Category: fiction

UK cover reveal for House of Shattered Wings

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Very very pleased to reveal “my precious”, aka the UK cover for House of Shattered Wings (picture me curled up around my computer, making Gollum noises). Who said “dark and creepy and beautiful”?

It’s a very different beast to the US cover–classier and more refined, but I really like the details (the window and its reflection in the water, broken up by debris; the jewel-like wings, which are very appropriate for my Fallen, whose magic is beautiful, addictive and highly prized. And the arches. This is totally the inside of Notre-Dame before I nuked it :) )

Just as a reminder, House of Shattered Wings comes out August 20th from Gollancz in the UK and Commonwealth/August 18th from Roc in the US. The UK cover copy is below.

A superb murder mystery, on an epic scale, set against the fall out – literally – of a war in Heaven.

Paris has survived the Great Houses War – just. Its streets are lined with haunted ruins, Notre-Dame is a burnt-out shell, and the Seine runs black with ashes and rubble. Yet life continues among the wreckage. The citizens continue to live, love, fight and survive in their war-torn city, and The Great Houses still vie for dominion over the once grand capital.

House Silverspires, previously the leader of those power games, lies in disarray. Its magic is ailing; its founder, Morningstar, has been missing for decades; and now something from the shadows stalks its people inside their very own walls.

Within the House, three very different people must come together: a naive but powerful Fallen, an alchemist with a self-destructive addiction, and a resentful young man wielding spells from the Far East. They may be Silverspires’ salvation. They may be the architects of its last, irreversible fall…

Here’s some of the things people have been saying about it (for those who’ve been following, yup, there’s two new quotes by Justina Robson and Michelle Sagara. I’m a fan of both of them and feel immensely lucky there ^^):

THE HOUSE OF SHATTERED WINGS is a Gothic masterpiece of supernatural intrigues, loves and betrayals in a ruined and decadent future Paris — wildly imaginative and completely convincing, this novel will haunt you long after you’ve put it down.

Tim Powers, author of THE ANUBIS GATES

 

Darkly entertaining. de Bodard makes Fallen Angels entirely her own in this post-apocalyptic Paris near the turn of the century. The personal politics of necessity blend and clash with the politics of the powerful as people—mortal and immortal—attempt to survive.

Michelle Sagara, author of THE CHRONICLES OF ELANTRA and THE HOUSE WAR series

 

THE HOUSE OF SHATTERED WINGS exists in a rich, evocative Paris that is thick with magical history. Pathos and beauty intertwine in a novel filled with longing.

 Mary Robinette Kowal, Multiple-Hugo award winning author of THE GLAMOURIST HISTORIES

 

Original and intriguing, this novel is a strange delight and a foretaste of great things to come.

Justina Robson, author of THE GLORIOUS ANGELS

 

An intense, beautiful, brutal journey written with an eye for the stunning, vivid detail and the cruel demands of duty, loyalty, and leadership. Its portrait of a ruined Paris ruled by fallen angels is one I won’t soon forget.

 Kate Elliott, author of the SPIRITWALKER trilogy

Why don’t you pre order a copy? :)

Pre-order now

Sale: “The Citadel of Weeping Pearls” to Asimov’s

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Sale: “The Citadel of Weeping Pearls” to Asimov’s

Quite pleased to announce I’ve sold my novella “The Citadel of Weeping Pearls” to Asimov’s for their Oct/Nov 2015 issue, aka “Xuya meets time-travel”. More info (including rough cover copy) here.

It’s about the same length as On a Red Station, Drifting, so more of a short novel, really (34k words); with four POV characters and a fairly complex plot that includes an entire imperial court, thirty-two dead emperors emulated on complex hardware, and a science laboratory in a derelict tea-house; and a lot of familial relations and moral quandaries. Basically, if you liked On a Red Station, Drifting, you’ll probably love this one (and it has a cameo from Linh, too!). And if you didn’t like it–it’s a way more ambitious piece with a bigger scope, so maybe more to your taste *g*

This blog will now lapse back into darkness while I sort out my childcare and my copy edits simultaneously (hint: neither of them are particularly efficient…)

Cover reveal: House of Shattered Wings (US edition)

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So… September is just around the corner, and I’m quite happy to reveal the US cover for House of Shattered Wings, aka “OMG OMG so pretty” (also, creepy. Yes, this is a dark fantasy book, why do you ask? :p). The art is by Nekro, who also did this lovely piece I pinned on Pinterest a while back.

A book about a devastated Paris, fallen angels and the ruins of a once great House? Sounds about right!

(more seriously, I really like this. It’s got oodles of atmosphere, it says creepy in all the right places, and the burning feathers are just a lovely touch from the opening scene of the novel. This is meant to be Morningstar’s throne in Notre-Dame, in its current state, and I love the ruined city in the background! I’m sure that makes you want to pick up the book, right? *big grin*)

And here’s the cover copy:

In the late Twentieth Century, the streets of Paris are lined with haunted ruins. The Great Magicians’ War left a trail of devastation in its wake. The Grand Magasins have been reduced to piles of debris, Notre-Dame is a burnt-out shell, and the Seine has turned black with ashes and rubble and the remnants of the spells that tore the city apart. But those that survived still retain their irrepressible appetite for novelty and distraction, and The Great Houses still vie for dominion over France’s once grand capital.

Once the most powerful and formidable, House Silverspires now lies in disarray. Its magic is ailing; its founder, Morningstar, has been missing for decades; and now something from the shadows stalks its people inside their very own walls.

Within the House, three very different people must come together: a naive but powerful Fallen angel; an alchemist with a self-destructive addiction; and a resentful young man wielding spells of unknown origin. They may be Silverspires’ salvation—or the architects of its last, irreversible fall. And if Silverspires falls, so may the city itself.

More info here, and you can pre-order the book here: Amazon.com|Barnes and Noble|Book Depository|Amazon UK (obviously the last amazon link is the UK edition, which won’t have this cover). Out tail end of August (August 20th for the UK edition, beginning of September for the US edition).

Sale: “Lullaby for a Lost World” to Tor.com

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Sale: “Lullaby for a Lost World” to Tor.com

Er. So I’ve sold the story I wrote last week to Carl Engle-Laird at Tor.com. Wow. I’m over the moon. I love what Tor.com is doing (and I love their art too, which is always striking), and I’m really glad I shall be appearing with all the cool kids.

This is a bit of a change from my usual stuff: it’s, er, dark post-apocalyptic fantasy [1]. With a twist.

Many thanks to Elizabeth Bear, Scott Lynch, D Franklin, Gareth M Skarka and Mur Lafferty for the seed of this; and to Rochita Loenen-Ruiz, D Franklin and Rachel A Marks for the read!

They bury you at the bottom of the gardens–what’s left of you, pathetic and small and twisted so out of shape it hardly seems human anymore. The river, dark and oily, licks at the ruin of your flesh–at your broken bones–and sings you to sleep, in a soft, gentle language like a mother’s lullabies; whispering of rest and forgiveness; of a place where it is forever light, forever safe.

You do not rest. You cannot forgive. You are not safe– you never were.

[1] OK OK. I do write creepy, even in SF ^^

Brief update

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Never got around to it, but…

I’ve finished a new Xuya short story, “In Blue Lily’s Wake”, which takes place in the Dai Viet Empire after the civil war (the one mentioned in numerous stories like On a Red Station, Drifting and The Days of the War, as Red as Blood, as Dark as Bile).

Snippet below:

From the planet, the mindship’s corpse had seemed to loom large enough to fill the sky–hugged tight on a low orbit, held back from plummeting towards the surface only by a miracle of engineering–but, once in the shuttle, Yen Oanh realised that it was really quite far away–the pockmarks on its surface blurred and hazy, the distorted paintings on the hull visible only as splashes of bright colour.

“How long until we arrive?” she asked the disciple.

The disciple, Hue Mi, was a young woman barely out of childhood; though the solemnity with which she held herself made her seem older. “Not long, Grandmother.” She looked at the mindship without any sense of wonder or awe; no doubt long since used to its presence.

The ship, after all, had been dead for eleven years.

(FYI, I put longer snippets of stories in the newsletter, if you want to subscribe . Yes, totally shameless :p)

On the novel front, I’m on my edits marathon: I’ll post more when I’m done with said edits, but right now I’m a bit busy wrangling a manuscript that won’t behave and hoping to be finished as soon as I can. I’m posting tidbits on twitter , under the hashtags #amrevising #novel (I really should start a #shatteredwings hashtag…) and some hivemind questions on Facebook (it’s easier on FB because you don’t have the 140 characters limit). To give you an idea, my last question: “if a cathedral gets nuked and no masses are celebrated there any more, are the ruins still consecrated ground”? (yes, it’s Notre-Dame. A significant chunk of action takes place there!)

Have fun, everyone. Normal (well, sort of normal) service resuming ASAP.

Awards consideration post

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Awards consideration post

2014 was a busy year, but mostly because I spent it taking care of the infant (and running after him in the last quarter of 2014)!

It’s very appropriate that out of all the stuff I published in 2014, my favourite is “The Breath of War”, my science fantasy story with spaceships, stone people and pregnancy. It was, hum, heavily inspired by September 2013 experiences, although of course I didn’t give birth in the middle of a space war :p
(if you read this blog, you’ll already know my position on the presence of women and positive depictions of pregnancies in fiction, so I won’t belabour it here–but it is part of why I’m putting this particular story forward).
It was on Tangent Online’s Recommended Reading List for 2014, and you can read it here at Beneath Ceaseless Skies, where it was first published; there are also ebook versions [EPUB|MOBI|PDF|RTF]. And an audio version read by Tina Connolly if audio’s more your thing!

And now onto other people’s fiction: I’ll direct you to my Book Smugglers Smugglivius post for the fiction I loved this year, but here are a few additional things I forgot.

Ahead of everything (which is a lot this year), I’ll just put in a strong recommendation for Xia Jia? She’s been publishing a lot of good fiction (an excellent novelette in Clarkesworld about the festivals of the future, and another one in Upgraded on old age and technology), and I think it’s a shame she’s not getting the recognition she deserves in the West. Here’s an interview with her done by Ken Liu, too.

Collection
From my Smugglivius post:
-Zen Cho, Spirits Abroad. A series of wonderfully light and funny stories, from the troubles of getting a boyfriend when you’re a pontianak (Malaysian vampire), to the changes wrought on a family by generations of immigration.

(plenty more behind the cut)
Continue reading →

Best of 2014 and 2015 lists

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Best of 2014 and 2015 lists

Shameless self-promo post:
-Very happy to see that three stories of mine made the Tangent Online Recommended Reading list (along with many, many other friends’ stories): “The Breath of War” in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, “A Slow Unfurling of Truth” in Carbide-Tipped Pens, and “The Frost on Jade Buds” in Solaris Rising 3. Particularly proud about “The Breath of War”, which got two stars from the reviewer.

-Meanwhile, The House of Shattered Wings, my forthcoming novel from Gollancz about Fallen angels, political struggles and a Vietnamese immortal with a grudge, has made several “Most Anticipated of 2015″ lists: most recently at Cheryl Morgan‘s blog, Ana Grilo’s list at Kirkus, Lady Business, Fantasy Cafe, D. Franklin at Intellectus Speculativus, and Mihai Adascalitei’s Dark Wolf’s Fantasy Reviews. Aka, wow, very humbled. Thank you everyone!

“A Slow Unfurling of Truth” in Carbide Tipped Pens

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“A Slow Unfurling of Truth” in Carbide Tipped Pens

Just a quick note/reminder that my novelette “A Slow Unfurling of Truth” is now available for sale, as is the rest of Eric Choi’s and Ben Bova’s hard SF anthology Carbide-Tipped Pens. It’s a Xuxa story about my field of expertise (well, OK, I have many such. But what I graduated in was Computer Science and Applied Mathematics, with a strong focus on probabilities). If you want to know how to do robust authentification when changing bodies, look no further :)

(also, wow that TOC)

The Fox Spirit Book of European Monsters

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The Fox Spirit Book of European Monsters

Just a quick heads-up that you can now buy The Fox Spirit Book of European Monsters, which includes my story “Melanie” as well as other enticing offerings. It’s a coffee-table book with beautiful illustrations–the first time I’ve been in a book of that format–exciting!

(also, if you happen to want a review copy, there are PDFs available. Feel free to email me).

First draft!

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First draft!

(well, second, really. The rewrite pushed it from a slight 6k to a solid 7k words. With thanks to fabulous betas Victor Fernando Campo and Rochita Loenen-Ruiz, who didn’t blink at the quick turnaround time and provided very valuable insight on what wasn’t working so well with it)

I settled on “Three Cups of Grief, by Starlight” as the title; and here’s a snippet:

Green tea: green tea is made from steamed or lightly dried tea leaves. The brew is light, with a pleasant, grassy taste. Do not over-steep it, lest it become bitter.

#

After the funeral, Quang Tu walked back to his compartment, and sat down alone, staring sightlessly at the slow ballet of bots cleaning the small room–the metal walls pristine already, with every trace of Mother’s presence or of her numerous mourners scrubbed away. He’d shut down the communal network–couldn’t bear to see the potted summaries of Mother’s life, the endlessly looping vids of the funeral procession, the hundred thousand bystanders gathered at the grave site to say goodbye, vultures feasting on the flesh of the grieving–they hadn’t known her, they hadn’t cared–and all their offerings of flowers were worth as much as the insurances of the Embroidered Guard.

Yes, it has tea!

(picture: Tea leaves steeping in a zhong čaj by Wikimol, used under a CC-BY-SA2.5, via Wikimedia Commons)