30 March 2012

Introducing... Brigid Kemmerer

We confess that our knowledge of some of the states in the USA is, ahem, not what one would call comprehensive.

Take Maryland, for instance. What comes to mind when we consider Maryland? Well, let's see. It borders Washington DC and boasts Chesapeake Bay. What else? Baltimore is in Maryland, and everything we know about Baltimore we learned from The Wire...* (Omar? McNulty? Kima? Stringer Bell? Are you out there?)  So, no, we are clearly not Maryland aficionados.

However, we do know one very important thing about Maryland. Maryland is home to Brigid Kemmerer. And Brigid Kemmerer is exactly who we want to introduce today. Why? Because Brigid Kemmerer has written STORM and it is HOT! HOT! HOT!** And advances arrived in the House today!

Four brothers. Four hot brothers. Four hot brothers who are able to control the elements: Water, Fire, Air, Earth.

AND a mysterious [hot] new guy in town.

And Becca Chandler - caught in the middle...

What's that you hear? That, dear readers, would be the sound of heart rate: UP! UP! UP!

Here's a sneak peek:
   'Scared of storms?'
   Becca jumped. The voice had come from behind her, and she forced her hands to her sides, ready to feign nonchalance. 'No,' she lied, starting to turn. 'I'm just - '
   Face-to-face with hotness.   Her tongue stumbled for a minute. She'd seen the Merrick twins around school, of course. But catching a glimpse down the hall wasn't the same as being six inches away from one of them, getting an eyeful of the way his long-sleeve tee clung to muscled shoulders, or of the faint shadow of stubble along his jaw, or the depth of blue in his eyes.
   Eyes that studied her a little too closely just now, a spark of amusement there.
   Nick Merrick knew exactly what he looked like, and he knew she was looking.
    She squared her shoulders and pretended she couldn't feel the flare of heat on her cheeks. 'Your brother got in a fight.' She gestured to her car, to where the scruffy guy was half kneeling on the backseat, one leg braced on the driveway. 'I brought him home.'
   Nick looked past her and sighed, almost with exasperation. 'Damn it, Gabriel.'
   His twin. She shook her head. 'Chris.'
   He'd been moving toward the steps, but stopped short and looked at her. 'Chris?'
   'Yeah. Your brother. Chris.' Could she possibly stop sounding like an idiot? 'He was in a fight behind the gym, and - '
   Boom! Thunder shook the house.

But wait, there's more: Yes! MOAR! Storm is part of a series. The Elementals series. So, after you have devoured Storm stay tuned for Spark and Spirit.

Brigid, we welcome you warmly to the House - and we CAN'T WAIT*** until May when Storm will sweep into stores across the land.

* And, ahem, Sleepless in Seattle...
** Wait. What? How hot? *whispers* Smokin' hot. We kid you not.
*** When we say CAN'T WAIT here, clearly we mean HAVE TO WAIT.

23 March 2012

Friday stuff and items: Sometimes Counsel

Here Britain's statesmen oft the fall foredoom
Of foreign tyrants and of nymphs at home;
Here thou, great Anna! whom three realms obey,
Dost sometimes counsel take-and sometimes tea.
-- Alexander Pope, The Rape of the Lock
Sometimes, and often on Fridays, we find ourselves in want of help. Mighty are our brains, but much is not therein contained.*

We need advice; we want an expert opinion; we seek counsel.

So in the spirit of Oscar Wilde** we'd like to pass on some of our go-to books for good advice.

Should you want to blog and tweet without getting sued
Blogging & Tweeting Without Getting Sued by Mark Pearson
This is clearly highly Relevant to Our Interests. As Mark Pearson says, 'We are all international publishers now - every time we blog or tweet or comment on a website - and we are subject to several hundred legal jurisdictions worldwide.' But as another great book of advice says in large friendly letters on the front: DON'T PANIC. Blogging and Tweeting Without Getting Sued is a reassuring, easy-to-digest guide to the pitfalls of publishing online (and how to avoid them). Read it. Blog. Tweet. Don't get sued.

Should you want to know about women's stuff
Women's Stuff by Kaz Cooke
This book is magnificent. It's funny and matter-of-fact and sensible and informative - all the things you expect from Kaz Cooke. It's for teenagers, and uni students, and mothers, and grandmothers, and singles and marrieds, and hairy and non-hairy, and bosomy and non-bosomy and, basically, all of the women.

Should you want to work with words
The Chicago Manual of Style
There are many other style/usage manuals that we could mention here. Some we use more often and adhere to more stringently - we're looking at you, Australian Style Manual, and the Macquarie Dictionary - but the CMS has a certain panache, a certain clarity, a certain something. However, they do still recommend capitalising 'internet', which is CLEARLY wrong. So, as with all advice, sometimes you may find the most suitable course of action is *ig-noring*.

Should you want to cook all the things***
Margaret Fulton's Encyclopedia of Food and Cookery
The woman who taught Australia to cook has the answers to many vexed kitchen questions. How on earth do I cook venison? What's the best way to melt chocolate? Wait, allspice is just one thing? Simple. Fabulous. Margaret.

Should you be a man who wants to dress with style and sophistication
The ABC of Men's Fashion by Hardy Armies
A total classic. Sir Hardy Armies has an opinion on everything. 'To achieve the nonchalance which is absolutely necessary for a man, one article at least must not match. For instance, you can wear a dark blue suit and tie with a pale blue shirt and navy blue socks, but you must then have a patterned silk handkerchief, say in dark red or a paisley design of green and brown; or you could stick to a blue handkerchief and have dark red socks.'
Funny, informative, stylish beyond measure.  

Should you want to listen to your heart
Holier Than Thou by Laura Buzo
Okay - so this is a novel. Not a book of advice or a style manual. And furthermore, the main character doesn't have any answers, she is searching for them herself. But Laura's new novel is so funny, so sad, so bittersweet, so tangled and so beautiful that it will teach you things about your own heart. What better advice is there than that which you arrive at on your own, after being moved by something, or after walking around in somebody else's sneakers for a while.

* If this overblown style is anything to judge by, we seem to have been accepting writing advice from some kind of Shakespearean Yoda.
** 'I always pass on good advice. It is the only thing to do with it. It is never of any use to oneself.'
*** This is a contentious area. Cooking speaks directly to the heart and soul, and some Onions clasped their food bibles close, and threatened to use them to batter (as in assault, not as in deep fry) their colleagues to death if they were not mollified with the promise of room in the foototes for their chosen tomes. Herewith a list of other books that you might like to consider:

Stephanie Alexander The Cook's Companion

Peg Bracken's I Hate to Cook Book,
 the PWMU cookbook
Charmaine Solomon's Encyclopedia of Asian Food
Nigella Lawson's How To Eat
Anthony Telford's The Kitchen Hand.

22 March 2012

The Very Hungry Editerpillars

On Tuesday they ate through a cake and some home-made ice cream...

...but they were still hungry.*

*Our theory is that if we eat enough cake we will all turn into beautiful butterflies. It totally could happen.

21 March 2012

Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award

The 2012 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award winner is GUUS KUIJER! 

From the jury:
Kuijer combines serious subject matter and razor-sharp realism with warmth, subtle humour and visionary flights of fancy. His simple, clear and precise style accommodates both deep philosophical insight and graceful poetic expression. The uncompromising perspective of the child is always present in Kuijer's works, but at the same time, through his young protagonists, he paints a perceptive picture of the adult world. His commitment extends to social and religious issues alike, and the consistent message of his books is one of tolerance, understanding and broad-mindedness. 

From Guus:
I'm deeply grateful to receive this award. I hope that it will positively influence the position of children's literature in the Netherlands and abroad. As for my work I consider The Book of Everything the most important.

Many many congratulations to Guus! 
Hooray! Hooray! Hooray!


20 March 2012

Aurealis Awards Ahoy!

The House is all abuzz today with the announcement of the finalists in the 2011 Aurealis Awards.

The full list of finalists can be found here.

Our trumpets are in fanfare for the following fabulous books and stories:

'Into the Clouds on High' by Margo Lanagan* (Yellowcake)

The Shattering by Karen Healey
Only Ever Always by Penni Russon


'One Window' by Martine Murray (The Wilful Eye: Tales from the Tower Volume 1
'Seventy-Two Derwents' by Cate Kennedy (The Wicked Wood - Tales from the Tower Volume 2)

CHILDREN'S FICTION (told primarily through words)
The Paradise Trap by Catherine Jinks  
'It Began with a Tingle' by Thalia Kalkapsakis (Head Spinners)
The Coming of the Whirlpool by Andrew McGahan
City of Lies by Lian Tanner

Bravo, Margo, Karen, Penni, Cate, Martine, Catherine, Thalia, Andrew and Lian. Bravo!

* Extra hurrahs for Margo who is a finalist in two other categories as well.
'The Proving of Smollett Standforth' by Margo Lanagan (Ghosts by Gaslight)
'Mulberry Boys' by Margo Lanagan (Blood and Other Cravings)

Cue exuberant whooping.

16 March 2012

Gordon Reece's Meeces, we love them to pieces

The cover design process is long and involved. And, as the good people at the Wheeler Centre recently noted, readers do like to engage in the time-honoured sport of judging books by their covers.

There are so many questions that have to be answered in a cover-design brief.
  • What is the book about?
  • What is the genre?
  • Who is the market for this book?
  • What is the tenor of the book?
  • What do the characters look like?
  • What competing books are already out there?
  • Does it need to stand out, or blend in?
These questions are the same no matter where you are in the world. If you are making books, you are asking these questions.

Which is why it's so fascinating to see that there are so many different answers...

Next month we are publishing a B-format edition of Gordon Reece's fabulous thriller Mice.

It looks like this: 


When we first published Mice in 2010 it looked like this:

These are both fabulous covers, and you can see the relationship between them, even though they are so different - somehow you can *feel* the book in both these covers.

And in some weird way, we think we can feel the same link between all these VASTLY different covers from around the world. It's kind of cool to think that designers and editors all over the globe, speaking many different languages, are responding to the essence of Gordon's book.


Czech Republic (Adult edition)
Czech Republic (YA edition)

UK (Original edition)
UK (new YA edition)

UK (new adult edition)





(It's hard to show in a photo but OMG DIE-CUT MOUSEHOLE!)


The Netherlands


Which one tempts you?

PSST There is also a Chinese and a Hungarian edition, but our google skills are failing us. If anyone finds a cover for either, please send us a link.

08 March 2012

Getting Published as a Writer for Children

Have you written a book for children?
Are you writing a book for children?
Will you write a book for children?*

If so, do you have a plan for what to do after you type that final word?**
Do you need an agent?
What do you put in your cover letter?
Dear god, what is a cover letter?
Who do you send it to?
What do publishers want?***

If you are asking yourself these questions, then the Faber Academy Getting Published as a Writer for Children course is for YOU.

Alternative titles**** for this course could include:
- Hanging with Four of the Most Awesome Women in Publishing
- Getting the Lowdown from the High-ups
- Absorbing the Wisdom from Their Mighty Brains*****

As we have mentioned, the course is being convened by the Amazing Rosalind.

But now we're very excited to see that Rosalind is being joined by an all-star cast. Seriously these are some of our favourite people ever, world without end, amen.

May we present:

The indefatigable, the irrepressible, the inspirational Elizabeth Honey.
Liz is a brilliant writer and a wonderful illustrator. Her Stella Street books are classics: funny and warm and full of mischief, just like Liz herself. She has a wealth of experience and tells a cracking story. Also, her most recent book, Ten Blue Wrens, contains pavlovas, so you know she's all right.

The charming, the clever, the coruscating Lili Wilkinson. You may know her from her work at the Centre for Youth Literature, or from her blog or from her MARVELLOUS BOOKS, of which there is a new one out next month. Love-shy - BRING IT ON. Lili's books have been published around the world and she is wise in the matters to hand.

And finally the very knowledgeable, very fabulous, very best Erica Wagner. She is also our very own, so we expect her back at the end of your course. Under no circumstances may you take her home with you, because we rely on her utterly - for her vision, her passion, her experience, and her incredible ability to see and nurture potential.  We know first hand what an amazing team Erica and Rosalind make - they have taught many of us in the House of Onion just about everything we know about editing and publishing.

Get thee to the Faber Academy

* If you can conjugate verbs half as well as we can, I'm sure your book's a winner.
** Here are some good final words we came up with, you should feel free to borrow: 'exploded', 'dead', 'celebration', 'pash', 'perfect', 'butt-head'. Here are some you should avoid: 'dream', 'limp', 'squib', 'conclusion', 'end'. You're welcome.  
*** Apart from cake.
**** Why yes, coming up with a title for your book will be covered in this course.
***** Oh no, wait, that's the Writing for Zombies course being offered next month.