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I’ve read a couple of good things lately, and wanted to share.

Interview with Helena Coggan – she’s 15 and a published author, and I am happy to have ammunition to point to any time someone tells me to dumb down one of my teenage protagonists!

“Six tips for artist entrepreneurs” by the fabulous Kathleen Jennings. I am a big fan of Kathleen’s work and I love how generous she is with sharing her insights.

On Awards

Two publications I’m published in were shortlisted for the Australian Shadows Award Best Edited Work 2014 (run by the AHWA). Both SQ Mag Issue 14 and Suspended in Dusk are publications I was really proud to be published in, and last night SQ Mag won the award. Massive kudos and congratulations to Sophie Yorkston, the editor of SQ Mag and an all-round lovely person!

I want to also give big props to Simon Dewar, the ever-patient and tenacious editor of Suspended in Dusk, which is a fantastic book and deserves its own recognition. Number 1 on the Amazon Bestselling horror anthologies is nothing to sneeze at!

Suspended in Dusk in the No. 1 spot!

Suspended in Dusk in the No. 1 spot!

SQ Mag is free to read online, so go check them out. And Suspended in Dusk can be bought in a variety of formats. They’re both great reads :).

My mentee brother David McDonald is running a blog series at the moment called “Paying for our Passion”. He’s invited a bunch of Australian writers to blog about how they pay for their writing career. It’s an exercise in transparency, and highlights how different writers have different levels of opportunity and access.

I read the one by Maureen Flynn and it hit me right in the raw, sore spot inside. My life is different to Maureen’s, my challenges are different, but I can relate to a lot of what she wrote, particularly:

I’ve stayed sane because I have something that only I can control, a selfish past time that’s all about me. That selfish past time is my writing. No one can replicate it or take it from me unless I let them. No one can do the writing job for me. And even if I never get published and stay the amateur forever, that’s a very important realisation indeed…

This.

I started writing when I became a single parent. It was a process, and it was something for me. I’d lost myself in mothering young children and it was about rebuilding myself. Now that I have a young child with developmental delays and a possible diagnosis looming, and am studying full time for a Masters, the guilt rises up more frequently. How can I justify the time away from my other responsibilities? Maureen has articulated how I can justify it beautifully. I invite anyone else who struggles to justify their writing time to read Maureen’s post and feel a little more secure in the fact that you’re not the only one.

Map of the Lane

Caesura is a flash fiction story I wrote for the Lane of Unusual Traders, a project by Tiny Owl Workshop. It is live and free to read today. The first two stories can also be found on the LoUT website (and I’ll link them here as they progressively “open”).

Check out:

Sugarman by Steve Toase

Irrealty and Ferns by Robert G. Cook

Caesura by me

Orran’s Music Emporium by M. M. De Voe

The Lions by Madison Dusome

Check back for more stories!

So uni is kicking my butt. I haven’t written anything fictiony or poety in a while. I had enrolled in 4 subjects but just today made the decision to drop one so I can give them all my full attention.

This link caught my attention the other day though. AustLit aims to be the definitive virtual research environment and information resource for Australian literary, print, and narrative culture. From the link:

‘Diversity and Australian Speculative Fiction’ participates in an ongoing debate about the visibility of diversity in science-fiction, fantasy, and horror, as well as continuing AustLit’s own interest in representing the richness of Australia’s multicultural cultural heritage. In this post, we highlight speculative-fiction writers from backgrounds other than Anglo-Celtic or northern European.

Diversity and Aust. Speculative Fiction Part One

Go forth and find good spec fic to read, people!

 

The Aurealis Awards shortlist was announced yesterday and I was thrilled to see so many friends make the final list. Particular nods to Jason Fischer, Angela Slatter, Kirstyn McDermott, Alan Baxter, Thoraiya Dyer, Liz Grzyb, Kathleen Jennings, Jason Franks, and Tehani Wessely.

Phantazein is shortlisted for best anthology, which is pretty damn cool. You should go buy it and read it. I’m not at all biased ;).

Look at that pretty cover.

Phantazein cover art

So… I finished it!

Photo by Mariusz Kluzniak on Flickr

Photo by Mariusz Kluzniak on Flickr

“The Forgotten Children of Zurat” is now a complete manuscript. All 19300ish words. I need to do a read-through without adding sections to see how it flows… but I think it’s good.

I took a week from Facebook to get it done. I now feel a little lost… Zurat has commanded my attention for a while now, and I miss the creative surge of the first draft. Of navigating the threads of the narrative as it unspools, and weaving it into a coherent whole.

Hardcore edits coming up… but there is something pretty special in printing off a story you wrote from beginning to end, with all the bits in the middle complete. This is the longest story I’ve managed to actually finish… my precious novella-baby!

manuscript

Ghost town…

London, 1970, by Terence Spencer… one of the photos I use as inspiration

I’ve been a bit quiet here, I know. I don’t really have much to update. There are a few publications in the pipeline for this year but they’re a little while away.

I’ve been busy working on The Forgotten Children of Zurat. It’s around 16500 words at the moment. First draft is almost done except for a few blank spots, so I’ve started on the second draft rewrites with the aim of filling in those gaps as I go.

One thing I’ve noticed with Zurat is that I jumped around a lot. I didn’t write a story from start to finish. I let my imagination drift and take me further ahead or jump right back. Whenever I got stuck I’d find some juicy bit I knew was coming up and let the words pour out. There are a few continuity issues because of it but actually not as many as I was expecting.

This is also the reason for the blank spots, of course! But I think if I’d tried to write the story chronologically I would have gotten bored, and lost some of the spark that came from the intensely fevered writing sessions where I tried to get everything that was in my head out before I lost it.

I’ve done a little bit of Zurat art but I’m not really happy enough with it to share. Sometimes I let my perfectionist side have final say ;).

Here’s a tiny snippet from my novella baby…

Her mood buoyed by the prospect of action, Jette forged up the hill, even as the rain started to fall again in earnest. Ilse trudged up the slope, her head down. The windows had eyes, and they watched her pass.

A door opened to their right. An old woman pulled a hood down over her head as she shuffled out into the rain. Two small boys slipped out of the house behind her and ran up the street. One carried a sack, the other a stack of wood. The old woman didn’t react to their passage.

There are no children in Zurat. Only ghosts.

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