Thursday, May 16, 2002
It's been a hectic few days -- my assistant Lorraine went down with some hellish flu at the same time that my wife's away (I don't think they planned it like that), and so I have been coping as best I could, cooking, looking after the kids, answering or (more often) failing to answer the phone, doing the mail, battling the fax machine, tending the sick, and so forth. Finally today I realised I hadn't actually written anything properly in days, and I fled to my cabin for the afternoon, where there isn't any phone, and started writing -- mostly some overdue movie stuff, and some of the Endless Nights Despair story for Barron Storey. And it was good.

Somewhere over the last few days I also bought a few more plum trees (one of mine had died), a cherry tree, a green grape vine and a concord grape vine, which I'll plant this weekend. (As a kid in England I could never understand why things that came from America had a "grape" flavour which tasted nothing like any grape I had ever encountered. And then I moved here, and found some wild concord-style grapes growing in the woods and tasted them. "These taste like grape flavour," I said. "Well, they're grapes, aren't they?" said whoever was standing next to me, as if I'd lost my marbles.)

Let's see... lots of interesting website stuff going on. The redesign (with a lot more content and organisation, not to mention a certain amount of beauty) of is almost complete -- a couple of essays need to be put up, and for the Books section I'm going to write something about each book, to add to the rather dry back jacket copy which is all there is there now; meanwhile the Coraline ( website, which is absolutely spooky and fun and strange and beautiful, continues to expand, and today I got to try out the Coraline screensavers. It'll go live by the end of the month.

I want to have some strange and interesting links on the Coraline site. (I found a good beetle one. I'm still looking for a pictures-of-buttons one I like, not to mention a really good rat site).

Talking about the new site, I recently found the travel diary that Dave McKean and I kept during our Mr Punch signing tour in, er, 1995 I think, filled with strange Dave Mckean sketches of the things and people we saw on our travels, and my somewhat bemused commentary. If Dave says yes, I'll put some of it up, and you can learn all about how we failed to meet Jimmy Carter, or to eat in San Francisco.

It looks like there are a fair number of copies of Coraline starting to hit ebay, which should bring the prices down to sensible levels. No, I don't mind people buying proof copies, but I'd advise against buying them to collect. If you buy one, please read it. Lend it to people. Tell them what you thought. (Word of mouth is still far and away the best method of promoting books, after all. And the Coraline Advanced Reading Copies exist to be read, so people, booksellers, librarians, teachers, know what kind of a book this is.)