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!
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 (tor.com).
And Margo won a Best Novel for Sea Hearts (Allen and Unwin). To top it off, she also won the Hemming for Sea Hearts!
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.
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.”
The trilogy The Outcast Chronicles (comprising the novels Besieged, Exile 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!
Me again! Sorry, but I just have to share this – I’m head over heels in love with it! It’s the trailer for SONG OF THE SLUMS, now up on YouTube. See Queen Victoria headbanging! Be shocked and outraged as rock ‘n roll arrives in the middle of the 19th century! Hang onto your top hats and corsets!
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 -
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!
This is an excellent opportunity for writers of any genre, fiction or non-fiction, to get feedback on their manuscript from Industry Professionals in a wonderful setting on a writers retreat.
QWC/Hachette Manuscript Development Program
Queensland Writers Centre and Hachette Australia are proud to announce that the 6th national QWC/Hachette Manuscript Development Program will open to applications on 1 May. Open to fiction and non-fiction writers, the program gives up to 10 lucky emerging Australian writers the unparalleled opportunity to work with editors from Hachette Australia to develop their manuscripts. During a four-day retreat in Brisbane, the winning writers will work intensively on their manuscript and learn from publishing industry professionals including literary agents, booksellers and established authors.
“I had only been writing for a short time. But during those five days I learned an enormous amount and still refer to the notes I took during the seminars. I was subsequently offered a two book contract.” Phillipa Fioretti was accepted into the program in 2008 and her debut novel Books of Love was published in 2010. Her second novel Fragment of Dreams was release in April 2011.
“Not only did I get to go on a five-day retreat in sunny Queensland, but I also got to share the experience with seven other fantastic writers. I left the program with a strong direction and focus.” Favel Parrett was accepted into the 2008 program and her debut novel Past The Shallows was published in 2011. It has since been longlisted for the 2012 Miles Franklin Award and won the Australian Book Industry Awards for Newcomer of the Year.
So this is an opportunity for people writing across different genres.
BEST CHILDREN’S & YA BOOK: Sea Hearts by Margo Lanagan (Allen & Unwin)
Independent booksellers do what all booksellers should: you know your books and you know your customers, and you match the one to the other with skill and enthusiasm. You ARE word of mouth, the most important factor in any book’s success. Margo Lanagan, Sea Hearts
I love editing. I’d not edited for a number of years (since The Outcast and Issue 25 of Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, which means I’ve actually edited FIVE of the RoRians) and I missed it.
This was the impetus behind In Fabula-divino (a very loose translation from Latin of The Tale-tellers – don’t tell my high school Latin teacher how bad it is).
I’d sold my trilogy to HarperCollins and was anticipating a bright, shining career as an author. However, I didn’t want that mean that I never edited again.
What I came up with was a bold plan – I’d take one story a month from an up-and-coming writer, work them like crazy through an approximation of the editing process at a major publishing house, then publish them: first online and at the end of the year, in an anthology. During the month they worked with me they’d also be able to use me as a mentoring resource, firing questions at me about the industry and how it worked in the hopes they’d avoid the mistakes I’ve made.
Oh – and I’d pay them a professional pay rate.
I had a dream of this being a project that continued for years, with the sales of the end-of-year anthologies funding the continuation. Unfortunately, life decided that wasn’t to be and the project ended with just eight stories published.
I’ve gone ahead and published the anthology anyway – for some of these writers, it will be the first time they ever see their words in print, and that’s something every writer should get to experience.
Even though it hasn’t turned out the way I wanted it to, I’ve loved the process and should ‘life’ change its mind, I want to do it again and here’s why:
Working on story at this level sharpens your own understanding of story. My insights into things such as backstory and characterisation have deepened a great deal, and this has helped my own writing
Authors are very cool people to work with. They come from such diverse backgrounds, and with differing interests and styles. In In Fabula-divino for example, the eight authors include a retiree from Alaska, a pastor from Sydney and a high school student from Wollongong. It broadens my own horizons and experience, which is always a good thing for a writer
There’s so many myths out there about writing, and what’s required to be a successful writer. It’s great to have the one-on-one opportunity to debunk these. Every writer I save from ignorance is a good thing
I get as much – if not more satisfaction – from the successes of others than I do my own. Publishing people, giving them their first story credit, seeing them get great reviews and feedback – that makes me very happy
I get to create very pretty books. The In Fabula-divino anthology has just 12 stories in it (I convinced four fabulous friends to contribute as well) and the amazing Shauna O’Meara did the art, while Jodi Cleghorn from eMergent Publishing joined as publishing partner. The result is a lovely little book that I’m very proud of
In the meantime, I’ll try not to get too antsy about the fact I’m taking another break from editing…
Nicole Murphy is a writer and editor whose latest editing project was the mentoring/publishing scheme In Fabula-divino. The anthology has been released and is available at Amazon and Smashwords (print version coming soon). For more information visit http://thetaletellers.wordpress.com
By George, I think we’ve got it! And a devilish fine cover it is too!
You can see Astor and Verrol running down a wet alleyway in a Victorian era city (could be London, could be Brummingham – both feature in the novel). The wetness of the alley is a triumph of art over nature, because Cathy Larsen, the genius who created the cover, had to scoop dirty water from a puddle and splash it by hand over the cobblestones to get the right effect for the photoshoot (the alley is actually in Melbourne). Astor has copper-colour hair, as in the novel, Verrol has a steampunk guitar slung over his back because they’re in a Victorian-era rock band. What, you didn’t know rock n roll began in the 19th century? Um, well, here’s the blurb from the back cover, copied out to reveal the whole story …
What if they’d invented rock ‘n roll way back in the 19th century?
What if it could take over the world and change the course of history?
In the slums of Brummingham, the outcast gangs are making a new kind of music, with pounding rhythms and wild guitars.
Astor Vance has been trained in refined classical music. But when her life plummets from riches to rags, the only way she can survive is to play the music the slum gangs want.
Charismatic Verrol, once her servant, is now her partner in crime … and he could be so much more if only he’d come clean about his mysterious past.
It comes out in May from Allen & Unwin – not long now!