Thursday, December 27, 2007

Probably the last Dog Photos of the Year

It's been a strange year. On the 30th of April I found a dog by the side of the road. This is what he looked like then...

He was wet, a sort of off-brown colour, smelled dreadful and while he didn't seem very bright, he was extremely goodhearted.

It turned out he was very bright, he'd just spent his three years of life on a short chain in a farmer's yard, and no-one had talked to him, or expected anything more of him than barking at visitors as a sort of canine doorbell.

And this is what he looks like now... (with a very scruffy author this morning). (Photos by Holly.)

Cabal is one of the most beautiful dogs I've ever seen. What breed is he?

He is, as the farmer who gave him to me said at the time (and I doubted at the time, because I didn't know that he was white under all that) a White German Shepherd Dog (what we called an Alsatian when I was growing up in England -- the German Shepherd became known as an Alsatian in the UK during World War I in much the same way that French Fries became Freedom Fries in the US a few years back). There would be a lot more White German Shepherds around if the Nazis hadn't decided they were racially inferior and needed to be cleansed from the gene pool. Of course, the same could be said of my family.

Hi Neil,

Santa was good to me this year and gave me the latest Steven Erikson novella from PS Publishing - I just went tonight to have a look at the site and ended up with five books since they have a sale on. Any pre 2007 books in their catalogue are half price. I thought of you since you did the introduction for the Mark Chadbourn book I just got from them!

P.S. I got a t shirt from my brother I thought you would like. The logo is 'I'm only wearing black until they invent a darker colour'.

They are a wonderful publishing house, and with only a few days left I would be remiss not to point to their sale. (Here's their current catalogue.) I should dig up the thing I wrote about Pete Crowther for the World Horror Con programme book, while I'm at it...

I've got a story you might be interested in. A while back, a bar called Gandalf's in Frostburg, Maryland burned down (no one was hurt). Up the street was a local independent bookstore called Main Street Books. During the fire, one of the employees was watching, when a sheet of paper fluttered out and was found by the employee. What was it? A charred page from Good Omens. It's currently hanging up being displayed in the bookstore.

That's delightful. And, of course, appropriate.

Hey Neil

So what is up with Hill House? Back in October they posted an update PDF on the Anansi Boys but nothing on Neverwhere. Neverwhere was ordered in 2003 and suppose to come out in 2005 and we are still waiting.

Is this something that I should start to worry about or are they just too overwhelmed and not given to responding to inquires any more? I love their work and everything I have gotten is amazing, I just want the books that I order all those years ago or at least to know they care.

Also Cat was trying to help me get an answer on the MELINDA Triptych but got the same response I did. Zip.

Anyway sorry to ramble and thanks in advance,

John Mooney

To be honest, I'm really hoping that the bringing out of Anansi Boys means that things are turning around for Hill House. They've had a rough year or two, including some illness, and I really wasn't sure what was going to be happening. But the first copies of Anansi Boys are in and look like a triumph of the bookmaker's art, and should now be going out to people. I'm not sure what's happening next.

Pete Atkins at Hill House did the work on helping create the Neverwhere Author's Preferred Text some years back, and then he and Pete Schneider assembled every Neverwhere memo, outline and BBC script draft for their Neverwhere Supplementary Volume (not that it'll contain every draft of everything, for it would be very dull if it did). Like you, I'm hoping that Hill House is back in the game.

They've now got the correct phone number up on their website.


A few people wrote to say that it was unusual, European Butterflies in the American Midwest. And it would have been if that was where I was, but the butterflies were in Europe, as was I.

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