Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Summer School

Orla Melling (who wrote the magnificent Chronicles of Faerie) and I are booked for a discussion on faeries and allied topics at the Children's Books Ireland Summer School in Belvedere College. Showtime is 12 noon on May 20, which is a Saturday.

I'm hugely looking forward to meeting Orla again, but that's not the reason for this post. Just had word that Faber, who publish my non-fiction children's books, have brought forward publication date of the second volume of my Forbidden Truths series (Time Travel) from June to May 18 so those attending the school will have an opportunity to read it. Nice bit of marketing there, following hard on the heels of the series launch with Atlantis and Other Lost Civilizations, which seems to have taken off gratifyingly quickly.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Books and Levitating Islands

Feeling particularly smug today. My former psycho-analyst (you didn't know I had an analyst, did you?*) Professor June Atherton, finally ran out of space for her amazing collection of books and presented me with several cases. What a haul! Psychology, biography, mythology, symbolism... this lot will keep me out of mischief for months.

Meanwhile, another dear friend, Bridget from Texas, alerted me to a fascinating site devoted to anomalies, another of my interests. The URL is

and it's highly recommended to anomalists like myself who need lightening up.

* Jungian school, of course.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Bosnian Pyramid

To judge from my latest emails, there's steadily mounting excitement about excavations currently going on in Bosnia which, it is hoped, will unearth Europe's first ancient pyramid. Some predictions suggest it may even be substantially larger than the Great Pyramid at Giza. Anybody who's read my non-fiction books will know my fascination for this sort of thing and I'll be watching developments with interest. If you'd like to do the same, start at:

then update at:

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Following my appeal for coincidences on April 8, nothing for ten days then, this morning, downloaded my emails to find two communications on the subject, one from Ireland, one from India. Left me wondering if this was a coincidence...

Monday, April 17, 2006


Just back from a few days Easter break at Brook Lodge, one of my favourite spa hotels. Marvellous as always and imaginative enough to offer mutton on the Strawberry Tree menu. When was the last time you saw mutton on an Irish menu? The emphasis is always on lamb, yet slow-cooked mutton is as tasty a dish as you'll ever eat. I'm still largely vegetarian, but made an exception this time.

Emails included some superb nature pix from daughter Aynia, plus communications from (1) a reincarnation of Helen of Troy, (2) another old GrailQuest fan (inevitably) and (3) two friends who've just started a new publishing venture, about which I suspect I may be writing more anon.

Meanwhile, back to Faerie Lord, which has either reached its half-way mark or is quietly turning into another of those monstrously long manuscripts my publisher will insist on cutting down to manageable proportions.

Friday, April 14, 2006


Another query about gamebooks in this morning.

Hardly a week goes by when I don't hear something from gamebook fans past or present and the GrailQuest series has been the top search item on my Bookshelf site for years.

All of my 1980s gamebooks remain in print in France. They're in the course of republication in Japan and there's serious talk of a revival in Spain, but absolutely no sign of interest from an English language publisher.

The conventional wisdom is that gamebooks have run their course, can't compete with computer games and yada-yada-yada. Not what I've been hearing from the fans.

One day a sharp U.K. or (less likely) U.S. publisher will sniff the air, put a bit of marketing muscle behind a gamebook revival and make a fortune.

Be nice if it was with my GrailQuest series, which sold millions in its heyday, still sells tens of thousands abroad, and is ripe for play by a whole new generation of English-speaking children.

Anybody out there listening?

Thursday, April 13, 2006

New audio book device

Just heard from JAB (who keeps me abreast of new technology) about a fascinating device. Basically, it's a throwaway audio book. Details at The price is a bit high at the moment, but when it drops (as it undoubtedly will) this could become a whole new publishing arena.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Ruler and Codebreaker

Just in from Sophie (my literary agent) a finished cover for Ruler of the Realm. Looks lush and lavish, far more striking than it appears in the Bloomsbury catalogue which I received some weeks ago. Interestingly, my German publisher, DTV, has run into problems with the title. Apparently a direct translation is impossible without giving away more about the book than anyone would want so I gave my blessing to 'Das Elfenpakt' (The Faerie Pact). Their editorial and sales people both like this title, not least because it harks back to 'Das Elfenportal' which was what Faerie Wars was titled in Germany, a country that now apparently follows the Basil Fawlty maxim: Don't mention the war. I rather like Elfenpakt. One of my earlier ideas was to call the book The Pact. I abandoned this in favour of 'Blue' because it's very much Blue's book, but Bloomsbury argued that 'Blue' meant either a colour or a mood to anybody who hadn't read the first two books, and suggested Ruler of the Realm, which I liked very much.

I also discovered yesterday that Codebreaker's Handbook, a title I did for Faber, is now on sale. (At least on I haven't been out to check the bookshops yet.) I took time off from writing Ruler of the Realm to work on Codebreaker, deeply resented the intrusion at the time, but in the event absolutely loved it. I was always mucking around with secret messages when I was a kid and it seems I haven't grown up at all. I spent many happy hours working out the coding examples, thoroughly enjoyed the historical research and when the manuscript finally reached my editor, the lovely Paula Borton, she commented that the book was compulsive, so the fun I had obviously showed up in the writing.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Coincidences wanted

Incidentally, apropos that planned non-fiction book, if any of you out there have interesting personal experiences of coincidences or synchronicities, I'd love to hear them and possibly even use some in the book. If you want your name used, please say so. If not, no problem. Either way, it would be useful if you filled in a little about your background in order to place the coincidence in context.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Faerie Lord

Okay, that'll have to do (for the time being) as far as setting up the blog's concerned. Now I'm back to Faerie Lord, the fourth book in the Faerie Wars series. It's had its ups and downs, but is now half finished, at least in first draft. I'm hoping this one will resolve the relationship between Blue and Henry, but you can never trust him not to be thick where women are concerned.

As usual, I've no idea where the book is going until it gets there. As things stand at the moment, Henry is in big trouble, Blue is about to get into big trouble and Pyrgus seems to be in a coma. I do hope it all works out all right.

Two projects planned for the near future. Most immediate is that Sophie, my lovely agent, should soon be offering The Chronicles of Nectanebo, an adult novel that has haunted me for more than a quarter of a century. When it finds a publisher, I'll tell you the full story of how it came to be written, which is seriously weird. The second project is non-fiction, focused on coincidence, and planned to start maybe autumn this year, d.v.

Enough, already. I'm off to see what Blue is doing.

First Post

Lunch yesterday with the utterly delightful Orla Melling, author of The Chronicles of Faerie series, who persuaded me to join the 21st Century and set up a blog. This is it, in all its primeval splendour. Hopefully it will grow to look better as I start to understand what I'm doing.