Sunday, 16 September 2007

The musketeers all have cell phones

I took the church youth group to the New York Renaissance Fair today; it seemed the right thing to do, and the kids wanted to bring friends, so ten of us crammed into my co-leader's van and drove to the RenFair's permanent site in Tuxedo.

The thing about a RenFair is that it isn't a historical re-enactment of any sort, or even really a coherent excercise in fantasy, but simply a chance for geeks to dress up and eat funnel cakes. Oh, and buy stuff. Oh, and get their hair braided and faces painted. The level of historical accuracy makes 'Braveheart' seem like Clarendon's History of the Great Rebellion.

My writing cohort Devon was looking out for inspirational material for our joint project, "Seven Kinds of Awesome". That and a new fake fur tail. This is the sort of fine retail merchandise you can find there.

There's a drinking game that you can play at the RenFair. Every time you see someone in costume using a cell phone, drink a shot. An imaginary one in this case. I'd have been legless by four o'clock.

Good fun, prithee sirrah forsooth etc etc --

Saturday, 15 September 2007

Editing makes my brain rot!

It does, it does --

I have taken the next book, "The Island of Mad Scientists" first draft from 71,000 words down to a shade over 59,000. A chunk of the bits taken out will return, in slightly modified form. That's to get the whole thing to 63-65,000 words, which fits within the publisher's budget for production. Basically, the original is too long not for artistic reasons (hoot! guffaw!) but because it costs too much to have the extra pages. Practical stuff, which I understand.

Still, re-wording sentences to lose a couple of words here and there again and again is hard work. Not ditch-digging hard work, but still ---

Sunday, 9 September 2007

A really smart review

Here's a review from Zubon, who makes 'The Faceless Fiend" sound very deep and complex.

I wish I really was deep and complex.

The Faceless Fiend!

My new book, 'The Faceless Fiend' has been released. This is the second in the series, which began with 'The Strictest School in the World'.

I had a very nice review from Kirkus (which is absurdly prestigious and often a bit, ah, mean) so I'll put some of it here. I hope they don't mind:

"Along with offering a leading candidate for Year's Best Title, this rousing sequel to The Strictest School in the World (2006) pits the wonderfully motley household of Mad Aunt Lucy Butterworth against not only the villainous girls'-school Headmistress from last time, but a new crew of thugs led by a sinister secret agent whose face has been blown off. Centered on exiled young Princess Purnah of Chiligrit, a small country strategically located on the borders of India, Tibet, Russia and Norway, the action consists almost entirely of sudden attacks, chases, kidnappings, escapes and rescues, with breaks for tea and cakes, as the characters move from the Yorkshire countryside to Victorian London. Given to stunningly bloodthirsty remarks ("In Chiligrit, stranglings is everyday-goings-on. Also other murderings, and kidnappings and daily thievings of sheep and goats. I miss it very much."), Purnah is just one of several memorable characters here, all coming to life both in the narrative and in Slavin's usually hilarious drawings. With help from Sherlock ("I thought you were imaginary!") Holmes himself and a variety of early aeronautical devices, the baddies ultimately get it in the neck—literally in one case, though not decisively enough to rule out more installments. Bring them on. (Fiction. 11-13)"

Well, actually, that's all of it. But, heck, I'm not one for false modesty.