Thursday, May 14, 2009

X Isle - first images.


Well, they're displaying the cover for X Isle on Amazon, and so I guess it's OK for me to show it here on my blog.

The jacket illustration is by Steve Stone, and a great piece of work in my opinion. I'm used to illustrating my own books and so I've been fascinated to see how others interpret the texts - first with the Touchstone Trilogy, and now with X Isle. It's actually very flattering. A bit like other musicians covering your songs, perhaps.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Perfect martini


Learning is such a joy. Tonight, from maths professor and all-round excellent cove Paul Glendinning, I discover the recipe for a perfect martini.

1. Put some crushed ice into an appropriate glass.

2. Add a measure of gin.

3. Position a bottle of vermouth in sunlight, so that the beams pass directly through it and mix with the gin.

4. Enjoy your martini.

(This according to Luis Bunuel, apparently.)

Dear oh dear...


Aren't you intrigued? Don't you long to reach out and pick up these wonderful-looking books? No?
Well, it's easy to criticise, but really - is there any excuse for this kind of laziness? Here are two respected authors, James Runcie and Amanda Craig, favourably reviewed recently by dovegreyreader, and surely deserving of better than this.

Publisher: 'We need to evoke mystery, a sense of er...mysteriousness. But nothing too specific.'

Designer: 'I know! Let's have a picure of some geezer walking away from us! Like he's just been somewhere, and now he's going somewhere else. That works every time, for just about everything.'

Publisher: 'Ha. Not this time it won't. The protagonist's female. That's the twist.'

Designer: 'I know! Let's have a picture of some woman walking away from us! Like she's just been somewhere...'

What does it cost to get a decent designer in? Not much. I bet there are hundreds of young hopefuls who could do better than this for fourpence.

And if you thought that was bad, take a look at this:



Five covers, five different authors, same hackneyed image.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Great Inventions Still Waiting To Happen. No.1: Vegan Scratchings


I was in a local refreshment room the other night with a chum. We'd ordered up some Yorkshire tapas - bag of nuts and a packet of pork scratchings - and were enjoying same.

Good man, the pork scratching, though of course not to everyone's taste. There are whole sectors of society who will never know the pleasure of this crunchy morsel, it being against either their religion or their conscience to touch the things.

So where is the kosher equivalent? Where is the vegan scratching? We fell to wondering what a vegan scratching might taste like. A bit like pork, we decided, depending on which bit of the vegan you used.

Oh, please yourself then...