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The 9 competition... #intruders #9ememess

Tonight will see the second episode of INTRUDERS, on BBCA in the US. [No, we still don't know when it'll be shown in the UK. Soon as I know, so shall you.] In the run-up to the premiere I had #9 on the brain, and took to tweeting a different 9 picture every day. And you know what? It was fun. Yes, I should doubtless get out more. A lot more. So should you. In fact, stop reading this and go for a walk. I'll wait.

Back? Good. My brain's about as full of 9 as it's healthy to be, so now I'm handing on The Joy of 9 to you. During each week of the six episodes remaining after tonight, I urge you to seek out — or create — 9s, and photograph them. Extra credit will be given for unusual beauty, hugeness, ugliness, extraordinariness, tininess, mundanity, spookiness, inventiveness...

Please read all of the following very carefully:

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Inadequate Rules:

1. A maximum of three entries per week per person. Give us your best shot/s. 2. Only enter a given image once, please. Not week after week. 3. Don't tweet the pictures direct @ me, but to the world at large... 4. ... and all entries need to be hashtagged with both #intruders and #9ememess [otherwise they won't be seen]. You can start putting them up from now... for the first judging, next weekend. 5. You'll need to follow me on Twitter, too, so I can DM each week's winner. Don't fret, you can unfollow again afterwards. Be like that. See if I care. No, seriously. In your face. 6. Closing time each week is midnight PST on Saturday. Each week's winner will be announced by midnight PST the next day (Sunday). 7. No purchase necessary, except in places where it is. Though if you'd like to purchase me a pint at some point, you'll hear little argument. And no, INTRUDERS doesn't have to be currently viewable in your country or territory or house for you to enter. 8. The 9 needs to be created or at least photographed by you. Don't be stealing other people's images. That's so not cool. 9. I'm sure there's a bunch of gnarly T&Cs I've failed to think of, but you get the idea. Don't give me grief. I don't make the rules. Okay, on this occasion, I actually have made the rules. It makes me realize how hard making the rules is. Let's spare a thought for the rule-makers. They're people too. Apart from whoever made up that one about how your hair always suddenly looks a bit less crap on the day you've got a haircut booked. That's just annoying.

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Every week a winner will at the very least receive a copy of the HarperCollins tie-in edition of THE INTRUDERS (when it becomes available later in the year), signed to whomever you wish, in any manner short of libel. Yes, you can win more than one week's competition... in which case, we'll talk about further prizes.

An overall victor — the best 9 in the entire season — will receive something even more awesome. I'm not sure what yet, but rest assured: it shall be spoken of in legend and song. I will liaise with the cast, crew and production supremos, and see what we can come up with.

Please RT and pass this on. I appreciate that doing so marginally decreases the chances of you winning, but it will also hopefully save me from admitting there's only two entries each week, both submitted by me under false names, and I don't like either of them. And you don't want me to feel that way, do you? Do you really want to make me sad? I hope not.

Plus — the more people who enter, the cooler the all-season prize is likely to be...

So... The stolid 9 of a neighbour's mailbox, or on a Safeway price sticker. The eroded remains of an elegant 9 traced in the sand. Nine breakfast burritos arranged to look a bit like Stonehenge. A still image of a mime artist successfully evoking Beethoven's choral symphony while nine arcs of lightning briefly touch the ground around them. (Hint — if you can pull that off, you're in with a good chance of winning). An improbably vast 9 on the far side of the moon, a thousand miles wide, made out of leftover ballerinas.

However the urge takes you.

This is our life. Not theirs. And these are our nines.

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Announcing THE GIST winner... and thanks!

Well, the random winner of THE GIST competition has been randomly selected, by a process so very random that randomness itself is feeling disconcerted by all the uncertainty, and is wandering around town in a daze, looking haunted. If you haven't received an email saying it's you, then I'm afraid it's not. But a huge thanks to everyone for contributing to the list of bookstores. Please keep the suggestions coming on this page, and I'll think of a way of making the list more widely available.

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What's your favourite bookstore? PS - There's a prize.

  I was delighted to gather yesterday that finished copies of THE GIST - something I've been working on since before my son was born, and he's now eight, for the love of god - are on their way. There's a guest blog coming out a week on Friday detailing the project's tangled road to existence, so I won't go into it now. Let's just say... it took a bloody long time.

There's information on the book here. The story concerns, in part, an antiquarian bookstore in London's Cecil Court, a 'book street' of the type that barely survives these days. This gives me an excuse to ask a question I've wanted to pose for ages: what's your favorite bookstore?

I've got a few. Bookshop Santa Cruz heads the field at the moment, as it's not only great but a mere fifteen minutes' walk from my front door. Logos downtown is also excellent, especially for second-hand and ephemera. Then there's the lose-half-a-day-in-it Elliot Bay Book Company in Seattle (which, were it closer, might well top the list), Powell's in Portland, the Strand in NYC, one I can never remember the name of but is right by Café de Flore in Paris, and the Barnes & Noble on 3rd Street in Santa Monica, in which I've beguiled many a happy hour. Oh and Hennessy and Ingalls, obviously, also in Santa Monica. And the Mysterious Bookshop in Tribeca, and Goldsboro (which actually is in Cecil Court), and Colin Page Antiquarian in Brighton, and the Waterstones in Brighton is very decent, and also Brighton Books, and Small World Books in Venice Beach, and ... okay, there's lots, and that's just off the top of my head.

But these are the ones I already know. I want, to paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld, to know about the bookstores that I don't even know that I don't know. Tell me their names. Tell me where they are. Tell me why they're great. Do it now. Don't feel they have to be chi-chi independants that only sell pert little volumes by David Sedaris and Michael Chabon, either. If you love a bookstore that's part of a huge chain, that's just as good. Snobbery has no place when it comes to the love of books. If we want to be able to walk in off the street and touch and peruse and buy these things, charmed by serendipity and happenstance, we need to support the places that sell them.

And we need to know where they are. I'll be honest. My motivation here is to glom a list of great bookstores to hit when I happen to be in the relevant area. But hopefully it'll also be of use to anyone else who reads the comments, and I'm going to throw in another incentive, too:

Anyone who adds a suggestion - preferably backing it up with a list of reasons to schlep to wherever the bookstore may be - will be entered into the Grand Prize Draw for a signed copy of THE GIST, which will happen a week today, on the 30th of May.

Seriously, what are you waiting for?

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Second Giveaway Winner...

Well, you lovely people, the random recipient of the second giveaway has been randomly selected, and if you haven’t received a random email, then I’m afraid you're not the winner. That’s randomness for you, sadly: a sharing, beneficent source of plenty for some, cold-hearted and tight-fisted bastard to others. I feel your pain, not least as the winner was not not one of the people who offered inducements like home-made gingerbread or the souls of close family members. All is not lost, as I’ll be instigating a similar thing for the publication of THE GIST (coming from Subterranean in May) and the new collection EVERYTHING YOU NEED (which will be published in July by Earthling). And probably the US release of WE ARE HERE in the fall, and anything else I can think of... and who knows, next time maybe I'll dispense with randomness and simply choose the person with the most compelling bribe. So get thinking.

Thank you for taking part in this one, and be assured any further draws will always include anyone who subscribes to this blog...
As you were.

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