"I'm just going to write because I can't help it."- Charlotte Brontë

Saturday, April 30, 2011

End of the Month Report: April

Submissions: 5
Rejections: 2
Acceptances: 2 [Information Exchange (SF/H), A Sweet Story (F)]
Published: 0
Stories out in the wild: 8
New stories completed: 1 (SF)
Mood: What, it's May already??!!!

Thank you, Joanna Russ


Joanna Russ

1937 - 2011

"Long before I became a feminist in any explicit way, I had turned from writing love stories about women in which women were losers, and adventure stories about men in which the men were winners, to writing adventure stories about a woman in which the woman won. It was one of the hardest things I ever did in my life." — Joanna Russ

"There are plenty of images of women in science fiction. There are hardly any women." — Joanna Russ

Hats off

The commentators have for weeks been busting a gut promoting royal entanglement and trying to create a theory of Mother Diana - Son William wedding supersymetry. My contribution is that I saw Diana's wedding as a fresh faced girl whilst working in a kindergarten (we packed the kids off for an early nap and hunched around a tiny, portable TV) and I caught a few minutes of William's wedding in the staff room at the Arvo Job before I headed for home tonight. What an amazing coincidence.

That said, I do have something to say about the royal wedding. I love hats, and am a dedicated hat wearing person myself, but if I were a passionate royalist whose ultimate dream had come true when an invitation to the Greatest Event of this Century (apparently not much is going to happen for the next ninety years) was delivered to my butler by a liveried servant, and if I had spent much money and much time on organising an ensemble fit for the Queen's eyes, and if I had been jumping up and down on my four poster bed with excitement for months and months prior to taking my reserved seat in Westminster Abbey just thirty rows down from the royal family, well, I would be very upset to find myself stuck behind one of those head confections many of the women were wearing, my view obstructed by a wide brim or an explosion of feathers or a tower of interestingly twisted hat stuff.

Really, I think the palace people should have roped off a special section for ladies with big hats, where those guilty of fashion crimes and inconsideration could have all battled with each other for a peek at The Dress rather than ruining the event for other, more modestly attired posh folk.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Tiptoeing away

If you go down to the woods today,
You're sure of a big surprise.
If you go down to the woods today,
You'd better go in disguise.

Wowsie - the Aussie specfic blogosphere is not the place for a pleasant spot of post Arvo Job lurking tonight.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Brain teaser

My brain is all revved up and ready to go. Poor brain. It hasn't realised yet that the holidays are over. I'll let it out now for a bit of a run, which is cruel really, because I'm going to have to hobble it soon so it doesn't go wandering off while I'm at the Arvo Job.

The cats are settling down for a writing day too :(

Anyway, I'll contrast those glum observations with some good news that I found on the Internet just now: the Kenyan science fiction film Pumzi, directed by Wanuri Kahiu, is now available. I saw this film at Worldcon last year, and have been raving about it to folk ever since.

You can buy it here

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter roundup

The Aussie specfic blogosphere is awash with reports of how great Swancon/Natcon was. There are accounts of book buying, booze-ups and award parties, tales of meeting interesting GOHs, booze-upping and attending informative panels, and fond remembrances of booze-ups, scintillating fellow booze-uppers and booze-ups.

Me, I'll round up the Easter break by reporting that the interloping chook is still making free with my backyard, though she's sleeping under the stars in a tree tonight.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Clucking cheeky!

As the Easter sun sets and a new batch of bread rises, I find that our univited guest, after contentedly pottering around all day, has rather shamelessly settled herself in for the night in the cage at the back of my garden. What nerve! I suppose it was once a chook shed, and recognising it as such and deeming it unused real estate, this impertinent piece of poultry decided she was completely within her chooky rights to move in. A squatter, that's what she is. What to do, what to do? I don't particularly want to be a chicken owner. *sigh* I never ever had problems like this when I was living in St Kilda.

And Polly, who has been stalking said unworried bird all day, is still at it. She's presently hanging almost upside down in the dark from the chook shed roof to peer in at the snoozing fowl.

Otherwise, apart from chicken wrangling and bread baking, I've been writing. Though not as productive at the keyboard as I had planned, I did start and finish the first draft of a story that's been in my notepad since 4/7-10 called Thalasophobia in a Time of Global Warming, which, hopefully, is not at all what the reader expects it to be from that title. I'll let it sit for a week or two, then get to work polishing it.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter entertainment

A chook has made herself at home in my backyard and is keeping the cats wonderfully entertained. I've tried to shoo her away a few times, but she keeps coming back. A tough, rangy, country chicken, she is utterly unfazed by the cats and coolly flaps out of their reach whenever they try to sneak up on her. I just hope this doesn't all end in chicken tears. Cooper, pride injured, has retired from the chook-catching competition and is busy pretending that he is bored by the whole thing and wasn't even really trying. I'm pretending I believe him. Score: Cooper - 0. Chook - 1.

Polly, however, is still at it. Jenny and Gus, city cats both, have lapsed into befuddled wonderment.

As for myself, yesterday was a day for gathering with the clan and eating hot cross buns and other snacks whilst chatting and engaging in an all arvo and evening, watch-til-your-eyeballs-drop-out movie marathon. Curiously, the last three of our batch of randomly-chosen -films-that-most-of-us-hadn't- seen-before all featured either crucifixion icons and debates (Agora) or gory crucifixion scenes that were central to the main character's development i.e. a need for revenge/redemption that excused wielding multiple blades to slice, dice, split and behead evildoers (Machete and Solomon Kane).

Friday, April 22, 2011


Usually, come a longer break like Easter, I'd be off trail riding through some mountainous national forest somewhere, but public holidays are a busy time my sister's booming business, so that's no longer a holiday option.

Alas, I'm not in Perth at Swancon Thirty Six Natcon Fifty, the Australian Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention either. One day, perhaps, I'll be able to justify the cost of travelling westwards across this great continent of ours for informative panels, booze ups and writerly chats, but not yet.To console myself, I've just downloaded a membership form for Continuum 7 , Melbourne's very own speculative fiction and pop culture convention, which will be held June 10-13. I can use my weekly train ticket to get to that venue. Muuuuch cheaper.

In the meantime, I am not at all miserable, for I have a great big delicious block of time for reading, patting cats, eating hot cross buns, catching up with people, and writing in my jammies. I'm looking forward to pulling out a couple of bigger projects, aka novels, that really don't get the attention they deserve during the chopped up days of a normal working week. I'll try to get them back on track and out into the world sometime over the next couple of months.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

*contentedly sighs*

What a nice week this has been so far writerlywise.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Year's Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2010

Ticonderoga Publications has just announced the contents for its inaugural 'Year's Best Australian Fantasy and Horror' anthology, and GUESS WHAT? (I've been dying for the past 2 weeks to post this news) I'M IN IT!

Yes, blow me down if it isn't true. I somehow snuck in with A Sweet Story, which was published in 'Moonlight Tuber' last year thanks to Ben Payne.

But, it's definitely not all about me. As the announcement states: Editors Liz Grzyb and Talie Helene have produced a list of 33 excellent tales by some of Australia's biggest names as well as some emerging writers.

The stories are (alphabetically by writer):

RJ Astruc: "Johnny and Babushka"
Peter M Ball: "L'esprit de L'escalier"
Alan Baxter: "The King's Accord"
Jenny Blackford: "Mirror"
Gitte Christensen: "A Sweet Story"
Matthew Chrulew: "Schubert By Candlelight"
Bill Congreve: "Ghia Likes Food"
Rjurik Davidson: "Lovers In Caeli-Amur"
Felicity Dowker: "After the Jump"
Dale Elvy: "Night Shift"
Jason Fischer: "The School Bus"
Dirk Flinthart: "Walker"
Bob Franklin: "Children's Story"
Christopher Green: "Where We Go To Be Made Lighter"
Paul Haines: "High Tide At Hot Water Beach"
Lisa L. Hannett: "Soil From My Fingers"
Stephen Irwin: "Hive"
Gary Kemble: "Feast Or Famine"
Pete Kempshall: "Brave Face"
Tessa Kum: "Acception"
Martin Livings: "Home"
Maxine McArthur: "A Pearling Tale"
Kirstyn McDermott: "She Said"
Andrew McKiernan: "The Memory Of Water"
Ben Peek: "White Crocodile Jazz"
Simon Petrie: "Dark Rendezvous"
Lezli Robyn: "Anne-droid of Green Gables"
Angela Rega: "Slow Cookin' "
Angela Slatter: "The Bone Mother"
Angela Slatter & Lisa L Hannett: "The February Dragon"
Grant Stone: "Wood"
Kaaron Warren: "That Girl"
Janeen Webb: "Manifest Destiny"

In addition to the above incredible tales, the volume will include a review of 2010 and a list of recommended stories. The anthology is scheduled for publication in June 2011.

The anthology will be available in hardcover, ebook and trade editions and may be pre-ordered at http://indiebooksonline.com.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Nailed it!

I just received an email about the story that I worked on and sent off again last week. The verdict? You nailed the rewrite. Yay!

So my SF/H story Information Exchange has been accepted by 10Flash Quarterly and will appear in the July 2011 issue, the theme of which is Two years and still counting.

Plan Busters

A whole Sunday without commitments stretched before me, so I had BIG writerly plans for today, and it all started out well enough, but unfortunately the kiddies next door decided this afternoon to share their love of all things rappy and bassy with the rest of the world. They're not playing as loudly or deeply as they used to, and they have been far more considerate since the Great Doof Doof War of 2010, so it was in with the earplugs and out with the ironing board while downloading more books onto my iPod to listen to at the Arvo Job, then washing the kitchen floor. One might as well get something done.

I think *tentatively removes ear plugs* that they've stopped now, so I shall return to my keyboard. I'd like to look over a couple of rejected stories and submit them ere the sun sets.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

A silly but heartfelt poem

The moon is very round and bright in the sky tonight,
and my cats were just playing like mad things in the silvery light.
They danced and pranced, leapt high and raced about with delight,
while I swung on the Xmas swing and laughed at the sight.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Gangs of Melbourne

Oh no, I have to head off soon and do battle with the hordes that have taken over our state capital.

It’s a battlefield. They’re everywhere, disrupting society! They’re taking up countless seats on the country trains, surging onto the city trams in great numbers, hanging around hotel lobbies, roaming the streets in rowdy gangs and shouting cheery greetings at rival gangs, filling these public spaces not only with their physical bodies, but with their incessant chatter about arcane topics and friends and what those friends are up to and cruising the Internet and reading blogs and sourcing stuff.

Yes, the (mostly) ladies of the Australasian Quilt Convention at the Royal Exhibition Building are loose on the streets of Melbourne!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Monday, April 11, 2011

Write about a watermelon

When I say "Watermelon", what do you think of? OK, take whatever your mind has conjured up and turn it into a story. Oh, but make sure you also put a turtle and sex worker into your tale. Done? Good. Now send it of to this lot then: http://www.papergolem.com/cucurbital.html My watermelon/turtle/sex worker story also includes a mermaid, a casino and a dark underpass. It's still pretty raw, but I'm rather pleased with it. *Paragraphs, paragraphs, will I ever get my ability to create paragraphs back?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

A bothersome but beaut day

'Twas a day for catching up with the sister and doing a bit of horse riding, although it almost wasn't. V-line wasn't operating out our way this weekend because of track work (mind you, V-Line is a major sponsor of this year's Castlemaine Festival, and for the past few months I've been looking at ads on the sides of trains and posters at stations touting the joys of taking a leisurely train trip to the Castlemaine Festival, except, well, anyone who tried to get here for the final weekend would have had to bus it. Go figure.) Because I wasn't zooming straight into Melbourne, I had to hitch a ride with a bus that stopped at every little country station between here and where my sister was picking me up (she lives way out on the other side of Melbourne.) I wasn't worried, I thought I had plenty of time. I thought wrong. We drove along the highway, turned off the highway, through a town, the driver got out to find people huddled in nooks and crannies, the driver herded said folk onto the bus, we got out of the town, we got back on the highway, we drove along for a while, turned off the highway... Anyway, putting a chaotic morning firmly behind us, my sister and I calmly continued on our journey just to see what we could salvage from the day, and actually got to ride for about 5 hours. We rode with a small group of experienced riders for the first ride, then there were just 3 of us for the second ride. It was a drizabone day - periodic showers, strong winds, then spells of stillness and sunshine - but we got plenty of cantering, jumping, and wending through the forest done. At the end of the day, feeling wonderfully tired, with the sun set and us in front of a huge, roaring fire drinking strong tea and munching raspberry and white chocolate muffins, the heavens opened and it began to pour and hail. My lovely sister then offered to drive me straight home so I wouldn't have to fumble around on a dark and stormy night in search of a bus heading my way, so here I am, snug as a bug in front of my computer while she's still out there in the aforementioned dark and stormy night heading for home. Foalwatch: Since we last visited Daylesford, Butch the stallion once again became a dad, siring this little one, who is just one month old. I love fluffy foal tails. *There go the paragraphs again. This is getting bloody annoying.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

I'm mostly...

Rewriting, rewriting, rewriting. Grinning, grinning, grinning. Well, at least I am when I'm not Arvo Jobbing, Arvo Jobbing, Arvo Jobbing, and commuting, commuting, commuting, although there's much room for overlapping e.g. when I'm Arvo Jobbing & grinning, Arvo Jobbing & grinning, Arvo Jobbing & grinning, or rewriting & commuting, rewriting & commuting, rewriting & commuting.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Feeling very writerly

Over the past few days I've received a hold request for one story, exciting news about another story, and an offer to rewrite and resend a story from a publication that could have just outright rejected my submission (guess what I was doing on the train to and from the Arvo Job today then) so I'm feeling pretty good about this whole writing biz at the moment.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Prancing around

There's plenty to do up this way this weekend as the Castlemaine State Festival is in full swing. Going to the supermarket today, I passed amongst the 'Pavilions of Pandemonium'. I especially liked the So you think you can prance? tent.

Inside, a well-dressed quartet played, and folk learnt how to bow with a flourish and do courtly dances circa Louise XIV, sometimes to classical versions of modern tunes. The dance instructors were also dressed to the nines with wigs, big-buttoned jackets, stockings and and wide skirts. Everyone was having a ball.

End of the Month Report: March 2011

Submissions: 8
Rejections: 9
Acceptances: 0
Published: 0
Stories out in the wild: 9
New stories completed: 1 (SF/H)
Mood: Philosophical about the whole business.