It's launch day tomorrow for South of the Sun: Australian Fairy Tales for the 21st Century. Online event starts 6.30pm Friday, 2 July. Find details here:
Some online launch events are being planned for South of the Sun in May.
Official launch - Friday, 21 May, 6.30pm. Stay tuned for details.
Facebook Live event - Saturday, 22 and Sunday, 23 May, all day. You'll be able to watch videos of contributors reading snippets from their stories.
And of course, don't forget to pre-order your copy of South of the Sun: Fairy Tales for the 21st Century.
South of the Sun: Australian Fairy Tales for the 21st Century can be pre-ordered now from https://www.serenitypress.org/product-page/south-of-the-sun.
As well as a short story contributed by yours truly, there are tales by Carmel Bird, Sophie Masson, Cate Kennedy and Eugen Bacon.
Stay tuned for details of the official launch happening in May.
Melbourne is finally nearing the end of its long lock down, and the threat of COVID-19 has diminished here, for the moment at least. I’m finally getting a few hours to myself now and then, and I can feel my creativity returning. It’s time to dive back into ‘life amidst the unreal’.
I have an idea for a book and some characters I’m excited about, so I’m having fun playing around with that at the moment.
Reading-wise, I read Midnight Sun by Stephenie Myer, which in turn led me to re-read the entire Twilight series. It’s an interesting experience, going back to it, looking at it more from a writer’s perspective. I can see the flaws that many others have criticised, but I can also see the author’s growth as a writer. As a reader, I can’t join in the literary snobbery though. I still love it.
Audio-wise, I’ve been listening to A Winter’s Promise by French author Christelle Dabos, translated by Hildegard Serle and brilliantly read by Emma Fenney. The variety of voices Emma brings to the reading is simply astounding, and all of them so convincing that I’m besotted with the characters. I wonder if it would be the same if I was reading the book instead of listening to it. There are flaws in the story – mainly slower bits that could have been cut down – but the unusual setting and characters, the lack of sappy romance (though romance is there simmering away unrequited), and the quiet strength of the protagonist, make for a compelling story. The cliff-hanger ending may bother some people, but I’ve quite happily moved on to book two, The Missing of Clairdelune, to seek the answers to questions raised by the first book (and listen to Emma read some more).
A quick summary of A Winter's Promise - In a world that has shattered into arks, descendants of the family spirits of each ark have special powers. Animist and mirror traveller Ophelia is betrothed to Thorn, a taciturn man from the Pole. In the months before her marriage, Ophelia must learn to survive this dangerous place full of enemies and intrigue. But who can she trust?
“Here, before you, I predict that your husband’s will is going to shatter against yours.” - Ophelia’s Great-Uncle A Winter’s Promise by Christelle Dabos
The Future: Expiration Day by William Campbell Powell
Expiration day is an unusual futuristic novel. Although set in a dystopian future, it’s a poignant and heart-warming coming-of-age novel about what it means to be human.
To maintain peace in a world where few human children still exist, a corporation called Oxtet creates teknoid children for adoption. Tania Deely discovers only two children in her entire school are human. The rest undergo regular upgrades to give them the appearance of growing up. To maintain the illusion, most of them don’t know they’re not human.
In this confusing world, Tania writes a diary describing her life, loves, hopes, dreams, fears and doubts. But as her friends disappear one by one (even the human ones) Tania realises every family faces an Expiration Day.
I highly recommend giving the audio book a listen. Gabrielle de Cuir gives a terrific reading.
The Past: No Small Shame by Christine Bell
As the first World War begins, a young Scottish migrant is embroiled in her own battles at home in Australia. Mary’s determined build a better life for herself and her loved ones, but is hampered by a reluctant husband, an overbearing mother, and the general attitudes and opinions of the day.
Between all the heartache, Mary’s warmth and compassion shine through. Every time I put the book down, I found myself worrying and wondering what would happen, always hoping the best for the characters.
These two books couldn’t be more different and yet at their heart they both feature strong female protagonists who strive to make the world a better place.
Who decided who got to go where and when? Or what a person could or couldn't do? Who wrote the rule book? - No Small Shame by Christine Bell