Thursday, December 30, 2010

He did it!!

Back in South Africa, Dave and his brother were master crayfish catchers. They would go out for an hour or so, catch their quota and come back in, while younger divers struggled to get any at all. Dave was very used to taking friends diving, and watching them battle to catch.

Here on Flinders it has been the other way round. Dave has battled to find crayfish in a totally new environment. And all the ones he did see were undersized.

Today I am one very proud wife, Dave caught his first size crayfish! We have been here just short of a year, and catching crays was one of the areas we did not expect to struggle, but to be fair, he can only dive for them when invited out on someones boat, so he has not had many chances to look for them.

Still I love crayfish, and I am so so pleased to see him come home with one he has caught himself!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Doing it the hard way

I guess I am, by most standards, hopelessly obstinate. When most people are curled up in their nice warm bed having realised the fish are not there, or back in the pub because the wind is blowing you sideways across the cliff... I'm still there. The same I guess goes for the writing, and for the constuction -- or destruction projects. It's not that I'm good at them, just persistant - or too stupid to give in. This was put to the test today when I got Bill to come and help me haul my new work-bench out of Peter's shed. Now is one of those quick jobs - cut 4 legs with a chainsaw. About 3 minutes work...

Yeah well. Enter some very old concrete imbedded pieces of some REALLY hard timber. And the chainsaw from Ping Ping, circa 1910. Okay it said 'Stihl' on the casing but if I were them I'd be denying it :-) So Pete starts it with a rattle and a clatter, and yours truly goes under the bench and gets loose with gurt clouds of smoke and cuts - not without effort... one leg. Leg 2... sparks and smoke and no progress. #$%@ bits of cement from concreting the bench in. So Peter goes to sharpen the blade, and we try again. And again. In choking clouds of carbon monoxide, oil, soot and cursing... repeat until you have Dave with one of those weeny branch saws (not a bowsaw) but a saw half the size of the leg... sawing away. It was a sharp little saw, but little. Anyway two hours later, and some crowbar work later, and language to make a lascar blush, the legs are cut... only it's not moving...

Now we get the 'right said fred' part - with 3 hot tired men and a large crowbar.
We took this off... to get that out. And then to move that we took off the next. and so on. and on. The bench came out small pieces. Heh. Good thing the chainsaw had rattled and gasped its near last or we'd have had the shed down too.

Two and a half hours that ten minute job took, and Bill was trying to get back to his project that he only had today to do...

Anyway, I have four sturdy legs towards a work-bench... :-)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

"I'm chinese junk-man from Hong Kong..."

I wonder who else remembers that song?
Well, the usual Flinders chaos. Bill popping in with a second half-tank, a quick cuppa and bit of a laugh and chat, and Molly to be fussed over. Peter giving me a call about work-bench he's taking out of his shed. Do I want it? Yes. So went up and had a look and a beer and chat... And got offered a bunch of timber, and a useful piece of strapping and a couple more extension cords... At the moment, if it is going, I'm usually keen, although the generosity leaves me feeling awkward. But right now I am definately the junk-man, collecting to replace what I had to leave behind. I've always been into waste-not want not, a regular packrat, that's me. And I had part with a lot of it. I am used to having a bit in the workshop that'll do for this or that, so it's been quite hard, being without it. Writing's gone OK despite the sadness of having to destroy one tomato plant. A tragedy.

James and Nik went off to spear fish this morning (and did well at it), and I had a nice run of writing then, despite being envious. The boy is getting good at it. Even hit a large mullet, and they move pretty quick. They saw our neighbor in waders and with a large sack of something... so we've all been trying to guess what it could be. All a secret here, of course!

Monday, December 27, 2010

"And he walks just like John Wayne..."

James went for a cycle today, as far as Emita, not having cycled for six months. Enough said!

I discovered part of the problem with the veg beds! The roots from the Gum trees some distance away... have been being well nourished and watered. So some root chopping was done. Gradually, I am shifting the rest of the plants out of the study - long past due, but I am only one bloke, trying to write and live. I planted the russian and lebanese cucumbers out next to the shed. Something ate the last ones I put in there :-(

And otherwise, we muddle on. B cut grass. Paddy is in Malawi, so I feel less worried than when he's in SA. James made a huge batch of biccies - about 160 IIRC - or two days worth, and managed to get some Clancy brothers songs off a very elderly tape that accidentally came with us. Then he asked me for their names...

I have been thinking of a folding hand spear I can put on a pouch on my belt (along with the new kill-knife and a ton of lead). Inevitably IF you need one... it's on the beach. And if you don't, very much in your way and occupying your hands.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Gurnard-Perch etc.

I have heard of this game 'cricket' and I used to think it was played in Australia, but alas, I was mislead. (Ashes? What Ashes? And the Sydney to Hobart looks like being er... exciting, to judge by our wind today.

I've had real focus trouble with the book today. Curiously my Amazon bookscan figures show SLOW TRAIN TO ARCTURUS selling better than anything else, although DRAGON'S RING is LISTED as bestselling the figures show two books sold... Worrying.

I put the asparagus - Martha Washington - out today -- for certain values of out, they're still in a very large tub, but outside. I have the intimidating task of filling the next raised bed (believe me we need it and I want it, but it is LARGE). Sigh. At this stage - when the writing is coming hard, there are not enough hours in the day to get my quota of words, cook and do the bare essentials.

We had gurnard-perch Neosebastes scorpaenoides for supper (you know - the fish with the toxic spines, related to the stone-fish etc.) With huge pop-eyes and many spines... they're not pretty. Which makes for a fairly cautious filleting option... and not one where you need a cat climbing your leg while you are engaged in. Gee... guess what La Duchesse thought would be a good idea? I really would like to know a little more about the toxin, and whether it is injected or just on the spine or just in the mucous and how best to inactivate it (and how it survives death and freezing) as they're very good eating. But, Duchesse not withstanding, I don't want to use myself as a guinea pig. Not an ideal grilling fish, it is like crayfish in texture, and better than monk-fish in taste for mock-crayfish.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

An Australian Christmas

Well, it did feel odd to arrive at Christmas a good 9 hours early. But it's a secret see. If the kids find out about this you'll all be moving here, and trust me, emigrating can be quite hard at times. Father Christmas used his magic shrinking potion to sqeeze down the Chimney and I had wisely left the glass door ajar and bottle of beer (Boags) and the mince pie ready. So he did leave a little something for B and I, and new booties for James (you know the cute little woolly numbers. One should always be very specific in those letters to Santa, and say 'wetsuit booties'). B and I have a turntable which can send our records to the computer and digitise them so our very long not available Scots and Irish folk. It works but so far my attempts have resulted in interesting double dubbing. Yes, I'm inept.
Looking through the records I see we have a lot of old Jaluka, and David Kramer. I might just try them on the locals for shock value. If I didn't value our 96 year old Scottish dancing teacher beyond rubies, I might be tempted to swap a Juluka song on CD for one of these blessed slow hop skip and jump Strathspey (I have more chance of falling pregnant than doing a Strathspey right).

Anyway we had a lovely lunch at Barb and Dale's place, ate FAR too much (ham, chicken, oysters, crayfish, various salads, and far too many kinds of pudding) It was - thank heavens - cool for dinner, overlooking the vast emptiness of Marshall bay. Dale makes furniture out of driftwood and I must ask him if I can put up pictures sometime.

We talked on Skype to the family - my brother and sister and Paddy back in South Africa. Paddy gave us fine present in terms of final results for his BSc.
Distances oppress.
But tomorrow will be another beautiful island day.
And I will press on with the book.
And to celebrate Christmas B's graphics card has fried.

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Day before Christmas

Well, it should be spent wrapping presents, getting the meal ready for tomorrow, etc etc.'

We got up at 6am, woke a friend around the corner, and took him with us up to The Docks. There Dave and James got the final use out of the tanks they had hired for a few days, and we fished from the rocks. We only caught 4 smallish Wrasse between us, and then retreated on the ute, and the flask of hot water. The others dived for 2 hours, with a fishing break in the middle of it, as they got very cold. (There is currently snow both north and south of Flinders Island, so although it is a clear sunny day, the slight wind has a bite to it.) Still we came home with a feed of abalone, and food for the cats, so that was great.

Then into town to do the last shopping, and fill up with petrol, and we got home at 3pm.

After a quick lunch we set to, washing the gear we had used, mincing the abalone as an experiment with turning them into 'frikkedele' or meatballs, cooking the crayfish for tomorrows lunch (so at least that fits the tradition!) and Dave cooking a feast for my belated Birthday supper.

I am hoping for a peaceful day on Monday, just a calm day to reflect back on the wonderful year we have spent here, and what plans we can make for 2011, but I am not sure I am going to get it. Life is certainly all go at the moment.

For those who celebrate it, I hope you have a Merry Christmas tomorrow, and for those who don't, I hope you have a good day anyway.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The day after.

Well, you know how it is? You have a special day, and then the next day feels a bit flat... ?? Right.

Today certainly did not conform to the pattern. In the first place the wind blew, if not a gale, a very very hard wind. I got up earlyish to get to the housework that was neglected yesterday, and was nearly done when friends arrived to drop us a BBQ. We had a coffee with them and then I had to rush off to take James to Trousers Point for a couple of hours surfing, with most of the teenagers on the island.

He packed some bread to take with him, no time to add jam, and I got my fishing gear together, thinking that if I was going to drive down there, I might as well see what I could catch, and we have a fishing spot well away from any sane surfer. We planned to arrive before the bus, but were just after it, so James went to join the others, and left his bread in the ute.

I went off to our spot across the headland, and discovered that the rock we stand halfway down at high tide, had waves breaking over the top of it! The wind was really blowing the sea into white horses and bigger waves than I wanted to face. So I watched for a while, and then retreated, without even unpacking the bait. Total chicken, but there was so much white water, I thought that no fish would even see the food.

Back home we then got another visitor, our landlord's mother, who has not been around to see us for a while, so we had a really good chat, and caught up on all the news. After she had gone, we had lunch and then Dave went off to his writers circle, which he really enjoys.

James managed to get a lift back from the beach, which saved his feet walking from town, and I heard that they had had a BBQ at the beach so he was not starving, as I had imagined.

Another friend popped in to fetch the wine we had been storing for him, and it was great to see him back on the island. I am getting used to the idea that a lot of the people we meet here are not resident all year round. But I do miss them when they are away!

James then helped me restart the computer game I got for my birthday, which was really frustrating for him, as I am very slow, but I have not died yet, which is a huge plus in my book.

Dave got back from Writers in time to cook supper/tea so we could get to Scottish dancing on time.

All in all a busy day, with no time for a let down at all.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

He's a happy camper...



despite the howling wind. It was actually a rather pleasant presenty day - James's 2Kg Australian Salmon (a gift from the sea), some ham, garlic, beetroot, a tomato plant, and pepper-berry. Thank you all. Tomorrow is B's B'day so we hope there are some pressies there too :-).

Monday, December 20, 2010

Not Angels, Angles

We had a rather disappointing dive yesterday, off a very small boat in very rough sea and murky water no size crays - we desperately need some for Christmas.
On our way back we saw not 1 but 3 blonde echidnas

It was the Pageant in the evening.

With B doing a beautiful poem reading, and James being Joseph and me being the Archangel Gabriel, and being kept from trumpets.

Today we gave cats and dogs worm pills. B has a hole right through her thumb-nail and I have a similarly injured index finger. And no, it wasn't the dogs - it was Robin (the littlest cat.) James eventually crushed it (not the cat, the pill, Peter) into powder, mixed it with condensed milk and put it on her nose. (well he got her to lick some).

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The tree, bookscan


So we have a Christmas tree. For the first time in many years it actually didn't need to lose 10 feet to fit into the house. Mind you as we had to leave all our decorations behind, this had to be a bit smaller. It needed a nail-file not a chainsaw.

It's odd coming up to our second Christmas away from the farm and the way things were. Our first in Australia, of course. I think it is the time which is hardest for immigrants, and we're so grateful to have James here for this one. Maybe... someday, when the stone has found its home again, we'll get to the Somerset pye (with deboned ham hock (coated in chicken liver pate) inside a deboned chicken (coated in an apple and mushroom pate) inside a deboned duck (coated in a nut-pate) and inside a deboned turkey (coated with a layer of forcemeat with capsicums and pitted olives - which I don't think very traditional but I like them, and pastry case. My sister always hated it and moaned. My brother always did a very good gammon which he steamed over sherry and we made a slew of salads and ate for Africa, with trifle and Christmas pud with brandy butter after.

Maybe another year, when finances and life finally sort out... (keep swimming up the undertow!)

Anyway, I now should get all the Bookscan data from all my books, in exel form I believe once a week. It cost a bit but I'll never ever have the terrible shock of DRAGON'S RING again. Hopefully the pre-order will help to affect my career, so thank you, anyone who did this! I will have a very good idea of what if any royalties (instead of the current impossible budgeting situation) I will get and also a very good idea of just what is going on. Which areas books are selling in, which bookshops simply didn't take/get any stock. Where to direct attention, where not to waste my time. I'm rather iffy about having to do all this (I write. Time taken to do other things, is less books. BUT someone needs to watch all these things, and it appears it will be me, or not done. And if it isn't done... I won't sell books. So I will be watching it. I'll post sales so you can see them.)

Friday, December 17, 2010

So what is a monkey's wedding?

When it rains and the sun shines... back in the old country we called that a monkey's wedding. As there is a shortage of my rellies here getting married, I assume there must a local expression? In other news I see there is possibility of snow in Vic this weekend - a bit early for a white Christmas. James and I have been straight armed into being Joseph (James) and the Archangel Gabriel at the Christmas pageant. This is an invitation to disaster.

We're eating tomatoes out of the garden :-)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

And some went in looking very serious

And some went looking very serious
And accompanied by fellows with knives in their belts...



And came out looking very pleased with themselves :-)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Fiddlers Green - Vansittart

"I don't want a harp nor a halo not me. Just give me ship and a good rolling sea..."
Fiddler's Green (traditional Irish folk)

Well, we got a call to say the weather was lovely, and Jeremy wanted to take his boat out - She's a 'new' elderly 'chuck-chuckie' as we called little wooden boats with inboards (after the sound of the engines). They're a step back into the past, and it took right back to being a kid playing around on the boat my dad used to fish off - smae smells and feel, same roll on the sea. They're not fast, and they tend to be a bit deeper draft, but they're cheaper to run and well, they feel like something out of a good part of my childhood - like paddling my little flat-bottom canoe along the marshy islands of the Umgeni - chasing mullet. Although I need to work, I also need to feed the family and as it was invitation to me with James as an ancillary... I couldn't just deputise him. Anyway, they've all gone for squid and I am here today, but yesterday was me back in my old element. We slipped the mooring and set off from Lady Barron, out past the fringe of islands that keep those waters flat and out to off Vansittart, where we set a cray pot and briefly kissed a rock -- the tide streams very strongly there.

On the way we met some fellow fishers (for once the damned politically correct is appropriate).

and this is dolphin sliding under the bow. Look carefully. It was that close to us.

We set a longline for gummy shark -- which I thought (having set numerous lines for Soupfin when I worked on sharks) was kind of small. The anchors weren't. Anyway, then we went off to fish for flathead past the wreck of the Farsund. (look for vansittart on Google earth - you can see the wreck, and there are some stunning pics)



We keep changing the way things are done around here, so James and I put on paravanes and towed lures... James a Yazuri Jig, me a silver spoon. James got taken at full speed - by a flathead. And later again, which was quite a shock to our local expert. And a third time that got off... Then it was handline and drift -- where oddly handlines outcaught our host (who is a good fisherman) on a rod. I guess it depends on the fish and the ground. I also got a gummy shark, which I would have put back but the local though a good catch... So we got a few feeds of fish and went back to pick up the cray pot... empty, and the longline... absent. We spotted one bouy about 300 yards from where we'd set (while discussing diving crays at night and the possibilities of sharks... only the hooks came up empty... and the missing. And then the whole snood missing. And then the 6mm rope... bitten off. The other bouy, the anchor and the rest of the rope had left with a larger shark, I imagine.

We searched for some time but had to head back... and then the engine overheated, in the tricky sandbanks between the islands. So using the outboard on the dingy we had to pony the chuckie home, to drive home past this middle-earth sunset.



Fresh fish for tea...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Learning from mistakes.

I have heard that it is good to learn from your own mistakes, and I have sometimes tried to learn from others mistakes, but that does not always work.

Some weeks ago, Dave helped a friend load hay, while I drove the ute they were loading onto. Dave was wearing Tshirt and shorts, and ended up really itchy from the hay.

So, today I was helping the same friend unload the hay, it is wet and of inferior quality, so is being returned to the farmer. Right. So I put on a thin Tshirt and then a thick long sleeved checked shirt, open in front as it is 30 degrees in the shade, and the hay barn. And we unload a trailer full of hay, and then start on the back of the ute. Suddenly I had to sit down, my head was throbbing and I was incredibly giddy. I was given some cordial to drink, and I took off the thick shirt, and in 2 minutes I was back to unloading hay.

Now I am have very itchy arms from the hay. So, I learnt what to wear to deal with hay, I just need to get the correct weather for the activity.

Dave and James have gone off fishing for the day on a different boat, so I just have to wait and see what sort of a day, and catch, they have had.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Cave Beach

Ok nothing much happened yesterday except a truly delicous crayfish dinner with Max and Sue - which was a lot of fun. And writing of course.

Today was writing, and cleaning gutters with James at Bluff House, and writing, and the dentist (phew done, he's a nice guy... but dental work... anyway, I was so tired I fell asleep while he was working! I went out to pick up B and James from Visiting 'Rosy' :-) at Emita, and we drove down to catch 4 o├žlock high tide at Cave beach: A new find for us, and hell on clothes on the etched limestone. The caves are spectacular though


James of course had to dive, and persauded me that it was only waist deep out to this island. If you keep your waist around your neck, it was. Except for the last bit, where, tackle box above my head, rod in other hand above my head... Hat floating on surface... also above my head.

And then back home with a crosserous like a rhinosarous B who wanted to go to the school for their final prizegiving and pageant thing. She missed the bit that she wanted to see, so I would like a longer snorkel.

And then it was Monday!

Monday is the beginning of the week, so I always start with all sorts of good intentions, of what I will achieve before Sunday suddenly comes around again.

Today was no different, except that we got a lot of the items ticked off the list. We did the washing, cleaned the gutters, (on our house, and a friends house down the road.) cut some of the really long grass, finished cleaning the rectory, visited friends for some Rummicub (and laughs), went fishing (caught and speared some fish), spent an hour and a half at the dentist (only Dave!), attended the school end of year concert and prisegiving (only me), and now I am tired!

But I do feel that we achieved a lot, between the three of us, so the rest of the week is sure to be franticly busy too, but hopefully we can have some fun as well.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Shrimpenvolk Reich

Well, what a summer... sheeting rain again today. James and I popped in on Molly's boss to inspect his fish-tank and the Shrimpenvolk Reich (it appears that Adolf was reborn (perhaps after a few thousand re-runs as a maggot) as a Vun-clawed Oberfurer shrimp, assulting the rest. I suspect he hasn't Karmically progressed and will shortly be retrying life as a maggot again!). The goby, blenny and wrasses and even crabs are under decapodan jackboot, and he is planning on a blitzclaw strike against Poland or Bill's kitchen. That was my excitement, besides James making a moist, dense chocolate cake, and more anzacs (I hope his future wife is suitably grateful) and me doing a batch of Chelsea buns (accused of being a mysterious South African invention here. Chelsea... another typically African name), and being reliably informed that what my plants need is Epsom salts (which I have tried now), I have done some writing.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Getting the Bird

Something fowl has been happening in the league of extra-ordinary chimney sweeps, because we've two consultancies in a row, with the cats watching facinated as the latest birdy ends up inside the combustion heater, looking out, fluttering about.

This is the third since summer started - and as the last one spent a good 24 hours in there and had me trying to figure just how to get it out before it died in there and got us out -- they've shaken loose a load of soot -- some of which they take out with them. I've released two blackbird... which came in as starlings.

The interesting part, of course, is catching them, without them going soot-bomber all over the house. The second one - a smallish bird who barely spent ten minutes in the fascinating environs of our chimney - was quite easy for anyone who has ever wriggled crays out of a tight hole - it moved back into the far corner of the baffles when I tried get hold of it. Its grateful attempts at pecking and scratching made me SO glad it wasn't a Rosella. It did escape at the doorway, but a quick flick saw it gone with nothing more than a reproachful glance from the cats. The other - larger one - who was still fiesty after a long stay in durance chimney, made a dash for the fire-door as I reached for him, but I pinioned him with a forearm and let him fly off with soot-able messages for his nearest and dearest.

Now maybe what we need is a bigger chimney for the turkeys.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Now I know why I joined the CWA!

I was very chuffed when I was invited to join the CWA (Country Woman's Assoc) and have enjoyed their meetings very much. BUT last night was their Christmas dinner, to which husbands were invited, and I managed an invite for James as well. Well, everyone brought a 'plate', some for main course, and some for pudding. And we ate, and we ate. The food was totally delicious, and very varied, there was certainly something for everyone! So I reckon that is why so many people join, it is in order to eat really well.

Today we went off to a new beach, halfway up the west side of the island, taking 2 friends with us, and meeting 2 more there. Well, I am sure it is the right spot for something, and it was very beautiful, but certainly at full tide, I could not find any fish with my bait. Diving with a snorkel and a spear, James managed to get a leatherjacket, and we came home with some Wrasse, but it was not a very productive spot. Having said that, I must admit that Dave caught a huge Flathead, on a very small rod, but I was on another rock, so missed all that excitement.We were also given some Australian Salmon that had been caught at North East River, so it was not a bad day, and the sun shone, for the first time in a few days, and the wind was light, so it was good to be out at the beach again.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Painting!

Today we had a 'working bee' to see how many people we could exhaust on one property in one day!

Seriously we were working on the rectory. We have a new minister coming next week, and as no one has been living in the rectory for a while the garden needed a tidy up, and so did the parish office. So we all set to, with a will, and boy did we work. I was lucky in that I drew the job of painting, just the window and the downpipe, oh, and the other downpipe, and around the front door, etc. But that was a lot easier than the heavy weeding and mowing that the others were doing.

So James sanded, and I painted, a good hard wearing brown. I had gone dressed for work in denim jeans and my painting white shirt. The wind was blowing a real gale, and so my shirt has an unusual pattern of brown spots that blew off my brush. At one stage I was using an undercling hold to layback off, as I painted the top of the window, and gusts of wind were blowing my whole body, never mind just the brush, so some of the lines are not as straight as they could be.

But, when we left, the whole property was looking so much neater, and cared for, I hope they really enjoy their time living here.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Someone dropped the ball


It happens all the time. You find an author who writes well, who writes books you love ...

And they vanish.

Sometimes they will surface again under a pseudonym, but mostly Jane A. Greatread is gone forever.

What this means is not that Jane stopped writing, or isn't just as good as ever, but that someone in the great chain of publisher - distributor - retail that claims roughly 90% of the cover price of Jane's book for supposedly doing the job properly, dropped the ball.

Jane A. Greatread controls none of this, but her ever selling another book to publisher under her own name depends on Jane's book selling more than her last book on the bookscan numbers. These numbers are available to everyone (publishing, retail, distribution) except Jane, who never gets to see them, but will get a royalty report... 12-18 months too late.

By then, Jane's career as a writer is dead. Publishers won't buy from her, and retailers won't buy from them if they do.

This has just happened to me.

DRAGON'S RING - great cover, and, I have been told, really good book came out in October 2009 -- We'd sold our house, we were trying to pay for the dogs and cats quarantine, and trying to do the myriad other things to emigrate.

I got the royalty statement yesterday (yes, 14 months later, that's publishing). The hardcover sold barely 1000 copies. A MANKIND WITCH - with one of the worst covers in sf/fantasy - sold 3500 copies in hardcover.

Looking at my royalty statement: (figures which are NOT available to retail or other publishers, unlike total sales) the reason was easy to see. Very few copies were shipped -- somewhat less than 1/3 of A MANKIND WITCH. Someone either at Baen, Simon and Schuster (who are supposed to handle marketing and distribution) or a buyer at one of the retail chains made a decision that destroyed any chance the book had of success. Now it probably wasn't Baen -- or at least not Toni Weisskoph -- because she bought the next book. But that's the only person that has an alibi I know of.

Of course I am the one who gets to carry the can. And to the readers who enjoy my books, I vanish.

Only I B'AIN'T DEAD. And I am NOT ready to give in or just start again with a pseudonym.
I have one chance to show that they all screwed up, and keep my books selling and name alive. DRAGON'S RING paperback come out 28 December (the second worst selling release day of the year. Gee, thanks, that helps ;-)) Given the dismal figures for the hardcover... store orders will be abysmal or non-existent. The idiot who dropped the ball last time won't be pushing it, because it will show them up. So: if you enjoy my books, want see more of them, and would like to give the supply chain that has destroyed so many many good books and good authors a poke up the snoot... please order it from a bookstore or Amazon. No, this won't make me rich. I get 64 cents from that sale. But if I can get enough pre-orders, the book will get into stores, and will get a fighting chance.

Right now, it has none.
I've also taken steps to get those Bookscan figures so that I am informed immediately, and not 14 months too late.
And I am pursuing e-books actively, (I have a collection out from Naked Reader Press - where if you buy from the site - I get 60% of the cover price. Otherwise the stories are available on Amazon etc. (and I earn 50% of what you pay) where if anyone drops my ball, it will be me.
Well, I have had my visit to the dentist, and finished the current book. Tomorrow I start on the other one I am part way through, and rest this one. And now I am going to bed.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

29 years...

Barbs and I have been married for 29 years today, which says a great deal about my wife's stamina, courage and some people may say reflects poorly on her common sense.
I don't win lotteries , but I won that one.

Nothing much vastly exciting today - it's been windy and quite cool. The book maketh progress. We had grilled magpie-perch and squid (with soy,ginger, a little chili) and a pasta with fresh parsley, red onions, and clams, and a fresh salad from the garden (imported tomato. They won't get ripe!).

I've planted out a bunch more seedlings - peppers and tomatillos and basil. Not too sure what I'll do with the tomatillos.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Defying Gravity above the swimming pool, and other stories

We are forecast a week of rotten weather (it's howling now) but the day was a scorching beauty. So B did duty at the fair, selling cakes and the delicious saveloys (buy one, the world will be a happier place) And i took J, Nik an Rob to climb at Emita. The defiance of gravity was sometimes achieved. Intermittantly...



This was a ray that came cruising along through the swimming-pool clear water. It must have been 2 metres across.



Then we came home, picked up B, had lunch and went out to West End again to make up for yesterday's Abelone failure. 20 abelone were taken and the bouy and anchor proved a great idea. The flag sadly will tell submarines I am diving. Next I will fit a bag to it, as I was sinking under the weight of the abelone. People seem to find the fact that we snorkel and free dive for them quite odd. Oh and James is entirely too good with the handspear. I think he got 4 more fish today.


The Abelone beating is messy process... I strip down to the official budgie smugglers and do it out on the grass, thump splatter spray... and James and I hosed each other down afterwards as little bits of ab fly everywhere. We had a stir-fry of fresh Abelone and spring onions which was worth every moment of it.

And then we caught 3 more squid.



But not much writing was done :-(

Friday, December 3, 2010

I had a good morning's work and thought this book would be done... and AJ called to say the water was flat clear and low at West End and just how soon could we get there. So, as tomorrow is forecast good and the rest of the week wind and rain... we went. It was not a particularly good Abs spot, (I found one size one) but James had the hand-spear and managed to spear 4 fish. We both had a go with the speargun, which is a major mission to load (new rubber) and failed miserably. Barbs had caught another 3 off the rocks, so a good haul despite the Abs. So we came home and had a feed of magpie perch. They were quite soft fleshed but tasty. Worth doing again, but DO NOT SKIN. If you skin them they'll fall apart. So then Bill called to say he and my girlfriend Molly the Great Dane cross stag-hound were into the squid... so we went with carpe diem - only it was after sundown, and got 5 squid. Coming to the house, Roly the Old English was trying to let James know he loved him... Bump and a squid jig goes flying. So we get him out the way, get the lights on and the two of us searching... no jig. Then James has the bright idea of looking at Roland... it is in his hair (he doesn't even know - the new hair accessory for Old English Sheepdogs... As James is lifting it out... the weight hooks... and Roly moves... so he had a jig in his fingers. He is mercurochrome red handed. And I will bath and go to bed.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Oh my lamentable memory

I suspect I need to eat more muttonbirds or something. I believe fish-oil is supposed to help. I was deep in the book and managed to forget today was my writer's circle. Sue now has the recipe: set the date and then tell Barbs. Anyway the session was entertaining as usual. And after so many years... I'm still learning. It's fascinating (with a good group) to see how people develop in different directions. Each of us have our strengths. We had a new writer there - working on a family history - and the horrors of travelling Steerage out to Australia. We have dancing tonight, and I want write a little more, so I will love you and leave you.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

8 er ate Squid...

8 squid tonight (our record I think) - we weren't even going down, but Bill gave us a call to say they were thick tonight. Of course when we got there it had gone quiet, but it picked up. There was an enormous ray slowly flapping around the pier, like a big dirty dishtowel. He was at least a metre and a half across. And another stunning 9PM last-light sky. I'm nearly out of cap so I won't post pictures. The wordcount continues.