Aaron Dembski-Bowden

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

With an Eye to the Future

My 2010 was pretty great, all things considered. In a bizarre literary nexus, I had three (yeah, three) novels released in one year, despite all of them being written a million years apart. A publisher’s schedule is a crazy beast, and I am merely its wild-eyed rider.

I went to Chicago, which was one of the best weekends of my life.

I was sick in a truly staggering number of airports. I was also sick on a truly staggering amount of my own clothing.

I bumped my car into a wall, a tree, another car, and a different part of the same wall.

I made it onto the New York Times Bestseller List, which was so awesome I had to invent new swear words to describe it.

I saw several 4chan threads about my fiancee, which I thought were funny, and she most certainly did not.

I bought no fewer than 8,000,000 new hats, all of which were killer. I was also given 3; 2 of which were killer, 1 of which sucked.

I met Chris Wraight and Matt Farrer, who I added to the list of Writers Who Will Actually Talk To Me, and have locked them into the slow but pleasant process of forging into chums.

I had the most amazing conversation with my brother, where we finally cleared some deeply entrenched brainjunk and sorted through the chaotic backlog of our family history.

I forgave him when he was too hungover to remember any of it the next morning.

—   —   —   —   —   —

—   —   —   —   —   —

2011 started badly, but it’s pulled itself together in time for February. F’rex, the pixie and I just got a new car, which I’m sure in the grand scheme of things is no massive accomplishment – but to me, our new Rover represents the absolute pinnacle in car ownership thus far in my eternally confused existence. And we bought it in the same week I filed my self-assessment taxes, as well as writing my first article for a review website, paying an immense list of bills, hitting 20,000 words on my super-secret non-40K novel, starting my Grey Knights novel, and still finding time to despise my cat (who sucks, and I hate him).

All of this combines to make some kind of ultra-mature week of adulthood that any man would be proud of.

Oh, you think that’s nothing? You pay your taxes and buy cars all the time, do you? Is that how you roll?  Well try to bear in mind that it was a big deal for me. I am not a high-functioning creature. The last time I was in a legitimate fight with another human being, I not only tried to do a Sonic Boom from Streetfighter II, I was genuinely surprised when it didn’t work. That’s how my brain functions.

I like the men in the background, with their grotesque melted faces.

This year is going to be a more subdued beast than its predecessor, but not an entirely silent one. I have more signings to do this year, and more industry-careery things. A week in New York City with Andy and Ken is going to kick so much booty that I may detonate from irritatingly high-pitched excitement while we’re still checking in. Did you know Toys R Us in Times Square has a ferris wheel? Oh, you did? It’s a totally famous fact that everyone knows? Well, I didn’t, so shut up. But I’m totally getting photos of that bad boy, mark my words.

Katie is going to take an empty suitcase for clothes she buys out there, and will almost certainly disappear into the city with my credit card clutched in her tiny Irish fingers.

While I only (ha, “only”) have one novel being released in 2011 – Blood Reaver, the sequel to Soul Hunter – I’ve got the next several 40K novels on my plate fairly close to organised and loosely planned out. In fact, 2011 needs to be spent writing two of them, which will be the Grey Knights novel, and the last of the Night Lords trilogy, which I’ve currently named I Can’t Name this Book, and I Keep Changing My Mind over the Title.

I’ve also promised myself to get enough of my non-40K novel cracked so I can send it to agents and kickstart that side of my career. It currently creeps by under the working title Annabelle’s Blood, which is very apt, but I’d like it a lot more if half my sci-fi novels didn’t already have that damn noun in their names, too.

I’ve also got several short stories and a novella coming out. Not sure how much I can blab about any of them, but here’s the skinny on what’s confessable:

The novella is one of Black Library’s limited edition range, and it’s a Horus Heresy novella. I’ve toyed with notions of a Mechanicum plot in the past, but it never felt quite right. This was a big deal for me, and it had to be something damn special because of the format, but it couldn’t be essential to the saga due to the limited edition nature of the whole deal.

The story I decided to tell was actually chosen by all the freaking mail I’ve had since The First Heretic went live. “What did Lorgar witness in the Eye of Terror?”

Good question, 500,000 people. I’ll get back to you all on that later this year.

One of the short stories I’ll be doing is the prologue / teaser / test for my potential future Rise of the Warmaster series, featuring Abaddon the Despoiler in the years after the defeated Legions retreat to the Eye.

My Grey Knights novel has the working title of The Emperor’s Gift. (You may now stop asking and/or sending me suggestions.) In a spot of intriguing news, and with no spoilers allowed, it has a strong tie to Dan’s Eisenhorn/Ravenor series, and it’s set in the same era. But neither of us are saying a word more about it, yet. The phone line has burned over this one, and to say I’m excited as all hell would still be an understatement. If it doesn’t rock on toast, you have my permission to shoot me in the face.

Yeah, I’m doing another Horus Heresy novel, but not in 2011. No, I can’t say what it’s about yet. It’s still a long way away, and I have more immediate stuff I want to write.


Most terrifying of all.

I’m getting married in the summer.

We’re sorting out wedding invites this month, now we’ve got the gold coins to do so. The list is small (out of intention, not loneliness), and was a surprisingly murderous process of chop-chop-chopping here and there, to whittle it down to something manageable and intimate. Like, do you invite “mates”? What about “chums” and “pals”? Colleagues, maybe, but what about “co-workers”? Jesus, is there even a difference? What’s with all the goddamn synonyms? And what’s the difference between a distant friend and a close acquaintance?

These questions and many more, how they plagued us.

But for now, I leave you with a query that has rattled around my skullspace for several blighted weeks:

What the hell is this thing, and can I have one as a wedding present?

I think I’d call him Tybalt.


February 1, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. Good stuff, sir. About time you took a little bit easier with the writey thing – but also on yourself. Although it is easy to get behind on stuff (I personally still have stuff to mark from the 1600s) you shouldn’t chastise yourself so harshly – that’s what editors are for. So, my advice for 2011 – since 2010 kicked ass, let 2011 be the admirer of ass.

    Comment by TimKenyon | February 1, 2011 | Reply

  2. That is a young weasel. Have fun with it and get me one too. My girlfriend will be delighted 😉

    Comment by Chris | February 1, 2011 | Reply

  3. sounds good, i was going to get married this year but shit out and stalled it for a few more year (thankin you mr bad ecenomic times). sooooooo which book are you naming a character after me in? you best have been serious as i have told everyone (if you were not serious i have cover in the fact the people i told live in the North West England so probably cant read anyhow.

    what the outline for you own novel (bad wording, i mean not under the 40k ip)

    Comment by mitch | February 1, 2011 | Reply

  4. Weasle, surely it is a Stoat? Anyway, more good words from the brain of A D-B, keep it up. I’m off to the range to practice my ‘author face shooting’ just in case. I’m sure I wont need it but be prepared, as my creepy scout master used to say.

    Comment by Soaps | February 1, 2011 | Reply

  5. I was wondering whenabouts that wedding of yours was. Party and cake appropriately. 😀

    ‘One of the short stories I’ll be doing is the prologue / teaser / test for my potential future Rise of the Warmaster series, featuring Abaddon the Despoiler in the years after the defeated Legions retreat to the Eye.’

    Buh. I just went a little bit starry-eyed for a second there.

    Not to mention the whole ‘Grey Knights/Eisenhorn/Ravenor’ business. That’s awesome.

    I’m intrigued about this non-40k project. I look forward to hearing more about this.

    Comment by RayeRaye | February 1, 2011 | Reply

    • I just had to say, I love this use of the word “cake” as a verb.

      Comment by narry | February 1, 2011 | Reply

  6. All good news to hear, young Aaron. Congratulations on the various successes mentioned above.

    That, by the way, is a very young Pine Marten; vis. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pine_Marten

    They are like stoats and weasels, but crucially, in Brian Jaques’ Redwall books they are merely mischevious, whereas stoats and weasels are actually the bad guys. Just FYI.

    Comment by Vinnie | February 1, 2011 | Reply

  7. Can’t wait for my invite, I’ve not been to Ireland for years.

    Comment by Richard Ford | February 1, 2011 | Reply

  8. [Best Man mode]
    Generally speaking, you invite people you can tolerate, their significant others in applicable, and relatives. This may require compromises with the spouse-to-be because your pals may not be their pals, and vice versa. Tradeoffs may be in order. The longer the guest list, the greater the exponential growth of the food and drink bill. Assign a Best Man with all possible haste, give them the groomsmen list, let them all handle the arrangements for the stag party and all that jazz; you concentrate on ensuring that you get some level of say in decorations, theme, music, seating arrangements, gift registry items, groomsmen tux design (I recommend mandarin collars, spares everyone’s feelings on tie/cummerbund bullshit, plus they’re badass), and reception location. Trust, but verify; let her do most of the finalizing, but ensure you don’t end up wearing pink and purple.[/Best Man mode]

    Comment by Khestra the Unbeheld | February 1, 2011 | Reply

  9. Can I come to the wedding? I have a great tuxedo shirt and I’m learning how to breakdance for the reception. They say only a fool teaches himself how to breakdance by watching Breakin’ 2 on an endless loop; but as God is my witness I am that fool!

    Comment by dethmunky | February 1, 2011 | Reply

  10. *obligatory “In Midnight Clad” suggestion for the Night Lords finale*

    I think “Annabelle’s Blood” is a perfectly fine title.

    If you’re writing about vampires, of course.

    “The Emperor’s Gift” is stirring Dan from his slumber on the Eisenhorn series?
    Fucking. Pimptastic.

    New Horus Heresy novel? Please, please, please, please be a new Dark Angels novel!

    Comment by Nick Risley | February 1, 2011 | Reply

  11. No, Soaps is correct, that is helluva stoat. Check the markings. You might have thought a pine marten was weaselly recognised, but in fact it is stoatally different.

    Comment by sredni vashtar | February 1, 2011 | Reply

  12. Congratulations!

    Comment by Phoebus Lazaridis | February 1, 2011 | Reply

  13. You think Loken is bad biting at your fingers..That bad boy will bite it clean off =D

    Stoats, awesome creatures. But certainly not pet worthy, try a ferret if you want something close to it’s “cuteness”.

    Comment by FoxyStoat | February 1, 2011 | Reply

  14. Don’t worry ADB, /tg/ loves you still. And we tend not to make those threads anymore, lol.

    Comment by Hamanu | February 1, 2011 | Reply

  15. Aaron, will you be doing any signings in NYC?
    Hope you enjoy that overrated little Ferris wheel in ToysRUs. For my money I prefer the merry-go-round in Bryant Park.
    This is an article I show to a lot of my buddy’s couch-surfers that they usually enjoy if you want to see odd city landmarks:

    Comment by Anthony Giordano | February 1, 2011 | Reply

  16. That little fella is some sort of baby mustelid. He looks cute now, but he’ll grow into a badger or a wolverine or something and will *do* you, they way they did for Terry Nutkins. Trust me: I work in conservation (for now.)

    I still reckon you need to get the word “legacy” into the last Night Lords novel. And have someone say: “History abhors a paradox.”

    And the novella, is that going to be one of those £30, 30 page A5 jobs?

    Glad you’ve scaled back the output a bit. I’ve got a new years resolution to only buy 12 paper books this year (the rest have to be electronic) and I think you’re already in 4 of them…

    Comment by G | February 1, 2011 | Reply

  17. That should be:
    “…into the last Night Lords *title*…”

    I hate my brain and my brain hates me.

    Comment by G | February 1, 2011 | Reply

  18. Dammmnn,total awesomeness that the Grey Knights is set in Scarus sector.
    That could only lead to good things.
    Wonder if this will eventually tie in to Bequin?
    Your head must be ready to pop.

    Comment by BigWill | February 1, 2011 | Reply

  19. You found threads about your fiancee… in 4chan? *Shifty eyes.* May I know what they are? *Dives.*

    Truth be told, awesome to hear more ADB Words of Wisdom!

    Good luck on that wedding planning. I hear that’s one bitch of a disaster in the making. I’m sure you’ll do ‘just’ fine!

    And so much writing stuff! @_@ Don’t break your brain so quickly!

    Comment by Lord of Insanity | February 2, 2011 | Reply

  20. Dude, I think I just nerd-man-orgasmed twice over reading what to expect this year and potentially next year! Dude, frakking awesome. Good luck with the writing and the wedding.

    Comment by Forkmaster | February 2, 2011 | Reply

  21. Oh for the last title I would go with the Night Lord in Latin
    “Dominus Nocte”

    Comment by BigWill | February 2, 2011 | Reply

  22. If you need some help getting pissed up in NYC (which I’m sure you’re more than capable of doing un-aided) drop me a line and I would be happy to show you guys the finest watering holes the city has to offer.

    Comment by PK | February 2, 2011 | Reply

  23. Aaron, good to hear you survived the first month of 2011! I’m looking forward to reading Blood Reaver, the Dark Angels short story (in Age of Darkness, right?) and The Emperor’s Gift sounds intriguing.

    Any idea when Soul Hunter will hit eBook format? I’d like to have an electronic copy in addition to the paper version 😉

    Comment by Chinh Tran | February 3, 2011 | Reply

  24. Yay, it’s wonderful that you yet live, Aaron. Good luck on The Emperor’s Gift, sounds absolutely killer. Desperately hoping your next HH novel will be about the World Eaters. That legion could use some ADB magic. Keep it real, handsome.

    Comment by William | February 3, 2011 | Reply

  25. Somehow I knew you’d think the Sonic Boom maneuver would work. 😉

    Tybalt looks AMAZING! You should totally get one!

    Comment by John the Great | February 3, 2011 | Reply

  26. One of the short stories I’ll be doing is the prologue / teaser / test for my potential future Rise of the Warmaster series, featuring Abaddon the Despoiler in the years after the defeated Legions retreat to the Eye.

    Any relation to the series of the same name on the B&C by Skirax? 😉

    Comment by Chapter Master Domus | February 16, 2011 | Reply

    • Negatorium, I’m quite careful about never reading forumfic, or even clicking the Librarium.

      Comment by aarondembskibowden | February 16, 2011 | Reply

  27. Aaron,

    Based on the markings I believe that is a baby Stoat.

    Check out the amazing series “Life” that the BBC put out for some very mind blowing footage of these little guys taking on rabbits 10 times their size – and winning.

    After seeing that footage the word “Stoat” now means “Totally Badass” in my mind. 🙂

    Nice. I actually just found the footage on Youtube.

    Comment by brainwashed | February 21, 2011 | Reply

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