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Dimension 6 – Issue 3 available now

The latest edition of Keith Stephenson’s excellent Dimension6 is now available. I’m an affiliate site for Dimension6 so you can download the issue here in either .mobi or .epub format, or you can go to the Dimension6 website to do the same.

This issue features stories by Robert Hood, Steve Cameron and Cat Sparks. Sparks and Hood both won Ditmars this year for their fiction, so the magazine is well worth checking out. Especially considering the price!

Authentic Empathy to be published on Antipodean SF

Nuke, the editor over at Antipodean SF, recently put a call out for stories to include in the upcoming 200th issue. He asked for people that had previously published in the magazine, and was particularly interested in people whose first publication was in Antipodean SF.

I ticked those boxes. My first ever publication was a story called Shipwrecked which was published in issue 163 back in January 2012.

Given that I met the criteria, I put in a submission and was very pleased when Nuke accepted my submission for the flash fiction piece Authentic EmpathyAuthentic Empathy will be my 10th story published in Antipodean, and I remain very grateful to Nuke for all the support he has given my work over the last couple of years.

In September 2014 Antipodean is at issue 195, so issue 200 won’t come around until next February. I’ll be very interested to see what else Nuke does for the anniversary.

A full list of my published stories can be found on my bibliography page.

Galactic Chat interview – Alex Adsett

Long term gentle readers of the blog are aware of my dalliance with the Galactic Chat podcast, interviewing the occasional unsuspecting member of the Australian speculative fiction community before their agent tells them it is a bad idea.

Well, this fortnight I decided to skip the middle-person and went straight to interviewing an agent, on the premise that presumably she wouldn’t have anyone to warn her. “Who agents the agents?” I thought to myself. “She’ll never see it coming. It’s fool proof.”

I then may or may not have let out a maniacal cackle.

Alex Adsett, of Alex Adsett Publishing Services, was kind enough to fall into my trap come on the podcast and answer all kinds of questions relating to what’s interesting in the Australian speculative fiction scene, when an author needs an agent and some tips when considering contracts, amongst many other topics.

She was articulate, knowledgeable, engaging and passionate in her advocation for her authors. Sounds like everything someone might look for in an agent.

The interview is online now – you can find it on the Galactic Chat website under episode 55, on iTunes or wherever good podcasts are sold.

Do yourself a favour and check it out.

Galactic Chat – Ion Newcombe interview

Regular blog lurkers will know that I have been helping out with the Galactic Chat podcast, interviewing the occasional unsuspecting member of the Australian speculative fiction community when they can’t think of an excuse to get out of it quick enough.

Ion “Nuke” Newcombe is the latest victim of my interviewing technique. Nuke is the editor in chief of the Australian online magazine Antipodean SF and a long time supporter of the speculative fiction scene. Full disclosure: Nuke has published some of my flash fiction and has been both an inspiration and provided valuable support to my writing, making it doubly fun to be interviewing him.

Antipodean SF has been going since 1998, and Nuke has some fascinating insights into trends that have happened in the SF scene over that time. He also has some great insights into the world of flash fiction. Check out the show notes for more details, then get your listening ears on.

Many thanks to Nuke for not only putting up with my questions, but providing such an interesting and wide ranging set of answers!

2014 Aussie Spec Fic Snapshot

The Aussie Spec Fic Snapshot (the Snapshot) is something that has happened every couple of years over the last 10 years or so. Basically, a group of bloggers get together and try to interview as many people as they can in the Australian speculative fiction field in a fortnight. Each interviewee is asked 5 questions, mostly tailored to them but with a couple of common elements.

In the 2014 Snapshot, I was fortunate to be interviewer Jason Nahrung’s final interview (edit 23/8/2014: actually he snuck one extra in after me – but I was his final interview at the time I wrote the original post!)  in what must have been an absolute mad scramble. In fact, pop over to Jason’s blog and read a much better description of the Snapshot process . Don’t worry, I’ll wait.

Welcome back. Now I’m going to direct you back over to Jason’s blog to read his interview with me. I know – making you go all the way over there and back, just to make you go all the way over there again. I am a cruel and fickle friend, make no mistake.

While answering the fiendish questions Jason posed, I realised this is the first time I’ve been interviewed because of my involvement in the field. It was an odd sensation.

I understand that links to the collected Snapshot interviews will be archived at the SF Signal website. I’ll provide a more precise link once it becomes available.

Edit 19/8/2014

The full list of all 2014 Snapshot interviews is now up on the SF Signal website right here.

Writing update – all in the computer

So, about four months back I posted that I’d finally written the words “THE END” in a notebook, signally the first draft of my novel length work was complete.

Of course, that was longhand writing. I still had about 30,000 words that were sitting in notebooks that needed to be typed up.

About 8 weeks ago I posted that, due to starting writing other things, I hadn’t quite got around to writing up those words. I promised you, dear reader, that I would knuckle down and get this bad boy written up. You have been very patient, and as such I am pleased to finally reward that patience by announcing that, last night, I once again wrote the words “THE END” – this time on the keyboard.

As per my current writing process, I have been taking the chance to tweak things as I type them up, but the work is still very rudimentary. Still, it is now at least a complete electronic entity that has been backed up in a few locations. It’s good to know that a freak laptop explosion that causes my writing desk to catch on fire and incidentally burns all my notebooks is no longer the risk it once was.

I mean the likelihood is the same, but the consequences are way less.   I’m downgrading that sucker from “high” to “medium” risk overall.

One of the advantages of typing everything up is getting more accurate stats about the impact of my new writing approach. The total length of the book as it stands is just over 110,000 words. You might recall that I decided to start writing one page a night as a mandatory minimum, and that one page equals around 100 words in my notebooks. This was to try and get some kind of momentum with my writing.

I had been a bit concerned that this would mean that I only ended up writing the 700 words a week minimum, however during the time that I used this technique, I averaged about 2,800 words a week, demonstrating that the “make yourself do something even if it is tiny” technique really works for me.

So, what now? I’m reading through a book Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King. I’m generating a Kindle version of the book so I can read it in a different format and really start to wince at the cliches and gaping continuity errors. And the telling, not showing. Soooo much telling!

(BTW is it a cliche yet for writers who are talking about their first drafts to say there are too many cliches? Ah, what the hell. This is the first draft of this post as well)

From now on I think I will alternate weeks, one week writing new work, one week editing the novel. We’ll see how that goes.

So, that’s the end of my writing update. How is your writing going? If you are not writing or are not a writer at all:

  1. Why not?
  2. Feel free to update us on any other hobbies and pastimes that you happen to indulge in.

Come on. Share with the group.

Dimension6 – Issue 2

Dimension6 is a free speculative fiction magazine, produced by Coeur de Lion Publishing and issue 2 is out now!

This website is an affiliate of Dimension 6, where you can download each issue.

Issue 2 – (July 2014)

Issue 2 features:

‘At Dawn’s Speed’ by Dirk Strasser
Swift and her tribe have been running their whole lives, because the touch of the sun brings the ‘silvering’.

_________________________________

‘Upon a Distant Shore’ by Alan Baxter
Astronaut Anatoly Novikov wanted a mission that would inscribe his name on the ages. Finally he got one.

_________________________________

‘He Ain’t Dead’ by Robert N Stephenson
It’s simple really. Don’t mess with native American burial mounds.

And the winner is…

So, as regular readers of this blog know I’ve been helping out with a podcast called Galactic Chat, in which we interview people in the speculative fiction field. Usually authors and usually Australian, although not exclusive on either front.

Recently, our podcast was nominated for a Ditmar (which are the Australian national voted speculative fiction awards) in the Best Fan Publication in Any Medium category. It was a great honour to be nominated, however we were up against some absolutely fantastic competition (the likes of Galactic SuburbiaThe Writer and the Critic, The Coode St podcast – all of which are up for the internationally recognised Hugo award this year). I don’t know about the others, but I spent quite some time practicing my gracious loser face, in case the television cameras panned to me when they announced someone else won.

(What do you mean it wasn’t broadcast on national television? What about local television? You mean that was just some guy with his own video camera? Sheesh)

There were a lot of awards to give out (the Victorian Chronos Awards, the Ditmars and a few additional individual awards that defy classification), but MC’s George Ivanoff and Narelle Harris did an excellent job keeping things moving. Soon enough we got to our category, and I sat in the audience with what I hoped was a congratulatory grin on my face.

And then we won!

It was a shock, I can tell you. Sean Wright, our intrepid leader and absolute backbone of the Galactic Chat podcast, led us up on stage and before I knew it we were each being handed a trophy.

Me and my DitmarAs you can see from the photo, it is a very pretty trophy.

Sean and Alex did the talking for us on stage, but I’d like to use this post to thank my fellow interviewers (Sean Wright, Alex Pierce, Helen Stubbs and David McDonald) and in particular thank our fellow nominees – I listen to all the other podcasts and always take a huge amount of enjoyment from them and both fanzines listed have a long and distinguished history in the Australian speculative fiction scene. I’d also like to thank Jason Nahrung and Keith Stevenson, who were the very patient subjects of my newbie interview techniques during the qualifying period.

Congratulations to all the winners on the night, in particular Sean Wright who also took home the Best Fan Writer award.

And most importantly, thank you to everyone who voted for us. You know who you are.

For a full list of all nominees, you can go here. At the time of writing, a list of the full results hadn’t been published, but I shall come back and edit this post when they have.

Edit 11/6/2014

The results are on Wikipedia now.

Showdown now available at Electric Spec

As reported earlier in the month, I recently sold my short story Showdown to the good people at Electric Spec.

Well, I’m pleased to say that the new edition (Volume 9, Issue 2) has gone live and Showdown is available to read online.

If semi-urban Australian fantasy with an elderly protagonist isn’t quite your style, you can still check out the other excellent offering which include:

  • Girl with the Crooked Spine by Jason Sturner – an unusual fantasy about a unique girl and a misfit boy who meet in the Field Museum in Chicago.
  • A Learned Man by Melinda Brasher is a fantasy inspired by La Leyenda de Bolsa Salgado, an El Salvadorian folktale.
  • Khuminay and the Axe-Wielding Psycho by Barton Paul Levenson. In it, there’s a creature named Khuminay and there’s at least one murder via an axe.
  • Between the Covers by Kathryn Yelinek takes place partly on Earth and partly on another world and explore the topic: what do you do if your memories of yourself aren’t reliable?
  • Forgetting by David E. Hughs is another memory related story.

On the non-fiction side is the ‘Spec Fic in Flicks’ column by Marty Mapes. This edition the topic is “An Alien Perspctive on the Human Condition”.

This edition also contains an interview with author Brian McClellan. McClellan writes epic fantasy, specifically, The Powder Mage Trilogy.

I hope you enjoy Showdown and the rest this edition of Electric Spec.

Continuum 10 – Melbourne Australia

Well, I’ve made the relatively last minute decision to head down to Melbourne to the Australian National SF Convention. This year it is Continuum, the Victorian convention.

I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to make any conventions this year. Life has been quite hectic and while I’ve made enough accommodations to fit in some writing every day, I didn’t think I’d be able to get away for a whole long weekend.

But my very understanding wife, perhaps sensing the need for me to have some down time, suggested that I head to Melbourne for the convention. I suspect I’m going to need to look after the kids one weekend in the near future so she can get away as well!

I’m arriving on the Saturday morning and leaving Monday morning, so I’ll miss the very start and very end of the convention. But that should still leave plenty of time for catching up with friends and generally imbibing the goodness that is a SF convention.

If you’re going to Continuum and you see me around, make sure you come up and say hi.