a november miscellany

Hello dear reader! I apologise for my lack of posting of late – my excuses are all just as terrible as you can imagine, and include signing up for NaNoWriMo (because I hate happiness?), working extra shifts (because Christmas), parenting, and coming off the end of a vast amount of reviews that needed doing in a small amount of time and which culminated in my work’s Christmas Roadshow, where I stood up and spoke about which five crime books the criminally uninitiated should recommend for presents and which are in our summer catalogue (and, for your interest, those are: Sulari Gentill’s Gentlemen Formerly Dressed, Garry Disher’s Bitter Wash Road, Robert Galbraith’s The Cuckoo’s Calling, Ian Rankin’s Saints of the Shadow Bible and Adrian Deans’ Straight Jacket.)

So, while I’ll still be a bit slow this month while I try and reorganise my brain – I’m also having a one-book crime break and reading Ann Patchett’s This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, which isn’t wall-to-wall cheer but at least no one has been murdered yet – I’d like to just discuss a few things:

1. If you haven’t already, you should totally sign up to the Australian Crime Writers Association and win some incredible prizes just by entering some highly entertaining competitions.

2. Did anyone attend the divine-looking Crime and Justice festival, which wrapped up yesterday? (Andrew Nette has done much posting on it!) Much to my eternal heartbreak, I missed out on every single event by putting a reminder about it in my phone calendar to go off two weeks ago, which promptly and helpfully deleted every single thing I had in my calendar the next time I turned my phone off. My brain very helpfully remembered for me that it was on last night, just as it finished. American author, instructor, and co-founder of the New York Writers Workshop Charles Salzberg was talking last Wednesday, and I would have loved to have heard him speak, along with everyone else, including my current literary squeeze Garry Disher. (Also, if I forget your birthday this year, I’m sorry.)

3. What are you reading at the moment? (I will accept non-crime as I am also guilty of such scandal.)

event: australian crime writers association membership drive

I was lucky enough recently to become part of the Australian Crime Writers Association, a group of terribly clever and friendly people who organise the Ned Kelly Awards, and who in their website, http://www.austcrimewriters.com, have built a place full of all the most pertinent information on penitentiary writing. (The website is much more clear and less laboured than that pun, sorry.) You can join ACWA as a publisher or a writer for a nominal fee, and have a place to share your wares; you can join as a reader and get all that delicious knowledge FOR FREE. BETTER YET, and you bet I’m ALL CAPS ABOUT THIS, November – aka the 133rd anniversary of Ned Kelly’s death – is ACWA’s membership drive, which I’ve had a hand in helping with, and YOU GUYS, you won’t believe how amazing the prizes are. Sadly, as an associate of the association I can’t enter any of the competitions, but I’m thinking of quitting just so I can win some, and then hoping they’ll accept me back when I am armed with things like THE ENTIRE PENGUIN GREEN CLASSICS COLLECTION, and so many other excellent books you’ll have to take all your annual leave and hole up in an attic to read them all.

The competitions to win include fashioning a Ned Kelly beard, writing a 133 word short story or great opening line, or acing a quiz. So the worst case scenario is that you’ll have fun and be part of a site that has all kinds of great news, new releases, events, and everything you could want to know. DO IT!