I have moved the whole blog to a new address. Please join me over there as no new posts are being added here and I have removed key info from this old version ...


When you get there, PLEASE rejoin as a "follower" - changing addresses means I lose my 230 lovely friends!

NB also - all comments are intact on the new version.

Friday, 17 April 2009


Hah! that got your attention. No, really, there is a present for you herein.

Two happy things happened to me today. First, I'm proud to say that my 100th follower registered on this blog. (Welcome, Suzette - but you do realise that the rules say that you have to take part in an initiation ceremony? I will let you know what we want you to do, once we've all decided behind your back, OK? Ideas, anyone?)

I almost feel like the Pied Piper
with all those followers, but fear not: I have not been paid by agents and publishers to rid their letter-boxes of all unpublished authors; nor am I going to lead you a merry dance into a mountainside and leave you there. Though still as crabbit as ever, I plan to stay with you for much longer, because you are very good company and because I am waiting to hear that you have found a publisher / agent / both and that you are on your way to success. Well, you are on your way to success, we know that, but let's speed it up a bit, hey?

And second, my lovely publishers, Walker Books
, sent a seriously cool screensaver as a free download to pass around amongst my teenage readers, but there's no rule that says you have to be a teenager to enjoy nast
y iridescent beetles crawling across your screen, so I thought I'd share it with you.

So, if you would like it and/or if you have any offspring / friends / relatives / pupils who would like to have the latest coolness for their computer,
then here 'tis. (Unless you're a Mac user, in which case I do have the file but can't see what to do with it.)

I hope you're not going to go all middle-aged on me and say you can't work out how to put it on your computer. Basically, you open the link,**** click on the download button, the thing magically saunters onto your desktop and you select "install", whereupon it asks you a couple of simple questions; then you do nothing at all for a few minutes and then beetles start crawling and smoke appears. Failing that, ask a teenager.

(****Edited to add: Er. not so basic, actually. I have just discovered that this is a TEMPORARY link and will die on about May 6th, and from then the screensaver will be available on the Walker website at

If you're one of those people who thinks that everything should have an educational point
(what management bods apparently now call a "learning") then you can store in your adulty/parenty/teachery brain that the book features a girl who gives away way too much about herself on a social networking site and that this screensaver is not un-akin to but a million times more attractive than what appears on her computer when she unwittingly accepts the attentions of an insect-obsessed stalker. So, if I were to give any kind of message in my books, which I so absolutely wo
uldn't, it would be Be Safe Online, Kids.

Otherwise and preferably, just enjoy the pretty beetles.

Either the marketing people at Walker were enjoying themselves way too much or else they must quite like me because they've also provided a "viral bug" (it's not as dangerous as it sounds) which you (or a tech-savvy teenager) can put on your (their) phone and send to ... er ... someone. I think you can just right-click the pic and copy it to your desktop, then onto your phone. Or blue-tooth it. I did it so it can't be beyond the bounds of middle-aged possibility.(EDITED to add - this is now a new one, and works better: yes, I know, it just looks blank now but put it on your phone and woah!)

And if you want to know the really clever bit: when you actually put it on your phone, it dances. Yes, really.

Anyway, it was a happy day, which quite made up for the shocking weather. I know this is Britain, and that I am in the Scottish part of it, but really.