Friday, 17 November 2017

Drowned Planet

Drowned Planet 2008 Post 322


Drowned Planet is a manga-style graphic novel in the Arkies series. In this story, ARKMA, the sentient computer driving ARK3, gives the Arkies a new and different mission. Instead of checking out this planet to see if it's SR or Settlement Ready, Pace, Singer, Lyam and Merlinna are to check and see if it's RR, (Resettlement Ready). The four land on the watery planet and find clear evidence of acid rain and atmospheric damage in the past, but the planet seems to have recovered since the settlers left centuries ago. EarthNet, in the shape of Farla and Tench are, as usual, out to catch the Arkies, but someone else is also interested in them. Tryphon considers himself a god, and he wants company. Luckily, the Arkies have found a dead ship-brain and with a bit of science and imagination, they have the answer. Mind you, they're tempted to leave Farla behind...
The verdict? The planet itself is okay, but as long as Tryphon haunts the depths and has delusions of god-dom, the decision must be Not RR.

ABOUT THE BLOG

Sally is Sally Odgers; author, manuscript assessor, editor, anthologist and reader. She runs http://www.affordablemanuscriptassessments.com and Prints Charming Books. (Sally is me, by the way, and I am lots of other things too, but these are the relevant ones for now.)

The goal for 2017 is to write a post a day profiling the background behind one of my books; how it came to be written, what it's about, and any things of note that happened along the way. If you're an author, an aspiring author, a reader or just someone who enjoys windows into worlds, you might find this fun. The books are not in any special order, but will be assigned approximate dates, and pictures, where they exist. If you enjoyed a post, or want to

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Gold Team

Gold Team 2009 Post 321


Gold Team is a manga-style graphic novel in the Space Sports series. In this one, Prof, who is a grandfather in Space Skipper, is quite young. His father, Doc, is kept very busy at Space Station Nova, looking after the station, and training with Blue Team. Nonny, a child newly-arrived on Nova, discovers young Prof and his friends are secretly practising 3D at night, despite a ban on using lights and power.  The mayor's nephew spies on them, because he wants to play on their team. When Blue Team gets into trouble with injured players, there's no one to play in the championship, so the newly-formed Gold Team Junior takes over. The seeds of this idea are planted to the stories written earlier but set later, when it's revealed that young players are at an advantage, being smaller, lighter and more agile than adults.

ABOUT THE BLOG

Sally is Sally Odgers; author, manuscript assessor, editor, anthologist and reader. She runs http://www.affordablemanuscriptassessments.com and Prints Charming Books. (Sally is me, by the way, and I am lots of other things too, but these are the relevant ones for now.)

The goal for 2017 is to write a post a day profiling the background behind one of my books; how it came to be written, what it's about, and any things of note that happened along the way. If you're an author, an aspiring author, a reader or just someone who enjoys windows into worlds, you might find this fun. The books are not in any special order, but will be assigned approximate dates, and pictures, where they exist. If you enjoyed a post, or want to contact me, leave a comment

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

A Sticky Picture

A Sticky Picture 1998 Post 320


A Sticky Picture is another story about Toby and Aunt Victoria, who starred in the longer book we had at Post 158 - Aunt Victoria's Monster
This one was the result of an exercise I developed for use at writing workshops and occasionally use myself. It's called Jigsaw Writing and is featured in Post 207; Everything You Wanted to Know About Writing and More, Much More 
In this case, the prompt that came up was A STICKY ... PICTURE, so that's the title and the basis of this story. Toby's Aunt Victoria is an explorer, who finds it increasingly difficult to fund her expeditions, so, on Toby's advice, she decides to enter an art competition... It only takes Toby, a honey and peanut butter sandwich, and some hungry wasps, to get in on the act, and the scene is set! I enjoy Toby and Aunt Victoria, but for some reason these were the only two books I have written about them so far. Still, you never know! It's interesting when characters are illustrated by different artists as you'll see if you click on the Aunt Victoria link above.

ABOUT THE BLOG

Sally is Sally Odgers; author, manuscript assessor, editor, anthologist and reader. She runs http://www.affordablemanuscriptassessments.com and Prints Charming Books. (Sally is me, by the way, and I am lots of other things too, but these are the relevant ones for now.)

The goal for 2017 is to write a post a day profiling the background behind one of my books; how it came to be written, what it's about, and any things of note that happened along the way. If you're an author, an aspiring author, a reader or just someone who enjoys windows into worlds, you might find this fun. The books are not in any special order, but will be assigned approximate dates, and pictures, where they exist. If you enjoyed a post, or want to ask about any of my books or my manuscript assessment service.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Making Pictures

Making Pictures 1998 Post 319


Making Pictures is a non-fiction title telling the history of making pictures from cave paintings to computer-generated art. I'm not artistic, but I've always been fascinated by art. When I was young, one of my favourite books was a big illustrated treasury of great artists of the past, which may be why my taste in pictures developed the way it did. I discovered from a very early age that I disliked the Picasso style, but loved the romantic approach of John Waterhouse. My fascination with art and artists has had quite an influence on my professional life. I've had characters who are illustrators, photographers, costume restorers, and portrait painters. I've also tried quite a few forms of picture-making myself. I've never been good at it, but it was fun. One of my favourite ventures was the free-form embroidery I did for years. I'd be doing it still if I hadn't got chronic tendonitis in both hands. Writing this little book back in the 1990s was great fun, and I was intrigued with the pictures the publisher chose as examples. Even Michaelangelo's David is there... displayed discreetly from the waist up!

Here's a picture of David being used as an example again - this time in floral art. My sister purchased this David second-hand and ritually humiliates him most years in an artistic capacity. Well, that's my opinion!

ABOUT THE BLOG

Sally is Sally Odgers; author, manuscript assessor, editor, anthologist and reader. She runs http://www.affordablemanuscriptassessments.com and Prints Charming Books. (Sally is me, by the way, and I am lots of other things too, but these are the relevant ones for now.)

The goal for 2017 is to write a post a day profiling the background behind one of my books; how it came to be written, what it's about, and any things of note that happened along the way. If you're an author, an aspiring author, a reader or just someone who enjoys windows into worlds, you might find this fun. The books are not in any special order, but will be assigned approximate dates, and pictures, where they exist. If you enjoyed a post, or want to ask about any of my books or my manuscript assessment service.

Monday, 13 November 2017

In the Blink of an Eye

In the Blink of an Eye 1999 Post 318


In the Blink of an Eye is one of my favourites of my reading scheme books. This one plays with themes I've always enjoyed; some of which I'm using is books I'm writing currently. It's about family, human creativity, magic, talent, and fitting in. Tam is the child of a human father who works as a bricklayer and garden architect and a mother from a place called Otherworld. The honeymoon is over for Tam's parents, because, as her dad puts it, there's nothing in the world he can do that his wife can't do as well, and better. What's more, she can do it in the blink of an eye. Now Tam spends some time with Dad, and some in Otherworld with Mum. But things aren't going well, because most Otherworlders come into their power at ten, and Tam is almost twelve. Mum has a problem, though, with a missing unicorn. She invites Tam to help her to look for it, but it turns out Dad is the only person who can save the day.
Unicorns, eh? I've always loved them. The first post in this blog was about a unicorn book, and now here's another one for post 318.

ABOUT THE BLOG

Sally is Sally Odgers; author, manuscript assessor, editor, anthologist and reader. She runs http://www.affordablemanuscriptassessments.com and Prints Charming Books. (Sally is me, by the way, and I am lots of other things too, but these are the relevant ones for now.)

The goal for 2017 is to write a post a day profiling the background behind one of my books; how it came to be written, what it's about, and any things of note that happened along the way. If you're an author, an aspiring author, a reader or just someone who enjoys windows into worlds, you might find this fun. The books are not in any special order, but will be assigned approximate dates, and pictures, where they exist. If you enjoyed a post, or want to ask about any of my books or my manuscript assessment service.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Matt the Mage

Matt the Mage First Spells 2004 Post 317


Matt the Mage is the result of my pondering over something I'd often pondered and that is the cultural divide between the stories much of my generation grew up with and the actuality of our country of birth-and-residence. I have always loved fantasy and science fiction and there's no getting away from the fact that when I was young, at least 75% of the books I loved were British. In some ways, mainland Australia was more foreign to me than Britain although I had never (and still have never) been there. Places such as Kent, Devon, Surrey and Sussex, Essex, Cumberland... they were all much more culturally familiar to me than the outback or tropical North Queensland. They had beaches, farms, villages, mountains, lakes and rivers, just like Tasmania. I felt spiritually at home with these books. I loved a lot of Australian books too - Eleanor Spence, Patricia Wrightson, John Gunn, John Kiddell, Mavis Thorpe Clark, but these books felt foreign in a way the Romney Marsh series just didn't.

Another problem was that I loved unicorns, dragons, mers and merrows, piskies, fairies, water hags and so on and they, bless them, just didn't work in Australia. They couldn't. How could they? They needed hundreds of years to merge and blend into their habitats. Roman treasure? No. Druidic lore? Not here. Long Barrows? Um. No. Tunnels/castles/passages/ancient-cities, hell no! Not here. Never here.

I found ways around this, as I matured as a writer. I even began to work out plots and characters that made allowances and managed wrinkles that let me write what I wanted to write. These days, I write a series called A Fairy in the Bed that allows me to have the best of both worlds.

To get to the book of the day, Matt the Mage is the result of a spurt of annoyance. I couldn't do an apprentice mage in Australia. He wouldn't fit. Therefore, I made that the point. Matt, whose real name is Parramatta Wheatslump, is desperate to become a mage, but he soon learns that can't happen for a kid in outback Australia. His ocker parents, Raelene and Merv, aren't even too sure what a mage is. Matt is determined though, and eventually, with the help of a camel who is really a Bertie-Wooster-style human silly ass under a spell, he achieves his goal. Sort of. Kind of. He finds a mentor named Parboil and gets embroiled with a mermaid named Sheila O'Splash and winds up in Yurope, which suggests he's somehow switched worlds. As the title implies, this was meant to be the first of a series. It was accepted by a company which decided not to publish that list. Somehow it got resurrected, and eventually published. Then then list ceased, making Matt the Mage one of my published-then-abruptly-orphaned books. It happens now and then and it's always disappointing. Still, there seem an inordinate number of copies still floating about. 

ABOUT THE BLOG

Sally is Sally Odgers; author, manuscript assessor, editor, anthologist and reader. She runs http://www.affordablemanuscriptassessments.com and Prints Charming Books. (Sally is me, by the way, and I am lots of other things too, but these are the relevant ones for now.)

The goal for 2017 is to write a post a day profiling the background behind one of my books; how it came to be written, what it's about, and any things of note that happened along the way. If you're an author, an aspiring author, a reader or just someone who enjoys windows into worlds, you might find this fun. The books are not in any special order, but will be assigned approximate dates, and pictures, where they exist. If you enjoyed a post, or want to ask about any of my books or my manuscript assessment service.

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Stick in the Mud

Stick in the Mud  1989 Post 316


Stick in the Mud is a kind of folktale. Mean old Stick insists on carrying his money everywhere he goes in a large sack. One day, he's heading to market when he slips and falls in a mud puddle. Because he won't let go of the bag, he can't get up. A friendly farmer tries to pull him out, a teacher tries to push him out, and a passing fisherman tries to fish him out. More and more people gather, each with an idea to get Stick out of the mud. Finally, a thief offers to steal him out. Everyone opines Stick is much too grumpy to be stolen, but the thief steals his bag of money... Stick comes out of the mud like a rocket!

ABOUT THE BLOG

Sally is Sally Odgers; author, manuscript assessor, editor, anthologist and reader. She runs http://www.affordablemanuscriptassessments.com and Prints Charming Books. (Sally is me, by the way, and I am lots of other things too, but these are the relevant ones for now.)

The goal for 2017 is to write a post a day profiling the background behind one of my books; how it came to be written, what it's about, and any things of note that happened along the way. If you're an author, an aspiring author, a reader or just someone who enjoys windows into worlds, you might find this fun. The books are not in any special order, but will be assigned approximate dates, and pictures, where they exist. If you enjoyed a post, or want to ask about any of my books or my manuscript assessment service.

Friday, 10 November 2017

Pisky Business

Pisky Business  2017 Post 315

Pisky Business by Lark Westerly

Pisky Business is the story of Jory and Linda, whose mothers are lifelong best friends. Their fathers... well, even their mothers don't know exactly who they were. It was, as Jory puts it, the 1970s... Now nineteen, Jory and Linda suspect  they're not entirely human, so they corner their mothers and extract the story of how they came to be. It's a tale that raises more questions than it answers.
   A few years later, at their school reunion, they encounter an old friend of their mothers' who knows exactly what went on. It's such a shock Linda makes Jory an offer he definitely won't refuse. In the wake of that, everything changes, and life gets very strange indeed. 
Pisky Business is a romance, a mystery, and a comedy. As one of the Fairy in the Bed series, it came from my habit of wondering how people come to be who they are. In Honey and the Harvest Hob, Honey Bakewell was driven on her solo honeymoon by an enigmatic woman named Linda. Mab O'Mary from Horizontal Bunny Hop was conveyed to her mystery weekend by the same driver. As one of the other characters says, Linda is a person who doesn't answer questions and who never interferes. I wondered just who Linda was when she wasn't driving people to magical and romantic adventures. Did she have a romantic life of her own? I began writing Pisky Business as a short novella, to satisfy my own desire to know. Before I realised quite what had happened, the story had grown wings and grown to a full length novel. Since Linda is forty in the stories set in 2017, the action in Pisky Business takes place over the eight years from 1996 to 2004. Readers of other stories in the Fairy in the Bed series will meet some old friends in their younger days, including Honey, Si and Skye, from Honey and the Harvest Hob and Duffy Inkersoll from Pen and Ink
Pisky Business was published today so it's brand new. To check it out, go to http://www.extasybooks.com/pisky-business 

ABOUT THE BLOG

Sally is Sally Odgers; author, manuscript assessor, editor, anthologist and reader. She runs http://www.affordablemanuscriptassessments.com and Prints Charming Books. (Sally is me, by the way, and I am lots of other things too, but these are the relevant ones for now.)

The goal for 2017 is to write a post a day profiling the background behind one of my books; how it came to be written, what it's about, and any things of note that happened along the way. If you're an author, an aspiring author, a reader or just someone who enjoys windows into worlds, you might find this fun. The books are not in any special order, but will be assigned approximate dates, and pictures, where they exist. If you enjoyed a post, or want to ask about any of my books or my manuscript assessment service.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Pyramid Scheme

Pyramid Scheme  2008 Post 314


Pyramid Scheme is the story of Matt, who goes to Egypt with his dad. Matt's full of ideas about mummies and pyramids, even though Dad warns him this is a business trip. And, guess what; it is a business trip. Dad is busy all day and Matt gets bored. Finally, he gets permission to accompany Tamir, his dad's business contact's son, to the pyramids, where he works as a guide. It's not long before he's involved in a mystery about missing canopic jars and the illegal antiques trade.
Matt is observant and sensible. He exposes the thief, but there are no heroics. Things are handled through the proper channels. This is a graphic novel, told in dialogue and present-tense captions. I remember researching pyramids, although I'd already picked up a bit about them from reading, and I later used some of the information is Ramses Rat and the Great Cat, Bastet and, apparently, a book called Pyramids. 

ABOUT THE BLOG

Sally is Sally Odgers; author, manuscript assessor, editor, anthologist and reader. She runs http://www.affordablemanuscriptassessments.com and Prints Charming Books. (Sally is me, by the way, and I am lots of other things too, but these are the relevant ones for now.)

The goal for 2017 is to write a post a day profiling the background behind one of my books; how it came to be written, what it's about, and any things of note that happened along the way. If you're an author, an aspiring author, a reader or just someone who enjoys windows into worlds, you might find this fun. The books are not in any special order, but will be assigned approximate dates, and pictures, where they exist. If you enjoyed a post, or want to ask about any of my books or my manuscript assessment service.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Three Loony Months

Three Loony Months  1992 Post 313

Three Loony Months by Sally Odgers

Three Loony Months is one of the Bandinangi Books series, which also includes Five Easy Lessons, One Weird Week, Three Missing Days (aka Ex-Spelled) and Kayak! as well as other peripherally-related books such as The Magician's Box and Spiral Stairs. In This one, George is horrifies by the electricity bill for the end of the autumn quarter and forces his reluctant family to cut costs and earn money, ably abetted by Justin. Justin tells the story, ably abetted by George. As the blurb begins...
What do the following three things have in common? A Vegetable Vampire called Venus, a Great Dane called Hans Broggen, and a building contractor called Mr Sawdust. Nothing except that they all spend three loony months infesting the Archer household in Bandinangi.
   It is dedicated to MJ, whose bathroom floor came first. It took me a while to recall what the bathroom floor had to do with proceedings as, after all, this book is celebrating its silver anniversary. I do remember realising, after I wrote it, that this was a recession book... the zeitgeist when I was writing it included a lot of people with scary electricity bills and a lot of people trying to find, or save, money. Initially, I was going to call this one Getting Things Clear.
The cover is one of my favourites. Coincidentally, the picture of Justin on the front looks quite a lot like my son did at that time. 

ABOUT THE BLOG

Sally is Sally Odgers; author, manuscript assessor, editor, anthologist and reader. She runs http://www.affordablemanuscriptassessments.com and Prints Charming Books. (Sally is me, by the way, and I am lots of other things too, but these are the relevant ones for now.)

The goal for 2017 is to write a post a day profiling the background behind one of my books; how it came to be written, what it's about, and any things of note that happened along the way. If you're an author, an aspiring author, a reader or just someone who enjoys windows into worlds, you might find this fun. The books are not in any special order, but will be assigned approximate dates, and pictures, where they exist. If you enjoyed a post, or want to ask about any of my books or my manuscript assessment service.