On Feb 12 The Beast’s Heart gets its US release, and I’m officially counting down the hours, now.
I’ve got plenty of time to do it, too, because I’ve just kicked off two whole months’ leave from my day job, in which I’m going to do my level best to get the next WIP as close to done as I can. This will also mean I’ll have loads of time for all the little bits of PR stuff that comes with a book release without the inconvenience of having to put on pants and turn up at an office in a state that makes it worth their while to pay me. So: yay for purchased leave! I will be doing all of this in my pyjamas.
So my not-so-little novel was published on Tuesday, and tonight I’m having a book launch at Harry Hartogs Bookseller. Fortunately Angela Slatter (Vigil, Corpselight, Black Winged Angels and about a dozen others…) is going to be on hand to help me out.
I’m not nervous at all.
It’s a thing, it’s really a thing.
And, once more, because it’s just so pretty, how about that stunning cover from Jo Myler & Daren Newman? *swoon*
Well it’s farewell to the old year as we usher in the new. And if you’re reading this, I wish you happiness and love and peace and all things sweet and good for 2018.
There were many, many things that were pretty shit about 2017. But here are a few things that made me happy this year.
I signed the contract with Hodder & Stoughton to publish my very first novel, The Beast’s Heart. I’ve definitely raved on enough about this, so suffice to say everything about this particular journey has been awesome.
I won an Aurealis Award for my story Pretty Jennie Greenteeth. Frankly, the nomination alone would have made it to second place on this list. I did not expect to win, so again: off the scale awesome.
I got to meet one of my heroes of the publishing world, Ellen Datlow. *swoon*
Finally, FINALLY, Australia legislated to legalise same-sex marriage. I remain strongly critical of what it took to get there, but there is no question the end result in itself remains a good, sweet thing.
I was part of the creative production team on TWO writing festivals/conventions, and attended a further three.
I got to go to Dark MOFO in Hobart. A. May. Zing. I never knew there were so many delicious varieties of hot alcohol. And the art. Holy fuck. It blew my tiny mind.
Those are the high points. There are a million other things that made me happy over the last 12 months, including that my family are happy and healthy and here with me and this remains a state of awesome that underlies every other awesome thing in my life. I’m lucky to be surrounded by amazing people in my personal and professional life. And I’ve read some fantastic books (many of which were written by friends) and eaten some spectacular food this year (I don’t want to understate the pleasure eating delicious things brings me, or the gratitude I feel that I’m in a position to do so.)
I’ve got a few plans for 2018… But for now, I hope you have a fab time seeing off the old year, and that 2018 brings you all kinds of wonderful.
Conflux 13 is over & it was amazing. I feel like I’ve been operating on overdrive for a week now. Where should I start? OK, highlights.
1. Meeting Ellen Datlow. Idol from my youth. Giant of the fantasy & horror genres. Hard not to spend the weekend in a total fangirl tailspin.
2. The panels. What’s not to like about spending the weekend talking with like-minded and fascinating people like Angela Slatter, Kirstyn McDermott and Aiki Flintheart about things like Fairy Tales With Teeth and Claws, Beastly Transformations, Magic Schools and Deadly Dance?
Kirstyn McDermott & Jason Nahrung on Fairy Tales With Teeth & Claws, courtesy of Cat Sparks
Liz Grzyb interviewing Angela Slatter, courtesy of Cat Sparks
Kaaron Warren interviewing Ellen Datlow, courtesy of Cat Sparks
The Magic School panel: Lyss Wickramasinghe, Angela Slatter, me, Dion Perry
3. Winning second prize in the CSFG/Conflux short story comp for my story Flawless! (Which I’ve now been invited to read at the next meeting of the Canberra Fairy Tale Ring. as it fits neatly with the AFTS November theme of Snow White.)
4. Interviewing Zena Shapter for the launch of her new novel, Towards White, out from IFWG Publishing.
5. Drinking creme de violette bellinis and planning a live-tweeted rewatch of The Lady and the Highwayman and perhaps also A Hazard of Hearts (both movies based on Barbara Cartland novels made in the 1980s).
6. Discovering who was the mysterious origami master leaving perfect tiny dragons and unicorns all over the con.
7. Watching our guests of honour Ellen & Angela, & MC Kaaron opening their thank you goody bags to reveal a beautiful cast glass key by Canberra Fairy Tale Glass artist Spike Deane. I’m given to understand they were well received.
8. And last, but definitely not least – because this is what it’s all about when it comes down to it – is spending time with beloved friends and kindred spirits, both new and old, talking about writing, publishing, reading, movies, games, art, history, research, language and anything else that moves us and connects us and makes us part of the same tribe.
Ellen Datlow & Angela Slatter
Louise Pieper, Ellen Datlow, Kaaron Warren
Me, with Zena Shapter & Tim Napper in the background
Alan Baxter & Sam Hawke
Spike Deane of the magical keys
Tim Napper & Kylie Seluka
(All photos, except the first four, by Cat Sparks.)
So here’s what I’ve been counting down to. *silly grin*
I am beyond excited to announce that on 31 May 2018 my first novel, The Beast’s Heart, will be published by Hodder & Stoughton in the UK. (If you click on the image above, it will take you to the announcement on the Hodderscape website.) Here’s a little snippet of what they say about it to whet your appetite:
Set in seventeenth-century France, it is a luxuriously magical retelling of the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale – from the point of view of the Beast. Both the writing and story-telling are lush and evocative, rich and achingly exquisite; this novel is the epitome of psychological depth and descriptive beauty.
The Beast’s Heart (formerly known as Novel Project #1) was my way of immersing myself in one of my favourite fairy tales, and in my very own fairy-tale-come-true was picked up by Hodder & Stoughton out of the open submissions process they (bravely) ran in 2015. (Bravely: they got 1445 submissions! That is a LOT of reading!)
There is a bit of celebrating going on in my house tonight.
The very glamorous Lyn Battersby, one of the YA fiction judges
Russell and Liz of Ticonderoga Publishing
Sean and Terri
Alan and Durand
Michael, Davina, Traci and Roxy
Tehani, Sam & Terri
Other fave moments from the evening included getting to see Sam Murray pick up her Aurealis for Best Science Fiction Short Story; watching Sam deliver Tim Napper’s speech for his win for Best Horror Short Story; and having the honour of accepting Kaaron Warren’s award on her behalf for Best Horror Novel. (If you’re interested, the #fauxcon hashtag chronicles my Canberra crowd’s celebration of the evening from back home. Made me wish I could be in two places at once.) All the winners are up on the Aurealis website.
And here’s a few pics from the day I spent at Swancon in Perth (again, thank you Cat Sparks!). I caught a GOH talk with Traci Harding, attended *two* book launches, a panel debating various thorny issues that arise in SFF fandom and I got a short excursion to a local bookstore to catch sight of Cat’s new novel Lotus Blue in the wild. Plus I spent some serious quality time with my tribe in the restaurant and the bar.
Alan & I in the bar (Cat Sparks)
Traci & I at the launch of Ticonderoga’s 2015 Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror (Cat Sparks)
Alex in the bar (Cat Sparks)
Cat signing books in the wild
Alan & Cat at the launch of Ticonderoga’s 2015 Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror
Corinne looking a little bloody (Cat Sparks)
Dinner on Saturday night
Liz & Tehani (Cat Sparks)
Nicho & Durand (Cat Sparks)
Dinner on Saturday – crazy alien tree
Slightly licked Ticonderoga launch cupcake
Lotus Blue launch (Cat Sparks)
Sean chilling in the hotel restaurant (Cat Sparks)
Stephen & Anthony reading at the Ticonderoga launch
I rounded it all out with a delicious dinner with friends under a spectacular, purple, fairy-lit tree. As always, the very best thing about going to a con was the people. *sniff* I love youse all.
That Aurealis Award I was nominated for a little while ago…
Well, the Aurealis Awards ceremony was last night, and…
I still can’t quite believe it.
I was happy just to be nominated. Seriously, to have my work rated as being on a par with the likes of Lisa L Hannet and Tansy Rayner Roberts, not to mention my very good friend, the extraordinarily talented Shauna O’Meara, counts as achieving one of my big writing goals, right there. My cheeks still hurt from smiling 24 hours later.
I’m not sure how coherent I was in accepting the award, so I’ll repeat all the eloquent thank-yous I wish I’d made here.
Firstly, thank you to Belladonna Publishing for picking up Pretty Jennie Greenteeth and bringing my strange little story out into the world.
Thank you to the Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild for being the most amazing writing community ever and for offering generous and incisive feedback and critique on this story (and many others). It was especially exciting to share the shortlist with so many other CSFG members.
Thank you to my beautiful family for all the encouragement and giving me the space and time to write.
A big thank you to the tireless Aurealis judges for their commitment and energy in the face of a task of massive proportions.
And, finally, huge congratulations to all the 2016 Aurealis Awards nominees and winners, especially (again) CSFG members Tim Napper and Kaaron Warren, who won Best Horror Short Story (The Flame Trees) and Best Horror Novel (The Grief Hole) respectively. I have so many good friends among this list of excruciatingly talented authors, I’m still amazed to number myself among you, let alone have come home with an award.