Category Archives: News

News items

In which roundups, pleasing publication news and awards are contemplated

Hi all, I hope this blog post finds you well.

Aurora Australis is Alex Pierce’s monthly round up of Australian and New Zealand speculative fiction news, in particular focusing on publishing news, published at The September edition is out now, and well worth checking out if you like keeping up on the goings on of the Australian scene. While there are a few names I know listed this month, it is always pleasing to see a lot of names I don’t know – says good things about the health of the antipodean scene. Special shout out and congratulations to Zena Shapter for the announcement that her novel, Towards White, has been picked up  by the discerning people at IFWG Publishing Australia (Zena and I occasionally attend the same writing group, and I always get a kick out of seeing good news about people I have taken tea with!). Cat Sparks is also listed, as having released the cover of her new novel to the world.

Speaking of people it is a pleasure to take tea with, the very excellent Thoraiya Dyer’s upcoming novel, Crossroads of Canopy (book one in the Titan’s Forest trilogy), is now available for pre-order at Amazon (and other fine book retailers I’m sure). I’ve put my preorder in, and going off the quality of Thoraiya’s previous work, I’m very much looking forward to this as a post Christmas read (due out at the end of January 2017).

A reminder that submissions for the Aurealis Awards are open (and closing 7 December 2016), for works published in 2016. The Aurealis Awards are an Australian award which are judged by a panel (as opposed to the Ditmars, which are a popular vote). The awards are very prestigious in Australian circles, and there is a positively plethorific phalanx of 2016 judges lined up for the various categories, including the very excellent Rivqa Rafael, Robert Hood, Kirstyn McDermott and Ion Newcombe.

Tansy Rayner Roberts has been cleaning up her Patreon space, with new reward levels and goals. Roberts is one of the more innovative authors doing the rounds at the moment, and I’ve never regretted throwing my small amount of monthly support in her general direction. Well worth checking out.

The Coode St Podcast has had a run of really interesting interviews over the last few weeks, including Kelly Robson, Alastair Reynolds and Connie Willis, some of which were sourced at the recent world SF convention. The podcast is worth checking out if you’re interested in the history of the field and how it influences current writers.

I’ll publish the final part of my short story “Showdown” next week. What will I do after that? It’s easy to resist giving hints when I don’t know myself… In the meantime, feel free to catch up on parts 1, 2, 3 and 4!

Dimension6 – Issue 8 out now

Keith Stevenson over at coeur de lion publishing produces a regular magazine of Australian speculative fiction, called Dimension6 (you probably worked that out from the title of the post, clever reader that you are).

Dimension6 is shaping up to be an excellent barometer of the state of the Australian scene, and what’s more its free (can’t argue with that). You can download the latest issue directly from the coeur de lion website or get it here (this website acts as an official affiliate for the magazine).

This issue  contains a story ‘Going Viral’ by Thoraiya Dyer. Thoraiya always writes a good story, and ‘Going Viral’ is no different. But I’d draw your attention particularly to her short post-story discussion on the potential of Indonesian based science fiction, which I found very interesting.

Updated fiction collection – A Flash in the Pan?

Over the last couple of years, I’ve been maintaining a collection of my flash fiction called A Flash in the Pan?. Generally this collection has been my flash fiction pieces that have been published in Antipodean SF. It is a self published book, primarily to keep all my short fiction in the one spot.

I first published the book in 2012, and did an update in 2014 with a few extra flash fiction pieces. Well, I’ve updated it again to include a couple of extra stories that were published in 2014 and 2015.

I’ve included “Authentic Empathy”, which was my flash fiction story for the 200th edition of Antipodean SF, “Wefting the Warp”, an approximately 4,000 word science fiction short story, and “Showdown”, an approx. 5,000 word fantasy featuring kobolds. It takes the amount of fiction in the book up to about 14,000 words – short enough to read quickly!

As with the last couple of editions, I’ve included an authors note after each story to give a little bit of background.

So, have you ever wonder why aliens don’t visit Earth? Or what coffee a demon likes to drink? Or how bureaucracy could really screw up a grand space adventure? A Flash in the Pan? is a collection of speculative flash fiction and short stories that answers these questions and more.

Available through Smashwords for free, and all the distribution portals that Smashwords connects with.

Australian SF Awards Part 2 – The Ditmar Awards

Both of the major SF awards in Australia are happening towards the start of the year, so I thought I might signal boost both sets of shortlists. In this second post, I’ll be focusing on the Ditmar Awards (you can see my thoughts on the Aurealis Awards in Part 1 of this series).

The Ditmar awards are Australia’s national popular vote awards for speculative fiction. Where the Aurealis awards (which are judged not voted on) focus on written work and divide the genre up into extensive sub-categories, the Ditmar awards keep the genres together and award only on length (best novel, novella, short story, collected work etc). There are also several awards for non-written contributions to the SF categories (e.g. best fan writer, artwork, fan publication in any medium etc).

The Ditmars are given out at the Australian national SF convention (which is this year Contact 2016 in Brisbane). The rules for the awards can be found on the Ditmar wiki. Details of the 2016 ceremony can be found on the Contact website. Voting is due to finish on 18 March 2016, with the voting form here.

To nominate a work, you have to be “known to fandom”, but to actually vote in the final ballot one needs to purchase a membership at the national convention (or have been a member of the previous year’s national convention).  I can see how this makes the voting process administratively easier (and is in line with the voting practices in overseas awards), but it does seem to work to restrict voting to those that can afford the financial outlay (a supporting membership of Contact 2016 costs $40).

Why does this matter? The Ditmars suffer from the same weaknesses that other voted awards do – namely the voting process is only robust if you get a large, representative sample of people to nominate and vote. There is always the chance that the Ditmar’s become less representative of the best work of the year, and more representative of famous/popular content creators. While not conclusive, I find it interesting that I recognise nearly all of the names on the Ditmar ballot, but there are a lot of names that are new to me on the Aurealis awards ballot. I do wonder if removing or reducing the financial barriers to participation in the voting process might improve the inclusiveness of the results. Having said that, the nomination process is broader, so perhaps not!

It is good to have awards for non-fiction contributions to the Australian speculative fiction scene. As well as the categories listed below, there are two other awards that are usually given out at the Ditmar award ceremony. From the Contact 2016 website:

Norma K. Hemming Award
The Norma K. Hemming Award marks excellence in the exploration of race, gender, sexuality, class and disability, and is awarded by the Australian Science Fiction Foundation (ASFF). Nominations close in the second week of December in the year preceding the respective NatCon.

A. Bertram Chandler Award
Australia’s top fan award, the Chandler is awarded by the ASFF for outstanding achievement in science fiction. Unlike the Ditmars, this award is decided upon by a jury appointed by the Foundation. Nominations for the Chandler Award are always open.

More information about the Norma K. Hemming Award and the A. Bertram Chandler Award can be found on the ASFF website.

All in all, the Ditmars represent a wonderful chance for the established Australian SF community to come together. I’ve attended a couple of ceremonies in the past, and they have always been uplifting affairs. In 2014, I was even fortunate enough to be on a podcasting team that won the Best Fan Publication in Any Medium award, which was a huge honour. Between the Ditmar and the Aurealis awards shortlists, you can get an excellent sense of where the action is in the Australian scene – and I commend it to you.

2016 Ditmar Ballot contents

The following section details the contents of the preliminary ballot. (Note that the final ballot will include a “No Award” option in each category.

Best Novel

  • The Dagger’s Path, Glenda Larke (Orbit)
  • Day Boy, Trent Jamieson (Text Publishing)
  • Graced, Amanda Pillar (Momentum)
  • Lament for the Afterlife, Lisa L. Hannett (ChiZine Publications)
  • Zeroes, Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, and Deborah Biancotti (Simon and Schuster)

Best Novella or Novelette

  • “The Cherry Crow Children of Haverny Wood”, Deborah Kalin, in Cherry Crow Children (Twelfth Planet Press)
  • “Fake Geek Girl”, Tansy Rayner Roberts, in Review of Australian Fiction, volume 14, issue 4 (Review of Australian Fiction)
  • “Hot Rods”, Cat Sparks, in Lightspeed Science Fiction & Fantasy 58 (Lightspeed Science Fiction & Fantasy)
  • “The Miseducation of Mara Lys”, Deborah Kalin, in Cherry Crow Children (Twelfth Planet Press)
  • “Of Sorrow and Such”, Angela Slatter (
  • “The Wages of Honey”, Deborah Kalin, in Cherry Crow Children (Twelfth Planet Press)

Best Short Story

  • “2B”, Joanne Anderton, in Insert Title Here (FableCroft Publishing)
  • “The Chart of the Vagrant Mariner”, Alan Baxter, in Fantasy & Science Fiction, Jan/Feb 2015 (Fantasy & Science Fiction)
  • “A Hedge of Yellow Roses”, Kathleen Jennings, in Hear Me Roar (Ticonderoga Publications)
  • “Look how cold my hands are”, Deborah Biancotti, in Cranky Ladies of History (FableCroft Publishing)

Best Collected Work

  • Bloodlines, Amanda Pillar (Ticonderoga Publications))
  • Cherry Crow Children, Deborah Kalin, edited by Alisa Krasnostein (Twelfth Planet Press)
  • Cranky Ladies of History, edited by Tansy Rayner Roberts and Tehani Wessely (FableCroft Publishing)
  • Letters to Tiptree, edited by Alexandra Pierce and Alisa Krasnostein (Twelfth Planet Press)
  • Peripheral Visions: The Collected Ghost Stories, Robert Hood (IFWG Publishing Australia)

Best Artwork

  • Cover art, Rovina Cai, for “Tom, Thom” (
  • Cover art, Kathleen Jennings, for Bloodlines (Ticonderoga Publications)
  • Cover and internal artwork, Kathleen Jennings, for Cranky Ladies of History (FableCroft Publishing)
  • Cover, Shauna O’Meara, for The Never Never Land
  • Illustrations, Shaun Tan, in The Singing Bone (Allen & Unwin)

Best Fan Publication in Any Medium

  • The Angriest, Grant Watson
  • The Coode Street Podcast, Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe
  • Galactic Suburbia, Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce, and Tansy Rayner Roberts
  • SF Commentary, Bruce Gillespie
  • The Writer and the Critic, Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond

Best Fan Writer

  • Tsana Dolichva, for body of work
  • Foz Meadows, for body of work
  • Ian Mond, for body of work
  • Alexandra Pierce for body of work
  • Katharine Stubbs, for body of work
  • Grant Watson, for body of work

Best Fan Artist

  • Kathleen Jennings, for body of work, including Illustration Friday series
  • Belinda Morris, for body of work, including Belinda Illustrates

Best New Talent

  • Rivqa Rafael
  • T R Napper
  • DK Mok
  • Liz Barr

William Atheling Jr Award for Criticism or Review

  • Letters to Tiptree, edited by Alexandra Pierce and Alisa Krasnostein (Twelfth Planet Press)
  • The Rereading the Empire Trilogy series, Tansy Rayner Roberts
  • The Reviewing New Who series, David McDonald, Tansy Rayner Roberts, and Tehani Wessely
  • “Sara Kingdom dies at the end”, Tansy Rayner Roberts, in Companion Piece (Mad Norwegian Press)
  • “SF Women of the 20th Century”, Tansy Rayner Roberts
  • The Squeeing over Supergirl series, David McDonald, and Tehani Wessely

Australian SF Awards Part 1 – The Aurealis Awards

Both of the major SF awards in Australia are happening towards the start of the year, so I thought I might signal boost both sets of shortlists. In this first post, I’ll be focusing on the Aurealis Awards.

The Aurealis Awards are a judged award, with a lot of dedicated SF fans and writers volunteering a lot of time to review, shortlist and ultimately pick a winner. The 2015 finalists were announced recently, and I blush to admit that I haven’t read many of the works listed. I am impressed by the wide range of authors and creators listed – I haven’t heard of many of them, which speaks volume for the health of the Australian scene at the moment. I can see I’m going to have to do a lot more reading to keep in touch with what’s going on in the field.

The awards will be held at the Australian national convention, being held this year in Brisbane on Friday 25th March (i.e. the Easter long weekend). It’s great to see the awards being presented at different venues around the country over the last few years – it gives more people a chance to attend and celebrate. Sadly I won’t be able to make it up to Brisbane myself – I’ve attended a few Aurealis Award ceremonies and they are always fun events. If you’re going to be in Brisbane over Easter, I’d highly recommend attending.

The introduction of the novella categories for science fiction, fantasy and horror says interesting things about the state of the field. Clearly, the award process must be attracting enough short fiction to make dividing the category into two parts viable. I wonder if it is also another indicator of the rise of the novella. I’ve heard it said that novellas are gaining a new momentum in the world of the eBook – clearly there are enough publishing opportunities for authors to justify a whole set of categories.

The Sara Douglas award is another interesting addition, trying to recognise whole series of works rather than individual books. I note that the award won’t necessarily be given out every year, which makes sense. The series that made the short list have all received a fair amount of critical acclaim, so I couldn’t possibly guess who might win it. But the creation of the award does show an ongoing trend towards recognising how people engage with novels in the 21st century, especially when looked at in light of the introduction of the novella categories mentioned above.

It seems that the Aurealis Awards are engaging in a certain amount of renewal and regeneration. I, for one, welcome our new award giving overlords.

2015 Aurealis Awards – Finalists


A Week Without Tuesday, Angelica Banks (Allen & Unwin)

The Cut-Out, Jack Heath (Allen & Unwin)

A Single Stone, Meg McKinlay (Walker Books Australia)

Bella and the Wandering House, Meg McKinlay (Fremantle Press)

The Mapmaker Chronicles: Prisoner of the Black Hawk, A.L. Tait (Hachette Australia)


The Undertaker Morton Stone Vol.1, Gary Chaloner, Ben Templesmith, and Ashley Wood (Gestalt)

The Diemenois, Jamie Clennett (Hunter Publishers)

Unmasked Vol.1: Going Straight is No Way to Die, Christian Read (Gestalt)

The Singing Bones, Shaun Tan (Allen & Unwin)

Fly the Colour Fantastica, various authors (Veriko Operative)


“In Sheep’s Clothing”, Kimberly Gaal (Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #61)

“The Nexus Tree”, Kimberly Gaal (The Never Never Land, CSFG)

“The Miseducation of Mara Lys”, Deborah Kalin (Cherry Crow Children, Twelfth Planet Press)

“The Heart of the Labyrinth”, DK Mok (In Memory: A Tribute to Sir Terry Pratchett, Sorin Suciu)

“Blueblood”, Faith Mudge (Hear Me Roar, Ticonderoga Publications)

Welcome to Orphancorp, Marlee Jane Ward (Seizure)


“Bullets”, Joanne Anderton (In Sunshine Bright and Darkness Deep, AHWA)

“Consorting with Filth”, Lisa L Hannett (Blurring the Line, Cohesion Press)

“Heirloom Pieces”, Lisa L Hannett (Apex Magazine, Apex Publications)

“The Briskwater Mare”, Deborah Kalin (Cherry Crow Children, Twelfth Planet Press)

“Breaking Windows”, Tracie McBride (Aurealis #84)

“Self, Contained”, Kirstyn McDermott (The Dark, TDM Press)


“Night Shift”, Dirk Flinthart (Striking Fire, FableCroft Publishing)

“The Cherry Crow Children of Haverny Wood”, Deborah Kalin (Cherry Crow Children, Twelfth Planet Press)

“The Miseducation of Mara Lys”, Deborah Kalin (Cherry Crow Children, Twelfth Planet Press)

“Wages of Honey”, Deborah Kalin (Cherry Crow Children, Twelfth Planet Press)

“Sleepless”, Jay Kristoff (Slasher Girls and Monster Boys, Penguin)

“Ripper”, Angela Slatter (Horrorology, Jo Fletcher Books)


“The Giant’s Lady”, Rowena Cory Daniells (Legends 2, Newcon Press)

“The Jellyfish Collector”, Michelle Goldsmith (Review of Australian Fiction Vol. 13 Issue 6)

“A Shot of Salt Water”, Lisa L Hannett (The Dark, TDM Press)

“Almost Days”, DK Mok (Insert Title Here, FableCroft Publishing)

“Blueblood”, Faith Mudge (Hear Me Roar, Ticonderoga Publications)

“Husk and Sheaf”, Suzanne Willis (SQ Mag 22, IFWG Publishing Australia)


“Lodloc and The Bear”, Steve Cameron (Dimension6, coeur de lion)

“Defy the Grey Kings”, Jason Fischer (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Firkin Press)

“Broken Glass”, Stephanie Gunn (Hear Me Roar, Ticonderoga Publications)

“The Flowers that Bloom Where Blood Touches the Earth”, Stephanie Gunn (Bloodlines, Ticonderoga Publications)

“Haunting Matilda”, Dmetri Kakmi (Cthulhu: Deep Down Under, Horror Australis)

“Of Sorrow and Such”, Angela Slatter (


“2B”, Joanne Anderton (Insert Title Here, Fablecroft)

“The Marriage of the Corn King”, Claire McKenna (Cosmos)

“Alchemy and Ice”, Charlotte Nash (Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #61)

“Witnessing”, Kaaron Warren (The Canary Press Story Magazine #6)

“All the Wrong Places”, Sean Williams (Meeting Infinity, Solaris)


“Blood and Ink”, Jack Bridges, Prizm Books

“The Molenstraat Music Festival”, Sean Monaghan (Asimov’s Science Fiction)

“By Frogsled and Lizardback to Outcast Venusian Lepers”, Garth Nix (Old Venus, Random House)


The Abandonment of Grace and Everything After, Shane Jiraiya Cummings (Brimstone Press)

Striking Fire, Dirk Flinthart (FableCroft Publishing)

Cherry Crow Children, Deborah Kalin (Twelfth Planet Press)

To Hold the Bridge, Garth Nix (Allen & Unwin)

The Fading, Carole Nomarhas (self-published)

The Finest Ass in the Universe, Anna Tambour (Ticonderoga Publications)


Hear Me Roar, Liz Grzyb (ed.) (Ticonderoga Publications)

The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2014, Liz Grzyb and Talie Helene (eds.) (Ticonderoga Publications)

Bloodlines, Amanda Pillar (ed.) (Ticonderoga Publications)

Meeting Infinity, Jonathan Strahan (ed.), (Solaris)

The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume 9, Jonathan Strahan (ed.) (Solaris)

Focus 2014: highlights of Australian short fiction, Tehani Wessely (ed.) (FableCroft Publishing)


In The Skin of a Monster, Kathryn Barker (Allen & Unwin)

Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club, Alison Goodman (HarperCollins)

The Fire Sermon, Francesca Haig (HarperVoyager)

Day Boy,Trent Jamieson (Text Publishing)

Illuminae, Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (Allen & Unwin)

The Hush, Skye Melki-Wagner (Penguin Random House Australia)


No Shortlist Released


In The Skin of a Monster, Kathryn Barker (Allen & Unwin)

Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club, Alison Goodman (HarperCollins)

Day Boy,Trent Jamieson (Text Publishing)

The Dagger’s Path, Glenda Larke (Hachette Australia)

Tower Of Thorns, Juliet Marillier (Pan Macmillan Australia)

Skin, Ilka Tampke (Text Publishing)


Crossed, Evelyn Blackwell (self-published)

Clade, James Bradley (Penguin)

Illuminae, Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (Allen & Unwin)

Their Fractured Light, Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (Allen & Unwin)

Renegade, Joel Shepherd (Kindle Direct)

Twinmaker: Fall, Sean Williams (Allen & Unwin)


The Chronicles of King Rolen’s Kin [The King’s Bastard (2010), The Uncrowned King (2010), The Usurper (2010), The King’s Man (2012), King Breaker (2013)], Rowena Cory Daniells (Solaris Press)

The Watergivers [The Last Stormlord (2009), Stormlord Rising (2010), Stormlord’s Exile(2011)], Glenda Larke (HarperVoyager)

The Lumatere Chronicles [Finnikin of the Rock (2008), Froi of the Exiles (2011), Quintana of Charyn (2012)], Melina Marchetta (Penguin Random House)

Sevenwaters [Daughter of the Forest (2000), Son of the Shadows (2001), Child of the Prophecy (2002), Heir to Sevenwaters (2009), Seer of Sevenwaters (2011), Flame of Sevenwaters (2013)], Juliet Marillier (Pan Macmillan Australia)

The Laws of Magic [Blaze Of Glory (2007), Heart Of Gold (2007), Word Of Honour (2008),  Time Of Trial (2009), Moment Of Truth (2010), Hour Of Need (2011)], Michael Pryor (Random House Australia)

Creature Court [Power and Majesty (2010), Shattered City (2011), Reign of Beasts (2012)], Tansy Rayner Roberts (HarperVoyager)


Australian Women Writers’ Reading Challenge – 2016

Well, after good years in 2012, 13 and 14, my 2015 Australian Women Writers’ Reading Challenge was a bit of a disaster. I had my books selectedAustralian Women Writers' Challenge 2016, but only read 7 by Australian women writers in total, and of those only reviewed 4. This was in the context of a very bad reading year for me, especially in the second half. Still, I am disappointed in myself – I made a commitment and utterly failed to meet it.

So, I approach 2016 with a guilt-fuelled renewed sense of energy. I’ll be trying to read 10 books, and to review all 10. I will sound a note of caution though – the work and life pressures that took me away from reading last year are still in play.

If you haven’t done the AWWC before, I highly recommend it. It’s a great way to diversify your reading and get exposure to some wonderful new authors. And if you are looking for reading suggestions, the AWWC website has a great library of book reviews. My own reviews are here on this website, from 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. My 2016 reviews will be at this link throughout the year.

GenreCon 2015

Late last year I attended GenreCon 2015, held this time in sunny Brisbane. Once again an excellent convention.

GenreCon is a convention for people in the writing game, rather than a fan convention. It focuses on all kinds of genre, but primarily crime, romance and speculative fiction, although I suspect any writer would get a lot out of the convention.

I certainly get a lot out of GenreCon. This is the third time I’ve been along, and each time I find it a recharging experience. It is great to hear from various interesting writers, editors and publishers, and get a sense of what is going on in the writing community more broadly. Because the focus of the convention is on the professional side of the business, it has a very different vibe to the various fan run speculative fiction conferences around the country. Obviously the sessions in the convention are all focused on different aspects of the writing craft, but this also impacts everything from the type of people who attend through to the conversations that go on in the breaks.

The administration of the convention is great. The registration process is smooth, and everything seemed to run seamlessly over the weekend. Being fully catered keeps everyone in the same place, which means you’re more likely to bump into people and have various discussions. The only small glitch for me this time was my own fault – I completely missed the email that came out asking people to register for some of the workshops. There were a couple I would have really liked to do (especially the workshop on editing/polishing your fiction by Angela Slatter), but by the time I arrived in Brisbane they were all booked out. So, tip for young players – always make sure you register for workshops well in advance!

I got a chance to catch up with quite a few people over the weekend, which was fantastic. Special shout out to Geneve, James and the gang, who entertained me through many breaks. Rivqa and the Sydney based crew were all doing some fantastic work – look forward to catching up more through the year. And there were quite a few speculative fiction authors who I’ve seen at other conventions (e.g. Tansy Rayner Roberts and Alan Baxter) who it was good to touch base with briefly. I always attend conventions thinking that I’m going to end up sitting in the corner by myself the whole time, and there always end up being so many interesting people to talk to!

I had one particularly interesting conversation with Carmen Jenner, a powerhouse indie author in the romance genre. Carmen had some fascinating insights into what makes indie authors successful, and I learnt a lot from our conversation. This illustrates to me the power of a convention that reaches to a broad range of genres – you can get a lot from the different perspectives out there.

All the sessions I attended had a lot of value, sometimes with specific advice, sometimes more general interest. I really enjoyed a plenary session that Kaaron Warren ran on some research she’d done as a part of a research fellowship she’d won in Canberra (intriguingly titled The Prime Minister and the Granny Killer).  The banquet was also a lot of fun, interesting conversation and Tansy Rayner Roberts did a great job interviewing the international guest of honour Mary Robinette Kowal (who even put on a puppet show)!

One observation was that in previous years there seemed to be greater representation from publishers, editors and agents on the various panels. This convention was much more focused on writers, and I missed the broader industry feel of the previous conventions.

So, an excellent conference all around. I returned to Sydney with a bit of a boost to my writing batteries. If you get a chance to attend any future GenreCons I highly recommend it – one of the best writing conferences in Australia.

Editors note 12/1/16: this article was supposed to publish on Sunday 10th January with the miracle of scheduling. The scheduling didn’t work! I promise to build in an appropriate checking process to the publishing schedule from now on.

2015 versus 2016

Well, 2015 certainly kicked my writing backside. I started off the year well, but a combination of work and family commitments conspired to drop my writing productivity to almost zero by the time we reached December.

This website was a victim of my malaise – I haven’t written an article for a few months now. It has been a combination of a lack of time and not feeling like I’ve had much to say. A poor excuse, granted.

On the writing front, I only published one short story in 2015, Authentic Empathy which was published in the special 200th edition of AntipodeanSF earlier in the year. It was a great privilege to be selected for the magazine (and if you’re interested in looking at the story, check out my bibliography). The rest of the year I spent skipping between a few longer works, including refining the draft of my urban science fantasy novel (Unaligned), and building out a fantasy long story into a novella length work. Both require a lot more work, but it was good to make some progress.

I also wrote the start of a science fiction novel (about 10,000 words) as well as a couple of chapters of a middle grade novel, as well as the opening scenes for the sequel to Unaligned. From this you can probably tell that I’ve spread myself a bit thin over too many projects, rather than finishing a smaller number. There is probably a lesson in that.

I also accumulated a backlog of reviews I haven’t written, especially for the Australian Women Writers’ Reading Challenge.  I reviewed 4 books (reviews can be found here) by Australian women authors and read another 3, but didn’t hit my goal of ten in total. This certainly reflected my much reduced reading for the year, but I’m disappointed nonetheless.

On the podcast front, I contributed exactly nothing to the GalacticChat podcast this year. Stupidly, I should have thought about setting up some interviews when I was at GenreCon in Brisbane – fellow podcaster Helen Stubbs and I both attended and there was such a wide variety of authors and other interesting industry types, good interviews couldn’t have helped but follow. Ah well, lesson learnt for next time.

So, what is in store for 2016? GenreCon in November and a few weeks off work over Christmas has renewed my appetite for writing, which has been great. I’ve been transcribing a lot of my longhand writing from the year onto the computer over the last few weeks which has been surprisingly validating (I wrote more words last year than I thought!). I’d like to get the first draft of Unaligned into fighting shape and finish off the fantasy novella. I seem to do better at writing first drafts than the editing process, so I will punctuate the editing with working on a couple of short story ideas (I think having some short stories published does help me keep a sense of momentum).

For this website, I’ve decided to work towards publishing one article each Sunday night, to create some sense of regularity. I will publish any news about publishing of my work separately, so the Sunday night article will be either a review, a general musing or something that has caught my attention. This probably means finding some kind of project to help create content – I’ll add that to my to-do list.

Hopefully this will also mean that my reviewing for the Australian Women Writers’ Reading Challenge will be a little more prompt!

I’ve been contributing to AntipodeanSF behind the scenes, producing the eBook versions of the magazines each month. I’ll continue doing that, and will look at how I might improve my contributions in the podcasting space, depending on what happens with Galactic Chat.

That should be enough to keep me going.

Given my long absence from this website, I doubt I have any readers left, but if there are any of you out there, what are your 2016 writing resolutions?

Authentic Empathy – audio edition

My latest story to be published in Antipodean SF was also played on the Anti-SF radio show as well. You can find the podcast of the episode here in episode Gemma, first released on May 23. My story, Authentic Empathy, is the first out of the gate.

I think it is fantastic that Nuke, the editor, provides so many channels for stories to be discovered. The website, the eBooks and the audio together provide a powerful delivery mechanism for everyone’s work. It is a pleasure to publish with him.

More details about all my publications can be found on my bibliography.

Jason Nahrung’s Aussie Vampire Duology

One of my favourite authors, Australian horror stalwart Jason Nahrung, has just released his Aussie vampire duology through Clan Destine Press. The covers look fantastic (and each is linked to its respective book’s sale point at Clan Destine).Blood and DustThe Big Smoke

Long time blog readers might recall my review of the first volume Blood and Dust from when it made its eBook-only debut a couple of years back. I’ve been waiting for the sequel ever since, and was especially excited when I found out that Clan Destine Press had not only taken up the second book, The Big Smoke, but also were republishing Blood and Dust as both an eBook and paperback.

I don’t normally do straight advertising for books, but I do love Jason’s work. If you have any tendency towards horror whatsoever, do yourself a favour and buy copies immediately. You can thank me by singing sweet praises to my name to seven passing strangers over the next 23 days. Or, you know, leave a comment below if you can’t think of enough superlatives that rhyme with ‘Mark’.