I've learned lots about the release plans for Anansi Boys. It'll be published in the US on Sept 20th, and I'll be doing a signing tour of the US, which will probably go until about October the 6th. At which point I'll fly to the UK and go everywhere and sign more books.
Today is the photo shoot for the next novel (and given how long the American Gods photo lasted, probably the photo that will be used for the next four years). When I was a boy it seemed like all author photos were black and white snapshots of people sitting at desks. The men smoked pipes and the women smiled. Today will be several hours with Kim Butler -- of http://www.kimberlybutler.com/home.html fame -- who took the beardy author shot from the ALA poster, and I'm pretty certain that I won't suddenly start smoking a pipe. I'll report back on how it goes.
Are the five stories in the English edition of Smoke and Mirrors that weren't in the American edition going to be in the new paperback?
Um. I'm not sure. Haven't thought about it.
Let's see. The background on this is that Smoke and Mirrors came out in the US first. When, a year or so later, it was going to be published in the UK, there was some talk of doing a sample or a chapbook or something to accompany it, so I sent the UK publisher four stories that had been written after Smoke and Mirrors (the fifth story, "Eaten", was deemed too extreme to be published by my editor at Avon, but caused nobody at Headline to turn a hair). Instead of doing a chapbook or something, they simply put them into the UK Smoke and Mirrors, and we wound up with a variant edition.
(Oddly enough, the e-book edition of the US Smoke and Mirrors also contains those stories.)
The two options right now would be to put the extra stories into the 2006 US short story collection, or put them into the US mass market edition of Smoke and Mirrors. My hesitation on the latter course is that it might be viewed as a way to make people who already have Smoke and Mirrors go out and buy it again; so it might be easier simply to wait and put them in the 2006 short story collection, while I leave them out of the UK edition of that book. (So spread over the two books, everyone in the UK and the US would have the same stories.) Not sure. I'll chat to my editor.
Have you seen this yet? http://www.biojewelry.co.uk/
While there's a there is a certain ick-factor to it, growing your own "ivory" jewelry is kinda cool. It's eco-friendly and has loads of potential (scrimshaw, relics, collectibles: the possibilities wondrous, even before taking into account all the situations in which little bits of unexplained bone could cause consternation, should one so desire) and the ick is mitigated by it not being bone taken from a dead person.
I think I like it, mostly because it feels like the SF I grew up with...
http://maps.google.com/, which seemed a little klunky when they launched it, is now either getting smarter or I'm just using it more.
Lots of plans to overhaul www.Neilgaiman.com, to make things easier to find, to make it cleaner, less cluttered, to make it possible to (for example) read the whole blog archive comfortably (currently a bewildering series of difficult to navigate weeks), or stumble across the short stories (like this or this) or the bibliographies or essays or whatever more easily.
At present I'm getting five or six requests a day from people who are doing school or university papers about me, and would like help or background or a few questions answered, none of which I'm capable of replying to, and mostly the information they need is somewhere on the site already. (Use the search function -- http://www.neilgaiman.com/search/search.asp.)
I've suggested to Julia the webmistress that we do a survey of some kind to figure out what kinds of things people would actually like to see on the site, and she thought that was a good idea. So expect that sooner or later.
In case you missed it, Tim Burton's having a garage sale. Which somehow reminds me of one last thing -- I've got to name a currently unnamed cruise ship in Anansi Boys. I have no idea what to call it, and, a couple of days ago, realised that my utter lack of inspiration could do good things for the CBLDF: later in the week, the CBLDF will do an eBay auction where, if you wish, you can bid to have the ship named after you, your loved one, your dog, or even your favourite word. It's not a particularly exceptional cruise ship, nothing much happens on it, and it will only get mentioned by name a handful of times in the book. I'll announce it and link to it here when Charles Brownstein gets the auction up.