It’s a little over two weeks until the launch of Kirstyn’s Caution: Contains Small Parts. Why, yes, I have had a preview read, and yes, it rocks in that unsettling McDermott mode that recently snared an Australian Shadows and an Aurealis Award for best horror novel. The collection is a sharp, four-story title in the ongoing, and quite stunning, Twelfth Planet Press Twelve Planets series.
Also at the launch, we’ll be lifting a belated glass to Kirstyn’s award-winning Perfections and my award-not-wining Blood and Dust, both of which came out very late last year.
Caution: Contains Small Parts launch: Sunday, 9 June, at 6pm, as part of Continuum 9 @ Ether, lower level, 285 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne.
The collection is available for pre-order, or you can get a Twelve Planets subscription deal. The book will be on sale at the launch, naturally, where the author will happily sign copies.
I’ve had a wee sabbatical, and there has been wordage, but now it’s back to the mines. Mordor, today; I do hope they’ve cleaned up the blood from the latest cull. At least we had a D&D session on Saturday: not too much bleeding for our side. There’s nothing quite like that communal escape into the fantastic, that combined storytelling, all tempered by a far more personable overlord and some random dice havoc.
Here’s a few of the more interesting articles to cross the desk lately, starting off with a nostalgiac reprint of Gary Gygax’s inspirational classic fantasy titles for role-players (ah, Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser!), and an updated appendix to that appendix. You might notice Joe Abercrombie’s name on that latter list — he’s a guest at GenreCon in Sydney in November. Here’s a program teaser. It looks tasty. So, hands up who loved the Thieves World books? Who bumped dice with Jubal? Ah, good times …
Rolling on, and Angela Slatter offers advice for meeting agents — ‘hide the crazy’ — and suggests a key element is to have a good story. You don’t hear much about the value of a good story these days; it’s mostly about how to network and SEO your way to digital sales. Good art and good sales aren’t mutually exclusive, are they? So yay to Writer Unboxed, who reckons one of the biggest mistakes a writer can make is not understanding story. Ah, the learning, it just doesn’t end …
Which leads to Justine Larbalestier, who’s been blogging like a chipmunk on a wheel this month and making far more sense. Well worth stepping off your own wheel and checking out her posts, such as this one about the need for characters to keep learning and this one about them needing to have a life already!
I also enjoyed this introduction (typos and all) at Kirkus to the history of the vampire novel — close to my heart, given Salvage owes a debt to Le Fanu’s Carmilla.
Looking forward to: seeing this book in print! Even if I wasn’t helping to launch it, I’d’ve been tempted to drive to Adelaide for Launch II. Lisa and Angela have provided two, well, three actually, of the most enjoyable collections of recent years: this combined effort may just be exponentially awesome.
A quick flashback to the Brisbane launch of Salvage at Avid Reader on August 10. More pix, by Kirstyn McDermott, are here.
And a final reminder that Salvage has one more outing, in very fine company indeed, at Melbourne Writers Festival on Sunday. Ten writers on stage, with readings, music and damn good cheer. All welcome.
Home again from a most enjoyable road trip to Queensland to promote Salvage. I owe many, many thanks to those who braved a chilly August night to attend the Queensland launch at Avid Reader, as well as staffers Chris, James and Michelle who made it all so easy, and Krissy who set it all up. Kim Wilkins was funny and very kind in launching the book. I never did get to the signing table. I was given a lovely journal and a Karloffian Mummy t-shirt and two bags of (fake) blood. Later, we ate Indian. There were many hugs, and some new faces, too. Friends, they be awesome.
The next day, Kirstyn and I popped into Pulp Fiction Books, as you do when in Brisbane because they are awesome, and relieved them of a copy of Team Human. Then Angela Slatter joined us at the Logan North library to present a panel on Australia’s dark fiction which was well attended; there were lots of questions. We got back to the State Library in time to catch Meg Vann and Trent Jamieson reading from works in progress at a new event, to run every second month, called Whispers. Definitely worth checking it out if you’re able. And do keep an eye out for these two new stories: they both sound amazing.
Kirstyn went home — cat to be coddled, business to be run — while I hit the road. There was family stuff and friend stuff, and in amongst that, what were essentially kaffee klatsches at the Caloundra and Noosa libraries which I enjoyed immensely. Both went over time, and a Noosa Today snapper turned up to take a photo at Noosa which was a pleasant surprise. Add in a visit to ABC Sunshine Coast for a chat with Mary-Lou Stephens (who has her own book coming out soon!) for her books program, and it was a busy bounce around the gloriously warm Sunny Coast.
And on Saturday, Brisbane’s Courier-Mail ran a wonderful review of Salvage. Another thoughtful review that doesn’t give the game away, as it were, while providing an accurate picture of the story and the book’s mood. So a very pleasant journey — 600km all told.
I’m in debt to enthusiastic librarians and generous friends and loving family.
Next up: the Twelfth Planet Press Showcase at the Melbourne Writers Festival on August 26. There will be drinks!
Some Salvage washing up on the interwebs:
Sean the Bookonaut has reviewed Salvage, most kindly, and it’s so pleasing to see reviewers respond to the relationship drama of the story and treat the narrative with such sensitivity, for it is a slow-build, this one, and it is anchored in matters of the heart. And of course, it’s very pleasing indeed to see reviewers enjoying it!
The Galactic Suburbia podcast has also mentioned Salvage, again kindly, in the reading lists of both Tansy and Alex, and again focusing on the relationship of the heroine with her husband and the woman who gives her pause for thought. Favourite quote courtesy of Alex: ‘compassionate and cold-blooded’. You probably need to hear it in context, but it made my ears warm with satisfaction.
Rowena Cory Daniells has been running an informative series of blog interviews with women fantasy writers — Australia is privileged and perhaps, the suggestion is, unusually blessed, with a high ratio of talented ones. But now she’s branching out, kindly inviting me in with some thoughtful queries about writing and publishing. She’s also giving away a copy of Salvage, so let’s read who you’re favourite vampires are: my money’s on Bram Stoker’s version of Dracula, simply because he blew my 16-year-old mind. I’ve listed 15 of the best movie vampires here, in case you need some inspiration, and top 5 vampire and werewolf movies to chew over.
Which is as good a time as any to mention again the forthcoming launch in Brisbane, on August 10 at Avid Reader, and the Twelfth Planet Press Showcase at Melbourne Writers Festival on August 26, at the Yarra Building.
August is a big month for Salvage, having an outing in Queensland and now, bobbing up at the Melbourne Writers Festival!
Twelfth Planet Press presents a free showcase event at the festival, with Kerry Greenwood of the Phryne Fisher mysteries fame launching the Twelve Planets series. On hand to present their titles already released and forthcoming will be Kaaron Warren, Cat Sparks, Deborah Biancotti, Narrelle M Harris, Deborah Kalin, Rosaleen Love, Kirstyn McDermott, Lucy Sussex … and me*.
There will be drinkage, and music, and all Twelfth Planet books will be available, including the newest releases of the Twelve Planets range: Through Splintered Walls by Kaaron Warren and hot-off-the-press Cracklespace by Margo Lanagan (previewed at Continuum in June).
I’ve just read these two titles, and they are spectacular: Margo has brought her touch of the fantastic closer to home, while Kaaron raises the chill factor, especially with the longest story of her collection, ‘Sky’: you might want to have a bath after reading it.
Kerry will be joining the Twelfth Planet authors for signings.
The showcase is on Sunday August 26, at 5.30pm, at the Yarra Building in Federation Square. It’s a free, non-ticketed event, which means you can just turn up and enjoy. An ideal pre-dinner outing, neh?
Bookings are now open for those able to attend my chat at Caloundra Library on Monday August 13 at 10-11am and at Noosa Library on Tuesday August 14 4-5.30pm. Expect to hear about the writing and publishing process, landscape as character and inspiration, and vampires, of course. Given that Salvage was primarily written on (and is kind of set on) Bribie Island and polished off at Noosa, it’s something of a homecoming.
You can also rsvp for the Brisbane launch at Avid Reader, 6 for 6.30pm, on Friday August 10 by emailing events @ avidreader.com.au or phoning 3846 3422, or drop me a line and I’ll pass it on. Kim Wilkins will be doing the honours.
You can also book in for the Darkness Down Under panel, with Kirstyn McDermott, Angela Slatter and myself, at Logan North Library on Saturday August 11 at 1.30-3pm. If you like reading or writing horror and dark fantasy, there should be something in this for you.
All events are free. Copies of Salvage will be available. There will be coffee and time for chinwagging. I’m looking forward to it!