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Archive for August, 2009

Having One of Those Days

Sitting here with my 8 year old nephew, after an afternoon of reading Coraline with him and I’m now getting this from him http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbksBk8ZHlQ. Stewie, my hero and nemesis all at the one time.

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katertotThe Arts Queensland Poet-in-Residence Hinemoana Baker just returned from her trip on the Q150 Writers Train – details blogged here http://poetinresidence.wordpress.com/. She was onboard with Queen of Darkness Kim Wilkins, Nick Earls, and my leader Kate Eltham. Why am I blogging this? Because I just saw this photo and it cracked me up. Kate is one of our tribe, but this photo proves it :-).

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Justine has a big brain and I really enjoyed this post … made me nod a lot … particularly after this morning’s first query was someone yelling at me about how he knew *everything* about writing and publishing, then went on to demonstrate that he didn’t know anything about it at all.

“Royalties? What are royalties? Won’t the publisher steal my idea and get one of their ‘in-house writers’ to write  it? Why can’t it be published by Christmas? Oh, no, I’ve not started writing yet.”

Justine writes: Currently I am at the Melbourne Writers Festival and thus I am fielding many questions about writing and publishing. I noticed again that many of the questions unpublished writers ask are coming at it from the wrong end of the stick. Ally Carter calls this asking the wrong questions.

The rest lives here http://justinelarbalestier.com/blog/2009/08/25/very-wrong-questions/

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Brisneyland by Night – Part Six

I broke a panel of glass in the front door and let myself in. Ziggi, on lookout duty in the cab, studiously ignored my break and enter.

I crept along the long hallway to the kitchen. A door in the pantry floor was open. I guess when you’ve got a glamour around your house and you live in Ascot you think you’re bulletproof.

The stairway leading down was brightly lit. At the bottom: a large room, walls painted white. In the back corner, a round vat with a screw-down lid and pipes running into and out of it like a still. Behind that ran rows and rows of wine racks, stretching back into the shadows. The basement was much larger than the house above …

http://www.dailycabal.com/

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Quick and dirty visit to Melberlin (actually, not dirty at all, not even slightly soiled; very, very clean and pristine visit).

Arrived Thursday night, checked into hotel at 9.30pm, ordered room service, sat in front of tv for a few hours channel surfing as my brain wound down like the clockwork monkey it is … kept thinking how I should take the chance to transcribe the notes in my Moleskin for the final draft of Gallowberries … and yet could not get my ass out of the chair. This, I think, is the universe’s way of saying ‘Y’know, you’re tired. Why don’t you just rest, dumbass?’

Friday: woke up at 4am – so unfair. Went back to sleep until 9am. Had late breakfast, wandered down to Federation Square – which is a great space filled with some tremendously ugly buildings. Buildings so ugly it’s quite breathtaking and, in a way, admirable. Awesomely, defiantly ugly buildings. The BMW Edge lecture theatre is quite cool though, looking out over the river and this is where I went to the first of the two sessions I attended.

The Future of Fiction with authors Stephen Amsterdam (Things We Didn’t See Coming, winner of The Age Book o’the Year – http://www.stevenamsterdam.com/Things_We_Didnt_See_Coming_by_Steven_Amsterdam.html), China Miéville (Perdido Street Station, The Scar, The City & The City, etc) and the able and amusing Ronnie Scott (editor of The Lifted Brow http://www.theliftedbrow.com/?page_id=14) as the moderator. Some very interesting discussion about whether books will survive and in what form. I’m still reeling after hearing Dr Miéville had recently scanned in about 80% of his book collection and then recycled the bodies. The book-loving luddite in me screams ‘Vandal!’ and gets a nervous rash. I’m trying not to think about it.

It was the night of two dinners – first one was with my colleague, friend and all-round clever clogs Meg Vann, she of AWMonline, at The Quarter in Degraves Lane (which, for some reason, keeps coming up in my brain as ‘Gravesend’). Then there was a brief stop at the Sofitel 35 (fabulous bar on the 35th floor) and meeting Harvest editor and poet, Geoff Lemon and poet Josephine Rowe (http://harvestmagazine.wordpress.com/contributors/words-and-art-issue-three/). Next, dinner the second at the Melbourne Wine Bar with Ronnie and Pete. V nice!

Saturday: lunch with fellow Clarionite, Suze Willis, at Blue Train – much noise and laughter and very good food (bacon makes everything better). Then a wander across the bridge, back to Fed Square and into the line for the next session, Visions of the City, starring China Miéville (awesome), Margo Lanagan (awesomer) and Jack Dann (awesomest), and moderated by talented spec-fic writer Rjurick Davidson. Some interesting stuff, but a little meandering … and as usual, there are the members of the audience who ask questions that aren’t really questions, but incoherent burbles with a subtext of ‘This is actually about me, I really, really want to hold a microphone!’ A dead giveaway is when a question starts with ‘This is a two-part question’ … There was also the horror of the city councilor who had apparently not seen her speech before she read it out; did not seem to know the word ‘renaissance’ and, I’m pretty sure, pronounced ‘version’ as ‘virgin’ … it was a bit hard to swallow the trumpeting of Melbourne as a city of literature at that point. Maybe that’s just me being cruel and unreasonable (it happens), but I do think public officials should be better at speaking in public. Call me crazy …

Good to see some other fellow Clarionites, Amanda Le and Steve Mitchell; and then to go for a far-too-brief drink with Kirstyn McDermott (amazing writer, soon-to-be Picador author and general cool chick http://kirstynmcdermott.com/). And then to the MWF launch party with Meg V once again – met lots of people, drank passable wine, ate some great finger food … and then back to Sofitel 35 to discuss writing with the Steel Megnolia. Listened to outgoing festival director, Rosemary Cameron talk – and she’s wonderful. She used to direct the Brisbane Writers Festival and it’s great to see she brought the same energy and vibrant life to MWF that she did to BWF.

Sunday: off to the airport, arrived early in order to sit through a 2 hour delay. Huzzah. Back home about 5.30pm.

I’m not sure I had a real festival weekend … but I had a weekend and it involved a festival and there were writers …

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My review of Alex Bell’s second novel, Jasmyn lives here http://www.strangehorizons.com/reviews/2009/08/jasmyn_by_alex_.shtml.

Jasmyn cover

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needlebonelr1I haz a story in the lovely Drollerie Press’ Needles and Bones!

Light as Mist, Heavy as Hope

“My daughter,” breathed Miller, “my daughter can spin gold out of straw.”

This sudden boast struck his fellow-drinkers as interesting, if stupid. Miller had a tendency to open his mouth unwisely when ale had passed his lips. The bragging was, however, astonishingly egregious. Their king, after all, finding himself in something of a hole, financially speaking, was wont to do anything to refill the kingdom’s coffers. Those with wiser minds shook their heads; Miller was asking for trouble.

The Taverner, sensing the man was finely balanced between merely making noise and starting a fight, thought it best to send him on his way. He heaved Miller to his feet. The odour of flour that clung to the man crept into the Taverner’s nostrils. It was the smell of his profession, of his world; had he been asked, Miller would have denied the existence of any smell. Miller swayed, peered at the Taverner, and raised his voice so that all in the tavern could hear. “My Alice can spin gold from straw,” he bellowed.

Looking around, taking in the disbelieving looks with a bleary stare, he began to mutter. “A good girl, my Alice. Good, beautiful, industrious. Better than her bitch of a mother. ”

Noticing the three soldiers in the corner, the Taverner propped one shoulder under Miller’s arm and maneuvered the sot away. He felt eyes upon his back and sensed danger.

He sensed danger, too, in the way Miller spoke of his daughter’s beauty. The Taverner suspected when Miller got that look he was somehow confusing Alice with her dead mother in the most base of manners. Sometimes he feared for the girl; most of the time he decided she was her father’s property, like all daughters. And Alice was smart. She could take care of herself.

Miller stumbled into the night, muttering. A few moments after the door swung shut, a soldier detached himself from the huddle in the corner and approached the Taverner …

http://drolleriepress.com/books/index.php?main_page=advanced_search_result&search_in_description=1&keyword=needles+and+bones

 

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