Events and Appearances

Yesterday I visited Northgate High School with a squadron of shiny killer robots. Here I am giving the order to attack:

Only joking. My thanks to everyone I met and spoke to at the school for the warmth of their welcome and – particularly – an excellent lunch. It was a brilliant visit. I didn’t even think about giving the order to attack – this time. ;D

I love visiting The City of London School. There are so many famous London landmarks nearby that I’ve DESTROYED in my stories!

Most of the young people I talked to today have actually been on school trips to the Barbican, just like the characters in Crawlers

I hope they like what I’ve done with the place. HEE HEE HEE HEE!

Today I returned to Nova Hreod College to give three talks as part of the always-awesome Swindon Ten Youth Festival of Literature. I spoke to over five hundred students including Nova’s whole Year 8, the whole Year 7, and a biggish group of Year 10s.

Everyone was wonderfully attentive, particularly during my readings for which they were pin drop silent. I responded (as followers of this blog and my events will no doubt already suspect) by gesticulating like a man whose armpits are on fire. Here I am doing what appears to be some kind of pointy dance:

My thanks and best wishes to this fantastic festival’s supremely hard-working organisers, and to everyone I met and spoke to. 😀

Two quick pics from yesterday’s Angels and Demons panel at Foyles on London’s Charing Cross Road.

Here’s a team photo with (l-r) William Hussey, Sarwat Chadda, some grinning loon, Lee Weatherly and Cliff McNish. It was an intense and – at times – densely theological discussion. Particular kudos to Sarwat for dropping my jaw when he cut loose on the subject of Zoroastrianism!

The turnout was great, and so were the Halloween-themed nibbles (incl. apple slice vampire lips with peanut butter tongues and almond fangs!), decor (esp. the full size mummified corpse swinging from the ceiling!) and outfits (zombies everywhere!) An enormous Thank You to Neil and Jen for all their hard work.

Being an ex CXR bookseller myself I was especially thrilled to see Crawlers in Foyles’ window:

I hope the crew at my old workplace over the road, Blackwell’s, can forgive me! 😀

If you missed us last week, here are two MORE chances to catch The Chainsaw Gang, live and evil.

This Friday 29th Oct at 2.30pm Sarwat Chadda, Alexander Gordon Smith, William Hussey and m’self will be appearing at Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library. Behold this excellent poster:

Then this Sunday 31st Oct from 2pm Sarwat, Bill and I will be teaming up with Cliff McNish and L.A.Weatherly for an ANGELS AND DEMONS HALLOWEEN EXTRAVAGANZA at venerable London booksellers Foyle’s of Charing Cross Road.

I’m particularly happy about that last one because (as you’ll know if you’ve read it) The Black Tattoo is set right around that area – or the parts of the book that aren’t in Hell are, anyway. ;D Both events should be a lot of fun. Hope to see you there!

The Crystal Palace Children’s Book Festival on Saturday was awesome.

Here’s a pic of Alexander Gordon Smith at our Chainsaw Gang Best of Horror Panel, introducing a personal friend of his – the disembodied head of one of the Wheezers from his fantastic Furnace books (click here for my review of those on TBM).

Rather than have me tell you how much fun I had, here’s a link to a terrific write-up about the event from an audience point of view – in this case, that of the lovely Liz de Jager of brilliant blog My Favourite Books.

I was lucky enough to get the chance to do my thing with Tim, Defender of the Earth at the Crystal Palace Festival last year (hit this link for video!) For its second outing, I was thrilled to see that the Festival has grown and developed in all sorts of cool ways. Check out this Monster Book:

Put together and published (by Pook Press) especially for the Festival, it features more than a hundred different astonishing monsters created by young people from schools in the area, as well as the work of some top illustrators including my mate Barnaby Richards.

When I picked up my copy from the excellent independent bookshop supporting the event The Bookseller Crow on the Hill, Jon (Bookseller Crow’s proprietor) asked me – a little unkindly, I felt! – if I was in the The Monster Book.

I wasn’t, but fellow Chainsaw Gangster and founder of the festival Alex Milway soon put that right…

I particularly love the fish’s expression. And the fact that I’ve still got a tentacle wrapped around my drink. ;D

More Live Chainsaw Gang Shenanigans to follow later in the week. Watch this space.

Just got time for a few quick pics from yesterday’s Spooktacular Scarefest.

Here I am doing my best to horrify a great group at Hillside High School, Bootle:

From the Spooktacular itself, here’s one I took of the stage while we were setting up. Check out the smoke and flames!

Here’s a team photo (l-r) of performing authors David Gatward, Jon Mayhew, Joseph Delaney, Tommy Donbavand and some black-clad bald guy – together with (on the right) bookselling legend, human dynamo and mastermind behind the Fest, the magnificent Tony of Pritchard’s, Formby:

I had a blast. The audience was wonderfully welcoming and supportive. My fellow authors all put on terrific performances. But the prize for the most frightening thing about the Scarefest – in fact, I believe, the most horrifying thing in literature right now – must surely go to Dave Gatward’s tights.

They’ve traumatized me. It seems only fair to let them traumatize you. ;p

More terror to come tomorrow (Sat 23rd) at The Crystal Palace Children’s Book Festival. See you there!

This week you have not one but TWO chances to witness the full horror of The Chainsaw Gang – LIVE!

Our ‘official’ first live appearance en masse is this Saturday 23rd October at The Crystal Palace Children’s Book Festival, starring Alexander Gordon Smith, Jon Mayhew, Alex Bell, Steve Feasey, Alex Milway, Sarwat Chadda and, heh, me. Tickets for our Best of Horror event are strictly limited: if you haven’t booked yet, click here to book now!

HOWEVER: in a late addition to our Chainsaw Masterplan, this Thursday 21st, from 7pm-9pm, three members of the ‘Gang — that’s Jon Mayhew, David Gatward and yours truly — will be appearing alongside Joseph Delaney and my old TBM mucker Tommy Donbavand at Crosby Civic Hall, Sefton in a HALLOWEEN SPOOKTACULAR SCAREFEST! This event will be staged by Masterless Samurai Bookseller Tony of Pritchard’s, Formby: click here for all the details!

There are a number of very good reasons why I’ve never been described – as I am in Tony’s enthusiastic blurb – as a ‘martial arts expert.’ Yikes, hope nobody at these events calls me out on that! ;p

My last school visit of this academic year was yesterday, to Sir William Ramsay School in High Wycombe. What a great one to finish up on! Over three sessions I met one hundred and eighty students from the school’s Year 7. All of them were a pleasure to speak to: attentive, enthusiastic and full of awesome questions. My thanks and best wishes to them, and to everyone else I’ve met at all my school visits this year!

Here’s a Flickr slideshow with some pics from my events:

If anyone reading this would like me to come to their school next academic year, drop me a line via my page on Contact An Author. 😀

Yesterday I did my stuff at St Ivo School, Cambridgeshire. The above headline is no comment on the school or the wonderful welcome I received there: I’m referring to one of the most astonishing pieces of art inspired by my stories that it’s yet been my privilege to see. Feast yer eyes on THIS:

Yes, it’s a recreation of The Gladiator Pits from The Black Tattoo! Close examination of the above pic will reveal fabulous and amazingly life-like clay models of various Hell denizens including Gloag Shargle, Ripitith Gunch, Jocasta, Lord Slint and several Chinj.

These monsterpieces were spawned as the result of a competition amongst St Ivo’s Year 7. Choosing one winner and one runner-up out of all this awesomeness was almost impossible, but I gave first prize to Izzy for her deliciously sinister vision of The Scourge:

The runner-up prize I awarded to Anna, for her endearingly vile Leo the Unspeakable:

That’s some beautifully rendered mandible slime, I think you’ll agree. And the single bloodshot eye is a lovely touch.

I gave three talks, to a total of three hundred students.

The signing at lunchtime seemed pretty popular, and I was delighted to see that my new mutant baby, Crawlers, was the favourite of my three books sales-wise.

A huge and gleeful thank you to everyone I met at St Ivo for a thoroughly brilliant day. 😀

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