25 February 2011

Congratulations, Luke Edwards!

Luke's lastest book, The Staring Owl, has been shortlisted in the APA Book Design Awards. I'm sure the owl in question will be very well-behaved and not stare down any judges as they make their final decision.

22 February 2011

True Grit

One of the regular passengers on the Omnibus has small children and therefore does not Get Out Much. But, not one to be easily defeated, when she sees that a movie on at the cinemas at the moment is based on a book, then she is Very Pleased and happily purchases said book in the hope of still being somewhat up to date with popular culture. True Grit* by Charles Portis, in this edition with an Introduction by Donna Tartt, features what must be one of the greatest young characters in literature. Mattie Ross is fourteen and seeking justice for the murder of her father and she won't let anything, anything, get in her way. Highly recommended.

20 February 2011

Our new landlord, Konglomerate

A new landlord is usually not your friend. Not necessarily your enemy either but generally there is just a faint relationship formed which is centred on how reliably you pay the rent.  Our new landlord, however, is a big, warm, funny Greek man called Kon.  We call him Konglomerate, after the character Con Glomryt in The Desperate Dwarf. His father was a property developer who sold everything in the seventies and went back to Greece where he discovered more relatives than he had remembered. He returned to Australia a few short years later, a lot poorer than he left, and had to start his property empire again when prices had more than quadrupled. Dad passed away and Kon now looks after the properties. What makes Kon so unusual is the extraordinary generosity he has shown us.  Pick whatever carpet you want, never mind about the price. You like those blinds? You can have them. I'll install a brand new air conditioning system and new vents while I'm at it. Yes, you can choose the new kitchen and the tiles. You'd like me to cut a hole in that wall and make a doorway?  Sure, I'll do that and please, let me buy you a ton of Haighs chocolates to take back to the girls.

I admit I was skeptical. I was suspicious. I worried that this was all too good to be true but every time I visit the new office to check on the progress of the work, he's done what he said he would. And he buys me coffee at the cafe across the road where we go in through the back door and the MIB that run the place seem always to have something to say to Kon.

Last week as I sat with Kon and two of his friends drinking my skinny cap while they downed their short blacks, they told me that now they had this close relationship with a children's publisher, and they know this is a lucrative business, they are going to write a children's book. I told them we had an excellent rejection slip. All three swung around and fixed me with their suddenly steely eyes.

'We don't take rejection well,' they said as one.

I'm pretty sure they were joking ...

Some thoughts from our Driver.

17 February 2011


Omnibus author Ian Irvine is having a monster (or should that be 'demon'?) of a competition over at his Facebook page. He's giving away 300 books in 200 hundred days! If we weren't all focused on words here on the bus, we'd be able to do some proper maths but it's definitely more than one book a day to be won! With the third book in the Grim and Grimmer series, The Desperate Dwarf, out next month and the final, hilarious book, The Calamitious Queen, out in June 2011, this competition must be Liked. So go Like it, people!


14 February 2011

Your conductor needs a ticket to the Bahamas

There is not enough chocolate in the world to make moving an entire office feel easy. In ten days we will find all our possessions in some large trucks on their way to the even smaller cottage down the road. Time to replace two-drawer filing cabinets with four-drawer cabinets to make more space and, of course, that means taking all the files out.  While they're out I thought I might as well re-organise them. Are we the only publisher who keeps detailed files on each book?  And why is it that those files are so hideously out of order? And while I'm at this particular whinge, have you ever tried to file email correspondence in order when threads are pages long and copied from halfway through or a third of the way or even again and again from the start with five minute intervals separating them?

I have to pack my library, again.  Hard decision time so I could do with some advice. Is it best to shelve a picture book library by title, author or illustrator?

Should I take my tiered cake-plate collection to the new office or finally take them home?  (Who, I wonder, keeps their cake plate collection at work?) I've taken down the wooden thingos that my husband made and hung in my room.  It's amazing how much dust something hanging from the ceiling can gather over six or seven years.  I know the big armchair won't fit in my new room so does anyone want a great big blue armchair?  It's very comfy and lots of VIP bottoms have plonked down in it over the years.  Hardly any wear and tear either.  VIPs have awfully soft bottoms it seems; I think its all those cashmere clothes they wear.

Well, here's my stop. I'm off. 

P.S. Please don't send any manuscripts till we either a) get settled or b) return from the Bahamas.

The aforementioned Bahamas (pic courtesy of here)

Some thoughts from our Driver.