Monday, March 22, 2004

I really ought to post this and get on with printing out my boarding card...

Sorry to have confused any of you by last night's late-night-post (memo to self: get new head). I'm going to the UK for a week to work with various suspicious characters on the Wolves in the Walls theatrical adaptation. No, there won't be any signings or appearances, unless you happen coincidentally to be standing next to me in a bookshop or behind me in the line for the tube, and ask nicely.

Saw Thea Gilmore last night in Chicago. She was terrific! And I got a signed postcard! Thanks so much for recommending her. It was a great show!

Mary Roane

Argh! I meant to remind everyone last week that Thea was touring, and forgot completely. So, the Thea Gilmore US gigs remaining are:

Monday March 22nd 2004 One Trick Pony, Grand Rapids, MI 616 459 4788

(According to the link, this gig is FREE. It's also tonight. Mention that you read about it on this blog and you get a signed Thea postcard.)

Thursday March 25th 2004 Club Cafe, Pittsburgh 412 683 5363

Friday, March 26th 2004 Skippers Smokehouse ? Tampa FL USA 813 238 8001

Saturday March 27th 2004 Eddies Attic, Decatur, Nr Atlanta GA404 377 4976

Wednesday March 31st 2004 Joe's Pub, New York 212 625 3750
If you get a chance, go: she's amazing.

Did you know that your journal is listed in Technorati's top 100 Twice? You are at #58 and at #80. It is at If you don't know what I'm talking about Technorati is a blog ranking system.

I did know, yes. It's something to do with the vaguely non-standard way this blog was originally set up, so we were appearing falsely lower than we really are, because Technorati wasn't noticing when people linked to permalinks. Kevin Marks at Technorati helpfully did some twiddling, and so did Sunil at authors on the web, to enable the journal to show up more accurately further up the list, but it also shows up in its original position. Pretty soon I expect it'll just have one entry.

Kevin is also responsible for sending me this link to a story from the SUN, made strangely less grisly rather than more by their editorial decision to show you lots of pictures of black widows and termites just like the ones that killed the unfortunate gentleman in Dusseldorf.

Hi Neil,

I just read the Guardian article about Dasani that you posted on your journal. If you look at the ingredients on a bottle of Dasani, they list "water" and "salt". They actually put salt in the water to make you thirstier! After I found this out I stopped drinking Dasani, but this article will ensure that I will never drink it again. Yuck!

Love the journal,

You know, if you google Dasani ingredients you wind up at and discover that she's right (although I suspect that the salts are added to make it taste like it hasn't just come out of a reverse osmosis filter, rather than to make you thirsty enough to consume more or their product). It doesn't mention the bromides or the bromates that caused the UK recall of Dasani, though: I wonder if they're UK specific, or just omitted.

From Mark Evanier's blog I wound up watching Dennis Miller not bothering to interview Eric Alterman; it's a really sad little bit of television. It's the kind of TV that you only get when nobody's watching, and the host knows that no-one's watching and no-one cares. It's not about politics, just about professionalism, and the impression one gets from the clip is that Miller has simply given up.


Having been on both sides of the writer-fence, does this article ring true for you?

Ring true in the sense of "did it really happen, or does the person writing it believe it happened"? Sure. Ring true in the sense of "is this what it's like?" Well, not for me, but I've been extremely lucky -- partly because most of my publishing horror stories happened early in my career, and partly because I've had, since 1987, a lot of readers, who have come with me to at least check out what I was doing next, most of whom have realised they're under no obligation to like everything I've written. Again, I'm lucky: my books are in print, and new people are finding and reading my novels and graphic novels all the time, so I'm not really worried that even if the book I'm currently writing is really awful and everyone hates it and no-one buys it and I wind up a pitiable and discredited laughing stock for even having tried to write it that that will mean the end of my career, because people will (I suspect) still read Sandman and Neverwhere and Stardust and Smoke & Mirrors and American Gods... And the book after that will be different anyway.

But I think that Jessa at Bookslut has the most sensible take on it: as she points out, this is not an author with sound commercial instincts. If "Jane Austen Doe" (who also doesn't have the best instinct for picking catchy pseudonyms) was slightly more savvy she would have published the article under her own name, so that curious people could click on Amazon links and such and actually buy some of "Jane Doe's" books. (Seeing that she considers herself blacklisted by half of the New York publishing world, putting out the article under her own name couldn't have made matters worse.)


I recently recommended to a nephew who has started to write poetry, and thought I should pass it along. Lots of meat there, and wisdom, and information, elegantly compressed. It's the sort of website that makes you want to go and write a Sestina, and that can't be bad.