For some reason I can't quite fathom, the past several weeks have been a bit of a social whirl. Pretty much every night of the week there's been something happening, and I'm just glad I'm working full-time otherwise the drain on previously depleted financial resources would have been relatively stupendous. But that endrun of activity seems to be losing steam, so things are now - relatively - quieter ... or at least somewhat back to normal. But it's still all good for someone who spent a chunk of last year housebound (for instance on Sunday I headed for the Offshore coffee shop and sat there for precisely five minutes with the laptop, intent on working up story ideas, when two friends down from Dundee stuck their head in the door on the distant offchance I'd be there and, lo and behold, another evening of fun rather than work).

My agent seems pretty happy with the outline for the sequel to Stealing Light, and glancing over it myself, it feels pretty solid, though I imagine I'll still find room for a couple of extra subplots here and there. The outline for book three remains vague, sketchy and light, and it's probably going to take me a couple of weeks to figure out exactly what I do want to happen there. The idea of keeping it to just two books did occur to me, mind, so we'll see: or possibly a two-part story (although, as Rick Kleffel has indirectly noted, Stealing Light functions perfectly well as a standalone), followed by a separate narrative set in the same universe but tied into events that took place in the previous two volumes. Right now that's all up in the air.

One of the nice things about hanging out with a bunch of other writers is you sometimes end up playing around with ideas and bouncing them around whenever trying to figure out the plot of Lost gets dull. Sunday night ended with myself, Bob and Helena (down from Dundee), Andy, a guitar teacher, and Hal sitting around a table in the Uisge Bheatha in the West End, while myself and Hal batted around ideas since I was wondering what I might want to do after the Stealing Light books. God knows the virtual drawers of my mac are stuffed with unfinished novels and outlines - Scavengers, the original, much more mundane-sf version of Against Gravity (different enough I could still write it as an entirely separate book), Wonderland, Western Gothic, Hundred Houses, and yet more - but a conversation about famous Hollywood car chases evolved into an idea for a story about illegal urban car races, twenty seconds into the future, organised by flash mob and promoted through video sharing sites.

Not so much Richard Morgan (as ideas go, this one is more twenty seconds into the future than twenty minutes), more Richard Bachman. I've always liked the idea of a meaningful, politically sensitive and thoughtful yet adrenaline-driven and extremely fast-paced narrative: I haven't seen Rollerball in years, but I recall it was as much about the survival of individualism in a future, corrupt state as it was about staying alive in a vicious and deadly sport. The kind of thing that's fun to write, but also has depth. Mind you, no spaceships and explosions, so a touch outside the Tor UK remit ...


communication breakdown part deux

There are still some intermittent problems with my email - but I think it's mostly sorted out now. Mind you, when even your Gmail account starts screwing up, you have to start wondering what the hell is going on. And I know people have been emailing me, and failing to get through: my publishers have a hard enough time getting stuff to me through the post, but when the email goes kaput as well, it can mean serious problems.

The pages for Stealing Light have been proof-read, and mailed back to Pan pronto, only, say, a week late, since it took more than that length of time for me to finally track the posted manuscript down. Somehow there's always a couple of screw-ups that pass me by, the kind of thing Im always really, really, really sure I fixed before I emailed the finished text. But I've probably got most of them this time around. Probably ...

I was surprised to find a short review of Stealing Light is already up (you'll have to scroll down a bit), by Rick Kleffel of Trashotron, in which he praises the book for er, not being part of a series or anything ... I had to email him and break the bad news ...


working, almost

The domain name is working again, although I seem to be still having intermittent problems with my email - now the domain name email is working, but I got told by a friend the other week than even an email sent to my gmail address got bounced back, and I suspect it's not alone. Why me? Why ... me?


give up

It turns out there are several websites and forums entirely dedicated to complaining about the bad customer service of the company I bought my domain name from, and apparently, what's happening here is a frequent complaint. Sigh.

If you want to email me, use gary (at) garygibson.net. That, at least, works ... most of the time.


And ... not it's dead again.

Now when I type 'garygibson.net' into my browser, it goes to a default page, even though I renewed the domain for another two years last week and the domain is specifically set up to point to this blog. My email redirection seems to be fine ... so far ... and I have absolutely no idea what is going on.


It's ... alive!

Phew ... looks like the email and domain name is WORKING AGAIN, hurrah. No more bouncing mails ... I hope. I had to 'unlock' the domain in order to get it going ... is this a good thing or a bad thing? Somebody tell me.

books and ukeleles

Still no luck figuring out the domain issue, but it does explain why I got absolutely no email over the weekend ... there's a phone line I can call, but it's going to have to wait until I get home from work. Apart from that I finally got my hands on three copies of the Stealing Light ARC, and the page proofs for it at about the same time. That's probably going to take me a week or two to work through. I hear word as well that I'll be hitting Waterstone's front tables come October, when the hardback comes out: also, I'm the only title - according to my agent - coming out from Tor UK in that month.

I wound up in Tchai Ovna with several people last night to hear Andy play in support to a woman called 'Uni and her Ukelele' ... who might normally have been a little kitsch for my tastes, but it ended up a very entertaining evening. It's also a fair reflection on the musical tastes of Jane, whom I've known since she worked upstairs from me in my previous job, which tastes might be carefully described as 'eclectic': Jane picked up on Uni from her MySpace presence and got in touch and invited her to Glasgow while she was over on a European tour.

Uni, who's from San Francisco, ended up joining a group of us in Stravaigin's around the corner. Most of the people there being either students on break, unemployed or full time writers or whatever, they ended up going back to Al's after closing time whereas I, poor working sod that I am, had to make my way home.


This weekend's also been spent in a Kafkaesque confusion of tracking numbers and phone contacts as I try and trace the package of advance review copies of Stealing Light Pan have sent me - or more specifically, the second package, since the first apparently disappeared en route to me - and I wouldn't even have known it was on its way if Dorothy hadn't emailed me and told me she'd seen one. Fortunately, Parcel Line decided it might be nice to leave a note at my house on perhaps the second or third time they turned up. Unfortunately, I work during the day, so I'm not there to get it. Even more unfortunately, the package is through Parcel Line. If it was Royal Mail I could walk five minutes down the road and pick it up from the sorting office - but the Parcel Line depot nearest to me is Cambuslang, a considerable number of miles away.

So I call up Parcel Line, and I get the number for Pan distribution, and I arrange a redelivery to my work address, and ... still no sign.

Luckily, Al got sent a copy, so at least I've seen the thing. This time the ARC has a full-colour, wraparound cover - it looks good.

Update - I called Parcel Line and, what do you know, they never got the new details from me. So I call Pan distribution - again - and give them the details - again. With any luck, I might actually get my own copies of the ARC before the book itself is published ...

yes, you can take your laptop with you

Saturday, I took the Vaio out to a West End coffee shop, and didn't feel as much of a plonker sitting there with a laptop as I thought I might. In fact, if I hadn't had a laptop I might even have felt a little bit left out. I picked Offshore, because it has plenty of power points available for customers, and the seats are comfy. To my surprise, I didn't find the low music or people talking nearby in the least bit distracting. When I came home to my flat that evening prior to heading out again, I realised I'd got a lot more work done in a day out of the house than I'd managed while in the house for some considerable time. Since it was my birthday last week, I got a couple of nice presents that evening from friends, most particularly a print of a photo by Leanne, an artist of my acquaintance.

Generally, a busy weekend. I went up to the West End again on Sunday to catch up with friends and check out the West End Festival, and instead wound up slumped for most of the day on a friend's couch, talking. No laptop this time, mind you. The Glasgow publishers and authors networking event is on again this Wednesday, so of course I'll be there.


ravening maw

The Vaio laptop is working very nicely, although I'm going to have to be careful not to fall into bad writing habits in terms of how I sit when I'm using the thing. I decided to also order a spare battery over Ebay, which should hopefully arrive in a couple of days. The thing is no larger than an A4 sheet of paper, with a keyboard that's beautifully easy to use. The machine's clearly seen a fair bit of use, but mostly it's stuff you wouldn't notice unless you looked carefully. So far I'm pleased.

I got an email from my agent Dorothy the other day saying if I'd seen the Advance Review Copies of Stealing Light - I hadn't, and was surprised they'd already been put together, considering the book isn't supposed to be out until October. Copies, it turned out, had been sent to me, but they appear to have disappeared into the ravening maw of Royal Mail. More are on their way.

Talking of ravening maws, I got an awful lot of work done on the synopsis for Stealing Fire this weekend, partly thanks to the laptop. It's just about done. The plot structure is there, and now it's a question of coming up with nice ideas to flesh out the details. One thing I'm thinking of putting in is a restaurant that eats its clientele. It's called, naturally enough, The Maw.