Saturday, May 28, 2011

Aurealis Awards Judges' Reports

The judges' reports for the 2010 awards are up and they can be read in their entirety from here.

And this is what the fantasy judges for best novel of 2010 said about Stormlord Rising:

"This is classic fantasy full of all the great elements fantasy readers love: a well-balanced magic system, a complex political world and a series of interweaving storylines told from the perspective of several engaging characters. Full of pace, energy and intrigue, Stormlord Rising is a must read for lovers of high fantasy."

And don't forget, folk:
Two months to the publication of Book 3, Stormlord's Exile

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Malayasia has a maintenance problem... know, take your kids to the nearest playground and probably half of the equipment will be lying on the ground, broken or vandalised.

This is why panic-stricken Malaysians -- who are certain that Lynas Corp over in Pahang is actually peopled with evildoers doing something akin to importing pure radioactive uranium in paper bags with a view to giving us all cancer -- insist on calling in overseas experts to check it all out.

Malaysian experts supplied the government and the media and the locals with all the information needed about rare earths, which is what Lynas is actually interested in, but...

...we can't rely on local experts, you see. Locals are either incompetent, corrupt or liars. After all Malaysia has a maintenance problem, right?

This is why Malaysians would NEVER dream of:
  • Flying on MAS...
  • Flying on AirAsia...
  • Having an operation in a Malaysian hospital...
  • Going to a Malaysian-trained doctor...
  • Letting a Malaysian architect design their house or their office buildings...
  • Allowing a Malaysian laboratory to check if they have dengue...
  • Allowing Malaysian engineers anywhere near anything like an oilrig or a gas pipeline or a bridge...
  • Having a nuclear reactor running and operating in Bandar Baru Bangi for the past 28 years...
I could go on and on, but do I really need to say more?

And here's the ultimate irony. Who are the experts the Malaysian Government is calling in, in order to please the panicked folk out there who don't have any technical background and haven't a clue what rare earths are?

People from the UN International Atomic Energy Agency. Yep, the same place that had a Malaysian -- in the person of my husband -- as a Deputy Director-General for over six years, in charge of -- get this, technical assistance and cooperation.

That's right, the International Atomic Energy Agency trusted a Malaysian, but Malaysians don't trust their own.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

More photos of our birthday trip

...and this was us. Husband, daughter, grandson, self, sister, son-in-law and sister-in-law
After Cambodia, we continued our holiday to a more luxurious few days at Krabi in Thailand.
And very restful it was too, for the most part.
Hotel right on the beach...
I even did a bit of writing lying on one of those...
We were there for the Buddhist New Year, when much water is thrown...
And paper lanerns are let fly out over the sea...
...until they look like alien space ships about to invade...
and G&Ts as the sun went down were de rigeur...
Many thanks to my daughter, who made it all possible. Husband's 70th birthday was one to remember.

Monday, May 16, 2011

I am writing a new book...

...just so as you know what I am doing.
And how is it going?
Fine, because I don't use paper at this stage. Or kittens.
I use the DEL button.

funny pictures - ~ NO KITTEH LABOR LAWS? ~

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Not exactly Noramlyed, but...

As many of you know, our family often has travelling disasters, leading to the term "being noramlyed". This April-May there were inumerable chances for things to go wrong. Members of my immediate family, including myself, were travelling all over the place: Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, USA, UK, Australia...

And nothing catastrophic happened. Everyone arrived more or less intact, with their luggage, and no airlines decided to go on strike. The worst thing that happened was having my toothpaste confiscated because I hadn't noticed it was 120 mls tube instead of 100 mls. 

Yet our travels were not without oddity. The first one - a very pleasant one - was that after booking our trip to Cambodia for me, husband, daughter, son-in-law, grandson and my sister - we heard from my holidaying nephew that he was going to be in Siem Reap the day we arrived! Talk about a serendipitous meeting. We had a lovely meal together.

 The other incident that was worthy of note played out as follows...
I'm not going to say which country or airport was involved.  My sister and I were about to go through immigration prior to boarding a plane when I handed her my passport and boarding pass to hold, prior to a visit to the WC. She handed them back to afterwards, and we joined the usual immigration queue. She went through a different lane to me. On the other side of the immigration booths, as we headed towards the gate, we discovered that she had gone through on my passport and I had gone through on hers...

She is 7 years older than me, 6 inches taller and much slimmer. There is a slight family resemblance, but people do not ever confuse us!

So there you are - an extra 20mls of toothpaste is much more important that using the correct passport... I trust you all now feel much more confident about airport security.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

My first Publishers' Weekly Review

I've never had a Publishers' Weekly review -- until this week.  For those of you who don't know much about these reviews, it's the one that is sometimes featured on the page for a book. They are often critical or a bit tongue in the cheek, hinting at -- rather than stating outright -- that the reviewer really didn't like the book. Most authors desire a PW review, at the same time as dreading getting one...

The ultimate accolade is to get a "starred" review. Just the one star, but you can't get better than that. And no, my review was not starred, but as my publicity manager said: "Any review that repeats the word “exciting” twice in one paragraph is definitely going to be a good one..."

Here's the whole thing:

"Families are divided, heroes are made, and the fate of the world is decided in the exciting conclusion to Australian conservationist Larke's Watergiver trilogy (after 2010's Stormlord Rising). In the desert-dry Quartern nation, only a cloudmaster can keep people alive by calling the rains. Lord Jasper Bloodstone, once a commoner, is the last surviving cloudmaster, but he is unable to manipulate salt water. His waterpainter lover, Terelle, wants to help, but a magical compulsion draws her away. Jasper's brother, Sandmaster Ravard, is killing every rainlord he can find--even targeting Jasper--in hopes of bringing back the Time of Random Rain. In poignant counterpoint, transgender warrior Rubric Verdigris struggles with his conscience and what it means to be a man. Themes of family and identity dominate a story line that is both intimate and world-spanning. Series fans will love the exciting action and well-developed characters; new readers will want to seek out the earlier books."

I am sooooooooo chuffed.

Two and a half months to publication, everyone!!

UK Orbit cover
Australian Voyager cover
US Orbit cover

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Children of Cambodia...

...and a few photos of grandson in Cambodia too.
It is sometimes heartbreaking: to see tots begging when they should be playing, 
to see kids working when they should be in school. 
My husband gives money to a Cambodian school project every month. He upped his donation after seeing Cambodia firsthand.
Here are some photos:
Grandson is looking through the postcards the girl is selling
School in a craft workshop
Two boys showing off their skills at leather work for sale
Boys working at leathercraft
East meets west
Cuteness in a village
A water life
Kid in a tub
The baby above is being bottle fed when the parents have almost nothing. When the bottle fell in the muddy water of the lake - where raw sewerage goes straight into the water - the woman picked it up and stuck it right back into the baby's mouth. 
Swinging in a liana: kids see the similarities, not the differences

Monday, May 09, 2011

Come listen... me chat with Tansy Rayner Roberts on Galactichat  (a podcast site of Australian author interviews).
Tansy is herself an author of several  fantasies, and I am loving her ongoing trilogy, The Creature Court. I was well into the second book (The Shattered City) until I had to put it on hold because my sister swiped it, as she couldn't wait!

At one point I say that the Swancon I just attended was my third - actually, it was my fourth.
The link is here.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Another side of Cambodia

Village life outside Siem Reap
Used to be able to see the broom seller like this in Malaysia. Rare now!
Selling those baskets and brooms!
Fire wood
Village pump
No chimney

Friday, May 06, 2011

Miscellaneous from Perth

Perth, Western Australia, is my home town. Where I was born and around which I grew up. As a child I lived at the foot of that range you can see in the background.
I'm not a person who has much time for commemoration of battles usually, but my Dad was at the Battle of Ypres in the First World War, and other such places, so I can't pass by the war memorial overlooking Perth without remembering him.
I was up in the park (King's Park, overlooking the city) because my sister is one of the volunteer guides for the free walks there.