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Thursday, April 10, 2014

gal·li·mau·fry (noun) 1. a confused jumble or medley of things.

I taught my first class at Bard on Tuesday night. It was slightly nerve wracking, but the 14 people who are listening to me burble about writing and fantasy seem very nice and relatively forgiving, and I'm looking forward to doing it again tomorrow night. Only, I hope, saying different things.

The Evening With Art Spiegelman and Me at Bard was wonderful. It was sold out, and became mostly an interview, with me asking Art things, although I read the first few pages of the version of Hansel and Gretel I've written that Lorenzo Mattotti has illustrated, which was rather wonderful. (You can see one of the marvelous Mattotti illustrations on the screen behind us in this photo by Gideon Lester.)


There aren't any more events in New York this year that there are tickets for, except for THE TRUTH IS A CAVE IN THE BLACK MOUNTAINS at Carnegie Hall. (At which I think I will also do the first reading of the whole of Hansel and Gretel as well.) Lots of people are asking if there will be a signing there... and I'm definitely considering it. The Ocean at the End of the Lane will have just come out in paperback, and The Truth is a Cave In The Black Mountains graphic novel will just have come out.... It's definitely possible.

Tickets and information at http://www.carnegiehall.org/Calendar/2014/6/27/0800/PM/Neil-Gaiman-The-Truth-is-a-Cave-in-the-Black-Mountains/

(And Where's Neil will tell you everywhere else I'll be until July, including San Francisco, London, Edinburgh, Barcelona and Madrid: http://www.neilgaiman.com/where/.)

Right now I'm in San Diego, just for the day, in order to see Amanda, who is out here where it is warm and she is working on her book. I'm not sure that spending a whole day flying out, and a day flying back, in order to spend a day together, makes the best sense, but I missed her and she missed me and I quite enjoy writing on planes...

The new house in the woods is wonderful, and I'm enjoying getting to know the whole new world of  the Hudson Valley. And the old house back in the Midwest is still there, and it still has my books on the shelves and my art on the walls and my bed, and I suspect I'm going to wind up dividing my time between both places, as much as I succeed in living in any one place. I have a wife who also seems determined to have a bi-locational existence, only with Melbourne, Australia and New York City as her two places that she spends her life. We'll figure it out. As long as I get a desk to write at, and a view of trees, I'm happy.

Today, The Ocean at the End of the Lane came out in paperback in the UK. There's a moving version of the poster, which you can see here (needs Flash):  http://www.teainteractive.com/clients/ocean/

And here are the Ocean posters that do not move, and I am extremely happy because I don't think I've ever had books that were posters before. They leave me faintly nervous: I hope that the kind of people who would like the book will find it, and that people who would simply not enjoy it do not succumb to the blandishments of advertising. (Goes and checks Amazon.co.uk to see if people are still enjoying it now it's out in paperback...) (And then puts up the Waterstones link, on noticing their name on the poster. Hello Waterstones!)





Let's see. I'll probably forget a few things I meant to mention here. I interviewed Stoya  in the Oyster Magazine (she is seen here being Death at a Dr Sketchy's).


Biting Dog Press are releasing a limited print in June of 500 copies of my "8 Rules For Writing".




You can't buy them retail -- they will be going directly to bookshops -- but Dave of Biting Dog is releasing 50 of them to the public directly as incentives to fund his daughter Kayla's Elephant Sanctuary Volunteer Trip: details at http://www.bitingdogpress.com/Merchandise/orderpage.html.

I'm speaking in Syracuse, NY on April the 29th, as part of the Rosamund Gifford Lecture series. I will talk, and I will read, and it will be interesting. Details at http://www.dailyorange.com/2014/04/author-of-coraline-to-speak-at-crouse-hinds-theater-this-month/

I was thrilled to see that James Herbert will have a horror writing prize named after him. Jim is much missed, and this can only help to make sure that his name remains in people's minds.

Locus, the Magazine of the Science Fiction and Fantasy field, does an annual poll and survey: you have another five days to make your votes heard, and to tell them who you are. The poll closes on April 15th: http://www.locusmag.com/Magazine/2014/PollAndSurvey.html

A photo Amanda took of me last night. She calls it "Schrödinger's Door."



This blog post, forwarded to me by artist-genius Lisa Snellings, about the knock-on effects that my story "Harlequin Valentine" had, broke my heart and opened it wide: http://www.grinsekatz.com/harlequin-valentine

Finally, congratulations to Stephen Colbert on becoming the next David Letterman.  I loved my time on the Colbert Report, rumpled funeral suit attire and all, but liked the man Colbert much more than the persona Colbert (and loved that he broke character while interviewing me). I'm really hoping that the Late Night show will be hosted by the man. (In case you missed it, here's the video of the interview from 2009.)

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Thursday, April 03, 2014

Two New UK Book Covers, and a Small Philosophical Thought

Bloomsbury just sent me the cover for their paperback of FORTUNATELY, THE MILK. It is coming out in the UK on June 5th, 2014. I love the cover, and was impressed by the Children's Book of the Year tag, as I had forgotten. (It's been a mad year. There are too many things to remember.)




And seeing I am posting that, I also thought I should post this:


...which is a photo I stole from Sam Eades's Twitter Feed. (So I think we can safely assume the aquamarine nail-varnished thumbnail is Sam's.)  Sam was the publicist at Headline all through Ocean. She's amazing -- cheerful, sensible, a delight to be around, and the kind of person who can come up with a mad idea like getting a road named after a book and just make it happen while being on a signing tour like no other, and still getting the author fed.



(She's just left Headline for Pan MacMillan, and she will make authors there very happy and I miss her already.)

It's the UK paperback cover of THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE. The paperback comes out in a week. 

And it was only when I looked at them both, I realised I've got two books coming out in the UK with, actually and honestly, "Book of the Year" on the cover. And I thought, I'll probably never have that again. It's really unusual for me to have two books out, one for adults and one for all ages, in the same span of time. And lightning doesn't strike twice. For a moment I started feeling glum, finding myself worrying about backlashes and things that probably don't ever happen again and the nature of time and life...

And then I thought, I should remember what Stephen King told me, something I put into the Make Good Art talk and book. I should enjoy this.

So, contrary to my vaguely worried nature, I am doing my very best to enjoy it.  Book of the Year, twice, for two books. That's pretty good, isn't it?

...

It's Art Spiegelman Week. Not only will Art and I find ourselves in conversation at Bard tomorrow night, but there is more Spiegelmanny wonderfulness in New York this weekend, some of it accompanied by Ditch artist Joost Swarte. You can read all about it here, at the Drawn and Quarterly blog: http://drawnandquarterly.blogspot.com/2014/03/its-art-spiegelman-week-in-new-york.html

The coolest bit of all might be this Sunday Morning, when you get to see a stained glass mural...

Sunday, April 6th: PRIVATE VIEWING & BREAKFAST WITH ART SPIEGELMAN
Manhattan, NY: A rare chance to join Art Spiegelman (class of '65) for coffee, carbs, and juice as he gives a personal guided tour of the 50' x 8' two-sided glass mural he designed for the school. Secrets-literally-behind the window will be revealed!

And he'll have special guest Joost Swarte on hand, showing slides of his own stained glass windows in the Netherlands!

The tour begins Sunday, April 6th, at 10:30 am, at the High School of Art and Design cafeteria, 5th floor. That's 245 East 56th Street, between 2nd and 3rd Avenues.Get your tickets here now! Tickets are $20, but $15 for those of you with a MoCCA pass, and free for current A&D students! Proceeds go to the Alumni Association to benefit the students of Art and Design. 

...

St Mark's Bookshop in New York has slowly become one of my favourite bookshops around, I think because it's so well curated. I never walk in there and think "So many books are being published. Why don't people just stop making new books and read the ones that are already out there?" which I sometimes find myself thinking on walking into huge chain bookshops. Instead I just walk around going "I didn't know that existed. I'll have that, and that, and that, and I'll get that for a friend...".

They are doing an Indiegogo fundraiser to help crowdfund their move. Support it, if you can. (I'm going to donate a hand-annotated book or two to their rewards.) https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/st-mark-s-bookshop-on-the-move

...

Reminder: the Symphony Space "Selected Shorts" evening has sold out.

The only remaining event on the East Coast this year is the Carnegie Hall TRUTH IS A CAVE IN THE BLACK MOUNTAINS reading, with the FourPlay String Quartet and Eddie Campbell paintings and all, on June 27th. It's happening at the same time that THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE is coming out in the US in paperback.  (Amazing things will be happening on that that night: trust me. This is the big one...)

Tickets at http://www.carnegiehall.org/Calendar/2014/6/27/0800/PM/Neil-Gaiman-The-Truth-is-a-Cave-in-the-Black-Mountains/

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Wednesday, April 02, 2014

House thoughts, and some unanswered questions on art and commerce

It's a very strange process, moving into a new house. In my case, the worst of the moving in has been done. Now all that remains is details, hundreds upon hundreds of details. Details and details and details and, occasionally, small disasters. Yesterday, the heating stopped working. The heating stopped working because there was two inches of water in the cellar, because a water treatment pump could not keep up with the combination of rain and snowmelt that was already filling all the drains, and so backed up. I have good friends and they made everything okay, with pumps and knowledge of fixing things.

(I do not really have a lot of fixing things knowledge. And while you may want to read a book by me, you do not want me to put up your shelves. Trust me on this.)

I went into New York overnight, finished writing a very much overdue introduction in my hotel room, emailed it off moments before I fell asleep, had a Really Cool Secret Meeting this morning, and am typing this on the train back, the Hudson river grey and, on the far bank, distant leafless hills and cliffs. I want Spring to begin.

I'm currently pondering whether or not to write a short story for a company. They've asked me to write one. I can write whatever I like, as long as I put their product in it and do not show their product killing people horribly, or even nicely. It would be a fun, interesting project that would pay well.  To make things more interesting, I've already mentioned their product in a novel, I like their product, and I can see where the story would go.

But I'm not sure. I'm going back and forth on it.

I loved doing last year's project for BlackBerry, mostly because it felt like they were a patron of the arts. They gave me a very open brief ("What would you like to do on social media?") and let me go off and do it. They gave me a BlackBerry, and I promised I'd use it for a year. They made short films which I loved, about writing and inspiration and creation.

(And I just noticed that the BlackBerry Keep Moving videos have become unlisted on YouTube, so here they all are, in case anyone needs them. The fourth is my favourite.)



(As a note here: when the year was up, I wanted to stay with BlackBerry as a phone platform. I really liked it, and kept finding myself frustrated when I'd use iPhones or Android phones, but I was grumpy about the lack of apps. They gave me a Z30. It's a wonderful phone (here's the USA Today write up.) But y'know, like they said in the USA Today review, no Yelp and no Netflix.

But then, a couple of weeks after I got the Z30, they released the latest operating system, 10.2.1, which also now natively runs Android apps. I archived on my old Android phone any Android apps I wanted on the Z30, bluetoothed them over to the BlackBerry, installed them, and now use Yelp and Netflix and Audible and such on the BlackBerry with abandon.)

But the BlackBerry project, while it was done for and with the assistance of BlackBerry, never meant I had to put a BlackBerry into a story. Which made me happy. Now I'm trying to figure out why that would have felt like crossing a line in the way that the Nokia phone (which, if I were writing it today, would be an iPhone) in the first chapter of American Gods does not. And what that line is. And why it troubles me.

...

Getting ready for the Art Speigelman conversation at Bard on Friday. We plan to talk a whole lot.

The Symphony Space "Selected Shorts" night on May 7th has now sold out. The only other event I'll be doing in New York this year is the Big One -- the Carnegie Hall event on June 27th. (You do not want to miss this: it's the same thing that sold out Sydney Opera House, with FourPlay String Quartet and me).

Which reminds me. One final TRUTH IS A CAVE.. night has been added to the world. Edinburgh, Sunday July 6th. As they say on their website:

Created for Sydney's renowned Graphic festival, this haunting tale of adventure, revenge and treasure, told as a hybrid between a storyteller, an artists and an Australian string quartet is playing five performances only - Carnegie Hall in New York, the Warfield in San Francisco, two sold-out shows at London's Barbican, all leading up to this very special night at Usher Hall.

Here's the Usher Hall tickets link.


Ayelet Waldman asked me if I could mention that she has a new book out, and I will, and not just because I have not yet written my speech for her daughter Rosie's Bat-Mitzvah: It is called Love and Treasure. That's the Amazon link, and here's the Indiebound.

...

oops. This sat on my computer for 36 hours. In the meantime, Spring has definitely sprung. Deer are frisking through the woods and platoons of wild turkeys are self-importantly strutwaddling up and down the drive. I hope Spring heard me grumbling, and decided it was time to turn up.




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