Monthly Archives: April 2010

Currently watching …

The Guild!

This is a satire on on-line gamers. The first season of The Guild was financed by fans. It is sweet and insightful as well as sharply observant at times. I have four sons. They play on-line games. I teach at the college which specialises in teaching computer game design, so it is filled with gamers.

This series made me laugh aloud.

The Guild is an example of what can happen when a bunch of talented people get together and a studio isn’t standing over them telling them what is commercial.

The show was written by Felicia Day, an actress who turned an addiction to World of Warcraft into a sitcom pilot. Now there’s a comic, issued by Dark Horse.

Go Felicia!

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Filed under Characterisation, Fun Stuff, The Writing Fraternity

Writers lead exciting lives!

What I’m NOT doing today is lying on my back in a sunny field watching the clouds go by.

What I am doing is checking the page proofs for book one of King Rolen’s Kin.

I suppose I could be cleaning the stove …

No, honestly, I’m happy to spend the day checking the page proofs. There is something very satisfying about polishing your work and the closer the book comes to publication, the more satisfying (and scary) that is.

I had a nightmare the other night. I dreamed the book had come out and a reviewer gave it a scathing review. They said it was derivative. Then they pointed out all these things that were derivative and I was thinking how did I not see this? And feeling awful!

In the light of day I know the book is not derivative. Sure it is a traditional fantasy so it plays with themes that are familiar to all of us, but it is also quirky and fun because the characters are what drive the plot forward, which makes it a satisfying read. I hope.

I’m guessing every writer quakes in their boots when their book is about to be published.  Here’s hoping King Rolen’s Kin is a Keeper. What books do you consider Keepers?

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Filed under creativity, Fun Stuff, Nourish the Writer, Writing craft

Industry Insight

Over at the ROR blog we’ve opened the blog to industry questions.

We realised that between us we had over 70 years experience in the publishing industry. (Now that is a scary thought!). So we’re answering questions.

Over at the Mad Genius Club – Writers Division, we’ve been discussing e-books and their effect in publishing.

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Filed under The Writing Fraternity, Writing craft

Currently watching ….

Mad Men Series 3

First let me say, I always buy the whole series of a TV show and watch it in batches of 3 or 4 episodes at a time because I’m interested in the story arc and character development.

I keep watching this show because it is like a time capsule. As I sit there watching Betty, heavily pregnant, smoke and drink blissfully unaware of the damage she’s doing I think, what a nice piece of writing/directing.

Someone complained when the first season came out that there were no black people in it or, if there were, they had subservient roles. (A few  black people have turned up since). This isn’t a story about the emancipation of the blacks in the US in the 60s. It is a story about the advertising world of Madison Avenue and it would be anachronistic to show a black man working in advertising with Don Draper. (If someone can prove me wrong, I’m happy to be corrected).  The way women and blacks  are treated in the show is accurate for the time.

And that’s what I find fascinating. Betty and Don Draper could be my mother and father. Not that they drank, smoked and had affairs, but the limitations of their life choices were the same. My mother had three career options, teacher, nurse or secretary. And women were expected to stop work when they got married.  The clothes, the cars and the furniture are all from the period when I was a very small child. So, for me, this show is a trip down nostaglia lane.

Watching Salvatore try to hide he fact that he’s gay, watching copy writer Peggy battle to have her abilities recognised, watching head secretary Joan be passed over when she could run the place, watching house wife Betty’s quiet desperation as she describes herself as a pampered ‘house cat’ makes me very relieved that I don’t live in the 1960s.

But I do feel the show would be a little stronger, if it veered one step closer to social commentary. There is so much material to work with. What do you think?

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Filed under Characterisation, creativity, Fun Stuff, Story Arc, Writing craft

Text YA and Children’s $10,000 Fiction Prize

It is hard to get noticed if you’re writing and you don’t have an agent. One of the best ways is to enter competitions. So here is the link to the Text YA and Children’s $10,000 Fiction Prize. Entries open on the 3rd of May.

Last year’s winner was Leanne Hall, with her book ‘This is Shyness’.  From the blurb it sounds like YA magic realism.

The 2008 winner was Richard Newsome with  his book ‘The Billioniare’s Curse’. From the blurb this looks like an upper end primary aged mystery/adventure.

Even if you don’t win, placing in a competition like this is a great recommendation when you approach an agent. What competitions have you entered and how did they help you?


Filed under Children's Books, Competitions, The Writing Fraternity, Writing craft

Anyone considering writing for Children?

While I think of it … the lovely (award winning) Kate Forsyth has done a post about writing for children over at the ROR blog.  She talks about getting your story age appropriate and length, etc. Plus they’re giving away two copies of her book.

I’ve known Kate since she had her first book published around the same time as my first trilogy.  She turned up for a panel only a couple of days after giving birth to her first child. You had to admire her dedication. I believe in supporting fellow Australian authors, so drop by the blog, if you can.

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Filed under Children's Books, Fantasy books, The Writing Fraternity, Writing craft


This is the book plate I’m getting made. I plan to sign copies and send them to specialist books stores in Australia. Turns out my publisher, Solaris, has arranged distribution in the UK and the US, but in Australia the bookstore will have to know about the book and want to order it in. So here it is, my book plate!

I did consider getting some of those little books printed, you know the sort — they have the front cover and the first chapter so people can try before they buy,  but when I priced them I couldn’t afford it. I love those miniature books with colour covers. I don’t know why, perhaps because they are a taste of the real book  for free, but I think it is also because they mimic a real book, in miniature.  They hold the same fascination as a doll’s house or miniature railway. Maybe I’ll get ‘taste-test’ books printed next time.

Do you collect signed books? Do you get a thrill from those ‘taste-test’ books?


Filed under Covers, Fun Stuff