Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tour Blog #4!

I’m going home!

It’s here! The moment is finally here! I get to hop on a plane in the morning, then hop off and hop on another plane, then sit in that plane for twelve hours, then hop off, with slightly less energy, and hop onto another, and sit in that one for thirteen hours, and step off, no longer hopping, and shuffle onto yet another plane, but I only have to sit on that one for one hour, and then I limp off, stagger a few steps on Irish soil, and fall onto my face, delirious with exhaustion, confusion, relief, and befuddlement.

It has been a good tour. These last few days in New Zealand have been great. I was in Auckland, and then Wellington, and I signed for hours and talked for hours and I even had a half hour FREE, so I went to the Weta workshop, the special effects people for Lord of the Rings and tonnes of other huge movies. I got to walk around their shop and talk about movies and guns and movie guns, and it was utterly cool.

New Zealand is a staggeringly beautiful place, and I’m sure it’ll be sad to see me go.

This tour has, I have to admit, been brilliant. I got to meet so many readers and most of them appeared to be a little bit nuts. Hong Kong started it all off in grand style, then it reached fever pitch in Australia, and New Zealand really stepped up to make sure I finished this tour on a high. I feel I should thank Sandra, my New Zealand publicist, for taking me around this place, and especially Jordan, my Australian publicist, for putting up with me for all that time. It’s kind of weird to spend ten or twelve days with someone, intensively, and then hug at the end of it and walk off, without the possibility of seeing them again in a few weeks. I think… good God, I think I actually made friends with somebody.

Yikes. Must not do that ever again. My other publicists will get jealous.

I feel I have learned a lot over the past few weeks, about the world, about people, about myself. I have learned that sometimes we all make mistakes, but if we judge someone by the… no wait… I learned that it doesn’t matter what we say, it’s what we do when we’re faced with… no, sorry, that’s not it either… I learned, I think I learned, I’m pretty sure I learned that I’m incredibly awesome, and people love me, even when I’m talking absolute nonsense.

And that, ladies and gentlemen of this blog-reading world, is the most important lesson of all.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Tour Blog #3!

Everything’s happening in Melbourne this weekend. The Grand Prix kicks off, as does the football league and the Comedy Festival, not to mention the Flower and Garden Festival AND the Food and Wine Festival. Yep indeedy, this city is buzzing. People have come from miles around to be a part of it. But mostly, and I don’t think I’m wrong here, they’ve come to see ME.

Sure, we couldn’t fit ALL of them into the events and book signings, but we tried our best, and I got to meet a whole bunch of weirdoes.

Readers. I mean READERS. Ahem.

Some of them came dressed up as favourite characters. There were plenty of Skulduggerys and Valkyries, a few Taniths, one memorable Ghastly, and two or three Cleavers. There were even, bizarrely enough, two very special girls who came dressed as the Canary Car and the Purple Menace. It’s not often you meet people who are willing to walk the streets of a major city dressed as cars, and I am honoured I got that chance.

Then there was the lad who came dressed as the Grotesquery, wrapped in toilet paper/bandages. The amusing thing is, this wasn’t the first time he’d worn that outfit. He had turned up at the store a few weeks earlier, wandered in dressed as this horrible monster, and became curious as to why no one else seemed to be wearing a costume. His father, it seemed, had got the date wrong.

He’d turned up on the wrong day. In fancy dress. Oh how I laughed.

The second time around, however, he WON the fancy dress competition, and got a Nintendo DS for his trouble.

I still laughed, of course.

This tour has been staggering. I swear, if my ego wasn’t already at maximum level, this would have pushed it up there. The enthusiasm from the readers and the librarians and teachers and bookstore folk has been jaw-dropping.

But I am tired. Oh, I am tired. I’m heading to New Zealand tomorrow, and then two days later I’m going home. HOME. To Ireland, where the weather is sensibly Irish, where I can pet my dogs and kick my cats and poke my nieces with sharpened sticks. Where I can play video games and watch DVDs and buy comics and talk on the phone without each call costing a fortune. Where I can SLEEP IN, and spend all day alone if that is what I want to do. Where I can drive MYSELF anywhere I want to go, and not be DRIVEN in lovely cars and waited on and indulged and have everything paid for and… and…

Actually, this tour hasn’t been bad at all. In fact, I’m not entirely sure I’ll be able to adjust to normal life after this. Jordan, my pretty Australian publicist, has basically been running my life for the past twelve days. She tells me where to go, what to do, and what time to do it at, and I do it. She brings me from place to place, consulting the sacred ITINERARY every step of the way. Every so often there is a gap in the Itinerary which says “Leisure Time”, where Jordan leaves me by myself. I think she assumes that I go to my hotel room and answer emails or write or sleep or relax- but actually I have completely forgotten how to behave when she isn’t around, so I stand in the same spot for an hour or so, terrified, until Leisure Time is over and she returns to me to take my hand and guide me to our next appointment.

I’m fairly certain that when I go back to normal life I’ll have to go through a few days of standing around looking perplexed, waiting for someone to tell me what to do. I’m not sure I’ll like it very much.

I’ve taken a few pictures while I’ve been over here, so as soon as I figure out how to post them in this accursed blog, I shall do so, and you shall see some blurry, indistinct images and you shall marvel at my photograph-taking ability. It will be AMAZING. Or possibly not.

For those of you who care, my dogs are doing well, according to Laura. Apart from Sherlock, who managed to sprain his ankle. I’ve never heard of a dog spraining his ankle before, but Sherlock somehow managed it. Frankly, I’m stunned. I never thought he’d move fast enough to sprain ANYTHING. I haven’t heard anything about the cats.

And that’s it, another blog over with. You may weep.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Tour Blog #2!

Ah, Australia, land of sun, surf, and bad soap operas. You have always been missing something, haven’t you? As a country. A landmass. An entity. And now, for twelve whole days, you finally HAVE what you’ve been missing. You have ME.

It’s hot here, down at the Gold Coast, but not overly hot. Not oppressively hot. It’s a kind of heat that will melt you if given the chance, but with a judicious use of shade and breeze and air conditioning, you can hold off the melting and walk around with a smile and sunglasses, thinking you’re the coolest creature who ever strolled. And I am.

I arrived at the Somerset Literary Festival on Wednesday morning- pulled up to an actual red carpet with around one thousand cheering Skulduggery readers, just waiting for a glimpse of their golden god (me). I stepped out of a 1928 Chevy and stood there, grinning, arms outstretched, basking in thoroughly deserved and long overdue adulation. Men wept. Women swooned. It was a good day to be a golden god.

Escorted around campus by the ever-vigilant Laurence, I was taken to the Great Hall, where I was magnificent in front of 700 students. Oh, they laughed. Oh, they cried. Oh, they adored. I was truly brilliant. In those moments, I reached a level of perfection few have glimpsed, yet alone achieved. I was so good, so moving, that one student, a beautiful girl called Mya- or, possibly, Mia- asked me if I would marry her. I said yes. We are to be married, ladies and gentlemen. It is a happy, happy day.

Mya/Mia, all I need is your second name or, indeed, the correct spelling of your first name, and then I feel that our love can truly blossom. I’m not altogether sure you were expecting me to say yes, however. Now that I think about it, I realise there is a possibility that you may not have been entirely serious when you asked. In fact, you probably weren’t. Which means I am NOT engaged.


That’s okay. I didn’t even want to get married. I’m happy being single. I don’t need you, Mia/Mya. You OR your confusing name.


Nobody else asked me to marry them. I’ve done four events over the past two days, signed as much as I could, had a laugh and met some truly frightening readers, but no one else asked. Which is okay. That’s fine. I don’t, like… it’s not important, basically. That’s not why I’m here. I’m here for the BOOKS. They’re all that matters. Was I flattered by the proposal? Of course. Who wouldn’t be? Was I looking forward to settling down? Yes, I suppose I was. But that was a pipe dream. I was a fool to think I could be happy. Mia/Mya probably proposes to every writer she meets. What made me think that I was so special?


I’m better now. I don’t need your pity. SAVE YOUR PITY! SAVE IT FOR MY ENEMIES!

Tomorrow, Friday, I go to Brisbane, where I do more stuff and sign more things. And then on Saturday, it’s off to Sydney, where I can see the famous Opera House… hopefully from my hotel window, because I really don’t wanna leave my air-conditioned room.

Just had a text from my friend Laura, who is minding my house while I’m away. The dogs have torn the stuffing from their bed, apparently, and the blind on the living room window attacked her when she tried to close it. It leaped onto her head and then clattered heroically to the ground, where it lay, moaning occasionally after she kicked it. She is breaking my house. Dear lord, she is breaking my house.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Tour Blog #1!

Ah, Hong Kong. Home to, usually, seven million people. But, for a few days only, it is lucky enough to be home to seven million and ONE.


I’m sitting here in my lovely hotel room, air conditioning on, a chilled glass of Sprite beside me, and I can hear the commotion on the streets outside as the people celebrate the something. I’m not sure what. I’m fairly sure I was told, but I’ve completely forgotten. Still, I’ve learned a lot about Hong Kong over the last few days. Well, I say a “lot”, but I actually mean “very little”. I’ve been far too busy looking around to bother paying attention to insignificant little details. Even that fact about the population count came from Wikipedia.

I seem to remember, though, that today, Sunday, is when most of the maids are let off work for the day. Basically, because the people here work so hard and so much, they need maids to run the home. Almost EVERYONE has a maid, it seems. And Sunday is their day off, so they all go out onto the streets of Hong Kong and have picnics and eat lunch and chat and laugh and enjoy themselves. Maybe all that singing and chanting and banging of drums outside has something to do with that. Like I said, the details pass me by…

It’s been a nice couple of days. I’ve done a few events for the International schools here and had a blast. There are some funny, funny people living in Hong Kong- really enthusiastic readers. I think I’ve recruited more members into the Munchkin Army, which is good. Pretty soon I’ll have to start picking out the elite Munchkins to add to my Ninja Leprechaun force, and then we’ll have enough to take over the world. Then we’ll show them. Oh, then we’ll show them…

Only two weeks left until Dark Days is released in Ireland/UK. It’ll be nice to be able to talk about it openly, instead of making vague references to stuff that happens. Remember, if any of YOU have read it already, do NOT spoil anything in the comments section! I FORBID IT! And I also ORDER YOU TO SEND ME SOME CHEESE.

On Tuesday I’m heading to the Somerset Festival on Australia’s Gold Coast, then it’s a day or two in Brisbane, then Sydney, Melbourne, and over to Auckland and Wellington and then HOME. Ah, sweet, sweet Ireland, where the ladies are fair and the weather is middling. How I miss you. Do you miss me? Do you? You do? Oh Ireland, I knew you cared, I just knew it…

Bah. That’s enough. The next time I post I had better be in a grumpier mood, or this might turn into a happy blog. And we can’t have THAT, now can we?

Monday, March 1, 2010

Another post, because (one of) you demanded it!


I have been INSTRUCTED to write another blog.

Not by my agent, not by my publicists, not by my publishers- but by one of YOU. Apparently I should stop what I am doing and write another entry for this blog right this SECOND. The only problem is, I have nothing to write about.

Well, that’s not entirely true. I have plenty to write about. It’s just that I don’t want to write about them.

Shall I talk about working on my new book? I’m almost finished the first draft, if that’s what you’re after. I’ll probably throw out half of it on the rewrite, and so give myself MORE work to do, but you don’t care about my suffering, do you? You only care about the BOOKS. I could be curled up on the floor, sweating blood and wracked with pain, but as long as I have my keyboard down there with me, YOU WOULDN’T CARE.

And before anyone asks, no, I don’t know what it’s called. And before my editor asks, no, I don’t know what it’s about. I’ll know what it’s about when I’m finished, damn it. At least I hope I will. It would be rather worrying to reach the end and realize I have no idea what I’d written. Do you want to read an excerpt? Do you want to read the opening paragraphs? Do you? Are you SURE?

Well you can’t, because I am a mean and spiteful god.

So what else will I write about in this accursed blog? My cats? They hurt me so. Pooper’s not so bad- she just walks all over the keyboard until I sit back and allow her to curl up on my chest for a half an hour of intense purring and occasional bites. But Groomer... Groomer stays around my feet, and every few minutes she’ll rear up and dig her claws into my knees, because she thinks it’s cute.

My dogs have settled in quite well. Although they are so old and arthritic I’ve had to install ramps from my back door to the ground, and from the decking area to the garden. They’re not too good with STEPS, you see, but they’ll roll down those ramps with marvelous enthusiasm.

It is quite embarrassing.

I don’t have much to say about my sister’s twins, except to comment on how cute they are, how small, and that they occasionally poo their pants. When they’re older I’m going to tease them so much about that, they have no idea. Just wait ‘til the speeches at their weddings.

I’m preparing for my Hong Kong/Australia/New Zealand tour, which will kick off next week. I don’t particularly like hot countries, and I don’t particularly like airports in hot countries, but I shall be brave, and try not to complain about the fact that I get to visit all these amazing places while my friends and family get to stay home and have normal jobs like FOOLS. Dark Days is already out over there, so that I’ll have something to sign when I visit. For everywhere else (well, for readers in Ireland and the UK) it’s out in April.

Is that it? Can I stop now? I really do have an awful lot of work to get done. I know I’m a bad blogger. I KNOW. But I can’t help it. Have you READ other people’s blogs? They’re so BORING! They say the same things, over and over and over again. Isn’t it better to say NOTHING, then repeat oneself? Isn’t it?



One last thing, before I go. Your comments. It has actually become very gratifying to know that there are other people out there like me. Not as good as me, naturally. Not as brilliant, or as fantastic, or as admirable, but still- you have potential. Like those two nice American ladies who had that podcast-http://thepoweroffriendship.libsyn.com/index.php?post_id=548724 - which I LISTENED to, the whole way through, and it made me LATE for whatever it is I was planning to do that afternoon. So THANK YOU, nice American ladies, for wrecking my day.

Incidentally, my humour is IRISH, not British. Think of it like this- in their hearts, British people WANT to be Irish. They know we’re cooler, they just don’t like to admit it.

Oh, and Maddi asked two questions about writing. She asked if I told people the plot of what I’m writing before I’m finished, and the answer is, good God no. And don’t think THEY haven’t tried to make me. My editor, bless his twisted little soul, is always trying to get me to send him an outline, so that we can iron out any problems in the story before I get to them. I understand the request, but that isn’t how I work. If I plan out every little detail, I lose enthusiasm for the writing. And if someone else knows even the loosest structure of what I’m planning to do, I lose enthusiasm for the story itself.

Put simply, if I tell the story, even in an outline, then I’ve already told that story- so what’s the point of writing the book?
Not every writer is like this, by the way. Some plan it all out so that by the time they get to writing, it all flows onto the page. I’m not saying these writers are doing it wrong, but... actually yes, that is what I’m saying. Everyone should do it the way I do it, but obviously not as good.

Her second question was do I take onboard other people’s suggestions, as regards the direction of the books. And once again, the answer is good God no. I take onboard suggestions when it comes to editing- I will accept any good idea if it makes the book better, and then pretend I thought of it first. But the direction of the books is all mine. No one, not my publishers or my agent or my friends or family, knows where this series is going. And I’m not going to tell them, either.

The joy of being a writer is in the telling of the story. That’s all that matters, and that’s all we care about. I'm not going to spoil that by telling someone how the story ENDS

And that's it! Another blog over with! I shall write one more before I go on tour, and then I'll keep you up to date with the hilarious goings on while I'm over there. It will be a TOUR BLOG, full of funny things that happen to me, like getting lost, like not understanding languages, like getting on the wrong plane and actually arriving in Galway and wandering around for three weeks thinking how like Galway Hong Kong is...