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apexcover

Look at that glorious cover, oh my!

I’m unbelievably thrilled to announce the publication of “He Dreams of Salt and Sea” over at Apex Magazine. This selkie poem was inspired by a scene from Margo Lanagan’s Sea Hearts. You can read it for free over at the Apex site or buy the ebook version for $2.99.

Here is some praise from twitter:

twitterapex

Apex publishes some gorgeous fiction and poetry, go and have a look :).

cover-sq-mag-20
When I first heard the song “Trophy” by Bat for Lashes I was rocking my baby (in a rocking chair, so he’d go to sleep) and the lyrics and music grabbed my attention immediately. It became a song I obsessed over (I do that), and I knew I wanted to write a story loosely based on the song.

I feverishly wrote a story, deemed it fabulous, and submitted it somewhere. It was rejected.

This happened many times. It had rewrites. So many rewrites. I thank those early editors for generous feedback that allowed me to tone down the hysteria and find the essence of the story. And then it just sat, until I got a vital bit of feedback that resulted in yet another furious rewrite.

And it found a home. And what a special, fantastic home it is!

I share this, because so many writers become disheartened by the process of submission and rejection. All of us are guilty at some points of sending out stories while they are still fresh, half-baked. As we get wiser, we get feedback and refine BEFORE submitting, rather than refining after endless-seeming rejections. Sometimes we have to trunk those early stories, but not always. Sometimes, the process of rejection enables you to see your story in a new light: and sometimes, the perfect fit comes along after a wait.

So was the case with “Three Trophies”, It had so many incarnations, and I’m proud that it found a home with SQ Mag, in this issue, with some fabulous authors I am honoured to be published alongside.

It’s free to read here and I urge you to go read the other stories as well by authors Angela Slatter, Kirstyn McDermott, Greg Chapman, Liam Hogan, Michael Anthony, Gary McMahon, and Shawn Frazier.

SpeedPoets Feature!

That's Chris on the cover, not me, just in case you were confused.

That’s Chris on the cover, not me, just in case you were confused.

So on Saturday the 25th April I was a feature poet at Brisbane’s SpeedPoets open mic event. SpeedPoets is on the last Saturday of every month. Which in April coincides this year with ANZAC Day.

I was terrified and thrilled to be asked to do a feature set—I felt like a bit of an imposter, but I love sharing my poetry. I had the assignment from Hell due on the Sunday so I wrote a couple of new poems and got my set together while drowning in the never-ending report.

SpeedPoets MC Simon Kindt asked me a few questions and the answers can be found here. (Side note, Simon’s verse novel No Revelation is amazing and if you like post-apocalyptic stuff you should get it, it’s incredibly haunting).

I was doubly honoured to be featured alongside Chris Lynch, a Brisbane poet whose stuff is quite brilliant. Chris was also one of the sparks that got me writing poetry again this year when a Mandelbrot poem seed popped up in my Facebook messages one day. It was a welcome diversion to the academic reading and writing I was surrounded by!

Because it was ANZAC Day, I opened with this:

Unfurled the poppy
bright, unaware
of what fed it.
Casualties of war
seeped into churned
up loam, nourished
the crimson beauty.
Upon her body
scarred and bloodied
they adorned her
like jewels.

Me doing interpretive dance poetry

Me doing interpretive dance poetry – photo by the lovely Helen Stubbs

It was a fantastic experience, nerves were curiously absent even though the crowd was much larger than usual. Thanks to Simon and JdUb for asking me to be a feature, I had an absolute blast!

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!

 

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