27 January, 2006

Printz flowers from HarperCollins/Eos

Is this fun, or is this fun? Here are the flowers my US publisher sent me for winning the Printz Honor. Thank you, Susan, Kate, Elise, Ruth and Leann!

25 January, 2006

The UK Push

Orion are gearing up for the release of Black Juice in the UK at the end of February.

  • Apparently the review in "The Earth's Greatest SF and Fantasy Magazine", SFX says that the book is "an unbelievably brilliant collection of short stories in the Angela Carter vein". I'll go with that.
  • And Ottakars have made it their Science Fiction Book of the Month for February (the January one is still up right now).

24 January, 2006

Printz seals

Here are the two Australian Printz Honor Books with their seals on:

Black Juice is a Printz Honor Book

"The Michael L. Printz Award is an award for a book that exemplifies literary excellence in young adult literature." It's awarded by the American Library Association, the same people who award the Newbery and Caldecott Medals for children's literature. John Green's Looking for Alaska is the winner of the Printz Award this year, and TWO Australian books have made the Honor Book list of four titles: Black Juice and Markus Zusak's I Am the Messenger.

Congratulations, Markus, and congratulations, me!

For details, see the ALA website

19 January, 2006

When you need talking down off the ledge...

I can recommend Rachel Simon's Writer's Survival Guide. A mountain of sane advice.

18 January, 2006

'Gross Motor'

...is the story I've been working on today. It's a mainstream story about hoons at Mount Panorama. First paragraph (still rough):
The night was growing wilder, but you couldn’t tell from looking. Riley stared at the candle-lit tent flap, at the same black triangle spattered with stars outside. It was sounds that told him: near at hand, people ran and panted and giggled; farther down the hill, engines revved nearly all the time now; men’s laughter slopped around down there, and when they yelled it was mostly swear-words, with not much sense between.
'A Good Heart', the final story for Red Spikes, is done and sent off to Allen & Unwin.

So all that's left to attend to is that elephant in the middle of the room, The Novel. *smiles brightly and thinks of three more excellent short story ideas*

12 January, 2006

Items now forbidden in YA fiction

I'm coming to the end of reading for the Ethel Turner prize, the young adult section of the NSW Literary Awards. I have to inform you that the following things are no longer permitted in Australian YA fiction:

  • the word 'munch' and all its variants
  • characters named 'the General' unless they are actual generals in the armed forces
  • lists of any kind - no, not even to-do lists! None. No more lists. Everyone is over list-making, either as action or as content, all right?

I could go on - for example, the words 'splattered' and 'splodge', characters whose only identifiable trait is that they are vegan - but I've got to get through another novel tonight.

11 January, 2006

Books on Writing

I'm browsing through 3 different books on writing at the State Library at the moment:

  • Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird, which I've heard people raving about for years, but it just didn't occur to me to look it up in the SLNSW catalogue.
  • Bernard Malamud's Talking Horse, which I looked at for the 'Why Fantasy?' chapter, but I discovered it had a whole bunch of other interesting stuff in it.
  • Annie Dillard's Living by Fiction, because anything that woman writes is worth reading.

Here is a nugget from Lamott:
The great writers keep writing about the cold dark place within, the water under a frozen lake or the secluded, camouflaged hole. The light they shine on this hole, this pit, helps us cut away or step around the brush and brambles; then we can dance around the rim of the abyss, holler into it, measure it, throw rocks in it, and still not fall in. It can no longer swallow us up. And we can get on with things.

Back to business

OK, here we are in the new year. I'm back to writing, and although I'm not making any progress on the novel as yet (besides reading what I think is related material...), the next collection, Red Spikes, is looking good. I've sent 9 of the 10 stories off to Allen & Unwin and drafted no. 10 yesterday and today. No. 10 begins:
I loved Annie Stork and she loved me. We ain’t never did the dancy-dancy, but I most certainly thought we would end up wed. I was looking babies into that girl’s eyes, even if I weren’t putting them into her below.
I've also completed a couple of short stories for anthologies and sent them off.

Feeling: Productive