People are very kind.
I forget this sometimes, but it's true. Shout out to Zach, the bearded guy with a baby strapped to him who bought a copy of Crossroads of Canopy yesterday in Dymocks, after I was so overly excited to see it there that I couldn't help but point it out to him.
Since the book's release, the kindness of my friends, colleagues and bona-fide actual fans has kept me buoyant as the waves of fortune have washed over me. Everybody who came to my launches in Newcastle, Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra and Melbourne, you are wonderful. Thank you.
The rainforest, of course, is the gift that just keeps on giving, and it's time to go to the next level...
...unveil the next level...
...torture my characters in the next...look, my point is, the next book HAS A COVER!
And it's just as beautiful as the one before.
Go to Amazon where you can use the gadget to enlarge it. Even preorder the book while you're there! Or from Book Depository! Or any your local bookshop of choice. Oh, and if you use it, don't forget to add to your to-read pile at Goodreads!
My next appearance will be at the NSWWC Speculative Fiction Festival on Saturday 22nd July. After that, I'll hope to see as many people as possible at Worldcon 75, Helsinki, Finland, 9th - 13th August 2017. I'll be on panels about forests, Aussie SFF & unlikeable heroines - and I hope to reacquaint myself with Finnish lakes, berries, birches and potentially flying squirrels. If my dodgy kneecap hold out. Hurraa!
*Aughra voice*: THE GREAT CONJUNCTION IS THE END OF THE WORLD! Or the beginning. Hm! End of Aughra? Hmph! End, Begin, all the same. Big change. Sometimes good. Sometimes bad.
I guess that's my way of saying...I'm now a real, live novelist. Thank you friends, readers, agent, editors, publisher-folk! And thank you, Aughra. It was you, and other weird, fantastical ideas, that dragged me into this genre, so deep that I'll never escape. Nor want to.
Here are many places for the purchasing of Crossroads of Canopy: Kindle, Kobo, hardcover from Book Depository, Booktopia, Kinokuniya, AbeBooks etc.
There are many reviews, both good and bad, at Goodreads and Amazon if you need help deciding whether or not to give it a go. But you should have an idea yourself if you've read the prologue or first chapter at Tor.com:Free Excerpts HERE.
Here are links to some of my favourite, very thoughtful, reviews, by Jacquelyn at Goodreads, This Girl Loves Books, Stephanie Gunn at The Forest of Books, Robin Elizabeth, SF Bluestocking, Paul at Skiffy and Fanty, and this in depth very fair YouTube review by The Reading Rhodes.
Also...it's Aurealis time! I've been lucky enough to make the shortlist in the Best Fantasy Short Story (Where the Pelican Builds her Nest) and also Best Science Fiction Novella (Going Viral) categories. Congrats to all the other folk on the shortlist and thank you kindly to the judges.
The next few months will be busy with appearances: I've got Crossroads of Canopy book launches coming up at MacLean's Booksellers Hamilton on Saturday 18th March, Kinokuniya Sydney on Thursday 6th April, Avid Reader Brisbane on Thursday 13th April, and Paperchain Canberra on Thursday 20th April. Hoping for a fine turnout to each and all!
And expect Cat Sparks at all but the Newcastle launch with her impressive science fiction novel, Lotus Blue, also being launched and available to buy (THE GREAT CONJUNCTION COMES! What was sundered and undone shall be whole, the two made one!)
Season's greetings, friends! Your author-in-residence finds herself still mildly injured, yet determined to meet her deadlines and also, during various festivities, determined to eat wattle seed scones with lemon myrtle cream and macadamia Haagen-Dazs...mmmmm delicious Aussie goodness with a hint of New York. Just like my imminent shiny new novel!
In the lead up to Crossroads of Canopy's release, I've been interviewed at the Tor/Forge Blog (Q & A) and also written an article about my adventures as a wildlife vet ("Not The Worst Day Job In The World").
Americans and Canadians: The time for your Goodreads Giveaway is now! Tor is sending out 10 advance copies, huzzah! (Ends January 2nd)
POC Destroy Fantasy! is out now at Lightspeed...Go! Buy! Enjoy!
Oh, and the short story I co-wrote with Alvaro Zinos-Amaro should be out in the Jan/Feb 2017 Analog Science Fiction and Fact. In my head it's "that slightly harrowing Europa story" but actually the title is The Shallowest Waves and you know where to go to subscribe to Analog if you want, you don't need me to tell you ;)
It's looking like I'll have some Australian book launches for Crossroads of Canopy next year, plus or minus the talented Cat Sparks with her hotly anticipated SF biopunk Lotus Blue, due in March 2017. Things are shaping up for Maclean's Hamilton in Newcastle on March 18th and Avid Reader in Brisvegas on April 13th. More information as it comes to hand.
See you again in the mysterious future otherwise known as 2017.
Tick tock, tick tock: Goodreads Giveaway for Aussies ends Nov 20th! (don't worry, non-Australian readers, your Giveaway will come in December.)
(Widget deleted, alas, because too wide for this fixed-width page. My friend Melissa thinks to herself: I told you so.)
LINK to Goodreads Giveaway page!
I've been a bit quiet online lately, due to an injury, but keep your eyes peeled for a Twitter giveaway in the not-too-distant future.
Several of my short stories have gone live/been released since my last update, and I am incredibly proud of them both! They are The House of Half Mirrors from the September Clarkesworld, and Induction from Jonathan Strahan's Bridging Infinity, whose TOC includes Alastair Reynolds, Tobias Buckell, Karen Lord and Pat Cadigan. The Rock In The Water is coming soon to Lightspeed's People of Colour Destroy Fantasy edition (in company with work by N.K. Jemisin and Sofia Samatar) with a simultaneous audio release by the amazing Podcastle.
So, injury aside, life is good! Take care. And enter that Goodreads competition.
Farewelling Peter Mayland Smith (1932-2016) today, my archery teacher, mentor and friend.
I joined Newcastle City Archers in 2003. Peter taught me from my first day through to the end of 2007 when I stopped shooting competitively (though the visits to Neath didn't stop). Much more than a coach, he was a father-figure who modelled humility, patience and quiet expertise; who was able to guide without attempting to control, advise without passing judgement, and who, as a gifted woodworker and archer, embodied the qualities I later fell in love with and married in younger form when my Action Man came onto the scene.
Peter, you dressed as an executioner for my medieval party, you made my bowstrings, you laughed at my bad jokes and ate my weird ethnic food without complaining. You're leaving a hole behind like a pass-through in a paper target. Thank you for everything.
Y'know how the garden centre guy says blue quandong can't tolerate frost, and you say but global warming, no more frost, my quandong will be FINE, and he says OK, and then three months later you watch the little leaves curl up in shrivelly blackness and wish you'd listened to the garden centre guy?
Welcome to winter, folks. It's seven degrees Celsius!
AND I've been having adventures in even colder places than Sydney, such as the Fabled Ice Kingdom of Melbourne, where I recently enjoyed Continuum 12 so much that I'm planning on going to Continuum 13. But not on the train. Because 12 hours on the not-actually-very-fast-train is a cash saving but not a sanity saving. Just so we're clear on that little experiment.
Prior to that was the Brisbane convention, Contact, and oh boy, did those folks have their shit together! It was fantastic and I'd totally go for another one of those, too! YAY CONVENTIONS! (I haven't forgotten you, Conflux. See you in Canberra in October.) And yay for my friends who not only make conventions awesome but help me to get to them.
My novel got a cover reveal last month.
LOOK, LOOK, LOOK, is is SO PRETTY and I'm a bit starstruck as the dream continues to come true.
If you can't wait til January 2017 to read one of my long works (of course you can't!) my sciece fiction novella Going Viral will be FREE (!) to download in Issue 8 of Dimension 6 as of July 1st 2016.
Finally, this cover spotted in the wild has my name on it:
...if you can call Jonathan Strahan's blog the wild. EEP!
Nine days to go until CONTACT2016, the 55th Australian National Speculative Fiction Convention, and I hope to see some of you there. I'll be appearing on three different panels. Scary! But Fun! Details HERE. Also plan on attending the Aurealis and Ditmar Awards ceremonies (congrats to the excellent nominees/shortlistees!), writing in the Last Book and hitting the Botanical Gardens because since starting work on the Titan's Forest trilogy I am fast becoming a tree nerd.
Short story news: The Shallowest Waves, a Norway-and-also-planet-Europa-set SF story which I co-wrote with Alvaro Zinos-Amaro (it was his idea...can you see me playing nicely with other writers when it comes to words on a page? HAHAHA)(*sheepish* thanks for your patience Alvaro) has found a home at Analog. My Java-and-Sumatra-set novella Going Viral and Anguilla-set short SF story Induction have also found homes, stay tuned for more on them. Giant, my "Defying Doomsday" story, is set for a mid-2016 release. And it is set in space. So you can see I have been travelling widely inside my own brain.
Oh, and I have started collecting email addresses in case you would like any of these brief and infrequent updates arriving in your inbox, instead of having to remember to check this site. Sign up on my contact page!
Deck the halls with boughs of holly, fa-la-la-la-la...no, wait, English Holly is an environmental weed in Victoria, South Australia, NSW, Tassie and ACT.
(Mistletoe is OK, though. I did a National Parks cultural tour in the Snowy Mountains once where this Wiradjuri guy showed us which mistletoe fruits were safe to eat and how not to get poisoned, it was so cool.)
(I digress. Happy holiday season!)
December is naturally AWESOME because I have a short science fiction story about birds, magnetism, bacteria, giant domes (can't seem to stop with the giant domes, I love them) and creepy old houses, North, in the latest COSMOS magazine. Get thee to a newsagency, Aussie readers! To the online shop, othersies! Buy! Enjoy!
I don't have too much other news on the writing front. Edits on CANOPY have gone great so far. ECHOES OF UNDERSTOREY is progressing well, I'm almost finished churning out the first draft. I've delivered a couple of short stories to the lovely editors who have asked for them and am waiting to hear about whether they've made the grade. Wine, Women and Stars was translated into Russian and appeared in the October issue of ESLI (FOR REAL! How gorgeous is that website?) and Daughters of Frankenstein was released into the world.
2015 has been good to me. Thanks for reading and best wishes for the new year.
Hello! Happy almost-the-end-of-August!
Yes, so the ballot has been out since July and I haven't mentioned here that Long Hidden is shortlisted for a World Fantasy Award which is really freakin' cool! Also, Kaaron Warren, Angela Slatter and Janeen Webb made the list, so that is a big WOO for Aussies and bring on WFC in November (I'm not going but will be there in spirit and also Twitter).
I've been working hard on the first draft of Book #2 of TITANS FOREST, as well as working through edits for Book #1, so there isn't as much short story news, but I had a brilliant time on a panel discussing short stories with Tehani Wessely, Ian McHugh, Keith Stevenson and Cat Sparks at the NSW Writer's Centre's Speculative Fiction Festival. Also, Pamila Payne reads my short story from the same fantasy world as CANOPY, The Chimney-Borer and the Tanner, over at Podcastle, and she does an AMAZING job, you MUST listen! (Rated R. Look at me, Ma!)
ZOMG YOU GUYS TOR BOUGHT MY RAINFOREST FANTASY TRILOGY! TABBOULEH FOR EVERYONE! EXCEPT YOU WEIRDOS WHO HATE PARSLEY! YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!
Ok, sorry. I have to remember that wonderful strangers may now be landing here (hello, wonderful strangers!) and that parsleyphilia is not a requirement. But I am JUMPING UP AND DOWN HAPPY at this news, which would not feel nearly as sweet if I hadn't had such a hard time last year. You know. What Keats said about melancholy and bursting joy's grape against your palate fine, etc. Although in the Titans Forest series I have ditched such temperate climate fruits as grapes for the delights of blue quandongs and magenta cherries.
This sale is brought to you by the slaving away of my agent at Ethan Ellenberg, Evan Gregory, and adventurous Tor editor Diana Pho. Also, I would have chucked in this writing gig ages ago if not for the welcoming and supportive arms of the Australian spec fic community, too numerous to individually name, but basically if you have ever been snapshotted I LOVE YOUSE ALL!
Oh, and also thanks lovely Aussies for the 2015 Aurealis Award for Best Short Science Fiction for my Analog story, Wine, Women and Stars. I was a bit weepy down in Canberra when I got up to accept it. It meant so much to me, since I had won before for fantasy but never science fiction. They are both so dear to my heart. Though I will be writing fantasy for at least a little while now (EEEEEEEEEE!) all that tech and those far flung futures will still be waiting, later :)
Woohoo! Time for an Aurealis and Ditmar Award party!
Of just one person.
And really quietly, since the Small One is asleep.
*Whispers* So, I am proud to announce that The Oud from Long Hidden and Wine, Women & Stars from Analog Jan/Feb 2014 are both shortlisted for the 2014 Aurealis Awards in the categories of Best Fantasy Short Story and Best Science Fiction Short Story respectively. Also, Bahamut from Phantazein has been shortlisted for a Ditmar Award in the category of Best Short Story.
How exciting is that?
Also, Cranky Ladies of History is being launched by political journalist Karen Middleton at The Front Gallery & Cafe, Sun 8th March 2015, which, not coincidentally, will be International Women's Day. It's going to be ludicrous Australian Capital Territorian fun! With fireworks*!**
*no actual fireworks
**I think I may have scarred the Small One for life by telling her about the fireworks in my Dad's village in Lebanon which burned a screaming lady's shoe off
It's almost the end of the Year of the Horse. Hard choices this year, my family put through the wringer; job losses, relocations, mental illnesses, death, dementia and suicide; in a way I won't be sad to see 2014 go, to turn that new leaf, to see what jewel bugs or funnelweb spiders wait on the other side.
Then again, the release of this book is a real milestone for me: The Mammoth Book of Science Fiction Stories by Women (Amazon) - not quite out yet in Australia at Booktopia but out in the UK - my sister and I used to devour the books in the Mammoth series when I was a teenager.
And I am beyond thrilled to have a story appearing in Fablecroft's Cranky Ladies of History anthology, alongside work by Juliet Marillier and Jane Yolen. Vintana is set in Madagascar and stars the fabulously ruthless Queen Ranavalona. The lineup looks so good! (About as good as appearing with Ursula LeGuin in Clarkesworld #90, eh? Easy for me to forget about these amazing sales because my brag shelf is now in boxes in storage with all my other books, somewhere between the camping equipment and Action Man's collection of antique hand-planes, but they really did happen!)
Who knows what will happen next. Tuckeroo seed carpets under the wheels of European convertibles and urban bush turkeys in the front yards of five-million-dollar homes are beginning to push the bare boards of the old primary school and the sight of utes piled high with lucerne out of my brain.
And I promised to take the Small One to the Manly Waterworks. What an idiot. Wish me luck :)
Have a great time turning over your own new leaves and I'll see you in 2015.
Short story news, some sekret and some not-so-sekret, has happily distracted me from packing up my house in the last few weeks. My story set in the world of Great Southern Land, Burning the Lady's Bones, appeared in the Review of Australian Fiction, Volume 11, Issue 6, September 2014. The release date for The Beast Within 4: gears and Growls was set for October 31st 2014, and Novascapes joined Phantazein, alive and kicking in the world.
But I've mostly been saying goodbye to the Hunter Valley. Last week, the Small One had a farewell party at Rose Point Park, where the coal trains cross the rail bridge over the Hunter River. Jacarandas wept purple in the warm wind. Silky oaks held the Singleton library in a cup of bronze. At dusk, the fruit bats erupted out of Burdekin park and into the wide sky.
I'll miss those wide skies, the amazing birds and the warm-hearted people. But if the wedge-tailed eagle of Wonnaruah Country isn't watching over me any more, hopefully the white-bellied sea-eagle of Kuringgai country will. And I do love the beach, and the pulsing heart of Sydney. It's weird but also exciting to think I'll be able to go to Symphony in the Domain for the first time in a decade.
When I unpack my computer again, I'll update the Writing page properly. I promise :)
Hello, July! Hello galahs eating dandelion seeds in the cold morning fog, crazy birthday season drawing to a close and me screeching whenever the hot water system malfunctions.
Plenty has happened since March, short story-wise, but I've been toiling in the novel-mines with my latest irresistibly enmeshing projects, magical rainforest fantasy Canopy and alternate-history SF Age of Contagion. So, all this news is no longer news, really. Except for the Genius Loci thing. That is real, fresh news from this very morning, haha.
I managed to lose two potential Ditmar Awards for Asymmetry and Seven Days In Paris to Cat Sparks's excellent The Bride Price and Scarp respectively. Delighted for my friends Jo Anderton and Kaaron Warren, who won the two Aurealis Awards I was shortlisted for. I don't think I got honourably mentioned by anyone this year, but I'm extremely excited that The Second Card of the Major Arcana is being reprinted in The Mammoth Book of SF Stories by Women.
Acceptances for shiny new short stories include The Falcon Races, to be published in Insert Title Here, and Bahamut, to be published in Phantazein (both Fablecroft anthologies), A Shallow Grave of Orange Peel and Eggshells for Lethe Press' Daughters of Frankenstein anthology, and The Grudge for Ragnarok/Jaym Gates' Genius Loci anthology, Kickstarter forthcoming.
Speaking of kickstarters, diverse historical SFF antho Long Hidden has been released into the wild, as has Gold Coast anthology Undertow, with Hunter Valley spec fic anthology Novascapes and military SF anthology War Stories not far away! (Enter the giveaway on Goodreads!) I am in ALL THE CROWDFUNDED THINGS!
Everyone else is going to London soon for Worldcon, while I am here counting my beans, but that is OK, I have much to learn about Pagayurung and the Padri War before I venture into my next short story :)
A very quick and guilty update to say: 24 hours left to support the Cranky Ladies of History crowdfunding on Pozible!
(I'm so sorry. I'm so slack!)
I've got a few irons in the fire. Next month, hopefully I'll have some news I can share about short story acceptances. I'm excited about the Aurealis Awards next week (eek!) in Canberra: Asymmetry is on the Best Collection shortlist and Seven Days In Paris made it onto the shortlist for Best Science Fiction Short Story, which is SO COOL (I've read the other works in both categories and they are quality). I have a story in the March issue of Clarkesworld, called Human Strandings and the Role of the Xenobiologist. It's a mashup of people so damaged by life that they can't recognise a paradise when they're in one, aliens and wildlife rehabilitation. Enjoy as text or audio!
Happy New Year! I'm back from my trip to Victoria and Tasmania. Enjoyed catching up with both sides of the family tree. Now: Back to work!
Focus 2012 and the January Analog are out, both containing stories by yours truly, and very exciting Kickstarted anthologies Long Hidden (ZOMG, I'm in between Sofia Samatar and Tananarive Due, squee!) and War Stories are coming soon!
Oh, yes, and I've totally caved on the Twitter front. Here I am. Finally :)
It's conclusive. You can give me the best rod and lure, stand me calf-deep in shimmering saltwater on the finest golden sands, provide evidence of ample stocks via glimpses of successful hunting dolphins, cormorants and the actual fish themselves, silver bodies gleaming as they leap up from under glittering bait balls, and I will still fail to land anything edible.
I am not the world's biggest fan of shellfish, but it's time to face facts. When the apocalypse comes, I will be eating this:
Preferably cooked in something tasty like coconut and chilli, but I don't think coconuts actually grow this far south. The point is that they can't get away.
Action Man suggested the apocalypse might be a good time for me to work out how to build a fish trap.
In publishing news, Fablecroft has announced forthcoming e-book Focus 2012, which is to contain The Wisdom of Ants along with many of my favourite brilliant stories from last year. My radioactive red centre story, Tintookie, has gone live at Kaleidotrope.
Finally, congratulations to Tansy Rayner Roberts for picking up the Best Fan Writer Hugo, and to Clarkesworld for winning Best Semiprozine. The Ustream footage made me cry - first tears of laughter at Paul Cornell's semiprozine cracks, then because of Neil Clarke's beautiful speech, and then tears of rage at the lost feed. Also huge congrats to Anna Tambour and Kaaron Warren for their World Fantasy Award shortlistings, and I wish their brilliant creations Crandolin and Sky the best of luck come October.
A very brief update, for I have finished the first draft of the novel version of A Cradle of Absent Bones (that would be the role-reversed, science-fictional, Little Mermaid set in the same world as Wish Me Luck that I've blethered about in interviews) and now it is time to write ALL THE SHORT STORIES - I've been jotting down ideas and then ignoring them since February.
Brilliantly (and bittersweetly, as the Awards leave Sydney for Canberra), The Wisdom of Ants won the Aurealis Award for Best YA Short Story last month. Today, issue #51 of COSMOS is available in your local (Australian) newsagency or online, with, I understand, a really cool bonus for iPad readers. I've been name-checked for the first time in the UK Guardian newspaper in an awesome article on Aussie SFF (thanks, Cheryl!). I've explained to the Small One that the reason why we can't use dinner leftovers for catching fish is because it's Tuna Bake, not Tuna BAIT. So hopefully she won't tell her school teacher that I gave her fishbait for dinner. Also explained to her that the reason I don't play rugby league for the NSW State of Origin team is that I'm scared of getting hurt. (No other reason. Hahaha.) Oh, and Locus listed Asymmetry in its 'New and Notable' section; I've been getting some great reviews of my little collection on Goodreads.
Now excuse me while I go invent some sort of drool-worthy future sailing ship (thanks for ALREADY INVENTING ONE COOLER THAN MINE, PAOLO BACIGALUPI).
So, Conflux 9. What a brilliant con. The highlights of our 5 days in Canberra might have included getting to be a steampunk samurai while the Small One flitted about in pink butterfly wings, or maybe accepting the Ditmar Award for Best Short Story for The Wisdom of Ants, the overwhelming feel was of an avalanche of intelligent and interesting people. While the media was preoccupied with bogans on buses, we were talking about the ethics of immortality, phototaxis in acidophilus bacteria, kudzu vines and ghost jails.
Wonderful. Just wonderful. I loved all the launches; books being born. I loved meeting pro writers and new writers, bloggers, artists, crafters and fans. Odd things like oak leaves or the scratch of a pen would catch my heart and make me feel that still others were present, from the distant to the dead. I felt connected, even when I had my samurai helmet on and could barely see.
Everyone involved with the organisation of the con deserves a medal, but especially Donna, Nicole and Deb Biancotti. I ate so well, from persimmons and pink, pomegranate-topped cupcakes (who made those??) to tabbouleh and Korean BBQ in Manuka. I smelled the sad, sweet decomposition of autumn. I was numbed by the cold fingers of Snowy Mountain air feeling their way into the city. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Lots of happy-making news since my last update. Asymmetry has been released, both as an ebook and in paperback, from Twelfth Planet. The Wisdom of Ants (Clarkesworld, Dec 2012) has been shortlisted for an Aurealis Award for Best YA Short Story. It also appears on the Ditmar ballot for Best Short Story. I'm really excited to be going to both Conflux and the always-excellent Aurealis Awards night. Finally, my science fiction short story, Wine, Women and Stars has been accepted by Trevor Quachri for publication in Analog. Yes, Analog! I am so pleased.
It's been a rip-roaring month so far. I've signed with the Ellenberg Literary Agency. Cosmos has accepted my story about virtual reality racing, Mandatory Speed, for print issue #51, and will reprint Sleeping Beauty, along with an interview, next Friday at Cosmos Online. Sleeping Beauty also appears, with Fablecroft's kind permission, in the 2013 Campbellian Pre-Reading Anthology put out by Bewildering Stories, alongside Breaking the Ice and the goose story from Nature, Complaints Department.
Also, I haven't mentioned yet here that The St George Hotel was accepted by Ticonderoga for their Dreaming of Djinn anthology, or that The Ships of Culwinna will appear soon in Fablecroft's latest, One Small Step.
To top it all off, the Small One has been given an award at her first ever school assembly, and I have two bush camping weekends as well as two fannish events (NSW Writer's Centre Spec Fic Festival and Conflux 2013) to get excited about. Yay!
Happy New Year! May you conquer all your mountains in 2013.
I say "you," but I'm not exactly sure who comes here. Hopefully mostly people who have enjoyed my work, so I don't feel guilty mentioning that the 2013 Hugo Award nominations have been thrown wide open, and that 2012 was my second and final year of eligibility for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.
The Campbell is not actually a Hugo, but it's voted on by this year and last year's worldcon members. Here is my official eligibility profile page, and if you can't remember what else I've published in the last two years that you might have read and enjoyed, you'll find it all listed on my writing page under 2011 and 2012. If you're not able to get to LoneStarCon 3, you can always pick up a supporting membership here!
The Wisdom of Ants is up at Clarkesworld and has garnered me some very kind comments. David McDonald kindly allowed me to blog about my Bahamas trip on his blog. Finally, the last Wheel of Time book comes out in a few days, which leads me to reflect nostalgically on a certain magic-hungry twelve year old who was drawn by the full moon on the cover of The Eye of the World to pull it out from under a stack of science fiction pulps in the dusty, overflowing library of a creaky-floorboarded Federation house.
Ah, how the wheel of time turns :) Thanks for setting my feet on this path, Mum.
So. Tomorrow I'm off to the Magic City and then the Bahamas, to learn from legendary SF&F professionals and get my cultural horizons widened.
I know, right?
Action Man is way too good to me. The most supportive partner in the world. I salute him (as I listen to the Baha Men's Junkanoo!, read Hopkinson and Danticat, and drool at the thought of Tortuga Rum cakes).
It may be too early to announce this, but as I'm stepping on a plane shortly, I am heart-palpitatingly excited to tell you that my short SF story about genetically modified ants in a future Australia, The Wisdom of Ants, will, barring misfortune, appear in the December issue of Clarkesworld. And if my story isn't enough, fellow Australian woman Aurealis-winning writer, the World-Fantasy-Shortlisted Lisa Hannett will also be contributing. Clarkesworld is a top-quality magazine, and although it's free to read online, please subscribe or purchase the issue if you're able to. I promise you won't be disappointed.
I mention The Wisdom of Ants in a brief appearance on Kaaron Warren's blog in regards to refreshing creative wells, and my TPP collection, Asymmetry has been pushed back to early 2013, just in case anybody is hanging out for it.
See you after my trip with my wells all refreshed!
Stupefying Stories #1.7, the pirates & dragons issue, is out, containing my story Corsairs of the Concrete Sea. It can be purchased for Kindle here at Amazon or for Nook at Barnes and Noble. The zine is a bit of fun that I'd recommend for fans of ASIM.
Since last update, I've been reliably informed that my Cosmos story, Breaking the Ice, was Honourably Mentioned by Dozois in his Year's Best SF anthology, and that my ASIM story The Bird, the Bees and Thylacine was mentioned in Ellen Datlow's Year's Best Horror anthology, so that's pretty cool and racks up more awesome firsts for me this year.
Aurealis-winner Fruit of the Pipal Tree looks like it might get another run in a special issue of Aurealis, so I'll keep you posted on that, while Kath Jennings and Lisa Hannett's nominations for World Fantasy Awards keeps the excitement alive after Galactic Suburbia was beaten by SF Squeecast in the race for the first Fancast Hugo Award. Come on Aussie, come on! (Small One during the Olympics: "Am I from a Land Down Under?")
I also can't help but post links to these two excellent short stories by non-Australian, Adam-Troy Castro, My Wife Hates Time Travel at Lightspeed and During the Pause at Apex. I can't stop turning them over in my mind. Which might be good if I wasn't supposed to be writing my own stuff right about now.
The Small One will turn four years old next week, and I can't really believe it. Is it that long since I was pregnant and writing the short stories that would be my first published work? I solved plot problems in the pool while I swam slow, walrus-like laps, all the while being pummelled internally by little feet that had not yet learned to pedal a tricycle, grip the bark of a tree, or, wonder of wonders, tread water (four years of swimming lessons and she still hates putting her eyes in.)
Nociception is out in issue 2 of Nine, and the blurb reads: "Science fiction often explores the risks of artificial intelligence in terms of how AI might affect us, but Thoraiya Dyer's "Nociception" reminds us that intelligence and self-awareness come with a price for the machine as well."
Good blurb, right? I promise you, I write decent stories. But I can't write a blurb to save my life, so I get special pleasure from other people's blurbs of my work. The other stories in the issue are good, and the whole thing has an interesting, literary flavour that I think is worth sampling.
This week brings acceptances from Stupefying Stories and Kaleidotrope; more information after I've signed contracts etc.
I'm also pleased to report Surviving Film, my Sydney-set Louis Le Prince story, has been accepted for editor Amanda Pillar's urban fantasy anthology, Bloodstones, and should be pre-orderable soon from Ticonderoga's Online Shop.
Yesterday, I sat staring at a manuscript that needed streamlining. My job was to cut away all the extraneous plot threads, remove unlikely coincidences and leave something stronger, swifter and more stirring behind.
I'm REALLY sick with a head cold and all the new words I added into the gaps were awkward or boring or plain misspelled (come to an "gareemnet", anyone ever done that?). Then I got to the end and discovered with horror that the word count hadn't come down at all. Instead, I'd inserted a different stupid extra plot thread to the stupid extra plot thread that was there before, and wasted my precious writing time in the Small One's absence.
I think the lesson there is to give yourself sick days, even if you hardly ever get to write in the first place.
Once I'd decided to stop torturing myself with attempts at actual work, I moved to my other, internet-connected computer and enjoyed reliving the Aurealis Awards in Sydney on Saturday night via Cat Sparks' Flickr set. That weekend, I was all set to enjoy such things as the Night Markets at Chinatown, the monorail (farewell, the ride that proved Sydney was a theme park!) the Etruscans exhibit at the Sydney University Nicholson Museum, fattoosh from heaven at AlMustafas in Glebe (hi, Iona!) and the fun of wearing my pink octopus necklace to the Independent Theatre and enjoying the Aurealis Awards from the audience.
(Here's me and Action Man sitting next to Richard Harland and Matt Chrulew.)
Incredibly, I won. Fruit of the Pipal Tree was, according to that particular Aurealis jury, the best Australian short fantasy story of 2011.
Wow. Thank you Geoffrey and Paul and Tehani. Sorry, audience, for my stupid and unprepared speech. Margo Lanagan, you understand? Four World Fantasy Awards and all of that? That's why I didn't write a speech. I will next time, I promise.
I will also be arsed to bring Bitter Greens down from the hotel room for Kate Forsyth to sign. Because even if she isn't the MC next year, I have no doubt that Bitter Greens will be duking it out with Sea Hearts over the Best Fantasy Novel of 2012 Aurealis. Thank you Juliet Marillier for blurbing Kate's new novel and thus forcing me to buy it. IT'S SO GOOD.
Also in the SO GOOD category, Ember and Ash by Pamela Freeman and City of Lies by Lian Tanner, both well-deserved winners on Saturday night for Fantasy Novel and Children's respectively. This entry is turning into a bit of a ramble-fest, but I couldn't not say a huge congrats to both those talented women.
Finally, I have a little publishing news to report. My 4-story collection from Twelfth Planet Press has a name: Asymmetry, and can be prepurchased HERE as part of the Twelve Planets' Third Season, a full subscription or with a season pass (the next three titles due to be released are Through Splintered Walls by Kaaron Warren, Cracklescape by Margo Lanagan and Asymmetry by me. I'm pretty sure mine's going to be the least terrifying of the three. ) I'll let you know when it's available for individual preorder.
My 9k-odd science fiction story Nociception will be published in the second ever issue of Nine: A Journal of Imaginative Fiction (they scored a Ken Liu story for their first issue. I've been reasurred that they do not have tentacles), a bargain at $5 for those with e-readers or who don't hate reading on a screen.
Also, did I mention that Breaking the Ice made it onto the short story ballot for the Ditmars?
Winners will be decided at Continuum 8: Craftonomicon sometime during June 8-11, 2012. Have fun, con-goers! I am saving up for Conflux 9 in 2013.
Happy Birthday, Taariq! Oh, and there's some publishing news, too. My Lebanese Sphinx story, The Second Card of the Major Arcana, is out in the April issue of the stupendously excellent Apex Magazine, to read free on the web or subscribe to/purchase for those with e-readers. Added to White Lies, which appeared in the February issue of Redstone SF, and my earlier sales to Nature and Cosmos, this means I now qualify for active membership of Science Fiction Writers of America, which is pretty exciting. My short story Faet's Fire is due to appear in Peggy Bright antho Light Touch Paper, Stand Clear in time for Natcon, and Fablecroft has put After the Rain on sale to celebrate the Aurealis shortlisting of Fruit of the Pipal Tree. So life is good!
It was with astonishment and gratitude that I saw Fruit of the Pipal Tree on the 2011 Aurealis Award shortlist in the Fantasy Short Story category. Aside from my beta-readers, and Fablecroft's decision to publish it in their After the Rain anthology, this is the first positive feedback the story has gotten. And there is it next to Into the Clouds on High, which was my second-favourite story from Margo Lanagan's Yellowcake. I will be attending the awards ceremony in Sydney and am looking forward to catching up with everyone.
Feeling pretty sad about the loss of Paul Haines a couple of days ago. The internet has lost its shine, knowing he won't email or blog ever again. I was running on the beach with the Small One when he died. It's a beautiful thing, a carefree child, and there's one child who can now never be carefree the way that she used to be. I am so grateful for the time that Paul spared for me, knowing that his time was running out.
I'd like to be in the Blue Mountains for Claire Corbett's International Women's Day do tomorrow, but I have a do or two of my own to go to, having been selected as one of Singleton's 50 Fabulous Females on account of my Aurealis Award win last year. This place has been amazingly kind to me. It's starting to feel like my place. Sometimes I am suddenly overcome by a wild hunger for vivacious, salt-sprayed, sandstone Sydney, but the lucerne paddocks, the vineyards, the kicking thoroughbred foals and the long snakes of coal trains out of the Hunter Valley are irreversibly seeping into me, becoming a permanent piece of who I am.
Thursdays. Now with added w00t. Breaking the Ice appears as one of 60-odd short stories on the Locus 2011 Recommended Reading List along with such fellow Aussie writers as Kaaron Warren, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Margo Lanagan, Lucy Sussex, Damien Broderick, Greg Egan, Kim Westwood, Alison Goodman, Jo Anderton, Ian McHugh and Peter M Ball. Yay, us!
Am I only updating this because of the blackout? Maybe I AM and maybe I AINT! LOL
Back home from a camping trip to the beautiful Wollemi National Park. On the morning of the fourth day, I woke and slipped out of my sleeping bag, and the water in the weir was first stunningly still and then exploding with squabbling swamphens. There were reeds and ripples, silver and spilled ink, and I realised that despite its faults, I am living in a perfect time, or at least as perfect as times can get.
No doubt, after a week of catastrophic world news, the internet etc I will start doubting what it is that I felt: That the world isn't ending, because there are no endings, only change. If we destroy ourselves, there will still be glow-worms in the dark crevices of the mountains, and if there are no children to peer at them and giggle with delight, there will be, again, later, eventually, and everything will be OK so long as there is beauty and at least one person left alive to see it.
For now, 2012 continues to be kind to me. The Second Card of the Major Arcana has sold to Apex. White Lies has sold to Redstone SF. "John West" has selected four of the best for my TPP Twelve Planets collection. I have had some supremely gentle and encouraging novel rejections. I have read some excellent books. Other writers have been generous with their time and their critiquing eyes.
I am so lucky.
Supposed to take the Small One to see the Christmas Light Spectacular at Hunter Valley Gardens tonight. Naturally, the monsoon-like rain is coming down hard enough to turn the display into a sizzling electrified death trap.
Consolation: I've had a story accepted into Pink Narcissus Press's Daughters of Icarus feminist science fiction anthology, which I'm really excited about. Again, submissions are still open so this will be contingent on geniuses not squeezing me out of my spot, but it is a wonderful, wonderful feeling when you set out to try and do something and a person twelve thousand kilometres away who you've never met thinks that you've been successful. Much gratitude to Cat Sparks for pointing me in the direction of the guidelines (looking forward to Ishtar!)
Fablecroft is moving from WA to TAS and having an empty-out-my-garage SALE, so if you've ever considered picking up Worlds Next Door, Australis Imaginarium or After The Rain (I have short stories in all 3 collections!) you can get all three delivered to your (Aussie) doorstep for just $35 or at bargain individual prices. Sale ends Dec 14th.
Also, Alisa WON that World Fantasy Award for Twelfth Planet Press (Tansy tells it best!) so you know what else to send your spec-fic loving family members for Christmas! (If you have money left to burn after all that, Anywhere But Earth would also make an excellent gift purchase.)
If anyone needs me, I'll be over here watching YouTube videos of Christmas lights with the dramatically sniffling Small One...
Two more short story sales. Complaints Department is to appear in the Futures feature of respected scientific journal Nature, and near-future sci-fi Sleeping Beauty (provided a bunch of geniuses don't submit at the last minute and bump me out of my spot!) has been accepted by Fablecroft for anthology Apocalypse Hope.
Congratulations to Alisa Krasnostein for her well-deserved World Fantasy Award shortlisting for Twelfth Planet Press. I really, REALLY wish I could go!
So. Apparently it DOES get better! Yowie tied with The February Dragon by L.L. Hannett and Angela Slatter to win Best Fantasy Short Story at the Aurealis Awards. W00t!
It was an amazing night. I love Sydney anyway, and the venue for the Awards ceremony was a gorgeous old theatre. Once again, it is the generosity and enthusiasm of the local spec fic scene that makes events like these, and the attendees did not disappoint any more than the organisers did. I got up early the next morning to go out for a day trip on Sydney Harbour in a 150-year-old, beautiful 3-masted sailing ship, the James Craig. It took the volunteer crew about an hour to set 18 of the 21 sails, what with all the heaving and ho-ing and "ahoy aloft!", but when they did, she glided so swiftly and silently through the waters of the Pacific, I thought I might cry.
In other words, I spent a big chunk of what was supposed to be my San Diego money, so I may not make it to World Fantasy Con after all.
There's no photo of the shiny award itself because my computer is yet to be repaired. Ah, mindlessly destructive Trojan (whose name I will not utter here). If only removing you was more like capturing a Spanish Treasure Ship on the high seas and less like picking paralysis ticks out of an Old English Sheepdog's scrotum with tweezers two sizes too small.
Apologies to anyone expecting correspondence. I hope to be back in business within the next few weeks!
Have you been waiting impatiently for a copy of the technically excellent and uniquely imaginative Kathleen Jennings' very first magazine cover? Chunky Issue #51 of the newly quarterly ASIM is due out any day now,
and will contain not only my love letter to Tasmania, The Bird, The Bees and Thylacine but sixteen other offerings for the bargain price of $12.95. I can't imagine an illustration more different, yet equal in awesome, to the drilling robot from COSMOS. Squeee!
Back from attending the 50th annual Australian SF Convention in Perth. I could fill a book with everything that happened there; people met, things said, ideas had. After the long journey home, it's already becoming dreamlike, fading like the image burned into my retinas of my toddler's white sandals, made luminous by camera flashes, as she ran across the stage to accept my Best Novella Ditmar from a grinning, kneeling Ellen Datlow [7.05.11 EDIT: OMG, sorry Ellen. I know the difference between you and Ellen Kushner! Really! Obviously I need an editor for my website and not just my fiction].
To everyone who donated their glowsticks to the Small One, my eternal gratitude. To the organisers of the con, to everyone who voted me into the top spot for Best New Talent and Best Novella/Novelette for The Company Articles of Edward Teach, and to my friends and idols who came to congratulate me afterward, you made that night absolutely magical for me. Does it get better than this? Congratulations to all the other winners and nominees.
Exceedingly weary today but also exceedingly happy. Being up all night with the flu meant I was online when the 2011 Australian Ditmar ballot came out. Edward Teach is there in the Novella/Novelette category, which is just brilliant, and I once again have a chance at Best Talent...not that the path is clear, even with the over-talented Peter M Ball out of the way (no I didn't kill him, he won last year so he's ineligible this time). I recognise all those other names and (curses!) can think of at least one short story by each of them that I really liked.
In the 2010 Aurealis stakes, Yowie has made the shortlist in the Best Fantasy Short Story category and Sprawl in Best Anthology. Great to see Mammoth Guy get on the Science Fiction shortlist with Angaelien Apocalypse and also, for Fantasy novel, Juliet Marillier's wonderful Heart's Blood which spoke to my secret self back when I first read it; Death Most Definite and Power and Majesty being worthy opposition for it, and my two most-often-loaned books of the year.
Since last update, I've also joined SFWA as an Associate Member, thanks to Cosmos being a qualifying market, and discovered that Edward Teach / Angaelien Apocalypse reached #6 on the Newcastle Herald Independent Booksellers' Bestseller List over the weekend. Maybe the Newcastle Herald is not the NYT but WHO CARES, our ultra-cool novella double is now a Bestseller and nobody can tell me otherwise.
I am really excited about going to Perth for Swancon/Natcon in April, Sydney for the Aurealis Awards in May, and, if certain economic stars align, World Fantasy Con in San Diego in October.
Twelfth Planet Press is giving away three copies of Edward Teach/Angaelien Apocalypse on Goodreads for free! You have 8 days left to sign up. Also...I'M READING A BOOK, MAN, I'M READING A BOOK! Hahaha!
Happy Release Day for issue #37 of the gorgeous and intelligent COSMOS magazine, containing my science fiction story Breaking the Ice (Edit: Sorry for the error here before, Breaking the Ice is definitely the correct title). Get it in pretty much all Australian newsagents and no doubt some overseas ones, too. I am incredibly excited about it! Difficult to remember what other news I wanted to mention here.
Oh, right. Twelfth Planet Press has announced the authors of the Twelve Planets series, subscriptions available here, and the line-up is predictably fabulous; I am particularly terrified of comparison with Cat Sparks and Margo Lanagan, but they say whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger! If YOU have a real job and love science fiction and fantasy, you could make a worse decision than signing up. I'll probably be getting them one at a time. Sue Isle's is first, Tansy's next. Keen to read them.
Third belated news item: the utterly selfless Tehani from Fablecroft has converted her imminent After the Rain print anthology to a Queensland floods (and maybe cyclones, too, after tonight?) fundraiser limited edition e-book. If you were going to donate anyway, why not pick up free fantastic fiction in the process? Clicketty clicketty HERE before Feb 15th.
So I lost NanoWriMo, only making 27 000-odd words instead of 50 000. I plead whooping cough! But November was not a complete write-off (ha, did you like that one Petrie?); I had an absolute ball at the Sydney Freecon with Matt Chrulew, Jo Anderton and co.. The atomsphere was that of a dozen wild specimens of SF fan captured inside a specialty bookshop, and I appreciated all the hard work done by Garry Dalrymple in organising the event, and it was also nice to drop in to Infinitas for the first time and check it out.
Although production of words has dropped off as I hack, splutter and choke my way around the house, I am thrilled by the release of Edward Teach/Apocalypse which can be purchased HERE, the appearance of Yowie on the Last Short Story Recommended Reading List for 2010, and the impending release of Sheryl Tempchin's Zahir end of year print anthology which should be available on Amazon soon and will be a nice Christmas present for me.
Also, I don't think I've mentioned that my stories The Bird, the Bees and Thylacine and Fruit of the Pipal Tree have been accepted into ASIM #51 and Fablecroft anthology After the Rain respectively. Yipppppeeeee! Bring on 2011!
Home from Aussiecon 4, a fantastic experience. I learned so much and met so many people. If you gave a panel or if I chatted with you at the con: HUZZAH! Thanks for the wild ride. Special thanks go to Juliet Marillier, Tehani Wessely, Terri Sellen, Alex Pierce and Helen Merrick + family for their kindness and generosity. Thanks Trent Jamieson, Peter Ball, Geoff Maloney, Dirk Flinthart, Cat Sparks and Rob Hood for keeping my husband entertained while I spent large chunks of the day in panels. Not to mention the Hugos. I can't count the times my head almost exploded from the awesomeness.
It was also almost impaled by Dirk's Jatz-as-shuriken. Watch out for him at your next con. He may be armed with Arnotts' Shapes and they are pointy.
Congrats to Peter Ball for winning the Best New Talent Ditmar and saving Simon Petrie from a whacking. Although I still need to beat Simon up for writing that pun-packed story in ASIM that had my husband singing zombie variations of Meatloaf songs for three days straight. Purchasers of #46 have been warned.
Lots of news, because I have been slack. In no particular order, Zahir #23 is now live, and my story, "The War of the Gnome and the Mountain Devil" can be read HERE. I love the accompanying artwork and the magazine is always a refreshing read. Aurealis #43 is also now available, and can be purchased HERE. Even if you only buy it because of Geoff Maloney, I will still love you. Worlds Next Door is available for pre-purchase HERE, and you can find out more about reprint anthology Australis Imaginarium, which is set to include not only my "Night Heron's Curse" but Lee Battersby's "Claws of Native Ghosts" and other such delicious Australian treats, at the Fablecroft Publishing website. Stay tuned for SQUEEEEE when I get my hands on that Shaun Tan cover. Finally, "Yowie," my story due to appear in Sprawl, has been made into Episode three of the Twelfth Planet podcasts by fabulous Tansy Rayner Roberts and can be listened to HERE. Hooray!
Busy busy! Typing like a madwoman to finish the Waltzing Mathilda first draft in time for my Snowy Mountains camping/caving/fishing/goldpanning holiday next week. Destination:Future has been released, containing my story "Ambassador"; it has earned a starred review by Publisher's Weekly and can be purched from Amazon HERE or from Borders, HERE . My favourite is Simon Petrie's story. Then again, I am not without bias. Go, purchase, enjoy!
An awesome start to the New Year. Yesterday, Yowie was accepted for the Twelfth Planet Press suburban fantasy anthology, Sprawl, and today The War of the Gnome and the Mountain Devil was accepted for the July edition of newly electonicized magazine Zahir. Spec Fic For Kids has been renamed Worlds Next Door, and is still on track to be released this year, while I hope to see Aurealis #43 make its appearance soon. ASIM #41 came out in October and can be purchased HERE - and, look! New Ceres Nights has been shortlisted under best anthology in this year's Aurealis awards. Go, NCN, go!
Writers Festivals? What Writers Festivals? If I fail to acknowledge their existence, I don't have to feel bad that I can't go. Anyway, who cares? I've made my first inroads into the US of A. A sci-fi short called Ambassador has sold to the very respectable Hadley Rille for an anthology called DESTINATION: FUTURE. Let us drain a goblet, clink cannikin and toss a pot to Destination:Future ...and curse all rovers who should ever give quarter to an Englishman!
Doing the I Got Into Aurealis Magazine Dance this month. Death's Daughter and the Clockmaker has been accepted for issue #43. Meanwhile, NCN is out: You can purchase it (along with ASIM #37 and Canterbury 2100, making it a Dyer trifecta) from the online shop at Twelfth Planet Press.
Belated update. Been crazily trying to finish TFT draft. Congratulations to Cat Sparks for taking out my category at the AAs. The awards night was hilarious and heartwarming - from Simon Higgins exhorting Sean Williams in an uncanny Yoda voice to write the 17 book adventures of Young Yoda, to the beautiful acceptance speeches of KA Bedford and Melina Marchetta. Fun to see so many admired and glamorously dolled-up writers in the flesh. Overflowing with gratitude towards Tehani, Alisa and Tansy for their immediate welcome, for being an enthusiastic and vocal cheer squad, and for being so nice about my story, The Widow's Seven Candles, due to appear in New Ceres Nights very soon.
Exciting news. Not only has Night Heron's Curse been shortlisted for an Aurealis Award, but The Platter of Palate's Pleasure has been accepted by ASIM for their May issue, #41. Is this vindication of Kevin J Anderson's Popcorn Theory? *dances around the room*
The Brisbane Writer's Festival is almost here. They called today to say I'd made it into Jim Frenkel's Masterclass. Huzzah! I hope my cold goes away before it's time to hop on the plane.
Looks like my short story about the giant eel, Night Heron's Curse, is going to be in the November (#37) issue of Andromeda Spaceways. Very exciting. Though I will probably blow the money on buying copies of the magazine. D'oh!
The Peat-Digger's Tale has been accepted by Canterbury 2100. All hail the robot horse! (01.09.2008, Update: I was planning on sending a copy of the anthology to Stocky in Scotland to thank him for helping me with the Scots. Foiled again - the Scots has been edited out while the rest has been virtually untouched. This is all in the admirable interests of keeping the anthology as a whole consistent, but I think I will hold off on posting a copy to Mr Scottish Pride Incarnate.)
Wentworth Falls are incredible. The tournament at Mountain Archers was great fun. We stayed at Wendover. If I lived in Blackheath I'd have a birch grove in my landscaped gardens, too. Plus lots of Japanese maples and ginkgos. Autumn colour is the best.