30 November, 2008

This week in Google Alerts

Red Spikes doesn't need more demons, I'm happy to say. Phew. I was worried. :)

Adam-Troy Castro over at Scifi.com is generally accepting of Tender Morsels, but:
I grew impatient with some of the narrative's "near-English," which included formulations like "babby" for baby, "leddy" for lady and "littlee-man" for dwarf; "littlee," in particular, sunk a thorn into my literary annoyance bone and festered there until I was ready to make violent noises every time I saw it. Your mileage, as always, may vary."
He gets back at me by referring to Urdda as Urrrda throughout. I was pleased that he 'was particularly fond of Collaby, the bewhiskered dwarf ... there's something perversely endearing in his awfulness.' There is, too. I can vouch for it.

Alisa likes 'The Goosle' ('twisted ... horrible and nasty and foul. And gripping') but thinks 'Fifth Star' is 'not one of the strongest from Lanagan this year'.

Melanie Saward, over here, likes Tender Morsels a lot:
The only downside to reading a book with such a beautiful world, is that in loving the characters as though they were real and getting lost in the words, you’ll almost certainly be left wanting more. This is a big book, but it could have easily been bigger [Has she seen what 400 pages look like in manuscript?]. ... Be warned: Once you start Tender Morsels, you are going to want to devour every single page; putting it down is going to be a problem.
And TM's SLJ Best Bookness is online now—'A complex and multilayered fantasy spun by a superlative storyteller.'

Not a bad week, I have to say.

I went for a bike ride today. I could feel my brain cleaning itself out. I should do that more often.

26 November, 2008

Matilda Milestone

Hey, look! Perry Middlemiss Watches people like 'our' Nobel Prize-winner Coetzee. It's an honour to have his eyes land on Tender Morsels!

Tender Morsels taking off

Knopf tell me that my novel 'more than tripled in register sales last week'.

Also, to lasso my bucking-bronco of an Amazon rating for a moment, I'm up to four figures! I haven't been up to four figures since post-Printz-Honor.

A Goosle Chase

Over here, Colleen Mondor tackles 'The Goosle'—brave woman, because she knew it would knock her around. Well, it did its thing, she says:
It's hard to simply recommend "The Goosle" because it is upsetting - it disturbs as much as it enlightens. But some stories are supposed to scare the crap out of us; some stories are supposed to make us wary for what might come or thankful for what we have. Before "The Goosle", this was a throwaway tale, another bad joke about stepmothers or a lesson in not getting lost.

It was a joke.

Now Hansel is the one who lived and Gretel the one he mourns and their family the ones who were lost. Everyone else are monsters - real monsters and they get exactly what they deserve. Hansel is the hero not just for getting away in the end but for living in the midst of so much death - for hanging in there when so many others would have given up.

Margo Lanagan has made Hansel the strongest survivor to come out of fairy tale land in a long long time. I'll take it - I'll take him. My heart hurts from this story, but I'll take it so finally I can have him.

22 November, 2008

Firebirds Soaring

Sharyn November's Firebirds Soaring anthology, the third Firebirds in the set (following up the excellent Firebirds and Firebirds Rising) is coming out next March, but is being reviewed already here and there. Debra Banna of Sharon Public Library, MA, says 'The variety of styles and themes and a gathering together of so many talented writers in one work offer readers a banquet for the imagination. For fans of the genre, this is a must read,' and mentions rather uninvitingly that 'Margo Lanagan’s “Ferryman” reveals the dark and dreary life of the boatman of the dead.'

Kirkus Reviews says, 'From the lush and lyrical to the minimalist, soaring is exactly what these stories do, taking the reader through unexplored lands of the fantastic, well beyond wizards, vampires and faeries.'

And Cat Eldridge at Green Man Review has written an extensive and enthusiastic review:
Margo Lanagan 'Ferryman' is obviously a riff off that story, one so ancient that I think the Greeks borrowed it from someone else. I was charmed by the concept of a mortal child who goes down to the River Styx to take The Ferryman, her father, his lunch! I will certainly seek out what else this talented Aussie writer has done to date! ... The bottom line is November's once again put together a superbly chosen set of tales that will keep you reading well into the night. Though it comes out in March of next year, I think the trade paper edition, which should be out before Christmas/Hanukkah/Winter Solstice of next year, will make a perfect gift to give to a young reader—or your favorite adult reader for that matter!

TM is an SLJ BB of 2008!

Tender Morsels has made the School Library Journal Best Books of the Year list! God help me, it'll be on required reading lists before we know. I feel compelled to warn you, it is really not a very nice book. If you're buying it for young people, read it yourself first so that you know what you're handing to them.

At least read the prologue.

Well, even the first sentence will give you some idea.

16 November, 2008

Eclipse Two...

...is purty, and despite not twigging that my story 'Night of the Firstlings', was filched from the Book of Exodus (and why, necessarily, should he?), Alvaro Zinos-Amaro quite likes it. And that's good—a story should be able to live independently of its references.

Ted Chiang's is apparently a masterpiece, though—any old day I'll be able to read it for myself and confirm.

Two things

First, quite a good run-down of Tender Morsels over here, even though Ken admits this is 'a story that really didn't appeal to me'. He goes on (with my emphasis):
And the honest kicker is that I’m not exactly sure why it didn’t appeal to me. Is it because I was never a too much of an outsider, is it because I’ve never suffered any real abuse, or is it simply because as a male I had a more difficult time relating to the mostly female cast. Whatever the reason, I can say that it’s not the fault of the book or its writing, but of my relation to it (hey, sometime it happens this way).
Which is admirably honest of him, I think.

And then, in a magazine called Inside Film: for Australian content creators (content creators'—brrrr!), there's an interview with Robert McKee, the storytelling-teacher, who's written a script for a thriller, with Sharon Stone likely to be cast in the lead role.
According to McKee, they need 'two more superb male actors and we will fight like crazy to raise twenty, thirty million dollars to make that and it will be an uphill battle, but I've been through it many, many times. The one thing I do not write is commercial. I'm not able to do that. Madness is very dark, and it has a female protagonist. When you have female protagonists in screenplays it's a huge problem. It's so much harder to raise the money. If necessary, we will bring the budget down to something between five and ten million and make it for that.'
'It's hard work,' he adds, 'and it can be heartbreaking but if you believe in what you're doing, you can't do otherwise.'


09 November, 2008

Viewpoint review of Tender Morsels

Anna Ryan-Punch, in the summer issue of Viewpoint: on books for young adults, says it's 'a complex, rewarding and disturbing novel'. She says:
Liga's abuse, rape and miscarriages are graphically rendered and make for difficult reading...There are violent deaths, and incredibly interesting blurred line human/animal sexual interactions that will unnerve some readers. There is also a great groundswell of tenderness that balances the darker aspects of the novel, and a complex morality that shows the 'real' world, despite its violence and unpredictability, to also be vibrant, truthful and loving.
It's a Draftbusters weekend—I've written 5 pages of seal-wives story, with more to come today. Everyone's stories (and travails getting them written) are fascinating.

08 November, 2008

Towering Morsels!

Van Ikin, in my local paper, the Sydney Morning Herald makes my weekend by calling Tender Morsels 'a towering work of imagination in which a supremely talented writer opens rich new frontiers.'

And look! Amanda Upton drew me a picture!

06 November, 2008

Tender Morsels is an Amazon Top Ten SF/F title

Yee-haw! Over here, you see?

Which has rocketed its Amazon rating up to #127K and put me at #18 on the Sexual Abuse bestsellers.

Plus, there's a black man, younger than me (by a year), in the White House. Which astounds and pleases me. As I'm sure he's happy to know, as he does his daily blog-check. Go Obama. I hardly dared to hope you'd win.

05 November, 2008

Tender Morsels a Publishers Weekly Best Book!

'Dense, atmospheric prose,' they say, 'holds readers to a cautious pace in an often dark fantasy that explores the savage and gentlest sides of human nature and how they coexist.' I would break out the champagne if it weren't 6.38 a.m. Yesterday's Melbourne Cup bubbles will have to stand in for this morning's.

Lots of good reviews to report: of Tender Morsels over here ('It's been almost a week and I am still basking and soaking in this story...quite possibly THE best reading experience I've had so far this year'), of Red Spikes over there, plus a lengthy interview with the New Zealand Herald over here, and that's just a few of them. This is turning into rather a one-note blog, no? Where are you, Dave Truesdale? Someone excoriate me! Oh well, I'm sure it'll happen.

Life is rather one-note at the moment; except for a weekend away down the South Coast (all 'roos, parrots, gum-blossoms and thousands of bluebottles washed up on the beach) the work has been relentless. I don't think I've ever had a year with so little free time in it, and with the world's economy going to pot, one doesn't feel one can claim any while there's work around. Then there were the BASes, and a short-story deadline that looked impossible but wasn't. All the launch stuff - wonderful, of course, but crammed in around work, so, stressful in its way. A change of contract yesterday - farewell muzak and 10-hour days, hello a whole new set of challenges.

And then, when you finally sit down at the end of the day with a glass of wine in your hand and turn the television on, there are these 2 government ad campaigns at the moment busily telling you what a fat unhealthy drunkard you are. That's it. No more TV for me. Just more sleep. (And grog. And cheese.)