Tag Archives: 8 States of Catastrophe

Lights, Camera, Action!

Yes, I am home in body, but my spirit is still high in the clouds.

 The pre-launch celebration for 8 States of Catastrophe exceeded all my expectations.  Apart from a ten minute scare when it looked like the guests might arrive before the traffic-snarled vehicles carting the wine and food, the two-hour party went like clockwork and was a terrifically enjoyable occasion.

Son Dylan and I awaiting arrival of guests

My friends and family knew I was not looking forward to being the centre of attention but I found it didn’t take me long to start enjoying it.  And anyway, it wasn’t really me in the limelight but rather my creation, my baby, 8 States of Catastrophe. 

Signing my Life Away

We had an abundance of food; simple scrumptious fare of sandwiches, cheese and crackers, pesto.  The white wine was cold and crisp and the merlot blend mellow; OJ and mineral water were on hand; something for everyone to wet their whistle. 

Guests at the Waterfront Pavilion

The guests mingled, chatted, asked questions, admired the venue (which I will write about some other time), sipped and supped and – thankfully – purchased books. 

Some of the Guests

It was a real joy to sign books when asked.  When, at the end of the evening, I overheard a couple of guests raving that it had been great fun and ‘not boring’ as they had expected a book launch to be, I knew we had done everything right.

More Guests...just so you can see they are real

 Knowing there are quite a few out there in the blogosphere interested in the actual nuts-and-bolts of a successful launch, here are a few things that I believe helped make mine such a success:-

  • Don’t overdo the speeches.  A friend made a small speech on my behalf because…(a) I am not a comfortable public speaker and; (b) I am told that the majority of writers usually bore everyone to tears.

    My Dear Friend Alan...delivering his fabulous speech.

  • Don’t have a strict regimented program.  The speech was made at about the half-way mark when it just seemed right.
  • Make sure the guest list is varied. 
  • Try to interest the media.  I was thrilled that a photographer from the Hobart Mercury came and a journo called a couple of days later for more detail which resulted in a nice write-up with some great pics.  Book launch photos
  • Get the books ‘out there’ straight away.  We had a table set up with books on display and someone to accept money.  Because this was a pre-launch, I didn’t have access to eftpos facilities (something the publishers usually organise) but we had a computer set up for anyone who wanted to transfer funds or use paypal.  As it turned out, all the guests had come prepared and cash was in abundance.
  • You – the author – should mingle.  I didn’t want to sit all stuff-shirted at a table ready to sign books.  People purchased their books from the first five minutes right up until the end and then came to get me to sign if they so desired.
  • Have fun!  It is easier than you think.  Forget about who may or may not like the book, don’t think about how many will sell.  Just think of it as a party to celebrate the thrill of having your work published and sharing the excitement with others.

    In the foreground, my Number 1 Fan, the one and only Mammy

Thanks to everyone…you know who you are…for making the night so absolutely categorically perfect.



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Heavenly Hobart

Apologies to all those who have been waiting to hear about the Hobart pre-launch celebrations.  As I am still traveling, both   wi-fi access and time are difficult to grab.

The party was a magnificent success: superb venue, lovely wine, terrific food, wonderful guests…I could go on and on and, believe me, I will…just as soon as I am home in front of my own computer with photographs at my fingertips.

Thanks to everyone for helping me make the night a success and ensuring that I sold out of books!!


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Competition Winner – 8 States of Catastrophe

I used the number draw at physicscience to draw a random number from the twelve entries received,  and I’m pleased to announce that the winner of the competion is BB from New South Wales.

I have emailed BB to advise of the win and to arrange for delivery from the air-freighted launch stock as soon as the books are in my hot little hands.

Thanks to those who entered.  If you indicated you wished to attend a launch, you will receive an invitation if and when there is one in your state.

Congratulations BB.

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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!


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The Road to Publication

          In retrospect, I should have started this diary a long time ago – when my manuscript was first slated for publication.
          I guess, like many a writer, I live inside a little bubble.  We writers quietly write for months on end, usually in almost solitary confinement, the clickety clack of the keyboard forming a kind of background track to the universes we create.  We ‘connect’ virtually: with our e-buddies (usually other writers who are also alone in their wordsmith towers), with experts who help us with our research and, occasionally, with distant loved ones.
          Eventually, we package up our forest of paper and send it out into publishing-land.  We weather the rejections (some of us make wallpaper with them, some compost the garden) and – eventually – we try to stop thinking about our ‘baby’ out there in the world trying to impress publishers with its style and panache and we begin work on our next project.
          Then, joy of joys, it seems our manuscript has managed to impress.  We do another check of it, pretty it up a little, and hand it over to the publisher.
          What did I expect would happen next?

          Abracadabra…A Book!

          Knock knock.
          ‘Who’s there?’
          ‘Ahem. Reality’. 

          The reality to which I refer is made up of typos and spelling errors, of to-ing and fro-ing between editor and author debating the subtle nuances of a sentence, a phrase and – yes  goddammit – a word.
          It’s a reality filled with misunderstandings and misgivings, minor tanties, excitement, tears, fright, pride, vacillations and confidence kickers.
          But finally, the manuscript is deemed complete.  Paperwork is signed.  There are sighs all ‘round.
          But wait, there’s more…
          There’s fonts and designs and cover art and blurbs and bios and decisions, decisions, decisions.  For someone who has trouble deciding on fish or chicken at a restaurant, someone whose friends constantly order for her because they can’t stand the waiting or the anxiety; presenting me with options is a big no-no.
          I am thrilled to say though that my humble story ‘8 States of Catastrophe’ is now almost a book.  I have seen a proof of its cover. 
          But my journey to seeing the book in stores and having it ‘walk off the shelves’ is a long way from over, as I trip into yet another universe.
          The Publicity Universe I am soon to enter has a different reality altogether.
          It means talking about oneself, about one’s body of work (no matter how slender), putting one’s actual physical self out there (no matter how ‘not-slender’), being articulate – instantly – via the mouth, rather than leisurely by keyboard (with the aid of dictionary, thesauri, library and internet).
          Oh well, this is what I have been waiting for.  There is nothing for it but to dive in ‘boots and all’.
          I’ll keep you posted…


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