A hole in the Gatwick main runway, transport chaos across Europe due to unseasonal storms, a cross-continental epidemic of terrorist attacks, including the assassination of Jo Cox, the flames of Syria still raging unabated while the UK news is all of Brexit, British political convulsions, and the Clinton-Trump mud-flinging match: it’s been a pretty tempestuous summer so far, and if I’ve been quiet about it all that’s because I’ve been dealing with a crisis closer to home – more of which anon, in a later post. Today I just want to celebrate an event I’ve been dreaming of  for many years, and only recently discovered would actually happen: the North American release of my first novel, Seoul Survivors. How this day came about is a tale entwined with the fortunes of the global publishing industry, which you may or may not be interested in, but if the latter, hopefully…

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Rook Song: Book Two of The Gaia Chronicles my Science Fantasy epic from Jo Fletcher Books launches in Brighton Feb 6th – please come & help it fly the nest in style! Continuing Astra’s adventures, Rook Song opens her world up to many people’s stories – it’s eco-dystopia meets radical resistance, a polyphonic hymn to human diversity. To celebrate accordingly, I’m hosting an Open Mic at Brighton’s fabulous Red Roaster. Please come along and read, sing, chant, recite (or just listen to) poems, raps, songs, flash fictions, manifestos, on the theme of Birds & Revolutions. Entrance is free and books will be on sale at prices even a magpie would pay. We’ll sort the Open Mic list on the night, so if you’d like to perform, please prepare 3 minute slot and come on time to sign up. Friday February 6th 8-10 PM Red Roaster 1 St James St, Brighton…

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Congratulations to Leo Elijah Cristea, winner of last week’s book prize, The Snowmelt River by Frank P. Ryan, a work of classic fantasy steeped in Irish mythology. I enjoyed all the entries, which presented four eclectic portals into the realms of otherworldliness – Leo’s metamorphosing pathway, Romeo Kennedy’s secret tree trunk, Tina Lawton’s cheerful toilet, and Chris’s whalebone arch at Whitby (returning through which would only be possible if you had saved a whale in the past). I chose the winner by pulling a Tarot Card – the Tarot being itself a portal to another world, and its four suits associated with the Celtic symbols of Sword, Spear, Cauldron and Stone. Again courtesty of Jo Fletcher Books, this week’s prize, The Silver Bough by Lisa Tuttle, combines fantasy, romance, and echoes of WB Yeats, and whisks our Celtic themes across the cold northern waters to the realms of Scottish faery:…

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February gets short shrift in most people’s books – and in everyone’s calendars, even in Leap Years. But it’s always been one of my favourite months – okay, possibly because it contains my birthday, but also because of snowdrops, the subtle phonics of an ‘f’ and semi-silent ‘r’, and the way the lengthening grey days begrudgingly promise spring but still insist we stay curled up at home with a good book. This year, February’s even more auspicious for me: I don’t change decades, but the last day of the month marks the publication of my first novel, cyberthriller Seoul Survivors. To celebrate, courtesy of my fabulous publisher, Jo Fletcher Books, I’m running a weekly book-giveaway competition up until the 28th. (Yes, I know, four Fridays and a Thursday – February can never be a just plain regular month, can it!). Each week I’ll be giving away a different JFB book,…

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Novelist Bridget Whelan and poet Sarah Hymas have both invited me to join ‘The Next Big Thing’, a game of blog-tag in which I interview myself about my next book, and introduce my readers to five more writer friends. Well, the next big thing for me (after my Christmas card list) is the Feb 2013 publication of my first novel, Seoul Survivors! Where did the idea come from for the book? I started writing Seoul Survivors in 1997. I was living in Seoul, teaching English and dancing the weekends away, but the presence of American soldiers, the sad history of a divided country, and the hyped-up military threat from a famine-stricken North Korea were now part of my daily reality.  I was also immersed in a fast-paced, hi-tech pop-culture that seemed years ahead of the West: Korean scientists were making headlines for their advances in cloning technology, and while no-one…

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For a poet, used to fretting over lines and images for months, writing a novel in a year is a fascinating, not to say teeny-tiny bit terrifying challenge.  I am enjoying it, though, and starting to really trust the process – there’s something immensely reassuring about the way the words flow onto the page, and one chapter springboards into another.  Though I do need lots of wiggle breaks, and online research time to answer questions like ‘what is artificial meat grown in?’*,  ‘are otters endangered in Anatolia?’** and ‘can renewables really provide for global energy needs?’*** I’m certainly in awe of those who write a novel in a weekend! It was also reassuring to find a good foster home for an early chapter of the book.  Subsequent drafts have already wrought changes in this growing girl, but if you’re curious about Astra, and can’t wait until 2014, she makes her…

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I’m beyond thrilled to announce that, fifteen years after I began writing it, my first novel Seoul Survivors, has been bought by Jo Fletcher Books, a Quercus imprint specialising in SF and Fantasy.  The contract is a two-book deal that will see Seoul Survivors published in Feb 2013, and my second novel published twelve months later. I couldn’t have found a more perceptive editor than Jo Fletcher, an award-winning poet who understands that poetry and SF meet in the fizzing intersection of words, ideas and the visionary imagination.  Her comments on an earlier draft helped me torque, rather than tweak, the novel’s characters into who they really are.  In her words – because, hurrah, I don’t have to write my own PR anymore! – Renowned poet and playwright Naomi Foyle’s debut novel Seoul Survivors is a dark, passionate, flamboyant cyber-thriller set – well, tomorrow, really, or the next day, with…

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