Thirty Years of Rain

During the near two years I tried and failed to move to Glasgow, two things anchored me to my goal: firstly, my good friends who live and work in the city. Secondly, the thought of the passionate, creative community I would be joining when I moved here. At the point I’d begun to wonder if I’d ever make it up, the folks of the Glasgow SF Writers Circle invited me to make good on the handful of meetings I’d made as a visitor, and join as a full member. It was the foothold I needed in the city. From that moment, I didn’t look back.

Thirty Years of Rain

A year on from that day, I’m proud to say a poem of mine has found its way into Thirty Years of Rain, the new anthology celebrating the 30th anniversary of the celebrated crit group. It’s fitting that while this book features many of the Circle’s most famous alumni, it also showcases some startlingly original work from up-and-coming writers too: Louise Welsh, Hal Duncan, Gary Gibson, Neil Williamson, Amal El-Mohtar, TW Moses, Heather Valentine, Eliza Chan, Peter Morrison, and many more besides. Thirty Years of Rain is not just a taste of the myriad fall from the group, but hopefully a foreshadowing of bigger things to come.

Edited by Neil Williamson, Elaine Gallagher and Cameron Johnston, and with layout by Hal Duncan and photography by Andrea Heins, Thirty Years of Rain is available now in paperback (Amazon/Lulu) and ebook (Kindle/Other Formats).

Alternatively, if you’re in the Glasgow area, why not join us this Friday 30th September (anyone would think we’d planned it that way, eh?) at Waterstones on Sauchiehall Street? We’ll be launching the book at 7pm, with readings, chat and more, plus the biggest gathering of contributors we can muster.

Here’s the official facebook page (ignore the bit about reservations – you can just turn up). Hope to see you there!

September Shenanigans: Event Horizon, Fantasycon, Thirty Years of Rain and more.

I’ve got a bit of news. Well, quite a lot of news, actually. Earlier this year, I put in an application to the University of Glasgow’s MLitt programme in Fantasy — and to my immense delight, they accepted me. So I’m currently condensing my life into a dozen boxes, as I’ll be moving myself and them up to Glasgow this weekend. It’s both terrifying and utterly exciting (and I’m not just talking about the ability to buy a tonne of books and call it work), but I can’t wait to be living in such a vibrant, creative community of writers and artists. The hard work begins here.

September is looking to be a busy month already, with book launches, events, and two new things coming out. While I’m taking a breather from boxing up, I thought you might like to know what’s coming up in the next few weeks…

Event Horizon 11

5th September: Event Horizon XI (Edinburgh)
Next Monday, join me, Bram E. Gieben, Harry Giles, Elaine Gallagher, The Spiders, and Russell Jones for stories, slam poetry and some stonking performances that’ll knock your SFing socks off. We’ll be at the Blind Poet in Edinburgh from 7pm. For more details, check out the facebook event page here, or last week’s blog.

23rd September: Shoreline of Infinity 5 is out! (Everywhere!)
The next issue, featuring my latest Noise and Sparks column, hits the shelves! Pick it up from Transreal Fiction or Deadhead Comics in Edinburgh, or order direct from www.shorelineofinfinity.com.

Additionally…

Thirty Years of Rain

23rd – 25th September: Fantasycon-by-the-Sea (Scarborough)
This year’s Fantasycon ships up in sunny Scarborough for a weekend of fun, frolics and the world famous Fantasycon Disco Karaoke, the Karaoke is the best. Kev McVeigh, Martin Petto and I have just finished judging for the Non-Fiction Award of the British Fantasy Awards, which will be announced that weekend. I’ve also been booked for a panel, so more on that when it’s been officially announced. For now, I can say I’ll be at the NewCon Press & Glasgow SF Writers’ Circle Book Launch on Saturday (24th) at 3pm, where we’ll be signing copies of the GSFWC‘s 30th anniversary anthology, Thirty Years of Rain. If you’re about, why not join us?

30th September: Thirty Years of Rain – Glasgow launch (Glasgow, funnily enough)
Naturally, it wouldn’t be right to have a Glaswegian book without a Glasgow launch. Come join me and even more GSFWC authors at Waterstones (Sauchiehall Street) for free booze, readings — and, of course, we’ll be on hand to sign any 30th anniversary anthologies you may have just bought that evening. The event kicks off at 7pm, so do join us then.

If you’re not able to make either of the two launch dates for Thirty Years of Rain, you’ll be able to order it online nearer the time, and I’ll post details of that when I have them. In the meantime, if you’re wanting your new story fix, don’t forget Fox Pockets: The Evil Genius Guide (feat. ‘Dame Ammonia Dastardly-Truste’s Evil Genius College for Ladies Class of 2014: Graduation Speech [Transcript]’) is out now in paperback, with e-book to follow soon.

I think that’s it — until Glasgow!

The Evil Genius Guide, Thirty Years of Rain, and Shoreline of Infinity

Ever wondered what it takes to be an Evil Genius? Now’s your chance to find out.

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The Evil Genius Guide is the latest in Fox Spirit‘s Fox Pockets series, and I’m delighted to return to it with a story almost as mad as the ‘The Real Deal’, which appeared back in Fox Pocket 1: Piracy.

‘Dame Ammonia Dastardly-Truste’s Evil Genius College for Ladies Class of 2014: Graduation Speech [Transcript]’ (deep breath) is a story about love, revenge, and machine gun bikinis, set in private school with a rather unusual graduation ceremony. It’s an older tale — I first submitted this story two years ago — so it’s interesting both to see how my writing’s changed in the years since, but heartening also to see how Past Me could still pull a surprise out of the hat when she needed to.  Of course, if that doesn’t take your fancy, Chloe Yates, Andrew Reid, Steven Poore and the rest of this dastardly ensemble will gladly indulge your lust for evildoings. Paperback copies are available to order now, with an ebook due very soon.

The release of The Evil Genius Guide is also a bit of a landmark for Fox Spirit Books — this and the soon to be released Reflections are the last in the current Fox Pockets series. So Fox Spirit are having a very special celebration to mark this on 25th August at the Secular Hall, Leicester. Don’t forget to pick up your tickets, ’cause there ain’t no party like a Fox Spirit Party!

In the meantime, I’m taking a break from the world’s least fun game of Katamari Damacy to go through proofs for Thirty Years of Rain, the anthology celebrating 30 years of the celebrated Glasgow SF Writers Circle. As you might expect, the TOC’s a blinder, with Louise Welsh, Amal El-Mohtar, Garry Gibson, Hal Duncan, Eliza Chan, Neil Williamson and more. I’ve also just finished my latest Noise and Sparks column, which will be in the next issue of Shoreline of Infinity.

Both of these should be out around the 23rd September — just in time for Fantasycon-By-The-Sea, where I’ll also be hanging around for the Thirty Years of Rain launch. So, if you’re going, I hope to see you then!

Shoreline of Infinity, Satellite 5, and the Glasgow SF Writers Circle

Ladies and gentlemen, it has come to my attention there are things you should be aware of. Brace yourselves…

ONE!

Shoreline of Infinity’s Issue 4 line-up is online now, and it’s a stonker, boasting interviews with Ken MacLeod and Tricia Sullivan, as well as stories by Gary Gibson, Andrew J Wilson, Holly Schofield and more.

Issue 4 will also be the first with my new column, Noise and Sparks (does that sound oddly familiar to you?). This time around, I’ll be talking about what happens when you find yourself writing more for other people than for your own pleasure.

It’s available for pre-order now – and look at that amazing cover by Sara Ljeskovac! Look at it!

Shoreline-Issue-4-Cover-647x1000

Look!

TWO!!

The Glasgow SF Writers Circle marks its 30th anniversary this year with the release of a brand new anthology of work from members past and present. I’m happy to say that a new poem of mine will be appearing in this too. The as-yet unamed book is expected in the Autumn, so I’ll post more nearer the time.

But before all of this…

THREE!!!

This weekend, Satellite 5 kicks off at the Marriott Hotel in Glasgow, where there will be fun, frolics, and live action Space Invaders with skateboards and nerf guns. So I’ve heard.

If you’re up for more leisurely adventure, I’m reading on Saturday 28th May at 8pm, along with Andrew J. Wilson, Elaine Gallagher, Brian Milton, Elsie Donald and more. Neil Williamson will also be reading extracts from his new collection Secret Language, which you’ll be able to pick up at the preview launch the same day, ahead of the official release.

So if you’re about, why not pop along? Hope to see you there!

The Week of All The Stuff

I mentioned last week that 2016 was going to be somewhat busier on the story front than last year. What I didn’t mention was how early all of this would be starting. Like… now! This week I’ve got a story and a brand new poem in two quite different anthologies. I’ll also be making a last minute appearance at A Thing In Scotland. So I should probably tell you all about those.

First up, Digital Dreams is the new anthology from NewCon Press, collecting ten years of great SF writing from one of Britain’s most celebrated independent presses into one e-book. As I understand it, a number of these stories are appearing for the first time in this format here – and a book with Lauren Beukes, Pat Cadigan, Justina Robson, Kim Lakin-Smith, Nina Allan, and more definitely deserves your time and attention. In short, it’s an unmissable retrospective from some of the genre’s top writers of the last decade. I’m proud to say my tale ‘The Honey Trap’ (which first appeared in NewCon Press anthology La Femme, and won me a BSFA award last year) can be found in here too. Digital Dreams is out now.

Secondly, The Speculative Book will be launching this Friday. This is the first anthology from the Glaswegian collective The Speculative Bookshop, and features tales and art from the likes of Peter Sutton, Neil Williamson, Brian Milton, Elaine Gallagher, and, well, me, all curated by Chris Kelso and folks from the Speculative Bookshop team. This should be a splendid anthology for those looking for brand new up-and-comers in SFF, and raw storytelling talent. My poem ‘Coronal Mass Ejection (Solar Minima)’, inspired by the experiences of Joan Feynman, can be found inside that. My first published poem. Which is nice.

In addition, it’s probably time I told you that I’ll be at The Speculative Book Launch this Friday 8th January at the Old Hairdressers in Glasgow, along with a good deal of the rest of the authors. So if you’re wanting something signed, that’d seem like a good night to get along to. Also, the marvellous Creative Martyrs will be performing, which is always… an interesting night out. So if you’re at a loose end in Glasgow this Friday, why not pop along?

A story, a poem and a live thing. That’s a busy week right there. I’d best be getting on with it.

2015 in Fiction (and other things…)

It’s almost over. The turkey’s been stuffed, and stuffed again. The three wise men are still treadmilling their way across the mantlepiece, in the hopes of reaching the Advent Candle by New Year’s Eve. In short, it’s really time I’d done one of these end of year round up posts already and bunged it up online. You know how it gets. The presents. The relatives. The discovery of new species of hybrid plastic animals in your crackers. So here’s the summary of a year that’s been deceptively busy under it all.

This year was quiet in terms of new stories. Just the one, in fact – ‘Good Boy’, which appeared in the January issue of Far Horizons magazine. This was my first foray into horror, of sorts, and I’m actually pretty proud of the way it turned If you’d like to read it, click here to do that for free

That’s not all that’s happened. In 2015, I’ve also been able to indulge what’s becoming one of my favourite things about writing fiction – doing public readings. I read at Eastercon, and Fantasycon, and the Speculative Bookshop‘s July event. Here’s hoping here’s more on the way. On a writing-related note, music has taken a back seat since the mighty Thrash Hits decided to go out on their own terms, although I wrote a piece for The Independent on the sad passing of Lemmy from Motörhead (here). And though it’s not writing-related at all, really, I ran a half-marathon (the Great Scottish Run) and raised over £700 for Macmillan Cancer Support, in memory of my friend Carol, who passed away last year (if you’d like to make a donation, here’s my Just-Giving page).

The BSFA Award for Best Short Fiction

Of course, I can’t talk about 2015 without mentioning the BSFA awards. I mean, you smarten yourself up a bit and prepare a bunch of words, because it’s only sensible, right? But winning the award for Best Short Fiction wasn’t something I’d actually expected to happen. I doubt I’ve even realised it has yet – every so often I’ll remember it, and then I have to get it down and poke it a bit, so I can reassure myself it’s real. And then point it at Millie-cat and mke pew-pew noises, much to her utter disgust. Once again, thank so, so much to all the lovely folks who nominated and voted for ‘The Honey Trap’ in the BSFAs. It made my lifetime.

A lot of what’s happened this year went on under the surface. Writing fiction has been difficult this year, and it’s led me in directions I wouldn’t normally have gone in. Interesting ones, I hope, and ones likewise I hope you’ll see in print at some point. Tricky as it’s been, I’m hoping it’s all part of the process of becoming a better writer.

Talking of becoming a better writer, being invited to join the Glasgow SF Writers Circle was one of the highlights of 2015 for me. Come the new year, there’ll be 30 years of critique workshops behind the group (Amal El-Mohtar, Gary Gibson, Hal Duncan, Michael Cobley and Neil Williamson rank amongst its alumni), and I’m honoured to be part of it. Talking of which, there’ll be an anthology coming out in late 2016 to celebrate. Stay tuned to the website for more information.

2016, by contrast, is shaping up to be quite noisy. By my reckoning, there’s maybe half a dozen things in the pipeline due at some point next year. Of the ones I can talk about now, NewCon Press will be releasing a new ebook Best of called Digital Dreams, as part of their 10th anniversary celebrations – you’ll find a reprint of ‘The Honey Trap’ in that (click here to pre-order). And I’ll finally be able to call myself a published poet too. Both Winter Tales (Fox Spirit Books) and The Speculative Book (Speculative Bookshop) will be include a pair of my poems between them – my first to appear in print. Exciting stuff!

In the meantime, I’d better get back to it. 2015 was a year of the unexpected, and often giddying highs. 2016? Well… Let’s see what you’ve got, eh?

Cheers!

Incoming: In the Digital Dreams of NewCon Press…

More on 2016 releases from me – and this time, I’ve got some fiction news for you.

Digital Dreams - a NewCon Press Anthology

As part of their 10th anniversary celebrations, NewCon Press are releasing Digital Dreams – an eBook only retrospective celebrating the imprint’s history of publishing great women authors. Ian Whates has a wonderful selection to choose from, so it’s no surprise to find such luminaries as Lauren Beukes, Kim Lakin-Smith, Pat Cadigan, Justina Robson, Tricia Sullivan, Jaine Fenn, and Nina Allen all contributing tales. It’ll be well worth picking up.

I’m proud to say that my story ‘The Honey Trap’ will also be appearing alongside them. This tale first appeared in the NewCon anthology Noir, and won the Best Short Fiction prize at the BSFA awards earlier this year.

For more information, the full Table of Contents – and pre-order link – are both online now.

How Writers Write, and When Runners Run

Cafe-4-mini
 

Tony Ballentyne’s blog series How Writers Write is exactly that. Once a month, he’s interviewed folk like Keith Brooke and Neil Williamson and they’ve duly answered – on where they write, choices of style, and what helps them get into the right frame of mind to create great stories. You’ll find rare insights into the creative process of some ace writers, so it’s well worth a browse.
 
A few weeks ago, Tony dropped me an email with a few of the same questions, and you’ll find my answers (complete with a guest appearance from Millie the cat) in the latest installment.
 
How Writers Write: Ruth EJ Booth – http://tonyballantyne.com/how-writers-write-ruth-booth/
 
Just one more thing before I go:

 
orig-MEDC0209
 

Today marks a year to the day that I ran the Edinburgh Half Marathon in aid of Mind – my first ever running event. So I thought you might like to know I’ve signed up to the Great Scottish Run‘s Half Marathon event in Glasgow in October. I’ll be running for Macmillan Cancer Support, in memory of my friend Carol Laird. More on that nearer the time.

 

New Interview and Contest on The Sci Fi Fantasy Network

Has it already been two weeks since Dysprosium? Well, you can relive some of the 2015 Eastercon via the good folks at The Sci Fi Fantasy Network, who have been steadily uploading their coverage of the weekend in recent days. While they were there, we caught up for a quick chat in my first ever interview – and you can now watch it online at the link below.
 
The SFFN
 
To tie in with the interview, The SFFN are also giving away a copy of La Femme, the NewCon Press anthology that contains my BSFA award-winning story ‘The Honey Trap‘.
 
So, if you fancy bagging a free copy, here’s me, Rob Malan and Francesca Barbini chatting about The BSFA Awards and NewCon Press. Stay tuned for a bit of extra footage on the end…
 
(PS. I’m not standing in a ditch. Honest.)
 
NEW Interview and Competition: http://www.scififantasynetwork.com/in-conversation-with-ruth-ej-booth-bsfa-winner/
 
Many thanks to Rob and Francesca for the chat – and to the techies at Dysprosium for allowing us the space to do this.
 

BSFA Awards: The Honey Trap wins Best Short Fiction – Updated

BSFA Award 2014

Well. That was a bit unexpected, wasn’t it?
 
As I start to write this, it’s nearly midnight on Tuesday evening. I finally got home from Eastercon late last night. I’ve spent the last god knows how many hours responding to all the wonderful tweets, facebook messages and emails from you lovely lot. I am, truly, overwhelmed by all this. I barely know where to start.
 
I’ve spent that time, and much since, hoping that a coherent blog might coalesce from the mass of thoughts in my head, all knotted up after this mad weekend. But when I began pull apart the tangles, to unravel it, the whole thing fell apart in a heap, and only this was left behind:
 
 
Thank you all. So, so much.
 
I would only be echoing my acceptance, kindly recorded here by my good friend Annie Catling, to say more about how lucky I feel. Yet, a few of these things bear repeating — without the erms of punctuation that come with writing a speech in your head half an hour before the ceremony.
 
Once again, I’d like to thank my amazing publisher, Ian Whates at NewCon Press, for giving this misfit story a home. The same is due to David Gullen and the Pirate Program for giving ‘The Honey Trap’ its first airing at their World Fantasycon readings in 2013. It’s independent presses and events like these where many up-and-comers like me got their start, and where many more of us will come from.
 
Additionally, I’d like to thank Gareth L. Powell for his splendid turn as MC at the awards this year, and to the wonderful Kari Sperring for presenting me with mine. To the BSFA, and the volunteers of Dysprosium, for an ace convention weekend. My long-suffering family, my wonderful friends — to the inimitable Neil Williamson for his critical eye — and to my amazing con family, for their support, their much needed chat, and their safe space this weekend (You know who you are. Indeed, these may not be the things that win awards — but without them, noone ever could.). And thank you to my fellow nominees, Octavia Cade and Bee Sriduangkeaw, for sharing their brilliant stories with us. The world always, always, needs more stories.
 
And I’d like to thank you. Thank you for reading ‘The Honey Trap’. Thank you, members of Dysprosium and the BSFA, for voting in these awards. You guys are brilliant. You keep us doing what we’re doing. And for this amazing journey so far, I can’t thank you enough.
 
I mean, a PROPER ray gun as an award statue? That’s WELL cool.
 
I’ll leave you with a few shots from the weekend, courtesy of Robin Ballentyne, Adrian Faulkner and Del Lakin-Smith. In the meantime, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to run round the house and yell “PEW-PEW” at the cats…
 
***UPDATED (09/04): See after the gallery…***
 

 
UPDATE (09/04): Just a quick update to address a couple of things that have happened since. Firstly, The Guardian have reported on this year’s awards here, with a lovely bit about Tessa Farmer‘s amazing winning artwork, interpreting the titular machine in Iain Banks’ The Wasp Factory. Once again, huge congratulations Tessa, Ann Leckie (and emissary D. Libris) and Edward James on their respective wins.
 
Secondly, some of you may remember that, in his opening speech, Gareth Powell described troubles trying to get a plastic gun nailed to a 3″ by 6″ through Glasgow airport. As a result, some people have been asking me what my experience was like at Heathrow.
 
Actually, getting the award through was a remarkably smooth experience. Due to a tendency to over-pack — and then, in the dealer’s room, overbuy — at cons, I’d booked a ticket with allowance for one checked-in bag. So my lovely death ray was safely tucked into the hold by the time we reached the x-ray machines.
 
However — getting my fringe through security? Now that was a different story…