A quick plug to say today is the day for Australia’s newest spec fic magazine: the free, digital Dimension6. It’s available here and includes yarns by Richard Harland, Charlotte Nash and yours truly. You can get a taste of what each of us (and editor Keith Stevenson) is about thanks to an interview series conducted by Angela Slatter — just click those links. Or just read the magazine!
Dimenion6 runs three issues a year, so stick around!
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!
I’ve had a wee sabbatical, and there has been wordage, but now it’s back to the mines. Mordor, today; I do hope they’ve cleaned up the blood from the latest cull. At least we had a D&D session on Saturday: not too much bleeding for our side. There’s nothing quite like that communal escape into the fantastic, that combined storytelling, all tempered by a far more personable overlord and some random dice havoc.
Here’s a few of the more interesting articles to cross the desk lately, starting off with a nostalgiac reprint of Gary Gygax’s inspirational classic fantasy titles for role-players (ah, Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser!), and an updated appendix to that appendix. You might notice Joe Abercrombie’s name on that latter list — he’s a guest at GenreCon in Sydney in November. Here’s a program teaser. It looks tasty. So, hands up who loved the Thieves World books? Who bumped dice with Jubal? Ah, good times …
Rolling on, and Angela Slatter offers advice for meeting agents — ‘hide the crazy’ — and suggests a key element is to have a good story. You don’t hear much about the value of a good story these days; it’s mostly about how to network and SEO your way to digital sales. Good art and good sales aren’t mutually exclusive, are they? So yay to Writer Unboxed, who reckons one of the biggest mistakes a writer can make is not understanding story. Ah, the learning, it just doesn’t end …
Which leads to Justine Larbalestier, who’s been blogging like a chipmunk on a wheel this month and making far more sense. Well worth stepping off your own wheel and checking out her posts, such as this one about the need for characters to keep learning and this one about them needing to have a life already!
I also enjoyed this introduction (typos and all) at Kirkus to the history of the vampire novel — close to my heart, given Salvage owes a debt to Le Fanu’s Carmilla.
Looking forward to: seeing this book in print! Even if I wasn’t helping to launch it, I’d’ve been tempted to drive to Adelaide for Launch II. Lisa and Angela have provided two, well, three actually, of the most enjoyable collections of recent years: this combined effort may just be exponentially awesome.
While I was up north, exciting things have been happening. For instance:
Angela Slatter and Lisa Hannett have revealed the cover of their collaborative collection, Midnight and Moonshine, and now available to order ahead of its November release. It is very, very pretty — the art is by Kathleen Jennings, recently short-listed for a World Fantasy Award, as was Lisa for her solo, debut collection, Bluegrass Symphony. The stories will be awesome. It deserves to be under many Christmas trees and on many book shelves.
Kim Wilkins has started a writing advice page on Facebook. Kim, or Dr Kim as she’s affectionately known to many of her students, has a knack for making the writing process understandable and desirable. Her tips column in WQ magazine was exceptionally popular, so plug in!
The embers of the Borders bookstore meltdown are being stoked this month with the online business rebranding itself as Bookworld and offering free postage.
And check out the awesome writing talent on the guest list at November’s Supanova in Brisbane and Adelaide!
Meanwhile, Ego Likeness have released a new single. This band give great ear worm; I can’t wait for the new album to land.
An Aussie voicing Judge Dredd: that’s pretty cool. Alan Baxter reports there’s a new mobile phone game set in the world of Judge Dredd, with the said judge voiced by Kevin Powe, a Melbourne actor I’ve had the good fortune to run into in bars (as you do). Better than Sly? You can be the judge of that.
Louise Cusack is running a series of Wednesday posts about the writing game, with recent posts by guests including using writing contests to build a CV on the way to getting a publishing contract; publishing an e-book; and wrangling media. There’s a good post about editing from Louise, too, with a handy Q&A form.
Speaking of editing, Angela Slatter has a handy graphic to help understand the writing cycle. The word ‘flensing’ appears. Not for the precious or faint-hearted!
Over at Cheryse Durrant’s, I’ve been invited to bang on about Kim Harrison and urban fantasy. I am seriously behind on the Rachel Morgan series: there’s a graphic novel now? From Ivy’s point of view? w00t!
Have you been following the Wonder Women Are blog posts over at Tansy’s place? Delightful overviews of various star women characters in the comics world. The focus has been on DC and Marvel, with this week dedicated to the Bat-family. As a one-time massive buyer of Batman comics, it’s been great to see not only how stories have progressed and been reinvented, but how the comics honchos have moved with the times … or not. I may even have to make some further investments for the collection. Outside of Batman, two of my favourite titles back in the day were Kabuki and Shi: I wonder how they hold up today? Hm, I know they’re here somewhere…