Back in 2015, SQ Mag published my story “Night Blooming”. It featured Shane Hall, a homicide detective, and Manasa Chalmers, a corporate security operative from India, united by happenstance and searching for a lost teenager.
There were a couple of points of difference to the typical buddy cop story, firstly in that Brisbane, as with the rest of the world, is experiencing “mythomorphosis”, in which people are transforming into mythical creatures, and secondly, in that this strange and little-understood phenomenon was affecting our heroines quite personally.
I was chuffed and pleasantly surprised for “Night Blooming” to be selected for Ticonderoga Publications’ latest anthology of Australian fantasy and horror, their Year’s Best 2015 — see the table of contents below*, salivate, then order it, my friends!
But wait, there’s more! Because hitting the digital shelves at the end of 2016, ahead of a paperback release this month, is And Then … Vol.1 from Clan Destine Press. This tome features 15 longer tales starring dynamic partnerships, a varied and exotic selection of Antipodean adventure stories (here be dragons, and so much more!).
Among the first offering (TOC below) is my “The Mermaid Club”, another outing for Shane and Manasa. I’ve written a little about the story over at Sophie Masson’s website, but proof’s in the pudding. Not to give too much away, the pair suspect their’s something fishy about a kidnapping at a rich man’s club … Ebook here, paperback to come, with Vol.2 close on its heels!
* you will notice a certain Kirstyn McDermott in the list! doubly chuffed!
Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2015 TOC
Joanne Anderton — 2B
Alan Baxter — The Chart of the Vagrant Mariner
Deborah Biancotti — Look How Cold My Hands Are
Stephen Dedman — Oh, Have You Seen The Devil
Erol Engin — The Events at Callan Park
Jason Fischer — The Dog Pit
Dirk Flinthart — In the Blood
Kimberley Gaal — In Sheep’s Clothing
Stephanie Gunn — The Flowers That Bloom Where Blood Touches Earth
Lisa Hannett — Consorting With Filth
Robert Hood — Double Speak
Kathleen Jennings — A Hedge of Yellow Roses
Maree Kimberley — Ninehearts
Jay Kristoff — Sleepless
Martin Livings — El Caballo Muerte
Danny Lovecraft — Reminiscences of Herbert West
Kirstyn McDermott — Self, Contained
Sally McLennan — Mr Schmidt’s Dead Pet Emporium
DK Mok — Almost Days
Faith Mudge — Blueblood
Samantha Murray — Half Past
Jason Nahrung — Night Blooming
Garth Nix — The Company of Women
Anthony Panegyres — Lady Killer
Rivqa Rafael — Beyond the Factory Wall
Deborah Sheldon — Perfect Little Stitches
Angela Slatter Bluebeard’s Daughter
Cat Sparks — Dragon Girl
Lucy Sussex — Angelito
Anna Tambour — Tap
Kaaron Warren — Mine Intercom
And Then Vol.1 TOC
Introduction by Janeen Webb
Sulari Gentil — Catch a Fallen Star
Jason Nahrung — The Mermaid Club
Alan Baxter — Golden Fortune, Dragon Jade
Jason Franks — Exli and the Dragon
Lucy Sussex — Batgirl in Borneo
Amanda Wrangles — Come Now, Traveller
Evelyn Tsitas — Stealing Back the Relics
Peter M Ball — Deadbeats
Narrelle M Harris — Moran & Cato: Virgin Soil
Dan Rabarts — Tipuna Tapu
Kat Clay — In the Company of Rogues
Sophie Masson — The Romanov Opal
Tor Roxburgh — The Boudicca Society
Emilie Collyer — The Panther’s Paw
Tansy Rayner Roberts — Death at the Dragon Circus
A reminder, friends: I’m chuffed to be attending the Brisbane launch of the Dreaming in the Dark anthology, edited by Jack Dann and published by UK-based PS Publishing. Still gotta pinch myself when I look at the contributors to this epic tome of Aussie speculative fiction.
So yes, it’s worth a party with contributors (edited to add more — huzzah!) Veny Armanno, Paul Brandon, Kirstyn McDermott, Angela Slatter, Janeen Webb, Kim Wilkins and me in attendance; Paul and Sarah Calderwood will provide some musical atmosphere; Jack will do his thing; the book will be launched and you’ll be able to get your copy signed by a third of the contributors in one fell swoop!
Where do your ideas come from, folks ask. Good luck answering that (aisle 3 at the shopping centre doesn’t cut it, I’ve found). But here’s an insight into the making of my yarn Eromon No More, which I’m bloody chuffed to have included in Jack Dann’s anthology Dreaming in the Dark (now available to order) where it rubs shoulders with some truly impressive talents — and is also a rare occurrence of Kirstyn and myself having a yarn in the same book.
So, I can trace the spark of the idea back to a panel at a Continuum convention in Melbourne (happening again June 9-12 2017) where the absence of variety in high/second world fantasy was noted. Not many old people as protagonists, for instance. And I’d been taken with the portrayal of Lamb in Joe Abercrombie’s Red Country, a damaged soldier trying to find some peace.
I nutted out a short yarn, deliberately generic, in which an old coot and a young thing have fled war for the peace and hard yakka of a farm, only war comes to find them — it was meant to be kind of a satire or a critique, but never really got there.
I sent this to Jack for Dreaming. And he said: Give me more.
My story in Jack’s Dreaming Again remains one of my favourites: his faith and commitment to that yarn kept me in the game at a time when I could happily have given it away. Then, as now, he said to give him more. Now, as then, I went looking.
The original skeleton of the yarn remained much the same, but I tapped the feel of a fantastical Australia (most of my yarns are set here, one way or another; I need a very specific reason to not set a yarn in my country) I’d conjured up for another story, Wraiths (Winds of Change, 2011) to breathe life into the setting and add some cultural nuance.
But where did those two characters come from? They’re probably a construct or amalgam of stories read and watched, maybe even some D&D played, their characters assembled consciously and subconsciously … Who knows? Aisle 3 is as good a suggestion as any.
I do know the story title is a nod to the suburban habit of naming houses Emoh Ruo I first encountered in My Brother Jack, and perhaps was a call to George Johnston’s desire to escape that reality that ultimately he didn’t seem able to. Maybe it illustrates the characters’ motivation and ill fate. Or perhaps it had no deeper meaning than a bit of fun wordplay for a dark story that tries to end on (for me) an uncharacteristically lighter note.
Funny, too, how what was meant to be just a bit of scenery, in this case a chicken, came to have a metaphorical role in the story. That idea must’ve been on special in the supermarket that day.
Funnily enough, I’ve still got another iteration of this story in the back of my brain. One with a goose. And even half an idea for another story involving these two characters. Another trip to the supermarket may be required!
The Brisbane launch is at Dymocks, 17 Albert St, on Thursday 8 December from 6pm. There will be readings, live music, drinks, signings and bonhomie! It would be lovely to see a few Brissie pals there! Free to attend, but please RSVP!
This is an exciting anthology of Australian speculative fiction. Back in 1998, Jack Dann and Janeen Webb put together Dreaming Down Under, an anthology that helped shine a light on the speculative fiction talent in Australia. Then, in 2010, Jack revisited the field in Dreaming Again: 35 yarns, of which I was privileged to have contributed one. And now he’s combined with PS Publishing to produce a new taster of established and up-and-coming writers: Dreaming in the Dark. Check out the contributors list below! Here’s the link to order this gorgeous tome. Launches are in the works, but why not get your order in while it’s hot? The signed, slipcased editions are limited to 200 and they look pretty darn fancy.
Introduction: Welcome to the Golden Age: an Introduction of Sorts
Sing, My Murdered Darlings
Midnight in the Graffiti Tunnel
A Right Pretty Mate
Eromon No More
The Luminarium Tower
Neither Time Nor Tears
His Shining Day
The Liquid Palace
Snowflakes All the Way Down
The Dog Who’d Been Dead
Fade to Grey
All Those Superpowers and What Are They Good For?
In Hornhead Wood
AND now for a word from my publisher … who is publishing a massive two-book anthology of ripping adventure yarns. The books are now available for pre-order, and because it’s happening on Indiegogo, there is not just a discount on the RRP, but there are some other fab inclusions as well (the books will come out regardless, but why not grab a bargain?). Says Clan Destine’s Lindy Cameron:
And Then… The Great Big Book of Awesome Adventure Tales will feature 31 stories of action-filled page-turning adventures.
- No matter your reading preference – crime, fantasy, horror, sf or cross-genre – there will be stories galore in this fabulous collection just for you.
By helping us you will get the warm fuzzy feeling of supporting a small independent press and our wonderful authors, but there’s also plenty of things you will get in return.
First and foremost, of course, are the books themselves. And we do mean books. And Then… will be two volumes of fabulous new fiction, published as ebooks, paperbacks and Limited Edition hardcovers.
So get on board and pre-order your copies. Follow the link below to see the great deals, discounts and other bounty you can score by partnering with us now.
And please share this opportunity with other book lovers.
Thank you for your ongoing support of Clan Destine Press.
The campaign runs till about May 16, so jump on board, me hearties: your future self will thank you!
The Aurealis Awards for Australian speculative fiction will be awarded on Good Friday, March 25, in Brisbane as part of the national science fiction convention, Contact. Tickets are now on sale (with, apparently, convention members to get a discount).
It’s a pretty cool event, bringing the community together, and being held as part of the convention should mean extra vibe as well as, one hopes, a packed room. (It’s great to see the awards organisers in WA and the nat con collaborating this way, especially since there is the Swancon convention in Perth also at Easter.)
The finalists were announced yesterday, with several new categories, one of the most exciting being the Sara Douglass Book Series Award. The list of finalists is here (note: my wife is in there!). There’s a bucket of cold water for the horror novel category — I know, sad! the judges’ comments will make interesting reading on that one!* — but elsewhere a pretty darn strong field of contenders.
Just making it to the short list is a big achievement, so congratulations all — let’s party!