Not dead, but very tired.

Forgive me reader, for I have sinned. It’s been more than a month since my last blog update. I’m afraid I was preoccupied with editing the second vampire novel (working title Walking Shadows, though I suspect that will eventually change) and now I’m editing a short story for the Twelfth Planet Press anthology. Other, more mundane, parts of life have also intruded, but nobody wants or needs to know about that.

Instead: exciting new things!

I have declared myself a supporter of the National Year of Reading 2012! I hope to be more involved in the campaign, but generally – folks who love to read should do more of it! And they should encourage the kids and adults in their lives to do more of it too! To that end, please feel free to comment with your suggestions of great books to get as gifts for people who seem reluctant to open a book for fear they will be bored to death. For example, to encourage my young male nephews to read I used to get them books by Roald Dahl. One was so leery of books I got him The Mole Who Knew It Was None of His Business, because how can any self-respecting child resist a funny picture book about poop?!

I’m very pleased to see that Mary Borsellino’s The Wolf House is now available as a paperback at Amazon.com. Go and buy it, vampire-loving folks, because it’s full of surprises, wonderfulness, horror, sadness and life.

In the app side of things, my app, Melbourne Literary, was recently updated. My husband, Tim Richards, also released his latest app, Melbourne Getaways – the perfect app for those in Melbourne looking for ideas for day and weekend trips out of Melbourne, or visitors to Melbourne wondering what happens outside the Melbourne metropolitan area.  He also updated his Melbourne Historical app, with more of the city’s hidden historical secrets! The apps only cost about the same as a cup of decent Melbourne coffee and contain a wealth of personally-researched information. If you buy and like them, feel free to go and leave a review in the iTunes store, because we’d be thrilled if you did.

Tim has also released a new eboook –   We Have Here the Homicide: A Travel Writer’s Strange Affair With Poland. It’s a book of his published travel writing about Poland and is full of observations both witty and poignant about the country that is just about his home from home.

I hope to be back to a more regular blogging routine now that the edits are away. I have GaryViews to do, and rants about language, and all kinds of things, so I had better be!

GaryView: Dracula’s Cabaret Restaurant

Gary and LissaSnippets of conversation overheard during the evening…

Lissa: Thanks for coming with me tonight, Gary. You may have saved my life.

Gary: I thought you said it was just a work thing.

Lissa: It is. And I love my job, but I hate work functions. I never know what to talk about besides work.

Gary: … I know what you mean. I never even had a job to talk about.

Lissa: You and I always have lots to talk about.

Gary: I know.  <smiles>

Lissa: Anyway, I thought you might enjoy checking Dracula’s out.

Gary: I came here once before. In the 80s, to see what it was like.

Lissa: And what was it like?

Gary: Okay. I couldn’t eat anything, and I didn’t understand any of the jokes, and I was by myself so people kept giving me funny looks. But the decorations were really good.

Lissa: Well, we can keep each other company a bit this time.

***

Lissa: Gary, this is my boss, Beatrice.

Beatrice: So your Lissa’s mysterious Gary!

Gary: Ah. Yes. (looks at Lissa) Am I mysterious?

Lissa: Not to me.

Beatrice: But all she ever says is “I’m seeing Gary this weekend” but she doesn’t tell us anything about you.

Lissa: There’s not much more to say, is there Gary?

Gary: No. We get together and watch TV mostly.

Lissa: And talk.

Beatrice: I’ll bet there’s more to it.

Lissa: Gary and I are just friends, Beatrice.

Beatrice: ‘Friends’ is good, but (c0nspiratorially to Gary) it sounds like more than friends when she talks about you.

Gary: (deadpan) That’s because I’m really a vampire and Lissa and I sometimes get caught up in vampire business.

Beatrice: (roars with laughter and slaps Gary on the arm) I can see why you like him, Lissa! Good on you for getting in the mood, Gary!

Lissa: (trying to get the startled look off her face) Yeah, he’s a hoot.

***

Lissa: Gary, stop telling me what’s coming up in the ghost ride. It’s supposed to be a surprise.

Gary: But I can see what’s there.

Lissa: That’s because you can see in the dark. But you’re kind of spoiling the fun.

Gary: But you don’t really think it’s scary do you? It’s just animatronics and a soundtrack and Oh!!

Lissa: (dies laughing) You got scared by the wind machine!!!

***

Gary: I don’t get it.

Lissa: Well, I’m not going to explain it.

Gary: I mean, I know it’s a joke about sex. I just don’t know why it’s supposed to be funny.

Lissa: I don’t either, Gary. Never mind. They’ll be singing again soon.

Gary: The singing’s pretty good. Even though that’s not about vampires either. I really thought there’d be more vampire stuff in the show.

Lissa: They did the song from True Blood. That was cool.

Gary: Yeah.

***

Gary: Is that a chocolate coffin?

Lissa: It is! It’s delicious!

Gary: Smells good.

Lissa: You think it all smells good.

Gary: Yep.

Lissa: Tastes good too!

***

Beatrice: God, Gary, did you buy everything?

Gary: No. Just the programme. Lissa bought me the glass. See. It’s a skull with vampire teeth.

Beatrice: I know! I got one for Jean too.

Gary: That’s Mrs Beatrice, isn’t it?’

Lissa: Gary!

Beatrice: (laughing) I know it’s what you all call her, you know. It drives Jean nuts, but I kind of like it.

Jean: (grabs Beatrice by the hand) At my work, they call you Mrs Jean.

Beatrice: Oh, excellent. I like that too.

Gary: Nice to meet you both. Mrs Beatrice. Mrs Jean.

Beatrice: (roars with laughter) Seriously, Lissa, your friend is a hoot.

Lissa: Yep. (grins at Gary) He is.

***

Lissa: Did you have a good night?

Gary: I did. Thanks for asking me along.

Lissa: Thank you so much for coming. I had a good time too. And Beatrice thinks you’re awesome.

Gary: That’s because she thinks I’m joking when I’m not.

Lissa: Maybe. Still. I’m really glad you came.

Gary: Me too. Even if most of the jokes and music weren’t about vampires.

Lissa: At least you got a vampire skull drinking cup out of it.

Gary: And it flashes! (turns on the light switch at the bottom of the cup. They watch the vampire skull glass flash multiple colours and admire its schlockiness for a while.)

***

Dracula’s Cabaret Restaurant has been operating in Melbourne for over 30 years.

*For newcomers, the GaryView is a review of books/films/TV/entertainment carried out as a conversation between Lissa Wilson (librarian) and Gary Hooper (vampire) , characters from my book ‘The Opposite of Life’.

Chronos Awards: Some cool people you should nominate/vote for

Further to my earlier squeeing about the Chronos Awards, there are a lot of really amazing people who are eligible for the awards this year. You should nominate them. And you should vote for them. And if you you don’t know who they are, you should find out!

This is by no means a comprehensive list, but it includes some of the Melbourne/Victorian people whose work I have enjoyed in 2010.

Best novel:

Foz Meadows’ YA vampire novel, Solace and Grief, is eligible. So is Kirstyn McDermott’s Madigan Mine, which I haven’t read yet but by all accounts is a most excellent novel.

Best short story:

  • Lucy Sussex, Albert & Victoria/Slow Dreams (Baggage, Ed Gillian Polack)
  • Tessa Kum, Acception (Baggage, Ed Gillian Polack)
  • Paul Haines, Her Gallant Needs (Sprawl, Ed Alisa Krasnostein)
  • Felicity Dowker, Bread and Circuses (Scary Kisses, Ed Liz Grzyb)

Cover of Scary KissesFelicity has put a great list of all her eligible work on her blog, as well as suggestions for other people you should consider nominating,so so and check that out for other potential nominees.

Alisa Krasnostein has also provided a helpful list of potential nominees, including Alex Pierce for her work on the podcast, Galactic Suburbia!

If you know of any work that is eligible for the Chronos Awards, tell us about it here so we can read/view/nominate/vote at Continuum 7!!

And finally, if anyone is really keen to read The Truth About Brains without buying the whole book it’s in, drop me a line and I’ll sort something out…

Twelve Planets and Chronos Awards

I have already squeed about this on my Facebook page, but I am immensely delighted and proud to be part of the newly-announced Twelve Planets series, being published by Twelfth Planet Press.

Twelve Planets will be a series of 12 short collections of short stories by 12 Australian women writers, including the superb talents of Lucy Sussex, Tansy Rayner Roberts and Deborah Biancotti. I’m so excited at the prospect of being of their number, of working with Alisa Krasnostein and Twelfth Planet Press, who have been publishing such amazing anthologies and novellas over the last few years.

Although my four stories are yet to be finalised (I submitted five), one of them is my zombie tale, The Truth About Brains, which was published in 2010 in Best New Zombie Tales Volume 2.

Best New Zombie Tales vol 2As it happens, this story is eligible for nomination in this year’s Chronos Awards, presented every year at the Continuum convention. If you have read it and consider it worthy of nomination, you can send your nomination in to the committee via email at awards@continuum.org.au or by leaving a comment on this Livejournal entry.

If you haven’t read The Truth About Brains and would like to, you can buy a copy of Best New Zombie Tales Volume 2 in either Kindle or paperback from Amazon.com, or for $25 (inc postage in Australia) you can get it from me. Just email me at narrelle@iwriter.com.au to find how to arrange this. In any case, get in touch with me if you’d like to read it and I’ll arrange it somehow!

Words are like oxygen