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Monday, July 18, 2011

"From the Desk of Mr Amanda F Palmer"

I am home now.

If you go outside the house the world is an oven filled with soup-like air and biting insects, so I am spending every moment possible inside. I went for one walk today and by the time I was far enough away from the house to make the dogs happy, I realised that I should have worn bug-spray.

This is a photo of me a few hours ago wishing I had worn bug spray.



Toward the end of last week I looked at a map and realised that Burlington Ma. was the town next door to Lexington Ma. This made me smile an excited sort of smile, as I knew that I would be sleeping in Lexington on Saturday night, in Amanda's family home, and had just learned that a convention-full of old, good friends was happening in Burlington, a seven minute drive away. I sent messages to my friends who I knew were attending - John Clute and Liz Hand, Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman, Geoff Ryman and Peter Straub -- and asked when would be a good time to swing by.

Peter Straub wrote back and said that 11-12 was out for him, as he would be attending the Shirley Jackson Awards.

Which rang a bell. I went and checked online. Yes, I was nominated for a Shirley Jackson Award. Actually, I was nominated for two of them, for STORIES as Best Anthology, and for "The Truth Is A Cave In The Black Mountains" as best Novelette.

The Shirley Jackson Awards are for "for outstanding achievement in the literature of psychological suspense, horror, and the dark fantastic." (per the website, http://www.shirleyjacksonawards.org/.)

(Shirley Jackson was an amazing writer. I've talked about her a few times on this blog. If you haven't read We Have Always Lived in the Castle or The Haunting of Hill House or read any of her short stories (the most famous is "The Lottery" unless you're me in which case it's "One Ordinary Day With Peanuts" you have missed out on something marvellous. The Library of the Americas recently brought out a Shirley Jackson book edited by Joyce Carol Oates with 21 stories and several of the novels in it, so you do not have to go and hunt for them in dusty second-hand bookshops any longer. Although you can if you like. There are more than 21 stories, after all.)




I had been thrilled when the Shirley Jackson award nominations had been announced, but that was many months ago and I had forgotten when or where they were going to be awarded.

Now I had a dilemma. I wasn't sure of the protocol - should I go to the awards ceremony, even though I wasn't going to the convention, and was only popping in to introduce some friends to Amanda and to see people I had missed seeing...? Or should I just see my friends. I had no idea. I hadn't really been to a convention I wasn't attending before. Would I be seen as snubbing the awards if I didn't go? But would I be allowed in if I wanted to go?

As it was, the decision was made for me.

I arrived, hugged John Clute and Peter Straub and Geoff Ryman (and Samuel R Delany and John Crowley and Ellen Datlow and oh, so many other people), and was immediately handed two engraved stones, just the right hand-shape and size for throwing at a Lottery Winner, each engraving saying that I was a nominee for the Shirley Jackson Awards, and I was told that I was definitely invited, and should be there.

I followed John Clute into the Awards, sat with him and Amanda and Maria Headley (someone handed me my convention nametag. It said MR AMANDA F PALMER. I relaxed, now I had a nametag, and no longer feelt like I wasn't really at the convention).

Neil Gaiman's photo More legible photo of my namebadge today. It was presented to me at #Readercon, at the start of the wonderful and prestigious Shirley Jackson awards, by the convention committee, who have a sense of humour. Photo by @amandapalmer.
Neil Gaiman on WhoSay

I looked at the list of nominees, did some mental handicapping, sat back comfortable in the knowledge that I wouldn't win and definitely didn't have to worry about making speeches...

And then STORIES won Best Anthology. And just when I had recovered from that, "The Truth Is A Cave In The Black Mountains" was awarded Best Novelette. And so I made speeches, and had my photo taken a lot, and kept wishing that I'd shaved for the photos (which I'm vain enough to have done if I thought there was any possibility that I would win one), and all in all it was a wonderful surprise, like getting an extra birthday in a year you hadn't known about. 12 hours before then I hadn't even known there was an awards ceremony going on, and now I had won two awards, and Amanda was smiling that smile she does that showed that she was having a wonderful time as well, just being proud of her husband.

(The whole unlikely experience was so much cooler than it would have been getting an email or a text message telling me I'd won.)

I hugged Caitlin R Kiernan. I got to meet Kestrell, who has Delirium eyes (as documented in http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2010/10/neil-gaiman-what-are-you-doing-in-my.html) which made the day even more perfect than it had been before.

STORIES just came out in the US in paperback, by the way. Lots of wonderful stories of all kinds by a glorious flock of authors. You should buy it. It just won an award.

I was really pleased and proud - "The Truth Is A Cave in the Black Mountains..." has now won two awards for Best Novelette, The Locus Award (voted on by readers of Locus) and the Shirley Jackson (the Shirley Jackson awards are juried awards). You can read "The Truth is a Cave..." for free at http://www.fiftytwostories.com/?p=1338

And then I went and had lunch in the pub with too many old friends and was happy.

Amanda and I left the convention and headed to Cambridge, wandered into Harvard Square, where we watched a human statue and ate watermelon in the street. A man took our photograph and told us that soon there would be Bastille Day Waiter Races. Then I got into a taxi and went to the airport and flew home.

Amanda watched the waiter races and texted to tell me who won.


...

I'm finally making my first trip to New Orleans in September and I really want to go check out The Green Goddess since you've spoken so highly of it. I'm convincing my mother and her colleagues to try it on the basis of the super-cool special treat triggered by a secret password, so I was wondering if a) the Meze of Destruction is still a valid password and b) how in the world do I actually pronounce meze? Is it may-zai or meh-zee or...?

Thanks,
Rachel


It's still going on. If you eat at The Green Goddess in New Orleans, tell them you want the Mezze of Destruction. If the waitperson tells you it isn' going on any longer or something, tell them to check with Chris (the chef). It's just the code for Neil Sent Me.

And Mezze is pronounced closest to Mezzay, but I've heard it pronounced a dozen other ways so I would not sweat it.

Dear Mr. Gaiman:

Regarding Google+, you're right; it is in beta and I don't think it was designed with people like you in mind right now, but it will get better. Other celebrities have voiced similar complaints, that they don't have the granularity of alerts and notifications they need when they're being added by a thousand people a day, and genuinely know about five of those people. I think maybe it's not quite ready for people like you yet, who'll have a large web presence on the site but don't really spend much time at all *thinking* about their web presence or personally managing it.

I'm sorry people told you You're Doing It Wrong when the actual answer was probably closer to This Is Not Your Thing Right Now, which I find tends to be more accurate and reasonable than You're Doing It Wrong, almost 100% of the time.

The people who told you "It's not like Facebook, it's like Twitter!" were wrong. It's not really like either. If you want to write a short update with a general blast, it's like Twitter. If you want to write a blogpost with a public audience, it's like a blog site. If you want to write a blogpost with a closed audience, it's like Livejournal. If you want to start an online conversation with only four participants it's like an e-mail thread. And if you want to build and share with discrete communities of people and interact with folks you know, it's like what Facebook *says* it is but isn't. There is no "it's like this and you're using it the wrong way," but that means there's a lot of flailing around to use it until *they* figure out a way to help people flail less initially. That's a developer's job, to help people use their stuff more effectively and efficiently, and that's what beta testers are for, to tell them ways they're succeeding and not succeeding at it.

I hope to see you back in a year or so when they've got the functionality a little more manageable for folks like you.

Hugs,
Rowan


That's astonishingly sensible.

From Jason Nelson:

A lovely and odd digital poetry game (now fixed!), with a title much inspired by your prose. Please do share with your legions of followers.
"scrape scraperteeth"
http://www.secrettechnology.com/scrape/scrape1.html

(excuse the resend, but the previous version was broke, broke, broke and now it's plays all odd and lovely)


Shared. There. Now. Zoom.

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Friday, July 15, 2011

Tangled like ivy

I am writing this in Amanda's kitchen in Boston. There is ivy growing over the windows (in the bathroom the ivy has actual grown through the windows and grown into the shower in a magical mixup of indoors and outdoors) and all the light is very green.

I've been making a list of important things to blog, and then forgetting to do it, mostly because nothing has been more important than grabbing a handful of days with my wife, and when I've had downtime I've been making up things and writing them down and not blogging.

But the blog is calling to me...

I will try and get the most important things down here today.


...

I joined Google+ and decided that I didn't want another public platform yet.

I like Twitter. I tolerate Facebook. Google+ seemed (for me) like an awkward mash-up of the two. I found the continual stream of notifications telling me that another 500 people I did not know had put me into circles and that lots of other people I didn't know had mentioned me really irritating and distracting, and I couldn't turn them off or easily find the signal in the noise (or find my friends in the flood of people putting me into circles), and when I grumbled about it mildly (agreeing with Warren Ellis that I couldn't find friends I'd actually want to put in circles among the thousands of people who I was being told were putting me in circles) a couple of hundred people explained to me that I was Doing It Wrong.

It was the "You're Doing It Wrong" messages that were my personal tipping point. As far as I'm concerned, the mark of a good social network is that it either does what it was made to do easily and cleanly, or it's bendy enough that you can make it do what you want. And being told "you're trying to use it like Facebook but really it's like Twitter!" just made me strangely nostalgic for Twitter. And as Twitter was still there, I cancelled my Google+ account, feeling at this point that I didn't need another time sink, another place to check, another distraction from work or from life.

(If you cancel your Google+ account, Google+ will then start helpfully emailing you notifications every time someone puts you in a circle or mentions you, even if you had all of the "Email notifications" options previously turned off. This is fixable when you discover the "unsubscribe" option at the bottom of the emails that wasn't visible when they came in on your phone, but you shouldn't have to unsubscribe from something you didn't subscribe to.)

Anyway, I wish Google+ all the best. I'll probably check it out again in a year or so, if I'm still on the Internet, or sooner than that if they make things so I can't blog without it. And it may well be an excellent Social Network eventually. It's still in Beta, after all, and most users aren't going to get a huge instant flood of followers (circlers?).

So that's a social network I said goodbye to.

I said hello to Turntable.fm, however, a service (currently US only, alas) that lets you make a room, or join a room, and DJ in it. You and four other people can DJ at a time, sharing music you've taken from Turntable's extensive databases or uploaded. I loved DJing, especially once I decided that there should be more spoken-word stuff out there, and that people might like it, and created http://turntable.fm/neilhimselfs_house_of_poetry and have slipped in there from time to time and just played poetry, and been delighted as other people DJ poetry too.

...

The Nerdist Podcast was released:

This is the link to the entry with the http://www.nerdist.com/2011/07/nerdist-podcast-106-neil-gaiman/

Chris and I talk about Craig Ferguson and late night chat shows. We talk about Doctor Who. We talk about John Hodgman and his unique worldview and his scary moustache. And at the end we talk about writing and how to write. It's really good, I think.

Also...

WITS at the Fizgerald Theatre was broadcast: Here it is, if you did not hear it:



Lots of links to videos of bits that didn't make it to broadcast up at http://minnesota.publicradio.org/radio/programs/wits/

...

Last Sunday I drove down to Madison to make an unannounced and I hope relatively unexpected appearance at the Discworld Convention. I got to talk with Terry Pratchett for almost two hours on a stage about GOOD OMENS. This was really an excuse for me to spend time with Terry before, during and after the panel, but that also meant that the conversation and the limited time we had together made the Good Omens panel much more "real" (in every sense) than normal panels. We weren't pulling out well-honed anecdotes or trying to make the audience happy. We were just two old friends chatting about something we made over twenty years ago, and reminding each other of bits of things that had happened that we'd forgotten. Also we sang They Might Be Giants' song "Shoehorn With Teeth" together and remembered most of the words.

Here's a picture of the panel stolen from Pat Rothfuss's blog:



And a photo of Terry, me and winged Emily Whitten (chair of the NADWcon). I am pointing to her impressive tights.

Neil points out the awesome tights.

And here Terry and I surprise a few people as we walk in together for the Good Omens Panel:



(Thanks to the photographers.)

...

I am astonishingly proud of a book I wrote that Adam Rex is currently painting, intended for very young readers indeed. You can find out about it at Adam's blog http://adamrex.blogspot.com/search/label/chu. Here's the first finished picture from it, set in the Moby Diner. Our hero is in the bottom right-hand corner with his back to us.


Uh-oh. A lot of pepper in the air...

...

And finally, I just got this from J. Michael Straczynski... he's put the text up on his Facebook page, but I'm cutting and pasting it here, with his permission, so there's somewhere outside of Facebook that people can link to and learn about it and sign up for the book before they're all gone.

Over to you, Joe:

I don’t have to tell you who Harlan Ellison is, or that he wrote some of the most seminal episodes of science fiction television in the history of the form. His scripts for The Outer Limits, Star Trek, Twilight Zone and others have won countless awards and are considered landmarks of the genre.

A while back, I got wind of a top-secret project being developed by Publishing 180, the company that publishes the Babylon 5 script books, involving Harlan’s scripts for these series. (Important note: I do not own any part of P180 nor do I receive any financial remuneration of any kind from this project. My involvement here is strictly as a fan and admirer.) I now hold in my hand a preliminary copy of that book, and I wanted to give everyone a heads-up because folks, this is a doozy.

The book, entitled BRAIN MOVIES, contains Harlan’s scripts for “Soldier,” and “Demon With a Glass Hand” from THE OUTER LIMITS, “Paladin of the Lost Hour” and “Crazy as a Soup Sandwich” from the TWILIGHT ZONE, “Memo from Purgatory” from ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS, “The Face of Helen Bournouw” and Harlan’s near-legendary manifesto on how to write good science fiction, written exclusively for incoming writers on BABYLON 5. (The scripts for Paladin and Demon received the prestigious Writers Guild Award.)

In many cases, the book contains both the script and the treatment for the script, something almost never seen outside the studio. Most amazing of all, the book contains not just the shooting script for Harlan’s HITCHCOCK episode, it contains an earlier draft filled with his handwritten annotations and changes.

When an episode is broadcast, you don’t get to see the writer’s mind at work, don’t have the opportunity to experience the moment he decided to make a line of dialogue or a scene go thisway instead of thatway, how a turn of phrase was altered in just the right way at the last moment, you see only the end product. By including the draft with the handwritten annotations, you can see the creative process being enacted right before your eyes. The opportunity to see inside the writer’s mind is unspeakably rare.

Best of all, these are not re-typeset versions of the script, they are painstakingly scanned reproductions of the ORIGINAL SCRIPTS, exactly as they were written.

And for the budding science fiction writers out there, what better than having Harlan Ellison break down in his manifesto how to write effectively in the genre, how to avoid various kinds of traps and make your writing better?

The value of this book to up-and-coming writers, academics, collectors, fans, and just plain folks who love science fiction television is inestimable. This isn’t just a book of scripts, it’s an important piece of history.

When I heard that Harlan was going to include the B5 manifesto (entitled “A Terrifying List of Things Not to Do When Writing For Babylon 5”), I offered to write an introduction to the volume, entitled “Touching Magic.” That introduction is now also in the book.
Last, and maybe coolest of all, because of the presence of B5 material, they are doing a limited number of books that are DUAL AUTOGRAPHED by both myself and Harlan. With only one prior exception, this is the ONLY time that Harlan and I have autographed something together, and never before for a published book. Once those signed editions are gone...they’re gone.

Because Publishing 180 is a boutique publisher, they do not generally release information on its upcoming titles until right before publication. But this volume is so important, so extraordinary, that I asked if I could give the B5 fans out there, and the fans of Harlan Ellison who are also in that group, a heads-up on this event. This way we reduce the risk of missing the chance to get one of the double-signed editions.

The book will go on sale in a couple of weeks – I think it’s somewhere around the 20th and those already on the B5 mailing list will get the announcement automatically – but I’ll be sure to post the info here the second it goes online. If you want to be sure not to miss it, a signup page is up at www.harlanbooks.com


...

And I just realised that I did not get everything down here. There appears to be a new, currently nameless, cat living at my house. I will tell you the story next blog.

And I almost forgot, for those who made it this far - artist Steve Cleff has done a portrait of me as a benefit for the CBLDF. The auction has a few hours to go. Here is the link.

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Sunday, July 03, 2011

A Late Night July the Third Post that took a while to finish

I walked the dogs just now. I could smell a heavy wild-animal-smell in the dark woods, probably a bear, at a guess. It smelled like it did a few years ago when we had a bear hanging around.

I wasn't worried: bears don't like dogs, and I don't think the dogs would go after the bear. But it was a strange moment.

There are more fireflies this year than I've ever seen here. If you walk down by the beehives at night it looks like a distant city at night, as the fireflies fill the trees and bushes and drift from one to another.

So, I'm home. Tour done, survived, and mostly enjoyed.

The worst moment was in Seattle. I was staying at the W Hotel. I accidentally sent my hotel phone number and room out into the world, via Twitter. I had meant to send them to Amanda, as the cell service wasn't great. The worst moment wasn't that bad for me (I just ignored the phone calls coming in as I talked to Amanda) but I felt really sorry for the hotel switchboard when I called in to explain what had happened. They whisked me to another room, and changed my name, which meant that when the Author Escort turned up to ask for my room and walk me up to the Seattle Town hall she was informed by the Front Desk that they had no-one of my name staying there.

I think she was troubled by this, having dropped me off at that same hotel an hour earlier from signing about 2000 books. (Probably University Book Store in Seattle still has some signed books.)

So that was the worst moment. Reassuring an author escort who thought she had wandered into the Twilight Zone.

Let's see.

So I was about to do the WITS show in St Paul last time I posted.

WITS was wonderful. I sang "The Problem With Saints" and a verse of "Maxwell's Silver Hammer". I read a poem and a bit of a book. I had fun with Josh Ritter, with Johns Munson and Moe, with Guest Hecklers Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett.

(Josh Ritter has just written a novel, by the way. It's really good.)

This is a moment from WITS with our second phone guest, MYTHBUSTER Mr Adam Savage. (Our first guest was Wil Wheaton.) He phoned in. I asked him to confirm an anecdote...



And here Josh Ritter and I are given a game to us to play by evil host John Moe. It's What Happened Next To People In Songs? I love Josh's tale of what happened to Elvis Costello's Alison...



From there I went to Seattle. I attended the Locus Awards Banquet, and was delighted to learn that I had won both the Locus Award for Best Short Story, for "The Thing About Cassandra" (this was awkward, as I had forgotten that it was on the ballot, and was completely taken aback, failed to thank the editors who waited for it and bought it and just babbled) but also the Locus Award for Best Novelette for "The Truth Is A Cave In The Black Mountains" (I'd got it together by that point and thanked EVERYONE). Here are all the award winners... http://www.locusmag.com/News/2011/06/locus-awards-2011-winners/

I brought Tim Minchin, whose work I really like, and who, it turns out, I really like as a person too. He collected Shaun Tan's Locus Award for Best Artist (Tim did the narration for Shaun's Oscar winning short film, "The Lost Thing").

The first time I was at the Locus Awards, (it was 2006, you can read about it here at http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2006/06/wild-ginger-and-jimi-hendrix.html and that time it was my short story "Sunbird" that I forgot was on the ballot, proving that those who do not read their old blog entries are doomed to repeat them) Connie Willis mocked me for not wearing a Hawaiian shirt. This time I packed a black-on-black Hawaiian shirt especially, and Connie's wrath was mollified.

I missed the late Charles N. Brown.

After the Locus Awards I went on to the Science Fiction Hall of Fame and inducted Harlan Ellison into the Hall of Fame. Harlan wasn't well enough to be there, alas. (CNN speculate that he's on death's door. He's not, but he wasn't well enough to show up.)

In the evening I went with author Maria Dahvana Headley (who was to interview me the next day) to Tim Minchin's gig in Seattle. If Tim plays your town, go and see him. Simple as that.

He played "White Wine In The Sun" at the end, for me, because I've posted here on my blog over the years how much I love that song, which made me curl my toes with delight.

The evening finished after the gig with Maria and Tim and I having the most amazing meal at Elemental at Gasworks. The kind of restaurant where there's no menu, you tell the people there what you don't eat, they feed you the best food you've had in years, paired with amazing wines, are funny, nice, won't tell you what you're eating or drinking, you spend the last hour there chatting with the owners (who were your cook and your waiter), the bill is half what you thought it was going to be, where they don't believe in tipping, and you walk out at 3.00 am not really sure that that just happened, just knowing it made us all very happy.

The next day was signing books in Seattle, tweeting my hotel room number (sorry W hotel, thank you for being so understanding, sorry Gail the author escort for plunging you into modern urban paranoia) and being interviewed at the Town Hall by Maria Dahvana Headley. Her book Queen of Kings, is good stuff - Cleopatra as Undead Monster-lady, a book half-way between I Claudius and Queen of the Damned. (You'd not know it from the US book cover, though, which seems aimed firmly at people who want a proper historical novel. The UK cover is good, though.)

Thank you to Molly Lewis who opened for us on the ukulele. (I noticed from a tweet from her that she would be there and tweeted back to see if she would bring her ukulele.) Thank you to Maria for interviewing me. Thank you Duane and all at University Books for making it happen.

From Seattle I flew to San Francisco.

During the WITS show in Minneapolis I'd texted back and forth with Adam Savage, thanking him for being on the show. And then mentioned that I would be in Berkeley. And then... asked if he'd like to interview me.

He said yes, which was good as I'd had no idea who would interview me, and was ready to just get up there and talk (which is fun but less surprising if you are me.)

Here is a drawing done by Justin Devine of Adam Savage interviewing me in Berkeley.




(Oddly enough, we actually are talking about Doctor Who here. Sort of.)


The opening act in Berkeley was the lovely Zoe Boekbinder, whom I had asked to come and perform a couple of days earlier as I figured it would take a long time to seat 900 people. She did an amazing job and took full advantage of the church acoustics.

I came out afterwards and hugged people/old friends, had my shoes shined by someone who had asked if she could shine them after the show (I had said yes) and took photos with people who wanted photos taken to prove they had actually seen me and not someone else.

Late night dinner was in a Thai restaurant with Adam, Zoe and Justin (who drew the sketch above).

Woken early by an automated call from Delta telling me my flight to LA was cancelled. I twittered my distress and within minutes Brianne from Harper Collins Publicity, who was masterminding the tour, saw it and booked me onto a new flight.

I got to Los Angeles. Shaved off my beard. Pre-signed books. Went to see Craig Ferguson.

I love Mark Evanier's blog. It's at http://newsfromme.com/ where Mark writes about animation, television, the news, movies, Los Angeles, plumbers, casinos, comics and Late Night Television, among other things. Unlike this blog, he separates out his blog entries by subject. I barely noticed when Craig Ferguson took over as host of the Late Late Show from whoever did it before him, but I noticed when Mark started saying that Craig was the best of the late night talk show hosts, and I watched clips that he posted, and from there it was a short step to DVRing the show, and watching it.

And being sad when this wonderful mad Doctor Who Dance opening didn't actually go out:



I was in the Bay Area for Wondercon for Doctor Who in April, for a panel hosted by the Nerdist's Chris Hardwick, who said to me, at the end of the panel, "Have you ever been on Craig Ferguson's show?" and I said "No, but I like it..." and he said "I'll ask him..."

And pretty soon an invitation came in from Craig to be on the show.

Now, back in the 90s I said no, several times, to being on David Letterman's show. I didn't feel like I had anything to say to him, not anything I was prepared to give up any level of personal privacy for.

But Craig is one of us. Whatever that means. People who like books and SF and make jokes about H. P. Lovecraft and plug Doctor Who...

And it's late night television, and I guess I've given up a certain amount of privacy in the decade of this blog.

So I said Yes. It was nominally for the American Gods Tenth Anniversary edition, but that was just because that was the next time I was in LA. We mentioned it, but I wasn't there to plug my book. I just liked the idea of chatting.

The first guest was Paris Hilton. This was the third or fourth time I've myself in the same space as Paris Hilton, and have so far not exchanged two words with her, so I have no comments to make about her.

Here's the whole of my chat with Craig. It went on so long that they wound up losing the opening monologue (it was about sharks) and the song when it was broadcast.

And to explain the end, for the puzzled, Craig offers his guests different ways to end their segment - blowing the mouth organ (this was the option that Paris Hilton chose, although I believe she felt that this had left her open to jokes) or touching the baby disco ball on Craig's table, or an awkward pause.

You will have to watch this whole clip to discover what I went for.



Wil Wheaton and his wife Anne, and Cat Mihos (my amazing LA assistant and queen of Neverwear) and I grabbed some food. From there we sped to the Saban Theatre, where Patton Oswalt and Zelda Williams were already waiting.

There was a line of people around the block - about 1300 of them, all with Will Call tickets in envelopes with their names on. I wished that I had brought Zoe Boekbinder or Molly Lewis with me to play to the crowd as they waited.

The event started an hour late, but start it did.

Here are a couple of blogs with lots of photos that will make you feel like you were actually there.

http://www.beatzo.net/blog/2011/07/a-neil-gaiman-evening/ has some great shots of the lines of people and the Saban.

While http://mcvalada.blogspot.com/2011/06/it-is-great-to-be-grownup.html has some great photos of me, of Patton, of Zelda (she came out and guest-starred during the reading from American Gods) and she also has a 21 year old photo of me in shades and a leather jacket on the blog.

The next morning I had a close encounter with Chris Hardwick and his team, and also with the Reading Is Fundamental Smart Car. (For info on Reading is Fun/damental - go to http://rif.org/)

More interviews, more meetings, a table reading of my friend Michael Reaves's movie script, and then I came home to my dogs and my daughter.

I miss Amanda, though. She's in Boston right now. It's starting to get a bit old, this not-being together-in-the-same-place thing. I'll go out to her next week for a week. Then we're together all through August in Edinburgh. But I'd like to be coming home to her.

We're planning a tour-as-a-way-of-being-together from Hallowe'en to about the twelfth of November. I'll be in San Diego for World Fantasy Con before Hallowe'en, so we'll just drive up the coast singing (in her case) and reading (in mine) wherever we come to rest.

As soon as the dates and locations are set, we'll announce them. (And yes, we will definitely be stopping in Portland. And if we can, Vancouver and/or Victoria.)


(picture taken from http://assortedhearts.tumblr.com/post/6625219185/couples-amanda-neil-assorted-hearts)

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