31 December, 2005

Oh, gee.

In the year 2006 I resolve to:

Only use the back door.

Get your resolution here

I can't tell you how inconvenient and unpleasant this is going to be, but I guess it'll be character-building.

Profile in the Australian

Rosemary Neill's profile of me was published today - from outside Australia, you can see it here.

And yes, RORettes, that is the Varuna bear looking over my shoulder in Bob Finlayson's photo. What happened to that fantasy brick you were gonna write? he's saying.

29 December, 2005

The Howies At Home

Here are my two World Fantasy Award trophies, on the kitchen table with Christmas mangoes, panettone and flowers-from-Ruth.

To be fair to Jonathan, the Howies have been in the house for some weeks; it's just that there hasn't been anything very picturesque around them.

Fifteen Things About Books meme

Lots of people are musing and reminiscing about this one. If I start that, I'll just go on and on, so here are 15 efficient, general things about books:

1. They smell fantastic, whether they're new or old. Except some picture books that are bound with a foul glue. Oh, and those Scratch'n'Sniff books.

2. They are the easiest medium in which children and young adults can 'just say no' to whatever they're reading if they're not ready for it. Can they walk out of a confronting movie that they're seeing with their friends? No, but they can close a book and mutter, 'It's boring' and put it aside until, if ever, they're ready for it.

3. The good ones offer you up different experiences every time you read them.

4. I could not travel without a book, even if it stayed in my bag for the whole journey. I need to know it is there.

5. I couldn't live in a house without books. When I visit a house where there are no, or few, books, I can't work out what's wrong with the place until...'Ah, empty walls! Only the TV! I get it.'

6. There are these great places called public libraries, and if you live near a good one (such as Leichhardt), you can solve a lot of cash and storage problems by getting your books from there.

7. My mother is a retired librarian. The father of my children is a book designer. And some of my best friends are books.

8. Books are sooooooooo much slower to write than to read! This is frustrating for both writer and reader.

9. The Internet is great for quick research, but when you want to know something deeply, you go to a book. Or several.

10. Books are too expensive in Australia, because of the Goods and Services Tax that we were promised would never happen. So see point 6 and borrow like crazy, so that authors can make a living from Public Lending Right.

11. Book editors, whether freelance or in-house, like teachers, are not paid enough. Freelance book editing is not a glamorous job, no matter what the movies tell you.

12. Books are good company when everyone else in the house is asleep and you need some intelligent conversation. That said, sometimes, even in a house full of books, you can't quite find the book to feed the particular needs of your soul at a particular time.

13. Seven hundred and something books were entered in the NSW Literary Awards this year. !!!

14. If I were wealthy, beautiful books (and places to store them without harming them) would be my indulgence.

15. Books ROCK! (Oops, I think Sharyn November just snuck onto my blog.)

Four Things meme

Being at a loss to find content (or decide among lots of possibilities for content), here goes:

Four jobs you've had in your life:

1. Kitchenhand
2. Encyclopedia seller
3. Clerk
4. Technical Writer

Four movies you could watch over and over (Geez, that's a lot. I don't think I could watch any movie over and - Shut up, Margo, and type!):

1. East of Eden?
2. Habla con Ella?
3. Nightwatch?
4. Spirited Away?


Four places you've lived:

1. Raymond Terrace, New South Wales
2. Rosanna, Victoria
3. Perth, Western Australia
4. Paris, France

Four TV shows you love to watch (love to watch? TV shows? Love? - Margo, you pick up a meme, you've got to run with it. The whole thing. *straining noise*):

1. Global Village
2. We Could Be Heroes
3. Anything involving bloopers
4. Coverage of the Tour de France

Four places you've been on holiday:

1. Rockley for my 45th birthday weekend this year. (Thank you, Steven!)
2. Lynne and John's mango farm on the Hogarth Range, NSW
3. Cobar/White Cliffs/Broken Hill, NSW
4. O.S., in my youth

Four websites you visit daily. (Just look over on the right for those.):

Four of your favorite foods:

1. Roast potatoes with rosemary and garlic
2. Any kind of Asian dumpling
3. Mangoes with lime syrup (esp. on Christmas Day)
4. Pretty much any kind of risotto

Four places you'd rather be:

1. In the bank, banking the cheque that meant I'd finished my novel to everyone's satisfaction, including my own.
2. In the country somewhere, breathing some clean air.
3. Somewhere, almost anywhere, overseas.
4. Up in my writing room, powering along unable to stop writing the novel.

28 December, 2005

Emerald City review

by Cheryl Morgan, of Black Juice, over here.
When you review a novel, one of the basic questions you have to answer for the reader is, "what is this book about?" But with Lanagan I often found that asking what a particular story was "about" was about as helpful as asking what a strawberry cheesecake is "about". (Answer: it is about 8" across. Also circular, brown and crispy on the bottom, white and creamy above that, red and sticky on top.) Lanagan’s stories can (mostly) be understood on an intellectual level, but their true impact is emotional, and in the patterns of language that she weaves. "About" misses way too much.

15 December, 2005

Congreve/Marquardt Year's Best Australian SF and Fantasy

is reviewed here by Ian McHugh at Strange Horizons. "...we shouldn't bask too long in Lanagan’s reflected glory," he says, but bask on, I say, just as long as you want to, eh. :)

11 December, 2005

Found Poem: Heather B. Armstrong

After ten consecutive minutes
of yelling
Leta* began beating the mattress
with her fists.

I understood that she was
but I had a hard time
not laughing
because the sound was
so pitiful.

Did she think that she was being

*Leta is 22 months old.
At The Dooce.
I stole the idea of found blog poetry from James Stevens-Arce.

05 December, 2005

Horn Book Fanfare List

Black Juice has made it onto the Horn Book Fanfare List of best books of 2005:
Taut, resonant prose and an unerring sense of place elevate these ten short stories to the first rank of speculative fiction. Each probes an aspect of mortality, carefully detailed and developed within divergent realities; the brief, indelible glimpses of other worlds that are all the more human for their strangeness make this collection truly exceptional.
(Via Garth and Farah.)

01 December, 2005


5 boxes containing a total of 181 books for children and young adults arrived this morning. Over the next 2 months I'm compiling a longlist for two of the Bob Carr Memorial Literary Awards - oops, I mean the NSW Literary Awards (which our illustrious new premier has stripped of their "Premier's" label): the Patricia Wrightson for children up to secondary school level, and the Ethel Turner for young people at secondary school level.

This is a fabulous new form of work avoidance for me, involving lots of other people's shiny books. *salivates*