Aaron Dembski-Bowden

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

Gemma Noon & the Black Library Expo

Gemma Noon & the Black Library Expo. Man, that sounds like the most awesome Harry Potter book.

Here’s the very first guest blog post I’ve put up. It’s by the lovely Gemma Noon (duh…) and regarding Black Library’s mega-event in Canada next month.

Please enjoy. Or don’t. Jesus, whatever, man.

Leave me the fuck alone, I’ve got a novel to finish in the next 3 weeks.


*      *      *


The first time I met Aaron Dembski-Bowden I decided that I was I never, ever, reading anything written by him ever again, and that it would be a cold day in Hell before I attended any event where he was one of the guests of honour.

Yeah, turns out I was wrong.

Aaron, alongside seven more BL authors, including Dan Abnett, are coming to Alberta next month for the first Black Library event held over our side of the pond. And I invited them. I am risking my job on an event that headlines with a writer who argued with me over whether or not he should sign my book, because he didn’t believe I had read it.

I had, as it happens. I like to collect signed books, and I have a thing about keeping them pristine. Maybe it’s because I’m a librarian, or possibly because I am anally retentive. Either way, the easiest way to achieve this is to buy two copies of books that I love – one to read, one to get signed. This is what happened when I met Aaron at Black Library Live in 2010. I had loved reading Soul Hunter and was an excited fangirl about getting to meet the author, right up until he refused to believe I’d read it because the book was in perfect nick.

After a five minute argument about whether or not I knew the first thing about Soul Hunter he grudgingly signed it, but all I could think of to say in response to his accusations was, “well, yeah, I did read it, and it was totally awesome and… and… yeah I’m going now.”

Classy comeback, eh?

Anyway I kept the book, even if I did shove it behind my signed copy of Ravenor in an attempt to avoid the PTSD flashbacks from occurring. I even held out on not reading anything else by Aaron for, oh, maybe a year. The problem was that I really did love Soul Hunter, so I had to finish the series. Then, of course, he was writing for the Horus Heresy as well, so I HAD to read his books. Somewhere along the line, I had to grudgingly admit he was a brilliant writer.

 Still, I consoled myself with the fact that I wouldn’t need to buy second copies of his books for signing ever again, and I’d never come out with an idiot fangirl comment along the lines of “Oh my Gods I loved this book, like, totally, and it is, like, amazing, and, like, so are you!”

(I did actually say that to Dan Abnett at one signing. I still cringe.)

Then, by some weird twist of luck, I ended up in a position to invite the Black Library to Chestermere, Alberta, and the Black Library Expo was born. Eight authors had agreed to take part – including Aaron.

Well, shit. I need to buy second copies of his novels after all.

I’m sure you can understand my concerns when I started emailing Aaron about various aspects of the Expo, talked him into doing a podcast and generally harassing him for help publicising the event. Turns out he’s actually quite a nice bloke who is also relatively helpful, especially if you email his wife when he ignores your requests for info.

The other plus side to having spoken to him on a few occasions is that the chance of me saying something completely dumb like “Ohmigod I like totally love you please sign my forehead!” is significantly lower than it would have been six months ago. Mind you, it isn’t at zero. It depends how much space Mr McNeill’s signature takes up. And at least he knows I’ve actually read his books now, so there is no real excuse to be mean to me this time. Not really.

So I’m not quite as worried as I was about having Aaron at the Expo. I mean, he’s a nice guy, right? And Katie will be there to keep him under control. He’s done a lot more of these events since he was mean to me, so I’m sure he knows the ropes by now.

I mean, it’s not like he’s going to mean to any of the people who come to get their books signed, or start arguments with his fans. 
No. Of course he wouldn’t.


September 9, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. You can definitely tell I’ve read your stuff. Blood Reaver’s being held together with a rubber band.

    Comment by Khestra the Unbeheld | September 9, 2012 | Reply

  2. I have finally taken to buy an Ebook copy to read, and a paper copy to be pretty on my shelf (and maybe get signed). So Gemma, you are not alone. 😉

    Comment by Liliedhe | September 9, 2012 | Reply

  3. A book by ADB is the only book that i’ll put another book down for.

    After reading this I wonder what ADB would be like if Katie were not around to keep his dark side in check.

    Comment by Lord of the Night | September 9, 2012 | Reply

  4. I forsee a perfect storm which will progress in the following sequence of events. It starts with Aaron calling people out for real or imagined things that annoy him – Gemma asking Katie to handle him – Katie handling him – Aaron quieting down for an hour – the frustration at having to be ‘play nice’ building to boiling point – before ending with Aaron causing a 14 year old who loves his books to break down into tears with one glare. And the cycle begins anew.

    Comment by Lysander45 | September 9, 2012 | Reply

    • It’s the Ciiiiiiiiiiiiiircle…

      The Circle of Liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiife.

      Comment by Aaron Dembski-Bowden | September 9, 2012 | Reply

      • my copy of the first heretic is the most fucking battered thing of all time… but i’ve literally taken 20 or so books and made a book sandwich to keep my copy of Void Stalker nice and pristine…

        Comment by VDOG | September 9, 2012 | Reply

      • Funny, I thought of saying ‘the circle of life continues’ but I had decided weeks ago to limit my Disney references to 5 a month. That said I always have this mental image of the first time you bring Alexander to am event, hold him up above your head and yell ‘NaaaaaaaaSiHumYaaaaaaaaaOooRaEepYouRaBa’. Thats my text based rendition of the epic tune.

        …4 references left.

        Comment by Lysander45 | September 10, 2012 | Reply

    • you have no idea how terrified I am of this outcome.

      Comment by Gemma Noon | September 9, 2012 | Reply

  5. The only Horus Heresy book on my shelf (out of the entire series, thank you) that doesn’t sport any creases is, strangely enough, Legion. And I loved that one!
    Perhaps Alpharius & company stole my original copy and when I go to reread it it will be a completely different book. Oh, how appropriate.

    Comment by Mazed | September 9, 2012 | Reply

  6. I use duct tape (the see-through kind) on all my books even before I start reading them so I wont destroy the wonderful covers. And wow to me it seems that you two simply got off on the wrong foot and she took its depply personal.

    This can easily get out of hand. Its nice to see she has changed her mind though as I would say, putting your curzing away for a moment, is one of the most cooperative authors there are, explaining where fans migth get certain facts wrong. No disrespect towards Graham or Dan as they do their part as well. Only more formal.

    Comment by Forkmaster | September 9, 2012 | Reply

  7. When my book gets tattered,I buy a new one.
    Alexander’s shoes are not going to buy themselves 😉

    Comment by Will W. | September 11, 2012 | Reply

  8. Heh, I wish I could make it to Alberta. Would love to get books signed, the joy of my Soul Hunter and Void Stalker looking really good while my Blood Reaver is falling apart. First Heretic is falling apart, and the sections of Age of Darkness and Shadows of Treachery are falling apart that has his Night Lord stories.

    Comment by Dark_Mechanicum | September 12, 2012 | Reply

  9. Found a wierd line in Prince of Crows
    “That does not seem like a risable flaw to you Jago?”
    Is that a typo or is Trez from Pan-Pac?
    If so +5 for accuracy 🙂

    Comment by Will Wright | September 12, 2012 | Reply

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