Tuesday, April 24, 2012

VA: "The Comet Rider" by Ray Whitter, Wily Writers

Adding to the list of venues I narrate for, welcome Wily Writers!

My first narration for editor Angel Leigh McCoy (who you may remember was also an author in "Tales For Canterbury" with me) is Ray Whitter's space western "The Comet Rider". Click through at the link to listen.

This narration was done in my normal New Zealand accent, so thanks Angel for allowing me to do that! I even get my own nifty profile page.

Monday, April 23, 2012


This Writing Life includes a whole lot of waiting.

Right now, I'm waiting on responses to over a dozen submissions I have around the traps. Three of them were submitted last year, one of them to a famously slothful (though fantastic) market back in October.

While I don't fault any market for the time it takes them to do business, I feel like good stories are going to waste sitting dormant like this. And since many markets aren't receptive to simultaneous submissions it can be a juggling act. Does one let the piece languish on the slush pile in the hopes the market will eventually reply, or does one suck it up and send it out in hopes it might find another home quicker?

Querying is always a fine line to walk. How early is too early? Has the market gone into hibernation or closed down for some reason (check their blog or Twitter feed, Ralan's or Duotrope)? Has the submission been lost to the spam gods? Always be cognisant of a market's response times (Duotrope's submission tracker is excellent for this) and act accordingly. One wants to retain a good professional relationship without seeming too pushy, but once a submission hits the four, five, six, seven month mark, goes well past the allotted response time, it might be time to drop a polite note to the editors.

And I mean POLITE. One does not want to be the type turning up on "Slushpile Hell" or an editors blog as that sort of writer who thinks the editor or agent owes them something. Love your word babies, but don't love your word babies.

And while you're waiting, go write something even more awesome. Try not to hit refresh on the email inbox every five minutes. No, I don't do that at all some days...

Ah, but here is me, one famous for impatience, lecturing on patience. The business of writing can seem like a lot of hurry up and wait, and when it happens it all happens at once. "Where has your genius been for so long!" they will say, and the reply will be "plugging around the markets for years". Who can tell the when the vagaries of the art and market will point it's Eye of Sauron on one writer or another.

Just keep plugging away. Practise practise practise.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

"Tales For Canterbury" makes the SJV ballot

While I haven't personally been nominated for a Sir Julius Vogel Award this year, I'm absolutely delighted that "Tales For Canterbury" has been nominated in the Best Collected Work category.

I'm very proud of the work editors Cassie Hart and Anna Caro produced in seemingly no time at all. Though it was a journey of some months post-February 22, 2011 Christchurch earthquake, it's quite incredible to think that TfC was released within four months compared to the full year to eighteen months some anthologies take to be read for, picked, packed and perfected. It's a testament to the heart, spirit and rallying around displayed by New Zealanders during a terrible time in our history. And the front cover artwork that speaks to our famous norwest wind, a "bent but not broken" spirit, and the hope represented by doves is just gorgeous!

If you haven't picked up a copy of "Tales For Canterbury" yet, there are still paperback versions available. But be quick - this book is destined to become a kiwi rarity as it is only available on limited release. Once all printed versions are gone at the end of this year no more will be printed. Plus you'll be contributing to a good cause - profits will be donated towards the Canterbury Earthquake Red Cross Appeal. Because yes, life in the middle of rubble is still ongoing down here.

"Tales For Canterbury" is a collection of speculative fiction short stories, some set on our shores, the majority of which are penned by authors from the New Zealand specfic community, including such luminaries as Helen Lowe, Juliet Marillier, Karen Healey, and Mary Victoria. It also includes international writers such as Neil Gaiman, Jay Lake, Sean Williams, Gwyneth Jones and Jeff Vandermeer. Oh, and it also includes me.

Front Cover of the Tales For Canterbury anthology,
featuring a windblown tree with doves

Friday, April 13, 2012


Just a quick note to say I was long listed for the Sir Julius Vogel Awards for "The Ten Thousand Steps" (thanks to my nominating peeps), but didn't make the final ballot.

There will always be other stories. There's always a next year.

Oh hai, aiz jus praktisin mai...well...um...not sur akshually

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Most of my thinky thoughts are turning inwards of late

Yes, I have noticed that a lot of my usual nostril flaring and red-seeing and flames-upside-the-face have been relegated to drive-by commenting or tweeting.

The tools needed for dealing with a life-changing event move in and out of the tool box on a daily basis. I realized around Christmas time I'd spent a lot of 2011 running on nervous energy and adrenaline, and if I didn't deal with that I'd turn into a bit of a wreck. I had to reset my priorities.

One of my biggest priorities is my writing. I needed the energy to focus on it. I want to be invested in issues that are meaningful to me, but my reserves of Coping Energy are somewhat depleted after the last twelve months, so something had to give. Hence, less flamination and banner waving from PT.

I haven't lost my verve for important issues, I've simply found another venue to work them out. I've turned them inwards, gone introspective, and they're coming out as good stories. I could even say it's been good therapy.

This is not to say things will continue this way. Possibly as time goes on I'll find renewed energy and coping skills that will allow me to get beyond "*flail* This sucks!" or "Amazeballs!". I do look at some of my writing heroines and marvel at how articulate they are in the face of their writing work, daily lives, and human stupidity. I want to be a wordsmith like that. They make me want to be a better person.

Words, please don't f(l)ail me now.

There's an app for flat