A Convergence of Inconvenience

Hello, blog! Due to the unexpected collision of a bad cold and multiple technological failures, I am currently without internet. That rather makes it sound like I somehow manages to infect my computer with a cold, which would actually be better than its mysterious yet total collapse. The cold was just bad timing since it left me huddled under a blanket in the company of a tissue box, unable to get to the library to check emails. I have been re-reading Douglas Adams and Jane Austen and getting slightly twitchy.

But on to the good news! I was delighted to discover that my short story ‘Blueblood’, published in Ticonderoga’s anthology Hear Me Roar, has been nominated in two categories for the Aurealis Awards: best YA short story and best fantasy short story. The full shortlist can be seen here. The awards will be announced at the Contact convention, which is being held in Brisbane this year – my city! Also in Ticonderoga news, they are running a Kickstarter right now for the next Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror. These collections are an excellent way to catch up with the varied short speculative fiction being published in Australia over each year, so why not take a look?

Since I am currently using library internet, my presence will be a bit patchy for a while – if you leave a comment, I will eventually get back to you! In the meantime, my blog projects will hopefully go ahead as normal.

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An Update of Robots and Royals

I’ve tripped over into August and am flailing a bit to orientate myself, so consider this a roundup of authorial news! Ticonderoga’s new anthology Hear Me Roar is abroad in the world, including a spot on my bookshelf. My contribution, ‘Blueblood’, is what happened when I started reworking ‘The Goose Girl’ in a fit of pique and infused it with shades of ‘Bluebeard’. Secrecy and isolation are key to both fairy tales: a young woman pushed into danger for which she is utterly unprepared, betrayed by the people who should have protected her. Which led me to wonder what form protection might take, in those circumstances, and how kindness can be entirely a matter of perception.

My latest story ‘Doubt the Sun’ follows a similar theme, about a young inventor, the robot of her dreams and how humanity doesn’t always react well when its fantasies come true. ‘Doubt the Sun’ is part of the Lethe Press anthology Daughters of Frankenstein, which will be officially released this week. You can check out the details at the publisher’s website and on Goodreads.

In other news, Tansy Rayner Roberts recently concluded ‘Musketeer Space’, her genderbent space opera reworking of the Alexandre Dumas classic The Three Musketeers. To repeat what I said on Tumblr: if you like spaceships, swordfights and sarcasm, this is the story for you. ‘Musketeer Space’ and its Christmas special, ‘The Seven Days of Joyeux’ can be read on her website. It’s also what got me into the BBC adaptation The Musketeers, which is a cheerfully irreverent, adorable swashbuckler of a series. I have a suspicion that when I look back, 2015 will be my Year of the Swordfighting Fangirl.

An Update of Crowns and Clocks

In a somewhat belated announcement, because of late my relationship with clocks and calendars is not the best it has ever been, Ticonderoga has released the table of contents for their new anthology Hear Me Roar and my story ‘Blueblood’ has made it in! The theme is female heroism, a subject that is not only one of my favourite things to read about but is also wonderfully broad as a starting point. For me it meant a fairy tale retelling I’ve been thinking about for a long time, about lies and love and the unique dysfunctionality of a crumbling royal family.

Now that Cranky Ladies of History is abroad in the world, FableCroft is running a series of articles to accompany the stories. Mine is of course about Elizabeth I, and my post is shameless fangirling over one my all-time favourite monarchs, plus history in general.

Actually it feels like my life has been rather taken over by royalty lately, both historical and fictional, because over the past month I’ve been working through all five seasons of the BBC TV show Merlin. I never thought I’d like it much – the Arthurian legend is not my go-to epic – but for a show that never decided on the age of its target audience, veering between childish slapstick and dark maneuvering, it’s surprisingly addictive and has far better actors than many of the storylines deserve. As I recently watched the last episode and am currently wallowing in fanfiction, it’s probably only a matter of time before I post some proper thoughts about it.

October is the Month of Authorial Announcements

phantazein2014 has already been a fantastic year for me as a writer, and this month kicked off to an excellent start with the launch of Phantazein, the latest FableCroft anthology. It is home to my fairy tale retelling ‘Twelfth’, which is about love and betrayal and bad life choices. As you can see, my copies arrived today in a parcel of gorgeousness. Print and electronic options are available here.

My work will also be appearing in Lethe Press’s anthology Daughters of Frankenstein, scheduled for release in February next year! It’s a collection of short fiction about lesbian mad 1590213602scientists, which has to be one of the most fun themes I’ve ever written for. My story is called ‘Doubt the Sun’ – you can expect an argumentative artificial intelligence with a Regency haircut and an ever diminishing tolerance for fools. It will be the second science fiction story I’ve published. My first, ‘The Oblivion Box’, is being reprinted by Ticonderoga Publications in The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2013. It is such a great honour to be chosen for this collection, alongside so many wonderful writers! You can see the full table of contents here.

years-best-fantasy-and-horror-v4-slideI have one more announcement to make. For over two years now I’ve been posting weekly fairy tale reviews, analysing and enthusing and exploring folk stories from all over the world. I have loved every minute of it. I am particularly delighted at the responses I’ve received and the conversations readers have shared with me in the comments – thank you all, so much, for sharing this with me. But it feels like time to strike out for new ground, and sadly that means that at the end of this year I’ll be bringing Fairy Tale Tuesdays to a close. That does not mean I plan to stop writing about fairy tales. (Honestly, is that even possible?) I have big plans for blogging in 2015, not complete enough to share yet, but I promise there is much more than a glimmer of the fantastical on the horizon.

In the meantime, there are dragons to rescue, princes to fight, and stories to tell. Always, there are more stories.

An Update of Bayonets and Beanstalks

The temperature has dropped below 20C°, WINTER IS OFFICIAL. I’m wearing long sleeves and everything! If you don’t understand why this is exciting, you either don’t live in Queensland or spend too much time in air conditioning.

This is birthday weather and as an early celebration my fabulous sister took me to see The Magic Hour, a one-woman fairy tale-themed play by Vanessa Bates. You can probably guess why this is my thing? These were dark, intrinsically urban retellings, all seen from the perspective of a usually peripheral character and acted spectacularly by Ursula Yovich. I mean, she made a giant beanstalk something desperately sad. Fairy tales are chameleonic, they can be retold in so many ways and retain their essential core, but these versions were brilliantly done. My not-quite-birthday also included lion statues, art deco chandeliers and the Brisbane version of Honeydukes, all of which are excellent commemorations.

surprise cupcakeAnother date of significance coming up: as of this Friday I will have been blogging for two years, which may not sound very impressive, but means a lot to me! Have a visual cupcake.

In writerly news! Ticonderoga’s Kisses by Clockwork launched on the 8th and can now be pre-ordered from Book Depository and Amazon, or you could go in the running for a copy through this Goodreads giveaway. This anthology is home to my steampunk romance ‘Descension’, featuring a collapsing empire and a very unimpressed woman with a bayonet. Another of my short stories, ‘Signature’ – in which there are bad decisions and a bookshop – can be found in Twelfth Planet Press’s Kaleidoscope, which is slated for release in early August. More news on that soon!

An Update from the Storyteller’s Tower

May is the month of much Mudgeness! In honour of my Ditmar Awards nomination for Best New Talent (squee!) FableCroft Publishing is offering two of my short stories to read for free on their website – ‘Winter’s Heart’ and ‘Oracle’s Tower’. There are a range of FableCroft works up for Ditmar contention too, plus Tehani Wessely’s excellent shared blog project ‘Reviewing New Who‘.

Also: my stories will be appearing in two more forthcoming anthologies! Fairy tale retelling ‘Twelfth’ will appear in FableCroft’s Insert Title Here, while urban fantasy story ‘Signature’ is in Twelfth Planet Press’s Kaleidoscope. Both are scheduled for released in August of this year. Added to Ticonderoga’s Kisses by Clockwork, which will feature my story ‘Descension’ and is expected to come out around the same time, that part of 2014 is looking decidedly literary!

Spinning So Fast

It was around this time last year that I was in the rather lovely position of deciding where to put my shiny new author copy of To Spin a Darker Stair. ‘Oracle’s Tower’ was originally submitted for the FableCroft anthology Epilogue; it was a long shot that only ended up getting published because my marvellous editor, Tehani Wessely, decided to take a chance on it. Now I have a new place on my shelf to clear. The table of contents for The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2012 was announced on Ticonderoga’s website today and ‘Oracle’s Tower’ is on the list.

I…honestly, I’m a bit speechless. It’s an amazing honour that came out of the blue and has been like a luminous moth fluttering about the back of my head ever since, brightening me up at random moments with writerish wonderment. Also, is this not THE most awesome cover?

years-best-fantasy-and-horror-v3-slide

Take a look at all the incredible writers I will be sharing it with.

  • Joanne Anderton, “Tied To The Waste”, Tales Of Talisman
  • R.J.Astruc, “The Cook of Pearl House, A Malay Sailor by the Name of Maurice”, Dark Edifice 2
  • Lee Battersby, “Comfort Ghost”, Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine 56
  • Alan Baxter, “Tiny Lives”, Daily Science Fiction
  • Jenny Blackford, “A Moveable Feast”, Bloodstones
  • Eddy Burger, “The Witch’s Wardrobe”, Dark Edifice 3
  • Isobelle Carmody, “The Stone Witch”, Under My Hat
  • Jay Caselberg, “Beautiful”, The Washington Pastime
  • Stephen Dedman, “The Fall”, Exotic Gothic 4, Postscripts
  • Felicity Dowker, “To Wish On A Clockwork Heart”, Bread And Circuses
  • Terry Dowling, “Nightside Eye”, Cemetary Dance
  • Tom Dullemond, “Population Management”, Danse Macabre
  • Thoraiya Dyer, “Sleeping Beauty”, Epilogue
  • Will Elliot, “Hungry Man”, The One That Got Away
  • Jason Fischer, “Pigroot Flat”, Midnight Echo 8
  • Dirk Flinthart, “The Bull In Winter”, Bloodstones
  • Lisa L. Hannett, “Sweet Subtleties”, Clarkesworld
  • Lisa L. Hannett & Angela Slatter, “Bella Beaufort Goes To War”, Midnight And Moonshine
  • Narrelle Harris, “Stalemate”, Showtime
  • Kathleen Jennings, “Kindling”, Light Touch Paper, Stand Clear
  • Gary Kemble, “Saturday Night at the Milkbar”, Midnight Echo 7
  • Margo Lanagan, “Crow And Caper, Caper And Crow”, Under My Hat
  • Martin Livings, “You Ain’t Heard Nothing Yet”, Living With The Dead
  • Penelope Love, “A Small Bad Thing”, Bloodstones
  • Andrew J. McKiernan, “Torch Song”, From Stage Door Shadows
  • Karen Maric, “Anvil Of The Sun”, Aurealis
  • Faith Mudge, “Oracle’s Tower”, To Spin A Darker Stair
  • Nicole Murphy, “The Black Star Killer”, Damnation And Dames
  • Jason Nahrung, “The Last Boat To Eden”, Surviving The End
  • Tansy Rayner Roberts, “What Books Survive”, Epilogue
  • Angela Slatter, “Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean”, This Is Horror Webzine
  • Anna Tambour, “The Dog Who Wished He’d Never Heard Of Lovecraft”, Lovecraft Zine
  • Kyla Ward, “The Loquacious Cadaver”, The Lion And The Aardvark: Aesop’s Modern Fables
  • Kaaron Warren, “River Of Memory”, Zombies Vs. Robots