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ConJour – New SFF Con!

In my opinion, (and even though, being in South Africa, we never get to share in the fun) there can never be too many SFF Conventions! Here’s news of a brand-new Con, coming March 2011:

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Science Fiction and Fantasy comes to Leeds

On Saturday March 12th 2011, Leeds will be hosting its first Science Fiction and Fantasy event in many years – ConJour.

The one day event is being sponsored by Tor UK and SFF fans will have the opportunity to attend guest talks and panels, and meet some of their favourite authors at signing sessions taking place throughout the day.

Confirmed guests attending the event are Mike Carey, Kate Griffin, Mark Charan Newton, Justina Robson, Adrian Tchaikovsky and Freda Warrington.

The venue is the Leeds Park Plaza hotel which is set in the heart of Leeds city centre, with nearby bus and train transport links, and it is very close to a host of shops, bars and places to eat.

“I’ve been to many conventions and events over the years,” said Stephen Aryan, one of the event organisers. “But the majority of them tend to be in the south, which is a long way to travel for some people. So I’m hoping that by setting ConJour in Yorkshire it will attract fans from all over the country.

“I also appreciate that full weekend events can be a bit intimidating, especially if it’s your first time or you’re attending on your own. This way, by running a one day convention fans can enjoy the event, maybe make some new friends, and they won’t miss out on anything.”

For more information about ConJour visit the website www.conjureevents.co.uk or email conjour(at) hotmail(dot)co(dot)uk or follow on Twitter: conjour1

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Never been to Leeds, but anyone and any place getting an awesome dose of SFF is indeed a very lucky place. 🙂

Be EPIC!

 
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Posted by on November 3, 2010 in Announcements

 

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Mark Newton’s German deal & City of Ruin Paperback Cover

Awesome news from John Jarrold!

PRESS RELEASE – GERMAN DEAL FOR MARK CHARAN NEWTON.

Volker Busch at VGS Egmont has acquired German rights in two fantasy novels by Mark Charan Newton from Jon Mitchell, Rights Manager at Pan Macmillan. Julie Crisp acquired World rights in the books from agent John Jarrold. The books will be published on Egmont’s ‘Lyx’ imprint. Other authors on the Lyx list include Jacqueline Carey, Jennifer Fallon, Tanya Huff, R. A. Salvatore, and Seanan McGuire.

NIGHTS OF VILLJAMUR was first published by Macmillan/Tor UK in 2009, and CITY OF RUIN followed this year. VGS will publish the first novel around the end of 2011, with the second following.

‘Mark’s reputation is quickly growing across the world, and we’re both delighted with this deal,’ said John Jarrold. ‘Congratulations to Jon Mitchell and Macmillan!’

Kickass news indeed, even though I can’t read more than ten words of German. 🙂 Mark definitely deserves it and even though I’m sure plenty of readers in Germany have already enjoyed Mark’s work, Nights of Villjamur and City of Ruin are sure to garner many more fans for him. 🙂 Congrats, Mark! 🙂

And here, as promised, is the awesome cover to the paperback edition of City of Ruin; the man on the cover is none other than Brynd and he looks incredible, much better than the Anime-esque Brynd seen on the hardcover of City of Ruin, in my opinion. 🙂

Be EPIC!

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2010 in Announcements, John Jarrold's Corner

 

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Legends of the Red Sun Interviews: Night Guard Commander Brynd Lathraea Adaol

Welcome to the third and final Legends of the Red Sun character interview! These interviews were conducted with Mark Charan Newton and myself, and I decided to interview some of the characters that appear in Nights of Villjamur and City and Ruin.

Brynd is one of the most intriguing characters I’ve met in Epic Fantasy; not only is he a military tactician and capable of also holding his own against those more political than him, but he’s also deeply honourable and focused when it comes to his duty. There are layers and layers to this man and as you follow him through Nights of Villjamur and into City of Ruin, you may find him to be one of the more memorable characters in Epic Fantasy. 🙂

Without further a-do, here is your glimpse of him:

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Dave: Thank you for agreeing to this short interview, Commander. I’m sure the rest of the Night Guard can keep Villjamur and the Empire safe while we chat. 🙂 So, how long have you been with the Night Guard? Did you always feel called to stand in a position of protector / guardian?

Brynd: The Night Guard? A good decade, though at times it feels like I was born into it. From a young age, it was clear the colour of my skin was going to cause me trouble – cultures tend to dislike that which is different – and so I had to prove a great deal to the world. You could say it makes me a driven person, this effort to prove myself – which in turn has resulted in my progress through the armed forces so quickly. (That, and I believe sometimes people fear me – which is often a boon.) As for feeling called to stand as protector, well, there is perhaps an instinct in all soldiers to do so – linked to a motivation to do good. I don’t think anyone who is right for the job should say that they were destined to be in charge of the armed forces though – no one that has served on the front line would really utter such things.

Dave: That’s a good point you make; most soldiers find themselves wanting to keep their heads down and concentrate on following orders and looking out for themselves and each other, if I’m not mistaken. 🙂 Speaking of your uniqueness, have you found yourself targeted or singled out on occasion? I can imagine that rising through the ranks, just getting a foothold even, must have proved difficult?

Brynd: All my life I have been singled out, but it’s important not to treat your own self like a victim. Therein lies a dangerous path. Every time I look at another person, I can see their instant reactions, their surprise, sometimes their fear. I could drive myself mad by dwelling upon such things.

As for getting a foothold, luckily the armed forces tends to be a case of merit – so no matter who or what you are, you prove your value. Having said that, I am lucky to have received a decent schooling due to my parents having some wealth and status – something that seems related to one’s own destiny in a place like Villjamur. There are huge swathes of humanity unluckier than myself, and I remind myself of that often.

Dave: Speaking of those less fortunate, how do you feel about the refugees, and how would you deal with the situation if you were able?

Brynd: The refugees… well, the explanation from the Council is that they couldn’t be accepted into the city because the pressure on resources would be too great – and in that, I agree. My official position is, of course, to accept the will of the Council. It doesn’t mean I like what I see gathered outside Villjamur – perhaps there could be some charitable acts, food packages and the like, but then that may well anger the man traditionalists within the city walls.

Dave: Did your parents have aspirations for you that didn’t include the Night Guard? What aspirations did you have for yourself? Have you had to give up on some dreams?

Brynd: I’m not much of a dreamer, in that sense. Of course we all have ambition and good intentions – mine was simply to prove myself the equal of others. I am what I am, and that should be no different to anyone else. We should be judged by our character and our actions. If that can be labelled as a dream, then so be it. Otherwise I just get on with the job of soldiering – which has been my only aspiration.

Dave: Lastly, looking back on your life and accomplishments so far, do you recognize a turning point? And are you satisfied with the decisions you’ve made?

Brynd: I don’t see life as having any major turning points. You play with the cards you’re dealt and try to make the most of them. I try to see things logically. Perhaps, when in combat, I hope the decisions I made minimized the loss of life, and I can’t think of many reasons when this hasn’t been the case. But I’ve no regrets, at least, and if I’m ever disappointed with my acts I’ll try improve. It helps, being in my position, if you live by logic as best you can.

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There we are, a glimpse at the kind of character you’ll be meeting in Nights of Villjamur and City of Ruin. 🙂

That brings to a close the round of character interviews, but the journey of discovery doesn’t end here – Nights of Villjamur is available in both paperback and hardcover, and Book Two in the Legends of the Red Sun series, City of Ruin, is also available. (order your copies through the appropriate links above) You can also order the audiobook, arriving in stock on the 29th of June (would love to hear this!)

For those of you who haven’t yet read Nights of Villjamur, check out my review here, and for those still deciding on whether to pick up City of Ruin, check out my review here.

Nights of Villjamur is also going to be invading the US soon – check out the book’s page over at Random House. 🙂

Book One Legends of the Red Sun – Nights of Villjamur (UK hardcover edition)

Book One of the Legends of the Red Sun – Nights of Villjamur (UK paperback edition):

Book One of the Legends of the Red Sun – Nights of Villjamur (US hardcover edition):

Book Two of the Legends of the Red Sun – City of Ruin (UK hardcover edition)

Be EPIC!

 
4 Comments

Posted by on June 2, 2010 in Interviews

 

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Legends of the Red Sun Interview: Randur Estevu

Here we go, the first of the character-interviews I conducted with Mark Newton. 🙂 No, I didn’t interview him to get a handle on his character, I interviewed characters from his novels, Nights of Villjamur and City of Ruin, instead. 😉

The first character to get the spotlight was Randur Estevu – the rogue, womanizer, master duelist, and dancer. Randur travelled from the island of Folke to the heart of the Jamur Empire, ostensibly to get aid for his ailing mother, but Randur is pulled into a burgeoning conflict that’ll change the Empire, for good or worse; hope you enjoy it!

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Dave: Coming from a small island and now being in the greatest city of the Empire, is it a bit overwhelming or more of the same just on a bigger scale?

Randur: Well, there are plenty more women here, that’s for sure…

But, I can honestly say that no matter where you go, people are still after the same kind of things. People need to put food in their mouths, need to get by, need the attentions of a lover. (That’s where I come in.) I’ve noticed a lot of lonely people getting tempted by shiny trinkets. Life isn’t as wholesome in Villjamur as much as the countryside – and in this city, the problems are swept into the caves, away from public view. People are obsessed with drinking and generally doing what they can to escape the world. And who can blame them, with the ice coming in?

Dave: Ah, yes, the ice! Tell me, was the coming of the ice discussed in Folke, openly, or was it something relegated to gossips? I guess what I’m asking is, coming from such a small corner of the Empire, surely there are those who still don’t believe in what’s coming?

Randur: You can never really trust what the old women gossip about on Folke. Chances are only half of what they say is even close to true, and even then aimed at bringing down someone in the community. And the men are worse – sitting in silence for much of the day and when they do speak all they do is mutter about bad omens.

To be honest, some people need to make a living, and just get on no matter what the elements bring. But bugger was I going to stay there, given half a chance of some sanctuary. In terms of belief? Well when you’d experienced the recent weather before I left, you don’t need much convincing.

Dave: You seem like a pragmatist, one who doesn’t readily believe rumours – not from the women-folk of Folke at least! How would you describe yourself? What terrifies you and exhilirates you?

Randur: In my dance, I am an artist. Actually, same in the bedroom too, given half a chance… Other than that? I’m someone who takes a risk now and then. You might say I’ve blagged my way through life so far, and that’d be fair. You have to – you’ve only go so long and you’ve got to make the most of it. What terrifies me? Not a lot if I’m honest. I tend not to think all that hard about the fears and the likes. I get my kicks out of living close to the edge: getting caught in the act by someone’s husband gets the ol’ heart beating.

Most of all, I enjoy the art of dancing. On my island, it’s a masculine activity. In this damn city, everyone things I’m a bit of a dandy for doing it – but it’s my life, my calling. I lose my sense of self when I’m doing it (which possibly explains why I’m so full of myself when I’m not).

Dave: Should I be glad that I don’t have a wife? Don’t answer that. Although, I might just take up some dancing, come to think of it… 🙂

Anyway, what are your thoughts on influx of refugees? Do you think the Emperor is in a position to handle the situation?

Randur: I’m sure I would treat her with great respect.

As for the refugees? Not much anyone can do about it in this world. It’s a symptom of things – that money gets sucked into Villjamur from islands like mine. We’re poor people, out on Folke, but we had a lot of resources – ores and agriculture. Doesn’t add up, does it? Exactly. So when you take away everything from them, what else are they going to do but come banging on the only door in this world that has a hope in hell of offering… anything. So of course, the institutions in Villjamur are in a position to do many things. They merely choose not to.”

Dave: Well I’m sure that Chancellor Urtika has a plan in motion that will see the refugees taken care of.

Moving onto your impressions of the city, what do you think about Villjamur? I’m not talking about sights and sounds, mind you, but your impressions – when you look at the city, when you breathe it in, how does this city of cities make you feel?

Randur: It makes you feel very humble. There are what, eleven thousand years of history on this site. It’s vast. It’s architecture is a mishmash of designs. It imposes itself on you. It makes you feel very insignificant. You can loose yourself in the mass of people – which is strangely liberating, being a nobody.

Dave: Last question for you: Considering the palpable building of tension in Villjamur, and the kind of people who are in charge, who have known only this city and this life, is there a place for you in Villjamur? And if not, what would it take you make you choose to stay? Hypothetical of course.

Randur: For me to stay, I’d need an endless supply of women to charm and teach to dance… hypothetically, of course.

All I have are my sword skills and dance skills – which aren’t that dissimilar; you can use them anywhere, so my home is also anywhere. But I don’t think I’d like to stay in Villjamur too long though – the corruption, the violence, the sin… I don’t know how people could want to make their lives with all of this crap around them. And besides, people have such bad manners in the city.

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There we go, a hint of the Randur you’ll meet in the pages of Nights of Villjamur. 🙂

To order your copies of Nights of Villjamur, click here for the hardcover edition and here for the paperback (available on the 4th of June) at Amazon UK, and if you’re in the US, pre-order your copies here – remember, Nights of Viiljamur goes on sale in the US on the 29th of June. If you’d like a taste of Nights, check out this link – it’ll take you through to Goodreads, where you’ll be able to read the first chapter. 🙂

Come back tomorrow for the next-to-last character interview – Investigator Rumex Jeryd. 🙂

Until then,

Be EPIC!

 
1 Comment

Posted by on May 31, 2010 in Interviews

 

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China Mieville, Mark Newton and Adam Neville at Forbidden Planet London!

Hey everyone, I thought I’d post this for everyone who’s missed the news and who are lucky enough to live in London – Three huge authors will be at Forbidden Planet’s London Megastore tonight!

Here’s the detail you need from the page on Forbidden Planet’s website:

Thursday 20 May 18:00 – 19:00
London Megastore

179 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, WC2H 8JR

Three huge talents; one signing event – FORBIDDEN PLANET are delighted to be hosting a triple signing with China Miéville, Adam Nevill and Mark Charan Newton on Thursday 20th May at the Forbidden Planet Megastore, 179 Shaftesbury Avenue, London WC2H 8JR.

In China Miéville’s KRAKEN, a prize specimen has come to the Natural History Museum – a giant squid, whole and perfectly preserved. When it disappears, curator Billy Harrow finds himself in a city of warring cults and surreal magic – and the forthcoming end of the world.

APARTMENT 16 by Adam Nevill is wonderfully written, deftly plotted tale of utter horror which will have you turning the lights on in the middle of the night. Follow and unravel the tale of Barringon House – and discover that the doorway to Apartment 16 is a gateway to something terrifying.

Two weeks in advance of publication date, CITY OF RUIN by Mark Charan Newton is the follow-on to the massively successful Nights of Villjamur, taking us back to the lands of the Red Sun. This time, we go to to Villiren, where Brynd and investigator Jeryd must fight to save a city that’s already in ruins.

FP will have plenty of stock available of the respective novels, including Mark Newton’s City of Ruin (which is only being officially released on the 4th of June 2010!). 🙂 If you can’t make it to the event, FP is also allowing you to order the books on their site – they’ll get the ordered copies signed by the authors. Awesome, right?

So if you’ve made plans, cancel them and be sure to get there early! You may even bump into some of the awesome bloggers who make the blogosphere such a cool ‘place’ to be a part of. 🙂

Be EPIC!

 
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Posted by on May 20, 2010 in Announcements

 

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Review: City of Ruin: The Legends of the Red Sun Book 2 by Mark C Newton

Mark was awesome enough to send me a PDF copy of City of Ruin, and although it took me a while to read it (about 3 weeks), I’m really glad I did; not only is it an excellent sequel to Nights of Villjamur, it’s also capable of standing on it’s own as an excellent Epic Fantasy / New Weird novel. 🙂

Nights of Villjamur took us to the central city of the Jamur Empire, showing us a world and characters having to contend with a coming Ice Age and much more besides. This book had an incredible atmosphere, very memorable and intriguing characters, and some very strange (but cool) concepts and ideas – and I’m glad to report that City of Ruin continues this trend and builds on what Mark kicked off his series with.

The first thing that grabbed me was the atmosphere of the novel – where Nights was focused, dark and intense, City of Ruin has a more adventurous feel to it; indeed, Mark shows us much more of the Empire and its landscapes, as well as hints of what came before the Empire, fleshing out his already intriguing world more.

Mark also ramps up the action, thankfully not focusing on faces anymore. 😉 Battle scenes are frenetic and tense and I felt as if I was right in the middle of the action, and for those who are squeamish, be warned – Mark makes it clear that war is a violent, gruesome business. There were some very tense moments!

What I also enjoyed about City is that it was a larger novel, a larger story, much bigger in scale than Nights; it’s shown me that Mark can handle a bigger canvas with ease and aplomb, and that he can tackle an Epic just as well as all the previous and current greats. This bodes well for Fantasy and for all the readers out there who like their stories large and sprawling. 🙂 I’ve yet to read Mark’s first novel, The Reef, but I have to add, too, that it would be great to see a standalone from him, after finishing the Legends series, of course. 🙂 I’ve got a feeling that he and China Mieville would be sharing a crown. 🙂

Now to the characters:

Some characters from Nights return in City, and with a vengeance, I might add! Every single one of them has grown, even in the short length of time between novels, fitting more comfortably into their skins; some of my old favorites took paths I would never had guessed at, and a slew of new characters step onto the stage, including one very, very creepy- Nah, I’ll let you meet that one. 🙂 Mark also used these characters to explore many touchy subjects that many readers can learn from, and that created the sympathy in me that really brought the characters to life. Mark really let them live, being much more comfortable with them. 🙂

Plot-wise, the story builds like a runaway Maglev. As the story-strands swirled together and clicked into place, I found myself reading faster and faster, skipping words like ‘the’, ‘and’ and ‘said’ just to get to the meat! Mark stepped up the pace in City, sending the plot into a shattering conclusion that sets the scene for Book 3 and answers many questions while leaving many more to ponder. Mark also manages to meld genres in this book, and very bloody well, I might add; I was a skeptic at first, when certain things began happening, but Mark won me over and left me awed; he took a chance, and in my opinion, it definitely paid off. 🙂

Another thing that really caught my attention was that I was left wondering even about the numerous walk-on characters; Mark managed to leave me with the feeling that not only the main characters have lives and histories and desires, and that even the walk-ons could feature in novels of their own. There’s one in particular, a character that is only mentioned, mind you, that I’m pretty certain will feature in the next book. My point is that Mark left me feeling that the world he had created did indeed have depth and detail and was populated with living, breathing characters, something that was somewhat lacking (in retrospect) from Nights.

All in all I’m once again impressed with Mark as an author and with the tales he writes – he has a great eye for detail, knows how to create characters that resonate with the reader and creates scenes with enough action and tension that I was left breathless at times. This is definitely one of my top reads of 2010, and will definitely cement Mark’s place in Fantasy. I’m a huge fan of Mark’s worlds and characters and I’m pretty sure he’ll be able to reel you in, too. 🙂

9 / 10

City of Ruin will be available on the 4th of June; while you wait for it, check out more about Mark at his official website, and head on over to Amazon UK to pre-order your copy. 🙂

Also, you can all look out to another round of character-interviews building up to the release of City of Villjamur in the UK and Nights of Villjamur in the US; that’s right, character-interviews, not author-interviews. 🙂

Be EPIC!

PS Here’s a treat for those that haven’t yet seen it: the Bantam Spectra (US) cover for Nights of Villjamur!

I like it – very stark and beautiful, though we’re the red tinge? Nah, I’m nitpicking; it’s a beautiful cover that evokes the mysteries awaiting readers in the city. I like it!

 
7 Comments

Posted by on April 5, 2010 in Reviews

 

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John Jarrold’s Corner: Author-News

Hey everyone! 🙂 Yes, I’ve taken some time from the Writing Course (which is going along splendidly, by the way – note the 5000+ words I’ve written) to share some news-bits I’ve received from John Jarrold. 🙂

First up, Jasper Kent has redone his website, sprucing things up a bit as well as giving us a neat, spine-tingling intro; Thirteen Years Later, the sequel to the excellent Twelve (reviewed here) will be out shortly, so head on over and check out the revamped site. 🙂 Twelve will be released on the 18th of March, and you can count on a review as soon as I’ve received a copy and read it! 🙂

In other news, the colossus of Urban Fantasy, China Mieville, has read (and enjoyed) the second novel in Mark Charan Newton’s The Legends of the Red Sun series, City of Ruin; Awesome stuff, right? 🙂 Check out the post on Mark’s blog to see what China said. 🙂

And from Chris Beckett: his tale, Johnny’s New Job, will be published in Interzone‘s March 2010 issue (no. 227), but this is a short story with a difference – it was inspired by the events of a case of child abuse (horrific, I might add – and not for the faint of heart). Check out Chris’ website here; even though it was birthed by such a tragic case, the Johnny’s New Job is certain to be an excellent tale!

And finally, here’s the cover of Jaine Fenn‘s Guardian’s of Paradise, which will be available from Gollancz in September:

On a completely unrelated-to-John-Jarrold’s-clients note, the cover for Brandon Sanderson’s The Way of Kings has been released, posted over at Tor.com by Irene Gallo; recognize the style of the artwork? If you don’t, think of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series. 🙂 Make of point of heading over to read the post – Michael Whelan (oops, let the cat out of the bag there, didn’t I? :-)) takes us through the process of creating the cover, too!

That’s what I’ve got for you for the time being. 🙂 Until next time,

Be EPIC!

 

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