Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Obligatory Year In Review Post aka I DID THIS 2011

There's still a few days before the end of the year, so maybe there's still time to get that acceptance from Asimovs yet.

Ok, in my dreams, sunshine.

How to quantify my writing success this year? Guardedly. Six stories accepted and published, and one accepted and still awaiting publication is not to be sneezed at. It's five more acceptances than I had by this time last year.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Happy Holidays, however you celebrate it!

In the spirit of giving this season, you can give back to fledgling authors like myself by supporting the venues that have supported and encouraged me this year.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

On The Rejection Front 20/12/2011

It's been a while since I talked about rejections in detail. Don't worry, they're still coming in droves.

On the Personalized Rejection front, I've received them from: Fantasy and Science Fiction (gasp! PROGRESS!); Strange Horizons (huzzah! another!); Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine (they always do constructive criticism); Mutation Nation; Shimmer (they're always nice); and Redstone Science Fiction (my homies). The personalized response from Gordon Van Gelder at F&SF was a real surprise - means the story filtered up through the slush pile. I'm very happy with that.

The Form Rejections keep on piling in: Asimovs (try and try and try again...); Dark Tales of Lost Civilizations; Daily Science Fiction (two different stories); Shock Totem (first time I'd tried submitting there); Analog (I mean really, who am I kidding?); and Lightspeed (dang, are they super fast on those rejections. Whiplash!).

I stay positive about a lot of these rejections, because editors are starting to get to know my name and style, and I really appreciate the time they take to give a personal response or feedback. I think of it as a kind of networking.

After rejecting the humans as a viable source of knowledge,
 the aliens decided to opt for a much more intelligent life form...

Friday, December 16, 2011

What I've Been Reading 16/12/2011

An update on what I've been reading lately. Chewy book list after the jump.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Ninja Sale: "Talk To Your Universe" WiFiles.com

Rather odd to go to the website of an Ezine one has a submission pending at...only to find it published on the front page!

My odd little 'god or not' piece "Talk To Your Universe" is now available at The WiFiles.com.

I guess it's the sale I wanted before the end of the year. *knock knock* Hi, Wi Files! Can you get back to me, plzkthnx!

ETA: They did, we're all sorted and good to go for Official Squee! *does the sale dance*

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Genre Accessibility For Young Women

I'm not a fan of Justin Beiber. His style of cotton candy music isn't my thing, and he's had a few things to say about rape and abortion that I don't agree with, along with working with the creeptastic photographer Terry Richardson (not a person I'd like to see role modeled towards young women). Perhaps if I was younger I might like him. I was a teenager through the days of New Kids on the Block and Bros, I remember what it was like needing an outlet for suppressed energies.

So what does Justin Bieber have to do with speculative fiction? Currently the industry, fans and contributors alike, are going a little potty over Bieber appropriating steampunk for his latest video, a cover of "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town". The master of culturally sanctioned nice white boy pop (read: white washed), Bieber dances with a clockwork doll, interacts with backup dances sporting cyborg-style limbs, and romps through a Victoriana toy factory, all the while wearing a vest covered in clockwork jewellery.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Friends With Book Releases: Paul Mannering, K.D. Berry, Jane Higgins

I know people. Who are authors. And friends. And SpecFicNZ members. And Christchurch peeps (well, one is only recently ex-ChCh). And they've released books recently!

  • Like a tasty zombie apocalypse? Try "Tankbread" by Paul Mannering (previously interviewed on my blog here). Available for Kindle on Amazon.

    Ten years ago humanity lost the war for survival against a spreading plague that brought the dead back to life as flesh eating monsters.Now intelligent zombies rule the world.

    Feeding the undead a steady diet of cloned people called Tankbread, the survivors live in a dangerous world on the brink of final extinction.

    One outlaw courier must go on a journey through the post-apocalyptic wasteland of Australia. Fighting his way into the very heart of the apocalypse in the desperate search for a way to save the last humans and destroy the undead threat.

    His only companion is a girl with an extraordinary secret. Her name is Else and she's Tankbread.
    Also available is Paul's recently released anthology of short fiction "The Man Who Could Not Climb Stairs And Other Stores", in Kindle and Paperback editions.
  • Who can resist dragons? I can't! "Dragon's Away" by K.D. Berry [Amazon] [Fishpond
    It seemed like such a good idea at the time ... a wager with the devious, dangerous and probably quite deranged King Davkosh of the Southern Realms. Half the kingdom staked in a race between mystery contenders. Ten leagues, point to point as the -er- crow flies. Drewdop the Illusionist is quick to point out the flaws in this plan and is tasked with a secret spy mission - to find out just what kind of invincible champion Davkosh has training at home. Travelling in magical disguise causes unforeseen complications for Drewdop, while his half-ogre bodyguard, in the guise of a beautiful woman, certainly turns a few heads. But Drewdop soon discovers that the great race is the least of their worries. Davkosh's glamorous, fiery and ruthless queen, Gunora, is massing an army ready for attack whatever the outcome. Meanwhile, deep in the dark forest, one of Davkosh's elite royal messengers is facing his own perilous destiny - how to become the world's first and only surviving dragon rider...
  • For Young Adult Sci Fi, "The Bridge" by Jane Higgins [Amazon] [Fishpond] [The Nile
    The City is divided. The bridges gated. In Southside, the hostiles live in squalor and desperation, waiting for a chance to overrun the residents of Cityside. Nik is still in high school but destined for a great career with the Internal Security and Intelligence Services, the brains behind the war. But when ISIS comes recruiting, everyone is shocked when he isn't chosen. There must be an explanation, but no one will talk about it. Then the school is bombed and the hostiles take the bridges. Buildings are burning, kids are dead, and the hostiles have kidnapped Sol. Now ISIS is hunting for Nik. But Nik is on the run, with Sol's sister Fyffe and ISIS hot on their trail. They cross the bridge in search of Sol, and Nik finds answers to questions he'd never dared to ask.
It's so fantastic to see so much great sci fic, fantasy and horror coming right out of my hometown. Christchurch specfic represent!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Bad Rejections Happen

I've been contemplating how to phrase this post without coming across as bitchy, finger pointy or starting some small call out war. I don't want any of that.

But here it is as honestly as I can put it: bad rejections happen, and they have to be contextualized for a writer to move on.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Anne McCaffrey

When I heard that Anne McCaffrey had died yesterday, a great sorrow overtook me unlike any sorrow I have felt for the passing of an esteemed writer. Even now this is difficult for me to write. I have lost a mentor.

My story is probably very similar to many, across generations, and that is a wonderful legacy to leave. Anne McCaffrey set me on my path.

In 1989, twenty years after the book came out, I was introduced to 'Dragonflight' via my fifth form English curriculum. I often wonder in hindsight at how radical and equally how safe this choice was for a fifteen year old girl. Why was I never introduced to Joanna Russ, Ursula K. Le Guin or Octavia E. Butler? Why had I never been given science fiction of any kind to read as part of a curriculum before?

That term in English was an absolute revelation. I have to admit I struggled with the first half of the book. I had been given no introduction on what to expect, and as previous curriculum mandated books had been very dry affairs I was not at all prepared for a fantasy novel. I read it absolutely straight, wondering what the hell all this was, until Ramoth and Mnementh's mating flight. Dragons? Dragons. DRAGONS! WITH TELEPATHY! DRAGONS (and people) HAVING SEX.

Heady stuff for a hormonal adolescent in a conservative small town.

It took me a few more years to understand what a barrier busting character Lessa was, and an even further few more years to deconstruct the women of Pern in a third-wave feminist perspective. I distinctly remember focusing on F'lar in my character study because...isn't the male's perspective most important? Ahh, silly fifteen year old me. Sorry Trev, I understand what you were trying to get us to see...NOW.

From then on I read every Anne McCaffrey book I could get my hands on, as well as participating in Pern Mushes and Moos. As per my book collection fetish, I carefully collected every Pern (then Crystal Singer, then Ship, then Talents, then Freedom) book and read them in order. I was not so much a fan of the Petaybee and Acorna series, as at the time those books were coming out I had moved on to other writers and genres, furthering my specfic education.

While my relationship with McCaffrey's writing has changed over the years - I am critical of the ableism and virginity fetishizing in the Ship books, and the regressive patriarchal, feudal society Pern had become; I stopped reading her newer writings - her influence on my writing never waned. While I was never privileged enough to meet or correspond with McCaffrey, a memory I hold dear to my heart is the knowledge that she judged my story one year in the 'Writers of the Future' contest. She saw my story, and along with other great names that year judged that I had potential, and encouraged me accordingly (a 'Highly Commended' certificate).

Anne McCaffrey's influence on my life is huge. My love for science fiction and fantasy and collecting dragons began with her. Her books introduced me to the art of Michael Whelan. She showed me that women can write fun and fantastic science fiction. She whispered a little earworm into me: "you can do this too".

While I am yet to fulfill the potential Anne McCaffrey promised me, I will always be grateful to her for the dreams she kindled in me. Thank you Anne. I will pass on your legacy to the next generation, keep writing and keep dreaming.

The dragons are keening tonight.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Bad Writer's Advice On Writer's Advice

So you want to be a writer. That's great! Here, take this advice. No, not that advice. THIS advice. Do what we tell you and become the next superstar! We have the ear of the publishing industry, so how could we put you wrong?

Advice for writers. There's a lot of it out there. From the humble article (written for x cents per word) written by someone who has Made It (and whose experience may bear absolutely no relevance to another individuals needs), to entire blogs, books and careers dedicated to fitting budding wordsmiths into saleable moulds, there is a veritable torrent of advice.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

VA: "Raising Tom Chambers" by Daniel Powell at Redstone Science Fiction

My second narration for Redstone Science Fiction of Daniel Powell's "Raising Tom Chambers" is now available.

Direct download of the audio is available here.

I've been experimenting with finding the best tone and accent for Redstone listeners, and this narration is done with an american accent.

Thanks again to Mike and Paul at Redstone who are, as always, incredibly supportive and a pleasure to work with.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

So Close I Can Almost Taste It

I've had another of those rejections.

The ones where you're so close, it's within your grasp. Someone has seen you, acknowledged you, shown that you're on the right track.

The rejection is from a venue I highly respect, would be thoroughly honoured to be in, and the feedback  contained words like "brilliant" and "fascinating".

Most heartening of all was that someone finally got the story. I'm not someone who is going to pander to a reader. I'm not going to make a story an easy read or insult their intelligence. I want my reader to chew on my words, find their own interpretation in them, but ultimately dig to find what I have to say.

One day I may write that fun fantasy romp or space opera - it may even be happening now, I'm not sure where the Katewin stories may take me. But at this point I'm exploring form and art and technique, saying weird and mighty and wonderful things to find what sticks, what sounds like me.

Right now the art is calling me, like a siren. Somebody recently told me Don't Give Up. And I promise, I won't. Because "I've seen a hint of  it, this happiness this bliss, just knowing it exists, I know I must try, I've caught a glimpse of it, one moment just one kiss, from the corner of my eye..."

Friday, November 11, 2011

"Fat Girl" Cover Art and Release Date

Crossed Genres Publications have released a sneak peek at the cover art for "Fat Girl In A Strange Land", of which my story "Cartography, and the Death of Shoes" is a part of.

The anthology will be released February 17, 2012.

Tasteful image of a fat woman wearing a space suit and helmet floating amongst rocks

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

VA: "Freefall" by Peter Roberts, Redstone Science Fiction, November 2011

Available now at Redstone Science Fiction is my reading of Peter Roberts "Freefall".

Direct link to the mp3 audio is available here.

It's been great working with Redstone to get their podcast stories up and running, and I will be narrating more for them in the future. I'm very grateful for the opportunity.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Chocolate For The Soul

I've been on Holiday this past week.

That's a holiday with a capital haitch because it was truly fabulous and utterly needed. Maybe you saw me tweeting incessently about it (this post isn't for you then!), because everything I did and saw was a wonder. I don't get out often enough. I need to travel more.

The past eight months have been utter arse, and I needed the glitter of something fabulous and the bright lights of an unbroken city to restore my soul.

A writing soul that has been sorely lacking.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

"The Ten Thousand Steps" Expanded Horizons November 2011

Fat girls rule!

I'm pleased to announce that my story "The Ten Thousand Steps" is now live in the November 2011 issue of  Expanded Horizons.

This is the second story published which features Katewin and the Phoenix, who made their first appearance in "Mid-life Crisis".

This is also the second story I've sold this year that features a fat female protagonist. Huzzah for Fat Acceptance and the diversity at Expanded Horizons.

Rainbow Unicorn Shiny!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Shh, Rejections! 26/10/2011

"Through The Open Door" rejected via form letter by Lore. If you're keeping count, that is its 19th rejection.

"Where the Wild Blackberries Grow" rejected via form letter from Clarkesworld.

"Where the Wild Blackberries Grow" rejected with feedback from Ideomancer. Nice!

"Shambling Towards Nirvana" rejected by Crossed Genres Publications...but we're not worried about that one, are we!

"Black Out The Sun" rejected via form letter by Apex.

This has been a very quiet month on the acceptance/rejection front. At least it's been a month of Win when it comes to an acceptance, but very much a Fail when it comes to Writing New Stuff.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Voice Work Update

I've been very remiss in posting updates about my voice acting work, mainly because there haven't been any.

And there haven't been any because I haven't been trying.

I'm not overly upset about this. The last six months has taught me a lot of about prioritizing my energy. The last eighteen months I've been loving (and hating) the writing journey. So I guess I've been a little preoccupied.

I haven't kept up my formal voice training since I finished my degree over ten years ago, and I know that's a really lazy thing to do. I haven't been practising or auditioning hard enough to make a really good go of it, and I don't take very good care of my voice. I do stuff for fun when it comes along, and maybe that'll be the way of it for this branch of my career.

I struggle with accents, I admit, and I struggle with my kiwi accent not being accepted on a world stage. I feel far more comfortable working with my real voice. If I put an accent on it suddenly becomes not me - I sound like I'm trying too hard, and the harder I try the more I stumble and mangle things, and I get into this spiral of frustration.

I've recently (last six months or so) done a bunch of auditions that I've never heard back about. I'm OK with that. I know when I've screwed up. It would be better if I'd got feedback, but hey, I know they're probably trying not to hurt my feelings. The kiwi accent is a rough sucker to deal with. I also know I don't have a typically feminine voice - I can be loud, often deep and a bit gruff, and I actually like it that way.

So I know my voice doesn't always present as approachable. But I am unique.

See no evil, speak no evil, unnerstand no ebil

Friday, October 14, 2011

Fat Women Rule!

I'm super duper pleased to announce that my story "Cartography, and the Death of Shoes" has been picked up by Crossed Genres Publications to appear in their anthology "Fat Girl In A Strange Land". Publication is pending February 2012.

"Fat Girl In A Strange Land" is a themed anthology of science fiction and fantasy short stories, where the protagonist is a fat female. As the guidelines attest:
Fat can’t just be a passing detail of the main character’s physical description. It should have an impact on the plot and character development. Just like in real life, fat should be an asset or a liability, or even more realistically, both over time.

I'm thrilled that my story has been chosen to be part of this anthology, because it means I'm on the right course with the stories I like to write about social justice. What's doubly exciting is that publishers are examining what the Fat Acceptance movement means, and how this translates in our stories. "Cartography" will be my second story published with a female character who positively identifies as fat.

Picard Sez: Rock the F*** on!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Pulp!: Phallicy, Gynecology, Rubber Spines, Damsels and Vixens

Ahh pulp science fiction covers of yore. So male gaze oriented, so white washed, so many boobs defying the laws of gravity.

After the (quantum) leap, a selection of covers with NSFW commentary. Image heavy.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Slow Times

I've hit a trough in productivity this month. For two weeks now I've missed Writer Monday because of illness and my old procrastination/impostor syndrome problems rearing their ugly head.

Things have also been really quiet on the reply front. Barely even any rejections the last month or so, but that also means no acceptances either. I don't know if it's just this time of year for publishers, but my anecdata from having been in slush pile hell the last two years tells me September/October is the slowest time. Who knows, I could be just imagining it.

But my lack of new words...well, all I can say is 'ugh'. I has a disappoint in myself. I'm struggling even to hit a few hundred words at night. Oh gawd, griiiiiiizzzzzzzllllllllleeee. More cheese with my whiiiine. Yeah, there's a few personal things going on (which I won't talk about because, well, yeah, they're personal), and the usual claustrophobia from being stuck in Going Nowhere Fast City (aka Christchurch).

I need something good to pick me up. I'm off to Sydney for a week at the start of November, and as much as that is going to be OMG DISCO-GLITTER-TASTIC, I can't help being amused at the little voice in my head saying "yeah, but that's MORE time you're going to miss writing". I suppose I could take my lappy with me, but I don't go overseas to sit around and ponder my navel!

Anywho, one thing that does show up from this productivity wane is how very lonely writing can be. I've lost four people from my writer group this year, three because they moved away after the earthquake. There's not many, if any, people I trust to critique my writing. I just need a good boot along.

And that's the rambling thoughts from Aspiring Writer Manor for today. Here, have a kitten.

I was going to start procrastinating today,
but I figured I would wait until tomorrow to start

Friday, October 7, 2011

"The Man Who Could Not Climb Stairs and Other Stories" - A Yarn With Paul Mannering

Winner of the Sir Julius Vogel Best Fan Production award for Brokensea Audio Productions Doctor Who series, New Zealand author and SpecFicNZ member Paul Mannering is a man with a deliciously twisted mind who has a penchant for the dark and bizarre.

This week Paul has self published an e-book collection of short horror, dark fantasy and bizarro fiction entitled "The Man Who Could Not Climb Stairs and Other Stories", available at Amazon for Kindle.

As I have been friends with Paul for over ten years now--I credit him partly, among others, with kicking my butt back on to the writing road--I took the opportunity to ask him a few questions about his writing influences, career and the book.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Sunday, October 2, 2011

It's Writers Block, But Not As We Know It

From time to time writers that I respect pop out a blog post, article or quote about the arch enemy of us all - Writer's Block. Often these thoughts on the Big Bad WB come in the form of advice or anecdotes on how they dealt with it.

All well and good...except when said writer gets cranky and dismissive. Many times I've seen respected authors dismiss writer's block as a thing, calling it something like 'the crutch of the lazy wannabes' or 'excuses from people who want to live the dream but not the reality'. Some people DO need a kick in the pants to get started. Some people have never been taught the daily business of writing. And most writers of note will at some time or another get fed up with the question asked over and over again: "How do I become a writer".

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

"Tales For Canterbury" Reviews and Media

"Tales For Canterbury", the earthquake relief fundraising anthology I contributed "My Dad, The Tuatara" to, has now been out in paperback and e-book for about four months.

Reviews and media for the anthology have slowly been coming in as the book makes its way into the wider world. Here are some collected links:

The GoodReads listing for TfC has garnered a few good reviews.
"And I have to mention My Dad, the Tuatura by A.J Fitzwater for making me smile."
TfC can also be found on LibraryThing.
"All the tales have some twist in the ending or leave on a reflective note, so it is worth while spending a bit of time pondering over the last one before rushing on to see what joys the next will bring."
Kate Krake at Vivid Scribe did an interview with editor Cassie Hart in a feature on the anthology.
"Despite the strong emotional connection to the Canterbury disaster, the anthology retains a broad, international appeal with many of the tales able to be set anywhere. Some, such as ‘Sign of the Tui’ by Tim Jones, and ‘My Dad, The Tuatara’ by A.J Fitzwater, are firmly rooted in New Zealand."
Back in June Matt Cowens and I appeared on the Radio New Zealand National "Arts on Sunday" program to talk about the book. Here is the archived link to the interview.

Contributer Helen Lowe, and author of "The Heir of Night", has been doing a blog series entitled "A Peek Inside Tales For Canterbury". If you'd like a 'try before you buy' taster of some of the stories from the anthology, you can read excerpts at Helen's blog.

Contributer Tim Jones has been a great cheerleader for the book, and for me personally. I'd like to thank Tim for all the positive things he's said about my story. I appreciate the huge signal boost. Over at Tim's blog he has written a review for TfC, excluding his contribution.
I have never quite decided what my favourite story is in Tales for Canterbury, but "My Dad, The Tuatara" by Amanda Fitzwater is right up there. This is a lovely piece of magic realism, happily at home right on the border of literary fiction and speculative fiction.
Tim also recently tweeted me this wee review from a friend:

A friend reading TFC just told me "My Dad the Tuatara is definitely a subtly funny & neat piece of writing, odd & endearing."
Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read, review and comment on the book and my story. Keep spreading the word. You can purchase your copy through the "Tales For Canterbury" site or directly from publishers Random Static. All proceeds from the book are going to the Red Cross Earthquake Appeal. You'll be helping my city.

Friday, September 23, 2011

NZSpecFic Blogging Week: Friend in a Familiar Land - SpecFic set in Noo Zullind

Guilty. I don't read nearly enough New Zealand literature.

Only in the last eighteen months since I started writing again and needing to know what the heck I'm talking about (no, I don't have a lavish liberal arts degree, I'm doing everything hard way) have I made the effort to actively seek out New Zealand authored science fiction and fantasy. And even then my New Zealand based reading selection is not as diverse as it should be.

Since my focus is SF&F, I was thinking recently not just of NZ authored stories but also stories set in New Zealand. While my reading selection is limited, in my reading experience stories set in Aotearoa are even more limited. Which took me to the inevitable question: why? New Zealand is a country rich with scenery, Maori mythology, and culture. It's not that these stories don't exist, they just don't get the exposure on a world stage they deserve.

Monday, September 19, 2011

NZSpecFic Blogging Week: Write About Christchurch

It's taken me a while to become comfortable with the idea of putting my country into my writing. That's what you get when you're brought up on a diet of American and British influenced culture without any critical analysis.

Good old cultural cringe, eh? It confounded and astounded me when during the Lord of the Rings phenomenon so many people were "OMG YOUR COUNTRY IS SO BEAUTIFUL!!!11!" Well, yeah? Those mountains are what I went tramping in, and those rivers I went canoeing on, and that bush I went camping in, and I can just pop down to the beach, and I can drive through it whenever I want. I mean, it's just pretty scenery, and really our cities aren't all that and we're just four and a bit million and obfuscate hand wave humble humble.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Obligatory Rejection Post 14/09/2011

"Where the Wild Blackberries Grow" rejected via form letter by Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine.

"Where The Wild Blackberries Grow" then rejected via form letter by Interzone.

"Wish List" rejected with feedback from PodCastle. Thanks Dave! (PodCastle are my homies)

"A Pound of Flesh, Hold the Boobs" rejected with feedback and the usual awesome correspondence from Redstone. (Redstone are also my homies)

"Cherry Popping Unicorns" rejected with feedback from Beneath Ceaseless Skies.

I'm more often than not getting feedback now, which is fantastic. Some really helpful comments coming though, and I'm starting to build some great networks.

I'm unsure of the direction to take "Pound of Flesh" and "Unicorns". "Pound of Flesh" was the piece I really struggled with a couple months ago, and I'm not sure I'm entirely happy with it to resubmit elsewhere. "Unicorns" and another flash I'm sitting on called "Team Work" are part of the Katewin universe, and I'm wondering whether I should chuck them and fold them into the next longer Katewin story I have planned ("Tipping The Scales").

a gray cat crouches, waiting to pounce
Happy Cat is waiting for to strike

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I Write Queer Characters. Deal.

There's lots of chatter of late surrounding queer characters in science fiction and fantasy.

Orson Scott Card has been called on his homophobia once more. A review of a recent novella release went viral and spawned a number of reactions, including commentary from the Outer Alliance, the 'buyabiggaynovelforscottcardday' twitter hash tag (I chose Nicola Griffith's 'Ammonite'), and various responses including this from Jim C Hines which makes it clear Card's bigotry is not a one off thing. Anyone who takes an interest in queer SFF or involved in the SFF publishing industry in general probably know of Card's stance.

Also, in the last day or so an article has gone viral about two YA authors being requested to straighten a gay character if they wanted representation by a particular agent. Again, the authors pushed back and said “Making a gay character straight is a line in the sand which I will not cross. That is a moral issue. I work with teenagers, and some of them are gay. They never get to read fantasy novels where people like them are the heroes, and that’s not right.”

I'm here drawing a line in the sand too. I have written, am writing, and will write lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender, intersex, androgynous, and genderqueer characters. Three of my already six published stories have overtly queer characters, and I have something in store for the development of Katewin ("Mid-life Crisis", "The Ten Thousand Steps").

I write queer characters. Deal with it.

I don't care if this blacklists me from certain publications. I don't care if this makes me harder to market. I don't care if people think this isn't good for my writing career. I stay true to who I am, what I see, what I feel, what I want in this world.

I'm not someone who usually takes a soft approach. Outright bigotry and subconscious manipulation of our stories to retain the white heteronormativity of our society angers me. I want All The Stories.

If you don't want to read my queer leaning stories because that's not your thing, that's fine, that's your choice.

If you do, hey you, welcome.

Down with hate. Up with love and full representation.


A black kitten plays with a tinsel ball
Fun now, sparkly poopz later...it's a win-win

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Day In the Life of The Writer

Leading on from my last post about "Write Anywhere, Anyhow", I thought I might diary a day in my writing life. Since I'm not a full time writer, my process really isn't "a day in the life", more "hours in the life". Then I got to thinking how transient my process is, but strangely enough it works for me. I know I could tighten and tidy up my schedule, create some better habits, but as I always say "this writing thing is a learning process".

So here goes, a few days/hours/moments in the life of A. Writer.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Khimairal Ink Vol7 No3 "Trois"

"Khimairal Ink" is an e-zine produced by the Bedazzled Ink Publishing Company, and focuses on lesbian protagonists in science fiction and fantasy stories.

Their current issue Volume 7 Number 3 is available now and includes my story "Trois", about wishes, their truth, and how dangerous and seductive they can be.

The e-zine is available in PDF, Mobi and EPub editions.

I'm absolutely stoked that this is my second story to be released this month.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Luna Station Quarterly Issue 007: "The Woman With Flowers In Her Hair"

Issue 007 of Luna Station Quarterly, a web zine that features female authors, is now available and includes my story "The Woman With Flowers In Her Hair".

My profile is up at the site, and can be found here.

Shoot the moon over to Luna Station Quarterly and support many fantastic woman authors.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Write Anywhere, Anyhow: Limbering up for mental gymnastics

When I first started approaching the idea of Becoming A Writer (capitalized, because I apparently thought it required certain arbitrary steps), I thought I needed a particular physical space to do it in so that would adequately inform my mental space.

Somehow I got hooked on this idea and it ended up being one of the big reasons why I never got started. I couldn't wrap my head around the idea that to be a writer I simply had to put fingers to keyboard and write. I thought that keyboard had to be in a particular place, away from particular people, with the right temperature, outlook, chair, computer, walls, inspirational posters and a cat gently purring it's consent to write in it's own basket in the corner.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Feminist Science Fiction: Linkbot 2.0 31/08/2011

  • The first part of the BBC4 programme "Cat Women Of the Moon" is now available on line for your aural edification. It is a documentary in two parts exploring the subversion of gender and sex within science fiction. Includes interviews with Nicola Griffith and Farah Mendlesohn among others. The second part will play next week.
  • NK Jemisin talks about "The Limitations of Womanhood in Fantasy". "But I’m beginning to wonder if, along with rejecting the stereotypes imposed on women by society, we haven’t also rejected all characteristics commonly ascribed to womanhood — including those that women might choose for themselves."
  • The Future Fire describes themselves as "Social-political and Progressive Speculative Fiction. Cyberpunk. Feminist SF. Queer SF. Eco SF. Multicultural SF. An experiment in and celebration of new writing." TFF has been on hiatus for over a year, but in the run up to their relaunch and reopening for submissions they are running a month of blog posts "addressing one subgenre, theme or topic that we'd like to see in the TFF slushpile in the future". More information is available here.
  • Over at the WorldSF Blog, there's a fantastic round table "(Global) Women in Science Fiction". It's long and very in depth, but well worth your time.
  • Two recent Galactic Suburbia 'casts I've enjoyed have been Episode 36 "The Spoilerific Book Club: Joanna Russ", in which they dissect 'The Female Man', 'When It Changed' and other Russ subtexts, and Episode 39, where the Mary Sue trope is dissected with the snarky abandon it deserves.
  • Sady Doyle (she of TigerBeatdown) wrote "In praise of Joanne Rowling's Hermione Granger series", a snarky take down of how the market and readers still treat female authors and characters.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Pr0nTastic Book Covers: Joan D. Vinge's "The Snow Queen"

Check this puppy out!

Image: Scan of the 1981 UK Orbit edition of Joan D. Vinge's "The Snow Queen". A silver masked queen watches over a man in silver jocks and phallic helmet, who stands over a blond woman on her knees, buttocks thrust out, her face at crotch height. Yeah.

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Boring Rejection Post, Talk Amongst Yourselves 22/08/11

"Through The Open Door" rejected by Unstuck via form letter.

"Through The Open Door" rejected by Penumbra with nice vibes. Thanks Penumbra!

"Halfway Between Asleep and Dead" rejected by Digital Science Fiction via form letter.

"Situation Vacant, Apply Within" rejected by Comets and Criminals via form letter.

Please buy a paper shredder. I'll even pay for it.
This used to be a fun hobby but I can't keep up with all your mistakes and rewrites!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

This and That.

The writer life is a little quiet at the moment. I'm struggling with procrastination, and it's been nothing but rejections for a while.

I'm not sure if I wholly believe in writer's block, but I certainly can understand what stress, the fear of failure, constant rejection, and troughs of activity does to a head. It can be a lonely existence as a writer, and sometimes you can really get stuck inside your head.

But I keep reminding myself that I'm way better than I was before eighteen months ago, and the last five months have been pretty rough and I've managed to keep going. 

So here's the hard truth, though I hate to admit it: I haven't written any new words in two weeks. For some stupid reason the rejections are getting to me, and trunking some stories has effected my mood way more than I thought it would.

I'm at the bottom of a motivation trough, hoping for something good to pull me back up, whether it's creative inspiration or a sale. And what's two weeks out of all this time I've been writing? I've talked myself past the problem before, I'll get back on that horse very soon. I'm my own cheerleader and professional butt-kicker, and I kick my own butt hard.

Luckily, to keep me looking forward I have a few things I'm anticipating:
  • A story going live at Expanded Horizons in the near future.
  • A story going live at Khimairal Ink. This has been delayed, but I have every faith the e-zine are doing their best to get their next issue out.
  • A story going live at Luna Station Quarterly very soon. My profile is already available at the site.
  • Stories sitting in the slush piles of venues I hold in great esteem, and am looking forward to their reply.
And in other news, here's something to wrap your head around - 'Tales For Canterbury' is now available at the Christchurch Public Library, the Auckland Public Library, and the Dunedin Public Library. If you find it at your local library, let me know. For truth. I'm not on a boat...I'm in a library!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

How I deal with Rejection, and other epic stories 11/08/2011

"Situation Vacant, Apply Within" rejected by form letter from OG's Speculative Fiction. Then from Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, strangely enough without the feedback I usually get from them (they must be over slushed).

"The Words Women Say That Men Don't Hear" rejected by by form letter from Clarkesworld.

"Anthropology, Redacted" rejected by form letter (and one of the cutest form letters I've had) from Brain Harvest.

"Through The Open Door" rejected by form letter from Pedestal Magazine.

"Where The Wild Blackberries Grow" rejected by form letter from Fantasy Magazine. Longest wait on that slushpile yet - five days! (yeah yeah, I know, doesn't mean squat)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Western-Centrism In World Building: Up North, Down South

As I've been planning and thinking about the continuation of my "Katewin and The Phoenix" stories, I've been coming back to one of my first tenets from when I started out writing. I want to subvert tropes and challenge mainstream ideas.

Recently I've been thinking about world building (creating countries, landmarks, cities, maps etc), and one of the things that struck me about epic fantasy is how western-centric the settings are. More to the point, how northern hemisphere oriented the landscape is. There's always mountains and/or snow to the north, desert/hot/dry places to the south, "exotic" land to the east or across the sea, and the main story takes place in a reasonably temperate zone and the hero/heroine must travel through these exotic/unusual zones as part of the drama and their character building.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Warning, boring blog 'State of the Union' ahead

If you've popped over to PT looking for a bit of my witty feminist snark, you might be wondering what's happened lately.

After some navel gazing, I've come to the conclusion that I've lost sight of the original objectives of PT. When I first started out, I was so keen to make the blog look active that I started blogging about any ol' thing to keep my hand in and the post counting ticking over. Ok, not maybe 'any old thing' - 'There, I Fixed It For You', FA, activism etc are important to me, and at the time I wrote the posts I was sincere in getting a point across.

However, those points in many ways have nothing to do with why I started PT: My writing. I'm also feeling the ol' 'Feminist Blogger Burn Out' on top of post February stress, so to look after myself I'm paring it back. PT is going back to being mostly about writing.

I say mostly, because there's always the intersections of feminist and activism within my writing and the SFF publishing industry, so if there are going to be any future posts along those lines it will be writing/career inclusive.

Feel free to remove me from your links, I won't be offended. I've also removed posts irrelevant to the writing cause, so you might need to fix broken links too.

I'm sorry if this has disappointed anyone, but I hope you'll understand that blogs and people evolve. I started this blog to chart a change in my life after all! There'll still be cute cats, plenty of Picard, and snarky analysis, just more of the SFF, book and writerly kind.

Yes, my butt is better reading

Friday, August 5, 2011

A Quick Update

Writing News and/or Topics-of-Interest have been thin on the ground in the last week or so because I've been head down,  bum up finishing two stories.

The first was one I'd been angsting over for a couple of months. I'd actually binned the original first four drafts (yes, four!) and given up on the deadline I was working towards. I figured the story just wasn't meant to be. I think I was being way too earnest in what  I was trying to depict.

Then last weekend I went on a long drive, which I always find exceedingly conducive to creative thought - it gives me a chance to sit still and do absolutely nothing for a few hours (as opposed to chilling at home where I have distractions), and usually my brain wanders in great directions. And wander my brain did. I came out of the drive with a draft fully written in my head, had it down on paper (well, screen) within 24 hours, and fully edited within another 2 days. It might or might not come up to standards because I produced it so quickly. It's funny how this can happen - I can spend forever labouring over something, and have it be good, or something literally falls out of my head, and it's good too.

The other story I was working on was a revision of the piece rejected with massive vibes from Strange Horizons. I did some juggling and cutting, and I came up with another draft I'm even more happier with than the first. I love it when I get a good feeling about a story! Here's hoping.

I have lots of story ideas, especially with my novella-in-progress, and another tale set in Katewin and The Phoenix's world. Magpie brain ensues!

Black cats aren't evil
They're just misunderstood ninjas

Friday, July 29, 2011

How I Learned To Stop Worrying, and Love My Rejections 29/07/2011

Can a rejection be an indicator of growth, change and success?


Today I received a rejection. It wasn't any old rejection. It was from Strange Horizons, one of my favourite pro markets. And check this:

I got personalized feedback from editor Jed Hartman.

To put this in context, Strange Horizons has a huge slush pile, which their response times are indicative of (currently sitting at the 70 day plus range). They're a popular market. You want to make a name for yourself, having Strange Horizons on your publication credits is something.

Because the SH team has such a huge slush pile to wade through, form responses are not to be sniffed at. Therefore, me getting a personalized response with really informative feedback is FRAKKING AWESOME! It means I'm getting better, it means they know my name, it means they see I'm really trying.

This feedback has opened my eyes to the failings and the good parts of the story, and has given me a clear idea of how to fix it.

Jed and Strange Horizons, THANK YOU!

Ur negativities cannot penetrate mai Rainbow Wall of Happiness

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Writing: Truncated.

I've taken another step on my writer's journey: I've sucked it up and trunked some stories.

I've avoided doing this for quite some time because I thought abandoning these stories would be admitting defeat. I didn't want these pieces to defeat me, and I thought if I just kept hacking away at them, re-writing, re-thinking, I could pressure and mold them into something I'm happy with.

I'm not happy, and I came to a point this week where I realized I'm ok with that. These failures have once more taught me a lesson, and shown me some of my creative limits.

Plus, it's not like these stories are abandoned for being total arse. There may be an idea, a character, a setting or turn of phrase that I really like and I can recycle later down the track.

My trunk may be digital, but it's a folder that's warm and snug for my wordlet babies. Sleep well, knowing you were crafted with enthusiasm.

ETA: In my internet rambling linkages today, I serendipitously discovered this great article by Deborah J Ross at the Book View Cafe, which pretty much sums it all up: "Letting Go, Moving On"
Part of a writer’s maturation process is accepting that sometimes you hit the mark and sometimes you don’t. You do the best you can with each story, reaching to make each one better. With each flop (and also with each success, when it comes), you take what you’ve learned and use it to tackle the next story.

Keep Calm
And Make It So
(Picture via Fuck Yeah, Captain Picard)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Hey Now Hey Now, Rejection Rejection ay yay 27/07/2011

"Through The Open Door" rejected via form letter from Lightspeed. (Number 15!)

"Tasty Maidens" rejected with personal feedback from Silver Blade. Thank you!

"Polly Ticks" rejected via form letter from Port Iris. I somehow broke their submissions system, hehe.

"Halfway Between Asleep and Dead" rejected with big positive vibes from New Myths - I came SO CLOSE with this one, top contender apparantly. Ahh well, good to know I'm on to something with it.

"Halfway Between Asleep and Dead" rejected via form letter from Electric Spec.

"The Words Women Say That Men Don't Hear" rejected via form letter from Ticon4, and then Comets and Criminals.

"Team Work" rejected via form letter from Cast of Wonders.

The worlds tragedies weigh heavily on my head.
Wait. Other way around.

Monday, July 25, 2011

This is my day, how's yours?

We don't get snow in Christchurch, so this is a novelty...if a little nerve wracking considering the already stressed and broken rooves in the city. I haven't seen snow like this in the South Island since the "Big Dump" of 92.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Writing: My current WiP is expanding at a rate of knots

I'm a magpie when it comes to my writing projects. It's a symptom of my short attention span. If something is not pleasing me, I tend to set it aside with an "I'll come back to it later". More often than not I don't.

I've worried that this may effect my transition from short story to novel writing. I want to attempt the novel at some stage, but I've never got past the Thinking About It stage. I have a few notes, but I haven't plotted. I'm notorious for winging it on a lot of my projects, and I know that this contributes to my inability to stick with the WiP if the going gets tough and I stall on a scene. I know this, I recognize this, and I have to work on this.

Monday, July 18, 2011

An All Female Venue: I'll be going on-station at Luna Station Quarterly

Some more good news! Luna Station Quarterly, a venue for female and female identified SFF writers, will be publishing my story "The Woman With Flowers In Her Hair" in September.

Luna Station Quarterly is a pay-by-exposure e-zine, where I'll be able to post up a bio and links.

A lot happening all at once! Alrighty semi-pro and pro-venues...I"m waiting on you. Hit me with it!


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Living a small town existence in a big city

Last night I spent yet another Saturday night doing a whole lot of nothing. That's because there isn't much to do around Christchurch at the moment, and what can be done is very busy or difficult to get to.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Step Up: "The Ten Thousand Steps" Sold!

I'm so very pleased and proud to announce that my story "The Ten Thousand Steps" will be appearing in a forthcoming edition of Expanded Horizons.

I'm very excited about this for two reasons: Expanded Horizons is a fantastic venue for feminist and intersectional speculative fiction that I will be very proud to to be published in; and TTTS is the second story set in Katewin and The Phoenix's world of "Mid-life Crisis" which was published in Flash Me Magazine December last year - this means I'm on to something good!

Yipee, what a week!

[Image: Patrick Stewart wearing the famous "This is what a feminist looks like" t-shirt]

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

"Twixt" M-Brane SF June 2011

The June 2011 edition of M-Brane SF e-zine is available for purchase now, and contains my story "Twixt".

This story contains language, and discussion of sex, sexuality, rape and genderqueer issues.

I am stoked that editor Chris Fletcher has taken a punt on this story, and that he's willing to push boundaries with his science fiction. Thank you, Chris.

Check out this awesome cover:

'Tis very strange seeing my name at the top of the cover.

And yes, I know I use the phrase "born this way" in the story, but I wrote it long before I knew the title of Mother Monster's song/album.

Monday, July 11, 2011

VA: PodCastle - "5 Rules For Commuting to the Underworld" by Merrie Haskell

"5 Rules for Commuting to the Underworld" by Merrie Haskell is this week's "PodCastle Miniature", narrated by MOI!

PodCastle can be subscribed to via iTunes, or you can listen to the show at their website. Here's the direct link through to the episode here where you can listen on site or download.

I likes PodCastle coz they let me read in my normal accent, and I totally got my sarcasm on with this one!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Well, that's torn it...

In the ongoing gender balance in SF debate, Cheryl Morgan has posted another great blog entitled "Anthologies: Some Data", in which she breaks down some gender divisions.

In the comments she had this to say:
I’m getting a strong message from other people that anything that smacks of “women’s press” will automatically be labeled “feminist” and, as Gwyneth said on the BBC, being labeled “feminist” is career suicide if you want to write SF. It’s not just people in the UK telling me that.
Well, I'm screwed then ain't I *wry grin*. Maybe I haven't had my naivety and optimism mashed out of me yet. Ah well, carry on battering against the castle's defences.

"Feminazi!" - A Play in One Act

W1, W2: "Feminazis give women a bad name!"
W1: "We don't need feminists or feminism!"
W2: "Yes, banish them from our clean, green planet so they don't make us look bad to men ever again!"
F-Godmother: "Umm, OK. Your wish is granted. No more feminists. No more feminism."
W1, W2: "Hooray!"

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Feminist Science Fiction: Girl Cootie Zeitgeist - All In.

The invisibility of women in science fiction meta conversation got another boost recently, as yet another ToC failed to make the grade.

Cue the screeching halt, mansplaining and return to 101. AGAIN.

Seriously people, this is getting tiring.

There's a lot of fingers and pointing and excuses and protestations of how it all looks Just Too Hard to fix the problem of sexism in publishing (if you even want to acknowledge that it exists) because of how wide ranging and systemic the problem is, so why even bother.

You should bother because we are human beings who are artists who are half the population who have meaningful insight to offer to literature. Because Science Fiction can be anything we want it to be.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Moar Rejection: Rejection Boogaloo 4/7/2011

"Anthropology, Redacted" rejected by the ever fantastic Redstone SF. Srsly, they give the best rejections. So encouraging to noobie wee me.

"Polly Ticks" rejected by Night Blade. Somehow I've managed to delete the email (wut?) but I believe it was a nice rejection.

"The City of Sand and Knives" rejected by Ideomancer with (Zomg! Ideomancer!) personalized feedback. Next to the encouragement from Redstone, this was some of the best feedback I've received yet from an editor (Zomg! Ideomancer!).

"The City of Sand and Knives" rejected by Comets and Criminals with personalized feedback. Go submit to Samuel Mae's new zine, yo, and help out the NZ specfic scene. It's GREAT to see another zine being run out of New Zealand.

"Situation Vacant, Apply Within" rejected by Warrior Wisewoman 4 anthology via form letter. (I will tell the story about this story at a MUCH later date, when I've got over myself being a prat)

"Spa day," you said. "Fun and relaxing," you said. (relaxo-kitteh sez you suck)

Thursday, June 30, 2011

I'm on the Write track baby, Twixt was Born This Way.

"Twixt" has been picked up by the fantastic M-Brane SF, to appear in their July issue. I am so stoked and excited and so very proud of this story.

I can think of no more appropriate celebration for this story and moment than Mother Monster:

The book stack never diminishes

An update on what I'm reading and what I've picked up of late. My book stack is teetering! Nom nom book lists!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Writing: Green Heads and Spam

When thunking thoughts about writing today,
I thought thoughts about writing in the nicest of ways.
I looked at the sunshine, and got it into my head,
That the best place to write would be snuggled up in bed.

So I broke out the laptop and snuggly I got,
And with warm toes and bum I wrote really a lot.
I had a cup of tea and petted the cat,
And wrote more words about science fiction this and that.

It got me thinking more thoughts about this writing malarky,
And working for yourself can be really quite sparkly.
No no, not sparkly of the vampire kind,
I'd quite happily dropkick them vamps in their shiny behinds.

I could write while on holiday, while cruising on a boat,
I could write in a car, or riding on a goat.
Well maybe not a goat, because they're bumpy and small,
And lappy's are expensive to replace if they happen to fall.

The point is, that I've found I do care,
That I can write just about here there and everywhere!
I'll sit on a mountain, and tappity tap tap,
Or I'll sit by the sea with words and wine in my lap.

This isn't to say the writers life is carefree,
It's hard to make a buck as a bard, you'll agree.
But if I come out of the day feeling happy and keen,
I'll know a waste of a day it really hasn't been.

Today is a good day...even the sunshine smells good.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Writing: The funny things stress do to your head

I've spoken before about how different writers handle stress. I recall Jay Lake talking about writing during a bout of cancer, and a friend of mine post February 22 finished and submitted a novel to a publisher.

Unfortunately, what the last four months has proved to me that when it comes to the crunch I find it very difficult to write, especially fiction, during times of stress. My blogging has dropped off too. My fiction writing has taken another hit in productivity in the last couple of weeks. I hate myself for it, and I hate myself for facing up to it and blogging about it because it sounds like just another massive whine.

But it's not. I have to remind myself that this time in my personal and Christchurch history is the toughest thing I've ever had to go through in my life. I know I'm being hard on myself, but I can't help it. I've always had high expectations. I promised myself to be accountable for my word count, and I'm failing at it.

Two weeks ago I thought things were starting to get a little better. While some big changes were happening personally and around the city, I was beginning to feel more optimistic and really happy that my writing was getting back on track. I'd finally got that holiday I'd been promising myself for almost six months, and I was starting to feel refreshed. I'd even written something that excited and invigorated me.

Then June 13 happened. Two large aftershocks in one day, within 90 minutes of each other, that worsened the damage around the city and set back recovery efforts (one of them was a 6.3, the equivalent magnitude of February 22). The only thing I can be grateful for on that day is that I wasn't at work. I believe if I had been at work in town I would have been triggered with flashbacks and sent right back to square one (apparently equipment fell down in my office this time which people agree would have set me off). I don't talk about the Day Job here, but I am making vague references here just to illustrate where my writing head is at.

And it's not great. I have a 'deadline': a competition I want to enter closes mid August and I'm really struggling with the story I want to write for it. I don't want to give up on it because I love the venue that it's going to. But at what point do I admit defeat? I have the Big Idea of the story, but every time I sit down to get it out, it's coming out all wrong. If I don't believe in the story, I'll half arse it, and it will show. I believe in only submitting my best.

Amongst all this writerly angst I can see the lessons. I am learning that I don't do deadlines well, and that's a first step towards figuring out how to deal with them. I imagine I will have more of them if I ever get serious about writing The Novel. I am learning how far I can push myself into the writing habit depending on the state of my headspace, and I believe I'm getting better at partitioning the stress. I can write when I really BELIEVE in what I'm writing - the story that excited my so much in the last couple of weeks I completed on June 14, when I was feeling pretty weird from the day before. Perhaps the distraction is good - sometimes getting into my worlds is helpful for taking my mind off things.

The one thing that is sustaining me is the amount of stories I have out there on slushpiles. There are many. I'm not caring if I'm getting rejections. Oddly enough, not much communication of any sort from anywhere, but that's OK - having them out there is the thing.

Keep Calm...Keep struggling your way through, and carry on writing.

Admit it: you are jealous (of relaxo-cat)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Girl Cootie Science Fiction Zeitgeist Links 16/06/2011

The discussion about the invisibility of women science fiction writers continues, and there's been some great contributions and discussions around the blocks.
Why have we forgotten these women? Partly feminism is to blame. The eager young feminists of the 1970s were keen to throw off the perceived shackles of their mothers, and rejected many of their predecessors as too “domestic” in their subject matter. But also we would have remembered these women more had their work been discussed more at the time, and had they won awards. 

  • Ian Sales has begun the SF Mistressworks blog, where SF by women writers is reviewed. The blog only began in the last few weeks and it already has an impressive list of books reviewed!
  • At Ambling Along the Aqueduct (the blog of Aqueduct Press), the discussion has been kept moving with a variety of posts.  L. Timmel Duchamp wrote about "Differences conceptualizing feminist SF":

    For a US feminist, at least, this formulation of feminism might apply to 1970s cultural and liberal feminisms, but it never applied to, say, socialist feminism. Granted, for all of the 1970s socialist feminists struggled mightily in their efforts to fit two dualistic systems of political thought together (in what was commonly called "the marriage of feminism and socialism"), so that they would not have to choose between socialism and feminism, but by the late 1970s and early 1980s, when black feminists' theorizations of intersectionality began to gain traction with white feminists like me, the "battle of the sexes" orientation of feminism pretty much went the way of the dodo.
    Gwynyth Jones (of whom I am reading 'White Queen' at the moment) responded with her own "Conceptualizing Feminist SF":
    Mary Gentle, long ago, coined the idea (maybe other people have expressed the same position, I don’t know) that she was a feminist writing science fiction, rather than a writer of feminist science fiction. This is what I think about everything I’ve written since Life. Which was and is, as I have always maintained, my farewell to the investigative, active work of feminist science fiction. I haven’t stopped being a feminist, I haven’t stopped writing like a feminist, but the Battle of the Sexes is no longer my exclusive topic.

    And it’s a shame if all sf books that feature a few female characters, having female lifes, are labelled feminist, & therefore marked as unreadable by large swathes of the general sf reading public. I have been worried about being part of that effect.
  • Juliet E. McKenna had her say in "Women being published in SF - an issue for all genre readers":
    And, you know what, echoing Pat Cadigan, I don’t want to be congratulated/rewarded for being a good writer, for a woman. I want to be considered a good writer who happens to be a woman.
  • Over at SFSignal, this week's Mind Meld is "What's the importance of the Russ Pledge for Science Fiction today?" Watch out for the usual derailing and mansplaining in the comments! Farah Mendlesohn puts it pretty succinctly:
    I am more interested in hearing why male writers think the Russ Pledge is important for science fiction, and then watching them act it out, than I am in writing yet one more exhausted rant stating the obvious.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

There, I Fixed It For You: Christchurch Earthquake Bingo Edition

Want to be a condescending jerk? Thinking that you lack the opportunity to tell Christchurch people how they really should feel? Or do you simply want to drum up page views with a little controversy? Just rock (see my pun there?) on into any open commentary thread about Christchurch and let the unempathetic, uninformed bullshit fly!

To help you wade through the tidal wave of bile, I've created for you a commenting Bingo Card. Fill it up and you win a free trip* to the shaky city where you can hang out with all us lucky whingers and bathe in the liquefaction and sewerage, enjoy driving on broken roads, and try to salvage your home/job/life/humanity here!


Monday, June 13, 2011

Things you are after a day of two major aftershocks

Tired. Getting stuck into a bottle of wine. Glad the cat came back (without a hat). Wondering what the hell you're doing. On a downer when you were so damn happy earlier in the day. Back on the coping treadmill. Thinking 5.5 plus 6 equals turning it way past 11. Sad. Wondering when it will ever end.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Rejection 2: The Rejectioner 12/06/2011

To keep my ego in check after the RNZ National interview, the rejections have been coming thick and fast this week. Some of these gave me whiplash!

"Through The Open Door" rejected by Apex Magazine via form letter.

"Polly Ticks" rejected by Mind Flights with feedback. Hat tip and bow Mind Flights, much appreciated.

"Talk To Your Universe" rejected by The Absent Willow Review via form letter, and then from Neon via form letter (in now what stands as my quickest rejection evah! Woo! Eight hours!).

"The City of Sand and Knives" rejected by Fantasy Magazine via form letter, and then Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine with feedback. If I'd thought harder about it, I should have sent this to Lightspeed, not Fantasy - so I call that a rejection of my own dumbness.

I'm not playin wit you guys no mores!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Writerly First: Baby's First Promotional Interview!

I am being interviewed for Radio New Zealand National's "Arts On Sunday" program tomorrow along with Matt Cowen (I believe) about "Tales For Canterbury". I'll post up the date and time the interview will air once I find out. Could possibly be this coming Sunday. This is pretty awesome, because it's not very often that specfic gets promotion on New Zealand radio.

I will be doing the interview in person at RNZ House in Wellington, since this weekend is WELLINGTONPALOOZA 2011 baby!

How exciting!

ETA: The interview will air this Sunday June 11 at approximately 2.30pm. If you miss it, it will be available for download after airing from the Arts on Sunday subsite as linked above.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

An audience with His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama

Today I heard the Dalai Lama speak, and it was beautiful.

So what was a nice atheist like me doing in a place like this? His Holiness said it himself: "it doesn't matter whether you are religious or not, we all deserve care and compassion."

Monday, June 6, 2011

Things I want to do as a writer

  1. Be published in Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine. I would die happy then.
  2. Go to WisCon.
  3. Go to Clarion South.
It's not much. But it's a lot.

Sweet Dreamz, I haz dem

Friday, June 3, 2011

Out, damn Rejections! OUT! 03/06/2011

"Me Myself I" rejected by Digital Science Fiction via form letter (though an incredibly cute one).

"Polly Ticks" rejected by Mind Flights with informative feedback. Thanks Mind Flights!

"The Woman With Flowers In Her Hair" rejected by Fantastique Unfettered via form letter; then from Linger Fiction with feedback.

"Team Work" rejected by Daily Science Fiction via form letter.

And you think your job sucks

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Lookit! The paperback edition of "Tales For Canterbury" is available!

The cover of Tales For Canterbury, a bent over tree with two white doves

A table of contents listing the stories in Tales For Canterbury, with My Dad The Tuatara prominent
Double Squee!

The author peeks over the top of a book, open to the first page of her story
Squee ice cream, eaten with a squee spoon, with squee sauce and a squee cherry on top!
 If you'd like your own copy of "Tales for Canterbury" (paperback or e-book) and to help out fundraising for Red Cross Christchurch Earthquake Appeal, order your copy now through Random Static.

Feminist Science Fiction: It's Too Soon For Joanna Russ To Be Spinning In Her Grave Already

I'm beginning to think my expectations for human beings to evolve their thinking may be a little too high. But that's me, the eternal optimist. I'd like to think that one day, eventually, within my own lifetime would be nice, people would get it...

That women writers aren't as invisible as people have been lead to believe.

Monday, May 30, 2011

There are things you gotta do to keep functioning

Winter. The frost is beginning to crunch and bite, and life seems to be moving a lot slower.

In a city where things have almost ground to a halt, where it's hard to appreciate the minute changes on a daily basis, it's difficult to see the progress. I know it's there, but it's mostly in holes.

There are a lot of holes in my life right now: Gaps in memory; falling down deep wells of expired energy; a garden untouched; having to completely rearrange your movements because you just "can't go there" anymore.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

"Tales For Canterbury" E-book Release

I've had the link up on my sidebar for quite some time, but there's nothing like a little reminder about helping out raising money for the Canterbury Earthquake relief and my first meat space publishing adventure, so...

The "Tales For Canterbury" e-book is available now! If you've pre-ordered an e-book, go go oggity go! You can now read me alongside many fantastic New Zealand and international authors. There are my good friends Lynne Jamneck, Ripley Patton and Anna Caro in there, wonderful kiwi writers like Tina Makereti, Helen Lowe, and Philippa Ballantine, as well as Neil (himself) Gaimen, Sean Williams and Gwyneth Jones. And that's just a few of the names included - check out this awesome list of contributors!

I am so very very VERY lucky to be included amongst this sterling list of authors, a feminist SFF heroine and my favourite game writer, friends and people I am fans of (sometimes both now, it's so trippy!).

The paperback version of the book is at the printers now. If you haven't ordered/bought your copy now, why not consider doing so for such a good cause. All proceeds (and I mean all, the authors do not get any payment for this) are going to the Red Cross Canterbury Earthquake fund, and believe me as a Cantabrian I KNOW it's still very much needed.  Plus I will add you to my list of favourite people in all the universe, and isn't that a list worth being on when I'm all JK Rowling it up?

Tales for Canterbury Blog button

I'm all over the place

Just like the title suggests, my ability to concentrate on any one thing at the moment is a bit stuffed.

My Writer Mondays are taking a hit for about a month. I'm filling in at The Day Job for two Mondays, then after that I'm FINALLY getting the holiday I was supposed to take at the end of February. There better not be any major quakes pulling me back in this time, because my flights are booked and I'm partying/shopping like it's 1999! Hmm, not sure gallows humour works just yet.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Rejections, Rejections everywhere, and not a drop to drink 23/5/2011

"The Words Women Say That Men Don't Hear" rejected via form letter from Analog Science Fiction. I'm so pleased that Analog now accepts e-subs, it makes an international writer's job so much easier. Now I only need F&SF Mag and TTA Press to start doing e-subs and life will be super sweet on the sub front.

"Talk To Your Universe" rejected via form letter from Bourbon Penn.

"Through The Open Door" rejected via form letter from Birkensnake. It's dozenth rejection!

Ders nuttin lyke fallin asleep wit a gud book