Blog

New story: Children of Thorns, Children of Water at Uncanny Magazine

- 0 comments

My story “Children of Thorns, Children of Water” has now been published at Uncanny Magazine. You can read it here.

This is set in the Dominion of the Fallen, my Gothic ruined Paris with Fallen angels, dragons, alchemists and magicians (aka my love letter to 19th Century Gothic fiction and manga and anime like Fullmetal Alchemist and Black Butler, which includes novels The House of Shattered Wings and The House of Binding Thorns ). It’s a standalone: an excellent introduction to the universe, and a good return to it if you’re already familiar with it!

What you get: dragons, creepy magic, cooking (!).

In a Paris that never was, a city of magicians, alchemists and Fallen angels struggling to recover from a devastating magical war…

Once each year, the House of Hawthorn tests the Houseless: for those chosen, success means the difference between a safe life and the devastation of the streets. However, for Thuan and his friend Kim Cuc, — dragons in human shapes and envoys from the dying underwater kingdom of the Seine — the stakes are entirely different. Charged with infiltrating a House that keeps encroaching on the Seine, if they are caught, they face a painful death.

Worse, mysterious children of thorns stalk the candidates through Hawthorn’s corridors. Will Thuan and Kim Cuc survive and succeed?

Read Online!

If you’ve already read and enjoyed it, why not try The House of Binding Thorns in which you get to meet again Thuan (aka, the queer, bookish dragon prince with amazing talent for getting himself into trouble), as well as a host of other characters?

(or you can also pick up the full issue of Uncanny Magazine, which has fiction by Seanan McGuire, Mary Robinette Kowal, Cassandra Khaw and other fine folk)

The Dominion of the Fallen Reading Order (Novels Only)

Book 1. The House of Shattered Wings | Book 2. The House of Binding Thorns

Excerpt

With thanks to Stephanie Burgis, Kate Elliott and Fran Wilde

It was a large, magnificent room with intricate patterns of ivy branches on the tiles, and a large mirror above a marble fireplace, the mantlepiece crammed with curios from delicate silver bowls to Chinese blue-and-white porcelain figures: a clear statement of casual power, to leave so many riches where everyone could grab them.

Or rather, it would have been, if the porcelain hadn’t been cut-rate–the same bad quality the Chinese had foisted on the Indochinese court in Annam–the mirror tarnished, with mould growing in one corner, spread down far enough that it blurred features, and the tiling cracked and chipped in numerous places–repaired, but not well enough that Thuan couldn’t feel the imperfections under his feet, each one of them a little spike in the khi currents of magic around the room.

Not that Thuan was likely to be much impressed by the mansions of Fallen angels, no matter how much of Paris they might claim to rule. He snorted disdainfully, an expression cut short when Kim Cuc elbowed him in the ribs. “Behave,” she said.

“You’re not my mother.” She was his ex-lover, as a matter of fact; and older than him, and never let him forget that.

“Next best thing,” Kim Cuc said, cheerfully. “I can always elbow further down, if you insist.”

Thuan bit down the angry retort. The third person in the room–a dusky-skinned, young girl of Maghrebi descent, who’d introduced herself as Leila–was looking at them with fear in her eyes. “We’re serious,” he said, composing his face again. “We’re not going to ruin your chances to enter House Hawthorn, promise.”

They were a team: that was what they’d been told, as the House dependents separated the crowd before the House in small groups; that their performance would be viewed as a whole, and their chance to enter the House weighed accordingly. Though no rules had been given, and nothing more said, either, as dependents led them to this room and locked them in. At least he was still with Kim Cuc, or he’d have been hopelessly lost.

For people like Leila–for the Houseless, the desperate–it was their one chance to escape the streets, to receive food and shelter and the other tangible benefits of a House’s protection.

For Thuan and Kim Cuc, though… the problem was rather different. Their fate, too, would be rather different, if anyone found out who they really were. No House in Paris liked spies, and Hawthorn was not known for its leniency.

Cooking the books with Malka Older

- 0 comments


Our fabulous friend Malka Older found time between busy moments at BEA to talk with co-host Fran Wilde and me about her relief work in Japan after Fukushima, writing the data-driven, sf stunners Infomocracy and Null States (out soon from Tor.Com Publishing!) and telling us what foods go away first in an infomocracy universe. It’s all  for Cooking the Books this month, both here and at the extension kitchen over at The Booksmugglers! (check out Malka’s Booksmugglers Bonus answers!).

Haven’t read Infomocracy yet? Now’s the time — so you can get caught up for Null States! (and read Malka’s earlier Book Bite over here too)

This month’s Cooking the Books Podcast, #031:  Lines of Supply – Cooking the Books with Malka Older contains:

  • One half dash, procrastination
  • Three heaping spoonfuls of prognostication
  • A possible pigeon
  • A handful of social programming
  • A touch of poetry
  • Only the best picadillo


 

Ready? Subscribe to the Podcast here! Or on iTunes! Or click play below:
(and consider supporting us on Patreon, hmm?)

(thanks as always to our friend Paul Weimer who helps clean up the CtB kitchen after we destroy it…)

Podcast #031: Lines of Supply – Cooking the Books with Malka Older

 

Recipe: Picadillo

  • Ingredients:
  • ground beef,
  • onion,
  • pepper (any kind),
  • garlic,
  • cumin,
  • oregano,
  • tomato sauce,
  • raisins,
  • olives,
  • olive oil
Sautée the onion and pepper in the oil. Add the ground beef and break it up to brown thoroughly. Add the garlic, minced or crushed.
Add a lot of oregano (I am not kidding, a lot) and some cumin.
Add tomato sauce and bring to a boil. Add raisins and olives, turn heat down and cover, simmer for 30-45 minutes.
If it gets dry add liquid: water, beer, stock, etc.

Malka Older is a writer, aid worker, and PhD candidate. Her writing can be found at Leveler, Tor.com, Bengal Lights, Sundog Lit, Capricious, Reservoir, Inkscrawl, Rogue Agent, in the poetry anthology My Cruel Invention, and in Chasing Misery, an anthology of writing by female aid workers. Her science fiction political thriller Infomocracy is the first full-length novel from Tor.com, and the sequel Null States will be published in 2017.

She was nominated for the 2016 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. Named Senior Fellow for Technology and Risk at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs for 2015, she has more than a decade of experience in humanitarian aid and development. Her doctoral work on the sociology of organizations at the Institut d’Études Politques de Paris (Sciences Po) explores the dynamics of multi-level governance and disaster response using the cases of Hurricane Katrina and the Japan tsunami of 2011.  You can find her on Twitter, Facebook, and at malkaolder.wordpress.com.

 

Birmingham Science Fiction Group meeting and Forbidden Planet Event

- 0 comments - Events

I’ll be interviewed at the monthly meeting for the Birmingham SF Group: come say hello!

June 9th, Briar Rose Hotel, Bennett’s Hill

Doors open at 7.30 pm for an 8pm start.

Admission : £4 (£3 for Members)

More details here.

On Saturday June 10th I’ll be signing at Forbidden Planet in Birmingham from 1:00pm to 2:00pm–if you want a signed book here’s your chance!

Harbinger of the Storm Kobo deal

- 0 comments

Harbinger of the Storm, my Mexica imperial succession novel with star-demons and priestly intrigues, is available on Kobo for $1.99 for today only!

The year is Two House, and the Emperor of the Mexica has just died. The protections he afforded the Empire are crumbling, and the way lies wide open to the flesh-eating star-demons–and to the return of their creator, a malevolent goddess only held in check by the War God’s power.
The council should convene to choose a new Emperor, but they are too busy plotting against each other. And then someone starts summoning star-demons within the palace, to kill councilmen…
Acatl, High Priest of the Dead, must find the culprit before everything is torn apart.

Want a copy? Go here (offer should also be valid at other Kobo websites!).

MCM comicon

- 0 comments - Events

I’ll be at the London MCM Comicon, May 26th-28th. Come say hello!

My schedule:
Brave New Worlds: How to World-Build in Fantastical Fiction

No matter whether you have dragons on every street corner, are urging armies of knights into endless battle or are trying to figure out to how money works across entire star systems, all fantastical fiction requires strong world building. Join authors Alastair Reynolds (REVENGER), Aliette de Bodard (THE HOUSE OF BINDING THORNS), EDWARD COX (THE RELIC GUILD SERIES), and Tom Toner (THE PROMISE OF THE CHILD) as they discuss what the ins and outs of writing in imagined places.

Panellists: Alastair Reynolds, Tom Toner, Edward Cox , Aliette de Bodard, Ian McDonald
Moderator: Mark Stay
Panel Duration: 1hr & 15mins
Exact Time: 1:30pm – 2:45pm
Day: Friday 26th of May
Lower Platinum Suite
Author signing (not clear if this is during the time slot or shortly thereafter, but I’ll be around!)

A Taste of Salt: Cooking the Books with Ruthanna Emrys

- 0 comments

You might have missed the announcement on this, but I’m now Fran Wilde‘s co-host for Cooking the Books, the podcast about SF and food. This month we sat down with Ruthanna Emrys, the author of the newly released Winter Tide from Tor.com Publishing, a novel about re-imagined Deep Ones.

Read excerpts at tor.com| Buy at Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Indiebound

We talk about how Ruthanna uses food to evoke memory in her book. What we didn’t realize is that we would also be talking about revising the Lovecraftian recipe, and exploring monster digestion.

This podcast contains so much salt. Also a heads up about Ruthanna’s book party with her blog co-host Anne M. Pillsworth at Wiscon in a few weeks! Are you going? Pick up a Honeyed Salt Cake for us. Or try the recipe yourself, below…

This month’s Cooking the Books Podcast, #030: A Taste of Salt – Cooking the Books with Ruthanna Emrys contains:

  • Deep Ones comfort food
  • What one would feed H.P. Lovecraft (a Book Smugglers question!)
  • Truffle salt, fleur-de-sel harvested from marshes, smoked salt…
  • CSA joys
  • Avocados
  • Holiday Fish Stew
  • Did We Mention Ruthanna’s Book Party at WISCON
  • A mention of “The Litany of Earth”, the short story that started it all.
  • Snarky aliens

Ready? Subscribe to the Podcast here! Or on iTunes! Or click play below.
(and consider supporting us on Patreon please?)

And visit additional Ruthanna Emrys content over on the The Booksmugglers!

Podcast #030: A Taste of Salt – Cooking the Books with Ruthanna Emrys


Direct MP3 Link

Recipe: Honeyed Saltcakes

(Recipe by Nora Temkin)
Makes: 21 cookies

Ingredients:

  • ¼ C sugar
  • 1.5C + 1T flour
  • 1.5T fine-ground salt (People of the air who think there’s such a thing as “too much salt” may want to make this 1.5 teaspoons.)
  • ½ C honey
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • ½ t baking soda
  • Additional honey + course ground fleur de sel for glaze, to taste

To Cook:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Cream butter, sugar, and honey until smooth.
Add egg and mix.
Combine remaining dry ingredients in a separate bowl.
Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix well.
Drop spoonfuls of batter onto a greased cookie sheet, leaving room for cakes to spread to about 2 inches wide.
Bake 9-12 minutes until lightly browned.
Remove from oven—immediately brush with warm honey and sprinkle with sea salt. Serve warm.


Ruthanna Emrys is the author of Winter Tide, the first book in the Innsmouth Legacy series. She is also co-blogger on Tor.com’s Lovecraft Reread, and writes short stories about religion and aliens and psycholinguistics. She lives in a mysterious manor house on the outskirts of Washington, DC with her wife and their large, strange family. She makes home-made vanilla, obsesses about game design, gives unsolicited advice, and occasionally attempts to save the world. You can find her on Twitter, livejournal, her website, and at Tor.com.


Cooking the Books is a mostly-monthly podcast hosted
by Fran Wilde and Aliette de Bodard.

Check out our archives.

Help out Likhain

- 0 comments

So, the lovely Likhain (who’s up for a Best Fan Artist Hugo, and whose art you’ve seen me publicise before), has had unexpected vet bills on top of a costly move, and could really use some help (in the “need money for groceries” context of help). I know she’s given an amazing amount for the community (if you want a few of the specifics I’m familiar with, she ran a lot of the fundraiser we did for Rochita Loenen-Ruiz a year ago, in spite of being tired and drained most of the time).

The best help would of course be to contribute to her patreon or commission her for work, but this is medium to long-term stuff, and we’re talking pretty short term here? If you happen to want to help, you can paypal her here.

And should you donate above 7$/£5/€9, forward me the receipt using the form below, and I’ll send you an ecopy of Ships in Exile, which gathers three hard-to-find Xuya stories.

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Proof of donation (photo or screen capture of receipt required, GIF, PDF, JPG or PNG, 2MB maximum)

captcha

Reminder: House of Binding Thorns promo tour (sort of)

- 0 comments

Quick reminder of a few events:

  • I’ll be at Waterstones Piccadily in London on Wednesday 12th April 19:30 (so tomorrow!), in conversation with Zen Cho and Vic James. You can get tickets here (or just show up at the event and get them).
  • And I’ll be attending Eastercon in Birmingham: my schedule is here

I’ve also been around the blogosphere:

  • My Favorite Bit at Mary Robinette Kowal’s Blog: destroying Paris and terrible bilingual puns
  • In Defence of Uncanny Punctuation at Chuck Wendig’s blog: in which I defend the King of Fruit and the King of Punctuation
  • My Favourite Dragons and how I designed mine at The Book Smugglers
  • Unfamiliar rooms: magic and dread in Kari Sperring’s The Grass King’s Concubine, at Tor.com
  • At my blog: why likeable characters are overrated and how to design your very own character we love to hate,
  • The Fallacy of Agency at Uncanny Magazine, with awesome Likhain art (aka Madeleine from The House of Binding Thorns, with silver and gold foil and all the usual Likhain prettiness, which you can see a snippet of above. Seriously. Go check the post out just for the art because it’s stunning. Likhain is a current Hugo finalist for Best Artist and deservedly so!)
  • Author takeover: War of the Houses at Mugglenet (which makes me absurdly happy because Harry Potter was such a big part of my London years)

Release Day for House of Binding Thorns! (UK)

- 0 comments

And today is release date for the UK edition of The House of Binding Thorns! Ruined and decadent turn-of-the-century Paris, dragons, Fallen angels, intrigue, revolutions, betrayals! (and it’s standalone: you can read it without having read the first one and it works just fine).

I hate to say this, but given that this is the way things work–the likelihood of me getting to write more novels in this universe (or indeed, more novels, full stop) is entirely dependent on sales, so if you fancy picking up a copy (whichever format) I’d be very grateful. And if you like it, dropping a good word about it on social media or reviewing at goodreads/amazon (doesn’t have to be long reviews–I’ll take inarticulate squeeing too *grin*) or recommending to a friend would help immensely.

Here are a few blog posts I did for the release:
“Unfamiliar Rooms: Magic and Dread in Kari Sperring’s The Grass King’s Concubine” at Tor.com
Geography of alternate destroyed Paris and terrible bilingual puns at Mary Robinette Kowal’s My Favourite Bit
“In Defence of Uncanny Punctuation” at Chuck Wendig’s blog: a blog post with semicolons and durians, all the best things in life ^-^

And here are a few reviews:

A successful continuation of a truly grand story, brimming with action, heart, representation, and magic.

Martin Cahill, Barnes and Noble blog

A striking example of a story that both stands alone and expands (…) truly beautifully balanced: between new and old, birth and death, beauty and ugliness, inside and outside, beginning and, yes, ending. It walks the line, and walks it fine.

Niall Alexander, Tor.com

Buy now
Read Chapter One Online!