Friday, August 19, 2011

eReader recommendations?

My mum is about to go overseas and has been persuaded by friends that buying an ereader would be a good thing. I've never met anyone who owns an ereader who didn't find it indispensable, which means of course that eventually I'm going to have to get with the times and buy one myself.

There are loads of models around now, mostly around the $200 price range. I think my mum will end up with a Kindle but it seems to have just too many buttons and functions for my liking. I want an ereader that does what a book does: displays words on a page. The most popular options in Australia are the Sony Reader and the Kobo Wireless, about which I know nothing except that they seem to be very hard to come by. Either unavailable or sold out almost everywhere online that I've looked. (Hello, eBay.) And that both come in pretty colors (as well as more serious tones).

That's it, the sum total of my knowledge. I'm leaning toward the Sony Reader Pocket Edition (oh! but the Kobo has has a quilted back!), while simultaneously trying to imagine my life with bookshelves that no longer need to expand.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wildlife and wineries

MCP and I took a short vacation (following our long vacation - did we deserve it?) this week with our agent Kristin Nelson and her husband Brian while they were in Victoria. MCP and Brian, it turns out, are in the same industry (environmental monitoring). (Also, Kristin's dad was a chemical engineer like mine, and of course we both married engineers.) We toured the wine country - the Yarra Valley. Beautiful views, beautiful sunshine on the second day, wonderful food and some very tasty pinot noirs.

View across one of the wineries we visited.

Me and MCP, pondering lunch.

We went to Healesville Sanctuary on Monday where Kristin proclaimed the koalas to be "the cutest things in the world". It was a chilly overcast day and they were quite "active", which isn't saying much for a creature that sleeps 20 hours a day digesting toxic leaves, and barely moves from one spot the rest of the time while it munches.

Me and Kristin waiting for the "Spirits of the Sky" (parrots and birds of prey) show to start.

We stayed overnight in a couple of gorgeous cottages up the side of a mountain, in the middle of a forest and with a clear view to Melbourne's skyline 50 km away. The sort of place where I'd love to spend a week without Internet or baby to get some serious writing done. (Well, no, not without baby - I missed her too much for the 36 hours we were apart. I would have to take Grandma with me to babysit.) We talked a bit of business, not too much. The men proved eminently useful: MCP was our designated driver, and Brian saved our bacon at breakfast, or more specifically our pancakes, after my cooking efforts failed miserably.

Now, finally, we are back home with a chance of settling into our normal routine again.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Pick one

Met with my agent Kristin Nelson and her husband for lunch yesterday (both are, to use her word, exceedingly "nice") - Kristin is here in Melbourne for the RWA conference and after that on vacation, and what better place for a holiday than Australia (perhaps not in winter, but we are getting some sunny days at last).

We didn't talk too much about writing, which is a good thing as I don't have too much to say at the moment. "You do know that you don't have to write a complete novel before you show it to me," says she out of the blue. "Three chapters is enough." Yes, it's taken me a year to not come up with three presentable chapters, although I have in fact written more than that - just not all the same book. And it seems like there's always something else taking up my time - emigrating, Christmas, moving into a new place, overseas trip, organizing photos from overseas trip... And I have a part-time job (in addition to full-time mummy/mommy), which sounds minor on paper, in that it's only 10 hours a week, but those hours tend to come in 15 or 30 minute intervals spread throughout the day.

Plus we've had Game of Thrones and The Tudors to catch up on.

The good thing is that my lack of progress hasn't quelled my excitement over the - um... five projects I'm working on. I know, I know, I must pick one.

Friday, August 12, 2011

I'm still here

On Sunday we returned from two weeks in the USA - a quick trip to visit family and friends. "Quick" sounds like "easy", doesn't it? Well, with a 1-year-old in tow everything was just a little more challenging, but she was an angel for the most part, adapting well to different locations, cribs, time zones and people. She's quite the social butterfly (unlike her mother) and had some wonderful new experiences such as playing the piano, pretend-playing with a tea set, and getting knocked over by waves in the Gulf of Mexico. She developed a new fascination for water bottles (ubiquitous in Arizona and Texas), airplane seat belts and graham crackers.

I took along my trusty Alphasmart but my trust was betrayed - it refused to switch on, so I got exactly zero writing done. Despite this, or because of it, we had a fantastic trip with no serious complications other than a diminished bank account.

This weekend it's the Romance Writers of Australia annual conference here in Melbourne. Agent Kristin Nelson is a guest speaker, and MCP and I will be catching up with her next week. Not at the conference, though - I failed to get my act together in time. Didn't book before the sessions sold out. Didn't even join the RWA in time. Next year, next year...

So the long and the short is that I have no writing news. MCP, on the other hand, received his signed contract from Tor this week so his SF book Fireaxe is 100% official. The publication date is 2013 so I doubt anything else will happen for a while. Trivia time: Tor rejected an early version of Song of Scarabaeus when I sent it unsolicited in 2005. Tor then made an offer on the book when Kristin was shopping it around in 2008 (we went with HarperCollins).