I’m busy polishing Thief’s Magic, making that book shine and sparkle, so I may be a bit quiet here for a while. I’ll be Tweeting my progress, though, along with the usual Twitter silliness.
Aaand the final Conflux post:
On the Saturday night Conflux9 held a Masquerade, which is kind of a non-compulsary dress-up party and disco with a theme. This years theme was Junkyard Cathedral, which was about recycling trash into gothic glamour.
Well, I went more for trash than glamour, converting a Royal Mail post bag into a dress and a bubblewrap satchel into a clutch:
Plenty of others got into the spirit of the theme, with torn up, trashy, recycled steampunk and gothy costumes. Here’s selection:
We danced to cheesy 80s and 90s dance music until the hotel curfew, then mingled in the bar for a few hours more. A very enjoyable night!
The Ditmars were announced on the Saturday night of Conflux9. They are like the Hugos in that they are voted upon by members of a conventions, our National Science Fiction Convention, and a couple of other awards are presented at the same time. I took along my zoom lens and managed to take a few good pics, though not all turned out. Here’s the best of them:
Deb Biancotti, the MC – and a fine job she did of keeping everyone in line and entertained.
Yes, there was Lego. They were creating a stand in for someone who couldn’t make it to the ceremony, I believe.
The audience, watching the proceedings with rapt attention.
And not a few nerves, I suspect.
Bill Wright had a throne. I’m not entirely sure why, but he did appear to enjoy it.
Dave Cake did the physical hard labour of delivering the awards to the winners. In this case, the Peter McNamara Award.
Which went to Nick Stathopoulos.
Bill Wright and Grant Stone presenting Russell B Farr with the A. Bertram Chandler Award.
Kirstyn McDermott receiving the Best Fan Publication in Any Medium (won jointly with Ian Mond).
Kathleen Jennings taking the Best Artwork category.
David McDonald snaffling the Best New Talent prize.
Thoraiya Dyer, who won the Best Short Story.
Kaaron Warren thrilled to receive the Best Novella or Novelette.
Nalo Hopkinson announcing the winner of the Best Novel…
… and Margo Lanagan accepting the award.
I didn’t catch everyone and not all the winners were there, so for the full results, go here.
Congratulations to the winners!
On the Friday night a Regency Banquet was held at Conflux9, with food reminiscent of the era and a troupe called Earthly Delights providing the music, dancing and dance instruction.
Maureen and I. I made the dress especially for this event, the first time I’d sewn a dress from scratch since the 90s. (Photo by Jo Kasper.)
The runner up and winner (Rachael) of the costume contest.
Richard, Aileen and Kyla
The lovely co-chair of the convention, Donna Hanson.
And more Regency dancing.
Last weekend the Australian National SF Convention was held in Canberra, and sf fans, writers and publishers from all over the country gathered together for four days. I arrived mid-afternoon on the Thursday, but my official duties began the next day.
On Friday I started with a panel I’d suggested: “Where have all the Australian female fantasy writers gone?” Fellow panelists were Jane Routley, Karen Miller and Keri Arthur, and Glenda Larke filled in for Jane when she had to leave early. The answer to the above question seems to be that nearly all of us are still writing, just some have moved into other genres or subgenres, some are seizing self publishing opportunities, and that, while the the two main big publishers are taking on fewer new authors other companies, large and small, are now publishing fantasy. Women still outnumber men here, and there was a general ‘WTF?’ reaction to the lack of support for female fantasy writers overseas.
Speaking of wonderful Aussie fantasy writers, I was delighted to catch up with Anna Tambour:
I loved her first book, Spotted Lily, a tale of a woman who wants to be a famous writer but can’t be bothered putting in the work so she hires the devil to write one for her. I’m holding Crandolin, her new book, which I’m looking forward to delving into.
After lunch there was a Mass Book Signing during which I chatted to K J Parker and the lovely new editor at HarperCollins Voyager, Rochelle Fernandez. Then I caught the latter half of Marc Gascoigne’s Guest of Honour interview. I love that Australian cons invite editors and publishers as guests as well as authors, as they are always so passionate about publishing and books.
Next I did my first reading at a convention, and chose the chapter 1 of Thief’s Magic to test out on the audience. It turned out to be just a few minutes longer than the half an hour I had, and aside from a few typos I hadn’t caught it worked pretty well.
I then went to see the “Speculative Art” panel, containing Lewis Morley, Marilyn Pride, Kathleen Jennings, Shauna O’Meara and Les Peterson. (Les did the Australian covers of my first two trilogies.) During the discussion, which covered hand-made vs digital and reasonable payment for work, I sketched the panelists:
That evening’s event was a fabulous Regency Banquet, which I’m going to compose a separate post about.
Saturday began early with my second panel: “The Ethics of Immortality”. Chaired by Jenny Blackford, the other panelists were Jane Virgo, Duncan Lay, and Ian Nichols. What seemed to emerge from the discussion was that, people being very different, everyone would react to having a long or endless life in ways that reflected their mortal personality.
After lunch I caught most of Nalo Hopkinson’s Guest of Honour interview. A lovely guest with a great sense of humour, her description of her sources of inspiration and the US SF writing community were fascinating and illuminating.
Then it was time for my Kaffeklatch, a half hour of nattering to four fans that turned into a very pleasant chatty hour – especially I had met and hung out with most of the attendees by this point.
The next big event followed: the Ditmar Awards. I’m going to save that one for another post as well. (I have a lot of photos from this con.)
Afterwards I picked up two books by local fantasy writers I hadn’t got around to reading yet: his charmingness Duncan Lay and her coolness K J Taylor:
And then it was time to frock up for the last of the big events: the Masquerade Disco. Pics to come in – yes – another post.
Despite it following a very late night, I was up earlyish on Sunday to catch “Does a cover sell a book?”, discussed by Kathleen Jennings, Shauna O’Meara, Amanda Rainey, Cat Sparks, Mac Gascoigne and Rowena Cory Daniels. Lots of interesting anecdotes and examples. Marc told how one of his authors having a Pinterest board of inspirational images for her book made coming up with a cover so much easier – something I set up for Thief’s Magic as soon as I got home.
Straight after came the In Fabula-divino launch, an anthology supporting new writers that I have a small story in. (See previous post.)
And my last panel of the convention was “The Secret Lives of Authors”, about the hobbies and/or jobs authors have on the side and how they influence their writing. Elizabeth Fitzgerald chaired and Nalo Hopkinson, Glenda Larke and Dirk Flinthart joined me in showing pictures on our laptops or iPads – and Dirk even did a quick martial arts demo with an audience member. Nalo’s craft is artistic and wonderful and Glenda was the envy of many in the audience for a job that has taken her to many beautiful places.
Then that was it. The closing ceremony wound up the con and, with many new fond memories, ideas, friends, photos and books, the attendees slowly dispersed and the committee packed up everything and left. Locals and those staying another night gathered for a dead dog party at a local bar. It was a lovely end to a fabulous weekend.
Since our flight wasn’t until Monday night we were able to visit a few galleries, so by the time we headed home this was how good at keeping to my book buying ban:
But I don’t regret acquiring any of them!
Next weekend I’ll be attending Conflux 9, this years Australian national convention. Here’s where you’ll find me:
11:30am: Panel: Where have all the Australian female fantasy writers gone?
1:30pm: Mass book signing
10:00am: Panel: The Ethics of Immortality
11:00am: In Fabula-divino Launch
12:30pm: Panel: The secret lives of authors
Usually you sign up to the Kaffeklatsch at the registration desk. I’ll be bringing some bookmarks and such to give away.
The postman brought this one to my door last week:
Italian readers can now find out what happens a the end of the Traitor Spy Trilogy, with the release of The Traitor Queen. Enjoy!
Some years ago, when my website had a much simpler blog program, I wrote a blog post about songs and albums that have sparked story ideas or set the mood for writing particular scenes. Unfortunately those early posts are long gone, though I have a plan to add some of them to this site as pages one day, when I have time.
Since then wonderful sites like YouTube and Pinterest have come along, enabling me to create a page of links to music videos or audio tracks. Though I wasn’t able to find video for all the music in that original blog, I have pinned links to a few more influences that have come along since. No doubt I’ll add to it as I made new discoveries. My musical tastes are fairly eclectic, though generally what works best as story mood setters is more ballady/soundtracky.
So if you’re curious, head on over to my Musical Inspiration board.
A couple of foreign editions have arrived in the post lately:
A Brazillian The High Lord…
… and a Spanish The Traitor Queen. Both the final book in their respective trilogies. I hope my Brazillian and Spanish readers enjoy them!
(And a little bird on Twitter tells me that La Regina Dei Maghi, the Italian The Traitor Queen, was also released last week.)
A few years back, while having dinner with some publishing peeps in the USA, I jokingly said I was going to write a fantasy knit lit book next. What is knit lit? It’s a novel that features knitting. It’s not about knitting, it just happens to contain, say, a knitter. And plenty of yarns. (And bad puns.)
The marketing guys got excited because knitting is ‘huge’ – more people knit than play golf, and probably spend more on it too – and then disappointed that I wasn’t serious (though my editor was relieved). Though I was kidding about writing a knit lit book, I did have a great idea for a story and eventually got around to writing it down.
The problem then was finding the right market. From time to time I’ve looked around for a knit lit one, but it was a very specific market and I found nothing currently open. The story would fit just as well in a fantasy anthology, however, or even a romance anthology.
Then my friend and fellow writer, Nicole Murphy, asked if I had anything I’d like to submit to an speculative fiction anthology she was putting together that included the stories she’d published as part of her In Fabula-Divino project. I sent it to her and she pronounced it an ‘utterly gorgeous story’. “A Good Yarn” had found a home.
The anthology has been printed and Nicole will be doing a whole lot of cool things this weekend to launch it into the world, including giving away copies. So head on over to the blog or the Facebook page.
Here’s the table of contents:
Kevin J Anderson and Rebecca Moesta – Sea Dreams
Lily Ariser – A New Ever After
Trudi Canavan – A Good Yarn
A E Decker – In The Wood
Janett L Grady – Stay Out of the Park
Holly Kench – The Secret Life of a Zombie Fan
P J Keuning – Crossroads
S G Larner – Regret
Tony Owens – Digging Out the Ribs of Gold
Joseph W Patterson – Franklin’s Rainbow
Angela Slatter – Dresses, Three
Kaaron Warren – White Bed
With such a great mix of exciting new writers and fabulous established ones, it’s sure to be a wonderful collection.