When I collected the Steampunk guitar from Lewis two and a half weeks at, I took photos of him – in Sergeant Pepper costume, no less! Now at last I’ve been able to cut the images down enough to go on Facebook and blog – so here’s the best of them. The creator and his creation!
I didn’t do a school visit today – instead visited Ian Irvine in his Dorrigo hideaway. It’s about the highest rainfall place in mainland Australia, but when the sun’s out, as today, it’s paradise! Last night was roast dinner and red wine with log fire with Ian and Anne in their big rambling house, today was chatting, lounging around, and exploring the big rambling garden. So many trees, so much grass and greenery, it’s beautiful. Here’s Ian by the cubby house -
Well, weekend with Chris’s family in Brisbane is over – so great to see them all, Bec and the grandchildren. Aileen has now flown back home too, and I’m immersed in school visits again. Here’s the family round the dinner table -
I’m showing off my guitar! School visits around Queensland with my steampunk hat (still popular!), the new book trailer video, goffles, aviator helmet, etc … But the guitar, fabulous creation of Lewis Morley – well, I just wear it all the time! I can’t wait to try it out with an amp (and a pick, for starters!), and I’m getting serious about actually composing some of the songs that the Rowdies perform in SONG OF THE SLUMS. I’ve been to Aquinas and Marymount on the Gold Coast, Coolum State High, and today, Mary Mackillop in Brisbane, where this photo was taken -
It all starts on Monday 6th May – or Sunday 5th for me, when I head north to Queensland, preparing for the big tour for SONG OF THE SLUMS. I opted to give first refusal to schools I’d visited before – it was nice to hear of so many rapid acceptances.
Monday’s school is Aquinas College, Southport; then Marymount College, Burleigh Waters on Tuesday 7th; Coolum State High on Wednesday 8th; then in to Brisbane for Mary Mackillop College, Nundah, on Thurs 9th, and Genesis Christian College, Bray Park, on Friday 10.
Relax over the weekend … Aileen flies up to join me, and we’ll be visiting Chris and Bec and the grandchildren.
Another busy week to follow – slightly messed up by NAPLAN, which not only cuts out Years 7 and 9, but knocks out every school’s organisation from Tuesday to Thursday. Still, I get to take advantage of the only day I miss by staying over at Dorrigo with Ian Irvine – a long-planned visit that’s never seemed to fit in before.
So, my school for Monday 13th is Kimberley College, Carbrook; for Tuesday 14th, St Laurence’s College in South Brisbane. Then south of the border to Xavier Catholic College at Skennars Head for Wednesday 15th. Interlude at Dorrigo … then last day, Friday 17th, at St Paul’s High School in Port Macquarie.
Home Friday night – but back to Sydney for the Aurealis Awards on the Saturday. (I’m not up for anything, but I’ve been asked to present one of them.) Phew!! And that’s only the first tour of many coming up.
We launched Song of the Slums at the Conflux National SF and Fantasy convention in Canberra on Saturday 27th April. The book doesn’t officially hit the bookshops till May 1st, so it was an advance launch by a couple of days.
Here’s Rob Hood introducing Terry Dowling, both highly respected in the Australian/SF community. Terry was probably the first major figure in Australian SF/fantasy – that is, the current wave of Australian SF/fantasy that’s been growing and growing over a couple of decades now – and his short stories were the first to win international respect and lead the charge into the US.
For me, Terry was a special person to do the launch because, way back before I overcame writer’s block and before Terry’s first book was published, the two of us, plus guitarist Chris, used to play music together at venues around Sydney – and I was drawing on memories of those times in creating the experiences of the Rowdies band in Song of the Slums. Of course, the Rowdies invent rock ‘n roll in 1846 and take the world by storm – we were never that successful! Still, we had our moments.
So Terry re-lived some of those memories in launching the book. Then we did a reading, where Terry took on the voice of one of the ex-soldiers and Aileen came in for two lines spoken by Astor. Here we all are -
Terry declared the book launched, and we sold a heap of copies. As someone said, all you need as a selling point is the key line – what if rock ‘n roll had been invented a hundred years before Elvis Presley, way back in 1846?
Here it is – the trailer for Song of the Slums now up on YouTube! Gasp in horror as steampunk rock n roll outrages respectable society! See Queen Victoria headbanging! Watch as this new music knocks Debussy and Mozart off the top of the 19th century charts!
What if they’d invented rock ‘n roll way back in the 19th century?
What if it took over the world and changed the course of history?
My French editor just sent me an email. Seems there’s a problem with the name ‘Verrol’ in the French translation of SONG OF THE SLUMS – it woud be pronounced like ‘vérole’, which is the French word for pox. I had to agree it needs changing – not at all the right associations for the romantic male lead!