Monday, October 15, 2012

Way Out West

It's taken me a bit of time to write here again. Two reasons. One I've been off to the States and in the Old West - in the wonderful town to Cheyenne for the Cheyenne Zombiefest -and second I've been reconfiguring my computer after somebody kindly sent me a virus designed to attack my hard drive.

Thankfully there was a secondary memory source built in and my friend Darryl and I were able to save much of the stuff that was on it, although we lost a little bit, but even though we had a good number of protections built in Darryl had to rebuild a bit of the main drive. I have my suspicions as to who it was sent me the virus but I can't prove it so I'm saying nothing. Anyway, the whole system is now changed and functioning and I'm getting used to the different command bars. So apologies for the delay.

On a brighter note, the Cheyenne trip was really something. It was the first time that I'd been to America in over 30 years so it was a bit of an adventure. And I met a lot of good people out there and those who were really interested in where I'd come from and how things were in Northern Ireland. It was great to meet Americans who had a genuine feeling for what's happening over here - a lot of whom were more clued in than I'd imagined.

Those whom I met in Cheyenne were absolutely terrific and couldn't have done enough for me. I'd like to say a massive thanks to Rory for inviting me over. As I told him when I was growing up Westerns were all the rage over here and I always wanted to be a cowboy. The good people of Cheyenne made that wish come true. Even more so because they gave me a terrific cowboy hat - a genuine cattleman's hat bought in The Wrangler from the hands of the Cattle Queen of Wyoming. This has now pride of place gives me a kind of "western gravitas". I'm going to wear it when I chair my next meeting with the "suits" from Stormont who chide me for not wearing a tie. Let's see what they make of the hat!

The trip was great and it was terrific to meet all the people who came to the lectures and to the book signings. And thanks to the couple who traveled all the way from Utah to meet me. I'm really glad that Zombiefest was such a success - I hope that I contributed in some small way to that. Truly great too to meet my co-guests, Jonathan Maberry and his lovely wife Sara and the inimitable George Hardy of Troll 2. We all had a ball and are now corresponding over the net and may combine on a new collaborative project which we talked about in Cheyenne. It's easy to become both isolated and insular as a writer and so it's great to meet others and expand your horizons - I really hope that the project between us all comes off and will keep you informed.

If you've never been to Wyoming and Colorado, I would definitely recommend that you go. The people there are great and I hope that I can count many of them as my friends. But the trip was exhausting for me. Three plane changes - one of which got significantly delayed - and three different time zones. I was shattered when I got home and it took several days before I felt human again. But it was worth it and if Wyoming was closer I'd be back in a heartbeat. To all who looked after me so well, my sincerest thanks.

And the only way to fly is Great Lakes Airlines - an unsolicited plug there. When you're looking directly over the co-pilot's right shoulder in flight it gives a whole new perspective to "priority seating". But what an experience! Go on, give it a try!   And I see I have another two invitations to the States for next year - one to Los Angeles and one to Atlanta, Georgia. I may become what the airlines sometimes describe as "a frequent flier".

Of course one of the big pluses on the trip was to meet my editorial staff at Career Press in  Newark. I know you think that I have to say that because Laurie reads my blog - but it's true. I've been working for them since 2003 but had never met them, So it was great to put faces to names and thanks for the chilli soup - it was fantastic.

And I think this would be a good time to say that American Vampires is ready and in stores. Hope you enjoy it. In a week's time I'm off to Dublin to meet with Irish President Michael D. Higgins and then there may be a trip to Iceland on the cards. I'm getting too old for all of this you know! But keep an eye for American Vampires in the shops and we'll talk again very soon.

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