10Jul

Sea Chair

“Since the discovery of the Pacific Garbage Patch in 1997, which is predicted to measure twice the size of Texas, five more have been found across the world’s oceans with the Atlantic gyre predicted to be even larger. This plastic takes thousands of years to degrade, remaining in the environment to be broken up into ever smaller fragments by ocean currents.”

Read more on Vimeo.

7Jul

Retribution – Cover Art & Blurb

RetributionHaving just solved a difficult case in his home city of Tryum, Sun Chamber Officer Lucan Drakenfeld and his associate Leana are ordered to journey to the exotic city of Kuvash in Koton, where a revered priest has gone missing. When they arrive, they discover the priest has already been found – or at least parts of him have. But investigating the unusual death isn’t a priority for the legislature of Kuvash; there’s a kingdom to run, a census to create and a dictatorial Queen to placate. Soon Drakenfeld finds that he is suddenly in charge of an investigation in a strange city, whose customs and politics are as complex as they are dangerous.

Kuvash is a city of contradictions; wealth and poverty exist uneasily side-by-side and behind the rich façades of gilded streets and buildings, all levels of depravity and decadence are practised. When several more bodies are discovered mutilated and dumped in a public place, Drakenfeld realizes there’s a killer at work who seems to delight in torture and pain. With no motive, no leads and no suspects, he feels like he’s running out of options. And in a city where nothing is as it seems, seeking the truth is likely to get him killed . . .

Retribution is the second Lucan Drakenfeld novel, following Drakenfeld. It’s published in October and you can pre-order it here.

7Jul

More Drakenfeld Coverage

Empire
That picture’s from Empire online, which has been decorated rather nicely in Drakenfeld paperback colours. Advertising aside, there’s an interview with me over at Fantasy Faction – the questions being asked by fellow fantasy scribe Juliet McKenna. I talk about history, books, writing etc.

You’re absolutely right, and women were far more powerful in history than we tend to believe. Figures such as the legendary Empress Theodora of the Byzantine era are among the most interesting and powerful characters in all of history, for my money. Women had pretty much equal rights to men during Anglo Saxon Britain, something conveniently forgotten by those who make claims in their own work that it’s just how things were for women. Imagine what life would be like if it wasn’t for the Norman conquest and those rights hadn’t been taken away?

And A Fantastical Librarian reviews Drakenfeld:

With Drakenfeld Newton moves in a very different direction than his previous series, but the world and characters he creates are instantly compelling and very entertaining. I loved the details Newton inserted into his world building, such as the graffiti everywhere and the political structures not just of Tryum, but of the Vispasian Union over all. Drakenfeld is a wonderful start to the series and I can’t wait to read Lucan and Leana’s next adventure later this year in Retribution.

4Jul

Things on the Internet

What with it being paperback release week, I’ve a few things out and about online. The first is a guest post at SFX Magazine, where I talk about The Fantasy Of Ancient History:

Imagine the Prime Minister, David Cameron. Imagine he’s going to write down what life is like for the British people. (If you’re reading this in America, try this with Mitt Romney instead of Dave.) Imagine Dave is trying to paint a vivid picture of British life, and also that he was going to write down what ‘great things’ he’d done for the country. Now imagine that, in a thousand years, historians were going to read Dave’s great writings, along with Michael Gove, Iain Duncan Smith and other wealthy members of the Cabinet, and these writings were going to inform the people / robots of the future that this is what life was really like for people in 2014.

There’s an interview with me at A Fantastical Librarian:

Investigators are a great way of exploring a secondary world without info-dumping on the reader. A detective will get to meet a wide array of character classes, and get a first-hand look at the underbelly of any world you create. I love creating worlds and I’ve found that investigators are, for me, the best way of painting a great picture for the reader. I also like the ‘engine’ of a crime novel, more so than, say, a quest (not to say it’s bad, this is merely my preference). With a mystery there’s an inherent narrative drive to keep the reader turning the pages. No matter what kind of writer you are, you still want readers to follow to the end.

And on UpComing4Me I talk about the story behind Drakenfeld:

I’m most passionate about writing when I’m annoyed with something. For Drakenfeld, I had become a bit annoyed with various discussions of fantasy books. I had noticed a trend, in very broad and casual terms, that people were beginning to associate the level of violence and ‘grit’ in a fantasy novel with how good a book it was. That dialogue in certain quarters, subconsciously or otherwise, was being dismissive of fiction that did not have much in the way of visceral action. ‘Grimdark’ characters could rape, murder, and revel in it – and that was being deemed as mature fiction. As grown up.

Which is plainly crap.

29Jun

Allotment Updates

Allot1
Toms
Cauli
I realise it’s actually been a while since I’ve posted allotment photographs, so here we go. Things are in full swing. The potatoes are roaring away in the centre. Cauliflower, peas and brussels sprouts are under some fairly robust netting. The tomatoes are in the greenhouse – I think we’ve about 20 plants in all, or something stupid like that (I expect a good crop). We’ve actually got a good system where we’ve opened the greenhouse window and the door, but draped netting over it, to allow good airflow.

The only bad news is the onset of allium leaf miner. Not many books even cover this pest, as it’s relatively new to the UK, but suffice to say it has wiped out every onion on the entire allotment site. Some of the chaps are convinced it’s eelworm, as the symptoms are similar, but it isn’t – not if you crack open the onions and see the signs. What it means, though, is that from every year now we’re going to have to grow onions under horticultural fleece, which isn’t the most attractive thing.