Monthly Archives: November 2011

Vale Anne McCaffrey

I discovered Anne McCaffrey by a series of interesting chances. By chance, a friend handed me Raymond E Feist’s Magician. By chance, when I devoured it in a day, he recommended the Elenium and Tamuli books by David (and Leigh) Eddings. By chance, I then took a year-long uni course that required me to write a mini-dissertation and I chose to look at the parallels between fantasy novels and the “real” world, which meant I was carting my Eddings books around with me a lot. By chance, I had one in my hand at my local corner shop one afternoon. By chance, the owner was a genre fan too and by chance he said, “If you like that, you might like Anne McCaffrey.” By chance he lived (with his books) right behind the shop and by chance he was nice enough to loan me my first McCaffrey, The White Dragon. 

From the moment I read the first chapter I was completely hooked and I spent the next several months haunting secondhand bookshops finding every McCaffrey book I could track down (in the days before Book Depository) and the next several YEARS getting terribly excited whenever a new McCaffrey book was released. Once I had the internet, I started to fill out my McCaffrey collection, tracking down copies of The Atlas of Pern, The Dragonlover’s Guide to Pern and The People of Pern, and I even bought the computer game that came out (never played it), although I failed at ever finding the original boardgame.

I spent many long hours on The Kitchen Table website, my first experience with online fandom (or actually, fandom of any kind!), and I still remember the thrill of one day finding myself alone in a KT chatroom with Anne herself. What a progressive mind she must have had, to have had such an environment for her fans in what was really quite early days of online fandom.

I haven’t really read any McCaffrey for a few years now, but I don’t hesitate to recommend her earlier books (I loved Pern, The Ship Who Sang, and The Tower and  the Hive books particularly) to fans of fantasy and science fiction of all ages. I have no doubt that I will revisit my (already many times reread) collection in years to come. She was one of my first spec fic obsessions and holds a special place in my heart.

Dear Anne, you will be missed. I am so grateful for the wonder you brought to my world.

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Weekend trip to Coorow and Greenhead

Miss G at Greenhead









I took a few photos of people, and about eleventy billion of flowers in my uncles’ gardens 🙂 Must put them on a disk to send to Mum and Dad (who will, I assure you, appreciate them!). My grandfather had boxes of slides of pictures of flowers and the natural environs. And it appears a predilection for collecting rocks must run in the family too, as both sets of rellies visited had lovely specimens! A few more photos below the cut (not JUST of flowers, promise!).

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Catching up is hard to do

Particularly when you follow up three days away (including two away from work) with a weekend of travelling with family (and no computer!). I’ve only just today caught up on my emails, and am still another night away from continuing my final reading for Apocalypse Hope (working title). Things keep throwing themselves in my way! I’ve also gone from being nearly two weeks ahead of the game in CBCA reading to feeling like I’ve fallen woefully behind with no light at the end of the tunnel because boxes full of big fat YA novels JUST KEEP ARRIVING!!! I don’t *think* I’m in as bad a position as I feel right at this moment in the reading, but it’s not getting any better!

However… I have tonight caught up on my annotations for the judging process. I’ve cleared my inbox of Aurealis related emails. I spent a couple of hours at the shopping centre today which included a bunch of banking, mailing, grocery shopping (I also cleaned out the fridge this morning, so I could see what was actually NEEDED for groceries) and some maintenance for self and the baby (he had a haircut!). I wrestled Paypal and WordPress into submission and finally pulled together a MASSIVE MOVING SALE post for FableCroft (bargain prices on all FableCroft books! I don’t want to move them all to Tassie!). I scheduled a few Asif reviews. I worked through the washing (again) and got a lot folded and put away. And paid some bills. Actually, I’m pretty pleased with everything I got done today!

I didn’t really talk about my trip away on the weekend, but I’ve got loads of photos, so will post separately. It was a lovely trip (we took my aunt and uncle with us and caught up with two other sets of rellies, which was the prime purpose). A little sad, going back to a place I have very fond childhood memories of and finding it so small and somewhat abandoned compared to the town of my youth. But I’m glad we did it, and were able to show the kids where their Grandpop came from.

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What a week!

Today I accepted the position of Librarian at a lovely private school in Launceston, Tasmania. This is not the position I applied for at the school, but I’m very happy to accept what is a great job in this lovely school! The appointment followed my flying trip to Tassie (departed Tuesday and travelled for what was on paper 12 hours, flew back Thursday, on paper in only 3.5 hours – gotta love time travelling!), which was very pleasant indeed! The staff at the school were delightful and Launceston was lovely. As a bonus, I was picked up from the airport on Tuesday by the Flinthart and progeny, who then took me for a wander through the CBD to find dinner, and on Wednesday I caught up with Monissa for hot chocolate and another wander. Yay for socialising on a work trip!

On return I’ve bitten the bullet and booked the removalist (not the cheapest self-pack but the one I was most comfortable with) and the car transport, as well as our plane tickets to Queensland (departing December 30) and from Brisbane to Launceston (January 21). Moving is expensive. But we are definitely underway! Now just have to pack. Bleargh.

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Creative day

I love writing. I choose not to do it much these days, as I’m focussed on editing and reading, but I’ve always made up stories. And so days like today are wonderful for my soul, because I get the chance to immerse in creative writing completely randomly! Just as when I had fun at the John Marsden session at the WA School Library Conference earlier this year, today has been a simple and creative pleasure. I was asked to come along with a few students to the Fremantle Children’s Literature Centre for a full day workshop with Aussie author Simon Higgins (I first met Simon at the Aurealis Awards a couple of years ago). It’s been a great day! Below is one of Simon’s exercises we did (and, at risk of ridicule) my own attempt at it 🙂

10 sentences
Keep them simple
Don’t add anything unasked for
Write about a mother and daughter meeting face to face for the first time in years
Choose your storytelling voice and tense & use throughout
number your sentences

1. Something about the weather on the day or night they meet and place them somewhere (meeting can be anywhere & when)
2. Mention a sound the characters can hear – be specific but don’t over describe
3. Choose a small physical object near or between the two characters.
4. An update on the weather.
5. Writing in the first person (about the other) third person (about either) – mention one item of clothing or an accessory
6. Revisit the sound from sentence 2
7. Make one of your characters look at the object from sentence 3 and as a result, think or feel or imagine something. (first person – about self)
8. Whoever wore or carried the article of clothing or accessory – have them do something with it.
9. As for #5 mention one physical trait (can be shared feature)
10. First time there is dialogue – one of the characters finally speaks. Has to be dramatic, intriguing, mysterious or a hint to why they haven’t seen each other in years.

The wind pushed the clouds in front of the half moon, whipping Asha’s hair around her face as I watched. The whispering of the gum leaves overhead was a constant echo in the torchlit dark. The balustrade was cold beneath my hands, gritty with peeling paint. A playful breeze flirted with the fringes of my shawl, drawing Asha’s attention at last. The rustle of the leaves seemed suddenly louder as the silence between us grew. I clenched one hand on the wooden beam, anxious now as I had not been before. I threaded three fingers through the loops of crochet shawl, nervous and waiting. Her eyes, so much like mine, widened as she took in my appearance.
“How can you be so young?”

I’m here with a bunch of 13-16 year olds and the ones who read theirs out were WAY better than mine! The future of writing in WA is solid 🙂

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