Marchetta and Lanagan vie for Sakura Medal

The nominees for the 2010 Sakura Medal have been announced in Japan, with Australian authors making the list.

In the High School category, Melina Marchetta (for her Finnikin of the Rock), Joanne Horniman (My Candlelight Novel) and Margo Lanagan (Tender Morsels) join Boomerang Books’ own William Kostakis (Loathing Lola) in the running for the Medal.

Japanese international students vote for their favourite nominee. The winners will be announced on April 28, 2010.

Margo Lanagan will be appearing on the Boomerang Books Blog early in the New Year.

William’s note: I’m deeply honoured to have been selected on the list, especially among such fine company… It’s surreal to see my name beside so many authors I grew up with, admired, and aspired to be… Now, here’s hoping an Aussie brings it home! 🙂

EXCLUSIVE: George Ivanoff Guest Blog

Let me start by saying that computer games are not the downfall of society, as we know it. Our world will continue to turn, society will continue to function, we will still play sports, kids will still go to school and learn, human beings will still interact with one another and people will still read books. Just like television did not result in the extinction of literature, computer games will continue to co-exist with the written story.

In fact, the two can go together quite nicely.

There are many book fans who like to play computer games. As a kid, I was obsessed with Space Invaders and Galaga (primitive by today’s standards) and these days I’m certainly not immune to the allure of the Wii (Snow Ride on Rayman Raving Rabbids is awesome). And I’m sure that there are many computer game enthusiasts who also like to read. At least I hope so … ’cause my new book, Gamers’ Quest, is set in a computer game world and I think it’s the sort of book that will appeal to teens who are into gaming.

When writing science fiction or fantasy, an author is often challenged with the task of creating an entire world. With Gamers’ Quest, I was not only writing science fiction (with a healthy dose of fantasy elements as well), I was also trying to tap into the world of computer gaming. The thing is… how do you capture the feel of a computer game within the pages of a novel?

Step One was to create a world with the pace and excitement of a game — a world in which danger lurked around every corner; a world with a variety of fantastical challenges and opponents, from powerful mages and fierce dragons to machinegun-toting guards and sophisticated security systems with trip lasers and automated drones; a world in which players embarked on a perilous quest.

This world then needed protagonists who readers could identify with … the sort of players they would want to be if they were playing the game.  Enter Tark and Zyra, two teenage thieves — good-looking, fast, clever, determined and skillful in a fight.

The book also needed to have a sense of fun — of not taking itself too seriously. So while Gamers’ Quest is not a humourous novel, it does have an element of tongue-in-cheek unseriousness (yes, I know there’s no such word … but I like it).

There are lots of little things I added to try and capture the computer game flavour. There are references to different classes and levels of player (knight second class; level 13 mage).

The first part of the novel is set within the computer-game world. It is non-stop action, and there is no sense of night and day. The characters simply progress from one challenge to the next, without sleeping or eating, with no real sense of time, until they reach their goal. Once the characters have crossed over into an ordinary suburban environment, I felt okay about slowing things down a little, allowing them to eat and sleep, and having a sense of days passing.

So, were my endeavors successful? Does Gamers’ Quest capture the feel of a computer game? Will gamers flock to bookstores, clamoring for a copy? Well, dear reader/gamer, that is up to you. The CG ball is now in your virtual court.

William’s note: As a gamer and reader myself, I have to say, that George really did capture the sensation of being inside a video game. There isn’t an air of “older person writing for young people” about the whole thing, which is great, because us young’uns, especially us cynical gamer young’uns, can smell a fake a mile off. Gamers’ Quest passed my test with flying colours, and it’d make a great companion for the new Mario game under the tree this Christmas. 🙂

Holiday reading for business people

Holidays are a great time to catch up on the novel-reading you missed out on during the year, but it’s always good to dip your toes back in the business waters, so that when you get back to work, you hit the ground running. Here are twelve of Boomerang Books’ hand-picked holiday reads for job seekers, managers and business people:

What Color is Your Parachute? by Richard Nelson Bolles

There is no book that is more vital to job-hunting in this economy than “What Color is Your Parachute?” It has been honored and celebrated for nearly 40 years, but in our current global recession, the reason why it is so popular becomes painfully apparent: It works! People buy the book because it really, really works! Every year it has more timely and more helpful information than the year before, because it is updated, and often dramatically rewritten, for the current job market.

Buy it here…


Who Moved My Cheese by Dr Spencer Johnson

Cheese is a metaphor for what you want in life – be it a good job, a loving relationship, money or possessions, health or spiritual peace of mind. And the maze is where you look for what you want – the organization you work in, or the family or community where you live. This book shows how to anticipate change, adapt quickly, enjoy the change and be ready for more, so that you suffer from less stress and enjoy more success in life.

Buy it here…


How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Millions of people around the world have – and continue to – improve their lives based on the teachings of Dale Carnegie. In “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, Carnegie offers practical advice and techniques, in his exuberant and conversational style, for how to get out of a mental rut and make life more rewarding. His advice has stood the test of time and will teach you how to: make friends quickly and easily; increase your popularity; win people to your way of thinking; enable you to win new clients and customers; become a better speaker and a more entertaining conversationalist; and, arouse enthusiasm among your colleagues. This book will turn around your relationships and improve your dealings with all the people in your life.

Buy it here…


The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber

A completely revised edition of the groundbreaking bestseller that provides the key ingredients to developing a prosperous small business venture.

Buy it here…


The One Minute Manager by Kenneth Blanchard and Spencer Johnson

Starting from the assumption that people are every company’s most important resource, this book sets out three simple steps to getting the best from them and making every company run more efficiently.

Buy it here…


Purple Cow by Seth Godin

You’re either a Purple Cow or you’re not. You’re either remarkable or invisible. Make your choice. What do Apple, Starbucks, Dyson and Pret a Manger have in common? How do they achieve spectacular growth, leaving behind former tried-and-true brands to gasp their last? The old checklist of P’s used by marketers – Pricing, Promotion, Publicity – aren’t working anymore. The golden age of advertising is over. It’s time to add a new P – the Purple Cow. Purple Cow describes something phenomenal, something counterintuitive and exciting and flat-out unbelievable. In his new bestseller, Seth Godin urges you to put a Purple Cow into everything you build, and everything you do, to create something truly noticeable. It’s a manifesto for anyone who wants to help create products and services that are worth marketing in the first place.

Buy it here…


Losing My Virginity by Richard Branson

Compelling. Brilliant. Revealing. Funny. Inspirational. Extraordinary. Sir Richard Branson’s amazing memoir is now updated to include the effect on the Virgin Group of 11 September, his views on the war in Iraq, the rise of Virgin Blue and the flotation of Virgin Mobile. Discover how Virgin is moving into the US domestic flight market and why he set up the charitable body Virgin Uniteo. As ever, his thirst for challenge is unquenched. Sir Richard reveals the thrills of the world record attempt with the Virgin Atlantic Global Flyer and taking Virgin to the final frontier as Virgin Galactic are poised for a new era of commercial space travel. Revealing Sir Richard’s unique story, his personal philosophy on life, the Virgin brand and business, LOSING MY VIRGINITY is an autobiography without equal.

Buy it here…


The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss

Tim Ferriss has trouble defining what he does for a living. Depending on when you ask this controversial Princeton University guest lecturer, he might answer: ‘I race motorcycles in Europe’, ‘I ski in the Andes’, ‘I scuba dive in Panama’, ‘I dance tango in Buenos Aires’. He has spent more than five years learning the secrets of the ‘New Rich’, a fast-growing subculture that has abandoned the ‘deferred-life plan’ and instead mastered the new currencies – time and mobility – to create a new way of living. Why wait a lifetime for your retirement when you can enjoy luxury now? Whether your dream is escaping the rat race, experiencing first class world travel, earning a monthly five-figure income with no management, or just living more and working less, this book is the blueprint.

Buy it here…


Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki

Argues that a good education and a secure job are not guarantees for financial success, and describes six guidelines for making money work for you.

Buy it here…


Problogger by Darren Rowse and Chris Garrett

Ready to toss it all in and run your own home business?  This book will teach you how to make over $100K per annum by blogging.  Written by a Melburnian who has become one of the world’s leading bloggers.

Buy it here…


Six Thinking Hats by Edward de Bono

Edward de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats is the groundbreaking psychology manual that has inspired organisations and individuals all over the world. De Bono’s innovative guide divides the process of thinking into six parts, symbolized by the six hats, and shows how the hats can dramatically transform the effectiveness of meetings and discussions. This is a book to open your mind, unleash your creativity and change the way you think about thinking.

Buy it here…


How to Write and Talk to Selection Criteria by Dr Ann Villiers

The bible for people who regularly respond to government vacancies.  This book will show you how to write brilliant responses to selection criteria.

Buy it here…