Sci-Fi Now – top five books of 2012

Posted: December 19th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: review, The Game is Altered, writing | Tags: , , | No Comments »

sfn75_coverWow – I’m delighted to report that The Game is Altered is runner-up in Sci-Fi Now 2012 Book of the Year.

I’m in illustrious company, too. Topping the  list of five best novels is Empire State by Adam Christopher. Next comes The Game is Altered, followed by Red Country – Joe Abercrombie (3), The Great North Road – Peter F. Hamilton (4), and Intrusion – Ken MacLeod (5).

This is what they said:

The Game Is Altered is a beautiful, energetically written collection of fiercely contemporary ideas, neatly packaged like an MTV indent into a post-cyberpunk soap opera of a boy looking for love and escape in a vast, immersive MMO.

Sums it up I guess. Anyway, a welcome fillip after a quiet year. Thank you Sc-Fi Now.

Interesting shortlisting

Posted: May 30th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: authors, prizes, The Game is Altered | Tags: , , | No Comments »

It was very nice to receive a Facebook notification the other day to inform me that The Game is Altered has been shortlisted for an award. It’s not the Orange Prize (I will never be that rare thing – an Orange shortlisted author – now that Orange has withdrawn its sponsorship from the prize);).

No, I have been shortlisted for the Pineapple Prize. I’d never heard of it either but I am suitably delighted. It’s an interesting list too.

You can read all about the the Postgraduate Contemporary Women’s Writing Network here.

Free workshop at Coventry Book Festival

Posted: May 30th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: authors, courses, The Game is Altered, writing | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

I’m running a FREE writing workshop at Coventry Book Festival on June 16th at 11am. The workshop, ‘Finding Your Voice’, is two hours long and is being held in Coventry Central Library. Bring pens, paper and an open mind. For ages 16 and above. Use the link to book your place:

I’ll also be taking part in a panel discussion with other local authors on June 14th at Sidney Stringer Academy Theatre. You can book for this on the same link.

The Game is Altered book trailer

Posted: March 19th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: The Game is Altered, web 2.0 | Tags: , | No Comments »

Soho night

Posted: March 9th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: authors, events, The Game is Altered | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

I’ll be reading a little bit of my book at The Book Stops Here on Monday 12th March. The event kicks off at 7.30 and the line up includes Adam Marek and Evie Wyld.

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Tindal authors on World Book Night

Posted: March 2nd, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: authors, events, The Game is Altered, writing | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments »

A bunch of Tindal Street Fiction Group authors will be chatting about books, inspiration and the fabness of World Book Night at Solihull Library on Monday 23 April, 2012 – 6-8pm.

Come and enjoy the literary stylings of Fiona Joseph, Gaynor Arnold, Andrew KilleenSybil Ruth, Amanda Smyth – and me. Tickets are free but need to be booked here. And Fiona has set up a Facebook page for the event here.

Bringing the book to life

Posted: February 27th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Film, The Game is Altered | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

QR codes can be read by your phone.

When I was writing The Game is Altered I imagined a hybrid novel-slash-interactive game. At least I wanted to introduce some transmedia elements into the text – embed the game sections with QR codes so that readers could use their mobiles to access additional content (avatar profiles, gameplay snippets, backstories, stills from CoreQuest). I also wanted to create a book trailer.

My wishlist was too expensive. Consequently the book is simply a book and this blog is the only additional content available (for the time being). However, I’m lucky enough to teach in the media department at Coventry University and a couple of my wonderful ex-students (interns) offered to make a book trailer – for free.

I said ‘yes please’ and wrote a quick script, which they immediately ditched. Too complicated apparently. Plus it focused mainly on Lionel’s sick cat, Buddha. The students said they didn’t think they should work with children or animals etc. etc. and definitely not cats with neurological disorders.

They rewrote the script, cast the actors, filmed it all against a green screen, added after effects, edited it – basically they did everything. This is what they came up with. I love it.

Special thanks to Emily Turvey, Luke Jones and Suzii Globe for bringing a little part of the book to life. Thanks also to Brian Mansi for the voice-over work.

Selling books – or not

Posted: February 26th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: The Game is Altered | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

My week began very well. On Tuesday I received a gleeful email from my publisher telling me that The Game is Altered had been picked for Wednesday’s Amazon Kindle Daily Deal. This, apparently, would guarantee us selling more ‘units’ in one day than either of my books had sold – ever. ‘Excellent!’ I said.

My agent was excited too. We were all geared up to spread the word the next day and get the book ‘out there’. You can only buy a book if you know it exists right?

I went to visit a friend that evening. Before I told her my news I wondered if anything could go wrong. Nope – it was guaranteed. Finally I would widen my audience. My friend and I drank (several glasses) to the book’s success.

I rolled home around midnight. Logged on. There was my book on the Amazon Kindle Daily Deal – HOORAY – heavily discounted and already climbing the Kindle chart. I checked Twitter (it’s a reflex) and people were tweeting about my book. People I didn’t know. I tweeted and started ‘advertising’ on my networks.

I was teaching the next day and needed to sleep – but I decided to download the book quickly before I sloped off to bed. I wanted to check how it looked on my Kindle – and besides, it was only 99p. I downloaded it and opened it up. The Game is Altered it said across the top. Except it wasn’t. It wasn’t my book. It was another book entirely. Initially I thought it could just be a glitch with my Kindle – but you know, I’m a techie and if there’s a bad link it will be reproduced whoever is downloading it, wherever they are. The title said The Game is Altered – but the content was another novel.

By this time it was 12.50am and I couldn’t call my publisher. I couldn’t call anyone. My family was asleep. I emailed Amazon. I downloaded it again (stupid – it was still the wrong book).

The following day I discovered that a ‘technical error’ meant that the wrong ISBN number had been uploaded and it was going to take some time to rectify the mistake. My book was withdrawn from the Daily Deal. There was no Kindle version available for four days.

Now – I want to halt this little narrative to say something about being a writer. You hole up for months, tapping away, ruining your back. You come up with something that a publisher is prepared to pay for (we’re not talking life-changing amounts I assure you – I earn more in 2 months working part-time than I received for this book in advance). It gets published – but it’s not in any bookshops you visit. It’s only on Amazon. You work like a PR exec to try and market the thing – but you know – you’re a writer not a marketing bod. And finally, a glimmer, a chance for people other than your friends to know it exists…

I felt miserable for a good few hours on Wednesday. How do I feel now? Meh! No one’s hurt (unless you count my publisher’s pocket). The technical glitch has been put right (kinda) and despite the rant about writing, I’m philosophical. I don’t write to sell books. But for now I have to peddle my wares to give my writing life a chance. The link to Amazon is on the right by the way.

Second review

Posted: February 20th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: review, The Game is Altered | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

My publicist sent this through earlier today. I want to stress that TGiA isn’t a SciFi novel!

First review

Posted: February 19th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: review, The Game is Altered | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

The first review turned up in the Daily Mirror last week. It’s only a snippet but not bad for the first (and perhaps only) bit of national crit.