I Am Back (and you can pre-order Eren)

I've been gone for the last two weeks - did you notice?

Probably not, but that's OK. I went to Scotland for a week. It was beautiful and amazing and very relaxing. Then I went to England, and walked my sister down the aisle, and that was beautiful and amazing in different ways. Her cake had a TARDIS and a Batman logo on it, which probably tells you a lot about the wedding.

The holiday also included a stop in the New Forrest, which has a very satisfying number of donkeys. See?

My favourite animal.

Now I'm doing that post-holiday thing where you try to get back up to speed with your normal life, which seems to have been running even while you've been away. There are work e-mails, and people to hang out with, and post to go through ...

It's a bit like jumping onto a spinning roundabout and trying to not be thrown off. But, as all kids know, that's actually quite fun. So, it's going well.

Here is today's exciting news: Eren is now available to pre-order. Hooray! If you want to make sure you're among the first to get your copy, then pre-ordering's a great way to do that.

If you're in the UK, I suggest you go here - http://www.hive.co.uk/store-locator/. It's the Hive store locator, and it will point you to your nearest independent bookshop. There's also localbookshops.co.uk, and probably many other ways.

There's also my publisher's website, though the 'P.' seems to have fallen off my name over there. That is still me. I promise.

If you go to your local store and they want the ISBN, then here you go:

ISBN-10: 1472110978
ISBN-13: 978-1472110978

Finally, it's also on the UK Amazon site, and you can pre-order it here.



Announcing EREN TALES

Yesterday's cover reveal was phenomenal in itself, and I'm so thankful to everyone who shared / commented on / Tweeted about the beautiful artwork. You can still enter the giveaway to win a copy of Modern Grimmoire - just see the cover reveal post for more info.

It was interesting timing, mind, because today I'm launching something really special. It's an idea I've had for some time - and idea that's slowly turned into reality. It's been secret and hush-hush for months now. It's all to do with Eren, and stories, and expanding the world of the book...

Here it is - Eren Tales

Eren Tales is going to be a year-long project of short stories and photographs designed to compliment Eren. Six stories are being published leading up to Eren's hardback publication, starting with the First Tale, Shaman. It's on the site now - go, read, and let me know what you think! Six more story / photo combos will follow, leading up to paperback publication.

The photos are all being designed and shot by my brother-in-law-who-is-also-a-friend, Brandon Rechten. I love Brandon's work, and being able to work closely with someone who I trust, and who is so committed to the artwork, should be a great experience. 

You may be able to tell I am mildly excited about all this. 

So, yes. Eren Tales. I'll let the project speak for itself - just click the link above, or visit www.erentales.com to learn more.


Eren Cover Reveal and Giveaway

I am so excited to be able to share this with you all - Eren has a cover! It's a very odd feeling seeing my name on there, but I couldn't be happier with the design C&R have come up with. Eren's been in my head for so long now that the idea of it being an actual book is very strange - but it's going to be, and it's going to be beautiful. Ellie, the illustrator, and Jessie, the art director, have found the perfect look - dark, raw, but so intriguing. As I'm sure you can tell, I love it. Just wait till you see what else they've come up with...

Let's have no more delays. Guys, I give you ... Eren.

Nice, right? I mean ... wow.

To celebrate the cover release, I'm running a two week giveaway to win a copy of Indigo Ink Press' Modern Grimmoire: Contemporary Fairy Tales, Fables & Folklore. It's another stunning book, and you can read all about it on the publishers' website here. Like fairy tales? Like modern retellings of them? Want to read one of mine - a modern Pied Piper with a man who eats glass and uses stories instead of music? Well, you can - just enter the giveaway below.

You can also add Eren to your Goodreads pile by clicking here. Enjoy!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Putting Flesh on the Bones - The Writing Process Blog Tour

How do writers actually write? It's the classic question - the question - that authors and thinkers and everything in between has tried to answer since the first 'once upon a time...'

Everyone has their own habits and systems, and we're probably a product of the books we read just as much as the books we want to write. Hearing how other people write - how they get the damn letters to behave themselves, and the words to stop being so silly - can tell you a lot about that person.

It's probably a bad thing that I'm about to write about my own process, then. Actually, I've been tagged in The Writing Process Blog Tour (Ooooh). How did this happen? You have Kat Ellis to blame for that. Kat and I have the same agent, and though we've never met, Twitter and blogging and generally sharing the journey to publication has given me a somewhat 'comrade-in-arms' mentality about Kat. She's also a nifty writer. Her debut, Blackfin Sky, has sold in the UK and the US, and will be coming out in May and September, respectively. You can read her piece for this tour, Plot Holes and Plug Holes, over on her blog. It is very good.

After my answers, I'm gonna pass on the baton to some more awesome new writers. I hope you stick around and see what they have to say next week. Enjoy!

What am I working on?

My debut, Eren, is coming out in September, and though it feels odd to say it, it's now completely done. It's been strange turning to other projects, but I'm now deep into my second book (as yet untitled, because titles are stupid and hard and who even needs them anyway?). I tend to always be writing a few short stories - it keeps you fresh, I think, and different formats help challenge you as a writer.

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

My genre is middle grade fantasy (or middle grade magical realism, if you think that's a real thing), so the books that are big successes tend to be generally upbeat, in the end. I think my work is darker, even though it's for children. I remember as a kid wanting to see movies and read books where you didn't know that somehow the good side was going to win. Why didn't the bad guys ever end up on top? And so, Eren began...

Why do I write what I do?

David Almond's Skellig has been a huge inspiration to me. You don't have to look at Eren very hard to see that even as a child, my thinking about the world was changed by Almond's prose. Why do I write what I do? Because it's fun, and because it was my story to tell, but also because I was inspired by the right book at the right time.

How does my writing process work?

I called this post 'Flesh on the Bones' for a reason. When I write, I always put together a skeleton story first, connecting the major points, getting things generally the right way up, but without the finese or sensible storytelling that makes books work. A novel that's due to be 40,000 words will only be 30,000 in a first draft, because I know that the second time through, I will pad it out - or, put flesh (better writing, new characters, snappy dialogue) on the bones (rushed passages, silly wordings, and downright mistakes).

Practically, writing for me means getting into a zone, and shooting off a couple of thousand words at a time. My wife has complained before that I might as well not be there when I write - a day can pass and I don't focus on much else. Once this is done, though, I have to let the pages sit and breathe. Only time can give you distance, and perspective is the best magnifying glass, to show you the problems with your drafts. So, I splurge, and then I don't read it again for a couple of weeks. Letting writing 'cool' is, for me, the most important and most frustrating part. I know in my head that I need to do it - but the temptation's always there to rush it, and by doing so, to ruin in.


It's time to step aside and let some other authors take the stage. I'm tagging two fantastic writers for the next stage of the tour. Be sure to keep a lookout for their posts next week!

Chloe Banks lives in a quiet corner of England with her husband, baby son and a childish sense of excitement. Armed with nothing but a science degree she set out to teach herself how to write in 2009. She has had a handful of short story successes and her first novel The Art of Letting Go is shortly to be published by Thistle Publishing. When not trying to get words to behave, she spends her days tramping the hills, baking pudding and aggressively avoiding celery. You can find her at chloebanks.co.uk or on twitter @ChloeTellsTales.

Kate Jarvik Birch is a visual artist and writer living in Salt Lake City,
Utah with her husband and three kids.
She wrote her first novel in fourth grade (the main character was suspiciously similar to herself and the love interest bore quite a strong resemblance to the boy she had a crush on). As an adult, her essays and short stories have been published in Isotope: A Journal of Literary Nature and Science Writing, Saint Ann’s Review, Scissors and Spackle and Indiana Review. Kate’s art has been sold in stores like Pier 1, Target and World Market and has been used in feature films like 21 Jump Street and Looper as well as TV shows like Glee and Medium. See Kate's website at http://katejarvikbirch.blogspot.com/ and find her on Twitter as @katejarvikbirch


On Being Busy and Creating

While I like to think of myself as a generally creative guy (my GCSE in Pottery is probably one of my proudest and, looking back, most baffling achievements) the last few weeks have been  some of the most busiest creative weeks of my life. Timelines and deadlines have congregated, as only timelines and deadlines can, so that I suddenly have a lot of Things To Do. This isn't a complaint, mind - these are things I've chosen to do, because I want to, and I hope they'll make me (and the world) a bit happier.

Still, it's got me thinking a lot more about being busy and how it affects creative thinking.

(I'd also recommend this video by TimH about creativity and time. Look out for what he says about creating things when you have the least free time of all - it is good.)

So, being busy. It's a pretty subjective thing. One person's manic business is another person's regular job, and they way we deal with our time depends, in the end, on who we are. It might be tempting to look at someone else and decide they have much more time than you - but what does that matter? You're responsible for your own time, in the end.

 Remember the words of Gandalf, kids - "All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us."

Artwork by Nidoart
The many things I'm doing right now - some related to Eren and its publication, others related to new books, and others not related to my writing at all, but still things that need to be done - are taking up evenings and weekends, mornings and afternoons, time I should be working, time I should be sleeping ... and to top it all, there's weddings coming up, and vacation, and I'm going to be in Scotland for two weeks... 

It's brilliant.

Maybe just like an oil tanker takes a long time to get going, but then a long time to slow down, creativity has momentum. Could that be how it works? That if you're making things and doing things, you're more likely to make other things, do other things, and spur yourself on even more? Turns out, I think it is. Creativity breeds creativity, and being busy can wake you up, get you going, and (for me) force you to keep on top of your time, in a way few other things can. 

The things I'm doing that are keeping me busy, but through that they're helping me do more things. I know the cycle will break, eventually - a big project will come to and end and the house of cards will crumble - but right now, with all the balls in the air, I'm buzzing.

Now, I know it's possible to burn out. The flip side of creativity is probably apathy. I'm not wary of that, though I do know it exists.

I just hope at the moment that the outcome of my work will be good - and, when I look back, it will have been worth it.