Posts

Patronage

Hi everyone,

Thanks to the encouragement of a few friends and, to be honest, necessity I’ve started a Patreon page!

That’s right, I’m fully embracing my love of Victorian literature by taking patrons as the likes of Oscar Wilde and Charles Dickens did. To be realistic, we know that the wages of an author aren’t much. I’m sure that a lot of you can understand that getting around the country for book signings and conventions, paying table, accommodation and travel costs, can get pretty expensive, pretty quick. And so, I’ve had to look for ways to fund my travels. Basically, if I can’t get around, how do I spread the word about my books?

So, now I’m asking for folks to go take a look at the page. Just like a usual Patreon, there are several tiers that you can get involved in. Now, a small downside, if this is going to work, I’m going to have to put some fun things on there which means I’ll have to take them from the blog. The Tao of the Author column that I’ve been doing will be over there as part of the monthly newsletter. I need content, as I’m sure you guys will understand. From there the tiers will include poetry (some old for now but I have new stuff lined up as well), short stories with even some new Alan Shaw adventures that didn’t make the books, to brand new novellas that have never been seen before delivered chapter-by-chapter. The highest tier, if funding permits, will receive things such as badges, signed poems and hopefully poetry collections that I will be able to have printed with the Patreon proceeds.

From a purely selfish perspective, it’ll really help me to keep doing what I love, creating new work, and also sharing things with you that you might not have otherwise seen. I don’t want to horde my unprinted work. I want you guys to be able to read it!

There we go, anyway. I hope you’ll take a second to have a look, I’d really appreciate it.

CLICKY CLICKY!

 

Thanks for reading!

To the future!

Hi everyone!

It’s been a little quiet for a few weeks hasn’t it? Sorry about that. I’m afraid the constant juggle between life and work has had me clinging to the underbelly of a runaway ostrich and blogging has been left behind in the dust cloud.

I have a few updates, however. I’ll be updating the Tour Dates page shortly with events that I’m booking for next year as they’re coming in thick and fast. The likes of Scarborough Sci-Fi Con and Worldcon in Dublin are a dead-cert with UK Indie Lit Fest and Steampunk Asylum in the works, too.

I can now confirm that Oshibana Complex, my non-gender specific cyberpunk novella, will be worked on by Inspired Quill around November next year. That means we’ll all have to wait a while for another book from me, but I promise it’ll be worth it.

In other news, I’m thinking about starting a Patreon. My main objective will be to help pay for table, travel and accommodation costs for future book signings as this year has been a tough one and I’ve had to say no more times than yes to event invites. That’s obviously not good for an author trying to get more readers and spread their work around. In terms of rewards, I’m thinking of offering monthly author tips, poetry and chapters of novellas that no one has ever seen, maybe even mixing in new Alan Shaw adventures that never made the books. What do you guys think? Do you have any other suggestions of things you’d like to see there? What would entice you? I’d appreciate any feedback and ideas that you all have to offer.

What else?

Ah, for those of you who are followers of Alan Shaw’s adventures, there is some good news. Firstly, the third and final book of the trilogy is going well. I’ve not had a lot of time lately but I keep picking at it and hopefully it’ll be ready for you sometime soon.

Secondly, a new Alan Shaw short story is being published in a sci-fi anthology (name to be confirmed) that will fill the gap between Alan Shaw and the Lovelace Code and Alan Shaw and the Wretched Revenge from Old Haunts (Alan Shaw book 2). For those of you who have been asking about how Alan got to Chicago in Wretched Revenge, this story will answer your questions.

I’ve been asked many times about what happens between the stories in the Alan Shaw books. Some people see the little leaps in time as tantalising questions to be answered. As I always tell people, there aren’t any gaps, only other adventures that didn’t make it into the books. Lots of them. In the coming months/years, I hope I’ll have the opportunity to share more of Alan’s stories with you.

Anyway, with that revelation hanging in the aether, I bid you all farewell. Until next time, my friends.

Embrace the Weird!

 

Thanks for reading.

Con Report: Steampunk Asylum X

Hi everyone,

The very giant Steampunk Asylum event was held last weekend in Lincoln’s historic quarter. It’s the biggest blow-out Steampunk extravaganza you could ever hope for. This year, with the event being a whole decade old, was even better.

I spent most of my time in the Assembly Rooms, a lovely Victorian building standing on the cobbles of Lincoln’s Historic Quarter where I had my stall alongside all the other authors and artists. It was a great atmosphere with the whole team getting along and pulling together to make it work (As I mentioned in last week’s post about reputation, these people really have got it right). That is mostly because the organisers of our little corner of the event were incredible, as always.

Tom and Nimue Brown are names that you’ll have heard me mention before. They are the artist and writer of the Hopeless, Maine graphic novels, a Gothic fantasy that is darker and prettier than anything you’ve ever seen (clicky clicky). They are also extremely organised, flexible and good-natured people.

hm

I did a couple of talks of my own, which went very well with some readers reporting they skipped the proper talks [my emphasis] going on at the university and came to mine instead. How lovely is that? Anyway, after those, I had the esteemed pleasure of introducing the Hopeless, Maine Live section of the day where a team of writers of all kinds got together to perform work that has been inspired by the collective creative setting that Hopeless has become. It was utterly nerve-wracking. As I tweeted yesterday, there is nothing like being in love with someone’s work and then they ask you to introduce it. I really wanted to do them justice, and I think it went quite well. You can read my intro on the Hopeless, Maine website HERE and take a look at the wealth of cool stuff at the same time.

I was kept sane by my creatives:

  • Jade Sarson – Artist of the Cafe Suada webcomic, which is a great read, and host of Bitten By A Radioactive Podcast. You can find her on Twitter, too.
  • Chris Mole – Comic book writer of the Professor Elemental comics, he’s also currently running an already fully-funded Kickstarter for his comic, Brigantia. Which I had the pleasure of reading at Asylum. It’s absolutely beautiful and brilliantly written. You need it in your life. You can find him on Twitter, obviously.
  • Francesca Dare – A lovely person and excruciatingly talented artist, Fran is the brain and hand behind the Penny Blackfeather comic book. She’s a joy to follow on Twitter as she updates with new artwork pretty much every day. She’s also an avid D&D fan with a particular love of Drow.
  • Nils Visser – A fellow author of many books, my favourites are those that give a Steampunk twist to Poe or Shakespeare, although his novel, Amsterdammed, I have on good authority is very good as well. Twitterise him!

The whole weekend was a success, books-wise with lots of them flying off the stall, especially Alan Shaw, which I ran out of. That’s becoming a regular thing which is amazing. Readers came back to give some lovely feedback on The Adventures of Alan Shaw vol. 1 and Old Haunts (Alan Shaw vol. 2). Most people were coming back to see if book 3 was out yet but, alas, I haven’t even finished the first draft, yet. Old Haunts did only come out in April, so I think I’m doing ok 🙂

That’s all I can tell you, really. While the rest of the event sounded great, I was working pretty non-stop and driving home each day so I didn’t get to see much of it. The convention hangover was very real on Tuesday morning, but I had editing work to do so I couldn’t really rest up. A busy week from there on has led to me only writing this blog post an hour before it goes live, sat in my pyjamas which is very uncharacteristic of me (I’m an “if I’m up, I’m dressed” kind of person). Still, I’m sure I can forgive myself this one morning.

I hope, if you came to Asylum, that you enjoyed it as much as everyone else did. Thank you, from the dying embers of my cold little heart, to everyone who came for a chat, bought a book, or gave feedback. You are all very much appreciated and I’m constantly thankful for you all for allowing my dream to stay alive.

 

Thanks for reading!

Guest Post: Austin Chambers

Hi everyone,

Marketing is not only expensive but eldritch in nature and beyond mortal comprehension. In an effort to spread the word about talented people without them needing to remortgage or decipher R’lyehian texts, I’m sharing writery and artisty types with you all so you don’t miss out.

Today’s guest is Austin Chambers, a gentleman (he made me say that) who has been my convention neighbour many-a-time and is always interesting and intriguing to be around. He also has an excellent beard and looks good in a hat, of which I’m insanely jealous. Without any further ado, I give you Austin Chambers…

Perhaps it’s all in my head.

A.S.Chambers.

Hello. Is this thing on? (Hits router).Austin

Yes, I think that should do it. It’s always strange writing on other people’s blogs. It’s something akin to sneaking into their house in the middle of the night and wandering around in their well-worn slippers. (Yes Craig, that’s why they’re never where you leave them when you go to bed…) [I knew it! – Craig]

So, anyway, my name is A.S. Chambers, and young Mister Hallam has kindly invited me to take the reins for 600 words or so. Some might say that this is a sign of friendliness from one author of the fantastical to another. Personally, I think he’s buttering me up because he knows that I’m going to kill him in a rather gory manner in my next Sam Spallucci novel. [You’re delivering villainous monologues again, Austin ;D – Craig]

Which rather neatly brings me onto my beleaguered, down-at-heel investigator of the paranormal.

So far, Sam has survived four major outings under my cruel penmanship. The first, Casebook of Sam Spallucci, was released back in 2012 and the most recent, Sam Spallucci: Dark Justice, saw the light of day (ironic that, considering that it’s about vampires) just a couple of months ago. They are a blend of urban fantasy, film noir and quirky humour. I normally tell people that if Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett had teamed up and rewritten the works of Stephen King, then you’d be about half way there.

Sam’s world is set in my beloved Lancaster; albeit a Lancaster where things go bump in the night and lurk in the shadows. There are satanic sit-com actors, vampires dressed as Vulcans, bondage-loving banshees and all-manner of weird and wonderful characters that my hero has to encounter or endure.

When I venture out into the land of the living to try and sell my wares at comic cons and book signings, one of the most common questions that I get asked is, “Where do you get your ideas?”

I normally answer with the rather flippant reply, “You’ve obviously never been to Skerton on a Saturday night.” (For those of you not accustomed to Lancastrian geography, just imagine Ankh Morpork’s Shades but without the loveable dwarves or goblins.) However, I suppose it is a very valid question. I mean, just where do these curious creatures come from and how do they find their way into the heads of writers of fantasy and horror?

In my case, I have this issue of overthinking absolutely everything. As I type this, I’m waiting for an engineer to come and fit one of these new-fangled smart meters. This means that I currently have going through my head, in no particular order:

  1. They’re already late. How much more of my day will be spent finding tasks to do around the living room where I can hear the front door?
  2. Did I adequately tidy the stairs down to the cellar or will they slip and break their neck?
  3. What if I desperately need a cup of tea when they’re here? I mean, the fate of the world might depend on it. The phone might ring and Donald Trump could be on the other end demanding, “Mr Chambers, if you do not make a strong Earl Grey in the next ten minutes, then I will press this shiny red button.”
  4. Someone told me last night that these meters give off radiation. What if I acquire a really stupid super power? I would much rather be a master of time and space than have the ability to kill baddies with hyper-flatulence.

So, yes, if these are the things that go through my head with the perfectly mundane, then I suppose that having vampires owning local comic book shops, restaurateurs dressed as mummies nicking the Eric Morecambe statue, and a werewolf running the local park’s petting zoo are not that great a leap of the imagination.

Perhaps you’d like to try a taste of the weird and wonderful that lurks in the Lancaster of my mind?

 

Somewhat useful links (ideal for stalking…)

Website: www.aschambers.co.uk

Facebook Group:The World of A.S.Chambers

Facebook Page: @A.S.Chambers

Twitter: @ASChambersUK

Instagram: @aschambersuk

Amazon.co.uk: A.S.Chambers

Amazon.com: A.S.Chambers

There you have it, Gentlefolk! Hop over and take a look at Austin’s work if it tickles your  urban fantasy fancy.

 

Thanks for reading!

I’m Not Here (Reputation)

Hi everyone,

As you read this, I’m not really here (spoooookyyyyyyy).

I’m in Lincoln, probably talking crap to a fellow author or artisty type in the Assembly Rooms as we wait for the hordes of people who will definitely buy our books and artwork…

…sure, sure they will 😀

Anyway, there isn’t much to tell you this week except where I’ll be and what I’ll be getting up to, just in case you feel like popping along to say hi and enjoy the event. At the end is a tip that has come to me out of this week. But first:

Steampunk Asylum is in it’s tenth year, this year. A full decade of taking over Lincoln’s historical quarter with Victorian Science Fiction splendour. I’ll be in the Assembly Rooms (timetable of events here)  with all the other authors and artists, trying to pretend I’m as smart as them (and failing :D).

And now the tip! It’s dead simple, but fundamentally important.

Be Nice

To every author who gripes, complains, or gets involved in things they shouldn’t, this does nothing for your professional reputation. I’m not perfect by a long shot, but I try to always be nice to the organisers of events, I’m flexible as to where they put me and infinitely grateful when they offer a free table or opportunity to do a reading or a talk (even though I still get nervous as hell, years into the job). I also don’t get involved in competitiveness and politics that can sometimes surround our work. There will always be a teeny group in your medium/fandom trying to be the Grand Overlord. No matter what your geeky sub-culture, there will be an elitist caste. These are not people to associate with. Be civil, and move away. It’s easy and good for you to just say, “I’d rather not get involved, thank you”. I’m here to enjoy my writing and have a chat with like-minded geeks and enthusiasts who come to say hello. That’s where the joy comes, and where my attention stays.

Your professional reputation is your entire existence. Be true to your principles, your ideals, but be the most civil and open-minded version that you can possibly be. People appreciate that. And, after you’ve been you for a while, the word spreads. I have had zero editing work from random people on the internet. I have had a lot from people I’ve met at conventions, had friendly chats with on Twitter, or from friends of those people. My requests tend to start with “Such-and-such who you met at time-and-place said you help people with their writing”. Word gets around, you see. And those little editing jobs are how I pay for travel costs, food, table fees and accommodation (I tend to sofa-surf where possible, mind you). Without the editing work, I wouldn’t be able to get to events. Without being friendly, non-competitive and avoiding the BS, I wouldn’t be able to follow my dream.

So, being nice is not only a way to live, but a huge boon to you being able to follow your dream, and possibly make a career out of it.

 

Thanks for reading!