Thursday, December 17, 2015

Le Noms 2015

It's that time of year again. Nomination season has come round, so here's a quick run down on my work from this year. Feel free to do with them as you will.

Short Stories:
"Causeway" - The Future Fire, Issue 2015.34, October 2015
"She Must" - Capricious, September 21, 2015
"The Long Trip Home" - "Daughters of Frankenstein: Lesbian Mad Scientists", Lethe Press, July 28, 2015
"Gravity Well" - Scigentasy, Issue 9, May 2015
"The Unofficial Guide to Travelling with Kin" - Betwixt Magazine, January 2015

From the shorts I had published this year, I feel the biggest affinity with "Gravity Well" (a Clarion story) and "She Must".

Novelette:"Long's Confandabulous Clockwork Circus and Carnival, and Cats of Many Persuasions" - Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, Issue 61, September 2015

 I am very proud of this story. It's the longest piece I've ever written, and it's a fun adventure set in a steampunk, alt-history Egypt.

Non-fiction:
"Ahead of her time and lost in time: on feminism, gender, and bisexuality" - "Letters to Tiptree", edited by Alisa Krasnostein and Alexandra Pierce, Twelfth Planet Press, August 24, 2015

There aren't many awards that take single pieces of non-fiction upon their merits for nomination, but I'm putting this essay here anyway because I've very proud of it. It meant a lot to me to write and have it published celebrating the life of one of my favourite authors. For the SJVs, it might come under the fan writing category.

New Zealand's Sir Julius Vogel Awards are now open for nominations. Here is a link to the rules and an explanation of the categories, and here is the information on how to make a nomination.

Thanks, as always. And if you have any you'd like considered for nomination, pop the details below in comments.


Lolcat sez om nom nom nom dis wrod tree




Monday, November 23, 2015

Sale News: Aww Yisss, Shimmer Magazine

I've been feeling the weight of needing to hit a milestone/watershed/bucket list venue since August last year, and now, wow, the relief!

The wonderful Shimmer Magazine has accepted my Clarion third week story "An Atlas in Sgraffito Style", and I couldn't be more proud of the story and the venue it's going to. Publication date still to be advised.

"Atlas" has had quite the journey, a story in itself - from earthquake inspiration, to Clarion draft, through SIX more drafts - and I believe it is my best story to date. I'm so excited about it finding a home.


Shimmery Cat Sez Aww Yiss

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Gender Stuff

A.C. Wise, author of the Ultra Fabulous Glitter Squadron set of tales, runs a blog series of "Authors to Read", featuring women and non-binary/genderqueer authors. I was surprised and pleased to be featured in her latest reviews, as she tackled my Beauty and the Beast recapture "She Must", from Capricious issue 1. It's a great reading of the story.

Wise originally pegged me as a non-binary author. In order to make sure I'm not taking up the space that belongs to wonderful nb/gq authors, I made it clear that I identify as a woman, and Wise adjusted the review to reflect that (thanks!).

Part of the author identity I am constructing is about experimenting with gender, and how this affects how my work is read. I deliberately chose gender neutral initials and bio pronouns in an effort to encourage a neutral read from an initial reader, but in this internet age it's not hard to find out that I'm a woman. Going gender neutral also gains the risk of being gendered regardless, because disguising oneself has been recognized as a very gendered thing to do in the writing industry.

I also have many complicated feelings around gender, and would love to smash the binary on a daily basis. I appreciate that some my closest writer friends understand what I'm doing, and that I don't intend to appropriate the nb/gq experience. However, intention isn't magic, and many people will read me and my work different. If anyone has issue how I go about this identity with regards to appropriation, I am more than open to discussion.

What I'm doing with my author identity is part Tiptree, part experimentation, part seat of the pants. We've still got a long way to go in literature before gender doesn't inform reading. I may not be entirely successful in smashing the binary on socially coded reading in my life time, but I'd like to give it a damn good try.

Sometimes I'm not entirely sure what or who AJ Fitzwater will become, and I appreciate my community's willingness to let me experiment and stretch.

(Parts of this blog post appeared originally in some of my Tweets 27/10/2015)

Sunday, October 11, 2015

"Causeway", The Future Fire Issue 2015.34

The Future Fire is one of those indie magazines I hugely respect for their vision, and I'm pleased to present my third story they have chosen to publish in their latest issue: "Causeway".

"Causeway" is a pre-Clarion story (I think of my writing in pre- and post-Clarion now) about humans abducted by aliens and held in a very pleasant cage, possibly for breeding purposes. It might sound like a fairly routine story, except I flip two tropes on their head. First, what if one of the captives is infertile? And second, I critique toxic masculinity behaviours in situations of stress, captivity and leadership.

Just like my two previous stories for the magazine, editor Djibril al-Ayad has chosen some glorious artwork, and both pieces illustrating my story are by Pandalion Death.

So here it is. "Causeway" in The Future Fire 2015.34. So pleased to be able to share it.

An image of a face in profile done in
multiple slashes of bright colour




Monday, September 21, 2015

Introducing Capricious Magazine

The world always needs beautiful, difficult tales.

Andi Buchanan's editorial vision is one I hugely respect and trust. They were a part of putting together the anothologies "A Foreign Country", "Tales for Canterbury", and "Regeneration: New Zealand Speculative Fiction II", three excellent books with a taste for the zeitgeist of New Zealand speculative fiction in the last 5-6 years.

Now they have started the magazine "Capricious", encapsulating literary, experimental, and slipstream speculative fiction and criticism, with a focus on gender, disability, and environment.

Issue 1 is available for free right now. If you like what you see, subscribe, spread the word. Capricious is currently running on a grant from SpecFicNZ (our little local collective), but would like to be independent.

Andi approached me to write a story for the first issue, and I was absolutely honoured to do so. I wanted to do their vision justice, and I hope I have with "She Must", a weird deconstruction of Beauty and the Beast. There is also an interview in the magazine, talking about my process with the story. It will come as no surprise that I talk about the catch-22 heroines face in literature, and how is easy it is for them to be labelled monstrous.

Check out issue 1 of Capricious magazine now - it's free!

Cover Art for Capricious Issue 1.
A castle stands precariously atop a mountain, surrounded by a rushing blue river,
and trees, bushes and fields of green, red, and gold.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Five Questions: "Long's Confandabulous Clockwork Carnival and Circus, and Cats of Many Persuasions"

 
It's been a while since I did a Five Questions for one of my stories, so let's do one for "Circus"! This story is available in issue 61 of Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine.


Front Cover for ASIM Issue 61:
Two women, one with dark skin and dark braids,

the other with black straight hair and olive skin,
hold cats while a shadow figure stands over
them. The water around them is full of dead cats.
Inevitable Question is Inevitable: Where did the idea for this story originate from?
It was over three years ago, but I think it was born from a Twitter/blog conversation about non-colonialist steampunk. I was playing around with the idea of an environmentally friendly circus with machine animals, and it fell into place when I started thinking about the circus travelling by airship. I was originally going to make the story centred around the clockwork animals, but Chifwe and Ba Luen's friendship came through so strongly it turned into a magic adventure. With cats. Lots and lots of cats.

Where in any of the universes is River City located?
River City is definitely in an Earth-like world, where African, Middle Eastern, and Asian economic, artistic, and religious aspects have a firmer hold in the 18th-19th centuries than the hold European colonialism and slavery had on the world. I think it is an Egyptian, Moroccan, Northern African, or Eastern Mediterranean rim port city, which melds together many of the cultures of the region. I used the geographical and historical nature of The Nile as my template, but the geography can be just as alt as the history of this world.

What is a "reclamation specialist", and why is Chifwe one?
I wanted to imagine a trade that doesn't get the respect it does in our world, but is incredibly important to the physical well being of a community. I also wanted to imagine this trade as being quite hard to do physically, but there are no qualms that women can do it too; the "House" (trade) structure of River City is quite matriarchal. I wanted to imagine a hard, physical trade that pays well, whether through monetary gain recognized by the wider world or the barter system River City partly operates on.

Taking all that, I then built into the world practical and religious concepts around medicine, cleanliness, disease management, waste disposal, and body disposal that were atypical in Europe from the middle ages through the 19th century, but have their basis hundreds to thousands of years in the past in African, Asian, Oceanic, and South American cultures. Really, I just wanted my people to talk about toilets and periods and poo in a very matter-of-fact way.

Chifwe fell into the job a little by accident. The Aito-wel reclamation House is her father's business, and she hadn't thought herself adept to the challenge and hadn't intended to follow in his footsteps. But that's another story!

This is the longest story you've had published. Did you plan to turn it into a twenty thousand word novella?
I started out by trying to keep it to short story mode, but the world just kept coming and coming, and before I knew it had I had a novella on my hands. I didn't plan it like that it all. I got myself excited with all the sights, sounds, and smells of the city, and the characters became too interesting to make into simple character sketches. It all clicked into place nicely, and almost by accident I built a big world with huge potential.

Do you have plans to write more in this universe?
The simple answer is: Yes. The potential of the world I mentioned has already manifested into a story that has found a home. "The Long Trip Home" ("Daughters of Frankenstein: Lesbian Mad Scientists", Lethe Press) features Chifwe and Ba Luen as elderly women helping their friends Aroha Raharuhi, an airship engineer, and Cinnamon Darling, a contortionist and airship pilot, build the greatest airship of its time.

Chifwe's apprenticeship is that "other story" I alluded to, which I'm currently shopping around. This story includes Yedenda, a Shadow Highway spy, which offers up lots of interesting opportunities for other stories.

I'm also trying to write Cinnamon's origin story since she presented as such a delicious character in "Long Trip", but she's giving me lots of difficulties - she's delicious AND temperamental!

Monday, September 7, 2015

The Circus has come to town! ASIM Issue 61 now available

Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine Issue 61 is now available for purchase!

It's been a long journey towards getting my first River City story published - it was accepted two years and three months ago by ASIM, and now it's finally here.

So, now I can introduce you to the world of Chifwe, the reclamation specialist and animagus, and Ba Luen, daughter of the circus and engineer, in "Long's Confandabulous Clockwork Carnival and Circus, and Cats of Many Persuasions."

"Circus" is my longest story to date, a novella clocking in at just under twenty thousand words.

Enjoy!


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Dearest Tip

My writing influences are a collection of incredible people, mostly women and genderqueer, and I speak often on the impact James Tiptree, Jr. has had on me since I discovered them over six years.

Alice Sheldon is a difficult person to pin down, because she didn't want to be pinned down, labelled, put in a box. She struggled all her life with issues of gender, class, sexuality, and mental health. She was an incredibly interesting, intelligent, yet troubled person, whose legacy has a huge impact of the SSFnal world even today. She didn't want to just be known as the author who turned feminist speculative fiction and the idea of gendered writing on its head. She is many things to many people. But for me, if anyone questions the validity of women writing science fiction, I point them in the direction of James Tiptree, Jr.

Sheldon's legacy isn't without its problems. She had a problematic relationship with her gender presentation, sexuality, and women's rights of the day, her reactions to which are sad and infuriating in equal measure. In the end, the pain of not fitting in anywhere, the pain of her mental health problems she never received adequate help for, led to her taking her own life. Though she died when I was 14, a long time before I was introduced to her work, I miss her everyday, like some sort of ghost aunt.

I write about my thoughts on her relationship to gender, feminism, and sexuality in my essay which is included in "Letters to Tiptree", edited by Alisa Krasnostein and Alexandra Pierce, released by Twelfth Planet Press. This book of essays has been released to celebrate Sheldon's 100th birthday this month. There's been a variety of interesting excerpts, columns, and press for the release of the book.

For further reading:
"The Women You Didn't See: A Letter to Alice Sheldon" by Nicola Griffith at the LA Review of Books
"Letters to Tiptree" by Brit Mandelo at Tor.com
"Dear Dr Sheldon" by Gwyneth Jones
Galactica Suburbia Episode 125 - "James Tiptree, Jr." (audio)
"Where to start with the works of James Tiptree, Jr." by Brit Mandelo at Tor.com
"What James Tiptree, Jr. can teach us about the power of the SF community" by Leah Schnelbach at Tor.com
"The most secretive woman in the history of Science Fiction" by Ted Gioia at Conceptual Fiction

"Letters to Tiptree" by Twelfth Planet Press is now available for purchase in ebook and print formats through their website.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Cover Art Magic!

Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine Issue 61 is just about ready to launch for readers, and in advance I have received my contributors copy. Wow, I am blown away by the wonderful cover art by Shauna O'Meara!

I've had art done to accompany stories before, but this is the first time I've been honoured with cover art, which is for "Long's Confandabulous Clockwork Circus and Carnival, and Cats of Many Persuasions". Check this lovely out:

Cover of Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine Issue 61:
Two young women stand on a river dock, watched over by the shadow of
a mysterious flute player. The woman on the left is North African with brown skin, facial tattoos, and tight braids,
and is holding a white cat. The woman on the right is Chinese , with long straight black hair, and is
holding a mechanical cat. They have mud splattered legs. Many cats float in the river. In the background,
black storm clouds cover a city.
I am so pleased the artist captured the look and spirit of not only the story, but of this particular scene (no spoilers!). The woman on the left is Chifwe, the animagus and reclamation specialist, holding her special albino cat. The woman on the right is Ba Luen, an engineer and daughter of Long's Circus, holding her steam-powered clockwork cat. The shadow of the flute player is Hotor, a master of music, shadow, and insects.

This scene is from a major confrontation in the story, so I don't want to give anything away. However, I am pleased at the inclusion of intricate detail and that the true essence of my characters remain intact. River City is a steampunk alt-world Northern Africa, possibly Egyptian, city, with a myriad of cultures, people, languages, religions, and magic, and is an intersection of trade routes. Such details as Chifwe's facial tattoos and outfit and Ba Luen's circus costume are all included, which really delights me. I'm really pleased the artist and ASIM made the effort to acknowledge the intersections of race and culture I attempted to imbue in my story.

Plus, in release serendipity, "Long's Confandabulous Circus" is the first story set in River City, and the second, "The Long Trip Home", was released in "Daughters of Frankenstein" earlier this month.

Now, is it just me, or does the clockwork cat look a little like Cat Iron Man?

Thursday, July 30, 2015

"Daughters of Frankenstein" has landed!

"Daughters of Frankenstein: Lesbian Mad Scientists" from Lethe Press has been released!

Available in hardback and e-book format, this collection of stories and essays is all about women taking the power and running with it. My story "The Long Trip Home" is set in my River City world, and includes four elderly women conspiring to give one of their ilk the best send off of all time, and a little weather, airship, and animal magic ensues.

Here's the ToC:
"Infusion of Waking Dreams" by Aynjel Kaye
"Doubt the Sun" by Faith Mudge
"Meddling Kids" by Tracy Canfield
"Eldritch Brown Houses" by Claire Humphrey
"The Moorehead Maze Experiment" by Tim Lieder
"The Eggshell Curtain" by Romie Stott
“Poor Girl” by Traci Castleberry
“Bank Job Blues” by Melissa Scott
“The Long Trip Home” by A.J. Fitzwater
“Imaginary Beauties: A Lurid Melodrama” by Gemma Files
“The Riveter” by Sean Eads
“A Shallow Grave of Orange Peel and Eggshells” by Thoraiya Dyer
“Alraune” by Orrin Grey
“Preserving the Integrity of the Feminine Mystique” by Christine Morgan
“Hypatia and Her Sisters” by Amy Griswold
“The Lady of the House of Mirrors” by Rafaela F. Ferraz
“The Ice Weasels of Trebizond” by Mr and Mrs Brenchley
“Love in the Time of Markov Processes” by Megan Arkenberg
And featuring an essay by Jess Nevins: “From Alexander Pope to Splice: a Short History of the Female Mad Scientist.”

Daughters of Frankenstein Cover:
Two women with frizzled black hair, glasses, and white lab coats
 stand over a robot with electricity zapping into its joints

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

What's Coming Up

August is going to be a great month in Pickled land, with two, possibly three, big releases.

"The Long Trip Home", a story set within my steampunk world of River City, is in Lethe Press' "Daughters of Frankenstein: Lesbian Mad Scientists", edited by Steve Berman.

It's worked out quite serendipitously that "The Long Trip Home" is coming out around the same time as "Long's Confandabulous Clockwork Circus and Carnival, and Cats of Many Persuasions", my first River City story, which will appear in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine Issue 61. "Circus" has been on the cards for over two years now, and I'm really keen to get the ball rolling on my River City story series for everyone to enjoy. While I don't have a specific date for the release of ASIM #61, editor Simon Petrie says the issue has "moved on to the launch pad". It would be great if it's August - both River City stories out at once!

My essay "Ahead of her time, and lost in time: on feminism, bisexuality, and gender" will be in Twelfth Planet Press' "Letters to Tiptree". This collection of essays honouring James Tiptree Jr. will be the perfect academic companion to anyone interested in the author and/or the history of women's and feminist science fiction. I'm really honoured that I'm going to be a part of it.

I also have two other stories that will be out in the next few months, though dates are to be advised. One of my strange little numbers entitled "Causeway" has been picked up by The Future Fire, and will be in an upcoming issue. The Future Fire also have released the excellent "Accessing The Future", a disability themed anthology of speculative fiction. I'm very much enjoying reading through the anthology. And it includes a story by New Zealand's own A.C. Buchanan.

Speaking of whom, Andi is starting a New Zealand based magazine of speculative fiction entitled "Capricious", and they have chosen my story "She Must" to appear in the first edition. Considering Andi and my own literary tastes often intersect, I'm really looking forward to what weird and wonderful speculative stories (because my story is weird!) they come up with and the interesting essays which will be included in the magazine.

I'm on yer books, keeping yer storeez nice 'n warm

Friday, July 10, 2015

"Letters To Tiptree", Twelfth Planet Press

James Tiptree Jr. is one of the biggest influences on my current state of writing. The opportunity to tell her this passed me by before I even knew she and her amazing work existed - she took her life when I was thirteen and I had barely even discovered the SFF genre.

Therefore, a chance to write a letter to her posthumously and express what she means to me was a dream come true. Twelfth Planet Press are publishing a collection of essays entitled "Letters to Tiptree", celebrating Alice Sheldon the anniversary of her 100th birthday.

I penned an essay entitled "Ahead of her time, and lost in time: on gender, feminism, and bisexuality", and I am so very proud and excited to share that my essay will be included in the collection, to be released in August 2015.

Editors Alisa Krasnostein and Alexandra Pierce have put together a stellar collection of authors and academics, and I am so honoured to share a table of contents with many people I hold in the highest regard.

Pre-orders are available now.

"Letters to Tiptree", edited by Alisa Krasnostein and Alexandrea Pierce, including letters from:
Kathryn Allan
Marleen Barr
Stephanie Burgis
Joyce Chng
Aliette de Bodard
Timmi Duchamp
Amanda Fitzwater
Lisa Goldstein
Theodora Goss
Nicola Griffiths
Valentin D Ivanov
Gwyneth Jones
Rose Lemberg
Sylvia Kelso
Alex Dally MacFarlane
Brit Mandelo
Sandra McDonald
Seanan McGuire
Karen Miller
Judith Moffet
Cheryl Morgan
Pat Murphy
Sarah Pinsker
Cat Rambo
Tansy Rayner Roberts
Justina Robson
Nisi Shawl
Nike Sulway
Lucy Sussex
Rachel Swirsky
Bogi Takacs
Lynne M. Thomas
 Elisabeth Vonarburg
Jo Walton
Tess Williams

Thursday, June 18, 2015

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


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

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

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

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


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

Friday, June 12, 2015

SJV Profile By Helen Lowe

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

Today, this includes me.

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

This is awesome, thanks Helen!



Monday, June 8, 2015

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Sir Julius Vogel Awards Christchurch Event, June 13

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

"Gravity Well", Scigentasy Issue 9, May 2015

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

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

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

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



Wednesday, April 29, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, April 11, 2015

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

Another first!

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

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

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

What an interesting week in the life of.

Monday, April 6, 2015

So This Happened...

I won Best New Talent at New Zealand's Sir Julius Vogel Awards 2015 last night.

This is the first award I've won for my writing (the X-Static FM Best Copywriter 1991 doesn't count coz it was a 7th form school ego-boo thing), so it has particular meaning. I'd like to say something meaningful and worthy about awards, but currently I can only come up with "Yay!"

Awards mean what you need them to mean. They're great for the CV. They're great because people are taking notice. They're also popularity contests which have always amused me - I disabused myself of the meritocracy of awards long ago.

But they also mean people care, one way or the other. I'm glad I have a little community of people here in New Zealand who care enough about me and my career that they'd nominate and vote for me. Thank you to the still anonymous person who wrote the nice nomination blurb for me. Thank you to everyone who voted for me. Thank you to my NZ team: Andi Buchanan, Liz Gatens, Cat Langford, Mark English, Paul Mannering, Lee Murray, Dan Rabarts, Debbie Cowens, Matt Cowens, Marie Hodgkinson, Helen Lowe. Thank you to Clarion UCSD. Thanks to all my incredible Clarion classmates. Thanks to my Clarion tutors Geoff Ryman, Gregory Frost, Cat Valente, Nora Jemisin, Jeff Vandermeer, and especially Ann Vandermeer who keeps checking in and cheerleading for me. Thanks to the editors who have taken a chance on me. Thanks to all the people who quietly cheer on the side lines (you know who you are). Thank you SpecFicNZ for their support. Thanks SFFANZ.

It's strange to say Best NEW Talent - I've been at this for five years now, and it's been a hard slog. But the only way is up. Here's to many more great writing years to come.

The Sir Julius Vogel Award Trophy,
a gold diamond shape inscribed with 
Maori and space motifs on a green base

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Links of Interest: The Tiptrees, #womenwritefantasy, Shortcuts, At The Edge, Sisters of the Revolution, Glittership

  • Women Write Fantasy. Yes we do.

    It's back onto the No We Are Not Invisible horse again, with this lovingly crafted "advertisement" for Game of Thrones season five that mentions NOT ONE woman fantasy writer. The response from the SFF community has been the usual sigh of annoyance and once again restart the conversation, this time with the brilliant #womenwritefantasy hashtag on social media. Lots of great recommendations and discussions going on there if you're looking for some interesting reading or to get involved.
  • This year's Tiptree Awards have been announced, and congratulations to Monica Byrne for "The Girl in the Road" *rushes to buy this book* and Jo Walton's "My Real Children". Also happy to see Jacqueline Koyanagi's "Ascension" get a nod, because I loved that book. And also happy to see many "Long Hidden" (Crossed Genres) stories make the Honours List, because Long Hidden is a game changing anthology.
  • Women in SF&F Month is on again at Fantasy Book CafĂ©, and as always they have lots of good posts, discussions, and recommendations. Here's the first post for the month "Some Assembly Required: Recommendation lists for more inclusive fandom" by Renay of Lady Business.
  • A few year's back, a Kickstarter was run to fund a feminist speculative fiction anthology, charting the history of the genre. Ann and Jeff Vandermeer were tapped as editors, and the anthology is almost ready for release. "Sisters of the Revolution: A Feminist Speculative Fiction Anthology" is now available for pre-order. I'm really looking forward to this anthology, not just because it's my thing, but because the Vandermeers have an excellent eye for detail and quality stories.
  • More anthology goodness. New Zealand publisher Paper Road Press has announced "At The Edge". Continuing the recent history of excellent antipodean anthologies like "A Foreign Country", "Regeneration", and "Tales for Canterbury" (Random Static), "At The Edge" is set to explore the liminal of New Zealand speculative fiction. It will be edited by Lee Murray and Dan Rabarts, and submissions are open until July 31.
  • More from Paper Road Press! Introducing their "Shortcuts" series. Get a taste of New Zealand speculative fiction with a series of novellas being released over the next six months. The novellas are available in e-book format for a small $NZ3.33 per month. The first novella is "Mika", by Lee Murray and Piper Meija.
  • Here's another venue I'm happy to see get Kickstarter funding and off the ground with lots of support. "Glittership" is an LBGTQ science fiction and fantasy podcast. They have big plans to be a reprint venue, and if they can reach their stretch goals they'll be able to do original fiction too. Go Go Glittership!
  • Is talking about feminist, queer, and local speculative fiction my response to the bullying, stacked Hugo ballot this year? Could be. Anywho, congratulations to deserving people like Ann Leckie, G. Willow Wilson (OMG I love "Ms Marvel"), Julie Dillon, Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples (OMG I love "Saga"), and the entire semi-prozine category (I love them all).

Monday, March 2, 2015

Sale: "Causeway", The Future Fire

Huzzah! I'm pleased to announce I've made my first sale for 2015.

The Future Fire will be publishing my post-apocalyptic weirdness "Causeway", date to be advised.

This is the third story TFF has picked up of mine, and it's always a pleasure to be published there.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

SJVs 2015 voting, blurbs, and whatnot.

The nomination list for the Sir Julius Vogel Awards 2015 has been updated to include reading links, bios for the New Talent category (hi!), and online voting forms for those not attending Reconnaissance.

To be eligible for voting you must either be a member of SFFNZ or attending the national convention in Rotorua this coming Easter. Online votes are due by April 1st, in person votes at the con by April 5th. All the relevant details on how to vote are available at the above link.

I'm aware that only so much space is available for blurbing on the nomination page, and I left the kind wordage to someone else (still anonymous, I will find out who you are and hug you!). But there is more to my writing experience, which you can find out about here on my blog, or if anyone likes they can contact me direct (email address in About). I'm more than happy to discuss my style, influences, mentors (Hi AnnCatNoraJeffGeoffGregoryTheClarion17CLAMLovelyNZPeeps), and plans for the future.

As much as I would have loved to have these conversations in person in the con setting and at the bar, unfortunately I am unable to attend the con this year.  So feel free to drop me a line and/or spread the word. We can meet at the virtual bar.

Thanks for your support everyone!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Sir Julius Vogel Awards 2015

The ballot for the Sir Julius Vogel Awards 2015 is now out, and I made the short list!

I have been nominated in the category of "Best New Talent".

The voting takes place during Reconnaissance, the national convention which takes place over Easter weekend in Rotorua, with the awards ceremony on the last night of the convention. Unfortunately, I am unable to attend the convention this year (because of a certain major expense last year!).

Thank you to those who nominated me, and also wrote the very sweet blurb that accompanies my ballot. I hope I will live up to the expectations all my friends and supporters have in my writing ability.


I aksept dis ahward on behalving my gratist fans...


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Awards Elibility...of a sort.

It's that time of year again where everyone is reminding everyone else about what their 2014 looked like publishing wise. The last couple of years I've done a fairly straight forward bibliographic list of stories published, but since I only had one original story published in 2014 I'm coming at my award eligibility from a different angle.

If you liked my story "The Dragon in the Wardrobe" (Betwixt, January 2014) enough to nominate it for something (probably the short story category for New Zealand's SJVs is a good place), feel free to do so. And thank you.

However, one of my friends in my New Zealand writer circles has been kind enough to nominate me for "Best New Talent" at the SJVs. I know I'm leaving this a little late to strengthen this nomination with my blurb (nominations close this Sunday), but here it is. Feel free to rearrange or use these words as you see fit if you're strengthening my nomination.

I started my speculative fiction writing journey in 2010, and my first publication was in the sorely missed Semaphore Magazine. I'm very pleased that my first speculative fiction story "My Dad, The Tuatara" had a New Zealand theme and was published in a New Zealand venue. The story was reprinted in the Christchurch Earthquake Fundraising anthology "Tales For Canterbury". I also had an earthquake inspired story published in the "Regeneration: New Zealand Speculative Fiction 2" in 2013.

I have had three professional short story sales - to Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Crossed Genres Magazine, and Wily Writers. I often write along the axes of feminism, QUILTBAG, and underrepresented characters (eg: disability and race, of which I am still learning), and I have been published in such feminist and QUILTBAG friendly venues as The Future Fire, Khimairal Ink, and Expanded Horizons. I am proud that my story "Blood, Stone, Water" was reprinted in Lethe Press yearly anthology "Heiresses of Russ 2014" - it is nice to have my name attached to a collection that is named after one of my writing heroines Joanna Russ.

Other influences on my writing include James Tiptree Jr, Anne McCaffrey, Melanie Rawn, Catherynne M. Valente, and NK Jemisin.

My greatest achievement to date also includes the last two names on that list. In 2014 I was accepted to the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Workshop at University of California San Diego. An intensive six week writing summer boot camp highly respected by the speculative fiction publishing industry, I learned about technique and the business alongside 17 students from around the world and under the watchful eye of six big name authors Gregory Frost, Geoff Ryman, Catherynne Valente, NK Jemisin, Ann Vandermeer, and Jeff Vandermeer.

So, if you think the last five years of my writing journey is worthy of "Best New Talent" (New Zealand wise), go for it. I appreciate everyones support. Here, have a kitten.

O hai, u thunk I haz teh skillz?

 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Five Questions: "The Unofficial Guide to Travelling With Kin"

My first original story in a year has dropped. "The Unofficial Guide to Travelling with Kin" is now available online and in glossy print format in Betwixt Magazine Issue 6. This issue also contains a story by another Clarionite, Gabriela Santiago of the 2013 class. Much thanks to editor Joy Creslin for publishing my second story for Betwixt. It's a nifty magazine going places.

So let's dive into my Five Questions format for some brain pickings over how this story came to be.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Happy New Year! "The Unofficial Guide to Travelling With Kin" now live at Betwixt Magazine.

Cover of Issue 6 Betwixt Magazine
A futuristic city of spires, with floating
lights
New Year, new story release! Isn't that a great way to kick off?

My road story "The Unofficial Guide to Travelling With Kin" is now available in issue 6 of Betwixt Magazine. You can read it online, and buy a physical hard copy of the magazine. Check out the beautiful cover art by Alex Tooth. Very festive!

What do a unicorn named Bruce, a werewolf called Princess, a Dragon called Boh, and a mermaid called Late For Lunch all have in common? They're four of the crypto-menagerie who hitch a ride with a stranger. They all have something in common - they're running from something to anywhere, and they only have each other to look out for on the road. It's eat or be eaten in "Unofficial Guide".

Enjoy!