Friday, 3 April 2009

Magic or the internal logic of a four year old

This is a real conversation I had with Alice in bed when she was supposed to be asleep.

S "What is it?"

A "I need some milk"

S "It's on the table next to you"

A "There is none left."

S "If you've drunk it all then that's it. Time to sleep."

A "But I didn't drink it all.

S "If there is none left you must have. that's all. Go to sleep."

A "I didn't drink it though."

S "Well you must have if there is none left it was you."

A "It was magic."

She wins. 

Signed Books

I was just over at Abercrumbles site and someone made a comment about protocol at signings. Do you bring a book, do you buy a book, that kind of thing; which is fair enough. You don't want to look like a tit. After all I can do that without the aid of a room full of people and a famous author.

I went to a signing  and asked him what the score was. 
I think the answer was "If you've got a book of mine I'll sign it. If you want to buy a book of mine I'll sign it." 
I'm sure he actually said it in a more pithy, amusing and suave way.

The really clever bit was that Joe asked "what was your favorite bit in the book" and I reckoned that it would have been where furious got his name by biting some guys nose off in a battle. He then flicked through the book and found a quote and wrote that in the front cover and signed it. Fantastic. 

So good I have asked other authors to do the same. 

Richard Morgan sold off a load of his books that were clogging up his office or some other room. Now two of my favorite books are Black Man and The Steel Remains. It's no surprise I e-mail Richard with a huge order that is a bit over the top on my part but in the end I settle on the above two books with a personal message.

Here's what I chose for Black Man

And here is what I got for The Steel Remains (US Version)

And for the extra special I love this, I got a post card to explain the 'typo'

I can remember the day I picked these books up and I was pretty pleased at the time and to get a little note in there just made my day.

I think a lot of the fun of quotes signed in the books is the going through the book in your head to find your own Eureka moment.

I am so pleased to have these books signed personally that I am showing off; at the same time I think authors appreciate the fan who wants the personal touch and will be willing to go that bit further.

Tuesday, 31 March 2009



Here are the pictures of your nephew

I can't work out how to upload a picture on facebook any more. 

Hope you're having fun in Thailand.

The only name we have so far is Polly, a nice name chosen by Alice, but I suspect he may get a bit of piss take at school if we call him that.

Saturday, 28 March 2009

What I Learned at Work

The job for the day was pulling down a lath and plaster ceiling, screwing plasterboards up and skiming.

Done that before a few time so you might not think there would be anything more to learn.

First up there were a few confirmations which is always pleasing because you know you're on the right track.

1. I bought the materials the previous day, good idea, saves time on the day.

2. Everything is taking longer than I thought, the guy who worked with me moved to Canada; confirmed.

3.You should wear gloves when doing this because if you don't your skin drys out and cracks, also you will rip off half of one of your finger nails. Check, knew that. Now minus nail and plus split skin.

4. Got in the van to go and get lunch. Funny smell in there, it was my blow torch. The van was full of propane/butane gas. Glad you've stopped smoking. Hell yes. I don't like the idea of splattered Simon in the exploding van.

So far so good. I knew all these facinating things before. The main thing about this job is that it is really very dusty, to the point that sitting outside watching the dust billow out of the door is a common occurance.

So you sit there watching this with your dust mask on.

You MUST NOT under any circumstance sneeze.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

This is how you're blog is seen from the outside. In pic 4 no title, in pic 3 (reader) the title seems to be there.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Do You Like Babylon 5

I was at work, feeling a bit the worse for wear after my night out in London to collect my camera, when one of the guys says to me "Do you like Babylon 5?"

Of course the answer is yes. Take a look at this lot,

You can have this lot for twenty quid. It doesn't make the workmen with the screaming angle grinders in my head go away but it did cheer me up.

I was going to tot up the running time of all the dvds and then work out how much I paid per minute but then thought that might be a bit much.

Got my camera back

I went to London on Thursday night to pick up my camera. It's amazing to be let out of the house so soon after my last debacle.

So here are my photos of the Forbidden Planet signing

The authors, Tom Lloyd, Jon Courtney Grimwood, Jaine Fenn, Joe Abercrombie, Suzanne McLeod, Alex Bell, Mark Chadbourn and David Deveraux

The authors with bunny ears. Look how much happier they seem!

Fanboy and the great Robert Rankin, with bunny ears as requested.

Fanboy and the last known picture of Joe Abercrombie before he was eaten!

Once again a big thank you for everbody who made an effort to find out who owned the camera.

Now has anyone seen my hat I think I left it in the pub on Thursday.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Old e-mails

I've just been looking through my old e-mails and found this:-

These are 30 things people actually said in court, word for word.

Q: What is your date of birth?
A: July fifteenth.
Q: What year?
A: Every year.

Q: What gear were you in at the moment of the impact?
A: Gucci sweats and Reeboks.

Q: This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all?
A: Yes.
Q: And in what ways does it affect your memory?
A: I forget.
Q: You forget. Can you give us an example of something that you've forgotten?

Q: How old is your son, the one living with you.
A: Thirty-eight or thirty-five, I can't remember which.
Q: How long has he lived with you?
A: Forty-five years.

Q: What was the first thing your husband said to you when he woke that morning?
A: He said, "Where am I, Cathy?"
Q: And why did that upset you?
A: My name is Susan.

Q: And where was the location of the accident?
A: Approximately milepost 499.
Q: And where is milepost 499?
A: Probably between milepost 498 and 500.

Q: Sir, what is your IQ?
A: Well, I can see pretty well, I think.

Q: Did you blow your horn or anything?
A: After the accident?
Q: Before the accident.
A: Sure, I played for ten years. I even went to school for it.

Q: Do you know if your daughter has ever been involved in voodoo or the occult?
A: We both do.
Q: Voodoo?
A: We do.
Q: You do?
A: Yes, voodoo.

Q: Trooper, when you stopped the defendant, were your red and blue lights flashing?
A: Yes.
Q: Did the defendant say anything when she got out of her car?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: What did she say?
A: What disco am I at?

Q: Now doctor, isn't it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn't know about it until the next morning?

Q: The youngest son, the twenty-year old, how old is he?

Q: Were you present when your picture was taken?

Q: Was it you or your younger brother who was killed in the war?

Q: Did he kill you?

Q: How far apart were the vehicles at the time of the collision?

Q: You were there until the time you left, is that true?

Q: How many times have you committed suicide?

Q: So the date of conception (of the baby) was August 8th?
A: Yes.
Q: And what were you doing at that time?

Q: She had three children, right?
A: Yes.
Q: How many were boys?
A: None.
Q: Were there any girls?

Q: You say the stairs went down to the basement?
A: Yes.
Q: And these stairs, did they go up also?

Q: Mr. Slatery, you went on a rather elaborate honeymoon, didn't you?
A: I went to Europe, Sir.
Q: And you took your new wife?

Q: How was your first marriage terminated?
A: By death.
Q: And by whose death was it terminated?

Q: Can you describe the individual?
A: He was about medium height and had a beard.
Q: Was this a male, or a female?

Q: Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition notice which I sent to your attorney?
A: No, this is how I dress when I go to work.

Q: Doctor, how many autopsies have you performed on dead people?
A: All my autopsies are performed on dead people.

Q: All your responses must be oral, OK? What school did you go to?
A: Oral.

Q: Do you recall the time that you examined the body?
A: The autopsy started around 8:30 p.m.
Q: And Mr. Dennington was dead at the time?
A: No, he was sitting on the table wondering why I was doing an autopsy.

Q: Are you qualified to give a urine sample?

Q: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse? A: No.
Q: Did you check for blood pressure?
A: No.
Q: Did you check for breathing?
A: No.
Q: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
A: No.
Q: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
A: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
Q: But could the patient have still been alive nevertheless?
A: It is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law somewhere.

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Thursday, 29 January 2009

Book Case

I've been looking at Neal Asher's posts about bookcases. I think the clue is in the title. We have just been updating our dining/living room from the 1930's to the noughties which meant all the bookcases are gone for now and books consigned to boxes in the loft.

However I do have a small bookcase in the bedroom and have collected the various piles of books and stacked them thus

Apologies to Mr Asher. None of your books on display. About 90% of my books are in the loft and I didn't want to wake  Alice up.

You may have noticed the cricket bat in shot. Well the thing is I have been left to my own devices tonight and thought I would try to amalgamate a feature called crap fantasy covers from Speculative Horizons with real life. To this end I have been waving willow about in the living room with my most fearsome scowl and cack footedness trying to figure out how this guy is not going to get killed.


His hands are the wrong way round on the sword/cricket bat, his feet are in the wrong place (not to the pitch of the ball) Fuck me this is where Kevin Peterson got the switch hit idea.

Which brings me to my final thought

This is the picture I have in the office just to remind me of The Preposterous Bollox of the Situation

Monday, 26 January 2009

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Forbidden Planet mini-con

I went along to the signing that David Deveraux and danacea , Danie Ware of Forbidden Planet, organised/set up for the release of his new book Eagle Rising. 

I don’t normally go for these kind of things after being to one years back when FP was by centre point, where you sort of shuffled along in a queue with your 2 items and go them signed dribbled out your star struck question and got moved along. Not fun.

This was billed as a signing with a difference; there were to be many authors and they would be milling about talking signing etc the list was thus:

Joe Abercrombie 
Alex Bell 
Mark Chadbourn 
David Devereux
Jaine Fenn
Jon Courtenay Grimwood 
Tom Lloyd
Suzanne McLeod
Steve Savile 
James Swallow

I’ve seen a lot of chat in the blogoverse about this, primarily because I have been looking at the author’s sites and from that side of the event people seem to be happy. 

Two of the authors I read and like enough that I would go to see anyway, four are on my must buy list and the remainder I think I’ll read them now because they were there recommended as it were by the other authors present.

It’s actually a damn clever piece of marketing and I hope it catches on.

I’m on the punter side of the table here and wanted to share my thoughts on the evening.

This day out was actually my birthday present to myself, so without a twinge of conscience I stuck some cash in my wallet knocked of work early and caught the train to London. I used to live in London and it’s always a bit strange going back but at least I still knew my way round. Right? Wrong. They moved forbidden planet since I was last there; so I decide I’m going to rest my weary legs and have a pint of the black stuff. Duly refreshed I make my way down to Shaftsbury avenue.

I sort of aimlessly wondered until I saw a milling crowd and made my way over. Hurray I’d got there, now what am I going to do? As it turns out I’m going to shuffle over to a table and say something inane to Jon Courtney Grimwood who was a very nice man by not looking at me like I was an idiot and chatting to me. It got slightly easier once I figured that all of us there were meeting people for the first time and it was probably harder for the authors as they know next to nothing about those approaching them. (who’s that psycho?)

Then I went and had a chat with Joe Abercrombie (probably always going to be called Joe Applecrumble from now on) who was there with the ArchPoohBah of Hype ,Simon Spanton. Joe kindly wrote out a line from ‘Before they are Hanged’ in the front cover of the copy I took with me. If I’d known his writing was that illegible I would just have got a doctor to write out any old blah!! Once past the prepped anecdote/story I had in my head and I just started talking like a normal person the whole conversation became more natural. I’m starting to relax now.

Next up I go and speak to Mark ‘Zane Lowe’ Cadbourn. 

Now that I am slightly more relaxed I seem to be able to ask more coherent questions. He's researching a series of books based around Dr Dee which sound great. And he's done a Hellboy story. After a little while David of GeekSyndicate interrupted to interview Mark for their podcast.

By now i'm a bit fan boyed out so think to myself I'll just look around on the tables; the next thing I know is that someone is giving me the hard sell. A lady is waving her arm and pointing at a book saying "buy this, you'll like it" After some chat it turns out that it is Jaine Fenn selling me a copy of her first novel Principles of Angels. To be fair to Jaine it was her publishers fault, telling her to jump up and down and sell the book. She should have said I'll write them, you sell them. I'm now 80% through this book and it does not disappoint. 

Here are some  Photos not mine but from Danie Ware on Flickr

Handily there is a pile of David Deveraux books near so I scoop one up and go and have this signed by the man before a big pile of books is placed in front of him ready for his signature.

Fortunately when I turn round and start to wonder what I will do next I spot Robert Rankin. One of my all time favorite authors. So full of enthusiasm I approach the great man and introduce myself and to my eternal horror call him Ian. Ground, open up, now, really. Fortunately he was not too perturbed by this. I, however, slink off in disgrace.

Trying now to work on a damage limitation strategy I approcah Suzanne McLeod. I've not read any of her stuff but did look her up on the internet. So I safely manage to talk about her books which are Urban Fantasy. So I'm back on safe ground, talking vampires and Simon Green. She notices I have a Jon Courtney Grimwood book in my hand and suddenly she is fan girl telling me that she's also bought some and had them signed as he is one of her all time heroes. It's just so nice that the authors are as big a fans as us readers.

By this time the event is winding down and people are leaving. Did I come all the way to London, on my birthday outing no less, to go home and not drink beer with these worthies? No I did not. So shamelessly I invite myself along to the drinks at the Phoenix Bar.

Well needless to say there was drinking and merryment. Alex Bell let me try on her famous hat, I met bloggers Adam Whitehead and Graeme Flory who I believe was killed in a most grusome manner in Eagle Rising. 

Tom Lloyd and his other half were lovely. Many a talking crap conversation happened.

It's quite late by now and I've had quite a few when are you coming home calls by now so I chance my arm and ask Robert Rankin how he's getting home. Robert lives down Brighton way, as do I. 

The end of my fan boy day is me and Robert catching a cab to Victoria, having a coffee and travelling back on the train together. I might have mentioned that Robert is one of my all time favourites, one reason is that nearly every book he has written has been set somewhere I have lived. What a fantastic journey.

The only fly in the ointment is that I lost my camera. I have linked pictures in this blog but it's not the same. I even had a photo taken specifically to make Elena spit with envy, me and Joe Applecrumble. 

I think it was the best fortieth birthday present.

I think David Deveraux is a genius for suggesting this format and may he and others keep coming up with ways to include the readers. Thanks

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Google this name

Kevin W. Reardon

I found this story via Hal Duncan's blog.

The whole thing beggars belief.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Two Things


We found out there was going o be an addition to the family.

So one evening we were sitting down having a meal discussing how we were going to approach this pregnancy with regards to finding out the sex of the baby etc. 

We decided we would, as the thought being, we already have loads of stuff for a girl and if we needed stuff for a boy it would be good to know before hand.

This was when G decided to let me know she wanted another girl and a boy. 

Well I’m thinking ‘have this one and I can probably talk her out of three’

Her next comment was that her ideal scenario is twins, one of each.

She went for a scan, on her birthday no less, and, wait for it….TWINS

Now it’s early days yet but we have two heart beats from two separate eggs, we can just hope they are both viable.

Just be careful of what you wish for!! 


Today I am forty years old. 

If you didn’t know, the seventh of January is the worst day of the year to have a birthday. 

I’ve had forty of the damn things and I should know. Combined presents, too partied out and general lethargy. 

Having said that I enjoy it and I’m going to make sure everyone else does and wo betide you if you don't.