I'm also thankful to the army of reviewers and bloggers who took the time to do write-ups. There's a definite buzz in the air as a result of their hard work...
And, of course, we can't forget the staff at my publishers -- DFB in the UK, and Scholastic in the US. I blow kisses in all your many general directions and make absolutely no obscene gestures, not even behind my back or under the table!
The launch for the rest of the English-speaking world comes in two days...
A sample of the audio book can be listened to here.
A few new reviews came in today. Bart's Bookshelf gave The Call 5/5. Hurray for that!
The Blonde Bookworm says "I picked up the book one time and I never put it down again. It. Was. Awesome! Seriously, everyone needs to give this book a try."
On the other hand, I got my first 1* review on Amazon.com today. Not for issues of quality, but because the woman was appalled by it and didn't want her grandchildren reading it. Some you win and some you lose...
As part of my continuing blog tour for the release of the book, Howling Reviews allowed me to post a little article about Irish folklore and legends and how they relate to my novel. I really enjoyed doing that one!
THE OFFICIAL DUBLIN LAUNCH
It's happening on Thursday 1 September at 6:30pm in Eason on O'Connell Street, Dublin. Nibbles will be provided. Speeches will be short. Books will be plentiful with several authors on hand happy to provide signatures. ALL are welcome.
Hope you're all well. I'm growing increasingly nervous over publication date, but this is par for the course. Two days until it's on sale in North America and four until the rest of the world can buy it.
Mind you, there have been some fantastic reviews lately. Three of my favourites among the recent ones are StarBurst Magazine, Pretty Purple Polkadots and Other Worlds Than These. And there are many, many more! I've been very lucky, but only the public can decide if a book is to be successful or not. So, until then, my nails will take the brunt of my worry.
The session starts on August 31 at 1pm EST/6pm Irish Time (BST), and add on another hour if you live in Western Europe. You know how it works.
Do your worst!
The Call will have been out for a single day in the US by then, and surely, surely the rest of the world will be quivering in anticipation of buying its own copies on 1st September?
Only time will tell!
Note: I'll mostly be leaving out names here to protect the innocent and the shy. Any names that I do include are there because I'm confident nobody will mind. If you do, let me know and I'll remove you ASAP. Or the opposite is cool too :)
PART 1: FLIGHT
I crossed the Atlantic in the company of Adrian Tchaikovsky's Spiderlight. It's a fun book that grows increasingly dark towards the end. Adrian is a great author who can handle everything from Science Fiction, to humour, to manners, to kick-ass high-concept fantasy. Spiderlight is the story of a typical D&D type adventure where certainty and escapism are slowly poisoned by moral quandries.
I also watched the Irish movie, Sing Street. It entertained me mightily apart from one particular moment that made me despise the protagonist. Nevertheless, very well done.
PART 2: VERMONT
My friends T&C drove several hours to pick me up from Boston airport and several hours in the other direction just so they could have the privilege of waiting on me hand and foot. They have a stunningly beautiful, cat-crowded house, and a preposterously friendly dog by the name of Jake.
The first night, when my eyes started to droop, they fed me a gorgeous green curry where the vegetables came straight from the garden. Wow! The sweet corn lived up to its name. I couldn't get enough of it.
Vermont is lovely and green and quiet. The bears grow fat on careless hikers. Know, dear reader, I was not careless this time.
PART 3: NEW YORK
I travelled there by train -- business class, no less! -- moving from Albany, all the way down the languid Hudson river with fine views and hilarious shouted conversations between the crew members.
After that, New York was just one hightlight after another. The Soho Grand Hotel? Like something out of a movie. Quirky, lovely, friendly. Scholastic Books HQ? A nest of creativity, humour and joy.
My publicist JA had a mountain of vegan snacks piled up before a stack of books for me to sign. I smudged one with the other so that each reader can have the pleasure of peeling apart the pages to discover a unique, fragrant surprise.
I met many, many other people there. I clinked glasses with them while they were ridiculously friendly to me.
That night, my US editor, NT, took me to a Yankee's Game. Yes, you heard me right. Yankees.
The subway shimmered at a temperature close to the boiling point of titanium. It wouldn't surprise me if New Yorkers brought raw pizza to work to be cooked on the foreheads of their fellow passengers. Although, with everybody sweating so much, steamed dumplings might be the better option...
But I digress! We got to watch one of the world's most famous sports teams from a private box with all its own snacks and with a pack of cheerful people open to chatting to a baseball-innocent like myself. Fantastic experience!
The next day, there were interviews with Bustle and Sci-Fi Bulletin. Both interviewers really knew their stuff.
And then, came lunch... I should really play some kind of musical intro here, because Blossom provided me with the best meal I've had since I turned vegan four years ago. Everything was beyond delicious and the great company I had only enhanced the dining experience.
That evening I had another great meal with an absolutely wonderful crew of booksellers and librarians from in or near NY. Everybody -- absolutely every one of them -- wanted nothing more than to talk books all night long. It's been years since I've seen sports, politics and weather so thoroughly ignored throughout such a large crowd!
PART 3: KANSAS CITY
Although this was the longest part of my trip, I don't have a whole lot to say about it. Not because WorldCon, the usual highlight of my year, wasn't filled with joy and fantastic meetings with the best of friends, but because most of what occurred fell within the bounds of a typical Con experience.
At La Guardia airport, I had the good fortune to run into Xray and McBigski from the BwB. Company and hugs were evenly distributed. When the airport ejected us at the other end, having extracted our nutritional content, Mr. X collected us and whizzed us all the way to our hotel. I would be sharing a room with McBigski and Ser Scott -- two manly men who mostly left me alone when darkness fell.
A panel, including legend Tamora Pierce. (The MidAmericon Program, was in general, superb, by the way.)
Dinner with the BwB. Met a few new ones to add to what was already an august company. Best part of the menu? A salad marked "V" for vegetarian that contained prosciutto ham! Luckily, they were happy to do one without the meat for me.
More panels. Wonderful greetings from old friends. A tremendous parade of fascinating topics.
Irishers and diplomats at the Dublin 2019 desk.
A vegan restaurant called Fud that I found only with D's help and guidance.
A free dinner in the same restaurant, foolishly paid for by Black Gate editor, John O'Neill. I bet he's cursing now as the moths fly out of his wallet.
A meeting with the academic and podcaster, Amy Sturgis.
A visit to Program Ops to sign a book for EU's friend.
More BwBers, always more of them, like a horde of ants, remorselessly bearing hugs and humour. We threw a party, of course, at which I was permitted to give prizes to people. Best of all was a talking George R.R. Martin doll. Apparently, a mere squeeze of its hand is enough to make it say "I'm still working on it". Alas, it would not speak to me...
And yet, despite the indifference of the GRRM doll, the following evening, I had the good fortune to attend the Hugo Loser's Party thrown by the real GRRM. Even better, two groups of my friends won Alfie awards -- Black Gate, whose editor is the same John O'Neill (see above), and Journey Planet, whose staff include James Bacon, Chris Garcia and Esther. How cool was that?
Finally, came the last hurrah of a barbecue meal with the BwB. A vegan option, fought for by LG, kept me happy, 'though I was surrounded by vicious carnivores at every turn...
PART 5: HOME AGAIN
And that's it, really. Other than the fact that I made it home to find my house all the better for my absence. I spent more time than is healthy at O'Hare, and made the mistake of counting how much money I had spent. But what a brilliant ten days it was! Roll on FinnCon!
One week from today, The Call, will be available for purchase in the US. Two days later, the rest of the universe will have its chance to turn precious, precious money into something with my name on the cover and with my words (and hangups) inside. I'm shocked by how close it is. And just as blackberries, ripening in concert, cause Autumn to arrive, so too does my blog tour bring forth from the abyss, the fruit of my nightmares. My book, that is.
First off is an article I wrote for the web site of the Irish Times, called "Of fiction, fission and fairies".
But the actual, real, official tour began yesterday when Words from a Reader conducted an interview with me. Want to know some of my favourite books? Who inspires me? Then, click on the link.
Today the tour continues with a post I wrote for Tales of Yesterday about unlikely heroes. I make a few mentions in there of dragons and St. George, the tiny, but aggressive piglet.
Details for the rest of the week are in the image below...
Or... or maybe not. Anyway, my schedule is below. I'm delighted with it and happy that I'll be doing a reading from The Call on the Friday, only a fortnight before the book hits shelves in the US. I'd love to see some of you there!
But despite all rumours to the contrary, I have taken time out of my busy schedule to entertain myself.
What I'm reading right now, is portentious and endless and dull. So, I won't talk about that here today. However, I do have a few books by friends of mine on my TBR that I plan to get around to in August or September, and I'm pretty excited about them.
First up, is a book I'm saving for my next plane trip. It's Spiderlight by Adrian Tchaikovsky. The last few novels of his that I read were real page-turning, world-shattering stunners. Exactly the sort of thing to pass a dull journey with.
Following that, I have Gabrielle Harbowy's Hellmaw: Of the Essence. Gabrielle has been an excellent editor to me in the past, so I have faith that this will be great.
Finally, my TitanCon buddy Jo Zebedee is invading, blowing up and generally, smashing Belfast in her novel, Inish Carraig. It'll make a great change from seeing the Statue of Liberty getting knocked over for the 100th time :) The book is apparently doing really well, so, late to this party as always, I'm going to grab a piece of the action for myself.
1) Versailles was terrible. Made it halfway through episode 5 before the writing threw me out for the last time. Yes, yes, the warnings were there in episode 1, but I kept glimpsing what I thought were hidden depths. They were depths, all right.
2) Third Season of Bojack Horseman was fun, but well short of an incredible Season 2, IMHO.
3) I enjoyed the Netflix documentary series, Last Chance U about a school that takes in hugely talented American Football players who have so far failed to make a splash in the big leagues. Their talent is amazing, but so is their total lack of self-esteem. Interesting, sad and hopeful, with some spectacular goings-on during the season.
LOVE FROM AUSTRALIA
READINGS -- which seems to be an association of Australian independent Booksellers, has put up an entire page containing nothing but absolutely gorgeous reviews of my forthcoming novel, The Call. I'm definitely bookmarking it to read again and again for when I'm having bad days in the future. I really, really appreciate it.
DUBLIN LAUNCH OF THE CALL
September 1 (In the evening -- precise time TBD)
Eason, O'Connell Street.
Don't dress in a penguin suit unless you want to be hugged.
More details when I get them!
In the meantime, holy moly! The Call got selected as one of iBooks 25 Best Books of August. I'm pasting in their review below... After this, I'll try to go at least a week without posting any more propaganda. I know people don't come here to be bombarded.
It’s hard to exaggerate the impact of The Hunger Games on teen fiction—the series has spawned a generation of young characters trained to survive harsh, horrific circumstances. The Call breaks the mold by weaving in Celtic mythology, pitting its willful heroine Nessa against the Sidhe, the malevolent fairies who wage battle on the Irish by whisking their teenagers away and hunting them down. It’s fresh and exciting, one of the most riveting adventures we’ve read in a while. Author Peadar O’Guilin has created a world that feels both intensely real and thrillingly spooky.
In the meantime, I'm author of the week up on the rather spiffy YA Books Central blog. If you haven't seen my new "author" photo yet, well, God help you, now's your chance. Why, there's even a book giveaway if you happen to live in the US. Us Europeans must continue to gnash our teeth...
Hope you're all well! Personally, I'm dying to go on holidays...
The alternative? Shouting at the TV. I'll be doing some of that too.
You see, the thing is, Brexiteers keep popping up on my screen. Now that they have condemned the UK to a horrible recession, they have to say that "everything is fine" and "nothing could possibly go wrong".
Good for them. But one of their main arguments has got such a HUGE hole in it, that I can't understand why interviewers fail to point it out... Maybe to do so would make them appear "unpatriotic"? To be "talking down" the economy?
Anyway, not being British, that's not a charge that can be levelled at me, so here it is.
FIFTH BIGGEST ECONOMY
Here's what the Brexiteers say:
"The UK, by itself, is the fifth biggest economy in the world. This means, when we negotiate with the rest of the EU (rEU), they will have to give us what we want."
Sound familiar? It cropped up a lot before the vote and is showing up constantly now. For the sake of the UK, I hope this claim is nonsense, because if it's not, then the following is also true...
"The EU is the largest economy in the world. Not the fifth largest. Not the sixth. The largest. Its nominal GDP is about 14.6 trillion euros. Without the UK, it would be about 12.1 trillion euros. This makes it approximately five times larger than the economy of the UK -- *if* you're counting in Scotland as part of the UK, of course. That means (by the logic above), in negotiations, the UK, will have to give five times more to the EU than vice versa."
So, our first bit of maths for the day is:
1st > 5th
Pretty mind-blowing, isn't it? I'm amazed nobody has thought of that. I mean, if any of the Tories had worked it out, they'd have run away from having to deal with it. Am I right, Boris? David?
But wait! It gets worse!
The pound has dropped drastically against the euro. Because of this, the UK is now only the 6th biggest economy. France is the new number 5. Hurray for France! The EU doesn't even need to negotiate. Why not just send France? After all, if it's the 5th biggest economy in the world by itself, then, by the logic above, the UK will have to give it what it wants.
This brings us to our next formula:
5th > 6th
And if Scotland votes for independence, why, Italy might then be a larger economy than the rUK. Why not just send Italy? Because...
6th > 7th
Wow! Who knew maths could be so simple?
Another version of the "fifth biggest economy" argument is the "8%" argument. This is where the Brexiteers say that Angela Merkel will go easy on the UK because, by itself (if we include Scotland), the UK represents 8% of German exports, and "they wouldn't want to risk that!"
The same counter-argument applies. If Germany can't bear to lose 8%, how on earth -- and I'm banging my head on the table as I write this (ouch!) -- can the UK afford to lose the 45% of their exports that go to the rEU?
I mean, seriously, doesn't anybodgy know that 45 is somewhat bigger than 8? Or, as we Math speakers say:
45 > 8
Of course, Germany, with a population of around 80 million, has more than a few mathematicians of its own. It will have worked out by now, that going too easy on the UK might protect that 8% of trade, but that the possible resulting breakup of the EU will put another 50% of its economy at risk and send, not just the UK, but the whole continent into recession.
After all, as maths would have it:
50 > 8
I can't blame the Brexiteers for doing something so momumentally stupid. After all, I'm the one sitting here with my arm in a sling while autocorrect plays havoc with a blog post written for no other reason than rage and frustration.
We've both taken a bit of a tumble recently, but I hope to have recovered from mine in six weeks or so, while they have a future to look forward to that includes a starring role in something like the Chilcot Enquiry. Worse, they'll spend years driving over pot-holed roads, through the poverty-stricken neighbourhoods of their own proud creation, while screaming at anybody using simple maths to "talk down" the economy.
Good luck with that. Actually, no, bad cess to you instead, because you've probably dragged us into recession too.