Right then, I suppose I'd better start taking this thing seriously.
There are far too many comments popping up in my twitter feed saying things about how the secret to a successful writing career is blogging, or tweeting, or any other form of activity which justifies arsing about in front of the computer rather than actually getting words on the page. Maybe I should just stop following people who make me feel guilty for being a lazy sod. It's worse, in a way, because I write longhand in notebooks, so there is absolutely no reason for me to switch the damn computer on in the first place. Then there's the counter-argument that the secret to a successful writing career is just to bloody get on with it and write - and believe me, a 9-5 daytime job leaves precious time for that, never mind getting all socially networkery - but there are Things You Need to Know.
First, Snowbooks - bless 'em - will be publishing 'Tourmaline' in July. This, obviously, is a good thing, particularly since it only took me a year to write as opposed to the <ahem> years it took me to finish The Narrows. So yes, this post is part of me bigging it up. You can skip down to read about it if you want, but there may be a few background information spoilers and you may prefer to remain totally in the dark, which would make two of us. Don't say I didn't warn you. Look, I'll put them in a different colour, how about that?
I was privileged to spend the evening of January 30th with some very talented writers reading their stories and poems at the Six Eight Kafe in Birmingham (who have refurbished their basement now so that it feels less like you're in somebody's torture-porn dungeon, which I think is supposed to be a good thing, yes?), organised by Pigeon Park Press, and they were kind enough to applaud politely when I read my story about a bloke finding a Deep One in his fish pond, thereby profaning the memories of Lovecraft, John Wyndham, and Gardener's Question Time all at once.
Anachron Press are going to publish 'The Remover of Obstacles' in their upcoming anthology 'Urban Occult', some time in March, I think. It's taken a while to find a home for that one, so I'm happy. Further plugging will occur as and when.
Plus, equal marriage gets passed and Gove gets his arse handed to him. It's been a good couple of weeks, really.
So anyway, this Inception thing I mentioned earlier.
Its full name is the Tourmaline Archipelago, and it's only a small part of a much larger parallel world which we sometimes access when we dream too deeply, become comatose, or enter hallucinatory or psychotic states of mind. So far so standard fantasy trope. Think Banks' 'The Bridge', or the Thomas Covenant books (except without the annoyingly humourless anti-hero). The problem comes for the people who live there because our dreams superimpose themselves on their reality, forcing them to become unwilling participants in our fantasies and nightmares. This process is called Subornation. The people of Tourmaline do not like this, and in the country of Oraille they have developed a specialised branch of the police called the Department for Counter Subornation, whose agents are tasked with exorcising us from their world.
This is complicated by the fact that sometimes people from their world get caught up in this exorcism and end up back in our world, trapped inside the bodies of the dreamers. A kind of possession, if you like. They too have an ability to impose their reality on ours - albeit to a much more limited degree. They in turn are hunted by an organisation called the Hegemony which wants to exploit them for their powers.
In a doldrum region of the Archipelago called the Flats, there is an island-sized raft called Stray, populated by people from our world who for one reason or another have never woken up. Bobby Jenkins finds himself there with no memory of who he is or how he got there - all he knows is that he's in love with a woman from Stray who can't leave, and somehow they have to defend themselves against forces in both worlds that want to do 'orrible things to them.