Friday, 25 January 2013

New book launched today!

Ratty offers floral congratulations to Sue on the publication today of her exceptional collection, The Happiest Music on Earth. The three stories demonstrate Sue's versatility, her penetrating eye for the dynamics of human aspiration and foible, her skill as a wordsmith and story-teller.

There's Earle who leaps through light and shadow between the lure of his beautiful longings and the heavy footfall of his father; Margaretha whose life is tainted by her husband's alchemical experiments with urine; Lily's mother who see shapeliness waiting to emerge from raggedy rosebushes and from a gangly half-grown daughter, shapeliness that's threatened by a Saturday morning incident on the soccer field.

Congratulations, Sue, and many thanks for allowing Rosa Mira to share your work here. May it fly swiftly forth, find perch and purchase in its many readers, entrancing them all with its fine-tuned repertoire.

The Happiest Music on Earth is available here.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Two poems by Sue Wootton

Tomorrow The Happiest Music on Earth will be published here. I asked Sue to send me a couple of her poems as a kind of amuse-bouche for her stories, but also, I asked, might there be a poem set in Dunedin which we are about to leave for a spell? (I've had to make the font small so the lines won't be broken up by blogspot but, maddeningly, the line spacings are having a life of their own. Please try to see around the oddities. In the first, the stanza lengths are are 4 lines, 1, 4, 4, 1. The second is as it appears.)


The usual Thursday route, the usual Thursday corner, round you go 
and on the top cathedral step eight boys in grey trousers and school blazers
jostle and jest and joust.  A rowdy show, all muscle and shout, all foot- stomp 
and wrestle and sweat.  An empty bus blats a filthy fart and grinds uphill

and you walk on

and stop:  in its wake some other sound, full and clean, like a memory of  rivers

before we milked them dry.  Solemn on the highest step under an array of stony spires

they are singing, holding out their palms in gift.  No teacher, no parent,

has composed this moment. This, they say, is us. Eight young men call up

a requiem from a well so deep it taps planet-flame; molten baritone

pours into the world.  Every Thursday pops its little allocated square, dissolves

to unexpected holy now.  All the deaths in you lift for this tenderness
and you lean a while on the curlicue fence, vow to make 

a better, more beautiful home.

I couldn't resist sharing this one, too, that speaks of return. 

Magnetic South

You are my magnetic south.
I fall to you true.

I am the eel, the gull,
the silvery fish,
returning and returning.

Yours is the tide I swim to.
                                                  SUE WOOTTON

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Life on the edge

Ratty's not looking quite himself, is he? He hasn't even had time to colour himself in. The house is being rewired; he's still packing up the house and Lily hasn't returned from the pampas as expected to help him do it.

The good news is that we're on the brink of publishing The Happiest Music on Earth — on Friday, as long as the power's back on, the last ePub check all clear, our website wiz (Doug Lilly) ready to roll … and now the generator's about to be turned off again so I'll press 'publish' and see you again soon.

Friday, 18 January 2013

77 ways to pack up a house

 Ratty's activities uncannily mirror our own although he looks better organised than we are, with superior technique. Also, his packages seem more interesting than ours. He'll probably store his stuff into the space next to ours: 13 cubic metres for ours; 1.3 for the rat's.

The rat and I are keeping a few small Rosa Mira balls rolling in the mornings and after lunch emptying drawers into boxes/bags/rubbish piles. Focus and decisiveness are fine and elusive things.

This week:

I found an ebook called 77 Ways to Find New Readers for your Self-Published Book. It's hard to imagine an uglier, more utilitarian title but I bought it. And no, RM ebooks are not 'self-published' but apparently the author Laura Pepper Wu is the indie authors' (and small publisher's) marketing goddess. She looks about 21 so I dare say she has her finger on pulses I've failed to detect. Ratty will work his way through her marketing tips, one a day for 77 days, starting tomorrow. Or Monday at the latest.

I discovered this week that Christine Buess who painted the cover image for The Glass Harmonica makes and sells gorgeous patchwork and knitted quilts and throws at her online shop, Swister's.

I can't point you to the Kilmog Press site: they must be too busy with their publishing comeback, producing Starch, Volume One, a NZ literary journal, 84 pages in hard covers. It's certain to be a beautiful collection. Located in Dunedin, New Zealand, Kilmog Press creates small edition, beautifully handmade books. Covers are created from individually hand dyed papers and illustrated with woodblock prints all handcrafted in-house. Kilmog writers are selected for innovative and original poetry and prose, often outside the commercial mainstream.

The Happiest Music on Earth is undergoing its nth formatting tweak and will  make its appearance very soon.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Keen rat in ratkini

Happy new year to you all. May we all find our way through 2013 doing what we love: hopping over the hurdles, dismantling the roadblocks, enjoying the scents, vistas and friendships along the way.

Inspired by summer sights on the beaches of Buenos Aires, Lily has whipped up a pair of swimming togs and insisted that if he wants his lunch Ratty must first try them on. With water rat in his ancestry, Ratty tries to recall an instance when a swim might have been enhanced by the addition of .07 m of green spandex with a twisty-tie doing duty for shoulders.

Like Ratty, we are trying to rationalise what we own as we pack up the house and take as little as possible with us on the next (unknown) leg of our journey.

Meanwhile, fresh thought is going into RMB. Ideas are percolating. Last week I talked with Lorraine Steele of Lighthouse PR ("A guiding light in book publicity" — check out the very cool website) about the challenges of selling ebooks. I appreciated her enthusiasm, open mind, and generosity. We'll be keeping in touch, but meanwhile she's given me plenty of resource ideas to follow up.

I talked with Dorothee, too, about the audio book almost ready for release, which is The Glass Harmonica read aloud in her melodic voice. I'll let you know as soon as that's available.

Meanwhile, The Happiest Music on Earth is with the formatter and I've come upon its successor in the 10k series — an exciting new voice in fiction.

Right now, I'm keen to look at 10,000 word essays for consideration. Pass it on.
The ratadilloes are having a ball with the mankini offcuts.