Better Get Ready For The CAKES IN SPACE!

Sorry for the long blog silence - I was away all last week, mainly in West Sussex and Hampshire, where sarah, Sam and I caught up with some old friends and also visited the Weald and Downland Open-Air Museum and the HMS Victory and Mary Rose at Portsmouth - both well worth a trip.

Now I have a few days at home before I head off to the Edinburgh International Book Festival to join Sarah McIntyre for the launch of our second book together...

Cakes in Space is the story of Astra, who is travelling to her new home on a far-off planet. Everyone on her spaceship has been put into cryogenic sleep for the 199 years it will take to get there, but half way through the journey Astra wakes up to discover that all sorts of things are going wrong, and that she's the only one awake to put them right. There are robots...

All illustrations by Sarah McIntyre


and, of course, CAKES - scary futuristic ones with fangs and bad attitudes...

It was partly inspired by wanting to see how Sarah M would handle all the tech (she's very good at drawing vehicles and machines), partly by some cute alien doodles she once did, and partly by that idea of being the only person awake, moving around the house (or spaceship) while everyone else is still asleep - which is a big deal when you're small, I think. Hopefully it will appeal to people who like SPACE or CAKES, which is basically everyone, right? And it should be starting to appear in bookshops ANY DAY NOW...

We had a test run of our new Cakes in Space show at Nine Worlds last week - thanks to everyone who came, and bought copies of the books afterwards.  In Edinburgh we'll be appearing on Friday 22nd August as part of the schools programme, and then doing a public performance on Saturday morning - so if you're anywhere near Charlotte Square please come and see us! Booking details here.

And if you're not, we'll be doing a London launch at Daunt Books in Marylebone on September 13th...

...and appearing at Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival on September 20th, and the Manx LitFest on the Isle of Man on the 26th/27th September (the schedule is still to be confirmed, I think).

Photo: Michael Thorne

And speaking of Budleigh Salterton, there's a campaign in progress to save the public library there. Sarah McIntyre and I were meant to be recording a video message about it while we were at Nine Worlds in our space gear, but we were so nervous about our event that we FORGOT. But Sarah appears here, along with lots of other famous faces.

CAKES IN SPACE is published by OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS and available from good bookshops for just 8.99 of your Earth Pounds.

Right Royal Reading Challenge

Photo: Clarence House

It was the grand official opening of the new Exeter Library yesterday, and I went along to help Sarah McIntyre, who was doing an event there in her capacity as illustrator for this year's Summer Reading Challenge - young readers borrowing books from UK libraries over the summer holidays will be able to collect the poster and stickers she's drawn. Also visiting the library was HRH the Duchess of Cornwall, on plaque-unveiling duty, and she sat in on Sarah's session for a while.

This made for quite a hectic event - Sarah was having to compete with choirs singing in the neighbouring room, and press photographers talking at the tops of their voices, even interupting her in the middle of her event to ask her where Camilla would be sitting - to them, the audience of kids from St Leonard's Primary School were just props in a Royal Photo Op (you can see why the paparazzi aren't popular).  Anyway, McIntyre pulled it off, as usual, and Camilla very gamely drew a sea monkey (or, as the Daily Express describes it, 'a creature with strange but vaguely familiar large ears'). Here she is with the copy of Oliver and the Seawigs which we gave her (the lady next to her is Ciara Eastell, Devon County Council's Head of Libraries). There's a full report of these Exciting Royal Events on Sarah's blog.

Photo: Sarah Reeve

My First Walk on Dartmoor

Posting that piece about Dartmoor a few weeks ago reminded me of these old slides, which show my first visit here, in the summer of 1967, when I was about 18 months old. I'm not sure which part of the moor these were taken on, but I know my parents were staying in Plymouth, and were getting around by public transport, so I presume it's somewhere over on the south west corner.  I don't remember anything about that holiday, though I remember some of the stuff; my sister inherited the pushchair and the blue quilty anorak, and I think I was still using the grey rucksack when I started college.

For nice images of the moor (and my knees) 47 years on, check out Sarah's instagrams.

Incoming Conventions

Next month, Sarah McIntyre and I will be unleashing our Cakes in Space show in the very appropriate  surroundings of Nine Worlds, a three day SF/Fantasy convention which is taking place near London Heathrow.  Nine Worlds is about 'gaming, film, cosplay, fandom, literature, science, geek culture, meeting people and having a really big party'. We've heard a lot of great things about last year, so we were delighted to be asked to contribute to the children's programme.  It's nice to see a con offering so much for kids. But it offers a lot for everybody else too, as you can see from the packed programme and massive list of guests.

I'm attending Nine Worlds as one half of Reeve & McIntyre, but if anyone wants to talk about Mortal Engines or my other books just get in touch via the comments below or on Twitter or Facebook and we can arrange to meet up.

Then in November I'll be doing a solo appearance at ArmadaCon in Plymouth, where I guess I'll be talking more in my Mortal Engines/Larklight/Goblins/Dr Who capacity. ArmadaCon has been running every year since 1988, and this year's theme is Fantasy. It even has a goblin on its poster, courtesy of cartoonist and illustrator Stuart McGhee...

Much to my annoyance, I don't think I'll be able to make it to BristolCon this year, but that shouldn't stop you going; it's a wonderful, friendly convention, and this year's guests of honour include the very wonderful Emma Newman.