Monday, September 28, 2009

Bet you thought I was... oh hang on, I used that one already

I'm home (for a little bit), and, as of yesterday, down with vague travel crud - a sort of combination of somewhat-sore throat and chest and low-level headache, general ache and cold, none of which would be enough to bother me on their own, but all together have felled me - possibly just so that I can catch up on my sleep instead of getting back home and immediately trying to catch up on work. So I'm sleeping a lot and drinking lemon and honey (we have honey. See for details) and slurping occasional soup.

I had a great time on the road (the most exciting bit was making my short film, the most upsetting bit was fearing my bag had been stolen while making my short film, while actually all that had happened was a helpful hotel person had put it into a hidden closet and closed the door, so the closet was hidden again). I went to Scotland and to Watford and to Berlin and Hamburg. I stayed in Imogen Heap's lovely flat in South London, and still have not met Imogen Heap. Saw an awful lot of my daughter Holly, who moved to the UK when she graduated, and who I miss.

Spent a lot of the time off the web, which was good, and something I'd been looking forward to. Wrote two longish short stories which I now have to type.

It got autumnal in the UK toward the end of our stay, and cold, wet and dark in Scotland. I had a couple of days of warm when I arrived back in the midwest, but it is now, today, officially, chilly Autumn. The trees are laden with apples, the grape-vines are covered with grapes, and the tomato plants are hung with very late tomatoes that need to be canned or salsaed or just cooked before they rot.

I landed in Minneapolis (after a massive 22 hour journey which began in Scotland), spent a night at home, saw my bees and went straight to the Midwestern Booksellers Association meeting, and was honoured with their Children's Literature Award (for The Graveyard Book). Also I chatted to a breakfast of booksellers about Odd and the Frost Giants.

I don't think I've said much about Odd here recently. It's out in the US now, in a shiny new hardback edition, with new illustrations by Brett Helquist. It's a book about using your head, I think. And about beauty. I talk about it at

There's a "trailer" for it here:

and you can read the first 25 pages from it at
(and, for those who do not have a helpful bookshop locally, the Amazon link is

I learned this morning that The Graveyard Book Audiobook I recorded won the UK Children's Audiobook of the Year (Dawn French won UK Audiobook of the Year for Dear Fatty, although I was disappointed that the article from the Independent doesn't mention the talented Lisa Tarbuck, who actually read the audiobook).

Strangely enough, the most frequently asked of all the questions waiting for me when I got back was What do bees smell like? Honest. So picking one of those from the pile...

Dear Mr. Gaiman,

My 5-year-old son, Avi, asked me what bees smell like. I told him that I don't know and was sad not to be able to answer such an excellent question. Today it occurred to me that you might have smelled bees. If you have, would you be willing to answer Avi's question?

Thank you for your time!

Elizabeth Israel-Davis
Portland, OR

Mostly bees, and bee-hives, smell honeyish, a thick sweet smell. If they get sick they can smell bad. But mostly they smell like honey.

Hey Neil, All Saint's Day is coming and I want to dance the macabray with my friends. Do you have any dance instructions other than "Step and turn, and walk and sway"?

Loved the book.


I think that readers of The Graveyard Book who perform their own version of the macabray will always be right. And should put video footage of themselves performing it be put up, I will try to link to it.

Which reminds me -- around this Hallowe'en many independent bookshops in the "lower 48" of the US are going to be having The Graveyard Book parties, in a bid to lure me out to sign in their shops in December. If you want to dance the macabray, or just enjoy a particularly graveyardy night, you may want to check if your local bookshop is doing one, and when.

(And if the bookshops who ARE going to be holding a Graveyard Book party want to let us know about it, then email your shop's name, the location of the party, the date and the time to and we will put a Master Graveyard Book Party list up here.) (Even if your party is in a location like Hawaii, Alaska, Manilla, Omsk or Edinburgh, places which do not qualify for win-a-Neil-Signing.)

Dear Neil,

I've been ogling over your bookshelves on Shelfari (of course) and noticed that you have the same bookcases that a lot of bookstores do, with the upslanted bottom shelf. I've been trying to figure out where to order these ever since I saw them in bookstores. Could you let me know where and about how much these are? Thank you!


Alas. I bought them from my local bookshop when they went out of business, some years ago, and do not know where they got them from.

Mr. Gaiman,

Are you aware of this:

"Young adult writers! Detroit teacher of blind kids wants your ebooks for her Braille printer!"

love you, love your work,
-- Justin

I was -- Cory sent it to me -- and I'll be getting them files for the Children's books. But I'm happy to spread the word further.

Amanda, Amanda, Amanda.

I miss hearing about your books and writings.

I am tired of hearing about your girlfriend...

You know, I wasn't going to mention Amanda in this post, until you reminded me. But we just spent six weeks together, working on the film and travelling and going to each other's events, and this blog, even when it gets a bit sporadic (as it has done over the last couple of months) is mostly going to be about what's going on, and who I'm with, and what I'm doing. If I'm somewhere doing something with Amanda, she'll get mentioned. (It's probably just as bad for some of her fans, who are going "who is this Neil and why is she singing to him anyway?")


There will be lots of catching up on everything in the next few weeks. And now the wonderful Cat Mihos is back from looking after the Jonas Bros, I can put some attention into helping her make into the website I think we both dream that it ought to be.

Olga Nunes, former webelf, designed a newNeverwear tee-shirt, with a line from Coraline suggested by a competition winner:


I wish that Blogger would get some apps for the android. I'm using a Mytouch as my phone right now, and while I like using it, it's frustrating how easy it is to Twitter, how hard to blog from it. I had discussions with people at Blogger when I started using the G1 about things that didn't work, which they agreed, after a short while, were actually bugs, and they suggested I try emailling things to the blog instead, which lasted one email, when it turned out that things a phone didn't think you needed to see in an email, like lots of people's email addresses, showed up in the blog version.


Finally, most of you probably know about the recent typhoon that hit the Philippines, and the flooding and loss of life. If you missed it, here's the BBC news, and here are some eyewitness reports

For right now, has a good rundown on ways to donate, from in the Philippines and out, while a donation to will help feed the hungry, and those who have lost their homes, in the Philippines.

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