One of those bits and/or pieces is, of course, the competition (hence the trumpets). More on that in a momento.
Let's cover some ground first. There have been some good vibes around here just recently. The latest issue of Marvel's New Mutants (#37), in which we have Magma go on her long-dreaded date with the Devil, has been scooping in rave notices. The artwork of David Lopez is clearly helping (awesome job). Across the street, the latest issue of DC's Resurrection Man (issue #6), in which Mitch is confined to a murderous Arkham Asylum, has also gone down a storm. On top of that, the advance notice on the series I.N.J. Culbard and I are doing for Vertigo, The New Deadwardians, is getting a really good buzz. Witness the LA Times.
Then there's Know No Fear. I am seriously blown away by the good response this has had. If you want to see the sort of things people have been saying, try here or here. The SFX Weekender up in sunny* Prestatyn was a splendid event, and a great place to unofficially launch the book. If you came to see me there, whether you were a long-term 40K fan or a total newbie strangely drawn by the charm and debonair wit displayed by myself and ADB on the Space Opera panel, then may I say it was an unalloyed pleasure to shake you by the hand and deface your book.
We're gearing up for some major Know No Fear promotions, most particularly the awesome "And They Shall Know No Fear..." event being run in Games Workshop stores WORLDWIDE next saturday (that's the 18th of February in everyone's money). I'm very excited and flattered by this, a major in-store gaming experience where you'll be able to participate in Word Bearers versus Ultramarines shooty-death-ass-kick-stop-hitting-yourself-aggh!-aggh! 40K fun in recognition of the epic 30K event of the book (that's the horrendous Battle of Calth, if you didn't know - a treacherous sneak attack on the Ultras by the Wordy Bees during the heresy that a) brought the Ultramarines into the heresy and b) almost wiped them out too). Some come along, bring a friend, choose a side, kick some ass. I will be. I'll be at the Games Workshop Oxford Street Plaza store, London, from noon until two watching the bloodshed and working out which horse to back. Here's the official events listing for it. See you there? Not unless I sneak-attack your orbital shipyards and set fire to your armoured trousers first you won-- I mean, I hope so.
If you've unavoidably got to be somewhere other than Calth on the 18th (Colchis, maybe? Nutwood? Chigley? Somewhere where the action isn't), then never let it be said I don't work hard to provide alternatives. The following Saturday, that's the 25th of February, I will at Forbidden Planet on Shaftsbury Avenue between one and two. Here's the science part. So... two chances! Two different saturdays! I'm here for you!
Let's also all be here for Nik, who's been having a great time of her own. A scary, exciting great time. She's written a novel which was first long-listed and then - ta-mother-fething-da! - SHORTLISTED for the Mslexia Award. This is A Big Deal. If you like and read my stuff, then it's probably worth pointing out that she and I have very different target audiences: her shortlisted novel is very serious, very lit, and very controvertial. But it's also very brilliant, and whether you think you're her target audience or not, you can at least support her by visiting her blog here and maybe wishing her well. The results are announced on Wednesday. Everything is now crossed. Everything. That's why I'm typing in such a high-pitched voice.
Now, the competition. Brilliant responses, and congratulations and many to everyone who entered. Judging was very hard, but I've finally managed to narrow down a winner.
Let me say the standard was very high. I was very much drawn to the simplicity of the many variations on phrases or terms from the book itself, especially "Stay Wealthy!" (if you suggested that, or a variation on that, then you may consider yourself in honorary second place). There were also a lot of very funny or clever or both suggestions that, ultimately, didn't win because they were too long or complex, and thus would have been a slog to write over and over again at a signing. Nevertheless, give yourself a pat on the back for invention, and another for making me laugh.
The winner is just simple. It's deceptively simple. It's short, to the point and exactly what I wanted. It is... "From within". And that means the winner is Rachel Armstrong of Lancaster. Many congratulations, Rachel. I'll package up and send your prize this week.
Everyone else, thanks ever so. I'll be devising another comp with a quirky prize very soon.
Gotta go. Pariah calls.
*actually, six-hour-drive-home-through-the-snow Prestatyn but, hey!?