INK - The Sixth Eren Tale

Super proud to share the newest Eren Tale - INK.

Eren Tales - a series of twelve short stories and photographs inspired by and working alongside Eren - is now halfway done. The first six tales - Shaman, Nightmare, Teeth, Mountain, Bridge and Ink - have been incredible fun to write and produce, and working with Brandon to make sure the tales and the artwork come together has been inspiring / fun / eye opening. Ink has a special place in my heart as the Eren Tale that comes out the same month as Eren was finally published. In fact, Ink ties directly into the book - but I won't give that away. To read all the tales, just head over to the website www.erentales.com.


Eren's Book Launch and My Very Bookish Week

Man. It has been a crazy, happy, busy, never-to-be-repeated week. Sometimes it's amazing how much can happen in seven days, and believe me, this week has seen a lot. Last Thursday, my book came out. It was a truly spectacular feeling, a mix of relief and mild terror, and I celebrated by not working and generally being on Twitter. On Saturday we had Eren's launch party, and on Sunday I went to Brooklyn Book Festival. This post is a recap and a celebration of my very bookish week.

Book Meets World

Because Eren came out in the UK, but I'm living in the U.S., we didn't do a full bookshop launch. Instead, we threw open my parents-in-law's house and turned the place into an Eren-esque world. My wife, Ashley, did a stunning job decorating the rooms, and along with the food and the (much) wine, I did my first ever public reading (passable) and got to see the first ever reading by someone who knew what they were doing (my sister-in-lawish and drama teacher, Steph. It was marvelous). There was so much more, too - Raffle! Cheese! Helium balloons that make you talk funny! Proper magic all round.

The Story Jar, one of the illustrations from the book
The five Eren Tales published so far, with Brandon's five photos

Booklyn in Brooklyn

Brooklyn Book Festival's a huge deal. Last year was our first time going, and seeing speakers like Lois Lowry, Patrick Ness, and Lev Grossman made it more than worth it. Add to that the almost overwhelming number of publishers, presses, authors, literary companies, artists, and generally booky people who set up shop, and BKBF is worth checking out. Tired from the party the day before, we were - admitedly - a little less enthused that 2013, but listening to the new cast recording of Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere made the drive a lot easier (even if Manhattan and Brooklyn driving made the whole thing a lot scarier). Highlights of this year include listening to RL Stine (yes, of Goosebumps fame), seeing Lev Grossman again (whose latest I am avoiding buying because my birthday is coming up, but ... argh) and the exciting addition of spicy Jamaican food that was amazing and made me and my wife tear up while listening to a poetry session.

What else did we do? We won free audiobooks (Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Stardust, thank you very much) and chatted to One Story and PEN America, and generally had a good time. Behold:

It Continues

Every day this week someone has put up a review or a giveaway or a sample of Eren as part of the blog tour. Well, that's not slowing down, with posts scheduled across the web for another few weeks. Please do check out the sites that have agreed to take part. I explained all about it HERE and you can keep track of who's doing what using the tour banner.

And ... I think that's it. If you've read Eren, THANK YOU, and I would love to hear what you think, either on Goodreads or elsewhere. For those who want to check the book out, links are below. Thank you again to all who've made this a spectacular week. Here's to many more.

Eren is available now.


Eren is Released Today in the UK!

I've wanted to write this post for a long time - and now, finally, I get to. My debut novel, Eren, is published today in the UK. It's out in hardback and ebook form, with paperback to come in six months or so.

Wow. In a lot of ways this post is the culmination of everything this blog was meant to do. When I first posted (In March 2012) it was about the shame of writing, and in that first post I said:

"This blog is going to follow me, I hope, and chart the journey from being shy and a little embarrassed about my book to getting it out and published."

Well, we're here. I still cannot quite believe it. Eren's a book - a real book - and you can buy it in shops. You can read it and share it and love it and hate it. Who knows what people will make of this strange, long-time-coming story? I hope it touches some people. I'm sure it will annoy plenty of others.

There are a lot of people to thank. My agent and my editor, the whole team at Corsair, and all the family and friends who've given feedback, given support, put up with rants and complaints and oddness, etc, etc. I've learned that a book is no more the work of one person than a house the work of one builder. I am so bleeding excited about what's to come. More books - oh, gosh, yes - and then, who knows?

I've already got the U.S. release of Eren to look forward to in (maybe) June 2015, and now there may be an audiobook to boot, and a lot more fun to be had. It's mental.

So ... yes. Eren's out there. What more can I say? Thank you, thank you, thank you. If you want to buy it, here are some links. Other than that - I'm off to party, have some fun, and get on with writing the next flippin' book.

Love to all,



The Very Official Eren Blog Tour

My rather snazzy UK publisher has organised a blog tour to celebrate Eren coming out next week. This will be no small thing: It is a month-long, all expenses paid, fireworks and dragons, full-fat, go-on-have-another-piece-of-cake extravaganza, taking up thirty-two blogs, many words, and (hopefully) much fun. There will be some giveaways, some things that I have written, but mostly honest, real-world reviews. The bloggers who agreed to be part of the tour did so because they were asked and they want to - and that means that, I expect, some of them will point out problems with Eren, or have questions about how I wrote it, or think it's a bit silly. I hope some of them like the book as well - but it's still going to be a bit nerve-wracking seeing the posts go up.

To all the bloggers: Thank you. People who love books, who dedicate time to reading and writing and sharing and shining lights on debut writers like me make up an increasingly vital part of a complex industry. That you would read Eren, and share thoughts and critiques, is incredible, and I hope this never stops. The more people who talk about books, the better books will become.

So, here's the tour schedule. Over the next few weeks I might turn up in other places, too, but you can use this as a guide to the Very Official Eren Tour organised by Constable & Robinson. The first post goes up in a couple of days - argh! What will it say? Will they be nice?

Let's all sit back and find out.


Things Are Coming

Exciting things are happening - and everything's about to get a lot busier around here.

Eren - coming September 18th from Corsair (Little, Brown UK)


Two Weeks To Go / How Writing Works

Two weeks today my book, Eren, will be published in the UK. That's a scary and slightly overwhelming thought, but it's also the culmination of many years' work. From a simple story in my head, Eren has become a manuscript, and then a book, and soon you'll be able to buy that book, or get it from a library, or steal it from a friend. I don't really mind how people get the story, as long as some of them read it, and hopefully like it.

Since today is the two-weeks-till-publication-day, I've been thinking about time, and about writing, and how it all works. I wanted to write this post to offer advice to people who feel discouraged about their writing - people who feel like it's impossible to juggle 'real' life and writing life. I'm by no means an expert, but I got this far, and that has to be worth something, right?

So here are some thoughts on Making Time to Write, and Getting the Words Down on the Page, and other such noble things.

Act like a professional (and don't go bowling)

One of the hardest things about starting to write is that it often feels silly, inconsequential, self indulgent or downright daft. I know I felt guilty - actually guilty - about writing, as if I were tempting fate with my arrogance. Did I really think I could be a writer? Really? Why didn't I just give up and admit that it was a pipe dream? Why didn't I just put down the pen and go watch TV? I was being so stupid, the voice said. I was being so naive. It was embarrassing. It was comedic. It was so damn stupid.

Those thoughts are terrible, but they happen. I still, occasionally, feel like I'm fooling myself, and that the sheer amount of work it takes to finish a novel is too much. Imagine standing at the bottom of a cliff and looking up. There's always a little voice that says you couldn't possible get to the top - that you're not a bird, damn it, and we all know what happened last time you tried to climb that tree at Auntie Gladys' retirement party, and wasn't that so embarrassing? But there's another voice, too, and it's an odd one, and it's quiet at first, but it says the best thing of all: You know what? You might be able to. You probably could, actually. Why not do it? Why not try?

Trying isn't everything, but it's the start of everything. That's why I think acting as a professional matters. You have to look at writing as more than a hobby. Treat it like a second job. Friends want to go out? You can't - you have work to do. Tired at the end of the day and really want to watch endless reruns of FRIENDS? That'd be nice, but you have a deadline in the morning, and the boss will find out if you try to skip it.

Damn that boss, always looking back at you in the mirror.

So, yes. Sometimes writing it more important than bowling, even if it means you'll miss all the fun.

Remember you're just doing it for fun (and don't go mad)

Yeah, I know - contradictory, isn't it? Well, welcome to life. For everything I said above, you can't let writing become a chore. No one, after all, is making you do it, and for all you might need the money, most of us will have second jobs, or spouses, or other things that take up time. That's okay - in fact, it's crucial. How you can write if you're not out there, living life? What's more, how can you write if you come to dread the thing you used to love? Burnout happens, and no one loves a good despondent whine more than artists, but working too much - writing too much -  will leave you bitter at yourself, and no good comes from that. I work as writer at my day job and my author job, and sometimes I sense - deep down, where things can really hurt - that I need to step away from the words and breathe.

This is the paradox, I think - that you have to be a professional, you have to claw writing time away from everything else in your life, and then you have to watch out that you don't swing too far the other way, into madness and obsession and 'Here Lies Simon, A Writer Till The Tragic End' territory.

The big question, then, is this: How do you find the balance?

I have no idea.

I know that, for me, it means writing every week but not necessarily every day. I know it means having more than one story on the go at the same time, to give me a break, to work different creative muscles, and so I can huffily walk away from one story, if it isn't working out, without having to stop writing cold turkey.

Time is weird. Writing is also pretty weird. Finding out how they work together - how you write stories when other things have to happen, like tea and breakfast and buying clothes and finding out where the children went - is an adventure that begins at the start of every writers' journey. I hope anyone reading this manages to find their balance.

And also, maybe, that you'll read my book at some point.

Eren is Available to Pre-Order:

You can also add it on Goodreads by CLICKING HERE