June 20th, 2009


Horn Review at Cool Shite

Dirk Flinthart has reviewed Horn over at Cool Shite.

“Horn” is a perfectly delightful book about a private eye named Miriam Aster tracking down a fairly nasty murderer… or it would be, if Aster wasn’t the reanimated lover of an exiled Faerie Queen, and the murderer wasn’t a sex-crazed unicorn starring in a particularly repugnant snuff movie with an underaged runaway.

There. I said it. The book involves unicorns, rape, snuff movies, and more or less undead lesbian detectives.


Peter M. Ball has got it right. This book is smart, funny, nasty, and wicked as hell. He gets the noir-ish tone spot on, delivers with action a-plenty, kick-ass characters, intelligent plotting, and good, clean evocative writing. Best of all, he takes a turgidly overused fantasy trope out behind the backyard toilet and puts a dum-dum bullet through its brain, after which he whips out his tackle and pisses all over the steaming corpse.

You can still buy a copy here


I like big flop and I cannot lie


jonathanstrahan and I often talk at long length about books - all aspects of books. Not just what we're reading, have read or want to read but also the mechanics of making a book and the appearance of them. What makes us pick up and buy one book over the other. What attracts us to a cover and what makes us feel like the cover is saying that book is for us.

One day he was going on and on about "flop". And he explained at great length what makes good flop and why this is important - even so far as to bring forth several books to do the flop test. What is flop? It's ... well, it's when you hold a book in your hand and flick the pages back and forth. A book with good flop has pages that easily flip back and forth, it's not stiff. It's the kind of book that falls casually open to the page you're reading without breaking the spine and then recovers to the way it looked before you opened it.

Ahhh ... books with good flop!

Well! The other day, I bought Suite Scarlett because I have just discovered Maureen Johnsoon through cassiphone's book reviews in Shiny and then jonathanstrahan bought Suite Scarlett just as I was finishing 13 Little Blue Envelopes and so I needed my own copy.

Well, this afternoon I hopped into a steaming hot bath with my copy of the book and was devastated to discover it has bad flop! The pages are glued in such that they wrinkle and ripple when you open it and the cover stays curled. The pages feel thin and too cheap and the cover, unlike 13 Little Blue Envelopes, is thin and matte.

Reading this book is aesthetically displeasing and uncomfortable. Which is a shame because Johnson is a delightful read - funny, with zippy plot, paints her backdrops in vivid colour and then populates them with loveable fun characters. What's not to love about a book about a girl who lives in a 1920s hotel in New York?! ... the book itself, it seems.

Loving the book, devastated about the packaging.

tired now

Just declined lovely evening invite because I should stay home and work. And I should. I have much to do. But gosh I am tired!

Last night I had my monthly full body massage ... mmm... And then I popped over to jbaby77's for our girlie dinner with the Divine Miss B, which got rescheduled from earlier in the week. J was intent on doing grilled haloumi and thus it was named the Haloumi Party. And the haloumi was fabulous! Mr T seemed to get himself an invite and fit in as one of the girls, not blinking by any of the conversations! And in fact was most interested and asked lots of questions. The most amusing part of the evening was when B was explaining how she cannot abide boys farting in her bed and had a long and involved rant. At some point, all three of us nodded sagely to confirm that, yes, all boys do indeed fart in bed. It amused Mr T muchly since on any other subject we tended to wildly disagree.

Much wine was drunk, the world was discussed at length and much laughter was produced. And then I found myself driving home at well after midnight. And was thinking about this concept of the Independent Woman. When I was still with the ex, I didn't drive all that much by myself other than to work and to run errands. He drove everywhere and he knew how to get any old place. And I just must have gotten used to that, to the point where I would stay home if the alternative was an invite to someone's place or to somewhere that I had never heard of. Seems to me now to be that I was far too young to be so conservative. Or scared of the unknown. After we broke up, I did that year of not saying no to any invite unless I was already booked and that meant I had to drive myself to a lot of places that were unfamiliar to me. A whole heap of you live far away from me in suburbs often I had not heard of before or never been to. And not wanting to miss out, I guess? Or maybe in trying new things? I just got myself a map book and would always just ask for how to get somewhere if I didn't know or wasn't confident. And I admit, I got lost a lot cause I used to be a bit crap at reading a map (laugh at the stereotype if you want, Engineering Degree says that I can think laterally). And what I have discovered is ... most people and places are pretty easy to get to without getting lost, I am learning my way round all sorts of parts of Perth and it's no big deal.

The thing though is, if I wanna be an Independent Woman, I gotta actually do this stuff and be able to do this stuff on my own. And not not do it just cause someone else won't do it for me. And it's actually no frigging big deal - another mountain I made out of a molehill.

Anyway, came home watched another ep of Enterprise before going to sleep.

Sleeeeept in. Looked outside and decided today was not the day to test run the crazy plan jonathanstrahan and I are going to do and just met him for coffee instead. Bounced ideas and generally caught up and felt inspired so I went home via JB HiFi (which is not actually on the way home). Grabbed Season 2 of Enterprise (need my fix when Season 1 runs out), 2 movies on Sale - Step Up 2 and Breakfast Club, and some CDs - Sarah Blasko (The Sea will Have her Way), the new Placebo and the new Gossip CD which Triple J have been playing all week called Music for Men.

Grabbed a hot bath with the Sarah Blasko and now chilling here listening to jazz and wondering when and if I might start working.

Chocolate Ditmar

I think tonight is the kinda blustery wintery kinda perfection to crack open the ditmar chocolate frog.

Just need an open fire, mulled wine and a ski instructor hunk called Hans.

PS. Benji doesn't like the sound of squally wind and strong rain. He's nearly wormed himself inside the bed covers.


Not so much with the productive

Brain refuses to be doing things useful. Grrr. Doesn't seem helpful to push.

So far I have sorted through all the media releases for books we have recently published reviews on ASif! and popped them into emails to go off to alert the PR reps at each of the publishing houses.

And filed the above.

Finally designed the log cabin 3.5" square for my scraps from all the other patchwork projects. Wondering if maybe it should only have been 3" but the square in the centre is pretty small now as it is. Will actually throw out scraps smaller than this. Is all templated up and have located said scraps that I have been saving. Is it wrong to start sewing yet another WIP?

Thrown a bunch of ideas at the Swancon 36 committee, none of which are on tomorrow's meeting agenda.

Bitched and moaned about stuff.

Pulled out the Robot War Espresso manuscript.

Answered about 20 emails.

grr. Faffing about.

idle thoughts

I have most definitely sworn off danger.

But that doesn't mean I've sworn off excitement, surprise, breathlessness or inspiration.