jason Nahrung is a Ballarat-based writer and editor. His latest novel is Blood and Dust, an outback vampire adventure melding Mad Max and Anne Rice. www.jasonnahrung.com

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