A long overdue update –

Nearly six months ago now, THE BASTARD WONDERLAND launched at a fine event hosted by Kardomah94. In a packed house I was interviewed on stage by the splendid Russ Litten, and it went really well, was a good laugh, with an engaged audience, and fine musical support from HorseGuards Parade. Afterwards, there was a signing queue that – -astonishingly – spanned the room. It felt like a proper occasion, the culmination of a shitload of work, waiting and anguish finally MARKED. So, glory be to Wrecking Ball Press on that front. I do wonder if a bigger publisher would have put on such a warm and bespoke spread.

(I’m obliged to remark at this point that TBW is available in Waterstones, on Amazon, direct from Wrecking Ball Press and Inpress Books, and also in eBook format on Kindle, Kobo and Nook.)

Post launch, the modern blogosphere of reviewers has been disappointingly tight about picking the book up for review. We had a list of around 100 SFF genre reviewers, bloggers, BookTubers and the like, but scarce few responded to the initial review copy queries. It seems reviewers are as overworked as everyone else, with a great backlog of Books To Be Read, and so in these tight conditions – again – the most popular reviewers seem to be in the sway of the majors. I was disappointed with the lack of even a “Thanks but no time” response. It would have been something.  Despite this, there’s a quiet, but ongoing stream of favourable Joe Public reviews between Goodreads and Amazon – which seem to suggest people really ‘get’ the book, despite(or even because of) its genre defying nature. Woop, etc.

Awards – after an early run of nominations in the pub brawl that is the Not the Booker Prize, the whole genre thing has proved problematic again, with the not-quite-this and not-quite-that nature of the book ruling it out for some of the more obvious prizes. But we’ll keep trying…

Events and that – I’ll be on the radio on North Manchester FM this weekend to do Hannah’s Bookshelf, a lovely little show all to do with books and writing and suchlike. I’ll be talking t’Wonderland, writing, and probably a bit of Hull and First Story, as well as picking out my selection for Hannah’s Library at the end of Days. If you’re outside Manchesterville, you can listen online from 2-4pm on February the 18th – and there are “listen again” links afterwards.

I also did an interview with SFF World, about all the mucky and otherwise challenging bits of TBW, amongst other things.

Cons – Since TBW launched, I have discovered the wonder of conventions. After attending FantasyCon by t’sea last year, I was almost immediately hooked. These events kind of complete a life in writing, and I will surely be in attendance at more in 2017, where I’m hoping to be involved somehow. On that note, I’ll be reading and taking questions at the 2nd Humber SFF event at Hull Central Library, along with prestigious genre-gents Steven Poore and Jim Hawkins. It’s public. It’s free. There’s a book raffle. You should come. Support your local library/SFF writers.

City of Culture is well underway, and my main participation thus far has been working as a Writer-in-Residence at a Hull school for the First Story charity, where I usher kids to do creative writing, and it’s ace. I’m going to write more about this in the near future.

As for what’s next – In a fit of actual insanity, I’m aiming for two books this year. A suitably ambitious sequel to t’Wonderland is well underway, and I’m also working on a new project, a more ‘YA’ pitched fantasy about a boy and his undead Nana.

So there.

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