2016 Snapshot: Nalini Haynes

snaphotlogo2016

nhaynesNalini Haynes holds a Master of Social Science from the University of South Australia and an Associate Degree in Professional Writing and Editing from RMIT. Her work has been published in various places including the Arts Centre Melbourne (I think I can project 2014), the Wheeler Centre (‘Eye and Prejudice: a Vision for Equity’) and the ACT Writers Centre (blogger-in-residence program). Accolades include the Chronos Award for Best Fan Writer 2013, shortlisting for various awards, two invitations to join the Golden Key International Honours Society, the Dawn Slade-Faull Award 2008, selection for Adelaide Fringe Festival’s upstART program in 2008 and selection for Adelaide University’s ‘Place in the World’ exhibition in 2006.

Dark Matter Zine can be found at these links: WebsiteTumblrTwitterRedditPinterestGoogle Plus.

 

 

  1. You’ve been running the successful Dark Matter Zine, a massive website collecting reviews, interviews and all things speculative fiction., which features many regular contributors as well as yourself. What have you learned over the years of running the website? Is there any advice that you’d give to other people who are looking into starting writing reviews and the like?

First I’d like to point out that Dark Matter Zine is not just a spec fic website any more: reviews include everything from literature to nonfiction with speculative fiction as just one of the genres featured.

DMZ started as a PDF in October 2010 and launched as a website in April 2012. I’ve learnt a lot about the mechanics of software, writing, editing and publishing. During my years studying for my associate degree of Professional Writing and Editing from RMIT I focused on forms of writing and editing, for which I was awarded all distinctions and high distinctions as well as a second invitation to the Golden Key International Honours Society.

Advice for people starting reviewing… it could take a day to detail how to set up a website, so I won’t go into that here.

Focusing just on reviewing, I’d say read. A lot. Start writing reviews. Find good reviews — not necessarily reviews of good books, just well-written and well-thought out reviews — and read them. Read good books and bad ones and figure out what you like and dislike about them. Judge a book by what it sets out to achieve: if it’s a frivolous comedy, don’t criticise it for not taking an in-depth look at society. If it’s Cleverman, don’t say it needs to transcend its genre (I’m looking at you, Overland Journal). Trust yourself: if you’re going to check what other people think about a book, make sure you’ve written a draft review and developed your own opinions first or you’ll just echo everyone else.

Before you solicit review copies from anyone, start your website. Demonstrate your ability and your endurance. Gather an audience. Large publishers will ask you for your analytics (how many visits or views your website receives). They will ask you to demonstrate that you have an audience because if they gave books to everyone with their hand up for review copies they wouldn’t sell any.

Every reviewer and author needs an authentic voice. Who are you, what experience and training do you have that sets you apart from everyone else? I have a graduate diploma and a masters degree in social science as well as training and experience working with social issues including disability. This background gives me a unique voice. I have authority to speak on issues while understanding the limitations of my knowledge and experience. This is part of my unique authentic voice.

Someone else may be the Pauline Hanson of book reviewing. Don’t laugh, she’s ba-ack! (The minion says ‘Buy the domain name RedNeckReviews’.) If his or her voice is authentic, that person will gain a following. The Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies are a thing for a reason, folks. Be authentic and find your unique voice, no matter what it is.

On that note, be prepared for haters. I’ve had my share, including threats. The most terrifying threats are those from locals who may follow through. Be prepared. Have plans in place. Have a privacy policy in place that declares at least some of your plans. My privacy policy states that threats over the internet are illegal in Australia. Anyone who threatens me will be reported to the authorities. I have also named and shamed. You haven’t ‘made it’ until people have started abusing you online so have a plan.

Also have a friend or partner who will provide tissues, treats and hugs when the shit hits the fan. Remember: vilification means your website is being read. You need a plan to help you weather the storms.

Finally, beware of dual relationships. Don’t review your best friend’s story regardless of whether you loved it or hated it. Don’t review a book by someone with whom you’ve had conflict or your valid criticisms will be dismissed as spite; in other words, don’t cast your pearls before swine or they will turn and rend you.

Around the time I started Dark Matter, an author sued a reviewer. Apparently the reviewer had actually lied in her review and the author refused to settle out of court, preferring her day in court to provide public vindication. Always, always stick to the facts. If I post a negative review — a big ‘if’: if the book is bad I usually just discard it before I finish — if I post a negative review, it tends to be cautious, providing detailed justification for being negative. I’m not as cautious with reviews for average books because the Bell Curve is a thing.

In summary: have plans for every contingency; read lots; review lots; read well-written, thoughtful reviews; establish your review website before soliciting books for review; develop a unique authentic voice; plan for haters and even death threats; and avoid dual relationships.

 

  1. One of the issues you focus on is diversity, and specifically, the treatment of disability in culture (and speculative fiction). Do you feel like the speculative fiction community is improving in its attitudes to these issues? Are there things that you feel we still need to address?

The speculative fiction community’s representation of disability in stories is varied. Much of it is mediocre at best so those books that do it well are to be treasured. Those authors who write disability well are treasures in themselves; I’m particularly thinking of Francesca Haig, Kim Whitfield, Anita Bell and Jo Spurrier whose depictions of disability in SFF stand out from the crowd.

I won’t read books by authors who say of disability ‘I don’t need to do research, I use my imagination’. This is called ‘MISAPPROPRIATION’. Would you read a time travel book written by an author who had never consumed time travel stories? Probably not because you’d expect the story to be deeply flawed, reinventing mistakes of bygone eras. Well, it’s worse for disability: not only are you reinventing mistakes of bygone eras but, because there is so little good representation available, you’re reinforcing the status quo that is so scum-suckingly putrefyingly horrendous that people with disabilities are more likely than non-disabled people to commit suicide. Read this article about racial stereotypes on the Wheeler Centre website and mentally replace ‘racial stereotype’ with ‘minority group stereotype’ to include people with disabilities in this discussion. Don’t be the privileged person misappropriating disability culture or mocking the vulnerable.

In contrast, I applaud people like Francesca Haig who studied disability before representing disability. When I interviewed Francesca, she was cautious about representing disability as a person who is not disabled; she was tentative and respectful.

My own work in progress features a few protagonists including a Chinese American; my writing benefits from research and especially from input from a Chinese Australian and a Philippina Australian who shared features of their home-life that enriched my character’s multi-lingual world. Likewise I urge writers to represent disability after research and to consult with beta readers relevant to the represented minority group, just as you should if you write Indigenous Australians.

The speculative fiction community’s attitude to disability is as variable as its members.

Someone invited me to moderate a panel on disability in speculative fiction and gave limits: only discuss good representation of disability. Shortly afterwards a non-disabled woman harassed me on Facebook via private message telling me that I’m incapable of moderating a panel on disability because I’m disabled. Several times this woman told me (she did not ask) that she was going to run the panel but I kept saying ’no’ then I blocked her. When she realised I’d blocked her for harassment, she switched to email, sending a series of emails asking to at least be co-moderator because, according to her, only a person without a disability is capable of moderating a panel on disability. I have a Graduate Diploma and a Master of Social Science that both include study of social issues including disability; I participated in Reins, Rope and Red Tape, the disability arts advocacy training course by people with disabilities for people with disabilities run by Arts Access in South Australia before it was defunded; as a counsellor and ASO4 Community Health Worker, I have worked with people with disabilities; I have a lifetime’s experience of disability and disability discrimination; and I have published over one hundred podcasts of interviews and panels. Many people have commented that my interviewing skills are excellent. But, according to this non-disabled woman whom the spec fic community touts as an expert on disability, my disability precludes me from moderating a panel on disability. This is disability discrimination in action. This is an issue that needs addressing.

Earlier this year a writing group leader told me via email that disability issues in my short story made her feel uncomfortable and that disability issues do not belong in near-future speculative fiction but she could allow disability issues in far-future speculative fiction. She emailed me twicetelling me to write a memoir and find another writing group. The second time was after I acknowledged her first ‘suggestion’ and explained that writing a memoir, reliving all that soul-shattering discrimination, would destroy me. After her second instruction to find another writing group I requested a copy of the writing group’s constitution to check whether the group is intentionally ableist. The committee retaliated by revoking my partner’s and my memberships without a hearing, issuing a refund of membership fees and failing to respond to my protest sent in reply to their email. Groups within the speculative fiction community are working against the development and publication of stories featuring disabilities when written by people with disabilities; this is an issue that needs to be addressed.

Anthologies touted as focusing on disability need fact-checking and careful editing. For example, I read a short story about a woman with spina bifida, which was explained in the narrative as ‘missing spine’ (a gross simplification that implies lack of understanding). The character dragged herself around with her arms but could urinate without a catheter. [See my impersonation of a goldfish. Then see steam coming out of my ears while I think of all the people I know living with spina bifida and how this story could detrimentally impact them.] If you’re going to write or edit stories about disability, check your facts. Make sure the representation is medically accurate and representative of at least some people with that form of disability. Otherwise you’re misappropriating disability culture while, at the same time, perpetuating or worsening the lived experience for real people.

In recent years the speculative fiction community has increasingly discussed disability and become more aware of disability access issues, however, there is resistance to change and a tendency on the part of privileged people to applaud themselves prematurely. In part this is due to the current trickle of crip fic (see the previous paragraph) but also due to ableist assertions that ‘we have provided disability access’ in the face of complaints.

A few positives: PAXAustralia is the best expo or convention I’ve been to with regards to disability access. I <3 PAX although their program app has dire yet common issues with regards to disability access. (Does no one test these apps with iPad magnification turned on?!) Russell B Farr of Ticonderoga gave me an iPhone 3 so I could experience the joys of large text, enabling me to use SMS. I loved it so much I now have an iPhone 6 Plus. Tom Dullemond encouraged me to turn to Apple for increased disability access, giving me tips on how to set it up. Thanks in part to Tom, I’m sitting in front of a 32 inch Mac today. Back in the dawn of (DMZ) time, people were supportive although I still needed to get runs on the board. Meg Mundell was very understanding and helpful when she was the guinea pig for my first phone interview while I was taking notes without a recording device. Michael Pryor wrote The Extraordinaires, which I both love and criticise simultaneously because the albino is a kick-ass protagonist but glasses cannot fix albinism; using glasses to fix albinism is problematic because it reinforces public misconceptions. Pryor has never lashed out against my criticism and has since come on a Dark Matter Zine podcast as a panelist discussing diversity. Anita Bell has been very encouraging, leaving comments on Facebook or quietly messaging me when she sees discrimination and bullying getting me down. Small acts of kindness, equity and inclusion are like flecks of real gold in the golden shower of life.

The speculative fiction community is as varied in attitude as broader society. There is good, bad and ugly behaviour. Citing examples is to hold a mirror to behaviours, thereby lobbying for change. I use acts of kindness and exclusion to illustrate the spectrum of equity to ableism that is my lived experience when interacting with the speculative fiction community.

 

  1. What can we expect from you, and from Dark Matter Zine, in the future?

I’m writing a novel featuring a disabled protagonist whose BFF is half Chinese. Dark Matter is embracing more diversity in genre as well as more diversity in characters. I’m aiming at a fortnightly podcast featuring some really interesting authors. Lately I’ve interviewed Will Kostakis, Wendy Orr, Zana Fraillon and Rajith Savanadasa. I’ve been getting two-for-one out of these interviews by distilling the essence of their comments on equity and representation for a series published via the ACT Writers Centre blogger-in-residence program. These posts can be found here as they come online.

 

  1. What Australian work have you loved recently?

Lately I’ve loved The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon (OMG everyone should read this novel about an Australian girl and a refugee boy, it’s the new Boy in Striped Pyjamas with a more hopeful ending), Dragonfly Song by Wendy Orr (a strong female protagonist aged 12), Sidekicks by Will Kostakis (a teenager dies then his diverse friends have to come to terms with his death and their lives), Ruins by Rajith Savanadasa (set in 2009 in Sri Lanka as the civil war officially comes to an end)… the list could go on.

 

  1. Which author (living or dead) would you most like to sit next to on a long plane trip and why?

Margaret Atwood. If you have to ask why, you haven’t read enough of her work.

 

 

This interview is cross-posted to the 2016 Snapshot blog, along with all the other Snapshot interviews. 

Defying Doomsday is in the wild!

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Defying Doomsday, containing my story, To Take Into the Air My Quiet Breath, is now officially released.  You can nab yourself a copy over at Twelfth Planet Press, and other book retailers, in ebook or paperback versions right now.  I’ve read through the anthology, and though I’m obviously biased, I can highly recommend grabbing a copy.

I’d also like to link to a very nice article about the anthology, originally published in the West Australian, in which Tsana Dolvicha and I talk about the anthology and I get cranky about inspiration porn.  You can read the article here.

Aurum kickstarter, featuring a novella by me

If you liked the story I had published in Kisses by ClockworkEscapement (which was also nominated for a Ditmar Award and republished in a Year’s Best anthology!), you might be interested in Aurum.  Aurum will contain a novella set in the same universe as Escapement (and actually overlapping the events of Escapement).

Ticonderoga is running a Kickstarter campaign for the project right now.  You can contribute/pre-order the collection here.

Copied from Kickstarter:

Aurum is an anthology of awesome speculative novellas by some of Australia’s biggest names and brightest talents. At this point we have locked in Joanne Anderton, Stephanie Gunn,Juliet Marillier, Angela Rega, Lucy Sussex, and Susan Wardle, and expect to have at least a couple more awesome names before we go to print.

Aurum will be approximately 90,000 words of exceptional original fiction, all novellas (more than 7500 words) giving the writers space to develop stories and write at a length not always considered commercially acceptable. We’re giving the writers an opportunity to tell the stories they want to tell, and the space they want to tell them in.

Aurum will be edited by the A. Bertram Chandler Award-winning editor Russell B. Farr.

And I can tell you, the novellas by the five writers above are just incredible. You will want to read them.

Aurum

Aurum also celebrates the 20th year in publishing for Ticonderoga. We started way back in 1996, and since then have produced over 50 titles. Aurum was originally planned as our 50th title (hence the name) but a few other books came through and pushed it back a little. Numbers aside, Aurum will still be our golden book.

How you make Aurum real

Every dollar helps. In 20 years of publishing we’ve learnt that it is an upfront business – the publisher pays the writers, the printers, the artists before the book is produced, and then sends out books to reviewers and bookshops, all before any money comes in. As a small press we are sometimes limited in our ability to absorb these initial outlays.

We’ve priced our reward levels as good value pre-orders. You’ll get the book for what you’d expect to pay in a store, we get a bit of a buffer, and everyone gets paid!

Awards, hurrah!

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And so All The Awards (for now!) have happened, with the Aurealis, Ditmar and Tin Duck awards all being handed out this weekend.

I had my first experience of being nominated for an Aurealis Award, for my stories, The Flowers that Bloom Where Blood Touches Earth from Bloodlines, and Broken Glass from Hear Me Roar,  in the best fantasy novella category.  I’m really excited in general to see the new novella categories, and totally chuffed to have a story nominated in one.  Jason Fischer took home the award for his story, Defy The Grey Kings, and I can’t complain in the least about that.

But Bloodlines as a whole did bring home an Aurealis, for Best Anthology.  Huge congratulations to our editor extraordinaire, Amanda Pillar, and to Ticonderoga, for that win.  It’s a great anthology, and if you haven’t read it, you’d do well to pick it up.

The Tin Ducks – the Western Australian science fiction awards – were announced last night at Swancon, and I’m quite gobsmacked at the fact that I won best short story for The Flowers that Bloom Where Blood Touches Earth.  I feel like I should apologise for the length of that title to everyone who’s had to type it out, too 😉

Huge congratulations to everyone who was nominated for all of the awards, and all of the winners.  And many thanks to all of the judges and organisers and voter who put in their time for all of the awards.

2015 Aurealis Awards shortlists announced

The 2015 Aurealis Awards shortlists have been announced!  I convened the Best Science Fiction Novel panel this year, and I’m also a nominee!

The two stories I had published last year are both shortlisted for the Best Fantasy Novella award (do I have to duke it out with myself now?) and the anthologies they were in, Bloodlines and Hear Me Roar are both shortlisted for the Best Anthology.  Also up for Best Anthology is Ticonderoga’s Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2014, which reprinted my story, Escapement.

Huge thanks to all of the judges and the committee, and congratulations to all of the nominees.  Thanks also to the editors who published my work!

I’m particularly excited by the list for the first Sara DouglassBook Series Award and in serious awe of the amount of reading that panel had to do!

The full list, taken from the Aurealis Awards website:

BEST CHILDREN’S FICTION

A Week Without Tuesday, Angelica Banks (Allen & Unwin)

The Cut-Out, Jack Heath (Allen & Unwin)

A Single Stone, Meg McKinlay (Walker Books Australia)

Bella and the Wandering House, Meg McKinlay (Fremantle Press)

The Mapmaker Chronicles: Prisoner of the Black Hawk, A.L. Tait (Hachette Australia)

BEST GRAPHIC NOVEL / ILLUSTRATED WORK

The Undertaker Morton Stone Vol.1, Gary Chaloner, Ben Templesmith, and Ashley Wood (Gestalt)

The Diemenois, Jamie Clennett (Hunter Publishers)

Unmasked Vol.1: Going Straight is No Way to Die, Christian Read (Gestalt)

The Singing Bones, Shaun Tan (Allen & Unwin)

Fly the Colour Fantastica, various authors (Veriko Operative)

BEST YOUNG ADULT SHORT STORY

“In Sheep’s Clothing”, Kimberly Gaal (Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #61)

“The Nexus Tree”, Kimberly Gaal (The Never Never Land, CSFG)

“The Miseducation of Mara Lys”, Deborah Kalin (Cherry Crow Children, Twelfth Planet Press)

“The Heart of the Labyrinth”, DK Mok (In Memory: A Tribute to Sir Terry Pratchett, Sorin Suciu)

“Blueblood”, Faith Mudge (Hear Me Roar, Ticonderoga Publications)

Welcome to Orphancorp, Marlee Jane Ward (Seizure)

BEST HORROR SHORT STORY

“Bullets”, Joanne Anderton (In Sunshine Bright and Darkness Deep, AHWA)

“Consorting with Filth”, Lisa L Hannett (Blurring the Line, Cohesion Press)

“Heirloom Pieces”, Lisa L Hannett (Apex Magazine, Apex Publications)

“The Briskwater Mare”, Deborah Kalin (Cherry Crow Children, Twelfth Planet Press)

“Breaking Windows”, Tracie McBride (Aurealis #84)

“Self, Contained”, Kirstyn McDermott (The Dark, TDM Press)

BEST HORROR NOVELLA

“Night Shift”, Dirk Flinthart (Striking Fire, FableCroft Publishing)

“The Cherry Crow Children of Haverny Wood”, Deborah Kalin (Cherry Crow Children, Twelfth Planet Press)

“The Miseducation of Mara Lys”, Deborah Kalin (Cherry Crow Children, Twelfth Planet Press)

“Wages of Honey”, Deborah Kalin (Cherry Crow Children, Twelfth Planet Press)

“Sleepless”, Jay Kristoff (Slasher Girls and Monster Boys, Penguin)

“Ripper”, Angela Slatter (Horrorology, Jo Fletcher Books)

BEST FANTASY SHORT STORY

“The Giant’s Lady”, Rowena Cory Daniells (Legends 2, Newcon Press)

“The Jellyfish Collector”, Michelle Goldsmith (Review of Australian Fiction Vol. 13 Issue 6)

“A Shot of Salt Water”, Lisa L Hannett (The Dark, TDM Press)

“Almost Days”, DK Mok (Insert Title Here, FableCroft Publishing)

“Blueblood”, Faith Mudge (Hear Me Roar, Ticonderoga Publications)

“Husk and Sheaf”, Suzanne Willis (SQ Mag 22, IFWG Publishing Australia)

BEST FANTASY NOVELLA

“Lodloc and The Bear”, Steve Cameron (Dimension6, coeur de lion)

“Defy the Grey Kings”, Jason Fischer (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Firkin Press)

“Broken Glass”, Stephanie Gunn (Hear Me Roar, Ticonderoga Publications)

“The Flowers that Bloom Where Blood Touches the Earth”, Stephanie Gunn (Bloodlines, Ticonderoga Publications)

“Haunting Matilda”, Dmetri Kakmi (Cthulhu: Deep Down Under, Horror Australis)

“Of Sorrow and Such”, Angela Slatter (Tor.com)

BEST SCIENCE FICTION SHORT STORY

“2B”, Joanne Anderton (Insert Title Here, Fablecroft)

“The Marriage of the Corn King”, Claire McKenna (Cosmos)

“Alchemy and Ice”, Charlotte Nash (Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #61)

“Witnessing”, Kaaron Warren (The Canary Press Story Magazine #6)

“All the Wrong Places”, Sean Williams (Meeting Infinity, Solaris)

BEST SCIENCE FICTION NOVELLA

“Blood and Ink”, Jack Bridges, Prizm Books

“The Molenstraat Music Festival”, Sean Monaghan (Asimov’s Science Fiction)

“By Frogsled and Lizardback to Outcast Venusian Lepers”, Garth Nix (Old Venus, Random House)

BEST COLLECTION

The Abandonment of Grace and Everything Thereafter, Shane Jiraiya Cummings (Brimstone Press)

Striking Fire, Dirk Flinthart (FableCroft Publishing)

Cherry Crow Children, Deborah Kalin (Twelfth Planet Press)

To Hold the Bridge, Garth Nix (Allen & Unwin)

The Fading, Carole Nomarhas (self-published)

The Finest Ass in the Universe, Anna Tambour (Ticonderoga Publications)

BEST ANTHOLOGY

Hear Me Roar, Liz Grzyb (ed.) (Ticonderoga Publications)

The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2014, Liz Grzyb and Talie Helene (eds.) (Ticonderoga Publications)

Bloodlines, Amanda Pillar (ed.) (Ticonderoga Publications)

Meeting Infinity, Jonathan Strahan (ed.), (Solaris)

The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy 9, Jonathan Strahan (ed.) (Solaris)

Focus 2014: highlights of Australian short fiction, Tehani Wessely (ed.) (FableCroft Publishing)

BEST YOUNG ADULT NOVEL

In The Skin of a Monster, Kathryn Barker (Allen & Unwin)

Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club, Alison Goodman (HarperCollins)

The Fire Sermon, Francesca Haig (HarperVoyager)

Day Boy,Trent Jamieson (Text Publishing)

Illuminae, Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (Allen & Unwin)

The Hush, Skye Melki-Wagner (Penguin Random House Australia)

BEST HORROR NOVEL

No Shortlist Released

BEST FANTASY NOVEL

In The Skin of a Monster, Kathryn Barker (Allen & Unwin)

Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club, Alison Goodman (HarperCollins)

Day Boy,Trent Jamieson (Text Publishing)

The Dagger’s Path, Glenda Larke (Hachette Australia)

Tower Of Thorns, Juliet Marillier (Pan Macmillan Australia)

Skin, Ilka Tampke (Text Publishing)

BEST SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL

Crossed, Evelyn Blackwell (self-published)

Clade, James Bradley (Penguin)

Illuminae, Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (Allen & Unwin)

Their Fractured Light, Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (Allen & Unwin)

Renegade, Joel Shepherd (Kindle Direct)

Twinmaker: Fall, Sean Williams (Allen & Unwin)

SARA DOUGLASS BOOK SERIES AWARD

The Chronicles of King Rolen’s Kin [The King’s Bastard (2010), The Uncrowned King(2010), The Usurper (2010), The King’s Man (2012), King Breaker (2013)], Rowena Cory Daniells (Solaris Press)

The Watergivers [The Last Stormlord (2009), Stormlord Rising (2010), Stormlord’s Exile(2011)], Glenda Larke (HarperVoyager)

The Lumatere Chronicles [Finnikin of the Rock (2008), Froi of the Exiles (2011), Quintana of Charyn (2012)], Melina Marchetta (Penguin Random House)

Sevenwaters [Daughter of the Forest (2000), Son of the Shadows (2001), Child of the Prophecy(2002), Heir to Sevenwaters (2009), Seer of Sevenwaters (2011), Flame of Sevenwaters (2013)], Juliet Marillier (Pan Macmillan Australia)

The Laws of Magic [Blaze Of Glory (2007), Heart Of Gold (2007), Word Of Honour (2008),  Time Of Trial (2009), Moment Of Truth (2010), Hour Of Need (2011)], Michael Pryor (Random House Australia)

Creature Court [Power and Majesty (2010), Shattered City (2011), Reign of Beasts (2012)], Tansy Rayner Roberts (HarperVoyager)

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.