Friday, April 25, 2008

This Week's Recipe

Yes, today's recipe is Apport avec les clefs. For this you will need an old kitchen, a cup of 'whooa', two teaspoons full of 'crikey-o'reilly', a Thursday afternoon and a squeeze of lemon (optional). Mix the ingredients in the old kitchen and set aside. We'll come back to it later and see how it's doing.

So, Paris. Stayed near the Tuileries (one should always stay near the Tuileries, as a basic rule of life, 'what happened to him?' 'He didn't stay near the Tuileries, did he?'), visited the Pompidou Centre, oohed and aahed, shopped in les Halles, found the best toy soldier shop in the universe, and the most fantastic antiques store that sold, amongst other things, antique, double-barrelled, under-and-over, Belgian, holster revolvers (expect to find one of those in a book soon), and generally had a fabulous time. Thanks Mathieu and Dju, and congratulations are due to Dju this week for all sorts of things, including his birthday, his wedding and the imminent arrival of his first son. Dju, just in case you don't know, translates the Ghost books into French, and a wonderful job he does too. He's also a regular poster to this blog. Everyone say, 'Go Dju!'

We were having dinner with Mathieu and Dju on the Friday night, waiting for the mighty Graham McNeill to join us (his plane had been delayed by some kind of cosmic warp event), and I happened to say to Mat, 'What I really like about French Games Day, having been here the last two years, is the gentile and relaxed nature of the meet and greet.'

Sunday morning, twenty past nine, the queue began. Graham and I stood our ground and, like Alpharius and Omegon, we confronted the queue. Six and a half bloody hours of signing! Six and a half! Now, it's not that I'm complaining, oh no, it's fantastic to get a response like that, but SIX AND A HALF BLOODY HOURS! I'm thinking of having a sharpie surgically attached in the manner of some Mechanicus scribe, so that I can sign at will. I would certainly like to thank, and I'm sure Graham would join me in this, the rapturous response we both received from the French fans, not to mention the stirling work put in by the guys selling the books. We signed everything that was thrust at us, we posed for a lot of photos (there are an awful lot of 'looks of destiny' out there), and the convention exclusive French edition of our Horus short story double-header was a gorgeous, full-colour booklet (good job, Mat!).

In France, as Joanie Mitchell once remarked, 'they kiss on main street'. There was a lot of that about. Middle-aged couples happily swapping tongues in the Place Vendome. We wondered if this was particularly French (no pun intended) or if an awful lot of happy couples had come to Paris for the weekend. What the hell, if you can't beat them... you know the rest.

We were met at the Gard du Nord by a suited chauffeur, who held up my name printed on a card, and led us to an immaculate and massive Peugeot limousine. I like France.

By the way, Dju, when I mentioned the Breeders, I was thinking of their new album 'Mountain Battles', which is jolly good.

The best hot chocolate in the world is served at the cafe beside the Hotel Mayfair on the Rue Rouget de Lisle (named after the man who wrote the Marseillais, you'd have thought they'd have given him a longer street). In the organic cafe where we had brunch on Satuday morning, our French friends gleefully spread what amounted to liquid Milky Bars on their croissants. We brought a jar of the substance home for Lily (thanks Dju) and thus far she has regarded it suspiciously from a distance. The past, as the adage goes, is a foreign country, and so, it turns out, is France.

For all of you out there in TV land, you may be interested to know that in the coming months, I will be penning a 'Primeval' novel (it's called 'Extinction Event'), and a Doctor Who book which will recount the exploits of Martha Jones during the year when the Master held the Doctor captive and she roamed the Earth (ie, the end of season three). The latter will not be all my own work, as I am writing the framing sequence and story into which other stories, by other hands will be set. I'm looking forward to it. I have a soft spot for Martha.

And after that... it's Gaunt time again! The twelfth Gaunt novel will be called 'Blood Pact', and you won't believe the tortuous shit I'm going to put our heroes through. In other news, I do recommend that you pick up the critically praised 'Nova' that Andy and I are writing for Marvel, and look out for the first issue of our new series, 'Guardians of the Galaxy', which launches next month and features a team that includes Star-Lord, Adam Warlock, Drax, Gomorah, Quasar and Rocket Racoon. Oh, and also Groot ('I am Groot!'). How can you resist that? I've just read the first issue and it's all kinds of awesome.

Let's review the blog...

... Yes, I'm going to Games Day Germany.

Re frontages. I like frontages, me.

Rory - I hope you find your shoe.

Sredni - Dukeleto was quite correct when he suggested that I had read up about submarines in order to research 'Titanicus'. U-Boats, specifically.

Glad everybody liked 'Legion'. Glad everybody hates Cuu.

Mouz - Welcome to the blog. If I come to Brighton, I do like Bourbons, and the clones can stay outside in the car. If you ask me very nicely, and e-mail your address to this site, I might happen to find the soundtrack CD.

Andrew - Throw in General Sturm and knock yourself out. I love you too.

Mouz (2) - Just in case you hadn't realised, Nik is Mrs Dan.

Rob - Yes, it is rather nice to get paid for blowing up planets. Could you explain what a golf clap is, because I'm sure I would have enjoyed it.

Tom - Yes, I call that a salute. What was it that you were doing? (Apart from posting your comment three thousand times ;-))

So back to the recipe. It should be ready to serve, now. You may find that a pinch of hussar helps to make it piquant. You've all heard about the squeaky gate, the suspiciously rosemary scented scissors, the shadow at the end of the corridor and the footsteps around the bed. Well, try this one. The other day, Thursday, I was upstairs and Nik was downstairs and –

What is it, clone number 1?

Well, sir, I was concerned that your preoccupation with ghost stories might alarm or distress your younger readers. Also, I thought that your affirmed belief in the supernatural might put off your more rational bloggees.

Both points well made, clone number 1. But I don't think my stories will alarm too many people, and I don't believe in the supernatural per se. I'm just remarking upon the curious shit that happens in my house.

OK then, sir.

Off you go then, clone number 1. I want that book finished by Sunday.

So, there was a tremendous clatter from the kitchen. I came down from upstairs and Nik emerged from the basement where she had been working. In the middle of the kitchen floor lay over half a dozen keys, scattered in an almost deliberate arc. They hadn't fallen out of anything. We don't keep keys in a pot that could fall, and there was not pot, besides. They had just appeared there, on the floor. They were big, fat, back door keys of the old variety that we didn't know we had. In technical terms, this is called an apport, which means the sudden materialisation of objects. We were both properly taken aback. Before you ask, none of the keys smelled of rosemary. At some point, we intend to see if the keys fit any of the doors in the house. However, there are more keys than doors. And I have resisted the temptation, thus far, because I have a nagging suspicion that when I go round the house, door to door, trying the keys, I will eventually open a door that should give into the bathroom or our bedroom, and find a room that I haven't previously discovered. Inside, the hussar will look up from his rosemary clipping and say, 'I've been waiting for you.'

And serve.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Thank Blog It's Friday

Ah, the weekend beckons. I love the smell of Saturday in the morning. It smells of... eggs benedict. And Doctor Who. A couple of Saurdays ago, I opened the review section of the Guardian, and was delighted to find, not only a favourable review of 'The Second Solaris Book of Science Fiction', but, one that picked my story out as one of the highlights. As Xhalax would say, 'Yay! Go me!' *dances*. I won't repeat the review verbatim here, unless somebody actually wants me to.

So, I'll tell you where I won't be next week. I won't be at the New York Comicon. However, my partner in crime, Andy Lanning, will be, along with my other partner in crime, Ian Edginton. If you're at the con, do go up and shake either gentleman warmly by the hand, and say, 'It's so great to meet you, I wish Dan was here.'

Bu-dum-bum! Tish!

Seriously folks, they're lovely gents, and I mean that most sincerely.

Ooh! I came over all Hughie Green then.

I'll tell you where I will be. Paris, that's where! Games Day Paris, my favourite event of the convention circuit. I'll be there to sign books, shake hands, misspell names, sit next to Graham McNeill, pretend I'm not mono-lingual, and ravage Fnak for books for Jess.

Speaking of Jess, she's the latest member of the household to be troubled by the hussar (ie, our resident phantom). This afternoon, she spent a good while looking for the kitchen scissors, including searching the utensil pot several times. When she turned her back, she heard a noise from the utensil pot, turned around, and discovered the scissors, literally poking out at her. Then, of course, there's the case of the missing jigger. God knows where that went, but I'm sure it's tucked in the hussar's back pocket, and will no doubt turn up, now that I've replaced it. Jess, of course, has developed a scissors phobia, which is also related to cutting rosemary, which is why she needed the scissors in the first place, and I fear I have years of therapy to pay for.

So, what's been happening up your end, Dan? Well, thank you for asking, clone 68. As I said to clone 19, not half an hour ago, it's been a pretty full week, what with writing 'Titanicus' and 'Guardians of the Galaxy', fending off rosemary scented hussars and shopping at Bluewater with Lily. My younger daughter can never make her mind up about anything, I think. I don't know, can she?

In my not so copious free time, I've been reading Lee Child (what a refreshingly straightforward and fantastic author he is). I've been watching NCIS (really good, old-fashioned entertainment. How cool is Pauley Perrette?) And, I've been listening to 'The Breeders' (I believe it's a grower, and so does Nik, and so do clones 16 thru 28).

In answer to the posts on the last blog, I would like to reassure Matthew (how are you Matthew?) that I have, indeed, checked the clone enclosure and there are signs that one of them might have skipped out and taken my IP with him. The little funt!

Xhalax - I'd love an extra day in the week too, but could it be a Saturday, please. I'd call it Clonesday, and I'd use it for gentle relaxation and cell division. By the way, Nik would love a black sheep, but don't put yourself out on our account. Hope your knees are fine.

Al - Welcome aboard, and thanks for the very nice comments.

Rory - I share your pain.

Madclaw - If I'd known it would take you that long to get a copy, I'd have sent you one myself. I hope Jack is doing well.

Toymachine - So here I am on my harpsichord fighting with Titanicus. Tinkle... tinkle... tinkle... thunk! Whap! Crunch! I hope you're enjoying the mental images.

Oscarp - They have suggested that I might write a Time of Legends book. I'm CONSIDERING it (smoothes down velvet smoking jacket and lights another cigarillo).

Xhalax - Let's just say, 'Big front', and leave it there. What's not to admire about a big front?

Anonymous - It's not a new cyberman. It's been there all the time. It just snuck up on you, like cybermen do.

Logarithm - The third Gaunt Omnibus is due out shortly.

Rob - I take your point, but as far as I'm concerned, I sound like me. Am I strange?

Nemesis749 - Well, that was the point.

Col.gravis - I could come to Devon. October/November time because that's when my niece is having her baby (in Plymouth). Just get someone in your local shop to put a call through to BL to ask me.

Logarithm - The Fold of the Gaur is probably what this blog should have been called in the first place. It may also become the name of a future Ghost book. Good job, fella.

Well, that's me for the now. The garden gate just squeaked again, and what are those? Are they scissors? Oddly, they smell of rosemary.

I'd better go. The hussar is about.


And please remember to turn off your set.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

The Weekend Starts Here

Hi all!

Dan had a lovely jaunt to London today. He met with the BBC for an interview. It must be nice to be popular.

Matthew Wright interviewed Dan for his Friday night show, which, I think is called 'Weekender' and goes out on Radio 2 at 10pm (BST). I believe it will also be available as a podcast.

Torchwood fans and (wouldbe) writers might want to listen in, because the subject for the interview was writing a Torchwood story for CD format. Dan and Matthew also had a nice chat, so you might just want to listen in for that.

Right now, Dan is sitting at his keyboard battling with Titanicus, which is good news for all of us.

He will, of course, be back soon, so keep an eye out over the weekend for his next blog.