Monday, August 13, 2018

Warhammer Fest Europe

It's been a while since my last Games Workshop/Black Library event, so I'm looking forward to appearing at Warhammer Fest Europe 2018 in Düsseldorf this weekend. It'll be great to visit Germany again; last time was to take part in Games Day in Cologne, and the welcome I got from the fans over there was fantastic.


WFE 2018 is taking place on Saturday August 18th and Sunday August 19th at the Maritim Hotel in Düsseldorf, and it's going to be a big one, with a ton of stuff going one for fans of the worlds of Warhammer and the Horus Heresy.

I'm appearing on the Saturday to represent the Black Library - First off, I'll be signing books from Midday to 1:00pm, and then straight after from 1:00pm-2:00pm I'll be talking about my forthcoming Horus Heresy novel The Buried Dagger, the fate of the Knights Errant and the Doom of the Death Guard. 

Then from 3:00pm-4:00pm I'll join BL Germany's head of translation Tobias Roesner to talk more about our books, before a final signing session from 4:00pm. The signing will be a short one, as I have to dash off to catch my flight home...

M'colleague David Guymer will be there to fly the flag on the Sunday, so be sure to check out his talks and signings as well.

Along with me and David, there will be folks from the Forge World, Citadel, White Dwarf, Army Painter and ‘Eavy Metal Teams, plus the usual Golden Demon painting competition, displays, workshops, demo games and a whole load of tournaments

Full details of the other seminars taking place can be found Here.

The main event is 10.00am to 6.00pm on Saturday and 10.00am to 4.00pm on Sunday - for more details, tickets and the like, click Here.

And for or those of you who can't make it along, there will be a live blog covering the event at the Warhammer Community site Here.

Bis bald!

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Here be Dragons!

Some days you wake up and find out a neat thing has happened without you even knowing about it...

Case in point is today's announcement of the nominees for the Dragon Awards (held at the huge and awesome Dragon Con convention in Atlanta at the end of this month), where I was delighted to see that my new Star Trek Discovery novel Fear Itself is in the running in the "Best Media Tie-In" category!

I'm in some amazing company on a very strong list of nominees. Along with my fellow Discovery and Star Trek novelist David Mack and Warhammer alumni Matt Forbeck, a couple of terrific Star Wars books by Claudia Gray and Delilah S. Dawson, and a great Warcraft tale from Christie Golden are also up for the gong. 

I have to say, it is both very cool and very daunting to be on a list with such stiff competition, from a bunch of writers who are not only at the top of their game, but who I am a fan and reader of to boot. 

There's that old saying at times like these that goes "it's an honour just to be nominated" but in this case, I really mean it!

Here's the full list for the tie-in award:<a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" alt="320x320_Nominee_Click" width="320" height="320"/></a> 

Leia: Princess of Alderaan by Claudia Gray
Before the Storm by Christie Golden
Phasma by Delilah S. Dawson
Fear Itself by James Swallow
Legacy of Onyx by Matt Forbeck
Desperate Hours by David Mack

If you'd like to take part and cast your vote for who you'd like to win this award - and bunch of others for novels, movies, TV shows, games and comics - you can do so for free by registering for the 2018 ballot.
Click on the Dragon Awards Nominee panel to the right and it'll take you straight to the Dragon Awards website. 

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Mission to Malmo

A couple of weeks back I was chatting with another author about the inescapable value of “walking the territory” – that is, the importance of visiting a place to get the sense of it, to make your writing feel as authentic as possible. It got me thinking about my own research jaunts, and so partly inspired by the travelogues of fellow thriller writer JF Penn (check out her great website Here) I thought I’d post some observations from one of my most recent trips...

Ever since I was kid, airports have always been intertwined in my mind with thrillers. I think part of it is the whole romance of travel/thrilling locations stuff right out of a James Bond novel, mixed with my love of the classic “airport novel” that fills the shelves of duty free bookstores. And what’s cool for me is that now my books get to fit in that space...

I was heading to Malmo in Sweden, under a non-disclosure agreement, on a two-day flying visit to talk about a new videogame project connected to one of the thriller world’s biggest names. But the quickest way there is actually through Denmark. So my route in was via Copenhagen airport....

...and then across the Øresund Bridge by train. 

And it was neat for me to look down the carriage and see this gentleman and think... Hey. That book cover looks familiar... (What are the odds?!)

My first real glimpse of Sweden through my window was an orchard of wind-farms, a strange and slightly alien sight rising up from the straight along the coastline. I have to admit that my perception of what to expect in Sweden was warped a little by the work of an artist named Simon Stålenhag... Check out his stuff Here and you’ll see what I mean. He's just had a TV show based on his stuff green-lighted by Amazon.

His art fuses a 1980’s view of the world with odd, invasive technologies that look like they come from some alternate reality, and wandering through Malmo I soon understood how this country influenced him.

Malmo reminded me of the kind of brutalist, concrete-cube architecture that was all new and futuristic when I was growing up in the 1970's, the buildings that were the backdrop of austere dystopian SF movies - Farenheit 451, Alphaville, THX 1138 and the like – but with flashes of artistic weirdness here and there.

One morning I woke up and realized that the hotel I was staying up reminded me of City 17, the location of the game Half-Life 2 - check out the similarity Here.

All this might make Malmo sound a little distant and unwelcoming, but it wasn’t! 

I loved the artwork and the river winding through the town, the great restaurants and numerous craft beer places. I also want to highlight the Science Fiction Bokhandeln for accommodating a quick drive-by signing by me, and The Bishops Arms pub off Gustav Adolf Square for having an amazing book-laden snug in the back that was very conducive to a glass of scotch and some writerly company.

But I was here to work; I’d come to Sweden to meet with Massive Entertainment, developers of The Division 2 – the sequel to the hit action game under the Tom Clancy franchise banner. 

As well as being a long-time reader of the Clancy novels, I’ve also been a dedicated player of the videogames created under the author’s name. Last year I worked on the Ghost Recon Wildlands open-world shooter game, and having expended a lot of hours on the first iteration of The Division, I was excited to work on the sequel...

Details on the elements I contributed to The Division 2 haven’t been announced yet, but I can say my part is just one component of a massive (ha ha) project, involving several other scriptwriters and a great many talented people. 

(Also, as some fans of the game have asked, I should make it clear I’m not writing a Division novel or a comicbook – as cool as that would be! – but writing scripts for the game itself). 

48 hours later, and I was done. While the trip was short, I liked the city enough to want to come back and see more of it. And while I don’t (right now) have plans to write something set in Malmo, I’m pretty sure I’ll make use of my exposure to the city somewhere down the line. 

Writers store all this experiential stuff away and it rises back to surface when you least expect it. I never intended to draw on my trip to Madeira as detail for a 31st century planet of vintners in my Horus Heresy novel Nemesis, or my visit to the Maltese “silent city” of Mdina in my latest Marc Dane thriller Ghost, but both places inspired me and helped me make those stories feel authentic. Travel doesn’t just broaden the mind, it stimulates it.

If you enjoyed this travel blog and you'd like to see more of the same, let me know in the comments below or via my Twitter feed...

Saturday, June 30, 2018

The GHOST soundtrack

A month on from the launch of Ghost, the third novel in my Marc Dane series of thrillers, and things are moving apace; I made it on to the bestseller list once more, so I'm sending out a heartfelt thank-you to everyone who picked up a copy of the book.

As is now becoming an annual thing, when I was working on the book I assembled a playlist of songs that provided inspiration for characters, themes and scenes. 

I've done this before for the previous novels in the series - Nomad (hosted over at the Civilian Readers blog) and Exile (here on Red Flag).

Here's what I said when talking about the use of music while working on the first Marc Dane novel; "writing a book isn’t just the writing of the book; there’s also the time spent wrangling ideas or thinking stuff up. I find pacing out the kilometres on the runner at the gym is a great place for this, usually with a loud and driving playlist in my earbuds to propel me along."

Here's the beats that helped drive Ghost...

Track 1 - "GHOST Anthem" - Night Stalker - Carpenter Brut

Track 2 - "Snowboarding" - Song 2 - Blur

Track 3 - "Ambulance Chaser" - Atom Bomb - Fluke

Track 4 - "Drone Race" - Cold Rock the Mic - Apollo 440

Track 5 - "Kara's Theme" - Paint it Black - Ciara

Track 6 - "Lucy's Killer Look/Horizon Integral Caper" - The Payoff - Royale Deluxe

Track 7 - "Madrigal's Story" - Break on Through (To the Other Side) - Josh Mobley

Track 8 - "Infiltration" - The Key - Johnny Jewel

Track 9 - "I Know You Got Seoul/Helicopter Chase" - Friction - Imagine Dragons

Track 10 - "Outro" - Live to Rise - Soundgarden

Track 11 - "GHOST End Credits" - A Hero's Journey - Lazerhawk

Ghost is out now in major chain supermarkets, bookstores and online retailers. For more details click Here.

And if you'd like to read a sample chapter, visit Readers First right Here.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

You are hearing me BBC Radio 5 Live

Way back in the distant days of 1988, I started running a pencil and paper roleplaying game campaign that would go on to last over a decade, based on the world of Cyberpunk, a sci-fi RPG produced by R.Talsorian Games. One of my players was Adam Rosser, who has since gone on to become the award-winning producer-presenter behind BBC Radio Five Live's Game On, and I've been pleased to be a regular voice on his show talking about my work in the games industry and as a prose writer.

In this week's show, m'colleague Adam has interviewed me about Ghost, the new novel in my Marc Dane series of action-thrillers, and we talk about the challenges of writing of fiction against the backdrop of a real world filled with geopolitical intrigue, and making the thriller work in a post-Cold War era.

And with the recent unveiling of the first full trailer for Cyberpunk 2077, a videogame based on that original RPG we loved so much, Adam and I could not let the opportunity pass to talk about our hopes for this upcoming release.

Check out the episode here via the BBC Radio Five Live website, which will be available to download for the next thirty days. 

Game On - James Swallow, old school cyberpunk

The third book in James Swallow's 'Marc Dane Series' - Ghost - is out now and he joins Adam Rosser to talk about building a technothriller series and then two old chombattas cast a rheumy Kiroshi optic over 'Cyberpunk 2077'...

Click Here to visit the site.