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Publisher's Welcome

DR_KSP

Welcome to the final issue of IP eNews for 2013 – and what a year it's been!

The first year of our IP Rolling Picks competition brought a wealth of excellent entries that led to some exciting new publications across our imprints. There's Yellowcake Summer, the sequel to Guy Salvidge's Yellowcake Springs, Anne Naylor's distinctive memoir Art From Adversity, John Rynn and John Corrigan's collaborative memoir You Only Want Me For My Mind, and, upcoming in 2014, Gemma White's brilliant poetry collection Furniture is Disappearing, and Lindsey Little's James Munkers: Super Freak.

IP kept ahead of the crowd with our extensive digital publishing program, adding new partnerships with Baker & Taylor and Gardners, as well as keeping pace with changes in technology at Amazon and Apple.

Thanks to visiting German intern, Michele Beer, several of our children's titles are now available in German translation, adding to the French, Spanish and Portuguese editions already on the list.

We notched up some awards, with Anne Naylor's winning the NSW Carer of the Year and a Certificate of Commendation for the NSW Mental Health Awards for her book Art From Adversity. My Planets Reunion Memoir won the WA Premier's Award for Digital Narrative and my picture book Bringing Down the Wall was selected as a Best Book for Kids & Teens by the Canadian Children's Book Centre.

As we head into the holiday season, we want to wish everyone a healthy and happy time, and of course to encourage you to give the gift and reading by ordering lots of IP titles in whatever form you prefer.

IP will take a slightly longer break over the holidays this year since I will be travelling to the USA with the family to celebrate my daughter Siobhan's high school graduation and to visit relations and friends there. Our last day at work will be Friday 13 December, and we'll be back at the Studio on Monday 13 January. (I will be away from 9 December - 20 January, but other staff will be personing the fort.)

Lastly, with this being the 60th issue of eNews, we have decided to end publication of the newsletter at this point, relying instead on updates via our new blog, email circulars, and Facebook / Twitter and LinkedIn updates. Let me urge you to follow us on your favourite flavour of social media by clicking on the link(s) below! We want to thank our thousands of subscribers for their loyalty over the years and hope you will join us in the sociosphere very soon.

Happy reading!

Cheers,
David

Editorial

Ready for an Independent Publisher's School Book Club?

If you're the parent of a primary school child, you'll be familiar with the occasional book club that's held at your school. It's an accepted ritual, generally run by the school librarian and perhaps a few parent volunteers whereby students are exposed to the latest titles offered by a major publisher (you'll know who I mean!) and then turn up, dollars in hand, to buy their choice of books from best-selling authors and lessor known authors whose book engages them.

The book club sales are often scheduled to coincide with Book Week and the visit of high profile authors. In theory it's all about promoting reading and supporting authors and their publishers, and to a degree that's what happens. But is there room for improvement in a system that has stood the test of time?

Some teachers and parents are concerned by the uneven standard of books offered in the catalogues that precede the book club events. It's sometimes difficult to sort out Australian titles from imports. Questions are also raised about the quality of curation and whether the books of independent publishers are fairly represented in the mix.

It may help to have a reality check on how the list of books is assembled and by whom. The key publisher (the secret is out!) is Scholastic Australia, who have developed a well resourced and well oiled book club system over the years. Not surprisingly, the books they feature in their catalogues are first and foremost those by Scholastic authors and the other majors with whom Scholastic have a partnership. A division of Scholastic, Australian Standing Orders, is supposedly open to proposals by outsiders for inclusion in their distribution scheme, but the process is a lengthy and arbitrary one – not unlike the editorial process of some publishers. Even if your book is accepted, Scholastic demands a very high discount rate – up to 70% of the recommended retail price.

There's not much margin in it for outside publishers and doubtless, some prefer to 'go it alone' rather than let their margins go to Scholastic. You may well say all's fair in love and book sales, but perhaps our kids are missing out on quality titles from other publishers, especially Australian independents, due to this hammerhold that a single publisher has on the market.

Perhaps it's time for Another Book Club, run by a confederation of independent publishers and their distributors. We're thinking about it for IP Kidz. Would you support that? Let us know your thoughts.

- DR

In Review

[The reviews that follow are snippets from the full reviews, which you can find by clicking on the thumbnail for the title.]

New: You can also sign up for our Reviews eNewsletter which highlights a different book every time! Just email info@ipoz.biz

Shadows in Paradise by Carolann Dowding

Shadows in Paradise"What a journey. Quite powerful in places. This has enlightened me about the issues of adoption."
– Peter Noakes, author of A Pair of Shades and a Rice Gut: A Green Enthusiast's Look at People and Cars

The Beast Without by Christian Baines

"Just when you thought it was safe to hit the strip on Friday night – Oxford Street’s sinister werewolf and vampire-ridden underbelly is laid bare in a hot new novel. The vampires The Beast Withoutthemselves may be biting, but the critics are crowing, saying it’s a novel you can really sink your teeth into, full of surprises, wit and creative energy."
– Matt Akersten, SameSame

"This is a nicely dark and puzzling paranormal, that is refreshing with its beastly werewolves and unapologetic Blood Shades (vampires). It also seemed to have a slight thread of humor to it that lightened it in places. I recommend this to those who love the good old-fashioned brutal werewolves and vampires without a care in the world. A thoroughly enjoyable read. Rating: 4 hearts."
– Pixie Reviewer, MM Good Book Reviews

"Rated 4.5 Blood Shade Stars out of 5. The book maintains a deliciously erotic undercurrent throughout. The book is a complex mix of world building, character development, supernatural history and folklore. The world building is rather brilliant. The description of the paranormals in the book paints a vivid picture. Parts of Sydney were well utilised and suited the context of the book’s dark nature. I recommend The Beast Without for readers who like to think while they read, those who like a darker paranormal, with some horror, although it is certainly not all dark. Great reading all around. Oh yes, and that cover is just glorious!"
- Kazza K, On Top Down Under Book Reviews

From Ashes to Ashes by John Biggs

"Tasmanian author John Biggs’ motivations and sentiments have Ashes to Ashesseldom immersed themselves so deeply into human frailties, emotions and sexuality. The same eloquence, mastery over discourse and structural logic are present. This book speaks to a wide audience. This makes provocative and engaging reading."
- Warren Brewer, Sunday Tasmanian

You Only Want Me for My Mind & other bedtime stories by John Rynn with John Corrigan

Queensland Parliamentary mention:
"John recently released his first book, cheekily titled You Only Want Me For My Mind. It is a humorous and often heartbreaking insight into the life of someone trapped in a disobedient body. I commend the great work of the Cerebral Palsy League and I commend this book, You Only Want Me For My Mind."
– Mr Davies, MP, Member for Capalaba (LNP), Queensland Parliament

"A Wynnum man unable to walk or talk and with the limited use of just one hand has published an inspirational autobiography.You Only Want Me There are sad moments, but Rynn's wicked sense of humour and positivity shines through. He never feels sorry for himself and always believes he can do anything, a conviction reinforced by his loving, supportive parents. Rynn said he was a 'can-do' kind of guy and he wanted people to feel they could do anything, too. "People should never let themselves be limited by what other people say about them and that they should take special care not to let their own inner critic take over and tell them they cannot do anything," he said."
- Angela Ranke, Courier-Mail Quest syndication: Wynnum Herald, South-East Advertiser, Southern Star

Sawdust by Deborah Kay with Barry Levy

"This brave and honest book allows us to see inside the mind of a child who had to work out the realities of life for herself, without the guidance and support of loving parents. Her raw and honest account is remarkable. I can't find the words to describe how Sawdustbrave I believe the author is, nor how amazed I am that she has turned her experience into a life lesson for all of us. Her strength of spirit is truly inspirational. ... A mind blowing insight into sexual abuse through the eyes of a child. This is a book that every parent and young adult should read."
- Megan Scott, reader

"It’s a courageous memoir on such an important, yet taboo issue as Child Sexual Abuse. I couldn’t put it down. Please support Deborah in her quest to raise awareness about the issue, and the fact that perpetrators are sometimes much closer than we think possible, by reading her story and sharing it with others."
- Irina Morrison, Writer

Blood by Peter Kay

Blood"Rated 5 out of 5 stars. Blood combines several genres in a spinning, sometimes psychedelic blender. Yes, things sometimes get weird and even surreal in this novel by Peter Kay, but never in confusing or annoying ways. Rather, Kay's unique blend - of war, romance, surfing, electroshock therapy and time travel, all mixed with a satirical critique of the ills of the modern world and a sharp ear for dialogue - all builds to an inventive and satisfying conclusion. In short, this novel is a barnstorming blockbuster, a psychological saga for the new millennium."
- D.C. Green, Goodreads

Le Bateau de Rêves by Anne Morgan, illustrated by Céline Eimann

"Fortuitously and for me well-timed, our own Anne Morgan [has] a French language version of her book The Sky Dreamer. The The Sky DreamerFrench title is Le bateau de rêves, or 'The Boat of Dreams', and I have enjoyed reading Anne's wonderful picture book all over again, this time in a different language."
- Penny Garnsworthy, Children's Book Council of Australia Tasmania Blog

Focus Interviews

Focus 1: Carolann Dowding

[Interviewed by Lauren Daniels, Carolann talks about some important social issues that arise in her memoir Shadows in Paradise.]

LD: Shadows in Paradise chronicles your experience as an adopted child alongside the search for your biological family. It is a complex story about your evolving sense of self and of family: as daughter, sister, wife and mother. Would you share some of the insights that you gained about yourself through the process of writing and sharing your story?

CD: A sense of entitlement seemed to drive me for many years to find my genetic relatives. I decided I would have a family history even if it took a lifetime – and it took twenty years.

During the process of writing, I rejoiced in the fact that I gave birth to three children, and I reflected on how difficult it must be for adoptees who need to adopt.

As a sister I became aware of my adoptive brother’s feelings as I surged onward to find my birth family. I enjoyed meeting my birth brother and sister, although I was often plagued by a sense of awkwardness. Eventually I realised this was due to the absence of a shared past. Adoptees reunited with their genetic relatives often come to find that the lost years can never be truly reconciled.

As a wife I appreciated the support I received from my husband during my search and the intense time of writing my memoir. Not all spouses are sympathetic to such emotional turmoil.

LD: When readers consider Shadows in Paradise, they’ll see that it took much perseverance, first to connect with your biological family, then to articulate your experiences into a memoir. How would you describe your journey towards a published book? What were some of the issues you faced as you shaped and edited your raw experiences into a cohesive memoir?

CD: Researchers suggest adoptees should personally carry out the search for their biological families as it gives them control in an area where they previously had none. I recommend writing about one’s experiences, as it has been cathartic and deeply satisfying for me.

During my journey to connect with my biological family, I balanced two opposing issues – my need for information with my birth mother’s need for privacy.

Another issue I faced were identity issues regarding the names of people included in my book. I used their real names as I shaped my memoir then as it neared completion contacted many friends and relations for their permission. If permission was not an option, I changed their names. Another time-consuming issue was chasing up photo credits when I discovered every photo must be credited to the photographer.

LD: Your story explores what it means to know who you are, to see yourself as part of an adoptive family as well as reflected in the eyes and mannerisms of those in your biological family tree. Over the years that ensued behind this memoir, what have been the sources of your strength? What inspires you most?

CD: I believe one of the sources of my strength came from the stable upbringing I received in my adoptive home. Certainly there were negative issues there that were not raised in my memoir, but my stable childhood built a certain strength within me.

My inspiration to write came from my passion to bring a story from a marginalised and silenced population to public notice. Over many years, I observed the ignorance the general population held about adoption, adoptees and their feelings.

LD: It is clear that Shadows in Paradise gives voice to a formerly marginalised and silenced population, especially here in Australia. What would you like to share with readers who are currently engaged in seeking their biological families? Do you have any advice for them?

CD: I would advise anyone searching for biological relatives to keep an open mind and be aware that not all reunions have happy endings. Still, that risk is not reason enough to abandon one’s search, as the search itself has therapeutic benefit for adoptees.

It’s good to remember that adoptees and their birth families have a deficit of shared background. There is a large hole to fill and the process of reunion needs to be taken slowly and cautiously.

 

Focus 2: Christian Baines

[A novel about Blood Shades may not be everyone's cup of tea, but Christian Baines is definitely onto a winner with The Beast Without. Joe Townsend interviews him about it.]

JT: How did the LGBT community of Sydney influence the writing of The Beast Without?

CB: Sydney’s a very special city in the way it blends sexuality and sexual openness with this roguish, convict-influenced past. It’s the glamour capital of Australia, yet at the same time has this wonderfully grungy, seedy quality to it. That stretches well beyond the LGBT community, but it has historically allowed the community to grow and become a part of the city’s identity in a way that it hasn’t in other cities. I think it’s very telling that Sydney’s Mardi Gras is one of the very few gay pride parades held at night. The city revels in the darker, sexier tone that creates. LGBTs are so much a part of Sydney’s identity that we featured drag queens at the closing ceremony of the Sydney Olympics, and that was 13 years ago. It’s only become more open since. But Darlinghurst and the surrounding area, where the gay district is traditionally centred, has also been long associated with prostitution, crime, and this seedy underbelly that is also, very, very Sydney. It’s just this beautiful, perfect environment in which to inject a few vampires or other monsters that thrive on darkness, particularly in such a sensual way. A little of Sydney’s gay history – clashes with the police and so on – is referenced too, but primarily this is a story about these supernaturals, not the humans among whom they live. So it’s part of the setting, rather than actively influencing the action.

JT: You’ve spoken before about differences between “blood shades”, which appear in your novel, and traditional vampires.  Could you elaborate for our readers?

CB: Blood Shades is the politically correct term for vampires. All the supernaturals in The Beast Without’s universe have these titles, and I chose them particularly to sound a little pretentious and over the top. Political correctness makes for a more civilised society in the real world, but it’s death in creative work. It’s also something Australians tend to resist, so it works to make fun of it just a bit in The Beast Without. As for the difference between Blood Shades and traditional vampire myth, the Blood Shades are naturally evolved, not embraced or killed and reanimated. They belong to particular family lines in which the gene for supernatural change remains dormant until about their early 20s, then comes on, often quite painfully. They’ve made up these nonsense weaknesses like susceptibility to garlic or religious icons to make themselves sound so preposterous, nobody really believes they might exist. You still see the drinking of blood, the agelessness and the susceptibility to sunlight. The characters need weaknesses to make them interesting, after all. But it’s a fairly straight-forward, scientifically credible take on vampires, if you can have such a thing. It also keeps the characters firmly rooted in humanity, which gives them the full human capacity for emotions, moral conscience and so forth. Nothing is more boring to me in vampire fiction than a vampire who embodies absolute good or evil – or a zombie in vampire’s clothes.  

JT: You’ve noted Anne Rice and Clive Barker as influences on The Beast Without.  What about their work appeals to you, and are there any other supernatural/horror writers that have influenced your career and writing?

CB: Anne Rice reminded us of what western society found so alluring about vampires to begin with. She rediscovered the sensuality in them and blended it with this incredible historical richness that only an immortal character can offer. She probably stirred my first interest in writing a vampire story just because her work embodies just how wonderfully rich these characters can be. Clive Barker is a very different style. The extremes of physical experience are a reoccurring thread in a lot of his work, and much of it, like Candyman or The Hellbound Heart which The Beast Withoutbecame the movie Hellraiser – describes scenarios where the object of desire is also that which is most likely to harm or kill you. It’s where sexuality and extreme violence or pain meet. Why do people seek it? Well, why do people find the notion of being bitten on the neck and drained of blood sexy? Barker also indulges the notion of life going on in the face of permanent mutilation, which ties into some very real horrors we deal with in our lives as we discover we don’t have control over our own body’s future. Age, illness and injury slowly takes that from us – yet life continues and adapts. David Cronenberg is the master of this in film. In literature, there have been many others, from Mary Shelley – Frankenstein is still a seminal book and a great read today – to Simon R Green, whose Nightside books are just such an incredible, often quite dark and always very entertaining world in which to play. Another great vampire book out there is Hemovore by Jordan Castillo Price, which puts a budding gay romance in the centre of a vampire-conscious world. It also has some throwbacks to that concept of body horror in the way it approaches vampirism as an infection. It makes you wonder what might have happened if there was truth behind some of the more extreme fears many people had about AIDS when it first emerged. It’s a little scary, very insightful and also a terrific read on a surface entertainment level.

JT: You’ve been called “a unique voice in gay literature”.  When you were writing The Beast Without, was it your intention to write a novel based around LGBT issues, or did the supernatural aspect come first?

CB: Originally I just wanted to write a sexy short. Then as it became a novel, this broader, darker mystery emerged, with a budding, difficult romance running through it. I rarely enjoy it when novels take it upon themselves to champion ‘issues’. I prefer writers, and I try to practice it myself, who get the plot down, make it work, flesh out their characterisations truthfully and see what emerges naturally from that. I’m not – in my view – in a position to tell the reader what to take away from my work. In The Beast Without, I think it’s a combination of the setting, the characters’ uniqueness, Sydney’s gay history, the opposite worlds Reylan and Jorgas occupy... all of that comes together to naturally wink at certain social issues. But it has to emerge organically, or with a sense of humour. For instance, Reylan gets frustrated at this notion of people assuming the Blood Shades want to recruit others and turn them the same way. Well, how many times have we heard fundamentalist conservatives rant with nonsense about the LGBT community doing the same? But Reylan only touches on this because it’s relevant to the action at the time. It has to emerge organically. I tried to view both the supernatural aspects and the LGBT aspects as additional layers to add onto this story to change it up and open opportunities and make it more interesting. Could I have made either Jorgas or Reylan female? Sure. The story would still work, but they would have been completely different characters with a completely different relationship.

JT: What’s next on your slate?

CB: I’m very close to releasing an erotic paranormal short – wizards, this time. After that, my next project steps away from paranormal and dwells more in social satire. It’s set in Sydney as well, and is kind of a dark, more cynical take on these teen performing arts stories. Perhaps re-imagine Glee as a collaboration between Bret Easton Ellis and Darren Aronofsky, and you’re getting close. It’s reaching the editing stages, which is exciting. It is general fiction, but also deals in some real absurdist, black comedy aspects which I think help lift it through some of its darker patches – and it is very dark in spots. No doubt there’ll be some changes on its way to becoming a book. We will see! And then the next Arcadia Trust story – the follow-up to Beast is on its way too, with a third being outlined. So, plenty to keep me busy.

 

Focus 3: Murray Alfredson

[Senior Poetry Editor David Reiter interviews Murray Alfredson about his latest book, The gleaming clouds, which was recently launched in Adelaide]

DR: The gleaming clouds has been described “as a testament to the human spirit’s ability to endure”. In what senses does contemporary poetry help us to transcend life’s difficult times?

MA: The man who wrote those words, O.P.W. Fredericks, has known my work over a number of years, and has published quite a number of my poems in his journal, Touch: the journal of healing.  Last year he honoured me by featuring four of my poems as ‘Editor’s choice.’  He is a retired nurse, a poet and an editor.  I point this out because that comment is typical of his value system.  He publishes poetry of people’s triumphs over illness and disability.  So endurance of the spirit in the face of suffering, and even dying, is a strong value for him.

I have watched others endure and keep going in the face of major neurological problems such as Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis.  I have seen them continue to achieve.  It is only more recently that I have come to see that what is true of them is also true of me.  So I can look at their achievements with a certain wonder, and appreciate their poetry (or in other cases their singing or their engineering) as a spiritual endurance, thriving really.

I hesitate to generalise about contemporary poetry, however, as the poetry I gravitate towards is in the main of older generations.  Of more ‘modern’ poets, even Rilke died almost 90 years ago; and Paul Celan, to whom I relate at a deep and largely hidden level that has something to do with his suffering as a Jew at the hands of the Nazis, suicided in 1970.  Second, my experience of modern poetry is a tiny sample.  One lady recently said to me, ‘So many poets; so little time.’  I have a number of friends who write poetry, some of whom are more published than others.  And they are people of depth and humane values: appreciation of old people, of children and the newborn, of those who struggle in life.  I think of such as David Adès, of Amelia Walker, Lisa Alvarado, and Ruth Asch.  Above all, I think, the poetry is done with clarity and insight, economy, a particularity that evokes some more universal values.

I am not myself a man of science, but from youth I have followed and read into the various sciences and technologies.  And I did pick up a working knowledge of statistics and probability theory.  My profession required of me skills in building conceptual mind-maps of the sciences, as of all other fields of human thought and imagination.  And I taught those skills formally as a lecturer, as classification and thesaurus construction.  I do know scientists who write poetry; they are a part of the contemporary scene, people such as Ian Gibbins and Janine Baker.  Where fitting, I do use my scientific knowledge and understanding in the imagery and structure of my poems, and like to be scientifically accurate.  ‘Skull-locked’ is a case in point, but also my nature poems.

DR: Your work reflects a religious sensibility, in part due to your Buddhist influences. How does this influence the spiritual themes of your work, and does it contrast with how a Judeo/Christian author might treat similar themes?

MA: An interesting question, because apart from ‘Soil gâthas’ I cannot think of any poems in The gleaming clouds that one could call Buddhist.  (Let us, by the way, include the Muslims and Baha’is along with 'Judeo/Christian'.)  However, there are characteristics of the thinking in the great Abrahamic religions that I do not go along with, even when using the Bible as a source.  I think of the assumption of an ‘eternal’ God ‘O thou who changest not abide with me’), and of these religions as ‘of the book’, as religions based on what they believe to be revelation from God.  With this goes a tendency to regard themselves as having the truth.  To me, that sort of right/wrong, true/false construct is dangerous; since the corollary of being ‘right’ is that other positions are ‘wrong’.  The Buddha warned against that sort of thinking.  And if one reads the Pali scriptures, one will find not trace of belief in god in the Buddha’s teaching.  The God idea is irrelevant to Buddhists.

So there we have several Buddhist characteristics that underlie my writing.  All is flux.  Not so much a denial of God, as ignoring the idea altogether.  And no revealed truth.

And those three do underlie my poetry, along with an outlook that gives equal weight to animals other than our own species.  (Indeed, I see animals as a humorous comment on our human exigencies, as in ‘Grey kangaroo’.)  Poems such as ‘Of gods and truths’ and ‘Sky message’ play with the ephemerality of religions, of those truths people have once held eternal.  Historically, the evidence is that religions are not only born, but also die.

And then the right/wrong construct in a moral sense.  The Greeks did not see their gods as faultless (e.g. Zeus in ‘Stolen’), as a source of all wisdom.  But, when one looks at the stories in the Bible, I wonder whether the ancient Israelites did either.  God is seen as mighty in power.  But many of the actions spoken of are far from kind or moral or even wise: the Flood, the story of Abraham and Isaac, the various commands to the Israelites to inflict holocaust on their enemies, and so forth, even the demand for animal sacrifice, a theme that continues into the new testament with the interpretation of Jesus’ death as a sacrifice for sin. These issues are all reflected in the poems of the first section of the book, ‘Myth and reflection’.  Better by far to base morality on more intrinsic principles, in my opinion.

DR: Your poetry often alludes to characters drawn from classical mythology. In what sense does your understanding of mythology enrich your work?

MA: I hope I do not merely ‘allude’ to myth as often poets of the past alluded, for example Shakespeare or Milton.  They had in their readers a common cultural background, and could evoke it as one would evoke an image.  The older cultural background in the west can no longer be assumed.  Few read the Bible these days, and many know nothing of Greek myths, Germanic or Celtic.  Mere evocation of those mythic figures is about as useless these days as evocation of Agni or Parvati.  I certainly draw on ancient myth, not merely Greek, but also Germanic, Celtic, Egyptian and Hebrew.  I hope, however, that I give sufficient clues in a poem so it can be understood without that background knowledge.  This is not to say that such knowledge will not enrich a reader’s understanding.

Myths do have a way of highlighting human issues, whether these be trying to make sense of the great forces of nature, including our own nature, national history, as in the Bible, the Nibelungenlied, or the epics of Homer.  I like to draw on myths, and sometimes to reinterpret them to sharpen these visions.  I did so with ‘Medusa’, a figure of great horror, to get onside the sexual nature of that female being, and her essential frustration at the men who might have loved her turned to stone.  With the story of Amphitryon and Alkmene, a story treated comically by Moliere and Kleist, I wanted to delve into the serious issues that can develop between man and wife from Zeus’s outrage.  The The gleaming cloudsBible myths I have used throw into question the whole Abrahamic basis of morality as stemming from obedience to God.  Such obedience to a being of great power might have seemed prudent, but was it moral?  In some cases, the disobedience seems morally sounder, more in line with an ethic of loving-kindness and compassion.  The Celtic story of Tristan and Isolde, filtered to us largely through English, French and German literature, is, of course, one of overwhelming sexual love.  I took one of the stories of two trees growing from their graves to a figure of centuries long extended love-force, eventually like all things, to die.

And in some of the poems of the second section, ‘Turns’, I created new myth in the worship of Mammon, as part of my sometimes light, sometimes bitter satire.

DR: You work in a variety of forms from ancient to “disciplined free verse”. How do you mediate between content and form in composing your work?

MA: Yes, I do write in a variety of forms.  There have been to my mind stupid and vituperative conflicts in the English language world about free verse and formal verse.  The Imagists’ onslaught on traditional modes of diction, and along with that verse form, was in fact based on ignorance or ignoring the ways in which metre has been used in English poetry.  I have drafted an essay on this that I hope eventually will find itself published.

Yes, I have used a large variety of forms.  Some because I translate.  I like to be faithful to the original when I translate, not only in meaning, image and diction, but also in form.  So from the Old Norse, I translate from accentual-alliterative verse into those forms.  Again, I feel obliged to reproduce from the Middle High German of the twelfth century into the somewhat rough and imperfectly rhymed poetry in English.  And again, quite a number of the German poets of the 18th century adapted the quantitative ancient Greek forms into the accentuated German language.  Some poets have attempted some of those forms in English also, but often not very impressively.

I have myself written some of my own poems in both accentual/alliterative verse, and in one particular Greek lyric form, Alcaics.  The gleaming clouds includes two in Greek forms, translated from Hölderlin, the one in Alcaics, the other in Asclepiads.  I have picked up a number of forms from the Germans.  Goethe, for example, did quite frequently write in short lines, a somewhat free dimeter.  I find this mode has great virtue in this, as (like the Old Norse poetry) it allows the poem to unfold in tiny steps.  I also write in more flowing metres, pentameter, and even hexameter and heptameter.  With end-stopping, these can achieve a certain elevation of diction.  With enjambment, they have a continuous flow.

And sometimes, yes, free verse.  Not often, but there are times when I have written in pentameter and felt that the poem would be stronger through the longer lines being broken into shorter statements.  The important thing in all this matter of form is discipline, particularly economy with words and syllables.

DR:The gleaming clouds is enhanced by a number of art works by your partner Jyoti. Does she respond to your poetry with her art, or vice versa?

     MA: Yes, I regard her as very much a creator of this book.  The visual images are not as numerous as the poems, but they are significant.  There are three possibilities for the relationship between the artworks and the poetry.  All three happen in our case:

    1. The artworks were done in response to the poems.  There are some that occurred this way, such as the Medusa head, the composition of Grecian helmets in the final vignette of the ‘Myth and reflection’ section, and the swan and wren images.  They are responses, not an illustration.  They harmonise with the content.
    2. The poems were written in response to the artworks.  This is not the case with any that I can think of in The gleaming clouds, but there is a case in a collection not yet published, Trees on the slope.  She created a painting, quite a large painting, titled ‘Stalker’.  I wrote a poem, ‘Stalked’ not exactly based on the painting, but on that nasty subject, a poem full of threat. 
    3. Artworks were chosen because they will harmonise with some aspect of the collection.  In this case the art was created quite independently.

In all cases, there was an arduous selection process involved, just as arduous as selecting poems for a collection.  In the case of the artworks, this process continued into the editing phase with the publisher, as it was not always clear how this or that image would work on a small scale, and in greyscale, as well as in colour for the e-book version.  I thank David Reiter and his staff for their patience with me during this final refinement.


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         FEATURED ARTISTS

Carolann Dowding
Shadows in Paradise

John Rynn

John Rynn
and John Corrigan

You Only Want Me For My Mind & other bedtime stories

JaneW

Jane Williams
Days Like These: New and selected poems 1998-2013

John Saunders

John Saunders
Sexual Abuse Survivor's Handbook

DebH

Deborah Kay
and Barry Levy

Sawdust

Anne Therese Naylor

Anne Naylor
Art From Adversity:
A Life with Bipolar

GuyS

Guy Salvidge
Yellowcake Summer

ChrisB

Christian Baines
The Beast Without

Murray Alfredson
The gleaming clouds

David P Reiter

David P Reiter
Tiger Takes the Big Apple

Heather Taylor Johnson

Heather Taylor Johnson
Thirsting for Lemonade

 

 

 

IP Digital Buzz

We were quite active on the digital front since the last eNews, with a host of conversions of recent and back list titles.

Recent titles such as The Beast Without, Art From Adversity, You Only Want Me For My Mind and other bedtime stories and My Planets: a fictive memoir have been in demand on Amazon and the iBookstore.

We've also been converting our picture book list progressively to Fixed Layout formats, updating some of the earlier versions we had posted before ePub 2 became the preferred format of most of our distributors.

Titles such as Bringing Down the Wall, No Matter Who We're With, I Love You Book, Plato the Platypus Plumber and The Sky Dreamer now have eBook editions in DPC_logoGerman – all in Fixed Layout for the iBookstore and Kindle Fire devices.

All of our eBook editions are available directly from IP Sales via our Store or by direct email to sales@ipoz.biz. Ordering directly benefits are authors with higher royalties by keeping the revenue in Australia. If you haven't tried our eBook editions, please do!

  

Prose Picks

What a spring! It’s been a tremendous season of book launches, rave reviews and literary awards at IP!

Awarded Best First Book in the 2013 IP Rolling Picks,You Only Love Me for My Mind & Other Bedtime Stories, by John Rynn and his carer, John Corrigan, gained further recognition by Queensland Government with a shining commendation in Parliament by Stephen Davies MP. Rynn’s memoir explores his coming of age as an artist, writer and role model for people with disabilities.

Oxford Street speculative fiction novel, The Beast Without is currently launching in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney as visiting author, Christian Baines, engages his Australian tour before returning to Toronto. Plans for London and the US are on the slate. Matt Akersten of SameSame gave a sparkling review: "The vampires themselves may be biting, but the critics are crowing, saying it’s a novel you can really sink your teeth into, full of surprises, wit and creative energy."

Winner of Best Fiction in IP Rolling Picks, Guy Salvidge has launched his much anticipated Yellowcake Summer, the acclaimed sequel to >Yellowcake Springs in Western Australia. His timely dystopian series explores the dark side of nuclear energy and unbridled corporate power and is collecting stellar reviews.

Carolann Dowding’s memoir, Shadows in Paradise, received a warm reception at her Redland Bay launch last month. Her story traces her search for her biological family within a culture shifting from secrecy to compassion in Australia. Praise for Carolann’s story are rolling into the studio.

Another story which explores the adoption theme, Dr David Reiter’s My Planets won this year’s Western Australia Premier Award. A special congratulations goes to our Director for his beautifully written fictive memoir!

Launched in September, Sawdust by Deborah Kay and awarded author Barry Levy claimed the Best Creative Nonfiction prize with IP Rolling Picks and John Saunders book, The Sexual Abuse Survivor’s Handbook, has launched nationally, winning a streak of glowing reviews.

Blood, a novel by Tasmanian author, Peter Kay, earned 5 stars from reviewer DC Green, who called the novel "a barnstorming blockbuster, a psychological saga for the new millennium."

Anne Naylor, author of the memoir Art from Adversity: A Life with Bipolar also received significant accolaide. She was awarded New South Wales’ Carer of the Year 2013 in October and our congratulations go out to such a committed author, artist and professional.


Print on Demand
or Short-Run Digital?

[The debate is often between physical print and eBook publication, but not much attention has been given to the changing landscape of physical printing.]

If you're thinking about publishing yourself, or working with an independent publisher like us via our DPC, it's never too soon to start thinking about your options for printing.

Long gone are the days when you had to pay upfront for a huge print run to keep the unit costs down. Digital process printing has come a long way over the past decade to the point where you'd need to be a specialist to tell the difference between a conventionally (offset) printed book and a digitally printed one. Offset is still the preferred option if you have a sure bestseller on your hand, or a vacant garage, but if you're an emerging author or have a title that needs to be tested in the market before you print thousands of copies, digital printing is the way to go. While the unit costs may be slightly higher, you can limit your initial expenditure to what your budget and available storage space can tolerate.

The next question is which variety of digital printing should you choose. Short-run digital print can be for as few as 200 copies. The printer generally will archive your project for a while at least, so if it "breaks out", you can always print more at short notice. The printing quality may be slightly better than print on demand (POD) and there are more choices in paper stock and overall book dimensions. The disadvantage is that you have to take receipt of the entire print run, and the printer will not act as a distributor, receiving and fulfilling orders.

POD printing, on the other hand, is just that: a process whereby you print exactly what you need at the time, or for the immediate future. You can order stock and do some distribution yourself, and with some POD printers, you can authorise them to receive and fulfill orders on your behalf. Major POD companies like Lightning Source and CreateSpace will do some "soft" promotion for you by providing a data feed to retailers, resulting in better access to your title and sales than you might otherwise be able to achieve yourself. The downside is that the unit cost will be higher than what you can expect from a short run digital printer. The difference in unit cost will vary, depending on how many copies you order at a given time.

The advantage of working with IP through our DPC is that we have special arrangements with our POD companies that give us better unit costs than individuals might receive, and we pass those savings on to our Assisted Publication authors.

Feel free to chat with us about how we might help you navigate the waters of digital printing – and incorporate eBook editions in the mix!

 

IP Kidz Update

Editing is nearly finished on James Munkers: Super Freak, Lindsey Little’s YA fantasy (and winner of Best Young Adult / Junior Prose in IP Rolling Picks 2013). The book will soon move to the formatting stage, which is always an exciting time! A designer is currently working on the cover, and we’re looking forward to seeing what he comes up with.

We’ve also recently offered publication to Deb Gilmartin for her wordless picture book Curiosity, the story of the friendship that develops between a lonely lighthouse keeper and a cat he rescues. Deb’s illustrations are vibrant and full of detail, and we’re keen to see this book come together.

And congratulations to David Reiter and Sona Babajanyan: their picture book Bringing Down the Wall has been selected Bringing Down the Wallby the Canadian Children’s Book Centre as one of this year’s Best Books for Kids and Teenagers! Bringing Down the Wall was recently selected for this year's ACT Chief Minister's Reading Challenge, so that's two runs on the board so far!

 

Poetry Snippets

We have several poetry projects on the simmer, nearing completion for release in early 2014.

In its final pre-press stage is the Mapuche Tri-lingual anthology, compiled and edited by a team including Australian academic Stephen Brock.

Deep in the Valley of Tea-Bowls, a collaboration between Scottish potter Fergus Stewart and ACT tanka artist Kathy Kituai, is at design stage. A very interesting project, the work sets up a dialogue between Fergus' pots and Kathy's poems. The tanka have the advantage of words to comment on the relationship and even, in the case of one project, find their way onto a pot! But Fergus' pots have an evocative nature, too, making their presence known through brilliant photos throughout the book.

We're eagerly awaiting the manuscript of The Stars Like Sand: Australian Speculative Poetry, an anthology edited by New Zealander Tim Jones and Penelope Cottier (ACT). The editors assure us that the final collection will have strong representation from established and emerging Australian artists alike. The release date is scheduled for the second half of 2014.

Poet Gemma White's collection Furniture is Disappearing is also nearly its final design state, and Gemma was pleased to learn that it won the 2013 IP Rolling Picks Award for Best Poetry. Release date will be in March, 2014.

 

Out and About

Our big news here was David Reiter's win at the WA Premier's Awards for My Planets Reunion Memoir. The judges commented:

"David P Reiter's provocative fictional multimedia memoir combines a textual narrative with a rich tapestry of audio, video and animation to explore the meaning of family, connectivity and identity. The Planetsplanets provide both a narrative structure and a shifting series of perspectives asking not just how we understand who we are, but how that story shifts with different sets of eyes. This is a profound digital narrative which both makes the most of the various possibilities of the digital realm whilst weaving a provocative, engaging and all too human tale."

David travelled to Perth to receive the award. The weekend before, he ran a digital workshop for a sell-out crowd at the KSP Writers Centre before acting as compere for the launch of Guy Salvidge's Yellowcake Summer, the sequel to Yellowcake Springs. Both titles have won IP Rolling Picks awards in the Best Fiction category.

After her launch at Hobart Bookshop andDays Like These slots at the Queensland Poetry Festival, Jane Williams toured her latest IP title Days Like These to Collected Works Bookshop in Melbourne and then to Castlemaine to receptive crowds.

Murray Alfredson launched his latest book, The gleaming clouds, at the South The gleaming cloudsAustralian Writers Centre on 18 October. Murray was joined by IP poets Heather Taylor Johnson and Amelia Walker, who read from their books as a warm-up act.

DPC author Carolann Dowding had her book Shadows in Paradise launched at the Shadows in ParadiseElysium Lakeside Restaurant, Victoria Point on 21 October. Carolann was keeping it in the family after IP published her son Chris' Irish travel memoir A Few Drops Short of a Pint several years ago.

Upcoming events:

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You can RSVP to any IP sponsored event by emailing us at info@ipoz.biz or by phone 07 3324 9319.

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Your Deal

Deal 1 (back by popular demand): "Like" our Digital Publishing Centre page on Facebook before 1 September for a FREE IP eBook of your choice! That's right, simply go to our Facebook page, check out all the digital news, "like" what you see, and then email us your choice of eBook title, letting us know if you prefer Kindle (.mobi), ePub or optimised pdf version.

Deal 2: Order My Planets: a fictive memoir complete with a handsome WA Premier's Award sticker by David Reiter for $30 and receive a free download of the enhanced eBook (with colour images, music and readings). Free freight anywhere in Australia!

Deal 3: Order any picture book from our New Releases page and receive a free download of the eBook version, with FREE freight anywhere in Australia.

Order by 1 December from sales@ipoz.biz with Deal 1, Deal 2 or Deal 3 as your Subject. Include your postal address and how you want to pay (for Deals 2 or 3) – EFT or PayPal.

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