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Angry Robot Signs Sean Grigsby with Smoke Eaters!

At Fantasy-Faction we enjoy all shades of genre from space opera to sword and sorcery, from horror to steampunk. And while vampires, angry robots, and clockwork time machines are all well and good, this is a fantasy site and here what we really love is dragons! Which is why it is our pleasure to announce that Angry Robot Books has signed Sean Grisby and will be publishing his debut novel Smoke Eaters!

But I think Sean can do a much better job of telling you about it than I can.

Sean Grigsby

Sean is a professional firefighter in Arkansas, where he writes about lasers, aliens, & guitar battles with the Devil when he’s not fighting dragons.

As far back as I can remember I always wanted to be an Angry Robot author.

Hold up. That’s a little too GOODFELLAS. Let me start again.

Journeys toward an end goal don’t always happen overnight or overmonth or overyear, especially in publishing. And sometimes you merely scrape it with your fingertips a couple dozen times before you finally…well, you’ll see.

It was 2014 and I was attending DFW Con in Dallas after saving up the funds by working substitute teaching jobs when I wasn’t at the firehouse. Writer’s conferences like these usually give you an included pitch session with one of the attending literary agents. But at this particular conference, there was also an editor, Amanda Rutter. At the time, Amanda was heading Angry Robot’s young adult imprint, Strange Chemistry. I write adult SFF, but I knew Amanda still worked with AR, and had been the one to pull Wes Chu from the slush pile.

Look how that guy turned out.

So, I chose Amanda to be the one to listen to me pitch my first novel (which I will never allow to see the light of day, by the way). She liked it enough to ask me to send the manuscript. I was ecstatic.

Strange Chemistry shut up shop not long after that. Honestly, I felt worse for Amanda than myself. She had to find a new job.

I pressed on in my writing, finishing a second book, then a third. This third book, DIRTY DEEDS DONE DIRT CHEAP, got me into a contest known as Pitch Wars and I thought it was good enough to send in to Angry Robot for their Open Door submission period.

While I waited to hear back from the robots, I finished a fourth novel, DAUGHTERS OF FORGOTTEN LIGHT, which was good enough to get offers from agents. One of those offers was obviously from my representation, but another was from Amanda Rutter who had gone into agenting great books and authors. Seriously, you should send her a query, she’s great.

But after signing with my agent, Paul, I had to pull DIRTY DEEDS from consideration in the Open Door at Angry Robot.

Angry Robot Books (logo)Fast forward a bit and DAUGHTERS is out on the market and I get the idea for another book, Smoke Eaters, which can broken down into three words: firefighters vs. dragons. Six months later, it’s out in the world alongside Daughters, which leads to the point where Angry Robot has both of these books in their hands!

They decide to read SMOKE EATERS first, and soon Paul and I have an offer to publish. I’m in a surreal ball of excitement where nothing seems real after so many near misses, and everything I’ve worked toward has come to fruition, but it’s just not hitting me very hard, because I’m so drunk on the good news. I’m like that old dude at the pub who stares off into space for hours on end.

Is this real life?

I’ve always loved Angry Robot books. Their covers are consistently fantastic, and the wonderful stuff inside is different than what everyone else is printing. You know that when you pick up an Angry Robot book, you’re going to get something you’ve never read before. Their tagline is SF, F, and WTF?

I’ll take a double helping of the WTF? please. And I’m freaking ecstatic to be the newest author to serve it up.

Intrigued? Here’s the official blurb:

Firefighter Cole Brannigan is on the verge of retirement after 30 years on the job, and a decade fighting dragons. But during his final fire call, he discovers he’s immune to dragon smoke. It’s such a rare power that he’s immediately conscripted into the elite dragon-fighting force known as the Smoke Eaters. Retirement cancelled, Brannigan is re-assigned as a lowly rookie, chafing under his superiors. So when he discovers a plot to take over the city’s government, he takes matters into his own hands. With hundreds of innocent civilians in the crosshairs, it’s up to Brannigan and his fellow Smoke Eaters to repel the dragon menace.

Firefighters vs. dragons? Sign us up! Not only is it a cool concept, but it sounds like an awesome story too! Thanks to Angry Robot for sharing this with us and for continuing to find amazing stories for everyone!

Smoke Eaters is due out March 1, 2018. If you’d like to learn more about this book and Sean’s other works in progress you can visit his website or follow him on Twitter.


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