Aaron Dembski-Bowden

Don't worry. None of this blood is mine.

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.

February 19, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , ,


  1. Don’t worry about marketing, none of the reasons that i read your book and follow your blog include anything that marketing might have been responsible for ;-).

    At least, that’s assuming you where in control when you decided your first novel was to be about Imperial Guard..
    And that you decided to visit the Frenzy…and that you decided to keep this blog updated…

    if that was all you, then you can tell marketing to go and fetch you more Pez and leave you the F alone ;-)..

    Comment by Jerry | February 19, 2010 | Reply

  2. I knew I should have bought a Pez despener for Katie. Although I would have feared you might have stolen it from her.

    Still think the best part of BL Live was you telling the dude who was in front of us you were bored. We took it to be that you were bored of him and were deeply amused.

    And the fan gushing from me over Soul Hunter mid next week as I’m nearly half way through.

    Comment by Xhalax | February 19, 2010 | Reply

  3. Just got the shipping confirmation on Soul Hunter.

    Very much looking forward to it.

    But the biggest question from me is, and still will always be(until some kind of confirmation):

    Will we see anything more of the Cadian 88th?

    Comment by Nick Risley | February 19, 2010 | Reply

  4. “I’ve started Regicide, my story for the Sabbat Worlds anthology.” – Whu-huh? I had heard about neither this anthology nor your story in it. Excellent news!

    Comment by Bomster | February 19, 2010 | Reply

  5. 1. Sweating blood is not a good thing
    2. You do need blood
    3. Blood inside you is better than the alternative
    4. …for heart stuff, yes.

    You’re right on all counts …and I am a doctor.

    Comment by Ilmarinen | February 19, 2010 | Reply

  6. Did you get that guy’s number? I mean, he did seem interested in you and may be a great snuggler. 😉

    Glad you had a great time!

    Comment by John the Great | February 19, 2010 | Reply

  7. Having only reached chapter 5 (Xhalax reads
    lilke a hyped up speed daemon) I’m loving the take on 40K. Cyrion and Talon are awesome so keep writing like this. Looking forward to the rest of the book.

    BL Live similarly awesome, as was the Seer council. Will look forward to seeing you next time.

    The dude who suggested you drew boobs on everyone’s book. I’m still disappointed you didn’t on my copy at least.

    Comment by Tim Kenyon | February 19, 2010 | Reply

  8. “4. The Night Lords are better than the Word Bearers because the Night Lords paint lightning on their armour…”

    Some guy I used to game with once described the Night Lords as “Hammer House of Chaos Marines,” glad you’re setting him straight. Or at least I hope you are, it’s two weeks ’til my Amazon order dispatches. That’s what I get for pre-ordering back in June…

    And get stuck in with those Grey Knights! Even I’m aggressively keen on you doing something with them.

    “Stuff from the ancient archives that are still canon.”

    This better be more along the lines of Genestealer cults and Jokaero than Illuminati and the Sensei. I was very happy with that tiny little notice about the Sensei being expunged in the 3rd Ed. rulebook. There’s only one Emperor’s children and they wear pink…

    Comment by G | February 19, 2010 | Reply

    • The anathema / nemesis blades are made by orangutangs, using manufacturing methods no-one else understands. That sounds pretty familiar…

      Comment by miteyheroes | February 22, 2010 | Reply

  9. Isn’t Epileptic Idol the new show coming from Simon Cowell?

    Comment by Dan Abnett | February 20, 2010 | Reply

  10. Coming this fall…only on Fox.

    Comment by Nick Risley | February 20, 2010 | Reply

  11. Mr. A – I think you may be getting somewhat confused Piers Morgan’s latest attempt to prove his worth or shred of talent; short of shutting up and going away that is.

    Comment by Tim Kenyon | February 20, 2010 | Reply

  12. Oh please please do a Grey Knights series!I have a huge Grey Knight army and need some inspiration…nothing personal to the author of the ‘other’ GK series but they both sucked and blew.

    Comment by Phillip | February 20, 2010 | Reply

  13. One of the funniest blog entries I’ve read in a long time. Magnificent! Glad you had fun.

    Comment by Kodanshi | February 20, 2010 | Reply

  14. Quite possibly the most awesomely cool blog post I have ever read. I cower before your literary might!

    Comment by Smee | February 20, 2010 | Reply

  15. I would love to read that email about the heresy things you sent. Al these things are interesting for us readers ….

    I’m looking forward to reading my badass signed soul hunter copy, but heresy comes first : reading a thousand sons now.

    Cheers !

    Comment by Bastiaan Vergoossen | February 21, 2010 | Reply

  16. I just finished SoulHunter and I think you will be doing 6 of them.
    You did a fantasic job tiing in all the little bits of fluff out these from codex’s and Lord of the Night.

    You may be new but you should not feel the least bit intimidated at those BL meetings your work stands just fine along the Kings of Heresy.
    I cannot wait to see what you do with 1st Heretic.

    Comment by Bigwill | February 21, 2010 | Reply

  17. I was the one who opened with “hey sexy,” you did congratulate me on using a cool icebreaker with just a smidgen of panic in your eyes before declaring that my name was a lie.

    Glad you had fun, you did rock and I’m not after a relationship, something casual and essentially hollow and meaningless will suit me just fine (or you know we could just run as we do now and I’ll be a fan who reads your books and occassionally comments on your blog and you’ll just be whatever it is you are)

    Comment by schaferlord | February 21, 2010 | Reply

  18. Very nice blog, your style is both hilarious and informative.

    So you’ve got Schafer after you then? Oh dear…

    Comment by Pip | February 21, 2010 | Reply

    • I second that ‘Oh dear…’ Pip. And here was me thinking I was the nightmare fan.

      Comment by Xhalax | February 21, 2010 | Reply

      • I’m starting to rue ever leading with “hey sexy” now.

        Comment by schaferlord | February 21, 2010

      • Serves you right!

        Comment by Xhalax | February 22, 2010

  19. 1) Im really intrigued after reading to find out what Dan and Graham will be up to in the future and the story behind Nemesis.

    2) I take it Dan got his ownership on the Grey Knights? Will there be any novels about the White Scars in the HH-series?

    3) “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.”

    When I read that I almost fell off my chair. 😄

    Comment by Forkmaster | February 22, 2010 | Reply

    • Regarding point three, the disdain Aaron captured when he asked “do you know what cool is?” was tangiable.

      Comment by schaferlord | February 22, 2010 | Reply

  20. So, I read Soul Hunter. It was excellent, definitely one of my favourite Black Library books. I loved the way you really saw how low they’ve falled, the desperate scavenging and so on. Very different to the normal presentation of chaos marines, but a great angle.

    There were a few things I thought were built up lots and then not properly explained/used, but presumably they’ll come back into play in later books.

    On the other hand, Word Bearers are pretty fucking cool.

    Comment by miteyheroes | February 22, 2010 | Reply

    • Word Bearers suck!

      Comment by Xhalax | February 23, 2010 | Reply

  21. Be happy Mr. Bowden. I went to 4 different book stores to try and find your book so I can read it today, and to my dismay they were all sold out! Goes to show how popular your books are becoming.

    Comment by Romolo | February 27, 2010 | Reply

  22. HI DAN ABNETT!!!!!

    Comment by Liam | April 26, 2010 | Reply

  23. Yes… now who looks a cunt?… err guess thats me, sorry couldnt resist

    Comment by Liam | April 26, 2010 | Reply

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