Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year

Another year over, and what a year it was.

2012 saw me jetting around the world yet again, meeting lots of lovely Minions, some of which laughed, some of which blathered, some of which stared, and some of which hyperventilated and cried tears of unbridled joy. I expected nothing less.

It saw another Skulduggery book reach number one in the Bestseller chart, despite a few bookshops releasing it early and risking my wrath (which is terrible and frightening. Honest it us. You can ask anyone).

It was also a year of writing and looming deadlines. I started the year without a single word of KOTW written, but within three months or so I had a finished manuscript that is probably my favourite of anything I've produced so far. Then The Maleficent Seven turned out to be 20,000 words longer than I had anticipated, so when November came I was still writing the damn thing, instead of starting Book 8 like I'd planned. The good news, of course, is that TMS turned out to be a whole heap of fun, and I have a feeling you'll like it when it's released in... in... oh God, when is it released? March? I think?

The whole thing started, by the way, because of the speed you lot raced through Deathbringer. After a year of hyping yourselves up and building excitement, the book was released and suddenly you had another year to wait for the next one. And for some reason I began to feel guilty about that, so I decided  to release something small between KOTW and Book 8, and Tanith's little adventure was born.

Book 8 is progressing well, you'll be happy to know. 25,000 words so far, which is roughly a fifth of KOTW. I don't know how long the new one will end up being, but it'll PROBABLY be fairly substantial. There's a whole lot of war to get through, after all.

Of course, while 2012 brought with it great surprises and good news, it also provided no news at all on the movie front... at least no news that I can talk about. I've been writing the script myself (and it is AWESOME) and I'd have liked to be able to announce some kind of film deal before the end of the year. But things move slowly in Hollywood, and things move even slower because I'm extra-cautious after what happened with Warner Bros (still awesome people, by the way). So just be patient, and eventually I'll have something to say. Good things come to those who wait.

(Well actually, good things come to those who work really hard to make those things happen, but whatever.)

But as the year draws to a close, I like to remember the things that I've enjoyed.

2012, after all, brought us these guys

 And this lot...

And this...

... this...

... this...

... that...

Oooh and this slice of awesomeness...

And it brought us Haywire...

... and so more of Gina Carano...

... which is ALWAYS a good thing...

And it had Ronda Rousey defending her Strikeforce title...

AND moving to the UFC...

And 2012 gave us Michelle Jenneke, for which I am eternally grateful...

... and my dear beloved Jenna...

Further words about Jenna, I think, need not be spoken.

And so, as we wave goodbye to 2012 and welcome 2013 with open arms, I thank you for all your support. And I'm not just talking about the Minions who comment on this Blog, or the Minions who populate the Forums or the Facebook page or Skuldpedia or the Roarhaven page, or the Minions who obsess about Skulduggery on tumblr or have set up their own websites, and I'm not just talking about the astonishing artists and writers who frequent deviantART and those nutters who follow me on Twitter EVEN THOUGH I NEVER TWEET...

... I'm also thanking YOU, the many silent Minions out there who read this Blog but don't comment. Whenever I talk about how proud I am of the Skulduggery readers, I don't just mean the readers I know. I mean you, too.

So, thank you for everything, and I hope you all have an amazing 2013.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas, 2012

Ah, Christmas...

Every year, my family tell me they don't know WHAT they're going to get me, and every year we have a great big laugh about it. But every year I think ah, THIS is the year. This is the year when they DO know what to get me, but they're all PRETENDING they don't. They're all conspiring with each other, pooling their money and resources, going that extra mile to get me the thing that will make me happy, whatever it may be. It's all a surprise, I think to myself. It's all a wonderful surprise and on Christmas Day when I've handed them their really really expensive gifts and I'm standing to one side while they ooh and ahh and laugh and hug, they're suddenly going to turn around and say Derek, surprise! We have what you've always wanted!

And then they show me a parcel beneath the tree and I fall to my knees, and with trembling hands I slowly tear the paper and lo... the most perfect present ever in the history of the world. And I am happy.

This year my mother got me a dart board.

She got me a dart board because, obviously, she knows how much I secretly love darts. She has cleverly read between the lines during each of our many conversations throughout the year- conversations in which darts have not been mentioned one single time- and she figured out that what I really wanted for Christmas, the thing that will finally make my life complete, is a great big dart board.

Mother, I think it is safe to say you have excelled yourself this year. Well done.

My brother and sisters, meanwhile, all got together and arranged an aircraft simulation lesson- where you sit in a cockpit thingy and take off and land a plane without actually, you know, being IN a plane. Well, they ALMOST did that. What they ACTUALLY did was hand me a piece of paper with all this written down. They got me a SUGGESTION for Christmas.

Now, to you, this mightn't sound that bad. You might be thinking hey, they didn't know if Derek would be interested in this, so they suggested it, and if he seemed agreeable, they'd go off and book it. And this, dear Minion, would a reasonable thing for you to think.

Unless you remember a few years ago where my sisters told me that what they were going to do for me that Christmas was renovate my bathroom. Oh wow, said I. A bathroom renovation, just what I've always wanted. A bathroom renovation as done by two pregnant women with no prior history of bathroom renovations, nor indeed any relevant knowledge of said undertaking. I just couldn't get any luckier.

And if you remember that, you may also remember that they never actually got around to doing it.

And you may also remember that last year, in some feeble attempt to make up for it, they got me a bath mat and towel. For Christmas. Between the two of them.

It wasn't all terrible disappointment and quiet tears when no one was looking, because today was also the day of Doctor Who and The Snowmen!

I'm not entirely sure who the villain was or what the logic was, and I thought Richard E Grant could have been used SO much better, but it was fast and funny and Matt Smith is great and Jenna Louise Coleman is... is...

Jenna Louise Coleman is just so PRETTY.

I know, I know, I have a history with Amy Pond. We were close. We were even in love, for a while. But times change. People change. They move on. I've moved on. I love Amy, I do, and she will always have a special place in my heart...

But Jenna Louise Coleman is just so PRETTY.

I... I think I love Jenna Louise Coleman. I think THAT is what I got for Christmas.

God (or whatever random deity you might acknowledge) bless us, every one.

Monday, December 24, 2012

It was Christmas Eve, babe...

... in the drunk tank, an old man said to me, won't see another one, and then they sang a song, the rare old Mountain Dew, I turned my face away, and dreamed about you...

I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas and you have lots of laughs and get the biggest smiles when people open the presents you've given them. And for those of you who don't celebrate Christmas... hey, it's a day off school, right?

Oh, and Skulduggery was very happy to hear that the Americans kept up their side of the bargain. Nice going, fellas.

Sunday, December 23, 2012


Wayyyyyyy too busy to write a proper Blog thingy- you'll be happy to know that I am 13,320 words into Book 8- but can I just ask why I have so many Twitter followers?


I don't even know how to re-tweet. Or do anything.

I also only follow two people- Gina Carano, who rarely tweets, and Ronda Rousey, who only stops tweeting when she's asleep.

In fact, on the run-up to her UFC debut in February, Ronda and her mum have organised this cool "feed the hungry" competition. Basically, you log on, answer some questions, and for every answer you get right, the advertisers on the site donate 10 grains of rice to the World Food Program. It's free, it's fun, you're helping people AND you're proving how much smarter you are than your fellow Minions.

How could you resist?

Go to Ronda's mum's blog (her mum is a Judo blackbelt... how cool is that?), follow the link and try your luck.

Also, for all you Twitter people, could you take a picture of the Ronda Rousey mention in chapter 52 of KOTW and send it to her? I would, but I haven't a clue how. My genius lies in other areas. Like cookies.

And on an unrelated note...

Big congratulations to Em and Chase.

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Button

This story- which I had intended to be REALLY REALLY short and funny and quirky- eventually became a little longer. And a lot less funny. But this is it.

And it will come down at midnight, Irish time, on the 22nd...

And it has now been taken down... only to reappear in the Skulduggery Pleasant Collection of short stories and novellas, available... um... some time in the spring of 2014...

Friday, December 14, 2012

The End Is Nigh

How are we all?

Are we all nervous? Terrified, even? Are we all dreading December 21st, the last day on Earth as predicted by the Mayans? Although, as Jon Stewart pointed out on The Daily Show, the Mayans haven't exactly got the best track record as far as predicting the end of civilisations go... to wit, the Mayans...

But I digress.

So how will you be spending the last day on Earth? Will you be surrounded by loved ones? Will you be sobbing into a tub of ice cream? Will you, in fact, forget all about the end of the world because you still haven't got your Christmas shopping done?

Or will you be reading a very special end-of-the-world short story as posted on this very Blog- a short story that will ONLY be available on the 21st and 22nd before being taken down-  in which Skulduggery and Valkyrie track down the cause of the world's destruction and do their very best to avert it? A short story called "The Button"?

Hmm? Is THAT what you'll be doing?

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Maleficent Seven



Ladies and gentlemen and Minions of dubious gender, I give you the cover- with text and without- to The Maleficent Seven.

Rejoice, puny humans, for the ArtGod Percival has delivered his most brain-smashing cover yet.

And the world is a happy place.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Molly's Blog Post

Okay FINE, so we're all waiting for the Tanith cover... It's looking like a Friday reveal right now- so long as we suffer no more delays. Believe me, once you see it you'll know it's been worth the wait. Tom's best cover. Ever.

Speaking of awesome covers, take a look at these.

Isn't that brilliant? There is literally nothing about this cover that I do not love. And there's more!

I know Suz Korb is a Blog-reader and she's commented a few times, but just take a look at these books she's written. And the titles! Pulpy, trashy, and so much FUN.

You know that old saying, never judge a book by its cover? That's not always applicable. People who judge my books by Tom's covers know exactly what they're getting- awesomeness on a page. And if a writer has enough taste to approve these covers, as Ms Korb obviously does, then that bodes very well for what's inside. From what I know, they're all available online.

Okay, I didn't actually intend to show all of these covers, but once I started I just couldn't stop.

This Blog post, by the way, is for a girl called Molly, who I met today in Forbidden Planet in Dublin. There I was, perusing the shelves, building up the stack of comics in my hand, and then I hear a "Excuse me, can I ask you a question?" from right beside me. I turn, and there stands a fifteen-year old in a really odd hat. 

She was, as you can imagine, overjoyed at meeting me. We talked about her nonsensical love of all things Transformers (except the movies- she has issues with the movies) and her appreciation of Batman and how she never could get into Wonder Woman. That led to a conversation about lassoes, and then to a conversation about lassoing horses, and then to a conversation about how cowboys don't lasso horses, they just run after them when they want to catch them. Bless her, she has a small brain. 

So this is a Blog post for Molly. Happy birthday Molly. 

I've been watching some movies lately. I saw The Amazing Spider-Man last week. Not as bad as I'd been led to believe. I quite enjoyed it, in fact. Andrew Garfield didn't have to cry NEARLY as much as Tobey Maguire, and of course Emma Stone is just divine. I could watch her in anything.

The Dark Knight Rises is out now, of course, but I'd already seen that in the cinema. Not perfect, and some of the story just refuses to make any kind of sense, but a fitting end to the trilogy. I am in awe of Christopher Nolan's ability to generate atmosphere, and then use that atmosphere to make the audience dread what is about to happen.

I've been playing games as well. Just finished Hitman: Absolution. Awesome stuff. I want to play it again and not fire a single shot. Now that's a challenge...

I had been playing the new Assassin's Creed game, but got bored.

Dishonored, however, is a game that did not bore me. The thought and the imagination that went into building that world is staggering. Loved it.

Basically, I've been fitting as much as possible into the last few weeks because I think I've started Book 8... It's all very random at the moment, very casual, just writing a few bits and pieces, a few scenes here and there... but yeah... I think I've actually started. I had a look at the plot a few days ago, to remind myself of what's in store. I've already got it planned out to a degree- I did that a week or two after finishing KOTW- and wow. A LOT happens in this book. Like, SERIOUSLY. It's going to take a lot of planning on my part. War is like that. Complicated. Got to remember who's on who's side and where they are and when certain things take place and who's around when certain people DIE HORRIBLY.

Be warned. There will be horror. There will be slaughter. There will be betrayal and hatred and love and there WILL be blood.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Tanith Cover REVEALED!

I hope you're all as thrilled with Tom Percival's artwork as I am!

Let's say no more about it!

(Other than to say, perhaps, that this may not be the FINAL artwork, and that maybe the art department need a FEW more days to tweak the colours, and that maybe, possibly, this piece might not even be by the hand of Mr Percival.)

(But let's face it, it's hard to tell the difference, right?)

Friday, November 23, 2012

And The Award Goes To...

The Irish Book Awards were held last night in Dublin and the last Artemis Fowl book beat out KOTW to emerge triumphant, giving Eoin Colfer a much deserved win. He went on the make the funniest speech of the evening while wearing the most dashing cravat I've ever seen on a real life person. Big congratulations to Eoin.

A few other people also won for, like, other categories- including Katie Taylor in the Best Sports Book. I really really really wanted to meet her and she was RIGHT THERE in front of me but then I was called away for a photo, and then there were a few people who wanted napkins signed, and when I looked around again she was gone. Dammit. I always thought she looked so petite on screen, but in person she is physically IMPRESSIVE. Here she is with Cecelia Ahern- one of my top two favourite writer-type-people that I know.

It was a fun night- it always is- but very well behaved and restrained when compared to last year. Ah, last year... what fond, fond memories I have...

My editor Nick came over for it, so we were chatting about the Tanith novella and he reckons it needs only the barest of edits. What does that mean for you guys? It basically means it'll stay at around the 54,000 word mark and I won't have to cut anything out. Apart from, apparently, all those mentions of Tanith in a bikini. I sincerely don't see the problem. It's not like I have her running around nekkid or anything.

Ooh, maybe I should...

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


First, let's get some bad news out of the way... errr... you're going to have to wait just a FEW more days for the Tanith cover...



This probably won't make you feel ANY better about the delay, but it's looking amazing right now. We still have to get the colour just right (because this was an unplanned addition to the series, it's kind of thrown our title-colour scheme up into the air...) but it's looking beautiful. Tanith looks like a total BAMF.

Middle of next week. DEFINITELY.


The good news is, I've finished writing it. I finished yesterday and sent it off. Right now, before the editing process begins, it is 54,000 words long. That's fifty-four THOUSAND.

It was MEANT to be roughly twice the size of The End Of The World, which came in at something like 17,000 words. So when I started I was looking at a quick 36,000 word novella that I'd bang out between the end of the KOTW tour and the beginning of writing Book 8, giving me loads of time to relax and take it easy.

And it was going fine, it really was. I had Tanith and Sanguine, and they'd recruited their team of villains, and the story was rattling along and everything was cool... and then I introduced a team of good guys as well. So we have Dexter Vex and Frightening Jones and a few new characters, including the Monster Hunters (two guys I've been trying to find a place for in the regular books) and Saracen Rue. Saracen is the only surviving member of the Dead Men that we haven't met yet, and it was just so much fun writing them all that the word count kind of... ran off, dragging me behind it.

It was MEANT to be a little sliver of a book. Now it's practically two-thirds the length of Book One.

The things I do for you people, I swear...

The "Can Your School Get More Awesome?" competition is still going strong over at the Skulduggery website. The ingenuity on display is something to behold, with many of you using both social AND mainstream media (local papers, radio stations) to garner as many votes as possible. Have to say, I'm impressed at the imagination being displayed- there are some real smart cookies out there. There a few schools that are practically guaranteed to be in the top ten, there are plenty more who have established themselves as challengers, and then there are the schools with only a few votes. And to the people who put forward THOSE schools, I have to ask- how does it feel to be so utterly cool? How does it feel to be the only one in your area with enough good taste to vote? You are shining lights, you truly are.

I'm just looking at some of the photos... I love that the Bishopston school in Swansea and Heathcote School and a few others have sent us photos of the school crest- I have no idea how Tom would have drawn Skulduggery in THOSE photos but it would have been fun to see him try...

And St Annes in Shankill, who supplied an arial view... Dammit, if this had been voted for, Tom could have drawn Valkyrie plummeting from the sky and Skulduggery swooping in to save her. Argh! The potential for coolness would have been astronomical!

Let's see, what else... Skulduggery and Val would have looked awesome in the corridor of Holy Family Senior School in Ennis...  and they have skeletons in St Matthews!... imagine Val abseiling down the side of Carterton Community College... or Skulduggery walking up the stairs of Selly Park Technology College for Girls... the dogs in Gabbinbar State School in Toowoomba (you don't have to look up Toowoomba to know it's in Australia, do you?) would have been able to chew on poor Skulduggery's leg... awww and I've just seen the picture from Invicta Grammar School with all the girls in army fatigues- I'd have loved to have visited there... I'm pretty sure that's a picture of Camilla visiting Brookside Primary School- so Val would have looked pretty cheeky pulling a face behind her back... and she would have fit right in with the girls from Oakmeeds Community College... Skulduggery would have been so proud to stand in amongst everyone in Scarborough College... then we have Skulduggery himself in Brentwood Ursuline Convent HS... and I'd have loved to have visited Hitchin Girls School, if only so I could have made a load of jokes about hitchin' girls...

Voting is still going on, so you've all got plenty of time left. Once we have the top ten, it'll be up to me to pick the photo that would lead to the best Skulduggery pic and then we'll have our winner. But the effort all of you have gone to is just hilariously impressive...

Friday, November 16, 2012

A Bad Review

Hullo there.

This post started out as a quick response to a few comments in the previous entry, but it grew into something a little more detailed. So even though I really have to get back to the Tanith novella, I figured I'd address it here instead.

Kestrel LeStarre (hi Kestrel!) posted an excerpt from a Good Reads review of Book One- a review that wasn't exactly favourable. Every writer gets all kinds of reviews- some good, some great, some bad, some terrible. It's the business. Everyone's entitled to their opinion. I'll deal with this one in stages.

Disappointing. The title/name and the cover illustration really appealed to me, but the book was generic and unbelievable from the start. I suppose some could be forgiven considering that the intended audience appears to be maybe 11 year olds (?), but I personally don't believe that children's books should be low quality just because they are aimed at children.

I can't find fault with this statement. I mean, I don't exactly AGREE with it, and most of you probably don't either, but the reviewer is merely stating that this isn't his cup of proverbial tea. He doesn't think the writing is as good as it should be. I got a few of these responses to the first book and my reaction was to shrug. Fair enough. That's what they think. I can read back over the series and make a note of where and when and how my writing improved- I am a MUCH better writer now than I was back then- but for every negative statement I received, I got hundreds of positive ones from readers who were willing to forgive any first-book-mistakes and simply dive right in, ready to be swept away on a tsunami of, er, awesomeness.

And hey, how can you disagree too harshly with a guy who appreciates Tom's covers like that?

...oh, and saying "I'm a genius" all the time does not make a character full of "dry wit".

This is very true. The fact that he is full of dry wit makes him full of dry wit. Nicely pointed out.

...oh, and being spunky child full of spunk who sprays spunk everywhere does not mean the child is equivalent to an adult. Children can be clever, creative, work in groups, et cetera but having them physically fight adults 1-on-1 strains credulity.

Ah, now here is the only point he's made that I take issue with. Having a spunky child fight an adult one-on-one does NOT strain credulity. Having a spunky child BEAT an adult one-on-one, however, very much does. It took Valkyrie YEARS to be strong enough to hold her own without the use of magic, and even then I don't think she's ever WON. In Death Bringer, when she's fighting Moore in her house without magic, even though she's had a few years of the best combat training in the world, the fact is she's still a 16 year old girl and he's a grown man. And Val doesn't exactly win that fight. She needs help.

I've always had a problem with YA books that show young teenagers beating adults in a physical brawl. They might get lucky, absolutely. A lucky punch can knock anyone out. But most of the adults they go up against are criminals or villains of some description- men and women who KNOW violence. No amount of martial arts in the world will make that a fair fight. Fair fights, in fact, are ridiculously stupid. Why would you EVER get into a fair fight? If you have to fight you need to WIN- and that means you fight on YOUR terms, not his.

Val has adopted this philosophy because this is my philosophy. 

When Val has to fight, she fights. She uses every dirty trick she can. This is the girl, remember, who tore out a creature's throat with her TEETH down in the caves in Death Bringer. Fair fights are for suckers.

...oh, and not all adults are doofuses.

I'm assuming he's referring to Desmond here, who is very much a doofus- though this statement kind of skips over the fact that Skulduggery, Ghastly, China, Tanith, Bliss and most everyone else except Stephanie/Valkyrie is ALSO an adult, so...

Anyway, what was the point in discussing this here? It's not like this is the only bad review I've ever got. There is one in particular that stands out as being SO unbelievably bad that you get the feeling the reviewer has a personal grudge against me- like he was determined to hate every single thing about the book. But I didn't respond to THAT review. Someone like that is really not worth my time. So why this one?

First of all, the reviewer is not being mean. He doesn't like the book, and the review is quite snarky in its own playful way, but there is not one trace of malice in those words. It's just his opinion, and he not only has a right to HAVE that opinion, but he has a right to SHARE it as well. I'll never give a bad review of any book (apart from maybe books by HUGE writers), because I know how hard it is to get published in the first place and the last thing a writer needs is someone else going "you suck." If I don't like a book I'll simply ignore it. I won't say anything at all about it. But that's me, being in the privileged position that I'm in. Any negative opinion of mine can actually damage someone else's success, so it becomes something more than an opinion. But all this reviewer is doing is letting people know that he didn't respond well to Skulduggery Pleasant.

But again- why am I discussing it here?

Some of you like Twilight. That's fine. I don't like it. Twilight is one of those books I feel I can criticise because nothing I say will effect its success. By now it's untouchable. So... some of you like it. All of you probably know at least a few people who love it. Of course you do.

A few years ago, Stephen King criticised Stephanie Meyer for, you know, not being any good. In return, he got an avalanche of angry responses from Twilight fans.

(I refuse to call them Twihards.)

That level of anger and fury and vitriol is not uncommon on the internet. The internet is the HOME of anger and fury and vitriol. It's where those things live. It's where they spawn and fester and grow. But you see it again and again: one person criticises something that a lot of other people love, and here comes the avalanche. And we're standing by, watching it all happen but not involved one way or the other, and we look at the angry people and we think "Wow. You seriously need to get out more."

The few responses from you guys to this Good Reads review have been wonderful. As I'm writing this, Ivy has just posted another response, and it is just as good-spirited as Georgina's and Beau's and Kristine's (thought Kristine's response DID make me think of Ralph Wiggum from The Simpsons going "Me fail English? That's unpossible!")

You guys are so passionate about Skulduggery and so supportive of me as a writer, and it's moments like these when I realise yet again how lucky I am to have Minions like you. Warm, intelligent, fiery people who won't even be rude to people they strongly disagree with.

You guys rock.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

KOTW Paperback

Laydeeeez an' gentleminions, I present to you, the KOTW paperback cover.

And Tom isn't even FINISHED it yet...! There's going to be some colour stuff happening, and some cool silver effects added and things, but even as it stands now, this is a cover that's going to pop out at you on the bookshelf. For Tom is awesome.

Speaking of paperbacks, we're going to start gradually removing the short stories from the reprints, with the aim of collecting everything (including the Tanith novella) into one big book in the spring of 2014. There'll be lots of brand new stories in there as well, covering the entire series. So will we see a short story starring Mr Bliss, back when he was alive? Will we see Val and pre-Remnant Tanith fighting side by side once again? Will we even catch a glimpse of Skulduggery and the Dead Men at war with Mevolent...?

To be honest I haven't a clue. I'm just making things up as I go along.

Be here on Friday for the Tanith cover...


Annnnnd apparently I won't be revealing the Tanith cover until Friday the 23rd... bah!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Cast Your Vote


I decided it was time to eat lunch, like, an HOUR ago, and I'm still at the computer. And what am I doing now? I'm writing a blog post. Tssh.

Okay then, what have I been up to? Well, the Tanith novella, as you may have guessed. I have another week of writing on that and then I'll pretty much launch straight into Book 8, provisionally titled Skulduggery Pleasant: People Gonna CRY. But I digress.

On Halloween I did an event in Dublin with my editor Nick Lake and cover artist Tom Percival. It was the first time we'd been on stage together and it was basically a big chat about how the books get made and the process behind it all. Plus I mocked people. It was fun.

And that event also marked another first- the first time the real Valkyrie Cain attended. Laura was sitting at the back beside my agent, and when I mentioned that she was actually here there was an audible gasp around the room and everyone started craning their necks to try and spot her. Laura, for her part, stared straight ahead and tried to attract no attention whatsoever. I'm fairly sure she emerged unscathed by the whole experience- thought she DID glare at me afterwards.

That night we all went out to dinner, fifteen of us, and many laughs were had. Presumably. I spent the next day with Nick as he tried to get me to decide what to write once Skulduggery is over. I have a few ideas, but I'm still not entirely sure what it'll be. Apart from brilliant. We all KNOW it'll be brilliant.

Voting for the Irish Book Awards have come around again. This year I'm up against Anna Carey, Judi Curtin, John Boyne, Darren Shan and Eoin Colfer. That's a pretty impressive list by anyone's standards. I didn't win last year- Anna did- and to be honest I had THE best time. I actually like not winning. It means you can hold a conversation with someone without interruption.

Every year, I don't ask you to vote for me- I ask you to vote for whoever you think deserves it. And this year is no different. Well, ALMOST no different. The only difference is that this year the last Artemis Fowl book is nominated, and if any book deserves to win...

Just pointing it out, that's all. Not trying to influence you, one way or the other. Ahem.

Let's see... oh, next week is going to be fun! You're going to be getting TWO cover releases here on this Blog. The new paperback cover for KOTW at the start of the week, and the Tanith cover at the end of the week.

See? I'm so good to you.

Now I'm going to eat lunch.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

A Birthday Party Around The World

A little post here, just to share the oddness that is my life.

Everyone has birthdays. These birthdays are celebrated. Sometimes there are parties. These things happen. These things are normal.

Some other people have birthdays that are celebrated in their absence, halfway around the world, by people they have never actually met. These things are definitely not normal. But these things happen to me.

My Minions, for your amusement, I provide for you a select few photos taken at the party organised by regular Minion commenter and general online-stalker, Valkyrie V Cain.

Billy-Ray Sanguine (in a lovely checked shirt tied off at the midriff... um...) and a seriously disturbed looking Tanith.

Melancholia, looking AWESOME.

Solomon Wreath, being his/her generally aloof self.

Kitana, kicking the hell out of poor Valkyrie...

... and looking pretty smug about it, too.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you one Nefarian Serpine, he/she of the red right hand...

... and poor China Sorrows, who has no idea what is about to happen.

Argeddion. Looking VERY pleased with himself.

You may be forgiven for wondering who is this long-haired person who is trying to woo Valkyrie, but then you will realise- it's Caelan. OBVIOUSLY.

A wonderful time had by all...

... and even I attended! (Sort of.)

And two photos to end things off. One... just because I think her facial expression is hilarious...

And the final photo of Valkyrie V Cain herself. All these photos have made me grin so much I think I've broken my face. Thank you Valkyrie, and thanks to all your (admittedly insane) friends...!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Right, well, SOMEBODY at Harper Collins messed up, and I am NOT a happy writer. But, for those of you who may have heard, yes, it is true, you are getting a Tanith Low novella coming you way early in 2013 so, um...



And before you get carried away with what it might be about or who might be in it, the synopsis provided was an early one, before I'd actually started the damn thing. Biggest change? Ghastly ain't in it. Probably.

So what IS it about, you ask?

It's about God-Killer weapons. Four of them, scattered around the world. Four weapons that could hurt- even kill- Darquesse whenever she arrives. Tanith, being thoroughly devoted to dear Darquesse, does not want these weapons falling into enemy hands. So she recruits a gang of misfits and villains and off she goes to snatch them before the good guys come calling.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to stomp away and find someone to beat up...


Also, to all my east coast Ameriminions, you better stay safe during this storm and all these power outages. That is an ORDER.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Happy Birthday to Meeeee

(I'm not exactly sure WHERE this image came from. Andrew, from my agent's office, sent this to me this morning. Haven't a clue where he found it, but it is AWESOME.)

Hullo there.

It's my 38th birthday.

First of all, thank you for all the birthday wishes I've been reading online. You care, you really care... sniffle... It almost made up for the fact that I will have no birthday cake today, and I have no one to sing me happy birthday. But that's fine. That's okay. I was woken up this morning by a birthday text, which would have started my day off with a smile were it not for the fact that the text was from O2, my phone provider...

Even so, thank you, O2. It's nice to know you care.

Before you feel TOO sorry for me, I celebrated my birthday last Saturday, when we combined it with a Halloween party because three of my nieces will be down the country on Halloween night. So, y'know... my birthday was hijacked by three princesses and a pirate. But that's fine.

So, what did I GET for my birthday? I shall tell you. I got a remote controlled toy car! From my brother and sisters! They got me a remote controlled toy car! Yes! They did! For no reason! For no reason I can possibly comprehend, they got me a remote controlled toy car! Thank you, brother and sisters! Just what I've always wanted but could never put into words! Joy of joys!

So, after picking myself up from the floor, it was my mother's turn to give me the present from my folks. It was a shirt! A shirt! A blue shirt! But not just any kind of blue shirt! A blue denim shirt! DENIM! The most awesome material you could possibly make a shirt FROM! A blue denim shirt!

Truly, I am blessed. It's not like when their birthdays come around I buy them computers or TVs or designer handbags. Nope. That's not what happens at all.

So you wait, my family! You just wait till your birthdays roll around again! You cannot BEGIN to guess what WONDER of a present I shall be buying you!

Joy of joys!

Friday, October 5, 2012


Just a short note to let you know that if you have any younger brothers or sisters and they like a fun, creepy little scare on the run-up to Halloween (and really, who doesn't?) then my suggestion is to check out Frankenkids, by Annie Graves.

Annie Graves may or may not have been helped out in the ideas department by a gent called David Maybury. The name sound familiar? I've developed a habit- especially in the short stories- of killing off the Maybury brothers in increasingly horrible ways, and the real-life David Maybury is now trying to get his own back. In Frankenkids, the poor boys who are the victims of the terrible Uncle Fraser are named Landy, and the older one is called Derek...

I'm not going to tell you what terrible fate befalls them. All I will say is that David Maybury better watch out. In the next short story, he's getting his head cut off.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Amelia's Last Farewell

Anyone need a hug?

As the Angels take Manhattan, we say goodbye to poor old Rory and poor beautiful Amy. Yes, I am talking about Doctor Who again.

Yesterday I was in Northern Ireland- in Bangor for an event and in Belfast for a signing. Because of the Unionist parade, no one was quite sure how many people would actually turn up. As our car was being diverted further and further away from the shop, a thought struck me:

If no one turns up to this signing, I get to go home early and watch Doctor Who as it airs. Ooooh...

But then we got the call- there were already 150 people queuing up. Looks like my faithful Sky box will be on recording duties again.

So we leaped out of the car and sprinted through the crowded streets, barging past cops and marchers, knocking over little old ladies, and bursting through the parade lines. 30,000 marchers. Countless onlookers. Flags waving. I have to admit, I was a little humbled that they went to all this trouble just to welcome me to Belfast.

The signing was great fun. Lots of enthusiastic readers, some too excited to form coherent sentences, some actually apologising for bringing so many books to sign, some laughing at a pitch so high it does not register to human ears... And I was given things! Two glow-in-the-dark skulls! A bling skeleton necklace! A sparkly cardboard skeleton! Sweets! A tiara!

Er... anyway...

And I was given artwork, and letters, and notes, and as usual my bag began to bulge before the signing was halfway over. Just as I was finishing up, the lights in the shop dimmed, which is usually a sign that they're about to kick you out. But of course two girls, two of my regulars, Olivia and Rowan, had to come around for a SECOND time. See, here's what the lunatics do. They queue up. They stand. They wait. They're usually near the front of the queue. Then they get stuff signed, and we have a chat, and they take pictures, and they chat some more, and they don't stop chatting, and my publicist has to come over and try to gently move them on, and then she does it a little more forcefully, and they finally say goodbye and skip off, babbling amongst themselves.

And then?

Then they queue up again. They time it perfectly, so that they're always the last in line, and so they get a few more minutes of chatting as I pack up to leave. Ohhhh they're sneaky. And I'm not even going to TELL you what Rowan did when we were hugging. She is a bad, bad girl.

Then I was back on the road again, heading home. When I got back I had something to eat, laughed at my dogs, and settled down on my sofa. And I pressed play. And Doctor Who began.

We knew this was Amy and Rory's last episode. We all knew this going in. The fact was, we'd known it for months. I'm not sure how smart this is, to be honest. On one hand, I can see what the BBC are doing- they're making sure everyone tunes in. On the other hand, where's the surprise? Where's the shock?

If I'm going to get rid of a character, do I tell you before the book is even out? No. No I do not. I try my best to keep you from guessing for as long as I can... and then I snatch the character away from you as quickly and as viciously as possible.

So, all those Whovians out there, ask yourselves this: would the episode have been better, have been more shocking and more emotional, if that ending had taken you completely be surprise?

But hey... what an ending. Sad. Tragic. Romantic. Beautiful. I suppose there's something to be said for watching the thing and knowing that Amy and Rory will inevitably meet their end- it adds another layer to the experience. And just when you think it's all over and the day is saved, there is one surviving Angel...

Matt Smith was fantastic in this. When he's begging Amy not to go... heartbreaking. Rory, as a character, has grown on me so much. At the start, I viewed him as a third wheel, someone who was coming between Amy and the Doctor (a beautiful young lady and a charismatic genius centuries old... come on, how could you NOT ship that?). But thanks to great writing and the wonderful Arthur Darvill, Rory became an essential part of the show's dynamic. And Karen Gillan herself... She's been my favourite of the new companions so far, and I'll miss her pout, and her feistiness, and those skirts...

Hug? Anyone?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Lots and Lots of Photos

Okay then, as promised, documented evidence that show you Minions are an incredibly creative bunch...

Here is the first batch of stuff I was given while on the KOTW tour.

I've started to only pack half a bag every time I go away, because the amount of things I'm given while signing is just astronomical. What usually happens is that my publicist takes anything I can't fit onto the plane and sends it on to me afterwards. Well, the final package has arrived, so here I am to give you a brief pictorial rundown.

A skull! Signed by "le gang"! And a picture from the irrepressible one, Becky...

I don't have room to put up all of the artwork I was handed, but here are some pieces that stood out...

And I was also given books! One Minion had illustrated my biography blurbs- wonderfully unique idea! And in Liverpool I was handed Project Baguette, a collection of letters and notes and drawings and all kinds of coolness.

And elsewhere in the UK I was given a box! A wonderful little box!

But what's INSIDE the wonderful little box? Is it, perhaps, a set of wonderfully TINY Skulduggery books? It is!

The pic below is so cool. For those of you who can't spot the similarity, this is Super Derek, sitting on a stack of books, reading one with, er, his tongue hanging out of his mouth...

Quite simply one of the CUTEST things I've ever been given.

I've shown this one before, but I figured I'd do it again, and add in another two Skulduggerys (one from this tour, another from... three years ago, maybe...?)

And this! This Raggy Skulduggery that SHE WOULDN'T LET ME KEEP!

Because of the unfortunate lack of Skulduggery merchandise, many of you have had to improvise. Some of you, ahem, have improvised better than others...

Ah, the Tall Bonde! One of my favourites! You've seen her picture here before (I doubt you've forgotten it) but here is a picture of the BACK of Sabrina Sparrow's T-shirt...

And this is Sabrina's partner-in-crime Becky, giving a suitably deadpan freedom sign...

Naturally, Sabrina and Becky came with their banner- much like they did the LAST time they turned up...



And here's a picture of Mable and Sherlock totally agreeing with the message in my kitchen...

As I was shifting these pictures from my phone, I came across a few I'd taken in Germany a few years ago...

See that? Stylish AND practical!

And to finish it off, here's a picture of my cousin Michael, who came to one of the events in Australia and looked, it has to be said, AWESOME.

Once again, thanks to everyone who came along, and an extra special thanks to those of you who did something extra special.