Friday, January 28, 2011

Where I've been lately

Having finished reading the proofs of "Stormlord's Exile" (out at end of July or first few days of August), I headed off to work in the mountains at Fraser's Hill, here:
No, this wasn't the photo taken during one's last seconds on Earth as the world is blasted by a nuclear holocaust or a meteor shower, or something equally catastrophic and final.

It's the photo taken at night with a flash when it's really, really misty. This was closer to the reality:
The team was there to run a beginning bird watching course for guides and hill resort residents, so three days of mist and rain and wind was not quite the best of conditions. Fortunately the trainees were a great group of people, from guides to students to those in the hotel  industry and tourism promotion to government servants.
Fortunately too, some of the birds were wonderfully cooperative:
These are my fellow trainers:

A misty morning after a couple of days of rain - which results in very hungry birds - is a very, very bad time for a moth, and generally fatal if you start flying about. But if you sit still like this one, and don't budge in the midst of the moth holocaust, you can be surprisingly safe.

Sadly, I don't think this stick insect was going to make it. Not when it really couldn't even get its legs to sort out which was up...

Monday, January 24, 2011

News and flower pots...

This is the view from our family room of the orchid shade house.

And in amongst the orchids closest to the window, there is a bulbul nest...and yes, those yellow dangling things are the heavily perfumed blossoms. So not only do I have flowers, I also have birds in the hanging pot!

Today I sent back to the proofs of "Stormlord's Exile".  Tomorrow I am going to Fraser's Hill again to be one of the trainers for a session on birding.

The other piece of news I have is that it looks as if "The Masks of Yedron" will not be the next book I write after all. It will get written, just not yet... Such is the world of publishing. One never knows what is around the corner. And no, I can't say yet exactly what the next book is going to be, or when I'll be able to tell you.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Busy, busy...

...with the proof reading of Stormlord's Exile. Should be available in 6 months, folk! Blame me for any typos; I am truly the world's worst proof reader.

And in the meantime, to keep you occupied:

1. Take a look at the latest Salon Futura here.

2. And here's some music I adore. Air Tap from Eric Mongrain.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Remember the bore riders of The Tainted?

Well here's the real thing. This bore tide was one of the many I researched for the book. Many thanks for the link to Gillian Pollack. You can read more about this 5-mile surf ride here.

And you can see what I did with the concept in The Tainted! Which was, by the way, voted by readers as one of the ten most popular reads in the first ten years of Harper Collins Voyager books in Australia.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Imagine this...

Imagine that you've just moved to a new town and you fall ill. You start looking for the local doctor's surgery - and can't find one. Not one anywhere. So you ask a local where you can find one. And she tells you: 'Well, there used to be several. But then most of the locals who used them wouldn't pay their bills. So after a while, one of them left. Still, the people wouldn't pay. So the second one left too. Neither of them could make enough money to live here, and now no doctor will come because they know they can't make a living.'

You look around, surprised. 'But most people here seem reasonable well off. Why wouldn't they pay their bills?'

'Oh, some thought the doctors charged too much. They couldn't see why patients had to pay so much, when really they were paying for the years of training the doctors received before they came here. Some said it was because the doctors wouldn't make housecalls. Others didn't see why they should pay if the doctor wouldn't give them medicine, or if they didn't get better immediately. Some said it was their right to have free medical care. All sorts of different reasons. Anyway, we don't have a doctor now.'

Ridiculous? Read this.

Stealing has consequences.

On with the story: You return home, still thinking about this, and disturb a thief in your house. He's walking out the door carrying your brand new plasma TV. Naturally you are very indignant.

'But,' protests the thief, 'it's not as if I would buy one for myself if I didn't steal it. This is the only one I'll get! And I didn't steal anything else from you! Oh, and you've probably got insurance anyway...'

Ridiculous? Of course. Totally illogical reasoning. Well, I'm sick of pirate sites having the gall to tell me that THEY don't steal from me. It's the guys who make use of their site and put up the freebies. "They are the thieves, not me! Anyway, all you have to do is fill in this form which will only take a few minutes of your time and we'll take down the twenty free versions we are inadvertently hosting. Oh, and you will probably have to do it again tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that...because these turkeys are a bit persistent... But it's not me, you understand. I just put us this nice free site for them to use. Why on earth should I check to make sure no one is using it to steal? That's not MY problem!"

A great many writers shrug off the stealing. They say, 'Well, these people wouldn't buy my books anyway.' Perhaps they are right, although what criteria they use to make that assertion, I'm not sure. I think they are probably wrong.

And definitely, I can't see why it's ok to let them get away with it because "they wouldn't buy it anyway."

What troubles me most of all is that the morality of people has slipped so badly over the past twenty years, that people who would never consider, say, shoplifting, think that internet stealing is harmless and has no consequences.

Alas, it does.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Another cover

There was a peek at this one on the cover to Stormlord Rising, but I notice it is now up in full on, where the book is advertised as being available on August 4th, so here it is. (It will be available worldwide around the same date. I notice that over on they mention the kindle version as being available on August 1st.)
This portrays - at least I think it does - Lord Uthardim, and the dunes of the Red Quarter...
He has a large part to play in this volume.
I think I love this cover best of all the three.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Bits n Pieces

I have booked my trip to Perth for April, to attend the 50th National SF Convention/Swancon, where I am an invited guest. (Love the Natcon/Swancon organisers...)

I am writing The Masks of Yedron at the moment. It is progressing slowly. I need a contract to give me some impetus, I think...

And meanwhile, over in Australia: poor Queensland. A huge expanse of Australia is under water and looks like it will remain that way for quite a while. The good thing about this is that there is no way that an enormous disaster of this magnitude - an appalling drain on resources for a country which has vast distances and a small population - could ever lead to the horror that was the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. (I have recently read Zeitoun, by Dave Eggers. While I might have some issues with the writing and the way Eggers told the story, I just cannot fathom how US authorities can have sunk so low at a time of such calamity and in the weeks that followed. I remember watching CNN International at the time with my jaw permanently sitting on my chest somewhere..)

I am proud to be Australian.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Some last photos from Glasgow

The park near daughter's apartment
Note the ceiling...and the bas-relief walls done with birds and flowers and monkeys and leaves...
Edge of fireplace

One of the stainglass windows
Part of the confessional

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

More photos from Scotland : Inveraray

And whose bright idea was it to put a pay and display sign just where it would ruin every photo?
I'm always impressed by institutions that date back before the Brits even reached Australia...especially if they are just pubs!!

The town has a famous jail...
Note the ice...

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Looking at 2011

Probably a dangerous thing to do, given the uncertainties of life.

Still, here's what is sort of mapped out at this stage:

January to end May:  working on the tourism project, which will probably mean one more trip to Danum, and one or two trips to Fraser's Hill and to Royal Belum State Park to give training courses.

January to end of December: working on new book, for which I have not yet signed a contract. Tentatively called The Masks of Yedron. Book 1 in the two book: "Hidden Kingdom".

February: possible trip by younger daughter to Malaysia.

April: Husband's 70th birthday. Elder daughter planning trip with her family, and - joined by my sister - we will head to Angkor Wat, where none of us have yet been.

April: Trip to Perth, Australia for Aussicon, where I am an invited guest.

August: Publication of Stormlord's Exile world release.

And that's it.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

2010 in a personal retrospect

The year has ended badly, with the flu, and there were some troubles along the way...but mostly it was a good year.

Trip to Queensland for the Aurelius awards. Didn't win, but it was a great trip. Love meeting up with my editor and fellow writers. Followed the awards with a fabulous birding trip north of Brisbane with Malaysian friends.

 The Tainted came out in French ("Corrompue")
Sold the rights to the Mirage Makers to Germany.
Shadow of Tyr went to reprint in UK.

The Last Stormlord was released in UK on the 4th and went to reprint on the 11th. It was selected as Book of the Month by the book chain, Waterstones, in UK.
The Last Stormlord released in the USA.
Stormlord Rising released in Australia.

Went to UK  to visit younger daughter in Cardiff - and was noramlyed by a volcano, which meant staying an extra 10 days. Visited publishers in London.

Sold French rights to The Last Stormlord.

Stormlord Rising released in USA.

Working in the field - Fraser's Hill.

Worldcon in Melbourne, Australia!
Followed by wonderful trip to Tasmania with sister and friends.

German translation of The Aware released. "Die Wissende".
Working in the field - Borneo Rainforest Lodge, Danum Valley. Saw my first pygmy elephants in the wild!
Also went to Royal Belum State Park in Perak - and saw spectacular overflights of Plain-pouched Hornbills.

Stormlord Rising released in UK.
Back in the field again, with another trip to Danum Valley, Borneo.

Handed in the copy edit of Stormlord's Exile.
Went to Glasgow for Xmas.
Came home with the flu.
Two reprints waiting for me - The Aware has gone to its 9th reprint in Australia! - and the 4th reprint For The Last Stormlord US edition.