Archive for the writing Category

Entering Dimension6

Posted in gothic, writing with tags , , , , on February 17, 2014 by jason nahrung

dimension6 magazine logo


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.

2014 Australian Literary Festival calendar

Posted in events, travel, writing with tags , , , on December 3, 2013 by jason nahrung

calendarThe 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.

Tracking changes: a tour of writing spaces at Zena’s place

Posted in writing with tags , , , , on September 6, 2013 by jason nahrung

empty v/line carriage

The office isn’t always this quiet.

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.

Chattin’ on Galactic Chat

Posted in gothic, horror, news regurgitation, writing with tags , , , , on September 2, 2013 by jason nahrung

galactic chat coffee cup logoIn which Galactic Chat‘s Mark Webb is far too nice as we talk about vampires, writing and stuff. Mark also keeps an eye on new books and other spec fic goings on at his blog.

Newcastle Writers Festival truly ex-cell-ent

Posted in travel, writing with tags , , , , , , , on April 9, 2013 by jason nahrung
newcastle jail courtyard

Newcastle Gaol courtyard, scene of the crime

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!

While I was offline… and OMG look at all the Conflux book launches!

Posted in books, events, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 19, 2013 by jason nahrung
  • Sean the Bookonaut has been blogging up a storm. Viz, an examination of Grimdark — a category of genre coding I hadn’t even heard of.
  • Angela Slatter is having a book, Narrow Daylight, published by my digital publisher Xoum — yay for being stablemates (and stable mates, though are we, as individuals, stable? argh!)
  • Lisa L Hannett has had a new essay published at This Is Horror, calling for a consideration of less used/abused things that go bump in the night, which in turn leads to an essay from James Bradley about the ever-evolving vampire metaphor.
  • Random House is taken to task for onerous conditions in its digital imprint Hydra, and makes amends, as reported by Locus.
  • A Brissie launch on April 9 for Charlotte Nash’s debut novel Ryders Ridge.
  • Dymocks ends its publishing effort, D Publishing, perhaps on the nose from the get-go due to a roundly criticised contract base.
  • Margo Lanagan makes the long list of the Stella Prize with Sea Hearts.
  • And I’ve sifted the program for Conflux next month to find the book launches — hold onto your hats!

    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.

  • Sydney Speculative Fiction Festival: a fine day out

    Posted in writing with tags , , , , , on March 18, 2013 by jason nahrung

    writers gather at nsw writers centre's speculative fiction festival 2013

    Coffee break under the jacarandas

    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.

    nsw speculative fiction festival

    First panel of the day: international fantasy

    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.

    prickle moon launch at NSW Writers Centre

    Russell Farr with Sophie Masson and Juliet Marillier and Liz Grzyb launching Prickle Moon

    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.

    Next up: Newcastle Writers Festival and the ever-enjoyable Conflux.

    See the calendar for more Aussie literary events

    Greetings from Ballaratia

    Posted in music, musings, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 11, 2013 by jason nahrung

    gargoyles at the front door

    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 …

    Oz Horror Con, Sydney Spec Fic Festival: here we come!

    Posted in books, writing with tags , , , , on January 9, 2013 by jason nahrung

    So, another idea to make it an easy, homebody year, and look what’s happened: outings! adventures!

    Hehe.

    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.

    And down the track, over Anzac weekend in Canberra, there’s the national SF convention, Conflux, followed by Melbourne’s Continuum.

    Throw in the Aurealis Awards and a few other stray bits ‘n’ bobs — and the World Fantasy Convention in Brighton, UK — and 2013 is looking like a preeetty busy year…

    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.

    Catching up with the cool kids: 12 for Christmas

    Posted in books, news regurgitation, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 21, 2012 by jason nahrung

    Wow. December already. It’s been all hands on deck here at Chez Hectic, but outside the wheels have been turning. Some happenings of interest, 12 in fact, because that’s suitably Christmassy:

  • Ian Irvine talks oceanic pollution, climate change and his writing with Mary-Lou at ABC Sunshine Coast radio (and doesn’t Aunty need as many local word warriors as it can get). Mary-Lou has a trove of interviews for your listening pleasure, including Kimberley Freeman, Kate Morton, Gary Crew, Helene Young and many more.
  • So cool to see Traci Harding’s new Chinese-set series The Timekeepers heading towards the shelves. I interviewed her back in May last year and she was so excited about this series, sparked in part by a news item about a wristwatch found in an ancient Chinese tomb.
  • The Rabbit Hole, an intensive weekend of writing, has provided the content for an issue of Review of Australian Fiction — sadly, hosted on that most irritating of book platforms, Booki.sh. Of particular interest to this former Queenslander is Jodi Cleghorn’s novelette ‘Elyora’ — hitting the right tone of outback weirdness — and the touching, non-speculative ‘The Slow Death of Plastic Stars’ by fellow Brisbanite Kate Zahnleiter. It’s worth noting that Jodi’s publishing house, eMergent, has a Christmas collection out. More Rabbit Holes are scheduled for 2013, the first on January 11-13.
  • Writers Digest has listed its most popular posts about writing.
  • Robert Hood has unveiled a new book, Fragments of a Broken Land!
  • Have snaffled tix for Emilie Autumn’s tour in March. Can’t wait to see the new show, based on her sumptuous book of asylum life.
  • On Goodreads the Australian Speculative Fiction Authors Challenge has been announced, riffing off this year’s Australian Women Writers Challenge (which is set to happen again next year). Still haven’t decided whether to give it a go … hey, still haven’t joined Goodreads!
    Update 24/12: have signed up for AWW2013.
  • Poet a.rawlings, this year’s Queensland poet in residence, has unveiled Gibber, a project she conducted during her residency. Some gorgeous material here (so many birds!)!
  • Canberra’s Donna Maree Hanson has brought outer space to Harlequin’s Escape imprint with her Rayessa and the Space Pirates, due out in January.
  • Matt Rubinstein has an interesting essay at ABR about the digital book era including this quote:

    People who love books don’t steal books. But, you know, they might lend or borrow books, they might sample books and only pay for the ones they do love, they might torrent a book they have already bought in hard copy, they might pay what they think they can afford. They will do these things whether we like it or not. And it’s probably not in our interests to treat every illegal download as an act of aggression. As an empirical matter, it may turn out that that download has led to a handful of legitimate sales. Or it might not. We just don’t know. We can be pretty sure that insisting that book-lovers are our enemies will be self-fulfilling and soon self-defeating

  • Peter M Ball has, a while back now, offered sage advice for those considering indie publishing.
  • And I did mention my wife’s new book is now available as an ebook, didn’t I? And, ahem, so is mine.
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