WeAreOneFour Covers Galore

Happy Friday, one and all.

As you may know, I'm one part of a special group, We Are One Four, that's all about 2014 debut authors. The group's had a whole bunch of fun things happening recently, not least of which is that covers seem to be popping up all over the place. There's got to be something incredibly special about the cover of your first ever book (I assume. I mean, mine's coming soon, but it's not here yet. I know, I know - it's sad) - so, I'm bringing them all together for a glorious WAOF celebration. Huzzah!

This is Ryan's cover (and he announced yesterday that THERE WILL BE BEARS will be coming out in Germany, so expect a new cover for that exciting thing. Es gibt Bären sein? I don't know. I don't speak German.

Heidi's cover is totally different to Ryan's - but it looks just as striking. A real sense of adventure and action, right? Looks at those pirates. Look at that captain. There's even more on the back - including the dreaded crocodile. Can't wait to read the book.

Kat's cover has an incredible sense of brooding, right? My first thought, since I've read the synopsis for BLACKFIN SKY, was Who's the guy in the hat? I noticed the weather vane later on, and it's a great touch now that I've read the first few lines (which you can do too, if you know where to look).

Megan's cover came out a while back, and BETWEEN will be on shelves in July - so soon! She showed her cover over on WeAreOneFour, and I love the contrast of the top and the bottom - what does ti mean? What's going to happen? I don't know.

Kelsey did something especially interesting for her cover - a competition and a public vote to see what it should be. I've never seen that done - has anyone? - and the result, of course, is something extra special. I know she adores it and can't wait to share it with the world, and who can blame her? It's a dazzling piece.


What? Kat's only gone and got herself a US cover as well. Oh, yes. Is it terribly unBritish of me to say I might like this one even more? The whole thing - the circus, the title - invites you in to the story. Great job.

As for Eren ... well, watch this space.


Booky Milestones: First Proofs

I've used this blog to track all the big steps in the life of my debut novel, Eren. There was the day I got an agent, the day I got a book deal, and the day I saw the first teaser art. It's wonderful to share these things, in part to demystify the publishing process, and in part just to shout out about something I love.

File:Whisky cropped II.jpgWell, today's another Big Moment. Earlier this morning I saw Eren's first proofs (and let me tell you, they are beautiful.) It was a strange moment for me - part relief, part nervousness, part calm detachment. Now more than ever, the story Eren is beginning to look like the book Eren.

First proofs, in short, are the first mocked up and designed pages. It's not the final-final version, and the point of it all is to catch any last minute mistakes that have crept in between editing and typesetting. My job now is to read through the whole book again (I have done this many times) and approve the pages. It's my last, last chance to make sure all the wrong words are got rid of and all the right words are in place. It's going to require some close reading and quite a few tea / coffee / whisky combo days.

Author Mindy McGinnis wrote a great blog post a couple of weeks ago called Breaking Up With Your Book. In it she explained that proofs feel a lot like breaking up with the thing you love:
After this it's out of your life, and you both move on. [...] When we see each other again it'll be in a bookstore somewhere. DUST [Mindy's second novel, about which more here] will be seeing other people.
It's an interesting point. Is this the end of Eren being mine, and the start of it being something bigger - or at least, more diluted?

I can't wait to find out.

Photo: Harry Mitchell


A Personal Post - My Gran

A lot has happened recently, both good and bad. On Saturday I heard that my gran has died, aged 92, in England. We were close, and it's sad - and, because I'm sad, I'm doing what all writers do when they feel things; I'm turning to words.

The death of a family member's never going to be fun, but it doesn't have to be tragic. Gran was old, even by today's increasingly impressive standards. She had physical difficulties at the end, but we were saved the extra pain of seeing her mind go. She was a good matriarch, was Gran. She was a Northern gal, and Northern women have limited patience for fools and time wasters. Gran always had a lot of love, though, and more than any one else I know, she was generous. With her time, her money, and her wisdom, she never hoarded or held back or even showed favourtism. Oh, she could be scathing - scathing -  of people who chose to be stupid, but she was part of the generation who went through war and came back out with a hardness in their souls that was based on respect, not selfishness, and hard work, not apathy.

She was, pure and simple, a good woman, and a good gran, and I will miss her very much.

The funeral is next week, and I'll be flying to England for one last hurrah and goodbye.

This post is not especially fun, I'm afraid, but then death is not especially fun. Why have so many poets tried to find a way to make death make sense? Why are there libraries - scores of them - filled with people's attempts to work out what it means? Because it's too hard, I think, and death is too final, for it to make sense. It's sudden and confusing and wrong - but, there you go.

I loved my gran (I still do, of course) but with her age, and her health, we knew this was coming. It's a good reminder that life is well worth living and there's so much to do, for goodness' sake.

I've been taking a few more minutes these last few days to think, to rest, and to dream. There's a lot to do, and not a lot of time in the world, but I'm learning - more and more - just how much you can get done if you share your life with others. I've been reading more again - including In Bloom, by someone I was surprised to find out is actually distant family. The world is a funny place, isn't it? Gran would have liked that - people coming together and finding things to talk about.

So, this one's for you, Gran. Requiescat in pace.