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Thursday, February 28, 2002

You know, I do know that the IHG awards aren't the Stokers. I got one of the first IHGs ever to be handed out, for Angels and Visitations. I inadvertantly named the award "The Linda" in my acceptance speech. In 1998 (I think) I MC'd an entire IHG ceremony. Sigh...

Put it down to posting late-at nightness, really early senile dementia, or lack of tea. (American Gods is one of the 20 books on the Stoker preliminary shortlist.)

Right. Pay attention. Two utterly different horror awards. The International Horror Guild -- public recommendations, juried award. Go and look at it at http://www.ihgonline.org/. The Bram Stoker Award, given out by the Horror Writers Association is at http://www.horror.org/stokers.htm. One award looks like a small haunted house. The engraved plaque is behind a little door which opens, shuts, then falls off and needs to be glued on and doesn't open or shut any more. The other one looks like a dog with wings.

Wednesday, February 27, 2002

International Horror Guild Nominations:

The International Horror Guild's annual awards recognizing outstanding
achievements in the field of horror and dark fantasy from the year 2001 will
be presented during the World Horror Convention, April 11-14, 2002 at the
Radisson O'Hare near Chicago, IL.

Novel:

COLDHEART CANYON by Clive Barker (HarperCollins)
THE LIVING BLOOD by Tananarive Due (Pocket)
AMERICAN GODS by Neil Gaiman (William Morrow)
SEX AND VIOLENCE IN HOLLYWOOD by Ray Garton (Subterranean Press)
THRESHOLD by Caitl�n R. Kiernan (Roc)
BLACK HOUSE by Stephen King and Peter Straub (Random House)


Well, there's lots of books on that list that would make good winners. I've not read the Due or the the Garton (I'll try to before the awards thingie), but Clive and Caitlin and SteveandPete all wrote terrific books. (I kind of hope that Caitlin wins, as she'd get the biggest kick of the people I know out of winning a Stoker, and would give her career a boost.)

Dear Neil Gaiman,
I'm just another adoring fan-girl from Toronto who is wondering whatever happened to that tour for the paperback American Gods. I think it was in the blogger archives somewhere, and I believe it mentioned the month of May? Is American Gods coming out in paperback any time soon? Are you going to be touring for it? I'd really love to finally meet you... I was just beginning to get worried since you haven't mentioned a paperback American Gods tour in a while! Plus, I've been holding out on buying American Gods, so that when I do buy it, it'll be paperback AND I'll get it signed by you...
Thanks, Clara


There won't be an American Gods in Paperback tour in May. There will be some kind of Coraline tour and readings in July (but smaller than the last tour by which I mean NOT fifty signings in 30 days). A US tour is planned, a UK tour is planned, and I just got an e-mail from Felicia Quon in Canada enquiring about me coming and doing something fun there. I think that a Toronto signing/reading/event is almost a certainty, but of what kind and nature I don't yet know.

There are a whole bunch of interesting problems to solve, though. For example: I feel bad enough making adults stand in line for 5 hours to get a signature. I'd not be willing to do a signing at which kids would have to stand in line for hours (although Bloomsbury mentioned that they lay on clowns and jugglers and magicians at their signings). So it might, for example, be a matter of doing longer readings and Q & As, but much more limited signings. I don't know -- I haven't thought it through. I do know that whatever we decide and however we do things, many people will be disappointed.

I'm not sure what's happening with all the site redesign and reorganisation that was agreed in early December, and I'm not sure when the Coraline area of the site will go live, but a lot of that information should be there then.

Okay, not to beat a dead horse here, but I'm dying to know where you find out how to reset your DVD player, and what these small files are.
Hey, you started the thread, not me! -Laura


Well, the Sampo 611 information is at Sampozone -- http://www.area450.com/sampozone.htm. I am told that the Apex DVD players are as good, as cheap and as easily reset to Region 0, but you'll have to investigate them on your own.

and finally

You are spelling Cincinnati wrong (I do live here I should know)...the correct way is Cincinnati not whatever hair brained way you and your readers have been spelling it...that's like spelling accept as except...Thanks.

Okay -- I'll work hard at spelling Cincinnati right, and you have to promise me in return you'll work hard at spelling hare-brained correctly. Deal?

Tuesday, February 26, 2002

Neil Gaiman,
I was wondering if the DVD player you recently "region zeroed" is your only DVD player.
If so, are you aware that there are DVDs out there that will not play on "region zeroed" players? Certain DVDs are made to avoid that sort of . . . well, cheating.
Just giving you a heads up.
- Travis


Not to worry. It's the Sampo 611 DVD, for which the region setting is is a small file written to a CD-R. If a Region 1 DVD won't play on it, I can just reset the DVD player to Region 1 with a different CD-R and a different small file. But I appreciate the concern.

Also several people have asked about the World Fantasy Convention in Minneapolis in October. The website is http://2002.worldfantasy.org/. I'm not a guest there, just a paying member.

I will be a Guest of Honour at World Horror 2002 though http://www.whc2002.org/. Other guests of honour include cartoonist and author Gahan Wilson (Toastmaster) artist and author Jill Thompson (Comics Guest) and bon viveur and author Gene Wolfe.

It's in Chicago, and I have the sinking feeling, looking at their web site, that the guest page is just friends of mine: I've known the lovely and talented Jo Fletcher for about eighteen years now, the equally lovely and talented Beth Gwinn for about 14 years (although rather more intermittently than Jo), and I've known the amazingly talented but nowhere near as lovely as either Beth or Jo artist Guest of Honour Randy Broeker for um, no idea (but I flew down to Chicago for his wedding to a lovely and talented former Care Bear, over a decade ago, so it's quite a while now).

Dear Neil, If someone gave you a pair of nice pink socks, and they were your friend, and it really *really* meant a lot to them that you wore them - would you?


Friends don't ask friends to wear pink socks.

They just changed servers for the FAQ line, which meant it was offline for a few days and so I just got a sudden and surprising several hundred faq e-mails in....

*whines* There's is mistake in my boooook.... It's probably been pointed out many years ago, cause it's a 1999 edition(my book) but just to be SURE I'd like to mention that in my edition of Stardust (Headline, 1999, and print uhm...2? (It says 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3)) on page 141 I found the sentence "'Primus is certainly learning caution' said Secundus to his five other dead brothers." But at that point, Secundus only has four dead brothers.
I'm not normally keen on picking up mistakes, but I was dragged along by the story, which is good. Ilove the book =)


That'll be a third printing. The first printing says 1, second says 2 and so on.

Shortly after the book came out I was in my local library and picked up a copy of Stardust they had on their shelf. And on that page someone had written, in the margin, neatly, in pencil, "four" and I went "argh!". I never went back to check whether it was me or the copy-editor who had got it wrong (like the UK copy-editor who decided that Famine was a seven letter word). I didn't think it would have helped.

In the current US edition, the trade paperback, it's been fixed. I should mention it to Headline for the next printing.

I was searching for Stardust in the library, and finally found it, not in the fantasy section as I had anticipated, but in the 'regular' fiction section. I read it, and it seemed pretty much fantasy to me - fairies, witches, and so on. This may just be the library, but it was the same at a couple of bookstores. Any idea why this is?

Probably because the cover, in hardback and in the current trade paperback edition in the US and in all editions in the UK, don't immediately signal "fantasy" to the world.

But then, all fiction is fantasy. Stardust is a fairy tale.

Dear Neil,
I've been reading in the blogger recently that you're going to be speaking at a convention soon...in Cincinatti. For all us poor East Coasters over here, do you have any idea if you'll be stopping in Boston, or thereabouts anywhere in the foreseeable future? I would love to hear you speak, but Cincinatti's a bit far for a seventeen year old. So. Thanks! ~Amy


Actually I was at a convention in Boston last weekend. May not be back for a while -- I expect I'll do a reading or something in the summer for Coraline though.

What are your thoughts about fan fiction? Based on your work or in general? Written solely for one's own personal pleasure or posted on the internet? Would you say that an established author who writes something based on another author's work (such as your own visit to H.P. Lovecraft's world) is participating in "fan fiction", or is it a different phenomenon?
-Joanna


I don't have much of an opinion about fan fiction. And I'm not sure where the line gets drawn -- you could say that any Batman fan writing a Batman comic is writing fan fiction.

As long as nobody's making money from it that should be an author or creator's, I don't mind it. And I think it does a lot of good.

Dear Neil,

Here's a legal question you may be able to answer. You might remember that a bunch of us Sluggy Freelance fans emailed you about an online comic story arc entitled "One Thousand Oceans" a fews weeks ago. The larger story line on www.sluggy.com sampled lyrics from Tori Amos as well as several other recording artists. Today the online artist Pete Abrams informed us that due to legal issues, presumably because he also sells the comics in book form, he was going to have to remove all the lyrics from the comics. This is really too bad, for the songs added a nearly aural element that enhanced the scenes. My question is whether Pete was in violation of copyright law by incorporating song lyrics (with title, artist, and copyright holder) on the free online versions of the cartoons. I ask you as writer with comics experience, occasional intellectual property issues, a Tori connection, and, of course, your legal use of song lyrics at the chapter heads of _American Gods_. I hope you can shed some light on this issue. Thanks, Miss Benai

Take a look at this blogger for this time last year, when most of what I seemed to be doing was chasing permissions for song lyrics I'd quoted. As I remember, I wound up paying $200 for each song quote I used (personally -- the publishers don't pay for that) except for Greg Brown, who got a really nice Sushi Dinner out of it. Does that help?

I'd held off asking this question because I didn't want to pry into your personal life, but since you mentioned them in your journal I figured it's probably ok, and if it's not then you've only yourself to blame. I was wondering if your children are fans of your work, and what it means (if anything) to them to have 'Neil Gaiman who gets 18,000 readers for his blog and could get shopping lists into the bestseller pages he's so groovycool' as a father?

Actually, according to Harper Collins, it's 18,000 people who have the journal bookmarked so go to it directly. Each month we have around 36,000 people coming through.

I'm not sure that I could ever think of my children as fans: they have to live with me, after all (well, except for Mike, who's off at college). Holly (16), of course, is convinced that she is entirely responsible for my success, and thus doesn't need to read anything I've written; Maddy (7) thinks I'm an okay writer but she prefers Diana Wynne Jones, Daniel Pinkwater or the ladies who write the Bailey School books. Mike (18) reads and enjoys my stuff from time to time. They're all good writers in their own right, although Mike prefers doing interesting things to computers, Holly would rather act or organise things, and Maddy would rather play her violin.

Congratulations! You have won a 2001 Inscriptions Engraver Award for
Favorite Print Novel - "American Gods."

Your prizes: A year's subscription to Inscriptions, with credit on
our Supportive Scribes page; a 2001 Inscriptions Engraver Award
graphic for Web sites, a 2001 Inscriptions Engraver Award coffee mug
and four weeks of free advertising in the Inscriptions e-zine or Web
site.


Yay! I get a mug!

i dont read the journal very often, and dont really fell like going through all of it, so, could u give me some deatils of your up-coming book?

Soon enough there will be more CORALINE information than you can shake a stick at here. Honest.

when will you be in seattle next. i would love to hear you speak, and get a few things signed and generally make a fool of my self to my favorite author. The only other author i would make a fool of myself to would be Jonathan carroll. I know you are friends so if you decide to make a joint appearance ((which i doubt) i would most likely fall over dead from joy.
(sorry this really wasn't a question)


Probably summer for Coraline. But if you come to the World Fantasy Convention in Minneapolis in October you'll get to see both me and Jonathan Carroll, who is Guest of Honour, and thus expire happy.

Monday, February 25, 2002

For a while now we've been trying to come up with a title for the two plays for voices that I wrote for the scifi.com website, Snow Glass Apples and Murder Mysteries, when they come out late summer as a collected CD and Cassette edition. I'd send off ever-more frantic and unlikely suggestions to Harper having to do with murders and reflections and apples and mysteries... all terrible titles. Finally my editor, Jennifer Hershey, made one of those Gordean Knot suggestions for which she is so justly famed.

Today Harper sent me the proposed cover, which is beautiful (glow, glow), and had typeset on it the proposed title, which is:

TWO PLAYS FOR VOICES by Neil Gaiman

Which seems astonishingly sensible, and looks, when written down on a very attractive cover, like a nice, solid proper, respectable sort of title. And it won't confuse people into buying a book of mine from an online bookseller ("Neil Gaiman wrote a book called SNOW ANGELS?") that they didn't mean to get. Now I just have to find the time to write the liner notes for it...

It'll be released on the First of August. I'll try and get a cover image up here as soon as I have one.

This in from Darrell Schweitzer, editor of Weird Tales , author and critic, who I ran into at Boskone and who told me that he is looking for contributors to a book of essays about the work of one N. Gaiman -- I told him that if he sent me an e-mail about what he wanted I'd stick it up here. So if you've already done a kick-ass essay on the male-female dichotomy in Sandman or you want to write about the lack of political awareness in Stardust or just write an interesting bit about something I've written (or if you've got a friend who doesn't read the blogger but who should know about this book), now is your (or your friend's) chance for fame (not much) and fortune (ditto).


THE NEIL GAIMAN READER.
Darrell Schweitzer, fantasy author and editor of WEIRD TALES magazine is editing a volume of essays about Neil Gaiman, to be published by Wildside Press. Articles should be of an analytical and critical nature, informative and substantial without being academically stuffy, aimed at the intelligent reader already at least partially familiar with Gaiman's work but who wants to learn more. Good examples of the sort of material desired may be found in some of Schweitzer's other critical symposia, including DISCOVERING H.P. LOVECRAFT, DISCOVERING CLASSIC FANTASY FICTION, etc. (which are in print from Wildside Press)

Payment is 1 cent a word against a 50/50 pro-rata royalty split. Queries should be sent to Darrell Schweitzer at mattea@juno.com


If you have something you think he might want, or if you want to write something for the book, drop Darrell a line. (And no, I'm not otherwise involved in it, receive no financial wossname from it, do not have to give my blessings to any of the articles or, I expect, probably even read them until the book is published, and may be too embarrassed actually to read the book even then.)

...

The first casualty of having a region-free DVD player is a seven-year-old daughter addicted to THE BEST OF DAD'S ARMY. She wanders around the house singing, loudly (but in tune)
"Who do you think you are kidding Mister Whitler
If you think we're on the run..."


"Hitler," I tell her. "It's Hitler. He was..."

"The boss of the Nazis who were the bad Germans like in The Sound Of Music. I know. You told me. I think I'll sing Whitler, though. It sounds nicer."

"But it's Hitler."

"Sure, Dad. So who do you think you are kidding, Mr Whitler..."

Saturday, February 23, 2002

I have a librarian in my attic.

This is something that I've wanted for a long time now. Unfortunately, she's not a permanent fixture. She's just here for the weekend.

Already she's discovered a plastic bag filled with Hitchhiker's Stuff that I can send to MJ Simpson for his book on Douglas Adams, and a bag filled with taped interviews with Alan Moore I did in the mid 80s which I had already promised to someone doing a book on Alan Moore.

Also huge quantities of manuscript pages, lost short stories ("Ohmygod -- this is the script to the lost Mr X story I wrote...!" "Really?" "Yes..." (Reads it with rapidly diminishing excitement.) "...It's not very good.") and piles of interviews, poems, notes and jottings.

There are backs of envelopes with ideas jotted down, old appointment diaries, piles of magazines I wrote for, carbons of articles under pennames I'd long-since forgotten Editors had given me.[Jim Crocker, anyone?)


Cardboard boxes are being replaced with plastic tubs, to deter mice, mud-wasps and suchlike.

I just found all the art Mike Allred did in 1990, the first time he tried out for Sandman -- I should ask him if he wants them back for his own files.

Anyway. I stopped and will now get down to work.

Having identified the Douglas Adams stuff and the Alan Moore stuff, I figured it was wisest to leave my assistant and her librarian up there on their own. Otherwise I'd still be sitting there, crosslegged, sneezing occasionally from the dust, reliving the 1980s.

Normally, publishers and authors adopt a sort of scattershot approach to blurbs: manuscripts and bound galleys get sent out to dozens of people who might read a book and say that they enjoyed it. You sort of expect half the people you send it to not to read it, and the other half not to like it, so you send out lots of copies and you hope.

With Coraline we didn't do it that way. We only sent out three copies. Two went out with the kind of nervous notes that said "you really don't have to read this or like it or anything and I won't be upset if you hate it or feel uncomfortable about saying something about it --" and so on and so forth, because while those two were, quite simply, chosen because they were two of my favourite living children's authors, they are also friends -- people I've known for fifteen years, which meant that in each case we were all very aware that the last thing I wanted was for them to be polite and give a blurb because we're friends, or to give the apparency of log-rolling. (Readers of the blog may have already figured out that one of those was Terry Pratchett, the other was Diana Wynne Jones.)

That they both liked it as much as I had hoped they would, and were perfectly happy to say so in public, made me very happy.

The third copy went to the author who writes under the name of Lemony Snicket. I'd discovered him when Gwenda Bond gave my daughter Maddy the first of the Series of Unfortunate Events books, and I picked it up and fell in love with the tone of voice -- a sort of dire and joyful gloom, with added relish. He read Coraline... He liked it. But, he pointed out, Lemony Snicket was a fictional character who would certainly warn people away from a book like Coraline. Was this going to be a problem? We assured him that it wouldn't...

He just sent back an e-mail which reads...

This book tells a fascinating and disturbing story that frightened me nearly to death. Unless you want to find yourself hiding under your bed, with your thumb in your mouth, trembling with fear and making terrible noises, I suggest that you step very slowly away from this book and go find another source of amusement, such as investigating an unsolved crime or making a small animal out of yarn.
--Lemony Snicket


"Terrible noises." Big grin...

I don't think the back of a book needs anything more than a quote from Terry Pratchett, Diana Wynne Jones, and Lemony Snicket. Anything more would be over-egging the pudding.
....

neil...
i live in cleveland and am considering making the trek to the NKU lecture. before i do (we in cleveland tend to poke a bit of fun at kentucky--think of it like making fun of the scots, pikers, or france) id like to know that this is a lecture that i have not heard before. i've been lucky enough to hear you twice and i read the blogger often. i checked the NKU website and it said only that you were speaking for about 2 hours on march 25th. if you could just fill in some of the holes as to the subject of your lecture and whether or not youll be signing...
cheers. jeffrey


Jeffrey -- you are making the not unreasonable mistake of assuming that I have any kind of idea of what I'm going to say a month ahead of time. I'll probably give a short talk about myth and dreams and stories, and I have no doubt that I shall read some stuff, published and unpublished (even, quite probably at the time of writing this, unwritten), and I'll answer questions, and just generally burble. This is what I normally do. On the whole, if I get asked the same question I give more or less the same answer, unless I don't. Whether or not I sign anything is going to be up to the University -- how they arrange things. Normally talks and readings aren't signings because there isn't time and there are too many people ( If you have 500 people, and you sign for them at 30 seconds a person, that's over 4 hours...) On the other hand, when Harlan, Peter David and I gave a talk at MIT last year, we talked for several hours, then signed for many more. So you never know.

Wednesday, February 20, 2002

Hey Neil,
Why do you answer all the FAQ questions on your journal page, while the FAQ page remains rarely-updated and unfulfilled?
Get it together, man!


Why? Auctorial whim. On the FAQ page I mostly answer Frequently Asked Questions. On the blogger I mostly answer Infrequently Asked Questions, like yours.

I like to think of the FAQ page as fulfilled, though. It may not get as much attention as this page, but it knows its contribution to the website as a whole is invaluable, and late at night, when no-one's watching, it puts its hands in its pockets and whistles.

Some months ago I got an e-mail from Emma Straub, who had discovered that her classmates thought that Stephen King's Salem's Lot was a bad book despite the fact -- or rather, because -- they were enjoying it. She wrote to me, to Steve King, to her father (P. Straub esq.), to Dave Schow and John Clute and Gary Wolfe, and, because she is nice, we all answered her. And then, when we read what she had turned our assembled e-mails into, some of us suggested she get it published somewhere.

In the February Edition of The Spook you'll find her article, decorated with portraits of us that demonstrate both that we are an odd-looking bunch, and that the artist didn't have a lot of reference photographs for several of the respondents. Please also check out the photograph of Emma herself in the contributors page and send her fan-mail.

...

Spoke to Stephin Merritt today. He's doing the musical stuff for the CORALINE audio book, which will come out in May-June, several months before the novel itself (which may be a first), and he sang me a bit of the songs the rats sing, which prickled the hair on the back of my neck. He's written an original song for the audio book, too, which is called "You're Not My Mother And I Want to Go Home", which I hope to get up on the Coraline Website, when we get that running...

...

Some time ago, in Las Vegas, I saw Teller examining some photos of Sock Monkeys. He told me his friend Arne Svenson was doing a book of portraits of Sock Monkeys, and he was deciding which one to write something for, and he wondered if I'd be interested in trying my hand at one. I allowed as how I would, and soon Arne sent me three photos of Sock Monkeys to pick from.

I chose one who looked like he had a lot of tales to tell, and wrote a monologue for him. You'll find the catalogue entry for the book here - although as with pretty much all art and photographic books, the online discounts from the Amazon.coms and bn.coms etc. of this world make it much cheaper to order from them than from the publisher.

...
From the FAQ line: You're one of my most favorite authors. Your work has greatly affected my life and your characters and stories stay with me years after the first reading. There, now that that's out of the way... I think it's great that you've chosen to make yourself so accessible on the web. I'm wondering why you decided to do so - I can see the benefits to your readers, but what are the benefits to you? Thanks, ~Caitlin Lyon

Mostly, it was an experiment when American Gods was in the works. I liked the idea of dragging people backstage -- through production, through publication, through promotion. And somewhere in there I realised I had grown to enjoy it. (How else would I get to let people know that I've got a monologue in a forthcoming book of photos of sock monkeys?) The blogger has about 18,000 regular readers (and there are several times that number of people who come in and poke around on neilgaiman.com every month, which makes me wish we'd tidied the place up a bit before they got here), which means that I feel guilty if I haven't posted anything in a while, as I have visions of 18,000 people clicking on the link to the journal and shaking their heads sadly.

And, though they don't all get answered, the people out there are terrifically helpful (Julia Bannon at Harper forwarded me an e-mail she had received from Steve Block telling her that Plus Books in Streatham had closed down last year, for example. Although the one in Colliers Wood is still going.) and the things that come in on the FAQ line are always eye-opening.

For example...

Neil, I'd like to marry your son. Is that alright with you?

And imediately a whole chorus-line of aunts, living and dead, raise their ghostly eyebrows sceptically and say, "So, this girl he's going to marry, you know her?" ("Er, no," I try to explain, "She's an anonymous e-mail from someone who reads the blogger") except for one who goes straight for the important things and says "So who's going to be doing the catering?" ("Auntie, you're dead. What does it matter?" "Living, dead, the catering is what they remember. You take your Cousin Laura's wedding. The smoked salmon? To die for.")

Which takes us to

It's spelled "nudhz"? I always figured it was "noodge." Valerie

Well, Dictionary.com offers us:

nudge2 or nudzh or noodge (nj) Slang

n.
One who persistently pesters, annoys, or complains.
v. nudged, or nudzhed or noodged nudg�ing, or nudzh�ing or noodg�ing nudg�es or nudzh�es or noodg�es
v. tr.
To annoy persistently; pester.
v. intr.
To complain or carp persistently.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
[From Yiddish nudyen, to pester, bore, from Polish nudzi.]


so it's that too.

and a final riddle to be solved for someone who wants to know...
Hi Neil! I know (and I'm sorry) that this isn't really my business. But in your Journal (Jan.30), you wrote "Holly, over twice Maddy's age..." Then in your 'Where do you get your Ideas?' essay you said, "My daughter Holly, who is seven years of age..." I thought Maddy was 7 and your youngest kid Am I right? Anyway, thank you for the wonderful stories and I really hope you'll get to visit the Philippines. Thanks again ~~~ Cancan =)

Which would date the writing of the Where Do You Get Your Ideas? essay at about nine years ago, as Holly's now 16.

http://www.sfsite.com/columns/best02.htm is the SF site Editor's Choice YEAR'S BEST list. American Gods came in at #2.

Click here for a link to the details on the talk I'll be giving at the University of Northern Kentucky (which is nearer Cincinatti than anywhere else, if I read the website correctly -- it's at the intersection of Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky, according to the map, and is thus equally convenient, or not, to people in Dayton, Lexington or Indianapolis.) It's on the evening of March the 25th.

I'll fly up from Aggiecon in Texas, at A&M, where I'll be from March 21-24. details here.

Tuesday, February 19, 2002

Long-time readers of this journal will remember that, back in around July of last year, due to some erroneous reporting on the part of Wizard Magazine, I went down to the basement looking for stuff... and, needing a really large envelope to put something in, picked up one with a very heavy backing board. And then, because I was curious, I examined the backing board, and discovered it to be a Michael Zulli painting he'd given me seven years earlier that I'd never seen. It was a mystery, and still is. (Go and prod around in the archives around the end of July 2001 for the story.)

So I sent the art to DC Comics and they were somewhat flabberghasted, and Michael was remarkably sanguine about the whole thing, and it is now being released as a poster. (This is a link to a picture of it: http://www.toonzone.net/comics/solicitations/2002-05/dcdirect/sandman-morpheus-poster.jpg The original is about 36 inches high. Now you begin to imagine my puzzlement: if I'd seen it, it would have been framed and on a wall before you could blink.

My only theory is that Michael sent me something else, like a page from the Wake, in the same package, and I just assumed it was a backing board...

Then again, if I had known about it at the time, it wouldn't be coming out as a poster now, so it's all worked out for the best.

(NB -- DC prints to order, so if you want one of the posters, make sure your local comic-shop knows, or if you have a mail-order retailer, order it from them. If you have any friends who might conceivably want the poster, send them the image, and remind them to pre-order it. This nudhz was brought to you as a public service by someone who is continually horrified by the price of old sandman posters on e-bay.)

Monday, February 18, 2002

Forgot to mention on the list of strange things waiting for me when I got back that there was a box of Endless Wall-Hangings -a transparent hangable poster version of the Mike Dringenberg Family Portrait Still Life With Cats. Also a copy of Final Draft 6. And a very small bowler hat, from Betsy Stemple, for my World Fantasy Award (a Gahan Wilson statue of H. P. Lovecraft) to wear. Long long ago she offered to knit me a rasta hat and little dreadlocks for it, and I said I thought a bowler would be better, so she's spent many years looking for one just the right size.

One chapter to go on Witch Week for Maddy. I spent a night, some weeks ago, hunting down a childhood favourite book which shall remain nameless as it also was waiting for me when I got back and I scanned the first chapter and found to my dismay that time had rendered it unreadable. So I shall think of something else.

Home again.

Spent half a day doing the mail -- waiting for me were an astonishing assortment of things, including a Japanese edition of Shadows over Innsmouth, a French Good Omens and a French magazine called Elegy, an English Mass Market Paperback of American Gods (complete with an "As good as Stephen King or your money back" sticker), the manuscript of the first of the Carla Jablonski Books of Magic novels for my feedback and perusal, the US galleys of Coraline, a Spanish edition of Sandman: The Doll's House and Midnight Days. A letter from a concerned Hungarian-American fan who felt I'd failed to grasp, in American Gods, that "Isten" meant "God" and was thus the Judeo-Christian God (which is perfectly true these days, but has not always been true, which is why he's in there with the rest of the gods on the side of Lookout Mountain -- http://www2.4dcomm.com/millenia/myths.htm may be of use to the puzzled, or not).

Also waiting for me was a Sampo DVE-611 DVD player. I saved a short file to a CD-R, put it into the DVD player, which read it and reset itself very happily to Region Zero, thus, at one stroke, voiding the warranty, allowing me to watch British DVDs, and probably setting the FBI on my trail.

Boskone was lovely -- a good convention organised by good people with some excellent panels, and hundreds of extremely nice people. I signed for as many of them as I could, but strongly suspect that I left as many disappointed as I signed for.

Terry Pratchett's portrait of me in the Boskone booklet was funny and didn't make me cringe once.

Adventures in the Dream Trade, a collection of stuff and nonsense by yours truly, consisting of many articles and introductions, the AMERICAN GODS period of this weblog, some poems and songs, and some uncollected story oddments, was published by NESFA Press, to go along with the convention. The 300 signed and numbered copies sold out immediately, as did most of the unnumbered copies. Check in at http://www.nesfa.org/press/Books/Gaiman.html if you want a copy before they are all gone. (Andy Richards from http://www.coldtonnage.com/ was one of the dealers there from the UK for those of you in blighty needing a copy.)

My favourite moment of the con was sitting in a Japanese restaurant between Robert Sheckley and Joe Haldeman, having an intense and delightful conversation about writing. (I listened a lot, for there are people beside whom I am but a grasshopper, and Joe Haldeman and Bob Sheckley are two of those people.) Thanks, I suspect, to Brian Aldiss's eloquent championing over the years, much of Sheckley was in print, available, and critically regarded in the UK while I was growing up, although I still had to find a lot of his stories in long-out-of-print US collections of the kind you could only buy in grubby secondhand bookshops where the selling of second hand books and comics was a badly-kept-up front for the trade in barely legal pornography, and inky-nosed boys in school uniforms got very dirty looks from the men in old raincoats at the back of the shop. I hung onto my Sheckley short story collections until the late 80s, when a TV producer who shall remain anonymous (but was actually writer-presenter Chris Langham) borrowed them to research a TV series adapting classic funny SF, and never gave them back.

So I think someone should reprint all those classic Sheckley short stories to save me smearing ink on my nose and heading back to Plus Books in Streatham. Which probably isn't there any more anyway.

Thursday, February 14, 2002

There. I'm at Boston -- flew across the Atlantic (changed planes in Amsterdam Schiphol which oddly doesn't have a hairdressers or barbers in the transit area of the airport, which considering it has a casino and came very close to having a brothel seems like rather an oversite on somebody's part) and got in a few hours ago, with hair like a sheepdog's. (it was like a sheepdog's when I got on the plane too.) Signed 350 copies of Adventures in the Dream Trade. Then realised I was no longer making any sense and went up to my room to sleep but thought I'd post a Valentine's Day hullo to everybody first.

This in on the FAQ line -- Neil- would you be kind enough to post any nonBoskone MA engagements you might have this weekend? Thanks! We're all looking forward to seeing you! and I'm not quite sure that there are any. I'll ask and post any that they tell me about tomorrow. Otherwise you should probably head for fabulous funky Framingham.

Oh, and this...

Neil - you may not have seen this, as I recieved it just in the last hour in my e-mail box, but American Gods was chosen by readers at Powell's Books as one of the top ten books of the year (called the Puddley Awards). You're on a prestigious list with Michael Chabon, Barbara Kinsolver and Jonathan Frazen. Powell's is a great independent bookstore, as well. So Congratulations! -- Laura Gosling And it's all true... http://www.powells.com/prizes/puddly2002.html

and goodnight.

Saturday, February 09, 2002

This just in from Inscriptions' (and the New York Times Online's) Jade Walker. Alas, I don't have time to go in and fix all the web-links, but if you go to http://www.inscriptionsmagazine.com/Engravers.html you'll find all the links in place. There should be lots of good stuff in the list to go and look at, which is why I'm sticking up the whole thing and not just blinking bemusedly and mumbling something about it being an honour just to be nominated.

Those of you who seriously want to be writers could do much worse than pay your $5 and subscribe to online Inscriptions, filled with lots of good information not to mention interviews and things...

You've heard of the Oscars, the Emmys, the Pulitzers and the Webbys.
Well, for the second year in a row, Inscriptions Magazine is
sponsoring the 2001 Engraver Awards
(http://www.inscriptionsmagazine.com/Engravers.html) to honor the
achievements of writers, editors and publishers working online and in
print. The nominations have been culled into a ballot, and the
winners will now be chosen by "The Academy" of 5,000+ Inscriptions
subscribers.

Congratulations! You received a nomination. Winners will be announced
online in the Feb. 18 issue. Each winner will receive a year's
subscription to Inscriptions, with credit on our Supportive Scribes
page; a 2001 Inscriptions Engraver Award graphic for Web sites, a
2001 Inscriptions Engraver Award coffee mug and four weeks of free
advertising in the Inscriptions e-zine or Web site.
_____________________________________________

The 2001 Inscriptions Engraver Awards Nominees

Categories:

* Favorite Online Writer

Moira Allen (http://www.writing-world.com/books/moira.html)
Paula Guran (http://www.writers.com/paulaguran.htm)
Christina Hamlett (http://www.absolutewrite.com/site/christina.htm)
Steve Outing (http://www.poynter.org/faculty/souting.htm)
MJ Rose (http://www.mjrose.com)

* Favorite Online Columnist

Madeleine Begun Kane (http://www.madkane.com)
Will Leitch (http://www.nineplanetsmag.com)
Cindy Vallar (http://www.cindyvallar.com)
Karen Wiesner (http://www.eclectics.com/karenwiesner/)

* Favorite Weblogger

Neil Gaiman (http://www.neilgaiman.com/journal/journal.asp)
Dave Pell (http://www.nextdraft.com)
Patrick Phillips (http://www.iwantmedia.com)
Jim Romenesko (http://www.poynter.org/medianews/)
Wil Wheaton (http://www.wilwheaton.net/)

* Favorite Print Author

Janet Evanovich (http://www.evanovich.com)
Diana Gabaldon (http://www.dgabaldon.com)
Neil Gaiman (http://www.neilgaiman.com)
Laurell K. Hamilton (http://www.randomhouse.com/features/lkhamilton/)
Stephen King (http://www.stephenking.com)

* Favorite E-Book Author

Angela Adair-Hoy (http://www.writersweekly.com/)
Charlotte Boyett-Compo (http://www.windlegends.com/)
Max Overton (http://www.geocities.com/maxoverton2000/)
Jeff Strand (http://members.aol.com/jeffstrand)
J.C. Wilder (http://www.jcwilder.com)

* Favorite Print Novel

"American Gods" by Neil Gaiman
(http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0380973650/inscriptions)
"Black House" by Stephen King and Peter Straub
(http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0375504397/inscriptions)
"The Fiery Cross" by Diana Gabaldon
(http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0385315279/inscriptions)
"Seven Up" by Janet Evanovich
(http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0312265840/inscriptions)
"Skipping Christmas" by John Grisham
(http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0385505833/inscriptions)

* Favorite E-Book Novel

"Graverobbers Wanted (No Experience Necessary" by Jeff Strand
(http://www.ebookconnections.com/excerpts/graverobbers_wanted.htm)
"The Heretic" by Jason K. Chapman (http://www.happyhacker.org/heretic/)
"Night Terrors" by Drew Williams
(http://www.purepulppress.net/drewilliamsnightterrors.html)
"The Summerland" by T.L. Schaefer
(http://www.atlanticbridge.net/publishing/summerland.htm)
"The Threshing Floor" by E.L. Noel (http://www.isp101.com/~mikenoel/tfsamp.htm)

* Favorite Poet

Maya Angelou (http://www.mayaangelou.com)
Frank Fradella (http://www.frankfradella.com)
Valerie Hardin (http://www.geocities.com/Paris/LeftBank/4266/)
Harvey Stanbrough (http://www.hstanbrough.com/poetry.html)
Neca Stoller (http://members.tripod.com/neca/)

* Favorite Print Publisher

Avon (http://www.harpercollins.com/hc/features/romance/)
Barclay Books (http://www.barclaybooks.com)
Leisure Books (http://www.dorchesterpub.com/)
Simon & Schuster (http://www.simonsays.com)
Tor (http://www.tor.com)

* Favorite E-Book Publisher

Awe-Struck E-Books (http://www.awe-struck.net)
Atlantic Bridge Publishing (http://www.atlanticbridge.net/)
Hard Shell Word Factory (http://www.hardshell.com)
Novel Books (http://www.novelbooksinc.com)
Writers Exchange E-Publishing (http://www.writers-exchange.com/epublishing/)

* Favorite Online Editor

Moira Allen (http://www.writing-world.com/books/moira.html)
C. Hope Clark (http://www.chopeclark.com)
Jenna Glatzer (http://www.authorsden.com/visit/author.asp?AuthorID=988)
B. Lynn Goodwin (http://hometown.aol.com/lgood67334)
Bob Rich (http://www.solutions.net.au/~bobrich/)

* Favorite News Web Site

Ananova (http://www.ananova.com)
CNN (http://www.cnn.com)
Fox News (http://www.foxnews.com)
MSNBC (http://www.msnbc.com)
The New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com)

* Favorite E-Zine or Newsletter

All About Murder (http://www.geocities.com/murderlist/)
Fiction Factor (http://www.fictionfactor.com/)
Funds for Writers (http://www.chopeclark.com/fundsforwriters.htm)
Science Fiction Romance (http://www.sfonline.com)
Writing-World (http://www.writing-world.com)

* Favorite Writing-Related Web Site

Ralan.com (http://www.ralan.com)
Writers Exchange (http://www.writers-exchange.com)
Writer's Market (http://www.writersmarket.com)
Writers Weekly (http://www.writersweekly.com)
Writing-World (http://www.writing-world.com)

--

Thursday, February 07, 2002

Wouldn't it be really ironic if, as a result of your (totally justified) lawsuit, Todd McFarlane's legal fees forced him to seek help from the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (despite your intergral affiliation with the organization)? Just an amusing thought... Good luck with the suit... -Rickey

Well, if the various McFarlane companies could demonstrate that the lawsuit was in some way me attempting to impede their First Amendment rights then the CBLDF would support them. But as it�s not about me impeding their Freedom of Speech, but about me complaining of non-payment of royalties, a littered trail of broken agreements and fraud, the CBLDF doesn�t come into it, on either side. (The full complaint is on-line at Newsarama, here, for the curious.)

Remember, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund doesn�t exist to sort out or fund all or any comics-related legal cases. It exists, very specifically, to defend comics creators, publishers and retailers who run into difficulties related to infringement of Freedom of Speech. It�s as simple as that. And you should support it by going to their website right now, and buying some cool merchandise or becoming a member.

Who should I speak with if I was thinking of translating Neverwhere into Irish?

Well, if you wanted to translate it for your own amusement, no-one. If you want to translate it and get it published, you or a publisher should talk to the Foreign Rights department at Writers House (212 685 2400) about getting the Irish-language rights.

I want to purchase a Death poster. I asked my local comic retailer and his answer was that he did not know of any still sold. Do you know of any in existence and how I could purchase one? And, if you'd like, which is your favorite?
Love your stories... Thanks, Jarriott

I�d check with DreamHaven Books in Minneapolis, if only because they tend to order high on my stuff. If they don�t have anything, it�s probably time for e-bay I�m afraid.

American Gods has just been nominated for a Minnesota Book Award.

Lunch with Terry Gilliam and Tony Grisoni, during which I learned many things including the joys and tribulations and current status of the Good Omens movie. I'll report back what I can here as soon as Terry tells me I can.

The writing's going very well, thank you. Am in a lovely house of undisclosable location, where I write in the basement kitchen, which is the one room I can get warm...

Lots of interesting FAQ questions, and no time right now to do more than a tiny handful...

What, if any, is the connection between your Snow White story, and a similar one by Ursela LeGuin?

Ursula did one too? How cool. I've not read it, and would love to. Probably (I'm guessing here) the connection is that she read Snow White at some point and realised it was the kind of thing she could use to say things with, as I did, as Angela Carter did, as Tanith Lee did, as Caroline Thompson did, as Walt Disney did. Maybe one day you'll do one too...

Just a brief Question: why no feet and inches for the UK edition of your new book? It would have been much more preferable!

According to my UK editor (and from listening to my English nephews, I believe her) it's because kids don't think in feet and inches any longer in the UK but in metres and centimetres.

Congratulations on your first year bloggin' ...and thank you.



It's been a year? How odd. It feels like no time at all, or a hundred years, since I started. And you're very welcome.

Hi, Neil! Would you be able to tell those of us in MA what other appearances you might be making next week? Aside from Boskone, we've heard rumours of a possible reading at MIT, and a tentative book-signing engagement at Harvard Square. (You were excellent at the Brattle Theatre last year [or maybe it was the year before last].) Please inform us as to where we might see you! Thank you! -Kitty

Embarrassingly, I have to confess that I don't know. If anything has been organised in addition to Boskone, it's been organised with my trusty assistant Lorraine who is a continent away right now. I thought it was just the convention, but sometimes I'm the last to know.

Sunday, February 03, 2002

I'm falling off the world for ten days to get something written. Not sure if I'll be able to post from where I'll be hiding out (or even if I'll be able to get e-mail there.) This is being posted from Dave Mckean's studio computer, in Dave's wonderful Kent oast-house studio. You cross a rickety log bridge across the koi pond to get here. Dave built both the bridge and the pond when he moved in, and the koi fish just get bigger and stranger, while the logs get increasingly precarious.

"What's it like when it gets icy?" I asked, seeking some kind of reassurance.

"Absolutely treacherous," he said, with relish.

American Gods has been nominated for a BSFA award this year, as best novel. I'm so proud I could pop. (Getting awards, as I said somewhere else on this blogger, you learn quickly - especially if you judge them - are just horseraces, and don't mean much. Being nominated for awards, however, is really pleasant, and means you wrote something people thinik is worthy of recognition.)
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