Monday, December 06, 2010

Revelations from the Forum Roleplay

Been reading the roleplay going on over at the Forum and was delighted to find Wolf Blood's out-of-character comment as the story being told unfolded:

"(My mistake has turned into a plot element :D)"

I had to laugh in happy sympathy here, Welcome to my world! I could not help but thinking.

Such accidents are the stuff of writing.

Oh, and yes, I have a new poll - rather pertinent as momentum slowly gathers in me to begin a new text in the new year.

Out there some where...

Below is the prepared speech I readied as a member of the Negative for a debate recently, arguing - for the positive - that career success was entirely up to chance. In the end I delivered my part off the cuff and did not use this speech at all. Therefore, I thought I would share it with someone so as to put the work to some kind of use...

I appear before you in the role of writer, the creator of the Monster-Blood Tattoo series, three books – or roughly 350,000 words – published in 18 countries and 13 languages, with hopes and plans to write further stories in a similar vein and a of long career ahead.

Yet I trained as an illustrator – not a writer – at the now vanished Underdale campus of the UniSA.

How on earth did I get here?

By sheer fluke it seems: for after a somewhat successful 9 years in Sydney as an illustrator, when of a sudden, I quit my job, where I lived, upped sticks and with a Great Plan burning in my soul went on an adventure across the seas, New York, London, Paris. Only The Great Plan failed. I found myself crashed landed, broke and broken hearted back here in my old town, Adelaide, without a job and my old bedroom as my only bunk. Gathering myself up from the dust I put folio under arm and went out to rebuild my illustration career. With help from a fellow illustrator friend, I managed to get my work seen by Dyan Blacklock, the publisher of Omnibus Books, and they were impressed enough to give me first a book cover then a picture book.

Now, I need to tell you that ever since my uni days – and after discovering the works of the great Mervyn Peake – I had been filling notebook upon notebook with ideas about a pretend world and just how it worked. So it was that in one of many long conversations with Dyan as we worked together on various illustration projects, she happened quite accidentally upon one of these notebooks (# 23 to be precise). Puzzled at the scratchings and scrawlings it contained, she asked me what it was, and I told her: notes for an entire made up world. She asked me if I written any stories, and somewhat embarrassedly – to me it was very private stuff – I told her, “Not really, some starts but nothing much…”

“Who are some of the characters in this world?” she persisted.

Still feeling awkward, I listed off a couple, finally saying, “And there’s Rossamünd; he’s a boy with a girl’s name…”

To which she promptly ordered, “I want you to put him down in this pretend world and tell us what happens to him.”

And so – a thousand words at a time – I did just that, until, satisfied I could actually write too, Dyan offered me a contract for a 3 book deal.

So here surely we see that by these collection of flukes I was in the right place at the right time and got the right result. Call it chance, fate, destiny – I am myself convinced it is God’s work in my life – whatever you name it, without this great “chance” I would not be here talking as I am.

And so here I am! I have turned coat and seem to be arguing the case of our colleagues opposite for them, yet wait! Hold up! Let us consider a moment. Let us go a little deeper. What looks like blind do-dah happenstance – a lucky break, “ooh, isn’t he lucky…” – is in fact a long string of consequences born of preparation.

If it was not for a certain assignment in the second year of my illustration course, I would have never discovered a certain author who by their inspiration set me off the long and now habitual practice of writing in notebooks, without which – as I have elaborated – I would have had nothing for my publisher to discover. More so, without the preparation of my illustration degree and the preparation of 9 years as practicing illustrator in Sydney-town I would not even have the opportunity to be in that right place, for it was as an experienced illustrator that I gained close access to the Publisher of Omnibus Books. And without all that mass of back material, the writing of the Monster-Blood Tattoo books would have been very hard, indeed may not have even happened.

So here we are, I am no blackguard after all: though my preparations might not have been directly for writing as a career they were preparations none-the-less, and the “lucky break” now is shown to not be quite so “lucky”.

The Roman philosopher Seneca is said to have said that luck – or chance – is when opportunity meets preparation, and I – who once thought himself the least preparatory (indeed I collected my thoughts for this debate in the very last minute) – turned out to be very well prepared indeed for the opportunity presented to me 7 years ago in the publishers office at Omnibus Books, and so for my career.

You may not end up where you intend, but you will get wherever you go on the back of or the lack of your preparations; for fate or destiny or chance will avail you little if you are not prepared for the opportunities it offers.

And surely, in the sum of it all – whatever our “job” might happen to be, our best career will always be to live as a half-decent person and this is something I hope we would not want to leave to chance.

So, this might have been my required response, but I could help but wonder afterwards: is life all about chance or preparation?

Friday, November 19, 2010


Another interview, this time a transcript of a live recorded interview I did with the wondrous and warm Bec Stafford whilst attending Aussie Con 4/World Con 38 in Melbourne early in September.


This Sunday 21st November at Dymocks, Rundle Mall, from about 2:15pm-ish onwards, myself and a collection of South Aussie YA authors & illustrators will be out in public. The attending authorial and draworial types include:

Robyn Opie
Malcolm Walker
Claire Richards
Greg Holdfeld
Rosanne Hawke
Ruth Starke
Jane Jolly
Don Henderson
Janeen Brian
Katrina Germein
Dan McGuinness
Ben Chandler
Allayne Webster
Robert Moore
Elizabeth Hutchins
Sally Heinrich
Sean Williams
Rebecca Burton
Lauren Fuge

Hope to see some Monster Blog locals there... :)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

On and on I go...

First, I want to point you to an interview (yes, another one!) with Drew Bittner over at SFRevu for your perusal. There is also a glowing review at selfsame site also written by Mister Bittner, (WARNING: this is a little spoilery, so, if you have NOT read Factotum head over there at you own peril.)

Now, the following was caused by but has only some connection with the comments previous about art being work or reaction. On I go...

Dare I admit I actually have very little truck for the whole post-modern, "It's all the the eye of the beholder/ reader interpretation is supreme" thing.

Reader reaction/participation is vital: I write very much to create a particular set of reactions in you all - of brand new vistas, of wonder, of adventure on an adult scale, of (I hope and strive) some small portion of the life-changing wonder I had when first reading LotR as a 12 year old.
As an illustrator it always struck me that the intent of the creator and the reaction they are looking to provoke was/is the primary point. Heck, half the time I was just filling the requirements of a brief, but then would have folks insisting to me all these wondrous "artistic" notions in my work that I never meant, nor knowingly put in.

The counter to this is, obviously, the "Freudian" one, that I could not help put deeper elements into my work. While this may be - and is probably - true, the alchemy of my "stuff" with theirs seems to also bring about an element of fiction within my viewers reaction too, an attributing to me things not necessarily so. Yet who am I to deny such response?! Without the reader/viewer what is the point? What is MBT without your participation? A bunch of ideas rolling about my head. For years I tried to show people H-c stuff, to which the common response was bemusement or boredom. Though i might have been making stuff up for the fun of it - for myself - I was clearly looking for an audience, for participation, reaction, validation.

So I suppose we find ourselves with a synthesis. Creations are made to be participated in, reader/viewer response is vital (unavoidable, indeed, sought after!), yet the creator's intent surely has a place, surely what I wanted to make deserves some respect, some consideration?

Oftentimes I have not (and I quote from Amazon):

"that was the worst book i have ever read. dm cornish is a hack. never read this book. " (the author's punctuation/capitalisation)


"Someone please tell me how anyone (ANYONE!) can get past the truly awful title. And after you achieve that monumental goal, how can you navigate the vinegar seas and bleeble blabble names that are intended to justify this as a truly unique creation and world? I, for one, couldn't manage the feat."

So who is right here?

The post-modern response would go something along the lines of, "well, for these readers that is what MBT is..." i.e. rubbish. But IS MBT rubbish just because they say it is. Again, p-m thought will assert that for these too folk it is. Indeed, my stories are not perfect (despite the flarings of my ego insisting otherwise) and I can understand how they might not be everyone's cup o' tea, but surely my intent in penning rates some contemplation and even merit from even the harshest critic?

So who is right?

There seems to me to be another factor at play here, one very hard to fix down, even dangerous to do so: the notion of something having merit in and of itself regardless of opinion. Yet what/who(!) arbitrates such a reckoning? Are not humans the deciders of such things? Yet - for example - as we see with the Amazon quotes, there are those who revile MBT, though many of you here think it worthy. Who is correct? Is it the majority voice? Is it that if we get enough saying it is "good" then it is, and the few who did/do not like it are free to their opinion? In a way this works, but what if the majority say that something bad is good, as in the citizens of the Haacobin empire holding all monsters as bad? There are only a few who dare to acknowledge otherwise, yet we find that the majority are not in line with what is actually the case, but the minority.

So what happens then?

Our majority model has collapsed.

Who arbitrates what is so here?

The issue maybe, in the end, is that we in this age of pluralism, dare not say another's sentiment or notion is wrong for genuine fear that we ourselves might be subject to such a charge; that in some close held idea, we too might be wrong, and this is intolerable (I sure don't like holding the thought for too long!). So rather than let this dread event occur we say instead everyone is right, formulate theories to maintain the same, and remain in our cocoon of "rightness"...

There seems to me something going on here that is beyond neat theories.

My word I bake my own noodle sometimes... :\
(I have probably made no sense at all... ACK!)

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

A thought

The Half-Continent is as real to me as a memory of a great holiday; sure, I went to an actual place for my holiday, but now the cherished memory is the only reality of that time left to me, and it is with such a sweet sense of recollection that I call up to mind any location - or person, or event - of the Half-Continent.

Indeed I would go so far as to propose to you, that any such device of creation - art, books, film, music - that has truly moved us occupies such a place in our soul/mind and as such, has a force and influence on us as enduring as any real event.

'Tis a theory of mine...

Not sure why I write this, but I have, and now you have read it.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Well, cheers, dear friends.

Thank you all so much for your uplifting words, though my logoseremoty ( log-o-serr-EM-o-tee, "word-emptiness", "word-desertedness" - just made that up to keep my hand in, woot!), my spirits are genuinely lifted. Indeed, as you can see you have [provoked me to play once again with words I so love. Thank you for your care.

And to show that not all is mired in the Slough of Despond, I now present to you some post-MBT/TFT (= The Foundling's Tale) doodlings for your delectation.

(WARNING: This is pretty nerdy, rivet-counting stuff, but that's where I am a Viking so there I shall - and do - go...)

The first is the plan of a vessel I hope to write about soon.

The next are some mottle and harness diagrams of various states within the Haacobin empire and some realms without too (these are but a sample of a much larger work where I am attempting to fathom the appearance of as many states/realms as I can).

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Where are my words...?!

Dear All,

My words are gone and I don't know where to find them... As an example, I needed my thesaurus for this post, but could not immediately find it. That has never happened before - I always know where my thesaurus is at. Exhibit b/- I have hardly touched my notebook: last year I filled two, yet as this year as it ticks on to it's end, I have barely made it a 5th of the way into one.

What is going on...?

And here was me thinking I had "made it", that I would be immune to such "humanness". Ack!

How does a writer get his words back?

Tell what does make me happy though, knowing that Factotum is already beginning to make its way to you all. Now we get to find out if I can really pull off an entire story or not, which was, during the process of the last 6 years, of real concern to me...

Still is :/

Is it just me or do seconds take forever to pass; weeks can flash by, but seconds seem to plod along with nigh tauntingly ponderous - even reluctant - leadenness.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Next!... or: where'd he go?

One would think that after setting off on an exciting journey half way across the world's smallest continent/largest island to attend WorldCon 68/AussieCon 4, that a certain person who for today's purposes shall remain nameless, might return to immediately post an enthusiastic rant about how much fun it was, how baffling it was, how great it was to be taken care of by Chris and Ed and Dim and Brie and all the writers of the (what I have dubbed them) Melbourne Writers Conventicle; what a delight it was to meet one determined E.K. Vollmer all the way from a town called (would you believe it) Sebastipole!; how cool it was to receive encouragement and honest critique from Kit (and by extension Patience St.James - there are two Herbroulesse in the Sundergird: the one we find in Lamplighter was named after the much older one you find on the "BIG" map, honest); how exciting and rewarding each panel - with such lights as Kate Forsyth, Shaun Tan, Ian Irvine, Juliet Marillier, Lara Morgan, Richard Harland, Russell Kirkpatrick, to name(drop) only some - I was on actually was... but apparently no.

Apparently said nameless soul has waited 2 - maybe even 3! - weeks to post something.

Why is that? you may not actually be asking yourself (if indeed you are still even visiting this barely-a-blog).

Well, not sure actually: I think maybe it is a great tumbling collapsing relief that after so long above person has actually produced what they were tasked to produce (both by their original publisher and ultimately by themselves); also it is the great wilderness that it seems often comes after a writer has completed a long project (I cite here the great talent, Michael Pryor , who said at the con that, having this very moment finished his own 6(!) book series, he now feels bereft

So here he sits, hiding in his room, playing too many computer games (and thus inviting judgement from all non-gamers), squeezing out a post to you all, actually very excited that MBT Book 3 is almost here. indeed that some folks might even have copies right now and that all the speculation and wait will (I most earnestly hope) be rewarded.

As to those projects mentioned in previous posts, the Next! of this blogs title - well, they are sitting there, waiting to be picked up soon: for, Lord willing, the penner of this post surely want to write more Half-Continent stories, but right now and just for a little bit finds it necessary to let the "field lie fallow" as it were.

As to why I spoke of myself in the third person for much of this post, I do not know either - Jung would have a field day, I am sure... T'was and interesting writing exercise never-the-less: I have been told that this is a good thing for a writer to do after finishing a big work, to write short things, try stuff out, keep your hand in but keep your goals small so you still feel like a writer who can achieve stuff. All very helpful - now it remains for me to put it in to practice...

BTW, you may not have noticed, but I LOVE ellipses...

Monday, August 30, 2010

Aussiecon 4 World Science Fiction Convention

Here we are, the very week Aussiecon 4 is going to happen and I make the great trek to Melbourne to take part (both scared and excited in about equal measure). The Con (as we in the biz call it...) will be running from the 2nd September to the 6th September at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre (link to map of where it is). The Guests of Honour are Hugo-winning author Kim Stanley Robinson, award-winning Melbourne artist Shaun Tan (woot!), and dedicated fan Robin Johnson (just to get your interest, maybe...)

As for me, you can see me fumble my way through various topics of which I am only marginally qualified to fumble through at these days/times:

Thu 1600, Rm 217: Wrought from the very living rock: world building in YA spec fic.
Sat 1500, Rm P3: Behold the wonders! Art, design and the visuals in YA spec fic.
Sun 1100, Rm 210: The series question: big books chopped up or small books glued together?
Sun 1600 Rm 211: Let’s get lyrical: poetry in YA spec fic
Mon 1200 Rm 212: The lure of a good map.

Not sure if this is busy or not. Do know that I am very happy to be involved.

I hope I get to see some of you there; make yourself known to me, it might be awkward, but it would be cool non-the-less :) (They say one of the worst things that can happen to a book is to meet its author - let's test the theory, huh...)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Well look ye here!

This! did arrive on my doorstep this morning!!!

It is finished! Never thought I would see the day of the three spines lined up 1 - 2 - 3.

And so you have continuing proof the Factotum is indeed on its way to you all, that every day is another day closer to official release, that the book is done and will soon be in the process of delivery to you local book-pusher.

Monday, July 19, 2010

An Interview to tide you all over.

We are getting closer and closer to Monster Blood Tattoo Book 3/The Foundling's Tale Book 3 Factotum getting into your hands, but until then I hope this interview at The Enchanted Inkpot will tide folks over (just a little). Thanks to Ellen and her comrades for such great questions.

Oh, and I hope you all will be happy to note that the next Half-Continent book is slowly forming even now...

... and there is a new poll, at last! (just over on the right)

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Tropes & ...

Now, in my experience (not necessarily that broad, but there you go), the word "trope" is usually thrown about in a supercilious manner by folks who have themselves never dared to bare their own soul in story to an often unkind world to show how superior they are. In this example, however, over at TV Tropes, the use of the term in so thorough and gleeful a manner has been a revelation, and very helpful to boot! I had no real notion - for example - that MBT was a "world of no grandparents"; this was certainly not intentional but probably reflective of my own real life experience. It is funny how hard it is to fit such things as a granny and/or grandpa into an adventure story - I shall be on the look out for such omissions in future...
That said, neither do I want to include things just because. Either way, thank you TV Tropes, a/ for liking MBT, b/ for helping me see my tale in so succinct a fashion - a great aid to learning this whole writing game.

Speaking of which, I have begun what will , Lord willing, be the next Half-Continent story, and this in turn raises an interesting dilemma:

...Along with the change of the series name in the US from Monster-Blood Tattoo to Tales from the Half-Continent and the (Oh, I surely hope so!) creation of more H-c tales, what on earth do I change the name of this blog to?

Oh, and cheers very much for your comments last post - has anyone got their hands on a copy of Corsers' Hinge (as found in The Legends of Australian Fantasy) yet?

... and happy new financial year.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Legends of Australian Fantasy

For all of you wanting/needing a bit of Half-Continent action as we wait for October/ November/ some time not toooooo far away, Legends of Australian Fantasy has hit the shelves and it has a story of mine in it, a whole new non-Rossamünd, Half-Continent story of 90 pages long! If you can not tell, I am very excited...

Unfortunately it is currently only an Australian release, but we hope to reach the world with it soon.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Rossamünd Married?! ... or, Questions Answer'd #120302

Actually I have no idea what number of "question answering" this is, but, you know, just having fun...

Alyosha asked a little while back why there seem to be few/no married folks in the MBTs, and I have to admit myself a tad perplexed by this. I too have realised such a (Freudian?) anomaly, and can only think that it is for the same adolescent reason that many spec fic novels deal mostly with the filially/conjugally unattached - it is simpler; no ties, no needed to refer back home to sooth anxious loved ones, just freedom to go and do and be as the adventure proceeds. Having said, I have quite pointedly had Rossamünd writing and "keeping in touch" with Verline, and refer in his thoughts to her and Frans and Pin, have tried (after committing the cliche of all cliches by making him an orphan) to give him filial connections that require tending - for I see Verline and the two one-time foundlingery masters as an ersatz family to our little adventurer.

... Maybe the non-married thing is a product of my own un-married state at the time of beginning MBT (a state happily reversed at this present time!), or the desire that I think many men of Western culture possess/have inherited: to do their growing on their own - but that is a whole can-o'-worms [TM] that I do not want to open here...

After all this, I am hoping/endeavouring to have a main character (yes, at least 1!) who is attached in the matrimonial way, though whether said attachment comes along for the ride is another matter. Anyone have thoughts on this?

An Annony Mouse was wondering: "Will the movie be filmed in Australia?"

To that my answer is unfortunately at this stage brief - I do not know. You all will be among the earliest to know when I do (my wife, close friends etc will probably get to know first, but after that it will be you.... at least that is my intent!)

chana was wondering: "How old is Rossamünd?It's been bugging me incessantly for quite a while now. Since Threnody must be at least fourteen, that would mean Rossamünd would be twelve/thirteen years old? It makes it just a little hard to relate to him."

Well, I have always found the "fact" of his age a slippery one, but for me it floats around 12ish - remembering of course, that he is small for his age. It is a bit odd I suppose that I should be a little hazy on his years, but the fact of his own "entry" into the world are hazy themselves. I hope this makes him a tad easier to know...

Oh, and me, as to that "something more to the olfactory presence of MBT books", is is I who make that happen, sitting in my lounge room with a crate of bottles of specially made book-cologne spraying every page - it is why you have to wait so long for them to come out; I actually finished writing the MBTs years ago, it is the spraying of this literary perfume that takes the time *looks sadly at tired cologne-spraying finger*.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Factotum typeset and ready to go! ...or... Still around!

Hey folks, a bit of an internet blackout period for me or what!

Great news, having just done the last tweaks on the typeset pages the text for Monster-Blood Tattoo/Foundling's Tale Book 3, Factotum is very very soon for the printers! (You've all had to wait so long I thought every little bit of information might help the wait...)

Some questions/points in last post needing to be answered, as I have to shoot off now I will just say of my intention to endeavour to get to them tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Australia/NZ Factotum cover is here!

Here it is, for all you Oz/NZ readers. As you can see, the original vision has not died, just been altered in one part on the world, yet continues elsewhere unchanged. Live on MBT!

Well, time to 'fess up too, and let you know that the release of Book 3 will be delayed a little longer *WINCE*

Australia/NZ - October 2010

USA/Canada - November 2010

Other places in this big beautiful world - TBA

This has been to allow the editors sufficient time to do their most necessary work and therefore worthy the delay (heck, if blame is needed then it is I who took soooooo long to pen the damn tale).

Thank you for all you excellent comments previous post - I will try to get to them, but may not be able to right away. Hang in there folks, we will get there ... eventually.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Was-MBT US Edition covers have arrived.

Hello hello hello everyone! It has been too long, sorry about that...

Let me make amends to you all by showing you the new US dust jackets for the re-badged MBT. (That's right; re-badged. If you have not caught it in previous posts, the US/Can series of Monster Blood Tattoo will now be dubbed The Foundlings Tale, with the titles of each individual volume to stay the same)

So, on with the show...

Ta da!

The images in the covers are very vertical, I know, that's how Jamie (the illustrator) likes it. Though these are not exactly how I conceive the Half-Continent, as an illustrator myself I like to have a little latitude to create and conjure and so, whilst the pedantic author in me wanted to fuss about accuracy, the empathetic illustrator in me was more than happy to grant scope to a fellow fabulist.

I hope they meet with your approval... If not, that's cool, too.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Here be an excellent illustration of Europe completed for Erin M (aka Ms Ventress)by a friend of hers, the rather skilled Laurie B. I like it very much indeed. I have said it before and I will say it again, seeing other people's interpretation of the Half-Continent is a genuine thrill. (I reckon I need to get something going where folks can show off their H-c inspired "stuff", whether written or drawn, hmmm...)

Used with permission from Laurie B. (c) copyright Laurie B 2010

Sunday, February 28, 2010


Well, a simple post just to show(off?) my ever-growing stack of notebooks - essentially the Half-Continent right there, growing more and more with every volume. The tags are me marking entries for use in the MBTs: yellow = Book 1, Foundling, pink = Book 2, Lamplighter, green = Book 3, Factotum (see, its nigh March already! September is not that far off at all...)

#1 was started about 1992, then one a year until 2000, then from 2000 - 2010 I have gone from 8 notebooks to 34 (that's 2.6 a year, and they have gotten thicker too! - ok, now I AM showing away...) Much of that time I was thinking I was a drawer and here I was filling books with tiny srawlings of madness, not in drawings but in WRITING!

Go figure.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The deep questions of liff...

I take this brief moment to direct you to a post by ellaquin regarding the name change for the US editions of what will soon be (in the US and Canadia, at least) formerly known as "Monster-Blood Tattoo" (though it shall remain so for us here in the rest of the world).

Honestly, it is how I feel, but I am choosing to trust my editor and my publisher that they fathom their market better. I hope the name change does what they hope it will do. The next big question is, what do I name this blog then?

Also, I actually went to the Forum the other day and answered some questions - yes, actually answered some questions. May such wonders never cease!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Interview for Snapshot

The lovely RandomAlex has done a quick interview with me for the Snapshot project this year, part of the lead up to

68th World Science Fiction Convention
September 2nd - 6th 2010 - Melbourne, Australia

... being the 4th WorldCon to be held in Australia. I hope to go and thus for me it will be my first world con ever in Australia or out of it.

And now for answers!

Emma Nicole Reinmuth posits: "Just a theory... Are monsters aware of which humans possess Monster Blood Tattoos without seeing with their own eyes, and does that influence heavily whom they see as a threat? Rossamünd [we can heavily assume] is of monster blood and any action by monsters against him are taken with consideration. Perhaps it's the sense of their blood kin festering under human flesh that really grinds their gears?"

Dear E.N.R., I had not thought of it quite like that, but great late night fancy talk. I reckon it more the sight of cruorpunxis that would warn a monster off an everyman possessing them. I think that once the cruor has done its "thing" in the flesh of a person it has become a part of that person rather than leaving traces. As for eekers and monsters, I reckon there is certainly a "vibe" the monsters pick up, but more so, it is through the observation of the eeker's behaviour that would tell a monster of their sympathetic character. I reckon what ticks monsters off most is the ancient and ongoing treachery (as they see it) of everymen.

Jackie is wondering: "Why did (Threnody) act so possessive of Rossamünd? Did she want Rossamünd as her factotum, or did she just like him? Or was she reacting because she was jealous of the Bradon Rose?"

I reckon it is a combination of them all; vanity at the start that does turn into a crush as the book goes on and true affection by the end. When Europe enters the scenario, it is definitely ego that is driving her, jealousy for what Threnody considers is hers probably more than specific regard or feeling for Rossamünd at the time (well, nothing she would have acknowledged at the time anyway). That Rossamünd does not nag at her or chide her but persists with her is novel for Threnody, and she is drawn to such treatment. That said, she is still a bossy pain in the behind, so along with the wounded heart comes the painful character. Am I making sense?

Tuesday, February 09, 2010


Well, the final chapter is re-re-re-rewritten and I am now working on the US edit notes for the third draft. Thought I'd take a break to answer a couple of questions from last post.

First off the rank, Alyosha asked: When Rossamund is setting out on his adventures, and receives the gift of a fine valise in which to carry his few belongings, he has a strong feeling that whoever made the valise intended good things for it’s owner. What’s more, when he’s packed it and lifts it, he finds it much lighter than he expected considering all that’s inside. On one hand, both of these things could be put down to the excitement of a young man at the start of an adventure. On the other hand, for someone who, at a later point in the story, can feel the pull of the moon even when it’s hidden behind clouds, maybe feelings of that sort have some real weight to them. Is Rossamund’s valise more than it seems?

Indeed it is, sir, well spotted! Indeed, you are the first person to do so (well to tell me at least) so my respect! Unfortunately there seemed little scope in the story that came out of me to explore it further, so I left it just as these obscure references. What is actually is I am not sure whether to talk about here or wait to explore in some other story...? Preferences, anyone?

Well, Asia, after some consultation with me they are changing the name to The Foundling Trilogy (I was most enamoured with Rossamund Bookchild, but it was felt that anything with the word 'child' in it might put off older readers; I disagree and think this is overthinking the matter, but only have so much say with an entire ocean between my US publishers and I), with the three individual volumes remaining Foundling, Lamplighter, Factotum.

As to factotums (properly, factotii, Tornac, they are indeed just servant/secretaries who usually can fight a bit too. Threnody's awe is not at Rossamund becoming a factotum, it is that he is becoming a factotum of the Branden Rose!, that she believes Rossamund beneath such an honour. All factotii have distinction not so much because of what they are or do, but rather who they do it for. Great question.

Finally, Carlita has just got wind of the film deal which I can confirm as true. As of right now there is a director assigned (cannot as yet divulge names, sorry) and a writer, and some significant interest from effects companies. So no still no guarantee that it will be happening, but goodly steps closer to an eventuality.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Touching base

Just thought I might roll around some notions of what might happen post MBT.

I have a sea-story idea rattling about in my head, but want so much to stretch out and explore beyond the Soutlands. Perhaps I might try doing a full tale and pop out a few short stories in the process...

As for leers, Sara Charlotta Johansson, well there is one front and centre in the up-and-coming The Corsers' Hinge, we even get to see from his point of view... but I shall not reveal any more.

Also, there is a discussion over at the Cult regarding the changing of the series title of the US/Canadian edition, new name, new cover, re-launch of first two books, all rather intriguing. Let us discuss...

Monday, January 11, 2010

A new year, a new... thing...

Well, just to be different I have not begun the year with a January first wow-wee blog post; I have waited instead until the day before I move house for the 6th time in 10 years. Was it just me, or did the entry into this new year seem a tad low key?

Well, here we are, 2010 - the year of Factotum, of The Corser's Hinge, of me thinking about and beginning a new tale: I have a few notions kicking around about what could be told next, certainly it will be set in the Half-Continent (I do not think I have much to say beyond it...)

I think maybe some manner of adventure (a nice, contained middle-class kind of adventure, of course) might be in order, something to revive a soul rung a bit thin after 6 years on Rossamund's story.

What are you folks thinking might be good for the new annum?

BTW: in a fit of ego, whilst checking the spelling of "annum" at The Free Dictionary, I found that they had an entry on me (I couldn't resist!) A little buzz for the ego...