Saturday, June 30, 2007

Weird stuff [again]

Weekend break from answering questions. Not to worry, if you asked one, it will be answered...

Instead, today I just have to tell you about this news item that appeared in today's paper here.

A bomoh [translation: witchdoctoring con-artist] in the northern state of Kelantan was treating a Penang family for something or other. His diagnosis was that the family's problems were caused by some bad spirits or demons. He - being a skilled bomoh - caught these spirits and imprisoned them inside the trunks of banana plants, a process which included driving huge nails into the stems and then burying them in the local cemetery.

The photo below comes from the New Straits Times online page. See here
for a bigger shot and more details about the story.

Hocus pocus, you say? Of course it was. And did the the sensible people of the local village believe this tale? Of course not! They had far more sense. They rang up the local police to tell them that someone had buried space aliens in the graveyard. Which in the end resulted in the police exhuming the bodies (with hands clad in rubber gloves...just in case?)

And the bomoh? Well, he says he's not responsible for whatever happens to the Penang people now that the spirits are free. He's just got himself an out - if the patients don't improve, it's not his fault. He can blame it on the police. Who says witchdoctors aren't clever?

Fantasy is not half as weird as the stuff real people will believe...

Friday, June 29, 2007

An author answers [3]

KAREN MILLER , a talented and successful sff writer, asked the following:

What's the most powerful thing about the fantasy genre?

I haven't a clue what it is for most people. But as a reader, the most powerful thing about the genre for me is its ability to offer me so much in one package, so much between the covers of the one book.

Fascinating characters, good writing, great plot, action, intriguing background, thought-provoking issues - all those things you can find in many novels about today's world, but fantasy offers more. It can be a war story, a crime novel, a romance, an epic, a history, all at one and the same time. It's the sheer challenge of reading a fantasy that blows me away if it is done well.

I don't mean challenge as in something that is hard to understand, but challenge as in something that expands your view of this world even as it describes another world, that makes you think, that surprises you with every turn, that challenges your imagination, even as it tells a great tale about great characters. A good fantasy is a total immersion. Powerful stuff.

There aren't too many mainstream novels that can do all those things in one book. But then again, fantasy & sci fi readers are the most intelligent of readers. They can take it!

As a writer, the most powerful thing is the possibility of saying so much without being boring. I am a great believer in writing good entertainment, but I do like to say important stuff at the same time. In a mainstream novel this can come across as preachy or just plain dull because the setting is so close to home. In a fantasy, it's easier to make the story make the point, if you have one.

Ooo, I love writing fantasy.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

The author answers 2...

Argus Lou asks:
Which character in each of your books do you see as an extension or a fantasy version of yourself?

Hmm. Certainly there are none that resemble me physically.

When one of my book group remarked that she thought Blaze was a lot like me, I replied, "Well, maybe a lot like I would like to be. You know, tall...with a great head of hair...", whereupon they all laughed. Which should tell you something!

But to be more serious, none of my characters are me, plus height and a great hairdo. A few, however, possess some of the traits I like to think I have. Keris Kaylen in Havenstar and Samia in Song of the Shiver Barrens both have a practical no-nonsense attitude and a rather forthright way of expressing themselves which I like.

Blaze in The Isles of Glory and Ligea in The Mirage Makers are both too bloodthirsty for me - if I were to meet them, I'd run a mile. And if I were to find myself in one of the hairy predicaments that they take in their stride, I would be scrambling under the nearest bed, not reaching for a kitchen knife or sword.

I think I would have to say that I have more in common with Gilfeather's pacifist tendencies, and his (often thwarted) desire to work things out in non-violent ways. I'm a writer after all, and that's what we tend to do - try to change the world with our brand of magic, without a stick, sans bazooka.

Y0u know what? You'd probably do better to ask my friends this question, and see what they say!

One of these days I shall write a fantasy heroine that is me: a sixty-plus environmentalist, a bit overweight, thinning hair, myopic and arthritic, acerbic and logical, often forgetful, with a great sense for the ironic...I wonder if it would sell?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Asking an author...

Over at Bibliobibuli (and what a great site this is for book related comments and links!) I was led to a link that discussed the Oprah interview of Cormac McCarthy, where she asked inane questions like the Where did you get the idea for this book from? and Do you have a writing routine? and How do you feel about millions of people reading your books?

She had a chance for an in depth interview, and she asks about his writing routine? I can't believe it.

Every writer gets asked about the origin of their ideas. They get sick of being asked. There is only one true answer: from life. And anyway a book has not one idea but thousands, and to insinuate that a single idea inspired a writer is a bit insulting. A single idea is just a tiny beginning in a huge thought process that builds up the book in an author's mind before he ever puts pen to paper or fingers to keyboard.

So what should a journalist ask a writer? Questions that delve deep into the book, its characters, its purpose, how it reflects the writer and his life experience, what he hopes to achieve or change (if anything), why he wrote this particular book when he did, how he views the public's reaction to it...

So does anyone have a question they want to ask me?

Monday, June 25, 2007

Bird Race continued...

When I woke up yesterday and looked out of my hotel window at Jelai Resort in Fraser's Hill, this was the scene below in the mist - people, and birds .

There must have about 60 people and almost as many cameras and tripods and telescopes and binoculars...

There is something very odd about Jelai in the morning. In that first hour or two in the morning, the birds come out and feed on the carpark edge, fly past your nose, hop around your feet. Why this particular place and not everywhere else is a mystery.

And of course, during the birdrace, the bird race participants are there to see them.

The best part of the race as far as I was concerned was to see so many of my old friends (and make new ones - hi, guys!). Birders I hadn't seen for ages seem to come out of their retirement to attend, although not usually to take part, from as far away as Singapore and Langkawi. It was great to see them. And odd to find just how many people read my blog...

The winners saw just short of 100 species in 24 hours.

Birds at Jelai yesterday morning: Verditer Flycatcher, White-throated Fantail, Lesser Raquet-tailed Drongo; Chestnut-capped and Chestnut-Crowned Laughingthrush; Orange-bellied Leafbird; Black-throated Sunbird; Long-tailed Sibia; Mountain Fulvetta; Silver-eared Mesia; Yellow-naped woodpecker; Malaysian(Javan) Cuckoo-shrike; Streaked Spiderhunter; Long-billed Partridge heard calling; Little Cuckoo-dove; Large Niltava; Oriental Magpie-Robin. All seen and identified without a pair of binoculars, because I left mine back in Kota Kinabalu by mistake! I'm sure there were others as well.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Bird Race

I'm off tomorrow to the bird race in Fraser's Hill.

Well, actually it's not a bird race, it's a people-racing- after-birds race. Which is about as stupid as human beings get - and therefore is lots of fun. The birds are wild, and the winning team sees more bird species than other teams.

And how do you know the winning team doesn't cheat? You don't. Which is also pretty stupid. But who cares? If people want to cheat they will, and generally everyone knows it because they don't do it very intelligently, so they are the ones who end up looking silly.

Actually I am not racing, I am going with my colleagues to snaffle a lot of birders and get them to fill in questionnaires for the project I am working on. Which will also be fun because I like talking to birders.

And the pix here are from my husband who wants to show off his gingers, photographed during the recent Titiwangsa Range Expedition. I didn't go because I was at the SFF convention in Oz, having fun while he was getting wet. I believe it rained. A lot.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Nice news today

I received copies of each volume of the Isles of Glory (The Aware - published 2003, Gilfeather and The Tainted - both published 2004) in a new Australian edition. Which means folk are still buying.

And I also heard from my agent that the Russians are buying The Tainted. I was hopeful about that, having noted that my name was bigger than the title on the cover for Gilfeather (aka Smell Evil) - which is supposed to mean that the author is becoming a brand name. [And if that doesn't convince you that I am a typically anal pathetic author looking for clues to how well she is selling, nothing will...]

And if you are wondering why the Russians are buying one book at a time, well it's what happens sometimes with books that are going to be translated. The publisher has to pay the translator up front, so they like to keep the advance costs down. If they buy the whole trilogy, then they have to pay an advance on all three books. Besides, if they buy one at a time and the first book doesn't sell, they can always forget about buying the rest!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Weird world

Ok, so I write fantasy. But, quite frankly, I think the really, really weird stuff is found in the real world.

One of my husband's family told me this story yesterday. She has misplaced a box of gold and diamond jewellery, collected over a lifetime of saving. (This is a common way women have of investing their savings, particularly among Muslim women.) She couldn't be sure if she had just hidden it so well that she can't find it, or if some workmen she had in her house not so very long ago had helped themselves...

So she went to a bomoh* to find out.

She went to his house, waited her turn, paid him twenty ringgit and asked him if he could find her jewellery in her house. He turned out all the lights, cut a lime in two and rubbed the cut fruit with kapor (natural chalk). Then told her that the jewellery was no longer in the house. Alas, he couldn't tell her where it was.

Afterwards, her sceptical sister snorted, remarking that it was no wonder he couldn't see the jewellery - it was dark. And I added that he was obviously looking in the wrong house; she ought to have taken him to her house, not gone to his...

Joking aside, I think he did quite well. At the cost of a couple of minutes of his time, one lime and a smidgen of chalk, he just made himself twenty ringgit. I should be so lucky.

Call yourself Tillian Loo and an expert on Feng Shui, write a number of nonsensical books on the subject that purport to be scientific, give a number of lectures about how to stop luck from running out of your house or office - and bingo, you're a millionaire in no time.

Isn't that a lovely irony? I write fantasy, tell everyone it is fantasy, and stay poverty stricken. But if I wrote fantasy and called it the truth, I'd be rich....

*translates rather inaccurately as "witchdoctor", but it shouldn't really be translated at all. A bomoh is usually a Malay, a Muslim, and he mixes local traditional medicine, spells, magic, and religion in a glorious hotchpotch of nonsense.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Re-reading one of my own books.

I hate doing that.

Once the final proofs are done, I usually turn away from that book and focus on the next. And I hate revisiting something that has been an intense part of my life for a year or so and finding out that it is not perfect....! And of course, it is not, never can be.

Song of the Shiver Barrens was a bit rushed towards the end, so I am re-reading, hoping to spot the typos or rough passages that escaped the numerous eagle eyes of author and editor and copy editor and type-setter and proof editor. Why? So that I can fix them before I send off the MS to the UK publisher, Orbit.

I have been reasonably happy with my other books in this respect, but not this one. There are errors - all small, but which grate on my perfectionist eye now that they are there staring up at me from the printed page, yelling, "Look at me! Look at me!"

Can anyone tell me how it is that I came to write the following: He handed her her cloak without throwing up? I suspect that in the original typescript, the first "her" was at the end of a line and the second at the beginning of the next line. It's the only excuse I can make (ignoring the fact that I did also read the proofs...). And I have no idea how everyone else didn't wince when they read it. Aargh.

[A mild digression here - most mainstream "literary" novelists spend several years - or more - on a book, polishing and perfecting. Fantasy writers usually don't have that luxury - our books can be two to three times the length of a literary novel, and in order to keep our audience happy, plus earn enough to keep ourselves happy, we have to be much more productive. I have had seven books published in the past nine years, varying in length from 126,000 words to 165,000 words. And for about 9 months of every year, I have a full-time job as well.

So you are more inclined to find typos and such in a BFF (big fat fantasy) than in a slim "literary" novel. If you do find
typos, you can always tell the author about them. They can then make sure they are corrected in the second edition.

Not much point, however, in telling the writer that there is a plot hole the size of the Mariana Trench in Chapter Twenty. Quite frankly, we don't want to know - because it's far too late to do anything about it. And no, I haven't found a plot hole in Song of the Shiver Barrens....yet.]

Saturday, June 16, 2007

A walk in Poring

I am trying to catch up on all the things that need doing after being so long away- in the field, at the con, etc. I answered about 70 emails yesterday, and I am still not finished.

Anyway, here's some more photos from my project-work trip: Poring Hot Springs area, which is part of Kinabalu Park.

One of the lovely things about the rainforest is the contrast - you go from being overwhelmed by the grandeur to being enraptured by the perfection of the tiny...

  • Some of the accommodation
  • We set off up one of the trails: waterfalls and streams...
  • Distance view, framed by wild banana and wild ginger - far below we can see our starting point at the Poring Pk HQ
  • Poring means bamboo in the local language, and there are huge bamboo forests here, interspersed with strangler fig trees...
  • Resting on the buttress of a fig tree on our way up one of the hill trails
  • Mushroom
  • A piece of walking, actually an insect, viewed from above
  • Same insect, side view

Friday, June 15, 2007

When people don't know they love fantasy/sci fi

I belong to a book group. We get together once every two weeks to talk about a book, which is usually "literary" in nature - you know, Man-Booker prize winners and so on.

The success of the group can be measured by the fact that it has been going more than 40 years. [No, I haven't belonged to it that long; in fact only one of the members has been there from the very beginning. I have belonged 12 years.]

Perhaps one reason the group has been so successful is that the members - usually numbering about 10 altogether - sometimes come and go, changing the group dynamic, and that they encompass many different religious/cultural/ethnic groups from different countries. It is always a stimulating discussion group.

Alas, they rarely discuss sff (science fiction & fantasy) unless it is called something else, you know: magic realism, post-modern surrealism, realistic futurism or some other totally silly phrase that actually means, well, science fiction or fantasy. So Cloud Atlas is permissible (because it was short-listed for the Booker) but space opera is not, no matter how well written; The Lovely Bones would be fine, but a "fantasy" is not, no matter how much you might enjoy it, and so on.

Yesterday, the group discussed Heart of the Mirage, the first book of The Mirage Makers. Perhaps they were being extra polite because the author was sitting right there, grinning inanely (having one's book discussed in front of you is an exercise in extreme embarrassment), but they seemed bowled over, rather taken aback by their own enjoyment of the story, intrigued by some of its sub-text.

These are people who would like fantasy, if only they would admit it.
And why is it so hard to admit?
Because magic is somehow linked to children's literature and reading it smacks of immaturity?

One wonders just how popular fantasy could become, if only people would acknowledge that the genre offers everything that mainstream also does, depending on the book: pure entertainment, thought-provoking stories, lyrical tales, tragedy and ethical dilemmas, comic relief, adventure, fun, romance, chick-lit, crime, war, human-interest, etc etc. Serious or fluffy, it's all there, just as it is in mainstream literature.

All you have to do is find the type of book you like to read. Give it a try sometime. You might be surprised.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

What else happens at a con?

There are book launches
(1. Kylie, Nicole and Richard Harland; 2. Emma, Donna Hanson and Trudi Canavan)

There's just hanging about talking
(Marianne de Pierres, Sean Williams, Darren Nash, Tim Holman, Joel Shepherd and Rob Hood)
and chicken imitations...
And generally lots of stimulating panels and talk. Lots of talk. Late into the night. There was even the experience of being at a room party threatened with police action if we didn't break it up... Heavens, I haven't been at one of those for years!! I felt quite young again.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

So what else happens at a con?

Well, at this one, I saw my latest book for the first time in its finished state...
Held it in my hand.
Felt relief.

It is finally birthed and about to take its first hesitant steps into the world. Make sure it is welcomed, ok?


should be available sometime next month in Australia, so now is the time to order it from your friendly local bookseller.

But that wasn't the only lovely happening.
I had a surprise in my con bag, and I couldn't resist taking a photo of it, back and front.

I must write to the Voyager publicists and say thanks.
A real rush to find myself spoken of in the same breath as Anne Bishop and Jenny, and with Trudi making nice comments.
But then, Trudi didn't know me when she said that.

Now she's more likely to say Glenda,
rather than Glenda's books, is the culprit that keeps her up late.

There's now a little matter of room parties and chocolate and talk and gin, you see...

What does one do on a cold winter's day in Melbourne?

One goes and has an insanely decadent hot chocolate at Max Brenner's....

Gillian, Donna, Paul and Trudi introduce me to the sins of Melbourne.

I shall never be the same again.

What does one do at a publisher's lunch?

You laugh. A lot. Especially when there are seven authors and a couple of publishers /editors. That's an awful lot of very bright, witty people who know how to use the English language in one place.
Pix: Sean Williams, Marianne de Pierres, Tim, and (just) Karen Miller.

Throw in a surprisingly large number of waiters and waitresses who didn't seem to speak much English at all, but who were quite determined to serve us food we hadn't ordered, and well, the lunch was off to a great start, and just went, um, uphill? downhill? from there....
Pix: Darren, Ian Irvine, Trudi Canavan
One thing I love about the Australian author scene - at least as far as my experience goes - there is a spirit of comradeship rather than competition, of support rather than undermining, and respect rather than rivalry.

Add in a couple of great editors from Orbit - Tim Holman and Darren Nash - and you are guaranteed a great lunch.

Pix: Trudi & Paul, Sean Williams

Back in Kuala Lumpur

Arrived back last night, late, after sitting in the middle seat of the middle row of a full flight for eight hours...

I will post more on the con later today, together with photos if they are any good.

Today, though, I have a project meeting at 9.30 am, and I also have to go to the immigration department once more, to beg them to allow me stay yet another year in the country I have called my own for more than 30 years ...

Now I wonder why I sometimes get the feeling that this country really, really doesn't like foreign wives who had the audacity to marry one of their own?

Thirty years is a long time to feel unwanted.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Convergence 2 cont'd

I am having a ball.

In fact, my idea of writer’s heaven is to be surrounded by a heap of people who want to talk ideas, writing, books, sff, reading, getting published…

Lovely to get together with old friends, make new ones, change acquaintances into friends (hi, Emma…) Do I have to go home?

I must take some photos.

Had a room party last night which was a blast. Haven't laughed to much in a long time. Bless you, guys...

Friday, June 08, 2007

Travelling to Melbourne at a Glance.

  • Eight hour overnight flights are the pits. And they will keep on waking you up for food and other unnecessary stuff.
  • Rydges, Exhibition St: what a great location for a con – right in the heart of Melbourne, just five minutes on foot from whatever you could possibly want.
  • Downtown Melbourne: What’s with all these women in black (mixed with white or shades of grey)? This is like Manhattan: black is de rigeur for locals. Wear colour, and you are instantly branded as a tourist.
Back a century and more ago, my great-gandmother told my great-grandfather to take their savings and buy some land in Collins St, which was opened for sale. Not sure of the year, but certainly somewhere between 1850 and 1900. He rode off to the big city, and returned without the deeds.
“Why?” she asked, exasperated. She was a canny Irish immigrant who could neither read nor write.
“Too expensive,” he replied, even though he had enough to cover the purchase.
And thus, dammit, went our family’s chance to be millionaires…

Wonder what he would say to the price of property in Collins St now?

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Today, when I drove up to the pay-booth of the underground parking garage at the supermarket, the lass at the desk said, 'Oo, Aunty so strong, lah. Old age, still drive everywhere!"

Ok, so that will teach me to leave the house without make up and with my hair desperately in need of a hairdresser...

Actually I started to laugh and drove into the carpark, giggling nonstop, wondering what she would have said if she could have seen me two weeks back, with a backpack containing everything I needed for three days, trekking my way through the Mulu National Park in a pair of worn out shoes with the uppers no longer attached to the soles.

I can actually tell you what she would have thought. She would have thought I was crazy. In traditional Asian eyes, old people are expected to stay home and look after the grandkids, and adjective "old" starts to get prefixed to any noun designating you at around 55.

Hmm, is that why elder daughter has asked me to come to Charlottesville and look after grandson during the summer closing of the daycare centre?

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Mixed day: personal stuff - and where are the compassionate Muslims of this nation right now?

I had great plans for today, all listed down neatly (because that what you have to do when you are my age), and then I went and lost the list (which is what you actually do do when you are my age).

Just to put some blood on the seal of my day, I parked on a side slope when I went for my morning run at the riverside, and the car door slammed on my hand. Just what you need when you have a report to finish before you go off to enjoy yourself at Convergence...

...three more days and I shall be in Melbourne!
And to make it even nicer, I get a first copy of the Song of the Shiver Barrens delivered to me in Melbourne on Sunday, hot off the Voyager presses, courtesy of the lovely Karen.

I'll let you in a secret: No writer worth a reading public ever gets blase about holding the first copy of a book in their is a special moment, like savouring a particularly tasty pie when you are starving hungry. The smooth feel of it, the smell wafting up from the new pages, the taste of knowing it is yours...I'm salivating already.

Anyway, the day was great around lunchtime, because I met up with the mob - my bookgroup - and caught up on everyone's doings. Good things, sad things, funny things - I really miss these folk when I am over in Kota Kinabalu. (Did I ever get around to mentioning I am back in Selangor at the moment?) They mean such a lot to me.

On a sadder note, the saga of the woman imprisoned for not being a Muslim, when she was raised a Hindu, continues. Apparently, the Arabic TV channel AlJezirah (sp?) ran a spot on her. I didn't see it, having no TV, but they interviewed her husband, who has been to see her in jail three times. Twice he was refused entry.

[Fantastic. Now they keep her from meeting her own husband - I don't think they even do that to murderers here!!!!!]

On the third visit, a sympathetic guard allowed them to meet with a chainlink fence between them. Apparently all they could do was touch fingers through the wires...

Their toddler daughter has been stolen from them and given to the Muslim side of her family to raise. [Presumably the same good Muslim family who so cared so much about their daughter's religious well-being that gave her to a Hindu grandmother to raise...]

And the woman has refused to knuckle under and agree to follow a religion which has torn her family apart and treated her as a criminal and subjected her to brainwashing in a prison environment.

So what have they done to reward such intransigence? Extended her 100 day sentence by another 80 days.

Perhaps the worst thing in all this is the lack of outcry and outrage from Muslims in this country. Are you all so heartless? I have had nothing but gentle consideration from the majority of you in all my years here. Was that all a sham?

If you want this woman to be a Muslim, you have gone the wrong way about it.

Revathi Masoosai, this blog entry is dedicated to you.

I wish I could do more.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Up on the rainforest canopy, or: Who has a head for heights?

I love canopy walkways.
And the best one I have found is this one at Danum Rainforest Lodge in Sabah. It wends its way through the canopy at different levels, and was designed by an 82 year-old Filipino engineer...

It has the best birding of any canopy walkway I have found - in fact, on my second visit, I never got past the second tree, I was having so much fun. I birded up there with a guy from Sydney until it was too dark to see any more. Nuthatches, broadbills, woodpeckers, sunbirds, leafbirds, hornbills, woodshrikes, barbets, with a pitta and a partridge calling underneath ... Fabulous.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Song of the Shiver Barrens: out soon

As you may have gathered from the preceding post, the Australian Voyager edition of Song of the Shiver Barrens, book 3 of the Mirage Makers, will be out soon: July. And just to cheer those of you over in UK, book 1, Heart of the Mirage is coming out August 2nd, with a fabulous Orbit cover. [What is it about their art/design department? They produce the best covers in the business!] And I see some of you have been pre-ordering too - thanks for having faith in me!

This will be my seventh published book. There is obviously a finality to the last book of a trilogy, and I have mixed feelings. This marks the close of something close to my heart for more than fifteen years. I started this trilogy when I was living in Tunisia, in my study with a view across the city to Carthage, continued it in Kuala Lumpur, and Perth Australia, and Virginia USA, and then finished it in Borneo. I am a little sad that, as far as I am concerned, the journey is over. And happy too, that I have had the opportunity to share it with you - this vision of a world and characters that have been so long part of my inner world.

For those of you who haven't read any of it: what is the trilogy about? Well, it's about a woman who was born into a time of upheaval, was betrayed horribly as a child, and yet who manages to build a successful life - only to have that life overset by the truth. That's the beginning anyway. It's also about a slave who wants to be a free man and yet who chooses servitude. It's about a boy becoming a man in a time of war, and having to learn what heroism really is.

There's war and passion and heroism and evil and mystery and magic and love. It will entertain you (I hope) and perhaps make you think, because that's the kind of books I write.

For Oz readers, just to tantalize you, here's the opening paragraph of Song of the Shiver Barrens:

Wind gusted and obliterated her whisper, but not before it was overheard. Ligea Gayed may not have seen the man standing behind her rolling his eyes, but she felt his exasperation. ‘It’s true,’ she growled without turning around. ‘I was the worst mother in the world.’

Friday, June 01, 2007

So, anyone out there going to Convergence2?

If so, please introduce yourself to me! Love to meet you...

I am a real sucker for sff (science fiction/fantasy) cons, since the very first one I attended in Perth, Western Australia. I knew no one there, and I was made so welcome and ended up making some real friends among a fabulous group of people. It was even the place that I met my publisher/editor from Harper Collins Voyager for the first time.

The second sff con I attended (Conflux in Canberra) was even better, simply because I met so many Voyager authors and people from the Purple Zone (the message board of the Voyager website where a lot of crazy writers and readers get together to discuss books and writing and science fiction versus fantasy...)

And so ever since, I have been trying to get to as many cons as I can. Last year I didn't manage any. Happily, this year, it will be Convergence2 in Melbourne, which is the 2007 National Convention. It has the added attraction of the opportunity to meet Darren Nash from Orbit UK again, who will be publishing The Mirage Makers (first book, Heart of the Mirage, out beginning August). I met him very briefly at the Worldcon in Glasgow...

And then there's Trudi Canavan and Karen Miller and Gillian and my room-mate and pal, Donna...

I can't wait.