30 December, 2007

Thank God.

Everyone else is plagued by this conversation. And apparently it's okay to smack the perpetrators with wet salmon. *rushes to fish markets*

(via Ellen Kushner.)

26 December, 2007

Post-Christmas post

The Sydney-Hobart is starting down the coast; the sun is shining but there's a nice fresh breeze; the fridge is stuffed with Christmas leftovers—figs, ham, chicken, chocolate, pineapple, pudding, mince pies; we are parked on the couches watching Boxing Day shoppers go crazy, yachts, house fires and Perth's soaring temperatures on TV, and trying to feel hungry again.

At my elbow is a notebook filling with scrawl, Nathan Burrage's Fivefold, Jane Yolen's Once Upon A Time (she said) and the Summer issue of Viewpoint: On Books for Young Adults. There are Christmas cards all over the bookcases and mantelpiece, Christmas wrappings all over the floor, Christmas planes flying people out of town overhead, and Christmas messages all over the blogiverse. Christmas and New Year greetings to all!

I just signed myself up for Jan Cornall's Summer Writing Lab, so that I'll be forced to tackle all the short story commitments I foolishly took on for the first three months of this year. So I feel as if I'm getting organised even as I lounge here on the couch. :)

Harry is off riding on his newly accoutred bike; Jack is on a Thai island (we had a Christmas Even phone call from him) having a wonderful time, we hope.

Out the window, I can see a skywriter finishing off the letter E; on the TV I can see, above the yachts, that this is the end of the word BOSE. I could have told you that, though; it's always BOSE. Next year I'll get them to write READ TENDER MORSELS above the harbour.

20 December, 2007

Blood, sweat and tears

This has been my last six weeks or so. Pic stolen from here. (That's the kitchen table, not the writing room. See pelvis entry below.)

19 December, 2007

Sometimes when you're reading...

...things just jump out at you. For example, from Jennifer Stevenson's Trash Sex Magic:
Her story was full of strange things. As they walked he looked around him, wherever she pointed, to the places where this or that miracle had occurred to her, and he realized how wrongheaded had been his years of careful self-blinding. Really, he was nearly as bad as King. In the middle of this poor life, we are surrounded by mystery, and the pity of it is that we would rather just be poor. No real tolerance for mystery at all.
But the whole novel is good—I thought my novel was a phantasmagorical swamp until I started on this one.

18 December, 2007

Up at sparrow-fart...

...with no novel to work on. Hunh? Wha—? I think I'm flying apart. Better write Christmas to-do list.

By the way, the final wordcount was 130,000. Sheesh, it's a monster.

17 December, 2007


Gawn. Orf. I have clicked 'Send'. And to celebrate, here is a bear by Bruce Armstrong. (Nicked from here.)

Revisions just about done.

One more comb-through and think-about-things today and they're off.

Also, Jack (our 19-year-old) is heading off to Asia this morning for six weeks.

Also, Christmas is coming.

I don't think there's an emoticon for discombobulation, is there?

Anyway, I hope that more regular updates will resume soon. Regular and relaxed. Oh, so relaxed.

Here we are,

me and the PM and the Acting PM. (pic stolen from Read Alert)

09 December, 2007

Update: life

Sucky things:
  • Steven's cracked pelvis. He came off his bike (all by himself, no cars, dogs, small children, women in bikinis, or even forward motion involved) three weeks ago, so officially has at least another 3 weeks of healing to go. That means we'll be doing Christmas (which we were hoping to avoid by sneaking off to Malaysia, although looking at the bank balance I'm not sure how we were going to afford it) in Sydney. Sigh. He's in heaps less pain than he was the first week, and is becoming fairly dexterous on the crutches. But (a) he's pretty much house-bound and (b) when he does get out, having the crutches means that he ends up being asked about what happened and spends all his time describing the accident and telling people that no, bikes are not awful dangerous demons-on-wheels, he could have had the same accident walking, etc.

  • The revisions. Revising a 120K novel (for me - I've no doubt it's a cinch for everyone else on the planet; that's how low I've sunk) is like being up to your eyeballs in phantasmagorical swamp-matter and trying, and repeatedly failing, to instruct someone on the bank how to thread a needle. (Insert wordless exclamations of distress here.) Still, if I just keep turning up and doing it, it will eventually be done, I am sure.
Excellent things:
  • Last week, seeing a photo of our new PM and Deputy PM in the paper (Weekend Australian, Inquirer section) visiting a school with, just discernible between their heads, a very blurry Red Spikes cover on the library shelf.

  • This puff from Gerard Windsor in the SMH yesterday, reviewing Barry Oakley's Journeys anthology (in which a Black Juice story, 'Rite of Spring' is reprinted): 'To say nothing of her myth-drenched imagination, Lanagan has such a supple originality with words and observation that she leaves her readers bouncing with exhilaration.' Well, some of them, anyway; the ones who aren't put off by all those dreadful common people in them. Or aren't stuffing in so many stories so fast you've got to wonder what they're getting out of their reading.
Back to the swamp, now. And taking my bad temper with me.

01 December, 2007


Frank Campbell begins his review of Michael Chabon's Gentlemen of the Road rather elegantly in this morning's Weekend Australian/Review:
Harry Potter, that vast liquid cyst bloating the belly of literature like a mock pregnancy, invites misconceived admiration. If it's a real Quest you be wanting, me hearties, and not a sac of diluted Tolkien and Blyton, try Michael Chabon.

Get ready for the Datlow Del Rey antho

Because everyone else is putting this up and I am a copycat—but also because it's got 'The Goosle' in it, a story guaranteed to curdle your stomach, here is the cover of Ellen Datlow's anthology for Del Rey, coming out next April, and the TOC, just to get your mouth watering:

‘The Elephant Ironclads’ by Jason Stoddard
‘Ardent Clouds’ by Lucy Sussex
‘Gather’ by Christopher Rowe
‘Sonny Liston Takes the Fall’ by Elizabeth Bear
‘North American Lake Monsters’ by Nathan Ballingrud
‘All Washed Up While Looking for a Better World’ by Carol Emshwiller
‘Special Economics’ by Maureen McHugh
‘Aka Saint Marks Place’ by Richard Bowes.
‘The Goosle’ by Margo Lanagan
‘Shira’ by Lavie Tidhar
‘The Passion of Azazel’ by Barry N. Malzberg
‘The Lagerstätte’ by Laird Barron
‘Gladiolus Exposed’ by Anna Tambour
‘Daltharee’ by Jeffrey Ford
‘Jimmy’ by Pat Cadigan
'Prisoners of the Action' by Paul McAuley and Kim Newman.