25 January 2012

Wednesday Stuff and Items

It has come to our attention that we are woefully behind on the cake front.

So here are some we prepared earlier, accompanied by interpretive links to stuff and items of interest.

1) Hedgehog slice disguised as a CHRISTMAS PUDDING!*

Much as Kate Winslet is going to be disguised as the main character in the upcoming film version of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society to be directed by Kenneth Branagh. THIS IS VERY EXCITING.

2) A cheesecake for our Fearless Leader

Before and after:

In the interests of transparency, we confess that some persons in the House, and some persons allied with some persons in the House, have actually follwed the instructions in this book and felted their cat's hair.  We don't know whether to be impressed or alarmed.

3)  Walnut & Cinnamon Bundt cake 

Observe that exquisite form, and that delicate distribution of icing sugar. Look at that pretty plate. The only thing on the internet that is hipper than this cake is this photo essay, which matches women's fashion photos by The Sartoralist with Haruki Murakami covers.

4) Vanilla Panacotta with berries

Mostly... Maybe often...?  Okay more like sometimes, operations around here are as smooth as this creamy dessert. Edits slide off to the author; covers slip through the approval process; books soft-shoe out the door to the printer. At other times, operations around here more closely resemble this...

* SB made this beautiful thing for our staff Christmas party. Super clever.

24 January 2012

A Confusion of Printzes*

The American Library Association has announced the winners and honor** books for their 2012 Literary Awards  - oh only the most prestigious youth literature awards in all the US of A.
Huge huge congratulations to and deafening cheers for...

Bloodflower by Christine Hinwood  
(published as The Returning in the US)

Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey 

The Printz is awarded for excellence in literature written for young adults.


Stonewall Book Award - Mike Morgan & Larry Romans 
Childrens & Young Adult Literature Award
Honor Book:   
Pink by Lili Wilkinson!

The Stonewall is awarded annually to English-language children's and young adult books of exceptional merit relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender experience.

Very very well done, Lili, Craig and Christine!
Stamps, hollers, woops!

*See what we did there?  Genius, I tell you. Geeenius.
** Those American Librarians. We love them. We do. But boy, we wish they spelled honour the same way we spell it.

19 January 2012

Attention Aspiring Authors

We may have mentioned before that we like making books. A LOT. Working with clever publishers, authors and illustrators is our FAVOURITE. THING. IN. THE. WORLD. And if you are a writer of books for children - you too can enjoy our FAVOURITE. THING. IN. THE. WORLD. Hurrah!

The Faber Academy at Allen & Unwin is offering not one, but two - YES! TWO! - Writing for Children courses in Melbourne.

One-day course
Getting Published as a Writer for Children
Rosalind Price
Saturday 31 March 2012
For many years, Rosalind Price was our fearless leader in the House of Onion. Every day, it was a tremendous privilege to learn from her, to discover her way of seeing the world, to have her assured guidance, to hear her considered and insightful observations and her joyful, passionate and irreverent approach to publishing.

We cannot recommend her highly enough.
We cannot even get close.

This one-day course offers new writers for children an amazing opportunity. You too can learn from Rosalind. And Rosalind knows all about this SECRET PUBLISHING BUSINESS. She knows it! And if you do this course - she will SHARE THOSE SECRETS WITH YOU!
Book here.

Three-month course
Writing for Children
Sally Rippin
and guests Andy Griffiths & Martine Murray
Course begins on 7 February 2012

People! Do you need any more encouragement? Sally Rippin. Andy Griffiths. Martine Murray.

Sally Rippin is the incredibly lovely and wonderfully talented author and illustrator of these brilliant books for children.
AND she can help you craft a compelling story, write memorable characters, develop authentic dialogue and create an evocative setting. AND she'll help you with themes and language suited to various age groups. AND, like Rosalind, Sally will tell you secrets - YES! SECRETS! - about what publishers are looking for and how to convince them that your books are worth publishing.

The course will include these very important items:
Martine Murray!
Sense of Place!
Andy Griffiths!
Short stories!

Drafting and re-drafting. (We'll use our inside voices for this one, just in case we scare anyone off with the idea of drafting and re-drafting and re-drafting and re-draft... oops, we got carried away.)
Secret Publishing Business!

Book Here.
Quick! Sticks!

We got a little shouty there. Forgive us. You might not be paying proper attention and we wanted to make sure you heard us. We don't want you to miss out. DON'T MISS OUT!

At Moat, below the Wheeler Centre.
6-9pm. Feb 8

Talk to the people! Ask questions! Imbibe the atmposhere (and the drinks)!

13 January 2012

Ask a Silly Question - 2012 edition

It's the time of year when we sit down to examine the service we provide here at Alien Onion. We ask ourselves important questions. We give ourselves a Performance Review, if you will...

What are our Business Objectives?
To talk about cake and to talk about books.

Are we meeting our Key Performance Indicators?
Have we talked about cake? TICK. Have we talked about books? TICK. Okay, we're good.

Have we birthdayed any new initiatives or sunsetted any poorly performing ones?
Okay, we have no idea what this means. But for birthdays we usually have cake, so we're calling this a pass.
Are our clients getting what they expect from our service?

Well, here we may have fallen down. Because, once again, people have come to Alien Onion searching for something we didn't provide. We'd like to take this opportunity to make that right.

What is the address for YA?
We know it's not 1313 Mockingbird Lane.
It's not 221B Baker Street, London.
Nor is it 221 The Esplanade, St Kilda.
It's probably not Number 1, One End Street.
And we don't think it's The Hundred Aker wood, under the name of Sanders,
or Green Gables, Avonlea, P.E.I., Canada.

It might be somewhere in Forks, Washington.
Or c/- The Hopewell Hotel, New York, NY.

Any mail to District 12, Panem would probably be intercepted, so I wouldn't bother with that.

Did you try 4 Privet Drive, Little Wingeing, Surrey or 12 Grimmauld Place, London?

Or maybe the White Pages?

What is an onion covering called?
A hat? A blanket?

What is the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award in 2011 for?
It is for Shaun Tan, y'all. It is for Shaun Tan!

What type of guinea pig is the nicest?
We like this one:

 He's from Beatrix Potter's Appley Dapply's Nursery Rhymes.

But you might prefer, say, a guinea pig in a dinosaur costume?

Photo via

"Zombie biscuit barrel"
Did you find one? It sounds awesome! Does it say braiiiiinnnns whenever you open the lid?

"Woman's Day articles on Cameron Daddo"
Actually, this is not covered in our Core Business Objectives. So we won't be providing, like, a list of these or anything. But here, this might be worth your while.

What to use instead of cardamom?
You could try cardamon. Many people prefer cardamon.*

The most effective technique Barry Jonsberg has use to engage his audience?
The greatest trick Barry Jonsberg ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist. Oh, wait, no, that might have been the Devil.
Perhaps he used the Force? No, wait, that might have been Luke Skywalker.
Was it that he was a shy, clumsy boy who became a handsome young wizard who courageously destroyed the final Horcrux and saved the world? No, perhaps we're thinking of Neville Longbottom.
Okay, so in the spirit of trying to satisfy our clients we concede that the most effective technique Barry Jonsberg has used to engage his audience was ... to write a slew of brilliant books.  There. See. We can be helpful.

How to spell marshionnn
You know, you're even colder than the last time you asked.

Does snakes like onion farm?
Lots of open space? Nice rustley onion tops to hide in? Sounds ideal. Why wouldn't snakes like onion farm?

What is the book Singing My Sister Down about?
Okay - so it's about these twin sisters who live in small-town America. Renee and Esme both dream of being pop stars, but when Esme fluffs her audition for SensationMaker USA and only Renee is chosen for the nation-wide singing competition, trouble ensues. Esme vows to do whatever it takes to bring her sister down. When she meets a handsome young warlock, Gerald, who promises to give her the voice of an angel, Esme doesn't hesitate - and soon her debut single is battling with Renee's to be top of the charts. But then Esme discovers the real-life angel, robbed of her voice and languishing in the dungeon of Gerald's semi-detached, and she has to start examining what she has sacrificed for fame. Esme realises she will need her sister's help if she is to restore the angel's voice and bring down the wicked Gerald. Renee is at first resistant - but eventually the sisters realise the most important thing they have is each other. Together they are an unstoppable force for good, and who knows, maybe a duet is just what the market is ready for?

We hope that's all the info you'll need to ace your lit essay on 'Singing My Sister Down'.

So that about wraps up this Alien Onion Performance Review. We will endeavour to meet all your needs in the coming year.**

*Fisticuffs ensue in the House of Onion because of reasons.
** Although keeping this promise is not one of our KPIs.

11 January 2012

Happy New Year!

We have been...

eating ham,
watching the cricket,
marvelling at how there is no one on the tram*,
reading, reading, reading,
hiding from 35-degree heat,
sheltering from massive hailstones**,
and gearing up for a year of very exciting things.

What things, you ask?***
Well, here are just a few key things you can expect more about in 2012.

1) Forget the NBN ****. 2012 is the year of the NGN: a New Garth Nix!  Can you believe it? Can you bear to wait until April? Here are some key facts you need to know:
  • There are ten million princes in the galaxy, but only ONE can become emperor.
  • Our edition will have a special never-before-published, exclusive-as-all-get-out, awesome-beyond-the-bounds-of-the-known-universe Garth Nix short story.
  • Yeah you read that right.
  • The NGN is called A Confusion of Princes.
  • We will have more to say on This Subject.

2) Lili Wilkinson is bringing it in 2012.
What is she bringing? Well, apart from the home-made tonic water and the honey-and-ginger infused whisky, she is bringing A NEW BOOK IN APRIL. It's called Love-Shy. And here is everything you need to know: girl meets boy meets East Glendale Secondary College Gazette.

October will see the third and final volume in the Keepers series by Lian Tanner. Path of Beasts. It is, quite simply, a triumphant conclusion. If the series had to end (and quite frankly I would have been happy reading about Goldie and Toadspit until the crack of doom), then it had to end like this. More on this by-and-by - maybe even a sneak preview of an illustration or two QUITE SOON.

4) Two Words: Margo. Lanagan.
Two more words: Sea. Hearts.
Two further words: Read. It.
Two more further words: No. Really.

And that, friends, is all just the tip of the iceberg. There is so much goodness in the House this year. It's bursting out the doors; it is streaming out the windows; it will flow through this blog at least semi-regularly, because we just can't contain it.

BRING ON 2012!


Also, we will eat cake in 2012.

In fact, the cake eating has already begun. And how!

* Because everyone else is still on holiday. *sob*
** Oh Melbourne, don't ever change.
*** Those of you who aren't at the beach do, anyway.
**** What's that, you already have forgotten it? Sshhhh, we're trying to make a joke.