Thursday, June 30, 2011

Second review -- this one from the Romantic Times

As you may remember I was pretty chuffed to get a great review from Publishers' Weekly for Stormlord's Exile. And now I've had another great review, this one from the Romantic Times (which doesn't just review pure romance...)

As follows:

This fast-paced read, full of action-adventure and danger, is a fitting finale to Larke's Stormlord trilogy. Her imagined world is unique, yet recognizable enough in people and habits that we mere mortals have little trouble understanding it. Her characters, especially Shale and Terelle, shine brighter than the sun.

4 stars (compelling - page-turner)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Officially released in less than a month.

If you live in the US, release date is July 26th...
Have you ordered it yet? From your friendly city bookseller? Or wherever?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Another interview

I continue to try taming my dragon, but it's a stubborn animal sometimes. Last night it came up with "Pay low all tow" instead of Palo Alto. Can't say I blame it, really. Names are difficult. But why, after training, does it still decide the name of my hero is "Seiko" instead of "Saker"?  The power of Japanese watchmakers? Sigh.

Anyway, in the meantime hop over my friend Rowena Daniell's blog for an interview with me and a chance to win a book with a neat answer...

Rowena has just had another trilogy published. I bought all three, and read them, one after the other.  The Chronicles of King Rolen's Kin, yet more evidence that women write great -- yet intimate -- epic fantasy. And Rowena is yet another Australian. We rock!

Monday, June 20, 2011

There's still a long way to go...

...but if you look at the sidebar, you will see that I am three-quarters the way there. I promised myself 37 days ago that I would write 1,000 words a day, average, and I haven't quite made that amount. But I'm still on the treadmill, and yes, there are days when I seem to get nowhere...
Funny Pictures - Cat Gifs
see more Lolcats and funny pictures, and check out our Socially Awkward Penguin lolz!

There is a reason, though. Instead of ploughing ahead, I have been reworking and polishing so that my agent has something to show editors.

And have I followed the synopsis? No. I never, ever do. Somehow, when I start writing there are so may better ideas crowding in. Characters take turns I never expected. They become real. The world becomes real. The villainy becomes real. So does the despair, the hope, the love, all the things that make up a story.

I love my work. I just have to hope that out there somewhere is an editor who loves it too.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

So, are we equal yet?

Nope, unfortunately.

There has been a lot of talk just lately about the disparity -- in publicity, prize giving, reviews and so on -- between books by women and books by men. If you haven't been following this discussion, take a look here  for links to topics and blogs.

This post of mine is not a blog about writing, however.  It's going to be about swimming. Years ago, I remember reading about a man (back in the 19th century) who was shocked at what happened after a shipwreck within sight of the coast of Britain. Men made it ashore safely; most of the women did not. The reason was easy to find. Women in those days could not swim. They were also hampered by cumbersome clothing, long skirts and lots of petticoats. As I recall, and my memory might be playing tricks on me, the man then decided to do something about it and began a campaign to teach women to swim.

Today, I was watching a news item on TV about the Australian Surf Life Saving Association teaching children to swim in Asia. Why? Because thousands of Asian children die of drowning every year. It is the most common cause of death in Asian children. Why? Because they are often close to water and yet have no adult supervision. And of course, most of them cannot swim. This new program has already had huge successes where it has been started, which is admirable. It is a wonderful initiative.

One of the problems I can see with this program, though, is it will probably not benefit girls as much as boys. Why not? Because in Asia, girls -- discrimination starts early -- are often not encouraged to expose themselves in any kind of clothing suitable for swimming; and swimming is seen as a male prerogative anyway.

My husband can swim after a fashion. Self-taught, he learned from dipping into the irrigation channels and streams around his kampung when he was a kid. None of his sisters EVER did that.

Women in Asia are being educated as never before. The new generation is even surpassing the men in academia -- yet they still often wear restrictive clothing at odds with their jobs, their lifestyles and of course, the climate. They still do most of the housework and much of the childcare. Their religions still teach  them -- as fact -- stuff made up by men who had no legitimacy except what they gave themselves as interpreters of religious texts; men who imposed their own cultural practices on future generations of women because it suited their selfish need to be waited on.

I hope Asian women wake up to the many, many ways they are being brainwashed.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Another interview with moi...

...if you are interested. Here.

This is an interview aimed more at young writers just starting out. 

In the meantime: I'm not writing much at the moment because I am learning how to write with my speech to text software so I don't have to type and wreck my wrists...

Funny Pictures - Cute Kittens
see more Lolcats and funny pictures, and check out our Socially Awkward Penguin lolz!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Seen in a Swedish bookstore...

To be exact, in a specialty bookstore - Science Fiction Bokhandeln, in Stockholm.
Courtesy of a book-loving friend from Bookbabble, the booklover's podcast.
Thanks, Donny!

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Stupid adults living in la-la land...

And just to make sure that no one accuses me of picking on one particular country or culture, I am featuring one US example, and one Malaysian example. If I had the time, I am sure I could extend that to Australia, UK and Botswana...or any other country you care to name.

But these two will do:

From the Wall Street Journal 

This article describes the distress of a mother who is looking for young adult (YA) books that don't deal with "vampires and suicide and self-mutilation, this dark, dark, stuff" -- and couldn't find any. The reviewer agrees that it's tough to find good YA books, saying that the kind of books the mother was talking about reflect back "distorted portrayals of what life is".

My comments

Apparently, according to the above article, we need sweetness and light and positiveness in the books young people read. (For God's sake, don't let the kids read The Bible, whatever you do. There's some real heavy stuff within its pages, particularly grim stories about a vengeful unforgiving God destroying whole cities, sending plagues, people being turning into pillars of salt for the crime of looking over their shoulder as their whole city is wiped out -- really, really nasty, upsetting stuff like that.)

Apparently, if your life sucks, and you're fourteen, there's not a shred of good in reading about people just like you, even if in the end they manage to cope. Much, much better, the writer of the article says, if we censor hell out of libraries so that our little darlings never read anything too bleak for them.

To me, this blinkered view of what life is like for a 13 or 14 year old is just plain weird. If a kid's life really is bad and he or she comes across a story that reflects their own, then they will learn something about coping, and they will learn that they are not alone -- surely one of the most valuable life-changing moments there is.

If said kid lives in a great neighbourhood with fabulous parents, then they are going to realise - as they will have to sooner or later -- that not everyone is so lucky.

The most remarkable thing about the article, though, is this: that reading a work of fiction can change a young adult for the worse. For example, that reading fiction about self-mutilation will make some kids do it. Er...nope. Because kids will have heard about it long before they read a work of fiction about it, believe me. Take my word for it. They hear about it from TV, the internet and their friends.

Fiction doesn't make a kid do bad things; real life does. Fiction hands them ways of coping with the bad things that happen to them so they DON'T do stupid stuff like self-mutilate.

The other thing fiction can do is offer a form of entertainment that makes real life bearable. Within the pages of a book (or to a lesser degree in a game or a TV show), a kid in trouble can escape, and in the escape gain the calm needed to deal with real life.

And of course, the article implies that all this is new. Books for young people used to be lovely...

When I was in primary school I had a lot of my mother's books from when she was a kid. She was born in 1903. Boy, what a miserable lot of books a kid had to read in those days. All about kids who died - Little Nell (Old Curiosity Shop - yes, kids did have Dickens read to them in those days - my mother said she cried and cried over that one), Beth March (Little Women), the little match girl (Andersen -- and loads of other similar fairy tales by him and brothers Grimm);  Judy Woolcot (Seven Little Australians by Ethel Turner) - geez.  Their message seemed to be, "Never mind, if you are particularly good, you will die young and go to heaven all the sooner." Lucky you, kiddo!!

I reckon today's books offer more hope than those books. They empower kids, instead of throwing their entire fate into the arms of a capricious god.

And from The Star newspaper of Malaysia

This article is about some extraordinarily ignorant women sounding off about something they know NOTHING about (abused women and abusive men), and deciding that of course it's ALL the fault of WOMEN who don't know how to OBEY their potentially abusive husbands. And I gather that they think ALL MEN will be abusive given disobedient wives to manage. Wow, hard to get one's head around this bit of ignorant garbage.

Anyway these women have the answer. They are starting up a thing called "The Obedient Wives Club". Basically, as far as I can make out, it is a club for cult-bait. You know, the kind of people (in this case only women) who are so infantile and puerile that they need to hand over their money,  bodies, independent thought, maturity, or any sense of self, to the tyrant cult leader in their family (who will make use of them, their bodies, their money but whom they must never challenge on anything, no matter how ignorant or stupid or cruel he is).

Hmm. Come to think of it, can I join as an honorary man? Sounds like a good deal for a impecunious writer. I can write and not worry about income while all my slaves can obey my every command...


Further update:
In today's The Star there's more about this moranic club. Their vice-president is a woman doctor who -- according to the paper - has stated that men won't stray if wives are good in bed (Geez, lady, what planet are you from?) but ... "if their husbands still abused or cheated on them despite being 'kept happy' in the bedroom" then a woman just has to be a good wife (read: doormat) to the end. If they don't obey their husbands, she says, they won't get to heaven.

What a lovely lady she is. Here's the message, loud and clear: if your husband is a drunken  cheater who beats you within an inch of your life every other night, continue to be sweet and obliging, stay with him (with your children even if he beats them too?), and get your reward in heaven when he finally tortures you to death.

Lady, you stink.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Conquilt

So, what am I doing blogging about a quilt? Because my signature is on one of those white pieces. And on white pieces you will find signatures from people like George R.R. Martin, Carrie Vaughn, Charlie Stross, Shaun Tan, China Mieville, Trudi Canavan, Rob Shearman, Paul Cornell, Kim Stanley Robinson...and some ninety or so other SF/F writers and artists.

A detail of part of the quilt


And this gorgeous thing is for sale!!!!!!!!!

Yep, you can BUY it, personally signed by all those people above.

You can read all about how to go about buying it here: and rest assured, the proceeds go to a very good cause. 
Not in terribly good detail, but you can see some signatures

Conquilt was assembled by Rachel Holkner and award-winning quilter Jeanette Holkner. It is based on the pattern ‘Tribble Trouble’ (Yeah, those tribbles!) by Martha Thompson. It measures 152 cm x 192 cm with a 5cm diameter rod pocket on the back for easy display.

I adore it. (Many thanks to Rachel for all the hard work).

Oh, and I suppose I had better mention that the cat is not included.

Wordage...

The observant among you will have noticed that there is another word counter thingy up in the sidebar. This is for my latest, as yet unsold, book. I am aiming at writing at least 1,000 words a day -- or 7,000 a week. I'm hoping to achieve more that that.

Don't take too much notice of the name -- titles tend to get changed along the way as publishers look for something that will sell.

And the picture? That's got nothing to do with the book.
That's The Beach. You know, the one in the deCaprio film set on the Thai Island of Ko Phi Phi. Our mistake? To go there on the Buddhist New Year's Day...Yep, those are just SOME of the boats...each bringing anything up to 15 or so people.