Another One Bites The Dust (31/7/09)

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Today’s handy writing tips, one do, one don’t. DO listen to music while you write. I Have the unusual luxury of a house to myself[1] for the first time in a long time and as I write this, the music is cranked up LOUD. House-consuming, brain-swallowing chords fill the world, cascades of notes do battle with warlike flights of arpeggios and give life to the symphony of mayhem in my head waiting to be writ as space and time rip and swirl and fall apart…

Er. Or something like that. Music good. Let’s leave it at that. It doesn’t *have* to be Wagner after all. It could be… Rammstein. Anything at all. Anything as long as it’s loud and German, apparently.

Today’s DONT. DONT write with a kitten on your lap. Don’t even try. Don’t write with a kitten in the same room as you, looking up at you with its big mournful eyes, chirruping it’s heart away at the merciless cruelty of an owner who won’t let it have the lap it so clearly deserves. Don’t do this, because this will inevitably turn into a kitten-on-lap situation. Don’t write with a  kitten in the same house, because that soon becomes a kitten in the same room. And don’t think you can fob them off with food, because yeah, sure, off they go and being the little balls of accelerated space-time that they are, they’ll simply inhale whatever you’ve given them and be back before you can remember what a paragraph is. And then they’ll be back you’re right where you started except with cat-breath and the occasional cat-fart now.

Now I love my kittens to bits, but there are limits, and those limits include being having one kitten walk all over the keyboard while I’m in the middle of the last chapter of something while the other one gets a bit playful and starts batting at the USB stick in the hope that it’ll somehow grow legs and fur and a tail, jump off the desk and run squeaking in terror for the nearest sofa. Polite notice to my feline friends: Miaow rawwwaram prrrrrupmiaw! [2]

So yes, feline readers, there are limits and you’d best beware, for while a kitten is tradi – GET OFF THE FRIGGING USB STICK FOR PITY’S SAKE – traditional friend, there are certain necessities to m – OH FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DON’T CHEW THAT – maintaining the supply of catfood.

It’s possible that the first draft of The Thief-Taker’s – GET OFF THE FUCKING MOUSE BUTTONS –  Apprentice is finished. I have to go now. Cat fart. Bad one <sounds of choking> <transmission ends>

[1] Except for kittens, as will become clear.

[2] No, this is not a new and interesting species of mouse that you have discovered. It is in fact my work. My life’s work.  Possibly the sole repository for my life’s work, given what your litter-mate appears to have done to my laptop.

Plugging Holes (21/7/09)

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Three weeks ago I said something about how following your synopsis was a good thing and that I might have made a wee little cock-up on this front but that it was easily fixed…

Jeez. Well it’s fixed now. Three weeks later, which means three weeks of words, which means there was a 15,000 word hole in the middle of what I was writing. <furrows brow> No wonder it seemed a bit off. Well it’s done now. Thief-Taker is now on the home straight and should still finish by the end of next week. Just about. Which means I can finally turn my attention to… T-shirts? Signings? the Absurd Movie-Trailer Project? Sollos and Kemir short stories? Ah, the choice, the choice, the CHOICE!

Except it’ll be none of that because then I rather hope I’ll be straight into the re-writing of King of the Crags.
<sigh> No rest for the wicked. At least I got the map done, eh?

How to Make an Author Happy (17/7/09)

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I get a bit of fanmail these days. Not a lot, but a bit. Latest example:

“Just a short note to let you know this was one of the best bits of fantasy i’ve read in a long time. A book with a proper villian and more plotting than Guy Fawkes. Hope there’s plenty more to come.”

Short and sweet, and you know what, it’s made my evening. Thanks Chris, wherever you are. The rest of you, next time you read a book you really like, why not tell whoever wrote it. You could make their day too.

Hot to Trot (14/7/09)

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The thing with doing a weekly sort of journal update thing is this: Sometimes weeks go by and absolutely nothing happens. Then authors feel unloved and whinge that their editors never respond to their e-mails, their requests for “publicity” freebies or their need to for a public signing session in Buckingham Palace.

Other weeks are like this week. On Friday and Saturday, I’d have liked to rant at great length about Torchwood, and how it was an object lesson in how to make something that had 90% of everything absolutely right to be AWESOME and make it incredibly LAME by being pointlessly LAZY with the plot. Which is a real pity. Could have had a place in the Hall of Fame of modern TV Science Fiction, but won’t. But now I’ve done most of my ranting all over various people’s Facebook pages instead, and repeating myself here feels vaguely hollow.

On Sunday I had in mind to say something about movie trailers. Monday was going to be Swine Flu. Let’s face it, on the book front, the only news is that there is no news, everything is proceeding nicely to plan and the website’s have a bit of a refresh and<yawn> zzz….. Yeah, I know. Today was still going to be a Swine Flu rant too, but then I accidentally read SFX.

Fellow Gollancz fantasy author Joe Abercrombie is in the the SFX hot top 50 list. Actually, several authors and screen writers are up in there. Well, after that, nothing else matters that much. I’m rendered speechless and so I’m off to bathe in some very dimly reflected glory.

Maps (7/7/2009)

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OK, OK. Here’s a map dammit. When some bloke clocks you round the back of the head and says ‘nice book but where’s the map,’ when the issue of maps converges with actual physical abuse, it’s time to act. So here it is. A draft map of the dragon-realms. Now enough with the hitting me.

Actually, this is only the tip of the iceberg to keep those of you who need a map RIGHT NOW from further acts of violence. In the background, there’s a slightly nicer version of this map that I’m not going to publish just yet that’s being turned into a much nicer map courtesy of those nice folks at Gollancz who are going to pay for someone who can, y’know, actually draw and stuff.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Over the next few months, the <cue dramatic music. No, more dramatic than that. Bit more… bit more… Here we go…> Dahn dan daaaaaa…. Gazeteer Project will be going online. Over the rest of the year, an online gazetteer of the dragon-realms will be going up, with some two hundred entries. Off-line work is about half complete now and the whole project will be up by the end of the year. I’ll be putting it up in pieces, starting with the Adamatine Palace and its environs later this month. Want to know how the realms ended up the way they are? Want to know the secrets of the dragons? Read the damn books then! Ha! Because the gazetteer won’t tell you any of that. But if you want to know why, say, how the Silver City got its name, well then the gazetteer is for you (what do you mean, what Silver City? You mean you haven’t read book three yet…? Oh, that’s right, you haven’t. Ha Ha.)

Since all of this gazetteer work has happened since King of the Crags was submitted for edit, I think we can all expect the wordcount to go up a bit there too. Ho hum.

Oh, and what that means is if you’re taking an RSS feed off here is that you’re going to get shedloads of posts…

Finally a word on copyright. I mean for the gazetteer to be available under a creative commons license, which means you can use it for anything you feel like provided you a) give credit, b) it’s not for commercial purposes and c) if you modify it, you have to allow others to use what you make under the same conditions. Role-players, I’m talking to you

(The same applies to the map here. Whether it can apply to the much nicer map from Gollancz is another matter).
Creative Commons License
Gazetteer of the dragon-realms by Stephen Deas is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.
Based on a work at

And finally… I saw the first draft cover of King of the Crags to day and it is most excellent and I can’t wait to share it!

Dragons world tour: France (1/7/2009)

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Copies of the french edition arrived through the post today. Tres jolie, not that I can really read them. Always interesting to see how certain turns of phrase get translated, though. Four copies is a bit much for the library, though so I reckon there’s one going begging. Anyone want it? First come, first served.