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Rogue Trooper #2, written by some bloke called Brian Ruckley, will be in your local comic shop and available for digital reading at tomorrow. Huzzah! (You can even read the first few pages of it for free in a preview, here for example).

To celebrate, I’m giving away signed copies of Rogue Trooper #1 over on the Winterbirth fan page on Facebook. If you’d like to be in with a chance of getting your hands on one, all you need to do is head over to the Winterbirth page, go to the post that starts SIGNED COMIC GIVEAWAY and follow the entirely idiot-proof instructions.

If there are more entrants than available copies, I’ll pick a winner next Monday.

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Quick note, for those as yet uninvolved with my other internet presences.  (You may wish to remain uninvolved, of course, which is fine!)

I’m gradually getting in to the swing of the Twitter thing, so if you’re so inclined please do stop by @Brian_Ruckley and hit the Follow button.

I have not entirely switched my virtual allegiance, so the Winterbirth page on Facebook is still ticking over very nicely.  I have a half-formed idea to do a little signed book giveaway over there if and when the number of folks attached to it hits a certain arbitrary (and top secret!) number, so feel free to go add your Like to the number if you wish.  You never know, you might push the total over the edge …

Coming soon here – i.e. in the next day or two – a post with the working title ‘Everything I’ve Ever Written is a Failure’.  Sounds cheery, no?

In not-News, but vaguely News-related, News I’m celebrating the little burst of News last week by giving away signed books this week.

The action is over on the Winterbirth Facebook page, so if you’re a Facebooker head on over there and leave a comment on the relevant post (it should be obvious, since it’s titled SIGNED BOOK GIVEAWAY! or something similar) to be in with a chance of getting your hands on your choice of signed book what I wrote.

And as previously mentioned, I’m still thinking of having one more News Epilogue this week, in the form of an audio file of me talking.  I realise this will fill precisely no one with feverish anticipation, but as an unashamed podcast junkie it tickles my fancy to put my own horrible voice out there, in however modest a form.  So at some point in the next day or two, that may well show up here.

That’s all.  Au revoir!

Next week will be quite busy here: a few items of news, info, announcements etc.  Not earth-shaking stuff – I’ve not discovered the Fountain of Youth, or decided to launch a Kickstarter for my plan to visit Mars in a rowboat or anything – but nonetheless interesting and fun (according to my definitions of interesting and fun, which are the only ones that really count around here after all).

To celebrate ‘news week’, I’m inclined to give away a couple of signed books on Facebook, so consider this advance notice that if you’re a Facebooker and haven’t yet committed yourself to Likehood on the Winterbirth page over there, now’s the moment to do so to be in with a chance of signed bookage.

And since this is Friday, and I’ve got a habit of putting up clips on a Friday, and the above is a kind of a trailer – bear with me, I’m sure I can squeeze a segue out of this stone if you give me long enough – how about a real trailer?

Not a great deal to go on, I know, but gives me some mild optimism that the franchise just might manage to get back on the rails after the mis-step that was Quantum of Solace (a mis-step compared to the jolly good fun Casino Royale, anyway). As both I and a few readers agree, Daniel Craig is the man to play Adam Quire should The Edinburgh Dead ever make it to the big screen, so I do like to keep tabs on his career.

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There’s a very upbeat review of The Edinburgh Dead over on The Bookshelf Chronicles.  ( ‘2011 is drawing to a close and I think I just found my favourite read of the year’ !)

Nice little exchange with the author of that same to review in the comments here, in which it turns out we both very much like one specific line in The Edinburgh Dead.  And that line is … wait for it … wait for it …:

‘I’m not wanting any butter.’

Does that strike you as … I don’t know … a bit anti-climactic?  It points up one thing that I’m sure isn’t particular to me.  Lots of writers must have the same thing.  That thing is that the pleasure of writing, the satisfaction that the finished text can give you as its creator, is sometimes as much about the small things – the small victories – as it is the big picture stuff.  That tiny little line of dialogue gave me pleasure when I wrote it – you’ll just have to take make my word for the fact that it’s just the right length, tone and rhythm for its context – and it’s nice that someone else liked it.

(And in case that sounds too self-congratulatory, I’ll just note in passing that the small defeats can be just as frustrating as the small victories are satisfying.  Witness: I can’t spell the word ‘rhythm’.  Never have been able to, probably never will.  Every single time I write the cursed word – including in the last sentence of the previous paragraph – I have to check its spelling.  Pathetic.  I’m already starting to fret it still doesn’t look right … maybe I should just have a quick double-check …)

Over at the Writers Read blog, I’ve got a guest post reporting on what I was reading in November.  It includes Fascist dictators, etchings and horses.

And a very nice giveaway is open for the holidays – for those of you living in the UK and the US, at least.  Over at the Orbit blog you can enter a draw to win one of five sets of five jolly good books.  Including The Edinburgh Dead.  There’s two or three there I’d really like to read myself, but somehow I doubt I’m eligible …

Okay, we’ll get to the fun stuff in a minute, but first let’s tidy away a little bit of linkage:

I write about When Genres Collide over at the Orbit blog.  Marvel at my delusional hubris as I demonstrate conclusively that crime and horror fiction are exactly the same!  (Incidentally, should anyone feel tempted to comment on my half-assed theories, I’d appreciate it if you did so over there rather than here …)

The Edinburgh Dead is reviewed at Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist (“not a dull moment … should satisfy even jaded genre readers”!)

And also at the Wall Street Journal (“compelling mix of horror and sci-fi”!)

I write about the Dark Side of Edinburgh’s history over at the SFX Magazine blog.

And – now the fun bit – alert readers of that last article might notice that there’s a link at the end leading to …


Yes, you, dear reader, have the chance to win a stay in an Edinburgh hotel, along with a creepy tour of the city’s secret history (and a copy of The Edinburgh Dead, too, but that’s kind of secondary in this case, I have to admit).  This is pretty much the jolliest wheeze my esteemed publishers have yet come up with for promoting one of my books, and I think it’s kind of neat.  Go and enter, why don’t you? Closing date is 15th September 2011.

A Quick Giveaway Update

Winners of the German and Dutch edition giveaways offered in the previous post have been picked. I’ll be e-mailing the two lucky recipients shortly to confirm – I got slightly more requests for these than I expected (i.e. more than zero or one), so if you asked for one but don’t hear back from me in the next day or two: sorry, you weren’t lucky this time around.

In the next few days I’ll be starting another giveaway for fans on the Winterbirth facebook page (books in English, this time!). I may do one further giveaway after that, but can’t confirm or deny that just yet.

I fully intended to make some very, very exciting and entertaining posts here in the last couple of weeks. But then I got ill. I’m better now, so no sympathy required – and to be honest, like most men beset with a temporary affliction of the flu or cold sort, I was able to generate more than enough self-sympathy (trending towards self-pity) to keep myself comforted. Regular updates of the moaning and groaning and whimpering sort were provided to those around me, to ensure that everyone understood just how much I was suffering, and how manly I was being in not just giving up and spending all day every day in bed. Heroic, I was. Man flu is a terrible, terrible thing.

Anyway, now that I’m more or less functional again, I plan to clear a little bit of shelf space by attempting to give away some signed books. Hurrah! This is going to be a staged process, and stage one is somewhat experimental. So …

Would anyone like a signed (and dedicated, if you like) copy of:

Winterwende, large format paperback of book one of the Godless World trilogy in German.
Ondergang, hardback of book three in the trilogy, in Dutch.

Now I’m not, to put it mildly, expecting a tidal wave of requests for these, so here’s the plan: if you are interested, e-mail me at the address on the Contact page, expressing your interest in one or the other. In the event that I get more than one request for each, I’ll pick a winner at random and get back in touch asking for a mailing address, and how you’d like me to sign or dedicate the book.

Worry not, monolingual English readers – there will be additional giveaway action imminently for you too (though your chances of benefiting from it will be somewhat higher if you’re signed up as a fan on the Winterbirth Facebook page).

So, everyone: welcome to 2010. (A week late, I know, but it’s the thought that counts, right?) I hope you enjoy it, and that it delivers at the very least a respectable portion of all that you hope for.

Starting a new year with a new experience can’t be a bad thing, I reckon, so you won’t hear any complaints from me about the wintry onslaught that has subjugated the British Isles. There’s been no sign of the grass on the lawn outside my window for over three weeks now, buried as it is beneath a gleaming white blanket of snow. Nothing remarkable for many of you, of course, including those living at the same latitude as Edinburgh (approaching 56 deg N, for the record – roughly the same as Moscow and the Aleutian Islands), but it’s exceptionally unusual round here, where the peculiarities of climates both macro- and micro- mean most winters are all but snow-free. In fact, I don’t remember seeing anything quite like it in my life.

I’m a big fan of the big freeze. Everything looks just that little bit unfamiliar and exotic. It feels like we’ve all travelled to some other place – one quieter, more beautiful and imbued with a faint, cold magic – without having to move. The sound of deep snow crunching underfoot seems to me vaguely romantic and wild and fantastical.

A new computer arrived in my house. I didn’t really want one, but the old one was accumulating software glitches and idiosyncracies that nothing seemed to rid it of, and to be fair it was a few years old, so I bit the bullet and went shopping. Turns out PCs have got a whole lot better since I last bought one. Who knew? I mean, have you seen these flat screen things? They’re all … flat and stuff. Amazing.

Anyway, one consequence has been a big clean out and reorganising of my feeds, which gives me an excuse to flag up some new, newish or not new at all podcasts that might be of interest:

1. has added a new podcast – the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy – to complement their existing audio fiction one. Both can be found here. The G’s G to the G promises to cover a wide spectrum of geeky interests, so should be worth following. (First episode doesn’t do much for me, since it’s mostly about Left 4 Dead 2, and my gaming days are more or less behind me, sadly, but I’m not letting that put me off).

2. The iFanboy Pick of the Week podcast is my graphic novels and comics-related listening of choice. For any of you out there with a liking for that medium, it gets a great big thumbs up from me. (As does their video podcast, if you’re a visually oriented sort).

3. Naked Archaeology offers monthly news and views on archaeological research and discoveries. Quite interesting, if you’re into that sort of thing. It’s a spin-off from the very well known and jolly good Naked Scientists podcast, as is the newer and potentially interesting (but I haven’t actually listened to it yet, so don’t blame me if it’s rubbish) Naked Astronomy.

And lo, the new year brings a new look for Fall of Thanes. This is the cover for the US mass market paperback edition, due out very soon. And it is, IMHO, a thing of beauty. Possibly my favourite ‘look’ for any of the trilogy so far. And that’s saying something, since all the way through, I’ve really been jolly well taken care of by the Orbit folks responsible for prettying up my books.

The new year also brings free pdfs of books. Free pdfs of 11,000 books to be precise, including quite a lot of famous ones (and a great many not very famous at all ones, I suspect). They’re available at The Book Depository. Now, personally I can’t read novel-length stuff in pdf form. Can just about manage a short story, but that’s about my limit in that format (and even then, I’ll be hoping it’s a short short story). But you might be different, so go knock yourself out. It doesn’t look that easy to actually find some of the freebies, admittedly, but even right there on the front page, there’s links to free Oscar Wilde, Rudyard Kipling and others.

The book giveaway is over at BookGeeks: enter a draw to win not only a full set of my Godless World trilogy, but also a full set of Sean Williams’ Astropolis trilogy. Closing date is 6th June, but note it’s only open to UK residents. Sorry all you overseas types.

The new blog is Science Fiction and Fantasy Ethics, which is the brainchild of Andy Remic, and promises to be a seriously fun little corner of the sf/f/h webosphere. Not such a little corner, in fact, when you look at the long and still growing list of authors involved (including me, which I hope won’t spoil things too much). Lots of info on what to expect can be found over there, but the ‘SFFE Mission’ puts it pretty clearly:

Our mission is to celebrate everything positive, funky and exciting in the Fantasy, Science Fiction and Horror Universe.

Sounds like a good idea to me.