Thursday, May 30, 2013

Ken Tanaka's "What Kind of Asian Are You" video.

This video by Ken Tanaka has gone viral and I can see why. Although it's set in the US it's something members of my family have had to deal with here in Australia. We are a mix of different ethnicities and the younger generation (born in Australia and having grown up here) can sometimes face similar questions based on physical appearance. When you think about it, in a country like Australia which prides itself on its multicultural society this is more than a little odd and it's a question I would never ask. My assumption is, unless I'm told otherwise - and I find tourists usually tell you pretty quickly that they are visitors and where they are from - that the person I'm talking to is Australian either by birth or choice. If they want to tell me more, that's up to them.

Sunday, May 19, 2013


For many years I had a pair of heavy, black wellies. They served me well until gradually they developed cracks and crazes. Then they got hard and brittle - and then they started to disintegrate. Boots that no longer serve their purpose are sad looking things - and there's no point in keeping them. Out they went to the dustbin and I started looking for a new pair.

That was five years ago. I went to all the nearby hardware stores, shoe shops and department stores. I found some big black boots but they were always men's sizes. My feet are hardly dainty but they're not that big. Probably, if I had lived in a country town, I'd have had no difficulty but I live in suburbia in a city and it seems there's not much of a demand for ladies wellies.

I started looking for alternatives. Rubber gardening shoes looked a possibility but they were hard and my feet hurt these days. Besides they let in the sand - and where I live we only have sand. I ruined several pairs of sneakers which also filled with sand but they seemed the only option until I walked into my local Woolies store to do the weekly grocery shop and found a rack of "ladies rain boots". Wow! There wasn't a single pair of black ones. There were leopard prints, flowers and patterns - and then there were these.

You may colour me happy.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

AWWC 2013: The Singing Mountain by Anne E. Summers

I mentioned I was reading this book as an e-book a while back and, yes it has taken me a while to do a proper review but here we go.

The Singing Mountain (published by Solstice Publishing ) is Anne E. Summers first published novel after she began her writing life mainly as a short story writer.

Set in the Welsh mountains, The Singing Mountain is the story of Megan, a coal miner's daughter, who marries up and out of her class. Initially happy, the marriage comes under pressure when she and her husband, Ian, move back to his family's land holding of Glaswallon.

Pregnant, unhappy and haunted by strange dreams of Rhiannon, the Welsh mother and horse goddess, Megan follows her husband's cousin, Marigold, to the top of Mynnyd Mawr where the other girl disappears through an opening into Rhiannon's world. Under suspicion and increasingly isolated and frightened following the birth of her son, Megan decides her only option is to follow Marigold into Rhiannon's world and bring her back.

But this is only the beginning of a story that stretches from 1918 to 1940 and where events in both the human and magical worlds collide, interacting on each other and eventually involving Megan's whole family as the story plays out. Rhiannon herself may be honourable, but the harsh and often cruel realities of her world have consequences of that seep into Megan's world and their impact can be devastating.

Summers is a born story teller, and in The Singing Mountain, she weaves a fascinating tale set in two very different but equally real worlds and in two different time periods. If you enjoy your fantasy with a strong adventure story and well drawn characters I can recommend this book.

The Singing Mountain is available as an e-book and in print from or Solstice Publishing.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Hyperbole and a Half on Depression

I was a devoted follower of Hyperbole and a HalfAllie Brosh was clever, funny and talented and lifted my spirits and then one day, somewhere in 2011, not long after she'd announced that she was working on a book to come out in 2012, she stopped blogging. I kept coming back but there was nothing until she wrote a searing post about her battle with severe depression and stopped blogging again. Her post was bleak and sad and filled with the sort of detail that I suspect anyone who suffers from depression would identify with but in a way that made you want to keep reading. I kept coming back to her blog every couple of months, hoping she had managed to overcome this crippling disease but there was nothing.

Then, a few days ago, Jenny Lawson, better known asThe Bloggess, posted an update. Allie Brosh is back. Again she has written unflinchingly about her experience and it touches the heart. All I can say is go and read it. If you've ever suffered with depression or have a loved one who has suffered with it, go and read it. You won't regret it.

Sunday, May 05, 2013


I've just realised Angus has shared our home for nearly five years. He's a funny, neurotic kitty. I love him dearly and he returns the favour. When we first got him he spent most of his time hiding in the spare room. He'd think he'd want to come out to play then after a short time he'd panic and race off to hide again. From the beginning he attached himself to me, following me around and smooching but he was terrified of men. Even when he decided the house was safe he would not let Pisces near him (which, as he's a man who loves cats, was very upsetting). It was a full year before Angus even allowed him to touch. He slowly came around and now he demands rubs making Pisces very happy.

Now we've passed another milestone. Although he has smooched and cuddled with me and creeps onto my bed to sleep - I wake up to find him with his head resting on my foot - he's never sat on my lap. He stretches out on the arm of the sofa so he can touch me while I'm watching television but that final move on to my lap has been a step too far. I've even tried picking him up and putting him there but he immediately jumps off - until yesterday when he jumped on the sofa arm, sat looking at my lap for a moment and gently stepped down and, purring madly, settled himself comfortably, closed his eyes and relaxed.

He's still terrified of other people - my daughter-in-law says she's never seen more than the tip of a tail disappearing under the bed - but it seems he's decided to take that final step. I guess it means he's finally accepted us and his place in the household completely.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Guest Blogging With Joanna Fay

My fellow Egoboo WA member and writing and critiquing mate, Joanna Fay, has invited me to guest blog on her website about a favourite character. If you would like to have a look at how Seri, a character in my as yet unfinished novel, working title The Hidden People, came into being, you can find the blog post here.

Joanna has the first two fantasy novels of The Siaris QuartetDaughter of Heart and Reunion, available as e-books from Musa Publishing.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Conflux 9 2013

Well I'm back - and very tired, which just shows how a great convention it was, I guess. Before I say anything else though I must congratulate Nicole Murphy and Donna Maree Hansen and their team for doing a brilliant job. I've been part of running a one day, very small convention and I know how much work that is. I can't even imagine how much was required to successfully run a convention on the scale of Conflux 9.

The hotel - Rydges Capital Hill - has some beautiful public areas. The atrium is filled with palms and plantings under a high dome. It's simply lovely. There are plenty of places to sit and talk if you want a coffee as opposed to the noisier bar - and given talking and meeting up with other like minded con goers is a big part of any con this is very desirable. Then there was the luxury of free wi-fi in our rooms. Woohoo!

So much happened, I met so many fascinating people and there were so many wonderful experiences that it's not possible to list them all. This will be only a few of the highlights. For someone like me a con aimed in large part at writers and readers will always be a joy and Conflux 9 was full of information and opportunities to chat with others in the business.

Let's start with the panels. There were so many and they were all interesting. Often there would be three equally intriguing ones on at the same time. The guests of honour were Marc Gascoigne, Nalo Hopkinson, Karen Miller and Kaaron Warren but there were so many others there - authors like Glenda Larke, Kate Forsythe, Patty Jansen, Jason Nahrung, Cat Sparks, Terry Dowling, Lisa Hannett, Keri Arthur, Richard Harland, Jack Dann, my Clarion South mates Laura E. Goodin, Peter Ball, Jess Irwin and Jason Fischer and my roomies, Carol Ryles and Satima Flavell and that barely touches the list of writers present. Then there were the publishers like Tehani Wessely, Alisa Krasnostein and Russell B. Farr and agents like Tara Wynne and Alex Adsett. I spent my time torn about which panels to attend and wishing I could go to them all.

The Kaffeeklatsches. I managed to go to four - Glenda Larke, Marc Gascoigne, Kate Forsythe and Keri Arthur. The informal nature of these gatherings where a ten lucky participants get to sit, chat and ask questions of industry professionals means they are incredibly useful in giving an insight into the industry. I learned so much and in many ways these were the real highlights for me.

Of course there were book launches but I only got to a few of them. This was probably a good thing as I always tend to buy the book being launched. This is good in many ways but then you have to get them home. In case you haven't noticed books weigh a lot and, in some perverse synchronicity, the pull along handles on both my carry on bag and suitcase chose to break so getting any more print books would have been a challenge but there is always my trusty e-reader. There will be visits to on-line sellers to reload that soon. I did get into the dealers' room for a short time though and I now have Richard Harland's Song of the Slums, Cat Sparks's short story collection, The Bride Price and Kate Forsyth's The Wild Girl in my to be read pile.

There were other activities - steampunk themed high tea, cocktail party, Regency banquet, Masquerade Ball, the Ditmars (you can see the winners here) and possibly the best closing ceremony I've been too.

As I said these are only highlights. There was so much going on all the time that if you were so inclined you could have been going from one thing to another all day from the 9:30 AM start until the panels finished any time between 10:00 and 11:00 PM - and that was just panels, readings and so on.

All in all, a wonderful convention. Canberra and Conflux 9 - you did us proud.