Tuesday 19th December 2006
So Christmas is upon us at last. I am absolutely knackered, in urgent need of a few days off - but the lovely Laura and I are doing Christmas round mine this year so instead I'm going to be cooking like crazy to feed our various visiting relatives. Actually I'm not complaining, it should all be a lot of fun! Take the vexed subject of Brussels sprouts, for instance...
Now: I am a friend of the sprout. To my mind, the humble sprout is a prince among vegetables: crunchy, spicy, packed with nourishing goodness and - yes, above all - cheap. In fact, sprouts kept me from eating my own arm in desperation many a time in my lean years. But there's one thing about sprouts you must never lose sight of: never, ever overcook them. If you overcook the sprout - if you once allow its brave, toothsome texture to become wilted, flaccid and (say it ain't so!) SOGGY - then that's it. There is no hope for you, for you have started down a dark and smelly path.
In short: yes, I admit it, sprouts can be horrible. Here's a game about them that my friend Sara just found.
The WebSphinx and I are knocking off for the holidays, so no more News updates until January I'm afraid. But whether you've been with us for a while or you're checking the site for the first time (you've been given Black Tat as a present, maybe? COOL!) rest assured, we will most definitely be back to press on with our sinister masterplan. Mean time, a very happy Christmas and New Year to you - and may all your sprouts be delicious!
Monday 18th December 2006
Look what showed up in the post this morning!
Yes, Black Tat has been translated into its first foreign language! AMAZING! YAY!
As you can see from this pic, for the first (hardback) Spanish edition of the book the publishers - Ediciones B - have gone for a different look: different, but brilliant. The Hell-fire red and the spidery black are very striking; the silvery lettering on the cover and spine leaps right out and socks you in the eye - and shortening the title to TATTOO! How much more stripped-down and pithy could you possibly get? ;)
I'll describe this latest lovely incarnation of the book more fully in the New Year when the WebSphinx and I get a chance to update the Editions Info page. But I tell you, seeing Black Tat's characters speaking in Spanish is a wonderful, if surreal, experience. Example? If you know the book, I think you might recognize this bit...
Yo soy Ebisu Eller-Kong Hacha'Fravashi, Dios de los Gobernantes, Dios de los Muertos, Dios de la Oscuridad, Dios de Dioses. Yo soy la Voz del Vacio, cuyo aliento es el viento y cuya colera hace temblar todas las cosas. Yo soy el Senor de los Pasajes, El Rey de Todas las Lagrimas y el Soberano Absoluto de los Dominios del Infierno.
I think it almost sounds better in Spanish - especially 'cuyo aliento es el viento' - than in does in English. HEE HEE HEE!
Sunday 17th December 2006
Four months ago, my bathroom looked like THIS:
Now, it looks like THIS:
A considerable improvement, I think you'll agree! An ENORMOUS thank you to my cousins Andy and Chris for all their hard work on the new bathroom, and the kitchen, and the loo. It's been quite a crazy time launching Black Tat - and writing the next book! - with all the works going on in my small flat, but we have now got to the end of it at last, and I'm very happy. HURRAH!
Friday 15th December 2006
An extra little stroke of genius from the RHCB marketing team: how do you fancy getting "marked" yourself - temporarily of course - on Black Tat's behalf? Click on this link on Fun Stuff to find out how. While stocks last!
Thursday 14th December 2006
Here's a pic of me doing my Black Tat thing at Central Foundation Boys' School.
This was another all-day visit with three double sessions - sixty students in each session - and I had to work quite hard in places to keep everyone's attention! But some of the questions were terrific, and if the small queues of students waiting to ring home to ask if it was okay to buy the book afterwards were anything to go by(!) I think, overall, that the day went very well indeed. A big thank you to LRC Manager Sharon Gladstone (the lady in the picture!) for inviting me, and my thanks to the gentlemen of CFBS for listening.
Afterwards I headed over to Blackwell's bookshop on Charing Cross Road for a splendid mince-pie-munching multi-author evening event that they had going on there. This was particularly enjoyable for me, because that's the shop where I used to work. But I can tell you, at the end of a long day like this I didn't have any trouble getting to sleep afterwards!
Wednesday 13th December 2006
Christmas is of course on the way, so as a small bonus for you the WebSphinx and I would like to present a little something from my back pages. You'll find it over in Who Is Sam Enthoven?
Is it Fiction? Or is it The Truth? ONLY YOU CAN DECIDE! Though I will say you may find you don't look at squirrels in quite the same way ever again. HEE HEE HEE HEE!
Monday 11th December 2006
If you look to the left of this text, you'll see that the layout of this page has changed a little bit. In her ceaseless efforts to tune and perfect her awesome work on this site, the WebSphinx has started archiving the Black Tat News page. All the amazing things that have happened to me and the book over the last six months are still recorded here, but hopefully by breaking it up it will all load just a little faster for you from now on.
Actually, this is pretty good timing. If you click on 'JUNE-AUG' the first thing you'll come across is a piece I wrote about PAN'S LABYRINTH - unquestionably the finest film I've seen this year. Now, this month, at last, it's finally getting a cinema release here in the UK, albeit a limited one. So: if you're in the mood to catch a flick, and you want to watch something extraordinary, passionate, scary, fantastical, imaginative, thrilling, beautiful, stirring, provocative and thoroughly wonderful - well: what are you waiting for?
Friday 8th December 2006
Phew! Have just about recovered from yesterday's annual Random House Children's Books Christmas Party. Jelly and ice-cream were not on offer [good thing too IMHO, I never liked either of those even when I was small!] but vivacious and convivial company most certainly was. It was lovely, as always, to see the RHCB team, and hoist a glass or two with them. Plus, savour the resounding CLANG as I drop the names of some of the fine authors who I had chats with! Authors like... Oisin McGann, Bali Rai, Dean Vincent Carter, Gareth Thompson and SF Said, creator of the draw-droppingly cool kung fu for cats(!) series Varjak Paw. Mr Said was very excited about plans to make a film version of Varjak with Dave McKean. If you're at all familiar with Mr McKean's work - especially his hugely intriguing film MIRRORMASK - then you'll be excited too. And so am I! YAY!
Friday 1st December 2006
Well well, what a surprise. A certain repulsive shape-shifting blancmange demon seems to have gone and got himself a MySpace.
According to his blog, Jagmat is not content with the perfectly good walk-on role I gave him in Black Tat. He's come through the Fracture, seen this site, and he doesn't like the way me and the WebSphinx do business. I've been "blabbing Hell's secrets," (in his opinion) "in a KIDS' BOOK, of all things". And now, apparently, he thinks he's due some kind of payback from me.
Well I've got a message for him, too. ARE YOU READING THIS, JAGMAT? You know what? Before I took that research trip to Hell for Black Tat, I got a little legal advice first. Think back a bit with that gooey mass you use for a brain: you'll recall that you signed a waiver. I've got the document right here: fact is, it stinks so badly after you touched it that I have to keep it in the fridge, but it's here, it's got your signature on it and YOU DON'T HAVE A PSEUDOPOD TO STAND ON.
You want to start some trouble? I say this: BRING IT ON. I'll feed you to the pigeons and see what they make of you. I'll slop you, mop you, and send you back to Hell in a bucket, you disgusting excuse for a sentient being. And for Godfrey's sake, STOP HASSLING MY MATES!
Friday 24th November 2006
The WebSphinx and I have now been working on this website for over a year - amazing! To celebrate this and her recent (see 'What the Hell...?') revelations of just how she put this site's overall look together, we're proud to announce the opening of our gorgeous, gooey, gobsmacking NO MONSTERS WERE HARMED IN THE MAKING OF THIS WEBSITE CHALLENGE. Recite the incantation in the heading above while drinking milk (extra emphasis on the "moTWUCK!" please). Then follow the link on Fun Stuff for more details.
Tuesday 21st November 2006
I've felt a bit low and shaky over the last couple of days - this has been quite a long year for me in a lot of ways! But I figure Maggie (see below) would've preferred me to keep working as much as possible. So, this afternoon I left my cousins hard at work on the continuing building shenanigans going on in my flat (don't get me started!) and took myself off to Elizabeth Garret Anderson Girls School to do my Black Tat stuff there. My thanks to Lesley Cheetham for the photos!
I have to say, this was a brilliant session. Right now I'm used to talking about Black Tat from scratch, introducing it (as you'd expect) to people who've never heard of it before. But to my enormous glee and delight one or two members of the audience had read the book already, and many more were in the course of reading it with EGA's Bookaholics reading group. Now: that's the first time to my knowledge that a reading group has started going through Black Tat together on a week-by-week basis, and that's HUGELY exciting to me - READING GROUPS YAY! It also made for some really enjoyably complex and detailed questions, about Hell and about the characters' various relationships especially. In fact the whole audience was wonderfully attentive and sparky, and the hour-and-a-half session just flashed past: I kept thinking there'd be time to get a third reading in before the end, but the questions were so good I lost track completely and eventually had to be stopped! Lots of EGA students stayed behind afterwards for a chat and to get something signed, even though (very flattering!) it was the end of the school day. And I have to say, the special Black Tat TRANSFER TATTOOS that the RHCB(UK) team have just produced proved particularly popular.
Thanks again to Lesley and the students at EGA for a delightful visit. And to anyone else: yes, you read that right - Black Tat TRANSFER TATTOOS. They look especially sinister if you put them on your knuckles, I can tell you. More anon!
Saturday 18th November 2006
Bad news today. My agent Maggie Noach has died, very suddenly and unexpectedly. Maggie didn't seem ill, and she was by no means an old lady. This was just one of those horrible out-of-the-blue things that happen sometimes, and her death has come as an enormous shock to everyone who knew her.
For myself, Maggie hadn't been my agent all that long I guess - about two years all told. But, as I mention at the end of Black Tat, Maggie was the one who 'waved her magic wand and changed my life.' Maggie, perhaps more than anyone else, gave me this start as an author of books for young people. And now she's gone.
To give you a flavour of what she was like, I'd like to tell you about how Maggie and I met. Before I approached her I'd done some research, and found out a couple of things. One was that she'd once co-authored a Dictionary of Disgusting Facts: I thought that was very promising. Another was that she'd once said in an interview that she "employs a dog to sniff out literary talent." When she first telephoned me after reading Black Tat's opening chapters (an agent! ringing me! exciting!) I asked her what she'd meant.
'I have a dog called Sam,' Maggie said. 'If he doesn't like a manuscript...' (She paused. I waited.) 'He pees on it.'
The following days, as you can imagine, passed with me hoping fervently that the other Sam wouldn't - ahem! - "express his disapproval." But Sam the dog didn't pee on Black Tat. Maggie signed me up. And within two weeks - after ten years of chasing the dream - I had my first book deal.
Maggie was a fine agent: I always felt safe knowing she was watching my back, and that's important if you're a newbie like me. Maggie was also a lovely lady, with a keenly wicked sense of humour and a caring heart. I was looking forward to a long working relationship over which to get to know her better. Now I am very sad.
Tuesday 14th November 2006
See that shadowy bespectacled figure looming above, preparing to follow in King Kong's paw-prints up the outside of the Empire State Building(or something)? Yep: that's me in New York. Physically - if not quite mentally, as yet! - I have now returned from my first attempt to conquer America.
"Conquer America" - yeah, right: that's a good one! I'll level with you: most of this trip I felt less like an invading army and more like some kind of tiny microbe, breathed in - and then out - by a sleeping giant. I'd been to the States once before long ago, but going there with something to sell was quite different. All the while, from first stumbling out of NYC's Penn station (big city yikes!) until the moment my plane left the ground for the return journey, I kept veering wildly between being hugely excited ('I'm in America! YAY!') and the next second squelchingly intimidated ('Now: what do I actually think I'm doing here?!')
HOWEVER! I met loads of lovely and fascinating people; I now know all the best bookshops in New York; I ate the most enormous amount of splendid food(yay!); a lot more people know about me and Black Tat now than might have otherwise if I hadn't gone - and I had a lot of fun! Here's a short summary to give you and idea of what I've been up to.
My lovely girlfriend Laura found us both an apartment to stay in in NYC, and for the first five days of this trip - in between all sorts of meetings with publishers, agents, reps and buyers - we set out to visit every bookshop we could find so I could sign as many Black Tats as we could lay our hands on. We went to about forty bookstores in the end (Laura is amazing!!) And you know what? This actually turned out to be a pretty good way to see the city. We got the hang of the subway very quickly, checked out all sorts of neighbourhoods that we might otherwise have missed - and we got the chance to chat with lots of lovely booksellers. Bank Street Books, on Broadway and 112th, was a particular highlight: every inch of the place was crammed with wonderful things, and the staff were very friendly and welcoming.
The children's booksellers at a couple of the Barnes and Noble branches were a delight to talk to, too: in one, in Greenwich Village, they had Black Tat in the window, as part of a Halloween display. I got so excited about that (my book! in the window! in New York!) that I'm afraid I had to jump up and down like a gibbon a bit, right there on the sidewalk outside. A couple of passing New Yorkers asked me if I had a problem(!) but when I told them why I was so excited they shook my hand [Awwww!] Most of the big in-store displays that were up for Black Tat's launch have come down now, but as you can see from this pic they were very impressive...
...and I think you can tell from my expression a little of how I felt to see my book - the one I wrote! - actually on sale in shops in America: Amazing! Hee hee hee! Laura and I then said goodbye for the time being, and while she set off back for London I headed on to my first proper event of this trip, namely a chance to do my stuff for the Teen Advisory Group at the Donnell Library Center.
What a terrific group! They were a joy to talk to, full of energy and passionate about books: no matter how far the conversation ranged (and it went all over the place - got some excellent anime recommendations!!) we always returned to the subject in hand eventually. Thanks to Jess at Razorbill for taking pics: thanks to all at Donnell and the TAG for a fine evening - and thank you GABRIELLA for your kind words in the Guestbook!
After the event I went out for a couple of crafty beers with Ben, my editor, to discuss the next stages of our sinister masterplan to conquer the universe (HEE HEE HEE!) Then I took myself off into the night, through the surreally-costumed NYC Halloween crowds, to the airport, so I'd be ready to catch an early flight the following morning out to the World Fantasy Convention in Austin, Texas!
Actually, the convention turned out to be a bit of a surprise. I'd been expecting something enormous and frantic, along the lines (I hear) of WorldCon and ComiCon, with zillions of people and loads of events going on at once. This wasn't like that at all. There were around 1200 people attending, a large number for a British fantasy convention, but quite low-key and intimate for an American one. Of those people there, the overwhelming majority were professionals from the book industry: artists, editors, journalists, authors, book dealers - and people aspiring to become those things! Actual fans, surprisingly, were quite thin on the ground (and no costumes, much to my disappointment!) Instead, this convention was a place to make contacts and touch base. In fact I ended up having a lovely time, and I think my being there will definitely help me and my stories in the long term, but I had to adjust my expectations and my approach a little bit! ;)
I was booked for a half-hour reading slot on the first day, Thursday. Actually, it was the second such slot of the entire convention - 2pm in the afternoon. Added to the obvious fact that I'm a newbie, most of the Con's attendees didn't actually arrive until the afternoon of the following day, so the reading wasn't exactly packed. It was also, incidentally, my first ever event in front of an exclusively grown-up audience, which was a little weird! But those dozen who were there seemed to enjoy the kung fu and monsters just fine, and I was asked some good questions. I also met and got talking to Shaun Farrell, a really splendid bloke who later kindly asked to interview me for a podcast on his blog. If you'd like to hear how that turned out, go to www.adventuresinscifipublishing.blogspot.com [you may need to scroll down to the right episode] and click 'Listen'. Warning: by the sounds of it, Shaun ended up using pretty much everything we talked about, so it's quite long!!
The convention really kicked off properly on the Friday. I met up with John Jude Palencar and he was absolutely brilliant, a real gentleman (except when he kept making dirty jokes - which was most of the time!). Here's a pic of him, a kind of 'Portrait of the Artist as a Carnivore', taken at an all-you-can-eat barbecue!
Mr Palencar was 'Artist Guest of Honor' at the convention: that wonderful painting he did for Black Tat's cover was the main reason I was there, really! But even though I was hanging on his shirt-tails a bit, he graciously introduced me to absolutely everyone he could. Of those I met, some had heard about me and Black Tat already, thanks to the spectacular full page ad placed in the convention programme - full marks to the Razorbill team for that! - and the fact that a number of Black Tat galleys were given away in the goodie bags that all the convention attendees got when they arrived. That was definitely a shrewd move, by the way.
As word spread that John and I were there at the Con, more and more people came up asking for signatures, not just at the Friday night autograph session (which was a great success!) but throughout the weekend. The convention's organizers, also, were particularly kind to me: a HUGE thank you to the charming Renee, Kim, Sarah, Shai, Rebecca, Fred and everybody for taking me under their collective wing like you did [your book recommendations - and beer recommendations - were especially appreciated!] In fact, everyone at the Con was wonderfully friendly and approachable, I had some fine conversations over the course of the weekend - and some of the panels and readings, of course, were excellent. Special highlights included hearing fellow Razorbill author Sarah Beth Durst read from her forthcoming debut Into the Wild, Lisa Tuttle reading out a savage and elegant twist-in-the-tale that literally left the audience gasping - and a spectacularly hilarious and gory story from Joe R Lansdale that felt like it lasted about ten minutes but actually over-ran by more than thirty
The climactic grand banquet on Saturday night was enormous fun, and things quietened down very quickly on Sunday as people packed up and prepared themselves for the trip back to wherever they'd come from. The hotel was terrific - you can see some pics here but it was quite far away from Austin proper. In fact I hadn't even really had the chance to get out of the place by Monday (five nights into my stay!) so you can imagine, it was a great treat when Jill - Razorbill's sales rep for the area - picked me up for a stock signing at Book People, a fine-looking Austin bookstore. After the signing Jill kindly showed me around town a bit and took me out for a Mexican lunch (I certainly can't claim that I starved in Texas - I ate extremely well all the time I was there!) before dropping me back at the hotel. John and I met up again in the afternoon, and a lovely lady called Kristen then whisked us off to my last event of this visit to America, a reading and Q&A session at an Austin branch of Borders.
This, as I expected, was a pretty quiet affair (Monday night is American Football night on tv nowadays!!) Most of the audience were acquaintances from the convention who had kindly turned out to support the cause. Still: as anyone who's met me will know, I'm absolutely delighted to burble excitedly about Black Tat to groups of any size whatsoever (hee hee hee!) and I spoke for about an hour. I think it must have gone okay, because four people bought the hardcover right there and then (despite having free galley copies from the Con! I think the poster was irresistible for them!) I then signed all the stock in the shop - around twenty copies.
The following morning I set off from the hotel at 10.30am Texas time, and eighteen hours (but no sleep) later I was back in London - just in time for the morning rush hour (ho, hum!) So there you go. I knew I wasn't going to conquer America on my first try - or not completely anyway! - but to me the trip was a great success, and I look forward to invading the US again in the future. Yes: even if the jet-lag does seem to turn my brain to cheese! Hee hee hee!
Friday 10th November 2006
Imagine my glee and delight on my return from the States when I discovered that the WebSphinx has struck again! The sharper-brained among you may already have noticed the pithy little question that now appears in the bottom right-hand corner of every page of this site. Click on it, and all my tiresome textural drivelling melts away, exposing (in moments) the WebSphinx's indescribably awesome monster-texture backgrounds in all their grisly glory! Better yet, if you then click on the button top-right as instructed, you can find out how she made them. [BTW: Isn't the WebSphinx a genius? Who'd've guessed that 'gelatin, meringue pieces and dirt' (for example) could be made to look so alluringly colourful and yet so downright disgusting at the same time, eh?]
Well: now that the WebSphinx has let you into a few of her secrets, I have a question for anyone reading this. Do you think you could do better? Well do you? Hmmmmmm? If you think the answer's yes, then... well: COOL! Start thinking about how you might be able to create monster-textures of your own, and watch this space: in a little while, it'll be time for our exclusive No Actual Monsters Were Harmed In The Making Of This Website competition. When we give the word [but not before! we (er...!) need a chance to make a new page and give you specifications and an address to send them to!] start creating your own repulsive jpgs and send 'em in. The best ones will get used on the site - fully credited of course - and will win their creators SPECIAL BLACK TAT SHINY THINGS. Stand by for further instructions!
Wednesday 25th October 2006
I've answered another question (Hey - and thank you! - Danny from New Jersey!) over at the Q&A page. I've stuck a bunch more fine books up over at LibraryThing. The WebSphinx, as ever, is hard at work on our sinister masterplan (HEE HEE HEE!) But I'm afraid I'm going to have to take a break from further News for a while, as I'm off attempting to conquer America.
I'm going to New York to do my best to spread the Black Tat word there (there's an event at the Donnell Library Center that I'm particularly looking forward to!) After that, much to my own amazement and delight, I'm going to Austin, Texas for the World Fantasy Convention 2006. I've wanted to visit Austin for ages, but this Boing Boing article about a recent protest march there for ZOMBIE RIGHTS frankly just confirmed the issue. I'll be back soon to tell you all about the trip. Mean time, all together now: 'What do we want?' 'BRAAAAINS!' 'When do we want them?' 'BRAAAAAAAAAINS!'
Tuesday 24th October 2006
A little early for Halloween I know, but if you like to plan ahead you might be interested in this. Scroll down a bit to recommend Black Tat (or one of the other excellent books mentioned on that page!) to a mate, and chuckle at the wonderfully cheesy sound effects. BWAH-HA! BWAH-HA-HA-HA! -er, 'scuse me.
Saturday 21st October 2006
Today I did my first event at a public library, setting off to do my Black Tat thing for the charming and effervescent Chatterbooks reading group at Hornsey Library, in Crouch End (north London). The session was quite small and low-key - just six young readers were there - but this meant we could talk about things in a much more in-depth way than would have been possible with a bigger group. I think my favourite bit was when we were discussing the various famous London landmarks that are going to get vigorously and gleefully trashed in the course of my NEXT BOOK. 'What you should do,' said a certain person who was there, 'is destroy half of Buckingham Palace. The Queen could be cleaning her teeth at the time: she'll have to jump out of the window, her skirt will parachute upwards, and everyone will see her knickers.' 'That's good,' someone else replied after due consideration, 'except you should destroy all of Buckingham Palace.' -An enormous thank you to senior librarian Sean Edwards for inviting me along; my thanks to the group for a really cracking session - and thank you especially Jasper and Josie, for writing such kind things in the Guestbook. ["Nice handwriting"?? Jasper, are you serious?? ;) ]
QUESTION: (for anyone else reading this!) Are you involved in - or running! - a reading group at a library near you, in the London area? Would you be interested in my coming along to read from Black Tat and answer questions? As I'm a debut author, I'll currently do visits to public libraries for FREE. Check out the Visits page of this website for details about how to get in touch.
Monday 16th October 2006
A box arrived from New York this morning. I ripped it open with great glee and delight to find... YES! the just-released unabridged audio version of Black Tat, as read by John Lee. I'd been intensely curious to hear what this sounds like as you can probably imagine: it's quite a strange sensation to listen to my words as interpreted by someone else - but I'm absolutely delighted! Mr Lee clearly threw his heart into the reading, and the characterizations are superb. At nearly fourteen hours long (eleven cd's!) I've only had time to skim though it so far, but his voices for the Dragon, for instance - and the Chinj! - are just wonderful. Before long the WebSphinx and I are hoping to be able to post an audio sample somewhere up on the site, so you can hear just how good it is. But mean time, here we are: another superb Black Tat item! HUGE thanks to Mr Lee and the production team, and congratulations on a really terrific job. Hurrah!
Saturday 14th October 2006
Here's a new feature for the site that I hope you'll like. If you look in What is The Black Tattoo? you'll see that the WebSphinx has now created a page to display a pair of photos that my brother and I took, one rainy night, of a couple of the real-life locations in London's West End where the action of Black Tat takes place. For those who don't know these places, which I imagine is probably most people reading this, there's a pic of Centre Point Tower, and one of the Palace Theatre: you can see the actual round window that's supposed to have the butterfly room behind it! ;)
While we're on the subject of recent additions to the site, have you worked out how to get into the LOCKED section yet? When the dialogue box comes up put 'user' into the username field, then it's time to bring out that secret password I hid in the US and UK editions of Black Tat to open up a selection of dvd-style extra scenes from the book. There's a fight scene, a demon cocktail party and another couple of fun things there, together with commentary from me about why they didn't make the final version (and of course, some more of the WebSphinx's gob-smacking monster-texture backgrounds). Take a look!
Thursday 12th October 2006
An absolutely fantastic all-day school visit today, to Alcester Grammar School, near Stratford-upon-Avon. Four hour-long sessions - plus some signing at lunch-time! - made for a fairly knackered Sam by the time I got back to London, but it was a lot of fun. Here are some pics from the day to give you a flavour.
Alcester seems to be filled with enthusiastic readers - as you'll see, from the fine comments some of them left in the Guestbook. A big thank you to Mrs Doubleday for organizing the visit; thanks to Ruth, Doug and Antonia for kindly having me to stay over - and, if you were there, a big thank you to you, too. Although being asked what my favourite pizza topping is twice (on separate occasions!) was just a little bizarre, you were a pleasure to talk to. HEE HEE HEE!
Tuesday 10th October 2006
My favourite part of being a bookseller was recommending books to people - and of course, having books recommended to me in turn. Thanks to the wondrous LibraryThing I'm finding I can still do that even now I've left the bookshop!
My flat is pretty small: I simply don't have space here for stuff I don't like, so in fact I'd recommend absolutely any of the 370 books from my shelves that I've listed on LibraryThing so far. But I've posted a few short pointers to some I've particularly enjoyed here.
As you'll see, the way LibraryThing works means that you'll find more reviews up there by other users, too. If you're already looking for something else to get your teeth into after Black Tat there's a world full of books out there, waiting to tickle your fancy.
Sunday 7th October 2006
I'm very happy to relay the news that a fifth Komodo dragon egg has now hatched at London Zoo (I've mentioned the London Zoo dragons before on this blog back in August, so I thought you might be interested!) As an article in Lifewatch, the magazine for members of The Zoological Society of London says, the usual methods of discovering whether this egg was going to hatch or not had all suggested that its inhabitant might be dead. However: a new technique employing an infra-red beam detected a heartbeat, and in due course this fifth dragon made its appearance. I unfortunately can't get an image up here right now, but the young dragon has a wonderful expression on its face in the photo. Normally I think ascribing human feelings to animals is a bit naff really, but in this pic the hatchling has just bust out far enough to look at the world and then stopped, still curled up in its egg, its eyes clearly saying 'Don't hassle me. I'll come out when I'm damn well ready.' What can I say? Komodo dragons are awesome. It's coming up to Christmas, so if you're looking for interesting gift ideas, how about sponsoring an animal for somebody? Check out the ZSL website for details.
Thursday 4rd October 2006
Yep, today is Black Tat's official American launch date. How completely mad to think that my book - the one I spent all those evenings and weekends thinking about at the till at the bookshop here in London (when I was supposed to be working!) - is now going to be sold in shops all across the U.S. of A. I'd never have imagined it. Amazing!
Well: to any American readers looking at this, NOW IT'S YOUR TURN! Get down your local bookshop as soon as you can and take a look at The Black Tattoo. If things like swordfights, monsters, flying kung fu, demonic possession, vomiting bats and the end of the universe are your bag, I reckon you just might like it! And do come back and tell me what you think in the Guestbook.
In fact, speaking of the Guestbook, if you look in the Q&A section, down at the bottom, you'll see that now - at last, in two cases (sorry, Lauren from London and Ashley from Swansea!) - I've answered the questions that have come up so far. Anyone else got any more queries for me? Ask away! And an ENORMOUS THANK YOU to every who has kindly written in already.
Read earlier news posts here.