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Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Wild Girl by Kate Forsyth. Sydney, Random House Australia, 2013

There must be something in the air here in Australia. There are all these women writing amazing fiction with fairy tale themes. I can think of four without any trouble: Sophie Masson, author of several YA novels based on such folk tales as Tattercoats, Sleeping Beauty and, most recently,"Aschenputtel", the German version of Cinderella. Juliet Marillier, author of the Sevenwaters series that began with Daughter Of The Forest(The Wild Swans) and Heart's Blood(Beauty And The Beast). Margo Lanagan, with Tender Morsels (Snow White And Rose Red) and, of course, Sea Hearts, which is on the Stella short list, two sections of the Aurealises and the Ditmars. In the last year there has been the Specusphere anthology, Mythic Resonance, which had folk tale-inspired stories both by women and men.

And there's now Kate Forsyth, best known for her children's books, who has written two novels in a row on fairy tale themes. Bitter Greens (on both the Aurealis and Ditmars list this year)  was about the young woman who wrote a version of the Rapunzel story back in the seventeenth century, intertwined with the Rapunzel tale itself. That one was historical fantasy; The Wild Girl is straight historical fiction centred around those collectors of tales, the Brothers Grimm, as seen by the girl next door, Dortchen Wild, who would eventually marry one of them and told them about a quarter of the stories in their collection. But the fairy tales are there anyway, again intertwined with the main story, though not in exactly the same way as in Bitter Greens. There are quotes from the stories Dortchen Wild told Wilhelm Grimm, caerfully connected with whatever is happening in that part of the novel.

Dortchen Wild, daughter of an apothecary and no mean herbalist herself, falls in love with Wilhelm Grimm when she is just twelve and he a few years older. He is the big brother of her best friend Lotte, kind and handsome and probably doesn't know she exists, except as someone who knows many of the folk tales he and his brother Jakob are collecting.

But the years go by. Napoleon invades. The small German country of Hesse become the kingdom of Westphalia, ruled by Napoleon's extravagant and heedless younger brother, Jerome. The Grimms and Dortchen's family have a lot more to worry about than a romance that might or might not happen. And Dortchen has been abused horribly by her father, one of the nastier characters I have come across in fiction recently.

This is a wonderful piece of historical fiction. It is based on an idea expressed by Valerie Paradiz in Clever Maids:The Secret History Of The Grimm Fairy Tales, that the Grimm brothers got their stories, not from illiterate peasants and old grannies at the spinning wheel, but from middle class, educated young women of their acquaintance, starting with the girl next door.

As with  all good historical fiction, history has been interpreted. There will always be some things we don't know, and when that happens, the author has to pull together the facts we do know and come to a conclusion. This has been done very well, so that I read it and thought,"Yes, this could really be how it happened." The author has taken only a few minor bits of license, which she mentions in her afterword, but she has done it intelligently. She has researched the period and the people thoroughly and made it all believable. It's strange, reading it, to imagine that all this was going on while the Regency was happening in England and Jane Austen was writing gentle, witty romances.

I hadnt realised that the first edition of the Grimm stories was a flop. Live and learn!

 Another thing: I always thought the Grimm stories were nastier and more violent than their counterparts in other countries, but this isn't always the case. While reading The Wild Girl I was comparing Grimm stories with those of Perrault and others. Sleeping Beauty in Grimm ends with the princess and her prince wandering off happily into the sunset; the French Perrault story doesn't and with the princess awakening. She has a monster for a mother-in-law - literally! One who tries to eat her and her children. Aschenputtel has some gruesome bits, but at least Grimm's Cinderella isn't a murderer like her Italian counterpart, Cenerentola, whom I discovered on Sur La Lune Fairy Tales. The story of Little Red Riding Hood is nastier in the French version.

Whether you love fairy tales or historical fiction or romance, there is something for you in The Wild Girl.

Available now in all good bookshops in Australia or you can buy it online here. If you have an iPhone or iPad, you can get it in the iBooks store.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Ditmars Open Now!

The Ditmar Awards, Australia's answer to the Hugos, have opened for voting. You do have to be a member of the Natcon to vote, but you don't have to go there - a supporting membership should be enough.

Here's the link to the web site:

And here is the list itself:

Best Novel
* Sea Hearts, Margo Lanagan (Allen & Unwin)
* Bitter Greens, Kate Forsyth (Random House Australia)
* Suited (The Veiled Worlds 2), Jo Anderton (Angry Robot)
* Salvage, Jason Nahrung (Twelfth Planet Press)
* Perfections, Kirstyn McDermott (Xoum)
* The Corpse-Rat King, Lee Battersby (Angry Robot)
Best Novella or Novelette
* “Flight 404”, Simon Petrie, in Flight 404/The Hunt for Red Leicester
(Peggy Bright Books)
* “Significant Dust”, Margo Lanagan, in Cracklescape (Twelfth Planet
* “Sky”, Kaaron Warren, in Through Splintered Walls (Twelfth Planet Press)
Best Short Story
* “Sanaa’s Army”, Joanne Anderton, in Bloodstones (Ticonderoga
* “The Wisdom of Ants”, Thoraiya Dyer, in Clarkesworld 75
* “The Bone Chime Song”, Joanne Anderton, in Light Touch Paper Stand
Clear (Peggy Bright Books)
* “Oracle’s Tower”, Faith Mudge, in To Spin a Darker Stair (FableCroft
Best Collected Work
* Cracklescape by Margo Lanagan, edited by Alisa Krasnostein (Twelfth
Planet Press)
* Epilogue, edited by Tehani Wessely (FableCroft Publishing)
* Through Splintered Walls by Kaaron Warren, edited by Alisa Krasnostein
(Twelfth Planet Press)
* Light Touch Paper Stand Clear, edited by Edwina Harvey and Simon
Petrie (Peggy Bright Books)
* Midnight and Moonshine by Lisa L. Hannett and Angela Slatter, edited
by Russell B. Farr (Ticonderoga Publications)
* The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2011, edited by Liz
Grzyb and Talie Helene (Ticonderoga Publications)
Best Artwork
* Cover art, Nick Stathopoulos, for Andromeda Spaceways Inflight
Magazine 56 (ASIM Collective)
* Cover art, Kathleen Jennings, for Midnight and Moonshine (Ticonderoga
* Illustrations, Adam Browne, for Pyrotechnicon (Coeur de Lion
* Cover art and illustrations, Kathleen Jennings, for To Spin a Darker
Stair (FableCroft Publishing)
* Cover art, Les Petersen, for Light Touch Paper Stand Clear (Peggy
Bright Books)
Best Fan Writer
* Alex Pierce, for body of work including reviews in Australian
Speculative Fiction in Focus
* Tansy Rayner Roberts, for body of work including reviews in Not If You
Were The Last Short Story On Earth
* Grant Watson, for body of work including the “Who50” series in The
* Sean Wright, for body of work including reviews in Adventures of a
Best Fan Artist
* Kathleen Jennings, for body of work including “The Dalek Game” and
“The Tamsyn Webb Sketchbook”
Best Fan Publication in Any Medium
* The Writer and the Critic, Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond
* Galactic Suburbia, Alisa Krasnostein, Tansy Rayner Roberts, and Alex
* Antipodean SF, Ion Newcombe
* The Coode Street Podcast, Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe
* Snapshot 2012, Alisa Krasnostein, Kathryn Linge, David McDonald, Helen Merrick, Ian Mond, Jason Nahrung et. al.
* Australian Speculative Fiction in Focus, Alisa Krasnostein, Tehani
Wessely, et. al.
* Galactic Chat, Alisa Krasnostein, Tansy Rayner Roberts, and Sean Wright
Best New Talent
* David McDonald
* Faith Mudge
* Steve Cameron
* Stacey Larner
William Atheling Jr Award for Criticism or Review
* Alisa Krasnostein, Kathryn Linge, David McDonald, and Tehani Wessely, for review of Mira Grant’s Newsflesh, in ASIF
* Tansy Rayner Roberts, for “Historically Authentic Sexism in Fantasy.
Let’s Unpack That.”, in
* David McDonald, Tansy Rayner Roberts, and Tehani Wessely, for the “New Who in Conversation” series
* Liz Grzyb and Talie Helene, for “The Year in Review”, in The Year’s
Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2011
* Rjurik Davidson, for “An Illusion in the Game for Survival”, a review
of Reamde by Neal Stephenson, in The Age

I see that the wonderful Sea Hearts and Bitter Greens are both on the Best Novel list - they were both in the Aurealis Awards. And Light Touch Paper Stand Clear has a short listing in the best collection, which is a thrill for me, as I was honoured by having a story in it. And one of the stories, by Joanne Anderton, is also on the short list.
Well, it was a fabulous collection and I am so proud of Edwina and Simon for the work they did on it and the great choices they made in the stories! I also must congratulate Simon Petrie whose novella Flight 404 is on the list. I proofread that. Maybe the free downloads Peggy Bright Books did of this helped. If you want to read it now, it's not expensive and is able to be bought on the Peggy Bright Books web site.

I must also congratulate my book blog and teacher colleague Sean Wright, the Blogonaut, for having his web site up there. Here is a link to Sean's web site, with his most recent post:
Even if you can't vote, it's worth checking out.

Congratulations to everyone on the list!

Friday, March 29, 2013

My ASIM Stories Back Up!

If you take a look at the side of this page, at Pages, you'll notice I have reinstalled my ASIM stories, as   Sue's Andromeda Spaceways Stories, right below Sampler Of Sue Bursztynski Stories 2012 , which are the ones eligible for the Chronos Awards. If you live in Australia, you have till Monday to read and nominate them. They're all stories I'm proud of, but with so much published by Aussie press, big and small, some things get missed, alas. If you're outside Australia, why not download them anyway? They're free.  In any case,  both these pages will stay up and may occasionally be added to.

Just be aware that the files are ePub only, as that's what Creative Book Builder does, as well as PDF. No Mobi at this stage, alas, but PDF can be opened on a Kindle, it just doesn't have a cover. If you want PDF, feel free to contact me at and I'll send it to you. Thanks, miki and Austin, for requesting your PDFs, which I hope you will enjoy!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Ebooks Back Up - and the Chronos Awards!

Ebook Glue has gone to a paying model. It's not that I mind paying - they don't charge much - but I don't like placing my card details online any more than I can help. If I could do it with an iTunes card, I would. 

So, sorry, goodbye Ebook Glue, which was a fabulous site to use and good luck to the person who runs it. But it means that any links I put there have been wiped, along with all the other free ebooks created there. If you downloaded one, it will still work, but if you go to the site, you'll find the page is nonexistent. I have left the interviews link up on Pages for the moment, till I can rustle up another ebook, using my Creative Book Builder app.

I had no idea how to make a link for a CBB file till I had tea and chips with a technological friend last night. Bart had a fiddle on his iPhone, by way of experiment, and discovered that you can upload your CBB files  to Dropbox, email a link  to yourself (or anyone else) and then I simply needed to copy and paste the link here. A little long-way-round, but it works, so thank you, Bart!

For the time being, if anyone wants a PDF file, they will have to request it, because I couldn't get my PDF files up there, not sure why, since I saw other PDF files in my folder. But I'll work it out. I *think* you can put PDF on Kindle, but CBB doesn't do Mobi, alas. So for the time being, anything you download from here will be strictly ePub (another thing I will miss about Ebook Glue, which gave you both options).

I will be putting the ASIM  stories back in the next day or two - probably two, because I am about to get myself ready and go collecting donations for the Royal Children's Hospital, which will take me all day, then spend time with my family.

Meanwhile, I have put back the Sunshine College anthology - I am so proud of our students! - and, more importantly for me, all my stories that were published last year. I did this too late for the Ditmar Awards, but there are still a few days left till the Chronos Awards nominations close - Monday, in fact. Probably still too late even for that, but if you're reading this, why not download the book and, if you love them, and live in Australia, how about nominating one for the Chronos Awards? And if you don't live in Australia, why not download the ebook anyway? Perhaps if you like it, you might check out some of my other stuff. Even if you have read the stories, I have added an afterword to each, explaining what was behind them.

Here are the stories:

Brothers, first published in Mythic Resonance and edited by the lovely Satima Flavell, who has already nominated it for a Chronos. Snow White and the Seven Tolkienesque Dwarves. I wondered what would happen if Snow White had been less passive and the cutesy dwarfs were more like Tolkien's Dwarves.

Midwinter Night: A story first published in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #54, edited by Simon Petrie. Set in the universe of my novel Wolfborn, it is seen from the viewpoint of Yvonne, a cousin of Eglantine, the wife of the werewolf knight, Geraint. In this we learn just why Eglantine was so terrified when she found out her husband was a werewolf. It doesn't matter if you've read the novel or not - the story stands alone. 

Five Ways To Start A War, published last year by Peggy Bright Books, in the anthology Light Touch Paper Stand Clear, edited by Edwina Harvey and Simon Petrie. This anthology is itself on the Ditmars list, by the way, along with one of the stories, The Bone Chime Song. My story is about how the Trojan War started, from five different viewpoints - and if you're expecting a Greek tragedy, you'll be disappointed. I was in an extremely silly mood when I wrote it.

So, given that some of you may prefer to click straight into the link, here are the links to the ebooks that I have put back. Download and enjoy!

Sunshine College Best Writing Anthology

My Chronos-eligible stories for 2013

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Various Awards Happening At The Moment

I am delighted to say that Margo Lanagan's Sea Hearts aka  The Brides Of Rollrock Island outside Australia, has been short listed for the Stella Award for Aussie women's writing. I reviewed it on this web site soon after it came out and still love it. Fingers crossed that it wins!

The Aurealis Awards short list is out, announced here. Alas, you can't vote for this, as it's judged, but Margo's novel is there too, along with Kate Forsyth's Bitter Greens and one of Juliet Marillier's wonderful Sevenwaters novels, which are set in Ireland and began with an adaptation of "The Wild Swans" fairy tale. I can only say I am glad I don't have to judge among these three! There are two Andromeda Spaceways stories there - neither of them,alas, mine - sniff!

There's one more, which you can still nominate, between now and April 1. It's the Chronos Awards for Victorian spec fic writing, the eligibles listed here. This is our answer to the West Australian Tin Ducks. Anyone can nominate a book or short story or even a blog, under "fan writer". The details are here.

I wouldn't be human if I didn't ask you to nominate something of mine. In the past year I sold three eligible short stories, to ASIM, Light Touch Paper Stand Clear and Mythic Resonance. All of them are available as ebooks and well worth reading, even if you choose someone else's story, but remember it has to be someone living in Victoria. Or you can nominate this blog, as body of work, for "best fan writer".

Or you can just go to one of the above links and nominate whoever you like. :-) 

About That Ebook I Was Going To Give You...

Yesterday I put up a post, which I have temporarily withdrawn, about celebrating my hundred thousandth hit on this blog with a little ebook of my published ASIM stories. Only problem is that it didn't work. Well, it did, but despite my careful following of the instructions about refining my choice of posts to include, I got not only the stories but ALL the posts that made up a previous ebook, the anthology of Sunshine College student writing.

 Now, that's a great ebook and if you want to read some wonderful stuff written by teenagers at my school, there's a link on the side of this page to it. But I didn't want that. I wanted three stories I had sold to Andromeda Spaceways some years ago to be available to anyone who wanted to read them.

So, I am going to email the lovely folk at Ebook Glue to see if they can make sense of it and meanwhile, if you don't mind taking a litte extra trouble, email me - the address is up there under "Contact Me" - or put a comment below, with your email address,  and I will send you the Creative Book Builder version, which has a prettier cover. No Kindle option, I'm afraid, but PDF and ePub are both available. The stories are "Bytepals" - a very silly story about teenagers, chatrooms and vampires, which made it into the first Best Of ASIM fantasy anthology, "Choices" in which the sorceress Nimue, Merlin's apprentice, tries to stop Camelot from falling and "Of Loaves, Fishes And Mars Bars" in which a family has had a really cheap looking cup for generations and start to suspect it might be much, much more than it seems - that one got an Honorable Mention in the annual Best Fantasy And Horror anthology edited by Kelly Link and Ellen Datlow. I still get that book out and preen every now and then. One day, who knows, something I wrote might actually be in there, but hey, someone in that publication liked my story enough to at least mention it was worth reading! And they read a LOT of stories.

Why not get in touch and ask for it? It's FREE, guys!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Celebrating My 100,000 Hits With a Free Ebook!

Today my blog reached 100,000 hits and beyond. I wondered how to celebrate. I have, to be honest, become a little tired of book giveaways; hardly anyone ever enters, no matter how well promoted the giveaway is! It's a disappointment. That doesn't mean I will never do another one, but right now - no.

However, I have decided to do a sort-of-giveaway. I have put together some of my stories originally published in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, as an ebook. I couldn't find the file of my first one - I think I may have typed it on a previous computer and somehow it's just not there any more. I will retype it from the published version - later. The most recent is really too recent, having been in ASIM #54, which is still in print, and unless it somehow made it on to the Ditmar short list, I think I will leave it for now. I should have done this while the Ditmar nominations were still open - too late, alas!

So, from now on, you'll find a permanent link on the side of this page - well, as long as Ebook Glue is around, and it's a fairly new web site.

I had to do it in Ebook Glue to be able to put a link on to the page, so it will have a plain cover and the title "Creativity Rocks!", which is the title of the blog I set up especially for the purpose of turning posts into ebook for my students' work, but if you want something a little fancier, email me and I'll send you the version I created on Creative Book Builder. But that version is only on ePub; this one will give you a choice of ePub or Mobi. And I've added an afterword to each one, talking about how I came up with the idea for the story, only on the Ebook Glue version.

Here are the stories:

Bytepals, published in ASIM #8, edited by former ASIM  co-op member Sally Beasley. Have you ever wondered why kids on the Internet always look glazed-eyed and sit around in the dark? It's set in the Wolfborn universe, sort of, but in our world and in modern times. Australia has had werewolves since convict times and nobody travels to Armorique, where there are - erk! - vampires! Vampires are not allowed in Australia, even cute ones with dark, curly hair who were born that way....

Choices, from ASIM #12, edited by Edwina Harvey, who is now a freelance editor specialising in speculative fiction, but willing to edit anything, including doctoral theses (she's currently doing just that, but I KNOW she'd rather edit a novel, especially a YA novel). King Arthur's wizard, Merlin, has retired, leaving his apprentice, Nimue, in charge. Nimue can see Camelot's end coming and wants to prevent it. Can she change history? Read it and find out!

Of Loaves, Fishes And Mars Bars, published in ASIM #29, edited by Dirk Flinthart, himself a fabulous writer who is doing very well these days. Elanor, named after a character from Tolkien, is a member of a family that has had a cheap-looking metal cup for generations. When she becomes an Arthurian scholar, she has a sneaking suspicion the cup may be a bit more than it seems....

Go on, owners of ebook readers, go and get my mini-ebook - you know you want to! Help me celebrate my 100,000th hit!

Here's a link, in case you're too lazy to click into the link under Pages:

SINCE WRITING THE ABOVE: I have been having trouble with the Ebook Glue site. If you click into the link under Pages, you'll get the three stories, but also my school's anthology. So I emailed the owner of Ebook Glue, who kindly fixed it up for me and offered to ebook other stuff for me, but also said the site is going to paid.

Anyway, I can't give you a link to that right now, unless it has been fixed at the web site level - will check it out and report back. Meanwhile, anyone who wants a copy in either mobi or ePub can contact me at, or comment here with their own email. I have sent off a PDF to miki, which I got from my own app, and can also do ePub on that.

I am planning to whip up an ebook of my eligibles for the Chronos Awards - of which more later. There are only a few more days to nominate.

And Some More Great Reviews For Wolfborn!

It's nice to be getting lovely reviews for your book two years after publication. It has only recently come out in the US, but once a book is out, a publisher simply doesn't have time to continue the promotion though they will co-operate if you can arrange your own promo. So I have been approaching blogs about reviewing it and have had some that didn't bother to reply, even though my inquiry was personalised and chosen for appropriateness- heavens, I reply, even if to say no, unless it's clearly been sent to a hundred blogs at once or is laughably inappropriate, showing the author hasn't read my policy - and some said yes. I've had five reviews out of it, but only two in the US, where my publishers could have sent a copy, so I reached into my stash and paid my own postage. However, promo is always good! And most recently, I am very pleased to have got in touch with Sherre of Beckoned By Books, Cassie of Knows Prose and Hollie of Music, Books And Tea.

As they have all posted their reviews on Amazon, on the same page, I'm giving you the link to that, here although their web sites are all well worth a visit if you love books and reading, especially YA.

The reviews are on the Kindle page, though you can also buy it in iBooks and, of course, order it in print.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Interesting Web Site Added

You may notice that on the side of the page I have a set of links to "interesting websites" which is sort of a blog roll, though it includes some sites that aren't blogs. I have just added my nephew Max Bursztynski's blog, Film According To Mr Cinema.

Max is fifteen going on thirty-five. And he writes well. He loves books, but also movies, since he has a dream of becoming an animator one day. He has already put some of his little animations on YouTube. But this site has reviews of movies he loves, both new and old, only a handful so far, but he's only been doing this for a very short time.

I'm hoping to get him to start reviewing some of the wonderful old Ray Harryhausen films he adores. After all, one of these days, he'll be doing his own...

If you enjoy movies, why not wander over and take a look and add a comment?

Monday, March 18, 2013

Ford Street At Bologna

This morning, my lovely publisher, Paul Collins of Ford Street Publishing, got the email below and shared it with his writers:

"Dear Paul,

Here in Munich, the spring is on hold as winter seems to be returning again but, as every year, the White Ravens are ready to "soar into the sky". My colleagues and I are delighted to inform you that we have selected the short story anthology
            Trust Me Too edited by yourself with an introduction by Judith Ridge  
as one of the titles for The White Ravens 2013, our annual selection of outstanding international books for children and young adults, which will be presented at our stand at the Bologna Children's Book Fair. The books for this year's exhibition, 250 titles from more than 40 countries, have been selected from the thousands of books that our library received as review copies from publishers, authors, illustrators, and organisations from all over the world within the last year.
The exhibition is accompanied by a printed catalogue containing bibliographical data and short reviews for each of the selected books. You will receive a copy of the catalogue (which is also available at either in Bologna or by mail after the fair.

With best wishes,

Trust Me Too is the second of two anthologies put out by Ford Street Publishing over the last few years - this one came out only last year. I'm in both. Actually, the first one, Trust Me!, could be said to be the book that started Ford Street Publishing. Paul Collins takes on freelance editing work as well as writing himself. At one point he was commissioned to do an anthology for an education publisher which made things difficult for him. Finally, he returned the fee and decided to publish this himself. It was so very successful that last year he did a follow-up anthology. I have stories in both - historical fiction, both times set in the 1960s.
I'm in the top row, left of Isobelle Carmody

These guys are taking our anthology to Bologna, where, every year around this time, publishers from around the world gather to show off the children's books they have published in the last year, in hopes of selling foreign, or foreign language, rights. Ford Street is really too small a publishing company to be able to do this, but with luck, White Ravens will let other countries know that we have some wonderful writers here in Australia, and who knows? There may be overseas editions of Trust Me Too. Fingers crossed - and congratulations, Paul! You deserve all the good things that might flow from this.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Happy Birthday, Douglas Adams!

This morning I turned on Google to find a decoration centred around The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy. I thought it might be a date of the first publication or even the first broadcast of the radio series, but no - the radio show was first broadcast on March 8th 1978 and the book first came out in October the next year.

I learned that March 11 was Douglas Adams' birthday. If he had still been alive, he would have turned 61 today.

You know, I can remember when I first read it. I was studying librarianship at the time. It was such an exhausting course, a postgraduate diploma which required pretty much all my time during the day - and we all used to say that if the RMIT library had been open at five thirty in the morning we would have been there. Socialising? What was that? They were trying to fit what should have been a two year course into one year.

But what's the point of being a librarian if you can't fit in some time to read for pleasure? I couldn't bear to be without a book. And this one, the first, took me into another world, made me laugh till I cried. Those were the days when people were throwing quotes at each other. The librarianship students were no exception. We had very little free time, but in between classes we would go out for coffee to a place with the unlikely name of the Druids Duck Inn. We would complain about the lecturers and grumble about the exhausting workload... and we'd discuss the latest book to grab our imagination, giggle and quote from it. We thought the Answer To Life, The Universe And Everything was hilarious.

Of course, I ended up reading the lot, and listening to the radio series - oddly enough, not the original series, for quite some time. I think the one playing on the radio when I was listening was from the record, with some different cast members, and was closer to the TV series that came out later.

The thing is, Douglas Adams was always reworking it. The original radio series, for example, had Trillian and Zaphod eaten by the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast Of Traal. So they're all legitimate versions .
I have enjoyed all versions. The whole thing is deliciously silly, and I love silly. There's enough sad stuff happening in the world and far too many dystopian books these days for my taste.

This book came to me at a time when I really needed something funny - and, in the end, it became a classic. It would be interesting to know what he would have been writing if he was still around.

Happy birthday, Douglas, even if you didn't live to enjoy it. 

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Fannish Stuff I Found In The iBook Store

The other day I was looking under "Terry Pratchett" in the iBook store and found a sort of bio by Craig Cabell, who has written a wide variety of books but seems to be a passionate spec fic fan and weaves this into his Terry Pratchett book, Terry Pratchett: The Spirit Of Fantasy. It has a bio component, but also a critique of his work(this author prefers the early books, which is interesting, because Terry doesn't and if I hadn't skipped ahead to read Mort I might never have read past The Colour Of Magic) in which he compares the work with other books and even films and TV shows.

 I thought it very good value for $1.99 and went back to see what else he's done and found a book about the Dr Who actors for the same price! I'm reading the introduction, the only bit that's about the show in general rather than the actors who played the Doctor,and found that the first draft of the first episode was written by an Aussie and contained a lot of information about the Doctor and Susan that was cut out for the purposes of keeping it mysterious, which I think is wise, even if Craig Cabell doesn't. It gave them a lot more flexibility and let the show develop. Still, there was something interesting that links to much later episodes in David Tennant's time. And no, I won't tell you what it is!

I assume it's available in paperback, but ebook will do me for now. There's something magical about going to the store and seeing something you want and just downloading it. I love technology!

Children's Magazines - A Market Guide

I have discovered a wonderful market guide for anyone interested in writing for children's magazines. It's not a company or a publication like, as it might be, Writer's Digest. It's all put together by a teacher and children's writer called Dr Evelyn Christensen. The list of links includes details about who it's for(early childhood, teens, etc. and sometimes whether only kids can write for it, which is handy for teachers with creative students), whether or not it pays, genre. She does say that sometimes the magazine doesn't tell you if it pays and you need to find out yourself. But where she can, she tells you.

And she keeps it up to date, too. Each month she writes to the SCBWI list on LinkedIn to say the new edition is out, and she also publishes useful  articles on the site.

You may never have considered writing magazine articles or short stories for children. Maybe you think of markets only in term of book publishers or adult magazines. All I can say is, I have had a wonderful relationship with the NSW School Magazine over the years. It pays well, if not as well as journalism, but then newspapers keep your rights, while the NSW School Magazine doesn't care what you do with your piece after they've published it and will even pass along to you any offers for reprint they get. And lots of kids read and love magazines and may just remember your name when there's a book with your name on the cover. And I found I learned a lot from it, which stood me in good stead later.

Or you may just decide that writing for children's magazines is your thing - there are plenty of markets out there, especially now there's an Internet - and do only that. Why not?

Good writing!

Friday, March 08, 2013

Peggy Bright Books Giveaway!

Last year, Peggy Bright Books published the wonderful speculative fiction anthology Light Touch Paper Stand Clear, in which I have a story, "Five Ways To Start A War", which tells you how the Trojan War REALLY began. If you were following this blog at the time, you may remember a lot of guest posts from the authors and editors in late June and through July. It has had some great reviews since then(preen, preen! My story got a lot of positive feedback!). I should add that one of those guest posts, the one by Thoraiya Dyer, is one of the most popular on my blog.

If you'd like a free e-copy, Edwina Harvey, one of the two editors, tells me they are having a 48 hour free download from Amazon. Yes, you have to have access to Kindle, but there's a Kindle app for iPad, if you don't have a Kindle reader - I have one myself.

This is a great example of what small press is doing in Australia at the moment. There are some new writers in it and some veterans who have novels published by big press. And I, personally, love short story anthologies which give me a sample of the work of writers I may not have discovered yet.

So, here's the link:

Go and spoil yourself!

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Ebook Creation For Dummies(Like Me)

In previous posts I waxed lyrical about the possibilities of creating ebooks with my class. I came back to work with some great ideas. Kids love the idea of seeing their names on or in a book as much as the rest of us. It's certainly something that never palls for me. And, all going well, perhaps the kids could do their own ebooks.

But when I came back and checked out the kids' school iPads I found that so much was blocked on the school system that my ideas fizzled out. They have Pages and Keynote on their little computers, but can't email their work to their teachers. They're supposed to have access to the App Store, but most can't download from it. And some don't have it on their iPads anyway.I am told that they should be able to do it - the IT teacher was on leave the first four weeks of school and needs to get up to date before he can help there. So they can't even download iBooks(the school gave them the Kindle app) although some can - one girl with her own Apple ID downloaded iBooks and is now happily discovering Beatrix Potter and other classics on Gutenberg. Others find the Apple ID is the school's - they can't log in. Talk about messy! Thank goodness for, which enabled me to set up a class blog from which I hopefully can copy and paste posts into my Blogger class blog and from there to - thank heaven! - Ebook Glue! 

But last night I looked for web sites which offered free ebook making. I found one that seemed similar to Ebook Glue and tested it out, only to find that you had to pay $5 for your crude ebook!

Then I found another one which looked promising: in return for putting up with a few ads, you get free access to ebook creation. It was designed for class use. If it worked, my students, especially those with learning issues, could make their own ebooks. I tested it out. But I don't think it was designed for iPads. I couldn't turn the book's pages. It doesn't download, it's only for online reading. And they can't even share their online ebooks because you have to have access to email or social networks - all blocked! 

Back to Ebook Glue, but no ebooks made by the students. Sigh!

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Flight 404 By Simon Petrie - Kindle Giveaway

A while back, I did the proofreading for Simon Petrie's novella Flight 404, which was published by Peggy Bright Books. It's a hard science fiction piece set in deep space, something we don't get to read too often these days, especially in Australia, where the big publishers tend to prefer fat fantasy trilogies. Fortunately, there's a vibrant small press culture here to publish stuff the big ones don't dare try out - and Simon Petrie knows his science, which he does for a living.

Here's the blurb, as written on Amazon:

"Flight 404 is a novella blending elements of SF, murder mystery, and transgender fiction.

To solve the mystery of the vanished spacecraft, the Bougainvillaea, investigator/pilot Charmain Mertz must return to the conservative world of her boyhood."

Yes, it has a transgender heroine, hence the androgynous image on the cover beautifully done by artist Lewis Morley.

Anyway, if you have a Kindle or, as I now have, a Kindle app on your iPad, you can have the novella free on Amazon for the next three days, till March 4th Pacific time, so yes, if you live in the US you can have it March 4 your time, which is about fifteen hours after March 4 is over in Australia.

If you decide you like that, there's another novella, The Hunt For Red Leicester, which is not free, but not expensive, and which you can get on the Peggy Bright Books web site as part of the Gordon Mamon Casebook, a collection of humorous stories set on a space elevator hotel. And that is the massive sum of $2.50, through PayPal. You can have both books in mobi, PDF or ePub format if you buy them on this web site.

The double novella collection, which is in paperback, has had some great reviews, and shows the range of talents of the author, who can write both serious (404) and silly humour (Red Leicester)