I’ve been lucky enough to have my short story, Phoenix Pharmaceuticals (published by Deadset Press) shortlisted in the Best Horror Short Story category of the upcoming Aurealis Awards. Competition will be stiff, as always, and I’m up against a number of prestigious authors. As always, being shortlisted is a win all on its own, and had me doing happy dances round my kitchen and bragging to everyone I know.
I’ve pasted the shortlist for my category below, and you can find the complete list of Aurealis finalists for the year on the Aurealis Awards Website. It handily brings together some of the best of last year’s published works by Australian authors, so have a browse. If anything catches your fancy, consider supporting our local creators by buying a copy or ordering it to your local library (library copies help fund authors via lending rights).
BEST HORROR SHORT STORY
“The Genetic Alchemist’s Daughter”, Elaine Cuyegkeng (Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women, Omnium Gatherum)
“The Bone Fairy”,MartinLivings (Midnight Echo 15, Australasian Horror Writers Association)
My short story, Phoenix Pharmaceuticals, about a magical cure too good to be true, is now available as an ebook in the Cancer anthology, book seven of Aussie Speculative Fiction’s Zodiac Series. This series is full of dark and mysterious stories inspired by zodiac signs and mythology. The Cancer installment will be available in paperback soon . Aussie Speculative Fiction is a fantastic group full of creative people committed to showcasing some of the amazing speculative fiction produced in Australia and by Australians. It’s well worth checking out their other projects too, and it was a pleasure to be included in this.
I should have posted about this earlier, but the fires had me fleeing my beautiful bush home and my writing routine. I was devoured by worry for friends and family as they faced the fury. While everyone I know came through things okay, our community will never be quite the same, with the bushfires destroying hundreds of homes in my area.
My good news from December, before everything went wild, was that my short story, “The Clockwork Baby” was selected as the feature story in the debut issue of Endless Stars Magazine. This is a new endeavour, created and edited by my extremely talented friend Joel Schanke. The idea is to produce a speculative fiction magazine combined with a platform for agents and editors to approach authors whose work they love.
If you visit the Endless Stars website, you’ll be able to download the complimentary first issue and escape into some gorgeous fiction. If you’re a writer, take note: submissions for issue two will be opening soon.
I was lucky enough to have one of my favourite stories published in Spaceports & Spidersilk this month. It’s a fantastic magazine packed with poetry and stories for kids who enjoy speculative fiction – fantasy, sci-fi, & scary stuff. You can pick up the July issue of Spaceports & Spidersilk for just USD $1.
“Deflated” is about a girl’s birthday party gone terribly wrong. I hope you enjoy it!
I’m so very excited to see two of my short horror stories on the Aurealis Awards finalists list for 2018. It really feels like a win already.
One of the nominated stories is By Kindle Light, published in Antipodean SF #235. This is a changeling story I wrote while I was still breastfeeding my younger daughter, devouring books on my kindle all the while. The other story is Hit and Rot, published in Breach Magazine #8. I don’t want to give away too much about this story, but it will make you drive carefully on the back roads.
Wish me luck, although I feel quite lucky anyway. Have a lovely day.
A poem I wrote, ‘My Grandmother’s Hands’, was published this week in Touchdown, an imprint of The School Magazine. It was my first children’s poem published in print, so it’s a landmark occasion for me. Many thanks to Matt Ottley for the gorgeous illustration.
I don’t know about you, but I love to crack open the shell of the ordinary and write about whatever comes oozing through.
To Have a Voice
Not every one of my books or stories addresses a topical issue – far from it. I find that if I try to write to an issue my pen drops as dead as a vampire with a stake through its heart. But topics I care about have a way of slipping into my writing. They’re there, simmering at the back of my mind, till they boil and flow over into an idea that I can’t resist.
To Question Assumptions
I like my writing to challenge the assumptions of my readers, but I like it even more when it helps me to uncover and challenge my own assumptions. I wrote a picture book about a family evacuating ahead of a bushfire. I put the father in the driver’s seat in the initial draft. In the second (or perhaps it was the third) draft I asked myself why I had done that. Men and women are equally capable of driving. I handed Mum the keys.
To Keep Learning
I think there’s always more to learn about writing itself. Some resources I love include Girl and Duck and Writing Excuses. But my education as a writer strays into fields far from the art of writing. Some things I’ve recently researched for the sake of stories are: the diet of sea turtles, predicted sea level rises, imaginary friends in older children, the reign of Queen Marie Antoinette, attire and lifestyle on the Aussie Goldfields, prawning, Ancient Roman Baths, Australian Megafauna… I could go on. I love delving into different fields and writing keeps the questions coming. I believe as a writer it’s important to get your facts as straight as you can, which is great, because it means that as long as I write, I’ll never stop learning.
To Remember and Reflect
Even though I mainly write speculative fiction, a step (or a mile) removed from the ordinary, my life experiences come seeping through. Putting them on paper lets me see them in different ways. I become both the psychologist and the patient.
I was recently lucky enough to have the opportunity to co-edit an issue of Andromeda Spaceways Magazine. I worked with some fantastic writers, and was really proud of the stories Joel and I chose for the issue. There were some hard choices to make and there were stories I was very sorry to let go. It’s given me new insights into how many really wonderful writers there are in the world. Check it out here to find alien worlds, flutters in time and dimension, curses, monstrosities and dystopias.