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Back at the office now after a two-week sojourn on the glorious south coast where . . .

Nicky and I spent much of our time eating, drinking and gambolling friskily in the English Channel, we return with tales of derring-do, not least of yours truly nose-diving into the briny in time to Dick Dale and Jan and Dean riffs and almost swallowing several million gallons of salty water (thankfully rescued bravely by sun-bathers) AND a couple of days later pulling off (unintentionally, I might add) what amounted to a kind of backwards flip from a picnic table to a semi-prone position on the meadowland (fighting off waves of pain . . . not all of which have now abated some eight or nine days later . . . and I fear I’m still limping and moaning with no signs as yet of recovery).

But the trusty PS team has risen as always to the challenge and dealt with all that is PS Publishing especially all your lovely orders. And you know what, it’s good to be back.

Now down to the biz.

He’s fun, frisky and far out and we love him to pieces. He hasn’t been around the PS Towers water-cooler for a while now so we’re all of us thrilled to have him back where he belongs.

Photograph by Kevin Nixon. (c) Future Publishing 2013. Used by permission.

So blow those trumpets you warriors cos here he comes . . . the one and only Lavie Tidhar with (more furshlugginer trumpets), the equally one and only THE BIG BLIND. Here’s the lowdown:

The daughter of a legendary card player with skills of her own, Claire doesn’t want to go into the family business. She’s heard the call, and she desperately wants to become a nun. But when her convent comes under financial threat, Claire must leave what she loves, to save what she loves—and enter an international poker tournament. Both a poker novella and a meditation on faith, THE BIG BLIND is a taut, heartfelt and compelling new book.

“I had the idea for this book,” he says, “which I jokingly refer to as Sister Act meets ‘rounders’—a while back, but it took time to write. I had the full outline of the story sitting around, and I needed a space to write it in, and ended up sneaking it in between two novels, purely for my own enjoyment. I love watching poker, but I am not a player. I ended up spending a couple of weeks playing online just to get into a certain rhythm, which helped. It turned into something that I really loved—entirely non-fantastical, which was a departure for me, written sparsely (I had Elmore Leonard in mind when I was writing, and a certain noir vibe, though this book is not at all noir), but with a heart. I hope it finds its readers.”

Here's an extract:

One day, about a year before she’d joined the convent, Claire didn’t go with the others to the rooftop of the old estate, saying she had an errand to run, though she didn’t. They often sat on the rooftop, amidst the old mattresses and broken bicycles and discarded cans, and they’d drink cheap ale, and smoke and watch the hazy sun behind the clouds and over the city, which could be very beautiful sometimes, but more often than not all you could see were the ugly concrete buildings and maybe a couple having a fight inside a flat, glimpsed through a window. It was the sort of place where people dumped their old cars because it was cheaper that way.

That day she didn’t have an errand to get to. She just walked, without a clear destination in mind, listening to music streaming in through her earbuds. It was cold, she had her parka drawn tight around her. She’d been up too late the night before. Everything looked both too bright and too hazy, and she almost got run over when she tried to cross the road and didn’t notice the car coming. A lot of her father’s old poker buddies showed up to the funeral and, later, during the wake, they’d set up a game in the living room, and as much as it annoyed her mother, she didn’t tell them to stop.

She was just walking around, aimless, when she saw the church. It started to rain and she went inside. It was very quiet, with barely anyone around. She lit a candle for her father and then she went and sat on the pews, a few rows from the altar, to the side. There was a very beautiful stained glass window overhead and it diffused the murky sunlight from outside and she could hear the rain knocking against the glass.

She’d felt something, then. It wasn’t something you could put in words. Just a feeling she had. For a moment it was like her father was sitting beside her, on the next pew; not saying anything, but smiling. It was just a coalescence of light and shade. But the feeling persisted. It was very peaceful, and she felt loved. She left the church smiling, and the feeling stuck with her all the way back to the house.

Lavie’s other PS titles include:

OSAMA, THE VIOLENT CENTURY, A MAN LIES DREAMING and UNHOLY LAND. His latest novels are BY FORCE ALONE, children’s book THE CANDY MAFIA and graphic novel ADLER. His awards include the World Fantasy Award, the British Fantasy Award, the John W. Campbell Award, the Neukom Prize and the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize.

After all this it goes without saying , this is a must for your shopping list.

Moving on . . .

COFFINMAKER'S BLUES by Stephen Volk continues to draw attention and Tamsin sent over a review, plus a nice quote from Nathan Ballingrud on Twitter.

"It's like having a wise friend over for drinks and good conversation" —(two-time Shirley Jackson award-winning author of WOUNDSand NORTH AMERICAN LAKE MONSTERS)

Here’s this from the review:

"Volk has the talent to inspire others, writing a 21st century equivalent—or perhaps even better than that—to anything already written about the genre, including Stephen King's DANCE MACABRE."

—Andrew Andrews, True Review

Here's the TRUE REVIEW link in full:

And now it’s time for Nicky’s Newsround.

First of all thank you to all of you who contacted me to say you had received the slipcased edition of THE COMPLETE RYNOSSEROS by Terry Dowling. Your enthusiastic responses were wonderful. It was a BIG book to post out.

On our return, we found four parcels containing signing sheets. A very large yellow parcel from Gio Clairval containing the second signing sheet for THE UNQUIET DREAMER edited by Preston Grassmann; another smaller parcel from Reggie Oliver for WE ALL HEAR STORIES IN THE DARK by Robert Shearman and then a very large heavy one containing the signing sheets for THE DEAD ZONE from Tomislav Tikulin. And finally a signing sheet for HIS MOST FANTASTIC CREATION edited by S. T. Joshi. So I now have the job of sending those on to the next recipients except for THE DEAD ZONE sheets and S. T. Joshi’s anthology which will be going over to Biddles to await the tipping in process.

Nigel at Biddles tells me that we can expect copies of the signed ITERATIONS next Wednesday. This is part four of the Kon-Tiki Trilogy by Eric Brown and Keith Brooke. Nigel is also hoping to send the signed edition of THE STUDIO OF SCREAMS at the same time. Fingers crossed.

Production of the deluxe GASLIGHT, GHOSTS, AND GHOULS A Centenary Celebration of R. Chetwynd-Hayes  (A strictly limited deluxe edition that will include a holographic or carbon page from one of the author’s original manuscripts) is moving along. We’ve just been sent photos of the traycase to approve and the books are being printed.

I think that brings us up to date with everything so back to Pete.

Thanks, Nicky. It’s cold here in Hornsea—even I feel it, so that really does mean it’s cold.

Time for sweaters and jumpers, methinks. And maybe even a hot water bottle. I love this time of year. I think it’ll be a while before things warm up but no worries—it’ll soon be time to move the calendar on a year. Can’t wait.

Just space for me to thank all of those who wrote or called with messages of support. Meant a lot.

Look after each other and do everything you’re told. . . . even if you’re not sure what it is. Enjoy the weekend.


PS Publishing

Grosvenor House, 1 New Road, Hornsea
United Kingdom

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