Archive for October, 2012

Time out in the Grampians

Posted in things to do in melbourne, travel with tags , , , , , , on October 31, 2012 by jason nahrung

halls gap from pinnacle in grampians national parkHectic times here at the desk, so not a lot of bloggage; needless to say, skiving off last weekend to hit the Grampians was a blessed relief. We stayed at the well appointed Boronia Peak Villas, close enough to walk to the centre of Halls Gap and the most excellent Kookaburra restaurant (you really do need to book for weekend dinner; we were lucky to get in and saw more than one hungry diner turned away).

Kangaroos rule Halls Gap, and we also saw deer and plenty of bird life: cockatoos, galahs, ducks with parades of ducklings, parrots of all shades, wrens, ravens and currawongs, and simply oodles of all sorts … and that was just in town!

Twas spring and wildflowers were spraying colour all over the national park, a much more colourful affair than our previous visit in May when the weather had been somewhat drab compared to the warm sun and cool breezes we encountered at the weekend.

pinnacle walk in grampiansWe managed to get in walks to the spectacular Pinnacle — the 2km journey was steep but not entirely mountain goat terrain, with some amazing rock formations and a stunning view at the top — and the much smoother creek-side Silverband Falls, still showing signs of devastating flooding in 2011, and the Balconies lookout, with quick stops at the Boroka Lookout and Lake Bellfield along the way.

Back in May, we did the steep stairs down to the base of Mackenzie Falls, too, but we ran out of time this weekend.

It really is a gorgeous area, and only three hours from Melbourne. It really does make you appreciate the effort to not only protect such sites, but to make them accessible.

cliff in grampians


These are some of the pix I took on my mobile phone after both sets of batteries for my point-and-shoot died. More from the weekend, including actual camera shots, are at my Flickr site.

The First 30 and other poems

Posted in books, musings, writing with tags , , , , on October 17, 2012 by jason nahrung

the first 30 by graham nunnThe First 30 and other poems, by Brisbane’s Graham Nunn, arrived in the mail today. A wonderful collection of thoughtful, sparsely drawn, emotive poetry dedicated to the arrival of his first child in November last year. At the front there are love poems to other people and places — the opener, ‘A Brisbane Affair’, I could relate to well — and elsewhere there are other chords being strummed, too. But in this otherwise fairly pacific collection there’s this one poem, written for the unborn Thomas, that carries this line: Crows sing ill omen and the flame tree turns to blood. It’s freaking awesome, isn’t it?

Graham launches The First 30 and other poems on Sunday at Queensland Writers Centre at the State Library of Queensland.

A reading from Salvage at MWF

Posted in books, gothic, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 8, 2012 by jason nahrung

Twelfth Planet Press held a showcase at Melbourne Writers Festival. Terry Shepherd filmed it. I was first cab off the rank, combining with Talie Helene on simply wonderful musical accompaniment. The reading is the near-drowning scene from Salvage, and things could only go up from there, really! (It was a shame the sound tech was a little slow to turn on our mics; the only glitch in an otherwise awesome effort from the MWF team.)

Terry has also posted video of the other readings, featuring writers of the Twelve Planets series working the audience over with laughs, suspense and intrigue: a wonderful showcase indeed of the range of stories being brought to the page by this remarkable series from Alisa Krasnostein’s press.

Alisa couldn’t be present on the night, having to be in Perth to collect a small business achievement award, so at least now she can see what we got up to!

You can watch Showcase readings from:

  • Deborah Biancotti
  • Narrelle M Harris
  • Rosaleen Love
  • Kirstyn McDermott
  • Cat Sparks
  • Lucy Sussex
  • Kaaron Warren
  • While at Terry’s YouTube channel, check out Terry’s short films and creative advertising.

    GenreCon — too much for two days!

    Posted in fantasy, horror, science fiction, writing with tags , , , , on October 5, 2012 by jason nahrung

    genrecon logoGenreCon has just put its program online, and — ARGH! — I need two of me. Maybe three.

    This program really pops my cork: writing stuff such as ‘how to’, villains, and subtext, and then there’s industry stuff like finding the right publisher and life without advances. It’s very cool to see Romance Writers, Sisters in Crime, Conflux and the horror writers hosting ‘community’ events. I keep hearing how damn professional and, ahem, well-oiled a convention machine the RWA is, so it will be great to get an insight into that, and with Conflux hosting the natcon next year (yep, already booked), the timing is right to fly the F&SF flag.

    Bottom line, though, is the number of experienced writers, publishers and agents on the program. For an emerging writer such as myself, the osmosis learning will be in overdrive. This is going to be a hoot!

    I’m also quite looking forward to publicly picking the brains of Joe Abercrombie at our ‘in conversation’, and talking ‘setting the mood’ in a session on the Sunday. But damn, there’s good stuff on then, too! Too much!

    Salvage: an excerpt

    Posted in books, gothic, writing with tags , , , , , on October 4, 2012 by jason nahrung

    salvage by jason nahrungSo I finally got around to posting the opening couple of scenes of Salvage on my website. You can read it here.

    Eclipse online, editor apocalypse and other write bites

    Posted in books, news regurgitation, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 3, 2012 by jason nahrung

    I hit if:book Australia’s Bookcamp last Friday, and it was cool. I found out about some very neat exercises in geo-writing: Matt Blackwood’s MyStory project, and his other exercises in using QR codes to bring readers to stories, or vice versa. Locative narrative, geocaching stories, however you describe it, puts the story inside the location, or allows the reader to experience the actual setting of the story at the same time as the story … here’s a video interview out of this year’s Emerging Writers Festival that explains it better.

    On a similar theme, Hitotoki ties experience to a map, some working better than others: status updates, not so interesting; environmental interaction, w00t!

    Another cool link to come out of the ‘unconference’: Small Demons. Linking books by subject matter. I’ve yet to delve into it too deeply — somewhat time poor at the moment and this website looks like a massive procrastination tool — but I love the idea of tagging books by quirks, locations, songs … When I think of all the music I’ve discovered thanks to mentions in books, and the joy to be found in paying homage to musos in the written word in the hope of spreading similar love, yeah, this idea really appeals. Chartreuse + Cocteau Twins = Poppy Z Brite and ? and ?

    And finally, a word of wisdom from guest Craig Mod for those going digital: can you do it better than Amazon?

  • WHILE I was up north delving into emergent writing trends and technologies, Aussie writer Angela Slatter was winning a British Fantasy Award;

  • Keith Stevenson was making a damn fine case at Conflux for the importance of editors (hear! hear!); and

  • Night Shade Books was readying to unveil Jonathan Strahan’s Eclipse Online mag. Locus says the title’s due to go live this month with two stories a month. Ooh …

    A musical note to finish on: big hugs to Sarah Calderwood, whose solo album As Night Falls was a finalist in the ARIAs for best world music album (announced today, being segregated from the ‘popular’ categories announced in November)! Right up there with Dead Can Dance! What a thrill to see a mate earning such renown!

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