It occurred to me there might be one or two new visitors to the site, what with UK paperback and imminent US publication of Winterbirth. Also, thanks to the miracles of modern technology, this blog is now syndicated on Amazon.com, so maybe some folk will stumble across it over there (waves to anyone who happens to be reading it over there!). All in all, I thought a little welcome and orientation might be in order, so this is it. Hello and Welcome.
This blog is a fairly random mix of news, rambling, links to things elsewhere that I find of interest. Entirely normal bloggish stuff, in other words. I mentioned some reasons why I blog here, but if you like you can also regard it as my indirect means of answering the frequently author-targeted questions 'Where do you get your ideas from?' and 'What are your influences?'. Partial and vague answers are scattered throughout this blog, a bit like bones buried around a garden by an over-active and forgetful dog. (Do dogs actually do that outside of cartoons? I've never owned one, so I don't know whether it's a myth or not.)
There is a feed thingy, to which you might want to consider subscribing (and if you're not using those things yet, why on Earth not? I love my feeds, I do. Whoever invented RSS should get a Nobel prize, or a knighthood, or something.)
Elsewhere on the website, the Gazetteer section has some (spoiler-free) info that fills in a little of the background to events described in the books. Stuff gets added to it now and again - in fact it's just been updated with a note on the Kyrinin clans. Another new addition is something that's almost but not quite like a cover gallery: all the covers so far stuck onto Winterbirth can now be viewed on this pagedeep in the bowels of the website, which is also the place to go for anyone who's curious about non-English language editions.
Should you be yet to buy the UK paperback, and be tempted by the thought of a signed copy (or a signed copy of the UK hardback, which is still available and might actually be of more interest to those of you who like signatures on their books), see here for details.
Oh, and interviews with me have been sprouting across the internet like an infestation of pernicious mushrooms recently. Should you not yet be sick of the sight of me rambling on, there's one here: part oneand part two, and another one here.
And that was the Welcome Message. Consider yourself welcomed, and thanks for listening.
At the very end, there's a plea for someone to get out the thumbscrews and extract an answer from me to a particular question. In an effort to cut out the middleman, and because one or two other people have been curious about the same subject, I thought I'd short-circuit the system a bit and do a quick interview with myself. So here we go ... Oh, this will make basically no sense whatsoever to anyone who hasn't read Winterbirth, by the way. Sorry.
Q: Is there going to be any more information on the Anain, Saolin or Whreinin?
A: Well I don't want to stray into spoilerish territory. The safest thing to say would be that a little more info on all the races can be found in the Gazetteer on this very site, and more is likely to appear there eventually.
Q: 'Little' is a very accurate description of what's currently in the Gazetteer. You can surely be a bit more revealing than that?
A: Okay, okay. First off, the Whreinin are extinct, so the chances of them taking an active role in this trilogy are ... slim. They may get talked about now and again, though. For those interested in the archaeology of the writing process, back in the mists of time there did once exist a draft of Winterbirth, and a notional outline of the next two books, in which there was considerably more stuff about the Whreinin floating around. It didn't survive the slaughter that is revising and rewriting.
As far as the Anain are concerned, the short answer is yes, there's more to come on the subject of the Anain in both Bloodheir and Book 3. The focus stays on humans and Kyrinin, but the Anain won't be staying entirely passive. What part they play, I obviously can't tell you or I'd have to kill you.
Q: That's slightly more illuminating, I suppose. Still seems a little coy as answers go. You haven't even mentioned the Saolin, for example. Couldn't you ... Hello? Hello? Oh, our interviewee seems to have gone off to boil the kettle. I guess that's the end of the interview.
So ... Edinburgh in August. Pretty much unlike anywhere else on Earth. Festival mania reigns. You've got the Festival, the Fringe, the Book Festival, the Film Festival, the Tattoo, and one or two minor hangers-on like the no doubt well-intentioned but, if you ask me, just plain spurious Festival of Politics.
I'll be taking in some potentially interesting stuff, including Beowulf, The Bacchae(with Dionysus played by Nightcrawler!), and Stardust. Half the fun, though, you don't need a ticket for. It's in the random blizzard of activity, and the sense of semi-organised and mostly good-humoured chaos that engulfs the city. And the dedicated performers going to great lengths to promote their shows: And that, by the way, was not the first but the second person I saw lying in a coffin on the street within a hundred yards or so. Great minds evidently think alike, though I'm not entirely sure 'great' is the operative word here.
The streets heave with tourists, performers, the famous and the not-so-famous, turning the whole city into one giant show (and, supposedly, doubling its population). I'll be looking for Albannach, who are regulars at this time of year, and put on one of the best street gigs:
All in all, it's a fun few weeks. It turns out (I discovered via the Woolamaloo Gazette) that this is the last year that the Film Festival will take place during August. They're shifting it to June from next year. I really like the concentrated insanity that results from having all the festivals going on at more or less the same time. Losing films from the August mix is a bit of a pity. Not that there's exactly a shortage of other stuff going on, I suppose.
The interview is at A Dribble of Ink. The longest one I've done to date, as far as I can remember. I was feeling talkative evidently, but despite that it turned out reasonably well, I think. There's a lot of other good content at A Dribble of Ink, so have a look around while you're there.
The signed books are at Transreal Fiction. Anyone who would for some reason like a signed (and optionally, dedicated, dated, whatever) copy of the Winterbirth paperback can order one from Transreal - details on their website, or you can e-mail enquiries[at]transreal[dot]co[dot]uk for more info. Cost is cover price plus p&p.
To my surprise, interest in signed copies of the hardback hasn't quite died down yet either, so just to confirm: you can still get signed hardback Winterbirths from Transreal too, although I'm not entirely certain how long it will remain available now that the paperback's out, so now's the time to buy if you're so inclined.
Item the First. Although I've not had official confirmation, I think this is the cover to the Russian edition of Winterbirth. Now Russian sf/f book covers are famously ... what's the word ... different, and this one is no exception (I have no clue who those figures are), but I consider it a badge of honour and a pleasure to get one of these to my name. I get a little, always vaguely disbelieving, thrill from each of the translation deals done for the book, and there's something faintly exotic and surreal about the idea of it being on sale in places like Moscow and St. Petersburg.
Item the Second. Here's two Winterbirth reviews for the price of one (well, maybe one and a half for the price of one): the proprietor of Gav's Studio did a review and then went back a couple of days later to add to it. Interesting to see someone reflecting on a review and revisiting it - not something you see very often in the blogosphere.
Item the Third. Edinburgh has now entered the month or so of collective weirdness that is Festival season. I'll write about this more here soon, since it'd probably be some kind of dereliction of duty for an Edinburgh inhabitant with a blog not to at least note that their city has gone thoroughly mad around them, but for now just thought I'd note that Transreal Fiction, Edinburgh's sf/f bookshop, is hosting a Bestiary of Authors: an exhibition of informal photos of genre authors. For those who can't go along and see the real thing, a selection of the images can be viewed online here.
Item the Fourth. Decades of commercial, industrialised whaling failed to achieve it, but we got there in the end: the probable extinction of a cetacean. That's one less species of dolphin to worry about, which I'm sure is a great relief to all of us.