Thursday, August 10, 2017

A WRITER'S PROBLEM: HOW TO GET RID OF THE BORING BITS...

I am recycling some old posts which may be of interest to new writers struggling with writing problems...
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The Problem:

How do you write the boring bits between the interesting bits?

In other words, how do you breathe the magic on to the page to keep your readers awake, even when you aren't writing the really exciting action bits?

Personally, I find that writing the exciting parts of the story - the adventures, or the emotionally charged character confrontations - is the easy task. What is tough is to get the hero in the door to start with, or to get the army to the battlefield, or to get the heroine up and dressed in the morning, or get the travellers from place A to place B.

Take the travelling. In a mainstream novel set in Megacity, no problem. You can say "She caught the train." It's somewhat harder in a fantasy. She walked. Um, she walked six days. (Reader is immediately thinking: what did she eat, was it safe to walk, where did she sleep, etc, etc, and they expect answers.)

But what if the answers are unimportant and have no bearing on your overall story arc? How do you get her from point A to B? How do you get the hero in the door?

1. Sometimes the answer might be simple. You use a trick:

e.g. the end of a chapter

Your hero goes to bed in his room at the inn at the end of chapter 10. At the beginning of Chapter 11 you have him knocking on the door of the villain's house for the great confrontation scene. VoilĂ , you have avoided all that tiresome business of getting up, getting dressed, having breakfast etc, all of which is irrelevant to the story arc.

e.g. the division of your book into parts.

At the end of Part One, you have your king declaring to his councillors that they are going to march to war on neighbouring kingdom. Part Two opens with the king's army besieging the walled city of the neighbouring king. None of that tiresome business of how you raise an army, supply it, arm it, march across the border...

e.g. the section break (seen in the book as a blank line or sometimes an asterisk or equivalent.)

Seen in the typed text as --TEXT BREAK HERE--

You write a scene where Mary is trying to decide which of her numerous dresses she is going to put on for the ball. You insert a text break, and then continue on to show Mary as she sweeps into the ballroom clad in her older married sister's bright red gown, to the horror of the conservative dames. And you, the writer, have avoided the details of how she pinched her sister's dress out of her closet.

Mostly, though, the problem of tiresome, irrelevant but important details is more difficult to solve.

2. Use a sentence or two rather than a paragraph of explanation. Gloss over the unnecessary details by the way you structure your sentence(s).

Problem: Your travellers, led by Jokum, have just arrived in a town. They are very hungry and very dusty. The reason they are there is to hunt out the local mage for help, only to discover that he has been arrested for treason. It is unlikely they would visit the mage ravenous and dirty, but you don't want to dwell on how they eat and wash up - it is unimportant. You want to get to the exciting bit. However, if you don't say something, your readers won't find your story believable. So keep it succinct - explain but don't bury your reader in detail.

Solution:
e.g.
After a meal and a wash at the first inn inside the city walls, they asked the way to the street of Mages. Ten minutes later, Jokum was knocking at Hokus's door.
or
After stopping at the town pump for directions and to wash away the worst of their travel dust, they bought a loaf of fresh bread. By the time they reached the house of Mage Hokus, there wasn't even a crumb remaining.

You may be able to think of even better ways to reduce the information down to a snappy minimum.
I am recycling some old posts

3. Spice up the boring in-between-bits with interesting world-building or character info.

(Remember, if it tells you something important about the world or the character, or if it pushes the story forward, then your info becomes important and interesting.)

For example - the army preparations might be boring - or they might not, if they include arguments between the king and his advisers or sons or brothers, or if they include the oddities of your world. For example, how do you feed your fighting dragons? How do you get your mages to the battlefield if they can't cross water without losing power? Can you use magic or dragons or something else fascinating to supply your army with food?

4. Use dialogue to give the info.

It's a lot easier to make something interesting if it is delivered in speech.
Here's some info in text form:
By the time they reached Emitiville, the horses were thin and losing condition, so Tom bought some oats.
Spiced up with dialogue:
"Tom, did get any oats for the horses? If they lose any more condition, I reckon I'll have to put another hole in my saddle girth."
"Yeah, don't worry. I bought some cheap, from the ostler's wife. Only a shilling and a kiss. Well, a bit more than a kiss." He grinned.
"What? You seduced the ostler's wife?"

5. Condense specific info into a general paragraph

Here's a section of text from "The Last Stormlord." It covers six days of walking by the protagonist down a tunnel that supplies water to a city from the hills. He has just entered the tunnel and lit a lamp.

Now he could see what he was doing, he used the walkway built along the side. When he was tired or hungry, he stopped. He slept fitfully at intervals, stretched out on the walkway in the smothering dark with the lamp extinguished. When he awoke it was always into panic at the utter blackness, and the panic remained until his fumbling with flint, striker and tinder produced enough of a flame to light the lamp or a candle.

The next paragraph deals with him arriving at his destination. So those four sentences are all there is to cover six days - and (I hope) conjure up a bit of how it felt. The above paragraph gives all the necessary information (except perhaps the problem of waste disposal!!) without being boring. The waste disposal? Yes, I do deal with that too - it is one of the first questions the indignant water reeves ask him when they catch him at the city end of the tunnel. (Want to know more? Buy the book!)

6. Getting the hero out of the room by diverting the attention of the reader to something else. 

You have to get our teenage protagonist from, let's say, the kitchen (where he's just had an unsettling conversation with this mother about his elder brother), to the letter depository a mile away, because he wants to send an important message (that the reader already knows about) on the next coach out of town.

One way to do it is to ignore the uninteresting method and deal with the interesting thoughts he has. Let's call him Jaydon.

He slammed out of the kitchen in a temper and, on his way across town to the letter depository, dwelt lovingly on numerous impractical plans to wreak revenge on that sneaky, mean-spirited liar of a brother of his. That bastard! How could George have behaved like that and upset his mother so - so callously?

By the time Jaydon arrived at the depository, the scowl on his face made the man behind the counter take a step backwards.

I'll guarantee your reader won't notice that you didn't bother to tell them HOW he got across town. Did he walk? Take a coach? Ride?
Who cares? It wasn't important. What he was thinking, though, was. And it was much more interesting.

________________________

Remember: Don't worry too much in your first draft about what is boring and what is not. Get your story down first. Then start attacking the details. In your rewrites, aim to have NO boring bits. The above were just suggestions of some ways to do this. Look for other ways writers deal with the same problem. Learn by reading!

And your general aim should be:


Cut out the unnecessary;
aim to make the necessary
interesting.

Saturday, June 03, 2017

WHERE TO BUY MY BOOKS

IN AUSTRALIA...
PRINT VERSIONS

Should be available off the shelf at specialty bookstores --
like Stefan's Books, or White Dwarf in Perth. Galaxy in Sydney.

For other bookstores, you may have to order them in. Just go up to the counter with the name of the book and if you're really on the ball, the Australian ISBN.

THE ISLES OF GLORY TRILOGY
THE AWARE       9780732276508
GILFEATHER     9780732276515
THE TAINTED    9780732276522

THE MIRAGE MAKERS TRILOGY
THE HEART OF THE MIRAGE        9780732281984
THE SHADOW OF TYR                     9780732281991
THE SONG OF THE SHIVER BARRENS  9780732282004

THE WATERGIVERS TRILOGY
THE LAST STORMLORD     9780732289294
STORMLORD RISING          9780732289300
STORMLORD'S EXILE         9780732289317

All the above books are also now print on demand from 
Harper Collins Voyager.
The stand-alone fantasy novel

HAVENSTAR
published by Triconderoga publications and can be bought online as a hardback or paperback -- try indiebooksonline

My last trilogy, THE FORSAKEN LANDS is published in Australia and worldwide by Hachette ORBIT, and if you can't find it on the shelves in your local bookstore, ask them to get it in for you. (The Lascar's Dagger, Dagger's Path and The Fall of the Dagger.)

IN AUSTRALIA...
eBOOKS

Available online with the exception of
HAVENSTAR and THE ISLES OF GLORY trilogy.
This is about to change (in August)
Watch this space.

____________________________________________________


OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD....

The Mirage Makers trilogy, the The Stormlord (Watergivers) trilogy and the The Forsaken Lands trilogy are all published by Orbit and can be requested through your local book store if you can't find them on the shelves.

The Isles of Glory trilogy is much harder to find. You could order it through an Australian bookstore.

Havenstar and The Isles of Glory trilogy 
will become available as ebooks again in August. 
Watch this space.


________________________________________






Tuesday, April 18, 2017

ONE HAPPY CON-GOER WITH A TINDUCK

PHOTO BY ART DIGGLE

In this case, the Tin Duck is actually a very elegant swan.

And for those who don't know, the Tin Duck is the colloquial name for the Western Australian award given to the Best Long Work (i.e. book) of the year in the field of speculative fiction, in this case that was published in 2016.

My thanks to everyone -- it is truly an honour to receive an award because people cared enough to vote for the book!

The prize-winning book in question?  
THE FALL OF THE DAGGER.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Hey, this is me!!

FROM THE AUREALIS AWARDS SITE:

Welcoming the hosts of the Aurealis Awards ceremony!

We’re very pleased to announce that the 2016 Aurealis Awards ceremony taking place in Perth this Friday night will be hosted by the wonderful team of much feted WA local author Glenda Larke and debut novelist (yes, really!) and East Coast ring-in Cat Sparks!

Glenda Larke was the winner of the inaugural Sara Douglass Series Award last year for her Watergivers series, and is a multi-awards nominated author for her books, the most recent of these being the final book of the Forsaken Lands trilogy. Cat Sparks has earned awards over the years for her artwork, editing, publishing and short story writing, and her debut novel, Lotus Blue, has just been released to the world.
Join us at the Aurealis Awards ceremony this Friday night to see this dynamic duo in action!

WHEN: 7.45pm for 8pm start, Friday 14 April, 2017
WHERE: Metro Hotel Perth, 61 Canning Highway, South Perth, WA, 6151

More Details here:

https://aurealisawards.org/2017/04/11/welcoming-the-hosts-of-the-aurealis-awards-ceremony/

Monday, March 27, 2017

THE FALL OF THE DAGGER Shortlisted Again...

THE FALL OF THE DAGGER
last book of The Forsaken Lands Trilogy...

               Shortlisted for...

Best Australian Fantasy Novel, (Aurealis Awards 2016). A judged award.

Best Long Work of Western Australian SF, 
(Tin Duck Awards 2016). A voted award.

Winners announced over Easter weekend.





Monday, February 20, 2017

AUREALIS AWARDS SHORT-LISTING!

 
Very, very chuffed to have my latest novel (The Fall of the Dagger) short-listed for the Aurealis Awards  (Best Fantasy Novel).

That means that every time I have had a book eligible, I've had a short-listing... 10 times it must be now? 

I love the way the SF community in Australia does so much for authors, volunteering their time and effort -- and perhaps money in lost earnings -- just to say, "We love that you folk write, and we love what you write, and we'll take the time to show you..."

 Many, many thanks to everyone. 

And yes, like every book of the The Stormlord Trilogy which ultimately won the Sara Douglass Series Award, all three of the FORSAKEN LANDS trilogy have been shortlisted for the Aurealis.

Have YOU read it yet?

Congratulations to all the
short-listed authors. And to readers: choose any of them to entertain you. They are all talented Australians.







Friday, December 02, 2016

MY FACEBOOK ACCOUNT

Please note that I have deleted my two Facebook accounts. One, under the name GLENDA LARKE was my public author account, the other, under my real name was private, open -- I thought -- only to friends invited to 'friend' me.

For a number of years, this worked. 

Then all of a sudden I noticed that the name on my private account had been changed to GLENDA LARKE without my permission. Worse still, they had changed the privacy rating from 'friends only' to public. Also without permission. My private life was now open to all the world. Not that I actually I posted much up there that was private, but still. 

I changed the privacy settings back again, changed the name back... And lo and behold, they reverted to what they thought it should be: Glenda Larke, public. This happened 3 times. I complained. Nobody bothered to answer. I attempted to delete my public page and leave the private one, but no, they have deleted them both.

So I am not longer on Facebook. (At least, I think so -- I can't look in order to check!)

I shall in time put up another author page, but I doubt that I will ever again post anything remotely private. This as far as I am concerned this was a betrayal of trust.
 

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

THE ISLES OF GLORY E-BOOKS

I regret to say that "The Isles of Glory" trilogy (The Aware, Gilfeather and The Tainted)
 is at the moment not available as eBooks. 

Havenstar is no longer available on Amazon as an eBook, but can be bought through many other eBook outlets.

I am working at the moment to find another eBook publisher for them all, on a more permanent basis.

Why don't I do it myself?
Basically because I am a writer, not a publisher, and I no longer have the inclination or the time to mess around with the production issues, financial issues, etc.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

MY OPEN LETTER TO PAULINE HANSON

For overseas readers who may not know, Ms Hanson leads an Australian political party called One Nation and she now sits in the Australian Senate. It's a bit of a cheeky name for her party for, as far as I can see, it serves to divide rather than unite the country. 

In her inaugural speech to the senate here are a few of the sillier things she said:
"We are in danger of being swamped by Muslims who bear a culture and ideology that is incompatible with our own." 
(My comment: With your own, perhaps, but most of us aren't nearly as rigid in our thinking.)

"indiscriminate immigration and aggressive multiculturalism" have "caused crime to escalate and social cohesion to decline"  
(My comment: Really? I've never seen any figures to back that up. And who says immigration has been 'indiscriminate' and multiculturalism has been 'aggressive'?)

"Australia had a national identity before Federation, and it had nothing to do with diversity and everything to do with belonging. " (My comment: I think you need to talk to Aboriginals about the latter part of that statement.)

"Muslims want to see sharia law introduced in Australia"
(My comment: see below.)

And here is what I have to say: 

Dear Ms Hanson,

I am a 71 year-old-Australian, born and bred, but who lived most of my adult life in two Muslim countries. In fact I married a Muslim and we are about to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary here where we now live, in Western Australia. Yeah, my husband is one of those dreaded Muslim immigrants. And you know what? I don't wear a burqa. Or a niqab. Or a hijab. Or a chador. Or even a head scarf. (Oh, although sometimes in the cold weather I do wear a furry hat and a woollen wrap that resembles an abaya... )

The trouble with your inaugural speech is that so much of it is inaccurate or downright rubbish. 

Let me take this blithe, all-encompassing statement as just one example of your complete inanity: "Muslims want to see sharia law introduced to Australia."

When I read that, I turned to my Muslim husband and asked: "Do you personally know anyone at all, here or abroad, who wants sharia law?" He thought for a while, then said, "No, I don't think I do." 

But according to you, Ms Hanson, this is what Muslims want? Really? Wow. I personally don't know anyone who wants sharia law either. And yet my husband and I have lived for 40 years along Muslims in Asia and North Africa. Where on earth have you been that you can say that Muslims want to have sharia law imposed anywhere, let alone in Australia?? These Muslims can't possibly be very numerous if other Muslims never meet them!

My husband -- Professor Emeritus, Ph.D., scientist, recipient of an honorary degree from the University of Western Australia and their Distinguished Alumni Award (and another two honorary degrees from universities in other countries), once a Deputy-Director General of a U.N. agency working for the peaceful uses of scientific knowledge, known for his work to raise the standard of education in developing nations -- This fine Muslim moved to Australia with me a few years back. (Oh, and sorry to disappoint you, but he's only ever had one wife -- and I think his two daughters are fairly liberated females with their advanced degrees from universities like Oxford, Glasgow and Cornell.)

So, much of what you said in your speech were lies, or distortions, designed to strike fear into people. Unfortunately, this kind of manipulation worked and some 5% of voters, prior to the election, listened. (95% knew better and realised that taking anecdotes and turning them into "facts" is the mark of the uninformed.)

My personal opinion? My Muslim husband is a finer resident of this country than you are a citizen of it.



 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

SUPANOVA WEEKEND!!

When it comes to the Supanova Pop Expo and Comicon, I am an unabashed fan.

Sci Fi and Fantasy, costumes, gaming and geeks -- who can resist. And it's great to see the creators, the actors, the filmmakers, the writers, the directors all celebrated by the public.

And I will be there, this weekend, seated behind a table with a lot of other writers... I'll be giving out vouchers for free eBook.

Come chat! Bring your books for signing! Show us your cosplay outfit if you have one!

See you there....

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

RAINBOW DAY

As a country grapples with the idiocy that enables the mentally ill and/or the terrorist easy access to weapons designed for killing as many people as possible in war-time, and that country contemplates -- yet again -- the horror of civilian deaths at home as a consequence, this time in an Orlando gay nightclub, I'm putting up this post. 
It won't help the dead or the grieving, but I'm going to do it nonetheless, for all my LBGTI friends. Rainbows are beautiful.

 We were travelling south along the country highway between Busseltown and Pemberton last month and and a soft spring shower was misting down. As a consequence, we had 200 kilometres of incredible rainbows, nonstop. There were even rainbows in the air along the road verges where cars had sprayed up water. Everywhere we looked, rainbows...


And this one is a rainbow seen from our loungeroom window.

Vale



Saturday, June 04, 2016

ARE FANS TOO ENTITLED??

When I first started writing there was no such thing as the internet. It was difficult to get feedback on my writing through snailmail, and it was tough (and expensive) having to send off a physical manuscript to the other side of the world (I was in Asia at the time), and exasperating to wait for comment. 

Even at the time I was first published, the internet was still in its infancy, and a fan writing a letter or email to a writer, or putting up an internet review, was relatively rare. 

So nowadays, I just love what I get -- GoodReads, Amazon reviews, emails, discussion boards -- bring 'em all on! And yep, I read them. Sure, I'd block someone who's abusive at the drop of a hat, but I've been lucky. I've blocked a mountain of spammers, but only one single person who was (rather mildly) abusive. (I don't think harsh criticism or one star reviews of my work are abusive, even if the issues raised are factually incorrect).

Why do I love the feedback enough to read both the good and the bad? 
Because it makes me a better writer. I learn from it.  
Because I know that there is no way a creator will ever please everyone.  
Because I'm old enough to take the bad without it leaving me in a heap of crying insecurity with the blankets pulled over my head. (One of the few advantages of ageing -- you learn to distinguish what really matters from other stuff, especially nasty stuff, that doesn't*). 

Anyway, let's consider the idea that fans can be too entitled. Or not. There's a blog post here at Huffington Post that has a good coverage of pros and cons. 

I tend agree with this:

Not having dialogue, ignoring fan response, and stubbornly sticking to "a vision" isn't necessarily the only true way to create great and pure art, though. Art doesn't have to be conceived of as such an asymmetrical concept, a gift passed from all-knowing creators to receptive and docile audiences. It can be the product of collaboration, symbiosis between different parts of a community, and a healthy dialogue.  

 However,  I also think that fans "demanding" creators write something the way they want it is a little naive and a bit rude. 

A book, a film, a TV show, an art work -- it's the creators' baby, and how they dress their child is ultimately their decision. Fans are welcome to say what they'd like in the future, they're welcome to criticise what they've already been given, and ultimately they can vote with their wallets. 

I will listen, and I hope I'm always open to learning, but in the end -- and this is all important! -- I can't make a good job of creating my work if I'm not following my own vision.
--------------------------------------------------------
*Of course, I do live in a country where screwballs sending death threats tend not to wander around with guns looking for ways to go out in a blaze of glory.

Friday, May 13, 2016

STABBED IN THE BACK?

HOW LONG SHOULD COPYRIGHT LAST?
At the moment in Australia, it lasts for 70 years after an author dies, which I will agree seems a tad excessive.

There is apparently something called "the Productivity Commission" in Australia, which is looking into the intellectual property rights system for the Commonwealth Government. Unfortunately, it appears to be leaning towards a recommendation that creators really don't need rights to their own work after 15 years (or possibly 25 years)*. It also quotes the finding that "the commercial life of most works is less than 5 years", which might be true for some, but which I would absolutely dispute as far as I am concerned. 

LET'S GET PERSONAL
Let's put that in perspective as far as one writer is concerned, namely: me.

 For my first published book, HAVENSTAR, I signed a contract in 1997 for the princely advance of  about $AU 7,000. Sounds nice, doesn't it, but you know what? I was paid that amount over the two years after signing the contract in 1997. That particular publisher never paid anything more. Not much to live on, is it?

Fortunately, in 1999, I sold the same book to a German publisher for 3,500 Euros. And then a Russian publisher bought it for $US1,000. 

Many years later, an Australian publisher paid a small advance to re-publish HAVENSTAR, is still selling it and is now paying me royalties. And I've brought it out as an eBook as well, so that novel is earning me money that way too. Not much, but every little helps.

WHAT WOULD 15 YEARS COPYRIGHT DURATION MEAN TO ME? HAVENSTAR was first published 17 years ago. The Productivity Commission appears to indicate that anything more than 15 yrs copyright is excessive, that after 15 years a book should be up there for grabs by anyone who wants to sell it in whatever form they like without me getting a cent or having any say in anything about its production. Nice.

What does it matter, you may ask. After all, it's only earning me a few hundred dollars a year.

But that's the whole point. Very, very few writers actually make a living from one book. When we finish one, we start another. And another after that. Finally we might earn enough to live on, obtained in dribs and drabs from all our books combined. A book of mine published in 2009 is earning more for me this year than the book published just over a year ago. So much for the idea that books are economically defunct after 5 years.

After twelve years of being a published writer, I actually started to earn enough from my writing to support myself in 2010. Not enough for an average family of four, mind, but enough for me.

Another couple of years after that, I could have supported my husband too by my writing, if necessary. I was able to get by without my day job, which was just as well as I was ageing and the work was physically too taxing. I even earned enough to actually pay a little tax. Success!

And the reason I was earning that much? Because I had published a number of books. And each of those books (now up to 13 of them) is STILL giving me an income. 

The Commission hints that if it had its way, then I'd have already lost automatic copyright to Havenstar. In 2018 I'd lose those rights to my second book. In 2019, another book would fall into public domain. And so on, every year, one book less to earn me money unless I publish it myself -- in competition with anyone who wanted to do the same without paying me a cent.

Okay, so you might say: go write some more books. 
I am. 
But I am also now 71 years old. I have physical issues that make sitting at a computer pounding the keys for hour after hour difficult. My concentration is not what it was either. 
I'm slowing down.
I don't even know if I can publish my next book in the traditional way. I don't have a contract. And since my agent died, there is no one working to sell it, either.

CONCLUSION I can tell you what will happen to my commercial productivity if the Productivity Commission gets its way on a 15 year copyright: I'll be on the Old Age Pension instead of supporting myself. Perhaps the Commissioners can comfort themselves with the thought that their personal taxes will help pay for my pension. 

Thanks, guys.


----------------------------------------
*Draft Finding 4.2 
(on p29 of draft report):
"While hard to pinpoint an optimal copyright term, a more reasonable estimate would be closer to 15 to 25 years after creation, considerably less than 70 years after death."  
Draft Recommendation 5.2
(onpage 30 of draft report):
"The Australian Government should repeal parallel import restrictions for books in order for the reform to take effect no later than the end of 2017."

If you want to find out more about this, here are some links:
What Jackie French has to say:  
https://twitter.com/AusPublish?lang=en

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

THE FALL OF THE DAGGER IS OUT!!


A review from a book review site:

Taken as a whole, the Forsaken Lands trilogy is very good. Easily the most fun and engaging series I’ve read in a handful of years. Larke delivers the goods on all fronts, and has written a series that deserves a widespread readership. There’s something here for fantasy fans of every ilk, while feeling fresh and new.

Highly recommended.

--From Ryan Frye at Civilian Reader

You can read the whole review at the link above.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Times Sq/Theatre District NYC

I've been in Times Square before. Several times. The first time would have been back in the 1980s. What surprised me this time was how much more digital screen advertising there is compared to just a few years ago on my last visit -- they have SWAMPED the place. 

Screens loom down on you in garish colours from every building. The result? Over-saturation. Quite frankly, I would be happy never to go there again, at least not to see the actual environs...

To see a show, though -- that's another matter!
We went to see "An American in Paris" 
(a matter of what tickets we could grab at short notice. There were a great many better things to see if we'd been able to plan ahead.)



Wait, wait, there's also...
Family.


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Chinatown ... is Chinatown

I have left NY, but am still catching up on photos.

One of the distinctive things about Manhattan is the way it is divided up. Every big city has its CBD -- but Manhattan has a financial district district from the commercial district, an then its neighbourhoods: African-American, Hispanic, a Little Italy, a Chinatown, a theatre district,  then areas that seem to specialise in atmosphere -- funky, or upmarket, or jazz, or arty.

It doesn't seem to matter where it is, Chinatown looks pretty much the same. Except for the thickness of the clothing, and the external fire escapes, this could be in Kuala Lumpur...




 

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Some random photos from Downtown Manhattan

Below: random street corner...
 Below: the corner of the Amish Market which extends down the street...
 Below: street on Easter Sunday -- hence the pink ears.
 Below, the spines of the communication centre at the WTC site.

 Below: so-called FREEDOM TOWER, or 1WTC, built where once the Twin Towers stood
 Below: St Paul's chapel that escaped the destruction of the Twin Towers by a whisker.
 Below: photo taken from the portico of the St Paul's Chapel
 BELOW: American Stock Exchange building 
and the graveyard of Trinity Church. 
Also -- Spring!!

The green street sign on the lampost in the middle of this photo says simply "People With Aids".

Friday, March 25, 2016

This has got to be the best moment of my writing career...

I WON THE SARA DOUGLASS SERIES AWARD
for THE WATERGIVERS aka STORMLORD trilogy

I don't even know where to begin.
  • For a start, Sara was one of my author heroines.
  • Secondly, this is the inaugural award.
  • Thirdly, the award covers series written over a number of years, as long as they were completed between 2011 to 2014 -- so it covers an awful lot of years and an awful lot of books... (Pity the judges!!) You can read more about the award here.  
I am so honoured.
So chuffed. So breathtakingly amazed. Especially considering that the shortlist included Juliet Marillier, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Michael Pryor, Marlina Marchetta and Rowena Cory Daniells.

No, that's not me...but my name is on that trophy!!
Unfortunately, I couldn't be there, owing to the arrival of a brand-new member of the family in New York, but I was prevailed upon to write an acceptance speech just in case, which you will find at the end of this post. It was delivered for me by a fellow writer, Donna Hanson (above), at the Aussi Natcon 2016 in Brisbane. And I believe there were celebrations...see photo left.


There were a lot more things I could have said in the speech -- how much I owe to the then Voyager Australia editor, Stephanie Smith, for example. How much I owe my beta readers for making me a better writer and making those three books better works. How much I appreciate the work put into the awards by the Australian Spec Fic community and the judges.

But here's what I did say:

When I first read Sara Douglass’s Battleaxe back in the 1990s, I was blown away, not just by the story, but also by the idea that an Australian author could publish a fantasy novel worldwide and find acclaim on a world stage.
At the time I was looking for a publisher for my first book — and Sara’s success was an inspiration. And of course, Battleaxe was just the first of long line of Sara’s groundbreaking novels.

I was delighted to hear that a series award was being created in her name, to acknowledge her pre-eminent position in Australian speculative fiction history. The fact that judges had a massive job of reading the number of series up for the award is a tribute to the present health of Speculative Fiction writing in Australia, a wave of creativity of which Sara was the forefront.

To have been short-listed by the judges for the inaugural award was a breath-taking compliment. The other works on that list are so impressive that I certainly don’t believe, as I write these words, that any work of mine could win. I just love the validation of being on the shortlist though, and I thank everyone involved.

Most of all, I wish you were here, Sara, still with us and still writing.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Romantic Times has nice things to say about Book 3

Every author waits with trepidation for the very first review of a book about to be published.  And I am happy to say, that the first for THE FALL OF THE DAGGER is very positive!
THE ROMANTIC TIMES HAS THIS TO SAY: 

Larke seamlessly blends various storylines together to create a satisfying end to The Forsaken Lands trilogy. Her world building shines, as always...

This is a series for any reader who loves lush worlds, complex plots and characters to root for...

YAY!

Friday, March 18, 2016

A walk through Tribeca to Pier 25

 Manhattan is impressive, no matter which way you look. It is also battered by time and usage... So even if there are ultra modern buildings, they can be surrounded by crumbling roads and pavements. It's an odd juxtaposition sometimes.
 Yesterday was a lovely spring day -- blue skies no matter which way you looked. But even so, the haze of human activities never leaves. You can see it there in the dirty pinkness of the distance...
These shots look across the Hudson River to New Jersey, Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty to the left. That flash of white is the sun catching the window of the building
I miss the greenery around where I live back home...