Sunday, May 30, 2010

And The Winner Is...

Charlie Smith, and his character, Geoffrey Scrutinous!

Wow, that competition had a lot of entries. The astonishing thing was the sheer quality on display, making it almost impossible to pick the winner. I know a lot of you- most of you- sent in a character, and by the time I had narrowed it down to the final twenty, I was actually starting to feel bad. The vast majority of entries were brilliant, and yet only one person could win. Did that mean that everyone else would sag, and sigh, and wander away to reflect on how unfair life was? Did that mean that everyone else would assume this meant that THEIR character wasn’t any good?

This... troubled me, my minions. And I do not like to be troubled.

I chose Charlie’s entry because not only was it simply one of the very best, but also because Geoffrey Scrutinous is a very useful character. The entry itself, in its entirety, was exceedingly well-written, amusing, and fun, and the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I actually NEEDED this character to be in these books.

But there are so many other characters that I could have picked. You all came up with some fantastic names, some incredible descriptions, and some awesome powers. It dawned on me as I was reading through them all that, really, any of these characters could have won, and I’d have been perfectly happy. So what does that mean, for YOU, my amazingly creative minions?

It means you should write. You should take this opportunity to look at the character you came up with and put him or her or it into your OWN story. Why not? You obviously believed in it strongly enough to send it in, right? So why abandon it now? Why not take it and run with it? 

Write your own story, write your own book. Most of what I read was definitely good enough.

Look at your character. Think about your character. Work out what kind of story would best show them off, and write it. That’s what I did with Skulduggery, and look at me now. I didn’t get to be your golden god without having a little FUN, you know.

And just to clear some things up:

The game I played to celebrate finishing Mortal Coil was Red Dead Redemption on the PS3.

I would LOVE to see a Skulduggery caramelldansen.

Happy belated birthday, Insanity Moonshine...!

Oh, and rest assured, in my next Blog entry I will be back to my usual, non-caring self.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Skulduggery Pleasant: Mortal Coil

Is it not wonderful??

Oh, and because of YOU lot, who have responded so positively to Mortal Coil as a title, I have convinced my publishers to keep it! So thank you!

Thursday, May 20, 2010


I'm finished Book Five! I'm finished Book Five! I'm FINNNNNISHED... Book Five!

Yes yes, I still have to do whatever rewrites and polishes and edits that are required, but still...


I'm now going to celebrate! (By celebrate I do, of course, mean play a video game until my eyes bleed.)

Monday, May 17, 2010

A Message From Tom

Below is a message from Mister Tom Percival, artist extraordinaire, about why there has been a delay. He's explained it all, and he finally convinced me to wait. I don't know exactly when we'll be getting the image, but hopefully it won't be any more than a few days.

And now, here's Tom...

Afternoon all.

Exciting times ahead for people who like pictures of Mr Skulduggery Pleasant. There's a whole new raft of artwork on the way, that will quite literally BLOW YOUR MIND!* 

First up will be the highly finished, lovingly rendered, final cover art for the fifth book in the series, which is quite simply the best picture of Skulduggery that I have ever drawn. To be honest, that's what I think every time I do a new cover, but this time, IT REALLY IS! Just ask my Mum, she thought it was 'lovely'. To be honest, 'lovely' isn't really the word I'd have chosen, but there you go, that's my Mum for you.

I'm putting the last few finishing touches to the artwork, and as soon as my borderline obsessive-compulsive desire for perfection is satisfied, it will be sent out into the big wide world to fend for itself. So if you see it roaming around, be kind, give it a little smile, or a cheery nod and then be on your way.

Alongside that, there's also the back cover art, a whole raft of marketing materials, and some other exciting new developments...

I hope that last sentence comes across as mysterious and enigmatic as opposed to vague and unsure, in case you're in any doubt, I'm DEFINITELY being mysterious and enigmatic.

Anyway, I hope that you all like the artwork that's upcoming, I'm really pleased with how it's coming along.



* This is entirely dependent on just how easy your mind is to blow. The illustrator takes absolutely no responsibility for minds that remain 'unblown'.


I've been trying for two hours to attach the image for Book 5, and it will NOT attach. The file I have is simply too big.

I've asked my publishers to send me a lower resolution image, but they can't seem to find one, and they haven't posted the cover anywhere EITHER...

What is happening? What is going on? Where is my cover??

Friday, May 14, 2010

More TV Stuff, and News

As I write this, there are 121 comments to my last entry. You people are insane.

By the way, I read every single one of these comments, my minions. I know what you’re saying. I know what you’re planning. And I will stop you.

In this Blog entry, I shall be reacting to your viewing suggestions. I was quite pleased that no one watched a show I absolutely LOATHE- although two of you DID have the audacity to defend Charmed, which was a brave, if foolhardy, move to make... I now mock you, Avotica and V! I MOCK YOU!

Okay, mocking over.

When Dr Who started back, with Eccleston, I missed the start of the series, and so the first episode I saw was when those blobby, gaseous aliens took over 10 Downing Street. I was looking at a TV show where, apparently, the height of humour was to have flatulent monsters running around. I turned it off at the end and thought to myself, “Right, well, I’m not watching that again.”

And then Tennant turned up, and I caught a glimpse of an episode, where this hyper-intelligent space-detective runs around being all egotistical and funny, kind of like Skulduggery in a way, and I said to myself, “Hey, this isn’t bad at all...!”

I still don’t like it when it gets too silly, but on the whole it’s a fantastic return to form for a series I loved when I was younger. I didn’t think Matt Smith would be able to fill Tennant’s shoes, but he’s doing a great job, and I think Amy Pond shares best-assistant status with Martha (was never too taken with Billy Piper, I have to say...).

Sally Sparrow, however, remains the best assistant-who-was-never-actually-an-assistant.

Merlin has its ups and downs, but I do watch it, primarily for Morgana, played by Katie McGrath. Katie’s the best friend of my cousin’s wife, and I got talking to her at the wedding. Lovely girl- genuinely nice.

I liked Veronica Mars, but kind of lost interest once the main mystery of the first season was solved. I haven’t watched the second season of Being Human yet, but the first was surprisingly good. I occasionally watch House, and Chuck (mostly for the moments when the nice blond girl smiles) and I love Fringe and The Mentalist, which is basically a less-jokey version of the hilarious Psych. Castle shares similarities, but if it wasn’t for Fillion I don’t think I’d be watching. He makes that character what it is. I never got into Monk, but I might give it a go, and Pushing Daises was wonderful. Dead Like Me, also. Scrubs makes me laugh, and Red Dwarf used to make me laugh, when I was in school. Blackadder Goes Forth is my favourite Blackadder.

Spaced, by the way, is fantastic, as is The Office and Extras. The American Office isn’t half-bad, either. Haven’t watched Ashes To Ashes yet, but I liked Life On Mars. Glee really divides people- to either love it or hate it. I love it. It’s fun and funny, and always puts me in a good mood.

I’ve been a big Star Trek fan- all the way up to Voyager, where I got annoyed by the increasingly smug Captain Janeway. I really don’t know what she was feeling so smug about, either- she’d managed to get her entire ship lost, for God’s sake. And then there was her astonishingly grating VOICE...

But I digress.

I loved Knight Rider when I was a kid, in all its cheesy goodness. Also loved Six Million Dollar Man, The Incredible Hulk, The Hardy Boys, The A-Team, Wonder Woman, and Manimal. Yes, Manimal. Look it up.  

And for those of you whose favourite Holmes is Jeremy Brett- you have excellent taste.

The cartoons I like are The Simpsons, South Park and, increasingly, Family Guy. I had dismissed family Guy early on, but once I gave it a chance, it grew on me. Like fungus.

I’m working my way through Criminal Minds and Lie To Me, two fascinating shows that have avoided the CSI trap of just becoming incredibly boring.

Oh, and for those of you who are recommending Firefly and other Joss Whedon projects, let me just say- pfffffft. Do you not think I have already championed these shows to anyone and everyone I know? Angel was excellent, Dollhouse was occasionally brilliant, Dr Horrible was hilarious, and Firefly, dear Firefly... I will never forget you.

And now, some non-TV related responses...

I occasionally listen to Johnny Cash, but hadn’t heard of "Flushed from the Bathroom of Your Heart" until you recommended it, Skyril. One of my favourite songs growing up was “A Boy Named Sue”, because it was just so funny, and this one shares the same sense of humour.

Oh, and Avotica, the picture of my eyes at the top of this accursed Blog is not “lame”, as you put it. If you look again, I think you will realize it is amazingly cool. I wasn’t trying to look creepy or freaky- I was just trying to convey the sheer soul-crushing horror I felt at being told I had to write a Blog...

Inferno-Joe, unfortunately, comments-for-the-sake-of-comments do not work on ME. You will cease and desist this activity, or I will track you down with my ninja-leprechauns and STRIKE.
I will have your head, young minion. I will have your HEAD.

Oh, and now some news. A few days ago, I was sent the cover for Book 5 in its finished form. This is, quite simply, my favourite cover yet. Artist extraordinaire Tom Percival sent me a rough version a few months ago, and I think this has been circulating on the interweb recently. Basically, because of the rough sketch, I knew it was going to be good- but even I wasn’t prepared for exactly how good it turned out.

And you, you lucky people, will be able to judge for yourselves on Monday, when I post it HERE.

It’s going to be turning up everywhere, actually, on a few Facebook pages, probably on the website too, but I’m going to see if I can be the first one to release it on this Blog thing.

I guess it does have its uses...

Sunday, May 9, 2010

116 Comments? Are You SERIOUS?

I’m not mentioning the comments. I am NOT mentioning them. I am doing my best to ignore the fact that you seem to derive some sick amusement from writing comments when I have specifically asked you not to. You all know who the culprits are. Oh, you all know. And because of you, I have to write another Blog entry. Fantastic. Terrific. Wonderful.

Today, I’m going to be writing about television, and I am going to link up three of my favourite shows in a Six Degrees of Separation kind of thing, except I’m going to do it in WAY less than six moves.

To start with, an explanation. Sometimes I watch a show because it is, simply, undeniably brilliant. The Wire. The West Wing. Dexter. But sometimes I watch a show because of a sheer love of the genre. Supernatural did not impress me when I first watched it. Yes, they had a cool car, and there was good music, and there were monsters and fights and some quite effective scares, but it wasn’t original enough to grab my attention. But I persevered, and kept watching it for the odd gem of an episode, and slowly it became very, very good indeed.

Now I love this show. They have built up their own mythology, which they stick to and expand upon, much like I did when I came up with Skulduggery. The story develops, the characters grow, some bad stuff happens, and some even worse stuff is GOING to happen (again, just like in Skulduggery). What more could you want from a show?

My advice? Give it a go. If you enjoy the first couple of episodes even a TINY bit, then stay with it, and you will be rewarded.

The first link between this show and the next is easy. Jared Padalecki plays Sam in Supernatural, but before that he played Dean, in Gilmore Girls.

Yes, yes, Gilmore Girls- a show about a single mom and her daughter in a small town in America. Not what you were expecting, right? No monsters, no murder, and very little in the way of martial arts. But what it DOES have is rapid-fire dialogue- what we in the business call “banter”.

Whenever I go on tour, I bring a new Gilmore Girls season with me on DVD. It’s comforting to know that every night I can go back to my hotel room and sit down and just smile. I watched it, on and off, when it was shown on TV, but I really only became addicted when I bought the first season boxset, once I’d decided that Alexis Bledel was too cute to ignore any longer. Since then, I have to say, I’ve been in love.

But it hasn’t been easy. You see, there are only seven seasons of this show, and I’m one disk into the seventh- and I haven’t watched any more. Why? Because I don’t want it to end. Because I want that wonderful feeling of comfort to stay with me when I’m on tour and sleeping in strange hotels.

If you haven’t yet had the pleasure of Gilmore Girls, take my advice- try it out. Give yourself a couple of episodes to decide if it’s for you. If it isn’t, no problem, you can put it to one side and move on. But if it is, and you’re like me, then you’ll love it.

Now, here comes the slightly contrived link, to get from Gilmore Girls to what is perhaps my favourite TV show of all time.

Milo Ventimiglia played the part of Rory Gilmore’s second boyfriend. He then went on to star in Heroes- which is a show I watch, but isn’t a favourite. An actor who had a cameo in Heroes is one Seth Green, who had a pretty major role in a few seasons of Buffy, The Vampire Slayer.

Buffy. Buffy Buffy Buffy. Where would we be without you?

Buffy redefined genre shows on television. This was a blond teenager who went out every night and hunted vampires and demons when, really, she’d much rather be going out on dates. She was fun, and cute, and funny, and her friends were odd, and quirky, and loyal. The dialogue was snappy, the fights were awesome, the characters were cool.

Sure, it kind of dipped in quality after the first three seasons, but even sub-par Buffy was better than the best episode of Charmed. You haven’t heard of Charmed? Yeah, you’re not missing out on a whole lot.

Do yourself a favour- watch the first season of Buffy. If you like Skulduggery, I guarantee you will like Buffy. Action, horror, jokes, and a girl who kicks evil very hard in the face. She’s like Valkyrie’s big sister, or Tanith’s best mate.

And there you go- three TV shows, linked by actors, because I sat down to write a Blog and realized I had nothing to write about. Next time I’m stuck, maybe I’ll talk about my three favourite movies, or books, or comics, or bands, or ice cream, or sounds, or types of cloud (here’s a hint: it is NOT stratus).

Now, your golden god has spoken. Begone, my minions. And if you REALLY have to leave a comment, then why don’t you tell me whether or not you agree with my choices, and perhaps tell me YOUR favourite TV shows?

Not that I care, like...

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Babies, Volcano Gods, and Jedward

I have a new niece.

Her name is Sophie, she is nine pounds, four and half ounces with black hair, a squashed-up face, intriguingly large ears, and she is exactly four hours old. The prophecy is now complete. Life is imitating art. Sophie is now Valkyrie. Rebecca and Emily are now Carol and Crystal (sorry girls). I am now Gordon Edgley, and as such, I only have twelve years left before I am murdered by an evil sorcerer.

So much to do, so little time...

The first thing I want to do is thank everyone who turned up at my various tour dates around the world. I’ve already blogged about Hong Kong/Australia/New Zealand, and then I had two weeks off before the UK tour started. It was delayed slightly by the ash clouds from Iceland's volcano, and in fact it looked like I wouldn’t be able to go at all. It got so bad, I was taking votes as to who I should sacrifice to the Volcano Gods in order to appease them. Irish superstar duo Jedward were out in front for the longest time, with Justin Bieber a close second. The problem was, I didn’t really know who Justin Bieber was. Yes, I knew he was, like, eight years old or something, and he sang about true love like only an eight-year-old can, but I didn’t think the Volcano Gods would be satisfied. Justin Bieber is, I think, entirely inoffensive.

Jedward, on the other hand, are hilarious, and I felt they would be a fitting sacrifice. I don’t mind the fact that they can’t sing, and I find it endearing that they are incapable of moving to any kind of rhythm, and I think it is positively adorable that one of them is always a move behind the other in their “dance” routines. Many people mock them, but I say to you- could you do what they do? Could you be asked a question about what dreams you have left, after achieving so much, and proceed to tell the baffled interviewer that you had a dream last night that you were flying...?

I think not.

I couldn’t quite catch Jedward though (they’re surprisingly slippery little fellas), but I think the Volcano Gods were impressed by my intentions, and so they allowed planes to take to the skies once again. I toured the south of England for five days, signed an awful lot of books and pieces of paper, and stayed at some truly odd hotels. I met amazing people- including one or two I knew from the comments section in this Blog and the Bebo page- and generally felt good the entire time. And then I came home, and was happy.

For the next tour, in September, I think the plan is to tour the NORTH of England, and hopefully Scotland. I’ll also be in Germany for a few days, and of course do a tour of Ireland. What all this means, of course, is that now I have five or six months completely free, to write something new...

Well, ALMOST completely free. I still have to finish Book Five. It was going to be called Mortal Coil, but apparently nobody knows what that means, so I’ve just been told I’m going to have to come up with a brand new title. Yay. I love coming up with titles. Just love it. I realise none of you actually know what happens in the next book, but I can tell you that there’s intrigue and a scary new assassin and some disturbing repercussions concerning Valkyrie’s revelation at the end of Dark Days. So if you guys have any good titles, feel free to let me know, and I shall steal them from you and they shall make me millions and my laughter shall echo hollowly in my golden mansion of gold.

Failing that, I’ll just have to come up with a title myself. Sigh.

Oh, and I swear, the photos from the tour WILL be posted, as soon as I find that little connecting lead thing that hooks the camera up to the computer. Then you shall marvel at my photo taking ability. Or possibly not.

I go now.

Oh, and by the way... 66 comments for my last post? SIXTY-SIX?? Are you people INSANE? Everyone at my publishers is stunned at the sheer amount of comments this Blog gets, because no one has seen this kind of volume before.

You KNOW what this does to me! You KNOW you are torturing me, and yet you persist! You are sick, evil people, and if this kind of behaviour continues, I shall hunt you down, each one of you, wait until you’re alone, and attack you with a dry sponge.

You have been warned.