Miscellaneous musings

Posted on 4 May 2010. Filed under: Rant and Rave Time | Tags: , , , |

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I’ve been really struggling to get motivated to do anything tonight. Not terribly good as I have three articles to write. I’ll write something here and hopefully be more motivated tomorrow to get the other two out of the way. I’m just a bit cheesed off as I’ve been following a course of how to get the most out of Facebook. So I’ve been following everything fairly closely, creating a Fan Page, using plenty of swear words and writing some nice html for the Welcome Page until last night when the Welcome Page disappeared. It still hasn’t returned but something I’ve deleted twice has so I’m just going to wait it out for a few days before diving back in again. While I’m waiting I’ll continue with the word games on the discussion board, anyone is welcome to join in.

Varuna

I’d heard of Varuna – Sydney Writers’ Festival Blue Mountains Program and would dearly love to go but I think it’s for serious writers and I don’t consider myself a serious writer, certainly not in the realms of people like Trudi Canavan or Donna Hanson so the best I can do is to get the word out and hope that others get the chance to go. It sounds seriously wonderful. Anyway, the dates are:

Sunday May 16 – Special Children’s Program
Monday May 17 & Tuesday May 18 – Main Program

Australian Publishers Association election result

Small(er) publishers to the fore: a surprise Australian Publishers Association election result. Previously only people from large publishing companies were elected to the presidency of the Australian Publishers Association but this year Stephen May, a psychologist and the founder of Brisbane-based Australian Academic Press ran against Gabrielle Coyne, the CEO of Penguin Australia, and won. It’s a very interesting move and I do wonder how it will affect publishing in Australia. I’m not going to speculate on this, just like I’m not going to speculate on Gabrielle Coyne’s feelings at having lost. It’s going to be one of those ‘watch this space’ times, though.

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Ghosts

Posted on 7 April 2010. Filed under: Interesting websites | Tags: , , |

I’ve always wondered about the vast numbers of celebrity books that are around. How come they are all such good writers, surely they can’t all have the necessary skills to write a book as well as doing all the things they normally do. I do understand that some people are multiskilled and can act, sing, write a book etc but I was highly sceptical that everyone was so capable. Well, today, thanks to the powers of Twitter I’ve finally found the answer and it makes so much sense.

Roman Polanski has released a new movie, it’s called The Ghost Writer. Apparently a lot of the books supposedly written by celebrities were actually written by other people, people who make a profession out of being ghost writers. It’s seriously amazing and explains so many books. You can find more details in this article and includes a ghost writer who writes four books a year. Thank you to Meanjin for sending me to this article. The article starts off with some information about the movie and ends up with some names of ghost writers.

I’d like to take a few moments to applaud ghost writers. They do an amazing job and receive absolutely no credit for it. I must have read some of their books and it would be really nice to be able to tell them how much I enjoyed their work. If I didn’t enjoy their work then I’d like to blame the celebrity and not the writer, but that’s just me being mean.

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Colin Thiele a South Australian Treasure

Posted on 17 February 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , |

Colin Thiele, a name from my childhood. He was born in Eudunda in November 1920 to German parents. He only spoke German until he attended school at Julia and it was at school that his love of the written word started. He died at the age of 85 in September 2006, the same day of Steve Irwin’s death, so his passing was not marked in an appropriate way. There should have been much more happening but Irwin was a much more prominent man and so he overshadowed Thiele. He was a wonderful author and the books he wrote about the Coorong describe it as the beautiful place it is. If you read the books and then look at the pictures on this site you’ll see just how right he was.

His books are just pure poetry and I can lose myself in them at any time, I know they’re written for children but they’re just as enjoyable for adults. I reread both Storm Boy and Blue Fin recently both of which were made into movies with the same boy as the lead actor and I couldn’t believe how fitting they were for adult and child alike. I’ve just had a look at the cast of both movies on IMDB and they both had a sterling cast with David Gulpilil in Storm Boy, but he gets to be included in a different blog.

I’ve currently got Chadwick’s Chimney in front of me and I’m debating whether it is in good enough condition to sell or if it should just go back to the op shop. It’s a book I don’t recall reading but the synopsis shows the same excitement and adventure as his other books. Storm Boy is about a boy who is brought up on the beach of the Coorong and saves some pelican chicks. He looks after them, feeding them, caring for them and eventually teaching them to fly. They do fly away but one of them, Mr Percival, comes back from time to time. Blue Fin is about a boy on his first voyage and the trials and tribulations he goes through as he ends up the only conscious person on the boat during a storm.

I wish I could thank Colin Thiele for his writing as they were so good and gave me so much pleasure over the years. Reading can be an escape and his books certainly were that.

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Australian Writers

Posted on 16 February 2010. Filed under: Rant and Rave Time | Tags: , , , |

I’m very passionate about writing…well, actually from my point of view it’s more about the reading than the writing but someone has to write so I can read it. I’m also very passionate about the Australian writing industry, if we don’t support them then they will go out of business and Australian authors will not be published as often, if at all and that’s not good. We have some very talented authors in Australia and I’m not going to name names here as that’s not what this post is all about.

We have some big problems with the Australian writing/publishing industry and some of those have been highlighted in the press in the past few months while some have not. The price of books in Australia is a big one, we are paying much more for a book than our counterparts in the US for example. Even if the book was written and published here we’re still paying much more for the same book. Another problem is our size, we’re just so small in comparison that we’re finding it hard to compete with the rest of the world, very few of our authors make it overseas.

I was given an idea a few months back and I’ve been working on it with the lady who gave it to me to try and bring it to fruition. So far, the idea is very small and I’d like to see it grow. Basically, it’s a forum for Australian authors to interact with the public. What we’re looking at is having a whole month devoted to each author, they get to choose the time and place of their postings as they can do it from home in the middle of the bath if they so choose, but we would expect them to check in and answer the questions for that month only. I would be trying very hard not to charge anyone for this as I consider it too important.

I have the forum and it has some people on it, I now need to take it to the next step and get more people and also some willing victim volunteer to take on the task of being the first authors to take on the public in this manner. I do have some ideas for who I could ask but have decided to open it up to volunteers. Here is the address of the forum if you want to check it and sign up now you can.

I’m hoping that by raising our homegrown authors profiles and making them more accessible to the general public then people will be more inclined to buy their books rather than imported ones.

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When a holiday is not a holiday…

Posted on 3 February 2010. Filed under: Downtime | Tags: , , |

I’d taken some holidays, much needed as I have to break the addiction to books and the internet. It was very hard to leave the computer at home and while packing I left it to the last moment to pack my laptop as I was still undecided whether I’d be able to break the emotional ties and leave it behind. On the one hand it was meant to be a holiday but on the other I had lots of blogs to write and I can write much faster on the computer than I can by hand. In the end I managed to leave it behind and I’m not quite certain if I made the right decision. I did take plenty of paper and a pen so I could write by hand and that’s exactly what I did, I wrote five blogs in total and made numerous notes for a series of blogs I’m planning on Pulp Fiction Magazines. I didn’t manage to leave the books behind and actually packed a box of them, a very small box, though. I’d forgotten to put a note on my home page and was constantly worried about the business, I spent some time looking for internet connection and when I finally found it I couldn’t actually get into the back end of the website to add a note about me being away. I also had no mobile phone connection, we’re reliant on the mobile phone towers and there wasn’t one for my network in the neighbourhood so if potential buyers wanted to ring me they wouldn’t have been able to.

So, the theme of this blog is holidays as it’s the Christmas/New Year break and so many businesses in Australia close down for this time as it’s summer, so the holiday destinations get a real workout. We booked a week in Halls Gap, a beautiful area of The Grampians in Victoria, Australia and three days in Daylesford, home of the mineral springs. We don’t celebrate Christmas so we travelled on that day and when we got there the place was deserted, it was lovely, two days later it was absolutely packed. We booked in for seven nights and our neighbours changed every couple of days. It’s a seriously lovely place and I couldn’t help looking around at the shops to find the pre-loved books for sale. There were several shops with books, two of them were pre-loved: the supermarket and a gift shop. Neither of them had a lot of books but I carefully checked them all out and while the gift shop had some lovely books none of them were of interest to me. There was an empty shop and a couple of other shops up for sale and this got me thinking. A tourist destination would be a good place for a secondhand book shop. You’d have to multitask and have a section for new books as well as selling online as a lot of the time you’d be sitting there with nothing to do but it would make a great place. The scenery is just delightful and the people really friendly. The empty shop was quite big and all it needs is someone with business accumen and a bit of money. I know people who sell pre-loved books in bulk so would be able to help someone make the contacts in order to buy several thousand books at once, transport from Shepparton would be the challenge.

So, other things that came up when we were away are op shops we visited. We’d left Halls Gap and were travelling to Daylesford on New Years Day when I noticed an Op Shop open in Beaufort. It’s a tiny little town and I was so totally blown away by the idea of any shop being open on New Years Day that I had to stop and go in. Previous holidays when we’ve been looking for an icecream on New Years Day we’ve had great trouble finding anything open and have had to travel long distances only to find a place just about to close up at midday so to find an Op Shop open on this particular day was really amazing. The kids came in with me and between us we bought three books. A very nice shop, just strange to find it open on that day. Daylesford was much more as expected, it’s a real tourist town and so almost everything is open. A fabulous pre-loved bookshop, it’s only got 14 rooms of books on two storeys there’s also a number of antique and collectable shops all having a number of pre-loved books, I didn’t get to all of them as I had to spend some time with the family and also do some washing, but I did see most of them. One of the shops looks and feel like an op shop, but is actually a collectables shop and it took forever to get through as it was rather small and very crowded. They had a nice collection of Agatha Christie books but none of the ones I’m missing. We also visited the Daylesford Sunday Market, I think it’s on once a month and there were so many stalls I didn’t get through them all.

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