Blimey. What with the rest of the New York trip and one thing and another, this last week has been a bit manic. But I’m here, I’ve survived [vodka pizza is DELICIOUS, btw! ;)] and all is good.

I’ve got some more events and appearances lined up over the next few months – watch this space! But I’ll let you know now, my intention is essentially to spend the UK’s summer (or, heh, whatever summer we get!) with my nose pressed firmly to the grindstone.

Yes folks, it’s time to put the serious hours in on PHASE THREE of my sinister masterplan to conquer the universe, by which of course I mean my NEXT BOOK! I’m very excited, and I hope when the time comes that you will be too. I may even drop some hints about it in forthcoming posts. But since it’s currently TOP SECRET, and this blog, er, still needs writing(!) here are a couple of other bits and pieces to keep you ticking over instead… ;p

First up, here are a couple of pics I’ve been meaning to post for a while. The plan is for them to end up on the Tim site’s Unlucky London Landmarks page, where I’ve already got some other photos I’ve taken of the real places mentioned in the course of the book. The proviso with this location, however, is that it’s one of the few that doesn’t get DESTROYED! I’m talking, of course, about the British Museum.

Here’s a shot of the front entrance, looking impressive as ever…

The British Museum

And here (below) – albeit rendered into patented ‘WonkyVision(tm)’ by a certain ham-fisted author-photographer! – is the museum’s Great Court.

The Great Court

The relevant passage of the book occurs on page 11, and goes like this:

‘On a summer’s day it would have looked spectacular, with streaming shafts of sunshine making the marble floor gleam and the whole room seem to dance with light. But this was not a summer’s day. The gloom from the leaden London sky above made the Great Court feel a bit like an oversized fish tank – and one that hadn’t been cleaned properly at that.’

Well, the sun was shining so I didn’t time this quite right for you I guess. But the eerie Matrix-style green cast this pic seems to have developed might help give you some idea of the scene, at least! ;p

In other news, ANOTHER edition of TIM has just been launched! It’s the US unabridged audio version, read by Bryan Kennedy, and it’s available to download, right now, via Audible. If you go to this page, you should be able to listen to a sample.

I haven’t had a chance to check this version out properly for myself yet, but it does nicely illustrate one of the lovely things about audiobooks (and, indeed, books generally!) which is that every reader’s interpretation is different. When you’ve checked out the US version, click here (and scroll down to the bottom) to hear the difference. Mr Kennedy, unlike Nigel Greaves, has chosen not to give Dr McKinsey a Scots accent, for a start! He’s gone instead for something much flatter and rather sinister. The interpretations are different, but they’re both very cool. I’m a lucky guy and no mistake. 🙂

Finally, I’ve got to apologize for something. Due to a technical glitch, for most of this last month new posts to the Tim and Black Tat Guestbooks were not appearing as quickly as they should – GAH! This was especially annoying – for me and the WebSphinx as well as presumably for the people who posted, btw – because the posts themselves have been particularly fabulous lately: do click on the links to check ’em out. Meanwhile, if you’re reading this Cris from Anaheim, Phoebe from St Mary’s, Taryn from New Jersey, Libby from Dublin, Andrew from Missouri, Victoria from TO, Mexchina from Boston, Sophie from Leigh, Sienna from Toronto, Twinkleberry from Bristol and Hannah from Stratford… then humble apologies from me and the WebSphinx, and a MASSIVE thank you for sharing your awesomeness with us. Having people write in to the sites is one of the very best things about this website caper, and you have put some delightedly huge and cheesy grins on my face. Hee hee hee!


Comments? Suggestions? Questions? Me and THE WEBSPHINX would love to hear from you! Drop us a line at the Tim, Defender of the Earth Guestbook for current or Tim stuff, or The Black Tattoo Guestbook for Black Tat stuff. First (or demon-!) names only, please. 😉

Today I dropped by awesome brand spanking new local independent booksellers THE BIG GREEN BOOKSHOP, to pick up some comics. To my great glee and delight, in their ‘seal of approval’ section I found my favourite review of TIM, DEFENDER OF THE EARTH so far! Take a look:

‘If you don’t like books with action-packed chapters with big scary monsters wrecking national monuments and giant cockroaches killing people, you will not like this book. I LOVED IT.’ – Finn, 12

Job done. I am happy. 🙂


Comments? Suggestions? Questions? Me and THE WEBSPHINX would love to hear from you! Drop us a line at the Tim, Defender of the Earth Guestbook for current or Tim stuff, or The Black Tattoo Guestbook for Black Tat stuff. First (or demon-!) names only, please. 😉

Hi there.

Here’s a picture of me at some unspeakable hour on the night of Friday 2nd Feb 2007:


Yeah, well: if you thought being an author was glamorous, now you know the truth! 😉 But this is what I looked like after the two years of work (and the climactic thirteen-hour-straight ‘crunch’!) that it took to complete the first draft of TIM, DEFENDER OF THE EARTH. That pile of paper I’m holding there is the very first time the book existed, outside of my computer and my porridge-like excuse for a brain…

…And now, as of tomorrow, the finished version is officially released in the US.

This is my second go around at having a book of mine published in America, after my debut novel, THE BLACK TATTOO. One would have thought, perhaps, that by now I might be getting used to the idea that a story I wrote here in my flat in north London (England) is going to appear in shops, sorry, ‘stores'(!) all across the USA. But no. A large part of me still can’t quite believe this is really happening. And the rest of me… is just HUGELY, HUGELY EXCITED! -WAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!

Ahem: ‘scuse me. 😉

To anyone reading this as a result of my just joining the Amazon Connect program, a very happy HELLO AND WELCOME TO MY SINISTER MASTERPLAN TO CONQUER THE UNIVERSE! My apologies for all the shouting, and I promise I’ll try to write something more intelligible on this blog soon.

Meanwhile, do have a click around the special Tim website. THE WEBSPHINX and I have been working pretty hard on it: we think it’s coming together quite nicely – hope you agree!


Comments? Suggestions? Questions? Me and THE WEBSPHINX would love to hear from you! Drop us a line at the Tim, Defender of the Earth Guestbook for current or Tim stuff, or The Black Tattoo Guestbook for Black Tat stuff. First (or demon-!) names only, please. 😉

So! I have returned! -Yes! Again! ;p (Wow, two blog posts in one day, eh? Who’d’ve thought it?)

Today’s visit was to John Ruskin Primary School, in Southwark, London. I’d been invited there to do two sessions and – with the aid of Bushido Bookseller George H., of Tales on Moon Lane – hopefully shift some copies of TIM and Black Tat at the school’s book fair, that afternoon. Coming as it did between the Wiltshire Whirwind and tomorrow’s Wood Green Whistlestop tours I’d allowed myself to think that today might actually be quite quiet compared to the rest of this week.

Not a bit of it. HEE HEE HEE!

The students at John Ruskin Primary School are BRILLIANT: unfailingly attentive and polite, while also being supremely enthusiastic and welcoming, they made me feel like an absolute rock star all the time I was on school grounds (aww, thank you!) And – as with the Stamford Hill Library Teenage Reading Group last week – the questions came thick and fast right from the start of each session.

At the students’ gleeful prompting, discussion ranged widely over all sorts of topics that I don’t necessarily get onto every time. One question that particularly stood out for me was about DESCRIPTION – conveying enough information for the reader to picture what’s going on, but without interfering too much with the pace of a scene. It can be a hard balance to strike: Roald Dahl was one author who was an absolute genius at that, by the way – take a look. But the other standout question for me concerned (oof!) my HANDWRITING.

I’ll admit it, folks: it’s absolutely diabolical. I type all my stories out straight onto the computer, and anyone who’s seen my handwriting will understand why. In fact, whenever I’m asked to sign a book (and at John Ruskin Primary, to my delight, I was asked to sign plenty!) I always double-check with the book’s new owner whether they’re absolutely sure they want me writing on it! I dread to think the number of migraines it must have caused my poor teachers at school. One tutor at my university (Manchester) once feelingly described it as being ‘a bit like bar-code, only… sort of… melted.’

Well, my protestations were in vain: the students in the first session insisted that I had to write something on the board to demonstrate – and a gasp went up as they witnessed my scrawl’s true grisliness. By the way: thanks for inviting me, Ms Madeira! I hope I haven’t ruined that board permanently or anything! Hee hee hee!


Take a close look at the picture above. Yes, it’s yet another shot of the dreaded Enthoven gesticulating (and turning blancmange-pink again with excitement HUR HUR HUR ahem ‘scuse me ;p) But there’s something next to him that hasn’t appeared on these pages before, namely a beautiful and brand new first edition hardback of the US edition of TIM!

I didn’t have time to tell you about this this morning, but a big box of author copies was waiting for me on my return from Wiltshire last night. The US edition of TIM is finished at last; it will be in shops in the States any day – and it’s absolutely GORGEOUS. Take a look:


I think the Razorbill production team have really surpassed themselves. I mean, the shininess! And the SCALINESS! It’s a true, monstrous thing of beauty (or it was until I defaced it with my signature – see what I mean?? ;p) But as if that wasn’t enough…


…check out this gobsmacking gatefold illustration by artist Dan Dos Santos, bound into every copy of this edition! For those that don’t know, that’s Tim and Professor Mallahide, squaring off for one of the book’s climactic battles in London’s river Thames (for a view of the pic without flare from my camera, click here). I couldn’t be happier with how this American edition of Tim has turned out. In fact, if this week carries on being as exciting as it has been I may do myself a mischief: here’s hoping I don’t explode with glee or something before Saturday. I mean, the stains would be impossible to get out of the carpet…!

Eat yer later humans,

Jagm-AHEM! I mean, /Sam/ 😉


Comments? Suggestions? Questions? Me and THE WEBSPHINX would love to hear from you! Drop us a line at the Tim, Defender of the Earth Guestbook for current or Tim stuff, or The Black Tattoo Guestbook for Black Tat stuff. First (or demon-!) names only, please. 😉

Thursday 17th January 2008

The UK launch date for Tim has actually shifted forward several times now. The original plan was for the UK edition to appear in April – the month after the release of the book in America this coming March. Then Jan 31st was apparently going to be the date – before today was finally settled upon, some time just before Christmas. The reason for the change, as I’ve mentioned before, is that (much to my continuing astonishment) Tim has already been shortlisted for an award, namely the 2008 Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize. Waterstone’s is the biggest bookshop chain in the UK. Today (the 17th) is when the booksellers put out their displays of the shortlisted books. An opportunity like that – having Tim on prominent view at shops all over Britain! – is obviously too good to pass up. So, today was the launch day for the book.

I was a bookseller myself for nearly ten years, and one of the many secrets I learned about the trade is that (unless you’re J K Rowling of course!) the actual launch day of a new book doesn’t matter all that much. The fact is that only the very top-selling authors have the marketing clout behind them for a massive event on a specific day to be worthwhile. For a ‘noob’ like me (even, as I hope, an up-and-coming ‘noob’!) a few weeks either way doesn’t make much odds in the grand scheme of things.

Now don’t get me wrong: on Jan 28th I’m heading off on a tremendous full week of events arranged by Random House. After that, I’ve been filling my diary with as many appearances as I can: a minimum of one gig a week for the next six months. It’s going to be mental! [Keep checking here for details]. But today, the launch day itself, I was at a loose end. Serious work was out of the question: since getting the book in my hands I’ve had an attention span a gnat would be ashamed of. So, wisely – to prevent me becoming even more of a basket-case! – my wonderful girlfriend Laura kindly took the afternoon off from her own work so we could go out and celebrate, just the two of us together. Folks, it was lovely.

Nominally our plan was to go to the Tate Modern to catch one of the last days of an exhibition by the awesome artist Louise Bourgeois. That was absolutely gobsmacking, full of exactly the kind of wriggly body-horror that gets the juices of my nasty mind flowing! And from the Tate Modern we walked along the Thames and into the West End, taking the chance on the way to shoot pics of some of the famous London landmarks that get pulverized, kaiju-style (heh!) in the course of Tim. As another early taste of the story, I therefore hereby present the following…

Trafalgar Square

This is Trafalgar Square, shortly before its utter destruction on around page 35 of the book. I included a lot of sky so you can imagine the size of the creature responsible. 😉

London Eye, Houses of Parliament

This is The London Eye looking spectacular as ever, with, in the background (of course) Britain’s Houses of Parliament. It’s a crying shame, what happens to everything in this picture: Oh dear, oh dear… [HEE HEE HEE HEE!]

St Paul’s Under Attack! Again!

…And here’s the scene of the climax of the book, namely the world-famous St Pauls Cathedral. As you can see, it was already under attack by another monster when I took this pic. What can I tell you? London’s a busy place.

…Not really ;)

….Oh, all right. 😉 This gorgeous giant spider is actually Maman, a stunning 30-foot-tall sculpture by the aforementioned Louise Bourgeois. But it made a good pic, you’ve got to admit.

We bimbled about around town some more, catching my first glimpses of copies of Tim on sale in shops(!!!) before finally ending our wonderings at St Pancras station. As it happens, I haven’t destroyed St Pancras in any of my stories yet. That’s partly because it only recently reopened(!) and partly because it currently contains what is apparently Europe’s longest champagne bar. And after gleefully toasting Tim with some celebratory giggle-juice there, it seems a shame to trash the place, even fictionally.

That, my friends, was how to do a launch day. 😉


Comments? Suggestions? Questions? Me and THE WEBSPHINX would love to hear from you! Drop us a line at the Tim, Defender of the Earth Guestbook for current or Tim stuff, or The Black Tattoo Guestbook for Black Tat stuff. First (or demon-!) names only, please. 😉

Wednesday 9th January 2008

Eek. With trembling fingers I undid the box, and there they were – my author copies of the UK first edition of Tim, Defender of the Earth.



This is the first version of the book that’s actually going to be available in shops. And no, while this may be my second go at this, but I’m not getting used to this feeling AT ALL.

First I tried to be cool about it: ‘Well,’ I thought, ‘there it is,’ and (once I’d got a copy out to look at) I stuck the box of books on top of the other boxes containing copies of Black Tat. ‘Another book done,’ I told myself. ‘Now get back to work.’ -But this, of course, was outright self-delusion and stupidity, and in due course (about twenty minutes) any calm I was pretending to possess duly evaporated.

Next, inevitably, came the panic: ‘OMFG, it’s going to be in shops where people can see it! What if everyone in the world thinks it’s rubbish? What if it sinks without a trace?‘ Much undignified poultry-style arm-flapping ensued, followed by a stern reminder to myself that… IT’S A BOOK: I’ve put my heart into it, and it might be important to me, sure, but it’s not exactly the most important thing in the world (sheesh). Then at last, helped in part by listening to some highlights from this UK abridged audio version…


…which, by the way, is awesome, I felt something else.

I’m DELIGHTED. Right now I feel this book has turned out exactly the way I wanted it, gleeful destruction and all (HEE HEE HEE!) As a writer you can’t say anything fairer about a project than that. And finally, and perhaps most important, as my wonderful girlfriend Laura gently pointed out as she talked me down from the ceiling …it’s too late to worry about it now. 😉

After something like two years of planning and hard work, at last it’s here in my hands. Feels good. So, to quote Dr. McKinsey…

‘Go on, you can do it! Go on, Tim! Get free!


Comments? Suggestions? Questions? Me and THE WEBSPHINX would love to hear from you! Drop us a line at the Tim, Defender of the Earth Guestbook for current or Tim stuff, or The Black Tattoo Guestbook for Black Tat stuff. First (or demon-!) names only, please. 😉

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