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.