Thursday, June 18, 2015

SJV Event, June 13 - Speech, Links, and Photos

The Author Pontificates
Photo Credit: Wei Li Jiang
The Sir Julius Vogel Awards celebration on Saturday June 13 at the Fendalton Library was a great success.

A crowd of about 50 people turned up to celebrate the achievements of local speculative fiction authors Shelley Chappell, Tim Stead, fan writer Rebecca Fisher, and myself. It was a very pleasant ceremony, with organizer extraordinaire Helen Lowe giving a speech on the necessity of celebrating literature on a national and local level with all the changes going on in publishing and Christchurch city. There was also a brilliant display of posters and our works created by Peter Fitzpatrick which made us all look incredibly professional.

I was very humbled by all the kind words expressed in my direction, happy that so many people took the time to come along to our little ceremony, and I met so many new people interested in talking about my work. I'm so grateful to have people like Helen, SpecFicNZ, and a cast of volunteers committed to raising the consciousness of science fiction and fantasy in New Zealand.

Helen has also been incredible about promoting and documenting the event, from putting up profiles of each of the finalists and winners, to posting her speech, posting up photos and a write up, and being so enthusiastic about overseeing all the details. Her energy really made the event come together, shine, and go smoothly.

The Authors Pontificates More To People Who Actually
Want To Hear What She Says
Photo Credit: Wei Li Jiang
Here is the text of my speech, which is also cross posted on Helen's blog today.
Best NEW talent is a very odd thing to wrap my head around, least of all it being my very first award win as a science fiction and fantasy writer. It doesn't FEEL new to me. I started this writing journey five years ago now, and that seems a long time considering all that's happened, and no time at all considering I'm just starting to "break in" to the industry now.
In late 2009, a few perfect storms collided to set me on the journey I'm writing now. I had one of those existential "oh heck, what will I have to show for myself when I hit 40!" crises, I was starting to be around creative people who were prodding me to expand my creative horizons, and I was asking myself that age old question: what do I want to be when I grow up.
Science fiction and fantasy has been a big part of my life since I was a teenager, and I was always a capable writer. But I'd never given myself the opportunity to find out if I was a GOOD one.
Part of my journey has been retraining myself to understand success comes in many forms, and at ANY time in your life. There are many great authors who started and came to success later in life.
At that time 5 years ago I was also contemplating what I wanted to SAY. My reading and influences and life were shifting. I wanted to write what I hadn't had the chance to read, whether by its absence, lack of availability, or through the history of women and LGBT authors who had been invisibilized. I actually had to spend a lot of those early times reframing and relearning the history of women, and feminism and it's intersections in science fiction and fantasy.
I discovered the cleansing, creative anger of Joanna Russ. The gender bending, and gender breaking, work and history of James Tiptree Junior. I'll always be grateful that one of the first science fiction authors put in my hands was Anne McCaffrey. And I wouldn't be where I am today without the sublime works and encouragement of a diverse range of women and genderqueer authors and editors. Having Catherynne Valente and Nora Jemisin voice their belief in my abilities was an uplifting experience.
I learned it was time to raise my voice. And that's what I implore of all authors and readers moving in from the margins: raise your voice in whatever way feels comfortable. Engage. Enjoy. We all have stories we're looking for, stories to tell. Story telling is not a finite resource.
Words can be swords and silk, and they can be life and world changing.  They can also make "puppies" sad – if they're yelling at you, or about your "kind", you know you're doing something right. And to that end – be safe. Be ready to stand tall, and if you can't, there's always someone else that has your back.
Thank you all for coming today, and your support of local speculative fiction. We are small, but mighty.

Friday, June 12, 2015

SJV Profile By Helen Lowe

In advance of this Saturday's Sir Julius Vogel Awards celebration in Christchurch, powerhouse organizer Helen Lowe has been doing profiles of local finalists and winners.

Today, this includes me.

Check out the neat highlight poster that's been made up!

This is awesome, thanks Helen!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Sir Julius Vogel Awards Christchurch Event, June 13

Some very good and kind people are putting together an event for Christchurch people to help celebrate this year's Sir Julius Vogel Awards on Saturday June 13.

Other than myself, local speculative fiction authors Tim Stead and Shelley Chappell were nominated for Best New Talent, and Rebecca Fisher won Best Fan Writer. We did not make it to Rotorua for the national convention in April, and were unable to take part in the festivities on the night the awards were given out. Helen Lowe (author of The Wall of Night series and Gemmell Morningstar winner) decided that such good representation from Christchurch on this year's ballot deserved celebration, and has organized an event to wave our flag.

I'm humbled and honoured that Helen and the Christchurch SpecFicNZ team are putting this event together. It's also important we keep our speculative fiction colours flying in the face of the changes to the New Zealand literature scene, as so many events, presses, and competitions have been rapidly defunded recently.

So if you're local and would like to meet and hear readings from a few Christchurch based science fiction and fantasy authors, including myself, you're welcome to come along. RSVP is required by June 5. Details are as follows:

What: A Christchurch celebration of winners and finalists for the Sir Julius Vogel Awards 2015
When: Saturday June 13, 1.30pm
Where: Fendalton Library, corner Clyde and Jeffreys Roads, Fendalton, Christchurch
RSVP: June 5
What: Speeches, readings, and light refreshments
Guest Speaker: Helen Lowe

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

"Gravity Well", Scigentasy Issue 9, May 2015

My strange lady astronaut flash "Gravity Well" is now live at Scigentasy Magazine.

Issue 9 features myself and a story by A. Merc Rustard, "Under Wine-Bright Seas", and artwork by Jake Giddens.

"Gravity Well" is my week 5 Clarion story, and came about in a haze of exhausted hysteria, listening to Janelle Monae's song "Sally Ride", thinking about women who have lost their lives in the pursuit of space, and the narratives of death and success surrounding women in science fiction. Joanna Russ's "We Who Are About To" had a huge impact on me.

I'm delighted the story found such a great home at Scigentasy, a venue that celebrates gender diversity in science fiction.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Sale: "Gravity Well", Scigentasy Magazine, May 2015

I'm super stoked! My story "Gravity Well" will appear in the May issue of Scigentasy Magazine.

"Gravity Well" is my week 5 Clarion story, a weird flash piece celebration women astronauts real and on the page who have died to make our world a better place. And obituary, I guess you could say.

I had massive feelz around this story because it is so weird and for it's length it caused me a lot of angst writing and getting it perfect. Out of all my Clarion stories I thought it would be the one that wouldn't sell...and it was the first to!

I'm really pleased to finally have a piece appear in Scigentasy. They're a venue I have much respect for as they have a focus on gender and feminist speculative fiction.

The story will go live on Saturday the 2nd of May.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Au Contraire 3, Wellington, 2016: Guest of Honour!

Another first!

I've been invited to be a Creative Guest of Honour at Au Contraire 3, the New Zealand national science fiction, fantasy, and geekery convention in Wellington, Queen's Birthday weekend, 2016.

I'm honoured that the New Zealand fandom and writing community believes I'm at a point in my career where I have something to offer as a GoH. I hope to be helpful and interesting, and live up to this belief.

New Zealand's cons are on the smaller scale since we're a small country with a small community, but we are mighty and proud and try to look after each other. It'll be good practise for when I eventually go to Wiscon, Worldcon, or one of the bigger events world wide.

What an interesting week in the life of.