Almost launched!

Two days to go!

Penguins under the porch will be officially launched at 6pm on 31st May, in sunny Oamaru (where else??).

I finally have a copy of the book in my hands. I called in to see Toni Hayman, Operations Manager at Publishers Distribution when I was in Auckland, and she kindly handed over my very own copy.

I opened it at random and found a typo.

Separately, I found out that Renzo Mino, manager of Kurow Winery, isn't Italian: he was born in Uruguay. Sorry, Renzo! All I can say is, you won't be described as Italian in the ebook edition.

I think this is what it means to be an author. You try to get everything right, all of the time; but then you don't. 

In better news, I made it onto page 9 of NZ Today! Thanks to the editor, Robyn Dallimore, I've been able to tell the story of my first visit to Oamaru and the much longer stay five years later. I talk about Allan Dick - founder of NZ Today - and his wife Keri, aka The Navigator, as well as Charlotte Evans, New Zealand's first female novelist. Muttonbird and whitebait are in there, too. One reader (possibly "lucky reader" - it's not for me to say) will get a free copy of Penguins under the porch simply by sending an email before the closing date of 30th July.

Obviously, I'm hoping a few people will decide to buy the book. It's already on sale at Piccadilly Books, amongst others. Paper Plus in Oamaru are supporting the book launch on Thursday and have plenty of copies in stock (thank you, Lisa!). And in just a few minutes from now, I am going to meet Denise and Kate at Whitcoulls' shop in Dunedin. It's so exciting: I get to talk about Oamaru all day long!

Coming up over the next few days: coffee with the mayor, Gary Kircher; lunch with Nathalie Brown, journalist extraordinaire; a chat with Margaret Munro about Tourism Waitaki; a trip to Timaru to meet Rachel and Lynda at Whitcoulls; and opportunities to catch up with friends I made last time I was in town: Helen Stead, Allan and Keri, Bruce Comfort ... the list is endless.

I hope to meet Helen Jansen, too. I am only sorry we didn't meet before, because she and Iain Clark have made an incomparable contribution to present-day Oamaru. They are, respectively, La Falconesse and Agent Darling, the true, the original, the most important Steampunks of all. Helen has helped ensure that Friday's Fire and Steam event will go ahead, helped by a band of very willing volunteers. And that's just the beginning. From that moment on, we're in for a treat: it's Steampunk NZ Festival Weekend!