Thursday, October 26, 2006

I'll Grind My Teeth to Bake my Bread ...

FINALLY this week, I've got back to writing Ice Road, which will be (if all things go to plan) Book Three of The Wickit Chronicles. Sadly this didn't happen before I managed to break one of my back teeth AGAIN. The last time I did myself this much damage was when my oldest son was in Africa. Editing Questors for the American market is, apparently, on a level with this in terms of dental stress.

On the other hand, my mum, who's partially sighted and knows practically nothing about the internet (though she does have a computer that will talk to her, in a sort of Steven Hawkings voice named Perfect Paul), phoned me this week to say that a friend had been on to this site and had read it out to her. She (my mum) just wanted me to know that she'd thoroughly enjoyed my glob.

I am starting a campaign to rename the entire system. Are you with me? A committee will be formed ...

Till then, dear friends, Carry On Globbing!


Sunday, October 22, 2006

Just Some of the Things They Hate About Me ...

I’ve spent the last three days collating the editing of the British version of Questors with what is going to be the American version of Questors, and discovering all over again the many and wonderful things editors hate about the way I write. British editors, for example, hate my commas, but don’t mind my italics. American editors don’t mind my commas, but can’t stand my italics. Nobody’s what you’d call crazy about all those ellipses and dashes I use - and everybody loathes the way I sometimes break out into double punctuation – what can I be thinking of?!

I don’t know. I just don’t know …

But the good news is, THE NEW IMPROVED WEB SITE’S UP AND RUNNING!! Feel free to go have a look see – - and be prepared to be amazed. Much pain and anguish went into getting it this far, but they tell me my husband won’t have that twitch forever.

Suddenly my days of editing don’t seem so tough!

Cheers, Joan.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The Strange World of Book Covers

Why can't I be one of those fabulously talented people who can do their own illustrations? But I'm not. Even very kind and nice people fall over laughing when I try to draw something.

Publishers have very clear ideas of how my books should look, and usually also have stables of artists they like to use. Or they trawl around in the great wide world for them. They tell the artist what my book's about, or, if the book's not too long, they let the artist read it for him/herself.

There's a polite myth that the publisher is desperately keen to have the writer love the cover, but of course how much they really care is always going to be on some sort of curve, based on how successful and famous that writer is already. My experience over three books, three different publishers, is that they show me something that's just about wrapped up, and then I suggest a tweak or so. Does J.K. Rowling have meetings with the artist from Day One? I don't know! But I've never ever even had direct contact with an artist yet, which reflects where I've got to on that curve. I always ask the editor to thank the artist for me when it's done, because my mum brought me up right, but it's hardly what you'd call a really close relationship.

Did you know the Questors cover used to be blue? And that odd little green plane (which in all accuracy shouldn't be flying over a city on Trentor, because it should be flying over the deserts of Dalrodia ... not a tweak I won on) used to be red? I'll see if it's okay to print that version on here, because it's neat to see the changes, but I don't want to break any unwritten rules. Not until there's a bit more of the curve below me, and not quite so much of it above!

Cheers, Joan.

P.S. Thanks for all the comments! Keep up the good work.

P.P.S. Work continues on the web site, so soon, Dear Keen Reader and others, there will be more information about Questors there, as soon as my husband's computer-induced high blood pressure allows.

P.P.P.S. For those of you who live in North America - good news! "In Search Of", a four part science fiction serial in Cricket magazine, just started! Get your October issue today! The art work is FABULOUS, including a very exciting two-page scene of a space ship exploding. What more could you ask?

Monday, October 09, 2006

Ooops, I didn't do it!

I'm sorry. I know I said I'd post something while I was in Canada, but, in fact, I was having too much fun with my mum, who is well for the first time in a long time, out of pain, and trundling around with her walker like a happy steam train. If steam trains are very short and cute. I wanted her to name her walker Pegasus, or maybe Boudicca, with swirling blades on the wheels, but she prefers Daisy. Oh well.

I did my first phone interview yesterday (about Questors) with a lovely woman called Anita, for Writing Magazine. It went well, I think, except that I kept forgetting it wasn't just a conversation and kept asking her questions about herself, her kids, her grandkids ... We'll see what she made of me in the January issue. It was a very gentle introduction to the cut and thrust world of journalism, and I'm grateful!

Hey, I just discovered that I can comment on the comments in the, um, comment section. So I can respond to things people say. Well, you probably knew that already, but I'm the newbie here.

I have to go now and write 75 words for the back cover of Ely Plot. I've seen an early version of the artwork for the front cover and it's excellent. As soon as I get the go-ahead, I'll print it up for you to see.

Cheers, Joan. (And now I'm back, I'll be good and post often. Promise.)