Ecko on Audible!

UnzippedA very VERY short blog post: –

Over the MOON to be able to announce that Audible have bought the rights for Ecko Rising and Ecko Burning! (Insert massive leaping-up-and-down-SQUEEEEE here). Have no schedule yet, but more news as it comes to light (sound?)

It’s a funny feeling – in some ways even stranger than Ecko becoming a book, or a book cover. In my head, he has a very clear and distinctive voice, and he’s had that voice for a long time. I listen to a lot of audiobooks, and the idea of hearing him in someone else’s mouth, as it were, is a peculiar lack of control, another step back from the content.

But, as we know all too well – complete control went out the window the day that book deal was signed. And that can only be a good thing!



VulgarI’ve had flack for Ecko’s use of the word ‘fuck’ – he does use it like a fucking comma. If I was going to be a fucking smartarse, I’d explain that the presence and absence of the verb ‘to fuck’ was one of the manifest fucking differences between the London and fantasy worlds… but it seems that was too fucking subtle.

Which is ironic.

So – in celebration of a word we (almost) all fucking use, of its versatility, its energy, its teenage angst and its raffish defiance, and of the simple satisfaction of fucking using it…

SmurfsFuck is a command. Someone pisses you off, you tell them to Fuck off. Simple. Fuck is an expletive, as in Fuck me, Fuck you, Fuck this. Fuck is verb and emphasis, like Fucking jerk, or Pass the fucking salt. Fuck gives you a way to tell someone they’ve overstepped the line, Shut the fuck up, Go fuck yourself.

Fuck is creative and immensely satisfying. Telling someone to Go take a flying fuck (at a rolling doughnut) will make them step back a pace. Fuck expresses and emphasises confusion like no other word, What the fuck, What the fucking fuck?

Other GodsFuck is a word for a night in the pub, Fucked again. Or for those who give you grief while you’re there, Fucktards and Motherfuckers. It can be used on the way home, or in the morning, to great and colourful effect, My God, I’m never fucking drinking again.

Fuck is rebellion, teenage or otherwise, Don’t fuck with me, Don’t do me any fucking favours, Fuck the system, Who gives a fuck?

Fuck expresses depressive anger, Fuck the world, and equally, the encouragement that’s its opposite, Don’t get fucked up, fucked over, She isn’t fucking worth it.

Fuck expresses confusion, Who the fuck are you, What the fuck is this, You’re fucking kidding me. It expresses exasperation, You dumb fuck.

GraffitoWith the right character, Fuck is a word that adds an underline to almost any emotion, that exaggerates speech and reaction, that can be put fucking everywhere, to fucking enhance anything, and still make fucking sense.


2013 – A Year of Crashing Plates

PlatesIt’s been a ‘no idea where it’s gone’ year.

In these posts, you’re supposed to write about wonderful things, epic and terrible things. But not this year – it was January, and then it was summer, and then it was chaos, and then it was Christmas again, and then it was me looking at the Facebook ‘12 best moments’ and going ‘fuuuuuuu…’


2013 has seen my son flow from boy towards teenager – the ‘whatever’ years now lurk on the horizon. Yet Isaac has also grown in maturity and responsibility, and I’m more proud of my son that I could ever articulate. But I guess you knew that.

2013 has seen Ecko Endgame written and in – the end of a project that’s been with me for twenty years and more. I wrote that closing sentence and then burst into tears – regret and relief and fulfillment and loss and a little fear. Something that huge being ‘over’ is a very weird.

And 2013 was a frenetic year at FP – as the heatwave hit in July, so work became a sledgehammer of stress, more events than we could cover or handle. My ten-year anniversary passed in a suffocating cloud of panic, and I began to realise an inevitable truth…

More PlatesMy life is a constant juggling act – child and work and writing. Cramming it all in. Organising up the arse, and no social life to speak of because I never have time. It’s bonkers. People say to me, ‘I don’t know how you do it’, and this was the year I had to face a truth that I didn’t like very much…

I don’t. This summer, the plates wobbled and all came tumbling down, slo-mo.

It was just too much. Work reached critical mass, Isaac is my son, Endgame was handed in late, and then by gritted teeth and willpower – I think the tears may have been as much about sheer exhaustion as anything else. But I did it. By some miracle. Just.

Before those falling plates hit the floor and shattered into a million broken pieces.

Too Many PlatesThis year has taught me that I’m not Wonder Woman. That my time and abilities are finite. That if I take on too much, I will fuck it up. Next year, I’m going to take a step back and be happy with less. Spend more time with Isaac and family and friends. Play computer games. Laugh. Spend time – hell, days! – doing fuck all and not feeling guilty about it.

In 2013, I’ve been lucky enough to see a lifelong ambition finally achieved. In 2014, I’m going to be very bloody glad to not have to achieve it any more.

World Fantasy Con – All The Hoopla!

PopcornOne word for this – that word is ‘family’. With all of the fussing and fighting, my friends, that led up to the event, one would’ve expected fireworks and drama and fuck knows what else…

ALL THE BOOKS!…but what we got was a old school, traditional Book Convention and (from what I’ve seen) one enjoyed by all. An event run, you might say, by the book.

Titan BooksFor me, it was about family. About the Forbidden Planet family, with the huge agenda of signings and events that bracketed the weekend. About the UK SF/F family, the thing that supports us all. About the international family, the thing that surrounds us. And on a personal level, about the Titan family – the thing that came into its own at the WFC weekend.

Dealers Room

Dealers Room

As ever, I’m rather caught behind the Dealers’ Room table, but I did manage to escape for long enough to share a signing event with Francis Knight and her awesome Cake Noir – an hour that championed everything I’ve always harped on about as regards cross-pollination of readership.

Cake NoirAnd for long enough to attend the Titan party, a Saturday afternoon win complete with wine, popcorn machine, crossbows, and a signing table shared with Guy Adams.

IMG_1795Though it was rather surreal seeing people trying to win Ecko on a hoopla stall…

IMG_1790Family, too, in events run by Team Gollancz and their gin, Team Tor and their music, and by Jo Fletcher Books – though I’d been on my feet for twelve hours by the last of these and my appreciation may have faded to a weary croak that needed wine badly (thank you Snorri Kristjansson!)

Nice HatIn conclusion – an awesome Con. Something that surpassed its own rumblings and reminded all of us why we actually do this stuff.

Last Night’s Book Launch!

BooksSometimes, you sit behind a table with a pen and it’s all terribly formal.

Cakeage!And then sometimes, you don’t actually get to sit down because you’re so busy, chatting, greeting old friends, putting names to faces to twitterhandles.

Sometimes, the energy generates itself and the tables are groaning under the weight of Krispy Kreme (thank you Stephen J Sweeney!), chilli chocolate cupcakes and gloriously sugary cinder toffee honeycomb (as we couldn’t have branded matches, it seemed like the next best thing)!

Sugar Rush!Sometimes, everybody just gets into the spirit of the evening and has a fantastic time – through that might have been fuelled by sugar.

Sometimes, the rather staid image of the traditional ‘book signing’ just goes straight out the window and people make a community all of their own.

Tees!With thanks to Titan Books and Lou Hellbaby, last night was awesome.


On Finishing Ecko

The EndOnce upon a time, there was a pad of paper and an ink pen. There was half a paragraph describing the Banned. It was the winter of 90/91, and I was dating a biker – I guess somethings are inevitable.

Through my twenties, the project sprawled to some 600,000 words – three and a bit books – and ran dry just short of the Ubiquitous Final War. I stopped in the middle of a sentence, and never went back to it.

I’ve often wondered what I was doing – or where that sentence would have ended.

Stopping writing – being unable to write – is a deeply personal thing. Whatever your artistic outlet, quitting, admitting failure, is a tragedy. And you miss it! I missed the catharsis and the creativity and the characters and the places it was going to go and to take me… Eight years of lacking the confidence to imagine is a dark thing indeed.

I’m sure you know the rest. Returning to the Con circuit in 08, I started writing again, and Ecko was reborn, initially only for me and because I found that I could. Equally wordless to losing a dream is finding it again, all un-looked for. It’s magic in its purest form, and it feels like amazement.

So: twenty-plus years. Ecko’s a contentious and confrontational project (I didn’t realise that when I started), and hasn’t been to everyone’s tastes. But I’ve been lucky, as I haven’t had to compromise the content. It’s meant a share of very aggrieved reviews (what do you mean it uses bad language and crosses genres?!) but hey, them’s the brakes. I never thought even one person outside my social circle would read it, never mind enjoy it, and that’s been more than enough.

Anyway, standing at the closure of dream is weird feeling. I cried when I wrote the last sentence (upset the cat), because the journey’s been so much of my life, and because I’ll miss it, and because I never thought it would happen at all.

But honestly? Though it’ll leave a hole, moving on is probably long overdue!

Signings and Cons and Things

ecko-burning-uk-cover-150pxSorting my own signing always feels ever-so-slightly odd – particularly this year as we’re SO busy with all the exciting authors arriving for World Fantasy Con. I managed to set up half a dozen events  before I realised I’d actually forgotten to set a date aside for myself…


Jojn me at the London Megastore, reading from and signing Ecko Burning on Thursday 17th October. There will be cakes and potentially other goodies  – I’ve been promised Krispy Kremes – plus I’m still trying to talk the company into letting me have wine. Whatever happens, there will be pubbage afterwards!

I’ll also be at WFC myself, nailed by my knees to the trading table as usual, plus taking part in the Titan Funfair on Saturday afternoon! (They’ve said something about giving me BB guns, but hey, who knows – they might come to their senses!)

Plus there will be a proper signing signing (if you see what I mean), as well.

Sadly, the one thing I am missing is BristolCon, but will be there in spirit and I hope it goes well. I’ll hopefully see most of you at WFC anyway!



Nine Worlds

Ryan Saves Us from Boring BoozeNine Worlds – a whole new breed of beastie. Ambitious, as beasties go, and far-reaching – but could they really make all of this cool shit happen?

The short answer is yes – cool shit happened. Nine streams of activity, all wonderfully diverse, a new structure to the timing of panels, even a split site – it all worked to make Nine Worlds one of the most inclusive and eclectic conventions I’ve ever been to.

Even nailed by our knees to the trading table as we generally are, it was easy to see the difference. There was a much larger cross-section of people – the book con regulars were there, and so were the cosplayers, the steampunkers, the comics fans and the – yes, really – the Bronies.

LOTR LadiesThere were fanboys and girls from every walk of geekdom and there was a strong LGBT presence, as well – and all of this contributed to a wonderful feeling of freedom and self-expression. And after the dark flickerings of rumour that have been circulating about people’s behaviour at cons, it was very good to see everyone feeling so confident in their companions and surroundings – and modes of dress!

New Voices!Big success of the weekend was the New Voices Slam Session on Friday night – a gathering of nine new authors all reading for five minutes each. From an original idea by Stephanie Saulter, it had an energy and presence and there wasn’t a weak voice in the bunch. Thanks to Barry Nugent, Stephanie Salter, Rochita Leonen-Ruiz, Emma Newman, Adam Christopher, Liz de Jager, Lou Morgan, Jennifer Williams, and Hannah Eiseman-Reynard for sharing it!

Abe the Alien - you should have seen him on the dance floor! From an FP point of view, we had an excellent weekend, saw old friends and new faces, and will certainly be going back. Thank you to everybody who signed with us at our table, and everyone who called past to see us.

Well done to all – it’s good to see that sense of family return!

FP Signings!

The AudioMo Challenge

AudioMoNext month, I’ll be taking part in the AudioMo challenge, posting a short recording from AudioBoo every day through July.

This may well include sneaky excerpts from forthcoming Ecko novels, novels I happen to be reading, random commentary on cub antics, cycling (though I promise to keep both hands on the handlebars), and/or wacky shenanigans happening at Forbidden Planet.

I can promise it won’t include quotes from the FP Customer Services answering machine. You can find those anytime you like.

Recordings will be posted on Twitter and tagged #AudioMo. And that’s me joining the shooting-your-mouth-off fun!