Thursday, March 29, 2012

Australian Book Launch at Hunter Writers' Centre

Today was the Australian Book Launch for Black Cow at the Hunter Writers' Centre.  If you were unable to make it, here are a few photos from the event. I've still got a few books left which I'd be happy to personally autograph and post anywhere in Australia for a flat $15 (postage free - even Book Depository can't beat that).  There's strictly limited numbers so if you want one, drop me a line.

After Judy Johnson's lovely opening speech - it was wonderful (I was particularly taken with the fact that she invoked Socrates, and provided a very thoughtful introduction to the book, complete with quotations). Not sure if you can see, but I'm blushing. That's Judy to my left.

Thanking the Hunter Writers' Centre for their support and talking about the importance of 'community' - a key theme in Black Cow.

About to launch into a "musical tour of Black Cow" (had to stand so I could begin the karaoke - those with delicate ears were probably glad I only actually sang twice)

That's Robin Loftus to my right with the scarf - she's the author of the excellent poetry book Backyard Cosmos (and also won our door prize!)

A lively questions and answer session afterwards followed by a signing session and some food (hot cross buns anyone?).

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Virtual Book Tour - last reminder

My Black Cow virtual book tour is nearing the last days and we've got autographed book packs, magnets, e-books, and bookmarks still to giveaway. It's not too late. Just drop by any of the stops below, and retweet or share in some way and you'll get another entry.  I'll be choosing a winner (after a fairly intensive tally up exercise) just after the radio show on the 8th.  If you live anywhere near Newcastle NSW, don't forget to join me in person at the Hunter Writers' Centre, 90 Hunter St, Newcastle 10:30am this Thursday the 29th March for my big in-person Aussie launch. I'll post up pics here as soon as I get them.  

Book Tour Schedule

Friday, 24 February: Educationtipster
Sunday, 26 February: Write What Inspires You
Tuesday, 28 February: Nancy Famolari's Place
Friday, 2 March: Brummet's Conscious Blog
Saturday, 3 March: Boychik Lit
Sunday, 4 March: The Simplicity Collective
Monday, 5 March: Slow and Steady Writers
Tuesday, 6 March: World of Ink Network (radio show, 4pm US MST)
Thursday, 8 March: The Alliterative Allomorph
Saturday, 10 March: Writers on the Move
Monday, 12 March: WOTM Webinar workshop
Wednesday, 14 March: Poetic Muselings
Thursday, 15 March: Heidi M. Thomas
Saturday, 18 March: Paper Dragon Ink
Tuesday, 20 March: The Dark Phantom
Wednesday, 21 March: Do North
Saturday, 24 March: The New Book Review
Sunday, 25 March: Blogging Authors
Thursday 29 March: Australian Book Launch (in person event) Hunter Writers' Centre, 10:30am, 90 Hunter St, Newcastle, NSW, Australia
Wednesday, 4 April: The Writer's ABC Checklist - blog 
Sunday, 8 April: Book Reads (live radio show)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Poetry Monday is back: Ian Gibbins

I know.  I've been slack, and I'm going to admit that this may not happen every Monday, but this weekend, despite still going full tilt with promotion (though nearly seeing light), I took a little time to read (and write - more on that soon because I now have an agent and contract for a new poetry book!) some poetry.  As I'm sure you know, my own poetry is heavily influenced by science, so when I saw that Dr Ian Gibbins, professor of Anatomy and History at Flinders University was coming out with his first full length poetry book, I immediately agreed to review it. Yes, I know, my stack is high and I'm behind, but this is candy for me and I've got a sweet tooth. Here is just a delicious taste of what's inside the book - a snippet from the poem "Field Guide" (which also contains stanzas with the POV of Comb Jellies, Spotted Eagle Rays, The Hawksbill turtle, Blue Tiger butterflies, fruit bats, seabirds, and dolphins). This is, so far, my favourite poem in the collection, but it's early days and I'm reading slowly.

2.3 Parrot fish (Scaridae)
        With all their fancy feathers
        I suppose the lorikeets and rosellas
        can be as brash and noisy as they like.
        I would rather take my time
        and, gliding between the staghorns,
        arrive in rainbowed silence.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Black Cow Book Blog Tour Day 19: Steinbeck and Me (at Blogging Authors)

Today, day 19, I'm over at Blogging Authors talking about John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath and the literature of recession.  In today's Guardian UK, poet Ruth Padel says that poetry has a responsibilty to look at the world, and illuminate, in an (always) artistic way, the world we live in. I feel strongly that the same goes for fiction. "Recognising ourselves and the bigger context in which we live, or, as Joyce put it, "reducing the veil between literature and life" is a critical aspect of what literature does for us.  This means addressing the issues that we are all grappling with - in the case of Steinbeck and other writers of the recession, this means unemployment, increasing fear of poverty, rootlessness, the impact of these issues on the individual and on families in as universal a context as possible."  Drop by for the full article and don't forget to join the dialogue by commenting or sharing.

Today is the last day of the Goodreads book giveaway

The Goodreads Book giveawy is now done, and a book has been sent - Jessica, I hope you enjoy it!  We had 777 (neat number) entries!  If you were one of the disappointed ones, don't worry, you can go straight over to Amazon or Kindle and grab a copy at a discount. There will, of course, be more giveaways as we inch towards the end of the tour, including our overall blog tour visit. To join in just hop to our tour page and follow the tour, making a few comments, shares, tweets, etc, and everytime you do it, you'll get another entry. 

Black Cow Book Blog Tour Day 18: Karen Cioffi

Today I'm visiting Karen Cioffi Writing and Marketing blog to talk about using video for book promotion (with a few examples). "Video is a very powerful promotional medium and a fantastic way to connect with readers around the globe. Creating a video can be as complex as making a movie (and indeed it can be a small movie), or as simple as opening your webcam and reading a little from your book. I've done both in the promotions for my new novel Black Cow." Drop by Karen's blog for the full piece, and don't forget to add your comment, tweet, or share in some way or another entry to our giveaway.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Black Cow Book Blog Tour Day 17: Do North

As the Black Cow tour presses on, I'm visiting Mary Jo Guglielmo's blog Do North where I'm exploring the elements of storytelling that lead to modern meaning making. "Good fiction encourages the reader to see the familiar in new ways. This can change mental models and open the way to further discovery, perception, and changing understanding based on what the reader experiences. The reading becomes a cooperative experience between the reader and writer as they collaborate on the “performance”of the reading."  Please drop by Do North to check out the full post, and add your own performance by virtue of comments.  

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Black Cow Book Blog Tour Day 16: Dark Phantom Review

Mayra Calvani at the Dark Phantom Review has put up a wonderful review of Black Cow today. "Black Cow is the absorbing, moving story of a family trying to stay together in a world full of consumerism, a place devoid of spirituality and deep emotional connections. This is a tale that will make you pause and ponder about the quality of your own life. Ball writes with skilful perception and attention to human emotions and motivations." For the full, detailed review, please drop by Mayra's blog.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Black Cow Book Blog Tour Day 15: Author Showcase at Paper Dragon Ink

Today as part of the ongoing Black Cow Blog Tour, I'm the Author Showcase at Paper Dragon Ink talking about, among other things, my (many) influences and inspirations, my new projects, including a little promo on novel 3 and a very interesting project which has just involved the signing of a contract with an agent (more on that soon!), where I'll be when zombies take over the world, my kids' nickname for me, the one piece of writing I feel everyone should read before they die, a fact that most people wouldn't believe about me (it's true! I'll post up a picture one of these days to prove it), and lots of other really interesting tidbits.  Why not scoot on over and say hello (and of course also gain another entry into my tour draw).

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Black Cow Book Blog Tour Day 14: Visit to Heidi M. Thomas

I'm out on the trail today, visiting Heidi M Thomas's blog for another interview.  Heidi asks me a range of questions including why I choose to work in different genres, my favourite authors (I fear I give a different answer to this question everytime I'm asked - I have so many 'favourites!), and of course, where to get hold of Black Cow (if you don't already know by now!).  Do please drop by and comment, retweet, pin, or share in some way for another entry in the big draw - we're not that far off the end now - phew!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Black Cow Book Blog Tour Day 13: Poetic Muselings

Today on my blog tour, I've dropped by the website of the Poetic Muselings to answer their rather unique questions in a candid interview about Black Cow and its poetry, the debt that the book owes to both Kafka's Metamorphosis and the film American Beauty, my favourite scene in the book, and my writing process.  Don't forget to comment, retweet, pin the page on Pintarest, or share on Facebook for entries in the Book Blog tour comp - we've got a $20 Amazon gift voucher, book packs, magnets, a bag and lots more!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Black Cow Book Blog Tour Day 12: Writers Workshop

The month is rushing by, and tomorrow, day 12 (and also March 12, if you live in the north), I'll be doing a workshop on creating customised Facebook pages, 7pm US EST.  Unfortunately we will not be recording this workshop, so if you're keen, you'll have to attend live.  The workshop is free, however, and all attendees will get a copy of the slide pack. So what's it all about?  We're going to learn how to create your own Facebook fan page. We’ll cover templates and self-made options, how to add multiple tabs, the best way to convert visitors to readers, and more, showing you exactly how you can make your own page as exciting as your books. If you can't attend, but are still interested, just drop by my Facebook fan page and like it (of course), and you'll see exactly what we'll be talking about. 

Friday, March 9, 2012

Black Cow Book Blog Tour Day 11: The Virtual Book Tour (a primer and example)

Today I'm over at Writers on the Move talking about the virtual book tour. That is a little self-referential I know - blogging on my blog book tour about doing virtual book tours, but I think there are still lots of people who want to know how to do a virtual book tour, what's involved and why it works so well as a promotional tool.  So I'm taking a moment to analyse the process while being in the midst of it.  Do drop by and add your input, comments, experience, thoughts, and generally participate and you'll be doing the self-referential meta-blogging thing too.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Black Cow Blog Tour Day 10: From the Mundane to the Sublime

Today on my Black Cow blog tour, I'm visiting Jessica Bell's excellent Alliterative Allomorph site (in Greece! Boy am I clocking up the frequent flyer miles) to talk about turning the mundane to the sublime. Here's a sample: "As a writer, I've always been intrigued by the mundane. By mundane, I'm thinking, not of dull or tedious, but rather of it's alternative meaning of being 'of this earthly world', secular, temporal. These are the details of our lives - those things that other readers will recognise - the day to day world that surrounds us." Drop by Jessica's blog to read the rest, and don't forget to comment, retweet or share in some way to get in on the draw - not long now!  Thanks to all of you for following me around the world!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Black Cow Blog Tour Day 9: Writing Mama show now in podcast form

Today I sat on the other side of the chair, answering, rather than asking, the questions. I read a little from the book, and Virginia and I spoke about being a writing parent (of course), on plotting, characterisation, work habits, the background to the book and lots more. If you missed my live interview with The Writing Mama show's Virginia Grenier, you can listen to it anytime at the World of Ink network on Blog Talk Radio, or download your own copy for listening to on the go. 

Black Cow Blog Tour Day 8: Visit to The Slow and Steady School of Writing

The wonderful Annie Dugand is hosting me today on her blog, the aptly named (in my case) Slow and Steady School of Writing. Yes, it's true. I'm a slow writer. I'm not ashamed to admit it. I'm partly slow because I have to be -- with a large family to look after (more about that on The Writing Mama radio show tomorrow), a day job, and plenty of other people calling my name, I just can't devote huge chunks of time every day to writing or set myself intense schedules that don't allow for multi-tasking.  But there are also deliberate reasons for taking my time with my work.  In my blog post today, I look at why slow is good, and something to strive for.  Why not drop by, or should I say, amble by, and add your own 2c to the discussion in the comments. 

Black Cow Blog Tour Day 9: The Writing Mama Radio Show

Tomorrow I'll be dropping by The Writing Mama radio show to chat with hosts VS Grenier and Irene Roth about Black Cow and other things.The show will air live at March 5 , 2012 at 6pm EST - 5pm CT - 4pm MST - 3pm PT.  You can listen on the site or call in at (US number) (714) 242-5259.  If you miss the show live, don't despair. I'll be posting up a permanent listening link shortly after the show airs. 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Black Cow Blog Tour Day 7: Sustainability in Fiction

Today I'm back in Australia to talk with the wonderful Simplicity Collective about sustainability in fiction. In something of an essay on the topic, I explore the key underlying theme of Black Cow.  "The book asks, within the context of its fictive truth, how we can, in the face of this increasing pressure to earn and spend, stop the madness, jump off the treadmill, and begin to live again — slowly, fully, creatively.  How do we create meaning in our lives, in spite of the ongoing onslaught of commercial messages that tell us to move faster, think less, and accept that we’re going to die early?" For the full piece, please drop by and visit the site and add your own comments. I highly recommend The Simplicity Collective, which is also cited in the novel's bibliography as it was a rich source of inspiration throughout my writing, with a wonderful array of excellent articles, owner Samuel Alexander's own book Voluntary Simplicity: The Poetic Alternative to Consumer Culture, which can be accessed at the site, and even a discussion forum.  If living more simply appeals to you, this is a top notch source.

Black Cow Blog Tour Day 6: Visit to Boychik Lit

No rest for a girl on a book tour. Today I scoot straight over to Gerald Everett Jones' Boychik Lit for a guest blog on the topic of literary genres and why I don't think they matter all that much. Do please join me, since Gerald loves comments and thrives on company (and of course every comment, retweet or share of any kind gets you another entry into the big blog tour draw).  I'd love to hear, in particular, what you think about genre and whether you agree with what may well be something of a controversial blog post.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Black Cow Blog Tour Day 5: Brummet's Conscious Blog

The Blog Tour is progressing nicely as I move around the world in some 30 days (without a plane ticket).  For today's stop, I'm in British Columbia, Canada at Brummet's Conscious (and conscientious too...) blog to talk about, among other things, what I wanted to be when I grew up, what makes for a good story, on the types of genres that appeal to me as a writer, how much of my own characteristics there are in my writing, my favourite authors, some surprises and lots more.  Please drop by and don't forget to comment, retweet, or share in some way or another to enter our blog tour comp.