Welcome to the latest incarnation of Thoraiya on the web. When I was a teenager, I had all the time in the world to muck about with HTML - and all the hard drive memory of an abacus. Now that the net is larger than life (not to mention shinier and flashier) and we have such things as USB memory sticks, it seems tragic that I don't have time to play with it.

So I beg forgiveness for the lazy, haphazard splashing of disjointed information throughout these pages. One day, it will surely become a sleek propaganda machine. Until then, maybe Mum will drop by every now and then and chuck on a load of washing?

Click HERE to begin your adventures in the world of Unravel, a Choose Your Own Adventure-style story (this always seemed to me to be the obvious use of the hyperlink). NOTE: Once I passworded it, I couldn't get it un-passworded. So please use:

Username: unravel

Password: scarecrow

Many thanks to Paul Haines, Dirk Flinthart, KJ Bishop, Stange Horizons and Ideomancer for their invaluable feedback. I promise the next hypertext story will have more choices and less "continue" buttons!

In other FREE ONLINE FICTION news, The War of the Gnome and the Mountain Devil has gone LIVE at Zahir! Click HERE to read!

A note on pronounciation. Attention, please! "Thoraiya" must NOT rhyme with "Dyer" under any circumstances. Thoraiya (Lebanese name; means 'a cluster of stars', or, more specifically, the Pleiades) rhymes with Himalaya (thanks Leah and Kelly) while Dyer rhymes with fire. Now it's time for Raymond E. Feist (heist? feast?) and Neil Gaiman (gay-man? guy-man?) to put similar messages on their websites so that when I get famous and meet them, I don't sound like a complete wanker.

Visiting Tasmania? Volunteer with the Devil Facial Tumour Disease Team and help stop the Tasmanian Devil from going the same way as the Tassie Tiger.

2nd July 2010 What I'm reading now: To be honest, I'm reading Foxmask again. It's really cold here and I needed something comforting to snuggle under a quilt with. Apart from that, I've read Tansy Roberts' fun and original Power and Majesty, John Scalzi's interesting military sci-fi sequel Ghost Brigades and my book club book, Anita Shreve's gripping yet thoughtful A Change In Altitude. I've also really enjoyed Felicity Dowker and Nathan Burrage's contributions to Aurealis #43

7th April 2010 What I'm reading now: Rare Unsigned Copy , a highly entertaining short fiction collection by Simon Petrie. Supposed to be reading The Time Traveller's Wife but I just can't get into it. I raided the bestseller shelf at Borders for once, and read The Lovely Bones in one sitting, and I was kind of hoping tTTW would be just as engaging and unputdownable...but I put it down after fifty pages or so, and instead devoured the enchanting and uplifting Heart's Blood by Juliet Marillier, China Mieville's kooky and fascinating The City and the City and Andrew McGahan's absolute treasure of an Aurealis-winning book, Wonders of a Godless World.

On the wish list are various other books that have appeared on recent awards shortlists including Lifelode by Jo Walton and The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi. Books I am anticipating sometime in the near future include the as-yet-unnamed(?)-novels-in-progress by Saladin Ahmed, Christopher "Chapter Rage" Green and Jason Fischer, as well as Tansy Rayner Roberts' first Creature Court installment /The False Princess, forthcoming from Eilis O'Neal.

3rd January 2010 What I'm reading now: The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood coming right after The Robber Bride which I thought was an absolute masterpiece. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. Pamela Freeman's first Casting's Trilogy book, Blood Tide. It can be dangerous for an author to toot their own horn, but I am delighted to report that after Pamela discreetly mentioned at a workshop (prompted by some whining on my part, I must confess) that she thought/hoped her adult fantasy series was unique and original, it ACTUALLY IS! Hooray!

25th August 2009 What I'm reading now: The Pirate Primer: Mastering the Language of Swashbucklers and Rogues by George Choundas (souse me for a gurnet!) This follows on the heels of the wickedly clever Pirates of Pensacola by the ever hilarious Keith Thompson, and The Sea Rover's Practice: Pirate Tactics and Techniques, 1630-1730 by Benerson Little. Yarrr!

Oh, and for a little inspiration, The Wave In The Mind: Talks and Essays on the Writer, the Reader and the Imagination by my idol, Ursula K. LeGuin.

26th April 2009 What I'm reading now: Thomas the Rhymer by Ellen Kushner, which is achingly beautiful and has swept me back to my time in Melrose, Scotland. Recently finished The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks, which is awesome in a swashbuckling and rather ruthless kind of way, and Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson, which is awesome in a piercingly intelligent and frighteningly well conceptualised way.

23rd February 2009 What I'm reading now: Devices and Desires by K J Parker, which is almost painful in its attention to medieval-type research but somehow still addictive. In the bedroom is Rachel's Holiday by Marian Keyes, which is simply divine (this is the first book of hers that I've read and I'll be keeping my eye out for more), and open on the couch is Medicine of Australian Mammals edited by Larry Vogelnest and Rupert Woods which is awesome and long overdue (where was this book the first time I was asked to age a koala by its teeth???)

On the wish list: Dying to get my hands on The Etched City by Karen Bishop and Daughters of Moab by Kim Westwood. Tim Flannery's Future Eaters and Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five are also calling me - does anyone have battered copies to lend me?

Every time I go into Maclean's Bookshop, I surprise and horrify myself by walking out without buying Geraldine Brooks' People of the Book. Bunty Avieson's A Baby In A Backpack to Bhutan has also caught my eye.

And if any rich admirers want to spend $280 on me, Passlows Books in the 'Gong has a hardcover 1st ed of Michael Ende's Mirror in the Mirror .

Speaking of the 'Gong, Cat Sparks should have a Sammarynda novel ready to flog off sometime this year, which you will love if you liked The Lions of El Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay or the film Kingdom of Heaven .

Which I did. Enormously.

4th January 2009 What I'm reading now: The Company Of The Dead by David Kowalski. I'm not very far in, maybe 120 pages or so, and finding it a little difficult to follow because my grasp of the REAL history of the period is defective. There are so many little elbow-jabs in this book which are begging to be appreciated by someone like my Uncle Steve, the Modern History teacher, but which leave me feeling sad that I have missed out on the joke. Nevertheless, I am intrigued. I shall read on.

5th November 2008 What I'm reading now: The Yiddish Policeman's Union by Michael Chabon. How can one man dream up so many awesome similes? How does it occur to him that somebody's voice can sound like an onion rolling in a bucket, or that they can have eyes as blue as watered down milk? Apart from the delicious language, this alternate history has a riveting plot and fully-fleshed characters. I'm really enjoying it.

On the wish list: Short story collections by Paul Haines and Geoffrey Maloney whose stories in ASIM and Canterbury 2100 respectively I was thrilled with. Neil Gaiman's Graveyard Book and Margo Lanagan's Tender Morsels. Something by Haruki Murakami or Chris Abani. Oh, and Baby Talk by Sally Ward has been strongly, naggingly (you know who you are!) recommended to me. I'll think about it.

13th October 2008 What I'm reading now: The Third Day, The Frost by John Marsden. With only one hand free while nursing the baby, I was getting aching wrists from trying to read big, fat, heavy fantasy novels. I went through Peter Carey's Thirty Days in Sydney and Clive James's Unreliable Memoirs, both of which were utter genius, before turning to Stacey's bookshelf and pilfering the first couple of Marsden's Tomorrow series. Unfortunately, Stacey only stole the first two in the series from her High School, so I had to buy the third one from K-Mart when I was shopping for junk food to take to the cinema. The book is even more satisfying than lolly coke bottles. I promise.



Following an incident involving the digging up of my pumpkin patch and the deposit of half a dozen non-buried turds in the place where plants once thrived, I've decided not to nominate my step-son's cat, Sammy, for the Ditmar awards. Instead, please consider my own cat, Aerin, also a dedicated adherent to the dark side of the force, but rather more interested in crushing rebel vermin than pumpkin vines that were supposed to be ready in time for October 31st.


What is thy bidding, my master? Fresh cricket? Wet mouse?

What Autumn whispers to me is this: Life is more beautiful, more intense, in the moment before death.

Is that even true? And if it is, why is it? Sometimes the thing itself changes. Like the foreign interlopers here, in the European settler villages of Sydney's Blue Mountains, whose foliage aflame can only be hinted at by the richest of oils on canvas.

Some might say the Australian bush barely changes in the autumn. That it dies in literal flames, rather than metaphorical ones; raging bushfires that the sclerophyll forest relies on for regeneration. The red flowers of the Mountain Devil and the Waratah are at their peak two to three years after a fire.

Quolls breed in autumn.

Mostly, though, I think life seeming most precious and vivid before death is in the eye of the beholder. Maybe you took it for granted, forgetting it would fade. Maybe you thought that you had more time. Maybe you didn't make the most of it while you had it.

Ahh, autumn!

My beautiful relationship with the fantasy genre has occasionally gotten rocky. I have always read extensively in it, mostly for pleasure, sometimes for research. It was the darling of my teens, and yet the scorn of my universityhood. I guess once you start to understand something, it loses its magic (ha) and you become somewhat disillusioned. Once I remembered to stop buying the Angus and Robertson discount bin and start buying the Hugo and Nebula shortlists, I returned eagerly to the fold, though the shadow of The Orphan Formula *insert Jaws music* hangs over me sometimes, blotting out the light.

Recent reading in the literary genre brought me an epiphany. (Read no further if you don't want to hear ***SPOILERS*** from Margaret Atwood's Robber Bride).

It's an amazing, masterfully crafted piece of work, and yet something really bothered me. One of the characters is sexually molested as a child, and the perpetrator never sees justice.

Being literary is, of course, about holding up a mirror to real life, and of course most sexual offenders go completely unpunished. But it made me realise how badly I need that mirror to be held up to human hopes and dreams and best intentions.

I need the fantasy genre, not just for its freedom, but for its attention to justice. Against the odds, Mara defeats the depraved Minwanabi. Against the odds, Eowyn strikes down the Witch-King. Against the odds, Darth Vader turns on the Emperor to save his son.

And even though Harry Potter is an orphan, I absolutely adore Order of the Phoenix. Yes, it involves a sadistic, controlling bitch cutting open wounds into the backs of the hands of small children. But instead of leaving her there until cozy retirement, J.K. Rowling has her carried away by a herd of centaurs. Thank you, thank you, fantasy genre.


The Seven Samurai has to be the best movie ever made. But, watching The Last Samurai this rainy weekend, I am struck all over again by the power of the music, the iconic images and the hauntingly beautiful landscapes of Japan.

It takes me back to years of training in the old GoJu dojo; burned down, now, it was once filled with the sound of bare feet sliding over wooden floorboards and the whisper of iai masters unsheathing their swords.

Or to the lesson my husband and I shared in the art of the Japanese longbow. It was in the hot springs town of Yudanaka. Who but a kyudo teacher could conceive of an archery range open to the stars, where the arrows arc over a pond full of koi to bury themselves in the dark eyes of paper targets on the other side?


There's a black and white photo of Michael Crichton on the back of my copy of Timeline.

He's standing by the window of a medieval church, hands in pockets, grinning as though he's just been allowed to see parts of the ruin that no-one else can see.

He died today, November 6th 2008. Or maybe it's still the 5th in the USA. I heard the news on the radio at 5am, and was frozen in grief and shock.

I mean, I didn't know the man. Which explains part of the grief, because I always assume that one day when I'm a real writer I'll get to meet my heroes. Mr Crichton may not have been the most poetic writer ever, but he saw things that nobody else could see. He had his finger on the pulse of scientific advancement and the projections he made were terrifying and fascinating and wonderful to behold.

We've all seen Jurassic Park but how many have read the book? Likewise 13th Warrior (Eaters of the Dead) and Timeline? I was engrossed for hours in Next and the chilling Prey. Now I'll never get to talk to him about any of them.

Just like I'll never get to talk to Robert Jordan, aka James Oliver Rigney, Jr. (died September 16, 2007), or Isaac Asimov (died April 6, 1992). I remember both those days, and what horrible, empty days they were. One of my motivations for wanting to get a book published soon is so I can send it to Ursula LeGuin and tell her what an inspiration she is.

Can't do that if she drops off the perch, and she was born in 1929, so I'd better stop wasting time on my website and get a move on with The Forty Thieves, hey?



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.

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