Aurealis Awards Finalists

It’s that time of year again and the AA Shortlist has been announced. Very proud to share the good news.

Congratulations to Launz and Tansy who are finalists:


Path of Night by Dirk Flinthart (FableCroft Publishing) in the Best Horror Novel section.


Ink Black Magic by Tansy Rayner Roberts (FableCroft Publishing) in the Best Fantasy Novel section.


And Tansy and I both have stories in:

One Small Step, An Anthology Of Discoveries by Tehani Wessely (Ed) (FableCroft Publishing), which is a finalist in Best Anthology.

Cold White Daughter, Tansy Rayner Roberts

The Ways of the Wyrding Women, Rowena Cory Daniells.


Tehani Wessely founder of FableCroft Publishing must be very proud!

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Workshop Mentoring Opportunity

Having run EnVision which was a 5 day mentoring opportunity for writers to polish their books under the guidance of an experienced author, I know how useful this opportunity can be. So I’m delighted to announce that the Gold Coast Writers Workshop Team have come up with a workshop series that will be very useful for emerging writers.

If you are planning to write a book, or have written your first draft this could be for you. I asked Kathy Stewart a few questions.

GCWW logo copy


Q: What prompted you and the other Gold Coast Writers Workshop (GCWW) coordinators to establish the Novel Development Program in 2014 (NPD1 2014 )?

We felt there was a need for a focused novel development program. There are a lot of writers on the Gold Coast and at present they need to travel at least an hour north or south in order to learn more about writing. We feel our program offers great value for money, though, so are happy to take writers from other regions if they would like to participate.

Q: Who do you see most benefiting from this year long workshop experience and is it open to writers aiming at all age groups and genres? (Do the writers have to be over 18?)

The program is designed for beginning writers, or for more experienced writers who are trying a new genre. We would also welcome those who have previously self-published if they would like to apply. It’s open to writers across all fiction genres and is also open to those under 18.

Q: I see the GCWW coordinators will be overseeing the NDP1 2014 on-line discussion during the year and running 4 face-to-face sessions as well in April, June, August and October. What do you envisage happening during these sessions?

The face-to-face sessions will give the participants a chance to read part of their work to their fellow writers and receive feedback in a constructive and supportive environment. They will also have the chance to network and perhaps create a buddy system for future critiquing. These sessions will be run by experienced writers and/or professional editors so no harsh or damaging critiquing will be allowed. The focus will be on encouragement to produce the best work possible. We feel a particular strength of our program is that we have four experienced coordinators who are willing to give their time to make this program a success. Two are very experienced writers and two are writers and/or professional editors.

Louise Cusack
Louise Cusack

Q: There are 7 full day workshops run by experienced mentor and published author Louise Cusack. What should writers expect at these workshops?

The first two-day workshop will give participants the tools they need to start writing their novel. Subsequent workshops will be tailored to address specific areas, such as dialogue and characterisation, according to the needs of the participants. These sessions will evolve from issues that Louise, participants or coordinators identify emerging during the course.

Q: During the last NDP1 2014 session on November the 8th there will be an Industry Panel* with Louise Cusack, Alex Adsett (agent) and Jodi Cleghorn (editor), as well as a pitching session to the agent or editor. By this time the writers should have their manuscripts finished so they will be pitching the book they’ve worked on. This is a great opportunity. Gold Coast Writers Workshops have really been working hard on organising this. How does the group find the time to do their own writing as well as setting up this opportunity?

Ha, ha. With difficulty! But our motto is Workshops by Writers for Writers, and we’ve made it a policy that we must all remain focused on our goal to continue writing ourselves as well as provide great courses and workshops for others. We’re all working on projects of varying lengths and most of us enter competitions regularly as well.

A GCWW Editing Workshop
A GCWW Editing Workshop

Q: The cost, $625, is very reasonable for the on-line component with coordinators, four face-to-face sessions and seven workshops with Louise Cusack. How did you keep the cost so low?

The short answer is: Also with difficulty! The long answer is that we are all volunteers, we try to source reasonably priced venues, and are very dependent on getting sufficient numbers to cover costs. We are a not-for-profit so all funds are ploughed back into other ventures to provide great workshops for writers. The only place we don’t skimp is in paying our presenters. We make it a policy to pay ASA rates.


*Industry Panel subject to availability.

Posted in Australian Spec Fic Scene, Editors, Mentorships, Nourish the Writer, Plotting, Point of View, Publishing Industry, Writing Craft | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Going French, going German!

Just got my author’s copies of the French and German editions of Song of the Slums. The design follows the model of the French and German covers for Worldshaker and Liberator. Very French and very German respectively! I’m starting to recognise the different cover-art styles of different countries. Here’s the French one, re-titled after Astor, the main character –

FrCover.Astor.Intense107kMidResAnd here’s the German one – front and back. They’ve kept the English title, but I guess almost all Germans speak English anyway.

GmCoverSongIntense160kMidRes GmBACKcoverSongIntense174kMidRes



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Whoohoo For Tansy!

As Bridgette Jones would say ‘Feeling Very Excited Here’.

Tansy has WON A HUGO!!!!

Best Fan Writer

  • Tansy Rayner Roberts
  • Steven H Silver
  • Christopher J. Garcia
  • Mark Oshiro
  • James Bacon

See here for all the Hugo winners!

From all the way across the world in Tasmania, Tansy efforts to analyse speculative fiction in all its guises has been noticed. It will be champagne all ’round at the next ROR, which will be in January, in Tassie, as it turns out.


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Short Story Competition

Just in case you write cross-genre, this came through from Sisters in Crime:

Sisters in Crime 20th Scarlet Stiletto Awards short story competition – now open – $6950 in prize money

Sisters in Crime Australia’s short story competition, the Scarlet Stiletto Awards, turns 20 this year and offers an unprecedented $6950 in prize money. The awards comprise Australia’s most lucrative crime writing competition for either gender. Stories must have a crime or mystery theme and a female protagonist.

The Harper Collins 1st Prize has been increased to $1500 with the winner also receiving the coveted trophy, a scarlet stiletto with its steel heel plunging into a perspex mount.

Melbourne’s Athenaeum Library is again offering a prize of $1000 and a runner-up prize of $500 for the best short story that includes the words ‘body in the library’.

New awards include The Folio Society’s 2nd Prize ($500), the Sun Bookshop 3rd Prize ($350) and the Ann Byrne Award for Best Financial Crime ($350). Kerry Greenwood’s Malice Domestic Award has been increased to $750 and the Clan Destine Press Cross-genre Award is now $350.

Cate Kennedy, who got her entrée to literary stardom through winning the first two Scarlet Stilettos back in 1994 and 1995, is again offering the Best New Talent Award ($350).

National Co-convenor Phyllis King said that Sisters in Crime was delighted that the Awards would be turning 20 with a bang (or a scream, as the case may be).

‘The Scarlet Stiletto Awards have dug up a lot of talent, as well as more than our fair share of bodies. To date, 16 Scarlet Stiletto Award winners — including category winners — have gone on to have novels published: Cate Kennedy, Tara Moss, Angela Savage, Josephine Pennicott, Sara Evans, Inga Simpson, Alex Palmer, Liz Filleul, Margaret Bevege, Patricia Bernard, Bronwen Blake, Jo McGahey, Cheryl Jorgensen, Kylie Fox, Simmone Howell and Amanda Wrangles.

Ellie Marney’s debut novel, which won the 2010 trophy, will be published in October, bringing the total to 17. We’re feeling immensely proud of playing a part in nurturing so much criminal talent.’

Last year, the Awards attracted a record 182 entries. King attributed the increased number to the inaugural Athenaeum Library ‘Body in the Library’ Award, named after Agatha Christie’s famous novel.

Five authors have won the Scarlet Stiletto Award twice and subsequently been invited to become judges: Cate Kennedy, Christina Lee, Roxxy Bent, Janis Spehr and Josephine Pennicott. Only Cate Kennedy, however, has a matching pair of stilettos.

Two collections of winning stories have been published by Clan Destine Press: Scarlet Stiletto: The First Cut and Scarlet Stiletto: The Second Cut.

Closing date for the awards is 31 August. Entry fee is $10; maximum length is 5000 words.

The 20th Scarlet Stiletto Awards will be presented at the Rising Sun Hotel, 2 Raglan Street, South Melbourne at 8pm on Friday 22 November.

A full list of awards follows.


Click here to download an entry form.


20th Scarlet Stiletto Awards:

Harper Collins 1st Prize ($1500 plus trophy)

The Folio Society 2nd Prize ($500)

Sun Bookshop 3rd Prize ($300)

Allen & Unwin Young Writer’s Award (for writers 18 or under) ($500)

Athenaeum Library Body in the Library Award ($1000; runner up $500)

The Kerry Greenwood Malice Domestic Award ($750)

The Cate Kennedy Best New Talent Award ($350)

Clan Destine Press Cross-genre Award ($350)

The Ann Byrne Best Financial Crime Award ($350)

The Catherine Leppert Best Environmental Theme Award ($250)

Benn’s Books Best Investigative Story Award ($200)

ScriptWorks Great Film Idea Award ($200)

Pulp Fiction Funniest Crime Award ($150 voucher)

Posted in Crime and Thrillers, Short Story Competitions | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Margo’s Aurealis Night!

It was a great night at the Aurealis Awards – I was on the return trip from two weeks travelling north doing Song of the Slums school visits, but even my dead brain revivified in the buzz of it all. Pity it’s the last one at Sydney, but the good news is it’ll be moving to Canberra next.

We’re used to Margo collecting awards, but she outdid herself last night! Not only best (joint) YA novel and best fantasy novel for Sea Hearts, but also best fantasy short story and best SF short story (two different stories from the Crackleback collection). I was presenting the fantasy awards – same name to read out twice! Congratulations, Margo!

Here’s a pic of the best fantasy novel award, presenter hugs winner … see how hard it is getting a grip on such a talent!DSC02252

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Congratulations to Tansy and Margo

It’s been a busy week and I’ve only just gotten around to updating the ROR blog after the national SF Con, Conflux. Donna and Nicole and the team did a wonderful job of organising the convention.

Saturday night was Awards night….

Tansy won the Best Fan Writer, for her body of work including, Not If You Were The Last Short Story on Earth. And she won the William Atheling Jr Award for Criticism or Review for ‘Historically Authentic Sexism in Fantasy, Let’s Unpack That (

And Margo won a Best Novel for Sea Hearts (Allen and Unwin). To top it off, she also won the Hemming for Sea Hearts!

Photo courtesy Darkmatter Fanzine

(Tehani picked up Tansy’s awards for her and I got to nurse Tehani’s baby, so it was win-win all ’round!)

Congratulations to everyone. It was a great night. (For a full list of winners and shortlist see here)



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Congratulations to the RORees

Margo and I are doing the ‘Happy Dance’. Our books have both been shortlisted for the Hemming Award. ‘The Norma K. Hemming Award marks excellence in the exploration of themes of race, gender, sexuality, class and disability’.

The judges had some lovely things to say.

sea hearts

The novel Sea Hearts by Margo Lanagan (Allen & Unwin)

“Sea Hearts takes us on a journey through what it means to be male and female, lover and loved, thing and person, and Lanagan’s rich prose goes beyond the fantastical towards new sensibilities and understandings.”

3covers72dpi copy


The trilogy The Outcast Chronicles (comprising the novels BesiegedExile and Sanctuary) by Rowena Cory Daniells (Solaris)

“The Outcast Chronicles trilogy is a tour de force of extraordinarily detailed world building. Rowena has created political intrigue, attempts at genocide, a dangerous world of magic that many believe to be gods, with flawed, noble and ignoble characters on all sides. There is poetry and wit in the writing, and characters that stay with you long after you have finished this gripping trilogy.”

The winner will be announced at the Nat Con, Conflux.

Our congratulations also go to Kate Forsyth and Jo Spurrier for their short listing.  We’ll all have to get together and share a bottle of champers. As I recall, Kate is very fond of French champagne!

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Song of the Slums launch

My new steampunk/gaslight romance novel comes out in May, and we’ve arranged an advance launch at Conflux on Saturday April 27th. Conflux is the National Scence Fiction and Fantasy Convention in Canberra. The top part of the invitation looks like this –

A part of the launch flyer for Conflux Con bags
A part of the launch flyer for Conflux Con bags

Song of the Slums is set in the same steampunk universe as Worldshaker and Liberator, but at an earlier time, when the world is blanketed with smog and pollution after the Fifty Years War. It’s the story of how Astor discovers her talent for playing the drums, and how a new kind of music with a driving rock beat arrives and conquers the world – in the middle of the Victorian 19th century!

There’s a special reason for mentioning it here, because the ROR team saw the first draft and critiqued it at our Tasmanian retreat a year or so ago. Thanks, guys, you made it a better book!

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