Things I cannot tell you

There are a couple of top sekrit things I would love to be able to tell you about. In fact, I am typing this with a chopstick taped to my elbow cause that’s the only way I can trust my fingers not to type out those top sekrit things.

Instead I will tell you some things that are not embargoed:

  • I do not have a middle name.
  • I was born in Paddington Women’s Hospital in Sydney. It is now a block of flats.
  • In Australia primary school is kindie to year 6. High school is years 7 to 12. Or, at least, that’s true of New South Wales. Also we don’t call university “school”, we call it “uni”. Nor do we call it “college.” Colleges are student housing on campus. I am often confused when USians talk about “school” and “college.”
  • I went to two different high schools but about a million different primary schools.
  • If you haven’t read any Georgette Heyer you really really should. I particularly recommend Venetia and Sylvester.
  • And if you haven’t read any Dorothy Dunnett, well, why not? Start with the Lymond Chronicles. The first book is The Game of Kings.
  • I would rather read than write.
  • I think archery is amazing. And would love to learn some day. Sadly, my powers of concentration are fairly crap.
  • I love to cook.
  • There are only 22 million Australians. There are 2.6 million Jamaicans. On the whole, smaller countries are less confident than big countries like China (1.4 billion) and the USA (300 million). This is a good and a bad thing.

Hope you’re having an excellent non-embargoed time wherever you are.

Note: I am still in the bunker. Still not answering email. Will catch up with everything in September. Promise!


  1. Courtney on #

    OMG! you dont know how much i love the magic trilogy! For book week at my school i dressed up as jay tee and my best friend dressed up as reason.

  2. Ariel Zeitlin Cooke on #

    Re. Georgette Heyer. I love Sylvester too but me and my sister’s faves were always Devil’s Cub (a real abduction!) and These Old Shades. I also love The Masqueraders for all the tricky Shakespearean genderbending.

  3. Gabrielle on #

    No way! It’s the same for school in Quebec! Woopee! I thought we were alone in the whole wide world!

    I don’t have a middle name either. Traditionally in Quebec (dunno about everywhere else) you give the kid his godmother/godfather’s name. But me? My mom… forgot.

    Canada is something like 33 million. I was profoundly traumatized when John Edwards taught me that 30 million is the number of people in poverty in the US. :O

  4. Patrick on #

    I think we should ship the poor people to Canada. That would eliminate US poverty and increase the Canadian population.

    This is such an obvious win/win situation.

  5. Jennifer on #

    Georgette Heyer and Dorothy Dunnett are both REALLY high on my to-read list since I’ve had them recommended to me so many times, but I haven’t yet read anything by either.

    And I would love to learn archery (though I’m not sure I have the concentration, either)!

  6. Meredith H. on #

    Georgette Heyer is one of the best writers I know. It annoys me that when I try to get other people to read her they won’t because she’s shelved in the romance section. (Why can’t they just shelve her in fiction?!)

    My own favorites are Venetia and The Grand Sophy. Although I would take any of them to a desert island. (Except maybe Penhallow. Yes, Penhallow can stay behind.)

    I have just reread most of the Lymond Chronicles, because I opened one up to read a scene and just couldn’t stop. God! they’re amazing. I can’t imagine the research behind even one of the books. And then she adds amazing layers of stories, and rich and vivid prose. I am just in awe.

    I cannot too much admire your chopstick finesse. I look forward to learning all your sekrits!


  7. Ang on #

    It always wierds me out hearing people in the U.S. call University “college”. In Canada, University and College are two different things. A college is smaller and provides more “career track” oriented courses and is generally held in less respect then Universities. (Now a days this does not nessisarily mean anything). We do not say “uni”.

  8. Liset on #

    Thats so cool!!! What did you wear to look like those characters?

    In my high school we did archery in p.e. I HATED p.e. but archery was pretty fun! I pretty much sucked, though it was fun acting like legalos and breaking out in the robin hood “we’re men in tights” song with my friends!

  9. cat on #

    Loved Georgette Heyer when I was a teen. The Grand Sophy was one of my favorites. I think her stories are a little hard to be categorized. She was more than Regency, funny, romantic…I agree with one of the comments that she should be placed in the fiction racks. I never called a university “uni” but it makes sense. A lot of people just shortened the name down to initals…ex. UCLA…University of California Los Angelos…UVA. Colleges…ex. CalState or
    West Hills…Colleges can be different sizes (city, community, larger) and Universities are bigger than colleges. Just depends on where you are and what their terminology is. I just go with the flow.

  10. Justine on #

    Courtney: Thank you so much! I’m so pleased you liked them.

    Like Liset I’m dead curious about what your costumes were.

  11. Gabrielle on #

    Patrick: I totally agree. AND. Granted the poor people got Canadian citizenship, they would all get healthcare and social help.

  12. pixelfish on #

    I too have no middle name. (Probably never will, despite the fact that my parents told me I’d get a middle name when I got married. Whatevs. My sisters also suffered from this, and responded by axing their maiden names altogether upon marriage. One of my sisters now has a middle initial but no middle name.)

    I would also prefer to read than write. This is an issue, because I am surrounded by books. I deliberately left all my books at home when I went to my writing retreat in the big TO last week.

    In fact, I would much rather read than watch TV or movies, clean the house, go to work, and play World of Warcraft. I’m moderately convinced that the acts of bathing and eating are necessary but hey, at least one can READ while doing them. If I could read in my sleep, I would. (This is probably why I make my boyfriend leave his Terry Pratchett audio books on all night.)

  13. Courtney on #

    Yay! Thankyou for replying back to me Justine. You are my favourite author EVA! Well my best friend Cassie was reason and she wore some green cargo pants and me and her made lots of pockets out of the same material and sowed them on to her pants. I wore a blue top like the one that Tom gave to Jay-tee.

  14. Courtney on #

    P.s it is like a dream come true for you to talk to me, Justine. All of my friends got a bit jealous when they saw.
    Please reply to me because I would love it if we could become friends.

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