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 find something worth reading

do something worth writing

creating something worth selling

image School’s out and it’s time to get back to the world of writing – do I hear you groan brother dear – with books to read, books to write, books to publish and books to market… image image image image image image

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When I grow up I want to be a writer…

When my brother grows up he wants to be a rock star…

When my  children grow up they will look at their mother and their uncle and see a pair of old crazies doing what they wanna do and being what they wanna be, yeah…

When you grow you grow up, what do you want to be?

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To prologue or not to prologue, that is the question…our middle grade novel, Dirt Busters, A Cracker & Gilly Mystery, was originally called, Old Bones, and was based on the bones of a WW1 aboriginal soldier and and an ancient burial site. The site was being turned into a housing development and Cracker and the gang were determined to stop this happening.

Despite rewriting the preface to our story a zillion times, I made an executive decision to cut it. That’s the advantage of being executive but my co-author is still mad…and that’s okay because our novels are based on sibling squabbles, and our co-aurthorship has more than its fair share – yep, exactly like Cracker and Gilly, and yep, Gilly always wins, sort of, because her creator is the one who makes the executive decisions in our co-authoring team. And Cracker always saves her because that’s what big brothers do.

And being an Indie author team, I figure we can always put the prologue back in one day, and change the name back to Old Bones…but here are the reasons I made the decision I did (yeh, I know, self-justification is no justification:))…

1. My beta readers – Yr 5 & 6 kids – wanted to get straight to the action

2. I’ve been following the prologue/no prologue debate for years and it seems the no prologue team always have good reasons not to prologue

3. I wasn’t confident of our material – I don’t know a lot about our aboriginal history

4. With the right research and help I can always include it in a future edition

5. It’s a great talking point in my writing workshops and my students always engage (maybe I’ll put it in our non-fiction writing book as a discussion point for writers)

6. I went with the old maxim, if in doubt leave it out…

7. Our publisher agreed with me

But I still like our prologue…as my co-author says, it has just the right amount of spookiness…what do you think?

 

PREFACE

 

THE night air was thick and pungent with wood smoke emanating from a fire built high above the tide line where a group gathered under the light of the full moon recently risen from the west.

It was a night like no other Tanjatjiri could remember and the thought made him uneasy. He sniffed at the air as he watched the men of the Wulbunga people dance the corroboree.

Namittitnan, middle-aged and spry, danced to the rhythm of the night, as did his son,Nappittitan, beside him. Karipcoycae and his son, too, danced and Tarijatjiri momentarily forgot his worries as his gaze rested on his own young son who swayed at the feet of his elders, ready to take his place amongst them although he was only seven.

These people looked up to Tarijatjiri, the men and boys of the Wulbunga, and as their leader, Tarijatjiri took his duties seriously, which was why on this night of dance he stood to one side and tried to understand what it was that made him uneasy.

Ochre outlines painted onto the skins of the dancers, with feathers attached by animal fat long horded, showed the care each man took to present himself to the “old ones”.

From his vantage Tarijatjiri could see the sea, the sky, and the land where the men danced and as he gazed around him there was nothing amiss. Yet still he was uneasy. The melodious ‘r’ rurr r’ rurr r’ rurr’ of the dozen didgeridoos played in time to the pounding of the surf as it crashed onto the beach added to his unease.

As the dancers clapped the flats of two nulla-nullahs together, the sharp ‘slap slap’ emphasizing the driving beat, Tanjatjiri turned back to the shadows where the sea met the sky and frowned.

And from deep within him came a guttural cry.

He began to run, his words of warning unable to compete with the ancient rhythms around him, of pounding feet and the fury of clapping wood sticks. It was the crescendo of the tribal dance and as Tanjatjiri ran his brain was filled with the sounds of the dancers, but still he heard it, above the sounds, louder than the sea and the earth combined, and he knew that his warning would come too late.

As the men of the Wulbunga tribe danced to a rhythm passed down from father to son for as long as Tanjatjiri could remember, the big wave struck.

 

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Aunty Millie always gave us books…every Christmas and every birthday…it was a family tradition that saw me making cubby houses on the shed roof, picking plums off the overhanging plum tree and reading about the adventures of Blinky Bill while trying not to stain the pages with plum juice. I carried on the tradition with my own children and managed to collect all the Famous Fives, Nancy Drews, Trixie Beldons and Anne of Green Gables several times over as my children grew up.

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We’ve also moved house – a lot – and I always packed our book boxes. The packers could do what they wanted with the Noritake dinner sets and the Bohemian Crystal but the books were mine…some of which I only got to touch at moving time…to gently place in a box at one end and just as gently lift onto its place on its shelf at the other.

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Until now. You see, it’s that time again – moving house time – only this time there are no packers and, come to think of it no book boxes. There’s nothing for it but to cull. Having moved a few times, with kids, cats, dogs and chooks in tow, I’m a bit of an expert at casting my eye  around and and deciding what goes with us and what doesn’t make the list. Usually, books always make the list – my books and the kids’ books – but this time as I wander from room to book laden room I find myself in a bit of a dilemma.

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It seems that the book fairies have been rather generous to us over the years despite laptops, iPads, and iPhones all sporting the ubiquitous Kindle app. I wander back to the front door and start a second reconnaissance…and groan.

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Three timber bookcases laden with books…add to that one coffee table piled high, two chairs with precarious piles (and an apple core Sam) and a dining room table, well it was a dining room table once…now it’s a book depository.

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Bedrooms…total count four bookcases and one wall of bookshelves…hallway…bookshelves and boxes of books…bathroom…yep, a pile of books on the floor…Sam?

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And last, downstairs to my study where all good books go to die…wall to wall bookshelves, piles of books on the floor and my beautiful timber study desk…laden with books.

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Did I mention we’re moving to a hundred year old beach shack that has – in total – two rooms? Hmmm…to cull or not to cull…it’s not even the question…it’s more a question of where to start or maybe when to start…or even why start at all???

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I blame Aunty Millie…

 

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Yesterday’s post about reader book buying habits got me curious…how exactly does my fourteen year old daughter choose the books she reads and buys?

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Here’s the short answer:

1.  She checks out Goodreads and follows the links to authors and books that look interesting

2.  She reads School Library Journal blogs

3.  She reads Book Review sites (sometimes she finds links to these on Goodreads)

4.  She searches Common Sense Media to check for content and appropriateness (can you tell her mother’s a teacher?)

5.  She goes to Amazon and downloads a sample chapter

6.  If she likes the chapter she buys the ebook on her mother’s Amazon account

7.  And finally, if she absolutely loves it she is then allowed to buy the print copy (a rule instigated by her mother who nowadays has to stand at the door of her study to place aforesaid books on perilously high piles of books bought indiscriminately over many years of bookshop trawling)

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Conclusion…we love our local bookshop (and every bookshop between here and New Zealand) but the Internet has opened up our lives to a world of books we could never have otherwise found. We are voracious readers and will always love the texture and smell of books, and our house will always be full to brimming with the things, but our iPads with our iTunes and Kindle apps allow us the added pleasure off fossicking for reading treasure that until now we would never have had the opportunity to enjoy.

 

 

 

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