Friday, January 30, 2015

Celebrating new books

Over the next week I'm looking forward to celebrating the birth of two new books.

No. Not mine. When contemplating the release of my own book I'm generally more queasy than celebratory, which is why it is so lovely to be able to celebrate the arrival of the books of others.

First up - I am launching King of the Road by Nigel Bartlett on Sunday 1 Feb at Gleebooks.

I met Nigel at UTS in a writing class - a decade ago! That was where I first read a very, very, very early draft of this book. So long ago now, but the characters and the story have been with me all that time. That's how powerful this book is and it is SO exciting to now be launching it into the world.

The second book that I am celebrating is Clade by James Bradley.

I've been anticipating this one for a while, and thoroughly looking forward to toasting it - and James - at Better Read Than Dead on Thursday 5th Feb.

Welcome new books. May your journeys into the world be fabulous.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

With a week to go ......

Today I popped into Penguin's Sydney office to sign copies of The Old School and Beams Falling for the two giveaways we are running on GoodReads.

Congratulations to the the winners of The Old School and good luck to those who have entered to win Beams Falling - 7 days to go!

Had some fun before signing books when I got together with Wendy James and Kathryn Fox, fellow Sisters in Crime who also have books out in the next week.

We did a joint interview and *photo shoot* for a newspaper which involved the three of us (plus one very patient photographer) posing in a fabulously seedy lane way in Surry Hills. Kind of like Charlies Angels might have looked today ... if Cameron Diaz & Co hadn't been recast in the roles. 

Not sure what the gorgeous young Japanese tourists who stopped to take photos over the photographer's shoulder are going to make of what was going on in that lane way.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

A glimpse of what is to come.

This probably sounds strange coming from a writer - after all, I make stuff up and write it down and then put it out for anyone to read. But that's the stuff I make up and I guess that's the difference between it and the stuff writers do as part of the promotion of a new book.

It's always odd (for me) to see myself, or hear myself and today has been one of those "odd" days.

I've been very fortunate to have been interviewed by Linda Morris of the Sydney Morning Herald in advance of the publication of Beams Falling. We had a very thoughtful conversation about some of the themes in the book, such as the fear that comes with being a copper, and the heavy weight of carrying a weapon.

The result is this lovely piece by Linda in today's Fairfax papers. Thank you Linda for your insightful questions. 

I also owe a great debt of thanks to Peter Rae, the photographer from Fairfax, who met me at Cabramatta and despite having a stiff, awkward, shy subject to work with took a great photo, which I was delighted to see had caught the monks from one of the local temples who'd been on their morning alms rounds.

Thanks, Peter.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Winners are grinners!

Congratulations to the ten lucky winners of my very first GoodReads Giveaway competition!

Thanks to the generosity of my publisher, Penguin, I have been able to offer ten copies of The Old School, for readers to catchup before the publication of Beams Falling. I'll be going into Penguin's Sydney offices next week to sign the winners' copies and get them in the mail.

Meanwhile, the giveaway to win copies of Beams Falling continues! Good luck to all who have entered so far.

As publication date draws nearer - 26th February - I've spruced up a little around here. The events page is now current, with four dates added and more to come. I've also put together a new page called Other Writing where I've put the details (and links) of short stories, essays and other pieces I've written.

Meanwhile, Sydney in summer remains gorgeous and I'm making the most of it.

Three visits to the Open Air Cinema at Lady Macquaries Chair is always a highlight. I mean seriously, this -


- is pretty hard to beat.

Though, as a cricket tragic, spending a day at the Sheffield Shield at the Sydney Cricket Ground

watching the mighty Speedblitz Blues being mighty is my idea of heaven. And the lack of crowds means you get to have the splendour of the heritage bar

almost all to yourself.

Love it.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Sydney in Summer

It can be hot.
Madly unpredictable.

But then you come home in the late afternoon to a garden filled with these beauties about to open and release their scent, and the humidity suddenly makes sense, carrying the scent in through open doors and windows.


And for me, after a hot 30+ day, there's nothing better than heading down at night to the beautiful North Sydney Olympic Pool. With Christmas only days away the usual lane-choking-crowds are off at parties, or shopping, or already on the road bound for somewhere else.

Then, you have the pool almost to yourself.

A lane of one's own.

And as you swim into the darkening night, electricity rips over the harbour as a storm decides whether to just tease, or stand and deliver.

I've set quite a bit of the next book, Beams Falling, around North Sydney Olympic Pool. And now, I find myself looking for Ned and some of the other characters down there as I swim.

I'll know I've succeeded in creating a world and creating the people who live in it if - after reading the book - other people feel the same.

It's been a busy few weeks. Page proofing with the sharp-eyed and indefatigable Rachel Scully in the Penguin mothership in Melbourne. But the week ended with a proofed book, an approved cover copy and a date with the printer next week.

Look. It's a book.

Beams Falling

It's a book.

I loves it.

More coming at Penguin so keep an eye on the page there.

And if you're wondering about the title - here's a clue. In The Maltese Falcon, Sam Spade tells the story of a man named Flitcraft, and if you haven't read any Dashiell Hammett - you really should.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Waiting for copy edit is not like waiting for Godot.

How best to fill in the anxious days awaiting the arrival of “the copy edit”?

(And we all know how much fun copy edits and track changes are!)

It’s been a while since I saw the book but the arrival of a cover concept a couple of days ago has whetted the appetite. (No, sadly cannot share but suffice to say I was VERY EXCITED.) 
Clever PsyOps publisher, well played, sir, well played.
So, what to do …. well, I’ve decided to pull out this and have a re-read

It’s the original notebook stuffed with ideas about plot and characters, interviews with experts, bits of dialogue, scenes, scraps of news of the era, my original scribble-it-down space.
Just what were my original thoughts, plans, goals, ambitions, obsessions?
It’s always interesting to see what sparked the idea of the book. And at this stage, years and drafts down the track, to see what is still there, what was deliberately abandoned and, more interestingly, what might have got lost along the way as you battled to shape those ideas into something approaching a story and got side-tracked. 
It’s like clearing up the desk, unearthing that long lost note you wrote to yourself from the past about where you planned to go, and then checking to see how close you are to that originally imagined destination.
I'm a fan of the notebook, so I’ve also pulled out the one I've been using for the next book, already groaning with the same flotsam and jetsam and bits of story, and already knowing what ideas are not going to work, and what ideas will replace them, and what I discover as I work again on this book.
In between the structural edit and the approaching copy edit I have been occupying myself with writing some shorter pieces in various places and in different forms.
Thanks to Chip Rolley at The Drum I’ve been writing occasional pieces there on a variety of subjects, from what it means to carry a weapon with the potential to kill 

to an analysis of the whole JK Rowling unmasked as a crime writer thing 

to a review of the last episode of Broadchurch and why it hurt so much.  

I’ve also been exploring the genre of crime fiction and some issues that have been disturbing me. 
In Seizure magazine, I looked at Raymond Chandler’s call to arms The Simple Art of Murder and discussed whether the gritty end of contemporary crime fiction really was answering that call. 

The title of my essay The Sadistic Art of Murder is a bit of clue to my position.
At the request of Anne Summers I developed the argument for Anne Summers Reports in an essay Dial M for Misogyny.

The essay examines the seemingly unstoppable rise and rise of misogynistic crime fiction in which the predominate role for women appears to be that of corpse.
I have also worked on conquering my continuing fear of short stories in order to contribute a short story for an upcoming anthology The Great Unknown edited by Angela Meyer for Spineless Wonders

The collection is an Australian iteration of the classic TV series The Twilight Zone.   
I know! How could I resist!
Last week I had the opportunity to read a short piece of fiction as part of Penguin Plays Rough’s extended exhibition - Details Unknown - at the Justice and Police Museum. You can read the short piece here, or listen to me read it.
And after I finish this copy edit the challenging of the short story phobia continues with a couple of projects in the wind that I can’t yet reveal.
So until the copy edit drops, I shall continue my journey of re-discovery in the land of the notebooks, AND prepare for a quick jaunt to Brisbane for GenreCon 2013 

And I’m mega-excited to be on a panel with ChuckWendig.
If you have not read any of Chuck Wendig’s entries on his Terrible Minds blog, well, all I can say is what a lot of goodness awaits you!

Why don't you start by reading this Prometheus: In which the gods of plot punish the characters for their precious agency – perhaps the clearest, funniest, smartest thing I’ve read about plot since ever.

See you on the other side of the copy edit – or in Brisbane.