Tag Archives: 8 States of Catastrophe

Into the UK…and beyond?

I had some exciting news this week.  My novel 8 States of Catastrophe  has been sold into the UK!  According to my English friends, the ‘Poms’ will love it and I am thrilled that they will have the chance to purchase it without the burden of postage and freight.

No release date yet but I believe it is just a matter of months.

I confess to lying awake at night picturing my ‘baby’ jostling for space on a shelf somewhere far from home.  I imagine someone on the other side of the world reading about MV and his faithful dog Rider as they travel into the outback and it lifts my writerly spirit which needed a bit of elevation around about now.

 Champagne anyone?


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The Plush Velvet Lining of Clouds

A weekly series of riffs in 200 words.

As an author, it is sometimes disheartening to visit bookstores, ready to introduce yourself and offer to sign some books or assist in promoting your book, only to find it isn’t stocked.

Some of my favourite people work in bookstores: most of them are passionate about books and eager to ‘order the book in’.  But there is something rather special about just stumbling upon one’s ‘pride and joy’.

To add confusion to my situation… due to a mix-up in the very early publication stages, some book stores have my name as Karen LEE-THOMPSON instead of Karen lee THOMPSON so friends occasionally report that my book is not in store as, naturally, they look under T.  I am now discovering that it is often to be found half-way through in the Ls.

I have published articles as Karenlee Thompson and I’m thinking adopting it again (my husband calls me Karenlee).

Sometimes it’s frustrating and disheartening (especially if, like me, you’re still on promotional L-plates), but when I saw this shot of ‘my baby’ nestled comfortably between the hilariously funny Kathy Lette and the sexily erudite Tobsha Learner, I was buoyed once more. 

So that’s the plush velvet lining behind today’s cloud.

The answer to Friday’s Fictionary Dictionary…WICKIUP is a hut made of brushwood.


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200: The many-splendoured brain

A weekly series of riffs in 200 words

I am constantly amazed by the neurological and psychological nuances, disturbances and variations of that most complicated of organs…the Human Brain.
      A Synaesthete for example is someone whose senses mingle; one sense is stimulated by another.  It seems a  romantic notion that one might see music or taste colour but no doubt the ‘gift’ could easily lead to sensory overload. I wasn’t aware of synaesthesia when I wrote 8 States of Catastrophe,yet it would seem that the central character MV surely has a touch of it, and perhaps I do too.

From bioscifi.kenyon.edu. I can hear them. Can you?

      In researching my latest book, I stumbled upon something known as the Stendhal Syndrome, of which I think I might also suffer a mild form.  It is a psychosomatic illness that rears its head when an individual is exposed to art.  Now, I’ve never hallucinated when confronted by a grand piece of art, but I have experienced other symptoms such as dizziness and a rapid heartbeat.
      I haven’t been to France so I don’t know if I’m likely to contract Paris Syndrome but when I came across Pica disorder which is characterised by an appetite for non-nutritive substances, I thought it might be time to stop chewing my pencil.

The Answer to Friday’s Fictionary Dictionary…A Gandy Dancer is a railway track maintenance worker.

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A Little Bit of Sunshine

A mini promotional trip to the Sunshine Coast on the weekend gave me the chance to lap up a little extra sunshine before the onslaught of winter.  

The trip also resulted in some stimulating conversations and fun surprises, not the least of which was the delightful Annie’s Books on Peregian

Annie (a specialist ‘book detective’) seems to totally enjoy what she does.  Her knowledge and enthusiasm serve to remind us that book-buying is an experience to savour and I am honoured that she found space for 8 States of Catastrophe on her shelves.

I’m looking forward to meeting more dedicated book-sellers like Annie in the months ahead.


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Who’s a Happy Little Writer then?

Why, me of course!

Happy Author

The local launch of 8 States of Catastrophe was like a perfect dream for me. 

As my dear friend Vince said in his speech, the main reason that Stanthorpe has become my adopted home-town is because of its people.  I am constantly blown away by the friendliness, the generosity of spirit, and the willingness of so many to go out of their way for others. Even people who have no time to read or who traditionally pursue other recreational activities came out on a miserable wet night to show their support for me and my crazy writing addiction.

Vince Catanzaro giving his speech…

...and me trying not to cry

Let me describe the venue:  soft acoustics of a theatre padded with carpet and thick cinema curtains;  high ceiling; regal old original light fittings; beautifully framed movie posters.  It was dreamy.


The people:  Relatives, friends, work-mates, orchardists, a journalist, clerks, doctors, tourism operators, business-owners, builders, a beautician, writers, my hairdresser, teachers, retirees…what a wonderful eclectic mix.  All happy, smiling and full of good will.

More Guests

Refreshments:  The standard easy fare of biscuits and cheese, and platters of sandwiches (Thank you Denise, Sarina and Maria for your expertise and willing hands).  Mellow red and crisp white (from Vincenzo’s at the Big Apple).  Very grateful to my brother Bob and sister-in-law Denise for helping attend to the bar.

And More Guests

Photos:  Thanks to “Special K” for taking lots of happy snaps of the night and thank you Shannon Newley for coming along on a Saturday night to take some pics (here’s Shannon’s article written for the Stanthorpe Border Post published 17/3).

Sarah, Deb and Special K

The hour and a half flew by in a whirl of pecked cheeks, signed books, raised glasses, chatter and laughter.  There were lots of willing hands and it would be impossible to thank everyone who helped out but I would like to say a special thank you to Gary for segueing from barman to “money-man” time and again and for still smiling at the end of a hectic day.

Show Me the Money!

The night will bring a smile to my dial for many years to come.

Oh yes...and a few more guests

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We are gearing up for the Stanthorpe launch of 8 States of Catastrophe now and I am looking forward to it. 

Some readers of this blog would not be familiar with Stanthorpe (especially those from Canada and the States but also, it seems, some of the more recent readers residing in Australia’s southern states).  For anyone interested, here’s a portal from where you can check out my adopted home-town. 


As I have mentioned elsewhere, my ‘day-job’ office is in the Arcadia building which used to house the local cinema many moons ago.  In the process of renovating and upgrading the offices, my boss decided to embark on the mammoth project of having some old cinema equipment restored which resulted in an homage to history;  the small, classy, old-fashioned Arcadia Theatre, sporting much of its original movie equipment and even the old light fittings.

Said boss – and very good friend – has kindly offered me the use of the theatre – or did I con him into it? – and it seems to me to be a perfect venue for a book launch.  Having made the decision not to install fixed chairs means the area can lend itself to all sorts of functions, rather than just movies [having said that, there’s just nothing like that old-fashioned movie experience]. 

For the hour and a half event, we are sticking with the formula we used for Hobart.

Food: cocktail sandwiches, red and white wine, juice.   We all know that authors basically starve for their art so people are generally happy and pleasantly surprised to be given a drink and a small bite to eat when they come to a launch.

Formalities: no lengthy speeches and definitely no speech from the author (I can almost hear the sigh of relief from anyone who has ever heard me try my hand at public speaking).  Vince (the aforesaid boss, friend, solicitor, venue owner and father to the suave, sophisticated and inimitable ‘Third in Line’) has agreed to speak.

Book signing: Still not a fan of the author sitting at a table like a stuffed chook waiting to autograph books. I’ll be there mingling and signing books for anyone who asks and, hopefully, having a good time.

For those of you from far-flung places who won’t be here, rest-assured I’ll post up some pics soon after the event.


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Let’s talk about Venues

In the lull between the Hobart pre-launch and the agonizing, interminable wait for the balance of the books to arrive, I thought I’d write a little about the venue slated for Stanthorpe.
          Where the Hobart launch was held in the contemporary architecturally-stylish Mawson Pavilion (tinted glass, ocean views, delicate wire-strung lights), the Stanthorpe venue is steeped in history.
          After mooting a few different venues (winery, shop, country hotel), we’ve decided on something quite different…a private cinema.
          When my boss was renovating his offices in the old theatre building in Stanthorpe, he stumbled across some original cinema equipment and proceeded to embark upon a magnificent journey of restoration. He has kindly offered the use of his ‘Arcadia Theatre’ for the local launch and it should prove to be the perfect venue.
          Picture this: an enormous, high-ceilinged dark-carpeted empty room (thankfully, there are no fixed chairs); walls swathed in heavy burgundy cinema curtains; soft lighting from the original theatre lights, background music, guests, food, wine (of course)…perfect!


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