Friday, July 31, 2009


Today I've been researching characterisation. Well, for the last few days I've been researching characterisation and it's thanks mainly to an old bellboy in the film 'Somewhere in Time'.

Allow me to explain.

The leading lady, played by Jane Seymour, is a wonderfully full and complex character, as is Christopher Reeves character. Even the bad guy, who really only has the young starlets best interests at heart, played by Christopher Plummer, is a full and interesting enough character that the viewer manages to gather enough emotion to not really like the guy and hope he comes to a foul end. It's probably the most wooden of all the characters who have a speaking part - or that could be Christopher Plummer (he's pretty much the same in The Sound Of Music as well).

And then there's Arthur Biehl, played by Bill Urwin (young Arthur played by Sean Hayden). He is one of those characters who does very little in the film and yet manages to endear himself to the viewer. He's simply there to join the past with the future in a quaint way that shows how nice Christopher Reeves character really is. And yet I remember that character almost as well as I remember the main three.

That's what I want to be able to do, write characters people will remember.

Then I realised that Richard Matheson wrote the novel and the screenplay. Bugger me. One of the preeminent horror writers of all time, and I love his time travelling love story. Still, not a bad person to want to emulate - one day.

So, in my quest for writing a better character, I thought back to what I know worked in the past. The best stories I think I've written so far have all had lots of research behind them. That research has led to an easier time of it when it came to weaving a story. It comes back to that adage of 'writing what you know'. If you don't know, go research about it until you do know, and then write.

So I set about getting to know my characters. I've done an 11 page dossier on my main male character. It's not as bad as it sounds - it's pretty much a list taken from, and added to, the original found here at It's not finished. I'll add to it as I go, but it's a good starting point.

At the end of it, I decided my character hadn't acted correctly in the first three chapters. Something needed to be done. So I wrote a new first chapter, moved some things around and I'm now much happier. I'll let things settle a bit before I have another look over things.

I've also been scouring the web for pictures of my people. I've pretty much got pics of all my characters except my female lead. For her, I have 11. They are all different women and yet something within them captures what I see my lead being. She will be complex and complicated to live with - and she's not even the POV character.

Many of you have been throwing up excerpts from your current WIP - I'm afraid I won't be doing the same. Nothing leaves this study until it's been revised at least two or three times and then has the stamp of semi-approval from Pharo and my Beta readers. When I think it's worth reading, then I'll start sharing outside this select circle.

I won't throw up a new word count, I'll save it for next Wednesday - that way it'll look like I've managed something during the week...

That's about it for now - back to reading...

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Quick Market News

A new anthology has opened for submissions: I'm looking at you JT - I'm thinking you may very well have something for this...

For everyone else, if you have a story on a ship, go have a look.

Two Bits Of Good News & A Frustrating Turn Of Events

Last night I was notified of being short listed for a publication - we won't jinx things by saying which one, and this morning I hear Michael Schumacher will be returning to Formula One to fill in for the injured Felipe Massa!

I followed Michael's career from day one and have been a fan ever since. The last two seasons have been a little strange without him on the grid and I've only just started to come to grips with it, and then he goes and does a comeback.

As a Ferrari fan, I was all for Kimi's second place last weekend, but as an Australian, this year I'm more barracking for Webber.

Rumour has it that Alsono is coming to Ferrari next year which will make me stop and reassess my loyalties (I don't like the guy). With Webber at Red Bull, and I've found I quite like Vettel as an up and coming driver, maybe Alonso's arrival will be the catalyst for a switch.

This would be only the second switch of my allegiance in nearly 30 years of following the sport. I started out following Alan Jones back in 1981 but didn't really pick a team until the mid 80s. Remember Lotus when they were painted black with the gold sponsorship logos on them and driven by the legend that was Ayrton Senna.

When Lotus pulled the pin, I followed Senna as a driver, not really interested in the teams he drove for, but more how he as an individual performed. McLaren, Williams, where ever - it didn't matter. I just enjoyed watching a master at work.

Then along came Schumi and I recognised his greatness as soon as he stepped into the Jordan. I began to watch both Michael and Aryton with interest and surprisingly came down on the younger man's side of the fence when they looked to begin going head-to-head.

And then Senna was killed while driving a Williams. A sad day.

So I followed Michael, and then he set up shop at Ferrari so I did as well. But now my thoughts are turning to Webber, and to watching young Vettel blossom as a driver. I want Mark to win the championship this year. Brawn may have hit a brick wall and don't have any money with which to continue developing the car. Their title fight could well and truly be over.

Mark only has a few years left and has struggled in under performing machinery for most of the years behind him. He has earned a chance at the the title. Vettel will have many more years ahead of him challenging and winning titles. This year, I want to see Mark become only the third Australian to win the F1 Drivers Championship behind Sir Jack Brabham and Alan Jones.

But enough of the long-winded exposition on my love of F1 - back to writing.

I've written the first three chapters of my current work in progress and yesterday I decided I didn't like the way the relationship between my two main characters had started out. The conflict was only internal to my central character. I think it can work better with a slight change of attitude from my main man. That will give him an external and internal conflict, add character depth, and give me more fodder for a little later in the story and a bit for later in the series (yep, I'm planning crap that far in advance).

I also had a rethink on three secondary characters. At this point in the book, I've introduced a total of seven characters. Only my central female character hasn't changed. I've had a rethink on all but two of the rest and their time will undoubtly come.

Time to stop and get everybody set in concrete in my head. Time for the character dossiers to be created. After writing three chapters this pause is somewhat frustrating, but still, it's better than continually rewriting chapters because I decode to change the character.

So this week will see no advancement on the WIP. Work will be done on all characters. Next week will be rewriting the first three chapters, and the current outline will require revision.

And then we can move on.

Must get all of this reading out of the way a well...

***Late Update***

This is just pure Gold!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


She's new to the blogging world, and extremely funny - The Intern. (Thanks to Editorialass for showing me the path) This is her take on an editorial meeting: What really goes on in editorial meetings is a lot like what goes on when a bunch of girlfriends go out shopping for clothes. Many acquisitions can be boiled down to one fundamental question: Does This Make My Boobs Look Good?

Thanks to Helen Ginger, I now have a new appreciation for the Web, and a slight glimmer of a future plot point for my current WIP with this article from the BBC. :c)

The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror is now open for submissions - check it out.

Thinking about including a horse in your story - Check here first.

Good advice from Toni McGee Causey on creating worthwhile secondary and tertiary characters. (Something I'm concentrating on at the moment)

A review of a 'Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction' has been posted over at How Publishing Really Works which sounds like it could be a useful resource book.

Most writers who've been at it for a while (at least a year or more) have heard all this before (if they've been researching the industry - or have been a regular visitor here), but I'm not sure if I've heard it put quite so well as this over at Murder by 4. The included rejection quotes are a wonderful tonic every writer should remember as well.

And Holy Cow! Has anyone else seen this postover at Hoyden About Town, personally, I only found it by randomly clicking on links in other people's blogs, but anything which delivers an indepth look at Labyrinth, the movie, and close up pictures of a young Jennifer Connelly (I had such a thing for her in the 80s - not so much now she's had all 'that work done'), can only be a good thing.

WIP Wednesday

Two things to note this week. I bumped my target word count up to 50K. I've been thinking about secondary character development and them having their own story arc. I don't want to go down the road of having a well-rounded main character and then 'the girlfriend', 'the bully', 'the clueless teacher', 'the bad guy', etc. Yes, characters who fall into these types of categories will be involved, but I want them, all of them, to be so much more than that. I want all of these characters, even the bad guy, to be characters the reader will have a strong reaction to, not just a blah - cardboard cliche type of response toward. That will take more words as the story becomes driven by more than just one or two characters.

Second thing to note - I only managed 2452 words this week (and I finished off the long winded review of Dexter). I'm spending a lot of time reading, and I'm spending time just chilling, watching the box, playing the DS, etc. Unfortunately, I'm also doing a lot more work at work - how rude is that! Still - moving forward :c)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Update to Alan's Tour

***Alan has asked me to add this onto the end of the tour post,
but I figured I'd just make its own post - the tour post is long enough
and sales information on its own can't be a bad thing.***


Alan Baxter is the author of the dark fantasy thrillers RealmShift and MageSign.

RealmShift has been described as “inventive”, “action-packed”, “thought provoking”, “a novel I am loathe to put down”, “fast paced and full of vibrancy”.

MageSign has been called “a fast-paced ride through a visceral reality which holds a mirror up to today’s apathetic society” (by me), “a fast paced supernatural adventure that will leave readers rethinking how they view the Cosmos”, “…a gritty tale of blood rituals, mystery, and mysticism… grabs hold of the reader and doesn’t let go.”

Both books are available from indie publisher Blade Red Press in multiple formats at multiple locations:

Print editions from


Kindle editions from


Print editions at


Muliple format ebooks from


For the duration of the blog book tour (until July 29th) you can get the Smashwords editions of both RealmShift and MageSign for just US$1 each.

To get your special priced copies all you have to do is enter a discount code at the checkout. This will change the price from the usual US$3.50 to a special price of US$1.

RealmShift enter code ZR95S at the checkout; for MageSign enter SF97B at the checkout.

You can also contact the publisher directly at

Learn all about the author, read Alan’s blog and read lots of free short fiction, a novella and the first three chapters of both RealmShift and MageSign at Alan’s website.

Alan Baxter Blog Tour Day Nine

Today, I'm turning the wonder that is the Musings Of An Aussie Writer over to Alan Baxter. He's promised me he'll be gentle and keep things ultra informative.
We've all been reading about the impact ebooks and self-publishing is going to have on the world of traditional publishing. Alan has setup his own independent publishing company, Blade Red Press, which has released Alan's own novels RealmShift and MageSign.
When I did the reviews for these titles, I was curious as to how someone goes about doing the publishing thing independently, the pitfalls, and what one who travels within these occasionally murky depths believes the future holds.

Indie authors and the future

As part of my blog book tour promoting RealmShift and MageSign, Brenton asked me to write a post about indie authors for his day of the tour. I thought I’d give a brief outline of how I see indie authorship as it is today and where I see it heading in the future.

Firstly, some clarifications. Indie authors are essentially self-publishers, but there’s a lot more to the concept than that. There was a time when a self-publisher was someone that paid a fortune to have a few hundred copies of their book printed and then tried to get those copies sold wherever they could. More often than not those people were left with boxes of unsold books and a burned experience of being a writer.

Indie writers these days are so much more and have so much on offer. In the first place there is technology now that removes the need for expensive advance print runs. Print On Demand, or POD, technology means that a writer can upload their book to a site dedicated to self-publishing and that site will then work with a printer to make that book available. When someone buys a copy of the title from the POD site (or Amazon and other online retailers) that printer produces one copy of the book and sends it out. Only copies that are bought get printed. Companies exist now that are purely there to facilitate this function for authors. A lot of small and independent presses, my own included, use this technology to keep production costs down.

Then there’s the current rise of ebooks. Electronic books and electronic readers, such as the Amazon Kindle, are starting to become mainstream. Before long ebooks will be a normal part of reading. Already my books are selling better in Kindle editions than any other format. And self-publishing ebooks is even easier than using POD.

Naturally, the advent of easier self-publishing has led to more people taking advantage of the opportunity and the market has become flooded with a large amount of crap. Self-publishing has always had a stigma attached and it is well deserved. The vast majority of self-published books are truly awful. Not only are the stories bad, but the production, the editing, even the type-setting is just terrible.

Here’s another place that the indie authors try to separate themselves. Indie authors like myself recognise that we need to compete with the trad houses on every level. POD companies can produce a book indistinguishable from anything else on the shelf, but it’s up to us to use that technology properly. Good indies will get someone in to design a quality cover if they’re not much cop at graphic design. They’ll have their book proof-read and edited by someone other than their mum. They’ll rewrite, edit and polish until their story is really worth publishing. And they’ll pay people (editors, etc.) to do it if necessary because that’s the right thing to do to produce a competitive product.

Obviously the nature of indie publishing means that you’re trying to keep setup costs down, but two things that should really fill your budget are cover design and editing. Often you’ll find other indie that have skills you can use. Perhaps you can trade your graphic design skills for someone’s editing skills. Join a writers’ group, in real life or online, and help each other out. Otherwise, spend the money. There are a lot of author service companies out there these days and they’re often good value. Shop around, compare prices, negotiate. And do as much editing and proofing on your own as you can to give them less to do. The less they have to do, the less they’ll charge for their work. If there’s one thing I try to drill into indie authors it’s this: If we’re going to shake off the self-publishing stigma, we must produce good looking, well edited books. Indie doesn’t mean doing everything on your own.

However, one point I should make very clear – there are a lot of nasty people out there running scams that prey on desperate writers. Be careful who you give your money to when it comes to getting help with your production. Research a lot, inform yourself, talk to other indies. A great place to start is, which is jam-packed with information.

And then there’s the marketing. The biggest hurdle of all. Writing a book is the easy part. Producing a quality product isn’t so hard any more and there are a lot of people out there that can help you. But marketing it is the real difficulty. Again, technology comes to our aid.

Just making your book available won’t encourage people to buy it. They won’t even know it exists. There are literally millions of books available on Amazon. What makes yours so special? Well, with the use of social networks like Twitter and Facebook and with a well designed, quality website as an online hub, an author can begin to build a profile for themselves that will draw the attention of readers and get the author’s work noticed. It takes an incredible amount of work and time, but it can be done.

If you do want to be traditionally published, then best of luck to you. It can happen. But it’s not necessarily based on how good you are as a writer. It’s a lot to do with luck, timing and the current writing zeitgeist. Going the indie route is not easy, takes a huge amount of time and effort and you’re unlikely to ever be considered a bestseller by anyone’s standards. But it can be done and it can be fun. I’m having a great time producing my own work and selling it, and it’s starting to sell quite well comparatively. I still seek traditional publishing, particularly in short fiction, and I’ve had a fair amount of success there. I love that too. I’m a writer, an author, and this is what I do. I’m slowly getting my small independent press up and running and I hope to offer the indie author opportunity to other writers, taking some of the hard work out of the game for them.

This article is really just an overview, scratching the surface of what’s out there in the way of opportunities for today’s authors. But just as the music industry and the film industry saw a small number of indie artists rise to prominence and become mainstream in their own right, I see indie authorship as doing the same thing over the next few years. It’s going to be a fun ride.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Interesting YA Facts

(Don't forget about Alan Baxter's blog tour - we're up to day 7 already. Only two more days till his guest appearance here.

Don’t forget that for the duration of the tour (until July 29th) you can get ebook editions of both RealmShift and MageSign for just US$1 each. This is an offer exclusive to Smashwords. The beauty of that is that Smashwords offer the books in a variety of formats, including Kindle friendly .mobi editions. (If you're lucky enough to have a Kindle...)

To get your special priced copies all you have to do is enter a discount code at the checkout. This will change the price from the usual US$3.50 to a special price of US$1. Go here for RealmShift and enter code ZR95S at the checkout; go here for MageSign and enter SF97B at the checkout.)

But this post isn't about reminding you of things wonderful and adult fiction related...

I've still been pondering the lengths of novels in different YA categories. As many of you have pointed out, if my current WIP finishes at 40-45K, some agents may consider it a novella. If I over expand with a new subplot or ten, then some agents would consider over 80k to be too long.

As an aspiring novelist, we should be looking to remove as many hurdles as possible - writing the damn thing in the first place followed by all the revision, editing and rewriting is hard enough, you don't need to be cutting off your nose to spite your face in regards to finding someone to sell it when you're finished.

So, I figured I'd try and find out what the norm is and an easy way to keep that information up-to-date. General consensus is somewhere between 40-80k will have an agent, somewhere, willing to have a look, but I want to narrow that range so we have a greater chance of success.

Firstly, regardless of the numbers you come up with and how long your beloved masterpiece is, always check individual agents/publishers guidelines to see if your manuscript meets their requirements.

Now, exactly how long should that manuscript be?

Over at Modern Matriarch is an article discussing this topic. The important bit of information here is this:

So how do you determine which length is suitable for your book?...Find five or six books within your books genre, and then follow this simple formula:

Book pages x lines on a full page x 9 = number of words

To simplify this further - a standard size mass market paperback has around 36 lines of text per page making your formula: Number of pages x 36 x 9

For example:

Fahrenheit 451 - 192 pages x 36 x 9 = 62208 words
Where the wild things are - 48 pages x 36 x 9 = 15552 words
Brave new world - 288 pages x 36 x 9 = 93312 words

How about some more recent titles.

Twilight Book 1 - 544 pages x 36 x 9 = 176256 words!
Harry Potter (1) - 309 pages x 36 x 9 = 100116 words (book 7 has 784 pages!)

What about recent releases from lesser known authors:

Resurrection (Wicked) by Nancy Holder - 416 pages x 36 x 9 = 141264 words!
Totally Fabulous by Michelle Radford - 256 pages x 36 x 9 = 82944 words

So far, all the YA books I've looked at have been what many would consider on the longer side, apart from the classic "Where the wild things are" which only has 48 pages, but then that isn't in a standard format and is more for younger kids.

So lets find some on the smaller end. (Thanks to Jamie for the classics)

Of Mice And Men - 112 pages = 36288 words
Animal Farm - 128 pages = 41472 words
Lord of the Flies - 190 pages = 61560

More recent...:

His name was death - 128 pages = 41472 words
Jade Green - 176 pages = 57024

So, yes - Cate is very correct in her statement that 'a story will be as long as it's supposed to be', and you need to research the agents/publishers so you send it only to those who will look at the manuscript length you've written.

But many don't publish the lengths they're after so I've gone ahead and looked at a whole bunch of recently published YA novels and have come to the conclusion that the range to hit the majority of agents/publishers will be more like 50-65K. (155 pages - 200 pages)


For those of you who just sit down and write without an outline - just sit down and write - and know that I hate you ;cP

For those of us who need an outline, you need to be looking at around 20 chapters with 2500+ words in each. This should give you something that is fast paced, snappy, and if the content is right, a page turner readers will enjoy.

As an outliner, or a plodder as some people label it, I very much go by the formula Alexandra Sokoloff suggests as part of her story structure technique. With a target of 20 chapters it becomes a simple breakdown of Act 1 being around 8 chapters (first 60-80 pages), Act 2 being around 9 chapters (page 61-125 or 81-170)and Act 3 being 3 chapters (126-155 or 171-200).

Does all this sound like I'm being overly formulaic? Do I sound like I'm trying to make this too much like slot A goes into flap B? Is art something that should not be tied down with such mundane constraints?

I agree, but I also want to be published and these are the numbers the industry is tending to publish. I'm not saying if you write something of 40K (or 120K) that you won't be published - I think I've shown plenty of examples to say otherwise, but the majority of current debut authors in YA fiction are within these parameters and the majority of agents/publishers are requesting to read manuscripts of these lengths.

If nothing else, it's a starting point to aim for.

Make of it what you will...

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Clouds Part

Ah, finally an acceptance has arrived at my inbox. Demonic Tome has decided to publish my story 'Spoilt Rotten' in the August edition of their online magazine.

A good way to start the day.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Review: Dexter, An Omnibus

Dexter: An Omnibus has been reviewed and posted over on HorrorScope. I'd been interested to hear any comments from fans of the show or anybody else who has read any of the first three books.

That makes five novels I've read in just over four weeks. Onto the next one...

Oops, almost forgot - Dexter: An Omnibus earns a 3.4 on my review scale. Book one gets a 3.4, book two a 3.4 and book 3 a 3.3 (In case you were wondering what the individual books would rate).

Friday, July 24, 2009


I have spent a lot of time over the past few days, trying to catch up with other peoples blogs, web sites, finding new places of stirling information and paying back those who come to visit me by visiting them.

I'm not done by a long shot, but I am getting there, and then I need to rationalise all the links I have slithering down the right side of my blog - it is getting ridiculously long.

Cool stuff you should be casting an eye over:

Alan Baxter is continuing his blog tour. Subscribe to his feed to be instantly updated as to where his words of wisdom will show up next. Today (day 4 of the tour) he has an interview over at Publetariat.

Also through Alan, I've been reading the wise words of one A. Victoria Mixcon. Now there are lots of editors, agents, and others, on the net offering advice, but I've found that writers, particularly unpublished-but-wannabe-published-novelists, should take care to read as much advice from experienced professionals within the industry as humanly possible and still leave enough time to put that advice into practise.

If you can manage that trick, you'll begin to see similarities and patterns forming, which hopefully are not due to the last thing you introduced into your system, and the current general guidelines for all forms of writing shall emerge. You will also find the occasional professional who talks to you in a manner that just rings true and the proverbial penny shall drop!

Over at Joanne Anderton's blog I found this little gem of advice you might like to take a squiz at.

I'd like to say hello to those who have dropped by, joined the Musings Cult, and left comments recently. I am working my way through all of you, to return the favour, and I'm browsing through your lists/blogs/websites in search of new places of inspriration. Keep an eye out for me.

I began reading the last book in the Dexter Omnibus last night. As usual, I ended up drifting off for a nap. This has more to do with my lacking of sleep in general, and me being on the wrong side of 40, than anything to do with the book. Once I finish this one and release the review, you'll see what I mean - Dear Determined Dabbler in the Waxing & Waning Waters of Writing (good grief - sorry Chuck).

Happily, I'm also still finding time to do the occasional update to my current WIP. This one is coming out in a strange fashion, which is exciting me as Dreaming, the short story which was accepted into the Apex anthology, The Blackness Within, was the same way. And that turned out pretty kewl so I'm hoping this will be the same way.

I'm currently working on chapter 3 and that's going on okay. The lead female character's name has now been set in stone, and last night, the male lead's name came to me. I'd changed it twice already and still wasn't happy with it, but last night, it became obvious when the female lead told me what to call him - got to love it when the characters are already taking over.

This coming weekend will be dedicated to reading - I have to if I want any chance of coming close to deadlines. Being ill put me a long way behind. Time to catch up.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


I finally got around to getting a picture of my 'To Read' pile:

This is the top shelf of one of my book cases. At the time of starting this, it seemed like a handy place to put the books I hadn't got around to reading yet.

As you can see, now I'm running out of space.

A few of the Stephen King books were read way back in my teenage years but were lost along life's journey so I've been rebuilding my collection and slowly working my way through them as time allows.

Missing from this shelf is Issue 7 of Necrotic Tissue which is sitting on my desk, and Creating Short Fiction by Damon Knight which is sitting on top of the NT issue, with the Dexter Omnibus sitting on top of both. One final title is currently with my oldest sister (I can't remember author or title).

The current count is 39 titles :c(

So, what's your 'To Read' pile looking like?

PIR Abolition in Australia

I have no intention of weighing into this debate with my reasoning as to why I am pissed at the suggestion of the Australian Government Productivity Commissions (AGPC) findings that the government abolish Parallel Importation Restrictions - effectively wiping out Australia as a separate copyright market, turning us into a dumping ground for other countries unwanted leftovers, and placing the kiss of death on Australian culture's literary voice.

In short, we become a part of the Commonwealth publishing scene all over again. No longer will you be able to sell your debut novel to by dividing up US Rights, UK rights, Australian rights, and the rest of the world rights, and then move onto languages and hopefully the blockbuster film rights. Now it will be US, UK (which will include OZ), other markets.

And the overall factor behind this decision: to enable cheaper books to be sold to the Australian consumer. Excuse me while I say 'WTF?'

Hand up every time you've heard a business say 'if we make this change, then prices will go down - trust me.'

Now everyone put down there hand who remember when, after the change was implemented, a business reduced the cost of the items to lower their profit margin and benefit the consumer.

Has anyone put their hand down? Anyone seen a huge reduction in the price of petrol when the cost of a barrel drops on the world market. It can go up and down like a yo-yo, $10-$20 a barrel and yet weeks later we may see a minimal drop at the pump. Or the same day we will see a price rise depending on the direction of the yo-yo...

So much for me not commenting on this.

What I wanted was to point out something I found a little funny/ironic. The very first paragraph of the AGPCs report is the standard spiel on Australian Copyright, the very thing the report is advising our government to tear down in an effort to make our literary voice weaker and the big publishing chains and book stores that much richer. Okay, that's not why they're advising this course of action, at least not publically.

Like most Australian's on most topics, I showed a fair bit of apathy when I first heard of this, but now that I've read (or in the process of reading) all the documentation available to me, either someone is getting some huge kickbacks from the big boys in the publishing industry, or others within government just don't have their eyes open. Or both.

I'm currently reading the whole report the link above points to, so it may be in there, but it seems to me that "The Coalition for Cheaper Books" (aka Dymocks, Coles, Woolies) and the publishing industry (Australian publishers, editors, agents, writers, associations, etc) are the two sides providing the opposing arguments - has anybody surveyed the public?

**Edit** Appendix A to the report covers public consultation, that is where there announcement of the study was advertised and submissions of interested parties were called for. So the initial spur for the report was obviously not a growing ground swell of disgruntlement from the consumer. Unfortunately it doesn't list off the general content of each submission in so far as the number of submissions for and against, but it seems that most were from associations, authors, and other interested parties opposed to the removal of PIRs - so how did they come to the conclusion that it was the stance they should take? **End Edit**

Australian's as a whole aren't overly 'artsy' in nature. Most regular families in the 'burbs don't attend art galleries or the ballet on a semi-regular basis. I guarantee you that they all know the importance of reading, and they would all place an emphasis on their kids reading something either about Australia, or by an Australian author, while at school. The preference would be a book meeting both criteria.

The bottom line for this recommended change seems to be greater opportunity for competition resulting in lower book prices for consumers.

I don't remember the last news report I read concerning consumers complaining about being ripped off due to the high price of books. Nor do I remember hearing anything about a sharp decline in sales, or the Australian market being in a bigger slump than the rest of the world - actually the general feeling seems to be Australia is doing pretty well, and the Australian genre sphere is actually on the trend upwards (particularly dark fiction). So if the end beneficiary of this dismantling of the Australian copyright territory is the consumer, why haven't they been asked? And if they're not complaining, if they're actually starting to return toward pre-economic crisis sales points, why would we want to change anything?

Again I ask the AGPC - WTF?

So much for not weighing in...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

WIP Wednesday

(Day three of Alan Baxter's Blog Tour)

Only 1046 words in a week - not great, but at least I'm moving forward. I've also written up the review for the second book in the Dexter Omnibus and got a fair bit of reading done. I have a couple of weeks to finish two more Dexter books and two or three other fantasy books. I don't like my chances of reaching those deadlines. Still, I've read four books in a touch under four weeks - not bad.

Cue the bean...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Movie meme

Lemmings - forward! (and it saves me having to think up something else to post about today)

(Don't forget Alan Baxter's Blog Tour has also commenced - Day two today.)

1.Name a movie that you have seen more than 10 times.

Highlander (I stopped counting at 50, but that was reached in less than 12 months from it's original release)

2.Name a movie that you’ve seen multiple times in the theater.

I've never watched a movie twice at the theatre.

3.Name an actor that would make you more inclined to see a movie.

I'm pretty easy going in regards to the cast of any movie, but Jessica (Alba/Biel) would peak my interest a little more than most ;c)

4.Name an actor that would make you less likely to see a movie.

Like I said in #3, I'll watch anything with anyone in it, but Donald Pleasence isn't a favourite. My wife hates Jamie Lee Curtis so I don't seem to watch anything with her in it either...

5.Name a movie that you can and do quote from.

Lots. Anything Shakespeare (Hamlet, MacBeth, Romeo & Juliet), Monty Python, Disney flicks, and, of course, Highlander.

6.Name a movie musical that you know all of the lyrics to all of the songs.

I'm a closet wannabe singer who sings along to the radio all the time. In particular, Grease 1 & 2, Rocky Horror, Highlander (opps - not a musical but I know all the Queen songs), and anything Disney.

7.Name a movie that you have been known to sing along.

Apart from those above - Flash Gordon (yes, I like Queen) - oh and the Beatles based Across the Universe - I dare anybody to watch that and not sing along!

8.Name a movie that you would recommend everyone see.

Somewhere in Time with Jane Seymour and Christopher Reeves.

9.Name a movie that you own.

Just one? Apart from everything already named...The Lost Boys (I sing a long with the soundtrack in that as well...)

10.Name an actor that launched his/her entertainment career in another medium but who has surprised you with his/her acting chops.

Robin Williams. A comedian turned actor who is the true king of improv.

11.Have you ever seen a movie in a drive-in? If so, what?

Lots! But nothing overly recent (ie not in the last 10 years or so). I remember seeing The Amyitville Horror after being smuggled into a drive in squashed into the trunk of a mates car!

12.Name a movie that you keep meaning to see but just haven’t yet gotten around to it.

Deep Throat - I'd like to know what all the fuss was about.

13.Ever walked out of a movie?


14.Name a movie that made you cry in the theater.

Teared up a touch in Titanic but my wife was heavily pregnant at the time so it was a stressful period anyway - she gave birth the following day.

15.What’s the last movie you saw in the theater?

Night at the Museum II - not bad.

16.What’s your favorite/preferred genre of movie?

Foreign. I watch World Movies - a lot! More often than not, they are so much better than the Hollywood rip offs, and Bollywood is just funny.

17.What’s the first movie you remember seeing in the theater?


18.What movie do you wish you had never seen?

The Lobstermen from Mars - don't ever watch this, don't even look it up. You have been warned.

19.What is the weirdest movie you enjoyed?

Some of the adult orientated (and I don't mean porn here) Japanese animae is very weird and yet the art can carry it through. How about Eyes Wide Shut, or Girl In A Box - there are so many to choose from.

20.What is the scariest movie you’ve seen?

The Return of Count Yorga when I was 14. A mate and I were allowed to sleep in the lounge room and watch an all night horror marathon. We walked back into the room after a quick drinks break and the Count thrust his hands through the glass window to grab his victim just as we were putting the drinks on the coffee table. We S$#T ourselves!

21.What is the funniest movie you’ve seen?

I get a good laugh from most Disney flicks (at least since Shrek and that sort arrived), and Mrs Doubtfire is good for a chuckle, but I can't remember a flick which has had me laughing from go to woe or even for most of it.

So there you go. Make of that what you will.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Why I'll Never Be Good At Grammar

Yeah, I know...

But apart from the title, this post over at The Scribbling Sea Sprite is a perfect example of why I just don't, and will never, get the grammar rule side of writing.

This doesn't mean I'm giving up, nor should any of you who are not practising editors, school teachers or freaks of nature who just get this stuff!

We are writers and like all who practise a particular trade, we need to become at least proficient with the tools of that occupation. For us, the tools are words and how to use them is our chosen craft.

So, to help me, and anyone else out there who could do with a polish up, a helping hand, or a life vest - what writing resource books, particularly grammar and structure (you know, the technical stuff), would you recommend as a must be on a writer's book shelf?

Aaron posted about books a little while back and gave a suggestion of seven titles that should be on your shelf and a few of you added to that in the comments. I want more and I want specifically grammar, or more technical books, written in a manner that a dope like me can make sense of. That means no carrying on like Strunk and White, and no other dark magic, talking in circles-type stuff!

When I get home, I'll rattle off the resource books I have on my shelf and what's any good or not.

Stay tuned, but in the mean time - fill up the comments with your suggestions.

Shall Be Interesting

A little bit more on the blog tour I mentioned in my last post. Alan has been interviewed by Smashwords (and has had the itinerary listed including little old me).

I've started to blog a little less recently, and the numbers of people showing up has reflected that. It will be interesting to see if a spike of visitors arrives come the day Alan pays a visit here.

I'll be interested to see/hear if Alan experiences a spike in his sales numbers as well.

I gain no benefit from saying this, but if you're after a descent read, you can't really go wrong with purchasing both his books during this tour. At just $1 each, you get a lot of bang for you buck! (See details in the interview for how you can take advantage of this offer or just follow the book tour).

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Reminder: Alan Baxter Blog Tour

Starting tomorrow, Alan Baxter, author of the novels RealmShift & MageSign will be conducting a virtual tour for his books. He intends to visit ten different blogs/sites and cover all sorts of areas which will be of interest to writers considering the indie publishing route.

As I'm stop number nine on this tour (I now have the dulcet tones of Cliff Richard singing 'Love Potion Number Nine' in my head), I have seen the type of information Alan will be putting out there, and can say without fear that it will be worth reading.

If nothing else, you will be introduced to some new writing sites and there is the opportunity to purchase Alan's books at a discount.

Here's the itinerary of the tour:

Day One: Guest post: Dark Fantasy – What is it exactly? - Monday 20th July at The Creative Penn

Day Two: Interviewed by Leticia Supple - Tues 21st July at Brascoe Books Blog

Day Three: Guest post: Writing a good fight scene - Wed 22nd July at David Wood Online

Day Four: Interviewed by April Hamilton - Thurs 23rd July at Publetariat

Day Five: Guest post: Demons and where to find them - Friday 24th July at Joan De La Haye’s blog

Day Six: Wily Writers publishing my short story “Stand Off” (featuring Isiah, the protagonist from RealmShift and MageSign) as both text and podcast - Sat 25th July at Wily Writers website

Day Seven: Ruthie reviews MageSign - Sun 26th at Ruthie’s Book Reviews

Day Eight: Pat Bertram interviews Isiah, the protagonist from RealmShift and MageSign - Mon 27th July at Pat Bertram Introduces...

Day Nine: Guest post: Indie authors and the future – Tues 28th July at Musings Of An Aussie Writer -

Day Ten: Guest post: The inspiration for RealmShift and MageSign, what they’re about and what’s next – Wed 29th July at The Furnace

Watch Alan's blog at daily for direct links to these articles as they're posted.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

WIP - And An Update

Not the week just gone, but the week before, Danielle had a rejection week from hell. Unfortunately it seems my somewhat dismal week is carrying over. I'm up to six rejections this month and no acceptances. :c(

But, I'm happy to announce all my pieces are still out on submission. I'm getting very nice rejection comments which hasn't led me to make any changes to the pieces, so I find a new market and out they go again.

In other news, I'm still reading the Dexter Omnibus which is becoming a bit of a drag. I really should have switched to something else between each book, kind of like the reading equivalent of a glass of water to cleanse the palette. I've never understood how people manage to read more than one book at a time, but I'm beginning to think about giving it a go.

As for my WIP - which still doesn't have a title. It seems the idea has not come to me fully formed as first thought, or at least it will need some additions. Following my outline, and using my upgraded skills of not rabbiting on about nothing within a story (or at least not as much as I once did), I've suddenly found that I've combined the first two chapters together. That is, everything I intended to cover in the first two chapters, I've managed to meld together in the first chapter quite succinctly. In the current scheme of things, that has robbed me of around 3000 words. When I'm targeting only 45k to begin with, there shouldn't be that much fat to trim, especially not while I'm still writing the first draft of the first chapter!

Still, I'm not going to worry about it at the moment. I'll move on with the story as per the outline and see where it takes me. So, currently my untitled YA book for boys stands at: (Psst! Cue the pantless one...)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

YA Fiction

Lots more research done - surfing the web is one of my true skills - and I've discovered a couple of things.

There is no definitive word length for YA. Books have been published from 20k up to and past 100K. The majority of sources quote 40-60K as the norm. Surprisingly few suggest checking with the guidelines on prospective agents or publishers websites (I would suggest this be a step set in concrete).

Secondly, a good YA story will take as many words as it takes to tell the whole story so write the manuscript, polish it till it shines, and then worry about word length.

Doesn't that second one sound like good advice for all fiction?

So if you take care of the second point, the first point will take care of itself, and don't believe everything you read on the web. There are a lot of uninformed people out there who are either guessing or purposely spreading bad information...150K as the norm - as if!

Back to work...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


I know it's not Wednesday, but it's been a while since I've been able to post any sort of progress on anything substantial - and it is only 5 minutes till midnight here in Australia on a Tuesday night so it's not far away.

My WIP doesn't have a title at the moment.

It does have:

a 1400 word outline
a 500 word bio on the two main characters, the antagonist, and five other characters so far.
Pictures (lots of them) to help me get a mental fix on one of my characters. Strangely enough, I have perfectly good mental pictures of all the others.

And the beginnings of the first chapter. Can anyone tell me if there is a suggested size and number for chapters in a YA novel. I know many of you have done this before so I figured I'd get it straight from those in the know. Cheers in advance.

I think I'm right in thinking YA tends to be between 45-60,000 words...

I shall set the bar at the bottom and work my way up - until told differently ;c)

Is 45k and 15 chapters, making that around 3000 words per chapter for those of you without enough toes and couldn't be stuffed getting out the calculator, too short for a YA novel?

Take That

Now I think I said something about writing less and not worrying so much about things...and then my muse came back from vacation - with the full outline for a YA novel - for boys (which are apparently in demand). And it's not a horror, it's not even dark, or paranormal. There's only two dead bodies in the whole thing. There's not even any sex - only two kisses, and chaste ones at that!

God help me.

It might even be Middle Grade! I need to find out what the rules are for defining where it sits.

So tomorrow I have something to contribute to WIP Wednesday.

I've already outlined all the chapters! I themes, I have plants and payoffs, I have cute heart felt moments and lots of tension and conflict. Now if I can just find the right words.

No more talk. No more hints. Just WIP progress reports as they come to hand. May have to break out the bean counter again ;c)


Yesterday I wrote a long post on how I felt devoid of anything even closely resembling enthusiasm for writing at the moment. Then I deleted it because I thought it would be taken as a little bit of a whine as opposed to a thoughtful consideration of where I'm at.

I'm not writing as much, and therefore I'm not blogging as much. It's as simple as that really.

I'm biding my time at the moment. I'm struggling with a couple of writing concepts that must be truly understood for me to be able to move forward. I need to nail down the central question, and I need to be able to define a tight central plot around that central question. If the light finally goes on and I figure out how to do this consistently, it'll be a watershed moment and I'll move forward again. Hopefully it doesn't take years to get there.

I think I'm winning the 'Rejected from Necrotic Tissue Club' as I received another knock back from them last night (that's two in the last week). This one was the nicest personalised rejection I've ever had, but still, in the end, a no. A rose by any other name...

Still not up to Danielle's great heights of five rejections last week but I've had four in the last nine days so I'm not far behind.

Now I need to find another market to send 'Worth the Wait' to. Fingers crossed.

Speak soonish...


Saturday, July 11, 2009


Not a lot to report on the writing front at the moment. Still reading the Dexter omnibus which has a nasty habit of putting me to sleep every few chapters - not the books fault. I'm just ultra tired. May have something to do with staying up late and watching the cricket...

Still haven't done any writing.

I've received a total of 3 rejections and no acceptances this week. Last night Worth the Wait, which was long listed for a Xmas antho, became the third. :c(

All three have since gone back out to market.

I'm really just not feeling it at the moment. The muse has not only left the building, I think she sold the house and left the general area. I have no drive and no passion at the moment. It's quite sad.

Hope things are better in your writing endeavours.


Thursday, July 9, 2009

In First Gear

I outlined a new short story yesterday. I'm targeting Issue #3 of Emerald Tales. The outline stands at nearly 1500 words so getting it all in under the 4K mark may be difficult.

Then two things occurred yesterday to stop me from working last night.

First, I left my USB key at work. All of my work is on that little flash drive. I back it up to my work PC and to my home laptop, but I do all my work directly from it. Leaving it plugged into my work PC left me hanging. I couldn't work on editing anything and I couldn't send out Spoilt Rotten. I couldn't work on my new outline either.

Second, the first test of The Ashes series began last night. Most of you won't be interested, but I love cricket, and for others like me, this is the ultimate contest between traditional rivals which has been going on for 127 years. I'm guessing there isn't many other sporting rivalries anywhere in the world which have been going that long. Yes, test cricket can be boring, but for a passionate player of the sport, and a patriotic Aussie to boot, I can waste days watching it.

In the end, I checked my email a couple of times (which was very quiet), flicked through ME2 again, watched the cricket, and did no writing.

Tomorrow I have a day off from my normal job. Whatever I don't get done today (editing, finding a market, working on new outline) will be done tomorrow. I also need to continue my reading and finish a project with my youngest (can't really call her my little one anymore).

So far today I've written up the review of Darkly Dreaming Dexter, the first book in the Dexter Omnibus so I can move onto the second book with a clear conscience. Now - to find a market for SR.


I can't do anything with Spoilt Rotten until I get home. I have a strange inclining that I sent it out and didn't update my spread sheet - need to check. It turned out that Digging Up The Past wasn't currently out at market either so I've found somewhere for that. At 6170 words, it's a slightly more difficult piece to find a home for.

If SR has gone out as I suspect, then all of my currently completed pieces are in the market place awaiting an editors of approval.

My new piece is well outlined so it can wait a week or three before I do anything further on it (although chances are I'll play with it well before then - do shorts count as WIP Wednesday?) which leaves me with just reading.

And waiting....

Isn't this writing game just mega fun?


***Updating the update***

Spoilt Rotten had not been resubbed anywhere - it has now. I now have all of my current batch of short stories out in the wild. New goals for tomorrow:

To read the second book in the Dexter Omnibus and to read Issue 7 of NT.

And wait for those acceptances to roll in ;c)

Back to the cricket...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Alan Baxter Blog Tour

Sometime back I did a review on two novels (RealmShift & MageSign) for fellow AHWA member, Alan Baxter. Alan labelled my first review as honest and thorough and my second as, well, he's using that one to promote the book so I'm guessing he was quite happy with that one.

Since that time Alan and I have struck up somewhat of a cyber-writing-type friendship so I was honoured when he asked if I'd consider being part of his book blog tour - obviously I said yes.

He's been working feverishly behind the scenes to sort everything out and we now have the following announcement:

Alan Baxter takes his dark fantasy novels RealmShift and MageSign on the virtual road with a 10 day Blog Book Tour. Follow the tour each day to a different blog and learn all kinds of interesting things, not only about Alan and his books, but also about what dark fantasy really is, indie authorship, where to find demons and so much more.

Not only that, but for the duration of the tour you can buy ebook versions of RealmShift and MageSign from for just $1 each.

Here's the itinerary of the tour:

Day One: Guest post: Dark Fantasy – What is it exactly? - Monday 20th July at The Creative Penn

Day Two: Interviewed by Leticia Supple - Tues 21st July at Brascoe Books Blog

Day Three: Guest post: Writing a good fight scene - Wed 22nd July at David Wood Online

Day Four: Interviewed by April Hamilton - Thurs 23rd July at Publetariat

Day Five: Guest post: Demons and where to find them - Friday 24th July at Joan De La Haye’s blog

Day Six: Wily Writers publishing my short story “Stand Off” (featuring Isiah, the protagonist from RealmShift and MageSign) as both text and podcast - Sat 25th July at Wily Writers website

Day Seven: Ruthie reviews MageSign - Sun 26th at Ruthie’s Book Reviews

Day Eight: Pat Bertram interviews Isiah, the protagonist from RealmShift and MageSign - Mon 27th July at Pat Bertram Introduces...

Day Nine: Guest post: Indie authors and the future – Tues 28th July at Musings Of An Aussie Writer -

Day Ten: Guest post: The inspiration for RealmShift and MageSign, what they’re about and what’s next – Wed 29th July at The Furnace

Watch Alan's blog at daily for direct links to these articles as they're posted.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Please allow me to introduce to you Ashton Nicholas, my grandson.

Ladies - feel free to melt.

He has apparently been a wonderful baby since arrival, managing only to be a pain to his overly tired mother, but absolutely charming to everyone else.

Amie, sweetheart, I may not get the chance to tell you anywhere near enough how much your mother and I love you, but I take this opportunity to say how proud we are of you and how over the moon we are that you and Ashton are safe and well. I would still have preferred you to wait a few more years, but it's not likely he's about to be put back so we may as well move on.

I'm also going to take this opportunity to say how proud I am of Ashton's father, John. From all reports he really stepped up to the plate during this stressful time and has been wonderful in support of my eldest daughter. Thank you, John, for everything you have so far done for Amie and my grandson (don't muck it up or I will come looking for you).

Just so you can all see that I'm not completely useless when it comes to being a grandad - here's a pic of me with the newest addition to our family. Can't wait till he's a teen and causing his parents a similar amount of grief they caused us ;c)

On the writing front, I've managed to finish reading the first Dexter book in the Omnibus and penned a whole zero new words. I haven't even managed to finish editing my last story, or resend out Spoilt Rotten - maybe tomorrow - definitely before Friday...

I hope things are moving forward with all your own writing exploits. Good luck with your submissions.



I've finally caught up on my feed reading and now present some of the gems for your viewing pleasure.

Thanks to Ellen for putting me onto this article about pacing over at the Enchanted Inkpot.

Josephine Damian alerted me to an article from Robin Hobb that is so scary every blogger should read it. It is so me it's scary!

Apart from the great pictures which accompany this article from the Mystery Man on Film, it is also a great discussion about the misconstrued adverb. As does Steve Harper Piziks over at the Book View Cafe (but without the nice pics).

And Kate Nash and the infamous Rejector have both posted articles about the dreaded synopsis in the vain hope that it would shed a little more light into our dark brains. Go see if it helps you out.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Back To Writing Stuff

So, we have all the joy and excitement of the new arrival and then I'm smashed back to earth with Spoilt Rotten being knocked back yesterday, and then Too Late the Rain being passed on yet again.

Spoilt has now been knocked back twice with very different comments from the editors - just goes to show how subjective this game is. Looking for a new market as we speak.

Too Late the Rain was the ninth non-novel length piece I ever wrote. Let me explain that: I wrote the first draft of Tiger's Eye during the first half of 2007. 130,000 words! Not a great display of craftsmanship but I learned a lot from doing it.

I then turned to writing short stories. I wrote a narrative first (which was pointless), and then the first version of Wake-Up Call which ended up being published at Antipodean SF. I followed that with The Elusive Muse which sold to Fiction Factor. I wrote a sci-fi story and then a non-fiction, self-help type of thing called Reinventing the Wheel. Continuing the pattern, the non-fiction article sold (every second piece had so far found a home).

I then wrote a fantasy short and played around with a filler piece for Reader's Digest (that was fun - great pay rate but they never answered or acknowledged my submission).

Then I wrote Too Late the Rain. Originally it was a flash piece at 984 words. Since then it has undergone a lot of changes. It's grown with the addition of a completely new first half and has been given a new ending, to now stand at 2798 words. Six rejections and two years later, it's still looking for a home. It still gets nice personalised rejection letters - it's never had a bad one. Lots of good comments but, in the end, still a no thank you - close but no cigar.

I've submitted it to 1 competition and 5 paying markets. I believe in this story enough that I think I should gain some sort of payment for it, but the right market is elusive. This is a ghost story, but brushes against some taboo subjects. None of these taboos are overly graphic (at least I don't think it is), but mention child abuse, incest, and killing children - mix it in with a simple-minded teen, and people are likely to turn the other cheek - so to speak.

So, the 15th of July marks the two year anniversary of the first submission of this piece. It is currently sitting with target market number (hopefully lucky) seven. If - scratch that - when this piece finally sells, it will be the ultimate example that every story has a market out there somewhere. Perseverance will pay.

As for new work - nil, nada, zip, zero, zilch, nothing!

I'm halfway through editing the last short story I have in my folder. Once that goes out the door, I've got nothing. Nil in progress, nada in way of ideas, zip inspiration, zero enthusiasm, zilch hope. Could very well have something to do with being ill lately and having very little sleep over the recent weekend - but still, bottom of the barrel is still bottom of the barrel when you scrape against it.

I got my final assignment back (thank you to Pharo, Jamie and D for your honest feedback), and got a mass of wonderful comments and encouragement from the lecturer to go with the A grading. My reaction - well, that's that out of the way - I'm glad I decided put the coursework on hold. I can't even get pumped over an A!

I currently have 9 pieces submitted. One of those is on a long list for consideration. Another is about to go back out, and one more is being edited. By this weekend, I'll have 11 pieces out in the wild looking for a home. Then my time will be spent on reading, which will make for really boring blog posts, so pray for acceptances, pray for my muse to find her way home, and get used to photos and updates on my new grandson - because without these things, I've got squat!

So what's the oldest story you have still doing the rounds? How many times has it been rejected? When would you consider sending it to TLODS? (Yes, I have an obsession to one day send something good to this wasteland of unappreciated brilliance - but I have a bigger compulsion to get paid for my work)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

A Quick Update

Due to sleep deprivation this is only a short note to let everyone know that baby Ashton Nicholas arrived safe and sound on July 5th 2009 at 3:57PM, instantly earning him the nickname Magnum.

Mother and baby are both doing exceptionally well.

The specs:

6 pounds 13 ounces
49 cm long
ten fingers and ten toes
Mother did brilliantly
Grandmother provided exceptional support as, I'm told, did the father.

Time for bed.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

AHWA NEWS DIGEST [16.06.09-02.07.09]

The following digest of recent horror news is compiled from pieces published to HorrorScope and the Australian Horror Writers' Association website.

Leisure Books' Fresh Blood contest
Leisure Books, the company "leading the way in publishing paperback horror," is partnering with Rue Morgue magazine in association with ChiZine to present "Fresh Blood," a new writing contest specifically for unpublished horror authors. Click through for competition details.

2009 AHWA Flash and Short Story competition winners
The 2009 Australian Horror Writers Association (AHWA)
Flash and Short Story competition attracted over 100 entries. The short story and flash fiction winners will be published in Midnight Echo #3 later this year. The winners will also receive an engraved plaque. Click through to view the winners.

Midnight Echo #2 now available
Issue #2 of
Midnight Echo, the magazine of the Australian Horror Writers Association, is available to the public. Edited by Angela Challis & Shane Jiraiya Cummings, this issue of Midnight Echo is a mind-bending joyride into the horrific. Contributors include David Conyers, Bob Franklin, Kurt Newton, Felicity Dowker, Andrew J McKiernan, and Joanne Anderton, among many more. Art Director David Schembri has assembled an array of darkly visual delights from artists such as George Cotronis, Will Jacques, Liza Phoenix, Khara Burgess, and more. Issue #2 also continues the 'New Blood' series of interviews conducted by Stephen Studach (this issue featuring Jason Crowe). Click through for purchase and AHWA member download details.

Australian SF Blog Carnival June 2009
The Australian SF Blog Carnival for June 2009 is hosted at
HorrorScope, and has been assembled by the AHWA News Editor. Click through for highlights of the blogsphere.

The Writing Show's Halloween contest
US podcast website
The Writing Show will not continue the tradition in recent years of running the 'AHWA Days of Halloween'. Instead, this year, The Writing Show is hosting a Halloween fiction contest (with a US$75 prize). Click through for conditions of entry.

Classic horror-themed First Tuesday Book Club
Leigh Blackmore will guest on an episode of First Tuesday Book Club, hosted by Jennifer Byrne, along with childrens' book writer Catherine Jinks, novelist Tara Moss, and novelist Will Elliott. The special programme will focus on the classic horror novels DRACULA by Bram Stoker, THE WEREWOLF OF PARIS by Guy Endore, FRANKENSTEIN by Mary Shelley and DR JEKYLL AND MR HYDE by Robert Louis Stevenson. Keep an eye on HorrorScope for an announcement of the airing date.

Submitting News

If you have news about Australian and New Zealand Horror publishing and film, or news of professional development opportunities in the field, feel free to submit news to Talie Helene, AHWA News Editor. Just visit HorrorScope, and click on the convenient email link. (International news is not unwelcome, although relevance to Antipodean literary arts practitioners is strongly preferred.)

For information on the Australian Horror Writers' Association, visit

This AHWA NEWS DIGEST has been compiled, written, and republished in select Australian horror haunts by Talie Helene. Currently archived at the
AHWA MySpace page, and Southern Horror; hosted at the social networking sites Darklands and A Writer Goes On A Journey; and hosted by AHWA members Felicity Dowker, Brenton Tomlinson, Scott Wilson, and Jeff Ritchie (Scary Minds: Horror's Last Colonial Outpost).

If you would like to support the AHWA News effort by hosting a copy of the AHWA News Digest on your blog or website, contact Talie to receive a fully formatted HTML edition of the digest by email.

Baby Watch

A quick note to let you all know I may not check in for a day or two - or maybe three.

My eldest has gone into the first stages of labour so sometime over the next 24 hours (I hope), I shall become a first time grandparent. Please, no Grandad jokes, I'm only 41 for God's sake.

As per all grandparents, pictures will follow when available.

I'm sure you're all sending Amie (my eldest) your best wishes and you're all thinking good and happy thoughts for a safe delivery into the world of her first child (apparently a boy they're calling Ashton). Thank you in advance for all your kind thoughts.

Jodi Lee - I'll still try to send you my submission within the next day or so.


Thursday, July 2, 2009


Tonight has been a pretty good night.

I revised God's Piscatorial Church which added 30 something words to it and sent it off to Necrotic Tissue - fingers crossed.

I've also revised Spoilt Rotten and sent that back out to market.

I've since spent an enjoyable time reading Issue 2 of The New Bedlam Zine. Very cool and an excellent follow up to Issue 1. No, I'm not just sucking up to Jodi Lee - it is very good. I was also over the moon to see nobody had stumbled across the angle I'm using for my submission. I'll be doing a final revision on it this weekend and sending it out early next week.

So I have three shorts to review, revise, and resend plus a mountain of reading to do over the weekend. On top of that I have a board game to work on with my little one and a monster amount of mulch and quarry rubble arriving to shift around the front and back gardens - hmm, my back is going to love it!

Best of luck with whatever it is you're working on.

Never Rains But It Pours

I should have stayed in bed catching little electric Pokemon instead of opening my email today.

Spoilt Rotten has gathered its second rejection. Need to find another target market.

AHWA competition results have been released and neither of my entries did any good. Now I need to find new targets for Digging Up The Past and God's Piscatorial Church.

I got my piece for The New Bedlam Project back from Pharo and it needs work, although The Great One does believe the story can work which is encouraging. I just need to fix a couple of things.

I need to finish revising Arcanum and send it out.

I need to send pieces off to Necrotic Tissue. Does 1 short and 1 100 worder count as multiple subs for this market? Nat? Cate? Anyone?

And lastly, I've had another story idea, but this time while I was wide awake - actually while I was out shopping with the better half. Not sure about the length of this thing yet, but the themes buzzing around my head are screaming for a proper manuscript. More thinking to be done and then some outlining, or maybe the other way round - quite excited over this one - again! What happened to concentrating on shorts for a while?

And lastly, I need to get a $@#$ load of reading done - 6 novel-length books in 5 weeks! Where the hell am I going to find the time to read my lovely copy of Necrotic Tissue which finally arrived in my letterbox. Oh, and thanks goes out to Jodi Lee. My copy of her and her daughter's chapbook arrived safe and sound. It's beautifully presented (handmade even) and full of interesting facts and fun activities. Head on over to her site and have a look. Very cool.

Being crook has placed me firmly behind the eight ball - time to get back in the saddle and get some work done.