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February 2014

Hello, is this thing on? You're sure it's not? I mean, I don't want to say anything inappropriate in front of the little people. I like to pretend that I'm still one of them, you know. They don't need to know about the yacht, or the helicopter, or the cheerleaders. They just wouldn't understand. Lovely people, the little people, but very needy...

Oh. Oh, right. Well, then. Ha-ha-ha. My little joke. How are you all? And what do you do?

Anyway, a belated happy new year to everyone, and I hope that 2014 is starting well for you. I greet you from snowy Maine, where I am currently attempting to finish my pass at EMPIRE, the second book in The Chronicles of the Invaders series for older YA readers—which, I guess, makes them pretty much like adult books except without the sex and swearing—that I write with my partner, the radiant Jennifer Ridyard.

But I get ahead of myself—because the point of this newsletter is to tell you that

CONQUEST IS NOW AVAILABLE IN THE U.S. AND CANADA!

Conquest

Yes! Your long wait is over. CONQUEST, the first book in the aforementioned Chronicles of the Invaders, arrives in American and Canadian bookstores everywhere on Tuesday, February 11.

CONQUEST introduces Syl Hellais, the first of the alien Illyri to be born on Earth. The book starts on her sixteenth birthday, when she ventures outside her father's fortress and meets Paul Kerr, one of a young group of humans rebelling against the invaders. Syl's decision to save Paul's life will make her an outcast, and shake the very structure of Illyri rule on Earth . . . to read more, visit the Chronicles website here, but wouldn't it be easier just to buy the book?

My excellent co-author, Jennifer Ridyard, and I traveled to deepest New Jersey last week to sign as many copies of CONQUEST as we could. These copies have made their ways to stores all over the United States, and if you would like to buy a copy signed by both of us, click here for a list of booksellers who are offering them. (Booksellers, we'll keep that list as current as we can; if you have signed books and don't see yourselves listed, please drop us a note.

It was a nice surprise to discover that CONQUEST will also be available as an unabridged audiobook, read by the British-American actress Nicola Barber. You can listen to a sample of the audiobook here, and purchase it at your favorite audiobook retailer, but I'm afraid I must point out that these audiobooks will not be signed. (Sorry.)

A FACEBOOK CHAT WITH THE AUTHORS OF CONQUEST

Since Jennifer Ridyard, my co-author and other half, and I will not be touring the United States for CONQUEST, we wanted to give readers a chance to ask the questions that might come up at a book event. Please join us on The Chronicles of the Invaders' Facebook page; we'll be online Monday, February 24 at 4:00 p.m. EST (which would be 3:00 p.m. CST, 2:00 p.m. MST, 1:00 p.m. PST and 9:00 p.m. Dublin time, which is also GMT). Leave your questions as comments on the page, and we'll answer them in real time for an hour. If you can't be on the page during the live chat, leave your questions in advance and we'll reply to them, too. Keep them clean. I know what some of you are like...

AT THE MOVIES

Anyone who really wants to see me in person can do so on February 21 in Dublin, when I will have the great pleasure of participating in a "Writers in Conversation" panel as part of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival, to be moderated by Laurence Mackin, Arts Editor of The Irish Times. British screenwriter Malcolm Campbell, filmmaker Pat Murphy, writer-director Michael Kinirons, writer-director Darren Thornton and I will talk about the relationship between books and films, and how literary voice translates to the screen. I believe we'll be showing film clips! This event happens at 4:30 p.m. at the Irish Writers' Centre, Dublin. It is FREE, but tickets are required, and find out more here.

In addition, I'm honored to be presenting the festival's Volta award to the wonderful Peter Morgan, screenwriter of The Queen, The Damned United, Rush and the forthcoming Freddie Mercury biopic, Mercury. The presentation will take place immediately after a screening of Frost/Nixon, Peter's adaptation of his own stage play featuring Michael Sheen and Frank Langella, at 6:15 p.m. on February 14 at Cineworld, Dublin. There are worse ways to spend Valentines Night—I've tried some of them, so I should know—and tickets can be booked here.

This seems like a good place to mention that Fox, the venerable Hollywood movie studio, has acquired John Travis's screenplay THE UNSEEN, which is based on my story "Mr. Pettinger's Daemon," from NOCTURNES. John Travis, as you may recall, also wrote the screenplay adaptation of "The New Daughter," which became a 2009 film starring Kevin Costner. This is still a very early stage of development, but a promising step forward, and I wish John and his producers every success.

THE NEXT CHARLIE PARKER NOVEL: THE WOLF IN WINTER

Wolf in Winter

All right, all right, I know I had promised you some news about THE WOLF IN WINTER, the twelfth Charlie Parker novel. I am delighted to be able to show you the covers of the UK edition (coming in April) and the US edition (coming in October). And here's a bit of what the book is about:

Prosperous, and the secret that it hides beneath its ruins . . .

The community of Prosperous, Maine has always thrived when others have suffered. Its inhabitants are wealthy, its children's future secure. It shuns outsiders. It guards its own. And at the heart of the Prosperous lie the ruins of an ancient church, transported stone by stone from England centuries earlier by the founders of the town . . .

But the death of a homeless man and the disappearance of his daughter draw the haunted, lethal private investigator Charlie Parker to Prosperous. Parker is a dangerous man, driven by compassion, by rage, and by the desire for vengeance. In him the town and its protectors sense a threat graver than any they have faced in their long history, and in the comfortable, sheltered inhabitants of a small Maine community, Parker will encounter his most vicious opponents yet.

Charlie Parker has been marked to die so that Prosperous may survive.

Although the UK publication date is April 10, the book will be available in late March in Ireland, and the first events for the book will happen in Belfast and Dublin in March, to be followed by visits to Drogheda, Cork, Limerick, Galway and Ennis, time permitting. Look for details of those events in the March newsletter, but in the meantime we're posting all available tour information to the website here. Tour stops will include Liverpool, Leeds, Stirling, Edinburgh, Rickmansworth, Milton Keynes and a few other places along the way. We're still waiting on confirmed dates for Australia and New Zealand in May, but I'll be back to England at the end of May for the Hay Festival.

THANK YOU (FOR THE MUSIC)

Despite repeated vows public and private never to do such a thing again, I have—with the gracious help of the author and music-industry insider Kate O'Hearn—compiled a companion CD for THE WOLF IN WINTER, entitled "Ghosts." The March newsletter will include much more information about this CD, but Waterstones will be offering them as part of a limited, deluxe signed edition of 3,000, and the CD will be available to pick up with copies of the book at every public event for WOLF in the UK, Ireland and Australia/NZ.

The US edition will have its own version of the CD, with a couple of bonus tracks as a reward for the long wait, but I'll have more to say about its distribution in the months ahead.

In the meantime, for hints about what the CD might include, you could listen to my weekly radio show, ABC to XTC, on RTE 2XM, where I've played a few of the contributing artists recently and might play a few more in coming weeks.

AND A SHORT WORD ABOUT A SHORT STORY (OR TWO)

Last but not least, I was honored to be asked to contribute to the OxCrimes anthology, a collection of crime stories for the benefit of Oxfam, coming in May from Profile Books. The story, "The Children of Dr. Lyall," may tilt more toward horror than toward mystery, but I hope you will enjoy it, along with contributions from Mark Billingham, Denise Mina, Fred Vargas and many other crime-writing luminaries.

Meanwhile, I am very pleased to note that "The Caxton Private Lending Library and Book Depository" has received a nomination from The Mystery Writers of America for an Edgar Award for Best Short Story. "Caxton," which was commissioned by The Mysterious Bookshop for its Bibliomystery series, is available as a paperback from that fine store or as an electronic download under the title "The Museum of Literary Souls" from AmazonUK and AmazonUS.

Thank you, as always, for your continued support, and I hope to see many of you online on February 24th. In the meantime, you can say hello on Twitter or leave a message on my Facebook page.

Blessings on you all,

John

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