Category Archives: Simmone Howell

Tez in the City, Part II

-Chatted, signed, photographed with Susan Grant, Liz Maverick, Keri Arthur & Tracey O’hara.

-Liz’s The Shadow Runners is set in Australia in 2176. Not Victoria, but nevertheless I think she was chuffed to be here. And to see for herself if Australia is closer to becoming a penal colony again 😉

-Tracey’s Night’s Cold Kiss cover art was revealed, but I’ll wait for her to share it with you first. Go bother her 😉

Melanie Milburne‘s surgeon husband sometimes phones her for a chat whilst he’s performing surgery. Who says men can’t multi-task? 😉 Melanie also had a trophy on her signing table – I’ll have to check award results.

Amy Andrews has an agent, but looks after her own Mills & Boon business. Her agent deals with Amy’s other works.

-If you’d like to know the mating habits of marine animals and other mammals, consult Lexxie Couper.

Jess Dee has a fabulous South African accent. It’s like the Oz one, only classier. And charming. Makes you want to hug the world. In short: fab.

-Chat and photos with Liz, Sue, Kez, Jordana Ryan, Lexxie, Jess, MaryJanice Davidson & Anthony Alongi, and Dianna Love. Didn’t chat with Sherrilyn Kenyon, but had a photo.

-Skipped out early to head to the State Library of Victoria for a free session with Justine Larbalestier & Simmone Howell. Free cupcakes – the icing was so tasty! 🙂

-In times past and present, they’ve made up their own slang. Consult Simmone about the verb “rod”, and Justine the noun “spoff”.

Scott Westerfeld is tall.


Tez and the City, Part II

To the left we have Victoria’s own Simmone Howell, author of Notes from the Teenage Underground and the upcoming Everything Beautiful. To the right we have America’s Rachel Cohn, author of…more books than I can count on one hand. (I’ve read all except Cupcake and the co-written with David Levithan Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List.) Both authors are doing several sessions at the Melbourne Writers’ Festival, and because they’re part of the Schools programme, the tickets are cheap ($6). And even those of us older than schoolies can attend. They’re witty and urban women who unintentionally made me realise I don’t know my own city very well. But who cares? I managed to find Gloria Jean’s on Flinders near Elizabeth, which means victory is mine!

And hooray for public transport, which helped me get reading done. I finished Patricia Briggs’s Moon Called yesterday, and read half of Judy Blume’s Wifey in bed. And I finished that off today on the train and in the aforementioned Gloria Jean’s. And read the first two chapters of Yasmine Galenorn’s Darkling on the train home. This is as productive as my reading as been lately, so lap it up.

And dear A. J. Menden’s Phenomenal Girl 5 cover flat arrived today, and thus I photographed. The cat had just woken up from a nap and wasn’t ecstatic. I tried to take a second photo, but by then he was licking himself. So while I don’t have photographic evidence, I can assure you that Manny did sniff the cover flat. He did ignore the MendenPen on his side, but what can you do?

Tez and the City

Warning: I currently have 176 pics on Flickr. Once you get to 200, they make you upgrade. So I’ll be doing a photo cull soon, or starting up a new account. Just letting you know.

You know I love freebies, so a freebie session (as part of the Melbourne Writers’ Festival) with one of my favourite authors? I’m so there. Well, I was so there this afternoon. Robert Muchamore is a fab YA writer, and though the target audience are 12-year-old boys…well, this 22-year-old lass likes the books. Though I haven’t read any past The Fall because I haven’t been to the library for months.

My word, I felt old. I think I was the oldest person in the audience, except for the parents. But it’s just so nice to see good books being appreciated. Kids were lining up to buy more books, and talking about T-shirts and beanies they’ll order off the Internet… And the lines, my word. Long line to get in (I was near the front because I was about 40 minutes early), and an even longer line for the signing. I didn’t bring anything to be signed, on account of I don’t actually own any of the books (I’ve borrowed them from the library). But I did get this photo taken. You probably can’t see my new hair length too well because of my dark locks and black top. But I seem to still have a head tilt, and my teeth still look yellow. Though my cheeks look a bit chubbier in this photo, so it’s possible I’ve put on face weight since May. If you zoom in on the photo, you might be able to see my undiagnosed-condition-ravaged fingers – though they’re not looking too bad today. Sure are wrinkly, though.

Instead of the Malthouse, this year the Festival venue is Federation Square. It’s opposite Flinders Street Station, has weird architecture, and looks kinda fugly. I wasn’t sure exactly where BMW Edge was, so I had to ask. I photographed the stage, and it’s on my Flickr (don’t want to overload you with pics right now; I’m feeling considerate).

Anyway, afterwards I thought I’d take a few photos of Melbourne for you. Didn’t go far, though. But along Swanston Street between Flinders Street and…whatever road the Town Hall is on, there was not one, not two, but three tacky Australian souvenir shops. Great range of postcards, though.

Still, I photographed part of Flinders Street Station, an iconic building that’s no doubt on a postcard somewhere – just not my shoddy photo. Actually, I don’t think I did too bad with this one. Yay me.

That ad I saw on the side of a building. Wicked has come to Melbourne, and as we all know, “Oz” is really Australia. Just don’t follow the Yellow Brick Road, ’cause you’ll take a wrong turn at Albuquerque…

And these horses. (Sorry about the guy’s arse; he was cleaning hooves.) I saw a few horse-and-carriages on the move, but this one was stationary, so I stopped and snapped. They didn’t even freak out at the flash. Good horsies! 🙂

Don’t ask me about the feathered headpieces. They probably have delusions of Kylie Minogue.

Anyway, I’m back in the city tomorrow for the session with Rachel Cohn and Simmone Howell. Now what else should I photograph for you?


12:30-1:45PM: Invisible Cities (ACMI Cinema 1)

Have booked my ticket for this session featuring Rachel Cohn and Simmone Howell.

The 7 Books I Read in December

December 31, 2007, was the hottest day of the hottest year in Melbourne history, according to the TV news.

The 7 Books I Read in December

Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?: Having never read sci-fi, or seen the film, before, this novel was somewhat of a revelation to me. While I had trouble keeping track of the details, I loved the big ideas: interplanetary immigration, religion/cult, empathy boxes, the value of a real living animal…and of course the moral debate of whether bounty hunter Rick Deckard should retire (read: kill) androids simply because of what they are. My favourite character was Luba Luft; she’s such a funny bugger. But perhaps the funniest thing was that the novel is set in 1992, but you can blame hindsight for my chuckles. While overall the novel was probably too intelligent for dim me to fully comprehend, I’m definitely interested in seeking out more sci-fi, particularly by this author. If you know of any books in particular you think I’ll enjoy, please send the recommendations my way. This was fun!

Sydney Bauer, Undertow: Why is an Australian writing a novel entirely set in the U.S.? I’m not the person to ask. There are times, however, when the author slips in bits of Australiana that weren’t caught by the Australian editor. For instance, our protag trial lawyer David Cavanaugh plays rugby. The author tries to justify it by talking of how Irish Boston is, but I reckon the Irish would’ve played soccer. Americans wouldn’t play rugby, as far as I know. Also, there’s a reference to how Australians drink their beer – which is the same as pretty much anywhere in the world, except for warm-beer drinkers in places that I won’t mention to protect the guilty 😉 Also, in court a witness says ‘bloody’ numerous times, when he should’ve said ‘freakin’, but no one asked me 😉 All this aside, it’s a compelling novel exploring race relations and corrupt politicians in Boston. The good guys are clearly painted as the good guys, the bad guys clearly painted as the bad guys, so there’s no messing with readers’ perceptions. I’ll be looking for the author’s subsequent novels.

Robin Cook, Crisis: There’s a lot to admire about the author. He started writing novels as a way of bringing medical issues into the public eye, and he still does that today. This 2006 novel introduces readers (well, I’d never heard of it before) to concierge medicine, which…well, read the book, and that should explain it. But this novel is more medico-legal than the author’s previous medical thrillers. I’m fascinated with all the medical issues the author explores, but purely as a reader I have trouble enjoying the characters and the writing. Though Dr Latasha Wylie is a gem. So I don’t read these novels for entertainment: I read to learn, and I’m very grateful to Dr Robin Cook for that.

Paullina Simons, The Girl in Times Square: The author may be better known for her historical fiction, but it’s this contemporary tale that’s a real stunner. New York, a missing woman, a seriously screwed family, politics, peyote…this novel has it all. But really, the less you know about the novel, the better, for there are true shocks and surprises. Keep your eye out for Milo, one of the most unforgettable characters I’ve ever come across. The 602 pages were read over the span of about five days, so my memory didn’t hold up so well: ‘Who’s that? Did we hear about that guy earlier in the novel and I’ve just forgotten?’ The novel may warrant a reread to jog your memory, but it was the mystery itself that was the most intriguing part of the story – this is a good read.

Kathy Reichs, Bones to Ashes: Acknowledgements are sometimes put at the end of novels for a good reason – in case they spoil a plot point. The acknowledgements in this book were at the start. Lucky for the author, I didn’t know what a *L-word* was. Just in case your vocabulary is bigger than mine, I suggest you save reading the acknowledgements for last because, indeed, that *L-word* stuff was the most fascinating aspect of this novel. (It’s a medical something, by the way.) In non-spoiler news, the novel brings attention to the Acadian people, whom I’d never heard of before. Yay, I learned something! Also featuring are Tempe Brennan’s summer childhood friend, her somewhat trashy sister Harry, and a cockatiel who quotes the Black Eyed Peas and Korn. Good times!

Nicci French, Until It’s Over: This author (well, authors – Nicci French is a pseudonym for two journalists) is a master of psychological thrillers, and is my favourite writer to come out of England. These standalone novels take ordinary people living ordinary lives, and turn their existence into the stuff of very real nightmares. In this book, cycle courier Astrid Bell’s neighbour is murdered, and a random client of Astrid’s is dead when she arrives to collect a package. But it’s a third murder that leads the police to believe that there is no such thing as coincidence in this case. The book was quite a cracker, until it switched to the POV of the culprit – then there was a rehash of the events through the killer’s eyes. While it was nice to read some explanation, it didn’t seem entirely necessary. Nevertheless, I’m eagerly awaiting the author’s next book.

Simmone Howell, Notes from the Teenage Underground: So when I first came across Gem, Lo and Mira they were trying so hard to be different that they appeared to contradict themselves. (Like in that South Park episode where Stan meets the Goths, who say that if he wants to hang out with them, he has have to wear black, write poems about pain and not be conformist.) But once I got over that, this was quite a good read, and is deserving of its accolades.