Friday, 30 December 2011


I had two interviews on American radio over the holidays and neither of them went according to plan.

The first was with Giovanni Gelati which was scheduled for 22:45 (my time) on the 26th. I 'phoned in only to be greeted by a message that I was 18 hours early ... so I recalculated and thinking that I was now wanted at 09:00 PST I called back on the 27th at 17:00. I was eventually bumped thru to Giovanni - 'hey you were scheduled for yesterday' - but fortunately he managed to slide me into the programme which featured an American crime writer 'Ben; and a lecturer in Creative Writing at UCLA called 'Lisa'. The programme lasted an hour. I'd love to be able to make an assessment of how I did but that's beyond me: I found myself concentrating so hard on the questions that I couldn't step back to make an objective assessment. Giovanni seemed happy tho', so it must have gone OK.

The second was with Dr. Alvin Jones on CBS Radio. Here I was expecting Alvin's call at 12:30 my time, but it came an hour early so minor panic ensued. It was an interesting 15 minute chat and I managed to get in my competition to win a copy of the book: all listeners had to do was answer the riddle I got in my Xmas Day cracker:

What's covered in muscles and swings from Christmas cake to Christmas cake?

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Tuesday, 20 December 2011


The second Demi-Monde book - 'The Demi-Monde: Spring' - is out in the UK on the 5th January. I'm really looking forward to it: it seems an age ago that I finished it, so-much-so that it's difficult at times to remember what I wrote. It's set in the hedonistic Mediterranean Sector and introduces a raft of new characters perhaps the most important of whom is Odette Aroca - a big and very bothersome marketgirl from Paris; and the Marquis de Sade, who I don't think needs much introduction and, my favorite, the Russian economist Nickolai Kondratieff.

I had a hand in the writing of the blurb on the back of the cover. I had wanted something a bit more radical but this was not to be. I thought it would be neat to do it as one of the PigeonGrams I feature in the book thus:

Got to say I'm REALLY looking forward to getting feedback about the book.

Monday, 19 December 2011


'The Demi-Monde: Winter' is out on the 27th December in the States so the promo people at HarperCollins have orgainsed a couple of radio slots.

The first is with Giovanni Gelati ('Gelati's Scoop') on BlogTalkRadio on 26th December at 4:45 pm EST (that's 10:45 pm my time) and the second is with Dr Alvin Augustus Jones on WHFS-AM 1580 (CBS Radio-Washington) this one scheduled for 06:30 am EST (12:30 pm) on the 27th December.

I suppose that's one of the consequences of having the book coming out after the holidays (prrsumably to garner some of those book token pressies) ... I'll have to stay unsquiffed all thru Boxing Day.

Sunday, 11 December 2011


ML has queried if I might be in the mood to give away a copy of the hardback of 'Spring'.  Being a man of generous inclinations if any of you want a signed copy let me have your address via ... you'll have to wait until I get my copies from Quercus and my bloody stamp arrives, tho'. First five to reply get a copy. Condition is that you write a review (no pressure - write what you think - as long as your criticism is fair, I'm cool).

The stamp shows Lilith;s emblem - no prizes for guessing who takes centre stage in Spring:

Emblem of Lilith

Thursday, 8 December 2011


I've set myself the deadline of finishing the fourth (and last!) book of the Demi-Monde saga - The Demi-Monde: Fall - by the end of the year. I've got a rough draft - 196,000 words - and now I need to knock it into a final shape. I've decided to divide the book into two (Book One: In the Demi-Monde and Book Two: In the Real World). Book One is pretty much finished but Book Two is being a pig.

One problem is how to filter the explanation of how young Norma was lured into the Demi-Monde in the first place. It's quite a hefty piece of exposition - 20,000 words - and it slows the action down a LOT, the trouble is, if I leave it out then the whole series seems a little incomplete. One solution I'm toying with is adding it as an Appendix but there may be a better way of doing it. I'll have to have a think.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011


Having 'The Demi-Monde: Winter' coming out at the end of December in the US has meant that I'm getting a daily tutorial on publishing lore in America. The latest infodump concerns Barnes & Noble. B&N are the biggest book retailers in the USA with (according to Wiki) 717 stores, so I guess that makes them a pretty big deal when it comes to shifting books ... a bit like our Waterstones but with bells on.

The first time B&N impacted my consciousness was when I was told that their resident SF& fantasy expert 'James' had made Winter one of his SF picks of the month for December (good stuff!); that there had been an 'email blast' (love it) going out to B&N customers; and that the book would be on their 'new arrivals' table for the first two weeks of January. Sounds good.

Liz Bourke also wrote a review of Winter on the Barnes & Noble Bookseller's Picks ( which was a very nice review indeed, though Liz obviously isn't a great fan of cliffhanger endings. The important thing she said though was that with a series like the DM an interval of one year between books is too long: I agree with her ... nine months tops should be the guideline. That's what Quercus are now working towards and I think it's very sensible.

Anyway, congrats to all at HarperCollins on the good work!

Thursday, 1 December 2011


You can tell that I'm a newbie writer (or as the Americans refer to me a 'freshman writer') 'cos I don't really appreciate the importance of some of the things that have been happening in the US. It seems that in the US there are four important industry book reviews: Library Journal, Publishers' Weekly, Kirkus and Booklist and getting 'starred' reviews from these is a BIG DEAL.

Anyway so the lovely Amanda sends me an advanced copy of the review going in the December 15 edition of Booklist and 'The Demi-Monde: Winter' has been 'starred'. The reviewer says:

'elegantly constructed, skillfully written, and absolutely impossible to stop reading. It ends with a beauty of a cliffhanger too ...'

So that goes with the 'starred' review from Library Journal (Debut of the Month no less) which said:

'Stong characters, along with the clever interweaving of seemingly disparate plot threads, make this a standout selection for fans of high-tech sf and cyberfiction.'

So, two down and two to go!


The past four weeks have been a bloody nightmare. I've been editing the third book in the Demi-Monde series 'Summer' and it proved to be a real trial. Most of my editor's comments centred around one of the new characters, Billy, who is an eighteen-year old black guy who also happens to be a pimp/drug dealer/general low-life from New York. My editor had problems with him on several levels: she didn't like that he didn't get busy in the book until a third of the way in; she didn't like that he seemed rather peripheral when he did get going; and she sure as hell didn't like the slang I given him to mouth. Solving the first two problems necessitated a major re-jigging of the story but I'm still not sure if I've got on top of the slang issue.

I really tried with Billy's patois. I used Larry Fishburne's portrayal of Jimmy Jump in 'The King of New York' (cracking film) as a template but I also checked out 'New Jack City' (cliched crap), 'Boyz N the Hood' (boring cliched crap) and 'Juice' (Okay); read 'Playground' by 50 Cents (Okay) and 'Power and Beauty' by Tip 'T.I.' Harris (a coming of age romance gutted of emotion and passion) and numerous articles on black street jargon; and I referred to things like the Hip Hoptionary and the Hip-Hop Rhyming Dictionary. The problem is that black street talk is now very visceral and (to white, middle class ears) bloody offensive: all motherfuckers, bitches, niggas and ho's and that's what I've written.

We'll see have to see how it all comes out in the wash but right now I'm sick to the back teeth of Billy.