Monthly Archives: June 2010

DUF Giveaway

It is always a thrill when someone you’ve known for years gets published. Here is the cover of Nicole Murphy’s new  book, first of a series. They are dark urban fantasy.

Over on the ROR blog Nicole is talking about the process of getting published and there’s a giveaway!

The Dream of Asarlai is an urban fantasy trilogy being published in Australia by HarperVoyager. The first book, Secret Ones, is due to hit the shelves in July, with the other two books appearing next year.

Here’s the blurb.

She′s from an ancient clan. He has no family. Can they save the world … together?

Maggie Shaunessy is used to keeping secrets. She′s a fantastic teacher, but she′s also gadda, part of a hidden, powerful race – and she has a habit of annoying the wrong people.

Until Lucas Valeroso meets Maggie, he had no idea what awaited him: super-human powers, a smart and beautiful woman interested in more than unlocking his new abilities and, above all, a sense of belonging.

But dark ambition and dangerous bigotry are emerging in the gadda ranks. Lucas′s new family might cast him out before he′s even truly found his place. And Maggie must work with new allies to find and retrieve a missing artefact before the entire world is changed for all time.

′fresh and interesting approach to an urban fantasy series′ Bookseller+Publisher’

Support Aussie authors not only becaue they’re Australian, but because they write damn fine books!


Filed under Australian Writers, Book Giveaway, Competitions, Dark Urban Fantasy, Fantasy books, Fun Stuff, Genre, The Writing Fraternity

Dark Urban Fantasy of Another Flavour

Just when you thought you’d seen all the permutations you possible could in the Dark Urban Fantasy genre along comes something fresh.

Power and Majesty by Tansy Rayner Roberts.

Of course I am biased. I read Tansy’s book in draft form before it was published as part of a ROR writers retreat. And I’ve been hanging out for the next instalment ever since.

She takes the decadence and frivolity of Ancient Rome, combines it with the Roaring Twenties, Sky Battles and Seriously Sexy Shape-shifters. Impossible you say?

See here for a taste.

But don’t listen to me. See here and here for what the reviewers are saying.

And if that doesn’t convince you, go here for a podcast reading.

And the best thing is that we RORees are on a countdown for another ROR right before World Con in September,  so I get to read book two of the Creature Court!

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Filed under Australian Writers, Dark Urban Fantasy, Fantasy books, Fun Stuff, Genre, Promoting Friend's Books, Writing Groups

KRK Book One – Free Sample

Over HERE at the Solaris Blog, also known as When Gravity Fails, they have announced the first chapter of KRK book one is available for download.

Hope you enjoy.

And of course the good thing is that books two and three will be released in August and September. No waiting, for you fantasy junkies.

I know I would much rather buy a whole series so I don’t have to wait for the next book.  In fact, if I find an author I like, I buy all their books and read them in chronolgical order to see how they develop as a writer.

But not everyone is as obsessed as me.

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Filed under Book Giveaway, Fantasy books, Genre, Readers

I have my ‘grump’ on …

For no reason that I can see, I just feel grumpy.

I feel like here should be a big sign over me that says, ‘Warning Irrationally Grumpy Woman’.

There’s no reason for this. I had a lovely weekend. My husband and I went to IKEA to look for a unit to put the new TV on. We’d never been there before. As we drove under the building and saw the miles of parking that went on and on, we both burst out laughing.  I guess you had to be there.

We nearly got lost walking around. I felt like we should both be wearing proximity beepers so we could track each other down. There were young families, middle aged couples and even teenagers who had been dragged along by their parents. The place seemed to cater to every demographic.

Then, just to be sure we’d savoured the whole IKEA experience, we stopped in their coffee shop and my husband had Swedish Meatballs (which seemed just like Australian meatballs to me) and I had pasta.

As we sat there eating the glass wall beside us looked out over the escalator which just keep pouring people from the entrance, up to the first floor showroom like the shop was an insatiable animal devouring customers. And don’t get me started on the huge stock room out the back, where you select your flat-pack furniture.  The shelves went up three storeys high. I could stage a post apocalypse story there. (Even when writers don’t appear to be working, they are working).

On the whole, it was a very interesting experience, made all the more fun because we went there together and we could catch eachother’s eye and share a secret smile.

So I shouldn’t be grumpy. I really shouldn’t.

By the way, we bought our new TV unit. My husband spent a couple of hours putting it together and he only had one screw left over. I’m sure they do that just to mess with your mind.


Filed under creativity, The World in all its Absurdity

Lovers of Dark Urban Fantasy …

For those of you who like Dark Urban Fantasy, here is a review of Trent Jamieson’s book. Death Most Definite. They say:

‘The fascinating central premise of Death as a corporate interest is handled in a serious and frighteningly credible manner, allowing for some engrossing and inventive world-building on the author’s part; the twist-laden plot belts along at breathtaking pace from page one (‘unputdownable’ is a fair description)’

Naturally, I’m delighted with this. I got to read Trent’s book in the final draft at ROR in March 2009 when we stayed in Maleny. Lots of delicious cooking, thanks to Dirk Flinthart, lots of wine and lots of talk about the craft of writing, while analysing my friends’ wonderful books. What could be better?

And here is the bookplate I designed for Trent. Look out for book one of his Death Works trilogy in the bookstores in August.

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Filed under Australian Writers, creativity, Dark Urban Fantasy, Promoting Friend's Books, The Writing Fraternity, Writing craft, Writing Groups

Matrix Overloaded!

Today I watched the first Matrix movie and analysed it with my students, twice. We looked at the way the movie follows the Hero’s Journey and the classic three act structure.

The Matrix hits so many of the steps of the Hero’s Journey it’s a good one to use. The call to adventure is actually a phone call, the Resurrection is actually a resurrection.

The first Matrix movie was made in 1999, 11 years ago and the students who were with me would have been kids at the time. They laughed at scenes that, when the movie came out, made us go ‘Wow, that is so cool’.

This made me realise how lines and images from the movie have become genre tropes, which I guess is a sign of a ground breaking genre movie.

For instance, that image of Carrie-anne Moss leaping into the air, had become a cliche by the time the princess did it in the first Shrek movie.

And there’s the spoon boy. In my house we sometimes say ‘There is no spoon’ to close a philosophical discussion. Everyone gets the reference.

Wonder what they boy is doing now.

And then there’s bullet time. Even the phrase carries the connotations. It’s a short-hand way of describing action.

For those of you who are into these things here’s a site with memorable quotes from the movie.

I enjoyed revisiting the first Matrix movie and taking the time to analyse what the Wachowski brothers were doing.

It is not the sort of thing I’d choose to watch over and over, unlike Fire Fly for instance, which has layers upon layers. But I can still admire it for what it is.

I guess a writer or movie maker knows they have made an impression when things they’ve created become part of popular culture. When a new type of hominid gets named a ‘hobbit’  you know that the book where that invented word appeared has become mainstream.

What movies of books have made a lasting impression on you? What did you find yourself thinking about days afterwards?

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Filed under Characterisation, creativity, Fun Stuff, Genre, Movies & TV Shows, Resonance, Writing craft

Giveaway Alert!

Over at the Mad Genius Club – Writers Division we are doing a giveaway of 2 copies of ‘The King’s Bastard’.

So drop by and try your luck!

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Filed under Book Giveaway

Help for writers …

Writing is a lonely business, just you and the characters in your head.

But you don’t have to be alone, looking out at the big world of publishing, wishing you were swimming in those waves. (OK, I’ll stop the analogy now).

There are writing groups out there specifically for Speculative Fiction writers (spec fic – fantasy, science fiction and horror). I’ve done a post over at the ROR blog which attempts to be a round-up of Australian Spec Fic writing groups.

I learnt so much from the Vision writing group and made friends many of whom have gone on to be published writers. It is great to be able to share the ups and downs of completing a book, sending it off, getting rejections and ploughing on.

Only another writer will really understand the thrill of that phone call, when an editor rings you up to make an offer on your book. (They ring you up because they like to hear you go ‘Squeeee’ when you realise what they are saying).

So consider joining a writing group. If meeting in person feels a bit daunting, there are the online groups. Vision has an e-group where you can dip your toes in the water, as it were. (Okay, now I really will stop with the analogy).

Do you belong to a writing group? Maybe you belong to a reading group.

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Filed under Australian Writers, Nourish the Writer, The Writing Fraternity, Writing craft, Writing Groups

Yay for Terry Pratchett!

This is such a great Terry Pratchett cover.

I’ve always thought if I ever became really rich and famous from my writing, I’d like to set up a competition for new writers to help them break in. And this is what Terry Pratchett has done.

The Terry Pratchett Prize!

Sir Terry Pratchett and Transworld Publishers are proud to launch a new award for aspiring debut novelists, The Terry Pratchett Anywhere But Here, Anywhen But Now Prize. Transworld will offer the winning author a publishing contract with a £20,000 advance.
The award will be judged by Sir Terry Pratchett, Tony Robinson, Michael Rowley from Waterstone’s and two senior members of the editorial team at Transworld Publishers.

The deadline for submissions is 31 December 2010. For further details about the award, and full terms and conditions, please click on the link below

See the Terry Pratchett web site for full details.

I had the good fortune to share breakfast with Terry back in 1999 at the Melbourne World Con.  I’m a big fan of his books. My favourite character is Vimes, although I am very fond of Susan and Granny Weatherwax.

Whenever I run a writing fantasy workshop for teenagers, there will be some boy sitting up the back, making wisecracks. I’ll say to him, ‘I bet you read Terry Pratchett. He’s brilliant.’ And the kid’s eyes will light up – a grown-up who gets Terry Pratchett!

So I have a soft spot for Terry. How can you not like a guy who says:

‘I’ll be more enthusiastic about encouraging thinking outside the box when there’s evidence of any thinking going on inside it.’

For more Terry Pratchett quotes visit this site.

So here’s raising a cyber glass of bubbly to you, Terry. I sold my first book after entering a writing competition. (I didn’t win or place, or get an honourable mention). What I did get was annoyed enough to send the book off to a publisher. LOL.

Have you ever entered a writing competition?


Filed under Competitions, Genre, Nourish the Writer, Publishing Industry, Workshop/s

The Power of Fantasy

I spent way too long today writing an article on fantasy, why it is popular with both the writers who choose to write in this genre, and with the readers, who keep buying those trilogies.

I should have been working on the the first draft of the book I have to put into ROR for critiquing. We plan to have a ROR the week before World Con and I’m really looking forward to the feedback.  But first I have to get my book finished (at least the story arc completed, if not polished) and then I have to read everyone else’s books and write reports on them. I’m 360 pages into the new book, but I need to go right through it from the beginning to tie all the loose ends together, then sail past page 360 and give resolution to the story.

So I should not have spent my only day off work writing an article on the fantasy genre. I agonised over what to cover and what to leave out. I had to make it accessible for those who did not read fantasy, while giving it an Australian slant. I emailed writer friends for quotes on why they wrote fantasy and what they thought readers got from fantasy books. And I sourced lots of links for readers to click through. I could not find a definitive list of Australian fantasy writers, categorised by fiction length and sub genre.

I’d like to thank everyone who indulged me and answered my emails. And I’d like to say, if I haven’t mentioned your favourite author it was not because I don’t appreciate them, rather it was due to lack of space. The genre is far too big to cover in one article. The article is here at the Australian Literature Review.

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Filed under Australian Writers, Fantasy books, Genre, The Writing Fraternity