Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A writer's encouragement of witchcraft has a cost?

Via SF writer Mike Brotherton, here's an extract from an article by Zaid Jilani:

In his new book, Speechless, Tales of a White House Survivor former Bush speechwriter Matt Latimer reveals how politicized the revered Presidential Medal of Freedom became during the Bush administration.

Latimer writes that administration officials objected to giving author J.K. Rowling the Presidential Medal of Freedom because her writing “encouraged witchcraft”.

There really is no end to the stupidity of folk who can't see the difference between fiction and reality, is there? And no end apparently to idiots thinking that imagination is an evil that must be curbed.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The power of he who manipulates language...

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Here is newspeak as a lesson to writers on how to manipulate readers (the bolding is mine):

New York Times Sept 28th 2009

Iran was reported Monday to have test-fired long-range missiles capable of striking Israel and American bases in the Persian Gulf in what seemed a show of force.

Telegraph Jan 18, 2008

Israel has carried out the successful test launch of a long-range, ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, in what was intended as a clear show of strength to Iran.

Read the whole article at Salon here.

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Monday, September 28, 2009

SF saw it first?

A long time ago I read a SF story in which it was possible to take a snapshot of the last visual and emotional moments of someone who had died. In the story, if I remember it properly, this was used to find murderers (and, I think, subject them to the punishment of feeling and seeing their victim's last moments, over and over again.) I could have misremembered - if anyone recognises the story, do tell me.

Anyway, to get to my point. Just now I read this article.
And wow, guess what, a brain scan of your (living) brain can now tell a researcher what you have been looking at.

That's right. Look at a weed or a house or a flying squid...and there's a difference in the patterns of your neural activity - which can be picked up in a brain scan. Now all they have to do is refine the machinery and their analysis of it and we have a mind reader.

And then...what next?

Hmmm...

Imagine something, convert those thoughts into something a machine can read and reproduce - and bingo, photoshop your visual memories anyone? Oh, wow.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Books...I love them, no matter how they are served







Over at DeviantART.com, there is an artist who makes pictures out of everyday stuff - and I love what he does with books in particular. I'm tempted to buy a print...

His name is Martins Debarros and you can see more of his work here.



These are called:
The Librarian
The Historian
The Art Scholar.

I think my all time favourite is The Librarian.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Royalty time....

Here we are at the end of September, which means that we writers get our royalties statements (and money, one hopes).

Basically, the royalty statement arrives twice a year, calculated from January to June and July to December, but it takes 3 months or thereabouts before you get it, no matter who the publisher is. (How many of you would be happy if you were paid 3 months late...?)

A writer gets a statement, even if they have not earned out yet on a particular book, in which case the amount is expressed in a negative amount. "Earned out" means you have earned enough royalties to cover the amount of your advance. In other words, you don't get anything after the advance payment - until you have earned out. Got that?

So over on Pub Rants a while back, the literary agent Kristin said about earning out (in USA, I assume):

...the statistics are rather grim when it comes to authors earning out their initial advances. ...what I can safely say is this: the percentage of books that never earn out is high—over 50% of the books sold (and probably reality is more like 80%...)

So I suppose I should be really chuffed that of the 6 relevant books on my statement, 4 earned out some time back and are still selling. Two haven't got there yet, but are also still selling. And that is one really fabulous thing about Harper Voyager Oz - they keep their authors' books on the bookshelves in the bookstores, which is more than many publishers in many countries. The Aware, published in 2003, is therefore still earning me money...

Thanks, Voyager.

The bad news is that I shall have to wait till end of March before I have the faintest clue how The Last Stormlord did at the till. Did putting it up free online for two weeks increase or decrease expected sales? Or did it have no affect? I have no idea. And what should I expect anyway? The only figures that I have to compare it with would be the sales figures for my other books.

So all you readers, if you liked it, tell someone, and come March, I'll tell you how the sales went...in the end, you guys are the ones who determine whether a book does well - or not.
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Friday, September 25, 2009

Compared to a brewing storm...

Jason Nahrung, Australian horror writer and author of The Darkness Within says this of The Last Stormlord on his blog:

Larke’s world-building is a great strength of the story, the dryness and heat permeating the fabric of her society, with enough touches of the fantastic to excite the imagination. This, combined with a bloody climax, leaves the reader keen for the next instalment.

Read the whole review here.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The weirdness of the writer's perception

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Like many writers, I go through long periods of self-doubt concerning my ability. I write for weeks - no, months, without anyone seeing a word that I have committed to paper. I re-read and re-work and re-read and re-work, until words and story are a jumble of impressions, no longer fresh or interesting to their creator because they have been rehashed so much.

I send the result off to beta readers, who come back with a load of criticisms that lead to more teeth gnashing on my part, and more reworking, and a load more doubt.

Then off it goes to editors and agent.

With Stormlord Rising, book two in this latest trilogy, this culminated in considerable praise. My agent, for example, thinks it the best thing I have ever written, and every time I send her a copy of a lovely review of The Last Stormlord, she gleefully informs me: "Wait till they read Stormlord Rising."

And still I couldn't see it.

The copyedit - two of them, in fact, came back, and I have worked my way through both over the past couple of weeks.

Now I have a printed-out copy of Stormlord Rising and I am reading it to make the final tweaks.

And today, suddenly out of the blue - it burst on me, that wondrous, joyous revelation: "Hey, you know what? This is actually good."
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Pix taken from here originally by Harry Clarke

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Another review

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Another excellent, albeit short, review for The Last Stormlord over at AsIf from Tehani Wessely, in which she says among other things:

As usual, Larke creates an intriguing cast of characters and a fascinating story that evolves and develops gradually, weaving a spell that envelops the reader and makes the book almost impossible to put down. My biggest problem is now the long wait for book two, but I have no doubt the wait will be well worth it!

She also comments that:
Glenda Larke is a skilful worldbuilder and in this new series she creates a remarkable desert land where water is treasured and the waterless are the outcasts of society.

If you are a real sff fan and read widely, but haven't read my book yet, you are probably wondering if The Last Stormlord avoids being a Dune lookalike. I hope it does, even though it has dunes and sand and water saving procedures. I certainly worked hard at making it a different kind of world.

(And so, re reviews, I am still waiting for the other shoe to drop...)

In the meantime I am still dealing with two copyedits and slowly going crazy.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Holes in my roof

A couple of weeks back, a gale blew part of our roof off. So we called in someone to fix it, which they did. At the same time we asked them to clear all the leaves. Which they did too.

Yesterday it rained, heavily. The roof they mended was fine, no leaks. But the roof over our lounge/dining area leaked horribly, the wall became a waterfall, and our lounge a swimming pool. (Have you ever smelled wet carpet? It has to be one of the most grungy smells on earth.)

We figure it was all the leaves that had been plugging the holes, and to remove them was obviously A Very Bad Idea. The moral of the story is never get your roof cleaned.

The truth is, of course, we need a new roof. Truth number two is that until one of my books hits the NY Times best seller list, we can't afford it.

Excuse me now, I have to go and plug some holes with a handful of leaves...

Monday, September 21, 2009

Here's an article all booklovers should read

Via Bibliobibuli (that wonderful source of all things literary).

A Guardian article from Alison Flood with some comments by Kim Stanley Robsinson, who will be the Guest of Honour at Aussicon4 in Melbourne next year (the SF Worldcon); here's some extracts to whet that appetite...

The winner of Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards and author of the bestselling Mars trilogy, Robinson attacked the Booker for rewarding "what usually turn out to be historical novels"...
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He believes this year's prize should go to Adam Roberts's science fiction comedy, Yellow Blue Tibia, which didn't even make the longlist. In 2005, when John Banville took the Booker for The Sea, he believes that Geoff Ryman's Air should have won; in 2004 – when Alan Hollinghurst's The Line of Beauty won – it should have gone to Gwyneth Jones's Life, and in 1997, the year of Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things, Signs of Life by M John Harrison should have triumphed...
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Authors including Ken MacLeod, Stephen Baxter, Ian McDonald and Justina Robson are writing "the best British literature of our time," he said, listing over 30 names.

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According to Mullan (a Booker judge) there was "essentially no" science fiction submitted for this year's Booker prize, apart from Margaret Atwood's The Year of the Flood, set in a dystopian future, which failed to make the longlist. "We as judges depend a great deal on what publishers submit," he said.

And here's some more from Mullan:

... professor of English at University College London, said that he "was not aware of science fiction," arguing that science fiction has become a "self-enclosed world".

"When I was 18 it was a genre as accepted as other genres," he said, but now "it is in a special room in book shops, bought by a special kind of person who has special weird things they go to and meet each other."

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

My new hero is an elderly Canadian lady...

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I have just found myself a new hero, of the female kind. Found this blog post, via Making Light, about an anonymous elderly lady in Vancouver, Canada.

My hero, really she is.

Thanks to Dave Hingsburger for telling the story.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Whither goest thou, publishing?

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Interesting article on the publishing industry in US here, by Daniel Menaker, who was Senior Vice President and the Executive Editor-in-Chief of Random House. In other words, he wore two hats and saw the business from two different angles. If you are a writer, or thinking of a career as an agent or in the publishing business, best to read and think about it. I imagine it's not so very different in other parts of the world.

Some random snippets to whet your appetite (in bold):

About 60 percent of all publishing employers "experienced layoffs," ...

...electronic-book-text digitization begins in earnest. That will happen in a financially and organizationally seismic way very quickly, I think...

Most trade books do not succeed, financially. Three out of four fail to earn back their advances. Or four out of five or six out of seven, depending on what source you consult.

I've always suspected that salespeople's and (the bookshop/retail) buyer's biases and preferences play a greater part in a book's fortunes than most editorial people want to allow themselves to understand.

Genuine literary discernment is often a liability in editors.

Financial success in front-list publishing is very often random, but the media conglomerates that run most publishing houses act as if it were not.

...most of the really profitable books for most publishers still come from the mid-list -- and the above media conglomerates have failed to see this because of the blockbuster factor

Review coverage means far less than it used to --

The shrift given to actual close and considered editing almost has to be short and is growing shorter,

Many of the most important decisions made in publishing are made outside the author's and agent's specific knowledge.

...the books for which the company has paid the highest advances will be the lead titles, regardless of their quality (because most readers don't want quality)

Writers: be afraid. Be very afraid.

My reaction: I am so glad I write genre.
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Friday, September 18, 2009

So, can a bird sing if it never hears a song?

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On p75 of the copyedit.

So while I am busy, here's an interesting link about birds and how they learn to sing. (Thanks, Aun tiah, for the link.)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Copy edit mayhem...

Oo, I love this. Messing around with a copy edit is fun. Together with the final proof reading, it's the cherry on the cake, the final polish, it's where you start to feel just a teensy-weensy bit proud of this monster (180,000 words!) that you have birthed.

This time around it is really, really interesting as well. I have two copy edits for the same book, from different publishers. Mostly they find the same basic errors (e.g. typos, grammatical hiccups and similar) but the rest is ... interesting. The things they think would make a better book are simply different.

Of course, at the end of the day it is my name on the cover, and I make the final decisions. This is fun. But don't expect too much eloquence from me for a few days...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

One surefire way to know who WON"T EVER get published...

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...at least in any respectable paid format.

The other day a screenwriter, Josh Olsen, went to town about professional writers being asked by strangers to read and comment on their work. Today Scalzi weighs in on the same subject matter. The gist of both articles: professionals rarely have time to work for free, and when they do, they choose the people to do it for, like friends or family. They don't do it for everyone who walks up and asks. They also listed a whole lot of other equally valid reasons for not touching a stranger's MS - or even a friend of a friend's MS - with as much as a glancing eye.

To me, the really jaw-dropping thing was the nature of some of the comments under Olsen's article. There was a significant number of invective and hate-filled replies in the comment section, sort of: "Who do you think you are, you piece of crap, who won't help us beginning writers?" - only the language was usually a great deal more vulgarly unoriginal. Whether John Scalzi gets similar replies, I don't know; he certainly will deal with them promptly anyway by turfing them out of his blog's comments section.

My statement - and I am 100% certain about this, (barring miraculous born-again conversions of these invective-laden and whining unpublished writers) - is that not one of them will ever be published in any respectable paid way.

Why not?

Two reasons.

Firstly, in order to be a publishable writer, you have to understand language and the way in which it works. You have, for a start, to be able to read. And none of these people can, or at least they can't read well enough to comprehend what they read. They didn't "get" what Josh said. And yet he said it clearly enough. He gave reasons enough. Even if you removed the swear words, there was nothing ambiguous about it. (I am always astonished - and it has happened several times - to discover a would-be published writer who doesn't read, and still expects to be a competent writer. How do you understand how to use written language if you don't read?)

Secondly, to be a publishable writer, you have to be able to learn. And to learn, you have to able to do two things: practice, and listen to advice/lessons. And those astonishingly obtuse commentators don't want to. They were given good advice and they not only rejected it, but got angry and mind-bogglingly rude. They are the kind of people who won't listen if someone does try to help them. Instead, they resorted to anger and invective. They don't want commentary or criticism, they want praise. That's not the way to learn, and without opening up their minds to learning, they will never improve, even if they do practice. (I suspect they might also be people who don't think practice is involved either.)

Not one of them will ever be published, barring the miracle mentioned above. They'll never be good enough.
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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Take the sidebar poll!

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If you knew that
"The Last Stormlord"
was up online for a couple of weeks
for you to read in its entirety,
then please answer the poll in the sidebar.
Thanks!!
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Monday, September 14, 2009

The Condescending Review

Today is my day to post over at sfnovelists. It's the same post as below, but I am turning the comments off here. If you have a comment, then please leave it over there. Thanks!
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Every now and then you get a reviewer who doesn't read fantasy or science fiction reviewing a sff book. The result is often just awful. And here is a superb example: the Sept 8th review by Michael Agger of Lev Grossman's "The Magicians" in the New York Times Sunday Book Review.

For a start, such reviewers frequently assume the book that they are reviewing is typical, as if one book can represent the whole. So anything they don't like in the book is extrapolated to be "the genre".

Secondly, such reviewers often seem to think that the magic of fantasy is something best left behind in childhood and that readers who indulge in it are somehow childish or immature or uncritical - that they are somehow lacking as readers. (Unless of course, they are reading a book by a respectable award-winning author who writes "magical realism". That's ok. In fact it indicates high literary taste.)

Thirdly, they assume an adult fantasy involving magic can have nothing to offer a real grown-up person. The themes of such books must be childish and irrelevant to adult readers and to our everyday world. Fantasy is, in fact, escapist commercial twaddle of no relevance - on an even lower level in their estimation than "real world" commercial fiction. Fantasy for adult readers is regarded as something akin to Harry Potter with sex and drugs. (Actually I am not sure why escapist commercial fiction is considered beneath contempt anyway . Don't we all need to escape sometimes? Commercial film is not subjected to the same contempt...but that's another subject.)

Here is some of what Michael Aggers had to say about "The Magicians" (which I have not read.)

Fantasy novels involve magic and are a little bit like magic themselves. To work, they require of readers a willingness to be fooled, to be gulled into a world of walking trees and talking lions. They affect us most powerfully as teenagers, but then most of us move on to sterner, staider stuff. ... Lev Grossman’s third novel is a homage to that early wonderment. ... The Narnia books and the Harry Potter series captivate the young by putting young people in a world where adults are a distant, unsteady presence. “The Magicians” is a jarring attempt to go where those novels do not: into drugs, disappointment, anomie, the place and time when magic leaks out of your life. Perhaps a fantasy novel meant for adults can’t help being a strange mess of effects. It’s similar to inviting everyone to a rave for your 40th-birthday party. Sounds like fun, but aren’t we a little old for this?

What I would like to say to Mr Aggers is this: if he doesn't know - at least vaguely - what is out there in genre fiction, then he shouldn't talk about it.

What do you think?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Starry, starry night

Was listening to car radio and Starry, Starry Night came on. I think this has got to be my favourite song of all time. Not so much because of the music or the singer, but because of the poetry of the words and what it evokes in me.

Someone, a long time ago - before the 1950s - framed a great many cheap van Gogh prints and hung them on the walls of Perth Modern School. That was my introduction to so much of the painter's work. Yes, they were appalling reproductions, but they stirred me. If lessons were boring, I could glance up and see those faces, those fields, that starry, starry night. I could feel the wind, smell the hay, watch the clouds tossing.

Time passed and I went to Europe for the first time, and then again many times. Wherever I went, I sought out the van Gogh paintings in the museums. My second visit was with my sister, who went through those same classrooms before I did, and knew all the same paintings. And how much better they were in real life!

So now, when I hear the words of that song, I think of my childhood and my European excursions, I remember those paintings. I recall the light of the south of France around Arles, and yes, the morning fields of amber grain, swirling clouds in violet haze, colours on the snowy linen land...

But there is so much more in the words, too. There is the touching story of a tormented man, his loving brother, and the agony of those left behind when someone suicides. There is the pain of being misunderstood, of suffering the contempt of others; the isolation of being ahead of one's time. He painted his tormented soul, and yet recorded beauty and movement and a song of life.

If I could have but one painting on my wall, one of all the great artists of the world, it would be a Vincent van Gogh, an outdoor scene - with clouds.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Oz Bookseller & Publisher Review, September.


I mentioned this one earlier, but didn't quote from it then because the review wasn't yet published at the time. Here is what Stefan Brazulaitis had to say about The Last Stormlord:

"With this book, set in an entirely new world, Larke has once again done what we have come to expect from her: created a fantasy setting embedded with issues and concerns that are very much part of our world."

and...

"Larke always manages to mix the best fantasy elements with something a little different. There’s plenty of intrigue and treachery and the two young protagonists caught up in the nicely convoluted story have just the right mix of innocence and savvy. The only thing I didn’t like about this book was not having the next one ready to go when I finished it."
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Friday, September 11, 2009

Waiting for the other shoe to drop...

Wow, there are some lovely reviews of The Last Stormlord coming in, and great emails too. I am humbled.

Here's what Kat over at the (largely romance) review site "Book Thingo"* had to say:

"It’s been a long time since I read a fantasy novel in which everything about the world felt original and so utterly fascinating that even 640 pages didn’t seem enough. I suppose wishing for a stronger love story would be asking for too much." *g*

The bolding is hers, the grin is mine.

She finished by saying:

"The uniqueness of the world that Larke creates is more than enough reason to read The Last Stormlord. Coupled with excellent writing and a compelling plot, this book has been a wonderful introduction to a new-to-me author. I’m definitely putting this series on my autobuy list."

In between - in a thoughtful analysis of the story - she touches on a problem faced by every writer who has a similarly structured tale to tell:
"...because the author moves between at least 3 completely different settings, I felt yanked out of the story at each transition."

The book does cover a lot of ground and there are half a dozen main characters who are not in the same place at the same time. G.R.R.Martin deals with this in his Song of Fire and Ice series by heading each chapter with the name of the character that each particular chapter focuses on. My book is not quite so complex, but I help the reader out anyway, by telling them at the head of each chapter just where the action in that chapter is located.

However, would it be better to have, say, ten chapters relating the tale of one character A, and then the next ten tell the story of character B, up to the point where he intersects with A? And what about C and D? I did think about it, and decided that was not the way to go.

You, the reader, would end up jumping backwards and forwards in time as well as place. And at some point I would still have to wrench you away from character A, but in this senario, I would have to take you back in time as well, and deal with character B's life starting some years earlier. I felt it would be hopelessly confusing, and that the momentous events occurring and affecting everyone at the same time would lose impact.

However, I agree with the reviewer, my way does have the disadvantage of jerking the reader out of the storyline of character A and dumping them with B after only a chapter or two, then just when they are immersed in character B, the story changes to character C.

Over at the Orbit UK site here, Jeff Somers, author of the Eternal Prison, has amusing an slide show about literary criticism. No matter how well you write, there's still someone who thinks your book sucks. He's right - it is a universal truth, alas - no book on earth is going to please everyone.

I am still waiting for the other shoe to drop, but somewhere there is someone who will hate The Last Stormlord and who will tell me so. In the meantime, I am wallowing in the warm glow of appreciative readers. Thanks to everyone, especially to those of you I have never met on or offline, who emailed or twittered or wrote reviews or facebooked...it means a lot to this very solitary writer.

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*click here to read the whole thing.
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Thursday, September 10, 2009

That was such fun

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Life is such fun.
It's not every day I get to lounge around in the suite of a 5 star hotel, get a free makeover including make-up, hair-do and clothes, then have the result photographed. Multiple times. Not to mention enjoying the company of some really great young professional people as all this was going on...who were kind enough to tell me I am photogenic.

You will be able to see the result in the November issue of Her World.

Of course, I really ought to be working on Book 3...ah, who cares, this was amazing. I'd forgotten I could still look so good.

Mind you, what made it special was that for me was that it was a one-off occasion. There are people who do it for a living, as models - and I can't imagine anything worse than that.
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Wednesday, September 09, 2009

For Malaysians: Asunder

Gabriel Burlacu is a Romanian mechanical engineer who was here in Kuala Lumpur for a job related to nuclear science. He is also a poet and he gave my husband a book of his poetry.

This one stuck in my mind, as it was written in Kuala Lumpur in August 2008. Malaysians will know why this theme came to him while he was here... They will also know why I quote it now.

....Asunder

.....Religions put us asunder
.....Ideologies do
.....And cultures do, too
.....The languages we speak put us asunder
.....Our customs and traditions and laws
.....What is that unites us?

.....--Gabriel Burlacu

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

I'm not the glossy type...

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Last week I got a call asking if I wanted to be interviewed for a Malaysian women's glossy, about my writing. So of course, I said yes. All publicity is good, right?

Today I found out that I have to go to a very high-end hotel in town for a photo shoot. "We'll do the make-up and hair; you just wear something colourful, smart casual."

Oh help. I don't do smart casual. Sloppy casual, yes. Or jungle-bashing casual. Or a recycling-sustainability-environmentalist-so-I-wear-clothes-till-they-fade-and-have-holes-in-them casual.

Hairdresser? Make-up artist? Who for? Me? Now that's sort of like painting the stable door long after the filly bolted. Or rather after the filly became that old mare you can see in the pasture over there...

I hope they have their most experienced artistes on duty for this shoot. They'll need that expertise.

Do you think they can get a photo shot before I lick off the lipstick? Any bets?

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Monday, September 07, 2009

A bundle of fun

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Sometimes life seems to bundle things together - either hitting you with a whole lot of bad stuff all at once, or the opposite. Last night & this morning delivered one of the fun bundles.

Last night I was a guest at a weekly bookgroup that starts at 10.30pm and finished at midnight. Yep, you read that right. Isn't this a marvellous idea?-- A group of like-minded people from around the world who get together to discuss books on Skype, record it as a podcast, and then put it up on their Bookbabble Blog later.

So last night I had the pleasure of chatting books with people from Sweden, Germany, Denmark and Malaysia. (Other regular members are from UK, India and US - imagine the time zone problems!). It was a great chat, although I found myself forgetting that this was at some point soon all this is going to be on a podcast... Hmm. I am trying to remember what I said! Sometimes I am sure I don't explain things as well as I'd hoped.
My thoughts speed ahead of my mouth and the result can be a muddle - I'm a writer, not a speaker. And they were much too polite to jump on me when I say stupid stuff...

Thoroughly enjoyable anyway. Check out the blog here: Bookbabble
and their facebook page here: Bookbabble - Booklover's Podcast

And then this morning I was late to the internet - it's a long weekend here, and there was so many nice things going on:
An invitation for an interview from an online review site from the Harper ;
a great review up at Specusphere by Carol Neist;
a thoughtful look at why she liked The Last Stormlord from Mikandra which I found particularly helpful;
and several other bloggers saying how much they loved the book.

It doesn't get much better than this.
Now I had better return to my copyedit.

Friday, September 04, 2009

(Malaysia's?) Most Insane Censorship Ever??

I thought banning the preschoolers' Spongebob picture books was crazy, but this is even more insane.

The hardcopy of the International Herald Tribune, as delivered to Malaysia, blacked out the titles in Arabic on the books pictured in a Paris bookshop run by the Islamic Organizations Union.

As we may assume that the IHT is really not interested in clumsily censoring their own newspaper, the obvious conclusion is that our Malaysian censors have surpassed themselves in crass stupidity. If there is another explanation, please tell me. I really, really, want to know.

See the photos here and marvel. In fact, if anyone can think of ANY rationale for this, I'd be delighted to hear it. If you click on the photos, they will enlarge.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Sharp Shooter: out now

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Now here's a book I really, really want to get hold of, although I shall wait until my next Oz trip, unless a bookshop up here decides they are missing out on A Good Thing.

Why do I want it?

Well, firstly, Marianne's a great person. She's also very funny. And a damn good writer. She's also an enviably versatile one, and in the interests of having a go at something new, she's changed her name to fit the new books. She used to be Marianne de Pierres. In fact, she still is, and under that name you can find her Parrish Plessis books and the Sentients of Orion series.

But for these new books, she is Marianne Delacourt.

Why do I want to read this particular one? Cos it's set in my home town, for a start. Yep, Perth, W.A.* And here's a bit about it from Marianne's website: Marianne Delacourt writes contemporary crime/romance with a paranormal flavour. Stories that are fast, funny, furious – and definitely pull no punches. The first novel in her new Tara Sharp series is called Sharp Shooter.

*And for all you overseas people, WA stands for Western Australia, not Washington. Of course.
Washington? Er...where's that?

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Wednesday, September 02, 2009

How to order from an Australian bookstore...

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UPDATE: Galaxy bookshop in Sydney have since very kindly and promptly taken note of the problem and will be fixing it - if you want to order the book from them, look for it under Glenda Larke, or as Last Stormlord (without the "The". They do have copies!)
________________________________

I wanted to send my books to a few people down in Oz. So I go online.

Geez, that was an exercise in futility. Galaxy in Sydney has never heard of the book. Neither has Abbey's. Infinitas says they'll have to order it and it will take 2 weeks. Down in Melbourne, Slow Glass doesn't take credit cards. Over in Perth, neither White Dwarf nor Fantastic Planet deal with online sales.

So in the end I forget about the sff specialists and I went to the book chain Dymocks. They want the recipient's email (no problem with that) - but then, blow me down, they also want their bleeding telephone number!!!!!!! How the @# should I know?

And they say shopping online is easy??
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Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Ok, seriously, you've got to read this...

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This is the best review, ever.

Sorry Marina, so mean of me, but I couldn't stop laughing diabolically...

Take a look here, folk, on Marina's wonderful Pecked by Ducks blog.
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Good news day

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Got the all clear from my biopsy today, so that was a relief.

And I received the copy edit back from Harper Collins for Book 2, Stormlord Rising.

As usual, the copy editor remarks that wasn't anything much to do.
As usual, I then glance at the text. It's covered in red.
As usual, I wonder how something I thought was well-nigh perfect can come back looking like it has the pox.
As usual, I start to wonder about other writers - if this is a light edit, what on earth are all the other authors doing????
And I know that, as I begin, also as usual, I shall look at the proposed corrections and blush, slap a hand to my forehead, wonder just how many times I typed 'of' when I meant 'on', or 'that' when I meant 'than'. Or why I didn't pick up that grammatical error, or the fact that I used the word 'effort' four times in two paragraphs, or misspelled a character's name.
Thank the Big Publisher in Teh Sky for copy editors.