Tuesday 30 March 2010


Here are the final two parts of Jonathan Oliver's interview with Pornokitsch. See the earlier parts here.

And here's an interview with another Abaddon author from the guys at Horror Reanimated.

I had the pleasure of meeting Joseph D'Lacey from the site and the dubious pleasure of interviewing Simon B myself over the weekend at Brighton World Horror. Let me just say, I admire Joe for being able to get a word in edgeways!

I've just been listening to said recordings I made at the convention. We're going to be using them in the next Podcast. I interviewed Simon Bestwick, Paul Kane, Steven Savile (who'll be writing the first Knights of Albion) story, Paul Finch (who'll be writing Stronghold for the Tomes of the Dead line) and several Solaris Books authors.

Most of these interviews took place in the hotel bar, which is, to say, in the natural habitat of this species we refer to as 'author'.

So, for laughs, I've sorted the interviews into two files entitled 'Drunk' and 'Sober.' And no, I'm not telling you which is which!


Saturday 27 March 2010

Post the Third: Neil Gaiman is surprise World Horror Con guest!

Here's Neil Gaiman and Abaddon author Paul Kane - the two friends worked together when Paul edited the Clive Barker-inspired anthology Hellbound Hearts. (See below!)

Here's my copy, signed by Paul and Neil, with a little pinhead doodle by Neil! Neat! Makes you wonder why he pays Dave McKean to draw for him. ;-)

Friday 26 March 2010

Post the Second: Live-blogging from the Brighton World Horror Con!

Steven Savile looking pleased with himself 'cause he'd just received his advance for the Knights of Albion book. Welcome to Abaddon, Steve!

This is just to show you guys a couple of photos and tell you about the interviews that'll be appearing on our next podcast! I spoke to Simon Bestwick about Tide of Souls yesterday, and Steven Savile, who'll be writing the first novel in our Knights of Albion series. But you'll have to listen to the podcast to find out why we'll be calling that podcast 'The Muffin Man.'

Simon Bestwick raising his eyebrows suggestively at the camera

Weston Ochse with Empire of Salt

Weston Ochse brought us a present from Arizona

See the full set of WHC photos over here on Flickr

I also interviewed Paul Kane, author of Arrowhead, for the podcast this morning! I listened to Ellen Datlow, Sarah Pinborough, Maura McHugh, Allyson Bird and Suzanne McLeod in the 'Femme Fatales' panel on women in horror, and then went out with Jon and Ellen Datlow to a very kitsch Chinese restaurant for a business lunch. Seriously, plastic swans and stuffed peacocks and blown-glass fish everywhere, to a soundtrack of obscure nineties pop music. It was out of this world.

Paul Kane is Kick Ass!


Monday 22 March 2010

Pornokitsch interviews Jonathan Oliver

Those folks at the dodgy-sounding geek culture website, Pornokitsch, have interviewed our very own Editor-in-Chief, Jonathan Oliver.

Read the interview:
Part One
Part Two
Part Three

To see some of their previous interviews with Abaddon authors such as Paul Kane, Scott Andrews and Rebecca Levene, take a look over here.

Friday 19 March 2010

New Series Announcement!

Okay, everyone, this is it: a world exclusive scoop.

Abaddon is proud to announce Malory's Knights of Albion, a new series of high-action Arthurian fantasy books, starting in 2011.

Here's the background:
In 2006, volunteers working in the archives at a church in Salisbury uncovered a fifteenth-century manuscript, previously unknown to scholarship. It was apparently a sequel to the Morte d'Arthur; the frontispiece titled it The furtherre boke of Kyng Arthur & of his noble knyghts of the round table, by Sir Thomas Malorie. The style and vocabulary proved consistent with the Morte, and analysis of marks on the edges of the pages suggest that the paper was from Caxton's workshop around the time the Morte was printed.

Specialists at King's College, London, have suggested that the stories may have originated as notes made while Malory was writing the Morte and discarded as superfluous, that Caxton persuaded Malory to develop into full tales after the success of the first book. The second volume was apparently never completed and at any rate never printed.
Late last year, Abaddon successfully negotiated exclusive access to the material, and is commissioning some of the UK's most exciting up and coming authors to modernise the language and make it accessible to our readers.

Malory's new stories are good British chivalric adventures at their best: brave, noble knights, questing for honour and glory; wise and beautiful women, shrewdly seeing into the hearts of those around them; monsters and evil men, defeated at last and thrown to their destruction.

The first tale, Thee sad comedie of Sir Alymere and thee Blacke Chalyce, is being novelised by Steven Savile as The Black Chalice even as we speak, and is due to hit the shelves at the beginning of next year.

Caveat Emptor: Some of the statements made above are, in fact, lies. :)

Thursday 18 March 2010

Pat Kelleher interviews Weston Ochse!

WESTON OCHSE is the Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Abaddon's upcoming zombie horror novel, Empire of Salt. He lives in Arizona, but if you're a Brit and you fancy meeting him, get on down to the Brighton World Horror Con next week, where he'll be reading from and signing copies of his book!

is the author of Abaddon's upcoming new series, 'No Man's World' - which starts with Black Hand Gang, due to be released this spring!

PK: With all of time and space in which to set your Zombie novel, Empire of Salt, the Salton Sea is a very specific location. What was it about that place that appealed you as a setting for a story, let alone a Zombie-pocalypse (without giving too many spoilers)?

WO: Location. Location. Location. Like in advertizing and commerce, novels must have a sense of place. Some novels are made for the normal and everyday. We hide the events of the plot in the mundane of every day. We want people to think that what they have could change at any minute.

But then some novels cry out for exotic locales, especially if the location is intrinsic to the plot. Song of Kali by Dan Simmons would have been a snoozer if the plot took place in Upstate New York. The novel had to be set in India. Likewise, The Shining had to be set in a remote hotel in the Rockies. A Holiday Inn near the interstate just wouldn’t have worked.

Like a lot of authors, I prefer locations that are near and dear to our hearts. I want to lull readers into recognizing street signs, businesses, parks and cultural icons, before I introduce elements of fantasy into the locale. But then there are some locations that just scream to be used; the Salton Sea is one of them.

It’s a dead sea smack dab in the middle of California that almost no one has heard of. Just south of Palm Springs the Salton Sea used to be the vacation destination that everyone went to from regular Dick and Janes, to Richie Riches of Hollywood. Now it spawns red tides of dead fish. Birds fall from the sky. Where water meets earth, it bubbles green putrid residue. Yet people still live there. God bless them, there are people too tough to be scared away or too desperate to leave. Those kind of people aren’t the normal kinds of people regular folks are used to dealing with.
Folks from the Salton Sea are made from stern stuff. They’re a little crazy. They’re a lot desperate. And they are perfect grist for my authorial mill.

And to reward them for their perseverance and never-say-die attitudes, I’ve done what any right-minded author who doesn’t care who gets hurt would do. I infested the entire area with flesh-eating, eyeball-munching zombies. How cool is that?

Abandoned homes at the Salton Sea, wikipedia stock photos.

With eclectic collections of horror stories and a Brammy in the bank for your first novel (yes, I´m looking at you, Scarecrow Gods) what was it that drew you to the good ol´ classic Zombie?

Zombies! Taste like chicken! Seriously, I’ve never been one to get too excited about tropes. The traditional monsters of horror seem to be done to death. Probably of the hundred or so stories I’ve had published, less than ten of them deal with vampires, zombies, werewolves and the like.
I’ve always been more of a dark fantasist; I like to create textured landscapes populated by real characters who I then put in improbable situations. I’ve tended to create my own themes, my own monsters, and my own horror elements. So writing zombies was something new for me.

But zombies have something going for them that all the other tropes do not; they are pop culture icons. I inhale pop culture and exhale satisfaction. I love the iconography of registered trademarks and consumer logos. I crave music and television and magazines. I’d sleep on a bed of TV channel guides if it would mean that I could by osmosis relive the first 50 episodes of Gilligan’s Island, Bewitched or I Dream of Jeanie.
Because of their post modern representation in the original Dawn of the Dead, zombies have become as much a piece of pop culture as the Golden Arches, delivery pizzas and over-priced coffee from teenage American baristas.

If I was ever going to do a trope it was always going to be a zombie.
Zombies are cool. Zombies are badass. Even better, zombies are so badass cool that they don’t even know they’re monsters.

Cover artwork for Weston Ochses' 'Empire of Salt', painted by Greg Staples. Click for horrible high-def version!

As an American, how did Abaddon, a publisher that´s as British as Fish `n´ Chips and 2000 AD, first appear on your radar? What attracted you to them as a potential publisher? Or more to the point, what exactly do they have on you?

What’s 2000 AD? Is that a motor oil? HA! Just kidding. Put down the knife. Seriously, the folks at Abaddon caught me pilfering nursery rhymes from a Grimms' Fairy Tales book and selling it to the Star Trek franchise as Klingon Fables. They also caught me coming out of a massage parlor in West Hollywood, where I was only asking for directions, I swear. The kicker was when I was filmed beating up a herd of Girl Scouts and stealing their cookies. With all the evidence against me, it was too easy for Abaddon to force me to pay them money and send them a kick-ass free zombie novel.

Seriously this time; I was first drawn to Abaddon when 'The Afterblight Chronicles' first began. I thought the idea was incredible. I still do and would love to work on the franchise. I communicated with Jonathan Oliver, editor-in-chief of Abaddon, during this time. We agreed that we’d like to work together sometime in the future, but couldn’t decide in what capacity. Then came 2008 and the Book Expo of America which took place in L.A. Abaddon had a space in the show and I took the time to drop by and say hello. Pretty soon, Abaddon reopened their submissions and were looking for some more zombie novels. I’d been thinking about doing one regarding the Salton Sea anyway, so this became the perfect opportunity to pitch the project. Jon loved it and here we are today, with me sitting here being interviewed about a zombie novel coming out from Abaddon with a super-kick-ass cover.

Apart from your award winning novel, you´ve also had great success with your `Backwoods Horror´ short stories. You obviously enjoy working in both forms. Do you have a preference?

For me the story decides the form. I was lucky starting out. I began writing short stories. Me and a fellow named David Whitman became household names in a very short time with our collection Scary Rednecks and Other Inbred Horrors. The collection garnered insane attention and outsold everything the then publisher, Darktales, had to offer. The stories in the collection inspired independent film projects and hearkened in a period of backwoods horror fiction in America that is only now beginning to slow down.

I still meet folks at conventions and book signings who bring copies of that old book, or the hard cover reprint from Delirium. Instead of what I’m working on now, they want to talk about those old stories and how much they meant to them. I still remember a reading I did at Horrorfind I in Baltimore. There must have been seventy five people in the room. I’d advertised that there would be cheese balls and beer and I didn’t lie. I went to the discount store and bought ten big bags of cheese balls. Then I went and bought 8 cases of the local brew, National Bohemian, or Natty Bo.
I passed out the beer and encouraged everyone to throw cheese balls during the reading. It was sheer and utter chaos with me reading at the top of my lungs. People still come and talk to me about that. What a blast that was; even more fun than the bass boat radio hour reading we had the following year. Ah, the good old days.

What is it about Horror as a genre that attracts you as a writer?

Funny thing about horror is that I never knew I was a horror author. In fact, the question is still up in the air. When I first started writing I was just an author. I wrote what I wanted. It wasn’t until I began to sell things that I was called a horror author. But then I sold my first novel, and although it won a Bram Stoker Award, I have it on record from several other publishers that it’s a dark fantasy novel. I’ve since pitched a few novels to agents and publishers only to have them come back and tell me that what I was pitching wasn’t horror, and it wasn’t science fiction, and it wasn’t fantasy, but instead, some kind of amalgam of all three. At that point I usually naively bat my eyelashes and ask, “So? Is there a problem with that?” As it turns out those sorts of novels are immensely popular, but because publishers have a hard time marketing them, they are few and far between.

So do I write horror? I think so. Do I write science fiction? Yes. What about fantasy? That too. I have two trilogies in the works right now. One is 'The Cycle of the Aegis' and is a combination of all three. Those books are immensely popular. In fact, I’m writing the final book now. The other trilogy is 'The Vampire Outlaw' trilogy, which is horror, adventure and space opera. This is also immensely popular. It’s what I want to write.
It’s what people want to read.

But you asked me what it was about horror that I like, didn’t you. I’ve always felt that horror is an emotion and it’s the manipulation of that emotion that makes horror good horror. Horror is about the psychology of fear, which gets to the very heart of characterization. There’s nothing better than to give a character something nice, then make them terrified they’ll lose it, whether it’s a Barbie Doll or their very lives...


Stay tuned for the follow up to this interview, where we turn the tables and Weston interviews Pat about his forthcoming series!


Thursday 11 March 2010

'Tide of Souls' review

Matthew Fryer reviews Simon bestwick's Tide of Souls here.

"A recent addition to Abaddon’s 'Tomes of the Dead' line, I expected this to be a zombie horror-thriller. And while indeed it is, there’s far more to Simon’s novel than necrotic innards and masticated brains..."

P.S. Simon's a bestseller, too! Stats from the Dark Delicacies Horror Bestseller List in California. Outselling even zombie fiction author Max Brooks (World War Z), ey?

Wednesday 10 March 2010

Lethal Behaviour

Hey all,

So The Bookseller's slightly peculiar Diagram Prize "for the oddest book title of the year" has announced the shortlist for 2009. Go check it out. Now.

I mean it. When I'm speaking rhetorically, my voice rises at the end of the sentence.

Right. So, did you check out no. 4?

Governing Lethal Behavior in Autonomous Robots
, Ronald C Arkin (CRC Press)

That's not odd, surely? That's sensible! In fact, to hell with "governing"! We should be stamping out lethal behaviour. We should, in fact, be stamping out autonomous robots. Or not making them autonomous in the first place. Or not, ideally, building robots.

It's coming, brothers and sisters.

Pornokitsch interviews Paul Kane

Those wacky folks at Pornokitsch have been up to their old tricks again - after their interviews with Abaddon authors Rebecca Levene and Scott Andrews, they've now interviewed Paul Kane, the author of Arrowhead and Broken Arrow, in the Afterblight series.

Paul chats about writing for Abaddon, and how he and Scott Andrews have planned the overlap of characters and event in their respective Afterblight series, both previously and in upcoming novels...

Part one of the interview is here, part two is here, and part three should be coming out in the next few days or so.

P.S. I notice Pornokitsch are also running a Sexy Steampunk Competition - comment there and nominate your favourite sexy steampunk characters to be entered into a prizedraw. I notice that nobody has nominated our very own Mr. Ulysses Quicksilver, yet! Nor any one of his many lovely female companions from the Pax Brittania series. It's an outrage, say I, an outrage!

Monday 8 March 2010

Thursday 4 March 2010

10 rules for writing according to Jon

Okay, so apparently the Guardian has been running a 10 rules for writing thingy, and David and Jenni thought it would be interesting/amusing/shocking/inspiring for me to give my take on these, seeing as I'm an editor and I've written one book and that. Anyway, this is going to be messy so bear with me:


1. If a publisher says they are closed to submissions don't e-mail them an entire novel and then spend every other day asking them whether they've read it yet and reminding them how amazing this novel is. They will not thank you, your submission won't be read and, very likely, neither will your future ones. Also do some research on your chosen publisher, don't just use a scattergun submission approach. It's unlikely that Graveyard Books (I made that name up, apologies if it's real) is going to want to see your book on Breeding Newfoundland Dogs.

2. Enjoy what you're writing. If you're writing SF/Horror/Fantasy you should at least be a fan of these genres and well read in all. After all, you're going to need to know what has gone before and what works or doesn't work. In fact, read as widely as possible anyway. If you just confine your knowledge of literature to the genre stuff then not only are you missing out on some gems, but your work is likely going to tread too familiar territory. Mix it up a bit.

3. Don't think that just because an idea would make a great film/TV series that it's going to translate well into prose. Sometimes fiction can do things that film can't and vice-versa. Also, don't write a book with a view to it being one day a great movie. That's a hostage to fortune and, ultimately, you'll probably be disappointed when it happens anyway and the studio rapes your precious work.

4. Don't just repeat what you've read and imagine that it will work. I've you're a big fan of David Gemmell I'd be unlikely to publish your novel Driss The Legend. "You'll love this, it's just like Gemmell," you'll say. Well, in that case I'll read Gemmell then won't I? Influences are fine, but try to make your work your own.

5. And this is where I start running out of ideas... erm. Nice weather.

6. Oh yes, it's usually useful once you've finished your mighty tome to get someone else to read it, in fact several people will be ideal. After all, after months/years of working on the damn thing you probably no longer have any critical distance from it and can't see the wood for the trees. A fresh view on it will pick up on things you may not have noticed and show you the way to further revisions and improvements.

7. On that note, when you submit a final manuscript to your publisher, send them something you would be happy to go to print the very next day. In other words, send out the most final and polished version you can.

8. If you're writing a fantasy novel, avoid overly complex names. Okay, so we don't particularly want to know a story about Bob The Slayer, or Derek The Destroyer (or maybe you do?) but neither do I want to get bogged down in the trials of Yglikinikas The Third, Son of Ylinkizasmus The Second, Heir of all Allundrianianuyhusus.

9. Just because one publisher doesn't like what you do, don't give up and don't chuck your work away. After all, none of us editors are perfect and sometimes what doesn't work for us, may well work fine for somebody else. Hell, it may even become a huge seller. If someone had pitched Pride and Prejudice and Zombies to me for example, after I'd stopped laughing at them, I'm sure I'd have politely said no.

10. Tell the best story you can. Doesn't matter what kind of writing you're doing, if you're working on your finely created opus, or doing a series of action/adventure books based on a cartoon/film/cereal then just do the best job you can. Professionalism and commitment will get you a long way. If you do a project half-arsedly it will certainly show and you won't be invited back to the party.

Anyway, that was profound wasn't it? I may well be wrong about all of the above and it may turn out I'm a massive hypocrite or something, but them's my thought at 4 in the afternoon on a Thursday.

Happy writing folks!

Jonathan Oliver
(Editor/Overlord/International Playboy - delete as applicable)

Wednesday 3 March 2010

Podcast Part #2!

Hi all,

The second Abaddon & Solaris Books Pocast is now up! Point your iTunes to this link, or search "Abaddon" (or "Solaris") in the "Search Store" box at the top-right corner of iTunes, to check it out. Or if you're a good boy/girl and subscribed to our feed last time, just run iTunes and it should find and upload the new episode automatically.

The editors and staff at Abaddon Books and Solaris Books continue to deliver the "very best, most hard-hitting and innovative"* of podcasting entertainment in this second, thrilling instalment.

The Abaddon & Solaris Books Podcast #2: Juliet McKenna and the SFX Weekender (okay, it's a functional title; it does what it says on the tin) is introduced by junior editor Jenni Hill, who's trying to overcome her fear of the microphone, so everybody be really nice about her. Jon Oliver interviews Juliet McKenna, author of Solaris's The Chronicles of the Lescari Revolution books, sharing thoughts on coming up with fantasy names, writing and the future of fantasy fiction, and Juliet gives us a reading from the second Lescari book, Blood in the Water. Finally, Jon and David talk about the SFX Weekender, and we hear David's interviews with daleks, authors, and a couple of special guests.

Seriously, you can't get this stuff anywhere else. Barack Obama's considering starting a war with the UK, just so he can justify sending the CIA in to kidnap us. That's how cool we are.

Please listen to it, and once again, we'd love feedback. We got some great feedback last time, and have tried to make completely different mistakes this time.



*my mum again.

  • Not on iTunes, and have sworn to end your life rather than download a single Apple application? Here to help! Just point your RSS client here to download the feed without putting a penny in Steve Jobs' pocket. Keep an eye on the blog for updates, in case we change the host or something crazy like that.
  • Bewildered by the term "RSS" and unsure what all this means? No problem, ignorant Luddite! Just follow the exact same link, click on the link to the mp3 of the episode you wish to hear, and you can listen right on your browser! Everyone's a winner!

Monday 1 March 2010

Podcast Coming Up!

Hi all,

The Abaddon & Solaris Books Podcast second instalment, "Juliet McKenna and the SFX Weekender: From Lescar to Camber Sands," is underoing final editing now, and should be up tomorrow afternoon.

Featured is an interview with Solaris Books author Juliet McKenna and a reading from her book, Blood in the Water, and a convention report from Editor-in-Chief Jon Oliver and the roguishly charming David Moore on their recent jaunt to the SFX Weekender at Pontins Camber Sands, including interviews with Abaddon's own Al Ewing and Jonathan Green, with a dalek, and some pretty exciting surprises.

Keep an eye out on the blog. Should be a good one.