Just 25 days 17 hours 40 seconds until Thief’s Magic arrives in bookstores!
(For the Australian release date, minus 2 days. For the US add 5 days.)
(For the Australian release date, minus 2 days. For the US add 5 days.)
Unlike last year, nobody came to Supanova dressed as a character from my books – at least none that came up to me at the author stand for a photo – so I’ve decided to give both of the proof copies to entrants who sent photos via email. I numbered the entries chronologically, then went to a random number generator site to find the winners.
The first winner was no 11…
Which was Caitlin, who sent this fabulous pic:
The second winner was no 6…
Which was Marion, who took this beautiful photo:
Congratulations to both of the winners, and thanks to everyone who dressed up and sent me photos. The entries ranged from quirky and clever to atmospheric and detailed. All were awesome! And it was such a treat to see other people’s interpretations of characters I created.
Supanova in Melbourne was fabulous. I met many adorable fans and had a wonderful time with my fellow authors, guests and the Supanova staff and volunteers, despite having almost no voice at times thanks to picking up a cold the weekend before.
It was also very busy, so I didn’t manage to take as many photos. But I did get some good ‘uns…
With Lucy Lawless as one of the guests, both Supanovas had a few well exectued Xenas.
A very tolerant Cyberman who was commandeered for several photos next to the author table.
And Michael Pryor, author extraordinaire, who would occasionally bring out his flaming book. I now have prop envy.
I’m getting better at finding time to go shopping. I pick up these wonderful necklaces at the Gold Coast Supanova from Vaudeville Couture:
And this adorable turtle from Pirate Dragon:
I grabbed this wallet from one of my favourite designers, Jubly-Umph Originals:
And I couldn’t resist this replica cat skull from Night Shade FX:
Why? Because they’re interesting to draw and paint. And speaking of drawing… I picked up a couple of comics:
And bought some original art from Nen:
Next time, maybe.
On Sunday morning last weekend I noticed a costume parade on the list of events in the Supanova booklet. So I popped out for some Vegemite on toast for breakfast and to take some photos. A lot of work has gone into some of these costumes, and a lot of fun was being had by all.
I had a blast at Supanova Gold Coast last weekend. Thanks to everyone who stopped by the Dymocks stand to say ‘hi’ and have a book signed. It was absolutely lovely weather:
I had no entrants to the Supanova part of the costume competition while I was there, so if you fancy dressing up as one of my characters and visiting me at Melbourne Supanova this coming weekend there’s a good chance you’ll win that uncorrected proof of Thief’s Magic.
Thanks to everyone who has entered the email part of the comp so far – there have been some awesome and creative costumes sent my way.
Here are some pics of people who stopped by the author tables to let us take photos:
This dress is made from book pages.
How could I resist? I love stationary and art supplies!
The resemblance was uncanny.
My favourite pirates.
And here are the authors from the Dymocks stand – Scott Baker, Isobelle Carmody, David Cornish, Traci Harding, Michael Pryor and me, (being photo bombed by our lovely assistant):
I have two uncorrected proof copies of Thief’s Magic to give away.
(Now, before you read on, please understand that these are uncorrected copies. They don’t have had the last round of proofing applied. If you don’t mind this, then if you win you will get to read the book before everyone else. Well, except those who already have an uncorrected proof, like reviewers, of course.)
Inspired by Supanova (only two weeks until I head for the Gold Coast!) I’ve decided to hold two costume competitions. One for Supanova attendees and one for everyone else. To enter either:
1) Come to Supanova Gold Coast or Melbourne dressed as any character from my books, visit me, pose for a photo, and leave your email address.
2) Email a photo under 300kb of yourself dressed as any character from my books to costumeparade(at)my name(dot)com before April 15th 2014.
I’ll randomly select a winner for each competition.
This isn’t a competition for the best costume, and feel free to have fun with it, but there must be something about your costume that makes it obvious you’re dressed as one of my characters, even if you’re doing, say, a Star Wars take on High Lord Akkarin.
The usual competition caveats: I only have two copies to give away, so there’s no point asking for one once the competition is over. I am immune to begging. Entries require an email address. Postage from Australia is slow, so expect it to take at least a fortnight, maybe more, for it to get to you if you don’t live here. I’d like to post photos of the winning costumes on this blog, but if you don’t want me to just say so – it won’t affect your chances of winning.
Having been inspired to use salty landscape as a setting by a segment on a science documentary featuring land sailing, I decided to look into the sport. Lake Lefroy was a long way from home – off the beaten track, as they say – so I looked closer to home and found the Victorian Blokart Association. I contacted them and on a wet and windy day headed into country Victoria to see what I could find out.
I found a small group of dedicated blokarters gathered under an awning by a disused section of a country airfield. They looked a bit bemused by my explanation that I was writing a Doctor Who story and wanted to include blokarts, but soon one of the guys, David, invited me to watch him assemble one of the carts.
Blokarts are smaller craft than land yachts, developed in New Zealand and growing ever more popular worldwide. They’re compact and light enough that they come, disassembled, in a carry bag even I could manage to lift easily, and fit in the back of a Mini (or any car, really, but since I drive a Mini and this did look like a lot of fun, I was particularly interested to note the size in relation to my car).
The blokart came together quickly and easily, then David suggested I have a sail. A helmet was found, and gloves, and next thing I was having a quick, basic lesson. And a quick lesson was all it took before I was zipping… well, okay I was trundling along over the grass, which keeps the speed manageable for beginners… along having enormous fun.
It was very easy to sail – just a steering wheel and a rope to manipulate – and if you need to slow down or stop you turn the sail into the wind and/or head for a resistant surface like grass. You don’t have to be fit or strong, so it’s an all-ages sport that’s accessible to people with disabilities. And did I mention it was fun?
A few weeks later I headed south to another meet designed to allow people to give blokarting a try. It was quiet at first, so I was able to zoom around a track for about twenty minutes. I found I liked the mental challenge of angling the sail to best catch the wind, as well as the sudden boost of speed when you get it right and the wind picks up.
I am very tempted to buy one, but at the moment I wouldn’t be able to get to the meets, as I got myself a persistent case of plantar fasciitis in my left foot late last year and the Mini is a manuel. Still, the blokarting itself wouldn’t be a problem.
So I’d like to say thanks to all the blokarters who generously answered all my weird questions or let me have a go on their blokarts: David, Russell, Brenton, Bran, Tim and more.
Blokart New Zealand – the CEO is the guy who invented blokarts
This stylish video shows assembly and sailing.
A longer video featuring the inventor.
In interviews about my little Doctor Who novella, I am nearly always asked why I chose the setting, so I thought I’d write a blog post and provide some links about the sources of inspiration behind it.
Initially I only I wanted the story to take place somewhere very Australian, but not the sort of landscape you see in tourist ads. No huge red rocks or gum trees, white beaches or instantly recognisable opera house and bridge, but a different sort of outback.
I immediately recalled an episode of Catalyst, an Australian science show that has been running, in many incarnations, for decades. In particular, an episode where three of the hosts visited a Lake Lefroy, a salt lake, and tried land sailing before undertaking some scientific tests. The stark white landscape looks like the surface of another planet. Add land yachts and it looks like a science fiction setting.
That got me thinking about salt. I already knew about salinity, an environmental problem caused by european agricultural methods used on land they’re unsuitable for. I had pinned photos of awesome salt crystal caves in Pinterest, thinking I’d have to set a story in one, one day.
So I considered the salt-related superstitions, stories, and sayings I could remember: tossing a pinch of salt over your shoulder, the story of Lot’s wife being turned to salt, the meaning of sayings like ‘the salt of the earth’, ‘rubbing salt in a wound’, taking something with ‘a pinch of salt’, whether someone is ‘worth one’s salt’. I also considered the properties of salt, adding flavour to food and its use as a disinfectant as well as for preservation (you could almost say it is time-travel for food). I looked up the health risks and benefits, and thought about all the living things that live in salty conditions.
To expand my knowledge, I bought Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky and discovered how important and valuable salt was in the past, and how salt has been harvested over the years. A fascinating read.
Salt and salty landscapes are such a rich source of ideas that the story came together easily. In fact, salt itself was as much a setting as the salinity-effected land and salt lakes – and you could even say it became a character in the story.
If you are interested to know more about salt, salinity and salt lakes, or just see some of my sources of inspiration, here are some links to follow:
This video/transcript of an article about salt harvesting from another Australian program, Landline.
The video of the Catalyst episode that first got me thinking of salt lakes as a setting.
This fact sheet from the CSIRO explains what salinity is.
These awesome Giant Crystal Caves in Mexico.
And to buy Doctor Who: Salt of the Earth, go here and select an ebook format.
I’m bouncing with excitement, because my Doctor Who novella, Salt of the Earth, is available from today!
The Third Doctor and Jo Grant arrive for a well-deserved holiday of sun and ‘blokarting’ on a salt lake in Australia in 2028. Weird sculptures adorn the landscape – statues carved from the salt. People have been leaving them in the salt lakes for years – but these look different. Grotesque, distorted figures twisted in pain. They don’t last long in the rain and the wind, but they’re just made of salt… Aren’t they?
Time Trips – groundbreaking Doctor Who adventures by some of the most respected writers in the Universe. Short stories that are bigger on the inside…
You can buy it here or via your usual ebook retailer.
I love Supanova! I wish I had the time and energy to attend all six each year, and make fans happy in all the lucky cities that host Supanova. Since I can’t, I’ve concocted a plan to visit a different pair each year, cycling through them. Barring illness, natural or man-made disasters, deadlines and overseas tours.
This year I’m going to Supanova on the Gold Coast and in my own city of Melbourne. Which means all the fun is just a few weeks away!
I’ll let you know more details, like where to find me and the panels I’m on, the week before.
Recently I did a bit of scheduling…
With a new book and an e-novella coming out in the first half of the year, and three events to attend, there was a fair bit on my to-do list including plenty that needs to happen here.
I haven’t blogged in a while because I needed to concentrate on writing Angel of Storms but I want to return to my weekly posting habit now. To prepare, I have plotted a series of posts to write, timed to coincide with book releases and events.
The website needed updating, too, and thanks to the art of delegation, it’s almost done. There is now a page in the menu for the upcoming Doctor Who: Salt of the Earth e-novella (due out March 6th!), as well as pages for the Millennium’s Rule trilogy books (though the pages for the second and third are just place holders for now).
The Report-a-Typo page has been updated, too, and some corrections made to the site. I’ve made little tweaks like moving the Facebook fan page link up to a more visible position, and updating the Featured Titles widget. And I added a little countdown widget to the sidebar to let you know how many days, hours, minutes and seconds there are to go until Thief’s Magic ‘officially’ goes on sale.
So keep an eye on the site – there are exciting things to come!