Well, can I start off by wishing all my American friends an early Happy 4th of July! Have a really great day, all of you, no matter what you do to celebrate. Hey - what do people in America actually do on the 4th July? I’d really like to know.

I do have a few things to tell you. Last week Claudia and I went to see the Mozart Opera “The Marriage of Figaro” at the Royal Opera House. The Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, London, is one of the most prestigious cultural venues in the world, so its really something to actually go there. Its an amazing place. We had “champagne tickets” - Claudia bought them for me for my birthday. They were excellent tickets and we had seats in the stalls, in row G, right near the front. ┬áSome people dressed up for the event in tuxedos and evening gowns (despite the fact that it started at 6pm and it was broad daylight out there!). But other people turned up in jeans and t-shirts. We were somewhere in between and we arrived early and had a couple of glasses of champagne while we watched the other people arriving. Claudia used to work in the fashion industry, so she spent the time making really funny remarks about the curious and bizarre clothes some of the people were wearing. (I know - not very kind to make fun - but we did it very quietly, so they didn’t know!) It was a really marvellous performance - the scenery was excellent and all the singers were world-class! I had a really great time - even though Mozart is not my all-time favourite Opera composer. My favourite is Richard Wagner, and my favourite Operas are his Ring Trilogy, which are based on old Norse Legends and are full of goblins and dragons and giants and Norse gods and magic swords and excellent fantasy stuff like that.

Another thing that has happened recently is that an American radio show host has asked me if I’d like to take part in an hour-long interview on his show - which includes dial-in questions from fans. I’ve agreed to do this - and I hope that some of you might be up for calling in and asking me questions. Does that seem like a good idea? The show isn ‘t till later in the year, and I’ll of course give you more details closer to the time, but I thought you might like to know that you could have the opportunity to actually talk to me. Anyone interested in doing that?

Next, I have been approached by the editor of a “steampunk” book anthology, asking if I would be willing to write a story for a new book of short stories all based in a steampunk world and all kind of fantasy/romances. I said yes, because I already have a short story idea that would fit really well. For those of you who have never heard of steampunk, it’s set mostly in a kind of Victorian world, only with inventions that never really existed - like computers, and steam powered submarines and airships - a bit like the League of Extraordinary Gentleman movie, if you have ever seen that. I thought it would be fun to write something like that! I need to submit the story by October this year - and as with the radio show, I’ll give you a better idea of it all nearer to the publication date.

We are also only two weeks away from the UK publication of the first Sundered Lands book. Gary Chalk and I have been working hard on the website and it’s almost ready to go live. I’ll give you more details soon, and I hope you’ll check it out and let me know what you think. I still don’t have a date for US publication of this series, but as soon as I do…well…you know the rest.

So? What else? We’re having a bit of a heatwave over in the south east of England right now, which makes a change. Siouxsie doesn’t like it too hot and right now she’s sprawled on the carpet down by my left side and - oh! No, she’s just got up and she’s clambered into “her” office chair which is set up alongside mine. Claudia is asleep at the moment and everything is quiet, which is good because I have a big pile of stuff in my in-tray that I need to do.

The fourth Warrior Princess book is with the American Publishers now and it has a provisional title: The Bright Blade. This may change, though.

Bye for now.