Monday, June 18, 2012

Crossed Genres Kickstarter: 4 More Days To Help 'Em Go Pro!

I blogged earlier about Crossed Genres Kickstarter fundraiser, which incredibly raised the original $4000 they needed to stay afloat in just 24 hours!

Now things are down to the wire. This little indie publisher who are dedicated to diversity and helping out new authors (like moi) are reaching for a Stretch Goal of $14 000. With the extra money, they plan to restart the Crossed Genres magazine, AND pay pro-rates. Can you imagine that? An indie publisher, with lots of different things to say about LGBT, body politics, disability, race and all sorts of intersectionality, paying pro-rates. It makes an author like me who is very much invested in writing about those themes very excited!

At this point, with only four days to go, CG have reached the goal where they can restart the magazine, but they still need the extra $5000 to be able to pay their authors pro-rates of 5 cents a word.

If you can help out in any way, even if it's a dollar or two, I'd really appreciate it. They have some great rewards - head over to the Kickstarter page and check them out. You'll find things like free books, magazines, t-shirts, signed books, artwork, critiques from established authors and even a custom Lego set!

If you can't help out financially, you can help out by spreading the word. Put it out on your social networks. Tell friends who are interested in science fiction and fantasy.

SFF deserves diversity! Let's get CG there, so more voices can be heard loud and clear.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Putting Christchurch on the world fantasy map: Helen Lowe wins Gemmell Morningstar Award

A big, deserved congratulations goes out to Christchurch fantasy author Helen Lowe, who has been awarded the Morningstar Award for Best Debut at the Gemmell Legend Awards for Fantasy 2012 for her novel "The Heir of Night", the first woman to do so.

I'm absolutely thrilled that a local author is garnering world-wide attention and accolades for her work. It helps bring the world's eye on New Zealand's growing collection of fantasy and science fiction authors.

When I first started considering writing seriously about 20 years ago, I felt very isolated. Fantasy and science fiction of the type I enjoyed and written by New Zealand authors was very few and far between, and often only written for a young adult audience. I imagine if there had been someone like Helen, as well as Russell Kirkpatrick, Jennifer Fallon, and Juliet Marillier, making big waves on the world fantasy scene then I might have had more of an impetus to start a whole lot earlier. Now, I take heart from her success. If she can do it from little ol' Christchurch, New Zealand, so can I.

I have referenced how difficult psychologically it has been to write in the last 18 months, but I had it different to Helen - I had no one to be responsible to but myself. She has had to dig liquefaction out from around her damaged house multiple times and dealt with far rougher times than me, and through it all she was working to deadline on the writing, editing and preparation for release of her second book "The Gathering of the Lost". I give her massive props for continuing to write, and write well, during such a difficult time.

Well done Helen, I'm very proud to know you.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Snoopy has it right

Image: A Peanuts cartoon, featuring Snoopy on his typewriter
Frame One, Snoopy writes: Gentlemen, regarding the recent rejection slip you sent me.
Frame Two: I think there might have been a misunderstanding.
Frame Three: What I really wanted was for you to publish my story, and send me fifty thousand dollars.
Frame Four: Didn't you realize that?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Last chance to get your copy of 'Tales For Canterbury'

Front cover of 'Tales For Canterbury',
a tree bending in the famous norwester,
with two doves flying above.
'Tales For Canterbury', the award winning New Zealand anthology of speculative fiction published as a fund raiser and celebration of Canterbury spirit post-2011 earthquake, is nearing the end of its availability.

I have been informed there are only a few copies of the paperback left, and no more print runs will be made. If you'd like a copy of this anthology, you'll not only be owning a piece of New Zealand speculative fiction literature history, but you'll be contributing to the New Zealand Red Cross Earthquake Appeal.

And I can tell you from personal experience that even 18 months on from the disaster there are still people in desperate need of help. Can you imagine living in a tent, caravan or even your car in the middle of a bitter winter, because you've lost your home and your job in the midst of a housing crisis? Yes, this is happening right now here in Christchurch, and the Red Cross are still here, helping out in the best ways they can.

'Tales For Canterbury', available through Random Static, will be gone within a couple of weeks, so make sure you order your copy before it's unavailable for good.


Thursday, June 7, 2012

M-Brane SF Quarterly #4 due out soon

Cover for 'M-Brane SF Quarterly #4', a soon to be released print version collection of the magazine,
with my byline at the top of the author list on the front cover,
and a quote from my story "Twixt" on the back cover.
Picture courtesy @mbranesf editor Chris Fletcher

*kermit flail*

"Sexy", "stupid", but never "normal"

Every now and then issues come up with my accent. I don't mean my usual bug bears like my Dark L, swallowed vowels or rolling rs - I'm always working on those. I mean how I get objectified, troped and dismissed by it.

New Zealand is a small country. There is only a tiny percentage of the world's population with my accent, and even amoungst us there are regional variations. Even though it bears many similarities to the Australian accent, we even get ridiculed by our supposed trans-tasman allies for it. Therefore, to some my accent is a freak show attraction, often to be dismissed or hidden.

I find this difficult to deal with. What makes me unique is dismissed in some very stereotypical, problematic ways. There are two main categories I'm dumped in: sexy and stupid.

Because I game frequently, I am often in voice chat. I can judge a person's or community's reaction to me as a woman gamer very quickly by how they react to my voice and my accent. Just recently I had a new acquaintance go into raptures over how "sexy" my voice was, so much so they just. wouldn't. stop. No surprise that they were male. No surprise I'm not comfortable talking in voice chat with that person any more. No surprise I was fed up it took my partner joining the voice chat after I left in disgust to simmer them down.

THIS is just one way in which women gamers are made to feel objectified, unwelcome and silenced in gaming. It's not a joke. It's not a compliment. It's creepy.

I have a deep professional voice. To some it may even sound genderqueer. I have been called "unnatural" to my face for it. It's no surprise that I have become cognisant in the last few years how I have always pitched my speaking voice upwards to make others feel comfortable, even though I feel it makes me sound shrill and whiny.

Combine this with my accent, and I've copped some severe flack from international ears over the years, from being told I'm "incomprehensible" and "stupid", to being passed over for work. Please, remind me again what is the "acceptable" accent for a world blessed with multi-faceted cultures and voices? Asserting a certain accent denotes lack of intelligence is some serious class, ethnic, gender, and disability warfare (look up how ebonics, the "redneck" accent, or the "valley girl" inflection is treated, for example; also, disability activists problems with "herp derp").

And please, remind me again why we have to change our voices to suit the dominant culture and class? This is not simplified Star Trek world, where everyone looks, dresses, thinks and sounds the same. I count myself privileged in aspects of my life, so if I'm copping it, can you imagine how much harder it is for other people with other intersections in their lives?

What is normal? Our beauty is in our diversity. It should be up to the listener to adjust their ears for all the glorious voices in this world. Ridicule and refusal to do so very much smacks of gender-, ethno-, and class-centrism. Get your bigotry off people's vocal chords.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Au Contraire Redux and 'Regeneration'

I am very excited to find out that next year's New Zealand con will be a redux of 2010's Au Contraire, AND New Zealand indie publishers Random Static will again be putting out a companion NZ SpecFic anthology to go with the convention!

I very much enjoyed Au Contraire in 2010 and I'm looking forward to going again. The anthology 'A Foreign Country' was the perfect companion to be released at the same time, marketing to and showcasing our national specfic and author population. 

The anthology will be called 'Regeneration: New Zealand Speculative Fiction 2', and submissions are open from now through to December 31st at Random Static's online submission form. Editor Anna Caro also gives more information at this blog post here.
Tell us stories of how cities and societies regenerate after disaster; of bodies regenerated by science or magic, and the consequences; or natural – or unnatural – environments thriving once more. We’d also like to see stories that examine the psychological or moral dimensions to regeneration, or any other interpretation of the theme.
I have only now begun to examine disaster and rebirth themes in my writing, and coincidentally just finished a piece that would seem perfect for submitting to this anthology. I look forward to what my other local writer friends may come up with, as they process their experiences with the Christchurch earthquakes. For some, putting the experience into fiction can be a healing process.

Monday, June 4, 2012

So Proud! 'Tales For Canterbury' wins an SJV

The Sir Julius Vogel Awards were held over Queen's Birthday weekend at UnCONventional in Auckland, this year's New Zealand speculative fiction con, and I'm very pleased and proud to announce that 'Tales For Canterbury', the earthquake fundraising anthology I was part of last year, won the award for Best Collected Work.

I'm proud of and amazed at the work editors Cassie Hart and Anna Caro did on this anthology, and in so little time. The earthquake happened in February, and the book was released in June. I don't know how difficult things were behind the scenes, but everything seemed to fall together so well. They brought together a fantastic table of contents, and all for a great cause.

And now Anna, Cassie and TfC has an award to prove what a meaningful effort it was.

It's also fun to be able to say I'm part of an "award winning book".

Congratulations Anna and Cassie. You did an amazing job. Canterbury and its arts thank you.

Image of the SJV for Tales For Canterbury (Best Collected Work)
shamelessly stolen from Cassie's blog