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!

  • February 1st, 1999


  • Hi everyone. Happy Valentines! Only a month to go now before Cavern hits the bookshelves. This month the last of the reader-reviewers turned in his review, and you can read it here along with the other eleven. My fault he was late, of course. Fool that I am sent his galley "overland" to Australia! This mysterious and elusive overland route must be a closely-guarded secret of the Post Office, as it appears on no map. Still, surrounding oceans not withstanding, the book did arrive safe and sound, and only two months late!
  • Over the Holidays I wrote a piece for B.Dalton's Sense of Wonder, which is the bookstores' own SF and fantasy magazine that can be picked up for free in all their stores. I don't think it will come out until March, but I'll be looking out for it anyway. In the piece I talk about how I came by one of the central ideas in Cavern of Black Ice. It 's all to do with African elephants (I like elephants--even more than moose!).

    me and Nog

    Win My Hat!

    Well, not the one I'm wearing exactly, but one just like it. Yes this handsome, one-size-fits-all JVJ.COM baseball cap can be yours (cat not included!). All you have to do is email me saying "I want your hat!" Your name will be put in the hat (pun intended) and the winner will be drawn on March 1st.

    jvj.com baseball cap

    I've just finished reading Elegy For Iris by John Bayley, which is an account of Bayley's relationship with his wife Iris Murdoch. Iris Murdoch has always been a favorite writer of mine, and I was saddened to hear that she was suffering from Alzheimer's. This book provides an account of her descent into the disease, as well as giving us an insight into her life and work. Bayley is a wonderfully unsentimental writer, who loves his wife dearly, and cares for her without outside help. When he describes their first face-to-face meeting he gives us a rare glimpse of truth, and proves we don't have to be beautiful to inspire love at first sight:

    "At the same time I was heartened by her general appearance, and its total absence of anything that for me in those days constituted sex appeal. She was not "a girl" and she had no girlish attractions. That made the fact that I was in love with her much more exciting; and it also seemed highly satisfactory, for what, as I instantly realized, was a rather ignoble reason. Since she had no obvious female charms, she was not likely to appeal to other men."

    Elegy For Iris

  • I think that's all for this month. Just for fun I put together a page on English Food. Astute readers will be able to spot most of these delicasies mentioned in A Cavern of Black Ice.
  • One final thing for those who have RealAudio players and a spare few seconds. It turns out that Widow Harpitt caught a glimpse of Grift while he was having his Spring bath last week.We asked the good widow what she thought of Grift's naked body, and she gave us this reply. Many Thanks for stopping by, JV.


    January 10th, 1999

  • As promised I've posted three excerpts from Cavern of Black Ice. These passages center on three separate characters. You can ride with Raif Sevrance as he hunts foxes by the light of the moon; eavesdrop on a meeting between a lord and his assassin; and sit upon the Dhooneseat and politic with the greatest chief in the Clanholds. I hope you enjoy them.
  • So many people stop by and ask questions about getting their first novel published, that I thought I'd put some advice together. However, as I was searching for information on the net I came across this wonderful page written by fantasy writer Sara Douglass. Ms. Douglass gives some of the best advice on getting your first novel published that I've read, and I'm sure I could do no better. If you're an up-and-coming writer, a visit to Sara. Douglass' page is highly recommended.
  • Also, I've updated the SF Link Page. Stop by if you're looking for sites filled with practical advice, information and encouragement for beginning writers. Hopefully you'll find answers to many of your questions here.

    January 1st, 1999

  • Happy New Year everyone. I wish you peace, joy and much good reading in the final year of the Millennium (or the second-to-last year if you're picky!). When I was eight years old, I remember one of my teachers speaking about the turn of the century. She made us all work out how old we'd be in the year 2000. After much mental effort of my part, I finally calculated that I'd be thirty-six on December 31st, 1999. Thirty-six! It seemed so incredibly ancient and far off that I never actually thought it would ever happen. Well, there's about 360 days to go now...and I still don't quite believe it. Few generations in history ever get the chance to live through the beginning of a new Millennium, so I guess that makes us fortunate. It certainly makes us historically interesting. So here's to the final year of the Twentieth Century; may it be a good one for you and your loved ones.

    Now, despite the fact that it was New Year's Eve last night, I'm not suffering from a hangover this morning, so I did indeed manage to draw the winners for the four signed UK editions of The Barbed Coil. The names pulled from the hat are:

    • Elizabeth Armstrong of aol.com

      Sam Cheng of ctt.com

      Lars Fredrikson of swipnet.se

      Julie Flesner of uiowa.edu

    They'll be receiving their books in the post this week. Sorry if you're not one of them. )-:

Cavern UK

I received my very first hardback of A Cavern of Black Ice in the post over the Holidays. This is the UK edition and should be in the shops about....well, about now! If you're in the UK and spot it in your local bookstore please let me know. Thanks. The cover looks jolly spiffy (sorry about the language...I've been rereading P.G Wodehouse again!). Greg Call painted a wonderful ice-riven landscape with granite mountains looming in the background, and a moose skull nestled in the snow on the back. "A moose?"I hear you say, "Well it's bound to be bestseller then. I mean, who doesn't love Moose!"

  • Now for the question everyone is asking: How far have you got with Zelda? Sad to say, but my glory days of gaming are over. )-: I'm slow and creaky with the control pad, cheat whenever I can, and would rather run around an enemy than kill one! Having said this, I'm not doing too badly. Tonight I venture into Gerudo's Fortress to go and rescue some carpenters (if you're not into gaming this will make no sense to you) who may or may not give me a pass so I can visit the desert. As far as collecting hearts go: I've managed to get my mitts on every one I've seen so far (including that annoying one above the river that took acquiring the hover boots to reach). My main failing to date is my inability to win myself a horse. Yes, I can beat the first horse race, but always run out of carrots on the second! Hence I'm reduced to the indignity of walking around the kingdom, me, a strapping lad of seventeen!
  • Now for the second question everyone is asking: When can I read sample chapters of Cavern? I do hereby solemnly promise that I will post three excerpts of Cavern online next week (yes, honestly). The problem with excerpts is that although I have my original files of Cavern on this very machine, the text isn't quite the same as that of the finished book. Even in today's high-tech publishing industry, writers still make last minute revisions by hand. Hence, when I receive a copyedited manuscript from my publisher, I make changes on paper, so my original electronic files get quickly out-of-date. Anyway, I'll fix this over the weekend, and very soon you'll find yourself holding court with the Dog Lord and planning murder with the Crouching Maiden.
  • What else? I'd like to thank everyone who has visited my website this past year. I work hard to keep this site updated, and I'm always delighted when folks stop by to say hello, enter competitions, ask questions, drop off pick-up lines, or rant about anything that takes their fancy. A website wilts and dies if it receives no visitors, so I'm grateful for everyone who has taken the time to drop by. Thank you.
  • I think that's all for now. Watch out for a new competition next month, when I'll be giving away whatever goodies arrive in the post this month! Cheers and many thanks, JV.

Archived Newsheets

January-February 99 Newsheet

November-December 98 Newsheet

August-October 98 Newsheet

May-July 98 Newsheet

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