This is designed to be a quick reference page for those of you who like your information fast. (Note I didn't promise interesting, just fast!). Here you'll find all sorts of odd details about projects I'm currently working on and other things that take my fancy. As this page is new there isn't a lot here yet. But have no fear I'll be filling in the blanks...and if there's no news for a couple of months then I'll do as Grift taught me: make some up!

August 19th, 2003

  • Hi, Everyone. It's been quite a while since I've last updated my website. Sorry about that! (-: Things have been pretty busy here, chaotic at times, but I've finally found a moment of peace to sit here and type something other than the follow-up to Fortress of Grey Ice. Speaking of which, the book has finally been published in the US (Tor Books) so I'm pretty excited about that. Hoping, too, that the long delay doesn't mean that everyone who read and enjoyed Cavern a couple of years back hasn't forgotten about it. Anyway, if you are reading it, be sure to drop me a line and let me know what you think.

  • Now, onto other things. Biggie is very well, but still a little timid. Every cat in the neighborhood has chased her back in the house at some time or other. Her arch-nemesis, Emily, who lives opposite and is known to be "a good ratter", scratched Biggie's nose a few weeks back and Biggie's hair still hasn't grown back. Increasing stress has led to strange behaviour in the house, and now Biggie won't drink from anything except my Liverpool FC coffee mug that I use to swill out the bath (being a staunch Everton fan I'm certainly NOT about to drink from it). Okay, quick detour. My home town of Liverpool, England, is host to two Premier League soccer teams: the showy, well-funded, world-famous Liverpool, and the poorly-funded underdogs Everton. Liverpool's color is red. Everton's color is blue. Their rivalry is legendary. Think Boston Red Socks and New York Yankees. Whenever the two have to play each other, the entire city comes to a standstill--right until the very last moment when Everton loses. Still, Everton's my team, and Mum would kill me if ever I deserted the team. Briefly, back in the 80's, my brother Mark decided he'd had enough of supporting "a gang of sleepwalking losers" and turned to the Dark Side. He even attended some Liverpool home games. And although it was obviously a rebellious stage he was going through--his support for Liverpool only lasted two seasons--Mum still hasn't forgiven him. He never gets the white meat, and forget about extra gravy.

  • What else? Let me see. Since my last entry in the news sheet, I've done a little bit of travelling. I finally gave skiing a try, and if I do say so myself I took to it like a bald, arthritic duck to water. I really enjoy it, but darn I'm slow! Never fallen, though, not once...well, as long as you discount alighting from the ski lift for the first five times.

    February 24th, 2002

  • Hi, All. I've been busy working on the revisions for Fortress Of Grey Ice (things move at quite a pace when the goal is to get a book published in under 3 months). But enough about that. Yes, it's that time of year...Spring. Time for the annual airing of my Cary Grant fixation. What's brought this on? you ask. Well, the US Postal Service (God bless 'em) have decided to issue a Cary Grant stamp. First class, of course (I couldn't see Cary on anything less. Parcel Post! Shudder!). I'll be stocking up come August. At last Cary's getting some respect. He never won an Oscar (I don't count the one they gave him out of guilt fifteen years after he'd retired) despite all his great work in film. Who else could do screwball comedy with Katherine Hepburn (Bringing Up Baby), sophisticated whodunits with Grace Kelly (To Catch A Thief), arch social commentary (The Philadelphia Story--for which Grant's costar Jimmy Stewart won an Oscar! I can't begin to tell you how mad that makes me! BTW, Grant gave the huge $125,000 fee he received for Philadelphia entirely to the British War Relief Fund) and spine-tingling thrillers (North By Northwest). And now, about 50 years on, Cary Grant is keeping cable channels like AMC and TCM in business. It's about time he got stamp! Of course, I may be a wee bit prejudiced! (-:

  • Now, from a long-standing fixation, to a newly-born one. iPod. My Mum and brothers bought me an iPod two weeks ago, and without doubt it is the best, most splendid thing I have ever received as a gift. I am obsessed with getting my hands on songs to load onto it. I think it holds about 1,100 tunes. Yes, 1,100. To give you an idea of my music taste I have the Talking Heads, next to The Jam, next to Tom Jones, next to Tupac Shakur (yes, I'm a Rap fan--the secret's out). And still I need more! My brother Paul gave me a list of iPod related websites (iPod Lounge, Everything iPod, and iPodding) and I ordered my iPod a little outfit (a hot red number that increases the iPod's cuteness by a factor of ten). Music and dress-up! A girlhood dream. Now I'm in possession of leads to play my iPod though my home and car stereo systems, there's no stopping me.

  • I think that's all for now. I'm getting a lot of email from folk asking when Fortress will be published Stateside. The date still hasn't been firmed yet, but its looking like early next year. The German edition should be out about the same time also: I'll let you know when I have more information. Thanks for stopping by, JV.

    January 9th, 2002

  • Happy New Year, everyone. I hope you had a great time over the Holidays, and still fit into all your clothes. I had a quiet Christmas. Went to see Lord of the Rings, and enjoyed it a lot. Received Dragon Warrior VII for Sony Playstation. Two weeks later, and I'm still only on the first disk. I'm creating all sorts of strange job-combinations for my characters: Warrior-Dancer, Shepheard-Kung Fu master: it's more fun than playing the game.

  • Things are moving on the publishing front. The UK edition of Fortress of Grey Ice will be published in April, along with a new printing of Cavern of Black Ice. I still don't have the US pub date yet, but I'll pass it along as soon as its firm.



    Dec 6th, 2001

  • Hi everyone! Thanks for stopping by. Yes, after a bit of an absence I'm finally back. I've been working really hard on the final draft of Fortress of Grey Ice, and now it's done (manic laugh!!). Of course in the publishing world a manuscript takes quite a while to be converted from a printed draft to an actual honest-to-goodness book. First of all, the editor reads it, then he may want to make some changes, or have some suggestions for rewrites. Then when that's done the manuscript goes to the copy editor who uses a fine tooth comb to weed out all the grammatical errors and inconsistencies in the text. Next, the book goes into production, which starts with meetings to decide such things as typeface, paper quality, cover design. At the same time the marketing experts are looking through their publishing schedules to decide the best time to publish, and then formulate a marketing strategy. And only when everything is decided does the actual book get printed. It takes a while! I know. It's hard to live with sometimes. )-:

  • Anyway, thanks for continuing to stop by, and sending emails about Fortress. I'm writing this after six weeks of intensive, almost round-the-clock work, so the grammar might not be that good (where's the copy editor when you need one?). I'm feeling pretty good, as various inflications caused by my schedule have abated (cold, sore throat, acne--I drink a lot of chocolate milk when I work late!--and insomnia). Biggie and I are having a fire tonight. I'm actually building my own. I have the logs, and some sticks called "Firestarters". Wish me luck.

  • I don't think Biggie's managed to kill any substantially-sized wildlife yet, though she did chase a squirrel in the house a few months back. The squirrel ended up under the couch in the back room. I was screaming, armed with a broom. Biggie was making high-pitched "Eep! Eep!" noises, frustrated because that couch is too low for her to crawl under. I did what every self-respecting woman would do: I locked Biggie in the upstairs bathroom, left the back door open, and went out for coffee. I still don't know if the squirrel actually left or is dead under the couch--and I'm not checking!

  • On publishing news. Fortress of Grey Ice will now be published by Tor in the U.S. They will be also be publishing Cavern of Black Ice. I don't know the dates yet, but I'll let you know as soon as I receive them.

  • I'll be doing a revamp of the site in coming months (it's looking dated--a bit like myself!). So please stop by from time to time. I'll be regularly updating the newsheet from now on, at least monthly. Also, I'll be posting a sample chapter from Fortress at the beginning of the year. Those good folk who purchased the paperback edition of Cavern, got to read a chapter from early in the book (Chapter 3) featuring a meeting between the Dog Lord and Angus Lok (always a combustible duo), but I think the chapter I'll post online will be one concerning a character you haven't heard from in aloooong while! Keep guessing. He he he!

  • Now, 'tis the gift-giving time of year, and I'm wondering what I want for Christmas. Will it be Sony Playstation II, Nintendo Cube, or the X-Box? It doesn't look as if there are any RPG's (that's role playing games for the uninitiated) for the X-Box or the Cube yet (a guy in the store told me a new Zelda won't be out until Dec 2002), so it looks like I'm in for the Playstation. He! He!

  • Finally, Happy Holidays! I hope you have a wonderful time and a great New Year. Much good cheer, JV

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