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The Return

I have returned! I am nestled back safely on my couch in Australia, with my dog panting on the floor, and the sun setting over the mountains. During my sojourn in Japan, I saw many glorious sights: temples, skyscrapers, centuries-old castles, decades-old recreations of castles, and lots of stone Buddhas wearing little knitted hats and scarves. I strolled through museums, and wandered through pachinko parlours. I have ridden upon the bullet train. I have peed upon the bullet train. Which is to say, I have peed whilst riding upon the bullet train. It was great trip, but it’s good to be home.

And, of course, while I was away, on January 11, 2012 Anno Domini, The Rook was unleashed upon the United States of America.

I think that, when your first novel comes out, it’s probably a good thing to be in a country where the book is not going to be available, and you don’t have a phone that will let you obsessively check your e-mail every five minutes. Why, I would say that whole hours went by when I didn’t try to find some opportunity to check the internet. And, as luck would have it, there are astoundingly few temples and castles which provide you with facilities for checking the internet.

But despite my lack of constant observation, lots of stuff kept happening. In fact, it’s been an extremely busy three weeks.

Firstly, a few items were released upon the world wide web, to accompany the release of The Rook. And I shall provide you with links to see them. Behold:

On John Scalzi’s website, at http://whatever.scalzi.com/2012/01/12/the-big-idea-daniel-omalley/ ,  there’s an interview with me regarding the ‘big idea’ that spawned The Rook.

At the website Largehearted Boy, located on the internet at http://www.largeheartedboy.com/blog/archive/2012/01/book_notes_dani_6.html , you can read my playlist for The Rook, and coming up with that was a unique experience.

And there have been some nice reviews, which is great.

CNN identified The Rook as one of its Hot Reads for Summer, putting it next to two of my absolute heroes, William Gibson and Bernard Cornwell. Upon seeing this (at http://edition.cnn.com/2012/01/13/living/hot-reads-january/index.html ), my brain exploded with a sharp detonation, prompting complaints from the cleaning staff of the hotel.

MTVGeek described the book as ‘Downton Abbey with superpowers’ which is a phrase that I am going to insist be inscribed on my tombstone. (http://geek-news.mtv.com/2012/01/10/the-rook-is-downton-abbey-with-superpowers-book-review/)

Monsters and Critics said some good things at http://www.monstersandcritics.com/books/science_fiction_fantasy/reviews/article_1685891.php/Book-Review-The-Rook

And the IE Mommy at http://www.theiemommy.com/2012/01/08/the-rook-a-novel-by-daniel-omalley/ made me blush with satisfaction.

There have been some other very nice reviews, but I shall have to bring them to the next blog, or this will just be a list of reviews, and I want to tell you about exciting stuff that has been happening in Australia.

To begin with, there were extracts from The Rook published in The Herald-Sun and The Adelaide Advertiser, both prominent newspapers for those of you who don’t live in Australia. And, on iTunes Australia, The Rook was the book of the week!

And stuff keeps happening! Tomorrow, my excellent local bookstore, Dymocks in Civic, is hosting a book-launching event (http://www.dymocks.com.au/LiteraryEvents/Default.aspx?s=2) . This is my very first public appearance as an author! I am only mildly petrified, but it will help me work out all my panic-impulses, which is very good because the day after tomorrow, Impact Comics, the store I have haunted since my childhood, is hosting a signing event (http://impactcomics.com.au/web/ , please RSVP if attending.)

I am Pestilent

Blurgh, don’t come too close, and don’t lick your monitor, because I have the plague. It’s manifested itself in the form of an incredibly sore throat, and very itchy ears, and a sort of mucous-based hostile takeover of my skull. And on the weekend, no less. There really is no justice. I have spent the day in bed, dosing myself with cups of mint tea and water and Codral Day & Night, and making pathetic bugling sounds. I have to be well enough tomorrow to go to work, so that I can flex the next day off and go down to Sydney to have lunch with a friend who’s visiting from the States.

The upside, however, is that I’ve gotten a fair amount of fiction down on the page, working through the list of ideas that I came up with earlier in the week.

One of the things about really getting into the writing of a novel (I’ve found) is that the novel tends to squat in the back of your mind on a near-constant basis, colouring all your perceptions. As a result, when asked in a seminar “what can you do with a manager who is unpleasant to his subordinates?”, I unthinkingly replied “Kill him”, which earned me a few nervous titters and sidelong looks. Sorry, kids, but I’m working on an assassin novel.

On the other hand, everything you see and learn seems like something you could possibly put into the novel. The lessons I was learning in my project management course really do lend themselves quite well to planning and executing assassinations: Laying out the scope of the project, Consulting with Experts, Execution (as it were), Reviewing Results and Lessons Learned. It’s all as applicable to paid murder as it is to Public Service tasks.

Now, as a bonus, if I can figure out how the internet works, there should be a photo here featuring what a temporary Rook tattoo from New York Comic Con looks like when it is applied to my corpse-white wrist. And may I say that it is supremely difficult to take photos of a tattoo with white bits on a white wrist with a right-handed camera when you’re left-handed, and trying to cover the flash with your finger, because you can’t figure out how to turn it off? Because it is.

All Sortsa News

Well, it’s been a week of rather grand news.

To begin with, The Rook is going to be published in Australia! What’s that you say? “Um, Dude, your book’s getting published. In English. Isn’t it going to be in Australia automatically? That’s what they speak there, right? More or less? If it’s published in English, it must be published in Australia.” You would be forgiven for thinking so, but, in point of fact, that is not necessarily the case. In the case of The Rook, it was not to be the case. HOWEVER, the good people at HarperCollins Australia have decided that they like the book enough to acquire the Australian rights, so it will be available in stores that are within 6000 kilometres of my house. This is a big deal. The whole idea of having a book published somehow seems more real when you know that you could go to the local store and see it. So, I’ve been chatting with my Australian editor (and managed to leave one of the most horrendously awkward voicemails in the history of spoken communication) and it’s all confirmed and for real. I don’t like to announce these sorts of things until it’s definitely for really actually done and accomplished, for fear the universe will take umbrage at my presumption and make it all a dream or something. But, this is confirmed and for real, and the Australian version will be coming out in, I think, February 2012. I’m not certain to what extent there will need to be editing, although I am rather hoping that they will go through and put back all the u’s that my poor American editor had to cut out of various ‘honours’ and ‘colours’ and ‘neighbours’.

Other rather exciting news is that I just got my first review! I’ve had some very nice comments from authors (and those totally blow my mind, by the way. It’s tremendously exciting when someone whose work you regard so highly says nice things about your work.) But, this is the first one from an authentic publication, and from Library Journal, of all places. And it’s rather nice, too.  I’ve had various people advise me, very soberly, not to read reviews. Or at least, not to read the bad ones. This advice is a trifle problematic, since I’m not going to know if a review is bad or not until I read it. Fortunately, this one popped up on my Facebook page – thank you to my friends who noticed it and sent it on — so I could assume it would be nice. And nice it is! Finally, the third book in Clive Barker’s “Abarat” series came out. Absolute Midnight. I’ve been waiting for this book for years, since about 2005. And I can say two things about it. First, I can entirely see why it took so long to come out, because it is filled with paintings by the author. And secondly, I think this book is the best refutation of e-books that I can think of, because it is beautiful. It’s sure to be a glorious story, but it’s also a glorious THING. The paper is amazing, the art is vivid (could it be satisfactorily recreated on a screen? Doubtful.) It’s a thing that is beautiful to behold. A sculpture that tells a story. A future heirloom. I gloat over it, the fact that I have it.

And now, I must away, to finish packing. For much of this week, I am attending a Rail Safety Convention. My knowledge of trains is somewhat limited, mostly restricted to the exploits of Thomas and Percy (was Percy the one that they walled up alive in a tunnel? I always found that a bit disconcertingly dark). But, this is my chance to learn. Plus, I’m visiting Melbourne, which I am really looking forward to.

The first post.

Welcome to my new website! I am now one of the landed internet gentry! Look around you (on the screen, not in your room.) Everything the light touches is mine. It’s like owning a house, or even better, a small estate. It comes with a library (little extracts of The Rook, which should be somewhere around here), and a portrait gallery (which I suppose is my ‘About the Author’ bit), and the house farm, which produces stuff constantly, which will be the twitter feeds and the blog.

The blog. Oh boy.

I have never been a blogger before, but from what I understand, having a blog is a lot like having a puppy (which is another thing I have recently acquired). They’re a lot of responsibility, and they can get you up at odd hours of the night, and they need to be fed constantly, and you have to buy squeaky weasel toys for them. And really, you have to decide what they’re going to grow up to be. Will it be a racing blog? Or a working blog? Mine, I suspect, will be something of a lap blog, uncharacterized by much real discipline, and prone to little fits of excitement or panic over the most ridiculous things.

Alright, this whole dog/blog thing is a metaphor that I may have taken too far.

Anyway, so I am now a blogger. I blog. I fully intend to blog at least once a week, or as often as I feel like it (whichever yields the most entries.) No doubt, this will lead to some of those Sunday evening revelations that I have blogging homework due the next morning, and I’ll panic utterly, and stare around the room, looking for something to blog about, and then there will be an entry on tables or flyspray or something.

Of course, the main focus of the blog (other than tables or flyspray or whatever random object comes into my view) will be The Rook, which is my first novel, published by Little, Brown and Company, and which is coming out in the USA in January of 2012, just in time for the Aztec apocalypse. So, in this blog, I’ll endeavour to keep my readers abreast of all developments with The Rook, and whatever other writing projects I am working on.

Meanwhile, the website is still taking shape a little. There’s going to be more things coming. There will be a trailer for The Rook, which I am extremely excited about, and a newsletter is gestating even as we speak, so you can sign up for that, should the urge take you.

Also, I need to take this chance to thank Jeremiah Tolbert, of www.clockpunkstudios.com . The man is possessed of genius, and patience like unto that of one of those centuries-old tortoises, that have seen everything, and know all, and can endure pretty much all shrill mammals. Except he responds to problems much, much more swiftly than a tortoise.

Okay! So, first blog entry completed, on my marvelous new website. I feel so virtuous. I have the rest of a long weekend to go enjoy (it’s Labour Day weekend in Australia.)