Corned beef and Sci-Fi

As you know I've been stuck in the mud a little of late. Stuck like a sticky stick that someone's stuck steeply into sticky mud. This was mostly because I was suffering from clinical PERE* in addition to my rather severe bouts of CRSD**. Taken in isolation these conditions can be bad enough, but together they lead to much moping and sighing and being a general pain in the arse... By which I mean I was being a pain in the arse, not that my arse had a pain in it. Let's face it, I know we've known each other for a while now, but there are some things that are too personal for the interweb. But don't worry, my arse is fine. Fuzzy, but fine.

Anyway, now that I've got my first-draft edit notes back I can unstick myself. Lubricate myself free of the mire and forge onwards... blah, blah, blah. In an attempt to do this culinarily I decided to have another bash at something that's been a personal bugbear for years: CORNED BEEF. I don't like corned beef. I've never liked corned beef. It's all greasy and fatty and the fact it looks like someone's just haemorrhaged all over a piece of cork tiling doesn't help. But She Who Must Eat Some Bloody Horrible Things likes it, so I thought I'd get some for my lunch today. Not just any old corned yuck from a can either, this was top-notch gourmet corned beef from a butcher of some local renown.

And you know what?


It was bloody horrible.

Still, Agent Phil*** did have some good news for me - the cheque from HarperCollins has cleared. Not a Logan check, oh no. This is a cheque of an altogether different stripe. This is a cheque from their Voyager imprint. This is a Science Fiction cheque. HALFHEAD**** was the third book I'd ever written, and it was the one HC were thinking about when I delivered the first draft of COLD GRANITE all those years ago. So I think it's been gestating for about five or six years down there in Hammersmith, and finally it's ready to break it's waters... you know what, I'm not going to go too far down the birthing analogy, because it's going to get messy. And no one really wants to read about piles, do they?

Right, so, HALFHEAD (for which this very blog is named) is a near future thrillery-type thing with essence of police procedural thrown in. No spaceships. No aliens. Just good old-fashioned serial killers, conspiracies, and onomatopoeic weapons. And as an aside, I always think it's a bit odd that if you write a crime novel set in 1532 it's HISTORICAL CRIME FICTION, which is serious and read by serious folks what know lots of stuff. But if you write the same story set twenty years from now it's SCIENCE FICTION! With an exclamation mark. And everyone knows that SCIENCE FICTION! with an exclamation mark is only read by teenagers with more acne than skin and a serious fixation with Seven Of Nine's breasts. Allegedly. It'll be interesting to see if people who like the Logan books will be willing to take a punt on it, even if they risk being pointed at if they wander into that section of the bookshop and *gasp* buy one of the books! I hope they will... Otherwise HarperCollins might ask for their money back, and Grendel needs new shoes.

The current plan is that HALFHEAD will hit the shelves as a trade paperback sometime next Christmas-ish, and then I'll get to go to conventions where people dress up as robots and hit each other with sticks. Which will be cool. That's what's missing from Crime Writing Festivals, if you ask me: not enough people dressed up as robots.

The stuff with sticks I can take or leave.

* Pre-Edit-Related Ennui is a condition caused by delivering the first (or any other) draft of a book and then hanging about waiting for your editor(s)/agent/reader(s) to get back to you on whether or not it's a festering mound of politicians' poop.
** Cat-Related Sleep Disorder - most cat owners suffer from this from time to time, especially if their cat wants to go out at half four in the morning, but not until it's been fed cat sweeties and told how pretty it is. It can also be caused by the aforementioned cat deciding that she wants to have a quick kip on her owners lap when said owner is just about to get up from slobbing in front of the telly to go to bed. This is related to a subcondition - CRBD (Cat-Related Bladder Distress) caused when a cat does the same thing when the owner wants to go to the loo to get rid of a bottle and a half of red wine.
*** Who allegedly was well behaved at the HarperCollins Summer Party (that I didn't go to). I can only assume that Editor Sarah is right when she says that I lead him astray. And as I missed the party, I'll have to work twice as hard on the astray leading part of my job when Harrogate comes around.
**** I have no idea if we'll get to call it that, but I can't face another round of 'make up the title' right now. Just the thought brings me out in hives.

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