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So here’s what I’ve been counting down to. *silly grin*

Low-Fantasy-Dodo-Banner-400x200I 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.

*Blushes*

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.

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Aurealis and Swancon revisited

Just in case anyone thought I wasn’t still wallowing in the pleasure of my first ever award…

Aurealis 2016 PJG

Here’s a few of my fave pics from that evening.

The OMG moment… And celebrating with my gorgeous family afterwards.

And here’s a few other snaps from the evening (courtesy of Cat Sparks, whose full album of Swancon & the Aurealis Awards is on Flickr).

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.

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.

GASP!!!

Sooooo…

That Aurealis Award I was nominated for a little while ago…

Well, the Aurealis Awards ceremony was last night, and…

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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.

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Achievement unlocked: Aurealis Award nomination

HAPPY MONDAY!

No, I’m serious.

The short lists for the 2016 Aurealis Awards went up today and OMG I’M ON IT!!!

My creepy, nasty, strange little story Pretty Jennie Greenteeth from Belladonna Publishing’s Strange Little Girls has been nominated in the YA category!

And because these things are always better shared, I’ve got so many good friends on the short list with me, I’m hard put to count them all. So particular congrats to Shauna O’Meara, Dave Versace, Ian McHugh, Elizabeth Fitzgerald, Kaaron Warren, Tim Napper, Tehani Wessely, Thoraiya Dyer, Simon Petrie, Angela Slatter, Alan Baxter, Sam Murray and Lisa Hannett – and everyone else on the list!

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Hellooo 2017

Well, what a year that’s been.

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Serenity and rose quartz clouds at sunset, Canberra, 30 December 2016

Being a very visual person, a fun thing I’ve liked to do since I discovered it a few years ago is checkout Pantone’s colour of the year. Interestingly, for 2016, for the first time ever, they announced TWO colours for the year: Serenity and Rose Quartz. (Side note: naming paint colours is a job I’ve always coveted.) This colour pairing was supposed to express something about the need for harmony in chaos. And it was very pretty in a sort of a kittens and candy-floss kind of way.

The irony, of course, is that on many levels 2016 was not a kittens-and-candy-floss kind of year and I’m not sure that as a global society we really embraced that whole harmony thing. But, in the spirit of aspiring to Serenity and viewing the world through Rose Quartz-tinted glasses, here is my writing achievements round up for 2016.

Just like 2015, I elected to focus on novel projects. I find that what with working a day job and spending time with my lovable and hilarious family, I have to be a bit strategic about how I spend my writing time. So I didn’t do much on the short story front. Here’s what I did do:

  • Wrote two new short stories (and started another, um, eight or so and had ideas for a few more…)
  • Sold 2! (One old, one new.) Both to markets I’m very happy with.
  • Had 2 published (Pretty Jennie Greenteeth in Strange Little Girls, and Breathing in Aurealis #95)
  • Got Novel Project #4 to just over 107,000 words. I wanted to finish it and didn’t, which is annoying, but I’m almost there. Early feedback on the first chunk has been really encouraging, and I’m reasonably confident of wrapping up the first draft soon.
  • Had some exciting things happen in relation to Novel Project #1, which are still a bit secret. But I’m looking forward to talking more about those in 2017.
  • Got into the 2016 ACT Writers Centre HARDCOPY professional development program, which was affirming and valuable and through which I’ve met a bunch more talented and extraordinarily lovely writers.
  • Was part of the team for Conflux 12 & pulled off a wonderful con.
  • Was appointed to the creative production team for the Noted writers festival for 2017!

So what’s on the to do list for 2017?

  • Finish the damn first draft of NP#4 and get it out to my very patient beta readers.
  • Probably do a bit more work on NP#1
  • Have a little rest from novel projects and write/finish/polish up/send out some short stories
  • Give in to the lure of the long-form story and start planning out NPs #3 and 5
  • Get my bloody passport in order and get myself to  Europe for a bit of research.

And what’s the colour for 2017?

pantone-coy-2017-15-0343-chipA “tangy yellow-green” called Greenery. The comment from Pantone is all about vitality and the desire to rejuvenate.

 

Greenery bursts forth in 2017 to provide us with the hope we collectively yearn for amid a complex social and political landscape. Satisfying our growing desire to rejuvenate, revitalize and unite, Greenery symbolizes the reconnection we seek with nature, one another and a larger purpose.

Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute

I’m a big fan of green and, you know, nature stuff. But the cynical part of me can think of a few other associations for green in today’s “complex social and political landscape”, which are less kittens-and-candy-floss and more poisoned apple. Which is to say, I actually think green is a very fitting choice for 2017.

Wouldn’t it be lovely if 2017 did turn out to be all about rejuvenation and new growth and a renewed focus on environmental sustainability? And shared prosperity is actually pretty good too, so let’s have some of that.

Here’s to 2017. I hope all your good dreams come true, and we kill off a few of the nightmares.

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Some kind of milestone

I just hit 100,000 words on the current WIP tonight. Still got a bit to go, but that’s some kind of milestone, right?

Here’s a snippet of tonight’s inspiration:

The Sick Rose

By William Blake

O Rose thou art sick.

The invisible worm,
That flies in the night
In the howling storm:
Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy:
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy.
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Glimmers of sun in the pouring rain

aurealis-95In a week that has spelled disappointment, grief and gloom for many of us, I’ve had a few small, personal glimmers of sunlight. Here’s one. A lovely review of my story Breathing, out in the recent Aurealis #95, from Kat Day over at Tangent online. She’s given it a “highly recommended” (squee!) Achievement unlocked.

A lovely piece of work, very thought-provoking and actually rather moving.

And here’s some Leonard Cohen for you. Because even though he’s gone now, that’s one life that is definitely worth celebrating.

Busy Brewing Community…and a surprise!

Well, it’s been a while. Almost exactly a month! I haven’t been being slack, just busy. In fact here’s me over at Earl Grey Tea Editing explaining just exactly what I’ve been busy doing.

This has meant I’ve not done an enormous amount of writing lately, which always leaves me feeling a little flat. But, today came with a lovely surprise. My story Music For An Ivory Violin from Aurealis #74 has appeared on Ellen Datlow’s recommended horror reading longlist! I’m over the moon!

That’s an actual castle-in-the-air goal I can tick off my list.

Aurealis #74
Aurealis #74

Don’t let this calm demeanour fool you. It’s baby goat time again.

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Reflections on 2014

Happy new year! I hope 2014 was a good year for you, or at least had good bits. And here’s to 2015 being even better.

Here’s what I achieved in 2014:

I made 15 story submissions (which didn’t meet my target of 25, but I have a good excuse for that.)

I sold 5 stories! This beat my previous pattern of selling one per year, so I’m pretty chuffed. Three of them sold to the first place I subbed them to, which I’m also pretty chuffed about. And that’s my excuse for not making my target of 25 submissions. I ran out of stories to submit.

I made my first sale to a pro market.

I also got my first review! (And my second, and my third.)

I got an Honourable Mention for one of the stories I subbed to the Writers of the Future Competition.

I finally got Novel Project #1 into a state to start sending out to agents, and I wrote a synopsis (which I consider equivalent to having gained a new skill).

So what’s on the cards for 2015?

Find an agent for Novel Project #1.

Write (and sell!!) more short stories. I’m going to aim for 15 submissions this year. That’s a bit low, but my trunk is basically empty at the moment, so I’m going to have to write some before I can submit them. I think 15 is probably going to be a stretch.

Let’s aim high: I’d like to finish a first draft of Novel Project #3 or #4, and do substantial work on the other one.

Finish and polish up a few half-written stories and first drafts of novellas I have sitting in the trunk.

And here’s a couple of castle-in-the-air goals:

Win a writing competition.

Make another pro sale.

I’m also going to have a stab at learning another language. I’m going to try French!

Here’s hoping that 2015 will be a good year! I wish you every happiness and success with all your goals in the coming months.

Happy New Year 2015 by franky242, courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net
Happy New Year 2015 by franky242, courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net