Another Lovely Surprise

Over the Nat Con weekend Marianne asked me if I wanted to come to the Ditmar Awards with her because she had to present the SF book award. (Congratulations to all the nominees and winners by the way). I thought it would be a good chance to catch up with the friends I only see once a year at conventions.

Here we are in the bar, where all writers end up during a Con.

Marianne, Rowena, Dirk, Trent and Grace

Marianne, Rowena, Dirk, Trent and Grace

So there I was in the Ditmar Awards ceremony, clapping in the right places and enjoying the vibe when Sean Williams started to present the Peter McNamara Lifetime Achievement Award. (Peter McNamara was involved in small press publishing and established, then nurtured the Aurealis Awards back in the 1990s. He was a stalwart of speculative fiction in Australia).

Next thing I knew my name was read out and I realised that Marianne and Tehani (who was the judge this year) had been really sneaky!

Pat McNamara, R and Sean Williams

Pat McNamara, Rowena and Sean Williams

It would be honest to say that I was stunned.

When I went up to accept the award and had to stand there while Sean read out my list of achievements. It was excruciating.

In my acceptance speech I told the story of my meeting with Robert Silverberg at the Australian World Con in 1999. We’d been wedged in a corner at an industry party where, being the socially awkward creature that I am, I’d said, ‘How does it feel to be the Grand Old Man of Speculative Fiction.’ To which he said, ‘Pretty strange considering that I used to be the Bright Young Thing.’

And there I was, giving an acceptance speech for a Lifetime Achievement Award when I used to be one of the vanguard of new faces.

I’d moved to in Melbourne in 1976 (aged 18) with Paul Collins, just after the first Australian World Con which was held in 1975. Back then there weren’t very many published authors in Australia and it was SF fandom, with lots of keen young people meeting to discuss ideas and books. Naturally, we all wanted to be writers. When he learned I wanted to write, Wynne Whiteford gave me the old portable typewriter that he had taken through World War Two. After my first book published in 1999, I acknowledged Wynne at the trilogy launch and sent him a copy of the book.

In 2005 at the National SF Con in Tasmania (where the lovely Anne Bishop was GOH) I’d shared a coffee with Stephanie Smith from Harper Collins and Marianne McNamara, never dreaming that one day I would receive the award named in honour of her husband.

Now that is is 2016, it is a funny feeling to realise that I have been involved in SF Fandom for forty years.

Hopefully, this Lifetime Achievement Award will not mean that my life or my achievements are over. :->

Thank you to everyone this weekend.I’m touched by the support and kindness of my peers.

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Thelma and Louise Inspiration

The real Thelma and Louise

The real Thelma and Louise

When Tehani asked Marianne and I to be the co-hosts for the Aurealis Award it made me think about what the two of us had been through. This September it will be twenty years since we met at the first Vision Writers meeting. Back then we were both so determined to become published authors that we had abandoned our husbands on Father’s Day. For years, we wore our fingers to the bone writing and rewriting books. We submitted, were rejected, reworked our books or wrote new books and submitted again. I speak for myself here, but I think it was the same for Marianne – I think our drive to succeed arose partly because we wanted the validation that we weren’t fooling ourselves. We wanted proof that we really could write.

For the awards we decided to be cheeky and do a Thelma and Louise inspired intro. What follows is my opening speech.

 

This year the Aurealis Awards turn 21. Over the years the awards have evolved, new categories have been added and a great many dedicated people have volunteered their time and energy to grow the awards and the genre. Having been involved in both running and establishing awards I know how much hard work there is and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of those people.

Marianne and I are delighted to be your co-hosts tonight. Like the awards we have evolved over time. We met twenty years ago at the first Vision writers meeting. Between us we had nine children, seven of them boys. Even though our youngest boys were under two, like Thelma and Louise, we dared to dream.

Unlike them, we dreamed of becoming published authors. In between making school lunches and nursing sick children we formed a writing group, went to workshops, attended writers’ festivals and studied the craft of writing. To make the time to critique our work we formed our own play group, and gave each other feedback.

Thanks to our long suffering husbands we were able to escape our families once or twice a year to attend conventions and Aurealis Awards where we really did feel like Thelma and Louise, giddy with the excitement of freedom and mental stimulation.

Somehow we found the time to meet our family responsibilities and still write books and short stories that were good enough to be published. In our spare time we organised national workshops and writers groups and helped judge awards so that we could give back to the writing community and grow the genre.

It’s been a rollicking ride and it is an honour to be here tonight co-hosting the twenty first Aurealis Awards. To celebrate we’re going to do a selfie just like Thelma and Louise.

Unlike Thelma and Louise, we won’t drive the awards off a cliff.

Marianne and I doing our Thelma and Louise impression. Photo courtesy Cat Sparks

Marianne and I doing our Thelma and Louise impression. Photo courtesy Cat Sparks who did a much better job as a photographer than our selfie

After the awards several younger women came up to us and said how they admired what we had done and that we had inspired them to dare to dream, and they spoke of the importance of role models. At the time I hadn’t thought about this, I had been too busy juggling my large family and trying to meet deadlines but hearing from these younger women and sharing in the joy of their successes made me realise that what you do has a ripple effect.

It was lovely to catch up with so many people. If I seemed a little stunned by the end of the evening please accept my apologies. This was the first time I have been out in public doing an event in over two years.

 

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Major Squee

Legends 2, where 'The Giant's Lady' appears, and the actual Aurealis Award for best fantasy short story

Legends 2, where ‘The Giant’s Lady’ appears, and the actual Aurealis Award for best fantasy short story

 

When I heard in February that my work had been shortlisted for two Aurealis Awards I was both delighted and surprised. In Australia the Aurealis Awards are our Big Thing.

 

Here are the short listed stories for the fantasy section:

BEST FANTASY SHORT STORY

“The Giant’s Lady”, Rowena Cory Daniells (Legends 2, Newcon Press)

“The Jellyfish Collector”, Michelle Goldsmith (Review of Australian Fiction Vol. 13 Issue 6)

“A Shot of Salt Water”, Lisa L Hannett (The Dark, TDM Press)

“Almost Days”, DK Mok (Insert Title Here, FableCroft Publishing)

“Blueblood”, Faith Mudge (Hear Me Roar, Ticonderoga Publications)

“Husk and Sheaf”, Suzanne Willis (SQ Mag 22, IFWG Publishing Australia)

 

And here is my KRK series rubbing shoulders with some of the best in the field.

SARA DOUGLASS BOOK SERIES AWARD

The Chronicles of King Rolen’s Kin [The King’s Bastard (2010), The Uncrowned King (2010),The Usurper (2010), The King’s Man (2012), King Breaker (2013)], Rowena Cory Daniells (Solaris Press)

The Watergivers [The Last Stormlord (2009), Stormlord Rising (2010), Stormlord’s Exile(2011)], Glenda Larke (HarperVoyager)

The Lumatere Chronicles [Finnikin of the Rock (2008), Froi of the Exiles (2011), Quintana of Charyn (2012)], Melina Marchetta (Penguin Random House)

Sevenwaters [Daughter of the Forest (2000), Son of the Shadows (2001), Child of the Prophecy(2002), Heir to Sevenwaters (2009), Seer of Sevenwaters (2011), Flame of Sevenwaters (2013)], Juliet Marillier (Pan Macmillan Australia)

The Laws of Magic [Blaze Of Glory (2007), Heart Of Gold (2007), Word Of Honour (2008),  Time Of Trial (2009), Moment Of Truth (2010), Hour Of Need (2011)], Michael Pryor (Random House Australia)

Creature Court [Power and Majesty (2010), Shattered City (2011), Reign of Beasts (2012)], Tansy Rayner Roberts (HarperVoyager)

 

Being shortlisted ‘made my day’.

Then, when Marianne and I were asked to co-host the awards I was both touched and honoured.  I figured I hadn’t won either award and this didn’t surprise me, not with such a strong field. Co-hosting the awards was a chance to ‘glam up’ for an evening and catch up with the friends I only see once a year. (Or in this case I haven’t been out in the ‘real world’  for over two years).

Here I am doing my Marilyn imitation (as a mother of six my life is not at all glamorous)

Here I am doing my Marilyn imitation (as a mother of six my life is not at all glamorous)

 

When I track down from photos (my camera has died) I’m going to do a separate post about the awards ceremony and the fun we had. But right now I’d like to say the things I didn’t say when I was so gobsmacked by winning the award.

I’d like to thank the team who organise the award for all their hard work. There was 55 entries (over 200 books) in the Inaugural Sara Douglas Fantasy Series Award and over 100 short stories in the fantasy section. I’d also like to thank Ian Whates for inviting me to submit to Legends 2, Stories in honour of David Gemmell. 

 

 

The full list of Aurealis winners is below. Many of these people are my friends and I am delighted for them. Others are up and coming writers and I wish them all the best with their careers. It is an honour to be included in such a talented group.

 

The Winners of the 2015 Aurealis Awards

 

aurealis2016

Congratulations to all the winners of the 2015 Aurealis Awards!

BEST CHILDREN’S FICTION

A Single Stone, Meg McKinlay (Walker Books Australia) 

BEST GRAPHIC NOVEL / ILLUSTRATED WORK

The Singing Bones, Shaun Tan (Allen & Unwin)

BEST YOUNG ADULT SHORT STORY

“The Miseducation of Mara Lys”, Deborah Kalin (Cherry Crow Children, Twelfth Planet Press)

BEST HORROR SHORT STORY

“Bullets”, Joanne Anderton (In Sunshine Bright and Darkness Deep, AHWA)

BEST HORROR NOVELLA

“The Miseducation of Mara Lys”, Deborah Kalin (Cherry Crow Children, Twelfth Planet Press)

BEST FANTASY SHORT STORY

“The Giant’s Lady”, Rowena Cory Daniells (Legends 2, Newcon Press)

BEST FANTASY NOVELLA

“Defy the Grey Kings”, Jason Fischer (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Firkin Press)

BEST SCIENCE FICTION SHORT STORY

“All the Wrong Places”, Sean Williams (Meeting Infinity, Solaris)

BEST SCIENCE FICTION NOVELLA

“By Frogsled and Lizardback to Outcast Venusian Lepers”, Garth Nix (Old Venus, Random House)

BEST COLLECTION

To Hold the Bridge, Garth Nix (Allen & Unwin)

BEST ANTHOLOGY

Bloodlines, Amanda Pillar (ed.) (Ticonderoga Publications)

BEST YOUNG ADULT NOVEL

In The Skin of a Monster, Kathryn Barker (Allen & Unwin)

BEST HORROR NOVEL

Day Boy,Trent Jamieson (Text Publishing)

BEST FANTASY NOVEL

Day Boy,Trent Jamieson (Text Publishing)

BEST SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL

Illuminae, Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (Allen & Unwin)

SARA DOUGLASS BOOK SERIES AWARD

The Watergivers [The Last Stormlord (2009), Stormlord Rising (2010), Stormlord’s Exile(2011)], Glenda Larke (HarperVoyager)

THE CONVENORS’ AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE

Letters to Tiptree, Alexandra Pierce and Alisa Krasnostein (Twelfth Planet Press)

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Squee

Only one sleep until the Aurealis Awards. And there’s an added reason to frock up. Marianne and I are going to be EMCeeing the awards.

This is a particular thrill for us as it is the 21st Aurealis Awards  night and the 20th anniversary of the Vision Writers group. 20 years ago Marianne and I escaped our families on Father’s Day (we have very patient husbands) and met at the very first Vision Writers group meeting.

After discovering that we had 9 children between us and that were both eager to pursue our dream of becoming published authors we buddy-ied up, going to workshops and events together.

 

Here we are hanging out at  Melbourne Convention

Here we are hanging out at a Melbourne Convention

There were many times we were all set to go to Brisbane Writers Festival event then one of us would have to cancel because of a sick child.

Here we are at a Supanova event

Here we are at a Supanova event

Through the ups and downs of writing, getting rejected, writing some more, finding an agent and getting published we supported each other. Twenty years later, dozens of books and with our kids all in their twenties now, we have become the ‘establishment’ LOL.

Honestly, it is an honour to be asked to EMC the awards.

If you’re in Brisbane and you’d like to come to the Aurealis Awards tickets are available here.

And the national SF convention CONTACT is on in BrisVegas over the Easter weekend. You can find out more about CONTACT here. This is the place to be if you are interested in the genres of science fiction, fantasy and horror this weekend.

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Whoot Aurealis Award Shortlist

Had some lovely news yesterday. I heard from the Aurealis Awards organisers. Drum roll…

My story, The Giant’s Lady, that appeared in Legends 2, edited by Ian Whates, is a finalist in the Fantasy Short Story section. A big thank you to Ian for inviting me to submit to this anthology in honour of David Gemmell.

GEMMELL+COVER2d (2)

And, another drum roll…

My series, The Chronicles of King Rolen’s Kin, is a finalist in the Inaugural Sara Douglas Fantasy Series Award. This award was named after Sara Douglas who sadly passed away from cancer. There were 55 series entered in this section so I am really honoured to find my work in the shortlist with these wonderful authors.

72DPI_RGB_RCD_KingsMan

A big thank you to the team of hard working volunteers who make the Aurealis Awards possible.

And congratulations to everyone on the shortlist. The full list can be found here.

 

 

 

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Legends 2 Launched

Legends 2, the anthology in honour of David Gemmell, has been launched. Here are some of the authors at Nine Worlds signing books. (Ian Whates, Stan Nicholls, John Gwynne, Ed Cox, Gav Thorpe, and Gavin Smith).

15.08.08.12

 

Meanwhile, across the seas in Australia, I’ll be waiting for my author copies to make their way to my front door.

There are some good reviews up on Amazon already. I notice one of the reviewers mentions that they would like the stories to be longer. Writing fantasy in the short story format is really difficult. You need to give enough background and set up the world, while revealing character and motivation yet still drive the narrative forward. Parring back my story to the right length was a challenge.

GEMMELL+COVER2d (2)

I was chuffed to be asked to contribute and am honoured to be in such good company. Look out for a copy of Legends 2.

 

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My Publisher is having a Sale

I just heard that Solaris are having a 25% off all Epic Fantasy.

Epic Fantasy Sale!

So if you were thinking of trying a new author or you’ve read one of my books and want to pick up the rest, drop over here.

I was trying to get a screen shot of my books, but it looks like they are all mixed up with other books, not sure why. Here’s they are in very good company!

saleSolaris

 

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Author Copies Squee Day

It can take a year to write a book then several years to get published.

With the Fall of Fair Isle the trilogy was written late 90s early 2000s, published, then it drifted into obscurity. People would turn up at events with well-worn copies asking me to sign them, or more often desperate to find a copy of the third book which had sold out.

Now the trilogy has been republished by Solaris and was released in March. It took ages for my copies to reach Australia and then I was flat out with family emergencies (it has been a horrible 18 months) so I only got around to unpacking the box today.

After all the time and effort we poor authors put in you can see why opening a box of your new books is one of the things we look forward to. Apparently, so does my cat.

Here I’ve opened the box and set it up for a nice picture. (not too much household mess in the background LOL)

FOFbox1

 

Then one of the kids interrupts me. There’s a minor emergency, an assignment is due today and we’ve run out of paper.

Disaster averted, I come back to find Sassy cat inspecting the box. You know boxes have a fatal attraction for cats.

FoFbox2

 

‘What?’ she says.

FoFbox3

 

‘Yup, this is the spot. Think I’ll have a nap right here.’

 

FoFbox4

 

Mind you this is the cat who sheds everywhere and being white, she leaves a noticeable trail of fur.

So there you have it. My big girl squee day and the cat steals the show.

 

PS. A big thank you to Clint Langley for the cover and to Solaris for releasing the book as an omnibus. Readers can get the whole trilogy in one big door-stopper!

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Support an Epilepsy Charity Anthology

I often feel that what I do in writing fantasy has no impact on reality. True, I often explore themes of persecution and gender discrimination but compared to someone who works as a nurse, I don’t make a difference to people’s lives.

Then back in January Kristijan contacted me about contributing to The Story Behind the Book, Volume 4, an anthology about the process of writing. It is part of a series of charity anthologies, the proceeds from which go to Epilepsy UK, a registered charity. So of course, I said yes: If I could help in some small way, I would be honoured.

download

 

Kristijan says: “Story Behind the Book: Volume 4” collects nearly 40 essays about writing and editing fiction from some of the most talented authors working today.
These essays reveal intricacies and secrets behind the craft and offer a unique and unprecedented insight into the creative process.

Includes following “Story Behind the Book” essays:

“The Professor of Truth” by James Robertson
“The Bug” by Ellen Ullman
“The Golem and the Jinni” by Helene Wecker
“The Center of the World” by Thomas Van Essen
“Enchantment” by Pietro Grossi
“The Delphi Room” by Melia McClure
“A Fatal Likeness“ by Lynn Shepherd
“The Scent of Death“ by Andrew Taylor
“The Map of the Sky“ by Felix J. Palma
“Murder by the Book“ by Eric Brown
“This Strange Way of Dying“ by Silvia Moreno Garcia
“The Broken Ones” by Stephen M. Irwin
“The ‘Geisters“ by David Nickle
“Blackwater Lights“ by Michael Hughes
“Cain’s Blood” by Geoffrey Girard
“Rivers“ by Michael Farris Smith
“Your Brother’s Blood“ by David Towsey
“Strange Mammals“ by Jason Erik Lundberg
“The Carpet Makers“ by Andreas Eschbach
“The Ravenglass Eye“ by Tom Fletcher
“The One-Eyed Man“ by L. E. Modesitt Jr.
“Copperhead“ by Tina Connolly
“The Tide King“ by Jen Michalski
“Gallow“ by Nathan Hawke
“Elysian Fields“ by Suzanne Johnson
“Theirs Not to Reason Why“ by Jean Johnson
“Aliens: Recent Encounters“ by Alex Dally MacFarlane
“Clockwork Fairy Tales“ by Stephen L. Antczak
“23 Years on Fire“ by Joel Shepherd
“The Shifted World“ by Philippa Ballantine
“Bang Bang“ by Patrick Malloy
“Gods of Earth“ by Craig DeLancey
“Wisp of a Thing“ by Alex Bledsoe
“Dream London“ by Tony Ballantyne
“Persistence of Memory“ by Winona Kent
“Disability in Science Fiction : Representations of Technology as Cure“ by Kathryn Allan
“King Breaker“ by Rowena Cory Daniells
“Gideon Smith & the Mechanical Girl“ by David Barnett

All proceeds will be donated to Epilepsy Action
Edited by: Kristijan Meic, Ivana Steiner.
It’s wonderful to see so many good writers supporting this cause and talking about their craft. f you are interested in the process of writing, then this is the anthology for you. You can download copies here, or purchase a paperback here. Please support this worthwhile cause.

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Feeling Chuffed!

I’ve been sitting on a secret for a couple of weeks now, since I was delighted to learn one of my stories had been selected for Australian Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror 2013.  Had to wait for the official announcement, before I could let anyone know.

The years best anthologies are produced by Ticonderoga Press, edited by Liz Gryb and Tallie Helene, with an absolutely gorgeous cover. Kudos guys.


years-best-fantasy-and-horror-v4-web

 

Congratulations to everyone selected for the anthology. Waves to my friends and colleagues.

Lee Battersby, “Disciple of the Torrent”, Tales of Australia: Great Southern Land
Deborah Biancotti, “All the Lost Ones”, Exotic Gothic 5 Vol I
Trudi Canavan, “Camp Follower”, Fearsome Journeys
Robert Cook, “Glasskin”, Review of Australian Fiction Vol 5 #6
Rowena Cory Daniells, “The Ways of the Wyrding Women”, One Small Step
Terry Dowling, “The Sleepover”, Exotic Gothic 5 Vol II
Thoraiya Dyer, “After Hours”, Asymmetry
Marion Halligan, “A Castle in Toorak”, Griffith Review #42
Dmetri Kakmi, “The Boy by the Gate”, The New Gothic
David Kernot, “Harry’s Dead Poodle”, Cover of Darkness Magazine
Margo Lanagan, “Black Swan Event”, Griffith Review #42
S. G. Larner, “Poppies”, Aurealis #65
Martin Livings, “La Mort d’un Roturer”, This is How You Die
Kirstyn McDermott, “Caution: Contains Small Parts”, Caution: Contains Small Parts
Claire McKenna, “The Ninety Two”, Next
C.S. McMullen, “The Nest”, Nightmare Magazine
Juliet Marillier, “By Bone-Light “, Prickle Moon
David Thomas Moore, “Old Souls”, The Book of the Dead
Faith Mudge, “The Oblivion Box”, Dreaming of Djinn
Ryan O’Neill, “Sticks and Stones”, The Great Unknown
Angela Rega, “Almost Beautiful”, Next
Tansy Rayner Roberts, “The Raven and Her Victory”, Where Thy Dark Eye Glances: Queering Edgar Allan Poe
Nicky Rowlands, “On the Wall”, Next
Carol Ryles, “The Silence of Clockwork”, Conflux 9 Convention Programme
Angela Slatter, “Flight”, Once Upon a Time: New Fairy Tales
Anna Tambour, “Bowfin Island”, Caledonian Dreamin’
Kaaron Warren, “Born and Bread”, Once Upon a Time: New Fairy Tales
Janeen Webb, “Hell is Where the Heart is”, Next

The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2013 is scheduled for publication in late-November 2014 and can be pre-ordered at indiebooksonline.com. The anthology will be available in hardcover, ebook and trade editions.

At over 10,000 words, I didn’t think The Ways Wyrding Women would ever be published. It was too long for a short story and would take up too much room in an anthology. But Tehani Wessley of Fablecroft Press published it in One Small Step, the anthology which won an Aurealis Award and now it has been selected for  The Year’s Best Australian Australian Fantasy and Horror. So thank you, Tehani!

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