I spent Thursday wandering around Edinburgh with MJ, before going to the East Coast writer's group's regular event, Writer's Bloc. It's the first time I've been to one of these, even though they've been going for a while. I don't drive, so that makes it a little harder to get to and back from Edinburgh, which is one reason I don't often make it for this kind of thing.
The event was excellent, consisting primarily of people reading their work. Until recently I wouldn't have expected to enjoy something like this, but what's changed my mind is an awareness that my horror at live reading is partly influenced by unpleasant memories of being forced along with others at school to read stilted passages from dull but supposedly worthy books. And let's be frank, there's a lot of dull people reading dull stuff out there. Writers Bloc, by contrast, was a terrific night.
One reason I attended was the admittedly vague notion I think it would be a good idea to do something like this in Glasgow. I've semi-promised Andrew Wilson from the Edinburgh group I'll be checking out places over here for hosting such an event, particularly if Andrew and the others are willing (and I get the impression they are) to do a Writer's Bloc thing over here. Apart from anything else, it would give me a little extra to do and keep me occupied: even though I have the part-time work and the writing, I definitely need something else to occupy my mind.
Besides, the fact that the East Coasters play up that whole East/Soviet angle just demands an appropriate response from us West Coast authors, don't you think? I keep picturing a flyer in my head for an event with an east/west theme, maybe using that picture of Sly Stallone facing off against Dolph Lundgren (in the sickle and hammer boxing shorts) in Rocky IV - a movie, I hasten to add, I've never seen.
I dropped into Borders the other day and spotted Jon George's new tpb The Faces of Mist and Flame. It looks very smart. I'm holding back on buying it since I'm hoping I can blag a freebie from my editor (since Jon is another Tor UK author) at some point in the near future. What impressed me further was the full-page author photo on the inside of the cover, with a fairly detailed bio.
Full-page pic on the inside cover? Full bio? Rats, how come I didn't get any of that? Sigh. But it would have been nice to have had the full bio I'd originally written, rather than the hacked-down version due to a slip-up at Pan ...
Interestingly enough, the bookseller in charge of Border's sf section had given George's books a good face-out; nice and visible. My next stop was at Waterstone's, where I had a much harder job finding it. It wasn't on display on the new books tables, though quite possibly it had been and simply hadn't been replenished. I finally found it quietly tucked into a bottom shelf, no face-out. Some sense of bond between myself and other Tor UK sf authors made me pick a couple of copies of George's book up, and drop them on the new books tables. It felt like the least I could do.