The lovely folks at The Writers Bloc — great name for a collective! — asked me to tell them about ‘the book that …’ and of course I had to wax lyrical about Dracula. You’re about 16, there’s a storm outside your bedroom window, and the vampire is creeping down the castle wall … You can read more here, and see what these creative folks are up to in furthering the writers’ cause.
Archive for the writing Category
Keith Stevenson’s Coeur de Lion is launching its new digital magazine Dimension6 in April, and I’m happy to say I’ve got an Aussie vampire story — ‘The Preservation Society’ — in it!
I can’t tell you who else is in there because I don’t know, but Robert Hood, Cat Sparks, Richard Harland, Alan Baxter and Steve Cameron have all been tapped as being in one of this year’s first three editions. Pretty awesome company! These writers are well worth the effort of hitting the download button for.
Dimension6 will be FREE, with a cheap-as-chips end-of-year omnibus edition.
Coeur de Lion brought us the wonderful X6 novella collection a few years back, so I’m dead excited about Dimension6. The first issue is due out on April 4.
The calendar of literary events in Australia for 2014 is already looking mighty busy. It’s great to see so many events blocking out their dates early so everyone can plan their travel arrangements!
Corrections and additions welcome, and I’ll keep updating as more come on line.
Zena Shapter has been collecting images and comments from writers about where they write. Over there now, a look at both my cluttered home work space and the ‘mobile office’ that is the V/Line.
Every writers’ festival should have a jail.
Especially for a panel on horror.
The inaugural Newcastle Writers Festival was a hoot, and pretty darn smooth, too, despite being held over a number of venues and being run by staff who hadn’t really done much like this before.
They had 60 writers and a whole lot of sell-out panels, with a grand get-together at the art gallery and an opening night speech par excellence from Miriam Margolyes in a gorgeous theatre, panels in council chambers and the wonderfully scenic Noah’s hotel and a pub and — awesomeness of awesomeness — an old jail!
Kirstyn and I had a grand ol’ chat with Jenny Blackford about writing and horror and Kirstyn’s necklace and the barbarous destruction of some very old fig trees in a city park, all in the surrounds of a barred courtyard with an old loo in the far corner. Newcastle is Kirstyn’s old stomping ground, and it was interesting to see the evolution of the city through her remembrances.
Also flying the flag for spec fic was Margo Lanagan — we caught her YA panel. Jack Dann and Janeen Webb and Russell Blackford were also guests, but family commitments meant we got only to see Jack read an amazing homage to Gene Wolfe in a packed pub outing dedicated to Sin. Amidst gay-hating religion and people smuggling and ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ — the poem, not Iron Maiden — Jack and wonderfully, pointedly funny Anita Heiss brought the prose on home.
Miriam Margolyes’ opening night talk — highly recommended
Anyway, we loved the atmosphere at the festival — they drove those of us at Noah’s in an adapted tram to the Friday night soiree! — and Newcastle itself is a pretty amazing place, so much going on in not a lot of square mileage given the coal and the coast and river and history and attempts to breathe life into the inner city. Some wonderful artwork on display, for instance, at the Emporium, and some serious cafe action. There’s even a writers’ walk, which we didn’t get to do, but the fact they have one is pretty cool. I felt there was a real hunger there for some spec fic action, too. If even felt like a spec fic convention in one way: the hotel’s bar shut far too early!
The festival was such a blast the organisers have already announced dates for next year — April 4–6 — and we’re putting it on the calendar now. Even if the festival isn’t using the jail as a venue next year, there are tours. Ex-cell-ent!
- Thursday, April 25, 5.30pm: The Bride Price, by Cat Sparks (Ticonderoga Publications)
- Friday, April 26, 11am: The Bone Chime Song and Other Stories, by Joanne Anderton (Fablecroft); One Small Step (anthology, Fablecroft) and, a couple of Twelfth Planet Press titles TBC (thanks to Tehani for the heads up on these, below)
- Friday, April 26, 3.30pm: Fragments of a Broken Land — Valarl Undead, by Robert Hood (Borgo/Wildside)
- Friday, April 26, 6pm: Next (anthology, CSFG Publishing)
- Saturday, April 27, 11am: Quiver, by Jason Fischer (Black House Comics)
- Saturday, April 27, 1.30pm: Song of the Slums, Richard Harland (Allen & Unwin)
- Saturday, April 27, 3.30pm: The Machine Who was Also a Boy, by Tom Dullemond and Mike McRae (?)
- Saturday, April 27, 6.30pm: The Shadowed Throne, by KJ Taylor (Harper Voyager), and The Valley of Shields, by Duncan Lay (Harper Voyager)
- Sunday, April 28, 11am: In Fabula-Divino (anthology, edited and published by Nicole Murphy with eMergent)
I’m not sure if it counts as a launch, but Angry Robot (whose supremo Marc Gascoigne is a guest of honour at the con) is having ‘an hour’ from 1.30pm on the Sunday. Angry Robot is chockers with Aussie writers (Kaaron Warren, Jo Anderton, Trent Jamieson, Lee Battersby …) so it’ll be bookish, whatever it is.
Now that was fun! The NSW Writers Centre held its sold-out Speculative Fiction Festival on Saturday, and it was one of the most relaxing, enjoyable, informative literary events I’ve been to.
Kate Forsyth curated the event, gathering writers and publishers from as far away as Perth: Garth Nix, Juliet Marillier (launching a collection, Prickle Moon, which sounds fab and has — awesomely — a hedgehog on the cover), Ian Irvine, Richard Harland, Alison Croggon, Adelaideans Lisa Hannett and Ben Chandler, Angela Slatter, Rob Hood and Cat Sparks and Deb Biancotti and more and more.
Sadly, Kim Wilkins and Marianne de Pierres were unable to attend.
The centre itself is housed in a gorgeous old building, two stories, a former asylum and, I’m told, the building in which shock therapy once occurred.
No such shocks at the fest, but plenty of stimulation: publishing insights from the likes of Joel Naoum (Momentum) and Zoe Walton (Random House) as well as conversation about writing fantasy and YA and using fairy tales and, of course, getting published.
Sydney turned on a warm day with a cool breeze, and lunch and coffee on the lawn under the shade of the jacarandas was a delight. Gotta love those crows, chiming in with their own comments from time to time.
Chrissi and Amber from Galaxy Bookshop kept an eye on the stock, and the centre’s Rose Powell was a butterfly of biz keeping everything in order — she certainly deserved a drink as the book launch got underway on the veranda at the end of the day.
Kirstyn and I sat on a panel with Rob Hood and Deb Biancotti about horror and the weird and had a jolly old time talking Gothic and psychology and chills to a room surprisingly full for a dark side discussion; the interest was heart warming and the audience engaged.
As always, half the fun is the chinwagging, and with the likes of Alan Baxter and Mark Webb and Zena Shapter and Rivqa Rafael and Angie Rega (who has a new website! and new stories coming out!) and oodles more, there was plenty of chinwagging to be had, both there and at the pub afterwards.
Addendum: Pix by Cat Sparks!
Throw in a Manly ferry trip the night before to attend the launch of Kate’s The Wild Girl (review here by Sean, my go-to blogger for all things spec fic)and dinner after, and fair to say the weekend away was a delight.
See the calendar for more Aussie literary events
Five weeks or thereabouts since this blog troubled the interwebs. I guess moving home and waiting … and waiting … for the internet to be connected will do that.
So what’s happened since the boxes went into the truck and came out the other side, here in steamy Ballarat, in the shade of a hill I’ve christened Wendouree Tor?
Well, my pals The Isle have released a funky little ep, Moment, offering a nice mix of electro stylings. Bowie’s new album, The Next Day, ain’t half bad if the streaming’s anything to judge by. How to Destroy Angels have released their first album, Welcome Oblivion, and it’s a cruisy end to the world if ever there was one.
We saw Einstuerzende Neubauten mix-cartons, and it was a crack, seeing them producing all those sounds from what looked like an abandoned dairy farm on the Palace’s stage. I really dig their gentler stuff, but it’s quite amazing how they manage to make music out of all the rattling and banging. And singer Blixa has an amazing voice.
Tonight, we anticipate hearing new Tea Party material. Oh gosh!
Elsewhere, Aurealis magazine is releasing its duo series with publisher Dirk Strasser and the inimitable Jack Dann leading off. The Aurealis Awards date has been announced — May 18 — with a record field under consideration. Should be a hoot. And the Ditmars and Chronos awards are now open for nominations.
Very pleasing to see the Queensland Literary Awards hitting their stride, too, attracting serious financial support and — gasp! — the State Government funding charmingly parochial fellowships. This from the dudes who axed the awards as their first act in power. Interestingly, a Queensland writer was awarded a life achievement by the Australia Council late last year: Herb Wharton got his start by entering the David Unaipon Award, one of those cancelled by the government and saved by the new awards. Did the AC draw attention to this? You betcha. Because you can’t tell someone like Premier Campbell Newman they’ve acted like a twat enough.
But what about The (other) Rat? There are more stars here and far less buses than in the city. We’ve found the Bunnings and the supermarket and a half-decent chipper and have been very pleased indeed to be in the delivery zone of Pizza Capers (bourbon chicken FTW!). The Courier lands on the front lawn each morning and we scavenge restaurants and events and community groups and places of interest and stick them on the fridge. One day, their time will come.
But first, there’s the last of the boxes, the matter of central heating (winter, it is coming…), acclimatising to the commute and starting to think it might be time to resume the edit of the work in progress. And then there’s that overgrown back yard …
So, another idea to make it an easy, homebody year, and look what’s happened: outings! adventures!
First up, I’ll be hanging out with the horror buffs at Oz Horror Con in Melbourne, which is on the full weekend but I’ll only be there on the 20th as part of a contingent from the Australian Horror Writers Association. The venue sounds very, um, underground, though sadly lacks full accessibility WHICH IS SOMETHING THAT SHOULD NOT HAPPEN cf this missive from Hogetown about a similar event TWO YEARS AGO, and the con itself is likely to cover a wide spectrum of the pop horror scene. I could be the gothic tragic hugging the shadows saying ‘who’s that’ at every second cosplayer, but it should be educational and quite fun. I should try to watch Patrick again, just to be schooled up.
And now the wheels have turned far enough to say I should be catching up with a whole bunch of writers and readers at the NSW Writers’ Centre’s Speculative Fiction Festival on March 16. Kate Forsyth is directing again — last year’s was a hoot, I’m told.
There are plenty more events on, of course; the wallet is already smouldering. Check out the calendar of Aussie literary events for an idea what’s available.