I’m writing up this 2019 retrospective having just spent about an hour on Twitter freaking out over posts about just how fucking on fire Australia is right now. So I’m feeling a little grim about our future. Currently, there are 4000 people from a little country town called Mallacoota huddled on a beach (or they’re probably actually in the actual ocean at this point) trying to escape an insane fire front.


That’s not the only beach people are huddled on. Here’s another place called Bateman’s Bay. (I’ve holidayed in both places, both as a kid & with my kids.) To give you an idea of the scale of the fires, Mallacoota and Bateman’s Bay are about 280km apart. That’s about the same distance as between, say, London and Paris, or Los Angeles to Las Vegas.



And just in case the plight of actual people doesn’t do much for your heartstrings, here’s a fun article on the plight of the Mogo Zoo, just outside of Bateman’s Bay. It’s square in the path of the fire front. They can’t evacuate the animals (lions, tigers, giraffes, otters, meerkats, rhinos…) They’re all locked in their cages with sprinklers on. Bit more context: it’s also an exceptionally hot, dry summer for us this year. It’s currently 37.5 C where I am (that’s 99.5 F). 

I could write pages & pages on how frustrated I am at the climate change deniers, at exactly how catastrophic this situation is, at how incandescently angry I am at the obstinate inaction from the people whose job it is to deal with this shit for the whole of the Australian community. But this is supposed to be a retrospective post. I just thought it was relevant to outline the context of my view of 2019 from where I’m standing on New Year’s Eve. 

So, onto the happy stuff. Highlights for me for this year? 

  1. The Beast’s Heart published in the US! (Along with the audiobook, read by the inimitable Jim Dale!) With that exceptional cover by the extraordinarily talented Lisa Perrin. Plus it picked up a nomination for a Ditmar award (these are Australia’s fan-nominated SFF awards), for which I was deeply honoured. 
    Book cover: The title "The Beast's Heart" is written out in ornate writing surrounded by rambling red roses. At the bottom of the image they are in bud, a little further up in full bloom, and at the top, bare branches. Above the words, and surrounded by bare winter branches is a picture of a fairy tale castle.
  2. I got to go to Worldcon in Dublin!
  3. I also got to travel around the UK & France for a bit eating delicious food.
  4. This year was a bit of a convention-bonanza for me. In addition to WorldCon, and the usual Conflux (in my hometown of Canberra) I also got to go to Continuum in Melbourne and Genrecon in Brisbane. Possibly I exceeded my con budget for the year, but it did mean I got to hang out with my writing tribe more than usual and that is always golden.
  5. I read some fantastic books. 🙂 Here’s a few of my faves:
  6. 2019 was also the year I started properly getting into graphic novels! Here are my faves so far…

  7. And 2019 has been the year I truly discovered fanfic! I know, I know, you were all reading it before it was cool. But It’s given me many moments of uncomplicated joy this year, so consider me a convert.

I didn’t finish any novel drafts this year, sadly. But I (mostly) feel like I’m in a good place for the two major novel projects I’m working on. One is sitting on about 70K words and the other behemoth is currently weighing in at a hefty 158K. *scared face* 

I also didn’t publish any short stories, but I will confess that a big part of this year was spent recovering from a bit of burnout from last year and trying to contain my extra-curricular activities to a level that has allowed me to start really focussing on writing again. This has meant I’ve actually started working on some short stories again, so I’ve got my fingers crossed for being a bit more demonstrably productive in 2020.

Anyway, that’s me for the year. I hope there have been some good parts of 2019 for you too, and that 2020 makes good on some promises of hope and good things. Here’s to hanging in there. 


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