Wednesday 27 August 2014

Blackguards! Kickstarter anthology.

Kickstarting is basically a glorified pre-order where you can get all sorts of benefits - check it out HERE

Joe Martin of Ragnarok Publications asked me if I would put a story in for this anthology back before it had a name and was just an idea. I said yes because Joe and fellow Ragnarokian, author Tim Marquitz, had shown themselves to be supportive good fun guys on facebook and I had a story bubbling at the back of my mind.

The story I've got in the Blackguards anthology concerns Brother Sim, of whom Jorg Ancrath has said:

i) Assassination is just murder with a touch more precision. Brother Sim is precise.

ii) Shakespeare had it that clothes maketh the man. The right clothes could take Brother Sim from a boy too young to shave to a man too old to be allowed to. He makes a fine girl too, though that was a dangerous business in road company and reserved for targets that just couldn’t be killed another way. Young Sim is forgettable. When he’s gone, I forget how he looks. Sometimes I think of all my brothers it’s Sim that’s the most dangerous.

iii) Brother Sim looks pleasing enough, a touch pretty, a touch delicate, but sharp with it. Under the dyes his hair is a blonde that takes the sun, under the drugs his eyes are blue, under the sky I know no-one more private in their ways, more secret in their opinions, more deadly in a quiet moment.

 iv) Brother Sim holds himself close and you will never know him no matter what words pass between you. He whispers something to each man he kills. If he could speak it to a man and let him live, then I might have lost a killer. 

Here's a small snippet from the story:

“A name has been given.” Brother Jorg spoke behind Sim. He’d climbed the spiral stair on quiet feet.
      “Which name?” Sim still watched the road, leading as it did back into the past. Sometimes he wondered about that. About how a man might retrace his steps and yet still not return to the place he’d come from.
      And Brother Jorg spoke the name. He came to stand by the wall and set a heavy gold coin beside Sim. In a brotherhood all brothers are equal, but some are more equal than others, and Jorg was their leader.
      “Find us on the Appan Way when this is done.” He turned and descended the steps.
Assassination is murder with somebody else’s purpose. Sim reached for the coin, held it in his palm, felt the weight. Coins hold purpose, they bear it like a cup. A murder should always carry a weight, even if it’s only the weight of gold. He turned the coin over in his scarred fingers. The face upon it would lead him to his victim.

Monday 25 August 2014

Raffling the Prince of Thorns manuscript for charity!

Raffle now closed - though of course you can still donate.

$3401 raised!        Feel good about it!


Manuscript and assorted goodies:  Katherine Bultitude

Prince of Fools mug:  Lisa Herrick

Signed Trade paperback Prince of Fools:  Mia C, KC Alexander, Anthony Tackett

(The original proof copy of the Prince of Thorns manuscript, complete with my corrections, signed & doodled)

*this 16oz mug/tankard will be randomly awarded to one entrant*

& 3 signed, stamped trade paperbacks of Prince of Fools will also be awarded randomly to 3 other entrants.

So last year I auctioned the Emperor of Thorns manuscript for charity raising over $3000, and the year before that I auctioned the King of Thorns manuscript. The King of Thorns manuscript is now on the market for a mere $2400! Here's my daughter handing the check over to Children's Hospices South West, a charity that runs a number of hospices for terminally ill and life-limited children.

(Celyn, during one of our stays at the hospice)

This year I'm raffling the Prince of Thorns manuscript.

There are bonus prizes too depending on the size of the winning donation (explained below). These include a mug sporting the trilogy's three covers, a rare signed 1st edition UK hardcover Prince of Thorns, a signed 1st edition UK or US Prince of Fools, and the Prince of Fools audiobook on CD (US version). Note: happy to swap the mug for a Prince of Fools mug and the books for other books.

You buy your raffle tickets by donating directly to the children's hospice charity. Each $ you give is one ticket (I'll do any necessary currency conversions). Email me the receipt they send you. If for any reason you can't donate via the website contact me on  and we can work something out.

[NOTE: The charity aren't involved in this. They just accept donations - you need to tell ME you've entered and how much you gave so I can allocate tickets to you.]

I'll do the draw in a public and random fashion on October 31st and send out the prize.

If the prize winner bought $25+ of tickets they'll also get the UK or US Prince of Fools hardcover signed 1st edition. 

If the prize winner bought $50+ of tickets they'll also get the pretty mug in the picture showing all three Broken Empire covers.

If the prize winner bought $75+ of tickets they'll also get the rare UK Prince of Thorns hardcover signed 1st edition.

If the prize winner bought $100+ of tickets they'll also get the US Prince of Fools audiobook on CD.

(prizes can be varied if you want others of my books or a Prince of Fools mug etc)

(to be clear - if you don't win the raffle you get nothing save the knowledge you've helped a great cause)

I'll keep a tally of the donations on this page with shout-outs/links for anyone who'd like one.

Contributors include:

(I will list you here to thank you publicly unless you ask me not to)
(I'll include a link for you on request)

Lisa Herrick - first off the blocks!
Edward Partridge - also famous for having the first Prince of Thorns tattoo!
Anthony Fleming - most excellent chap!
Tom Lewis - internet hero.
John Piontowski - a doubly generous fellow!
Sam Stedman - to the rescue.
Jan Waite - Goddess of Giving!
Sylvia Lucas - a star.
Sky Fleming - A1 human being!
Deb McManus - top lady.
Shawn Speakman - author, publisher, fine fellow!
Alicia Wanstall-Burke - thespian, gentlewoman, scholar.
Paul Weymouth - dude!
Adrian Collins - King and Overlord of Grimdark Magazine.
Stephen Ivelja - superman!
Dusty Wallace - shine on.
Pen Astridge - a woman of many talents!
Luke MacWhirter - salt of the earth.
Alex & Katie Page + little Jorg - a constellation of stars!
Steve Drew - man of reddit.
Janine Dhami - a giver!
Loki McHenry - a god among men.
Agnes Meszaros - a star!
YamilĂ© Nadra - best YamilĂ© ever!
Yagiz Erkan - reviewer of goodness.
Dymphna McQuay - lady of quality!
Anthony Tackett - stand-up fellow.
James Cormier - author, blogger, gentleman!
David Menashy - solid citizen.
John-Paul Clinton - gentleman!
Symon Mazeeuw - quality guy.
Christie Jones - wonder-woman!
Katherine Bultitude - generous to a fault.
Laura Wolterstorff - many thanks!
Mike Myers - salt of the earth.
Hilary Treat - Hilarycopter of joy!
K.C. Alexander - dude among men.
Robert Bryden - fine fellow!
Sakky the Pirate - arrrrr.
Alice Leiper - almost late, but much appreciated!
Roy Chambers - really the last.

Friday 22 August 2014

Interview with a book thief.

There are, on Youtube, illegal copies of the audiobooks for my Broken Empire trilogy.

Youtube makes having them removed quite a struggle (both Youtube and the people who post them profit from the advertising that interrupts you when you play them - so why would they make it easy?)

So, instead of trying to get them removed I just put this in the comment section:

please stop stealing my work and the work of the people who put together this audiobook

Now nobody who is doing a bad thing likes to be caught in the act or be made to feel uncomfortable about their activities. If you point out to someone who has just thrown their coke can on the floor that there is a wastebin five feet away - they'll often as not tell you to fuck off, unless you're seven foot tall and mean-looking.

So sometimes my message prompts a reaction. This is a collection of replies from Emmanuel. The originals are all publically viewable on the youtube comments thread.

Not full copy please put full copy 

Mark Lawrence
Buy one.

Dear mark kiss my ass dident you get payd once all ready from the publishing house so whats this talk about stilling work.theres no work to be took you sold it and dont own it anymore 

Mark Lawrence
Buying a paper or electronic book doesn't entitle you to the audiobook for free. An enormous amount of extra work went into that and the narrator deserves to get paid, as do the technicians etc involved in its creation...

(extra note added for blog - I do of course get royalties per sale so each sale lost to theft hurts my income)

Dear mark I didn't still your book I didn't up load it to YouTube but I do believe in being able to read or listsin to someone's work before taking home for good books and music being especially of those sins there a million of you guys all calling your selfs artist walking around acting like I'm robbing food from babys mouths the fact of the situation is I won't be robbed or tookin advantage of anymore I'm glad we live in the world today were I can see and hear for my self now.sorry you don't feel the same but wiy would you your a thief of some higher class or some shit lol
Mark Lawrence 
Emmanuel - you live in a very strange world of your own design. I spent years of my life writing books that you have stolen. For some reason you feel this makes me a thief. Do you really, for one second, believe anyone reading this exchange would agree with you?

You did steal my work. You have had all the benefit of it without paying anyone involved for their labor. In law you had no right to do that. It makes you a thief. 

Let's note here that we're talking about the third audio book of mine. So you've listened to two entire books, and halfway through a third ... to convince yourself they're worth paying for? Seriously?

You think after two books you might be 'robbed' by the author and the narrator if you actually pay for what you've taken? How does that even work?

Dear mark no one feels sorry for us thieves not me not you I'll continue listening to works of art that other people put out there for I and uthers evin though you come off as a man that has never listened to other peoples works for free and maybe you haven't evin though that seems very unlikely but as I said I pay for good work and that is my world I like that people throw it out there for me to sort thru the good from crap and I'll say this evin though you bitch like a rich smart stuck up man I like your work its gritty and cut throat post apocalyptic fantasy it has most of the elements of my tru world books like yours are Howe things mostly work that's wiy its strange wiy your braking my balls so mutch lol.anyways I'll probably go out and get your books to remind me that a famous guy like you gave me so mutch greef over words that only people that think the same in certain ways would remember in the end anyways its late bro I'm crashing have good night no worries I won't learn no lessons but I'll meet you half way :)

Mark Lawrence 
Emmanuel - I'm fascinated by your insistence on calling me a thief. I guess it makes you feel better about your own behaviour, but I would really like it if you could try to explain your reasoning. How, by working hard to make something, then offering it for sale, am I a thief? Please explain.

Dear mark and other fans of mark I just bought all of Darren
shan's work because I listened to most of his books on YouTube I guess that's money your not getting. And that's because your time you should maybe be nicer and talk to people ask what thay thought of the book that was put up on YouTube missing chapters. :/

Mark Lawrence
Dear Emmanuel. I don't want 'fans' who steal. I don't think you'll find many people who consider it 'arrogant' to object to theft. 

You will never find me being nice to thieves in the hope I might earn a few cents off them. That's not me. It's also not arrogant. It's how normal people are. You know ... the ones who don't steal.

Sunday 17 August 2014

Book Touching

[Contest ended - will still post photos if you want to join in!]

A mini-contest for you.

Grand Prize - One signed doodled first edition hardback copy of Prince of Fools (UK or US)

(this sort of thing)

+ Two other prizes of signed first edition hardcover Prince of Fools!

The two un-doodled books are to be randomly awarded (weighted by the entries as described below).

All you need do is send me a photo of you touching one of my books. If there are two people touching the book then your chance of winning is doubled, three people triple it etc etc.

The picture with the most people touching a single one of my books wins the grand prize! Animals count in the case of a tie-breaker!

I'm at


Contest closed Sunday 24th August 10pm GMT

Grand prize = #23
Random Prizes = #14 & #25

Entries (ordered by number!)

#23 Ms Burkhead + children and staff! I'm told there are 29 touchers here! Sadly the under-ring of weeny children is all but invisible. By looking closely I can see 20 people (plus the baby) so we're calling it 20. 29 or 20 it's still winning!

#27 Meg & a heroic effort at a karaoke party (when you take the mike you own the crowd) I will call this 19. A more intelligible singleton of Meg included below.

#22 Wonder-Claire and the pub quiz crew! 18!

#25 Mark and approximately half of Texas - number actually touching? Looks like 15

#21 TJ and employees! 13!

#19 Ed and students! 11 in total, learning through touching. (10 in this shot - there's an 11 with Ed our photographer in, but this is a much nicer shot so I'm showing it!)

#26 Aleksandra and family, including a 96 year old birthday-lady to make 9! (and below a slightly suspect 21)

#20 Charlie, 8 and a dog! (I'm assured the finger under the plant leaf is a whole new person!)

#18 Janine & workmates! (ruling the roost with 8)

#19 Holly & chums. After discussion this is a 7, the bump isn't touching the book and even if it were the imminent arrival's little fingers aren't in the shot... I'll give cross baby a pass and let her/him count!

#14 Josh & Co

#5 Glen, employing mini-minions. I'm sure they've all read the book!

#4 Fiona, Patient Cat is patient while Patient Cat's pillow is re-purposed.

#17 Dogancan, Dogancan's dad, Dogancan's mum! From Turkey!

#15 Naiky, Nairy, and David - it should be the _same_ book they're touching but in a fit of generosity I will call this THREE as they could so easily be and I wouldn't be good at reading rules in Brazilian Portuguese so why should Naiky be good at reading rules in English!

#11 Jordan, and friends

#6 Adam & Rachel - few in number but big on style!

#24 James, and son, and swords

#1 Michael - Jorg comes between husband and wife...

#10 Lisa (& minions!)

#13 Gemma .... somehow this is turning into pets' corner...

#28 Alicia, touching many books ... with her spine.

#16 Anthony - he may only have 1 person but he's really TOUCHING the hell out of that book. A panacea to cute kiddies and bunny wunnies!

#2 Angela - You'd be a fool not to read your toddler this book at bedtime.

#3 TJ, giving us the bird!

#12 Nick

#8 Daniel, from Germany (still only counts as 1 person ... if we get someone from Outer Mongolia I'll count that as 2 though!)

#9 Tom

#7 Malin, rules are meant to be tested! I think in this case though I'm counting it as a 1 person touch.

Friday 1 August 2014

Prince of Thorns is 3 years in print!

My 'baby' is 3 years old. Well, actually it's a lot older than that, but it's been on the shelves in English for 3 years today!

I've made annual state of the nation posts. This for 2012 and this for 2013.

This is how things stand in 2014 (click for detail)

Things appear to be going well. Prince of Thorns has doubled its reviews in a year and the trilogy has gone from 15,000 ratings on Goodreads to 50,000. Prince of Fools has been on the shelves for 8 weeks and is already making its mark. Blog traffic hit a peak of over 32,000 hits in a month and remains steady, averaging 20,000+.

It's not something I ever imagined for my writing but I can't deny it's very pleasing. As my youngest daughter gets older and her health continues to deteriorate she demands more of my time, so the possibility that my writing could support us and I might no longer need to keep my day job is very welcome - even though I would miss the variety (I'm a research scientist by day and it's often an interesting job).

In any event, these are the numbers. Occasionally I like to think I have some measure of control over them or responsibility for them - but the truth is I'm riding a wave here and have little to do with how big it is or where it's heading, my task is just to keep on it as long as I can.

Let's see where we are next year!