BackburningCov
 
the newsletter of IP (Interactive Publications Pty Ltd)

 
 

Director's Welcome

DR_Photo

We’re now officially into our eleventh year of business, but I can assure you that we no intention of resting on our laurels!

Our big news is of course outcome of the IP Picks Awards! I’m pleased to report that the number of submissions was almost double that of last year in all categories. The panel of judges had a hard time picking the winners, especially in poetry. We expect at least six new contracts to be offered to the winners and commended. I want to thank all entrants to the competition for their support and their patience in awaiting the results.

Expansion continues to be a driving force at IP, with IP Kidz planning to release at least five new titles in 2008. Overall, we expect to be publishing more than 20 titles per year, not including e-book versions of existing print titles.

Each year, we employ a few work experience students from our local universities. I want to welcome our new crop of Assistant Editors: Carlin Lie, who’ll be helping out with our promotions and marketing; Brittany Patterson, who’s already delving into our prose list; and Emily Brinkworth, who has a special interest in poetry. For more information on them, check out our revised Staff page.

Lauren Daniels continues on in her invaluable work as our Prose Editor, while Anne Marshall remains in her role as your tireless newsletter editor.

Following our very successful 10th Anniversary Tour, I’m now looking forward to our first tour in New Zealand. I think there’s room in the marketplace for a trans-tasman independent publisher, and IP may well fit the bill!

In all, a very exciting year lies ahead for us, and we hope to see you at IP events in your neighbourhood. As always we look forward to your continuing support of independent publishing, without which IP and publisher like us would never survive!

Cheers!

David

Editor's Intro
 
AnneM

Happy New Year and welcome to the 37th edition of IP eNews in our eleventh year of business!

We hope you all enjoyed your Christmas and New Year celebrations, and got some reading in. IP has finally finished judging the IP Picks awards and there will be plenty of new books coming out soon for you to get your hands on, including at least five new books from the IP Kidz range.
This edition we announce the winners of the IP Picks Awards. There’s a great variety of different stories and you’ll be able to read all about them – and find out when they’re going to be published! It was our biggest turnout of stories yet! Check out the breakdown across states and territories that David has provided below. The stories range from tales of immigration to a historical novel set in Queensland! We’re sure you’re going to be able to find something that takes your interest!

David is on the road again (off to New Zealand!) as we write this, and I’m sure by next edition we’ll have plenty of stories of what he got up to with Stephen Oliver.

Rest assured however, that IP is being held in capable hands – and with that I’d like to also welcome our new recruits: Carlin, Brittany and Emily!
Until next time,
Anne

 

 

FEATURED ARTISTS

StephenOliver

Stephen Oliver

Stephen Oliver will tour New Zealand with his new book Harmonic and his Text + Audio CD King Hit.
read more >

DR-AR

David Reiter (pictured with his son Alexander) will join Stephen on tour with his new junior novel Global Cooling after a stint at the Michael King Writers Centre in Auckland.
read more >

Jim Brigginshaw, of Iluka, NSW, is this year's winner of the IP Picks Best Fiction Award
read more >

 

Ann Jones, of Bribie Island, Qld, is a living testimonial to the fact that attending a writers' group helps. She won this year's IP Picks Best Creative Non-Fiction.
read more >

LeaHills

Leanne Hills' writing is paying dividends on several fronts, including poetry. She won Best Poetry this year.
read more >

AnneGleeson

Anne Gleeson's poetry not only travels well, it also won this year's Best First Book in IP Picks 08!
read more >

 

 

CampCreative

 

 

 

 

 

Our intrepid Director was a tutor in Poetry and Fiction at Camp Creative, a week-long retreat at Bellingen, NSW that has been running for 22 years. The Camp features classes across the arts and evening performances by visiting artists as well as students in the courses. The photo above shows David and his class, who produced some excellent work by the end of the week. Photo courtesy of Richard Layt Photography.



Highlights from IP's 10th Anniversary Tour

 

 

      
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Editorial

When Is a Dollar Only Five Cents?

Hands up everyone who thinks they’re getting a bargain when they pay $32.95 for a book rather than $33.

Somewhere back in the Dark Ages of marketing, some guru decided that people felt that five cents short of a dollar was really nine-five cents less, because they paid more attention to the amount in front of the decimal point than after. So rather than advertise a product for a dollar, the shops would put ninety-five cents on the price tag. Really daring entrepreneurs would put nine-nine cents on it to minimise their losses if the product sold in the tens of thousands.

It’s one thing to do that with a pair of socks, where five cents means five cents, but where things really get absurd is when you’re shopping for expensive products like plasma TVs or cars. Somewhere along the line, the gurus decided that cents were irrelevant on products like that, so the fiddle is applied to the dollar values. We see TVs for $4995 or $4999. Do people really believe they’re not spending $5000 dollars for that TV?

If you’ve browsed the IP Shop, you’ll see that we sell books and our digital products on the dollar. We don’t believe in insulting the intelligence of our customers. This makes things easier all around when I’m selling books on the road, not having to carry rolls of five-cent pieces. It also makes it easier to calculate GST or the amount owing when bookshops order titles in quantity. (Yes, we have an accounting package that can do this for us, but sometimes booksellers ring us up and want a quick answer, which would be a bit harder to manage when you have to calculate $29.95 x 36!)

I think it’s high time that publishers and other commercial enterprises simplified pricing by using whole numbers—calling a dollar a dollar rather than ninety-nine cents. Maybe then more of us would be able to figure out what we’re spending in our heads rather than with a calculator.

— DR

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Focus on IP Picks 08

Our 2008 competition was our most popular so far. We received entries from every State and Territory in Australia, with the exception of the Northern Territory.The percentage breakdown by State and Territory was:
New South Wales: 31.7%
Victoria: 30.5%
Queensland: 20.7%
Tasmania: 6%
Western Australia: 5%
ACT: 3.7%
South Australia: 2.4%

Growing in popularity was the First Book category, while the Poetry category continues to be the most competitive of all the categories, with a very high standard of entries.

The judges remarked on the higher standard of entries in the Creative Non-fiction category but felt that the overall quality of fiction entries was disappointing, despite the dramatic increase in overall number of submissions.

The results of the competition follow, with reviews by Lauren Daniels (LD), Brittany Patterson (BP), and David Reiter (DR)

Winner, Best Fiction, Over My Dead Body by Jim Brigginshaw, NSW

Jim Brigginshaw’s novel draws us effortlessly into the plot of an historical fiction novel. Set in the late 19th century coalfields of Ipswich, Queensland, the story opens:

Coal dust, breathed into the miners’ lungs in hellish conditions under the ground, make coughing and spitting part of their lives. They had no choice, it was the body’s way of clearing deadly congestion. But whenever they laid eyes on the mansion of the hill they spat not out of necessity but with malicious intent. The black gobs of mucus seemed an apt way of expressing what they thought of this lavish reminder of their own squalor and poverty.

In the shadow of this manor, a complexity of human lives converge. A multi-generational tale themed by ambition, struggle, endurance and love propel this narrative through the birth of the Brisbane region.

When he had the mansion built he copied the ancient castles of his native Wales. Towering stone walls topped by parapets and battlements, tall stained-glass windows, huge oak doors with studded brass hinges – there was nothing remotely like it anywhere in the infant colony of Queensland.

The manor of coal baron Gareth Jones looms over the miners, a grim symbol of ill-gotten opulence in an age when workers’ health and rights had not yet even been conceived. And yet, the reader is reminded: darkness begets darkness.

The site had been chosen carefully: Overlooking the Ipswich coalfield it was on a hill where the mansion could be seen, but with a green curtain of trees so that those who lived there wouldn’t have to look at the blackened poppetheads and ugly mine buildings. It was so suitable for his needs that Jones ignored the warning that he should not build such a large structure there. A labyrinth of his coal-producing tunnels radiated beneath the mansion and mining men predicted that sooner or later it would subside into the dark caverns from which came the black gold that made him rich.

Along this journey, impressively drawn characters awaken and step from the past. From a waterfront inn to the deck of a schooner, chance encounters forge the course of these young lives.

Whenever she was on deck he saw to it he wasn’t far away. One dark night as Jane stood alone at the ship’s stern watching a watermelon slice of moon inching up from the horizon, Con stayed in the shadows, too nervous to let her see him.

Lovers marry and children are born, taking readers to the pastures of McCormack Farm in the wilderness outside Brisbane. A family grows, despite the harshness of the terrain.

Each morning Donkey would be difficult to catch, her usual protest at being required to provide bareback transport fort the children to the one-roomed bush school four miles away.

Marked by the events of the Great Flood of 1893 and the formation of the first miners’ unions, Over My Dead Body is an Australian epic; a literary feat exemplifying a writer’s craftsmanship and dedication to bringing history alive.

– LD

Jim Brigginshaw was born in Ipswich, Queensland in 1926 and now lives in the small town of Iluka, New South Wales.

JimBrigHe has 60 years of all facets of newspaper journalism, (reporter, sub-editor, chief sub-editor, editor) at nine major dailies in three States, including The Courier-Mail, Brisbane Telegraph, Sunday Mail, The Australian, The Queensland Times, Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney Sun, The Northern Star, The West Australian. He was runner-up for a Walkey (journalist of the year) and was author of Our Crazy World, which is Australia’s longest-running newspaper column.

First Commended, Best Fiction: Becoming Ned by Gill Hardwick, WA

Set in the Australian bush,Becoming Nedfollows the lives of fourth generation Scottish squatters having to adapt to the suddenly uncertain world in the times of the Great Depression.

Becoming Ned is also a coming of age story, unique in its themes of Celtic otherworldliness and Aboriginal dreamtime magic, dealing with far more than the normal struggles involved in becoming a young man. Ned takes the reader on a journey of self-discovery as he finds he has a talent for hearing more that just the words that people have actually spoken.

The quiet of the bush did not just allow the small sounds, but keeping in touch, once you knew how.

A life wrought with family struggles and the struggles of an emerging nation faces Ned as he becomes a man. Despite his impatience to be told every family secret it isn't long before his childhood is gone. The family secrets soon become his to carry, along with the responsibility of looking after his own family and running a changing farm.

Over the next week they had their hands busy with calving, and even then it took another five days before the last cow dropped, and another week again for the calves to grow strong enough to walk on with the mob. In the meantime some of the main herd wandered off, getting away through the sheer distraction as men worked day and night trying to keep them together while managing their large scattered pastoral holdings through encroaching war and drought.

Layered with a diverse range of characters and themes Becoming Ned takes the reader on an intriguing journey, full of mystery, hardship, loss and new life.

– BP

Gil Hardwick is a mature-age Honours graduate of the University of Western Australia, majoring in Traditional and Contemporary Aboriginal Studies, Social Historiography, Ethnographic Film, Research Ethics and Fieldwork Methodology.

Following a period of cross-cultural dispute resolution at GilHardstate government level, he shifted his research focus to the early colonial period with a special emphasis on the Celtic Diaspora, investigating why many Aboriginal activists today carry Scots and Irish surnames. He has several historical publications.

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Second Commended, Best Fiction, Home for Lost Books by Michael O’Sullivan, NSW

Crafting a quietly bubbling cauldron of magic realism in the novel Home for Lost Books, Michael O’Sullivan has peppered these pages with an immense love for stories. O’Sullivan’s passion is expressed exquisitely by the transformation of the novel’s protagonist, Lucy Gray, a retrenched librarian for whom a secret collection of books becomes a portal to a parallel universe.

[In the library basement] Beyond the compactus are caged areas full of discarded equipment and furniture. Why is it necessary to confine old chairs and desks? If left unencumbered will they gather and break out of their captivity? It’s very dark at this end of the basement, the fluorescent light struggling to illuminate the cemetery.

After ten minutes I’d seen enough and turned to leave. At that moment I saw a door in the middle of the wall. I couldn’t remember seeing a door down here.

Upon finding door, she makes a point of returning and investigating the contents of this secret vault, despite her termination.

Picking up the lantern I carefully stepped into the sea of books. It was like being on the crest of a wave, threatening and exhilarating at the same time.

Home for Lost Books begins with both a redundancy and a gateway—an end and a beginning—as it waves a wand over the mind of the reader.

Last days are poignant, don’t you agree? Leaving a workplace, a spouse, children, a place where you’ve been happy, they’re all the same. Emptiness steps in and lessens you a little. Or a lot. That night I even thought about the last days of Pompeii, and the Minoan civilisation, obliterated without warning by unpredictable forces. I suppose we all think everything will last forever, but it doesn’t.

Lucy, despite feeling a bit lost herself at the start, finds the golden cord that will lead her through a labyrinth of buried treasure and politics as she sprouts from a meeker character into ‘Miss Courageous Gray’.

– LD

Michael O’Sullivan lives in the Southern Tablelands of New South Wales with his wife and three children. 

MichaelOB
efore becoming a full-time writer he followed various occupations, including fencing contractor, carpenter and builder, university tutor, librarian and archivist, and as a curator with the Private Records collection at the Australian War Memorial.

IP has published his previous novels, Secret Writing and Easter at Tobruk.

Winner, Best Creative Non-Fiction, Put the Billy On by Ann Jones, QLD

Set within the backdrop of the Australian countryside, Put the Billy On follows the speaker as she, her parents and her sister conclude an arduous trek towards to a sheep station near Gregory Downs in 1936.

No more driving, no more swirling bulldust, no more flat, grassy plains of the savannah country. We had arrived.

This journey, undertaken to escape a recent loss, leads the family to a new home full of new friends and new experiences.

Through the memories of her childhood the speaker chronicles the infinite adventures to be had in her new home. She describes the shock and fear she felt the first time she met the Aboriginal helpers to the sense of belonging the moment she truly felt that they had become her friends.

That night, Delma and Jacob made a fire and cooked the goanna in the coals. Marie and I joined our indigenous friends once more to share the harvest of the day, and became at one with them as we sat around the campfire feasting from the honeypots, taken from the nests of Sugarbag, sucking the juice of the Conkerberries we had saved in our hats and savouring the white meat from the tail of the goanna.

Put the Billy On gives the reader insight into what it was like to grow up in Australia in the 1930s and 40s. The story is mixed with undertones of both humour and fading innocence while also peppered with historical events, such at the lead up to World War II. These historical events are artfully compared to the tensions that exist in the speakers own life.

I no longer minded if I had to keep quiet while the adults sat huddled around the screeching, squawking wireless eavesdropping into the affairs of the outside world, the War in Europe, hostilities in the Pacific and no sign of peace. In my world, with Aunt Lil’s departure and Mum home and in charge, hostilities ceased, war on the home front ended and peace was declared.

With one final move to come the speaker deals once again with the fear and excitement of the unknown. It is time to reminisce on the friends, the experiences and the once in a lifetime gifts given to them by the people indigenous to that region.

– BP

Ann Jones was four years old when she moved from Sydney with her family to Almora, a sheep and cattle property in the Gulf country where the family lived for most of World War II.  There she encountered the Indigenous people and their culture and these experiences inspired her to write Put the Billy on, to document a way of life that has long since gone.

Apart from raising a family, Ann’s main focus in life has AnnJonesbeen education which began with correspondence lessons fitting in with mustering time or when the Big Wet prevented the arrival of the mail. She became a teacher by default, ‘to escape the expected female career as a shorthand-typist,’ but discovered a lifelong vocation.  She has taught in Queensland and in Papua New Guinea, tutored in Speech Remediation at James Cook University and lectured in Practical Studies at the Australian Catholic University in Brisbane.

Ann is a member of U3A and now enjoys living on Bribie Island. She has had two of her stories published in Behind the Faces, which showcases women’s writing in the Queensland Society of Women Writers.

First Commended, Best Creative Non-Fiction, The Importance of Being Cool by Olwyn Conrau, VIC

Olwyn Conrau literally throws readers into the deep end of a post-modern raucous jungle: the Australian, twenty-something social scene. Booze, chemicals and speed of all sorts hammer audience and characters through the surprising voice of an intelligent and tenacious young woman:

I wanted to scream at him but instead I shut my eyes, held my breath and wished for the car to stop…. I looked up to see a high barbed wire fence waving at me. He turned the steering wheel, violently forcing the car into an abrupt halt. I could smell the stench of smoke curling from the wheels of the car. I swallowed hard and tried to persuade the adrenalin from exploding through my body.

A montage of familiar ground unravels before us as we enter this not-so-alien world where a synthesis of the post-modern Australian woman’s independence and simultaneous vulnerability are explored under the flicker of club lights.

I stood smack bang in the middle of the budding crowd as it jostled about. Hot seating bodies moving to the rhythm. The band was pretty tight with the guitar screaming and the drums thumping violently. I stood like an idiot and swayed momentarily like a tree but my trunk started to weaken and wobble and I knew there was little left to hold me up.

The dynamics of friendships, family, work and serious play are all underscored by acceleration. Within this gloves-off narrative, a sparingly honest portrayal is ventured; culminating in a cutting awareness of the bruises that life at this velocity will leave.

A few Fridays ago, I had found him leaning against the bonnet of this car with a joint in one hand and a stubbie in the other. I thought he looked pretty cool in his suede vest and blue and orange paisley shirt. He looked okay enough to eat…. But he turned out to be a bit of a dud. Mattress dancing wasn’t his forté even if he thought it was. We hooked up last Saturday at Hosies and by the end of the night, both pissed as farts, we rushed back to his place and dove under the bed covers. Cold hands grabbed bits of spiked flesh. His mechanical efforts were totally uninspiring. I laid back counting. …seventy-six…seventy-seven…legs eleven…. Wham! Seventy-eight seconds. One minute and eighteen seconds.

– LD

Olwyn Conrau has worked as a copywriter, media consultant and journalist for almost 20 years with several articles, Olwynshort stories and poems appearing in The Australian, Herald Sun, Melbourne Times and Tarralla Literary Magazine, to name a few. She did her cadetship at BRW Publications and has a BA in Literary Studies from Deakin University.

Her novel, The Importance of Being Cool, was inspired by an earlier life where she lived in St Kilda as a student, part time go-go dancer and a visitor to its many nocturnal establishments.

Second Commended, Best Creative Non-Fiction, Grave Concerns by Laine Wilson, NSW

Laine Wilson has boldly fashioned an iconic Australian voice. She musters the strength to gaze directly at life and loss to behold the wisdom in its cyclical nature. Her perspective blooms from a rare kind of honesty, observation and humour.

I now feel so vulnerable, so exposed, so at risk.

I guess death does that. Surgery does that too, and yes, so does divorce…. They are all circumstances, which, even as sole visitors, can leave us fragile and defenseless…. Yet this past year or so, these miserable visitors have combined forces to form a veritable surprise party of unwelcome guests.

Astride this literary trajectory and through the unusual technique of speaking directly to her deceased mother—a technique impressively sustained from start to finish—Wilson uncovers the insistence of life, determination and grace within her family, despite the thorny path that tears at each surviving member.

Is this true, Mum? We wondered what you would have known of love, sex, betrayal, exhaustion and the daily battle with depression. Yes, what would you have known, Mum? Your husband, our father, was a strict and sometimes tyrannical man. Your mother disappeared when you were thirteen, presumed dead.  You lost a child to the combination of ignorance and medical neglect; you worked long hours; were let down and betrayed by business people, friends and family. Of course you would have understood more than we gave you credit for. But still we played our games, keeping you on a need to know basis.  It was for your own protection, we kidded ourselves! Occasionally your children were selfish fools!

Conditioned by experience to examine, unabashed, the collective themes of suffering and death, Wilson treads willingly and quite lyrically where many hesitate. The reward is Aussie gold.

I have since considered that Death is very rude to not book ahead, to not let people know of his appointments in advance. If God could but train the Grim Reaper to email or to send a text message at least, it might make it easier on families in chaos.

– LD

Laine Wilson was born and raised in Toowoomba, Queensland. She studied Arts/Languages at The University of Queensland. 

Laine spent many years as a business-woman in LaineWilsonQueensland. More recently in Sydney, she owned and operated a service industry business with her husband, for which she wrote industry publications, training manuals and marketing material.

Following a bout with breast cancer, Laine now lives in Coffs Harbour, New South Wales.

Winner, IP Picks Best Poetry: The Possibility of Flight by Leanne Hills, VIC

Hills takes on the big issues in this challenging and innovative collection. In “flat earth theory” she zooms in on a nameless person lost in reverie as the Earth heads toward apocalypse:

Except one.

Who’d been looking
the other way
hands in whistling pockets
shoe doodling the dust.
Mind alert to a dream.
Where the Earth is flat.

And gravity has no pull.

She conjures up parallel realities with ease, as in “Mythos” where her speaker anticipates the coming of a human—and less philosophical—age:

When I was a Myth, I lay prostrate before a circling crowd and let them connect their drips to me, till, blood brothers, we presented Poesis to a shackled world, our new dialogue with Being creating man himself.

Hills intersperses a rhetoric of art with science, creating dazzling insights. In “libretto”, following a stanza invoking fools and kings from the mind of Shakespeare, she considers what genetics might add to the debate:

must we anagram | title letters | initials of the
forgotten bled |apply our DNA & there it is |
a transparent helix | words rank with design |
melding of lifted fable & the medium that fits :||

– DR

Lea Hills’ work has been published and translated both locally and overseas. A contemporary ballet, Les Portes du Monde, for which she wrote the libretto, in French, was performed in Switzerland in April 2007. She has been a LeaHillsprizewinner in the FAW and Greater Dandenong National Poetry Awards, among others, and is editor and co-initiator of the poetry section of Moving Galleries, a poetry/art project currently displayed on Melbourne’s trains.

Upcoming publications include The Sign of a Warrior, a novel for younger readers, to be released internationally in 2008, and a young adult novel, A Book for None and All.

Lea lives in the hills outside Melbourne, with her husband and two young sons.

Highly Commended, IP Picks Best Poetry, Inside Story by Lee Knowles, VIC

With accomplished narratives, Lee Knowles creates speakers caught in a crosscurrent of time and allegory, as in “Picture Maker”:

She never could be
the woman they’d expected.   Her mind
unrolled a cave wall restless with drawings,
her destination.   Untangling herself
from their arms, she gave the bowl
to another, stepped through the fire
and ran from them all
for her life.

In moments of reflection, her speakers absorb and capture the essence of foreign settings, such as the Rome in “Siesta”:

The sound
of bells comes through all absences
as we take in this city, feel its blood
beat, with the shutters half closed,
the broom fallen on the terrace floor
and a white butterfly going all the way down.

Knowles is just as capable of focusing on the familiar, with a sensitivity that brings characters from the past tangibly into the present, as in “Back Yard”:

Tennis balls thud
against a giant billboard.
There’s room for circling
bushes in a thousand cartwheels.
Room too for John in his own world
planting higher-than-Jack beans,
always with bags to give away.

– DR

Lee Knowles began producing poetry while living in Western Australia.   Her interest in poetry had developed alongside an early involvement with speech and drama studies.  She remains highly concerned with the sound of poetry.

For some years Lee worked for the W.A. Education Department as a salaried writer for children.

At one time she lived aboard a yacht off Fremantle. This LeeKnowlesexperience combined with sailing to neighbouring islands informed some of her work as did also a trip aboard a fishing vessel to the Wallabi Group of the Abrolhos Islands, the scene of the Batavia shipwreck.

A prospecting expedition to the Goldfields also proved inspiring as did a residency at the BR Whiting Library in Rome in 1999.

First Commended, Best Poetry,Towards a Grammar of Being by Julie Waugh

Waugh likens our society to a dystopian 1984-ish future in the first poem in her collection “Go West”, portraying that the politics of fear and human dependence on technology is dividing our world.

I hope the angels remember how to weep
as we, unsatisfied with our little lives
distanced by digital virtualities
polarised by fears of a third invasion
have forgotten

Not only does Waugh confront the ‘bigger picture’ like the war on terror, but also focuses inward on the concept of ‘self’ and achieving ‘self absolution’, in her poems “After Reading Mozart to da Ponte Words and Music by David Malouf” and “Green and Blue”.

the ancient source of all religions that give believers
the death-defying conviction that they alone have absolution

until the planets, which can be exasperatingly mathematical
have aligned to deliver that most delicious scream, precisely
to herald what will, what ocean, what ascendant cloud
circles, perhaps not meant for us lesser catalysts of intention

(After Reading Mozart to da Ponte Words and Music by David Malouf)

it’s comforting
to locate
where a body
might be
in relation
to a world

a poet
some say
should come
from
somewhere

(Green and Blue)

In her poem “Consummations”, Waugh uses powerful metaphors to paint a vivid picture of the ‘everyday’.

like the way a child, satisfied and sticky
will fall asleep exactly where they are

and those tough intersections
where belief succumbs to instinct
unforgiving, confronting, like a riot in the city
or a teabag bleeding in the sink

– DR

Julie Waugh lives in Sydney and has beeen published in Poetrix, Decanto (UK), The Mozzie, Above Ground Testing, e'ratio, nth position, Southern Ocean Review, Stylus Poetry JulieWaughJournal and others. She has an MA in creative writing from UNSW.

She works as a nurse and is returning to freelance editing. She is also relocating to Northern Ireland for a while to spend time with her son, who has settled there, and her new grandson. It will be a good opportunity for her to write a lot more poetry.

Second Commended, Best Poetry, Spoken Not Heard by Nicola Scholes, QLD

Scholes portrays uses a quirky and original imagery to portray a little girl making a dollhouse with her mother, in the first poem of her collection, “Dollhouse”.

What’s all this about Dad said
there were little white hats in a row
draining
on the bathroom sink.
my dolls always had the luxury
of mint-infused beverages

Scholes delves into the real reason the late Steve Irwin is idolized to the extent that he is by Australians in her poem “Steve Irwin”

We thought to ourselves:
‘If I can’t,
it’s still good that he can,
especially when he is
just an average Aussie bloke
with a little empire,
television, films, a successful zoo,
dressed in khaki,
it could be me or you.’

In part II, she cleverly plays on the words ‘crocodile’ and ‘stingray’ to portray parallels.

Over the crocodile’s head, the stingray pandemic,
Beneath crocodile laughter, stingray fear,
For the crocodile media, the stingray academic,
For the crocodile hunter, Germaine Greer.

In her poem “Stingray”, Scholes relates Steve Irwin’s death by a stingray puncture to the relationship between two lovers.

you are no more aware of your venomous barbs
than you are of my punctured heart

you cruise through the clear waters
graceful, peaceful, blameless

It is your nature.

She depicts Uncle Sam as being Australia’s ‘puppeteer’ and the invasion of digitalism in our society in her poem “Green Eggs and Spam”.

You will love it! Once you bite
A megabit, a megabyte!

When you unzip / you will enjoy,
Fairies, pixels / plastic toy,

I do not WANT green eggs and SPAM,
Leave me!  Leave me!  Uncle Sam

– DR

Nicola Scholes was born in England, Her poems have appeared in several Australian magazines, and she regularly reads her poems at Brisbane's spoken word event SpeedPoets.  In 2007, she won the open mic competition at the Queensland Poetry Festival event “Love Poetry Hate Racism.” 

Nicola has a BA in English from The University of Queensland, a Graduate Diploma in Library and Information Studies from QUT, and an MA in Children’s Literature from Deakin University.  Her writing and illustrating for children have appeared in Cherububble Magazine.

She is presently researching a PhD on the poetry of Allen Ginsberg at The University of Queensland.

Best First Book Results in the Right-hand Column!

 

 

 

Winner, IP Picks Best First Book, Rising Light by EA Gleeson, VIC

This impressive first collection traverses time and place with ease. Gleeson is as much at ease adopting the perspective on Tongan women as the wife of the Desert Fox, Irwin Rommel. In “Happy Birthday, Lucie Rommel”, she depicts the consciousness of a woman caught up in wartime as matter-of-factly as if her husband is a business tycoon:

The phone shrieks though the house.
Holding yourself so still you hear the hand-piece
click onto its cradle and then he’s bounding
stairs and calling: the invasion has begun
For just a moment, he cradles your head
against him and then he’s gone

Gleeson is also acute in her ability to juxtapose cultures in a breath. Immersing us in in the chaos of a Vietnam she remembers a comparatively tame Melbourne:

Never have I felt such a part of a people’s movement.
There are more people on motor- bikes on either side

of me than could ever fit in a Swanston St. peace march.
Haio weaves her bike through the city traffic as if these

days are all that we have. She wants to show me what I
need to learn. She cuts to the chase. She asks questions

She’s just adept at making the everyday poetic. In “The Hair Appointment”, there’s a sensuous texture and atmosphere most people would miss in their otherwise hum-drum existence:

The timer chatters into the quiet. She guides the woman
to the sink, cradles her head, moves the spray over the blue
grey fudge, metallic looking water washes into the basin.
Runnels of warmth trickle over her skin, fingers rotate
small circles of aliveness, bigger circles of pleasure.

Gleeson is also astute in going beyond the clichés associated with Anzac Day with a speaker in “Dawn Service” who empathises as much with a dead soldier as a grandmother no longer capable of marching:

Tentatively, I move to fill the space he’s made.
I tell myself I am marching for my grandmother
who said she’d lost her men because of politicians’ pride.

But when the moment is mine, I place the red poppy
on the cold stone and whisper his name,
John Cornelius Shine.

– DR

E A Gleeson grew up in the Western District of Victoria where farm life and the vast open plains allowed her to hone her observation skills. Her parents’ love of words and reading and history nurtured her emerging interest in writing. She is a multi-award winning poet securing places in competitions including the Henry Kendall and John Shaw Neilson Awards.

Over the last ten years, most of her poems have been published in Australian, Irish and American literary journals. She reads regularly at Victoria’s premier poetry venues and occasionally in other places when she travels. E A Gleeson lives in Ballarat where she spends two-third of her working life as a funeral director and one-third as a writer.

Commended, Best First Book, A Recipe for Balance by Rebecca Freeborn, SA

Shortly after their marriage Meena and her husband, Amit, leave their homeland and the only culture they’ve ever known. Meena says goodbye to her family, her friends and the familiar comforts of Mumbai bound for Australia, a land of opportunity, with a husband she hardly knows.

Although she had lived with Amit’s family when they had first married a year ago, she had seen her mother regularly, particularly in the first weeks of her marriage when everything had been unfamiliar and lonely. When Meena had told her that Amit wanted to move to South Australia, she had hoped that her mother would intervene in some way; talk her husband out of it. But she was disappointed when her mother had sagely advised her to be gracious and accepting, and above all to obey her husband’s wishes.

After departing Mumbai for a new life in Adelaide, Meena chronicles the struggles she suffers in coming to terms with the unfamiliar culture while trying to build a relationship with a man who is almost a stranger.

‘I like to cook,’ she said, defensive. She hated the way he was always denying their culture, trying to escape from it. He worked and associated with Australian people every day and had learnt the right way to talk and the right jokes to make. But the extent of her experience lay in the art of combining spices to create the perfect balance of sweet and sour, salty and pungent, bitter and astringent, in the ayurvedic tradition of her ancestors.

With a touching depth of emotion, the tone of the memoir is crafted by a personal look at the differences, and similarities, of Indian and Australian cultures. Meena details her subconscious desire to fit in while struggling with the need to remain true to the culture she loves. 

As the speaker becomes immersed in the Australian culture, encouraged by her husband’s willingness to adapt, assimilation begins. The speaker finds herself – realising that her pride in her upbringing can draw her closer to those around her. And eventually, through her passion for Indian cooking she warms the hearts of Australians and Indians living in Australia alike.

She had never imagined when she and Amit arrived in Australia that it would be possible for her to feel this happy.

– BP

Rebecca Freeborn lives in Adelaide and has been writing since childhood. She has a Bachelor of Arts (Professional and Creative Communication) and works in web marketing for the South Australian Government.

She has had two short stories published in the anthology The House That Words Built. Her first reading of A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth in 2000 triggered a near obsession with Indian literature, culture and cuisine and ultimately provided the inspiration for A Recipe for Balance.

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Apostrophes and Other Plurals

Something got lost in the Grammar-free Zone that was the classroom over the past 20 or 30 years. Quite a few things, actually. A misunderstanding of the role of the apostrophe has spread like termite tunnels through written discourse until the errors of application have become so common that editors hesitate before fixing them.

But there are certain rules of grammar worth drawing a line in the sand about, and apostrophes are one of them.

Rule 1: Never use an apostrophe to form a plural.

Let’s get down to basics. A plural is more than one. A couple, a few, several, and so on. Trees rather than tree.

Few people would have a problem recognising that it would be incorrect to write two tree’s when you mean one tree plus one tree. Yet we sometimes see ball’s referring to more than one ball, or ticket’s meaning more than one ticket.

"No problem", I hear you muttering. Only a nitwit would use an apostrophe in that situation.

OK, but what about when you’re using abbreviations? How often do we see CD’s meaning more than one compact disk? "That’s different", someone pipes in. It’s fine to signify plurals in abbreviations that way. Everyone does it.

Changes in language usage come about in a number of ways, and sometimes for the wrong reason. In this case, though, there is absolutely no pressing reason why CD’s cannot be expressed as CDs.

What about apostrophes to denote a range of years? We often see the 1990s expressed as 1990’s. Again, there’s no reason to use an apostrophe here. In fact, it can cause confusion by suggesting something belonging to the year 1990.

Same thing with letters: use ABCs rather than ABC’s. But, OK, I admit there could be a problem with the plural of single letters. As (meaning more than one letter A) could be confused with the word As. Same thing with Us (meaning more than one letter U). But even in those situations, the context of the sentence would make your meaning clear. For one thing, the As would have to be the first word in the sentence to be confused with the word as.

Rule 2: It’s means it is, while its is the possessive of the pronoun it.

People who don’t understand that rule go so far as violating it with other pronouns, creating nonsense like her’s meaning of her or their’s instead of the perfectly adequate theirs.

Now that you understand those two simple rules, arm yourself with a indelible marking pen and scrub out all those unnecessary apostrophes!

 

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Anyone Home at Arts Qld?

Have the Razor Gang finally had their way at Arts Queensland (AQ)?

We could be forgiven for wondering about that, since no one there seems to return our calls. We'd actually given up talking to AQ after they made it clear that they had no interest in support private enterpise in the arts through their grants programs.

Then a little bird told us that the latest policy review there had made it possible for private companies to apply for project funding (no one at AQ thought it might be worthwhile telling us directly). So we began to call for further information. And call. And call. With no replies.

A little while ago, our hopes we raised: a letter arrived, on AQ stationery! What would it say? We're open for business again? Actually, no. The letter advised that the fellowship program for established artists that AQ had offered in the last grants ground was no more. Or at least they had decided not to fund it. Bad luck if you were an established artist who'd gone to the trouble to put in an application!

Have you had similar experiences with AQ? Let us know, and we'll post them in the next issue. Better yet get in contact with your local member, or even the Minister for the Arts, Rod Welford, and ask him if it's a case of "lights on, nobody home" at Arts Queensland.

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Hot Off the Wire

In our first venture offshore, IP’s Director David Reiter will travel to New Zealand on 16 February to promote new works by Stephen Oliver as well as his new children’s titles.

In November, IP released King Hit, a collaboration between Stephen and Matt Ottley resulting in our latest Text + Audio CD from IP Digital. In press at the moment is Stephen’s latest collection of poetry, Harmonic, which will feature in launch events in Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin.

Before that, David will be a visiting author at the Michael King Writers Centre in Auckland, where he plans to work on a new novel for adults. The Centre will also host him running sessions on writing for local high school students.

On 19 February, Stephen will join him in Auckland for a reading at Poetry Live, Queen Street, from 8 p.m.

On Sunday, 2 March, the two will read at Lambas Café, outside Wellington at Raumati South from 4 pm. Then back to Wellington for a reading at The Penthouse Café on Ohiro Road from 3 pm.

5 March they will appear at the Circadian Rhythm Café, St Andrew’s, Dunedin, followed by a reading at Dunedin Public Library, Moray Place, from 5:30 pm.

We are also organising sessions for David with primary school students in Auckland, Wellington, Dunedin and possibly Christchurch. Details will follow.

This may well be a first for independent publishing between our two countries. We feel it’s high time that we explore the possibilities for improved trans-tasman cultural links, so David hopes to talk to a variety of publishers as well as authors to see how best to go about this in the future. We invite interested parties to join us on the Tour to discuss the possibilities.

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BasilEBasil Eliades, author of 3rd i (IP versions in print as well as Text + Audio CD), will be interviewed and perform on Maggie Ball's blogtalk radio show on Wednesday, 12 March, from 9:30 a.m. Sydney time.

If you haven't heard Basil perform, you're in for a treat. No need to turn your speakers up: Basil will come to you!

The site is "an audio haven for book lovers" and you can even set a reminder for yourself there, in case you're inclined to get busy and forget...

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IP Kidz Update

We’re gearing up for several titles under our newest imprint, with six releases scheduled for 2008.

Global Cooling, the sequel to David Reiter’s chapter book The Greenhouse Effect is already in press. A junior novel, with environmental themes, the new work has Tiger the Cat, Wanda the blue-tongue lizard, as well as Tark, the magical frog departing from Canberra on the next leg of their mission to spread the word about Project Earth-mend.

Also nearing completion is another junior novel by Brisbane-based author Duncan Richardson called Jason and the Time Banana, which will be illustrated by local artist Dave Charlton, and a picture book by veteran author Goldie Alexander called Lame Duck Protest, which is being illustrated by Michele Gaudion. Edel Wignell’s Long Live Us is a fractured fairytale, currently being illustrated by Angelo Vlachoulis. The Tickle Tree is a picture book by Juliet Williams is being illustrated by her sister Anthea.

More information on these and other upcoming titles in our next issue.

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We were delighted to hear that Education Queensland has Highly Recommended Real Guns to Queensland primary schools and libraries as a book relevant to courses dealing with current social issues.

The recent spate of tragedies involving handguns here in Australia has underlined our point that regulation is no substitute for books that deal with pressing social issues in a way that kids can relate to.

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IP Digital Buzz

While it’s been a relatively quiet few months at IP Digital since the release of our latest Text + Audio CD King Hit, we haven’t been sitting on our hands.

The latest instalment in our podcast series features all the authors who joined in Brisbane for our 10th Anniversary Gala. You can view it either on our site or via the iTunes Store. It’s in two sessions, so you won’t need to download the whole performance at once.

Stephen Oliver, author of King Hit came up with the bright idea of making a short film based on one of his poems on the CD entitled “A Simple Tale”. It relates to the destruction of the Giant Buddha by the Taliban militia in Afghanistan—an event that gained worldwide media attention.

It also prompted Swiss filmmaker Christian Frei to make a documentary, The Great Buddhas, about the events leading up this senseless destruction. On his own steam, Stephen emailed Christian and asked if we could use some of the still images on his website as the basis for our own short film, which we would use to promote King Hit. Christian agreed, and so David got to work.

The resulting three-minute short will be featured on our New Zealand tour and has already been accepted for broadcast by the Arts Channel there. We have also sent it to SBS here in Australia and are planning to send it to PBS in the United States.

The Arts Channel has also expressed interest in us producing a series of shorts based on King Hit. We’ll keep you informed of developments.

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IP Sales

The big news on the distribution front is that IP has switched from Tower Books as our print distributor to the Australian Book Group (ABG).

Switching distributors is not a decision to be taken lightly, but we felt that ABG has more to offer us now, given our mix of titles. ABG will be distributing our digital as well as our print titles, and they work in New Zealand and the United Kingdom as well as Australia, which complements our international distribution efforts.

IP Sales will continue to distribute to bookshops, libraries and suppliers who prefer to order from us directly, but they should take note that our titles are no longer available from Tower Books.

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Further to our news last issue about our print on demand partnership with Booksurge, the POD wing of Amazon.com, we’re pleased to announce that most of our titles are now available for order via Booksurge.

North American bookshops and libraries can order either directly from Booksurge or go through Amazon, which we have asked to supply our titles through Booksurge. You also can order from Lightning Source, which has most of our titles available.

Our contact details have changed. Recently, our ISP, iiNet, offered to change us over to “Naked DSL”, which offers certain advantages over our previous system. One unexpected disadvantage is that we had to give up our VOIP number (+61 7 3122 1312), so please take note that our main number, effective immediately, is +61 7 3324 9319, which also accepts faxes. Our VOIP number is now +61 3395 0269. If you need to leave us a message, please use the VOIP number or our mobile (0412 313 923).

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Out & About

The highlight of our 10th Anniversary celebrations was our Gala Weekend in Brisbane, which kicked off our Spring Season Tour to points down South.

We returned to the salubrious setting of the Corner Bistro for a Friday night Cocktail Soirée attended by 65 people, including several of our featured authors and some IP authors from earlier years. We included a segment of short readings, which seemed to click with the audience. A cocktail event with short readings and informal mingling with authors seems to be the right mix, so we plan to make that the format for at least an annual event.

The next afternoon, we assembled for the Gala Launch at 4MBS Classic-FM’s Performance Studio. The Studio was filled to overflowing to hear authors from the early years such as Michael Sariban and Jenni Nixon joined by recent and new authors Andrew Leggett, Rosemary Huisman, Jan Dean, Kathy Kituai and Chris Dowding. Before the formalities and during interval, the guests were entertained musically by Liam Guilar, Chen Yang and friends.

For those of you who couldn’t make it, don’t despair. We have a podcast of the two brackets of readings up on our site as well as on the iTunes Store, so you can download all of the action at any time!

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On his way South, David stopped off in Byron Bay for a meeting at the Northern Rivers Writers Centre to plan some future events. Already confirmed is a panel on e-publishing and writing on Wednesday 7 May at which David will talk about matters digital from a publisher’s point of view. The next day, he’ll be offering his popular Selling That Book workshop, assuming that enough people sign up—so Northern Rivers writers should take note and sign up at the Centre ASAP!

The next stop on the Tour was Newcastle Library, which hosted Jan Dean’s launch of With One Brush, which won the 2007 IP Picks Best First Book Award. Jean Talbot did the honours there after the audience was well-lubricated with a fine selection of Hunter Valley wines.

Our Gala event in Sydney was at the New South Wales Writers Centre, where David was joined by Sydney-based authors David Musgrave, Rosemary Huisman, Paul Dawson, Jenni Nixon and Geoff Gates, as well as Michael O’Sullivan who came down from Yass and Mark O’Flynn from the Blue Mountains. John Howard made the mistake of calling the election for the same day, and paid for it at the polls!

Then it was on to Canberra for the launch of Kathy Kituai’s Straggling Into Winter at the Botanical Bookshop in the National Botanical Gardens and Hal Judge’s launch of Someone Forgot to Tell the Fish at Smith’s Bookshop. It was a first for a literary launch at the Botanical, but the event went so well that I’m sure we’ll be back. Lizz Murphy launched the book and we had a world music performance to entertain the guests. Hal’s book was launched by our friend Anne-Maree Britton, Director of the ACT Writers Centre after a prelude of accordion music!

At Ballarat, we launched Paul Sterling’s satire The Buggerum Intrigue, ably launched by local councillor… at the Ballarat Library after saturation coverage by the local media.

David had the opportunity to read Jan Dean’s commended poetry entry into the Melbourne Poets’ Union annual competition before our Gala event at the Victorian Writers’ Centre where he was joined by Joel Deane, Basil Eliades, Chris Dowding, Sally Finn and the itinerate Michael O’Sullivan.

David’s final stop was at Dubbo for a reprise of Selling That Book—yet another sell-out success. The workshop is proving such a drawcard that it will continue to be offered on an intermittent basis on demand, so if your writers group of library is interested in hosting one, please register your interest with us as soon as possible.

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A highlight for David early in the New Year was Camp Creative down in Bellingen, New South Wales, where he tutored in poetry and fiction for the week in full-day sessions. Participants ranged from several very capable high school students to a 90-year poet from the bush. All came with dedication and came away enlightened and enervated to work on new projects. Camp Creative has been going for 22 years in mid-January and is supported by an able bunch of volunteers as well as patrons David and Gillian Helfgott and Brycxe Courtney. It’s very much a family affair, where the young and old have a wide range of classes to choose from across all the arts. In the evenings, there are performances of work-in-progress as well as finished work.

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The most recent Pro Series Workshop was held up at Proserpine Library on 3 February and was David’s first offering of his new workshop Retool and Remix: Get a Digital Life! David gave participants an overview of the trends in digital composing and publishing as well as some insight into how software can be used to create e-books, audio books, multimedia and film. Participants have requested that he return to offer a more detailed course on creating and publishing e-books, so that will likely be scheduled for late this year.

And there are rumours of a writers' retreat being planned for 2009 at Daydream Island. A dreadful place to connect with your imagination, we know, but the choices are so hard up in the Whitsundays!

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ChrisDChris Dowding has been interviewed by the Redland Times and the interview should appear soon. He has also been approached by TAFE to do a speaking engagement for them, and he will be launching A Few Drops Short of a Pint on Monday March 17 at the Noosa Library, starting at 6.30.

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Queensland Poetry Festival, Qld Writers Centre & Riverbend Books are proud to present the first event of the Riverbend Books Poetry Series for 2008, featuring the 2007 Arts Qld Thomas Shapcott Award Winner, Sarah Holland-Batt, the prolific & exquisite MTC Cronin, the legendary Billy Jones & one of Brisbane's freshest new voices, Pascalle Burton.

Date: Tuesday 26 February
Location: Riverbend Books, 193 Oxford St. Bulimba
Time: Doors open for the event at 6pm for a 6:30pm start.
Tickets: are available through Riverbend Books, for $10 and include sushi and complimentary wine. To purchase tickets, call Riverbend Books on (07) 3899 8555 or book online.

Seating for the event is limited to 90 people, so get in quick to avoid disappointment!

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SpeedPoets returns to The Alibi Room (720 Brunswick St. New Farm) in 2008 on Sunday March 2, 2-5:30 pm. March will feature Jason Thomson reading from his debut collection, Scrambled Over Easy and the sumptuous sounds of local songstress, Chloe Turner.. There will also be the regular Open Mic Section, free zines and giveaways, so don't miss the first SpeedPoets for 2008! Entry is a gold coin donation.

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Jenni Nixon is doing Poems in Conversation with JenniNMargaret Bradstock and four others for Poetry Week and she is also slated for another reading at the Brett Whiteley studio in August. More details closer to the dates.

On Sunday the 29th March, Jenni will be doing a reading at the Brett Whiteley Studio. The event is from 2-4 pm at 2 Raper St, Surrey Hills. For more information call (02) 9225 1881.

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Michael O’Sullivan has a story in the Summer of 2007-08 “Island” magazine called “Stranger of Paradise”. Michael is working on a collection of the “Paradise” stories.

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In Review

[These are snippets from full reviews. Click on the link to view the complete review for each title.]

On Chris Dowding's A Few Drops Short of a Pint:

The book chronicles Chris and Kerryn’s time spent Few Drops Short of Pintliving and working in Ireland. It is one of the few books about the Emerald Isle that doesn’t read like it was written by Ireland’s national tourist board. It’s an honest account of the good times and the bad.

Peter Moore, Travel Writer

On David Reiter's Real Guns:

Woven into this sobering story are the serious issues oReal Gunsf gun control, gun safety and the pervasive effects of war on returning soldiers and their families. It has wide curriculum applications in both Studies of Society and Environment (Time, Continuity and Change; Levels 3 – 4) and Health and Physical Education (Promoting the Health of Individuals and Communities; Levels 3 – 4).

– Library Services, Education Queensland

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Your Deal

Disappointed you can't join David Reiter and Stephen Oliver in IP's first-ever tour of New Zealand? Your Deals for this issue will help ease the pain!

Global CoolingDEAL 1: Order a copy of David's The Greenhouse Effect and its sequel Global Cooling for a mere $25 for a savings of 20%! Your kids or grandkids will thank you for it!

Just specify YD37-1 in the Comments field of our order form.

DEAL 2: Order a copy of Stephen's King Hit and Harmonic for only $40. A savings of 20%!

Just specify YD37-2 in the Comments field of our order form.

DEAL 3: Can't decide between Stephen and David's Harmonicwork? Order all four titles for a paltry $65, and we'll post them to you for free AND include a free copy of David's short film, A Simple Life, based on Stephen's poem of the same name!

Just specify YD37-3 in the Comments field of our order form.

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