The Big Weekend
First, let me just point out that I may be changing the look of the blog a little bit soon. My old school chum David morphed into a grown up, and is a web designer now. He sneeringly acquiesced to doing something as basic and plebian as a WordPress theme, when I begged him to make this pukestain look slightly more presentable. In fact, I guarantee you he’s sat there waiting for details from me right now, a) under the laughable belief that I have any ideas, and b) wondering why I’m writing this instead of replying to his last letter about the crushing social pressure of first wedding dances.
And on that note, there’s something me and Katie haven’t managed to agree on yet, either. The song for the first dance. But we’ll come to that later; time is short, and there’s packing to be done.
This weekend is a 4-day travelfest of social unease and eye-twitching radness. For now – at last – it’s time for Black Library Live 2010. My weekend will consist of the following aspects:
I intend to rise almost inhumanly early, while the skies are still greyed by the threatening dawn. Then we’ll drive to Belfast, I’ll freak out at driving in a busy city while trying not to take human life, and we’ll park at the airport only to enjoy the wondrous pleasure of £15 a day long-stay carparks. Then we fly.
We’ll touch down in the land of the Delta Blues, in the middle of the pouring rain. Once in Nottingham, I think we’re heading to GW HQ, to annoy Christian in Bugman’s Bar. Christian is my publisher’s short story commissioning editor, and practically the only member of staff I actually agree with most of the time. And yet, it will be an ugly encounter. He’ll make outrageous statements about me missing short story deadlines, and I’ll drag his dubious – potentially even apish – parentage into the equation. We’ll end the exchange as we always end our exchanges: in a fistfight so ball-punchingly intense that several of the Geneva Conventions are inevitably broken, and we both spend the night in jail, calling each other names and word-forging new curse words to deploy through the cell bars.
Katie will look on in disappointment, and go on a date with my cover artist, Jon Sullivan. He looks sort of Italian, I think. Whatever.
Friday is the day of the Horus Heresy meeting and the Black Library staff dinner thing. This week, me and Dan swapped drafts of Prospero Burns and The First Heretic, and have much to discuss in that vein. If we manage to do it, it’ll be on Friday. But that’s not foremost in my thoughts, because I’ll still be in jail by that point.
I’ll wake up in the arms of my cellmate, Skull-eating Pete, who will have kept me warm through the long night with some totally platonic hugs. After lying to Pete and saying I really will stay in touch, I’ll leave jail in the company of Jim Swallow and Dan Abnett, who have bailed me out using a combination of charisma and pocket change. We’ll pass Christian’s cell, and I’ll stop right there. At that point, I’ll turn, and moonwalk past while giving him the middle finger.
“Let me out,” he’ll say to me. “You need me at the Horus Heresy meeting.”
But this is a lie. We don’t need him there. With Nick Kyme already pencilled in, our Irritating Northern Guy quota is maxed.
“If you let me out,” Christian will say, “I’ll let your story have the cover if we do another Horus Heresy anthology.”
This is the kind of filthy promise that appeals to my mercenary heart, and such sleazy negotiation buys Christian his freedom. Dan is too Kentish to intimidate this rugged member of our editorial corps, but Jim’s packing a sawn-off under his jacket (with a modified pistol grip) and that guarantees Christian’s good behaviour. We escort him to GW HQ, in time for the Horus Heresy meeting.
At the Horus Heresy meeting, we argue over screwed-up timelines, and I listen to everyone’s ideas for their next books. I start to tremble when I realise I’m at risk of losing control of my bladder due to fanboyish delight. I gush at Graham for A Thousand Sons. I annoy Jim by begging for info on Nemesis. I repel Dan by constantly asking to read more of his Prospero Burns draft. Irritated by this, they ask what my next pitch will be.
I stand. I take a breath. They can all see the stain on my jeans from where I wet myself, but I don’t care. “It’s like… Romeo and Juliet, in space.”
Heads will shake. Shoulders will slump. I won’t be invited to another Horus Heresy Meeting in the future, and security guards escort me from the room.
“Do you need the toilet?” they’ll ask.
But no. It’s too late for that now.
Saturday is Black Library Live 2010. I’m still too new for anyone to have read my stuff, but at least I have books coming out for them to read soon. Helsreach is on pre-release at the event. Legends of the Space Marines has my best short story ever. Best of all, Soul Hunter is fiiiiiiiiiiiiiinally about to be released.
- At 10am, which is practically the night before, me and Nick are doing a reading/talk about the Salamanders and Night Lords stuff we’re working on. Given the insane hour, I expect 4 people to show up.
- At 12pm, I’m signing for a while.
- At 3:30, there’s this weird Seer Council thing, where 15 people can talk to an author in a room somewhere. Given that no one knows who I am, only 2 people show up. But we pass the time with some classic, nail-biting Tetris action on someone’s iPhone, and all is well. They ask questions about The First Heretic that I’m not allowed to answer. I answer them anyway, because there’s no one important there to watch me. Then I lose at Tetris again, and steal the iPhone.
Between and after these events, I suspect I’ll be found with Katie, trailing along with Jim or Dan, still looking very much like the uncomfortable new guy. I may complain a little about not getting to eat Subway. It seems likely, but I’ll play that by ear.
We fly back. This… this day’s sort of less exciting, really. I’m not sure it even deserved its own section, let alone a bolded title.