Thursday, March 01, 2007

More Mysteries of the Oracle

The snow continues. It's been a lazy sort of blizzard, but I shovelled the path half a dozen times this afternoon. Driving was scary, school was cancelled. I took a few photos of the view from the back door but Blogger is being grumpy and won't upload them.

As many of you have seen, the Oracle (at has mysteriously changed its appearance. The original shamanic and beturbanned wild-haired me will be back every February, and perhaps for special occasions, like my birthday. Other strange things will, I hope, appear in the 8-Ball for the appropriate season (will there be pumpkins in October? Little Interesting Skulls on National Little Interesting Skull Day? Snow at Christmas? Only the webelf knows for sure). (The current 8-Ball pictures a Lisa Snellings creation.)

Hi Neil,
I just finished listening to the "Fragile Things" audio book. Do you have any further plans for Mr. Smith and Mr. Alice? They're two of the most fun (yeah, I feel guilty for saying that) characters I've run across in a long while. Hope this question hasn't been asked a zillion times before but I'll bet it has.
Brian Ford

I definitely expect to see them again, yes. If I write more of the stories of what happened to Shadow in the UK, Mr Smith will be in the background of that. But there's at least one story with both of them in it, and I really want to write that one as I know what it's about.

I should have mentioned here that FRAGILE THINGS got nominated for an Audie Award (given for audiobooks), as best short fiction collection. Which made me happy, although slightly uncomfortable as the Audiobook I did last year that I was really happy with was Stardust. But Fragile Things has me attempting a number of accents, and it has a much wider range of, er, things in it.

( is the Stardust page, for the curious -- you can hear the first ten minutes or so of the first chapter there. I can't see an audio page for Fragile Things on yet, but when one appears I'll mention it here.)
no matter how much, or hard, i shake my computer the oracular message is must really shake it. should i take that as my oracular message at this point?
ellen schinderman

I suppose you could try clicking on the oracular ball and dragging it back and forth very fast instead of picking up your --

No. Scrap that.

Actually I really like the idea of you shaking the computer. Keep it up. Maybe eventually something will happen...

dear neil: my mom & i are real big fans of yours! your blogs is the only one my mom allows me to read but those fangirls looked real scary!!!!!!! and that wasn;t a very nice photo of you sorry but does a girl have to wear only black and not smile to get your attention? i love you really !!!!!!! xxxPat

Thank you, Pat. I just checked with my daughters (both on the same couch I'm on, both on their computers), and Maddy says she wears mostly blues and Holly says she wears mostly greens and browns, and they both smile an awful lot, and they have my attention whenever they want it...

Good Sir,

Let us say that I have a name that while not bad, is not exactly fit to print. It is rather mumbly, and doesn't look quite right no matter how I arrange it.

Though I am fairly certain you don't use a pen name, I was wondering if you know anything about doing so.

Till again,
Whatever Me I May Be

There's nothing wrong with pen names, and there are hundreds of reasons for deciding to use one.

Pick a name you like, avoiding on the way names like Stephen King or Charles Dickens, and put it on your manuscript. Let's say you choose "Gerry Musgrave" (which I think was the name I reviewed movies for Penthouse under, as I already had film review columns in other magazines.) You just type "Gerry Musgrave" on your cover sheet, and then send a cover letter telling the editor the name you want the cheques made out to. It's that easy.

Short and Sweet:
Do you know when the other volumes of Absolute Sandman will be published? I can't find any info on them anywhere.

The next one will be out in October 2007. The third and fourth should I hope both be out in 2008.

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