2011 News and Blues.

2011 has been a bit bleurgh so far.  The weather has turned horrible in a wet way rather than snow and ice (which is more disruptive but, at least for those of us who work from home, more fun).  I've done nothing of note except update The Solitary Bee with a random movie review and video about the Excalibur Estate in Catford which I nicked from Sarah McIntyre, and make arrangements for my regular January mugging by the Inland Revenue (ain't they heard of the Laffer Curve?).  This year's publications - Scrivener's Moon for April and my World Book Day short Traction City - are both finished and at the printers, and I'm looking forward to the U.S publication of A Web of Air.  (Scholastic have some lovely new covers for the US editions of Web and Fever Crumb, which I hope to share here soon.  Electronic versions of all the Mortal Engines titles will be available soon too, and I shall be posting news of those here as soon as I have it.)

Meanwhile, I'm busy trying to finish the fantasy story which I started last year.  It's currently called Clovenstone, after the destination board on a bus I saw in Edinburgh.  Clovenstone is the name of a suburb of that city, but obviously it ought to be the name of a sprawling otherwordly castle smothered in ivy and gargoyles and full of strange creatures, which is precisely the setting for the new book.  I'm trying to get some sense and structure into the loopy, rambling adventure I wrote last year to read to Sam, but without losing its sense of fun.  (Sam, of course, isn't really into castles and goblins any more, and probably wishes I was writing about tractors.)  This illustration by the fabulous Paul Bonner kind of captures the feel I'm after, except that none of my characters will be wolfmen or grumpy-lookin' elves.  (I quite fancy one of those flying ring-tailed lemur/fox/hawk things, though.)

"Grrr!  Arrrgh!" etc.
Anyway, to cheer myself up, and in the absence of anything else to write about,  I thought I'd start the new year off with a few links to other sites I've been enjoying recently.  U.S illustrator Eric Fortune paints strange, dreamlike images, and gets lovely effects with acrylic on watercolour paper.  Chipper New York art student Rose Wong is developing a lovely, decorative, 1970s/art-nouveau-ish style  - I'd like to see her broaden her subject matter a bit, but I love her line, and her attitude.  (She also posts work-in-progress and stuff she likes on her Tumblr blog, and recently included one of David Wyatt's Starcross illustrations, so she's clearly a woman of taste.)

Rose Wong takes a line for a walk.
If 'steampunk' still floats your boat you should probably check out the website of Lia Keyes, and even if it doesn't you ought to take a look at Cory Gross's Voyages Extraordinaire, which is really more about Scientific Romance and is always worth a read.  The blog Unhappy Hipsters pokes fun at trendy post-modern types by adding its own mordant little captions to pictures of their painfully stylish houses - a useful public service, I feel.

Finally, I notice that the number of Followers of this blog finally reached 100 over Christmas.  People are always telling me that the number of people who take the trouble to 'follow' in no way reflects the number of actual visits the blog gets, but it's certainly encouraging to see you all there, so thank you very much!