Sunday, 17 November 2013

Auctions and Afterstories and Christmas Plans...oh my!

A few different things this week.

First,  if you're not aware yet of the amazing auction going, you really should be. Especially since you're reading this blog, which kind of implies that you're not only a person of superior wisdom and taste, but someone who likes BOOKS.

From the auction site:

"Typhoon Haiyan slammed into the Philippines on Friday (8 November), causing catastrophic damage. It is the strongest storm ever to make landfall, hitting an area where thousands of people are already homeless after an earthquake in mid-October.

Philippine Red Cross volunteers have been on the ground since before the storm hit, helping with evacuation plans and warning communities. Now, they are getting aid to the people who are most in need and preparing to help thousands more."

Authors for the Philippines: we're all authors who have donated an item for auction in aid of these recent storm victims. Signed copies of books, original artwork, and manuscript critiques galore. And also a little taste of the weird and wonderful. 

For instance, take item 75: A Night Down the Pub with Andy Stanton and Anthony McGowan.

"DETAILS: Join Andy Stanton and Anthony McGowan, two of the UK’s leading children’s/YA authors, as they sit around one of their favourite London pubs talking about the sort of thing that two of the UK’s leading children’s/YA authors normally talk about. (This will probably include, but not be limited to: which authors they hate and/or are jealous of; moaning about royalties; Andy’s troubles with women; an update on Tony’s latest faux pas on social networks, etc.) Also, the winning bidder is allowed to contribute too, let’s make that clear right now, it’s not like you have to just come and listen to us going on about stuff. You can ask us all sorts of questions about writing. Or anything you want. Or, well, look, it’ll be fun, right, we’ll just have a good old chat down the pub. How bad can it be?"

So then the bidding war ensued. We have cartels going on, people. We have Meg Rosoff bidding to be allowed NOT to go. We have Andy turning 40 and eating oranges. Have a read of the comments section: it's far more fun than an auction should be allowed to be. 

Or how about Item 260: Be a 'Halfman' in Melvin Burgess's Next Book.

Yes, you read that right. At the time of this blog post, a bid that beats £70 will get you an appearance in Burgess's next book as a 'halfman', which Burgess says is "a genetically modified creature, part you and part the animal of your choice". He also promises to take into account your preference of death. (Well, I suppose if you're going to be made into a 'halfman', you couldn't really ask for a more reasonable offer.)

I've never met Superhero Girl, but I kind of love her. Her bid? "£60 to be a female minotaur with a bloody death!" It's the glee over the 'bloody death' part that tickles me. Go you, Superhero Girl! Alas, her bid has been beaten - but that would have been AMAZING.  And honestly, where else on the planet will you find an offer like this?

If all of this sounds like a shameless plug for Authors for the Philippines, I can't really apologise. I'm hugely proud of my fellow authors (particularly Keris Stainton, who put the whole thing together and has been tirelessly adding new items for days now), and excited to be a part of the auction myself.

So, what are my items, you ask? Well, they seem a bit unimaginative compared to the above, but here you go: first, Item 264: a personalised signed copy of Angel and LOTS OF ANGEL GOODIES. Huge thanks to everyone who's already bid on this (and the current high bid seriously took my breath away). But the auction ain't over until Wednesday the 20th at 8pm all of that Angel awesomeness could still be yours!

My second item is brand-new and shiny, only just up this afternoon: Item 390, for all you aspiring writers out there. I'll read and critique your full-length YA or children's novel, annotating it with my comments. Then, distance permitting, we'll meet up for a coffee to chat it through, or else talk on the phone. 

Plus: I'll buy the coffee.

Don't worry, that's all I''ll say about the auction. But I hope you'll check it out; it's lots of fun and definitely worth a look if you love books. (And I'm thrilled to have the winning bid so far on a writing retreat by the sea - YES.)

On to other things! Here's some news that I hope you'll be as excited by as I am: over Christmas, I'm going to run a series of blog posts with material from an earlier, unpublished version of Angel Fire. These will all focus around a particular character who none of you have ever met (but who I love I lot). There will also be lots of fun new Alex and Willow material that no one's ever seen before. I'll be starting this on December 15th, and running the episodes for 3 or 4 weeks - so keep an eye out!

Also, in last week's blog post, I mentioned the 'after-story' that I've planned out for Willow and Alex: what happens to them after the Angel series. Well, if you'd like to hear more about this, check out this blog in the New Year. I've got some deleted material from the original Angel Fever epilogue I'll be sharing, as well as more detailed info about What Happened Next for all the main characters.

(If you're wondering whether this means the Angel series will continue beyond three books...well, I'd never say never, but there aren't any plans for it right now. I do wonder sometimes about doing a spinoff series, but at the moment I'm working on something very different from Angel, which I hope readers will love just as much!) 

Finally, here's something that really made me smile this week: Angel and Angel Fire are going to be reissued soon with slightly updated front covers...which will include a quote from Malorie Blackman. "Truly gripping."

EXCITING is not the word. I may have screeched 'WOOHOO' and leapt around the room a bit when I heard.

Just maybe.

Hope you're all doing well, lovely readers. See you next week!

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