Publishers Weekly like it !

 

Routley (The Melded Child) unravels a complex web of familial politics in this eccentric fantasy. It’s Blessing time in the Empire of Light, an annual tradition in which the Matriarch of each family ensures fruitful crops for the following year. As always, Shine and her Auntie Eff, both mundanes without magic of their own despite their noble lineage, are expected to host a clan of their condescending, magical relations for the duration of the festival. Shine’s usually monotonous life as a mundane is plunged into chaos as she must put out fires at every turn, from curbing her cousins’ inappropriate seductions to stopping a burgeoning plot to overthrow the Matriarch. To further complicate matters, Shine’s exiled cousin, Bright, asks her to hide Shadow, a foreigner caught in a crystal smuggling scheme that somehow involves their wicked and violent cousin, Illuminus. Though readers will struggle to keep track of Shine’s many relations, even with the help of the family tree Routley provides, Routley’s whimsical tone lends a dark comic quality to this intricate fantasy, and the outlandish characters and captivating worldbuilding make up for occasional confusion. This is a bumpy but entertaining ride. Agent: John Jarrold, John Jarrold Literary. (Aug.)

www.publishersweekly.com/pw/reviews/single/9781781088340?fbclid=IwAR39MKqxZeO3d612h-JdxmKj2_YZEnqQawmrqcV65U6r1RVCP3Od1wyDGDc

Back at work

'Funkytown' comes to Richmond Station

We're working hard to keep Melbourne moving right now, but we want to keep you smiling too! 😊This is what happened when 'Funkytown' came to Richmond Station. 🎵🎵🎵#metromovesmelb#richmondstation#tiktok#metrotrains#publictransport#melbourne

Posted by Metro Trains Melbourne on Monday, May 11, 2020

The staff at Richmond cheer strutting their stuff to “Funky Town” during Covid-19

 

Although I work in an “essential service,” I decided to use up some of my holidays at the beginning of lockdown because I knew there’d be nothing to do. The Zoo is closed, there are no tourists and we are 88% down on customers.  But I went back to work this week.  And there are still customers.

An infectious diseases specialist was working on his laptop in the waiting room while waiting for a train and told me that the hospitals were all ready for a second wave of infections with a ward full of prepared beds and plenty of spare ventilators in ICU. “ Keep washing your hands” he said. “And don’t touch your face.” We were interrupted then by another less respectable looking man who told us that the Covid-19 tracing app was compulsory, Big Brother was upon us and that we wouldn’t be able to use hospitals or get into Bunnings unless we had the app on our phones.  He waved his fist and kept crying “Resist! Resist!” until the train fortuitously rolled in and took him away.

One of the Zoo volunteers dropped by to have a walk around the outside of the zoo.  It’s closed tight and she said she was missing the animals terribly.  According to the on-line Zoo keeper chat the animals, especially the monkeys and apes are also missing the entertainment of the visitors.

Those of my regulars who are still working were happy to see me.  Probably my return is a sign of normality.  I missed my Burmese hospital cleaners who apparently are now driving to work because it’s safer from infection, but my Vaccine makers from Sequirus labs were there in force.  They hard at it making more flu vaccines.  The uptake has been tremendous this year and the government has asked for an extra million and a half vaccines for our southern winter, which must be made before they can get their start on the regular flu vaccines they always make for the northern winter.  If you are run down from having the flu it increases you chance of catching Covid-19.  They don’t have any news on a Covid-19 vaccine.

Although the station was very quiet, the Park itself was like a high street.  It was one of those golden autumn afternoons when there is just a tinge of chill in the air and a constant stream of people went past on foot or on bicycle, including the many happy golfers.  Their club house was opened last week.  One of my regulars stopped and told me how happy he was, all was back.  He’d had to make do with a putting machine in his living room for the past 6 weeks and as he lived alone it had been very lonely.

I suspect this is also true of the man with out of control hair who is still using the train to carry all the timber for his new shed bunker/ and still likes to stop and tell me ALL the details of everything.

The person I most wished to speak to did not stop and talk.  Why is a man in high vis, walking through my railway station with a such a huge hole torn in the back of his work pants that I can see half of his blue star spangled boxer shorts underneath?  Alas I will never know.

 

 

 

A shout out to all the supermarket workers.

Please join me in a big cheer for all the folks who are manning the checkouts and stocking the supermarket shelves for keeping food (and toilet paper) distribution going.  These people are going out every day and facing 100’s of people who might well be carrying the virus; a few of whom are exhibiting seriously horrible behaviors as well.

Normally these are people who we regard as lowly unskilled workers; whose managers no doubt tell them often that they are unimportant, easily replaceable and lucky to be paid properly.

I was thrilled to hear the ABC describe them this morning as essential services workers and I hope when they are handing out medals for courage in the face of the virus, they give some to the supermarket workers too.

Shadow in the Empire of Light – Cover Reveal

Woo Hoo!

The lovely people at Solaris Press have sent me a proof of my new book.

Shine’s life is usually dull: an orphan in a family of powerful mages, she’s left to run the family estate with only an eccentric aunt and a telepathic cat for company.

But when the family descend on the house for the annual Fertility Festival, Shine is plunged into intrigue; stolen letters, a fugitive spy and family drama mix with an unexpected murder, and Shine is forced to decide both her loyalties and her future.

Shadow in the Empire of Light is due out in August

 

In your favourite Natural Place

 

The beautiful Mountain Ash forests on the Black Spur outside Healesville are my favorite place in the world. Their spicy peppery earthy smell is the perfect fragrance, the smell of home. After the grief and collective loss of beautiful places and animals in the New Years bushfires, I decided to visit the Black Spur. These are some of the most flammable forests on earth and they haven’t burnt in a while. We have 2 more months of fire season to go. So I went there last weekend.

Just in case.

 

I’d love to see recent pictures of you in your favourite place in nature.

The ARPIA awards

The Disc of Ry’leh from Allan Carey of Type40 Winner of the Best Artwork

The Inaugural Australian Role Playing Industry Awards were held last night at the beginning of ARCANACON 2020
I had the great honour to be one of the judges along with Reece Carter and Melody Watson. It was a tough Gig. Who knew so many Australians were doing such excellent work writing roleplaying games and related items? We chose a very fine group of works out of about 15 other very fine works.

Vee Hendro and Hayley Gordon from Storybrewers Roleplaying accepting the Game of the Year award for Good Society

Game of the Year – Good Society (Jane Austen) by Vee Hendro and Hayley Gordon from Storybrewers Roleplaying https://storybrewersroleplaying.com

Best Scenario – Reign of Terror (Call of Cthulhu does the French Revolution) by Mark Morrison, Penelope Love, James Coquillat, Darren Watson https://www.chaosium.com/reign-of-terror-pdf

Best PDF only product – The Facility by Mikhail Bonch-Osmolovskiy self-published on DriveThroughRPG and itch.io
Best Rules System – Good Society
Best Art work – the Disk of Ryleh by Allan Carey of Type40 https://type40.com.au/
Best Electronic Product – Syrinscape The Waterdeep DUNGEONS & DRAGONS RPG Adventure SoundPack syrinscape.com
Best Cartography – The Facility

Ramona Mandy and John Coleman present Mark Morrison, Vice President of Chaosium, Michael O’Brien and James Coquillat with the Best Scenario award for Reign of Terror

 

The Picture Gallery

One late night meal break about six months ago, a bored Protective Services Officer drew a picture on a piece of paper towel and stuck it on the wall.
Since then many of P.S.O’s who staff Zoo Station on a rotating roster, have added little cartoons/sketches to the wall signing them with their departmental numbers. Such a pleasure to open up and see what popped up last night. Some are quite talented, some seem to be tracings of pop culture figures but if you can’t draw… – well my favourite is one labeled Mick the Stick which is just a line. My least favourite is of a certain American President. Does he have to be everywhere?!! (an no I shall not put him in here.)

 

 

Naked men and the military industrial complex

I’m getting ready for my shift in the backroom of the Junction, when the Station Master calls out, “You ladies might like to stay in there. There’s a guy walking around out there naked.”

Feeling sorry for the passengers outside who must face this spectacle without a place to hide, the other “lady” and I search round in the lost property locker for any old clothes. The only thing we can find is a lost MacDonald’s uniform. Possibly giving that to the kind of person who walks around naked at a railway station will get us into trouble. One would hate to offend a multinational corporation.

Roving Wildlife

The round bin opening gives a rather mid-Victorian sentimental, pride and prejudicey feel to this picture, don’t you think? 🙂

It’s spring. One of my regulars, a large cheerful man with out of control hair, (and Herald/Sun political views 🙁 ) is building a shed/bush hut/office/bunker and he’s brings all the materials down from Bunnings by train. About five times a day he gets off carrying long lengths of pine or large sheets of chipboard.

Meanwhile a large brush tail possum has been roaming round the station for the last few days. Possums are nocturnal creatures and for one to be roaming around during the day is a sign that they’re ill or have been kicked out of their hollow by another tougher possum. Judging from the wound on this guy’s face one of these scenarios is true. But I’m not overly worried about him. He’s the size of a large cat, has serious claws and is well enough to climb trees. He is so not bothered by us humans. Also he has enough sense to cross the railway line by the pedestrian crossing after looking both ways.
A terrible scream came from platform 2 yesterday. Some poor passenger jumped out of his skin when the possum appeared out of the rubbish bin he was using. The possum sat for a while looking disgruntled and then climbed down into the next bin. When I took its photo it was calmly chowing down on some apple cores. The wound seems to be healing nicely.
By the way – My sick magpie pulled through. The dangling leg healed at an odd angle but can now be stood on while dragging worms out of the ground. So a happy ending there after all. (Except if you’re a worm.)