Behind the Scenes of Apocalypse Weird

awI’ve mentioned before that I’m lucky to be involved with Apocalypse Weird (awesome experience, lovely people, brilliant exposure and a real once-in-a-lifetime opportunity) and it’s a super exciting project. Hank Garner, whose podcast I was on last week, has just posted a special report in which he chats with Nick Cole about our little metaverse project. I certainly learned some stuff I didn’t know and it’s reminded me that I’ll be spending December destroying part of the world. Don’t forget, The Red King is out on Friday (digital only at this point) and it’s going to be awesome.

Go forth and listen!


Click to listen to the podcast!

Launch Day Cometh: Tales From Pennsylvania


Today is launch day … and I woke up this morning feeling like anyone else in the world. My copy, ordered from Amazon Prime, was supposed to show up yesterday but I’m hoping it’ll now appear this morning. For some odd reason, having a print copy for my shelf and being able to YouTube the unboxing before anyone else is important to me. I’ve had a copy for weeks, e-ARCS are easy enough but they don’t quite have the same gravitas as a print book with your name on it.

The names though … seriously, folks, the names! The best part of this experience hasn’t only been writing Hanna’s story (or at least the start of it), it’s been the people I’ve met and now count as friends and I get to work with most of them again as part of the epic Apocalypse Weird (the first book of which launches this time week). Because the internet has has ARCs for the better part of the month, it means reviews are gently rolling in and I particularly like this comment from David Bruns’ review of Tales:

In The Barn That Hanna Built by Lesley Smith, we find hacker Hanna Strauss, forced out of the city to hide out among the Amish. In her city existence, Hanna was obsessed with coding the perfect country setting, but when she seeks refuge among the Amish, she finds she’s actually living inside that landscape. This story has a nice twist to it, and Smith has a visceral, detailed style that evokes vivid mental images in the reader.

Another review by Chris F also touches on the nicer parts of Hanna’s story:

Lesley Smith’s “The Barn That Hanna Built” – Hanna is a young adult orphaned as a child due to the war with Transport, living under the under the shadow of its surveillance in the city. Caught up in city life, she remains anonymous and unknown to others, which is perfect for her secret identity, which presents itself as a threat to Transport. When she’s forced into hiding, she puts her computer skills to good use, inadvertently playing an important but invisible role in the ongoing war. I was really struck how the author’s words painted a very lush & vivid description, evocatively bringing this world to life. Also, I was delighted with the outcome because you don’t realize how important this story is to the overall Pennsylvania mythos until you finish it – well done!

That, folks, sums it up perfectly. The launch party isn’t until tonight but the Beard has gotten a little soppy over on his blog. Honestly, I can understand why and I know how much this little book means to him, personally. When we first started chatting he was saying how he’d love to have people writing and publishing PA stories by the end of 2014. I count at least four novellas/short stories, which a half dozen more at least in development, AND Tales so not bad at all. I like seeing my friends succeed, especially as they’ve earned it with sweat, tears and graft.

Happy launch day to Michael and my fellow co-authors! Tonight is going to be a blast and I can’t wait!

Oh and have an unboxing:

I love living in the future!

2014-11-20 16.50.06When I was a kid, the future was this magical place of hover boards (apparently those are coming too!) and I never expected it to actually be like it was in movies. Suddenly we have iPads and phones, computers controlling houses and the internet EVERYWHERE.

This is my new Nest. I got it as a present to myself, mainly inspired by how frakking cold I’ve been feeling due to my anaemia and the illogical placing of my previous thermostat (downstairs, by the front door, right next to an always-on radiator). Last year I got to choose between heating and eating (I went with the latter) in order to save money and it was miserable. I’m hoping this winter will be different and milder.

The amazing thing for me is being able to change the Nest from anywhere with WiFi or internet access; I sat on the bus as we pulled into Dereham’s market place and told the Nest to heat up the house in anticipation of my arrival. It was bliss as I still remember, all too clearly, the agony of coming home to a cold house last January and having to wait for half an hour for the place to heat up to habitable levels.

Okay so I got the thing on what amounts to two year hire-purchase through a raised tariff but, as I explained to Sophie (who now has Nest-envy), it’s no different to getting a new phone. It’s also one of the concessions that I’ve realised make life a little easier on myself, the first step in making my home a lot more me friendly. Before Tuesday, I was having to walk up and down a steep set of steps and squint as an unreadable, crappy LCD thermostat which wasn’t even registering the correct temperature (remember that radiator and the front door I mentioned? Also first floor; heat rises!) and should culminate with a nice new American-style fridge freezer next year that will making actually being able to feed myself a tad easier.

I’ve spent the day playing with various new large-print gadgets I’ve been purchasing over the past few weeks, all of them over the counter things like a new timer for my oven and a weighing scales. I’ve bought speakers and rigged my iPad by my bed so it can serve as music centre and reading station. I must admit though, being able to raise or lower the temperature from bed is possibly a step too far and may well condemn the human race to extinction in a single swoop but I’m not complaining, neither are the menagerie.

Yep, I love the future.

Apocalypse Weird: The Red King is Coming!

Screenshot 2014-11-14 18.44.52I’m extremely lucky to be a part of the amazing Apocalypse Weird team. Today Nick Cole officially unveiled the cover for the first book in the series, The Red King. The cover is by M.S. Corley and it looks stunning.

ARCS are available now, if you know where to go. I’ve read the book (and I’m totally biased because I’m in the middle of siccing Gojira on Tokyo and overwhelming Kyoto with cursed zombies, essentially ruining some nice people’s days) and if there’s one thing which makes me want to get The Fractured Mirror done, it’s seeing how amazing this cover is.

The Red King is out November 28th (which I believe is Black Friday, two weeks from today) with the whole AW-chaos kicking off in 2015. It’s going to be awesome, guys, seriously. Why have one apocalypse when you can have a whole world of them?

I’ll talk more about this when I can but for now feast your eyes upon the beauty and don’t listen to this guy.

Oh and we have a Facebook group here so come and join us, it’s a strange new world out there!

Tales From Pennsylvania now available for pre-order!

TfP_e-cover_1200I woke up, this morning, to a flurry of emails that essentially said one thing: Tales From Pennsylvania is now available for pre-order, which you can do at the following links:


Barnes & Noble



The book itself is excellent (I have an ARC on my iPad RIGHT NOW) and it looks amazing. Here’s the description:

Pennsylvania. The groundbreaking dystopian vision Hugh Howey called “a brilliant tale of extra-planetary colonization.” Now you can revisit USA Today Bestselling Author Michael Bunker’s unique world in this anthology of original short stories—authored by ten of his fellow master storytellers and including a new Pennsylvania story by the creator of the Pennsylvania World himself. 

In Tales from Pennsylvania, Transport’s ever-growing desire for complete control forges new heroes as imagined by today’s leading voices in speculative fiction. You’ll meet an Amish family torn between their commitment to pacifism and impossible choices to preserve their way of life. A hacker named Gordian, who’s far too good at what she does for the Authority’s taste. A former stripper and her club-owner husband, who must learn to fit into Plain society or lose their lives. A young girl, lost in the winter cold and at the mercy of the Wild Ones. A scavenger on the Great Shelf, who befriends a woman he’d only intended to rob. A young Native American girl forced to undertake a journey in time. These adventures and more await you inside this collection. 

If you liked Michael Bunker’s Pennsylvania, you’ll come to love these new heroes. Their tales are heartbreaking. They’re exhilarating. They’re unforgettable.

This anthology is special to me, particularly, as it’s my first anthology, my first time writing fiction in someone’s universe and a lot of the people on the cover are also involved in another exciting project called Apocalypse Weird. I’ll be talking more about that shortly, know only that I’m in charge of decimating the land of the Rising Sun so you know this going to be fun.

Don’t forget we’re going to be holding a Facebook launch party for Tales on the 21st. Stuff will be given away, merriment and margaritas will be had (you’ll need to supply those yourself) and I can’t wait to get my hands on a contributor paperback.