Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Max Seventeen is the Paranormal Romantic Novel of the Year!

I only went and bloody won it, didn't I?
The trophy has my name on it. It doesn't even say Moonlight or anything.
Yes, Max triumphed at the RoNAs, winning the inaugural Paranormal award and also being the first ever self-published book to win a RoNA!

I'm still in something of a daze, and can't really remember an awful lot of the evening (I thought I was okay until I sat down and tried to text my dad and realised my hands were shaking). I hope I thanked the right people. I really hope I didn't say 'fuck' in front of Prue Leith.

In case I didn't thank all the right people, I'll do it here.

Thanks so much to the Naughty Kitchen for so much love and support and overall, so much fun: Immi Howson, Alison May, Lisa Hill, Rhoda Baxter Ruth Long and of course fellow RoNA winner Janet Gover. You're all brilliant and I couldn't have done any of it without you.

Extra thanks for Rhoda Baxter who proofread Max (and was cruelly cheated of her own RoNA on the night!) and Ruth Long who edited the book and came all the way over from Dublin to be there on the night.


Congratulations to my fellow nominees Christina Courtenay, Hywela Lyn and especially Jan Jones, who is probably wishing she hadn't encouraged me to publish Max in the first place.

The RNA, a truly remarkable organisation of really amazing women (and a few men) who are never less than wonderfully supportive, encouraging, and friendly. And who have an awards panel of exceptionally good taste.

My friends, family, first grade teacher, teddy bear...(yeah, that's a lie, of course I had a cat).

I think I may have mentioned something about how proud I was that a self-published book about a mixed-race, bisexual, ex-prostitute space pirate won a RoNA. But honestly I could have been talking utter bollocks for three minutes. Hard to say. Do hope no one filmed it.

Now. I think I might just have a small glass of something bubbly...

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Why I won't be attending RWA 2017

Three years ago, I attended RT Booklovers Convention in New Orleans for the first time, which I loved. I loved the city, but I also loved the convention itself, the buzz that readers and writers always generate around the books they love. Along with my good friend JT Bock, I presented a workshop for writers based on the work of my favourite auteur, Joss Whedon. It was so successful we were invited to present it again as a full day workshop in Maryland the next year. The year after, I presented it to the RNA conference in Lancaster.

In November, we pitched the workshop to the Romance Writers of America annual conference in Orlando. I hadn't visited the States in a couple of years and I was looking forward to it...

...and then the election happened, and the unthinkable became reality. By the time of the inauguration I, like a lot of people, had almost convinced myself that all the abhorrent campaign promises I'd heard were just silly sound bites to get attention, and wouldn't actually come to pass. The ban on travellers from Muslim countries. The Mexican wall. The proposal to seize electronics and download contacts and history from anyone entering the country. Just attention-seeking behaviour, right? Couldn't actually happen.

And then they began happening.

And our Joss Whedon workshop was accepted by RWA, and I found myself on the horns of a dilemma.

Do I want to travel to America (at great expense: we're looking at a ballpark of around £2,000) only to have my phone and iPad seized, confiscated, scrutinised, cloned? I write action/adventure and spy novels, so I'll let you imagine what my browser history is like. My social media is a giant middle finger flipped at the current US administration. (And while we're on the subject I ain't exactly happy about Brexit, but that's a rat for another day).

Should I leave my electronics at home? Spend even more on new devices just so I can contact colleagues in America and family back home? What about the presentation and notes I'll need for the conference? Why should I have to make such ridiculous allowances?

How can I get travel insurance against it? (The answer is I can't. If I'm detained or sent home, I get zip. You can't insure against something that might, maybe, but probably, happen.)

Of course I could be making a fuss over nothing. I could arrive at US immigration with my white face and blonde hair and British passport and good old fashioned Christian name and be waved through with a smile. I won't be detained for wearing a hijab, or not speaking English, or having a weird green passport, or Looking A Bit Foreign.

But you know what? I'm not sure I want to go somewhere I'm only welcome because my Irish grandfather bequeathed me his complexion and my parents had me baptised in the Church of England.

Until we are all welcome, we are none of us welcome.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Max is going to the RoNAs!

I can't tell you how delighted I am to announce that Max has been shortlisted for the Goldsboro Romantic Novel of the Year Awards!

For the first time ever there is a paranormal category, and Max is shortlisted alongside Jan Jones's An Ordinary Gift, Christina Courtenay's The Velvet Cloak of Moonlight and Hywela Lyn's Beloved Enemy.

There are five other categories: Contemporary (the Untied Kingdom was shortlisted here in 2012), Epic, Historical, Romantic Comedy and Young Adult, plus the RoNA Rose for shorter fiction. There are so many fantastic books on those lists I don't even know where to start!

To celebrate, Max is on sale for 99p, rising back up to its regular price over the week. So get in fast! Just click the link here...



The awards are announced on 13th March at a very fancy ceremony in London, by guest presenter Prue Leith. Wish us luck!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Worth A Shot: coming soon!

An early Christmas present for you!

The first Luke Sharpe File, Worth A Shot, will be released 13th December 2016. This is a little companion novella, running alongside I, Spy? but from Luke's point of view. After all, he can't just sit around waiting for Sophie to get into trouble: he's got a life of his own!


Luke Sharpe is a spy. And he's good at what he does. He's smart, he's brave, he's loyal. So what on Earth has just possessed him to hire Sophie Green, an incompetent, untrainable blonde, as his new partner?

Get into the mind of Sophie's favourite spy as he tries to answer that question for himself, and discover what he was really up to when he was out of her sight.

This 40,000 word novella runs alongside I, Spy?, the first in the popular Sophie Green series of mysteries.

And! Just in case you haven't checked out the re-released I, Spy? it will be FREE on Kindle for five days from 9th December. Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Max Seventeen is on sale NOW!

Yes, Max is finally here! And to celebrate I thought I'd answer a few questions about it...

Is the glitch fixed?

Yes! If you buy Max now, you'll get a lovely properly formatted file. If you've already got the wrongly formatted file (you'll know when you see it) Amazon should be issuing an update soon. If you really can't wait, let me know (details below) and I'll sort you out.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming...

What inspired you to write Max Seventeen?

Tom Hopper's amazing arms. 

No, not really. Inspiration's a hard thing to pin down, but my major influences at the time were Black Sails and Mad Max: Fury Road. One is a drama about the Golden Age of Piracy that's full of sex and violence. The other is a non-stop dystopian car chase driven by a hard-as-nails woman. 

Tom Hardy & Charlize Theron in Mad Max: Fury Road


As for why it's set in space...mostly because space is cool. Also because I could build whatever sort of worlds there I wanted.

How long did it take to write?

Three months, which is bloody fast for me (especially considering it's nearly 130,000 words!).

You said there was lots of sex and violence in this book. Will it make me squeamish?

Well, there are only a couple of sex scenes on the page; but off the page, there are quite a few more. And fair warning, they're not all between men and women, so if that offends you, take a long hard look at yourself...

Also, there is quite a lot of blood. In my defence, I really like writing scenes where my characters exchange intimacies while patching each other up.

What did you research for this book?

Well, I'm actually writing a guest post for Libertà on this so I won't spoil it, but a sample of my answers would be: Layers of a planet's atmosphere. How to provide a spaceship with breathable air and gravity. How thick a cutlass blade is. Whether it's actually possible to rip out a human jugular using only your teeth. What that giant sea-dwelling dinosaur in Jurassic World is. Helicon double-layer thrusters. Exoplanets...

What's your favourite line?

This one: 

"Oh, fuck the lot of you," Max said.
"You more or less have," replied Orpheus

Who would play the characters in a film?

Ooh I love this game. Tom Hopper as Riley. Ridiculously tall and muscular but with the most earnest, honest blue eyes. He's adorable, but you wouldn't beat him at arm-wrestling.

Tom Hopper in Black Sails

Zawe Ashton as Max. I didn't have anyone in mind for her when I wrote her. She has the shaved head and general demeanour of Imperator Furiosa, but isn't as pale. Then a few months later the final series of Fresh Meat started and I realised there was a lot of Zawe's character Vod in Max. 

Zawe Ashton in Fresh Meat


As for the others...I'll let you suggest them! Captain Orpheus is lean and feline with long dark hair; he rarely smiles. Justine, his second in command, is dark-skinned and regal. Her brother, Émile, describes himself as ugly, but I'm not sure I believe him. Petal, the pilot, is tiny and doll like; I see her as Asian. Murtaugh is bearded and a bit oafish. Hide is simply a mountain of a man. Angharad is red-haired and beautiful, and has been living on a planet with no sunlight.
Tell you what...read it and tell me who should play them!


Max Seventeen is out now as an ebook and paperback exclusively from Amazon!

Monday, October 31, 2016

Minor glitch

Hi everybody,

It's come to my attention that some devices are displaying formatting glitches in the Max Seventeen file. I literally only discovered this less than two hours after the file had gone live, when I was looking at it on my Paperwhite.

I had of course proofed and previewed the file in every way Amazon KDP allows, but somewhere along the way it seems to have become corrupted and the formatting has gone a bit wrong. If you've discovered that the text
".suddenly looks" 
", like this" 
for no apparent reason 

...then I do apologize quite sincerely!

I'm working through the night trying to find out what went wrong and how I can prevent it happening again (it hasn't happened with any of my other books), but in the meantime, I've created a new .mobi format version of the file which you can email directly to your Kindle which appears to have fixed the issue.

If you would like me to send you this, please email me your receipt of purchase for the original Kindle file to katejohnsonauthor@gmail.com and I will send you the .mobi file which you can then email to your Kindle (for instructions see below). I trust you'll understand why I'm asking for the receipt to be included, and that you won't pass on my email to anyone unless they've had the same problem.

To find your Send-to-Kindle e-mail address, visit the Manage your Devices page at Manage Your Kindle (under Your Account). Documents can only be sent to your Kindle devices or apps from e-mail accounts that you added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List. 

 I am also in the process of uploading the corrected file to Amazon KDP (which I can't do until it's completed the initial publishing process, how frustrating!) so it can update the file you've already bought. You might need to switch on automatic book updates:

 To enable Automatic Book Updates: Go to Manage Your Content and Devices (under Your Account). Select Settings. Select Automatic Book Update to expand the section. Select On to receive automatic updates for your book, or select Off to receive an email notification when an update is available to download. 

Once again, I apologize for this: please believe that I didn't know anything was wrong until now! This would never have happened if Max and Riley had been here to fix things...

 PS: I am reminding myself that the BBC suffered a powercut on the night of BBC2's launch. People nearly missed Playschool.

Max Seventeen is on sale NOW!

Yes, Max is finally here! And to celebrate I thought I'd answer a few questions about it...

What inspired you to write Max Seventeen?

Tom Hopper's amazing arms. 

No, not really. Inspiration's a hard thing to pin down, but my major influences at the time were Black Sails and Mad Max: Fury Road. One is a drama about the Golden Age of Piracy that's full of sex and violence. The other is a non-stop dystopian car chase driven by a hard-as-nails woman. 

As for why it's set in space...mostly because space is cool. Also because I could build whatever sort of worlds there I wanted.

How long did it take to write?

Three months, which is bloody fast for me (especially considering it's nearly 130,000 words!).

You said there was lots of sex and violence in this book. Will it make me squeamish?

Well, there are only a couple of sex scenes on the page; but off the page, there are quite a few more. And fair warning, they're not all between men and women, so if that offends you, take a long hard look at yourself...

Also, there is quite a lot of blood. In my defence, I really like writing scenes where my characters exchange intimacies while patching each other up. 

What did you research for this book?

Well, I'm actually writing a guest post for Libertà on this so I won't spoil it, but a sample of my answers would be: Layers of a planet's atmosphere. How to provide a spaceship with breathable air and gravity. How thick a cutlass blade is. Whether it's actually possible to rip out a human jugular using only your teeth. What that giant sea-dwelling dinosaur in Jurassic World is. Double-layer helicon thrusters. Exoplanets...

What's your favourite line?

This one: 

"Oh, fuck the lot of you," Max said.
"You more or less have," replied Orpheus

Who would play the characters in a film?

Ooh I love this game. Tom Hopper as Riley. Ridiculously tall and muscular but with the most earnest, honest blue eyes. He's adorable, but you wouldn't beat him at arm-wrestling.

Zawe Ashton as Max. I didn't have anyone in mind for her when I wrote her. She has the shaved head and general demeanour of Imperator Furiosa, but isn't as pale. Then a few months later the final series of Fresh Meat started and I realised there was a lot of Zawe's character Vod in Max. 

As for the others...I'll let you suggest them! Captain Orpheus is lean and feline with long dark hair; he rarely smiles. Justine, his second in command, is dark-skinned and regal. Her brother, Émile, describes himself as ugly, but I'm not sure I believe him. Petal, the pilot, is tiny and doll like; I see her as Asian. Murtaugh is bearded and a bit oafish. Hide is simply a mountain of a man. Angharad is red-haired and beautiful, and has been living on a planet with no sunlight.
Tell you what...read it and tell me who should play them!

Friday, October 21, 2016

What's Max Seventeen about?

Good question.

It's about sex, violence and swearing, of course. It's also about finding your identity and creating your own destiny. It's about finding where you came from and figuring out where you want to go. It's about realising you're the sort of person who gets to fall in love.

It's about pirates. Those of you who love Firefly will probably know that Joss Whedon's space jockeys have a strong Old West aesthetic. They wear guns at their hips and ride horses, which doesn't happen in SF nearly often enough. They're space cowboys, if you will.


But the crew of the Eurydice in Max Seventeen have more of a Golden Age of Piracy vibe. This may or may not be as a result of my obsession with Black Sails. The hero may or may not look a lot like Tom Hopper as Billy Bones.

My pirates fight with laser cannons and cutlasses. They wear leather weapons belts and big boots. They swear...a lot. They board merchant spaceships, tie up the crew and steal all the cargo. They're best friends with brothel keepers, drug dealers and thieves. Some of them might have done time in jail; my heroine certainly has.


It's also about space, about the vasty nothingness that exists when you blast out of a planet's atmosphere and the questions you might ask of yourself there. It's about new planets, where humanity has tried to start again and sometimes even succeeded. It's about double-layer helicon thrusters, lines of computer code and DNA riddles.

To borrow a line from Moulin Rouge: it's a story about a time, a story about a place, a story about the people. But most of all, it's about love.

It's out Nov 1st in ebook and paperback. To read an excerpt through Instafreebie, click here.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Read an excerpt from Max Seventeen!

It's less than two weeks before Max is unleashed on the world. Want to have a sneak peak of what goes on? Click here to read a free excerpt through InstaFreebie!

Don't forget, Max is available to preorder now as both ebook and paperback, exclusively from Amazon.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Read an excerpt from Max Seventeen!

Would you like to read an exclusive excerpt from Max Seventeen? Ah, you know you would. Simply sign up to my newsletter here, or click the Newsletter button above, and you'll get a link to an excerpt that no one else (well apart from other newsletter subscribers) can see. I promise the newsletter is very low volume and I will only tell you about really cool stuff, like new books, free things and the occasions when I get major awards and/or affairs with celebrities.

 This opening excerpt contains a desert chase, a rebellious soldier, and a train that runs on sewage. Now you can't tell me you don't want to read that...?