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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

marauding packs of deadlines and Jason Flemyng naked

I'm on deadline. Actually it's worse than that -- I'm on deadline on several things, which means I can't simply fall off the earth for a few days and wrap up whatever's late, because there are other things to do as well. (Deadlines sometimes run in packs, damn it.)

So I'm mostly working down at the bottom of the garden, not doing much email, my phone turned off. (This is being typed by me in bed before getting up in the morning, while also on the phone, and put together from an unfinished blog post from the last few days.)

I recently heard someone discussing Peter Beagle's work. They mentioned that they didn't like The Last Unicorn because they felt it tried too hard to emulate your style without succeeding.

I have to ask, were you really that good as an eight-year-old?

(I quite like your work, incidentally. I just found the comment a little odd, and thought I'd share it with you.)


I don't think the world at large has quite mastered the concept of the copyright page and the publication date, or certain individuals in it haven't, anyway. I first realised this about seven years ago when I got the outraged letters from fans of Harry Potter [first book published 1997] accusing me of having ripped him off for Tim Hunter in Books of Magic [first book published 1989].

I'm sure that there are probably similarities between my writing and Hugo Award winner Peter Beagle's, but then, I've been reading Peter Beagle since I was eight (his essay, "Tolkien's Magic Ring" in The Tolkien Reader) and I'm flattered by the comparison.

Neil,

The book "Stardust" happens to be one of my favorite books and I cannot help but to be excited that you are turning it into a film, nonetheless it was very exciting to see a brief cast list where I saw Jason Flemyng's name....he is my favorits actor and I couldn't believe that my favorite book and my favorite actor were going to be somehow "involved," anyway....how is it working with Mr.Flemyng??

Lee K AKA Cheeky American


I first met Jason Flemyng on the street in Soho last November. I was standing with a suitcase. A car drew up across the road, and a man got out, dashed over to me and said, "You're Neil Gaiman. You're waiting for Matthew Vaughn. He's late. I'm Jason Flemyng. He told me to come and say hello. I've read the Stardust script. Matthew says you and he and Jane are working on it this weekend. Tell him to cast me as Primus." And he kept chatting until Matthew finally turned up, when, with a final reminder that, when the movie got made, he looked forward to playing Primus, he got back in his car and went away.

It felt like I'd known him all my life.

Which is why I'm posting a picture from the Stardust set, snuck by cellphone, showing Lord Primus in the bath at the Witch's Inn. Or Jason Flemyng on set. Your choice.




Hi Neil,

Which sf/fantasy magazines should a short story writer send her work to? I'm just wondering which mags you consider the most popular, or "respected", or accepting of new writers.

Love,
Grace


I have no idea. I've been published in Fantasy and Science Fiction, and in Realms of Fantasy (who reprinted "Troll Bridge" in their early years). There are a few magazines that published me over the years that don't exist any longer. I haven't dealt with the others out there currently, because I don't write enough short stories, so cannot speak for popularity or respectedness or payment rates and speed of payment (most writers I know rate the latter two conditions before the former).

As a general rule, though, a short story writer should probably send her work to anyone who will both pay for and publish it. Making a list of all possible places who would publish it, from most desirable to least, is always good. And then, when it comes back from the first one she sent it to she should send it to the second one on her list, and she should repeat the process, moving down the list, until someone sends her an acceptance letter and a cheque.

And if you want to know who's good and who's shady in the world of publishing, or get advice from people who know a lot more than I do, then go to http://www.sfwa.org/, read everything on the site and find out how to join...

Monday, August 28, 2006

Twelve

I am fortunate in having three amazingly cool children who, apart from loving, I also like enormously and enjoy spending time with. The youngest of them has been contributing to this blog for many years (as you'll see over at this celebratory collection of quotes at Quotable Neil -- http://quotableneil.blogspot.com/2006/08/quotable-maddy.html) and really is a complete delight to have around, travel with, have adventures with, watch Dr Who with (we're currently watching Genesis of the Daleks together), and read to when she'll let me.

Yesterday Madeleine was eleven, and today she is twelve, and here, for her birthday, is an informal Mimi Ko photograph of her.




Happy Birthday, Maddy.

...

Hi Neil. Welcome home and all that. The best part is being with family again. My Daughter is going to South America for three months and even though I am excited for her, I am dreading her being gone.
Cool bunch of goodies waiting for you when you got home. I am curious why publishers like DC can have advance copies of things like the Absolute Sandman, yet not have it available for sale? It is the same edition and they must all be printed at once. This happens often. I have had customers begging for their copies of Lost Girls,which was printed months ago but just now shipping. I am sure this holds true for Absolute Sandman and many books. I am sure their must be good reasons why publishers often do this,just not sure what they are.

Best, Jon A.


There's one good reason, and you'll find it repeated over and over. Big, beautiful, full-colour books tend to get printed in Hong Kong or in China, where they can print them more cheaply than they can in the US or UK. And then, to keep the prices down, the books published get put on a slow boat and take several months to get to the other side of the world, get unpacked and shipped to their final destination.

However, a few advance copies will get put on a plane. Sometimes, if there's a major convention like San Diego, a publisher will pay the extra to bring a whole crate of books in by air, so there are copies to sell and to help promote the work (which is, I would hazard, what happened with Lost Girls).


And I need to close many tabs and windows, so...

Bloomberg does a piece on Thea Gilmore with, quite possibly, the least interesting headline in the history of headlines.

A quote from Good Omens begins a Guardian Editorial on Milton Keynes.

The First Amendment Project is doing its next Character Name Auction. Spread the word. You could be in a Carl Hiassen novel, or a Chris Ware comic...

There's a Brendan McCarthy interview over at http://dogmatika.com/dm/features_more.php?id=2057_0_5_0_M

The 2006 Quill Awards can be voted on over at http://www.thequills.org/2006.html

A collection of bafflingly creepy printer's ornaments found by John M. Ford.

You can download Sandman #1 from the DC site. (The original version, not the recoloured one.)

And lots of you sent me this link from Publisher's Weekly. The book, Cairo, looks really good, but everyone who sent it to me wanted me to know that I had, just for a little while, got to be a Muslim saint. Sort of. Kind of. Not really.

...

Neil,
A question and an interesting link:

Do you find that your fame has offered you even greater experiences in life because of the people you get to interact with through your "fame network" (I'm sure there's some directory out there, with your name filed under "Novelist/Graphic Novelist-Screenwriter-Bloggist-Gardeners"...or somesuch).

I have thought about your friendship with Tori Amos and wondered if you have met her friend Maynard Keenan (Lead singer from the alternative...in all the ways you can mean alternative...band TOOL). I have a deep respect for the work that both of you produce and if the two of you have met...wow (Please don't tell me it was "Hi, my name's Neil." "I'm Maynard." "Do you know where the loo is?")

Lastly - a link to a visual history of the speech balloons. Interesting.

http://bugpowder.com/andy/e.speechballoons.evolution.html

Brad


I think I met a lot more famous people when I was a journalist than I ever have as a writer, and I was much more impressed by meeting them when I did. (I'm afraid my one meeting with Maynard was more or less the way you've described it.) I get to work with interesting people because of the work I've already done, but there's no "fame network" or if there is, I'm happy to say that I'm not on it.

The only bit that's useful is that if I need to talk to someone they'll probably call me back. But that has much more to do with the body of work than with any kind of famousness.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Hugo words...

The Hugo Award Winners are announced -- http://www.locusmag.com/2006/News/08_HugoCampbellWinners.html. Some really good results here, and my congratulations to all.

And now that the nominees list is up on the web, people are asking me why Anansi Boys was withdrawn from Hugo consideration, and whether it was me that withdrew it. Yes, it was me. And I suppose partly I did it because I have three Hugos already, and I felt it was better to get more names on the ballot that weren't mine, and partly because I think I feel more comfortable when the things of mine that get Hugo nominations are marginally closer to SF than to pure fantasy, but mostly because when they told me Anansi Boys was nominated it just felt right to say no thank you, this time. Obviously I'm grateful to everyone who voted for it, and happy for the other awards that it's won and is nominated for, but on this one, well, it just felt right to say no. So I did.

Having put my money on Stephen Moffat's Dr Who episode Girl in the Fireplace for a Hugo next year, I was very happy that Moffat's The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances won this year...

...

Dear Neil, Did you know how much your blog was worth? I ran it through and this is what I got.


My blog is worth $1,439,012.46.
How much is your blog worth?



Er, that's nice. So that and how much would get me a cup of tea?

my table in pictures

I'm home, I'm home. Plans to work on the plane were mostly scuppered by it being a very old plane of the kind that didn't have power outlets on it, and a very old laptop with very old batteries. I also got to experience the madness that is travelling through a UK airport first hand ("take everything out of your pockets and put them in this plastic bag" ) and my not-really surprise that you can buy everything you would need to hurt people on a plane on the other side of the barrier.

Got up blearily this morning to discover a kitchen table covered with stuff waiting for me, said stuff including Kitty Medicine for Fred the Cat (who is not just Unlucky, but is being made Very Irritable by the medicine), and, slightly more excitingly, a box from DC Comics with an advance copy of Volume 1 of the Absolute Sandman. It comes in a box. It's huge. It's heavy. It's over 600 pages long. It weighs enough to cure me of any desire to have a Complete In One Volume Sandman.

A Kitchen Table. With Stuff On It.

Also on the kitchen table, and I would not want these things to be overshadowed, were the nice trade paperback edition of Stardust (which reprints "Wall, A prologue" from A Fall of Stardust), the elegantly creepy all-type-cover adult edition of Coraline (with Dave's illustrations on creepy grey paper), a Portuguese copy of Anansi Boys, and the upcoming Bloomsbury edition of Mr Punch, which will finally be back in print in the UK.

If you remember how big Mr Punch is, the Absolute Sandman is bigger.

Also on the table were the covers for Fragile Things, and the third issue of Eternals. And contracts, things to proofread, letters and stuff. mostly stuff.

Look. One of these books is big. The other is bigger.

Miss Maddy consented to model books for me (when I decided that you still couldn't see how big the book was) despite wearing her Wolves in the Walls t-shirt that is really pyjamas. The facial expression is "Dad, you're weird, but I'm happy you're back."

Okay dad. I'm holding the book. Now what?

Open? you want me to hold it open?


And here's the Coraline, sitting on the Absolute Sandman (you can see some script and Charles Vess's pencils for Sandman 19).



And a photo I took this morning of my rowan tree. Which I post mainly because I've never seen so many berries on it, which, as the birdchick will tell you, will make the cedar waxwings happy...

An article from the BBC website which I would wave at all those people who tell me that drinking tea isn't a proper way to rehydrate a body, if it wasn't for the fact it reads mostly like a puff-piece for the Tea Marketing Council. But still... http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/5281046.stm

And lastly, the best news in comics is that Dirk Deppey's Journalista! blog is back... http://deppey.com/journalista/
and from it I learned that Dave Sim is doing a webcomic -- at http://www.urge2film.com/index.php?go=12. Right. Back to work.

Friday, August 25, 2006

not a scary leprechaun

I meant to post a photo of me and Thea Gilmore yesterday, taken at her Oxford Street Borders mini-gig to promote her new CD Harpo's Ghost. But the strange lady who stared at me on Oxford Street and said, out of the blue, "That's remarkably wild hair. Haven't you ever heard of conditioner?" had a point, so the picture of me and Thea where she's wearing her hat, I look like an explosion in a hair factory, and the picture of me in Thea's hat I look like a scary leprechaun.

(I have various family members leaning over my shoulder as I type this. "Let's see it," they said, so I just brought it up on the screen, and they all nodded and said that yes, actually I did look like a scary leprechaun in Thea's hat and probably it might be best if I didn't post it, because pregnant women or the elderly might see it and then there would be trouble.)

(Of course, Thea was quite pregnant and said she thought I looked rather fetching in her hat. Bless.)

So here, instead, is a photo of me age 3, munching an apple. This is the last photo we can find of me with sensible hair.




Back to the USA tomorrow morning.


Dear Mr. Gaiman, I am a devoted fan of your work and a random reader of your journal. I really enjoyed the poem on the August 19th post and as I am to be married next year, I would like it to be a reading at my wedding. I just want to make sure that I am giving proper credit though. Is this your poem or are you, like me, lifting it from another brilliant source? Thanks for everything you have written and continue to write, DB

No, that was me, so that I didn't give them a blank book. Feel free to quote or use it.


Dear Neil Gaiman, I was just wondering if there are going to be any signings/talks for Fragile Things in England outside of London? Thanks, L T Ward

Not really. Though I wouldn't be at all surprised if some advanced copies didn't sneak up to Fantasycon. And linking to the Fantasycon blog reminds me that Anansi Boys was just nominated for a British Fantasy Award. It's a terrific list of nominees, and it's an honour to be on a list like this.

British Fantasy Award for Best Novel: The August Derleth Award
Ramsey Campbell, SECRET STORIES
Mark Chadbourn, THE HOUNDS OF AVALON
Hal Duncan, VELLUM: THE BOOK OF ALL HOURS 1
Neil Gaiman, ANANSI BOYS
George R. R. Martin, A FEAST FOR CROWS
Mark Morris, NOWHERE NEAR AN ANGEL

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

anansi cover

Over at Amazon they have the forthcoming US mass market paperback cover of Anansi Boys up, from which I have stolen this:

(But it's not posting. Damn.)

So while I try and sort that out, here is a very important item of world news, courtesy of Scaryduck.


Five people have been detained in China for running striptease send-offs at
funerals, state media say.
The once-common events are held to boost the
number of mourners, as large crowds are seen as a mark of honour.
But the
arrests, in the eastern province of Jiangsu, could signal the end of the rural
tradition.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/5280312.stm for the full story.

Right. What if I try renaming the file...?

Oh good. So. The mass market US paperback edition of Anansi Boys will look a lot like this:

WHICH John Hodgman?

Neil,I was looking at your New York appearance and it lists 'John Hodgman' as the host. I was curious if it's the same person who is probably best known as the 'PC' in the Mac commercials, and the author probably the funniest book I've read since Me Talk Pretty or Our Dumb Century, "The Areas of My Expertise"? If so, the event should be pretty great, and if not, I'm sure that John Hodgman is nice enough in his own right, and probably has qualities that go beyond having the name of a someone who most people probably don't know, but might if they knew that that name was associated with that face of the anthropomorphic Microsoft appliance, which, of course, would not do the latter Hodgman a bit of good as he is not the former, but it might confuse some, as it did here.

You are, I believe, asking whether the John Hodgman who will be hosting the New York Fragile Things reading/talk/interview/event/thingie is the John Hodgman of http://www.areasofmyexpertise.com/ and of http://areasofmyexpertise.blogspot.com/ why, I am happy to announce that it is indeed one and the same person.
And you might like to know that, like the Monkees, he may be coming to your town -- details at http://areasofmyexpertise.blogspot.com/2006/08/american-cities-i-have-always-wished.html .

Dear Mr. Gaiman, I was wondering if or when fans send you things of thier own (comics, scripts, drawings, etc.) would or do you read/look at them or do you happen to just disregard them? If you do what would be the address to send it to and would you send feedback. I know your a terribly busy man and this would be a big inconvenience to you but the reason for me asking is I would hold your opinion over anyone elses.Thank you for your time Your fan, george
Twenty years ago I read everything and sent everyone a nice postcard back. Somewhere about eight or nine years ago I admitted defeat. Now, I have the blog, send very few postcards, and if you send me something to read it almost definitely won't get read unless you also can somehow send the time to read it in, which is sad but unavoidable.
...

Note, the tour schedule info (in the last post) has just been reposted with a little more information on it and some address corrections made.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Fragile THings US events

Seale, who will be doing publicity for Fragile Things at Morrow, just sent me a list of events and information about them. It should be pretty complete (although I think that the DreamHaven event is off-site and has a reading and also a screening of MirrorMask afterwards).

(I just got a revised list from Seale with corrected addresses and suchlike so I'm reposting it.)


EVENTS FOR FRAGILE THINGS

7:00 PM Thursday, September 28, 2006 – New York, NY

AN EVENING WITH NEIL GAIMAN

Hosted by John Hodgman
The Great Hall at FIT
Fashion Institute of Technology
227 West 27th Street
New York, NY 10001
212-217-7717


Contact for the event:
Carla Oliver Bowens
212-217-7717



7:00 PM Friday, September 29, 2006 – Washington, DC

POLITICS & PROSE
5015 Connecticut Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20008
Contact: Cleve Corner
Main Phone: 202-364-1919 main
events@politics-prose.com



7:00 PM Monday, October 2, 2006 – Berkeley, CA



CODY’S BOOKS PRESENTS AN EVENING WITH NEIL GAIMAN

Berkeley Repertory Theater
Roda Stage
2025 Addison Street
Berkeley CA

This is a ticketed event, with tickets available on a first-come, first-served basis at both Cody's Fourth Street in Berkeley and Cody's Stockton Street in San Francisco, and via credit card order emailed to
events@codysbooks.com, or phoned into 510-559-9500. Tickets are $10 per person. Ticket stubs may be presented once in the theater for a 20% discount on signed copies of Fragile Things; undiscounted and unsigned copies may be purchased at Cody's along with tickets beginning September 26. Note: pre-purchased unsigned copies won't, unfortunately, get signed: there will be no post-performance signing.



CODY'S BOOKS
1730 Fourth Street
Berkeley, CA 94710
Contact: Melissa Mytinger
Main Phone: 510-559-9500
melissa@codysbooks.com



7:30 PM Tuesday, October 3, 2006 – Menlo Park, CA

KEPLER'S BOOKS AND MAGAZINES

1010 El Camino Real
Suite 200
Menlo Park, CA 94025
Contact: Pam Grange
Main Phone: 650-324-4321
pam@keplers.com





7:00 PM Thursday, October 5, 2006 – Minneapolis, MN

(Note -- this will be offsite)

DREAMHAVEN BOOKS
912 W. Lake St.
Minneapolis, MN 55408
Contact: Elizabeth Lavelle
Main Phone: 612-823-6161
dream@dreamhavenbooks.com


--about to launch its first attack!!

All the good wedding photos are on my camera, and thus inaccessible until I get home. There were a few photos I took with the new phone though - most of them blurred or foggy or complicated by the way the phone makes its camera-click noise and only then, once people have heard it and start to move again, it takes the photo -- but I can at least get them onto the computer and I'll put a few of them up here.



Mark Buckingham (our noble groom) and Kev Sutherland (a wedding guest, who stoppeth one in three).



Blurred, but still Bucky and Irma (bride, and the soi-disant Lady Buckingham) later in the evening.

The author (with blue rose buttonhole and crooked tie, in his own no-longer-lost suit) early in the afternoon.




Me again, later in the evening, posted not because I thought people would like to see me slightly drunk, but because here you get an idea of the decoration of the wedding reception. Personally, I think every wedding party should be decorated with Kirby blow-ups, and every wedding table should be named after a comics character and decorated accordingly (we were on Delirium Table, because it had the coolest flower arrangement). This may not be practical for all weddings, but I'm glad it was for this one.

...

Which reminds me. If you're a comics artist you want a nice clean scan of Wally Wood's 22 Panels that Always Work. If you're a comics writer you could do a lot worse than have your copy pinned up too, especially if you're going to write a few panels with people hanging around and talking. So go to http://joeljohnson.com/archives/2006/08/wally_woods_22.html and learn about the history of these panels (I didn't know it. Like everyone else, I got my copy as a nearly-grey photocopy from a friend, and treasured it). Download it, print it out, use it. It's gold. (Thanks to Mark Evanier.)

...



Hi Neil,

I was reading the Atlantic Online's "So You Want to Be a Writer" (http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200608u/writing-advice) when I discovered this quote from none other than John Kenneth Galbraith, sounding an awful lot like you:

"All writers know that on some golden mornings they are touched by the wand—are on intimate terms with poetry and cosmic truth. I have experienced those moments myself. Their lesson is simple: It's a total illusion. And the danger in the illusion is that you will wait for those moments. Such is the horror of having to face the typewriter that you will spend all your time waiting. I am persuaded that most writers, like most shoemakers, are about as good one day as the next (a point which Trollope made), hangovers apart. The difference is the result of euphoria, alcohol, or imagination. The meaning is that one had better go to his or her typewriter every morning and stay there regardless of the seeming result. It will be much the same."


(I suppose, timing-wise, you sound like him, but the quote brought you to mind.)

Thanks for the books, the blog, and everything else.

Bonnie


That's what I've been saying for years now, only it's put rather better than I could have put it. I'm not saying it's fair, mind, nor that there aren't rare days when you get lucky and you really can magically do no wrong when you put pen to paper. Just that it seems to be true, and that writers should bear that in mind.

...

And finally, Hera, my favourite icelandic singer in the whole world, wrote to tell me she now has a myspace account and no friends. This last being some kind of tragedy, I feel I ought to point you all at http://www.myspace.com/herasings so that you can befriend her. Also, if you do she may put up the chocolate song, or "don't play this"...

Saturday, August 19, 2006

post-wedding post

I'm online and accessing the internet using my clever new phone.

So, it was a wonderful wedding -- I think, the best I've ever been to. I did my best man thing fine -- I made a speech in the middle of the wedding (which is where best man speeches come in Spanish Weddings, I am told) and I didn't lose the rings, which is good, on both counts.

I gave Mark and Irma a few fun gifts, but the best of them was a blank book for the people at the wedding party to write or draw things in. And because I don't think I have a connection speed that'll allow me to upload any photos, I'm going to post what I wrote on the first page of the book.


This for you, for both of you,

a small poem of happiness
filled with small glories and little triumphs
a fragile, short cheerful song
filled with hope and all sorts of futures

Because at weddings we imagine the future
Because it's all about "what happened next?"
all the work and negotiation and building and talk
that makes even the tiniest happily ever after
something to be proud of for a wee forever

This is a small thought for both of you
like a feather or a prayer,
a wish of trust and love and hope
and fine brave hearts and true.

Like a tower, or a house made all of bones and dreams
and tomorrows and tomorrows and tomorrows

Labels: , , ,

Friday, August 18, 2006

You have luggage

Spanair's finally answered their phone, and I have luggage. My suit is hanging in the shower right now, slowly uncreasing I hope.

My plans to work this morning were defeated by my inability to wake up. I'm normally pretty good about moving from time zone to time zone, but not this time. Sigh.

Dear Neil, You mentioned a couple of posts ago that you are reading Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill. Since I'm nearly through with my Pile of Books to Read (tm), I thought I'd give it a read. According to Amazon.com however, it hasn't been published yet. Is Amazon mistaken, or do you have time traveling capabilities? Regards, Julia in PA

I don't have time-travelling capabilities, alas. I'd mentioned how much I liked Joe's short story "Best New Horror" on this blog, and his editor at Morrow (who is also my editor) sent me a nervous note saying that seeing she spends most of her life telling other editors to leave me alone when they want to send me manuscripts to look at she felt really guilty, but that Heart-Shaped Box was really good, and if I liked his short fiction I should try the novel...

And I made a noncommittal sort of noise, because I didn't have time to read it, and a few days later the manuscript arrived, and seeing that Twentieth Century Ghosts had been my one-a-week short fiction read recently, I wound up taking it with me when I went out to Las Vegas the following week, expecting it to be quiet and thoughtful and cool and odd, like the Twentieth Century Ghosts stories. I wasn't expecting it to be so nightmarishly more-ish that I wound up reading it while cleaning my teeth, and I'll scribble an honestly enthusiastic blurb for it when I get some down time (probably on a train or a plane in the next few days): Best debut novel in the horror field since Clive Barker's The Damnation Game and soforth.

So that's how I got a copy. Just lucky.


Hey Neil:Long time reader, first time poster. Came across you with the strangest google search terms this morning; Vancouver "first haircut"


There you are, number 3.

And I still can't find a place to get my son's hair cut.

What's the most bewildering google search you've seen that comes up with reference to you? Love the blog. L.

I think it was back in the Googlewhack days, when people would write in and tell me the googlewhacks (two real words that only gave one website result through google) by which they'd found me. I'd list a few, but those emails were long ago eaten by goats. Still, they would have gone up at http://www.googlewhack.com/


Dear Neil, Regarding your oh-so-clever new phone, what model is it? I tend to suffer from a distinct case of, "Ooh, shiny!" and I suspect that a phone smarter than I am (which it certainly will be, if it's smarter than you) may make certain tasks more feasible--such as, say, remembering when certain authors and PA's are in my remote area, and what tropical fruits they covet. Thank you! Susan Ward

It's a Nokia N80. So far it's behaving well, although I distrust anything I need to use that makes me go and check the instruction manual all the time to figure out how to do things. I like my technology to be transparent, and like my instruction manuals best when accidentally thrown away.

And finally, this was forwarded to me by Shelly Bond at DC Comics. I've not seen anything of the Absolute Sandman yet, and this was the first thing I'd heard by someone who'd seen anything of the finished version...

Hey, Neil!
I've been meaning to write you since San Diego Comic-Con, but things have been so hectic since I got back to New York that I completely forgot to sit down and write a simple email. I've asked Shelly to forward this note to you in the hopes that it will not be lost in your inbox full of fan questions and requests. I've met you a handful of times in the past (you signed my Sandman #1 at the Harvey Awards and left the silliest livejournal phone post for me), but I most recently saw you at your Stardust panel. My first reason in writing you is to tell you how very much I enjoyed that panel. I thought all the footage screened was incredibly beautiful, and had the same sort of feel as The Princess Bride. I can't wait to see the final product. My second reason for writing to share my excitement at the upcoming Sandman collection. I'm working at DC Comics this summer, and I happened to be in the right place (Paul Levitz' office) at the right time (last Friday around lunchtime) to get a look at The Absolute Sandman Volume One. I don't know if you've seen a copy yourself yet, but I was thought it was the most beautiful graphic novel collection I'd ever laid eyes on. I wanted to share my excitement at seeing your wonderful stories bound in a volume that seemed to suit them so well. The book actually looks like it belongs in Dream's library, something which I'm sure you will understand that your fans will appreciate.

I fear that I may be rambling, so I will end this email. I hope you are well, and perhaps I will see you again when you visit New York (or Chicago, where I will now be attending school).Your faithful reader, Sara Katz-Scher


Which is very good to know. (Incidentally, people have written to ask why only 18 of the 20 issues of Sandman in Absolute Sandman are listed as being recoloured, and it's because Steve Oliff's colouring jobs on Sandmans 19 and 20 were beautiful, and we didn't want to change a thing.)

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Gijon needless to say

So I turned up at the airport yesterday having carefully taken all the stuff I normally keep in my carry-on out of my carry-on; and I checked my roll-aboard, because I would be changing from a big plane to a smaller one; and I made encouraging noises while the lady at the airport, who admitted she was a bit green at this, punched things into the computer to try and make it check my bag all the way to Asturias. Then I got on the plane.

Panic number one was when I got to Amsterdam, to be told they didn´t have me getting from Barcelona to Asturias, which meant I had to phone people in the US in the middle of the night, to be told there was no problem ("...but," said the travel agent, "I don´t see how your bag is going to get to Asturias."

"Well," I said, "It´s checked all the way through.")

Everything seemed to go smoothly in the end, as I ran across Barcelona airport, got my boarding pass and made the plane by the skin of my teeth, but I found myself less surprised than perhaps I could have been otherwise to get to Asturias Airport and find that my luggage, containing suit, clothes, wedding presents and all, was Somewhere Else.

Spanair would know where that Somewhere Else is but their computer is down. It may be up again tomorrow, they tell me.

Mark Buckingham and his lovely fiancee Irma met me at the airport, reassured me that it was me they wanted at the wedding not the missing presents, and then took me out to buy essentials (socks, tee-shirts, underwear, black jeans, toothpaste, razor etc) and we´re holding off on buying a whole new suit and trimmings (and a bag to put it all in) until we know whether or not the missing luggage is likely to arrive before the wedding. (Bet it doesn´t.)

(Incidentally, Spanish clothes are just like clothes everywhere else in the world, only with more labels than need to be cut out. Lots more labels.)

In other news, I bought a new cell-phone which is, on evidence, rather smarter than I am, and has already astonished me with its scary abilities, which seem to include mugging my other phone and taking all its information, making crystal-clear calls to the US from Spanish airports and probably making lasagna.

...
Hello Neil.

Maybe I just missed it,( I seem to miss a lot of things lately, at 48
yrs of age) but I could not find if you had listed signings for the Bay
Area/East Bay. I know it won't be Cody's as that incredible bookstore
has gone bye-bye (sniff.)

Any idea where you will be appearing in our neck of the woods, for
Fragile Things?


Yes,of course we will bring you some wine from Sonoma county as always.


Best,Jon Athens


Worry not. I´ll be out in the Bay Area on the 2nd and the third of October, doing a REALLY cool event with Cody´s (that should be as much fun as the CORALINE reading I did in 2002, although it´ll be in a more intimate venue) and, because it got cancelled last time due to Keppler´s being closed, one at Keppler´s. I will trumpet all details here the moment I am told I can by the Powers That Be at Morrow, and I´m sure it will be soon.


From Boston Globe:

Residents wonder if dead animal is legendary mystery beast

http://www.boston.com/news/local/maine/articles/2006/08/16/residents_wonder_if_dead_animal_is_legendary_mystery_beast/

And who can blame them?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

pear day

I picked a few dozen pears today and didn't fall out of the tree. Then I went up a ladder to haul down some ivy that was blocking a dryer outlet and practically didn't fall off the ladder at all.

Also did an interview with a Bloomberg reporter about Thea Gilmore. Who has a Myspace page up -- http://www.myspace.com/theagilmore -- with songs from Harpo's Ghost, including my current favourite, "Everybody's Numb". (And an interview with Thea is up here at the Independent.)

Mitch Benn also has a myspace page, and has put up a song called "Myspace" on it, which sums up everything about Myspace rather elegantly. Also he has his "I May Just Have to Murder James Blunt" up there, a song I came extremely close to posting here back when people were sending in those newspaper articles about James Blunt with a photo of me instead of him...

Oh, all right. For those of you who want it on your iPods. It's this MP3 file. Don't thank me. Thank Mitch.

Neil:Here's a place to purchase standard CDs of unabridged American Gods for US$70 --
http://www.recordedbooks.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=rb.show_prod&book_id=53809&prod_id=CD796 Or rent them for a month for US$20.While there, people should check out the same narrator's reading of Gilgamesh. Very Good.

Rental looks a very sensible option. Thanks.

David Dyer-Bennet wrote to point out that One can't buy enough time, but some of the things you do really amount to buying time. One of the biggest ones is having a fabulous assistant. Others include direct flights rather than changing several times at hubs, better seats so you can at least recover quicker (some people can work on planes), better laptops so you can work comfortably on the road. I'm sure you do some of those. To some extent they are just buying back time being taken by your level of celebrity, but it's still time.

True. And I'm profoundly grateful for it. But you're buying minutes and hours, and sometimes, when travelling, a day here or there. It's not weeks or months, and that's what I wish for when the deadlines loom and jostle. I know, I'm an ungrateful sod.

I seem to remember a post quite some time ago about the possibility for a store. After that I must say I have not been able to find anything about it ever again. So I must know, is it still in the workings? Did I possibly miss the post that said..."and here it is!" Or has the idea been cast aside like the hopes of those fans, who like I, were so looking forward to a shirt with a lime. Inquiring minds would like to know.
Thanks
Miranda

It's still happening -- and the lovely people who organised http://www.thegaimanstore.com/ have done a sterling job of reading thousands of emails and putting together cool designs of tee shirts, glasses, mouse pads and things. I, on the other hand, have been sort of snowed under over the last few months and wasn't able to get back to them on approving things, and so we decided to push back the opening of the store until I could give it a bit more attention.

Hello Neil,

I work in a big bookstore and I love suggesting books by authors I love to customers. Lately, though, I've noticed something strange. Your books are stocked in at least five different places! You're in graphic novels, sci-fi/fantasy, fiction, literature and biography. I find it very odd, though not unheard of since other fine authors like Terry Pratchett, Lovecraft and Poppy Z. Brite are in several places at once as well.

So, if you had a choice, where would you like to be shelved?

Please keep up the wonderful work, I can't wait for the new book.
Yours, a curious fan,
Meg


I'm also in children's and sometimes in picture books as well, don't forget. And I don't have a problem with being stocked anywhere in a bookshop that people are likely to go. Honest. As long as I'm in the places you've listed, I'm also happy to be shelved in Medieval History, Theology, Consumer Advice, Humour, Romance and Fishing. Also in large teetering impulse-buying stacks near the checkout till. In larger shops, of the kind that sell many things in addition to just books, I'm also happy if my books can be found stacked or shelved in Barbecue, Home Furnishings, Tissues, and Soft Fruits...

Monday, August 14, 2006

Googling things mostly

Hi Neil,I have always wondered this: is the King of Pain who comes to tempt Joshua Abraham Norton an actual historical figure? Or is he just something you came up with because of the Police song? I have searched the Web several times but couldn't find anything about him.Regards,Nicholas from Singapore

Did you try googling? There seems to be something wrong with the formatting of the Sandman FAQs. But a quick googling told me that you'll find the answer over in http://www.neilgaiman.com/faqs/sandmanfaq/
Still, I spent a few additonal seconds googling, and actually found Herbert Asbury's Barbary Coast on line, where we learn that,
an occasional visitor at the Cobweb Palace, was an itinerant healer who
called himself the King of Pain. He was probably the most ornate personage in
the San Francisco of his time—his customary attire was scarlet underwear, a
heavy velour robe, a high hat bedecked with ostrich feathers, and a heavy sword.
When he went abroad, he rode in a coal-black coach drawn by six snow-white
horses. The King of Pain made a fortune selling aconite liniment from a pitch at
Third and Mission streets, but he lost all his money at the gaming tables and
finally committed suicide.


There.

Work Habits...Hi Neil! I'm a film & tv editor/sometime filmmaker/aspiring writer. I'm curious about your work habits. Are you one to hide in a quiet writer's garret, work in the local coffeeshop or tavern? Do you, as Douglas Adams did, have music playing all the time as you write? I take it from your assistant's "A Day in the Life of a Personal Assistant" you tend to be more of a night owl.My own work habits as far as writing goes are somewhat limited by by "real job." I usually end up sitting down to write at about 7pm, screw around looking up stuff on Wikipedia, dusting my desk, trying to find that small scrap of paper that I wrote someone's phone number down on two weeks ago, and eventually start putting words down around midnight.Thanks for the great work! I wish more people had the chance to see Mirrormask on the big screen... I fortunately did in that very short week it was here in Los Angeles.Cheers!--Jud

I'm afraid I haven't been a late night writer for almost a decade. I used to be a late-night author, and I sort of miss it. But these days I'm an afternoon writer, mostly.

(It's worth pointing out that Lorraine's "Day in the life" was semi-fictional. While it's composed mostly of real bits -- she did have to head out early and wake me a few days ago, when I had to do an early-morning call to my UK editor to go over the galleys of Fragile Things, and she'll come out and make sure I'm not going to miss a plane if I've got to leave at the crack of dawn -- I'm normally up and pottering about and have made my own tea by the time she drives up with the mail.)

I have been trying to find a "American Gods" in audio form. I have the cassette tapes, but have had no luck finding it on CD. Since I traded cars, part of what I lost was my tape player, and was wondering where I could find it online where I could download the book, or if it is available through CD format.I am sending this hoping that it is not available on Amazon, since I have looked there, and hate having to blame myself on my own stupidity for not seeing what is in front of me.Thank you,Larry Wilmoth

I tried googling American Gods CD to see where it took me, and found myself on the page for the MP3 CD -- http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0060836253/104-0858245-5880730?v=glance&n=283155 -- with a link to the downloadable audio -- http://www.audible.com/adbl/entry/offers/productPromo2.jsp?BV_UseBVCookie=Yes&productID=BK_HARP_000720. It didn't actually tell me how people could buy the CD version that only went to libraries, but you could order that from your library. Or you could get the MP3 CD and put it on your iPod or computer and burn it to audio CD.

Parlor trick for Fat Charlie..."Levitating Screw" using magnets, wire, and a lime!http://undeniablefacts.blogspot.com/2006/08/undeniable-friday_11.html -Fred

That looks both silly and fun from the little video. But it's the lime that makes it magic. (I wish it was the lime that levitated, though.)

Hi Lorraine. I loved your description of life as Neil's assistant. Can we see some pictures of his hand-written manuscripts?Thank you,Mike


I hate to tell you this, but Lorraine was just doing a guest-post here. Luckily, I can point you to handwritten manuscripts on this here very website -- http://www.neilgaiman.com/works/books/americangods/notebook/book_1_introductory.jpg/view
Although they seem to have shrunk in the redesign to the point where they aren't easy to read (well, they were never easy to read. But they were at least readable before).

So who pays?
I mean I often see you post about popping off to one destination or another. Is the life of a famous author *insert swooning fans here* actually that lucrative, or do other people pay for most of your trips? Is there ever an instance where you think "Hey I'd like to take the family on that trip to Venice/Australia/The Caribbean but we will have to SAVE some money to do it"?
If the money is always there for what you want, was it always that way and could you please tell me how it feels?
Manda


Er, mostly if I'm going somewhere to do something then someone else is paying. This is because I'd rather be at home. (Next week's trip to Spain to be Best Man at Mark Buckingham's wedding is, of course, an exception.)

I've been a best-selling author for a long time now. And Hollywood has been optioning things I've written since around 1990. So yes, I can afford my own tickets and things.

How does it feel? Okay, I guess. It makes some things easier. It doesn't fix anything important. It takes away the small fights and miseries and grind-you-down irritants and hard choices of not having enough money. The biggest thing I wish it would buy me, which it doesn't, is time: more time to write in, more time to do things in.

One does not expect to see Neil Gaiman quoted in a historical political
analysis comparing and contrasting the US political situation with the Nixon
administration:

http://agonist.org/stirling_newberry/20060811/the_end_of_the_age_of_nixon

Well, this one didn't, anyway.

Rob

Nor would I, honestly.

...

Finally, when I was on the Stardust set last month I took a few slightly illicit photos with my cell-phone... I'm going to post one of my favourites here, because it makes me smile. It's Claire Danes, who plays Yvaine, sitting on the floor between takes, laughing at somebody's joke (Charlie Cox's, I think). (If no-one growls at me for posting it, I may post a few more.)

Sunday, August 13, 2006

For your diaries. Well, if you live in Arkansas.

I'll be talking in Conway, Arkansas on November the 14th: http://www.uca.edu/cfac/wrsp/speaker_series.html has the details. Each semester... the Department of Writing and Speech invites acclaimed writers to visit UCA, hold master classes with writing students, and give a free public reading/talk for the campus and community. (October is Dave Eggers.)

It should be fun. When I was talking at Yale last month I was reminded of the first time I was ever formally invited to talk at a college, in the mid-90s, and I arrived in St Louis to discover that I'd technically been invited in by the Art department, who were rather embarrassed as the English department had decided to officially boycotting the whole event because I Wrote Comics and they didn't approve of that sort of thing. (Oddly or not, I sort of miss those days.)

Saturday, August 12, 2006

What My Assistant Does

Over the years quite a few of you have written in and asked what Lorraine, my assistant, actually does. (Whatever it is, she does she's been doing it now for about 14 years.) Today she swung by on her way to go off and do her other job (er, playing violin and singing). "Hey," she said. "Check your email. I wrote about what it's like to be a personal assistant."

I checked my email. I read it. I laughed. I nodded with a certain amount of recognition. (Though I've only sprung a visit to to Tasmania that she had to organise on her once, in about 1998, and I didn't bring back any animals at all.)

"Shall I put it up on my blog?" she said.

"Sure," I said. Then, "Would you like me to put it up on mine?"

She said yes, she would actually, so here it is. A Lorraine's-eye view of the world...



A Day in the Life of a Personal Assistant


Wake up. Drive to Boss's House. Think to myself "way way too
early". Make tea. Get ready to wake Boss for an early morning conference call
with foreign editor. Attempt to wake Boss. Find what looks like a corpse. Remember Boss
promised to have an "Early Night" and wake upon the dawn like a lark, refreshed
and ready for the day. Realize Boss has only been asleep for an hour or so.

Shake corpse. Corpse attempts speech. Corpse fails. Tea, I say,
over and over, in conversational tones. Boss makes it to tea, which is beside
the bed, not a far leap for many, but a large one for Boss. Asks me to find the
Last Big Contract for the Last Big Project but I am too smart for that trick.
Wait until Boss is actually working thru morning e-mail until I leave the room.

Make more tea. Start to go thru the mail, which comes in a bucket sort
of thing every morning. Throw away the junk. Bucket thing still full. Start to
open the Mail and sort into piles. Important, Black and Whites of Comics in
Progress, Galleys of Books in Progress, Case of Mangos (look, if you want
something from me, case of mangos gets that request right to the top)
contracts, requests for quotes, fan mail, gifts from fans and friends,
Things From Editors, Publishers, and Studios, CDs people have sent, and really
odd things. (see essay on Top 10 Things
Never To Send Your Favorite Writer
) Notice one of the CDs. Stop. Impressed.
Love her work. Pop cd into the player. Ah, yes....

Time for more tea for
Boss. Remind him about the conference call in ten minutes. He asks, any chance
of breakfast? Make breakfast. Fast. Get Boss on call, with more tea and go
downstairs with tiara for the portion of the day known as "Princess of No"

E-mail. Lots of E-mail. I promise myself I will, today, get it down
under 500 today. I will be patient. I will be kind, as I dash people's hopes and
dreams. You have 130 new e-mails, my computer helpfully tells me. Well, it's
early I think, not to worry, can't really sink my teeth into it until I get at
least 200.

Dear Assistant, we would like to invite your Boss to our
Con next month, next year, in ten years time,
many of them start out. Can't
be done, sorry, he is booked thru the year 2060. When he will be 100. Sorry,
says the Princess of No.

Dear Assistant, can we interview your Boss
for our web-page, fanzine, newspaper, major paper, television show,
documentary?
"Maybe," I tell the Washington Post, David Letterman and the
guy doing a documentary on .Seriously Weird Un-dead Things who Like Mangos (hey,
I like Seriously Weird Un-dead Things and Mangos, rule number one, get the
Assistant behind you ).......


The ones that come thru foreign publishers, I say,
"you get one major interview, pick it wisely, that's it for you". Boss is
published in over 40 different countries. I wonder how we are going to do 40
interviews for his current bestselling book, the one coming out in a month, and
the two movies he is working on. Everyone else gets to meet the Princess of No.
(No one likes her. UN-popular )

Dear Assistant, I wrote you almost
a week ago and have received no reply to my questions, what's the problem?

I have my first good laugh of the day.

Dear Assistant, I am an
aspiring writer-publisher-editor-illustrator and desire greatly to get into the
field and am inquiring about an internship with Mr Gaiman, I don't need to be
paid, just a couch to sleep on and I feel I could be of great help working with
him and his publishers and could learn a lot from an internship.
(hmmm...we DO need someone for the garden. But no.)

Receive a letter
from my best friend asking what I am up to today. Ruining people's hopes and
dreams I say. Oh, she writes back, the usual. Another letter friend asks can we
go out sometime. I wonder idly what that means.

(During the E-mail phase
I should point out the phone has not once stopped ringing. )

Boss is off
the conference call and I give him a list of calls to return. He lets me know
the cats have been peeing in inappropriate places. I apologize and take
responsibility for the cats' bladders, and go have a talk with the cats. Look
says I, you gots these nice litter boxes, whyfor you peeing around all the
doors?
Cats say because you close the doors. I say, Because if we don't you pee
in the rooms
. Stand off. Never argue with a cat.

Arrange with Movie People for Boss to go out for Meetings the following week. Arrange car to
airport, air, car to hotel, hotel car service to meetings and airport again.
Arrange Meetings: Breakfast, Coffee, Lunch, Coffee, Drinks, Dinner, Drinks for
people in order of importance. Wonder that Boss isn't fat and floating
away.

In one of the ebs and flows we find ourselves, Boss and I, able to
flee the house and have a walk round the garden. Nice garden, nice walk.Take
notebook, always. Now I have things to do if I get bored. Not to complain, I
like the garden. Threaten plants with pruning shears if they don't start growing
better and making me look bad.

I go to the grocery store, the post office, the bank, the garden center and out for some really weird electronics whose purpose I will never understand.

Back home again I hear Boss on
the phone with Friend with Family in Town. I overhear Boss say Sure, come on
out tonight for dinner and spend the night, I have to leave for the UK in the
morning, but that's ok.
Wait, I say, leaving out the fact I am completely
unaware of this UK trip, first things first, How Many and What do they Eat? Go
back to grocery store, find beds and bedding.. NOW....

What do you mean, Boss you leave tomorrow? Oh. Right. Says he.
Director needs me on the set.. Just found out. Oh, I need to go via Tasmania. Right.

Set up airfare from Midwest to Tasmania, find
hotel with shuttle, and arrange flights to UK and hotel and back home four days later.

Have short talk with Boss about tomorrow's flight. I tell him
again that flights will not wait upon him, they are fixed and firm and WILL
leave without him. Boss finds this funny. Again. Remind Boss that he is leaving
for LA the day after he gets back from the UK.

Boss brings home
Tasmanian Devil. Research Tasmanian Devil care. Boss tells me Tas has shredded
the couch. Take responsibility for Tas's claws. Shoot Tas. Know that if Boss
asks where's Tas, the phone will ring, and he might forget for days.

Phone rings. Oh, says I, he's here. Oh, uh, loved your last movie.
Lovely about the Oscar.

Check e-mail. Ah, that's more like it. Numbers I
can really sink my teeth into. Letter from Godlike Writer asking is Boss free to
be Grand Master of Everything on April 30th he says he will if he's free. Sure,
says I, he has nothing except Easter Weekend when he is Godlike Master of
Everything at the Most important Thing in the World. Easter Weekend, I recall
from last year, is in early April. Copy Boss. Get mail back from Boss. Find out
Easter Weekend Moves Each Year and is now on April 30th. Damm. Write letters throwing myself on my sword.

Being a Personal Assistant is like shooting from the hip. You have to be
fast, you have to be ready. If it goes wrong, oh, and it will, you will take the
blame. If it goes right, that's good because that's how it should be. I,
however, know that I am appreciated. My Boss has the sweetest temper going, and
is one of the kindest people I have ever met. I know everything I do is really
really important. He has told me so, many times.

I lay in my bed,
wishing I had got everything I wanted to done, and run over my various
affirmations for the day tomorrow. I will get my e-mail under 500. I will get tomatoes staked. I will be friendly, funny, and try and get to the gym.

Then two very very truthful, simple and
profound things occur to me and I smile.

I so love my job. And....

Thank the Gods that I am not as busy as my Boss.



Friday, August 11, 2006

fragile rutabagas

There.

All 31 stories (and the introduction) of FRAGILE THINGS are now recorded, and I can get back to catching up on things I have to write, instead of sitting in a studio and reading my stories, vaguely aware that my accent doesn't belong to anywhere any more.

Hello Neil,I hope you are well. I've just been introduced to "American Gods" by Thea Gilmore's track on your recent CD and thought I ought to find out more about you. I'm a very big supporter of Thea's work and wanted to see/read what you were all about. Well, the story is excellent but is keeping me up until 3/4 in the morning so reaching the end will find me returning to more normal hours.However, as any English chap will know a proper Cornish pasty is made from meat, onions, salt , pepper and SWEDE (not carrot)....shame on you, ha!ha! Or was it that your Amercan audience wouldn't know what a swede was. After all it's cattle feed really. Sorry to be pedantic but......who cares!!!! Ho, hum..... nice to write to you and I look forward to reading all your other work as I like your style.Kind regards from Roger in Cambridge, UK.


I'm not sure whether or not I'd actually figured out that what the English call swede is more or less what the Americans call rutabaga when I wrote American Gods. And in the UP you can often get pasties with or without rutabagas. Alas, I never mentioned them. But if I had, you'd still be writing and telling me that they ought to have swede in. So I think we've both learned something.

And really this is my excuse to mention that I just got an advance copy of Harpo's Ghost, the new Thea Gilmore CD. (Big happy smile.)

This is the UK cover of Fragile Things, by the way...

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Audio Thoughts

Today and tomorrow I'll be back in the studio in Minneapolis finishing the reading of FRAGILE THINGS audio.

I got an advance copy of the Stardust Audio Book I did back in January. I've heard a little of it, and I think it's okay. (It's a bit hard to listen to stuff I've read with any pleasure. It's like when you hear a message you left on your phone, playing back with mingled embarassment and "I don't sound like that do I?")

It's the new-look Stardust, which looks a bit like the new US trade paperback.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

commas matter

Copy-editing can sometimes wear you down -- when you've copy-edited the manuscript, and then the galleys, and you've done it twice for two different countries with two different ideas of what they want their commas to do, and you wonder if it's worth it, trying to keep track of every little comma...

Then you read an account of a 2.13 million dollar comma, and you remember why commas matter.

...

http://www.babynamewizard.com/namevoyager/lnv0105.html is educational and fun to play with...

And the Fragile Things cover is up on Amazon.com...


Monday, August 07, 2006

Leaving Las Vegas

It's been a brilliant week of work. I'm going home with 30 pages of screenplay done, and the two of us very satisfied with the way it's going. It's been really fun and really hard work, and I can understand why Teller has worked with Penn Jillette all these years, because working with Penn is a blast. Also, I got to drive Penn's other pink Mini Cooper.

The blog even got a namecheck from Penn on Saturday night, his first show in a week, as he juggled broken glass bottles. He'd already had one bottle disintegrate, cutting his thumb, and the next bottle he'd smashed was now pretty much a handle with a blade of glass. "Jesus! Well, if something goes wrong," he said, "it'll give Neil something to write about on his blog" and I heard one lone person in the back guffaw.

...

I'd like to say thank you to the Mythopoeic Society and voters for awarding ANANSI BOYS the 2006 Mythopoeic Award, which is a lion statue. As I said in my speech (delivered by proxy as I was here working) "I am very aware that any of the books on this year's shortlist could have taken home the lion as proudly and with as much right as I do", but I'm very grateful.

Right. Back to work, then home.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Working well

The work goes well. I'm enjoying it. At the end of yesterday we realised that after three days of reading and scribbling we had actually done some work, and that this was good. Now comes the hard bit of writing together and seeing what happens. Wish me luck.

In the past couple of days I've also written 6 ETERNALS pages, half-proofread Fragile Things UK, and written two introductions and an acceptance speech. Don't quite feel like I'm catching up, but also don't feel hot breath of the dogs of deadline on the back of my neck.

Let's see -- Ricky Gervais talks about his experience in Stardust at http://www.rickygervais.com/2extras.php.

Marcus Gipps from Blackwells wrote to say

Just thought I'd let you know that the booking line will be open from Monday morning (the 7th, at 9.30) for your event with us, and the tickets will be on sale in the shop from the end of next week, as soon as the tickets and posters actually arrive.

Blackwell present: An Evening with Neil Gaiman

Monday 25th of September, 7pm
Logan Hall
Institue of Education
20 Bedford Way
WC1H 0AL

Tickets cost £7, £5 concessions, and are available from our dedicated booking line 0845 456 9876 (Mon-Fri, 9.30 - 6.00), or in-store at Blackwell, 100 Charing Cross Road, London, WC2H 0JG (as soon as we get them in).

If anyone has any questions or wants to be put on the Event mailing list, email events.london@blackwell.co.uk. If anyone wants to reserve a signed copy or be put on the Signed First Edition Mailing list, email Marcus.Gipps@blackwell.co.uk .

Also, the tickets for the rest of the list are also on sale from the same number, including a few fellow travellers:

Rupert Everett in conversation with Justine Picardie, Wed 20th Sept (all details as for NG)

Terry Pratchett, Thursday 28th September. All details as for NG.

(We also have Richard Ford that week - we're going to be busy! When was the last time you and Terry appeared together? Shame to miss each other by 3 days. Still, at least I can get my Good Omens double signed, and I suspect I won't be the only person to do so).

Blackwell and the ICA present:
Alan Moore & Melinda Gebbie in conversation with Stewart Lee, Thurs 12 Oct. All details as for Neil Gaiman, except ticket prices are £8 and £6.

The rest of the list, in various locations and at various prices:

Joseph Stiglitz (5/9)
JG Ballard (14/9)
Richard Ford (26/9)
Jeremy Paxman (04/10)
Julie Walters (16/10)
Alex Krapanos (07/11)
Michael Palin (28/11)

Not bad going, huh?


I'll put something up on Where's Neil about it in a couple of days.

...

Later. Ten pages of movie script now exists. Much tea was drunk. This is fun.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

this blog entry has no title

The Mystery Project is going just fine, thank you.

I just found out from the New York Times (I've now had my name misspelled in the New York Times! This should not be a source of glee and delight to me, but it is) that you can download individual tracks from Harper Audio's NEIL GAIMAN AUDIO COLLECTION (The Day I Swapped My Dad For Two Goldfish, Wolves in the Walls, Crazy Hair and Cinnamon) for a small fee from the brand spanking new Harper's Digital Media Cafe -- and for free you can download Maddy Gaiman interviews her Dad, and, less excitingly, me talking about Stardust, although I'm being interviewed for over twenty minutes, so it would at least fill part of a commute.

And here's a video of Jane Goldman talking about the STARDUST movie, while Charles Vess looks on from the background...

Meanwhile, to close a few tabs: a photo of Sydney Harbour that you need to zoom in on... close enough to see, well, practically everything...

The trailer for that nice Mr Gilliam's film Tideland. Which looks bleak and odd and beautiful and disturbing.

I discovered Jarvis Cocker's new song "Running The World" through Hype Machine. It has rude words in it, so do not click if you don't want to hear a song with rude words in.

The Guardian Blog tells us that reading books is sexy (and illustrates it with a pretty lady reading Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell). Most of the interesting stuff is in the comments.

And finally, I was sent the following, by way of explanation...

Amazon's "people who bought books by X might like Y" service is something that publishers (or publicists) pay for. For a fee, you can pick out 10 different books and an e-mail is sent to everyone who purchased those books suggesting yours. Not sure why they included your books for a math text, but maybe they ran out of other choices before they got to 10 and threw that one in for fun.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

In Which The Author Is A Bit Mysterious

There's a great big interview with Alan Moore, pretty much all about Lost Girls, at the Onion's AV club: http://www.avclub.com/content/node/51180/1 (and then, just to demonstrate that comics writers are taking over the Earth, you can read Brian K Vaughan's iPod commentary at http://www.avclub.com/content/node/51196).

Maddy's off with her best friends at science camp this week, and I'm off working with a friend on a project we've tried to get off the ground since 1998, and he's busy and I'm busy, but this week it's happening, or at least starting. And I'm being much too secretive about it right now, but one day, or at least when it's a bit further along, I won't be. (And I'm pretty sure I've talked about it somewhere on this blog already.)

I see from Zap2it.com that Ian McShane has joined the cast of Coraline. I see from a number of Newspapers all around the world that UPI carefully corrected the book and film's name to Caroline before it sent out its press release.

I was sad to see that Cheryl Morgan is closing down Emerald City. It's been a terrific little magazine-on-the-web, a fanzine in the best sense, and a voice of sensibleness and sanity in the wilderness for some years. I'll miss it.

Several people have forwarded emails from Amazon.com to me today that were variants on

We've noticed that customers who have purchased books by Neil Gaiman also purchased books by B. G. Pachpatte. For this reason, you might like to know that B. G. Pachpatte's Integral and Finite Difference Inequalities and Applications, Volume 205 (North-Holland Mathematics Studies) will be released soon. You can pre-order your copy by following the link below.

Integral and Finite Difference Inequalities and Applications, Volume 205 (North-Holland Mathematics Studies)
B. G. Pachpatte
Price: $139.00


I never knew that I was so popular among mathematicians.

...

The Fabulist at www.fabulist.org, is one of those wonderful gate-keeper things that they talk about -- the kind of website that just points you to things that you soon cannot live without. The latest thing I got from them is the Hype Machine at http://hype.non-standard.net/. "Find Music You Never Knew You Liked" it says, and it promptly gave me a ridiculous number of songs I han't known I wanted to hear (did you know that Stephin Merritt's cover of If I Were A Rich Man is available as a free amazon.com download? I'm not saying that you'll like it or that you want to hear it. But it's there.).

...

And finally, Happy Birthday, Winter.
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