I Am The Monkey On The Back Of An Angry Robot

*whistles innocently*

Angry Robot Books is going to publish my novel, BLACKBIRDS.

I’ll let that sink in.

They’re also going to publish its followup, the tentatively titled: MOCKINGBIRD.

I’ll let that sink in, too.

That sound? The one you hear? Not just in your ear, but in the deep squishy pockets of your mind?

Yeah. That’s me. Screaming with mirth. Cackling like mad. Singing some forbidden hymn to whatever ancient gods decorated my brow with their blessed seed and let fortune favor a wee bearded penmonkey such as myself. I’m dancing. I’m grinning.

I’m lacquering my lederhosen.

BLACKBIRDS has been Out There for a good while now. It’s been ping-ponging from editor to editor. It’s been collecting lovely rejection after lovely rejection, all of them hinting that it deserves to find a home and will some day, but over time, with every month falling off the calendar you start to feel like, “Oh, ohhh, fuck, it’s not going to happen, is it? I’m either going to have to drop it in a box somewhere or self-pub it.”

So, to be picked up by Angry Robot — publisher of some, I mean, c’mon, truly astounding writers? Lauren Beukes? Matt Forbeck? Mike Shevdon? And they’ve also picked up fellow DMLA-ers Adam Christopher and Chris F. Holm? I’m over the moon to be lumped in with that level of talent. My goal is simply not to poop up the place. Here’s a clue how much I love Angry Robot: every since they were made manifest in this plane of existence and began showing up in bookstores, I would constantly go over, pick up their books and say to whomever was standing nearby (my wife, a stranger, a pet goat): “Holy shit, this looks awesome.” Every time. Great authors. Killer concepts. Incredible covers that look like nothing else on the shelves. Plus, they’re incredibly author-friendly, and how can you not love an ecosystem like that?

BLACKBIRDS features a character near and dear to my heart. A character whose struggles are fundamental and human but are reflected in a paranormal condition that exemplifies some far bigger, far weirder shit: fate versus free will, life versus death, what hair dye to choose, and so forth. Miriam Black — the protagonist of these books — is deeply troubled, very angry, and a total pill. But she’s funny, too, and foul-mouthed as anything. It’s great, because I actually care about her. One of my earliest note files when I was conceiving this character was titled, quite simply, “Poor Miriam.” Because I felt awful for the cross I’d strapped to her back and forced her to bear. I had nothing but sympathy and guilt for what I was going to do to her.

(That cross, for the record, is the ability to see how and when someone will die just by touching them. Fate and death, ever-present with naught but the contact of skin on skin.)

Good times.

So, not only does Miriam get one book, but she gets what I hoped she always would: the chance to carry her misanthropic “spit-in-the-eye-of-fate” attitude into other adventures.

Thanks to those who have supported the book all this time. Thanks to Jason Blair and Matt Forbeck for suggesting Angry Robot as a home to begin with. Thanks to Stephen Susco, my screenwriting mentor, who helped me hammer the shit out of this story way back when. Thanks to my wife, who for some reason always seemed to believe in me. And thanks to my kick-ass rock-star of an agent, Stacia Decker, who rocket-launched this through the ionosphere.

And thanks to Angry Robot. Marc Gascoigne, Lee Harris. Gentlemen. Scholars. Biblionauts.

Look for BLACKBIRDS in April/May 2012.

And MOCKINGBIRD not long after.

In Other News…

COAFPM continues to sell very well. Been out for not-quite-one-month now, and it’s sold ~260 copies. Because of the slightly higher price point, it means I’m fast approaching what I’ve earned over four-to-five months with IRREGULAR CREATURES (but that collection has seen a boost since COAFPM‘s release, which is nice). Together the two have paid a couple mortgage payments, so I can’t say boo to that.

IRREGULAR CREATURES has 36 four- and five-star reviews at Amazon, which is incredible. Fills me with giddy bubbles. Or maybe that’s just gas. Even still, thanks all to have bought and loved the collection. Means a lot to me. I hope that more Cat-Bird will show up in the future.

COAFPM — well, I wouldn’t complain if it got some more reviews over there. It’s standing at three reviews at present, and would love to see more added if you’ve read it, enjoyed it, and have the time.

In related news: Andrew Jack interviews me over at his space.

DOUBLE DEAD is back from a first pass edit, and — holy shit! — it doesn’t suck. Looking forward to getting a second major copy-edit through. Jon Oliver and Jenni Hill at Solaris/Abaddon are incredible folks to work with, and I am very pleased that DD is in such excellent hands.

I’m nabbing some secret hush-hush work at my old stomping ground, White Wolf Game Studios. Developing something pretty cool for them which is all about [REDACTED].

Still bouncing my wibbly-wobbly baby-schedule in terms of writing. Some days the word count trickles. Other days, it floods. I was able to finish a new novel — codename: POPCORN — by churning through a 9,000 word writing day last Friday, so that was exciting.

Also planning a series of novellas to release over the course of the summer. Kind of crimey, I guess? High school? Not-quite-noir? Veronica Mars, but more violent? Something like that. Interested?

And that’s all she wrote, folks.

Thanks for reading.

EDIT: Today, Abaddon is also posting the first chapter of DOUBLE DEAD for those who care to read it.

#coburniscoming