I feel -- this is Neil -- like I'm making a guest post on my own Blog. (I'm loving what Maddy's doing. Makes me feel quite inadequate as a blogger.) Anyway. Just nipping in to say that I'm going to be doing a semi-informal signing on my last night in Budapest.
I'll be at Sárkánytűz, 1092 Ferenc Krt. 40, on Wednesday July 4th at 7.00pm. I know it's not much warning, but it's really something we set up because I keep getting lots of wistful messages from Hungarian readers who have noticed I'm in Budapest and hope that I could be persuaded to do something. If you're around, turn up and I'll cheerfully scribble on things and answer questions and so on.
Store details at http://www.sarkanytuz.hu/index.php?base=shops&id=10 (And I was thrilled to discover that there's a Good Fantasy and Cool Literature website at http://endless.hu/).
And while I'm here I'll quickly put up a link to http://www.comicon.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php/ubb/get_topic/f/36/t/006422.html which is Kate Keller's offer to match donations to the CBLDF (who need funds for the Gordon Lee case -- http://www.cbldf.org/pr/archives/000314.shtml for details.)
Lisa Snellings is making little blue poppets and donating a dollar to the CBLDF for every one sold. (You can get them at this eBay address.)
(She also mentions that Hy Bender, whom you probably know best as the author of The Sandman Companion, will give you expert advice through his websites Hy On Your Book and Hy On your Script. He will analyze your project with humor and clarity to rival any Dummies Books (of which he's written five.) He tells me that the word "Poppet" in your email will get you an extremely reduced price for his services. Hy Bender tends to be partial to Poppets, which could work out well for writers who are too. Check it out, forward it to your writer groups. Thanks, Hy! I'm hoping we can also get the Sandman Companion updated in time for Sandman's 20th anniversary...)
Over at Black Phoenix they've launched more scents -- the Good Omens ones and the Stardust ones. Like the Neil Gaiman ones, the profits go to the CBLDF (and to the Orang Utan Foundation charity).
And a small, painful postscript to something I talked about already on the blog. This letter came in from Maureen Johnson.
A few weeks ago, you were kind enough to link to a post on my blog. My book had been banned in a school in Oklahoma, and I was fighting it. With your help, dozens (maybe even a hundred or more) letters were sent to the committee that did the deed. (The day you linked to me, the hits went through the roof.)
What happened next was ridiculous. I spent weeks on the inside track of this small town, getting calls from neighbors, newspaper reporters, and all kinds of people involved and around. We also (with the help of a local reporter) caught them violating policy by banning a book without notifying the public. At one point, they even claimed the whole thing never happened. The letters did have an impact, though. They had to reconsider, and do it publicly. They hated the spotlight.
Well, this committee of geniuses has finally come to a decision. They haven’t banned my book—but they’ve put it on a special reserve shelf. It can only be checked out “for classroom purposes” with a signed note from a parent.
This is arguably the most asinine thing I've ever heard.
This is a book that contains no graphic material at all. This is purely because it has homosexual characters. And from what I can tell, they plan on implementing a policy by which they have parents troop through the library once a year, just in case there are other books they want put on the naughty shelf.
On top of that, they demoted the librarian who was on the committee (Kim), the one who told us what really happened in the meeting where the book was banned. They also made life miserable for main school librarian involved (Susan), the one who came to me for help. Rather than suck up to these people, Susan decided to resign after 30 years at her job. She said she was happy to go down doing what she thought was right. So two librarians took a hit in this, simply because they tried to protect the books on their shelves.
It’s disgusting and insane, but that’s the outcome. In any case, it’s been amazing to see how many people are outraged by this, and willing to do something about it. Your post made a huge difference in terms of getting the word out. I’ll probably go on trying to needle these idiots for a while yet. I can at least try to shame them some more.
(And here's Maureen's blogpost about the final decision.)