[Publishing] Be A Tourist!

ALRIGHT I’LL STOP TEASING!

It’s here, it’s here, it’s available now!

“I have no idea what that is, who he is, why the fuck you’re asking me, or what the hell is happening,” Alec said, simply. […] “I don’t like you, I don’t like him, and you’ve probably resulted in me losing a job I only just got and had to bend over backwards to get by dragging me all over some bullshit hallucination and making me inexplicably late.”
Everything you believe about London is true.
At least, it’s true somewhere. What’s also true is that Alec Archer Crowe and Opportunity Chioma Oluchukwu definitely didn’t ask to be involved in any version of London other than the one they’re in, and yet here they are: faced with disintegrating realities, constantly-changing rules no one will explain, and the world’s smelliest witch. Something is horribly, terribly wrong… and not just Alec’s sleep schedule.

Available in print (Lulu), .mobi (Amazon UK and other regional Amazon sites), and a variety of eBook formats on the majority of eBook platforms, NOW.

A Tourist’s Guide To The Ideal Book About The Ideal London

I know it’s all go around here at the moment! Romance novellas, zines, cut-ups poetry, absolutely ceaseless bids for your attention (and sometimes money). And now the forthcoming novel as well!
But what about this novel that I’ve provided fairly scanty details on?
(Yeah, this one).
Mostly I’d like to avoid spoiling people for this parallel-realities urban fantasy whirlwind, but it’s only fair that I give you all a little bit to go on. After all, there are a lot of really, really good books out there–why read this one?
Before I am summarily extinguished by impostor syndrome and badly-timed modesty: because it represents the apotheosis of several tropes that recur in my books, for one thing. Intractable, self-loathing protagonist struggling with a hidden secret? Check. Women with agendas and goals that have nothing to do with male approval? Check. Rules and realities that don’t conform to the expectations we have from the real world? Check. Atrocious jokes? Che–my jokes are very funny, actually. The power of narrative? Check. Supporting cast of absolute dysfunctional weirdos? Check. At least one character guaranteed to form someone’s lesbian awakening? Hell yes. And London as its own complex, chaotic, untameable character? Literally the core of the story.
(“But Derek,” you say, “I’ve never read anything of yours before, how do I know if they’re recurring tropes or not?” fear not: I have a back catalogue ready for you).
We got: weird artefacts! Witches (possibly)! Acerbic commentary on privilege (by the bucketload), riots (you’re probably sick of those by now but this was written in 2017 when things were very slightly less rioty), fashion critique, mythology (so much mythology!), ghosts, dashing highwaymen, horrible incels, flying cars, and a talking dog!
We got non-binary characters! We got multiple archivists! We got the weird off-milk smell at Highbury & Islington North-Bound Platforms which has persisted for literally twenty years without any explanation!
And mice. So, so many mice.
If none of that appeals to you, may I also point out that the cover is quite fetching and the items on the front all relate to the plot. But you have to read it to find out how, obviously. That’s how books work.
“Alright,” you cry, “I am convinced. Where can I buy this?”
Many places! But not quite yet. Hang around–the next post on this blog will let you know.

[PUBLISHING] Coming soon: Tourist’s Guide to the Ideal London

“I have no idea what that is, who he is, why the fuck you’re asking me, or what the hell is happening,” Alec said, simply. […] “I don’t like you, I don’t like him, and you’ve probably resulted in me losing a job I only just got and had to bend over backwards to get by dragging me all over some bullshit hallucination and making me inexplicably late.”
Book cover of A Tourist's Guide To The Ideal London
Everything you believe about London is true.
At least, it’s true somewhere. What’s also true is that Alec Archer Crowe and Opportunity Chioma Oluchukwu definitely didn’t ask to be involved in any version of London other than the one they’re in, and yet here they are: faced with disintegrating realities, constantly-changing rules no one will explain, and the world’s smelliest witch. Something is horribly, terribly wrong… and not just Alec’s sleep schedule.
Coming SOON from House of D Publications: a car crash of realities across multiple Londons which questions the concept of consistency, memory, and meaning–and just why the hell you’re paying so much rent to live in a city that’s built as much on mythology as it is on mud.

COMING SOON: ARCHITECTS OF THE FLESH

Coming soon from House of D Publications! A chunky and compelling novel full of strife, fantastical features, surgery, and really horrible phone calls! The birth and probably death of the genre Lamarckian Horror, by the author who brought you Saxonpunk.

the book cover for Architect of the Flesh shows the title, author attribution, and an image of a sketched medusa head on one piece of paper being menaced by a diagram of a surgeon's knife on another piece of paper: the background is Charles Booth's London Poverty Map

What?

That’s right! Before the close of the year, available in print and approximately a million (small exaggeration) e-reader formats including Kindle .mobi, .epub, .pdf etc, and available on iBooks, Kobi, Amazon, etc: ARCHITECTS OF THE FLESH is London as you’ve never seen it and hopefully will never see it, in a world where Lamarckian inheritance works, and just about every other science lags behind xenotransplant surgery.

Wait, back up. Lamarckian?

You may remember Darwin. At least, I hope you do. Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection turned out to be right: the idea that organisms develop physical (and indeed behavioural) traits over time as those individuals who display them fare better in whichever environment they’re in than those who don’t, and so have more babies.

Well, in the heady days of the 19th century, when everyone was still trying to figure out what the absolute hell was going on with a world they’d previously assumed was static and unchanging after the Oh Shit discovery of fossils, he was far from the only thinker trying to work out how we’d got from dinosaurs to chickens and whether those things had happened at the same time.

Jean-Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet, chevalier de Lamarck (or just Lamarck)’s idea of how environment enacted biological change was that changes to individual organisms during the course of their lifetime were then demonstrated in their offspring: so if you cut the tail off a mouse, it would have tail-less offspring. If a giraffe stretched and stretched for leaves, it would have offspring with younger necks.

Now… that does seem pretty easy to test via empirical if somewhat cruel methods. Mice are not hard to get hold of and were pretty abundant in the 19th century too. And it certainly hasn’t withstood such a simple test as obviously your surgically mutilated mouse does not beget mice without tails (mice with human ears and mice with green fur are the result of genetic tampering, and are outside the scope of this novel).

Yes but: “xenotransplant”?

In the 1790s, eminent surgeon and co-author of Anatomy of the Human Gravid Uterus, William Hunter grafted human teeth onto a rooster’s head and said rooster grew a coxcomb of tooth enamel. You can see the results at the Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London (or you can in 2021, when the museum re-opens).

See that? More of that.

So much more of that. Animal husbandry meets 18th century attitudes where theology of predestination props up chattel slavery. Human rights? Never heard of her. Animal rights? Don’t make me laugh. Technology without overriding morality? Wealth without conscience? People with fashion transplants? You got it.

Grab yourself a copy and see how bad things can get–but also just how hard it is to prevent people from trying to make things better.

FOCUS ON FICTION: As Simple As Hunger

I’m going to be doing one of these a day (hopefully) to give people a bit more background & insight about the stories I’ve got out/available, to help anyone make a decision about what they want to read next, or just to give background if you’re already familiar with the story.

A novel again today, because I’m out of individual shorts.

AS SIMPLE AS HUNGER

FOCUS ON FICTION
I’m going to be doing one of these a day (hopefully) to give people a bit more background & insight about the stories I’ve got out/available. If anyone’s read any of them and wants to add their impressions or things they think people...

Non-occult engineer Hajar Al-Fihri is about to find herself dragged into a world of intrigue, mystery, exploding ornithopters, intelligent parasites, and some Very Large Arthropods. Right now her only problem is that her colleague and friend Benjon is, in all probability, about to swear on the wireless again, but that happy state of affairs cannot last. This is, quite simply, the fantasy fiction saxonpunk universe with giant bugs and zeppelin cities to end all fantasy fiction saxonpunk universes with giant bugs and zeppelin cities.

Somewhat undermining my insistence that I was definitely not ever going to write fantasy because (list of reasons including horses), this is solidly in that category. It’s got: oil rigs, universities, trains, zeppelins, and a radio system but it’s still fantasy. Or Saxonpunk. Or we’re not really sure what the logic is here but there’s a massive quantity of enormous bugs and some unresolved mysteries, some political wrangling, some bad mother/daughter relationships, some highly protective friends, some unconventional romance, and a lot of world-building.

There’s even horses.

I need everyone to know that I read a huge quantity of entries for the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle while doing preliminary research for this, and then just manfully flung all my research out of the window while bellowing “well what if helicopters”.

I think you can, if you squint, see elements in this novel which got further development in Heavy; I’m not going to tell you what they are, only that there’s a degree to which old fixations cycle through works in different forms even with the best of us.

I think this is the only story I’ve written that has a character who is unequivocally, incontestably A Hero, meaning someone who does what is right and what is brave and all the rest. That the character happens to perhaps not be the one anyone might expect is part of the fun.

It’s Here! It’s Queer! It’s all smoke and mirrors, I fear!

Step right this way, step inside, and see the greatest show ever to amaze your senses and baffle your mind. Watch! As a budding friendship is slowly but completely transformed before your very eyes! Marvel! At how stupid four very intelligent young people can actually be when confronted with life’s mysteries! Gasp! With indignation at the skullduggery and bad manners brought in the pursuits of love, fame, wealth, and let’s be honest, a lot more wealth. Blush! At some of the language! Laugh! Primarily at some of those waistcoats! Tremble! At the revelation of worlds beyond worlds and compacts most rare and Faustian!

Buy! This! Book!

Buy it:

On Amazon Kindle (US | UK), on Lulu (print | eBook), on iBooks, on Nook, on Kobo…

What’s it about? What’s it about? You’ve heard all this and you still need to know more? Allow me:

The year is 1900. An Earl, an engineer, a suburban philosopher, and an enigma meet at University and make a pact to learn the art of conjuring.

But nothing among the friends is quite as it seems, and soon the happy four are plunged into worlds of political activism, crime, despair, sordid trysts, and a Faustian compact which seems set to threaten their very lives, one by one…

Book Launch: THE BUG BOOK IS UPON US

There’s one more edition to be sorted out but I thought I’d teased and withheld this for long enough.

As Simple As Hunger is here.

Kindle edition

It’s here on the Kindle on the Amazon.co.uk site.

It’s here on the Kindle on the Amazon.com site.

In fact, if you search most regional Amazon sites, you’ll find it, replete with scorpions and stuffed with intrigue, adventure, massive arthropods, zeppelins, radio celebrities, and the grand knowledge that it is literally the best saxonpunk giant arthropod adventure story with a female protagonist of colour on the entire whole of my blog. Guaranteed.

Don’t have a Kindle or Kindle reading app? We got you covered.

teaser 1
Epub & Paperback

Both here on Lulu.com and here on the iBookstore.

“But Del,” you obligingly call out in a shamelessly P T Barnum hard sell hawker move, because I’m just so bloody excellent at marketing, “I have bookshelves, Del, bookshelves with gaps in them. Bookshelves which do not groan with the modest physical and pregnant metaphorical weight of the finest printed copy of a book which, lest we forget, is the foremost saxonpunk giant arthropod adventure story to feature a fictional version of Durham university.”

Unbelieveable! I am sorry for your bookshelves. The absence of this book is an insult they cannot be expected to endure for long. Happily, they no longer have to as for the price of a standard UK mass market paperback this handsome green jewel emblazoned with the most glorious arachnid the scorpion can shuffle off the bounds of the print-on-demand warehouse, TAKE FLIGHT (probably in a zeppelin) and bound willy-nilly with glee from the arms of the postman onto your loving shelves.

Where, if you feel like it, you can pick it up and read it. Amazing.

It’s real. It’s here. It’s got scorpions on it. And it’s available on Lulu.com for a perfectly normal price.

Other editions are going to be available too.

Get cracking and get reading: Hajar al-Fihri, as portrayed by Twitter's @BigHatDino, would like you to get on that as soon as you can.
Get cracking and get reading: Hajar al-Fihri, as portrayed by Twitter’s @BigHatDino, would like you to get on that as soon as you can.

Book Promo Reminder!

It’s a work week, so I haven’t been hyping you all up about my BUG BOOK (As Simple As Hunger) because sleep, but sleep decided to interfere with that last night:

Dreamt I was promoting ASAH launch by trying to distribute homemade cakes to get people excited. They weren’t decorated or anything which is probably a good thing but you’ve seen my cakes, that’s not going to make people want the book more.

If you haven’t seen my cakes:

I think the kindest thing that can be said about them is that their charm lies primarily in their taste.

Happily, and with much less restraint, the same thing can be said about alla youse; excellent taste, am I right? Therefore, brace yourself, because the impending book is so, so nearly upon us:

teaser 2

See how it impends.

Book Launch: As Simple As Hunger (It’s Coming!)

As I mentioned on Friday, I’ve got a new book coming out soon.

Before you get the opportunity to drown out the clamour and sorrow of the world with GIANT BUGS, SARCASTIC ENGINEERS, SPIES, and the SAXONPUNK FANTASY MASTERPIECE to end all saxonpunk fantasy giant arthropod masterpieces (apologies if I have miscalculated and there are other books in this genre, I suggest we settle this like gentlemen – by sulking about it on our blogs!), I’d like to introduce you to some of the characters, as drawn by some very talented and awesome artists in moments of passing fancy.

Unfortunately the headshots were drawn by me, but you’re just going to have to cope with that.

Benjon Silverstein.
Benjon Silverstein.

A non-occult scientist!

What does that mean? You scream impatiently.

WAIT AND SEE.

I'm not the only person to have drawn him...
I’m not the only person to have drawn him…

Kevin has his own take on the character…

hajar al-fihri

While I didn’t do a great job of representing our heroine, non-occult engineer Hajar Al-Fihri, the ever-talented Howl was kind enough to sketch a couple of shots of Hajar and her colleague Benjon:

hajar and benjon hajar and benjon

Which show off a great deal more personality…

saxonpunk

Kevin got to grips with some ideas for the style of fashion in this world and I dug it enormously!

progatonists

Then he took on some of the other protagonists – as you can see, Kevin and Howl both captured Hajar’s cautious, careful approach to situations… and her stubbornness.

Who else is in this picture? Well:

Ferdinand del Cadiz
Ferdinand del Cadiz

A wireless engineer, Ferdinand del Cadiz…

Hana Al-Fihri
Hana Al-Fihri

Hajar’s mother, Hana Al-Fihri, who suffered somewhat from my inability to draw her… poor Hana.

Radigis
Radigis

Radigis, who looks slightly less simian in Kevin’s art, and a good job too… there’s a reason I don’t illustrate my own work!

John Lancaster
John Lancaster

And at last, John Lancaster, who works on an oil rig.

That’s not quite the whole major cast, though:

cast

REMINDER: you too could have a copy of As Simple As Hunger on your bookshelf or on your e-Reader (phone, tablet, whatever). IT’S COMING VERY SOON. VERY, VERY SOON.

I shall leave the final word with a tiny, teasing close-up of more from wildly talented artist B L Becotte

The full image would, alas, constitute a fairly major spoiler.
The full image would, alas, constitute a fairly major spoiler.