Saturday, October 31, 2009

Selling women in Kelantan??

In The Star newspaper this week:
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Kelantan* Women, Family and Health committee chairman Wan Ubaidah Omar suggested that awards be given to assemblymen for marrying single mothers should they decide to take another wife.
... She said one dilemma facing some single mothers in Kelantan and the country as a whole was that many of them could not register at the Welfare Department or related agencies because their husbands had left them without filing for divorce.**

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So... here's the world according to Wan Ubaidah Omar and the Kelantan Committee for Women, Family and Health:

1. Single mothers need help and we have money to help them. So will we give them the money - or the help? Nope. We'll give it to a venal man who will marry this worthless woman for money.

Yep sounds like a great solution.

2. An Islamic marriage involves men giving women a dowry, as a safety net. Do we agree with that? Nope. We think men should be given a dowry. With tax payers money.

3. Do we think a single mother can get along without a man? Nope. Should she be helped to be independent and financially viable? Nope. We think she's better off as an addition to a family, despised by the first wife and her family***.

4. These women are in trouble because men had children by them and then walked out and refused to pay child support. So do we believe in going after these men to pay their debts? Nope. We think the wife should find herself another magnificent specimen of manhood - someone who will marry her if you pay him enough.

Oh, great.

Why isn't Wan Ubaidah Omar looking for real solutions, including legal ones, for a real problem - instead of suggesting this horror?

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*One of the northern states of Peninsular Malaysia
**I find that statement hard to believe. I hope the paper got it wrong.

*** And anyone who has ever spoken to women/children in polygamous situations in this country knows the sadness such marriages cause to at least some of the affected.

Friday, October 30, 2009

It's official: Malaysians think adults don't read

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The Malaysian government offers tax relief on books bought, to the tune of $RM 1000 or so per year. (That's $US 290, or $AUD 325, or Euro 200, or GBP 180.) Wonderful idea, and I congratulate them on encouraging reading.

One of my friends has been claiming religiously every year. She and her husband actually spend a great deal more than that on books. Her house is lined with books and book shelves.

This year the Malaysian Income Tax dept queried the expenditure. When my friends queried why they were being queried, the reply was ... (wait for it):

"But you have no small children. How can you possibly be spending so much on books?'

Sigh. Says a lot about what you don't see when you walk into the average Malaysian house, doesn't it?
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Thursday, October 29, 2009

I am all in favour of air-brushing

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Sub-Title: So, is there any lipstick?
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Remember that photo-Shoot for Her World magazine, November issue?
(Well, it's out, and it looks great. Better than this scanned image, which doesn't do it justice.)
Text by Tania Wee, photos by Alvin Liew



Better still, go buy the magazine and read it for yourself. The Deputy Editor of the magazine rang me this evening ... I used to dangle her on my knee when she was a gorgeous tot... She's still gorgeous. I just need the airbrush.

Ah, how time flies.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

An abortion, anyone? Absolutely!!

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This from one of Malaysia's English language papers Monday, talking about a small remnant forest reserve not far from where I live:

"Since the proposed cemetery project was announced by the previous state government, residents of neighbouring housing estates ... had collectively voiced strong objection. They had been calling for the abortion of the project to save the forest reserve from being developed."

I like this use of the word.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Latest read

Yesterday was such a bad day for half a dozen different reasons, that I didn't feel like blogging. Shan't talk about it today either, in the futile hope that the bad things will thus disappear...sigh.

Just finished The Secret Scriptures by Irish writer Sebastian Barry. Apart from a couple of rather wild coincidences that I had a problem with, it was one of those books that aroused my passionate ire on the part of the characters.

How dare the villains of the piece do that! How utterly horrible that conscienceless priest was! I hope he burns in hell. How awful that bitch of a mother-in-law! Oooo - I'd like to give her a piece of my mind. How can people behave like that?!

All over fictional characters... Now that is good writing.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Let's be politically correct, right?

When I was a very small child, I had a gollywog. You know, one of those black soft toys you take to bed. I loved it, probably because it was soft and fluffy and colourful. Needless to say, I never saw it as a statement of anything at all, and its black face and its hair - which was sort of flat cut strips of cut-felt as I recall - conjured up exactly nobody, let alone a stereotype of an American with a black skin. Hardly surprising, when the years were the 1940s and I was a farm kid without the benefit of TV, who never saw movies of any kind or, let alone black Americans. Nor did I equate it with indigenous Australians.

When I first came to Malaysia, older and wiser, I was shocked to see a toothpaste named Darkie, with a picture of a Black&White minstrel as its logo. I refused to buy it. Most Malaysians saw absolutely nothing racist in it at all.

Racism was not the gollywog or the toothpaste, it was - and is - the reality of how some people treat and regard others. Just as discrimination is more than a change in vocabulary and the futility of wondering whether we should change "manhole" to...er..."personhole"?

That said, I would never buy a gollywog - if they were still available - for a child now. My decision would be on the sole grounds that people find them offensive to those of their cultural grouping. That is enough for me. They are the ones who have suffered, not me, and therefore they have the say, as is right. I have always been a little suspicious of political correctness as a means to addressing societal ills, but if it helps even in small ways, why not.
Sometimes, though, you do wonder just where it will all end. This, via Jennifer Fallon's blog, as published in the Age. Read the whole article here.

In a revised version of the nursery rhyme that aired recently on the British Broadcasting Corporation’s children's channel CBeebies, the tale – which first appeared in print in 1810 – no longer ends with “all the king’s horses and all the king’s men/Couldn’t put Humpty together again”. Now, a crack squadron of His Majesty’s finest hard-boiled military personnel has found the recipe to "make Humpty happy again”. How eggsellent.

Soon, no doubt, we’ll be hearing that the three little pigs have invited the big bad wolf to take a quarter share in their organic farming co-op; that a guilt-riddled Jack has atoned for his giant-killing by establishing a golden-goose-funded orphanage for the oversized; and that Hansel and Gretel have gone into the bakery business with a kindly old lady in the remnant old-growth forest of Tasmania.

I am still wondering just what was considered inappropriate about the demise of ...um...an egg that was stupid enough to sit on a wall?
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Friday, October 23, 2009

Today...

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...I intend to finish the proofs. So far I only manage to do about 100 pp a day. Sigh.

Anyway, I am tuning out from the internet after this, until tonight.

So far today, I have had to deal with the termite man and the fact that in spite of parting with a lot of money, we still have termites in the flooring.

Next door, on the vacant lot, they are cutting the jungle that has grown up. (According to the agreement people in our street made when we bought these blocks of land, the owner was supposed to start building within 6 months. That was back in 1980. But this is Malaysia. Tak apa. Boleh-lah.)

It is exceptionally noisy, not just because they are cutting the tangle, but because they have turned up their radio to hear the music over the sound of the grass cutter thingy. I think I had better write a very stressful scene today...

Oh, and yesterday I had a Coppersmith Barbet on the fig tree, and a partial albino White-vented Myna who is one of the locals around here, as well as the hundreds of usual suspects. The albino fellow has a yellow beak, mostly white feathers, although a few are pale grey. I have not got close enough to see the colour of its eye, but it sticks out like a bandaged thumb in amongst its black brethren. It doesn't seem to bother him/her, and it is partnered by a normal bird.

If you want to know what a Coppersmith looks like, see here. The name comes from their call, like a small hammer tapping on a sheet of copper.

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

I want to sell my laptop

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Secondhand, going cheap - I think 10,000 RM would be reasonable. That's about USD 3,000. Its an Acer Aspire-5052ANWXMI.

After all, considering the price new, I think that would be reasonable, don't you?

A government college in Penang bought two units of the same brand of laptop – Acer Aspire-5052ANWXMI, at a whopping price of RM 84,640, said the Auditor-General’s Report.

Sigh. I wish they would let me do their shopping for them. I could make SO much money...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Distractions, distractions...


I am home, sitting at my desk, immersed in the proofs - yes, still doing those - when I become aware of a dense and frenetic chattering ouside, heard even over the sound of the fan and Beethoven Radio. I drag myself away from a desert landscape where birds are few and far between, with the feeling that I have suddenly been deposited in the midst of a bird roost. I have never heard anything like this in my own yard.

I go outside - and yes, I am indeed in the middle of a flock of birds. And I am not talking ten or twenty birds. I am talking hundreds. Four, five hundred? More? Possibly. The leaves are thick, and the birds are hard to count.

We have a line of trees, palms and huge bamboos planted along one side of the house and every single one of the trees is alive with fluttering, dancing leaves, and bird chatter and squawking. Each tree has birds on every branch. I gape, and go and get the binoculars. Most of them are preening, but one or two have lovely ripe red things in their beaks.

I twig then. Our fig tree at the back is fruiting, the Ficus sumatrana. I hadn't noticed.

We planted this tree twenty-five years ago, specifically for the birds. It's actually on the land immediately behind our house, which is supposedly a green belt, although it has been sold off by the state government for development. (That kind of thing happens a lot here, and that's when you find out just how helpless you are in the face of bureaucracy).

After that we moved to Vienna, the person living in the house had it cut down because it supposedly harbours djinns or spirits or some such twaddle. I was furious. (There are times when I really, really, don't like superstition.) Luckily, fig trees are hard to kill, and it valiantly grew back up. It has been fruiting nicely every year since we came home, but this year it has apparently gone berserk - it is covered with fruit, an excess of red bobbles in amongst the leaves. The ground underneath is marbled with fruit.

And the word has gone out. Figs! Free figs! Every Asian Glossy Starling and Purple-backed Starling, Common Myna and White-vented Myna has passed the word and arrived to feast, not to mention the local orioles and bulbuls.

I forget about the desert and watch while hundreds of birds eat and chatter and perform acrobatic contortions as they look for the ripest fruit. The squirrels join in and I wonder how long before the monkeys discover it too.

And then something startles them. They lift off in a whirr. The mynas flap clumsily, but the starlings speed away like flying torpedoes, their wings whistling as they go, streamlined missiles aerodynamically perfect, flashing between the branches so fast they are a blur to my ageing eyes.

And in seconds all is silent as if they have never been.

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The Purple-backed Starling is new to my yard list!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Be ashamed. Be very ashamed...

...of our capitalist consumption and our throwaway society.

These images break my heart. Throw a plastic cap into the drain, leave your throwaway lighter on the beach, allow your plastic bag to blow away in the breeze, and this is what YOU (and I) do...

The talented photographer Chris Jordan says:

"These photographs of albatross chicks were made just a few weeks ago on Midway Atoll, a tiny stretch of sand and coral near the middle of the North Pacific. .."

"To document this phenomenon as faithfully as possible, not a single piece of plastic in any of these photographs was moved, placed, manipulated, arranged, or altered in any way. These images depict the actual stomach contents of baby birds in one of the world's most remote marine sanctuaries, more than 2000 miles from the nearest continent."

Now look here, if you dare.
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Monday, October 19, 2009

Anti-birdwatching device on my telescope

Yesterday I was bringing in the clothes from the washing line just as the sun set. The sky to the west was a glowing gold, when I heard the unfamiliar sound of a woodpecker drumming. A short fast drum of staccato knocks slowed into a couple of distinct sharp plonks and stopped. I can't remember ever hearing that one before, and it certainly is not the drumming of the only woodpecker I have seen in our backyard, the Common Goldenback.

Anyway, there was I with an armful of dry clothes and I hear a bird which would be a new addition to my yard list.* So what's a girl to do? I dash inside, drop the clothes on the nearest chair, race to the bedroom and rummage around in the drybox for my binoculars.

Tear outside and take a look at the woodpecker. But alas, it is a silhouette against a gorgeous liquid gold sky... All I can say is that it is definitely not a Goldenback. It has a rounded head and is a smaller size.

So I tear back inside to grab my telescope out of the drybox in the bedroom. More complicated this, because it is dismantled. I have to take the covers off, unpack the eyepiece and screw it on to the end, race outside and try to balance the scope on the verandah grille to see the bird. Alas, it is at an awkward angle and I just can't keep it still enough. I need the tripod.

Race back inside. Tripod is packed away in the spare room. Find it, take it out of its carrier bag, run outside, unscrew the legs, grab up the scope to put it on the base - and find that the connector is not there. I had unscrewed it from the telescope when I sent it for cleaning - and forgotten to replace it.

Race back inside, find the connector, tear back outside, screw connector onto the underside of the telescope, fit the scope to the tripod. Look up to make sure the bird is still there. It is, even though a good fifteen minutes or more have passed since I first heard it. It is preening in between bouts of drumming.

I swing the scope towards it, find it and begin to focus the black blur into detail...
...and the &%$# bird flies off.

I swear, there is an anti-birdwatching devise on my scope. When you start to focus on an unidentified bird, the bird senses the spin of the focusing ring - and flies off in the opposite direction. Works like a charm.

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*I keep a list of birds seen in our garden, or from our garden (including flying overhead) and over the years it has morphed into a very long list - somewhere over seventy species. Two nightjars, two bee-eaters, two sunbirds, two tailorbirds, a whole stack of raptors from honey-buzzards to peregrines, a stack of cuckoos, a spiderhunter, a shrike, a fantail, several munias, prinia, two owls, two coucals, four pigeon/doves, a waterhen, a crake, jungle fowl, several egrets and herons, feral storks, triller, swifts, swiftlets and even a Siberian Blue Robin.

Plus the usual common stuff: oriole, bulbul, magpie-robin, house crow, 3 species of myna, kingfisher, iora, gerygone, flowerpecker, sparrow, starling, two swallows...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Diamonds on the family

This is younger daughter, the Tiger in Pony v. Tiger.

She is wearing a US$ 150,000 Todd Reid necklace of uncut diamonds. Needless to say, it does not belong to her and she had to give it back...

And just so as you don't think her life is without the dark side - there were 6 shots fired directly outside her house the other day, in a drive-by shooting. Seems some would-be murderers were firing at each other from cars. The good thing is that they were lousy shots.
The bad thing is that it happens at all.
The weird thing is that there is a nearby line, on the other side of which this sort of shooting incident pretty much doesn't happen. If I were an American, I'd do an awful lot of thinking about why not.

It's called the Canadian border.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

One third done!!

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I am one third the way through the first draft of Book 3. /:-)

It is taking an age, but I am getting there.

There is one advantage that I now have: I think I don't make quite so many mistakes first time around as I used to. (This will be book number 10 on the published list, so I ought to have learned a thing or two!)

And at least with Book 3, I know where I have to end up. The huge problem is that I haven't got a clue how many words it is going to take to get me there. I know what story I want to tell - but how many pages to tell it?

I have no idea how other authors cope with this. Some of them are so organised they even know how any chapters and what is going to happen in each chapter. I have tried that, only to find that the scene I thought I can dispose of in one chapter actually takes three, or the scene I thought would take ten pages can fit into five. How on earth does one know these things beforehand??

So I muddle onwards, ever onwards...

And how is the race going? Well yesterday was day 9, which means that I should have completed 18,000 words to be on track to finish the 30,000 words in 15 days.

And I have achieved...um...15,300. Oops. 2,700 behind and tomorrow I have a whole lot of family obligations.

My competition?

The last I heard from Helen yesterday was that she was in agony with back pain, and if that wasn't enough, she had migraine as well. Never rains but it pours... And she was on 12,500 words. And no, I didn't put a hex on her. I have the deepest sympathy for anyone with back pain.

And Carol, who started it all: her latest figures are for yesterday too, 12,825. Not bad, seeing as she had the flu this week! (No, I didn't hex her, either.)

So we are all lagging behind intended totals...
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Friday, October 16, 2009

The Reader's Bill of Rights

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  • The right to not read
  • The right to skip pages
  • The right to not finish
  • The right to re-read
  • The right to read anything
  • The right to escapism
  • The right to read anywhere
  • The right to browse
  • The right to read out aloud
  • The right to not to defend your tastes
................from BETTER THAN LIFE
.............................by Daniel Pennac

Do you have any you would like to add?
Or any you really, really disagree with?

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Amazon bites the hand that feeds them...again

From Lisa Ogg at the Queensland Writers' Centre:

Australian Society of Authors has spoken out about the international version of the Amazon Kindle. Basically, the deal is that Australian Kindle users will have to pay at least 20 per cent more than Americans for books on the Amazon e-book readers. Not cool, huh?

The average e-book would cost $US13.99 for Australians, 40 per cent more than the American price of $US9.99.

"As I understand at this point in time, Amazon asks for a very, very big discount from publishers for their works to be included in Kindle so that the return coming back to the publisher is smaller and the return coming back to the author is smaller ... The person making the most money is Amazon," said Jeremy Fisher of the Australian Society of Authors.

Two SFnovelists on a day in Malacca (aka Melaka)
















One of the disadvantages of being a SFF writer in Malaysia is that I usually have a long way to travel before I bump into another genre writer. It gets lonely sometimes. So when I noticed a blog post heading over at SFNovelists in the sidebar that said: "I am in Malaysia" I was ecstatic. The blog belonged to Maria V. Snyder, the NY Times bestselling auhor of Poison Study, Magic Study and Fire Study; now also Storm Glass and Sea Glass.

So of course, I cheekily contacted her (I had never met her - our sole contact had been through the SFNovelists site) and arranged to take her down to Melaka for the day, and to deliver her back to the airport where she would meet her husband and fly back home.
Above is Maria, looking remarkably cool in spite of 90+ degree temperatures and 90% humidity.

And here are some of the photos of old Melaka - a city that still has structures standing from the Portuguese era (they arrived in 1511) and where the old Dutch town square still stands. Above are some of the ornate Baba Chinese shophouses, below an interesting shop front.
Below: A shop specialising in wooden & bamboo & rattan handicrafts
Below: An old Muslim tomb and Chinese architecture, side by side
Below: a decorated trishaw or beca.

Below: the Malacca river. In its heyday, the late middle ages and for a while afterwards, it was the major port of the region, controlling the commerce through the Straits of Malacca by virtue of its position. The river is now largely silted up and it is hard to imagine what it must have looked like as a bustling port of godowns and traders...it was subsequently superceded by Penang and Singapore.And on the town square, what used to be the Dutch Reform Church before being appropriated by the Brits. That red colour is an approximation of the original colour of all the Dutch public buildings here.
I had a wonderful day - talking writing with a talented, successful novelist and at the same time pottering around an interesting old city, collecting ideas...my idea of heaven.
Poor Maria, though - she had a 37 hour journey ahead of her just to get home!

Monday, October 12, 2009

My slant on italics...

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...at the moment, is that I HATE them. If you want to know why, then read my tweets in the sidebar.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Writing to win a race - how mad is that?

The process of writing is a lonely business. No one shares your chair in front of the computer screen - in fact if anyone talks to you, you are liable to get bad tempered at having your concentration broken.

It's no wonder, then, that sometimes it seems hard to stay with it...writing...writing...writing while other people are watching something exciting on TV or chatting about interesting things or going out or reading a good book.

Knowing there are two other people out there, trying to do exactly what I am doing, to produce the same number of words (30,000) over the same period of time (15 days), seems to help. The fact that there is a G&T or a cup of coffee riding on the winner (the one to get to the 30,000 first) helps too.

So thanks Carol and Helen.

I made 2,850 words today, the fourth day of those 15. My overall total is 8,330, so I am ahead of the curve. Not bad seeing as I took one whole day off. And these last 4 days have been much more productive than a heck of a lot of the days that preceded them.

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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Malaysia's first science fiction and fantasy club?


Today I went to the "Why-Isn't-There-an-SFF-Bookclub" bookclub meeting. That's right, Malaysia now has an SFF bookclub, which - who knows - might one day expand into an actual society and ... be running an SFF convention? Hey, let's set our sights high, ok? In the meantime it's just a way of getting together to discuss a common interest in SFF books and comics once a month.

You can see the facebook site here and the group's blog here.

So if you are a genre lover, live around KL and want to join, why not? It's free!

I went along, didn't know anyone, and now have three new friends. Yes, there were only 4 of us altogether, (although there are over 20 members on facebook,) but it was a great discussion of "Air" by Geoff Ryman, lots of serious chat, lots of laughs, and a good time had by all. Many many thanks to Maxine and Alina and Zen Cho for starting this.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Clairvoyante et Guérisseur, Les Isles Glorieuses

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News for French speakers
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The first two volumes of Les Isles Glorieuses are available now.
Volume 1, Clairvoyante (The Aware) was published before, by J'ai Lu, but they have now passed the publication of the trilogy to a sister imprint, Pygmalion.

As a consequence, we have a new look and reissue of Clairvoyante, below, and there's Guérisseur ( Gilfeather) above.
For non-French speakers, guérisseur means healer.
Love those covers!! Je les adore, vraiment...
Unfortunately, I don't know who the artist is, but the books are translated by Mélanie Fazi.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Wordily triumphant!

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This idea to race has had a galvanising effect. I have no idea why. Just the thought that there is someone out there working to the same schedule has been such an incentive.

3,008 words

The race is on...

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Carol Ryles
and I are racing.
First to write 30,000 words wins and buys the other a beverage of choice when we meet in real time (which will probably be at a convention somewhere).
As Carol seems to be able to write 3,000 words a day, is aiming to complete 30,000 in 15 days and has survived Clarion, I think she'll probably win hands down.

I do hope she isn't a connoisseur of expensive fine wines or champagne...

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

For teachers/librarians who want to promote reading.

Just came across a review of The Last Stormlord which looks at it more from a "can we learn anything from it" perspective.

True, the waterless background was there because I think it is a real possibility for the future, especially in parts of Australia, Africa and America, but basically I just wanted to write an unputdownable (is there such a word?) tale. So I am glad the reviewer ended the review with "a most enjoyable read"!

The blog site is called ReadPlus, a superb resource for Australian teachers and librarians. I wouldn't advise anyone taking a look at the review if they intended to read the book for their own pleasure, as it is aimed at giving teachers an idea of the book's suitability for kids - and more or less gives away a lot of the plot.

If you are a teacher/librarian, though, go read the review and see if you think it is something your kids would like to read.

Apart from saying what it is about, the reviewer (Mark Knight) says:

(Ages 12+) Glenda Larke has done what should have been more than obvious to many: she's created a world where water is the most valued commodity. It is controlled and regulated by the state and not just water but the rain and where it falls.
...
The use of water as the ultimate resource is timely. There are already alarm bells ringing in Australia about water supply and like many in the Scarpen Quarter, who control the rain, complacency seems to take precedence over action. Glenda Larke has drawn her characters well, there is enough depth of emotion in them all to be believably human and enough insight into their various roles to see the reason behind their differing view points. A most enjoyable (600+ page) read.

The bit that really tickled me was this, right at the end:
I hope she
(the author) doesn't run out of steam in what I presume will be a trilogy.

So do I, Mark, so do I. Lol...
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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Where did the idea of pedes come from?

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Another question from Jo: Where did the idea for pedes come from?
And here's the answer (and remember these are just what gave me the idea):

So the answer is: the Malaysian rainforest.
And if you haven't seen that, you'd better hurry up because it is almost all gone. Even that which is protected is fast losing its biodiversity to poachers and indifference of most of the populace.
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If you don't understand Jo's question, then you must read The Last Stormlord!
Go on, you know you want to...
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Monday, October 05, 2009

Hardback or paperback?

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Jo asked a couple of questions on the comments section of the last post, and here's the answer to one of them:

Why do some books come out in hardback and others in paperback?

And with paperbacks, why is the size different? Why sometimes in "trade" paperback, that's the larger sized paperback; or A format - the smallest size?

The first thing you have to understand is that this is never the choice of the author. We take what we can get. The publishers make this decision and it's based on economics - commercial reasons, i.e. what is going to make them the most money.

It would be rare these days for a first-time fantasy author to come out with their first book in hardback. It can happen - but rarely. The publisher wants to be sure they have a success on their hands before they produce a more expensive edition. Yes, they can sell a hardback for more money, but the profit is going to come from numbers, and they can lose more too if they don't reach the magical break-even number of sales. Trade paperbacks are inbetween - yes, they will cost more, but once again the profits are better as long as you get the right number of sales.

So they want an author with a proven track record for sales before they will opt for trade pb or hardback. This is why you sometimes see a trilogy start as a paperback with book 1, it sells like hot cakes, and book two is out as a trade paperback or even a hardback - and you have to wait and wait for that mass market paperback which will match your copy of book 1.

Got that?

Of course, there are exceptions. A publisher might want to throw a lot of money at a new author they think is going to be a hit, and in a way this can be a self-fulfilling prophesy. Put the book in hardback, buy space at the front of the bookstore, advertise a lot - and you up the chances of having a best seller.

Every author wants to be in trade or hardback because they get more per book too. And they get a second round because the book will be re-issued in a mass paperback, at least if it was a hardback first.

And why are people prepared to pay more and buy that hardback? Because they guess it will be a "keeper"(a book you will re-read and/or pass on the the kids) and hardbacks keep better (they usually have better paper as well as better binding). And maybe because they can't wait for the paperback to come out - they want that particular story from that particular author now!

Topical books that are going to be quickly out of date are usually paperbacks; textbooks that will keep going for years are usually hardbacks.

Children's books are often hardbacks because kids are hard on books... I suspect YA are more often paperbacks because they are easily stuffed in a bag and read anywhere. (Just guessing with that last one though.)

So when a fantasy author comes out in hardback, you can be pretty sure they are popular and sell well. And same with trade paperbacks - the author is probably doing better than the one who never sees a trade. The USA is fonder of the really small size pb than UK or Oz. No idea why.

We authors also believe that when your name is bigger than the title, then you are becoming a "brand" - i.e., your name is a big factor in the selling books, not just what the book is about.

Note: compare The Last Stormlord, Oz cover v. UK cover, over in the sidebar. I am better known in Oz - and the name is larger than the title. It never used to be!
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Sunday, October 04, 2009

Long live the independents!

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The Last Stormlord
is on the top ten bestseller list for September at Fantastic Planet in Perth, W.A.!
At number 6 ahead of Hobb's new book...Yeah for my home city!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

People who heard about the online read...

Here's the result of the poll on The Last Stormlord online

41% read the whole thing on line - and then went out and bought it
31% read part of it - and went out and bought it.
29% of people who knew about the online read, weren't interested in reading the book that way
(for various reasons)
(Those figures should add up to 100% but we have an extra 1% from somewhere.)

Hmmm...no one admitted they read it in part or in its entirety and decided not to buy. Maybe they were too shy to say so, or more likely weren't interested enough to visit my blog!

2% bought it although they had no intention of doing so before they read it online.
35% of those who read the whole thing online said they would buy book 2 - but no one at all was game enough to admit the opposite - that would not buy book 2 at all!