Monday, December 08, 2003

Manifestly not the post with the tee shirts in

So yesterday I noticed, slightly surprised, that I'd not posted for a couple of days, and thought that putting a journal post would be a fine thing to do of a Sunday evening, and it would have, if only Blogger had been working, but it wasn't, so I didn't.

I seem to have a few brain cells back, which is good, and the writing is working, and I can cook again (having no head for anything except your book means that anything that you put into an oven or onto a stove-top is forgotten completely the moment it's out of sight, which is not a recipe for gourmet delights, more for blackish things that need an overnight soaking to remove from the pan).

I'm writing my novel with two different fountain pens (a Lamy 2000, and a regular Lamy) filled with two different coloured inks (a greenish one and a reddish one), and I'm alternating pens each day, which means I can see at a glance how much writing I've actually done that day, or that week. More than five pages in the same colour of ink must have been a good day. The Lamy 2000 days are my favourites because the regular lamy, although a good pen for signing in, is less happy writing a novel, and handwriting like mine needs all the help it can get.

I've more or less finished the first draft of Chapter One, and now am waiting for the arrival of the notebook I wrote some scenes in when I was in Florida in April 2003, because I think that there were lots of bits I think belong in Chapter Two in there (which is good, because I thought for a while that I wasn't going to reuse it).

So today I'm going back to work on the final chapter of 1602, which I'm doing on the computer. I sent Andy five pages a few days ago, and want to send him another four or five pages tomorrow. Also doing little bits of Mirrormask; also need to get back to the BBC radio play adaptation of Mr Punch.

Apart from that, and cooking, everything's very quiet. I'm becoming the world's worst e-mail correspondent, mostly because I'm currently living in my novel, I think.

Let's see... This is extracted from a longer letter --

I just was listening to the Coraline sample and noticed you don't have an Amazon Associate link set up. The Barnes and Noble one looks like you may not get a commission for that one, either. I just set this stuff up for a friend of mine on her site. If people are clicking there, anyway, might as well make a commission. If you don't need the money, you could give it away to something worthy.

Linda Frasier

Ah, but this site is non-commercial. Which may seem a huge contradiction, considering it's paid for, designed by, maintained by, and exists solely due to the good graces of, Harper Collins US, but also means that it's not meant to make money, especially not by sending you to any particular bookseller. So even on those occasions when it does, it tries to give you a choice, and doesn't make any money from any of the choices it offers.

Mostly in order to cope with the "but where do I get...?" phenomenon, because, for anything that was even slightly odd or rare or signed, the answer was normally "DreamHaven Books in Minneapolis", I gave to Dreamhaven, to set up a commercial site. People tend to assume that I own it, or get a cut of the take or something, which I don't. It helps support DreamHaven; and because the economic life of a big comics-SF-coolbooks-strange-magazines-and-suchlike-objects store is hard enough these days, and because it's the bookstore that I shop at, and I don't ever want to turn up and find that it's not there any more, I'm happy for the site just to help keep Dreamhaven in business, and that's much more selfish and much less altruistic than it sounds.

Hey Neil,

This has been bothering me for some time, but just *how* do you pronounce your surname? I feel a bit of a loser saying it outloud, in case I'm saying it wrong. Teehee. Thanks for your time. And your books! I bought Coraline today :D! Okay, I'll stop bothering you now.

Love, Karen.

It was Frequently Asked Question #1, but it's worth mentioning again. It's pronounced gaym'n. (Incidentally, those FAQs are extracted from the much longer FAQ blog at which I used to keep up religiously but stopped when I realised that no-one seemed to be reading it, because the same questions were coming in over and over, or possibly, given the byzantine structure of the website, people simply couldn't find it, or didn't know it was there.)

Not really a FAQ question.. but I couldn't find an email link. I wanted to address this request to Neil. My daughter Annie and I are long time fans. Tonight she came running breathlessly in to tell me that Neil's apparently a fan of Wreckless Eric (whenever someone else she respects likes some of my old faves, it validates them in her eyes apparently, one of her friends is a new fan of Eric's as well..) getting back to my reason for this note.. I was wondering if Neil would consider writing some reference to Wreckless Eric into one of his works? Thanks.

You mean, more than putting "Whole Wide World" into the plot of Death: The Time of Your Life? I thought that was a pretty good one. I recently ordered his autobiography, A Dysfunctional Success; The Wreckless Eric Manual, and will report back on it.

At the Novello reading in Charlotte, NC you read a wonderful piece from when you began writing. As I recall it was to be included in a future collection (a "gothic" collection I believe) but you couldn't remember the title at the time. Any idea on when this will be out? (And the title/author to find it?) I look forward to seeing your tale in print so I can point others to it.


The anthology is going to be called GOTHIC! Ten Original Dark Tales and it's coming out from Candlewick Press in 2004. It's not yet listed in their database.

Also, rumour has it that One Ring Zero's author CD, now probably to be called "As Smart as We Are", will be coming out in the late spring-summer from One Ring Zero themselves. It contains Daniel Handler's song "Radio", and many other songs nearly as strange, including one by me, and I'm very pleased that people can actually buy it for themselves.

Dear Neil,

I just wanted to direct your attention to my first piece for Green Man Review, a review of your Harlequin Valentine (up at Guess I just wanted another person to brag to; it did earn me an Excellence in Writing Award, after all.

All best,



IQ about 4? Oh. That makes mine even less. Not just writing fiction, but doing a PGCE course is applicable to reducing IQ (secondary school teaching English - imagine stepford wives. Now imagine their daughters go to school, but some rogue, invasion of the body-snatcher girls also get in..)
Anyhow, getting to a point, just wondering about all the great and random info that you stumble across - are you belonging to many e-groups etc. or is it more a "I'm bored, will surf and see what I find today?" approach? (or a blend?)
Thanks once again
Paul G. (PGCE student who did Sandman diss which you [rolling eyes and STILL not answering my Cat/Dog question] signed in London-ta!)

I hope I didn't really roll my eyes. Did I?

No, I don't belong to any e-groups. For a start I've got all of you lot -- around 10,000 messages a year come in on the FAQ line -- and there are nexus-and-hub places I like to keep an eye on, such as Teresa Nielsen Hayden's "Making Light" (Incidentally, her recent entry on fanfiction is a fascinating education and a delight ), and I have strange correspondents like Jonathan Carroll who really does search the web looking for the Strange and Unusual.

Right now I'm on an elderly dial-up network, so I couldn't really surf for pleasure if I wanted to.

But I do tend to accumulate links and open pages, and try and mention them.

For example, this Guardian article,11710,1099884,00.html by Nik Cohn made me terribly happy -- it's well written and fascinating, and it also pleased me to know what Nik Cohn was doing. I've been a fan of his since I was 12 years old, and I read his history of pop "Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom" has a great summary of the unlikely things he's done or been directly or indirectly responsible for, including the pinball in Tommy, and the film Saturday Night Fever.

There's an article at Newsarama about Scott McKowen, who does the covers for 1602, with pictures of the next three covers. (Number 7 is particularly gorgeous.)

And a link from Dave Langford's Ansible led to which was depressingly marvelous in a real-life Prisoner sort of way.

Incidentally, Blogger have put a helpful page on How Not To Get Fired Because of Your Blog, which I bumped into last night, trying to make Blogger work, and not just give me a message telling me that An Error Had Occurred.


I still haven't done the Things to Do With Signed Tee Shirts roundup have I? Oh well. This post is probably too long already. Tonight, probably.