Sunday, June 27, 2010

I'm a bit busy now

It's one week til the end of term and I've got HEAPS of school stuff to do. I've also got a conference to attend and family stuff so you may not hear from me for a few weeks.

Enjoy the break.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Face Book asks: what are you doing?

I have finished! finished! finished! my part of the production of Bloodlines. I am now tweaking a YA for Scholastic but I am being side-lined by poetry which is ripping out of me and, if the response of some people I admire is anything to go by, is damn good.

It's not ready for public consumption. It will be a book of poetry in the future. It will be in three parts: before, during and after. At the moment, we are still in the during and it is heart breaking. I haven't written the before poems because then, I didn't know there was going to be a before. But I am damn sure there will be an after. Please God, can we have an after and can it happen soon cos I'm not sure how long I can hold on.

Oh, and I've written the first chapter of Birthright and I've laughed out loud. It's very very funny but the end of the chapter will make you go - oh feck! Here we go again!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Page 69 test: Bloodlines

The page 69 test. There's a movement by this name. Marshall McLuhan, the guru of The Gutenberg Galaxy (1962), recommends that the browser turn to page 69 of any book and read it. If you like that page, buy the book. It works.

So, without further adieu, here is page 69 of Bloodlines. I'm not going to introduce it but I welcome your response.

stung with the pressure of her arms behind her back. Her scalp crawled with lice and the niggle and twitching beneath her cropped hair was almost beyond her endurance as she stood there, bedraggled, in front of
her father’s former aide.

‘I am sorry,’ Rachel said dipping her head. ‘I have heard of your pain.’

‘Pain?’ Calum scoffed. ‘What say you of such things?’ A page ran over and gave the king a goblet, which he drained. ‘You,’ he said, pointing to Rachel. ‘Have no understanding of this word.’

His rage reached across the flagstones and punched against her chest. Oh, how wrong he was but she could see that the real Calum was not a reasonable man and could not be relied upon.

‘Yes,’ she said. ‘You are correct.’

Her words seemed to give him pause and he shifted in his seat. ‘Good.’ He nodded at the guard who stood behind her. The man removed a long knife and her heart skipped a beat. This was it then. It was all finished and now she was to meet her saviour.
Rachel closed her eyes and held her breath, waiting for the fatal wound, but instead the guard used the weapon to cut the rope that held her hands behind her back. She stood there a moment, disorientated, but was brought back to the present by the stinging in her hands.

Calum eyed her as she rubbed her wrists and tried not to make a show of wiping away the tears on her face. ‘Your father always said that you were stronger than your brother. Perhaps he was right.’ She stared at him uncertain as to what his expectations were. He waved a hand. ‘You are an observer, Rachel. Very much like me I should think.’ The comparison chilled her. Never had she felt so far apart from this man. ‘Which is just as well because I have plans for you, young princess and I am pleased that you are now in my possession.’ Calum grinned as he bowed low and Rachel dug her nails into her palms.

He stood again and rubbed his eyes – an action that she had seen so many times before. Did Calum suffer from pains in the head? Was his vision affected? Was there something physical that worsened his mood?

‘Are you unwell?’ She asked.

Calum paused, tilted his head sideways and studied her. ‘My physicians have attended me and are giving me instruction to alleviate the pains I get in my head. Even the monks, when I was in solitude, offered up prayers for healing. Yet, I am still afflicted. It is because the weight of my obligations to the living and the dead press in on me.’

Sunday, June 20, 2010

the final stages

I have been reading the proofs of Bloodlines (taxes sorted thank goodness).

Like Vanda Symon's blog post I am seeing words that just aren't right. And, they're not right, not because they are the wrong word but because they are in the wrong place. There might be an unintentional rhyme or a repetition.

But, in saying that: this is a very fine read. Verrry fine indeed.

Pleased much.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Reading Bloodlines

The proofs arrived today and I didn't realise how good the story was/is. Sure there's a couple of wee tweaks I want to make (like, at the beginning of the scene there is no fire but half way through there is...).

My publisher is also pleased. This makes me pleased. Tonight I went to a feast of medieval literature, music and dance (Choromania). I took Bloodlines along to read through and loved the music and the costume and the atmosphere. I thought: yup, this is how I imagine it was.

My dear friend Jo was playing and looking stunning in her costume.

Today I also recieved an email from a writer I admire hugely who has just finished Banquo's Son and congratulated me.

Anyway, after the taxes, I am throwing myself back to Scotland - they need me (and, maybe, I need them to).

Sunday, June 13, 2010

That's that then

Off to the typesetter's. I can't do anything else to fiddle with the lives of these characters - not in this book.

Now what? Well, I've just done some edits on a re-issue of a text book and I'm smoothing out some wrinkles of another YA novel though my Y11s are crying: Mermaid book! Mermaid book.

Yes. Must get onto that one. Want to find out what happens.

Oh, and my murder mystery.

And, my middle school novel.

People often ask when do I write. Well, it's past midnight and I'm writing now. Why so late? Hmmmm. My wee border collie bitch became unwell on Thursday night. To the vet Friday but was no better. Early hours of Sat morning equals finding lots of blood in various places around the living room. Later/early Sat morning to the vet's with doggo still bleeding heaps and me and hubby cleaning up the mess.

Above situation confirms why I would never cut it as: a vet, a doctor, a nurse, a care-giver. (though I DID scrub the carpet and the curtains (she brushed against them) and did go out to fed the horse.....)

Oh, and cooked dinner (it was fab).

We survived - as, cross fingers, so will the dog.

So, dear reader, I will pull myself away from that beautifully tragic place of 11th C Scotland and attend to my taxes and family.

Can't wait to get stuck into Birthright though. It's going to be epic!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The last line of Bloodlines

Last lines, eh? Like the icing on the cake? The cream in coffee? The cherry on top?

More like, if I put one more jenga piece on, will the whole tower collapse?

I read a very interesting article by Crista Rucker called Keys to a Great Ending. Crista says "It is a precarious balance between writing a killer finish to your novel and creating an ending that will send it hurtling towards the nearest wall."

So, I have written the last of Bloodlines. It's ALL done. Except the last line. I liked my last line but it was given by a character my publisher didn't want to be named. She was right but I didn't like what she wrote lol.

By the time you get to the last line, your heart will be racing. You will have just gone *squeal! OMG! No! Yes! squeal!* (That's pretty much what my daughter did.)

So, I have to be really, really careful with your feelings. I don't want you chucking the beautiful book across the room. I want to you sit there, still, staring off into the distance, the noise and feel and colour of the scene resonating all through you.

I want your heart beating just that bit faster and I want you to go 'When's the next one out? Quick. I need to climb back into the lives of Fleance, Rosie, Rachel and Blair.'

No pressure!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Team T.K. Roxborogh is SMOKIN'

Almost there! The emails have been pinging to and fro Auckland, Dunedin and New York over the past twelve hours.

We had it all sorted and then, during a facial, one of the team came up with a BRILLIANT and far better way to end Bloodlines than what I had intended.

It is perfect and also sets the scene for book Three (without leaving you too dissatisfied - promise).

It's 1pm Sat, NZ time. I'm still in my dressing gown, supping on diet coke and polishing very gently the last of the silver. Oh, the blog is a break while my subconscious finds a word I need but has gone for a walk.

The official response (publisher and agent) to my (is this novel good enough) insecure author moment:
'the story is a good one, in fact I think in terms of character development it is stronger than the first!'
'You gotten to a worthy follow-up to Banquo's Son'

I'm beginning to agree and am very excited.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Thanks to my faithful readers...

...but alas, a chapter I'd written and was soooo excited about, was resoundingly rejected by my astute publisher.

Of course.

She asked a couple of questions and then suddenly I'm going: yeah! That's so right! [I slap head with atonishment] how could I have thought otherwise?

Answer to this question:
Seriously? Um. Maybe it's cos you're trying to do a million things at one time?

I never thought the first book would become three. Should I have stopped at the end of Banquo's Son? Tell me. I have an idea but maybe I was wrong to push this boy into three novels.

I want to be like other writers who can be writers without worrying if their power might be disconnected. I am pleased with my nominations. I hope, in the future, these in themselves will reap rewards cos, you know what? I read HEAPS of YA books. I'm talkn' about two or three a week. 6/8th are damn fine. The other 2/8 are: what the hell?

So, I am pretty up there in terms of being a good (great) storyteller.

Just waiting for time and money to fall from the sky to alleviate the continual problem I inflict on my wonderful publisher - Shakespeare says it better than me: 'they stubble that run fast' (from Romeo and Juliet).

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Banquo's Son shortlisted for the LIANZA awards

The Full list of the LIANZA Children’s Book Award 2010 Finalists are:

LIANZA Esther Glen Award (Fiction)
Friends: Snake & Lizard by Joy Cowley, Illustrated by Gavin Bishop (Gecko Press)
The Loblolly Boy by James Norcliffe (Longacre Press)
Top Secret: Pass it on by Jaqueline Chapman (Longacre Press)
Glory by Fifi Colston (Scholastic)
The Billionaires Curse by Richard Newsome (Text Publishing)

LIANZA Young Adult (Fiction)
The Bone Tiki by David Hair (HarperCollins Publishers (NZ) Ltd)
Banquo’s Son by Tania Roxborough (Penguin Group NZ)
The Crossing by Mandy Hager (Random House New Zealand)
About Griffen’s Heart by Tina Shaw (Longacre Press)
Brainjack by Brian Falkner (Walker Books)

LIANZA Russell Clark Award (Illustration)
Rhinehold the Mouse by Di Batchelor (Di Batchelor/ Fraser Books)
There was a Crooked Man by Gavin Bishop (Gecko Press)
Old Hu-Hu by Kyle Mewburn/ Rachel Driscoll (Scholastic)
The Wonky Donkey by Craig Smith/ Katz Cowley (Scholastic)
Tiny Miss Dott and her Dotty Umbrella by Michelle Osment/ Sarah Nelisiwe Anderson (Scholastic)

LIANZA Elsie Locke (Non Fiction)
Nic’s New Zealand Nature: Invaders by Nic Valance & Rod Morris (New Holland Publishers (NZ) Ltd
Dear Alison by Simon Pollard (Penguin Group NZ)
Ben and Mark: Boys of the High Country by Christine Fernyhough & John Bougen (Random House New Zealand)

E3 Call Home by Janet Hunt (Random House New Zealand)
Get Growing: A NZ Step-by-Step Guide by Helen Cook (Random House New Zealand)

Te Kura Pounamu (te reo Maori)
Pūao Series: Te Kahikatea, Te Miro, Te Tutu, Te Horopito by Keri Pewhairangi (Huia Publishers)
Hū-Hū Koroheke by Kyle Mewburn, Rachel Driscoll translated by Kāterina Te Heikōkō Mataira (Scholastic)
Te Wāhi me te Taiao Series: Hauraki, Waipā, Kāwhia Moana, Takaparawhau by Huia Publishers
Hewa by Darryn Joseph (Pearson (NZ) Ltd)
Hautipua Rererangi by Huia Publishers/ Andrew Burdan (Huia Publishers)

The 2010 Award Ceremony will take place in Wellington on Monday August 16th at Caffe L’affare, College Street.
The LIANZA Children’s Book Awards 2010 are supported by and Caffe L’affare.