24 July, 2006


The panel at NSW Writers' Centre was good—heaps of people, a good mix of the silly and the serious. We really got that sex and swearing stuff done and dusted. And they do a good pie there, too. I promised I wouldn't buy any books, so instead I bought a picture of a dragon, by Gabriel Hooper, also a mini-man made by him.

The 18th birthday was a bit of a non-event for the terrible old daggy family. Peaceful, though. :) And Jack survived all his celebrating without injury, I'm happy to be able to report.

Saturday I dutifully lay on the bed and read—OK, I snoozed a bit, but only in preparation for watching the live telecast of the Tour de France. Anyway, I finished Scott Westerfeld's The Last Days, sequel to Peeps—very cool and understated vampires, and Scott almost, almost got past my ongoing doubtfulness about books that feature lots of music performances. I haven't read Peeps yet, so I kind of only had a fingernail-hold on these vampires and what caused them and what that worm was about, but that was very close to my ideal degree of ignorance-of-what's-happening, so that was good. A noice dark read.

Now I'm on to Kenneth Oppel's Airborn, which has a very Dinotopia feel, only it's got...some other kind of creature, instead of dinosaurs. Good fun with added hybrium.

Sunday was: A bike ride down to Captain Cook Bridge and back in cool but clear weather; a drive to Maroubra and 2 hours' work in the car while Harry and Max surfed; then several hours at Lynne's welcoming Jen back from Finland. Good fun.

21 July, 2006

Our son Jack...

...turns eighteen tomorrow. !Wa!

18 July, 2006

A short pause for breath

The workshop(s) went well, except I ran short of material in the plotting one—I had even less to say about plot than I thought.

Now I'm up to my ears in copywriting for a website. Then next week I'm project managing(!). The learning curve is so steep I'm practically upside down.

All this and the BASes to do, plus the next big nerve-racking challenge—the Guest of Honour speech for Continuum. And I have to make sense for that one—can't just get away with babbling in my cute Aussie accent! :)

And all the while those two piles of Books To Be Read gleam at me. Wouldn't you rather be reading us?

13 July, 2006

ACT Writer's Centre workshops

Yes, and this weekend I'm giving 8 hours of workshop at the ACT Writer's Centre, which I would tell you about, but it's already fully booked (mostly by people I know, who already know perfectly well how to write and why aren't they off writing instead of heckling me from the back of the classroom?), so there wouldn't be much point.

However, should you be thinking of getting in line for a stand-by ticket, there will be 2 hours of worldbuilding, 2 hours of plot talk, 2 hours of characterisation, and 2 hours of talking, thinking and working on language and voice (yes, you'll be made to swear and sing).

Go here for details. (It's the Short Story Intensive workshop.)

Which reminds me, must go off now and devise more fiendishly difficult and embarrassing things for my students to do. Heh-heh.

NSW Writer's Centre 'Writing for Children and Young Adults' Day

Going by the pictures on the program, you'd think children's and YA writing was all done by women - Greg Bastian's is the sole male face there, although there are a few other blokes on the panels.

The Day happens Saturday week (22 July), and I will be there, on a panel with Sue Murray, Ian Irvine and Sophie Masson: 'Sex, Language and "Issues" in Books for Young Adults'. Personally, I don't think there's much of a problem putting anything in a book; books are so easily controllable by adults, and so easily put-downable by young people. It's the sex, language and 'issues' in movies, on TV and in real life that require coping mechanisms, or intervention by guardians. I'm hoping Sue, Ian and Sophie will disagree strenuously with me on this so we can have a real knock-down, drag-out fight that will live on as a high point in the history of NSW Writers' Centre festival days.

There will also be panels on do's and don'ts; series fiction; historical fiction; award-winning books; writing careers; picture books, their creation and marketing.

And three books will be launched: Jim Roy's The S Word (psst! it's s-e-x), Kathy Helidoniotis' Totally Horse Mad and Jeni Mawter's Unleashed!

It'll all be good fun, and it's dead cheap: $15 for Centre members, $20 for blow-ins. Go here to book your ticket.

12 July, 2006

Pimping Lili's book

Hey, I was in the State Library of New South Wales today - they have very grunge SLNSW T-shirts now that would tempt me if I had any money and needed any clothes - and I looked in their New Books section, which always has something surprising in it. And I picked up Lili Wilkinson's book, Joan of Arc: the story of Jehanne Darc, and - I'm not saying this just because I know Lili, but...what a read! What a gal (both Lili and Jehanne).

All I have of Joan of Arc is scraps of ghostly facts that were taught me in primary school, which kind of mingled with the Saint-Theresa-always-choosing-the-smallest-piece-of-cake and Saint-Brigid-hanging-her-laundry-on-a-sunbeam (I hear that the new pope is doing away with Limbo. All the good things are going.) nonsense that we were fed. I didn't have a lot of time (because I was supposed to be reading and familiarising myself with a whole bunch of tech. writing stuff), but I read the gory bits, the eyewitness accounts of the trial and the execution; now I need to go back (or even buy the book! how crazy would that be?) and read how it all happened, and finally divorce the Dauphin from the marine cetacean with which my 11-year-old brain has him twinned.

I'm not even going to look for reviews. Tell me, Lili, how many 'feisty's has Joan collected?

11 July, 2006

Booktrust review/interview

A review of Black Juice and an interview I gave via email with James Smith, the website editor at Booktrust in London, are now up on the Booktrust website.

James's blog is over here (he heard George Saunders interviewed, live in London! *goes green*), and he also edits this juicy website about short stories.

10 July, 2006

Novels vs. short stories

Dave Schwartz is chewing over the difference between them. I am watching closely, hoping the secret of novel-writing will be revealed (or re-revealed) to me.

06 July, 2006

White Time is a 3-star read!

Ruth Katcher emailed me this morning to tell me that Kirkus Review has given White Time a starred review. Neither of us have seen it yet, but I am breaking out the champagne already. The Horn Book and Booklist have already given it starred reviews, so I now have a trifecta. *beams*

04 July, 2006

Continuum 4 approaches

It's on in Melbourne on 4-6 August. Find out all about it here. I'm lined up to do the following:

  • The Great Debate

  • a panel on guilty pleasures ('books and shows we love but won't tell our friends about') - this kind of assumes none of our friends will be in the audience, which I hope won't be the case. *looks meaningfully at friends*

  • a panel on young adult literature

  • a Guest of Honour speech

  • a ten-minute reading in the All Star Reading Slam

  • a panel on writing and the art of money

  • a workshop on writing short fiction

  • All Star Blankety Blanks (one Noelene Brown impersonation coming up)

How to do publicity without changing out of your pyjamas

Here is a cool thing - online chatting for students, with a bunch of excellent authors. My spot is 12.10-1.10 p.m. on 5 September.

02 July, 2006

First comment on Red Spikes...

...well, on the 3 stories in the sampler, comes from Jonathan Strahan. He likes 'em. Good. And because he's put up the cover (although I gather there will be some changes to it), I will too.

A change was as good as a holiday

Here I am, back from the insides of the State Library of Victoria's dog. My, it was Inky in there - ha ha.

One thing I found out in America, which I sort of knew and sort of didn't quite get, was that Black Juice was placed on the Outstanding International Books list, for the age group Grades 9-12, by the US Board on Books for Young People and the Children's Book Council. The list was issued in February this year.

Here is an article about it, and the list in full.