29 September 2010

Going, going... gone.

Once again we find ourselves with all kinds of football sadness today. And please do not be telling us to cheer up just because there's a whole extra grand final this year. That provides no solace. No solace at all. None. Zero. Zip.

So, clearly we need a little something to distract ourselves. Preferably something a little word nerdy. A little list-based - because we do love a list.

Thank goodness for a lovely long list of supernatural collective nouns because everyone loves a collective noun.* Don't they?

Do we feel better now? No, not really. What do you suppose the collective noun for cats without a coach or a favourite son** might be?


If anyone has any distracting items that might help us shake these football blues, please send them, post haste.

* Thanks to Bookshelves of Doom for helping us find this wonderful distraction in our hour of need.
** Perhaps this was why it happened - maybe all those years of being called the favourite son convinced Gaz that his calling was to be among other Suns.
***Photo shamelessly swiped from Virginia, whose vision is probably too blurred with tears to notice.

24 September 2010

A few open letters

Dear Brain,

Whither thou goest, I apparently do not go.
Will you be returning any time soon or should I just turn off the computer and be done with it?


Ahoy Books,

You're on your own for the weekend.
Don't get up to any mischief.
See you Monday.


Memo: glass of wine
Please report to the front desk for immediate consumption

Dear Friday afternoon,

We must stop meeting like this... or not.


22 September 2010

Spotted in the house

The Tall Designer is on holiday.

Someone else, not quite so tall, is sitting in his chair.

21 September 2010

... would smell as sweat [UPDATED]

Well, after that football on the weekend, we could certainly do with a good chuckle. So we were very pleased indeed to discover an ABC radio segment on 'Wrecked Titles', where listeners are invited to suggest an alternative title for a literary classic by adding or altering a letter.* Herewith a selection from the final shortlist:

The Last Mango in Paris
Rosencrantz and Guilderstern are Deaf

The Fridges of Madison County

The Road Less Gravelled

The God of Small Thongs

In this spirit we give you some children's classics:

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stove
Where the Mild Things Are
We're Going on A Pear Hunt
Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bum
Tomorrow When the Car Began
The Day My Mum Went Psycho
Piff the Magic Dragon
I Capture the Cattle
If I Slay**
New Hoon (and its sequel Breaking Down)

And here are some of our very own that we almost signed up, but decided to tweak slightly before actually publishing:

Somebody's Frying Maureen McCarthy's tale of suspense and intrigue in a small country kitchen.
How To Ditch Your Hairy Justine Larbalestier's manual on the depilatory arts.
Guardian of the Mead Karen Healey's paranormal adventure - set in a pub.
Pint Lili Wilkinson's coming-of-age novel about finding out who you really are - set in a pub.
Dean Swoosie Penni Russon and Kate Constable pen a biography of one of our most eminent clergymen
Going Ovine Libba Bray's wacky road-trip novel about Mad Sheep Disease
Pagan's Laughter The final in Catherine Jinks's beloved series - where everything just goes swimmingly for Pagan.
The Waterless Seal The second book in Kate Constable's Chanters of Tremaris series sees Calwyn and her friends travel to the desert to rescue a dehydrated seal who has the gift of chantment.
Mr Chicken Goes to Parts Leigh Hobbs's picture book about a large juicy chicken, not recommended for vegetarians.
Step Up and Lance Thalia Kalkipsakis's Girlfriend Fiction novel about a young girl who joins a jousting squad of professional medieval knights.

Get thee to the comments and read Bakersdaughterwrites's hi-LAR-ious contributions! She be clever.

*Oh look! Cakewrecks seems to be getting into the spirit too.
** Actually, if anyone out there is minded to write this one, we'd quite like to read it with an eye to signing it up...

17 September 2010

Friday stuff and item

It seems we only have one item...

Oh, football, how we love you, let us count the ways. Gaz. Moo. Scarlo. Jimmy. Johnno. Mayor of Geelong. Stokesy. Joels. Pods. Tomahawk. Enright. Dasher. Trav. Wojak. Okay, we'll stop counting now before this gets quite out of hand.

Readers who follow football will understand that it is a very nervous day in the House, what with the big game tonight. Whatever can we do to distract ourselves?*

Perhaps there's something we can find on our shelves, an item we may be able to draw inspiration from. Oh, look - is that Tom Harley, former captain of the Cats, Standing Tall on the cover of that rather handsome book nestled in our bookshelves?** Yes, indeedy. And is his book dispensing advice about confidence, teamwork and learning to lead? Yes, yes it is. Well, we feel better already.

Go Cats! Go Cats! Go Cats!

*Well, whatever else besides send two books to the printer - but that's hardly a nerve-calming exercise.
** We are EXTREMELY grateful to our former (now flightless) Cake-maker Extraordinaire for making this excellent item, and for making it available to us.

15 September 2010

You're in the Museum now and anything can happen!

Goldie Roth lives in the city of Jewel, where impatience is a sin and boldness is a crime.
But Goldie is both bold and impatient.

Every child in Jewel wears a silver guardchain on their left wrist from the moment they learn to walk until their Separation Day. Whenever they are outside the house the guardchain links them to their parents, or to one of the Blessed Guardians. At night it is fastened to the bedhead, so that no one can break into the house and carry them off while their parents are sleeping. When Goldie's Separation Day is cancelled she does what no child in Jewel should ever dream of doing: she runs away. Desperate and alone, she takes refuge in the Museum of Dunt.

But the Museum is a scary and mysterious place.

Strange things stalk its corridors:

Strange people are its Keepers:

And only a thief can find their way through its shifting rooms. But Goldie has a talent for thieving, which is just as well because the treacherous Fugleman has his own plans for the museum and for Jewel, plans that threaten the lives of everyone Goldie loves. And it will take a very bold thief to stop him.

Okay, so if you aren't dying to get your hands on this book now, well, we wash our hands of you.

Lian Tanner's Museum of Thieves is a cracking good read.

Goldie is a brilliant, brave and bold heroine. The world she lives in is so real you can smell it. And the plot? Dude, just read it.

And then you'll be able to read the next two books in the Keepers trilogy, which you will be pleased about. We promise. Cross our heart and hope to die; stick a needle in our eye; jam a dagger in our thigh; eat a horse manure pie.

How good is it? The editor of the book compulsively read bits aloud to her office mate during the editorial process.*

When the advances arrived it's possible that she may have carried one around the building showing it proudly to every available Onion, and then just sat and stroked it for several hours. Because it's not just good on the inside. Look look at the outside!

After Lian Tanner wrote this genius manuscript, Sebastian Ciaffaglione created the awesome cover artwork and the gorgeous character sketches, and Josh Durham of Design By Committee designed it up into a thing of great beauty. Very clever peoples, all.

In fact, we think it's so awesome we had it embiggened:*

And empostered:

And the clever Onions in the Mothership are making a website, which we will tell you all about when it is live.

Museum of Thieves, Book 1 in The Keepers trilogy is out in October.
That is only two weeks from now, people.

*Not annoying at all for people trying to do their own work. Not at all.
** 'A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man.' Jebediah Springfield, 1796

08 September 2010

So much to celebrate!

The Melbourne Writers Festival and AussieCon 4 both featured lively and entertaining panels with many an Onion-flavoured author, and are now done and dusted for another year. Hurrahs to all who organised events, participated in panels and attended in droves.

AussieCon 4 was capped off with the presentation of the Hugo awards, brilliantly emceed by Garth Nix, a man of destiny who recognised he had big shoes to fill.* And there was much hometown delight and pride when Shaun Tan got the gong (or Rocket-ship shaped trophy as it were) for Best Professional Artist. Hooray!

Speaking of delight and pride, how delighted and proud are we that Shaun Tan's Tales from Outer Suburbia and Justine Larbalestier's Liar both won their categories in the Western Australian Premier's Book Awards?
Extremely. Delighted. Very. Very. Proud.

But wait, there's more! Inkys! Inkys! Inkys! Inkys! What a lovely longlist it is, especially as it features:

So let us have cake!

That's a gluten-free Orange Cardamom and Almond Cake with Orange-Blossom Yogurt, dear readers.

The Cake-maker Virtuoso reports that while the recipe instructed that two oranges be used, she only had one, so she boldly added two mandarins that proved to contain many, many seeds for removal. Being from Gourmet Traveller, the recipe also called for extremely fancy candied orange segments to be arranged on top, but she courageously said 'Pooh to all that Simon Johnson nonsense,' seized an orange, tore long, snaky strips off it with her zester, dipped them daringly (with tweezers) into boiling sugar syrup and coated them in caster sugar. They dried delightfully overnight, and the leftover orange-scented sugar syrup now awaits an opportunity for inclusion in an appropriate cocktail - waste not, want not, friends. Waste not, want not.**

* Check out Garth's opening address for revelations about the moment when his destiny became apparent, the actual owner of the shoes and a hobbit cameo.
** Speaking of wanting, is it cocktail hour yet?

03 September 2010

Zombies vs Unicorns





It's a feud as old as time itself.*
This December YOU must pick a team.

TEAM ZOMBIE, led by Justine Larbalestier:
Libba Bray **
Cassandra Clare
Alaya Dawn Johnson
Maureen Johnson
Carrie Ryan
Scott Westerfeld

TEAM UNICORN, led by Holly Black:
Meg Cabot
Kathleen Duey
Margo Lanagan**
Garth Nix
Naomi Novik
Diana Peterfreund

What team are we on? We'll never tell.

* That is, of course, if time itself began on 15 February 2007 when Justine blogged about her reading-other-authors-books-with-a-view-to-endorsing-them-(or-not) policy, at which time some commenters took issue with her anti-unicorn stance, so, naturally, Justine fuelled the fire by professing her love for zombies. In protest Holly responded with a pro-unicorn post of her own. Sparks flew far and wide across the internets, and thus the merit of the Zombies and of the Unicorns were debated and defended in all their vast array, and on the seventh day they rested.
** Margo may profess to be Team Unicorn and Libba may declare herself to be Team Zombie - but clearly their books have other ideas.

01 September 2010

That Sunday Afternoon Feeling

Do you know it?

It's a little bit blue, a little wistful; it has a touch of melancholy. Sometimes it can be itchy and uncomfortable. It can feel wide and windblown, or boxed-in and breathless.

It can strike without warning - having nothing to do with how much you are or aren't looking forward to work or school on Monday. Sometimes, regardless of how you've spent your Sunday, it feels as if things are ending and you're not quite sure what's beginning.

Curiously, in our experience, the Sunday afternoon feeling can also be caused by things other than Sunday afternoon.

Coming to the end of a book that has really got under your skin can do it. I'm looking at you, I Capture the Castle. I'm looking at you, Gilead.

Coming to the end of a series you've lived with for years, even more so. I'm looking at you Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I'm looking at you Mockingjay. I'm looking at you final ep of The Sopranos.

Some writers' work is infused with the wide and windy feeling. I'm looking at you, Joanne Hornimann and Judith Clarke and Helen Garner.

Sometimes it can sneak up on you when you've listened to too many Paul Kelly songs in a row. I'm looking at you Comedy, on repeat.

Sometimes it strikes at the change of seasons.*

It can arrive on Christmas night, after the eating and drinking is all over and there's nothing left under the tree except for the emergency presents.**

According to Jesse Martin, you catch it sailing into Port Phillip Bay after months and months alone in your little boat on a big ocean.

And sometimes it sneaks up on you for no apparent reason at all. It's not quite Holly Golightly's mean reds, but it's not the blues either. Perhaps it's not a colour at all. What do you think? Is this wide and windy, boxed and breathless feeling something you have a name for? Or is it simply only ever always that Sunday afternoon feeling?

*Although not usually this one - hello, first day of spring. Hello, rain.
** Did your family do this too? Just something small, and usually home made - maybe a bottle of tomato sauce or tarragon vinegar - wrapped in red cellophane. To guard against the possibility of unexpected guests - a cousin's new girlfriend, a neighbour dropping in - going presentless.