Archive for November, 2011

rue st maur

November 16, 2011

Here’s Rue St Maur, thanks to google earth. This is the part of the street where our apartment is, though I’m not sure which building.

Today was good and bad. The good bit was that I completed another chapter in the latest steampunk novel, and now I just have one chapter to go before I reach a turning-point, two thirds of the way through, where the story and setting move into a new phase. It’s the point I had in mind to finish before the Paris trip, though I doubted I’d make it – now I’m sure I will, in probably three days. Then I can concentrate on packing and preparing.

It was a bit of the preparing that went wrong today – getting euros and a cash passport loaded with euros from the new local Travelex. We hadn’t set ourselves up with enough cash or decided exact quantities, but that was nothing to the Travelex office. We had to hang around until it finally re-opened, went through all the business of application etc – and then the office system collapsed. Well, being generous, it was the office computer connection that wouldn’t activate the cash passport – though I wonder whether it was the operative who didn’t know what to do. We weren’t interested in a non-activated cash passport, so we took our money back and harumphed off – with the whole thing to do again (at a different place) tomorrow.

Makes you remember all the frustrating little things that can go wrong when travelling!

Shoes and reviews, and zombies

November 15, 2011

This is serious – I polished my shoes and boots for Paris. In fact, I polished all my sboes and boots. It takes something really REALLY important for me to do that! It only happens every two years or so.

Did I say – I was originally booked on Air France flights, which involved a leg with Qantas. Too risky! So now I’m on KLM plus a leg of Malaysia Airlines, and our travel agent managed to get Aileen onto the same flights and side-by-side seats. But it adds an extra hop at the end, from Amsterdam to Paris, so something like 26 hours altogether, not counting travel up to Sydney and travel from Charles de Gaulle airport to Paris. We’ll be like zombies when we arrive!

The two airlines are a problem for luggage, because KLM has a very generous allowance, 23 kg for checked and 12 kg for cabin luggage, whereas Malaysia is mean as mean – 20 kg for checked and only 5 kg for cabin. 5 kg! And we’re stuck with the lower limit.

Here are the first lines of a review of Le Liberator that came out in the very serious French journal, Rvue des Livres pour les Enfants. The opening sentence reads “Even better than the first volume (Le Worldshaker) if that’s possible.” Whoo1

Paris planning

November 14, 2011

Isn’t it weird – every newspaper weekend magazine has been running articles on Paris over the last few weeks. It’s not as if this is the most obvious time to visit Paris. It’s pretty cold – it’ll be a huge shock for us after days like today, over 30 degrees in Sydney (we went up to Sydney to see a movie after I won a free pass to “Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark”. Is there some sort of Parisian morphic resonance going on, or have the articles always been there and I’ve just started noticing them?

After blogging yesterday, I must have moved into a new stage of thinking ahead, because I’m starting to calculate food by the day, e.g. no need to buy more fruit because what’s in the house will last till departure date. Like a count down! And after all, we’ll only be away for a fortnight, so it’s not as if much would get thrown out. But it’s a definite state of mind thing!

The Cat Test

November 13, 2011

Here’s Habibi, the cat who’ll be left behind when we go to Paris. (But cared for by our daughter!) Actually, I’m just testing taking photos on my new mobile and swapping them to iPad and WordPress!


November 13, 2011

So close now! I’ve been immersed, submerged, totally enclosed in the world of the next novel (two-thirds written, but no title yet) – and, out in big, wide, ordinary reality, the Paris trip has snuck up on me.

Time to re-orient the mind, because this is going to be so-o-o exciting! My French publisher, Hélium, is flying me over – and anyone in the book business will know how rare that is unless you’re Michael Connelly status. Normally, the publisher looks after all the expenses within a country, but not the airfare for getting there and back. I’m being flown over specifically for the Montreuil Book Fair, which is a huge event for children’s/YA fiction … and I’ll be doing signings, bookshop visits and meeting up with fans outside of the Fair too.

Am I lucky or what? Two weeks in Paris, and an apartment not far from the Place de la République. Aileen will be coming with me, and we’ll have free time for looking around, wining and dining, living the good life. Yay!

I’m specially looking forward to meeting French fans. I seem to have some very committed fans there (and one really committed fan can eventually be worth a hundred, a thousand readers). I’m practicing my French so that I can do readings and give a talk in French. I lived in Paris for three months long, long ago – in the Quartier Latin, selling New York Herald Tribunes to American tourists and distributing flyers for a parfumerie. So my French is really quite good, only it’s deeply buried and needs dragging out into the light.

Here’s the team at Hélium, when we had lunch at a restaurant last time I was in Paris – and earlier, the cover of Le Liberator, which has been getting some great French reviews –