Tuesday, September 27, 2005


Trent Jamieson, guest blogging.

I'm part of a critiquing group called ROR.

Once a year we get together and intensively critique each other's novels/projects. Perhaps the most high profile book that was worked on at ROR is Margo Lanagan's "Black Juice". I can't claim any credit on that one because I didn't start going until the following year. The critiquing is fun. It's hard work, but they're an excellent bunch of writers and they all feel like family - and like family, you can be brutally honest with them and they with you. If you're going to bother with a critique group that is extremely important, otherwise it's a waste of time.

Once we finish the critiquing we have a couple (well a lot) of glasses of wine and then solve crimes. We've a bit of reputation as case closers these days, with Australia's strong anti-defamation laws I can't say much here, but you may remember a certain case involving a severed head, three monkeys, and a bottle green Volvo - that was us.

So far members of ROR have won, or been nominated for, numerous Aurealis awards, and a whole host of published novels have come out of it. They're my family, and every time we get together I remember that, and miss them all terribly when we're done.

ROR is made up of Cory Daniells (Rowena Cory Lindquist), Marianne de Pierres, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Richard Harland, Margo Lanagan, and Maxine McArthur.

I'll start with Margo Lanagan. She's just about finished a novel called "Little Peach" which is set in the same world as her story from "Black Juice", "Singing my Sister Down". I'm rather looking forward to reading it. Margo is the forensics expert of the team, often uncovering the vital clue, be it a splash of blood on the chandelier or a single hair in the carpet.

Cory Daniells (Rowena Cory Lindquist) has been a part of the Australian SF scene since the seventies, and is a fine writer of SF, Fantasy and Horror. One of the most accomplished, driven people I know, she has just signed with agent John Jarrold on the strength of a book critiqued at ROR. Rowena is the logical thinker of the bunch, often solving a crime purely through the power of reason.

Marianne De Pierres is a fine writer of post-cyberpunk action adventure. Her first books, the Parrish Plessis series, were an excellent trilogy of cyberpunk adventure set in a futuristic Gold Coast. I don't know anyone who is as good at pacing a novel, she is also wonderfully adroit at compressing information, and back story. Marianne scatters ideas enough for most people's novels on every page of hers, which is why I am eagerly awaiting her new Space Opera series "The Gods Way". We've looked at this at ROR and it's good, extremely good. Orbit publishes her in the UK, along with Charles Stross and Iain M. Banks, and there's a good reason why she's part of that list. Marianne is also ROR's crime fighting muscle, in a fight, you get behind her - well I do anyway.

Tansy Rayner Roberts, has published two very funny novels, and is currently working on something much, much darker. Think art nouveau fantasy with teeth and boots, but not boot wearing teeth, which is a tad disappointing. When this book finds a publisher it will make a splash, Tansy has a truly unique voice.

Check out her blog at http://www.livejournal.com/users/cassiphone/ it's one of my regular blogish indulgences. The blog occasionally details our crime fighting adventures - when we can get clearance, like I said, our anti-defamation laws are very tough - think of Tansy as Watson to Rowena's Holmes.

Richard Harland has produced some of the finest dark fantasy in Australia. He is also in possession of an extremely twisted sense of humour - which can be seen in his Aurealis Award winning novel "The Black Crusade" . He is currently working on a magnificent YA novel called "Juggernaut" it's everything a good steam punk novel should be, and then some. When it comes to crime fighting, he's pretty much of the hardboiled variety, always ready to kick down a door, or wink at the winsome secretary, while secretly reading their files.

Maxine McArthur is writing a bunch of interesting novels at the moment, including a stunning series of fantasy novels based in medieval Japan and a series of detective stories set in Edo Japan. Her Aurealis Award winning novel "Less than Human" is a fascinating near future murder mystery set in Japan and will delight any reader with more than a passing interest in crime fiction, Japanese cults, or Manga. Maxine is the legwork, thorough thinking, kind of crime fighter. She knows the streets (no matter how mean) better than anyone. She also has an excellent right cross.

Trent Jamieson (hey that's me, writing in third person mode) is just about to finish his novel Roil, it's a Steampunk zombie adventure tale about the end of a world. Trent gets the coffee and usually says something inane, once the case has been cracked, that makes everybody laugh indulgently.

Our webpage lives at: http://www.corydaniells.com/

Follow the links - there's pictures and everything.


At 3:35 PM, Anonymous Kate Eltham said...

Ha! You're so full of it, Jamieson. Volvo never manufactured a bottle green model!

You forget to talk about your wonderful, magnificent, luscious collection of short stories, Reserved for Travelling Shows, soon to be released by Prime!

luv, Kate.

At 3:54 PM, Blogger Tansy said...

Heh, heh. Remember the case with the Persian cat, the Swedish triplets and the scimitar?

Love you, Trent. I want 'art nouveau fantasy with teeth and boots' on my back cover blurb - hurry up and get more famous so it can do me the most good. :)

I said this to Margo after she dubbed me 'Queen of Nouns,' and look how her career's taken off since then!

At 5:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trent sweetness,

not sure whether to laugh or blush.


At 10:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, Kate, that was one of the clues.

Tansy, I'll never forget that case, I bought three flat whites, a caramel soy latte, a long black, and two cappuccinos one with nutmeg instead of cinnamon.

Marianne, as long as you're not insulted I'm happy.


At 11:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trent, you forgot to detail the costumes we all wear while crime-solving!



At 10:36 PM, Anonymous Cat Sparks said...

Trent, tell us about the secret clubhouse and the invisible tattoos that only show up under the light of a triple eclipse...

At 1:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, everyone wears black, except me, I wear - well swim in, actually - these multi-coloured Hawaiian t-shirts. Tansy's outfit is a rather couture velvet number.

Cat, we have this secret clubhouse and invisible tattoos that only show up under the light of a triple eclipse, mine is a tattoo of a tortoise.


At 1:48 PM, Blogger Steve Austin said...

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