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Giveaway Time – The Chimera Vector by Nathan Farrugia

Remember this article I wrote on The Chimera Vector?  Well, this is your chance to win a signed copy of the book as Farrugia is celebrating. Momentum has chosen several of their titles to publish print books through Matthew Reilly’s publisher Pan Macmillan and sell them in real life bookshops! He’s made the transition from ebook to print book! Woohoo!!

What you have to do to win a signed copy of the book is to sign your life away…no, that’s wrong. You need to answer the following question and there’s a fair chance it’ll be found on his website so just click here to read it and find out.

What is the name of the main character?

You have two ways to enter. One is to answer the question, thus giving us your name and email address (your email address will be added to Farrugia’s email list not be bombarded with boring old emails but instead receive exciting emails about new books!) I promise it will only be used for this purpose and no other, certainly not for asking silly questions such as your shoe size.

The other is to head on over to twitter and tweet the message given below.

If you’re sad because you haven’t won the book just pop along to your local bookshop as it should be on the shelf. It’s well worth the read.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway only open to Australian and New Zealand readers. Closing date is 15th February 2016.

Friday Photos

Just driving past and happened to be in a good position to take a photo of Flemington Library…as I was starting to drive off so you’re very lucky to get a decent photo.

Flemington Library

Flemington Library

Sitting at some red lights I looked up and noticed this building was called Shakespeare Terrace. All the hundreds of times I’ve sat at that intersection in Richmond and never looked up before.

Shakespeare Terrace

Shakespeare Terrace

A little pop culture in the form of Zing at Chadstone. I had no idea they were a chain.

Zing at Chadstone

Zing at Chadstone

H is for Traci Harding

Ancient Future: The Dark Ages by Traci Harding

Ancient Future: The Dark Ages by Traci Harding

Harding shows that anything is possible whether you were bad at English at school, a terrible speller and dyslexic it is still possible to write a really good book, or even several really good series of books.

In my stalking of her I found so much about her. She apparently got a D for English in school (I feel much better, I failed it in both year 11 and year 12 – there’s hope for me yet!) she was also a terrible speller and dyslexic to boot but she persevered and to date has written several really good series of books.

Her fans are hardcore, reading her new book from cover to cover in only a day or two totally ignoring the fact they have to work in a few hours or get the housework done. Housework! Whatever is that?

I admit to a mea culpa moment as I’ve never read her books but I have heard some very good things about them from my friends. And she must be good, she cites Star Wars: A New Hope as a good influence on her (I’m not biased) having seen it 10 times while it was in the cinemas the very first time.

Here’s her new book for you to buy, or at the very least to look at the lovely cover art. The Storyteller’s Muse was published three days ago, for once I’m up-to-date.

Making Money – Terry Pratchett

Making Money - Terry Pratchett

Making Money – Terry Pratchett

I’ve really put off reading this book as long as I possibly could, not because Pratchett died last year and there won’t be any more books and I want to put off reading the ones I haven’t read as it makes his death seem less real but because it has my favourite character. Don’t ask me why I like a conman, there’s little sense in these emotions. In Going Postal Moist von Lipwig is given the choice of either walking into the scorpion pit or getting the Ankh Morpork Postal Service up and running again, his theory is never choose death when there’s another alternative and does a very good job of bringing the Postal Service back from the brink of death.

Making Money is the sequel and he’s not given the choice of turning down the job of revitalising the Ankh Morpork’s Royal Mint and the bank next door and being the Chairman’s personal assistant. The Chairman is a dog and if something happens to him then his personal assistant is dead meat…literally. This book is all about how von Lipwig takes the situation by the horns and turns everything around in his usual showy fashion. We even see how he invents paper money, it’s a logical progression for someone who’s already invented stamps and as it turns out there gold in the vault is a myth.

I’d better stop there before I do all the spoilers.

Is it worth it? Of course it is, what a strange question. It’s Pratchett at his finest, bringing so many aspects of modern society together in one book and illustrating for us what conmen might do when they’re settled and bored.

Study update

A slight update on my studies and some advice from someone behind the keyhole.

Last year I passed my VCE and this year I received a First Round Offer for university which I accepted with intense amounts of glee and nerves. I’m now back where I was wanting to be some years ago, I’ve always wanted to get into university having completed VCE and now I’ve done that. I’ve always wanted to do a Bachelor of Arts in something and now I’m enrolled in a BA in Professional and Creative Writing. All the other courses I mentioned previously were to get me into university to do a BA in some other roundabout fashion and now I’ve managed to get to where I wanted to be in the manner I wanted to get there. To say I’m excited is a severe understatement.

I’ve received lots of advice over the past few weeks and what I’m going to quote is from someone undercover. It’s good, timely advice for anyone about to go to university somewhere in Australia and possibly elsewhere in the world.

Keep an eye on the withdrawal deadlines. Don’t be afraid to drop a subject or reduce your study load if you’re feeling overwhelmed. It is better to withdraw with no fail than to end up being too overwhelmed.

Look at the support networks. Use them. You’re paying for them. One at USyd is “The Learning Centre”. They have staff who can look though your essays and give you one on one feedback (not every time . . . .). There are resources IF you need / want them.
Don’t be afraid to be that annoying person who asks for advice if you have questions. It can be time consuming for the person you’re asking, it is difficult to grudge sensible questions.
Check out your course / degree / faculty handbooks. If they don’t make sense, ask. Sometimes you might need help translating “academese” (a dialect of legalese) into English.
Create a degree plan. Keep an eye on it. It is not a contract, and it is easily changeable, it is just re-assuring you that you have a vision of where you’re headed with your options and commitments. . .
Use the support everyone is providing at uni/Facebook/other social media. When you need assistance, ask your awesome Facebook wisdom group.
The library. If you can locate your specialist librarian, they are there because they love what you’re doing. They are finding and making the readings (etc) accessible and they KNOW stuff. All sorts of stuff.. .
When looking at later study (honours, postgrad, etc), most unis will not look at your first year. It is expected that there may be a bump or a wobble. Failing a unit in first year is not the end of the world – it’s a learning experience.

Friday Photos

Can’t remember the name of this town. We stopped here for lunch on the way to Port Fairy. This Public Library is now the Information Centre.

Public Library

Public Library

I don’t like embarrassing companies when they can’t spell their own company on the package so you can use your own eyes to figure out what it should be.

Raw Materials

Raw Materials

I truly suspect this should be ‘suburbia’ rather than ‘subrubia’. I’m sure they proofed the poem but just didn’t see the previous line.

Subrubia

Subrubia

G is for Kerry Greenwood

Kerry Greenwood, everyone’s heard of Greenwood. She’s the lady who found Phryne Fisher in her subconscious and quickly shared her with everyone else, again, and again, and again before they were found and shared on screen. I’m going to admit I’ve never read a Greenwood book but before but I’m sure it will happen. I have seen some of the TV series and they are beautifully done with great attention to detail.

Before I give you some links for her books I’ll share my two Greenwood moments. They’re very small moments but I shall treasure them just because.

One of my all time loves is wooden furniture, if it’s old and beautifully made I’m in absolute heaven. One day I hope to have the money to replace my cheap stuff with proper furniture. I was in a furniture shop nearish to me trying to find exactly the right springs and someone to fix my couch, this all happened but while I was there talking and drooling over the oh-so-fabulous furniture the man gently mentioned he was repairing one of the pieces of furniture from the Phryne Fisher TV series. Yes, I saw it from afar and I covet it!

The other Greenwood moment is when I was the chauffeur for a young person and ended up talking to the Wizard who lives with Greenwood. I didn’t know who he was until much later.

Let me now be a little mercenary and give you some links to a couple of Greenwood’s books.

A Phryne Fisher Mystery: Cocaine Blues  The first book in the Phryne Fisher Mysteries, just because you should start at the very beginning.

The Deadly Flu and here’s a bit of history for 9+ year olds.

Writers not paid?

There’s something that’s been totally fascinating me at events such as SupaNova, Armageddon (now called AMC Expo) and other events such as these which include “stars” from movies and TV series. If you’re not familiar with them let me explain a little.

AMC Expo is an amazing event whereby you have a number of stars mostly from overseas to talk, to sign photos, to have their photos taken and basically to be on show. There are also a number of shops or businesses or just individual artists or writers who will have a stall or a table to sell their works and increase their profile, I’ve been there and done similar stuff for the Victorian Discworld Klatch as they accept community organisations so long as they can pay the large fee. SupaNova is a similar event for pop culture, there are many smaller conventions throughout the year/country.

The thing that differentiates AMC Expo and SupaNova from any of the smaller conventions is the payment system. For the smaller conventions you pay through the nose but you have almost complete access to the special guests, they are very likely to be found hanging around in the bar talking to people and while there will be special sessions where you can talk to them without interruptions or special signing sessions there is no extra cost for this. For Nullus Anxietas: the First Australian Discworld Convention Terry Pratchett was to be found holding forth during unscheduled times in the games room, I have photos of this! The signing queue was quite extensive and we had to limit people to three books. It cost no more.

For both SupaNova and AMC Expo there is a much smaller entrance fee, unless you want to sit in the front row for all talks and be in the front of queues in which case it’s quite a bit more expensive, and it’s much more manageable for more people to actually be able attend, in other words attendance is in thousands rather than the low hundreds. The stars have designated times and places for photo taking and signatures and each one costs at least $30. There are generally multiple stars so if you want a photo with each of them you can find your hip pocket nerve hurting quite a lot as you’ll be losing hundreds of dollars. The same for signatures, each one can cost tens of dollars. You can even get a photo then have them sign it but you have to pay for each action.

This tells me how much my DD was going to spring for me for Mother’s Day in 2010. She would have paid for this cartoon, then she would have paid to see James Marsters to get him to sign this for me! I very carefully did not do the research to find out the price of this but needless to say it’s been put away fairly carefully while I figure how to frame it, there’s another drawing on the back.
So, onto my rant of the day. I found this article Why English writers accept being treated like dirt and wondered, yet again, why things are so different for writers. This isn’t just writers in England who are expected to turn up and not be paid for it, it’s writers here as well and probably writers in many other countries. If you go to a convention where the special guests are authors you’ll have to queue up to get your book signed but you don’t have to pay for the privilege. I understand things are slightly different as writers have a book you can buy but they’re quite happy to sign a book you’ve brought along. Sometimes they’ll sign other stuff as well, I’ve had Terry Pratchett sign a plastic banana and when my DDs went to see the Chaser team they bought a pair of pink frilly underpants and they signed those, but they did then change their policy and refuse to sign anything other than their books after that…awfully proud of my DDs for being able to do this and then make such a change! I still have those underpants somewhere.

Half Past Dead – Jane Clifton

Half Past Dead by Jane Clifton

Half Past Dead by Jane Clifton

Picked this book purely for the author. Clifton is multi-talented, she acts, she sings and now she writes. I first remember seeing her on Prisoner in the 1970s and was pleasantly surprised some years later to see her sing so when I saw her name on this book it was a must read.

This is not a G rated read, I warn you of that upfront. The sex is blunt, the violence is there and death is not shied away from. Our protagonist is in the prime of life, she has a job, a husband, a son and is happy with all of that so why do her hormones help her to succumb to the charms of Lawrence Konitz? She’s not sure but they do and they land her in a heap of trouble when she’s there the night he dies and then his body disappears and things get worse and worse.

This book is competently written, it’s her first so I expect better from her second. The characters are well drawn and I have little difficulty picturing where she’s writing about. I do find myself relating to Ronnie and wondering how she’s going to get herself out of trouble.

Friday Photos

We stayed in a cabin at the Big4 Caravan Park while in Port Fairy. No, this isn’t an ad for them just an explanation. They were more geared towards families with young children who don’t mind being in close quarters and with activities for young children complete with pancakes for breakfast on Saturday morning. Apart from the Amenities Block which I recall from many holidays spent caravanning with my family they also had a mostly open-air building with barbecues and a kitchen, and this little library.  If I’d known I would have taken a couple of books and left them there.

Library Big 4 Caravan Park

Library Big 4 Caravan Park

I can understand how this typo came into being. I know it’s spelled ‘pomegranate’ but that’s not how it’s pronounced.

Pomegranite

Pomegranite

I was so excited to find this little treasure. It belongs to a friend and is Wizard of Earthsea in Japanese, I would have borrowed it but it’s a graphic novel and in Japanese…I don’t look at the graphics and I don’t read Japanese, only a slight problem.

Wizard of Earthsea in Japanese

Wizard of Earthsea in Japanese

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I want to thank the Koolin people for their thousands of years of guardianship and caretaking of the area where I live.
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