yearsbest2015

My bittersweet (and Ditmar Award-winning!) post-revolutionary fairytale “A Hedge of Yellow Roses” has been selected for the 2015 Year’s Best Australian Fantasy & Horror! The book is edited by Liz Grzyb and Talie Helene and is available for preorder now from Ticonderoga Publications.

It has a great cross-section of current Australian writers, and if you’re looking to get a survey of what’s happening here then it’s not a bad place to start!

  • Joanne Anderton, “2B”
  • Alan Baxter, “The Chart of the Vagrant Mariner”
  • Deborah Biancotti, “Look How Cold My Hands Are”
  • Stephen Dedman, “Oh, Have You Seen The Devil”
  • Erol Engin, “The Events at Callan Park”
  • Jason Fischer, “The Dog Pit”
  • Dirk Flinthart, “In the Blood”
  • Kimberley Gaal, “In Sheep’s Clothing”
  • Stephanie Gunn, “The Flowers That Bloom Where Blood Touches Earth”
  • Lisa Hannett, “Consorting With Filth”
  • Robert Hood, “Double Speak”
  • Kathleen Jennings, “A Hedge of Yellow Roses”
  • Maree Kimberley, “Ninehearts”
  • Jay Kristoff, “Sleepless”
  • Martin Livings, “El Caballo Muerte”
  • Danny Lovecraft, “Reminiscences of Herbert West”
  • Kirstyn McDermott, “Self, Contained”
  • Sally McLennan, “ Mr Schmidt’s Dead Pet Emporium”
  • DK Mok, “Almost Days”
  • Faith Mudge, “Blueblood”
  • Samantha Murray, “Half Past”
  • Jason Nahrung, “Night Blooming”
  • Garth Nix, “The Company of Women”
  • Anthony Panegyres, “Lady Killer”
  • Rivqa Rafael, “Beyond the Factory Wall”
  • Deborah Sheldon, “Perfect Little Stitches”
  • Angela Slatter, “Bluebeard’s Daughter”
  • Cat Sparks, “Dragon Girl”
  • Lucy Sussex, “Angelito”
  • Anna Tambour, “Tap”
  • Kaaron Warren, “Mine Intercom”

Murder! Heists! Creativity! Secrets!

(more…)

 

Hear Me Roar cover

Ticonderoga Publications is giving away a copy of its latest anthology Hear Me Roar through Goodreads. The giveaway is currently open and finishes on 1 August 2015.

  • Cherith Baldry, “Star Bright”
  • Jenny Blackford, “The Sorrow”
  • Kay Chronister, “Dustbowl”
  • Stephanie Gunn, “Broken Glass”
  • Kathryn Hore, “Generation Zero”
  • Kathleen Jennings, “A Hedge of Yellow Roses”
  • Faith Mudge, “Blueblood”
  • T R Napper, “The Silica Key”
  • Rivqa Rafael, “Function A:save(target.Dawn)”
  • Alter S. Reiss, “Catalysis”
  • Jane Routley, “Barista”
  • Cat Sparks, “Veteran’s Day”
  • Kyla Ward, “Cursebreaker: The Mutalibeen and the Memphite Mummies”
  • Marlee Jane Ward, “Clara’s”
  • Susan Wardle, “A Truck Called Remembrance”
  • Janeen Webb, “A Wondrous Necessary Woman”
  • Eleanor R Wood, “The Fruits of Revolution”

My story, “A Hedge of Yellow Roses”, is about what happens to fairytale curses which are given too late, and what becomes of enchanted girls when there are no princes left. It begins:

Vagabonds leave signs in the road for those who know how to read them. Royalists also have their secret language of warnings and betrayals. This story too, in its fashion, is a sign to mark the way I went.

 

Ticonderoga Publications has announced the table of contents for its new dark urban fantasy anthology Bloodlines, edited by Amanda Pillar and scheduled for October.

  • Joanne Anderton “Unnamed Children”
  • Alan Baxter “Old Promise New Blood”
  • Nathan Burrage “The Ties of Blood, Hair and Bone”
  • Dirk Flinthart “In The Blood”
  • Rebecca Fung “In the Heart of the City”
  • Stephanie Gunn “The Flowers That Bloom Where Blood Touches Earth”
  • Kelly Hoolihan “The Stone and the Sheath”
  • Kathleen Jennings “The Tangled Streets”
  • Pete Kempshall “Azimuth”
  • Martin Livings “A Red Mist”
  • Seanan McGuire “Into the Green”
  • Anthony Panegyres “Lady Killer”
  • Jane Percival “The Mysterious Mr Montague”
  • Paul Starkey “The Tenderness of Monsters”
  • Lyn Thorne-Adder “Lifeblood of the City”
  • S. Zanne “Seeing Red”

It includes my story “The Tangled Streets”, which I wrote several years ago after getting happily lost in Darlinghurst on a crisp autumn day. It’s about streets and city-time and emergency maps, among other things.KJennings Tangled Streets

Surrender: Illustration Friday/February header

Did I mention I have a new story out in issue 31 of Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet? I do! It is called “Skull and Hyssop” and is an airship adventure, introducing the would-be-dashing Captain Moon, an enigmatic Weatherfinder, and Eliza Blancrose (who always wears a very smart hat). I say “introducing” because I have started a story about Eliza’s arrival in Poorfortune, and What She Found There.

Here is the full table of contents:

Fiction

Jessy Randall, “You Don’t Even Have a Rabbit”
Goldie Goldbloom, “Never Eat Crow”
Kathleen Jennings, “Skull and Hyssop”
Owen King, “The Curator”
Sarah Micklem, “The Necromancer of Lynka”

Nonfiction

Nicole Kimberling, “Crazy-Sexy Agriculture = CSA”
About the Authors

Poetry

Lesley Wheeler, “Four Poems”

Cover

Ursula Grant

The two pictures in this post are older drawings which date from the early drafts of the story, when I was still trying to work out the look and feel I wanted – from recollection it spun off a glimpse of the figurehead of the Cutty Sark, a girl with whom I used to work, and the idea of “steampunk but blue”.

Illustration Friday: Heights

Today, on Twitter, Text Publishing was (facetiously?) harking back to the gentler days before the great YA/Adult Lit debate, and wishing for some new pieces on the death of print publishing. I think they wanted links to articles, but I wrote a poem instead.

Print is Dead

Ink stains the sheets.
The newswires said
Behind a locked door
Print lies dead.

TV detectives
Trace white lines
Where the books fell
With broken spines.

(The culprit words
In bright neon
Through dirty windows
Flicker on,

Then flicker off.)
Print lies there, still
Ignoring all the ink
We spill.

On Peter M Ball’s repeated recommendations, I’ve just finished reading Booklife: Strategies and Survival Tips for the 21st-Century Writer, by Jeff Vandermeer, attempting to read it both as a writer and for its potential for application to illustrating (Artlife?).

Print

Of the whole dense and informative book, the part which stayed with me was the section on goals.

Curious personal hang-ups

Now, goals and five-year-plans are not news, but I never saw the point. “A plan is a basis for change,” after all, and “No plan survives contact with the enemy”. Also, “man plans, God laughs,” and serendipity has always been quite good to our family, while “saying ‘I wish’ means you aren’t happy with the way things are,” and if you admit you aren’t happy with the way things are, then you fix them. If that sounds like an odd combination of military principles, hippy survivalist mentality and Puritan work ethic, welcome to my upbringing.
So I have never set official goals, and nothing went horribly wrong (except for accidentally becoming a lawyer).

The blindingly obvious

Reading Booklife, it finally clicked: The idea of goals, not primarily as a destination but as a template for making decisions.

The casting vote. The deciding principle. Something to be regularly referred to, not for motivation but for course-correction.

The paper in my pocket

So I have made a list, dividing it into three columns: one for writing, one for art, and one for more general business/financial/support goals. Then I have a row for the 5 year goals, the 1 year goals, and then twelve months, with the current one broken into weeks.

As per the book, the intention is to refer to this when making decisions about what to do, or concentrate on, or stop doing. Does this get me nearer to a goal? Does it also support one of the others? Is the effort:result ratio reasonable or is it pulling me away from other things? Does this thing which is taking up all my evenings this week and has nothing to do with a goal really matter? And if so, should I revise the goals?

Past form

The odd thing (or alternatively proof that it is largely semantics, and that semantics matter) was that, for all my goal-aversion, I was already doing this in two respects:

  • I had stopped making New Year’s Resolutions several years ago, and started making lists of New Year’s Aspirations, being things it would be fun to achieve/do/eat. (I recommend this approach).
  • I had been keeping an illustration wish list of jobs or techniques I wanted to try, which both gave me a guide of jobs to chase/accept and a sense of satisfaction when I was able to tick something off. Although I still haven’t done endpapers.

Digression on ducks

Making the list, I found it interesting to note the apparently necessary differences between the art and writing goals (Write a Big Thing vs Draw a Duck), and the shape of reaching them (Plan/Draft/Revise/Edit/Repeat vs Draw a Duck). Writing (even short stories) is often long-term, large-scale, with a high threshold to audience appreciation, and creator-driven. Illustration consists of many small projects, at a smaller scale, easily seen and reacted to, and often pushed/pulled forward by art directors and deadlines.

I’m curious to see how the two diverge or converge over time, and whether I can more deliberately adapt approaches and mentalities from one into the other.

A Duck with a Plan

DuckWithPlan