Monthly Archives: December 2010

8 States of Catastrophe – Last Chance to Win

I have decided to draw the survey competition winner on Saturday 15th January 2011.

The odds of winning, at this stage, are extremely high.  At time of posting I have a grand total of…drum roll…wait for it….seven (7!) entries.  What a stampede! 

Fill in the survey here  – just  8 questions plus your email address (which will not be published) – to be entered into the draw.

 I will contact the winner by email on Saturday 15th January.  Good luck.

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The Wonder of Words

I seem to have been living, breathing and sleeping all things ‘book launch’ for the past month or more and today I have finally managed to distract myself by reflecting on the books, poems or lines that have inspired me.
          My lists change frequently, dependent as they are upon my current head-space, so this one is bound to change the minute I post it. 
          This is not a list of capital L literary works (although a few might have snuck in):  you can find those sorts of lists all over the net.  There’s an interesting one at and a nice selection of top tens at  one of my favourite blogs  ANZ LitLovers. Or you can find out what Australians voted as best (100) reads according to the ABC
          My list is not restricted to books and is purely personal.

  1. Charms for the Easy Life by Kaye Gibbons for the unique voice and easy reading style and for the muscular strength of the female characters.
  2. Hard Times by Charles Dickens – because of the names of the characters, particularly the teacher M’choakumchild.
  3. Marele Day’s The Life and Crimes of Harry Lavender for an opening that tricked me because of my own stereotyping.
  4. Gillian Rubinstein’s Galax-Arena because it has something very profound and sincere to say to young people.
  5. Eleanor H Porter for having Pollyanna teach us that there is something precious about always looking for the silver lining.
  6. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey.  Despite the hype, buzz-words and mission statements, there are some great organisational tools and performance techniques.
  7. Donna Parker On Her Own by Marcia Martin for making a meek little girl feel adventurous and empowered.
  8. I wandered lonely as a cloud (commonly known as ‘Daffodils’) by William Wordsworth.  Just because.
  9. If I had a Gun by Gig Ryan for helping me understand the power of the poetic voice.
  10. Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own for articulating my jumbled thoughts and making me find my space.

          I always love to hear about  favourites so please share … even if it’s just one book that made a difference in your life.


Filed under Writing

The Fun-Fair Ride to Publication – Part 3

The countdown is really on now.
In just over six weeks, I will no doubt be frantically running around checking on last minute details as I prepare to reveal my ‘baby’ 8 States of Catastrophe to anywhere between 50 and 100 guests. It is a nerve-wracking thought but also extremely exciting.
I’m getting bogged down with questions about how much champagne to order (as my friends will testify, I’ve always had a problem knowing when enough champas is enough!) or whether to have cocktail sized napkins or full ones.
Then I tell myself to stop being a control freak and for once in my life just go with the flow. Come to think of it, perhaps ‘control’ is one of the reasons I became a writer. Fiction writing is the perfect pastime: creating characters, designing worlds, altering life courses with a few deft keystrokes.
Orange! I wonder if I can find some orange napkins.
Many of the invited guests are friends and rellies but there are also quite a few who wouldn’t know me if I stood beneath my name spelled out by a string of flashing neon letters, so I have taken some time to write a few notes explaining a snippet of my background or a bit about the book to give those people an idea of why they should be interested in attending my pre-launch celebrations.
Dry or sweet, do you think?
I have just received an email from my publisher assuring me, once again, that books will be airfreighted to Hobart in plenty of time for the big night. Reading between the lines, I think both the publisher and the project manager might be saying: ‘for god’s sake, would you just relax!’
Cocktail-sized napkins, for sure. Plenty big enough. Yellow or white?
Amidst all the excitement and the preparations, I have managed to continue working on my next project. The first draft of the latest novel – the name of which tradition forbids me from uttering by lip or pen – is almost complete…but I digress…again. Where was I? Ah yes, napkins and champagne.
Oh who cares? A square of tissue and something in a glass with bubbles. Perfect!


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Road to Publication Part 2

          I almost called it the Highway to Publication, given that the speed has [finally] picked up but I reminded myself that there is still a way to go.
          My book now has a cover, designed by one David Khan, a man I have never met which is probably quite common but feels strange nevertheless.             
          Then again, neither have I met Paul Bugeja, the editor who laboured over a period of quite a few months to hunt down and weed out those annoying little errors that all writers probably make but have difficulty isolating.
          But I digress…today, I am sitting in my little “word factory” having torn off the writerly cloak of fiction, trying on the far more constraining outfit of the marketing-savvy journalist as I prepare information for a media kit.
          It feels more than a little strange immersing myself once more into the life of MV (the motorcycle riding poet of ‘8 States of Catastrophe’), given that I had consciously had to sweep him out of my head a year and a half ago in order to move on to my next project.  I never really left him behind though; not totally.  Every couple of months I’ve had to delve back into the story to consider a suggested revision, delete a passage, add a word.  And then sometimes I’d get lost in the story again, with MV and his dog Rider and all those mysterious coincidences and it was such hard work knowing when to take a deep breath and accept that the manuscript was done.
          It is difficult for writers who have spent at least months but usually years tied up in solitary confinement with their characters to suddenly be ‘outed’ and required to speak coherently and at length about their work.
          But that is exactly what I need to do now, and it all starts with the launches.
          I am excited to have scored a great location for the Tasmanian pre-launch celebration in late January.  Thanks to the Hobart City Council, we have what appears to be the perfect venue: The Mawson Waterfront Pavilion.  
          Hobart is first on my agenda for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that it was where I was born and raised. 
          The guest list is half complete (thanks to my Mum and my sister Tammy and the stylishly savvy Isabella Marlowe-Thompson-Thomson [aka Susan]). Flights are booked, accommodation arranged (thanks again Tam) and the invitations are ready for printing.  
          Finger food…tick.  
          Background music…tick.  
          Someone to make a speech…tick (thanks to my dear friend Keith Mogg [aka Alan])
          Wine…working on it.
          Books…Ayeeee!  I can only keep everything crossed and hope they arrive on time!


Filed under Writing