Friday, October 31, 2008

En Fartsfylt Sprett-Opp-Bok!



Amazing what turns up in the post when you're least expecting it. This is my complimentary copy of a new edition of Vroom! Vroom! It's apparently Norwegian, but I've tried using an online dictionary and none of the words seem to translate. The text from the back cover states that it's 'for alle bilgale fartsfantomers'.

Fartsfantomers? Well...have fun, guys...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Spot the difference


On an afternoon when I can't seem to settle down to any writing, I've been Googling instead. A wasteful and self indulgent pastime if ever there was one.

My meanderings have turned up two secondhand copies of a little book I did, back in the days when I was more into pop-up than writing. At first glance you'd think these copies were the same, but no. The one on the left is the English printing - note the spelling of the word 'colours' - and the one on the right is the US version. The one on the right is yours for £2.17. But the one on the left will cost you £128.95. I have no idea why this should be.

That's the kind of stuff you don't learn when you should be working.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Les VariƩ?

My editor called me on Friday to say that the French rights to the Touchstone Trilogy have just been sold. This is excellent news, and something I wasn't expecting so long after the original publication of The Various. Perhaps nos amis have been waiting to see how the story turned out before committing to buying it.

As with the German versions, it's difficult for me to imagine how certain parts of these books would translate. The heavy West Country dialect must be a challenge. Are there French and German equivalents I wonder? I'd be interested to hear from anyone who knows.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Man Flu III




I've posted about Man Flu before, but what do I care? If I've got to suffer a repeat of the actual complaint, then I think it only fair that others should suffer a repeat of my complaining.

Man flu is a ghastly and most debilitating ailment, and bears no resemblance to the kind of flu that women get. It's certainly not a 'bit of a sniffle' - a phrase that I've heard being unkindly bandied about in our house.

I would say it's more like malaria. That same feeling of one's bones being slowly crushed from within...the uncontrollable chattering of the teeth...the raging thirst for liquid...any liquid. (Although tea for preference. And maybe a digestive biscuit to go with it, but only if you happen to be passing the Co-op on your way home from work, my dear.)

Horses used to get something similar, I believe, or perhaps I'm thinking of cattle. It was known as 'the staggers'. Or was it 'the botts'? I'm so delirious I can't remember, but I do know that they usually died of it and I'm hardly surprised. This would definitely kill a horse, what I've got.

They found a cure for horse flu but nothing for man flu, as yet, so we must take whatever comfort we can. My Dad used to swear by the 'whiskey and hat' method for treating the condition. It's one of those simple old country remedies that seem to have gone by the by, along with ducking-stools and blood-letting. You get yourself a bottle of whiskey and sit yourself up in bed with it, having first hung your hat on the bedpost. Any class of hat will do, but take Irish whiskey for medicinal choice. Then you drink the whiskey and stare at the hat.

Just keep on doing that...sipping at the medicine and watching the hat. Eventually, if you look closely, you'll see that there are actually two hats. Maybe more.

At this point, stop. Put down the medicine bottle and go to sleep. When you next awake you'll be cured - or cured of man flu at any rate. I gather there may be some residual side effects, but I can't say what these might be as I've never tried it. Whiskey makes me gip.

Ah me. I wonder if the priest is still awake. Maybe I ought to get him to pop round. I had to miss the Sunday night quiz this week, and that's serious. But there. I don't suppose there's much a priest can do for me now.

No, quiet fortitude is the only way through man flu, and so it's aptly named in that respect. We bear our troubles in silence, we men.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Shin Kicking. 'If it ain't broke, you're not kicking hard enough.'

This is one of the reasons I had to leave the West Country; that damn kicking practice every Sunday morning. Couldn't hack it.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Bump the elephant ringtone!



A recent visit to You Tube shows that this little TV programme that I did the artwork and music for so many years ago has had over 100,000 visits. You can even find a clip of some young gun playing along with the guitar outro. What has happened, I suppose, is that the generation of tots who loved Bump in the early nineties have now become part of the YouTube and Facebook generation. Nostalgia at eighteen, though? Seems a bit premature to me. I'm very happy that the little fellow is still remembered, of course - he was a big part of my life for two or three years back there.

And now there's a Bump the Elephant ringtone available. How uber-cool is that?

Friday, October 03, 2008

Goodies from America.

Lots of neat stuff in the post this morning...




First up are cover proofs for the US paperback editions of The Various and Celandine. Looking good, I think.



Then we have a couple of ARCs of Winter Wood. ARCs are advance reader copies. These are printed up in a very small quantity to send out to professional readers prior to publication. The idea is to get some external feedback before the book goes into its actual print run.




As you can see, these are not for sale. Rarity value means that book collectors are quite keen on them.





Next is a dustjacket proof for the US hardback edition of Winter Wood. A jacket proof is sent out to the author for approval. It's more or less a courtesy. I don't think the publishers would be best pleased if I wanted anything changed at this late stage!




And finally a trio of cover proofs for the UK paperback edition of Winter Wood, due out very soon. As you can see these have no price code yet, and so once again they have some rarity value.

Nice to get it all arriving at once, and in different packages. Made me feel quite as though it was my birthday - which actually it is. Happy Birthday, me.

Ivor Cutler. Lest we forget...

The great Ivor. He needs taking out and dusting once in a while.