Sunday, April 27, 2008

Endless Work

It was quite a big week for literary activity in the Millar household. First I went to the local pub to met the foreign rights editor from Kedros, the Greek publisher who will be issuing Lonely Werewolf Girl later this year. After that I was busy again because the reprinting process for Suzy, Led Zeppelin and Me is underway, for Soft Skull in the USA. I had to go through the manuscript again. This can be quite a tedious procedure, for an old book. Mercifully, I do still like this novel a lot, and didn't cringe with shame and embarrassment on reading it again, something I certainly would do if forced to read some of my other old books.

Then a bundle of covers arrived from Baen, for Thraxas Under Siege, eighth book in the series. Well OK, that wasn't much activity. All I had to do was open the envelope and look at the covers. It felt quite arduous anyway. Thraxas Under Siege has been out in hardback in the USA for a while. This is the paperback edition, soon to be published. It's good to have unleashed eight Thraxas books on the world. I would rather like to do a ninth sometime. (For reasons why that won't happen any time soon, see this blog.)

So that all seemed like a lot of activity. Having run out of manga and Buffy comics, I recovered by lying in the bath reading Samuel Pepys' Diaries.

February 12th, 1660 - Hence home, where my wife and I had some high words upon my telling her that I would fling the dog out at the window if he pissed the house any more.

A little harsh perhaps, but you can't entirely blame him. He's trying to write his diary and there's a dog pissing everywhere. It would be annoying for anyone. However, his wife was capable of mounting a spirited argument, so I imagine the dog survived.

Saturday, April 19, 2008


Two new pictures. One, sitting down, taken by Lucy Levene for the interview in The Telegraph last year. (And now carelessly cropped by me, to make it fit). And another taken by a friend outside my flat, showing me apparently about to embark on some dangerous military/ninja training. I notice in both pictures I'm attempting to force a smile, something I struggle with in front of the camera.

Soup. You know when you eat soup while you're sort of slumping in front of the TV? I mean, practically horizontal, like Homer Simpson on the couch? It means the soup spoon is travelling over quite a large area of clothing before it reaches your mouth. Leading, inevitably, to soup stains on the t-shirt. You can't transport soup this far horizontally on a spoon without spilling some. There just doesn't seem any way round this. Apart from sitting up straight, I suppose, but that really defeats the object of slumping on the couch. Technology should have solved the problem, inventing some new device. I mean, how long have we been using spoons? It's practically stone-age technology.

While my soup-stained t-shirts were in the wash, I lay in the bath reading New Scientist. Scientists are puzzled as to why there isn't as much anti-matter in the universe as there is normal matter. Various theories to explain this have been proposed. After diligently working my way through the article, I now have a vague understanding of these theories, though I'd have difficulty explaining them. When the new CERN particle accelerator starts operating, there may be more information about anti-matter. And maybe more about the mysterious Higgs Boson. I like popular science articles about nuclear physics, and wish I had the mathematical prowess to understand it all better.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Out Damned Spot

I approached the bathroom mirror with my customary greeting of "Hello you handsome dog,'' when I noticed I'd developed a spot. Was immediately plunged into gloom. It's so annoying. One compensation you might expect for growing older is not to get spots any more. But this has proved not to be the case, dammit.

So this seemed like a grave misfortune, coming as it did right after Arsenal's defeat on Tuesday - a quite scandalous affair of poor refereeing decisions. Bad refereeing decisions have really blighted Arsenal's season. I suspect a wide-ranging conspiracy against us.

So with the serious spot situation, and Arsenal falling victim to the illegal machinations of referees, there was nothing to do except make tea, and lie on the couch till things got better. After flicking through hundreds of channels without finding anything good I was reduced to watching the Kerrang rock channel, which was actually slightly better than I expected. If I was fifteen again, I'd probably love Evanescence.

Lying on the couch wasn't such a bad choice anyway, in view of the cold temperatures outside. There was a lot of snow last week, more than I can remember seeing in London for a long time. It doesn't often snow here. Unlike my childhood in Glasgow, where it wasn't uncommon to be struggling through snow on my way to school. I walked a long way to school every day in Glasgow, from a very young age, on my own, often through bad weather. I could be several hours drying out when I got there. Everyone walked to school in those days. No one does now, probably for very good reasons.

Quick investigation reveals 60,000 entries on Google for my Shakespearean title, Out Damned Spot. OK, I'm lacking in originality. But it wasn't just the facial woes that brought it to mind. I remember studying MacBeth at school, and I always liked Macbeth's castle. I liked the word Thane too, which is probably why the term appears in Lonely Werewolf Girl, and also a castle.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Public Lending Right

I've been forced to retire to the couch, exhausted from filling in forms for Public Lending Right. Which I've neglected to do for the past 18 years. I did register my first few books but forgot about it after that. For 18 years. Hmm.

Public Lending Right allows British authors to earn a little money when their books are borrowed from libraries. It would never earn me more than a few hundred pounds a year. But you know, I want that money.

It might be safest to stay on couch for a while, with the curtains drawn. Any moment now my modest South London apartment may again be besieged by hordes of the world's most glamorous women, driven mad with desire by my new story in Skin Two. It's probably safest not to answer the door for a while. After filling in these forms, I'm just too tired for company. I had to write down a lot of ISBNs, and now these are 13 digits long, that's a lot of writing.

After mentioning the Barnes and Noble promotion of Lonely Werewolf Girl and The Good Fairies of New York, and saying I'd like to see it, some people sent me pictures from bookshops in the USA. I thought that was extremely nice of them. These are from Matt in Jackson, Mississippi, Mara in Athens, Georgia, and Scott in Denver, Colorado.