Thursday, February 23, 2012

The End Of The World Is Nigh

Just got word- The End Of The World has officially been released.

I thought it wouldn't be available until the 1st of March, World Book Day, but apparently they release their books a week or two early so that people will have them in their hands for the day in question. I think the vouchers can be used in participating shops from tomorrow onwards, but if you don't have a voucher the books themselves are real cheap, so it shouldn't break the bank.

TEOTW isn't the only World Book Day book, of course, so look around, see if anything else takes your fancy.

The A/NZ version of TEOTW will be released tomorrow, I'm told. The only difference between the two versions are the extras at the back. In the A/NZ, there's the short story using characters created by Minions -with-funny-accents right here in this Blog (and don't worry, this story will be collected along with all of the others and released to the world sometime between now and Book Nine).

In the UK and Ireland version of TEOTW, instead of a story, we have some deleted scenes from my first draft of the first Skulduggery book. I figured it might be interesting to give you a peek into what Val's home life would have been like if I hadn't come up with the idea of the reflection. Here's a hint: it'd be completely different. No warmth, or humour, or Melissa rolling her eyes while Desmond does something odd. Have a read, and then see which one you prefer.

Oh, and to all you competition winners who have been sent the signed books, I still have to send you a signed copy of Death Bringer. I've signed them and everything, I just haven't, er, sent them yet.  Ahem. The upside is that now I'll be able to send you signed copies of TEOTW as well- so yay me!

Oh, and as usual, even though TEOTW is only a novelette, keep spoilers to an absolute minimum in the comments section. You may continue to babble now.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I Hate Thinking Up New Titles For Blog Posts

When you write, you run out of steam.

It's obvious. When you do anything for long periods of time, you're going to run out of steam. You need to take a break, take a walk, do something else, recharge your batteries... I've got a few things I do, and they all work, but nothing- NOTHING- reinforces my enthusiasm as much as my Minions.

Whether it's reading the Comments on this accursed Blog (on those rare occasions when I CAN read the Comments grrrr) or popping in to the Bebo page (which I will do soon, I promise) or just heading over to the official (and fan-run) Facebook page (, I always end up with a grin on my face, ready to get back to writing.

I never comment on the Facebook page, but I do visit. I have to, really. SOMEONE has to make sure these nutcases are behaving themselves. It was set up as something completely unofficial, but was filled with so many genuine folks that we just had to make Cory and Aby and Summer a part of the Skulduggery team. The wonderful thing about this is that, in some small way, you get to know the regular posters. I've never spoken with Zukiswa, but I know I'd like her if I did. Then there's Ellie and Ashley, two of the weirder ones. Georgina, of course, who has been around for YEARS and whom I adore. Olivia, my- ahem- wife of sorts. Never forgetting Becky, the irrepressible Becky, a girl for whom the word 'obsessed' was undoubtedly coined. There are loads of others- thousands of others, in fact- and their enthusiasm is infectious and good-humoured, and I'm glad that they have such a wonderful place to communicate.

(EDIT: and a quick glance at the Facebook page has made it clear that I somehow forgot to mention my dear Katy Amsden, one of my longest serving Minions. And while I'm not going to name everyone here, because this isn't a shout-out page, I will say hello to Joe and Nicole and Jordan and Ella- cool tattoo- and of COURSE a big hug and kiss goes to Megan Hobbs, with the clear understanding that she never mention the word baguette ever again.)

Another wonderful place is the Forums, at Again, I don't post any comments in the Forum, for a whole lot of reasons, mostly because I want to see how it evolves without my interference.

Practically every subject you could think of, to do with Skulduggery, is discussed here. Every few months I drop by and spend an evening just reading through the conversations. And there are some STARTLING conversations. The great thing is that you get real and honest opinions on the books and the various characters. You have people staunchly defending their point of view- like Liliana, who I've met a few times in Germany- and people working to convince others that their view is the right one. I've read their theories on what's going to happen, and some of these theories have veered close to what I had in mind, and some veered off wildly into the distance.

The internet, as we all know, is the refuge of the bully. You hear about it constantly- cyber-bullying and the ramifications it can have. And no doubt you've seen it yourself- focussed hatred and anger towards one individual that will not relent until that individual leaves. I've said it before, how happy I am that this Blog shows none of those tendencies, and neither does the Facebook page, and neither does the Forums. In the Forums, you have polar opposite opinions clashing with each other, but no one takes it personally. You have people arriving in the middle of a thread and announcing that, you know what? They don't really like the books anymore. And you get the politest and most understanding responses. You get one person loving Death Bringer, and then another hating it, and there is no animosity between them (the people who profess to dislike the most things seem to Synopsis and ExtraterrestrialGuy, but I think that's part of their inherent charm...).

I've never had a problem with people not liking these books. You can't please everyone, after all. If I read a bad review on Amazon or somewhere similar, I take it onboard, see if they have a point, and then move on. If it's constructive criticism, maybe it can even make the next book better. If it's not particularly constructive, then so be it. They didn't like it, and nothing I do or say will change that. And it's so gratifying that you, my Minions, seem to agree with me on this. There really is no point in getting annoyed with someone just because they don't like the same things you do.

One of the best Forum discussions I've read recently has been, bizarrely, part of the Pairings thread, where people hook characters up with each other. There is a group of people- Terry, Demented Kat, Moonie, Kribu, Holly-wa, Hallow Vigilance- who went off and had a long chat about, ahem, Valduggery. And for those of you who can't work out what Valduggery is, I'm not going to shatter your innocence here.

The thing about this discussion is the level to which all of this has been thought through. It stops being merely about the idea of Valduggery, and becomes an examination of Valkyrie and Skulduggery as individuals, and how much they mean to each other. As an extension of this, you also get a detailed investigation into the other characters as well.

Because these Minions, like most of you, seem to have an encyclopedic knowledge of all things Skulduggery, they regularly quote a line or two from the earlier books that have relevance to the later books. (I'm not really a fan of foreshadowing, and contrary to popular belief there isn't any of that in this series. Rather, there are hints of secrets that certain characters are keeping, that will only become apparent the more you read- and the more you re-read.) I've had a smile on my face when the conversation turns to how Skulduggery reacted to a certain piece of news in Mortal Coil, a reaction that only becomes understandable once you read Death Bringer, and then relate it back to what China said in the first book. It's so much FUN, as a writer, to drop these hints just when the series is starting off, and then wait a few years for the payoff. And it's places like the Forums, like the Facebook page and on Skulpedia that these things come to light.

So thank you, Minions, for all your hard work and thought and dedication. Thank you for treating each other with respect, and warmth, and thank you for how you welcome newcomers into the fold.

By the way, you're all insane.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

TV And Me

I STILL don't like this new-look Blogger. I haven't figured out how to sort out the comments section- I can't even READ your comments after the first 200, but I'll have to do something soon... grrrr...


I got a call just before 6 PM yesterday- my publicist, wanting to know if I could POSSIBLY make it onto a plane the next day to go to London to appear on the Alan Titchmarsh Show on ITV. Me, being the true professional that I am, eventually stopped crying and said absolutely, no problem. Never mind the fact that I'm writing a book. Never mind the fact that my deadline is approaching. Never mind all those little details. I'd be delighted to get up early and get on a plane and go to London and sit around for a few hours and appear on air for FIVE MINUTES... and then get on another plane and fly home, waving goodbye to a full day of work... Sigh. Such is the life of a  super-genius.

As it turned out, though, I had a lot of fun. Yes, the traveling and the waiting was as boring as ever, and yes I did have to miss a day of writing, but I was on the show with John Barrowman, from Dr Who and Torchwood- awesome! He's a lovely guy, and his sister was equally lovely, and I had a really funny five minutes on stage with them, being interviewed. They've written a book for young people called Hollow Earth, and it actually sounds pretty cool. John is everything you'd expect- charming, funny, friendly and engaging- so I wasn't at all disappointed. He was just like Captain Jack Harkness, in fact. Which obviously poses a problem, since if I ever get to meet David Tennant or Matt Smith I'll be expecting them to be wonderfully intelligent people with the ability to time travel. Hmmm.

Matt Cardle was also there, but he's not much of a "book-person". Nice chap, though.

But now I'm home, and I might actually try and get some work done. The book is going well, I'm sure you'll be happy to know. 60,000 words and counting. Whether or not it'll continue the tradition of every book being longer than the one before, I don't know. Hopefully it will, because I like giving readers more pages for their money every time, but a book's length is a book's length, and the story itself will dictate how long it'll be.

I also have a possible title... that I can't tell you about just yet! My agent loves it, my editor loves it, I'm pretty sure the marketing people love it... It's completely different to the style of titles I've been using up until now, which is what I'm after. I'm sure I'll be able to tell you what it is soon enough, and then we'll show you the cover closer to September, just to torture you even more.

But for now, I'm concentrating on writing the thing, fully conscious that The End Of The World is out on March 1st. You guys have caused such a storm with this, actually, because thousands of you have pre-ordered it on Amazon UK, and apparently that has never happened for a World Book Day book before. I've heard that Amazon were a tad stunned...

Well done, Minions. You stunned Amazon.

Be proud of yourselves.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Two things...

First of all, is everyone else having trouble going beyond the first page of Comments, or is it just me? For some reason I can't find any "Next page" button...

And I've just been going through the comments marked as "Spam"- even though none of them were spam. For some reason, at various times Blogger reckons you might be spamming the comments section and so doesn't show what you've written (which might explain some missing posts). But I was going through it and I found a message from Teena, my Thai translator. Hi Teena! I think translating the short stories is a lovely idea, and you're so good to even offer to do it. You might have to check with the publisher that it's ok to go ahead, but you absolutely have my permission (if you haven't changed your mind by now...)

And, because no short Blog post is complete without a picture, here's a little doggy.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Writing Books. And Haywire.

So much to do, so little time...

You may have noticed a distinct lack of updates since, er, the last post. This is MOSTLY because I was knocked off the internet for a few days, which allowed me to focus on writing. The latest book is going well, you'll be pleased to hear. Still don't know what it's called, but I'm sure it'll come to me, and it'll be typically brilliant.

I'm writing this one in sequence, which is unusual for me. Usually I'll skip forward and back, writing the cool stuff and then fitting it all together later, like a jigsaw. But this one is different. This one, I started with the first chapter and just kept going. I'm leaving gaps as I go- maybe I'll write half a chapter and move on, or maybe I'll just write the dialogue in a scene and add in the actions somewhere down the line. It means I'm moving quickly, getting down the CORE of the story as I go. Assuming I continue like this, it means that when I'm done I'll have the bare essentials of the book written, and I'll just need to go back and flesh everything out.

I'm not sure why, after six books, I've suddenly changed my approach. Possibly because there really is no more room for error. I only have three books left, and everything has to be set up and in place. I need to be a lot more disciplined in my storytelling or else I'll get to the final book and realise I've forgotten to mention something in an earlier book, and it'll ruin EVERYTHING...

My mind is basically on Skulduggery and nothing else at the moment. When I'm driving, I'm thinking about plot. The moment I wake up, I'm thinking about scenes. Publication is September 1st (or thereabouts) and I really don't have any time to waste.

A few days ago I was in the car, thinking about books 8 and 9, and I realised something MAJOR. Something HUMUNGOUS. I'm not saying if this story development is fantastically fun or utterly devastating, but it'll happen somewhere in Book 8- probably around the middle. And this is a development that wasn't in my overall scheme of things. When I planned these books, this development did not happen. But now, because of the slight changes and shifts that come with writing any book, I realised that this development was essential. I know this is all a gigantic tease to you, my Minions, because I'm talking about something you won't get to read about until 2013, but dear GOD I can't wait to write it. Oh wow it's gonna be brilliant. But I can't tell you what it is. Sorry.

And that's pretty much all I've been doing. Oh, I went to see Haywire the other day. Haywire is a spy/action movie, some of which was filmed in Dublin, and it stars Gina Carano, a UFC fighter. It's an odd movie, very low key, very non-flashy. I absolutely loved it. And I have a new crush, bringing my Crushes on Actresses to a grand total of two.

1. Alexis Bledel.

2. Gina Carano.

That's a very exclusive list right there. They both should be honoured to be on it.

If you're over 15 (or whatever rating your country has seen fit to bestow onto Haywire) go watch it. Don't expect explosions and car chases, and you might like it as much as I did.