view from my office window,
transmitted live via webcam.
Listening to: Hatful of
Hollow by The Smiths; The Fat of the Land by Prodigy; Ether Song by
Watching: The X Factor
(particularly enjoying the really crap people who think they're great);
News 24; nip/tuck; Grand Designs Abroad; my language.
Doing: working; the
How 'bout you?
I'm currently doing
little else other than listening to Turin
Brakes' album Ether Song. There's a lot of influences in there,
ranging from Radiohead to Bob Dylan to Marc Bolan, and one track has a
particularly frustrating habit of slipping into Knocking on Heaven's
Door, which I never liked, but it's great stuff. Check 'em out.
Huge congratulations go
to good friend John
Meaney, who has just sold three novels to new US SF imprint Pyr.
If you're planning on
going to Interaction in Glasgow in August 2005, you can now reserve your
I've added a new page
that contains the text from a Word file I found on my computer when
sifting through old files the other day. It's my old submissions log,
which I used years ago to track where I'd sent stories, when, and what
happened to them. Click this if you want to take a look.
If you find your web
browsing is very slow and problematic, try installing the Firefox
browser. I have to say it's a revelation to me, being much quicker
at loading web pages than the notoriously bloaty Internet Explorer. Plus
you get a cool icon featuring a fox. Surprise, surprise. Go on, try it.
And if you're bored of
the way Windows looks on your PC, you should try "skinning".
Tons of gorgeous skins, wallpapers and icons are available here.
I'm currently using the Alienware theme produced by The
Skins Factory. To see a preview of this theme, stroke
your mouse now, or alternatively, find out more about it here.
Hello there. Well, it's
bloomin' September already, innit! Well blow me down. That's just four
months or so till Christmas. Can you believe it? No, me neither.
So what have I been
doing? Well, apart from watching the Olympic Games, which I thoroughly
enjoyed, I went through the proofs for The Destiny Mask
and have just finished dealing with the proofreader's queries. All great
fun. Honest. Seriously, though, my favourite bits of the publication
process are going through the copy-edited MS and then going through the
proofs. This is because it's all done on paper, which makes a pleasant
change from staring at the screen, and it actually reaffirms the fact
that it's all really happening.
Last night I took
Daniel to see Spiderman2
at the cinema. I have to say it's a great film, far better than the
first, and gets my recommendation. Not that that's worth anything, I
guess. (I should point out that we didn't let Daniel see the first one
as it was just too violent — the second film is fine.) The
trailer for the first Spiderman movie is well worth watching,
though. There was also a trailer for Jude Law's new movie Sky
Captain and the World of Tomorrow, which looks fantastic. Well, I
think so. Rosaleen thinks so, too. Not because she was impressed with
the trailer (she wasn't there) just because Jude Law's in it. Ahem.
Anyway, that's all for
now because I can't think of anything else (although I'm sure there was
something). Check back soon for more blog updates, when my memory
Page proofs of The Destiny Mask
have arrived this morning, and look good.
This novel's taken five
years to get to this stage. The Affinity Trap took a total of 10 years,
in its various incarnations (although it was at least five different
books along the way). I'm now faced with producing book three — The
Liberty Gun — in 12 months. Crikey.
Anyway, I've begun
re-plotting it (due to the extensive changes I made to The Destiny Mask
the previous plot became redundant) by making notes on a piece of A3
paper, attaching photos, that kind of thing. I'll keep you posted
Bye for now.
Hey, pop kids. I hope
you had as good a weekend as we did. The highlight was our visit on Friday to The
National Space Centre, which is near, um, Leicester. Yes, Leicester. Home
to crisps, Gary Lineaker and, apparently, rockets galore. It was a great
day and we all really enjoyed it, looking at all the exhibits, pushing
lots of buttons and visiting the planetarium, where we experienced a
three-dimensional history of Mars.
One of the most
striking things about the place was the Soviet Vostok capsule on
display: it's a tiny thing for anyone to spend any amount of time
in, particularly cruising around the Earth at 25,000 mph. Not sure if I
could do it.
Take my advice, though:
if you do decide to pay the centre a visit, take a packed lunch: the food
there is both bloody awful and incredibly expensive.
That evening we watched
Nadia win Big Brother, and immediately wondered why we'd spent 10 weeks
watching it. If you know the answer to this, please share it with me.
The rest of the weekend
was spent sweating, erecting shelves for the garage, sweating,
barbequing some chicken, sweating, and swimming.
One final thing: if I
don't know you and you decide to send
me an e-mail for any reason, please make sure the subject line's
relevant, and do not send any attachments. Otherwise I'll probably just
delete it, and you wouldn't want that, now, would you.
August 3rd part two
Publication of the mass
market paperback of The Affinity
Trap has been confirmed as scheduled for March 2005, followed by
publication of The Destiny Mask
Hi guys and gals. I think
I've finished giving the site a makeover now. Whaddya think?
Personally I think it's much more cohesive: I was never a fan of a black
index page followed by pages in light grey. I was frustrated to
have to get rid of the animated GIFs, but they had to go, I'm afraid.
The new look's kind of dark, sleek and stylish, isn't it? A bit like
myself. OK, maybe only the dark part's relevant there, but a chap can
dream, can't he?
If you find any errors
or if there are any images missing please let
me know. I've tried to check everything but sometimes links can
point to the hard drive on the local computer rather than the web
server, so I see the image or whatever because it's on my machine, but
no one else will.
I hope to add further
content soon — particularly some images from the Birmingham lunch
party we threw for The Affinity Trap
— but I'm close to my webspace limit, so something may have to go
first. (I also have to get around to working out how to get the images
off the camcorder...) We'll see.
Matrix arrived yesterday, absolutely dripping in Sketchleyana. My name's
on the cover, there's a feature interview inside called New Blood —
"a series of articles featuring the best new novelists in British
SF" — and there's also my own double-page feature interview with TTA
Press editor Andy Cox. What's more, I'm rubbing shoulders with
people such as Jon
Courtenay Grimwood, Stephen
Baxter and Ian
Watson. Crikey, it's enough to make yer head spin, so it is. Let's
hope I can cut the mustard, eh?
Anyway, I better get
on. I rather like the idea of updating this thing more frequently, so
pop back soon and which keys I've hit.
Hey, pop kids, here's a bonus blog
entry! As you've probably noticed, I've tweaked the site's appearance
somewhat. If you should come across any links that don't work as a result of
my mucking about, or if anything else unexpected happens (involving the
site, rather than your life in general...) please do let me know via
the usual method.
Oh, one other thing: in an
effort to be tremendously helpful, you can now check whether the blog's been
updated since your last visit by resting your cursor over the blog button on
the psychobbable page. (Although this does rather assume you know when you
last visited... Oh well.)
30th July, 2004
Hello. Sorry for failing to update the
blob (yes, mistyped that but it's funny so I think I'll leave it...) last
week. Not very impressive, I know. I bet you were thinking something along
the lines of "That didn't last long, did it?".
You weren't bothered? Didn't miss it?
Well, the fact is we were on holiday, and
I didn't particularly want to broadcast via the Internet the fact that the house would be
empty for a week. We stayed at Allender
Farm, near Woolacombe in North Devon. The farm is a great place to go,
especially if you've got young kids. There are lambs, ducks and hens to feed
twice a day, eggs to collect, guinea pigs to chase, and all kinds of other
fun. This might sound like hard work, but parents don't have to get
involved, although I rather enjoyed cleaning out the duck house every
morning. Rosaleen was less enthusiastic about the guinea pigs, but stuck at
it nonetheless. She was mortified when our son dropped one of the little
blighters, which promptly ran under the duck house. While the farm's only a
few minutes' drive from Woolacombe's lovely beach, it's set in the
countryside so is also a very quiet retreat. Apart from the lambs, the geese
and the ducks, of course. Oh, and the cockerels.
While we were in the area
we paid another visit to Broomhill
Sculpture Gardens. This wonderful place features all kinds of pieces in
a wide range of styles, and we spent a couple of hours wandering around in
the rain there. I used a roll of film taking photographs of many of the
sculptures. Most of these were just close ups of textures or silhouettes, as
a great many of the pieces in the garden are highly evocative and
inspirational. Last time we were there a couple of years ago I was
constantly scribbling in my notebook, and I know that some of this stuff
ended up in The Destiny Mask. I could
tell you about the incident involving our 4-year-old daughter in the
gallery, but it's a long story. Let's just say we're now referring to it as
the day she dropped, and caught, the £3,000 statuette. Best leave the rest
to your imagination. Next time we're going to take her to the crystal
Speaking of The
Destiny Mask, I've received the
cover and the blurb's been finalised, but you may have seen that
already. The artwork — by Larry Rostant — is wonderful, and exactly what
I've always had in mind. for the book. I thought the cover for The
Affinity Trap was striking, but this is even more so.
I'm now thinking about book three
— The Liberty Gun — in earnest (honest), and will really get to work on
it just as soon as Big Brother's finished. In the meantime, I've started working on
the next article for BSFA publication
Matrix, which will be an interview with former Interzone contributor Paul
Brazier, who's producing a new SF fiction website called Quercus.
I think that's about all.
As ever, if you want to get in touch for any reason, send
me an e-mail.
See you next time, pop
9th July, 2004
Hi there. What have
I been up to since the last blog? I enjoyed a great meal with Ian
R Macleod at the Al Frash balti restaurant in Sparkbrook. I had a delicious
starter of Tandoori King Prawn (I think Ian had chicken), while for the main
course we both had something I can't remember the name of, but which was
basically a shredded chicken and king prawn balti. Yum. I'm not sure whether
we cheered each other up during our discussion of what it's like being
authors, etc, but it was a wonderful meal and great to talk to someone who's on the same wavelength as myself.
We're with the same agency, and are both published by Simon
& Schuster, so we have a lot in common. Ian's recent novel The Light Ages has been widely
acclaimed, with the mass market paperback edition in stores now.
I'm still watching Big
Brother. (Due to the amount of work I have on at the moment I'm only watching
Big Brother.) Who do I think will win? I don't know, but then as we all know,
it's not the winning that's important, especially not in this game.
Personally I don't care who wins, I just wish Stu would tell Michelle to get
off his bleeding back. Who goes? I wish she would.
Oh, yes, do you like the sparkling neon jpeg at the top of the
page? I thought this page needed a little more glamour and thought this
would do the trick. It was generated here.
I've also re-skinned my copy of Windows XP with the "opulence"
skin, downloaded from XP
got a nice icon package to go with it. Also on the computer front, I bought
a CD writer with a PC World voucher I had left over from my last birthday to enable me to back up my stuff
more easily. This follows a recent PC failure when I almost lost all my work
and other Very Important Files.
Luckily The Destiny
Mask was not on that computer (well, this computer to be
accurate), but as well as meaning I lost a week's work while I tried to get
the thing fixed, it highlighted to me the importance of making regular
back-ups of everything. I've been in the habit of making two copies
of my fiction for a long time, but I hadn't quite realised how much other
stuff I'd be gutted at losing given a computer-related disaster. If you also
have a lot of Very Important Files, I can only suggest you invest in a CD
writer yourself. The Philips unit I got was only £30....
Next week I'm taking my Jeep to Mick to have its oil changed and have some grease
put wherever grease needs putting. Its been squeaking somewhat of late, so
Mick's going to investigate. Hopefully, as with other things, a little bit
of lubrication will make it sweet again.
On the writing front, The
Destiny Mask came back from S&S having been copy edited. I'm going
through this now as it needs to be back with the publisher by the 17th, and
will go to production shortly after that. Time is pressing,
especially as this is basically it: once this version's gone back it goes to
the typesetters, after which proofs will be produced and further changes
won't be possible. Cripes!
Most importantly of all,
however, tomorrow is Daniel's seventh birthday. He's got all the presents a
seven-year-old could wish for, including Spiderman stuff, football stuff and
GameBoy stuff. We're going to go to the cinema to see Shrek 2 on Saturday
afternoon, then there's a football party on Sunday for him and his mates.
I think that's it for this
time. Don't forget, if you want to get in touch for any reason, just send
me an e-mail.
26th June, 2004
I've been encouraged to
produce a "blog". This is short for "weblog", which is
only two characters longer. This is either incredibly efficient or
irritatingly lazy, I'm not sure which. When I start "blogging"
mobile phone-style — c u l8r, etc, — then I guess you should start to
worry. The intention is to update the blog bi-weekly (that's every two
weeks, pop kids), but this page is, well, in place for a probationary
period. If I decide I don't
like it or can't find the time to update it regularly, it'll be unceremoniously
disposed of. So there. There may be some crossover with the news
that will remain extremely brief — headlines, if you like. Greater depth will be found here in the blog.
New blogs will appear at the top of this
page as they are introduced, thereby avoiding
the tiresome chore of having to scroll down. I know how you all
So, to blog. What have I been doing
lately? Having submitted the text for THE DESTINY MASK to Simon &
Schuster a few weeks ago, I've been taking it slightly easier. Well, that means I've been
editing rather than writing, as the tax man wants his money at the end of
July, so one has to get one's shit together, so to speak. However, I've also
started churning ideas over in my mind about what's going to happen in book
three — The Liberty Gun. There are lots of possibilities, so that might
take some time. If you have any ideas, send
them to me!
I've not been reading as
much as I should. I started one or two books but didn't finish them. I keep meaning to
McLeod's THE LIGHT AGES, as I'm having a curry with him on
Tuesday, but I haven't got around to it yet. TV-wise I've been watching Big
Brother — I make no apologies for this — but have to admit I've become
somewhat bored of it now. Just as well really, because I need to go through
The Destiny Mask again before it comes back from the copy-editor, who will
no doubt have ripped it to pieces.
listening to re-foc by Rodrigo y
Gabriela, which is sort of latin/flamenco
guitar virtuoso stuff. I heard them when I went to see Will Young with
Rosaleen; he wasn't too hot but Rodrigo and Gabriela were great, so I bought
their CD. I was listening to the debut album by Franz Ferdinand, but they
seem to play the same track repeatedly and I got bored of it.
I've added lots of new photos
to the site here, and a couple of
review scans here. And remember, if you want to subscribe to the mailing list,
express your interest by using the button at
the bottom of the news page. If you feel like getting in touch for
whatever reason, just send
me an e-mail.
That's it for this
time, I think.
c u l8r.