Monday, 29 October 2012

Rat on a Roundabout

In time for the next ebook, Ratty has been coaxed back into the picture, or onto the horse, at least. He's looking a little stiff and neither right nor left, but I feel sure that the rocking motion and jingle-jangle of the carousel will lighten him up and have him back on the job he was born for: seducing readers into buying Rosa Mira Books while having as much fun as possible.

The merry-go-round horse alludes to Rosa Mira Books' next publication, a collection of three short stories by Dunedin writer Sue Wootton. Sue is a poet and fiction writer of flair, precision, wit and depth, the author of three volumes of poetry, most recently By Birdlight. She was Robert Burns Fellow in creative writing at Otago University in 2008 and has won numerous awards and accolades for her work. Her collection, The Happiest Music on Earth, will inaugurate Rosa Mira's 10k series. The rat will give a few more hints about Sue's stories soon.

Meanwhile, it's great news that the New Zealand Post Book Awards are now accepting original ebooks to be judged alongside hard copy titles. It seems important to step up and enter Rosa Mira's one eligible title for this year.

As for the 10K series, if you're a writer, do consider making a submission, and thanks to those who've done so already. If you're a reader, follow the rat.

Friday, 26 October 2012

10,000-word submissions sought

The rat's gone AWOL. I tried to rustle him up the other night but the pen ran amok, creating flaccid ratoids with too-long limbs, bread-board faces and doorstop tails. So, for now, here's a cousin — Rat Ascendant who brought birthday wishes across the Tasman last week from my brother Hugh, creator of the Rosa Mira Books website.

This week has seen some happy work on Rosa Mira's next two books (a memoir and a short collection of short stories). Actually, the stories are the first of the slim ebooks (if 'slim' can be applied to digital texts) that I'll call the 10K series. I plan to publish writings of around 10,000 words, whether that be three or four short stories, a piece of fiction, memoir, or an essay.

I'd like to receive submissions. It might be a potent extract from a novel that would otherwise not see the light of day; it might be the writer working over some matter they feel strongly about; the story of a relationship, or a meditation on the contents of the top drawer. Really, the sky's the limit — but I'd love to see some terrific writing. In the first instance, I'll ask for three lines in synopsis and three pages of writing. If in doubt, send me a query. Use the email link under Submissions on this page.

Pass it on.

In my next blog, I'll tell you about the up-coming story collection.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

A poet praises a novel

I found Ratty. He was hiding out amongst rough sketches for a card for a talented young clarinetist with a birthday this week. Whether a rat can achieve the correct embouchure and dexterity to play the clarinet is another matter.

Music is (often) sweet to the ear and so is a happy reader's report to the ears of authors and publishers. This week Dunedin poet Kay McKenzie Cooke told me and Elena how much she enjoyed Amigas. Kay blogs at Born to a Red-Headed Woman, where she shares stories from the south, along with her very fine poems and photographs. Here's 'Surprising the Quarry', which she wrote on the wall in Claire's hallway.  Kay kindly said I could bandy her words about.

Finished Amigas — loved it. Authentic evocation of the late sixties and pleasing tension to keep me scrolling. Expertly written, believable characters I really cared about. A smooth collaboration and a compelling story-line.

We're happy with that.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

How to turn your book into an app for iPad, Kindle Fire and other tablets.

I've been away with my parents and a broken hard drive, but now I'm home, it's spring, and everything's revving into life. I hardly know what to tell you about first: I'll write several blogs in the next day or two (where's that rat? I'll just have to start without him).

First you need to know about a fantastic opportunity from Dorothee Kocks / Beware the Timid Life: learning how to make your own book app. Packaging your own work for Kindle or the iPad might be the digital-era equivalent for writers of tidying up a manuscript and sending it to a publisher.

Dorothee's running an introductory, how-to webinar course for creating content for the iPad, Kindle Fire, or other tablets, especially intended for:
  • Children’s book authors
  • Historical novelists and historians
  • Nature writers/photographers
  • Comic book or graphic novel writers
  • Poets who want to read aloud or include visual content
  • Artists
  • Museum people and educators
  • Or … accountants with alter-egos of any of the above
Read all about it here and sign up if you will. I'd like to sit in on the classes, starting on Saturday the 13th October (very early Sunday here in NZ, but Dorothee says we can listen to the recording later).

Dorothee knows what she's talking about. She's recently created an app that got Mamazon (now, that's an apt slip of the finger — make that Amazon) hot and bothered — they wanted to censor it. And that'll be the subject of a forthcoming blog.