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Dec. 14th, 2009

Last love


Thanks so much to Brihana25 and a mysterious elf who left me snowflakes. They're very cute.

Although, they might melt when the temp hits 39 on Wednesday...!

Merry Christmas!

Dec. 1st, 2009


Buy a signed copy of The Barque of Heaven

If your first copy is falling apart from too much loving, or you would like a special gift for a friend - or yourself - I am selling signed copies. To order, send me an email with the following information:

Your name.
Your address.
The name of the person you wish me to sign the book to (if it's not for yourself).

Costs (in Australian dollars)
Book: $15 per copy

Within Australia - $5.50
To the USA - $10.50
To the UK and Europe - $12.00

Unfortunately Australia Post's charges are high, but they are reliable and will arrive via airmail within approx two to three weeks. The book cost is higher than the US/UK price because I have to purchase them from the Australian distributor.

Payment can be made through Paypal. You don't need to have an account with them to send payment. I'll send you an email with the amount due and you just follow the link in the email to pay.

Aug. 30th, 2009


Signed copies of Barque of Heaven

In the next few weeks I'll be making signed - and personalised - copies of Barque of Heaven available for purchase from my website.

So, if your copy is falling apart from over-use, or you want a gift for a friend - watch this space. I just need to work out a paypal setup.

If you're interested, please drop me a line at - heavenlybarquings [at] gmail [dot] com

Aug. 18th, 2009


The new black, or Yet another example of how authors have no control over their own creations.

It’s probably not known outside the publishing industry, but most authors have little to no control over many aspects of their novels once they pass the front doors of a publishing house. From marketing to price to cover art. I only became aware of the cover art to my own book by logging onto amazon one day… But the appalling treatment of Justine Larbalestier’s Liar really takes the biscuit.  The book's protagonist is a young, black girl. Why, then would Bloomsbury publish it in the US with a young white girl on the cover? Marketers, and your unhealthy attachment to demographics, take a bow.

As a reader I pick my reading material based on what the book is about, not on the ethnicity of either the author or the characters. If I enjoy a book, then I might investigate who the author is and where they come from, but it has never occurred to me to make that a binding factor in the decision to purchase the book in the first place. Maybe I just come from a country where multiculturalism is an everyday fact of life. After all, I don’t buy my dinner based on the ethnicity of the people cooking it; I buy Thai because I like Thai food, ditto Mexican, Tibetan, French or Aussie Bush tucker. I’m totally boggled as to why a publisher would think readers would do that.

Go to the author's blog to

I'm happy to say that Justine's Aussie publisher Allen and Unwin published the book without resorting to decietful marketing. And Bloomsbury this week announced that its edition will be re-jacketed in response to criticism of the original cover.

I'm hoping to catch Justine's talk at the Melbourne Writer's Festival this week. Should be interesting.

Aug. 3rd, 2009

Pack yer bags

The next big thing in publishing

I went to a workshop a couple of weeks ago, 'The truth about ebooks'. Now, I was aware of ebooks, mostly as pure text streaming unbroken down computer screens, or as files you download to read on expensive ebook readers. What we were shown was a software called Desktop Author. It's made by an Australian company. The Senior Vice President no less was the chap giving the talk. This was the first time he had talked to authors firsthand. He has been tripping around the world visiting all the major book fairs - London, NY, Frankfurt, etc. - and has already signed up many of the major print publishers, ie. Random House. What he showed us, frankly blew my mind.

These ebooks can have:
  • embedded audio files - songs, voice overs reading the words for children's books, sound effects, you name it.
  • embedded video files - he showed us one book by Michael Connelly which had the author presenting a video preview of the book
  • vibrant colour pictures
  • movable graphics - a children's book which had chapter illustrations, part of which moved when you ran your cursor over them, ie a bouncing ball, squeaking door, etc.
  • insertable notes and parts where you can write in the book, as in filling in a Q&A form, which then gives you your score.
  • embedded web, email, content links.
  • embedded shopping cart - you can download the first chapter as a preview and if you like the book the shopping facility is right there in the ebook itself to purchase the whole thing.
  • Most importantly they are secure. They're coded to the usb or computer they're downloaded to and cannot be ripped off and put up on bittorrent sites, ala Krappy Kindle.
  • They can be read on Iphone apps and any other doodad gizmo you care to name.
  • They can be disabled, or enabled, from printing so people don't run their own copies off and sell them down the local market.
  • Oh, speaking of Krappy Kindle, you own the book you buy. You physically have it on your usb or computer, and it can't be taken from you as Kindle recently did with some titles.
They are readable on the free reader you download from their website. They don't currently work on ebook readers, but as he pointed out very few people have one of those, and most people have a computer or laptop. And they are set up as a book, with two pages facing up at each time, pages turning over at the click of a mouse.

The software is soooo easy to use. Basically it's just cut and paste. In ten minutes we had a workable book! Then once you've done your book, you can either sell it yourself or, for 15% upload it to their website and they handle all the merchandising, sales, uploading and author payments. And if 15% makes you gasp in horror, consider that most authors are extremely lucky to get as much as 15% royalties from a print publisher.

So, for all you authors who have tried the old method of banging on publishers' doors and getting them slammed in your face, if you've submitted a manuscript and waited dutifully for months or years (often they demand it be an exclusive submission so you can't try your luck anywhere else) and they then say no, if you've eyed the multitude of self-publishing sites out there and shuddered at the enormous prices and the thought of paying upfront for hundreds of books that you then have to go out and sell as well - give this serious consideration.

Seriously, when you consider that the entire publishing business is geared in the favour of the publisher: that everyone from the printer, the truck drivers, the graphic designer, the marketer, the wholesaler, the bookseller, the editor, the publishing company and the agent all get their money before you do -  you the person who spent months or years of your life and passion creating the work - this ebook setup makes a very attractive prospect. 

To give you an idea of the versatility of this software, these are the projects the people in the class were working on: a novel (me), an art book on Van Gogh with associated music, a musical with videos and the recorded score, a set of childrens books, and a collection of short stories.

In the future I can see many (most?) authors trying this kind of publishing first, and then taking their successful book to a print publisher and asking if they want a piece of the action.

The best bit? The software costs $120 AUD.

Check out the books already published: http://www.ebook.com/

Try the trial software: http://www.desktopauthor.com/

I realise this sounds like a paid advertisement, but in all honesty I've kept pretty up to date with publishing in all its forms and I have never seen anything with the potential that this software has. And that it offers a direct financial benefit to someone willing to put their creative work out on the market is all the more wonderful. And dammit, it's exciting!


Jul. 8th, 2009

Last love

By Way of the Stars cover art

Finally got a copy of issue 28 of the SG magazine, and was blown away by the cover art the editors have done for my story.

How cool is this!

Jun. 7th, 2009


New short stories

This is a first - a multi-part serial in the Official Stargate Magazine. The first part, By Way Of The Stars is in the latest issue, number 28. The second and third parts will follow along in the next two issues.

There's a sneak peak on my website: heavenlybarquings.googlepages.com/stars1

Mar. 22nd, 2009


Barque review on Gateworld

Hetshepsu posted a truly wonderful review of The Barque of Heaven on Gateworld recently.

Click this way...

Thanks, Hetshpsu. Much appreciated.


Update, Supernova convention

Well, February passed in a haze of heat and sadness. Hard to believe it's the end of March already. But that means it's time for Supernova next weekend. I'll be there both days, selling and signing copies of The Barque of Heaven. Come one, come all!


I also have a three-part short story in the Stargate SG-1/SGA magazine. First part comes out in the next issue, number 28.

What else... The Aurealis awards have been and gone. Applause to the short listed authors and winners. I'm amazed by the huge pool of talented genre writers here in Australia. It's very heartening to see not only so many writers, but those writers being published and finding audiences.

Feb. 22nd, 2009


National Day of Mourning

I'm the hot wind from the desert
I'm the black soil of the plains
I'm the mountains and the valleys
I'm the drought and flooding rains
I am the rock, I am the sky
The rivers when they run
The spirit of this great land
I am Australian

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