Phone calls, books recommended, and a cough


I’m working on a lot of things at the moment. Short stories – well, I never – novels, and more novels. Each has a very distinctive voice which makes switching between them not as hard as it could be, though as with everything some stories start to take precedence and there’s a couple that I’m finding myself slipping into with increasing ease – to the point where I actually feel like I am there with my characters when I am writing them. This is a good sign. I play with a lot of stories at once (when there are no pressing deadlines) and this has the effect of making me look prolific (and also very slow). It’s the way my mind works, and the way I like to work.

If all things work out (and I don’t get another half dozen colds!) I’ll be finished with five books by the middle of 2013 (hopefully one of these by the end of the year – though I’m not sure which, they’re fighting it out in my skull at the moment).

Of course, sometimes things don’t work out, and this has been a year of that, healthwise, and focuswise for me. But onwards and upwards and all that.

Dad called me the other day to let me know how much he enjoyed Night’s Engines, which pleased me very much. He said he’d enjoyed it more than anything I’d ever written, and he couldn’t wait to read what I wrote next. Dad’s always been proud of me, and this rather foolish writing lark, but, you don’t get many phone calls like that – well, I don’t. So, obviously, if you’ve been thinking about buying the book, you now have my Dad’s recommendation (totally unbiased, of course).

By the way, I don’t know if I’ve mentioned them here before – not likely, as it’s been a while – but if you’re after a great Horror collection, Felicity Dowker’s Bread and Circuses is very much worth a look – I loved it (wrote the introduction I did). Felicity is one of the many newish writers that you’re all going to see win lots of awards in the next few years.

And Luke Preston’s Dark City Blue is about as high octane a crime novel as you could get. It’s an e-book through Momentum and well worth a read – though it may blow up in your face. I don’t blurb a hell of a lot of books, but this one grabbed me, and didn’t let go. Luke’s a page-turner of the highest order (or the most violent).

Check them out. You won’t regret it, except the lack of sleep from staying up all night reading them.

Now back to my stories, and this bloody cough.



Had a ball at my book party yesterday, launched the book, made a Trent lookalike read (thanks Jess) and talked Spec Fic and books with some wonderful people. Thanks to everyone that could make it on a school night – and the first night of Dark Knight Rises, no less – and thanks for all the well wishes. Sweater vests, beards, and hats were in abundance, and someone had even made a Pieo/Okkervil River t-shirt.

It was great to see Rowena (who was there at the start) and Kylie Chan who launched Roil so wonderfully.

Book launches are at once incredibly stressful, and lovely, but this one was the most relaxed I’ve had (maybe I’m getting better at them, or drinking more). Thanks to Krissy Kneen for MCing, and bringing order to the whole affair. Krissy is an amazing person, I’ve written of my admiration for her writing and her energy before, but I want to say that I am so proud to have her not just as a colleague but a dear friend.

And to work in such a special place as Avid is an utter privilege. Indie bookstores are the backbone of literature in this country, vibrant, fun, and inclusive. I’m so proud to be a part of that. Fiona Stager and those that work around her in the shop and the cafe have made something amazing.

So a good night was had by all – I hope – and that Aortic Red was surprisingly drinkable thanks to Alex Adsett and Paul Landymore for sharing it with me, two of the best friends a fellow could have.

Finally, thanks to Diana without whom none of this could happen. I love her far beyond my meagre talent with words.

Far too many Trents in the house.



Whatever happened

to that last week? I know what happened. I’m in that difficult third of Night’s Engines, basically (if you’re familiar with my ridiculous rather non-linnear writing style) where I’ve written the final third, and the first third and middle is something of a chasm, down which I have to put my poor characters through a lot of nastiness. They’re always the hardest things to write. You hit this stage with every book, mope around miserably, complain that you don’t have enough time to write, and that it’s never going to get done, and you hold on, and you just keep going, a word at a time, and eventually it gets done.

But until it does, you become a wee bit of a grump. So there!

At least I’ve got a workshop to run next week, which will keep me pleasantly distracted, and then May 6/7 I’ll be down at the Gold Coast Writers festival – hopefully by then this stage of the book will be a memory, and I’ll be putting it aside for a while, getting some people to read it, and generally preparing myself for editing and submission.

I think it’s a great book (and I can’t believe it’s my fifth novel) but right now, it’s still a fair way off being anything but a slog.

I have been getting some lovely emails about book corner 10, and PIEO*. Glad people have been enjoying them, though you really SHOULDN’T encourage me. The whole videocast thing has been so much fun, don’t know if I’m ever going to be capable of doing a serious one, but me being an idiot, well, I’ve plenty of that.


*including a videocast that was just the cutest thing! Diana and I laughed our heads off.