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.

Monday, September 17, 2012


Now then... THAT was a tour.

And it's all over. I've been home for a few days in between, but the fact is this tour has been going on since August 5th, and it ended September 15th. Last night I was walking around my garden, looking up at the stars, and the thought hit me: it's over. It's done.

Sure, sure, I have other things to do. I have an interview tomorrow, and signings and events in Bray, Ennis, Bangor, Belfast, Dublin and Cheltenham to come over the next few months, but essentially, that's me done for the year.

It's been a good tour. No, it's been a great tour. I got to meet so many of my Minions, both from Blogland and Facebook and the Forums and even Bebo, for God's sake. And then I got to meet so many more, those of you who don't even post comments. And then I got to meet those Minions who don't even know I have a Blog, or that there are Forums and Facebooks and Tumblrs and whatnot out there.

Already, some of you are being talked about in the corridors of Harper Collins. The tall blonde with the T-shirt in London. The hot chick in Australia, who asked me to marry her and assured me her girlfriend wouldn't mind. The readers who gaped, who froze, who hopped and skipped, who babbled and blubbered. The readers who proposed and flirted and flattered. The readers who came in costume, the readers who came with gifts... the artwork on display, the stories, the effort and dedication and the sheer talent. The massive four hour signing session in Liverpool 1, the even more massive five hour session in Bluewater...

And then all the bro-fists and the hugs and the tears from the hyperventilating teenage girls. The parents and guardians who stood in line so patiently, and who were so good-humoured. I hope you Minions thanked them for driving/escorting/waiting with you- they thoroughly deserve a hug.

It was exhausting. It was manic. It was fun. I wasn't able to take all the gifts with me on the plane, so they're being shipped over and I should have them in a few days. Once they are in my possession, I shall post some photos. Some of this stuff is astonishing.

So thank you, everyone who came out to see me and get a book signed. For some of you, it was our first time meeting. For others, we've met before. Others still, you've come to see me practically every single tour. I remember a lot of you. I know some of your names. And I love seeing you again.

And I'd love to say that now I'm going to take a holiday- but really, what are the chances of that? I've got stuff to do, and things to write, and sometime over the next month or so I'm going to have to start Skulduggery Pleasant Book 8...

Monday, September 10, 2012

Brief Respite

My face is sore. I'm not used to smiling this much. I think I need a lie down.

I'm back home for a bit before my last weekend away, and I've spent today wandering around the house staring blankly at things. It's only when I'm back for a few days that I start to decompress and behave normally, so it looks like I'll have to wait a while for that to happen...

My few days in Ireland were awesome, as usual. I signed in Dublin, Kildare, Kilkenny, Drogheda and Cork. The Cork signing was probably the longest, because I haven't been there in a while, but everywhere there were enthusiastic readers laden down with books. Some truly bizarre and cool people.

Then I had a few days off before my event at the Mountains to the Sea festival, where I chatted on stage with Dave from Eason bookshops about movies that have influenced the series, and we even got to show clips.

Dave showed bits from Starship Troopers (awesome!) and A Nightmare Before Christmas (amazing!) and It's a Wonderful Life (uhm... what?)

I showed a few trailers for a few things, but I don't think I'll tell you what they were... In fact, it might make an interesting blog post, discussing these movies and showing clips... Oh goody, I've worked out what I'm going to be talking about next time!

I headed over to the UK on Friday- just in time to experience the heat- where I signed in Southampton, Bournemouth, Dulwich and Bluewater in London. Last year, I was signing in Bluewater for four hours. I figured there was no way I'd be signing for any more than that this time. Five hours later, I had changed my tune. From people coming in costume- I'm thinking of a skeleton morph suit in particular here-

to people who had made their own Skulduggery T-shirts (and a certain tall blonde with the most awesome T-shirt ever, festooned as it was with lines from the books)-

there was no chance of my smile ever dipping. It's the sheer enthusiasm and energy of the people who turn up to get their books signed that energises me every single time.

And the hugs...

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Book Charts and Breaches

Ah, my Minions...

As some of you are aware, KOTW was released early in some parts of the UK. Mistakes were made, I am told, and by the time news got out, it was already too late to do anything. Our official release date had been breached.

I was told all about it. I shrugged. Hey. It happens.

While this tends to mean very little for the overall sales of the book- the same amount of people are going to buy it, after all- it CAN mean that a new book doesn't get to rise as high in the book charts as it otherwise would have, and so doesn't get discussed in the media, and so more people aren't made aware of it...

For example, if a thousand people intend to buy a book the first week it's out, then a thousand sales will move it to a certain spot in the chart. But if five hundred of those people manage to buy the book a week EARLIER, then those sales are spread out over two weeks, and so it doesn't reach as high.

A breached release date can mean the difference between a best-selling book and a NUMBER ONE best-selling book, which is what all publishers are looking for.

Me personally? I'm not OVERLY bothered. Death Bringer was a number one bestseller last year in the UK and Ireland, and that's enough for me. Like I said, I wasn't too fussed at the idea that a few thousand books has been sold before the release date. So what if I didn't reach number one twice in a row? Did I really care? Nope, I didn't.

Which doesn't mean I wasn't utterly delighted by the news today that DESPITE a breached release date, KOTW is now the number one book for young adults in the UK- so thank you, Minions! (I haven't been told how we're doing in Ireland yet, so I'll hold off my extra-wide grin for THAT moment...)

The reader reaction to KOTW has been wonderful. I know a lot of you were stunned by certain events- of which you are free to talk about in the Spoiler Zone post below- and I know some of you would have quite liked to throttle me upon closing the book, so I want to thank you for investing so much of your faith and emotion in these characters. All I can say is: prepare yourself. You have, I assure you, seen NOTHING yet.

And speaking of the final installments, here's a link to a short thingy I wrote for the Tesco website...

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Requiem Ball

And right before I head off to another signing, I give you Bloggy Minions this post to... uh... do whatever it is you were planning to do for this Requiem Ball thingy you all seem to be organising...