Sunday, 25 April 2010

This week's word is: PREPARATIONS

Don't forget, DARK FIRE is out NOW in AMERICA!

If you felt a whoosh of wind as you opened the notepad this week, that would have been the author whizzing by. He’s been whizzing all week. It’s been like a wind tunnel in the den. We have had to tie down the ears of all the listening dragons. I’d love to tell you that this frantic activity is because he’s been in training to run the London Marathon with his editor, Catherine, today (go, Catherine, go – hrrr!), but this is the man who used to take crafty shortcuts on his school cross country trips. So that’s not it. No, what he’s actually doing is getting himself prepared for his trip to America. Now that the dragon in the volcano has finished scratching its ears and stopped pothering ash into the upper atmosphere, the planes are flying again. So our hero has been arranging travel insurance and taxis to and from the airport (he should grow wings, it’s much easier) and buying some US dollars. All this, you’d think, would be pretty easy. But take the travel insurance, for instance. He found one policy which said that he couldn’t be insured if he was doing any kind of ‘professional entertaining’ in America. So he rang up to ask if an author sitting in a bookshop talking to children was considered to be professional entertainment, and they said yes and he wouldn’t be covered! You have to wonder why. Rock stars, for instance, might fall off a stage or be electrocuted by a guitar or end up flat on their face if they try to dive into a less than favourable audience. But an author? All they do is sit at the front of a store and ask, “Hands up anyone who’s read my book?” What are the insurers expecting to go wrong? That the sudden movement of arms might alter the air pressure within the store and set off the fire alarms? Or the author might mesmerize a small child with his dazzling wit? He has been known to take a genuine piece of DRAGON SCALE into his events, which is highly dangerous in the wrong hands, of course. I’ve seen many a child’s eyebrows singed because they were allowed to touch the scale and feel the power of Gawain. Beware if he offers you the chance!

Annoyingly, he doesn’t have an itinerary yet, though we’re hoping to put dates and locations on the blog next Sunday. Watch out for that you American fans hopeful of seeing him speak. Mrs Author isn’t going on the trip. She prefers to sit at home and read. She is, of course, helping him to think what to pack. We’ve been ‘helping’ with this as well. Yesterday, he asked Gretel how many pairs of socks he would need for an 18 day trip? She blew a smoke ring and said if you don’t change your socks three times a day in America you get arrested. So he’s packed 54 pairs. Mrs Author has also told him that eating chocolate is illegal during the daytime, just in case he forgets to stick to his diet. And she’s also warned him that if he doesn’t bring home at least one genuine American teddy bear he won’t be allowed through UK customs (which is a euphemism, I think, for the front door to the house).

Last but not least, here’s an update of Gwendolen’s barometer. Lots of busy scribbling in the past two weeks as you can see. We’re off the scale! And nearly there. Oh, and a real TREAT coming up. Any day now, Mrs Author is expecting to have the proofs from Catherine for the Rain and Fire guide book, so she can start to edit it properly. We now have the cover artwork and it’s fantastic. But I’m going to show it in two weeks’ time when the blog will be ONE YEAR old. Look out for that. In the meantime, happy reading. Hrrr!

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