Sunday, April 29, 2012


Epilogue, including my story 'Fireflies', is now available for pre-order. Congratulations to Tehani Wessely of FableCroft for herding the strays and bringing this beast home, and to Amanda Rainey for the wonderful cover. The launch will be at Continuum 8 in June. Pre-order for $19.95. (including postage within Australia) Bargain!

Just look at the names on the TOC. Personally, I can't wait to read it.

Table of Contents – Epilogue

“A memory trapped in light” by Joanne Anderton
“Time and tide” by Lyn Battersby
“Fireflies” by Steve Cameron
“Sleeping Beauty” by Thoraiya Dyer
“The Fletcher Test” by Dirk Flinthart
“Ghosts” by Stephanie Gunn
“Sleepers” by Kaia Landelius
“Solitary” by Dave Luckett
“Cold comfort” by David McDonald
“The Mornington Ride” by Jason Nahrung
“What books survive” by Tansy Rayner Roberts
“The last good town” by Elizabeth Tan

Saturday, April 28, 2012

This Week Had Seven Days.

An insanely busy week.

I had parent-teacher interviews on Thursday night which does not, as someone recently said, mean you get to just sit down and chat. They take a lot of preparation, and there's always the possibility of aggressive or hostile parents. Fortunately the parents that came to see me were fine. The ones I needed to see never came.

I also finished my university assignments and submitted those. Since I was overseas for a few weeks, I had quite a bit of catch up reading and writing to do. But they're done now and out of the way.

Jack Dann's writing workshop continues full steam ahead. During the week I somehow found some time to read and critique the stories for yesterday's class. Some nice moments and some good writing, and a couple of stories I'd like to see developed further. And I learned quite a bit. I'm already re-imagining future stories in my head to make them tighter. This course is doing exactly what I hoped it would.

There was a Ditmar nomination a few days ago, and I'm thrilled by that. I'm also very appreciative of the comments made and emails people have sent me. Especially since some of those came from writers whose work I had on my shelf but had never met only a year or so ago. Thanks. I currently have a couple of stories on hold, which I was hoping I'd have had more news about by now. Many friends (or at least writers I know) have been nominated for awards, which is always exciting.

All I need is some time to write some new stuff.

The sun is out and the sky is blue. My new audio system sounds great. I'm enjoying my work (apart from parent-teacher interviews) and my dogs are fine.

A busy week, but a great one.

Thursday, April 26, 2012


Boy, that came out of the blue!

I certainly didn't expect to be nominated for Best New Talent in this year's Ditmar Awards. Thank you to all those who voted. And congratulations to Jo Anderton and Alan Baxter, who also happen to be shortlisted with me. Both writers produce great pieces, and are really cool in person.

I also need to mention my crit buddy, David McDonald, who has been nominated for the William Atheling Jr Award, as part of a team alongside Tansy Rayner Roberts and Tehani Wessely. Well done and congratulations.

And congratulations to everyone else who made the list. It's great to be recognised and receive validation by being shortlisted at national level. I, for one, really appreciate it.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Writing Lots...

...but not what I choose to be writing.

I'm only a month or so from completing a University course, and I'm behind in my assignments. I had one due recently that I just wasn't going to get submitted on time, mostly due to the two week study tour of China I undertook a month ago. As such I asked for an extension, which was granted, and so I've spent a lot of time catching up on my reading for my studies.

Now this is an area of studies that I'm interested in, and will definitely help my career. Unfortunately the main text book we use is quite theoretical and heavy going. Also, I'm an old fashioned learner - I like to be in a classroom, face to face with a teacher and other students and learning as much from the discussion as I do from the readings. Forums, online readings and posts don't quite do it for me, and I'm finding this much harder going than I anticipated.

And so much of my weekend has been taken up with some reading and writing my assignments. Still, the pain is only for another month and then I'll (hopefully) be free of this kind of learning and I'll be able to devote my writing time to the kind of writing I like.

Until next time, that is.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Vale: Levon Helm.

And so we also say farewell to Levon Helm, With Rick Danko he was the spine of the beast that was The Band. He was part of The Hawks before Dylan took them on board, the backing band for Ronnie Hawkins.

An amazing voice, drummer and multi-instrumentalist.

Tonight I'm listening to The Weight, Up On Cripple Creek, and The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.

More than once.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Vale: K.D. Wentworth.

K.D. Wentworth has passed after a battle with cancer.

I've been entering the Writers of the Future contest for a couple of years now. As the co-ordinating judge, K.D. was someone I felt a connection to. She read my stories, even liked some of them. More than that, she started out where I am - as a teacher who submitted stories to the contest until she won. I never met her, but I've spoken to people who have, other writers who have won the competition and spent a week at the workshops with K.D. All these people had nothing but complimentary things to say about K.D. - the writer, the judge, the person.

My thoughts are with her family and friends at this time.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Think Small.

I've recently been amazed at some of the stories I've read in Analog, Asimov's, and Fantasy & Science Fiction. Not at the quality - quite the opposite. I was amazed they made it into the pages of the big three.

Sure, there's been some great stories too. But recently it seems as though the quality in those magazines has become increasingly inconsistent. At first I figured it was just a matter of taste, that the stories I thought were average were simply stories I didn't like. But when I analysed those stories, I discovered they contained a number of aspects that only a beginning writer should be guilty of. Lazy writing, infodumps, irrelevant scenes, corny dialog, and ridiculous coincidences pulled out of the hat at the last minute. And considering these mags receive hundreds of submissions every month and can pick and choose to their heart's content, it either says something about their selection process, or the scarcity of good writing out there.

What I am starting to realise is that some of the best stories around are, instead, to be found on  the pages of anthologies from small presses. Coeur de Lion, Twelfth Planet, FableCroft, Ticonderoga, to name a few Australian ones. Unfortunately, these publications don't get the exposure or respect they deserve.

Locus magazine continues to review every story in every issue of the big three (plus a swag of other pro mags) while ignoring so many smaller ones. While I understand they obviously receive far too many books to read and review, I would suggest that it's the 'other' magazines and anthologies that actually need the support of Locus. The big three are going to sell those issues anyway - particularly since the reviews usually come out well after the mags are off the news-stands.

Keith Stevenson, of Coeur De Lion, for example, recently lamented the difficulty he has in getting his books reviewed. And, of course, if books aren't reviewed and seen, they don't sell, and then they don't get placed on recommended reading lists or awards shortlists - no matter how good they are. Stevenson's Anywhere But Earth has received fantastic ratings and reviews on Goodreads, but has barely raised a blip elsewhere. And this is despite his previous anthology, X6, being placed on the Locus recommended reading list and winning a number of awards.

I was a little surprised recently when a local reviewer told me they had trouble accessing release information on local small press anthologies. I wouldn't have thought it was that difficult. 'Like' their Facebook page, regularly visit their web page, subscribe to a newsletter - whatever.

Support your small publishers, and tell others.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

One Of Those Weeks.

So every now and again you have a week where a rejection arrives from a market that really should have bought that story because not only is it a really good story but it's a perfect fit for them and they don't know what they're talking about when they reject it and the comments given by the slushreader shows how little they know about good writing and every bone in your body screams in pain and wants the right of reply so you can point out the error of their ways and explain to them how wrong they are and how several of their recently published stories are complete crap and nowhere near as good as yours but you don't do that because you try to behave professionally and deep down you understand that your story is a commodity and ultimately if they don't want it nothing you can say will change that so instead you have a five minute rant to yourself and ship it out again before settling into a quagmire of self doubt about your own abilities as a writer and wallowing there and wondering if anyone will ever buy anything from you again.

And then there a couple of events that lift you out of it. An unsolicited comment from a writer you respect and admire - or in my case, two comments from two writers. A nomination for an award. An email from another writing friend congratulating you and cheering you up. A comment from another friend and peer on your blog supporting you. An invitation to guest post with an introduction that simultaneously builds you up and humbles you.

That's what I love about the Spec Fic community in Australia. The support and encouragement. Thank you.

My guest post Advice on Advice can be found here on the talented David McDonald's site.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

2012 Chronos Awards.

The shortlist for the 2012 Chronos Awards has been announced. Congratulations to all those included in the nominations.

I must say I'm thrilled to have had my story, So Sad, The Lighthouse Keeper, from Anywhere But Earth shortlisted. Keith Stevenson posted on its inclusion here.

Thanks to all those who nominated me. I truly appreciate it. Now it's up to the Convention membership to vote on which work they believe is the most worthy.

Thanks again.

Monday, April 2, 2012

And Boy, Are My Arms Tired...

I just flew in from Shanghai. The last two weeks have been spent on an insanely busy study tour of China. Well worth the experience, but with very little free time.

My brain feels like it's about to melt, and I desperately need some sleep. After the shower, of course. And maybe some food. I will post more when I'm refreshed. Perhaps tomorrow.

As for the silence over the past two weeks? The Great Firewall of China meant I was unable to even access this blog.

A wonderful trip, but I'm glad to be home.

I sleep now.