Defying Doomsday Table of Contents Announced

I am very happy indeed to be able to announce that my story, To Take Into the Air My Quiet Breath, will be appearing in the Twelfth Planet Press anthology, Defying Doomsday.  I contributed to the Kickstarter fundraising campaign for this anthology, and really don’t have the words for how excited I am to be able to be a part of it!

The rest of the TOC announcement, copied from here:

After much submission wrangling and shuffling, we are finally ready to announce the table of contents for Defying Doomsday!

(One quick disclaimer: it’s possible that the exact order of stories might change a little bit between now and publication time, but we’re pretty sure it will look something like this.)

So without further ado, the table of contents for Defying Doomsday!

 

Table of Contents

And the Rest of Us Wait by Corinne Duyvis

To Take Into the Air My Quiet Breath by Stephanie Gunn

Something in the Rain by Seanan McGuire

Did We Break the End of the World? by Tansy Rayner Roberts

In the Sky with Diamonds by Elinor Caiman Sands

Two Somebodies Go Hunting by Rivqa Rafael

Given Sufficient Desperation by Bogi Takács

Selected Afterimages of the Fading by John Chu

Five Thousand Squares by Maree Kimberley

Portobello Blind by Octavia Cade

Tea Party by Lauren E Mitchell

Giant by Thoraiya Dyer

Spider-Silk, Strong as Steel by Samantha Rich

No Shit by K Evangelista

I Will Remember You by Janet Edwards

 

Awards season is upon us (aka the obligatory awards eligibility post)

Nominations for both the Ditmar and Tin Duck Awards are currently open.

I have two stories eligible this year:

  • “Broken Glass”, Stephanie Gunn, in Hear Me Roar, Ticonderoga Publications.
  • “The Flowers That Bloom Where Blood Touches Earth”, Stephanie Gunn, in Bloodlines, Ticonderoga Publications.

For the Ditmars, these are in the novella/novelette category, and in the Tin Ducks, they would be in the best WA professional short written work.

I’m also eligible for best fan writing awards for my reviews, should you have found them useful over the past year.

You can nominate for the Ditmars here (and a full list of eligible works is here)

Information on nominating for the Tin Ducks is here.

2015: The obligatory year end post

2015 has, overall, been a very successful year for me.

Healthwise, for the first time in a long time, things seem to be improving.  New medication is making a huge difference, and while I’m still not able to work a “normal” full time job, I am generally doing better than I have been for the last handful of years.  It’s kind of awesome, and I am frantically knocking on wood, lest it end.

I’ve got to watch my son keep on growing into an amazing individual.  He finished his first full year of school, and has done incredibly well with it all.  There have been some hiccups along the way, but such is life.  Sometimes I find myself just watching him do things and just be utterly floored by the fact that he exists.  Parenthood (or more precisely, parenting a baby and toddler) has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, and I am so grateful that I’ve had the chance to do it.

Writing wise, it’s been a slower year in terms of getting things finished than I’d like, but there’s been forward motion.  A few years ago, I sat down and wrote out a list of achievements that I would like to make in my writing career.  This year, I achieved three of them.  The last one I can’t talk about yet (but hopefully soon, for I am incredibly excited about this project).  The others?  I had a story, Escapement, nominated for both a Tin Duck and a Ditmar (my first non-fan writing nominations) and had the same story reprinted in a Year’s Best anthology).  I am so thankful to the good folks at Ticonderoga Publications and editor extraordinaire for publishing my weird steampunk dystopia story.

I do feel like I’ve levelled up a bit as a writer, and I am really happy with the works I’ve had published this year – Broken Glass in Hear Me Roar and The Flowers That Bloom Where Blood Touches Earth in Bloodlines, both from Ticonderoga.  Huge thanks as always to my brilliant critique partner, Pia van Ravestein, without whom none of my stories would be what they are.

In terms of reviews, I’m less than happy.  I did manage to finish my Australian Women Writers Challenge pledge, but I have fallen way behind on my Netgalley reviews.  Next year, I really want to tackle them and try to increase my review percentage.

Overall, though, a fairly good year.  Only a few more days, and then we’re onto 2016.

Reviewing

From now on, I’m going to be posting my reviews at a separate site: The Forest of Books.  Please follow me over there if you want to keep up with my reviews.

As time permits, I plan to copy all of the reviews from here over to that site.  I’ll still be cross-posting to Goodreads, and I’m going to try to remember to post more reviews to Amazon as well.

Reviewing

From now on, I’m not going to be posting reviews here to my website, but have set up a secondary website for them: The Forest of Books.  Feel free to follow me over there if you want to keep up with my reviews.

I’m planning on going back and copying all of my past reviews over to that website as well as time allows.  All of my reviews will still be crossposted to Goodreads, and I’m going to try to remember to post over at Amazon as well.

Bloodlines cover reveal, and preorders

Bloodlines

 

The cover for Bloodlines, the urban fantasy anthology which includes my story, The Flowers That Bloom Where Blood Touches Earth, has been revealed.  And isn’t it gorgeous?  The cover design is by the talented Kathleen Jennings (who also has a story in the anthology).

Pre-orders for the anthology have also opened, get yours here.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

The following is copied from Ticonderoga Publications:

We’re thrilled to be able to reveal the cover to our forthcoming original anthology Bloodlines. The artwork is by the awesomely multi-talented and multiple award-winning Kathleen Jennings (who also has a story in the anthology),

Bloodlines, the new non-traditional dark urban fantasy anthology edited by the award-winning Amanda Pillar. These 16 incredible original stories are:

  • Joanne Anderton “Unnamed Children”
  • Alan Baxter “Old Promise New Blood”
  • Nathan Burrage “The Ties of Blood, Hair and Bone”
  • Dirk Flinthart “In The Blood”
  • Rebecca Fung “In the Heart of the City”
  • Stephanie Gunn “The Flowers That Bloom Where Blood Touches Earth”
  • Kelly Hoolihan “The Stone and the Sheath”
  • Kathleen Jennings “The Tangled Streets”
  • Pete Kempshall “Azimuth”
  • Martin Livings “A Red Mist”
  • Seanan McGuire “Into the Green”
  • Anthony Panegyres “Lady Killer”
  • Jane Percival “The Mysterious Mr Montague”
  • Paul Starkey “The Tenderness of Monsters”
  • Lyn Thorne-Adder “Lifeblood of the City”
  • S. Zanne “Seeing Red”

Bloodlines will be available in mid-October 2015 and can be pre-ordered at http://www.indiebooksonline.com/catalog/advanced_search_result.php?keywords=bloodlines. Bloodlines will be available in hardcover, tradepaperback, and ebook.

Attendees of Conflux, in Canberra 2-5 October will be treated to the first look at this book, at a launch on 3 October. The rest of the world can experience this fantastic collection at World Fantasy Convention 2015.

– See more at: http://ticonderogapublications.com/web/index.php/our-books/185-bloodlines/390-bloodlines-cover-and-orders-available#sthash.JbYg0GdE.dpuf

The end of a draft/burnout

The end

Yesterday, I finished a full draft of the latest version of Never.  It’s horribly broken, and needs at least one more full redraft, but it’s finished.

And in probably related news, I am burned out.  Empty.  Burned out on writing, burned out on reviewing.  So I’m going to be taking a short break away from both.  An actual holiday, even.  I’m anticipating lots of Aurealis reading coming in, so there will be that.  And I’ve technically finished my challenge for the Australian Women Writers Challenge, but I’d still like to add some more decent reviews (namely to the things I’ve read and marked over at Goodreads as wanting to review).

Now, what is that people do when they’re not running around a mouse wheel made of words?  I forget.

Announcement: The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror 2014

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I’m really happy to be able to announcement that my weird steampunk dystopia novelette, Escapement, will be reprinted in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror 2014 coming out soon from Ticonderoga Publications!  And holy crap, look at some of the people I’m sharing that TOC with!  Congrats to everyone involved.


 

Announcement copied from Ticonderoga Publications:

We’re really happy to be able to announce the final line-up and cover of the fifth volume of The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror.

Liz Grzyb and Talie Helene have compiled an impressive list of fantastic stories first published in 2014, from New Zealand’s and Australia’s finest writers.

The 28 stories selected are

  • Alan Baxter, “Shadows of the Lonely Dead” [Suspended in Dusk]
  • James Bradley, “The Changeling” [Fearsome Magics]
  • Imogen Cassidy, “Soul Partner” [Aurealis 74]
  • David Conyers & David Kernot, “The Bullet & The Flesh” [World War Cthulhu]
  • Terry Dowling, “The Corpse Rose” [Nightmare Carnival]
  • Thoraiya Dyer, “The Oud” [Long Hidden Anthology]
  • Jason Franks, “Metempsychosis” [SQ Mag]
  • Michelle Goldsmith, “Of Gold and Dust” [Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Maga 60]
  • Michael Grey, “1884” [Cthulhu Lives: An Eldrich Tribute to H.P.Lovecraft]
  • Stephanie Gunn, “Escapement” [Kisses by Clockwork]
  • Lisa L. Hannett & Angela Slatter, “Vox” [The Female Factory]
  • Gerry Huntman, “Of The Colour Tumeric, Climbing on Fingertips” [Night Terrors III]
  • Rick Kennett, “Dolls for Another Day” [The Ghosts & Scholars Book of Shadows: Vol 2]
  • Charlotte Kieft, “Chiaroscuro” [Disquiet]
  • SG Larner, “Kneaded” [Phantazein]
  • Claire McKenna, “Yard” [Use Only As Directed]
  • Andrew J. McKiernan, “A Prayer for Lazarus” [Last Year, When We Were Young]
  • Faith Mudge, “Signature” [Kaleidoscope: Diverse YA Science Fi]
  • Jason Nahrung, “The Preservation Society” [Dimension6]
  • Emma Osbourne, “The Box Wife” [Shock Totem: Curious Tales of the Macabre & Twisted #9]
  • Angela Rega, “Shedding Skin” [Crossed Genres]
  • Tansy Rayner Roberts, “The Love Letters of Swans” [Phantazein]
  • Angela Slatter, “The Badger Bride” [Strange Tales IV]
  • Cat Sparks, “New Chronicles of Andras Thorn” [Dimension6 Annual Collection 2014]
  • Anna Tambour, “The Walking-stick Forest” [Tor.com]
  • Kyla Ward, “Necromancy” [Spectral Realms #1]
  • Kaaron Warren, “Bridge of Sighs” [Fearful Symmetries: An Anthology of Horror]
  • Janeen Webb, “Lady of the Swamp” [Death at the Blue Elephant]

In addition to the above incredible tales, the volume will include a review of 2014 and a list of highly recommended stories.

The editors will shortly begin reading for the sixth volume of The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror.

The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2014 is scheduled for publication in late-October 2015 and can be pre-ordered at indiebooksonline.com. The anthology will be available in hardcover, ebook and trade editions.

AWW2015: The Beast’s Garden by Kate Forsyth

beastgarden

The Grimm Brothers published a beautiful version of the Beauty & the Beast tale called ‘The Singing, Springing Lark’ in 1819. It combines the well-known story of a daughter who marries a beast in order to save her father with another key fairy tale motif, the search for the lost bridegroom. In ‘The Singing, Springing Lark,’ the daughter grows to love her beast but unwittingly betrays him and he is turned into a dove. She follows the trail of blood and white feathers he leaves behind him for seven years, and, when she loses the trail, seeks help from the sun, the moon, and the four winds. Eventually she battles an evil enchantress and saves her husband, breaking the enchantment and turning him back into a man.

Kate Forsyth retells this German fairy tale as an historical novel set in Germany during the Nazi regime. A young woman marries a Nazi officer in order to save her father, but hates and fears her new husband. Gradually she comes to realise that he is a good man at heart, and part of an underground resistance movement in Berlin called the Red Orchestra. However, her realisation comes too late. She has unwittingly betrayed him, and must find some way to rescue him and smuggle him out of the country before he is killed.

The Red Orchestra was a real-life organisation in Berlin, made up of artists, writers, diplomats and journalists, who passed on intelligence to the American embassy, distributed leaflets encouraging opposition to Hitler, and helped people in danger from the Nazis to escape the country. They were betrayed in 1942, and many of their number were executed.

The Beast’s Garden is a compelling and beautiful love story, filled with drama and intrigue and heartbreak, taking place between 1938 and 1943, in Berlin, Germany.


 

This review is presented as part of my contribution to the Australian Women Writers Challenge.

An eARC of this book was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.


I’m a longtime fan of Kate Forsyth (I vividly remember stalking the bookstore shelves waiting for each Witches of Eileanan book to be released), and particularly loved her last two books, The Wild Girl and Bitter Greens, and was thus extremely happy to be asked to read and review The Beast’s Garden.

I will admit up front, I went into this book with a small sense of trepidation.  I had very high hopes, based on how good The Wild Girl and Bitter Greens were, but I did wonder about the premise of The Beast’s Garden– namely, combining a version of the fairytale Beauty and the Beast (specifically, The Singing, Springing Lark) and Nazi Germany during World War II.  It wasn’t that I wasn’t sure that Forsyth could pull off such a story, I wondered if anyone could pull it off.

And now that I’ve read the book, the question: did Forsyth manage to pull it off?  The answer is a resounding hell yes.

It should be noted that this book isn’t going to be for every reader.  There are scenes set in a concentration camp, and while Forsyth doesn’t linger overlong on any of the atrocities, neither does she shield the reader from the true horrors of of WWII and the Holocaust.  If any of this is a trigger for you, this isn’t going to be the book for you.  But please, if you haven’t done so, go and read all of Forsyth’s other books.  They’re more than worth it.

In the role of “Beauty” we have Ava, a German girl who is training as a singer.  In looks, Ava takes after her dead Spanish mother, while her two sisters are blue-eyed and blonde-haired, fitting the Aryan ideal.  Ava and her family are not safe beneath Nazi rule.  Ava’s own darker colouring puts her at potential risk of being declaimed as having Romani blood, and one of her sisters has a daughter who is possibly learning disabled.  More, Ava’s family are close to a Jewish family, the Feidlers.  After Ava’s mother died, Ava was practically raised by Mrs Feidler, and regards Rudi Feidler (an out gay man) as a brother.  Ava and Rudi are both musicians, and both attend illicit jazz clubs together.  To protect all of her blood and found family, Ava marries a Nazi officer, Leo von Lowenstein.

Leo, naturally is the “Beast” of the tale, and it is the romance between Leo and Ava which drives much of the novel.  At first, Ava fears Leo, only knowing him as a Nazi officer.  As she gets to know him, and see beneath the public mask he wears, she discovers that he is a lot more than he first appeared.  Like her, he is fighting against Hitler’s rule, and is part of an underground resistance movement.

The story follows Leo and Ava as they both navigate Nazi Germany and the various plots to disrupt Nazi rule and attempt to assassinate Hitler.  We also get to follow Rudi after he is arrested for “subversive activities” and deported to the concentration camp, Buchenwald.  Yet another story thread is shown via Rudi’s sister Jutta, who evades arrest and lives in hiding from the Nazis.

On the surface, it is hard to see much hope in any story set in WWII Germany.  Forsyth doesn’t shy from any of the horrors: we get to see the Jewish people suffering both in the camps and in hiding, as well as the German people starving as their country begins to bend and break beneath the weight of Nazi rule and the war.  But in the darkness, there is light.  Even while deathly afraid, Ava finds ways to fight.  And in Buchenwald, Rudi plays illicit music, saves others where he can (and is saved in turn) and even finds love.

Forsyth skilfully weaves in many historical figures and events into the narrative, giving a real weight to a book that, in less talented hands, could easily have become little more than a fluffy romance between the Brave German Girl and Nazi With a Heart of Gold, or something extremely problematic.  If you’re worried about either of these issues, let me put your worries to rest right here.

With The Beast’s Garden, Forsyth cements herself as one of the most talented authors writing historical fiction (with a good dash of fairytale retelling) in Australia today.

July in review

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July books

Writing

  • I made the decision partway through this month to stop writing every day, after having written daily for over a year.  I was feeling burned out and utterly exhausted, and wanted my weekends back.  I’m not making any commitments to keeping this writing pattern permanently, but for now, it’s a relief to have the weekends for myself and my family.
  • I am a squeak away from reaching 80k on this draft of Never.  I’m basically totally redrafting the last third, so it’s slower and harder going than the first two thirds.  I’m at the point where I’m looking forward to this draft being done.  Mostly so I can start editing it.

Reading and Reviewing

  • I voted in the Hugos.  Which translates mostly as slapping No Award on most of the categories.  I’m looking forward to seeing the stats after the winners are announced, though I anticipate anger at the good works which got pushed off the ballot.
  • One review written for the Australian Women Writers Challenge: Insert Title Here, edited by Tehani Wessley.
  • One Netgalley review: Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson.

Miscellaneous

  • This has been a hard month health-wise, with many arthritis flares, as usual for me in winter.  I’m coping, but the constant pain equals a lot of exhaustion.