Saturday, November 14, 2009

These next two weeks

are nose to the grindstone sort of weeks. I'm close to finishing book two, which has been a perilous and fun endeavour, and I reckon isn't a bad book at all, and may even be a good book in which bad things happen.

I spent the last two days in Sydney which was great fun. Firstly the launch of X6 of which Cat Sparks writes about here. I got to feel all authorly and hang out with some of my favourite people, all of whom I count myself lucky to call friends. Even if Terry Dowling makes me feel tongue-tied, I mean, Terry Dowling! I've been reading him since I was a teen - so of course I forgot to get my book signed. And then Margo, I was too busy bullshitting on with her and Steven, to get my book signed. So I've got a half signed copy of X6, maybe I should fly back down to Sydney, just so I can feel a real sense of closure with this book

Keith organised a wonderful launch (damn, another person whose signature I should have gotten, sorry Keith) and he and Nicola were excellent hosts, putting me and Mr Paul Haines up for the night.

I also went to Hachette's offices, home of Orbit Australia, and met the wonderful staff there, and had coffee with my publisher, the lovely Bernadette Foley, and talked about deadlines, and books, and I got to see my cover.

How cool is that!

It's not quite finished, but what I've seen of it is excellent, and it captures the mood of the book, and what the book is very well. The moment I can show it here I will.

Yep, the cover.

The cover that is going to be on my US, UK and AUS editions. Not bad for a Brisbane boy.

Of course, I still managed to get lost on the way to the X6 book launch*, and get caught in a very Brisbanesque** storm - black clouds, crackling lightning, and drenching rain that ran through the city in less than half an hour.

I `ain't that clever.

*Sydney is so much bigger than Brisbane.
**Note how Queenslander's always appropriate the weather. It's what we do - we also wrestle crocodiles, when we're not at Broncos matches.

Monday, November 09, 2009

I work at

Avid Reader, which may just be one of the best bookstores in the world.

I love it there, and it's about my only solid social interaction and break from writing book two (almost there by the way, I don't do word counts here much, because they're dull and that usually doesn't inspire me, but fill me instead with some sort of existential word countish dread, and I start dreaming that I'm being chased by numbers, and stories aren't really numbers, well not that often*). Sure I work Sundays and, sure I have to get up around six in the am to get to work (yes there is a 6am on a Sunday Morning, I used to believe Sundays had a default start of 10 am, but I was wrong) but it's the best place you could ever hope to work.

And it keeps me sane(ish).

Avid has a new website up, and it's worth checking out. There's some great video of various book launches and what not, and some fabulous readings. Follow the link and you'll come across a little of the reason - in cyber form - that I love working there.

*Q. what's your novel about?
A. 90,000 words.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

A Link of Neatness

Storms have raced through Brisbane. We missed the worst of them here, though the lightning was spectacular.

I've had a slowish day writing wise. Just a bit under six hundred words, but they were important words. I'm glad I took it easy, I'm actually quite anxious to hit the novel tomorrow. I've that deep desire to push ahead and take my characters with me, which I certainly didn't have today - though I now have a relatively clean fishpond, and a replacement pump for the one that died*. So, hey, the fish are winners and I'm hungry to write.

Talking of writing there's a fab interview with Angela Slatter here. Angela is one of the most talented writers I know and she has some words of wisdom. My favourite being "Your guiding light has to be desire." You can put that into context by following the link.

Angela's a writer to watch**. She has been for years now. Expect her to explode in the coming year. Not literally but literaturally (yes, I just lamely invented a word, see that's why I stopped at six hundred words today).

*Yes I have fish. Three gold fish, it used to be five, but one of the bigger fish got hungry...
**Which is just code for "Trent is extremely jealous of her talent."

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Oh, and I'll also be doing this

Digital Pizza

7-9pm Tuesday 3 November - A cross-platform Writing Race with beginner, emerging and published authors. Held simultaneously at QWC and AWMonline, come on your own or grab your writing buddy, and join in this fun and productive casual writing group to boost your NaNoWriMo word count or just get your Write On for 2009!
Special guests: Writing Race Captain Kim Wilkins, online Captain Trent Jamieson

To get involved in Digital Pizza at QWC, call to book on 07 3839 1243
(cost: $10 on the door, towards pizza and goodies).

Wake up, Trent!

It's been a while since I've updated this blogs details. I mean, I didn't even have a link to Orbit in my linkage section, nor a reference to the Death Works books in my bio. Now that's just not on, I mean, talk about shooting yourself in the foot!

So, just in case you don't know. I have novels coming out in the next eighteen months. Three of them. They're about Death. Death in Australia. They're fast, they're funny, and people die in them. Lots of people. You can't write about Death, and not have death - well, you could I suppose, actually that would be a story in itself.

They also contain; something called an Orpheus Manoeuvre; Sentient muttering stone knives known as Bib and Bub; and a giant Moreton Bay Fig that extends in a creaking (always creaking) rickety way over an Underworld Brisbane. Think of that tree, over two kilometres high and branching out from Mt Coot-tha, it's massive root buttresses swinging down the mountain, blades of wood the size of a three-lane freeways cutting into the rich soil of the land of the dead.

I know, I keep on about it. But these books are very major part of my life right now, and I'm dying for people to read them. I want to know what people think about Steven de Selby - I mean, I love the guy, but he could do with a real kick sometimes - not to mention Lissa Jones, and the ominous Mr D.

In far less than twelve months I'll find out.



I've had a couple of stories out of late, which is nice because with the novels coming out next year I've not had a lot of time (well, no time) to write short stories. So my story in Aurealis and my novella in X6 are about the only fiction of mine that is likely to see the light of day until late 2010 - that said, I do have a few shorts on the backburner and they may get some work done on them after I finish book two this month, or I may just collapse in one corner of my study and stare blankly into space for a month.

Both stories have gotten some nice reviews over at Not if You Were the Last Short Story on Earth. The coolest thing is that the reviewers have gotten what I was trying to do - which, heaven help me means I might have actually managed to achieve it.

Jamieson develops a compelling galaxy riven by turmoil and - as clever storytellers manage* - balances it finely with a very personal love story. It's the sort of story that dragged me on: there was no way I could not know what happened to those characters.

Random Alex

An ambitious space opera in miniature, this novella has the real feel of an old-fashioned SF adventure. Except for the fact that old-fashioned SF adventures usually bore the pants off me! This one has an appealingly flawed protagonist, a compelling AI whose voice gets creepier and more interesting with every new insight into its point-of-view, and some damn good writing. I particularly like the exploration of the relationship between Jack (human) and Trip (cat/AI/ship), which evokes the classic Ship Who Sang issues in a New Millenium kind of way. I also suspect deeply that there's some Stainless Steel Rat homage going on in here - and if not, it certainly has that feel to it!

Tansy Rayner Roberts

How cool. Good reviews are nice when you get 'em, though I never expect them, because, to be brutally honest, by the time a story has seen print I am usually over it - the flavours been chewed out of it and all I can see are large passages of clunk and things I would do differently because of the stuff I've learnt writing the story in the first place and writing subsequent stories. I'm a person very suspicious of my prose.

Still, Iron Temple was my first - and probably last - real stab at Space Opera and I was chasing some big dashes of rollick leavened with melancholy and, for two readers at least it, worked.

Tansy had nice things to say about my Aurealis story too - Neighbourhood of Dead Monsters. Which is very cool because I like to impress Tansy, she's one of my perfect readers (as well as being a very exciting writer and ROR mate) but very hard to please - happens when perfect reader meets less than perfect writer - so I'm always chuffed if she likes one of mine.

On the matter of X6, I'm reading the novellas now, and they're very good - seriously, I'm still bowled over that I'm in there, really, it's some very excellent real estate.

Which segues to:

I'll be in Sydney Thursday week for the book launch.

Details below.

Berkelouw Books Leichhardt (upstairs) 70 Norton Street, Leichhardt NSW Thursday 12th November, 2009 7.00pm

Come along if you're in the area, it's going to be a lot of fun.