30 December, 2009


Yes, well, the reading pace has slowed down, as we had house guests for a couple of days. But I'm enjoying Joan London's The Good Parents, and wondering if I can cram in Anne Enright's The Gathering before Saturday when we leave.

Guests have gone now, weather is perfect. The Summer People have descended, so it's not as peaceful as it was, but there are compensations in seeing the tiny children discovering the delights of the beach.

Three more days...

Happy New Year, everyone!

26 December, 2009

Holiday blog

It's going well, weather changeable, bit damp at the moment. I'm sitting in Ulladulla Macca's, aka The Madhouse, among all the Boxing Day travellers. Rain falling outside.

I've been reading like a glutton:
  • David Metzenthen's Black Water
  • Sophie Cunningham's Geography
  • Charlotte Wood's The Submerged Cathedral
  • Jennifer's Draft-Swap novel
  • E. L. Doctorow's Homer and Langley
i've also drafted a short story, swum in the sea, walked on the beach, driven around with Harry to get the hours up in his Learner's logbook, spotted birds, scr*pb**ked a tiny bit, given and got Christmas presents and, of course, eaten and drunk in a Christmas-ish way.

The holiday's half over - I could do with another month of this, I think.

18 December, 2009

Off to the beach

I'm off on holidays now. It probably won't make a lot of difference, blogging-wise, but just so you know. I'll be checking emails maybe twice during that time, so it'll be a few days before I get back to you, if you need to get in touch.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, everyone!

13 December, 2009

'Grisly relish'—curses, she's onto me!

Here's a great review by one of Raych's mates:
But the sort of suppressed sexuality barely hinted at in the original is in Lanagan's book explored with a great deal of confidence (and sometimes rather grisly relish) for the book begins and ends with gang rape and there's a whole bunch of alternately compelling and disturbing looks at human-animal sex in between.

If you're disturbed by the notion of human-animal sex being compelling, just make yourself feel better by thinking of this book as saying something allegorically about the limits of human civilization and what lies beneath the surface. I'm sure this book, and most other fairy tales, function primarily at the level of the allegorical, but Tender Morsels is so good - and so uncomfortably so at points - precisely because it keeps the allegorical so earthly and literally immediate.

06 December, 2009

Useful recipes

Included with a piece of Viagra spam:
TO MAKE CLEAR GELLY OF BRAN Take two pound of the broadest open Bran of the best Wheat, and put it to infuse in a Gallon of Water, during two or three days, that the water may soak into the pure flower, that sticks to the bran. Then boil it three or four walms, and presently take it from the fire, and strain it through some fine strainer. A milky substance will come out, which let stand to settle about half a day. Pour off the clear water, that swimmeth over the starch or flomery, that is in the bottom (which is very good for Pap, &c.) and boil it up to a gelly, as you do Harts-horn gelly or the like, and season it to your taste. TO BAKE VENISON Boil the bones (well broken) and remaining flesh of the Venison, from whence the meat of the Pasty is cut, in the Liquor, wherein Capons and Veal, or Mutton have been boiled, so to make very strong broth of them. The bones must be broken, that you may have the Marrow of them in the Liquor; and they must stew a long time (covering the pot close:) that you may make the broth as strong as you can; and if you put some gravy of Mutton or Veal to it, it will be the better.
I like 'Pour off the clear water, that swimmeth over the starch or flomery'. Also, the assumption that I'm always whipping up a batch of Harts-horn gelly when I've a few minutes to spare.

And then I wondered, what are 'walms'? And Practically Edible, the Web's Biggest Food Encyclopedia tells me that it's a 'surge upwards of boiling water'. 'Cooking instructions might also tell you to bring the water to a boil till 'it boil high with great walms in the middle of the Kettle'.

Well, I never.

04 December, 2009

Dani made me do it

'You haven't updated your blog since the 27TH OF NOVEMBER!' she said. Also, she was cranky that I hadn't mentioned her by name. So here I am, salving my conscience on two counts.

Today I am writing selkies (Dani knows about the selkies—she read about them back in, when was it, Dani? February? Early, anyway.), specifically, the first third of the novel, which is the witch Messkeletha's story—and actually, she gets the best deal out of the whole selkie matter, but of course she can't get away without some form of misery and lovelornness, so, you know, get ready to feel her pain, people.

The second section will be told by Daniel Mallett's father, and that will be pretty much utterly miserable, oh my goodness yes. :) That's the biggest job ahead of me; the third section (the X6 novella) only needs a bit of tweaking by comparison.

So there you are, updated. There are other things, such as Spanish, Portuguese and Catalan translations of Tender Morsels, and next year's workshops here in Sydney and in Byron Bay, and sons flying off to Amerikee, or staying home and turning 17(!), and OMG Christmas approaching (beachside holiday, nice and low-key), and working 3 days a week which is the perfect amount, and the crazy weather (today is, um, brightly autumnal). Okay, now you're updated.

Back to Rollrock Island. Oh, I think I forgot to tell you, Dani—it's now called The Brides of Rollrock Island. This is because Meg Rosoff told me that her publisher told her that books with Bride in the title sell squillions more than books without. So from now on all my books will have Bride in the title. Good idea, hey?