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Conflux 14: The Unconventional Hero

 

conflux14-finaldateIt’s that time of year again! Yep, Conflux is next weekend.

This con is very dear to my heart – and not just because it’s my local SFF con and always has really strong programming aimed at writers. But it is a great opportunity to hook up with my tribe. If you’re new on the Australian spec fic scene (like I was, once!) it is the best place to connect with people involved in the SFF writing community from across Australia – not just writers, but editors, agents, publishers, the whole shebang.

Anyway, here’s where you’ll definitely find me over the course of next weekend:

Pre-con stuff:

Friday, 28 September

From 6pm King O’Malley’s pub in Civic: Welcome drinks to Conflux 14.

Conflux 14, the Vibe Hotel, Canberra Airport

Saturday, 29 September

9am – Opening Ceremony

9.30am – Hero cliches & how to make or break them, with Ion “Nuke” Newcombe, Sam Hawke & Louise Pieper.

1.30pm – The Unconventional Romance, with Keri Arthur and Freya Marske.

Sunday, 30 September

5.45pm – Launching A Hand of Knaves (squee!)

Monday, 1 October

11.45am – The Book Love Fest

1.30pm – When the dream comes true – what really happens when you get a deal with a big publisher? With Cat Sparks, Sam Hawke, Craig Cormick & Claire McKenna.

At all other times, try the bar first!!! And if you want to know what else is on, all the details are up on the Conflux website!

 

Chatting to Rhianna Patrick

IMG_20180627_152539_214 (1)So here’s a thing I did this week! I got to chat to Rhianna Patrick on ABC local radio about The Beast’s Heart!

Here I am, all set up in the TARDIS at the Canberra ABC studios (that’s their pod for doing interstate radio interviews). Rhianna was lovely and we chatted for about half an hour about the book and writing and what I’m reading and what else I’m working on.

If you’re interested, the podcast is up on the ABC website at: http://www.abc.net.au/radio/programs/rhiannapatrick/leife/9920354

Enjoy!

Purple prose

Hoboy, do I have a very special treat for you.

I was doing a bit of a clean up in my study this weekend and made a couple of hilarious archaeological discoveries. Here’s the first.

Context: I have none. I don’t even remember writing it. I must have been about 11 or 12. I remember discovering Alfred Noyes’ poem The Highwayman around that time, so that’s a possible source of inspiration.

Enjoy.

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(I think she’s kneeling, not pregnant, in that last pic.)

It’s got everything, doesn’t it? A catchy title, killer cover art, kissing (“for two minutes”), broken ankles, drunk highwaymen, secret forest lairs, murder, egg sandwiches…

Joy of the season to you

I’m officially on my Christmas holidays as of now. Not being religious, for me this holiday is all about spending time with family, taking stock of the old year and looking forward to the new and taking a break from my day job. It is, however, a time of year when I traditionally do a heap of writing, so wish me well on that, won’t you?

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Whether you’re somewhere cold or somewhere warm (like me), and however you celebrate the end of the old year and the beginning of the new, I wish you a safe, happy and relaxing break, and I hope you get to spend it with people you love.

See you in the new year!

xoxo

Busyness and roses

I’ve had so much going on lately, I feel like I’ve barely had time to stop and breathe (or write a blog post).

First there was the Read3r’z Re-Vu  read through of the proof of The Beast’s Heart, which was WONDERFUL. I could not have wished for a lovelier, more thoughtful, more enthusiastic bunch of first readers. They had so many good questions and so many astute observations and their responses left me in tears of joy on more than one occasion. You can see their individual reviews up on Goodreads (more tears of joy), and I’ll post a link to the review they post on the Read3r’z Re-Vu website when it goes up. But I have to say, this was a favourite moment:

Other busy things:

  • I have finished reading all the subs for A Hand of Knaves!
  • We have launched the Indiegogo crowdfunder for A Hand of Knaves! (Check it out – there is some super cool swag on offer for supporters.)
  • I went to Genrecon in Brisbane a couple of weeks ago. That was just fantastic. Highly recommended.
  • I wrote an article for Hodderscape giving y’all an opportunity to snoop around my writing space.

And…

I have been conspiring with my good mate Shauna O’Meara (who is responsible for the amazing playing card art for A Hand of Knaves) on a new Secret Project involving roses. It has been amusing to find she shares my “get it right” OCD in respect of historical details, to the point where she went to great lengths yesterday to find samples of rose breeds that would have been around in the 17th Century (there is a hint as to the nature of the Secret Project, right there.) Here’s a snippet of our conversation while she communed rapturously with nature…

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Because, you know. Historical accuracy.

The proofs are out there…

2017-11-18 14.40.24This has been an exciting few days! Hachette Australia HQ held their book bloggers night last Thursday, and this lil old thing got given out, leading to a small social media flurry on my part as people tweeted & instagrammed pics of their copies. I am telling you as a total rookie debut author, I don’t think this will ever get old.

But here’s the exciting part: a group of book bloggers and reviewers from Sydney blog Read3r’z Re-Vu will be doing a read along of their proof copies of The Beast’s Heart from Sunday evening through Monday, and they’ve asked me to join them! Basically, I get to peek over their shoulders and watch their reactions (via whatsapp) as they read it!

Am I looking forward to it? Am I what!

In return, I’ll be giving them some exclusive insights into writing the story plus a bonus playlist of songs I listened to while writing it.

On top of that, the submission window for A Hand of Knaves closed on Thursday at midnight. So now I have a fat folder sitting in my inbox of short story submissions ready  to read. Really looking forward to seeing what’s waiting for me there.

Plus there’s a few other bits & pieces to be getting on with, like a wrap-up of last weekend’s Genrecon and a new article for Hodderscape, not to mention I’ll be starting a new job on Monday. So it’s not like I’m going to be at a loose end over the next few days…

Fairy tale art

vasilisa-the-wiseI have been a bit quiet over here of late (busy busy), so today I’m posting a treat by proxy. Hodderscape has just published an article of mine that makes my heart sing for reasons that have nothing to do with my own words, and everything to do with the exquisite fairy tale artwork I got to share – including, by way of example, Lorena Carrington’s exquisite cover for this lovely book of fairy tales by Kate Forsyth (which I have pre-ordered for its release next month). The article also features artworks from Kathleen Jennings and sculptures from Spike Deane

Go and have a look. 🙂 It’s really gorgeous.

The iceberg

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If you are a writer, you have probably at some stage of heard of something referred to as ‘the iceberg principle’. It’s pretty simple really. The premise is based on the idea that 90% of the iceberg lies invisible, under the water, with only 10% visible above the surface. This is a metaphor for what you know about your story, world and characters, vs what actually makes it onto the page for your reader to see.

Just by way of example, here’s a sentence from one of my WIPs:

If she had been at home, she most likely would have been abed with a hot brick and one of her housekeeper’s restorative tisanes.

That might have taken you all of two seconds to read. And it probably took me a couple of minutes to craft the actual words that went into it. But that sentence also represents at least 45 minutes worth of internet research on:

  • 18th Century remedies for period pain
  • Lydia E Pinkham
  • Liquorice root, including where it grows and what its medicinal properties are
  • the medicinal properties of Dandelion root

Which is basically just my way of reassuring myself that it’s OK to have only produced 200 words after getting up at 5.30 am and writing for 1.5 hours before the family gets up and we all have to get ready for work/school/etc. And also goes some way to illustrating why it takes so damn long to write a bloody novel.

And now I have had that stupid Lily the Pink song stuck in my head all day. Yeah. You’re welcome.

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