sore fingers

There's a surprisingly okay photo of me (for once) in this month's Locus, the one with Robert Heinlein on the cover. I have a vague memory of a Locus photographer taking a couple of shots of me (and Hal, and lots of other people) at the Glasgow Worldcon a couple of years ago. Lots of other photos of lots of other people in that magazine too, but it's nice nonetheless.

I spent most of this evening signing about six hundred bookplates for the approaching hardback publication. Sore fingers. Ouch. Prior to that, I spent part of the afternoon in the new BBC building by the Clyde, courtesy of a script editor - Lizzie Gray - who occasionally attends the screenwriting workshop that meets at a local arthouse cinema. Lizzie had asked people there and elsewhere for contributions towards a series of one-minute films which are intended less for actual broadcast, and more as a means to train staff and keep them busy when they're not filming anything else (or so I gather).

The inside of the new BBC is huge (picture above). From the ground at the entrance, it looks like somebody trapped a ziggurat inside a concrete box. Cool enough, in a vaguely Neo-Stalinist Brutalist Concrete sense. In fact, it looks more than anything else like a set from a Terry Gilliam movie inside; vast and stentorian, with unintentionally humorous posters hanging from the ceiling telling you to 'utilise your space for creative mixing through meeting, discussing and sharing ideas', and the kind of slightly cheesy bollocks you can imagine coming out of some brainstorming session where everyone is encouraged to 'think out of the box'. All that was missing, really, was a statue of Lenin, gripping one lapel and gesturing into the future.

Anyhoo, the script is called 'Dave, Unbound' and is a grand total of maybe two hundred and fifty words. Still, if it does get made, a very nice addition to the writing CV. We talked over some ideas in the (vast, stentorian) canteen for where to take the story, given the precise time limit of sixty seconds, and played around with some of Lizzie's own ideas. All in all a fun way to spend an hour, and a chance to check out a building I've been cycling past for a couple of years now.


i have a holiday

Before I say anything else, possibly the most fun way of completely wasting your time and not actually getting any work done this month is the 'simpsonize me' function at the promo web page for the Simpsons movie. I think this looks like me ... but I might try uploading another picture and see if it looks pretty much the same or different. I say this with the full knowledge I am almost certainly the last person in the universe to have become aware of this.

I finally booked myself a holiday for a couple of weeks, staying with a friend really quite a long way away (the 'better offer' I mentioned a few entries before) for a really depressingly large sum of money, but, like I say, I need the break. I won't say where just yet - I think it's more fun if I just maybe write a couple of blog entries once I'm there. I'm hoping I can keep writing and working on the book while I'm away, so I'm taking the laptop. I'm not leaving for a while though - I'll be away on a big jet plane from early October to the end of the month, so three weeks in total. That's just after the new book comes out, and between now and then I have to sign a shitload of bookplates for Forbidden Planet and the other main bookstores as well. Assuming, that is, the damn things actually turn up in the post; Tor have tried to send them to me twice in the past couple of weeks, and no sign of them ... yet. This, despite a trip down to the sorting office. Maybe it's a backlog after the recent strikes, but I don't know. I feel like I've been lucky that whenever Tor have posted me a marked-up manuscript for correction, it hasn't so far got lost in the post. If that ever did happen, I could see it causing major delays in publication (whenever I send them or my agent something, it always - always - goes recorded delivery).

I just spent the weekend in Dundee with a couple of friends (I don't think I've been there before), just for the sake of the change as much as anything else. Apart from that, work is moving ahead on the book front, which is good. There are some changes where the day job is concerned, but that's a whole saga in itself. More on that later, assuming it doesn't get turned into a Christopher Brookmyre novel between now and then ...


I need a holiday.

The full time job is definitely cutting into the writing in an annoying fashion. It's getting there, but very, very slowly. It's too easy to get drawn away from the writing for a couple of days, then find it hard to get back into the precise frame of mind I was last in while working on the manuscript. At the moment, it's still under ten thousand words, but I'm not really that worried since it's about the same place I was at with Stealing Light after a similar period of time. Lots of faffing about with the same couple of chapters, then boom, things get clearer.

What else? There's an interesting article in The Guardian that's worth checking out:
What people really want... is to be broke. At least, that's one likely interpretation of a new YouGov poll that shows more people in this country would rather be a writer than anything else. Now it's possible they've all got their eyes on the JK Rowling squillions, but the financial reality is rather more depressing. Most book manuscripts end up unwanted and unread on publishers' and agents' slush piles, and the majority of those that do make it into print sell fewer than 1,000 copies. So while there are a small number of writers making a decent living, something like 80% of published authors earn less than £10,000 per year.
Worth reading. What else? I'm in the process of booking a holiday for a good few weeks, possibly a month, for closer to the end of the year: the plan for going stateside has been temporarily shelved in favour of a better offer in another location, but I'll save the details for later.


getting hold of signed copies of Stealing Light

I had a query from Canada about how to get hold of one of the signed copies of Stealing Light that's going into London's Forbidden Planet in October. A quick query to FP's online customer services reveals they're happy to ship overseas, unless specifically stated otherwise. So if you're after one of those, that's the way to go.


days of honeywine and doom

Okay, that's been a fairly intense couple of days. Following the attempted break-in, I had to juggle endless calls from both the police and the insurers. Forensics turned up to dust for prints yesterday afternoon, which was quite fascinating to watch as they went about their work in my tiny hallway. They dusted one of the storm doors and came away with a couple of prints. They're probably mine, but you never know. Fortunately, I had to work from home that day anyway, since all the staff at the print and design company I work freelance for - for Reasons I Do Not Yet Feel At Liberty To Divulge, But Might Shortly Find The Opportunity To Do So - had to be away somewhere (except for me. Like I say, complicated.)

Today I had to hang around some more for someone to come make the damaged storm doors reasonably secure, until the replacements can be installed. A surveyor was checking out the damage earlier this morning. I did a quick dive into work for an hour to print off some urgent stuff, designs which need to be checked over and approved by clients. Then back home again, in case anyone nasty decided to pay a return visit and kick in what was left of my doors.

So that's been me pretty much at home the past couple of days, and I feel exhausted, which is perhaps not surprising, given how much I've had to deal with in a short space of time. Still, like I said in the last entry, could have been worse.

Stealing Fire is quietly doing that slow-grind-of-a-cold-engine-gradual-and- increasing-motion-forward thing I tend to associate with the start of a new novel.
There's just under ten thousand fairly rough words, but getting there, getting there.
I'm starting to find my way around. One character was originally called something like 'Scent of Honeywine, Sense of Approaching Doom', but I'm thinking of renaming him Days of Wine and Roses. No particular connection to the film or song - at least, not yet (and even then, it would be a stretch considering the story is set half a millennia in the future) - but it ... amuses ... me. So for the moment, it will do.

Oh yeah - the tumble dryer I found in the street? Works perfectly, so far.