Friday 25th January 2008
HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! HAAAH! HAAAAAH! HAAAAAAAH! HAAAAAAAA-URP! 'Scuse me.
Yesss. Yew know who this is, don't yer? Course yer do. Iss me: JAGMAT. An' after all this waitin', I can tell yer… VENGEANCE TASTES GOOD!
Yew didn't believe I'd do it, after all this time? Heh. Neither did the Enthoven. Yer should've seen the expression on 'is face when I showed up at 'is door at last. But now (HAAAAAH!) yer can't. Because now… the Enthoven's expression looks like THIS:
It's done. All these months of waiting, studyin' the habits of him an' all you humans… and now my time has come. See, I'm a Formless Lord: a SHAPESHIFTER. An' now, I'm going to try out what it's like bein' an author fer a while…!
Yep: the Enthoven is dead, LONG LIVE THE ENTHOVEN! Eat yer later, humans. Stay slimey. Yr pal, Jagmat ;p
Tuesday 22nd January 2008
-Yikes that's a bad pun. Sorry about that, couldn't resist. Anyway: we've now come to a fork in the road, and it's time to tell you about it.
From this point on, any further News about me and my stories will be appearing elsewhere. This is for the simple reason that for the next part of the sinister masterplan to conquer the universe [BWAH-HA! BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA! Erm, sorry-] everything in my story life is going to be pretty much focused on my second published book, Tim, Defender of the Earth. And it only makes sense for me to post these updates in one place, right? ;)
Now, nobody panic! The Black Tattoo's site is not going anywhere. If you're reading this because you've just discovered Black Tat, a very happy HELLO TO YOU! Please feel free to click around: you'll find all sorts of extra Black Tat goodies, all of which are going to remain here for the foreseeable future. The No Monsters Were Harmed In The Making of This Website Competition is still running at the time I'm writing this, and the WebSphinx and I are always on the lookout for Black Tat Reader Art. We'll also, of course, be keeping an eye on the Black Tat Guestbook, so if you've any specific Black Tat questions you'd like me to answer on the Q&A page then do please drop us a line there. But this page is going to stay how it is from now on – as a kind of 'time capsule' from the last couple of years, if you will. So if it's the latest News you're after about me and my stories, you'll need to check in with one of my other sites.
The WebSphinx and I have been thinking hard, and at present our idea goes something like this: rather than having a bog-standard general author site, we figured it might be more fun if each book I write had its own one. That way, anyone who picks up one of my books will be able (if they want, of course!) to unlock a whole archive of extra material specifically about that story. And now, folks, the time has come to get onto the next bit.
Before I sign off I've got to say, putting this site together has been TREMENDOUS FUN. Everything you see here was created by me and the WebSphinx, with only very limited help and advice from publishers, agents, etc. That's sometimes meant that things here might look and feel a little rough! But we hope it's given you (and will continue to give you) an unusual and authentic look behind the scenes of the book. Watching the Black Tat site grow and develop has been wonderfully satisfying – here's hoping the same thing happens with Tim! So there's just one more very important thing to tell you…
If you're reading this, THANK YOU! And a MASSIVE thank you to everyone who has got in touch with us as a result of the site's existence. It's been a real thrill for me, seeing those posts in the Black Tat Guestbook from around the world. I do hope you'll follow us on to Tim, as I can't wait to see what happens next. So (all together now…) on with the sinister masterplan! BWHA-HA! BWAH-HA-HA! BWAH-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA…oh!
The doorbell's just rung. That's weird. Sorry, you'll have to excuse me.
I wonder who that could possibly be? I wasn't expecting anybody…
Thursday 17th January 2008
The UK launch date for Tim has actually shifted forward several times now. The original plan was for the UK edition to appear in April – the month after the release of the book in America this coming March. Then Jan 31st was apparently going to be the date - before today was finally settled upon, some time just before Christmas. The reason for the change, as I've mentioned before, is that (much to my continuing astonishment) Tim has already been shortlisted for an award, namely the 2008 Waterstone's Children's Book Prize. Waterstone's is the biggest bookshop chain in the UK. Today (the 17th) is when the booksellers put out their displays of the shortlisted books. An opportunity like that – having Tim on prominent view at shops all over Britain! – is obviously too good to pass up. So, today was the launch day for the book.
I was a bookseller myself for nearly ten years, and one of the many secrets I learned about the trade is that (unless you're J K Rowling of course!) the actual launch day of a new book doesn't matter all that much. The fact is that only the very top-selling authors have the marketing clout behind them for a massive event on a specific day to be worthwhile. For a 'noob' like me (even, as I hope, an up-and-coming 'noob'!) a few weeks either way doesn't make much odds in the grand scheme of things.
Now don't get me wrong: on Jan 28th I'm heading off on a tremendous full week of events arranged by Random House. After that, I've been filling my diary with as many appearances as I can: a minimum of one gig a week for the next six months. It's going to be mental! [Keep checking the Tim site for details]. But today, the launch day itself, I was at a loose end. Serious work was out of the question: since getting the book in my hands I've had an attention span a gnat would be ashamed of. So, wisely – to prevent me becoming even more of a basket-case! – my wonderful girlfriend Laura kindly took the afternoon off from her own work so we could go out and celebrate, just the two of us together. Folks, it was lovely.
Nominally our plan was to go to the Tate Modern to catch one of the last days of an exhibition by the awesome artist Louise Bourgeois. That was absolutely gobsmacking, full of exactly the kind of wriggly body-horror that gets the juices of my nasty mind flowing! And from the Tate Modern we walked along the Thames and into the West End, taking the chance on the way to shoot pics of some of the famous London landmarks that get pulverized, kaiju-style (heh!) in the course of Tim. As another early taste of the story, I therefore hereby present the following…
This is Trafalgar Square, shortly before its utter destruction on around page 35 of the book. I included a lot of sky so you can imagine the size of the creature responsible. ;)
This is The London Eye looking spectacular as ever, with, in the background (of course) Britain's Houses of Parliament. It's a crying shame, what happens to everything in this picture: Oh dear, oh dear… [HEE HEE HEE HEE!]
…And here's the scene of the climax of the book, namely the world-famous St Pauls Cathedral. As you can see, it was already under attack by another monster when I took this pic. What can I tell you? London's a busy place.
….Oh, all right. ;) This gorgeous giant spider is actually Maman, a stunning 30-foot-tall sculpture by the aforementioned Louise Bourgeois. But it made a good pic, you've got to admit.
We bimbled about around town some more, catching my first glimpses of copies of Tim on sale in shops(!!!) before finally ending our wonderings at St Pancras station. As it happens, I haven't destroyed St Pancras in any of my stories yet. That's partly because it only recently reopened(!) and partly because it currently contains what is apparently Europe's longest champagne bar. And after gleefully toasting Tim with some celebratory giggle-juice there, it seems a shame to trash the place, even fictionally.
That, my friends, was how to do a launch day. :)
Wednesday 9th January 2008
Eek. With trembling fingers I undid the box, and there they were - my author copies of the UK first edition of Tim, Defender of the Earth.
This is the first version of the book that's actually going to be available in shops. And no, while this may be my second go at this, but I'm not getting used to this feeling AT ALL.
First I tried to be cool about it: 'Well,' I thought, 'there it is,' and (once I'd got a copy out to look at) I stuck the box of books on top of the other boxes containing copies of Black Tat. 'Another book done,' I told myself. 'Now get back to work.' -But this, of course, was outright self-delusion and stupidity, and in due course (about twenty minutes) any calm I was pretending to possess duly evaporated.
Next, inevitably, came the panic: 'OMFG, it's going to be in shops where people can see it! What if everyone in the world thinks it's rubbish? What if it sinks without a trace?' Much undignified poultry-style arm-flapping ensued, followed by a stern reminder to myself that… IT'S A BOOK: I've put my heart into it, and it might be important to me, sure, but it's not exactly the most important thing in the world (sheesh). Then at last, helped in part by listening to some highlights from this UK abridged audio version…
…which, by the way, is awesome, I felt something else.
I'm DELIGHTED. Right now I feel this book has turned out exactly the way I wanted it, gleeful destruction and all (HEE HEE HEE!) As a writer you can't say anything fairer about a project than that. And finally, and perhaps most important, as my wonderful girlfriend Laura gently pointed out as she talked me down from the ceiling …it's too late to worry about it now. ;)
After something like two years of planning and hard work, at last it's here in my hands. Feels good. So, to quote Dr. McKinsey…
'Go on, you can do it! Go on, Tim! Get free!'
Friday 4th January 2008
Well here we are folks, a brand new year. I'm now back from my hols and beginning – beginning, mind – to get my head around it. 2007 was such a mad year for Laura and I that we found we had to spend the last couple of weeks in total hibernation to recover. For Christmas we rented a cottage on the UK's Cornish coast, and spent a week basically alternating between looking at the sea and looking at the insides of our eyelids – it was wonderful. In fact even since we got back I've been sleeping about ten hours a night, snoozing like it's an Olympic sport! But now, like some unwieldy bear-creature, I'm stretching, groaning, yawning, and gradually pulling myself together for the year ahead - which is a bit daft really, because my next book is going to be published this Jan 17th. Yikes!
Before we crack back on to business again with that, I've just got to tell you about a couple of particular highlights from my HOLIDAY READING (hurrah!) These were:
THE FADE, by Chris Wooding. This guy is simply one of the best fantastical action thriller writers around: when I saw he'd got a new one out I pounced on it with great glee, and let me tell you, I wasn't disappointed. THE FADE has echoes of classic old-school prison-break stories like Papillon or even The Great Escape. But the book's fantasy setting and its hard-as-nails female assassin narrator make it something else again. Fast, fresh and very VERY cool, this will grab you from page one and never let you go. And-
THE PYRATES, by George MacDonald Fraser. I'm a huge FLASHMAN fan so I'd been meaning to catch up with this one for ages. I'm happy to tell you it was an absolute hoot from start to finish. Wipe those lacklustre 'Caribbean sequels from your mind: if you've got a Piratical itch to scratch this book has got THE LOT – swordfights, sea battles, dashing heroes, dastardly villains and of course, shiploads of rascally bewhiskered rapscallions who say 'ARR!' To my dismay, on my return to t'internet I discovered that the author has recently died [there's an obituary here. But he's left the world a stack of wonderful books to enjoy. Hope I get the chance to do even half as much before my time comes.
For details of these and other book recommendations, check out my LibraryThing Five Hundred Fine Books profile.
Read earlier news posts here.