LOT 2046 Document Holder

I’ve been on the LOT 2046 subscription pack for ages now. It’s always a surprise, which I love, and I’ve been able to watch the service evolve, which has been fascinating, especially as they move into sustainable/recyclable packaging and tilt towards usefulness.

This little thing described as a document holder arrived today, and I opened it when I got home, as I was resolving to switch to the Maxpedition Jumbo Versipack from the larger Maxpedition Attache because I haven’t been needing to use my laptop at the remote site where I’m consulting Mondays and Tuesdays.

Turns out this little thing perfectly fits three Field Notes notebooks. And it’s fabric and rubber, so it’s stiff enough to stop them bending without being an inflexible hard case. It’s ideal for me right now, weirdly, and will continue to be useful for years into the future. It turns out — and they don’t gather enough data on me to know — that it was just what I needed.

Good job, LOT 2046. The Good Death wins again.

Remote Work Bag, Nov/Dec 2019

Yes, everything has gone horribly wrong in my life, and for the first time in thirty years I have a day job. Two days a week as a consultant on a thing that has a hefty NDA.

It’s a gear post. And a work in progress.

My newish X1 Carbon Thinkpad doesn’t fit in my usual go-bag, the Maxpedition Jumbo Versipack. I am very annoyed about this. (The X1 Carbon is replacing a Dell XPS 13 that was wonderfully small and slim and fit in the back sleeve of the Versipack perfectly but had an average keyboard and lousy wifi.)

SO I’m having to bust out the most ludricrously named piece of luggage I own. The Maxpedition Aggressor Attache.

I swear to god I used to have a laptop bag. Maybe my kid filched it like she filched my FREAKANGELS-branded canvas field bags.

Anyway, the bag is, as you can see, a little more beastly than is really required. But I’ve had it for seven and a half years and it’s still as good as new. It just has an insane name.

Three of the most recent Field Notes subscription editions. SanDisk Extreme CZ80 64GB flash drive. Victorinox Forester knife in black. Pilot Frixion pen, Sharpie marker, Pigma Micron Pen 03 in 0.35mm. And an EE wifi hotspot device. Just in case.

Beard oil from Salix Moon. Unpictured, a Tom Ford deodorant stick because I think I left it in the other bag. I don’t want to stink evertyone else out of the room, after all. A Maxpedition small wallet, a small Anker battery, a Kindle Paperwhite, a large Anker battery, and a protein shaker. I use Vivo powders, which is only available in the UK. If you too are in the UK, I recommend the raw cacao protein and BCAA powder, and the blueberry & lucuma multinutrient superfood powder. Also unpictured, a water bottle, because I’m going to be spending a lot of time in the backs of cars.

I have The Fear — of early-for-me mornings and of missing the one tool I need that will be more than two hours’ drive away.

All set. I think. I hope.

My New TV Show HEAVEN’S FOREST Announced

This is the project previously codenamed PROJECT KATRA here and in the newsletter. DEADLINE has the full piece.

I can’t get into details right now, because I can’t jump the PR process, but I think I can say that Adi Shankar came with Kevin Kolde to me to ask me to create the kind of treatment of the material that Adi and his friends all wanted to see as teenagers in India. Netflix International and Netflix India came on board to get it done. I’ve been working with an Indian consultant who specialises in the underlying material. And it will obviously be made with an Indian cast. Now I have to run before the Netflix snipers get me (THEY’RE REAL) (WE’RE NOT JOKING ABOUT THOSE)

On Not Working In Britain, Where I Live

I’ve been absurdly lucky in my work, and find myself in the bizarre position these days of being co-producer and sole writer on a hit streaming television show. So when someone sent me this story about the BBC throwing a big party to persuade people that the BBC is a better choice than Netflix and asked if I knew anything about it, I had to smile. I don’t get work in Britain.

At a lavish party at London’s Sky Garden bar, overlooking some of the capital’s biggest landmarks, the BBC attempted to lay down a significant marker as the competition for Britain’s brightest creative minds becomes increasingly intense.

BBC director of content Charlotte Moore appealed to the audience to bring their best work to the BBC, where she said they will be rewarded with a big platform, risk-taking and unrivaled creative freedom.

With an eye on the streaming giants, she said the BBC’s TV channels and “human”-curated iPlayer, “won’t let your work disappear without a trace down the back of a global VoD library.” And in a nod to the mega overall deals, Moore added that “we don’t want to own you” – instead, she said, “you get to own your program and your IP.”

She continued: “We’re not driven by commercial imperatives. We’re here to back the stories that, frankly, the market isn’t ready to support.”

That does sound nice. Just like it was nice that one time I went to a book launch in London (Nick Harkaway very kindly invited me to the launch for GNOMON) and I met some agents who said they had heard of me and were very nice to me and did a good job of seeming very confused when I explained that, no, I am not published in the United Kingdom, because no UK publisher wants to publish me.

I mean, GUN MACHINE was a New York Times bestseller, NORMAL was an Amazon Top 100 book for its year, I’m doing okay. This isn’t a poor me. Probably 20 million people watched season 2 of CASTLEVANIA in its initial launch window (some analytics say 24 or even 28 million, but I am skeptical). My usual line, when asked, is “I can’t get arrested in this country.”

Just the other day, a young man emailed me to ask how I got work with DC and Marvel in the US when, like him, I’m based in the UK. And the actual answer to that is, well, they were the only people who wanted it. A British comics editor had told me that I was “kind of competent” as a writer but should consider a career elsewhere because I was never going to be good enough for comics. I’m sure many people still agree with that assessment.

The BBC is one of the great wonders of the world and I love it and always daydreamed of creating something for it, but I can’t help but wonder: if you’re throwing a fancy party for the famous people in the same club as you, what are the odds they are all already famous enough to have their own Netflix deals? I guess that was the point of the event. I wonder how many people like me there are, who never found out about the club, never got invited to enough book launches, and just went where the work was.

Even my British-based works get picked up for development by US television companies.

So I’m invisible in my own country. When BBC 6Music asked me to come on, I had to check they didn’t mean the other guy. (It is, in my defense, usually the case.) (It’s fine!) And I made my peace with that a long time ago. But it is a little weird to be sent an article like that, and know that you’ll never be invited to that party; that you’ll never count as one of them.

Which is why I just concentrated on being me instead, running my own shitbox empire from out here on the Thames Delta, just about an hour and fifteen minutes away from the Sky Garden.

THE BATMAN’S GRAVE 1 Is Out Today

Which is just another excuse for me to post the superb logo by Steve Cook.

Me and Bryan Hitch, with Kevin Nowlan, Alex Sinclair and Richard Starkings.

I turned in the script for this issue in September 2017. It’s been on the slow boat – Bryan had a whole other series to draw first, and my main job was writing and producing a television show called CASTLEVANIA. We’re on issue 5 right now, and it’s become the focus of our days as I co-produce the next season of CASTLEVANIA in its final minutiae.

Anyway. Working with Bryan again was a blast, as we fell back into twenty-year-old muscle-memory without the slightest stumble. We hope you like the comic.

NYCC Schedule

I’m skimming this off another site, but this seems to be the schedule for my public appearances. I have a lot of press and show stuff to do while I’m there, and have travel and work things scheduled right after, and I don’t even have time to type this right now, but I think this is it:

FRIDAY OCTOBER 4

5:15 p.m. VIZ Media Official Panel with Special Guests from Frederator Studios Castlevania (Room 1A06)

7:00 p.m. Warren Ellis Signing (NYCC Private Autograph Area*) Meet Warren Ellis, the creator, writer and executive producer of Frederator Studios Castlevania series for Netflix and receive a free poster. (ETA: this is a limited signing, I’m told, so don’t turn up with bags and hand trucks)

SATURDAY OCTOBER 5

4:30 p.m. Frederator Studios Castlevania Creator and Voice Cast Signing (NYCC Private Autograph Area*) Meet Warren Ellis, Sam Deats, Adam Deats, James Callis, Graham McTavish and Alejandra Reynoso in this special signing session. (ETA maybe Ade M’Cormack too?)

6:30 p.m. VIZ Media Presents Frederator Studios Castlevania Panel (Main Stage)

CASTLEVANIA Season 2 DVD & Blu-Ray

While we continue to work on Season 3 – and, as I recently noted in the newsletter, I only wish I could show you some of the amazing things Sam and his team are making – it turns out the physical collection of season 2 is arriving this autumn. So you can enjoy the beautiful art, and Richard ad-libbing swears after he’s been in the booth for an hour and starting to get punchy, in lovely high definition.

On Finishing A Book

First off, a book is rarely “finished.” It’s just that various factors weigh in to make you stop fiddle-farting around with it.  Second, never ask anyone who’s just finished a book if they’re happy with it, because the answer is always IT’S AWFUL MY CAREER IS OVER GET AWAY FROM ME I WILL TEAR YOUR FUCKING HEART OUT AND EAT IT IN FRONT OF YOU. There’s a terrible space between the conclusion of the copy-editing and the release of the thing where you’re convinced that it’s a rotten piece of work and you’re going to be Found Out and everything is over. You start telling the wall — because you don’t know anybody any more, because you’ve been indoors for months destroying a laptop with your crap — that if you only had another six months, if you could just alter a couple of things, if you could just maybe take out and replace a plotline, and maybe the main plot, and all the characters, and change the title, and write a whole different book, then everything would be fine.

You won’t start liking it again until six months after your “friends” have helpfully forwarded you all the bad reviews.  You come out from under your bed muttering “…wait, what? Did they even read the fucking thing?” And, as this delusion of competence takes hold, you start thinking about writing another book, having completely forgotten everything in the first paragraph.  

(written 31 May 2016 , recovered from morning.computer)