Words Out Loud in Ballarat – July edition

words out loud julyWords Out Loud is striking while the iron is hot in July — it’ll be running on the SECOND Thursday, rather than the usual third.

The theme is “light it up”, and it’ll be giving ol’ midwinter a run for its chill with hot spoken word and blazing slam poetry!

Writers, readers, poets — all word lovin’ folks with a hankering to share the love are invited along, with five-minute open mic spots on offer. As always, performers are encouraged to take the theme and run with it for their 5-minute slots — or ignore it altogether!

Entry is free, though a gold coin donation would be appreciated for this non-profit, community event.

Words Out Loud will be held at the wonderfully warm and welcoming Babushka lounge in Ballarat on Thursday, July 14, 7-9pm.

Keep up to date at the Facebook page: www.facebook.com/wordsoutloud/.

In Your Face – speculative fiction with bite!

in your face anthologyIn Your Face, an anthology of confronting speculative fiction from FableCroft Publishing, will soon be in the wild (next month!)! This volume contains 22 stories from some of Australia’s biggest hitters in the genre (Sean Williams, Kaaron Warren, Angela Slatter and more!), as well as some lesser known writers such as myself, and they’re packing a punch.

Says a review in Aurealis, “some of these stories are confronting, even shocking in the subjects they tackle head-on … In Your Face is a truly rewarding and affecting experience”.

My yarn, A House in the Blue, is a reaction to the shitful health policies championed by the thankfully dead Abbott government (we note the Turnbull government’s similarity to its predecessor) and is no doubt all too familiar to readers in the United States. It is set in the climate-change affected future Brisbane introduced in 2014’s Watermarks. The sad thing about my story is that I think I’ve underplayed the situation, but I guess only time will tell.

There is a Goodreads contest running until June 30 offering a free copy, or you can read more here (or preorder at the online bookstore of your choice, pretty much). The countdown continues!

Happy birthday, Kevin the vampire! Here’s a free story to celebrate with

forged in blood vampire storyTo mark the first-year anniversary of the launch of the Vampires in the Sunburnt Country duology, I thought I’d open the window to a secretive event in the life of Kevin’s nemesis, the Hunter Phillip Reece.

The story was written in 2011 as I was coming to grips with Reece’s background. The event detailed in the story, set in 1970s Brisbane, is never explained in either Blood and Dust or The Big Smoke, but is alluded to as Reece looks back at his long history with the villainous Mira.

It was a fun and effective way to explore the characters’ first meeting, even though much of the detail never made it into either book because it simply wasn’t needed. But I like to think it gave those few references emotional depth and, of course, consistency.

Find out more and read the story in PDF here

UPDATE: as of 7 July 2016, free mobi and epub versions of the story are available at the Clan Destine Press website!

Words Out Loud in Ballarat – June edition

rat reads june-web2Words Out Loud returns to Babushka lounge in Ballarat on Thursday, June 16, 7-9pm, for its next session of spoken word.

Writers, readers, poets — all word lovin’ folks with a hankering to share the love are invited along, with five-minute open mic spots on offer. Babushka has excellent sound and backing tracks can be accommodated. You won’t find a friendlier venue.

In a nod to our federal election in July, the June event has a nominal theme of “be heard”, but as always, performers are encouraged to take the theme and run with it for their 5-minute slots — or ignore it altogether!

Entry is free, though a gold coin donation would be appreciated for this non-profit, community event.

Keep up to date at the Facebook page: www.facebook.com/wordsoutloud/.

NOTE: The July Words Out Loud will be on the second Wednesday of the month due to a schedule clash — mark the calendar for July 14 (the theme, riffing off the winter dark, will be “light it up”).

Lightning has struck, x 100

100 lightnings
I feel kind of sorry for Paroxysm Press. Imagine, if you will, sending out contributor copies to all these:

Fred Zackel
Shona Snowden
Sam Cooney
yt sumner
Allen Ashley
Ella Joseph
Jen White
Adam Walter
Martin Davey
Stephanie Gianopoulos
Chuck McKenzie
Aaron Polson
Jason Colavito
B. Michael Radburn
Martin Livings
Sam Drane
Rosaleen Love
Kaaron Warren
Rob Riel
Kim Goldberg
James Davies
Eugene Gramelis
Mark McAuliffe
Matthew Chrulew
Peter Dawncy
Emma Kathryn
Douglas Thompson
Mark Delaney
Mari Mitchell
Rob Parry
Blanket Barrowclough
R.H. Reese
J.G. Poulos
Steven Paulsen
Rick Kennett
Gitte Christensen
Harper Hull
Kev Webb
Stephanie Campisi
Robert Long
Mark Smith-Briggs
Michael Zerbe
Vicki Frei
Thomas Canfield
Paul Haines
Jenny Sinclair
C.S. Fuqua
Matthew R. Davis
Rijn Collins
Benjamin Kensey
Rick McQuiston
Deborah Sheldon
Ian C. Smith
Catherine Noske
Michelle Jager
Angela Readman
Raymond Gates
M. Winkler
Rod Cod
Jack Horne
Frank J. Collins
Sheri White
Daniel Powell
Jason Nahrung
Nicky Peacock
Sean Williams
Lucy Sussex
Angela Slatter
Joanne Anderton
Jessica Reisman
David Witteveen
M.K. Hobson
D.A. Cairns
Sean King (Cover Artist)
Greg Rich (Interior Artist)
Stephen Studach (Editor)

Because that’s what they’re doing, now that 100 Lightnings is finally in the wild (i.e., at the usual online retailers, and certain booksellers around Adelaide).

The volume of flash fiction was commissioned in 2011 — not all lightning strikes fast — but should pack a bit o’ zap, given the names on that list of contributors (yes, I’m in there, but I’m low wattage, eh!).

I’m looking forward to seeing my yarn in print. It was written even earlier, around 2007, I think, as part of a course at Queensland Writers Centre, and it has finally found a home — patience, eh! “Atrocity Exhibition” was inspired in equal measure by a night out at a Goth club and a Joy Division song. This is the way, step inside …

Geoff Lemon on Dutton, evil and self-immolation

Omid: Cathy Wilcox, Sydney Morning Herald.

Omid: Cathy Wilcox, Sydney Morning Herald.

He is only evil in its most banal iteration, one of the interchangeable head-nodders with a stubborn pride in taking instruction, the ones for whom thinking is a moral failing curtly avoided.

That’s Geoff Lemon on Peter Dutton, the latest in a line of politicians who are failing this country for their own self-interest. Read his When there’s nothing left to burn, you have to set yourself on fire. It’s a wonderfully erudite appraisal of the situation concerning our offshore detention camps.

Seriously, how many more lives are going to be ruined, how much longer is this country’s soul going to be stained, by these “headkickers, happy to bully people towards death rather than risk a perceived electoral advantage”?

The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has called for the immediate transfer of refugees and asylum seekers out of the Australian-run detention camps on both Manus Island and Nauru. It’s time to end this, because this is not Australia.

Words Out Loud in Ballarat – May edition

words out loud in ballaratWords Out Loud returns to Babushka lounge in Ballarat on Thursday, May 19, 7-9pm, for its next session of spoken word.

Writers, readers, poets — all word lovin’ folks with a hankering to share the love are invited along, with five-minute open mic spots on offer. Babushka has excellent sound and backing tracks can be accommodated. You won’t find a friendlier venue.

With the Federal Budget blowing in that month, May’s theme is “fresh air”, but performers aren’t required to play to theme. Entry is free, though a gold coin donation would be appreciated for this non-profit, community event (and to show that appreciation, there’s a door prize for donors!).

Keep up to date at the Facebook page: www.facebook.com/wordsoutloud/. The June Words Out Loud will be on June 16.