Tuesday, 27 May 2014


Hi folks!  Just a quickie update to let you know about the Every Word blog tour, which has started right now - as in today!  There'll be giveaways, interviews, guest posts and more, so if you're keen to follow Every Word's progress through the blogosphere, go check it out:

http://speconspecfic.com/, guest post and giveaway, 28-05-2014 
www.writtenwordworlds.wordpress.com, review and giveaway, 28-05-2014
www.alphareader.blogspot.com, interview and giveaway competition, 02-06-2014
www.asupersunnyspot.blogspot.com, review and giveaway competition, 02-06-2014
http://www.cerealreaders.blogspot.com.au/, interview, 03-06-2014
www.novelsontherun.blogspot.com, review and giveaway competition, 05-06-2014
http://aussieownedandread.com, interview and review, 11-06-2014
http://www.thetalescompendium.com, review, 11-06-2014
http://theyabooklover.blogspot.com.au/, review and giveaway competition, 16-05-2014
http://rachybee-the-rest-is-still-unwritten.blogspot.com.au/, review and giveaway competition, 17-06-2014
http://www.fictionalthoughts.com, interview, 20-06-2014
http://yamadness.blogspot.com.au/, review, 30-06-2014

And in related news, we've confirmed that yes, there will be a nice little party here in Castlemaine to celebrate Every Word's release, and to thank all the friends who've given me a leg up over the past year :) The party will be at Castlemaine Library on Friday 20 June, and it'll kick off at 5pm with a reading and Q&A, plus a giveaway draw, and then we'll all move out to the Library foyer to rage on after 6pm... Champagne may well be involved, and definitely cake!  And I have some sweet magnets and library bags to hand out as door prizes...  If you're in town that night, please feel free to come along :)

(and yeah, that's me and my two youngest boys - no champagne for them, but they're excited about the cake!)

xx Ellie

Saturday, 24 May 2014

GIVEAWAY WINNER & CRIME REPORT - Guest Post: Angela Savage

Hi folks, I've been battling our WOEFUL - let me just repeat that, WOEFUL - internets for the last few days, but I'm finally able to tell you who won the Every Word giveaway, phew!

So without further ado...Elspeth La Morte, congratulations!  You've won the first prize of two signed books - Every Breath and brand spankin' new-Every Word, as well as a handy magnifying glass! (very useful at crime scenes).  Please contact me at elliemarney[at]gmail[dot]com with your mailing details, and I will send off your lovely package :)

And...because my kids couldn't stand the idea of only pulling one name out of the hat, they came up with the idea of a second prize!  Ha!  So...SA Jeffrey, you have won the consolation prize of an Every Word fridge magnet (it's very pretty), and badges and stickers.  Again, please contact me at the email above to receive your winnings!

Now I know it’s been a while since I had a friend over to visit for the YA Crime Report, but it's been darn hard - there just aren't enough people in the world writing YA Crime!  But I've been hankering for a visitor to share cuppas and cake with, so it’s with great delight that I introduce a good mate of mine, Angela Savage.

Angela writes crime for adults (which we won’t hold against her), but she’s been in the crime biz for a long time.  She won the 2004 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript for her first book, Behind the Night Bazaar.  She’s also won the Scarlet Stiletto Award, and been shortlisted twice for the Ned Kelly Awards, and her central character, Jayne Keeney, is a kickbutt detective.  Angela’s going to be standing up for me at the Every Word launch, as we send the next part of Rachel and Mycroft’s adventures out into the world, so I thought I’d like to introduce her!

Angela and I first got to know each other through Sisters in Crime, and through our similar experiences living and travelling in Asia for long periods of time.  She’s released three books – Behind the Night Bazaar, The Half Child, and most recently, The Dying Beach – featuring the cool, hard-drinking, Thai-speaking detective Jayne Keeney.  All of her books have an amazing sense of location, with lush gorgeous backdrops in Thailand, and an incredible understanding of local culture and custom.  Her books have a consistent theme of social justice, and plenty of action and wit to keep you furiously turning pages.

So please put your hands together for the lovely Angela Savage!!

Hi Angela, welcome to the blog!  How’s things going over your way?

Thanks Ellie. It’s great to be here. All’s well over my way. If I could just squeeze a few more hours out of every day, things would be perfect.

What was it – a book, a detective, an author – that first turned you on to crime writing?

I have to confess that I didn’t set out to write crime fiction. My first attempt at a novel was a thinly disguised autobiographical account of the adventures of a twenty-something Australian woman in Laos in the early 1990s. Big on textual detail but light on plot. I’d turned to short story writing as a way of honing my plotting skills, when a friend alerted me to the Sisters in Crime Scarlet Stiletto Awards. This was 1998 and I submitted a story called ‘The Mole on the Temple’ about an Australian expatriate PI based in Bangkok investigating a classic card swindle. The story won third prize, at which point I started thinking about writing crime fiction.

The more I thought about it, the more I realised crime was the perfect genre for the ideas I wanted to explore. Cultural misunderstandings are a rich vein for dramatic tension as well as humour, and working cross-culturally is a lot like being a detective. An outsider is always trying to figure out the big picture from a small set of clues, to distinguish a reliable source from one trying to take them for a ride, and searching for meanings lost in translation.

Besides, I’d always enjoyed reading crime fiction. Some of my favourite authors at the time – whose work I consider influential on my early efforts – include Sara Paretsky, Carol O’Connell, Michael Dibdin and Martin Cruz Smith.

Jayne is a great character – cool-headed, tough, intelligent, plus she can drink hard men under the table, and she has a passionate, justice-driven side.  I’m often asked if Rachel Watts, my character in the Every series, is anything like me, and the answer is always (has to be) ‘a little bit’.  So how much of Jayne is in you?

Hah! I actually wrote a post about whether Jayne Keeney and I would get along if we met. I know a lot of readers see Jayne as me (it was a mistake to give her black curly hair like mine but, at the time, I couldn’t imagine myself inside the head of a blonde). And we certainly have things in common – love of Southeast Asia, for example, as well as taste in crime fiction. But Jayne is less idealistic and much tougher than me.

How much research do you do for your novels?  Did you have to make another trip to Thailand to get the details right for The Dying Beach?

I do a lot of research for my novels. I read about Thai politics, culture, geography and language. I research technical aspects of crimes, too, such as whether a bottle would break when it connects with a skull (rarely) and how to assess whether someone has died from deliberate or accidental drowning (very difficult).

I’m also a firm believer in the value of field research. I first got the idea for the novel that became The Dying Beach while on holiday in Krabi in 2009, and I returned with the family in tow in 2011 expressly to do field research for the book. That my commitment to research requires me to travel to exotic tropical destinations is just one of many ways I suffer for my art.

Something I noticed about your books is that not only are your locations real, and the experiences of your detective, Jayne Keeney, authentic, but – just like real life – the resolutions of your stories aren’t always neat.  Things aren’t always resolved in a conventionally formulaic way, although justice is usually served.  Have you done that on purpose?  What other elements of the standard crime story do you like to play around with?

Great questions, Ellie. I like a degree of ambiguity in the books I read and I aim for that in what I write, too. And given the premise of an Australian expatriate working in Thailand, to my mind, there are simply too many obstacles, too many variables, to get away with neat or conventional resolutions.

I like the challenge of bending the rules of the genre, while also being aware that when you write crime fiction, you enter an unspoken pact with the reader to see that justice is served, one way or the other.

My first novel, Behind the Night Bazaar, is no whodunit: the reader knows the facts of the case early on – long before Jayne does, in fact. The suspense and drama come from the ‘whydunit’ and in finding out how justice will be served.

My second novel, The Half-Child, is more of a ‘howdunit’, while The Dying Beach is probably the closest thing I’ve written to a whodunit, complete with liberal red herrings.

I also enjoying playing with gender and cultural stereotypes. This is particularly the case in Jayne’s relationship with her business partner and lover, Rajiv Patel. She is the impulsive, obstinate, at times reckless one in the duo, Rajiv the reflective, cautious and considered partner – the Watson to her Holmes.

Who are your favourite crime authors, and why?

I like books that are political but not didactic, gripping but not gratuitous, with characters and scenarios that are credible but not predictable. Above all, I like good writing. Authors whose work meet these criteria for me include Megan Abbott, Kate Atkinson, Honey Brown, Raymond Chandler, Garry Disher, Wendy James, Adrian McKinty, Leigh Redhead and David Whish-Wilson.

Finally – and this is a bit of a self-serving question, I’ll admit! - can you tell us a little bit about the next Jayne Keeney story?  (have you thought that far ahead?) I confess I have a soft spot for Rajiv, Jayne’s boyfriend - will Jayne and Rajiv be able to sort things out, or is Jayne a bit too much woman for him to handle?

The next Jayne Keeney novel, tentatively titled A Tiger’s Heart, is set in Bangkok in 1997 during the financial crisis. I actually started writing this book after The Half-Child and got 30,000 words in before deciding this was not the third, but the fourth book in the series. So I set it aside and wrote The Dying Beach instead. Now to find the time to finish it…

Thanks so much for coming to visit Angela!  Can’t wait to see you again at the Every Word launch :)

Thanks for having me, Ellie. Special thanks for the honour of inviting me to launch your book.

 Can't wait!  Speaking of the launch (which seems to be all I'm speaking about to people at the moment), invitations are going out right this minute to the Melbourne launch for Every Word.  If you'd like to come along - and you're certainly most welcome! - it will be at Readings Carlton, on Thursday 12 June at 6.30pm.  There'll be drinks, nibbles, door prizes, readings, signings - basically the whole pavlova.  Please do come!  I'd love to see you there :)

xx Ellie

Friday, 9 May 2014


Salutations!  The sky is overcast with rain, and the sun is nowhere to be seen.  All the leaves in our yard need sweeping up, and we’re going through firewood faster than we can cut it, with the wood fire stove blazing to keep out the cold.  But I’m still in a good mood!

That’s because I’ve got a giveaway happening for Every Word :)  Here’s the gorgeous prize pack – I’ve got a lovely brand spanking new copy of Every Word, hot off the press, as well as a copy of the Australian edition of Every Breath, and a snazzy magnifying glass, so you can conduct your own investigations.  Very shiny!

As you know, I’m kind of an old-fashioned chick, so I’m doing it the usual old-fashioned way – if you’d like to enter the giveaway, you can do one of three things:

1. tweet me @elliemarney on Twitter, saying you’d like to enter - if you mention Every Word and give me an RT, I’ll enter you twice

2. go across to my Facebook page and comment to let me know you’re keen to enter, and I’ll put you in the hat – if you share the link to the giveaway post, you get two entries

3. leave a comment here on the blog, and into the hat you go!

Good luck to everyone who enters!  I’ll be pulling a name out of the hat (yes, it’s an actual hat, that’s the way I always do it) in two week’s time.  So check back then, and see if you got lucky!

I also wanted to let you know that Every Word is going to be launched into the world on Thursday 12 June, at 6.30pm, at Readings Carlton in Melbourne.  Woot, we’re having a party!  The fantastic Australian crime author, my Sister in Crime mate, Angela Savage, will be there to host the send-off.  There’ll be cake (there has to be cake) and balloons and champagne and door prizes on the night (not a meat tray!)  Copies of the book will be on sale, and there’ll be speeches (not too long) and signing, as well as me blushing, and a lot of general silliness.  If you’d like to join in, you’re very welcome – come and help me celebrate!  You can RSVP at Readings on 9347 6633 or just rock up on the night.

Until then, I’ll be keeping busy with visits to schools, and the Every Word blog tour is coming up very soon, which I’m totally looking forward to.  So far, there’ll be visits to blogs like Speculating on Spec Fic, The Rest is Still Unwritten, Tales of the Inner Book Fanatic, Cereal Readers, the Loony TeenWriter, Tales Compendium, BookProbe Reviews, and many others – stay tuned, and I’ll let you know when and where it’s all happening.

It’s all a bit thrilling!  I’ve been turning my beautiful copy of Every Word over in my hands and looking through it – I’m still pretty amazed that it’s a real book, and by the end of the month it’ll be up on a real shelf.  I can’t wait to share it!

All rightie then, better get back to the rest of the day.  Since the cold weather came back, we’ve started cooking roasts again – roasts!  My fingers smell like garlic and rosemary from preparing today’s.  Have a good week, and I’ll be in touch again soon :)

Xx Ellie 

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Every Breath US Cover

Hi again, I hope you’re all going okay with your respective seasons.  We are nearing the end of autumn here, and all the trees have turned red and gold.  Footy time has begun again, so our indoor washing lines have been strung with once-muddy socks and footy jumpers, and it’s raining heaps.  We’ve started keeping the wood-fire stove on during the day, it’s just getting that cold.  I think it’s going to be an early winter.

I wanted to show you the beautiful US cover for Every Breath, which my Tundra editor, Sylvia, passed on recently.  It’s gorgeous, with a very dark and broody Mycroft, and fingerprints on the title, so here it is!

Every Breath will be released in Canada, North America and the Philippines in September this year, so if you live over that way, make sure to keep an eye out for it.  I’ll let you know more about the release when we’re closer to that time.

So I’m happy to tell you that I finally completed the draft of Every Move, the third book in the series.  It was a bit of a rollercoaster ride, and I did some marathon sessions at the laptop before the end – I did a nine-hour day in an artspace up at the old (de-commissioned) Castlemaine gaol, writing the finale, and then another eleven-hour stint the following day, desperately working through the ending…  You go a bit nuts when you’re writing on a deadline, I’ve discovered.  I’m very grateful to friends who saw me wandering around in my grubby trackies and ugg boots, with crazy hair and a slightly haunted expression…thanks to those people who gave me pats on the back, and encouraged me to keep going, it did make a difference!

I’m especially grateful to writer friends who told me to keep slogging, and most of all to my writing buddy, Ali Daws.  I’ve always been a bit of a lone wolf, as far as writing is concerned – I tend to hole up with my scribbled notes and my laptop, and try to nut it all out myself, and never show anyone what I’m working on.  But I found it kind of impossible to do that with this book.  I really needed someone to talk to, someone who understood the writing process, and knew and loved the characters as much as I do, just to get the final details straight in my head.  Ali was the guy who I sent draft chapters to, who read and critiqued, who gave encouragement at every turn, and who helped me brainstorm solutions to problems, and corners I had written myself into.  I’ve developed a new appreciation for writing buddies, after going through this process with him, and I certainly couldn’t have written the book without him.  Ali – respect.

So now the writing period is over.  Phew!  You’d think it’d be a good time to just sit back and chill out, and maybe watch a bit of telly, or have a nice cuppa in front of the fire and a lovely long sleep.  You’d think wrong.

Now we’re only a month away from Every Word’s release, so things are starting to hot up.  If I’ve neglected to reply to you on email lately, check your inbox – I’m slowly catching up with all my emails.  I’m going to be making badges and swag for giveaways and fun stuff like that.  I’ll be contacting booksellers and schools and libraries about the book’s publication, and maybe organising a few days to drop in and sign things (and if you’d like me to come visit your school or library or bookshop in June, when Every Word’s out, drop me a line).

And of course, I’m going to be organising the launches – there’ll be one in Melbourne in June, at Readings Carlton, and another one here in Castlemaine, to say thanks to local mates.  When I have dates and times and stuff finalised for those things, I’ll let you know.  Anybody and everybody is most welcome to come along.

I’ll be setting up a giveaway here on the blog soon too – maybe more than one - so if you’re keen, stay in touch.

Until then, stay warm and dry (or if you’re in a summery spot, stay cool!), and I’ll talk again soon!

Xx Ellie