The Big Weekend: Redux
Note the ticket. Note the Soul Hunter cover art. Truly, a thing of beauty.
Anyway, I’m still alive.
Been a little busy, lately. I finished Throne of Lies, the Night Lords audiobook, which is set a handful of months after Soul Hunter. I’m polishing The First Heretic based on Dan’s (thankfully light) feedback, and a few things that Graham pointed out. I’ve started Regicide, my story for the Sabbat Worlds anthology.
Beyond that, I need to finalise my synopsis for Soul Hunter II: Your Navigator Really Sucks; I need to pitch my Abaddon/Black Legion story for Favourite Recipes of the Space Marines; I need to brood manfully on my story for Tales of Heresy II: Electric Boogaloo, and I want to have a clearer idea of my next novel after Soul Hunter II, which might be (schedule-willing) a Horus Heresy one again. I’m enamoured of the working title: The Legio Hypocritica. Don’t sweat any precious blood trying to work out if it’s a reference – the book might never happen, or might take years. And you need that blood. You need it inside you, for… heart… stuff. Look, I’m not a doctor. Just shut up.
Along with all this, I’m feverishly trying to catch up with several people who are still waiting for me to get back to them. Mostly Nik, Rob and David. I can feel their eyes on me now, staring hatred into my juicy braincore. Today was blogging and work emails. Tomorrow is friend-mails. See, I’m getting back in the saddle.
In killer news, the first reviews and online discussions of Soul Hunter are sliding onto the radar, and it’s taking no prisoners. I admit, I’m massively proud of it and I expected it to do well, but it looks like it’s kicking fifty kinds of ass. Really, Cadian Blood was good and all, but I found my tone and confidence with Soul Hunter. Although CeeBee got rave reviews, SoHo is the one I’ve been waiting endlessly for, so people could start judging me on it. I suspect it’ll be the first taste of my grey matter that most readers get, which I’m all kinds of cool with.
– The Horus Heresy Meeting –
Oh, right. Yeah. The Horus Heresy meeting.
Most of the time, I come across as pretty relaxed, pretty casual. That holier-than-thou, cooler-than-shit demeanour absolutely erodes at HH meetings. I’m sure a fictionalised account of events that paint me as an ice-cool ninja cyborg will shortly be forthcoming by Yours Truly, but the short version is as follows:
1. Dan’s named his next HH book, but you’re not allowed to know it yet.
2. Graham’s next HH novel idea is badass. I hope he does it.
3. Jim’s post-Nemesis idea is also pretty fly for a white guy. Also, I got the full plot of Nemesis spoon-fed to me, after much begging. It’s absolutely badassingly killer, and may be the best thing to happen to humanity since Aria Giovanni decided that clothing was optional.
4. We hit on some subjects and plot points that could/should/would be mentioned a little more. Stuff from the ancient archives that are still canon, but don’t see much in the way of daylight lately. On that note, I sent an email to the others today, bringing up one aspect of it. I’ll probably post it (plus disclaimers) later this week. It shows a haunting insight into the whole design process, and how my presence is affecting the HH veterans. You can just tell they’re really, really glad to see this bullshit from the new guy show up in their inbox.
5. The best thing (beyond all the idea-sharing and concept-spawning) was that we’ve decided to correspond and analyse junk a lot more than we have before, exchanging drafts and soliciting opinions on X, Y and Z as we write it. Essentially, the series should interlink more in the future. That’s the plan, anyway.
– Black Library Live –
At the signing, one guy greeted me with “Hey, Sexy.”
I am rarely lost for words. Not only was I tongue-tied then, despite having no intention of pursuing a relationship with the guy, I did suddenly recall that I’m about 2 stone overweight. A work-from-home job with crazy hours will do that to you. Thankfully, recent developments mean I’m losing weight for once, and by Games Day 2010 at the end of the year, I think I’ll look pretty different.
I think I replied to him with “Uh… hi.”
The Morning: The day opened with me and Nick Kyme doing a reading. He read from the Salamanders chapbook he had out on the day. I was supposed to read from Soul Hunter, but didn’t bother, since I hate doing readings. Marketing’s nightmare to get me to play ball continues, as you can see.
Instead, I read out the quotes on the back of the book, from Graham and Dan, that mentioned how great I was. Then I read out the book’s introduction, the speech given by the VIII Legion primarch at the final gathering before his death. I think it went down well. People laughed at the right moments, and asked some killer questions, despite the fact no one had actually read the book by that point. It was only released 20 minutes before, after all.
I had to temporarily steal someone’s book, too. Katie ran off to get me something to actually read from, and had to steal Nichola’s copy. Incidentally, after the non-reading, Nic gave me some Pez. I fell silent for several heartbeats, touched at this kindest of gestures. For some men, the way to their hearts is through fine dining, or lacy lingerie. For other men – men who operate on higher planes of consciousness, excellence and morality – the way to their heart is through Pez.
I took the Pez.
The Pez didn’t last very long. In my clutches, it never had a chance.
The Afternoon: In the afternoon, I signed some stuff. I’m beginning to think that all the people at my publisher who keep telling me my signature takes too long may actually have a point. Now that I have more things to sign, I was holding up the queue. This was good for my ego, but bad for people who have more interesting things to do with their lives than stand around all day and wait for me to colour in all the vowels in the words ‘Soul Hunter’.
I didn’t get to sit on any panels, for several reasons. Firstly, the Horus Heresy panel, which you’d think I’d’ve been a shoe-in for, was focused on Propsero Burns and A Thousand Sons. And rightly so. It’s an event that deserves the airtime. I was off the Audiobook panel because Throne of Lies wasn’t done, and it was pointless having me there when the other guys had been doing it for ages and actually had things to say. And I was off the “How to Write for Black Library” panel because the last time I did that one, my sage advice was “Be really good”, and I said the word fuck no fewer than thirty-six times.
BLTV came up to me, and mentioned 2 things of skin-crawlingly embarrassing coolness. Firstly, that people apparently wanted to see more of me in their videos. I said that’d rock, but to wait until I’ve lost more weight. (I am Marketing’s dream boy.) And secondly… it’s a secret. Sorry. But if it happens, it’ll be killer. Around about the same time, I got to talk to George Mann, head of BL, and discovered he wasn’t an ogre that ate dreams and children. Before this meeting, I’d been scared of those assumptions being facts. Did I have any evidence? No. I just like to give people backstories before I meet them. So sue me.
A new feature for the day was the Seer Council, where we got locked in a room with 15 readers and they got to ask us stuff. This was my fave part of the day, by a million, billion miles. It was good to be completely natural with people for once. Editor Alex sat there as I spoke, occasionally wincing, occasionally willing me by psychic pulse to shut the hell up. It was good juju. Mostly, I was amazed anyone had any idea who I was. Depending on who you believe, my Seer Council filled up 2nd or 3rd. Dan Abnett said I was 2nd, after him. Rik from BL said I was 3rd, after Dan and Graham. Either way, that’s rad.
As I recall, I commented on the following things:
1. I’m aggressively keen on doing a Grey Knights series.
2. If Dan ever asked to do the White Scars, there’d be no fight. One guy seemed keen for the fabled melee to take place between me and King Dan, which was a little bloodthirsty of him, and sort of scary. I remember saying “Dude… you want me to fight my epileptic idol? You have issues, man.”
3. The Night Lords series is a trilogy. It might go up to two trilogies if the editors keep digging it, and I don’t get bored.
4. The Night Lords are better than the Word Bearers because the Night Lords paint lightning on their armour, and they can fly. Lightning + Flying = Cool. Even a 4-year-old knows that. I learned it in school, and you should’ve, too. I did have serious answers once in a while during the half-hour chat, but this is the one that sticks out most of all.
5. Graham McNeill can drink like an army of bastards, and is a lot of fun on nights out.
6. I lied and said I could take him in a fight. I think people could tell it was an elaborately carved falsehood, as I sat there giggling in my White & Nerdy hoody.
After this, Mark (from Marketing) mentioned that I was always really mean to people and they still loved me. He asked why that was. “It’s called a personality, Mark. You should try it some time.”
You see that there? That’s vengeance for him not linking my blog in the bio section of my novels. And let me tell you, vengeance tasted sticky-sweet, like a Rowntree’s fruit gum you find in your pocket two weeks after you’ve finished the packet.
Now, enough. Enough! Let it be finished. Sarah, Ben, it was killer to meet you in the hours after all of this nonsense took place, but this is getting massive now and it needs to die. I was going to end with a discussion about wedding songs, but it’s already long enough and I need to get some work done. So that can come in a day or two.
Now go away.