Yes, we're back from NZ. It's stunningly beautiful - really lush and cool and green. The lakes are literally turquoise in colour (not from the reflected sky, but in any light) and there were snow capped mountains even in March.
As for how I got here, I looked at your website for news about The Crow and found the discussion forum! I've really been enjoying reading the threads on writing.
MP, I like your suggestion of Keisha Castle-Hughes for Maerad. She even looks a little like the illustration on the cover of the US copy of The Naming.
Alan Rickman certainly has the ability to play cruel, sexually ambiguous characters (Snape!?!) but somehow I pictured the Winterking as being a little younger. He seems to have a sort of Heathcliffian rock god persona. Marilyn Manson? ( He's got the eye thing happening already...)