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Showing posts from 2023

The Printer’s Proofs Have Arrived!

My excitement levels are almost unbearable!   But then I put that aside, to get on with the job of checking the manuscripts for the final time.   Already I discover why hard copy proofs are so necessary – there’s a layout problem with one volume. I hadn’t realised until I saw it ‘in the flesh,’ so to speak, instead of scrolling down onscreen. A lesson in trust Initially I forgot to ask the printer to supply proofs before going ahead! It’s so long since I was involved in the production of a physical book, not just ebooks.  That hiccup made me wonder if something had suddenly gone wrong with the serendipity with which this project has so far been blessed. (What? Did the Universe not support it after all?) Oh, me of little faith! The printer had only got as far as doing the covers when I realised and called a halt – and the covers are lovely. Whew! Then, the resulting delay actually worked to my advantage.   I’d invited my stepdaughter to visit, to help me (finally!) go through her late f

The Books Are With the Printer!

I’m excited that I can now share with you the covers of the Pentridge trilogy, as I am calling the forthcoming three books.    (To see the writing on the back covers more clearly, click on each pic.) The trilogy label might be a little misleading, as I wrote only two of the three, although I have some writing in the third (which was actually the first). But I can claim a degree of authorship of that one too.   The first edition of Blood from Stone, the poetry anthology emanating from Pentridge Prison, was published in 1982 under my then imprint Abalone Press. I am also the publisher of this new edition, under my own name. Simultaneously with writing my memoir of that time in my life, and with all the renewed interest in both the history of Pentridge and that of the Melbourne poetry scene of the eighties, it seemed   the time was right for a new edition of Blood from Stone . The Memoir, as you 'll see from the first illustration, is called Breaking into Pentridge Prison: Memories of

It's All Happening!

Oh wow – with what I am now calling The Pentridge Trilogy   (i.e. my memoir, Breaking Into Pentridge Prison; a new edition of the prison anthology Blood from Stone; and my spin-off chapbook, Letters to a Dead Man ) everything keeps falling readily into place.  The latest is that just when I need the printer, who lives in Melbourne, to show me some cover stock to make a choice from, it happens that he is visiting this area and will be in my town tomorrow!  How's that for perfect timing, synchronicity etc.? My lovely book designer and her husband and young daughters came through on a holiday road trip not long ago, and took a quick detour to meet me over coffee. A lovely family altogether, delightful to meet. She and I already had great rapport via emails and texts; getting acquainted in person only confirmed it. She has been working extraordinarily hard on my project, even while travelling. I have been doing a fair bit of work myself, to make sure the manuscripts are perfect. It’

All Quiet on the Memoir Front?

  Yes and no. Certainly I have been quiet about it, here, for a little while! Interrupted by life My cover designer / book designer (same person) is currently on a road trip around Australia with her family – which is exciting, as we hope to meet up in person for the first time when they get to these parts, and for her to meet the cover artist too (who happens to be a neighbour of mine).   This trip was already planned when she agreed to help me, so she is working around it. Before it began, she brought my memoir to a good place to be able to pause, and will be resuming when she arrives back home. We are still looking at a launch later this year. Meanwhile, as you may recall, we have been making plans to launch, simultaneously, a new edition of Blood from Stone, the poetry anthology which resulted from the Pentridge Prison workshops in the eighties, which are the subject of the memoir. I’ve asked a noted criminologist with knowledge of that prison to write a new Foreword. He too is awa

The Universe Wants This Memoir To Happen!

Well OK, I’m being a bit tongue-in-cheek – but still, I’m amazed at how, suddenly, everyone I need to help me make it happen is turning up out of the woodwork, so to speak. The people behind Pentridge Voices have been supportive from the moment they found out about this memoir through one of my posts on Instagram. One of them invited me to a book launch they were having. I explained that I live much too far away from Melbourne these days; then asked, out of curiosity, if this was a PV publication. She said no, self-published by the author, but she was the cover designer. ‘Aha!’ I said. ‘I need a cover designer.’ We started a conversation, tossed around ideas…. I had morning tea with a friend-and-neighbour. In telling her what I’d been up to lately, I said I’d found a cover designer for the memoir, and was still trying to decide on the artwork. Then it dawned on me. ‘You’re an artist!’ Long story short, she was thrilled to be hired for this commission, and has already delivered the resu

So whatever’s happening with that memoir, then?

Don’t worry, I’m impatient to get it out there into the world. But I also want it as good as I can get it.  So this is what's been happening: Editing I’ve expanded it a bit, including some things I didn’t at first. It’s a bit of a hybrid, both social history and personal story, so it’s tricky getting the right balance between the two, while taking care of readers’ expectations so they know from the beginning it will be both. I think I was a little too cautious at first. Now it’s having a really final proofread and edit … hoping there won’t turn out to be another ‘really truly final’ one and so on. But no, I think this is it. I put it aside for a few weeks and didn’t look at it, trying not to even think about it, so as to come back with a fresh eye. It was a good decision; I’m picking up stuff now that I might not have seen without the break. Cover I think I’ve found my cover designer! Which is very exciting. It’s an area in which I have no expertise, so I needed someone. She’s n

The Perils of Publishing

(Decisions, decisions …) ‘Why did you decide that you should self-publish the works in question?’ asked a friend — meaning the Pentridge memoir and related volumes I have planned.   ‘Did you send out manuscripts and get rejections?’ [No.] ‘Or was it more to do with not wanting to be edited by others? Or something else?’ Another expressed the opinion that self-publishing is, in practical terms, no more useful than vanity publishing these days and that my memoir (which she has read) ‘deserves better7’. Well, it’s like this – One reason I decided to self-publish the Pentridge memoir and the spin-off chapbook is that I realised quite belatedly that I had prepared them that way — because I’m used to doing that. In recent years I’ve mostly self-published. Well, sort of.   I had a great collaboration with a small publishing and design firm in America, run by online friends with whom I first connected through poetry. I was employed to do some editing work for them, and when I wanted to create