Salvage on the road: fun times in the Sunshine State

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!

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Booked in Bundaberg

From left, Stephanie Laurens, Sue Gammon, Jason Nahrung,Kirsty Brooks, Sandy Curtis at Booked in Bundaberg

From left, Stephanie Laurens, Sue Gammon, Jason Nahrung, Kirsty Brooks, Sandy Curtis at Booked in Bundaberg

There really is nothing like country hospitality. I had the good fortune to be a guest at Booked, the first such event hosted by the Bundaberg Library at the weekend. Also appearing were Stephanie Laurens, Kirsty Brooks and Kim Michelle Toft, and what a fascinating group they were. The day began after a coffee with all of us answering questions from our awesome library host Sue Gammon.

I was particularly interested to hear that all of us were inspired to write our initial books by self-interest: interested in telling the kind of story we each wanted to read, rather than as a marketing exercise or commercial venture. The theme of passion for writing and storytelling was one that ran strong through my own presentation later in the day. But that followed a superb presentation by Kim of her gorgeous silk painting of underwater scenes, some she uses in her children’s books, others she sells through her gallery in northern New South Wales. Then Stephanie blew us away with her work ethic and description of her amazing house in Victoria, tailor-made for a full-time writer. Then I was chuffed to field a bunch of questions about horror and vampires and writing in general, before Kirsty charmed the crowd (and it *was* a crowd, what a great turnout!) with her sheer enthusiasm and zaniness.

I have two goddaughters in Bundy, so being able to catch up with my dear friends there as well as rub shoulders with writers and readers really was a lot of fun. And then there was the generous barbecue held by Bundaberg writer Sandy Curtis

We forget, in the city, just how many stars there are. Even a country boy like me forgets from time to time. A walk on the beach away from the city lights can do wonders for our perspective. Life is a fleeting thing. Best to indulge those passions while we can, methinks.

Me, blabbing on. Pictures: Kirstyn McDermott

Me, blabbing on. Pictures: Kirstyn McDermott

Booked in Bundaberg

I’m excited to say that I’ll be joining some excellent writers at Bundaberg Library’s Booked program in May. Stephanie Laurens, Kirsty Brooks and Kim Michelle Toft will be sharing the love and angst at panels, chats and, I believe, over lunch. I grew up in the Wide Bay region and still have good friends in Bundy, so it’s a bit of a return to my old stomping grounds, bringing some Gothic vampire love with me 🙂
Booked is on Sunday, May 17, conveniently dovetailing with Writefest the day before, run by Bundaberg Writers Club. So I’ll be popping in there for a look-see, too. Sue Abbey is among the professionals running workshops at Writefest: I can’t speak highly enough of her skills and friendly advice.
Two other events worth noting: the mob organising the national science fiction convention, Conjecture, in Adelaide in June have extracted their digit and posted more information on the website, allaying mounting fears that the long period of silence heralded a fizzler. Mind you, with that many wineries within cork-popping distance, that was never really going to be an issue, was it?
Another cool event that has got cooler is Continuum, in Melbourne in August, where Melbourne writer Narelle M Harris has been added as a guest of honour. Harris has had a vampire novel published by Brisbane’s Pulp Fiction Press; they make a commendable team 🙂
The other key convention for spec fic writers and readers this year is Conflux, in Canberra in October, but unfortunately I won’t be making that. Rather I’ll be at my Edge writers group’s annual retreat, hoping to make something beautiful come of it.