Category Archives: News

News items

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’.

Ditmar award results

The Ditmar awards were handed out last night at Swancon, the Western Australian convention that doubles as the National Convention this year. Unfortunately I couldn’t get over to Perth (Easter is a time where small children will not forgive you if you’re not at home to hand out copious amounts of chocolate), however I was watching along on Twitter.

I’ve summarised the results below. Note – these are what I gleaned from watching along with Twitter – any mistakes are mine alone!

A couple of notes from me. Firstly, congratulations to all winners and runners up! A wonderful field this year, and a very deserving set of awards was handed out.

The podcast I do some work for, Galactic Chat, was up for Best Fan Publication in Any Medium. We didn’t win, but the entry that did (The Writer and the Critic podcast) is one of my favourite podcasts, and a thoroughly deserving winner.

I couldn’t be more thrilled for fellow podcaster Helen Stubbs, who took out the Best New Talent award. Helen is a vibrant and energetic member of the SF field and it is wonderful to see her recognised in this way.

A tie for best novel is always interesting in a voted award. I’ve just finished The Lascar’s Dagger (review here) and I’m 1/2 way through Thief’s Magic, and both a very good novels. Actually, it was a good ballot for Best Novel – I’ve read or are reading all of them and I can honestly say I’m enjoying them all.

It was great to see Kaleidoscope recognised in the Best Collection category, and seeing fiction that recognises such a broad range of diversity being voted for in an awards process. If you want to see more of that kind of thing, you could also support Defying Doomsday‘s Pozible campaign – a collection of stories featuring diverse characters who are in a post-apocalyptic setting.

And finally, it was good to see the Atheling award for criticism go to another single topic essay. While I can certainly see the value in recognising people’s broader body of review work, it would be good to see more in depth analysis on a broader range of topics coming from Australian authors. Hopefully this award will help this trend continue.

Anyway, enough from me – Ditmar results follow (winners bold and in red). Note – the list below doesn’t include the results for some of the Ditmar-adjacent awards like the A. Bertram Chandler Award (Donna Hanson) and the Norma K. Hemming Award (Paddy O’Reilly for The Wonders with honourable mention to Lisa L Hannett and Angela Statter for The Female Factory) and the Peter McNamara Achievement award (Merv Binns). I’ve probably missed some others (for instance the WA award – the Tin Ducks).

Best Novel

  • The Lascar’s Dagger, Glenda Larke (Hachette)
  • Bound (Alex Caine 1), Alan Baxter (Voyager)
  • Clariel, Garth Nix (HarperCollins)
  • Thief’s Magic (Millennium’s Rule 1), Trudi Canavan (Hachette Australia)
  • The Godless (Children 1), Ben Peek (Tor UK)

Best Novella or Novelette

  • “The Ghost of Hephaestus”, Charlotte Nash, in Phantazein (FableCroft Publishing)
  • “The Legend Trap”, Sean Williams, in Kaleidoscope (Twelfth Planet Press)
  • “The Darkness in Clara”, Alan Baxter, in SQ Mag 14 (IFWG Publishing Australia)
  • “St Dymphna’s School for Poison Girls”, Angela Slatter, in Review of Australian Fiction, Volume 9, Issue 3 (Review of Australian Fiction)
  • “The Female Factory”, Lisa L. Hannett and Angela Slatter, in The Female Factory (Twelfth Planet Press)
  • “Escapement”, Stephanie Gunn, in Kisses by Clockwork (Ticonderoga Publications)

Best Short Story

  • “Bahamut”, Thoraiya Dyer, in Phantazein (FableCroft Publishing)
  • “Vanilla”, Dirk Flinthart, in Kaleidoscope (Twelfth Planet Press)
  • “Cookie Cutter Superhero”, Tansy Rayner Roberts, in Kaleidoscope (Twelfth Planet Press)
  • “The Seventh Relic”, Cat Sparks, in Phantazein (FableCroft Publishing)
  • “Signature”, Faith Mudge, in Kaleidoscope (Twelfth Planet Press)

Best Collected Work

  • Kaleidoscope, Alisa Krasnostein and Julia Rios (Twelfth Planet Press)
  • The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2013, Liz Grzyb and Talie Helene (Ticonderoga Publications)
  • Phantazein, Tehani Wessely (FableCroft Publishing)

Best Artwork

  • Illustrations, Kathleen Jennings, in Black-Winged Angels (Ticonderoga Publications)
  • Cover art, Kathleen Jennings, of Phantazein (FableCroft Publishing)
  • Illustrations, Kathleen Jennings, in The Bitterwood Bible and Other Recountings (Tartarus Press)

Best Fan Writer

  • Tansy Rayner Roberts, for body of work
  • Tsana Dolichva, for body of work
  • Bruce Gillespie, for body of work
  • Katharine Stubbs, for body of work
  • Alexandra Pierce for body of work
  • Grant Watson, for body of work
  • Sean Wright, for body of work

Best Fan Artist

  • Nalini Haynes, for body of work, including “Interstellar Park Ranger Bond, Jaime Bond”, “Gabba and Slave Lay-off: Star Wars explains Australian politics”, “The Driver”, and “Unmasked” in Dark Matter Zine
  • Kathleen Jennings, for body of work, including Fakecon art and Illustration Friday series
  • Nick Stathopoulos, for movie poster of It Grows!

Best Fan Publication in Any Medium

  • Snapshot 2014, Tsana Dolichva, Nick Evans, Stephanie Gunn, Kathryn Linge, Elanor Matton-Johnson, David McDonald, Helen Merrick, Jason Nahrung, Ben Payne, Alex Pierce, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Helen Stubbs, Katharine Stubbs, Tehani Wessely, and Sean Wright
  • It Grows!, Nick Stathopoulos
  • Galactic Suburbia, Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce, Tansy Rayner Roberts, and Andrew Finch
  • The Writer and the Critic, Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond
  • Galactic Chat, Sean Wright, Helen Stubbs, David McDonald, Alexandra Pierce, Sarah Parker, and Mark Webb

Best New Talent

  • Helen Stubbs
  • Shauna O’Meara
  • Michelle Goldsmith

William Atheling Jr Award for Criticism or Review

  • Reviews in The Angriest, Grant Watson
  • The Eddings Reread series, Tehani Wessely, Jo Anderton, and Alexandra Pierce, in A Conversational Life
  • Reviews in Adventures of a Bookonaut, Sean Wright
  • “Does Sex Make Science Fiction Soft?”, in Uncanny Magazine 1, Tansy Rayner Roberts
  • Reviews in FictionMachine, Grant Watson
  • The Reviewing New Who series, David McDonald, Tansy Rayner Roberts, and Tehani Wessely

Burst of crowd funding

I’ve supported a few crowd funded initiatives lately. Why not list them all out on the blog as a signal boost? I thought to myself this morning, then ignored the small voice at the back of myself that said because so few people read this blog that you’re as much use signal boosting as a broken AM radio antenna.

Why be so negative? It’s Easter. There’s chocolate, or at least the promise of chocolate. Look, I’ll come back when I’ve got the blood sugar up to an acceptable level.




That’s better. Now, where was I?

Night Terrace Season 2

I loved the first season of Night Terrace, an Australian radio play with a distinct Doctor Who homage vibe. More importantly, my 6 year old daughter loved it even more. We listened to the entire season in one hit while we drove from Sydney to Wollongong to Canberra and back to Sydney in one day. She often asks me if there is “more of that Eddie show”.

Well, I’m now pleased to say that more of that Eddy show is indeed in the offing. Night Terrace season 2 is now being crowd funded through Kickstarter. I may or may not have selected the option that allows you to name a character, just so my daughter can have the surprise of hearing her name included in the season. There are still a few weeks to go – get in there and throw money in their general direction. You’ll be very pleased you did.

A blurb from the Kickstarter page follows:

Scientist Anastasia Black had retired from her job saving the world, preferring the adventure of a good book and a pot of tea. Then her house unexpectedly began travelling randomly through time and space, taking with it hapless university student Eddie Jones. From the far future on other worlds to the distant past of Earth, Anastasia and Eddie have faced deadly monsters, evil corporations and a sinister disco, before finally discovering the origins of the house’s strange power.

But with no way to direct the house back home, there are even stranger adventures awaiting the tenants of “Night Terrace”: impossible spaceships, unlikely quests, ghosts of the past and the most terrible peril of all: a new housemate… 

Defying Doomsday

Regular readers might recall that I supported the crowdfunding of a book called Kaleidoscope last year, which highlighted speculative fiction stories featuring people with some kind of disability. I reviewed the book here as a part of the Australian Women Writers Reading Challenge last year.

Well, the publisher (Twelfth Planet Press) of Kaleidoscope is at it again, this time starting a Pozible campaign to fund a new book called Defying Doomsday. There is a similar premise (stories featuring protagonists with a disability), but this time the landscape is post apocalyptic.

It’s great to see a broader audience develop for books with different protagonists, and Defying Doomsday certainly seems to be continuing that trend. Going off the quality of KaleidoscopeDefying Doomsday will be of excellent quality and well worth your support. I’m also very interested in seeing how Australian editors Tsana Dolichva and Holly Kench go with this project.

From the campaign page:

We love apocalypse fiction, but we rarely find characters with disability, chronic illness and other impairments in these stories. When they do appear, they usually die early on, or are secondary characters undeveloped into anything more than a burden to the protagonist. We believe that disabled characters have a far more interesting story to tell in post-apocalyptic/dystopian fiction, and we want to create an anthology sharing those stories. 

Defying Doomsday

We want to create an anthology that is varied, especially among protagonists, with characters experiencing all kinds of disability from physical impairments, chronic illnesses, mental illnesses and/or neurodiverse characters. There will also be a variety of stories, including those that are fun or sad, adventurous or horrific, etc, but we are avoiding stories in which the character’s condition is the primary focus of the narrative. 

The stories in Defying Doomsday will look at periods of upheaval from new and interesting perspectives. We want to share narratives about characters with disability, characters with chronic illnesses and other impairments, surviving the apocalypse and contending with the collapse of life as they know it.

Con Man

OK, this one doesn’t need a lot of boosting from me. Alan Tudyk and Nathan Fillion (from the ill fated TV series Firefly – and if you don’t know what that is then you’ve missed out on a treat – and this project probably isn’t for you!) have decided to create a web based series based on a familiar premise. Fillion and Tudyk play actors who starred on a TV series Spectrum that ran for 14 episodes and was cancelled. Fillion’s character went on to acting success, while Tudyk’s character makes the rounds of science fiction conventions. Semi-auto-biographical.

The reason this campaign doesn’t need much boosting from me is that they are currently sitting on $2.6m from a starting target of $425,000. They were obviously prepared for success though, they have been revealing extra stretch goals as they go along, and those stretch goals are clearly well thought out.

Still, I love the premise and the “sample” video they have seems pretty funny. Well worth checking out.

From their website:

Wray Nerely (Alan Tudyk-Me!) was a co-star on Spectrum, a sci-fi series which was canceled -Too Soon- yet became a cult classic. Wray’s good friend, Jack Moore (Nathan Fillion) starred in the series and has gone on to become a major movie star. While Jack enjoys the life of an A-lister, Wray tours the sci-fi circuit as a guest of conventions, comic book stores, and lots of pop culture events.  The show will feature all the weird and crazy things that happen to Wray along the way to these events.

The series is a light-hearted take on the personalities, luminaries, and characters in the sci­fi community we are privileged to call ourselves members. Con Man is a way to share some of the surreal occurrences we have had, while telling the story of a guy learning to love and embrace his fans. 

I wanted to make a show that featured all of my favorite convention artists and friends together. Not only that, I wanted to celebrate the world where heroes, villains, zombie hunters, and space pirates all overlap. I especially wanted to work with my friend Nathan Fillion again.

Serial Crises: Car, Cat, and Root Canal!

And finally a crowd funded initiative that is slightly less frivolous. Kij Johnson is a speculative fiction author in the US who has had a string of bad luck. I’ve always enjoyed Johnson’s work, and while sad to see that bad things had happened, I was glad to see the power of crowd sourcing to help out. This one probably isn’t of interest unless you are familiar with Kij’s work (you might be familiar with the short story The Man Who Bridged the Mist which received a lot of acclaim a few years back), but if you are you should go and check the campaign out.

From the website:

Hello, all! I’m Kij Johnson, a writer of science fiction and fantasy. At the moment, I’m in dire straits, and I really hope you can help me. We all have horrible things happen that eat away our emotional and financial reserves; mostly I manage fine, but this last week, I finally hit the wall, so I’m asking my world for help. This is hard for me, and I feel weird doing it, but the stress of not doing it is rapidly outweighing the stress of asking. 

Here’s the troubles, all of them: My beloved Subaru Forester (it’s the blue of summer skies when you look straight up) destroyed its engine when I was on my way to a conference last weekend. I had it towed back to my mechanic. The bad news is that it needs a replacement engine, but we found a good used one with the same mileage ($4500 installed). 

So there’s that. But I was already struggling to come up with the money for two other urgent situations: my small, charming black cat (who has no official name but is generally known as The Black Cat of Ulthar; that’s her in the picture) is popping out all over her stomach with fatty tumors that need to be removed ASAP (this is probably $1200 or so) — and I need a root canal (my share is $600). Both urgent and both not happening: I’ve been stalling both for the last four months, even knowing how ill-advised this is, because I’m trying desperately to save for food, rent, and student loans over my unpaid summer — I just haven’t had the time to build any financial pad.

This all adds up to $6300, which is a lot, I know. Anything at all helps! 

I see that people don’t usually offer rewards for donations here at indiegogo life; but I’m a writer, and that’s how many of you know me. So here are some collective rewards. 

1. If we make $2000, I’ll post online for free an epic chicken poem. It’s a sequel to Chaucer’s “The Nun’s Priest’s Tale” and it’s funny. To me, anyway.

2. If we make $4500 (paying for the car: I need the car to drive the cat places!), I’ll post online for free a poem or story about a car. I haven’t written this yet, so I’ll be on my game. 

3. If we make $5700 (adding the cat), I’ll give her an official name, and it will be brilliant and awesome. 

4. If we make $6300 (adding my teeth), I’ll write a story that involves cars, cats, and teeth. 

As I said, it feels very strange to be doing this, but I’m hoping that some of you will remember some story of mine you read for free online (my website is, but I have free fiction all sorts of places), and might consider helping out. It would mean everything to me, my cat, and my car.


How about you – have you supported any crowd funded projects recently? Let us know in the comments below.