Saturday, May 29, 2010

Airing the Vanda Suit

What a treat it was to be flown up to Wellington and given the opportunity to shed the Mummy-suit and give the Vanda-suit an outing!

The 'Murder They Wrote' event at Cafe L'Affare was great fun. Paul Cleave and Neil Cross are both very clever and funny people and it was a pleasure to be on the panel with them. Noel Murphy, from the New Zealand Book Council did the honours as chair and had the job of keeping us under control, which he managed with style.

Mary McCallum over at O Audacious Book gives a great summary of the evening. Thanks for coming Mary, wonderful to see you, and you too Fleur.

Afterward we all enjoyed a meal out and some more very lively conversation. I always relish being invited to events with other writers. I come away feeling invigorated and inspired to keep at it and keep working hard. It's a relief to hear other writers struggle with the same things you do, or are annoyed by the same things, and that it's not just you who wonders if you're doing the right thing. It's also a great place to get tips on useful books to read, and TV programmes and films to watch. This is where I discover I don't watch enough telly.

So thank you to the NZ Book Council for recognising New Zealand crime fiction, and throwing us together for public consumption. The crowd seemed to enjoy it, and we certainly had a brilliant time.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Murder They Wrote

On Thursday I get the treat of hopping on a plane, winging it to Wellington and pretending to be a grown up to do a New Zealand Book Council Event called Murder They Wrote.

Actually, I'm as excited as hell, because I get to enjoy the company of Kiwi crime writers Paul Cleave and Neil Cross as we talk about the fact we make a living (well, actually, that's not entirely true) out of killing people. I think the event is a great nod towards the realisation there is a growing number of NZ crime writers who are proudly doing their thing, and doing it well.

It promises to be a lively discussion, so if you happen to be in Welly on Thursday, come along.

Murder, they wrote:

Thursday 27th May


Cafe L'Affare
27 College St
Te Aro

Tickets $16.00 ($14.00 for NZ Book Council members)
Available from the Wellington Central Library.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The 39 Steps

What an entertaining night out we had on Friday! The Fortune Theatre's production of John Buchan and Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps was an utter treat. Billed as being a comedy thriller I thought the chap next to me was at risk of dying laughing. In fact it was clear from the audience reaction everyone was having a grand old time.

The 39 Steps is a spoof of the classic mystery thriller and the cast delighted with their split second comic timing and grand theatrics.

Mark Neilson played Richard Hannay, the ordinary Englishman caught up in this extraordinary adventure, with his piercing blue eyes, and magnificent pencil thin moustache.

Anna Henare got to be the gorgeous femme fatale and the high and mighty blonde, (Hubby was a bit too fascinated by the way she removed her stockings, I might add) both distracting and helping our hero beat the bad guys.

Danny Still and Patrick Davies near stole the show with their multi character, slapstick, perfect timing, cavorting, quick as a wink playing of almost everyone else.

The cast were incredible, making it look effortless and keeping the audience at the edge of their seats and holding on to their sides laughing at the same time.

Congratulations to the director, Hillary Norris and her fabulous cast and crew on a brilliant show. You've got to see it!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Regent 24 Hour Book Sale

Yes, hold onto your wallets people, the countdown is on to my all time favourite annual event in Dunedin, the Regent 24-hour Book Sale. The world-famous-in-Dunedin book sale is into its 30th year, and according to the organisers there are over 300 000 books on offer, yes, there were five zeros on that figure.

I know, you're thinking, Vanda, you've just moved house, you haven't got room for the books you've got, you don't need any more. BUT, I feel it is my civic duty as a card carrying Dunedinite to support the Regent Book Sale, as it is the life-line for the restoration of the fabulous Regent Theatre here, which is struggling to survive. The Otago Theatre Trust needs to raise $2 million by the 21st of June to secure DCC funding of $4 million. They're just shy of half a mil so far. I will do my bit by buying a few books...

The sale runs from noon this Friday, til noon Saturday. As usual there will be live entertainment to add to the already incredible atmosphere created by throngs of people searching for treasures amongst the groaning trestle tables stuffing the aisles, stage and balconies of the theatre.

Can't wait, already planning my tactics on how to smuggle more books into the house without anyone noticing...

Monday, May 17, 2010

A new profanity

I'm editing, editing, editing Bound at the moment, and the process reminded me of a wee whoopsie I experienced when editing Containment.

There were quite a few young male characters in Containment, and as part of my research I'd checked out the most popular names for babies when they would have been born, thinking I was being clever. My publisher said nah, they're too similar, it gets confusing for the reader, change them, make them more distinctive. So I had a good think, picked some different names and went about swapping them using the Microsoft Office 'find and replace' function.

One of the characters was named Chris. Fine, I thought, I'll change him to Leo.

Typed Chris into 'Find and Replace' to change to Leo, elected 'replace all', pressed enter.

This is where I discovered quite how often Sam Shephard takes the Lord's name in vain.

Jesus Leot!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Amazonian woman

Thanks to Craig over at Crime Watch for the heads up on this one - Containment is now available on

I had no idea!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Write On Radio Show Day, Wednesday

Tomorrow is Write On Radio day - where does a month go?!!

I commented last time that we had lost our long term sponsor Java Hair Studio and were looking for a new sponsor. Well we have, and it is a match made in heaven, so a huge thank you to The University Book Shop for stepping into the breech. Good on ya UBS!

Here's the details of tomorrow's show, which is broadcast live at noon on Toroa Radio 1575 kHz AM in Dunedin, or live streamed from the Toroa Radio website.

Penelope Todd has recently released her novel Island. It is a story set on a 19th century quarantine island, a story of love and of death. We talk about her new novel, and the journey from being a very successful writer for young adults to writing a literary novel for adults.

Karen Trebilcock is the 2010 Otago University College of Education Children's Writer in residence. Under the pseudonym Ella West she has written the Thieves trilogy for young adults. We'll talk about her books, the residency and her new foray into writing for the stage.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Back to work

We've been in our new home for a week, the mountain of boxes has reduced to a substantial hill, possies have been found for most things, the pile of surplus to requirements stuff is ever expanding, the cat has settled in but is still being a wimp about the new cat door, everything about this place (with the exception of the oven!) has surpassed expectation. Life is good.

I am finally in the right head space to get stuck back into the writing, and I mean stuck in. My deadline is no longer inching nearer, it is on a full on sprint and I'm feeling a little alarmed by that.

But hey, I'm at my computer looking out at the lovely garden, have my pot of tea (English Breakfast with a touch of Lapsang Souchong) a fine bone china cup and saucer, a slice of chocolate cake from the oven test (tastes good but took an extra 15 minutes cooking time - yes, fifteen) and my fingers are itching to type...

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A good ole load of crock

Apart from writing, one of my favourite things is cooking, so I couldn't possibly pass up the opportunity to see culinary queen Allyson Gofton at the Dunedin Public Library. She was here to promote her latest book Slow, which as the name suggests gives recipes for the slow cooker or crock pot.

It was a fabulous and informative talk, made all the more special by the fact Allyson's Mum had only died three weeks ago, and many of the recipes in the book were from family food she used to cook - Allyson got the brave trooper award. Allyson's Mum, Ivy, was given an orange coloured crock pot by her dad, Max, in the 1970's - hey, it was the seventies, it had to be orange, didn't it?

I'm looking forward to trying out some of the recipes, really looking forward to it, because one downside to our lovely new home is the oven - it's hopeless!!! I'm thinking the ole crock pot is going to get a lot more use.

I'm going to give the unfortunate oven the ultimate test tomorrow - I'm going to get brave and bake a cake - I'm not overly optimistic about the result... I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Let normal service resume...

...All shifted into the new house...

...Love my new office...

...Love the view...

...Love the water pressure...

...Now, back to work...........