I've had an amazing few days. I came home on Thursday night to find two books lying on the dining room table. That's right books. Real books.
It was completely out of the blue. I knew Bantam would be preparing paperback uncorrected proof copies to go out for review, but I didn't imagine they'd be done this quickly. Caligula: The Tyranny of Rome is a reality. It's big and bold and in your face and I love it. When I picked my book up for the first time a wonderful warm feeling came over me, and I've still got it three days later. For the last couple of years I've been dealing in abstracts: computer programmes, print-outs, thoughts and imaginings. But this is a beautiful, solid real thing that would grace anyones book shelf - and it has my name on it.
Even better, it arrived the day after I'd sent the manuscript for the second book in the series to Simon, the editor at Transworld. I've been polishing it for the last couple of weeks and when I discovered I was changing things back to what I'd changed them from on the last read, I decided it was time to let go. As I've said before, I like it a lot, but what matters is if the publisher thinks it's any good. So despite this natural high I'm on, there's still a kind of nerve-wracking couple of weeks ahead.
My next project is to get properly stuck in to the rewrite of Brothers in Arms, but first I'm going to finish a feature I'm writing for the Scotsman magazine. My job normally keeps me chained to a computer, so it's been great to talk to real people about real things again. It made me feel like a proper journalist.