A new member of the team: say hi to Hannah

The lovely smiling face in this photo is Hannah the Editorial Assistant.  She's a new recruit to Team Keith at St Martin's Press, which is probably why she's smiling. 

Hannah's holding the very first jacket to come from the printer for my next book.  This is the first time I've seen the entire jacket too.

I have a feeling this is Hannah's first foray into the wild and wacky world of publishing.  I wish her many long years of success, and hope she manages to keep her sanity more or less intact.  Welcome Hannah!

Come say hi at Abbey's Bookshop

If you're in Sydney on November 30, I would love to see you here, so I can get to meet some of the lovely people who read this blog.  Also, it's in a good cause; all funds will go to the Sydney chapter of Zonta International, whose purpose is to raise the status of women around the world. 

Abbey's is one the largest, oldest and most successful indie bookstores in Australia.  They opened their doors for business when I was 5 years old, and they're still going strong.  They're right opposite the Queen Victoria Building, very easy to get to.  


 Abbey’s Bookshop and the Zonta Club of Sydney
present the Twenty-Eighth Annual

Meet the Authors Evening

on Wednesday 30th November 2011 (6pm to 8pm)
at Abbey’s Bookshop
131 York Street, Sydney (opposite the Queen Victoria Building).

Funds raised from door sales, plus 10% of sales on the evening,
will be donated to the Zonta Service Project 2011.

Refreshments will be served and authors are happy to chat and sign copies of their books.

Authors attending:

LENNY BARTULIN                      author of the Jack Susko mysteries A Deadly Business, The Black Russian and De Luxe

JOHN M GREEN                            author of the thrillers Nowhere Man and Born to Run

GARY CORBY                               author of the historical crime novel The Pericles Commission

NICHOLAS HASLUCK                author of the political thriller Dismissal

STUART LITTLEMORE              author of Harry Curry: Counsel of Choice

ANDREW TINK                             author of Lord Sydney: His Life and Times and William Charles Wentworth: Australia’s Greatest Native Son

MICHAEL WILDING                   author of Wild and Woolley: A Publishing Memoir, Superfluous Men and The Prisoner of Mount Warning

Take this opportunity to choose some great Christmas presents
and know you are also donating 10% to the Zonta Service Project.

Cost is $5 per person - you may pay at the door.

Abbey’s Bookshop   131 York St, Sydney NSW 2000
Ph 9264 3111   Fx 9264 8993   books@abbeys.com.au   www.abbeys.com.au

Publishing: the brutal reality

This morning I woke to find that the following conversation had taken place while I slept.  I'm passing this on (with permission) to show you the tense dynamics of the publishing world.  What you're about to read is a for real, blow-by-blow dialogue between one of the greatest and most successful editors in publishing, and one the most renowned literary agents.  I have not changed a word.  

Keith the Editor:
Hi Gary:

     So production has released the original copy-edited ms. of The Pericles Commission back to us.  Traditionally, original manuscripts were returned to the author – for reasons both long and no longer nearly as germane in this digital world – but nowadays most authors prefer that we simply recycle them at our end.  However, if you want this back for posterity – or some authors include the ms. in the papers that they donate to an archive somewhere – just let Hannah know and she’ll send it on to you via slow boat to Australia winged steed.  Or something like it.

Janet the Shark:
Or you could send it by smelly donkey over to FPLM.  I have several you can borrow if you don't keep a stable anymore.
Keith the Editor:
Okey dokey.  Over to you.  As soon as we can find a spare llama to port it over to you on.  Or the postal service, for as long as it lasts.
Hannah the Editorial Assistant:
I've located a menagerie of animals to escort the MS back to you-- it will be on its way soon! 
So that's how publishing works!  Seriously, these guys are the ones who should be writing the funny books.

The Ionia Sanction gets a starred review from Publishers Weekly

You can tell release day is fast approaching, because the reviews are coming in. This is a period in an author's life pretty much guaranteed to reduce even the most stable human beings to nervous wrecks, but so far I've lucked out. The shiny red star next to the review is the publishing world's equivalent of a cherry on top.

 The Ionia Sanction

In Corby’s excellent second mystery set in fifth-century B.C.E. Greece (after 2010’s The Pericles Commission), professional investigator Nicolaos, a protégé of Athens’ leading citizen, Pericles, looks into the death of Thorion, the “proxenos” or consular representative for the city of Ephesus in Athens. Thorion was found hanging in his private office after Pericles received a note in which the dead man confessed to betraying his position and his city.
 Nicolaos soon finds sufficient evidence of homicide to persuade his boss that further inquiry is warranted. Pericles’ certainty that a scroll stolen from Thorion is crucial to the safety of Athens sets in motion a complex series of events that sends Nicolaos to Ephesus.

  Despite the high stakes involved, Corby is able to integrate humor appropriately into the action. His lead, like Steven Saylor’s Roman sleuth, Gordianus, manages to retain his integrity, despite being buffeted by powerful forces and morally challenging situations.

The Ionia Sanction: the Oz cover

Hot off the virtual presses, thanks to Belinda the Publisher.  You'll notice a similarity to the Oz cover of Pericles Commission.  Consistent look and feel helps people recognize books in a series.  I don't know where the coin comes from on this one, and I wasn't brave enough to ask after the trouble I caused over the coin on the Pericles Commission cover.  This cover will be appearing, complete with printed pages behind it, on Australian bookstore shelves in January 2012.

The US cover is the orange one to the right.  The US edition's out in November 2011; just 2 months to go.

It feels weird having multiple books with my name on them!

In charge of a restive horse

Since time immemorial, the internet has been a source of urban legend.  A certain proportion of these myths refer to ancient road rules involving horses, laws that are still in force a century after their use-by date.  They almost inevitably prove to have been repealed decades ago, much to everyone's disappointment.

It is with great pleasure therefore that I give you section 303A of the current road use regulations of the state of Queensland, of the nation known as Australia:


303A Giving way to restive horses(1) This section applies if a person in charge of a restive horse gives a signal, by raising a hand and pointing to the horse, to the driver of a motor vehicle on a road.
(2) The driver must--
(a) drive the vehicle as near as practicable to the far left side of the road; and
(b) stop the vehicle's engine; and
(c) not move the vehicle until there is no reasonable likelihood that the noise of the motor, or the movement of the vehicle, will aggravate the restiveness of the horse.
Maximum penalty--20 penalty units.
(3) In this section--
in charge of includes leading, driving or riding.
This is exactly my 400th post, by the way.  How the time flies.

You too can be a porn site!

The people who control the internet have decided, in their near-infinite wisdom, to create a new domain type.  This one is .XXX, and there's no prize for guessing what that refers to.

As we all know, porn sites like to hijack well known names.  I'll never forget the day that I decided, while doing a technology demonstration in front of hundreds of people, to use the Office of the US President for my example.  I typed whitehouse.com by reflex, instead of the somewhat more correct whitehouse.gov.  It turned out that whitehouse.com was a porn site, as I and the hundreds of men and women watching soon discovered.  I apologize (again) to everyone who was there.

So, name hijacking on the new .XXX domains is an obvious problem.  To counter this, the Gnomes of the Net have declared a sunrise period of 52 days, which began yesterday, September 7, during which people can block use of their brand names.

And there's the rub.  They're only allowing you to block use of your name if it's a registered trademark.  If you're Microsoft, you can prevent a porn site using microsoft.xxx.  Although that would be ironic since micro and soft probably aren't at the forefront of desirable concepts when you're looking for porn.  But if, however, you want to block GaryCorby.xxx, just to pick a random example, then you can't do it.

I'm fairly sure the Gnomes haven't thought this through.  Maybe Hollywood celebrities trademark their names, but the vast majority of people who might get googled from time to time don't.    A porn site could register hundreds of mid-grade names and point them to the same salacious location.

So I'm stuck.  And so are you, if you want to block your name.

Svante Paabo: DNA clues to our inner neanderthal

Svante Pääbo is the Einstein of human genetic origins.  He and his team have pulled ancient DNA from some unbelievably old human fossils, and used it to determine relationships that otherwise could be nothing but speculation.  Here he is in a fascinating talk where he describes, very simply, what they're up to.

A top-notch crime caper!

There's a certain degree of fatalism required for any author waiting on first reviews of a book, so it is with great pleasure and some small relief that I tell you the first review has appeared for The Ionia Sanction.

 This from the latest issue of the Library Journal:
Corby, Gary. The Ionia Sanction. Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Nov. 2011. c.304p. maps. ISBN 9780312599010. $24.99. Mix one part ancient history, one part clever and contemporary banter, and one part action, and you have a top-notch crime caper. Corby brings back his dynamic crime-­detecting couple, Nicolaos and Diotima, for their second outing (after The Pericles Commission). Pericles dispatches Nicolaos abroad to Ephesus to return a slave girl who’s really a government official’s daughter and to retrieve a stolen document that should explain why an Athenian diplomat was hanged. The arrogance of Athenian native Nicolaos is quickly dashed when he’s confronted with new customs in this region controlled by Persia. Luckily, the charming Diotima paves the way. Layers of intrigue pile up, and our duo can see that time may run out before they can smuggle critical information—and get themselves—back to Athens.VERDICT The mix of real history with a crime romp makes Corby’s sequel go down easily. The author deftly concocts a Mel Brooks type of history. Highly recommended for those looking for humor with their crime detecting.
If you're wondering how reviews can be done for books that haven't released yet (Ionia Sanction is out in November), it's because the publisher prints advance reader copies, known in publishing lingo as ARCs.  The ARCs are printed as a small job lot before final corrections.

Here's the link to all the reviews and the official page.  I notice my friend and fellow author Joelle Charbonneau is in there too for her second book, Skating Over The Line.  Joelle and I seem to be in lock-step with our writing.