Monday, February 28, 2011

Strange times.

Like many New Zealanders, I have felt a little lost since Tuesday's devastating earthquake in Christchurch. I have cried, watched the news reports, turned off the telly because it all became too painful, and have felt speechless, bereft, impotent.

At 12.51 on Tuesday I was sitting upstairs in my office, working on my novel when the room started shaking side to side. My first thought was, oh shit, Christchurch. Then ten minutes later, when the room started rocking side to side again, my thoughts moved to oh, god, no. My worst fears were confirmed shortly after, and the disbelief and grieving for a city began.

I feel blessed that I haven't lost loved ones, that my Christchurch friends are safe, although they don't feel it. Like most other Kiwis I feel amazed by their resilience and courage, and baulk at the thought of the lengthy road ahead to getting their lives back to normal and rebuilding the city. For many who have lost their loved ones, life will never be normal.

Even though Dunedin is 4 to 5 hours drive away from Christchurch, life here has changed. There has been an influx of people into the city, I have watched the headlights of the constant stream of traffic come down State Highway One each night. I imagine there is even more during the day. The supermarket shelves here are pretty empty as the food is going to those who need it most. The boys' school has seen an influx of kids from Christchurch, whose parents have whisked them away from it all, for however long. Many friends have extras staying in their baches and spare bedrooms. My forensics friends and colleagues are off to help with the daunting task of victim identification.

I am buoyed and grateful to the many people who are reaching out to Christchurch and helping, and again, the international blogging community has rallied around too, with many having donation buttons on their webpages, and some even setting up appeals.

Thanks to Margot Kinberg, from the U.S.A. at Confessions of a Mystery Novelist for setting up her Lets All Do the Write Thing raffle. Also to Penelope Todd and author Dorothee Kocks from Rosa Mira Books - Until the 7th of March they will donate all the proceeds from sales of Dorothee's ebook The Glass Harmonica to Christchurch's Mayoral Fund.

I think it's the kids' questions that make it all hit home hardest. Why did this happen Mum? Did many people die? Can it happen here? Will they rebuild the Cathedral? What happened to the fish in the big aquarium?

Lots of questions I can't answer.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Barking-Mad Book Sale

This is where, yet again, I confess my utter lack of self-control when it comes to books. Once a year the Dunedin Public Library hosts its Barking-Mad Book Sale, making space for new acquisitions, and a bit of cash to buy more. I vowed to myself that this year I would resist the temptation. We don't have enough books shelves now, so we certainly don't need more books in the house.

Come Friday I twitched and obsessed, but managed to resist - even the Friends of the Library pre-sale preview. I felt most noble and virtuous.

Then, ahem, Saturday came, and I happened to have an hour to spare in town, and, um, er...

Unsolved -Classic true Crime Cases
Crime in New Zealand by Greg Newbold
Convicted - Forensic science catching killers in new Zealand and Australia
Epitaph II
Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson
Rosetta by Barbara Ewing
Dream Fish Floating by Karlo Mila
The Faber Book of Science ed. John Carey
The Encyclopaedia of Coloured Pencil Techniques
The Encyclopaedia of Wood Working Techniques
History of Children's Costume by Marion Sichel
Costume Reference 2 - Tudors and Elizabethans by Marion Sichel
Dime Pentacube Puzzles - an approach to thinking in three dimensions
Land Issues in the Pacific
Rocks, Shells, Fossils, Minerals & Gems
The Spiders of New Zealand Part II by R.R. Forster & C.L.Wilton

There you go, an eclectic mix!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Hitting the groove.

Despite all the excitement of a new book out, and then having it debut as the Number 1 Bestseller, this has been a damn good writing week. Hence my absence from life - I've been working, people.

I haven't been blogging.
I sure as hell haven't done any house work.
I've neglected the laundry (although had to resort to washing when Mr Nine-Year Old informed me he had no clean underwear!)
Even the cat's looking disgruntled.
I've been writing.
Writing, writing, writing.

Feels good.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Bound - Number 1 Bestseller!!!!!

This week's bestseller lists are out and Bound has debuted at Number 1 on the New Zealand fiction list!

Very, very happy author.

Break out the bubbles...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Of news and reviews

It's been a hectic kind of a week, and I have been terribly quiet on the blogging front. Fortunately other media have been making up for my silence and Bound has been getting plenty of good publicity. So far the reviews have been great, which is a relief, because I really was uncertain of how this book would be received. So after a few good uns I'm finally starting to relax.

Craig Sisterson from the excellent Crime Watch blog wrote a fun article for the Weekend herald which is now up on their website here. He also makes reference to his recent acquisition of the February issue of The Australian Woman's Weekly, which features a two page interview with moi.

There have also been a couple of reviews on national radio.

Graham Beattie reviewed Bound on Critical mass with Jim Mora. The podcast is available here.

Bound was also reviewed by Louise O'Brien, which can be listened to here.

Tomorrow is Write On Radio Show day, and Dunedin writer Tania Roxborogh will be interviewing me, to avoid me having to do a monologue droning on about my own book. The show is at noon. My first guest is Helen Leach, talking about her new book From Kai to Kiwi Kitchen, then Tania will do her thing asking me the questions for a change! The show is live streamed from the Toroa Radio Website.

And what else did I do today?

Was Mum.
Wrote 1000 words on the new novel.
Pre-recorded the Tania interview.
Went to a New Zealand Book Month meeting to organise two schools events.
Made plum jam.
Two loads of washing...then it rained.
Rang my mum.

I'm tired now.

Night, night.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Bound and launched...

I've had a wonderful evening launching Bound out into the world. A fabulous group of friends, family, colleagues and book lovers gathered at the University Book Shop for a most convivial evening. It was made extra special by the fact my Mum was down from Napier.

Thanks to Prof. Jean Fleming who launched the book for me, said flattering things and gave away a few of the secrets behind my double life (or quadruple life, depending on who you talk to) One of the things about launches I love is seeing the different groups of beloved people in my life converge, and discover how Dunedin is such a small town and they all know each other. There were my family, fencing buddies, university folk, writer mates and fellow school parents, amongst others, all very happily yacking away.

So I feel very happy and content Bound is out in the world. Tomorrow I'll start feeling nervous about the reviews!

Oh, and guess what? This is my 500th blog post. Thanks for dropping by!