Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Interview with Angela Slatter about my latest story 'Crossing' in At the Edge, Reviews of At the Edge and Thanks

Interview with Angela Slatter about my latest story 'Crossing' in At the Edge ; reviews of At the Edge by Alisha Tyson of The New Zealand Listener and Angela Oliver of NZ booksellers ; interview from the Editors, Dan Rabarts & Lee Murray & Thanks &  Current Reads.

I've read four stories so far by World Fantasy and multiple Aurealis Award winning author, Angela Slatter. All four were very good and three of them: 'The Coffin-Maker's Daughter', 'The Hall of Lost Footsteps' (co-written with Sara Douglass) and 'The Badger Bride' were superb. And I've also a number of Slatter's collections on the shelves awaiting to be read (a couple by the lethal Lisa L Hannett & Angela Slatter combo).

I feel of late that Angela Slatter has had influence on everything I've been in: we shared a story home in the anthology The Year's Best Australian Fantasy & Horror, 2011 Ed. Liz Grzyb & Talie Helene. One of my stories 'Reading Coffee' was mentioned alongside her story 'Brisneyland by Night' (which I'll have to read) as two  recommended Australian stories recently at Fossick Book Reviews, and Angela Slatter has played a role in the last two anthologies I've had works in: she wrote the back cover blurb for Bloodlines Ed. Amanda Pillar, and then moved to the inside pages with a beautiful foreword for the anthology At the Edge Ed. Dan Rabarts & Lee Murray.

I was also fortunate to be at an honorary dinner for Angela at the KSP centre here in Perth, where she read aloud her exquisite tale 'The Badger Bride'.

Angela Slatter has been conducting individual interviews with all the writers in At the Edge, which makes fascinating reading for anyone interested in reading or writing or for those simply intrigued by the genesis of stories.

My interview with Angela Slatter on my latest story 'Crossing' can be found here: (interview link)

And for all the other interviews so far:(link)

I'm yet to read Angela Slatter's recently released novel Vigil. It's available in all good bookstores and online too. If it's anything like her short work, I think it would be more than worth the read. 

More on At the Edge

I was fortunate to have 'Crossing' mentioned alongside a few other great stories as a standout in a couple of reviews, and an editors' interview. Naturally, all reading is subjective and so far I'm finding something to appreciate and admire in each individual story:

Angela Oliver's celebratory review at the I Love Books: NZ Booksellers blog includes a mention of 'Crossing' as one of Angela's few standout tales, along with 'Narco' by Michelle Child, 'Street Furniture' by Joanne Anderton, 'Hood of Bone' by Debbie Cowens,  'Call of the Sea' by Eileen Mueller and 'Responsibility' by Octavia Cade.

Here are a few of the stand-out tales in my opinion...

We also have ‘Crossing,’ by Anthony Panegyres, a ghost story with a difference. Poignant, bittersweet and something of a lesson in letting go of the past, it tells of Jane Self, separated by a cruel twist of fate from her husband and desperately seeking closure.
And I've been informed by the editor Lee Murray, along with book afficianado and friend, Jasmine Yee, and the lovely Juliet Marrillier that The Listener is a respected publication and a long standing household name in the Land of the Long White Cloud. I've pasted the review by Alisha Tyson below (congrats to other writers mentioned: Carlington Black, Phillip Mann, David Stevens):

And an interview where the editors of At the Edge (Dan Rabarts & Lee Murray) comment on their personal favourites here (briefer mention here) at Ragnarok Publications.


I'd like to thank my writing group: Daniel Simpson, Annette Ong, Jolleh Ashbar and Laurie Steed for their feedback on the story along with Stephanie Gunn, who I traded stories with. And I'd also like to thank two of my former very talented creative writing students last year: Kate Enright and Paige Spence, for their love of the story, which led to me sending it out.  Whether or not the gifted duo pursue writing, I believe they'll both have bright futures. Kate and Paige's passion for the craft made them both a pleasure to teach.  

Currently Reading: The Maze by Panos Karnezis (shades of Grahame Greene and Gabriel Garcia Marquez); and also the collection All the Time in the World by the wonderful E.L Dottorow; and naturally, the anthology At the Edge. 

Monday, August 29, 2016

Writers [on Writing]: Carol Shields

The imaginative side of fiction writing is always hard to describe to non writers, those tunnels in the unconscious, those flitting responses to what might have been, what possibly could be. 

Carol Shields, Opting for Invention over the Injury of Invasion

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Writers [on Writing]: William Saroyan

My uncle, Terry Pitsikas, introduced me to the Armenian-American writer, William Saroyan, back when I was in high school. His work still resonates with me.

How do you write? My answer is that I start with the trees and keep right on straight ahead.
                          William Saroyan, Starting with a Tree and Finally Getting to the Death of a Brother


Friday, June 3, 2016

Interviewed here by the lovely Louisa Loder; Latest Read: East of Eden and Latest Story

The lovely Louisa Loder manages to get me rambling away.  For the interview see the link below.

Latest Read: East of Eden by John Steinbeck. An utterly intoxicating melodrama, which explores American identity. It's humorous in parts, yet also moving, reflective, considered and visionary. The critics are right – the sporadic intrusion of the first person narrator doesn't quite suit. Still, I don't believe it impacts on the overall quality of the novel.  Superb

Latest story: The anthology At the Edge ed. Lee Murray & Dan Rabarts, which contains my latest story 'Crossing' will be launched at Au Contraire in Wellington this weekend. I look forward to reading it myself. It will be sold at various bookstores and will also be available from Amazon Books and Book Depository.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Celebrating Australian Short Spec Fic at Swancon; and Bloodlines ed. Amanda Pillar wins an Aurealis Award

 Australian short spec-fic panel: a celebration

Where: Swan Con Panel at the Pan Pacific Hotel

When:  8:30 - 9:30 Easter Sunday

Panelists: Anthony Panegyres, Liz Grzyb, Stephen Dedman, Guy Salvidge, Leonard Goulds

I'm both host and a panelist in this celebration of short spec-fic down under. We'll have great book giveaways, including Aurealis Award winning and short-listed anthologies. I anticipate that like last year we'll have an audience led discussion. We'll most likely cover recommended reads, recommended writers, the market, the craft, the submission process, payment, publication houses and journals. The list goes on. Come along for an informative and fun night. Feel free to field questions too - we encourage it.

Bloodlines ed. Amanda Pillar wins the Aurealis Award for Best Anthology!

Bloodlines ed. Amanda Pillar (which I've a story in) won the best anthology category at the Aurealis Awards!

Here's the impressive list of world-class finalists:

Hear Me Roar, Liz Grzyb (ed.) (Ticonderoga Publications)

The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2014, Liz Grzyb and Talie Helene (eds.) (Ticonderoga Publications)

Bloodlines, Amanda Pillar (ed.) (Ticonderoga Publications)

Meeting Infinity, Jonathan Strahan (ed.), (Solaris)

The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume 9, Jonathan Strahan (ed.) (Solaris)

Focus 2014: highlights of Australian short fiction, Tehani Wessely (ed.) (FableCroft Publishing)

Congrats to Amanda Pillar along with the 16 writers, who all contributed to the award:
  • Joanne Anderton "Unnamed Children"
  • Alan Baxter "Old Promise New Blood"
  • Nathan Burrage "The Ties of Blood, Hair and Bone"
  • Dirk Flinthart "In The Blood"
  • Rebecca Fung "In the Heart of the City"
  • Stephanie Gunn "The Flowers That Bloom Where Blood Touches Earth"
  • Kelly Hoolihan "The Stone and the Sheath"
  • Kathleen Jennings "The Tangled Streets"
  • Pete Kempshall "Azimuth"
  • Martin Livings "A Red Mist"
  • Seanan McGuire "Into the Green" (also writes as Mira Grant)
  • Anthony Panegyres "Lady Killer"
  • Jane Percival "The Mysterious Mr Montague"
  • Paul Starkey "The Tenderness of Monsters"
  • Lyn Thorne-Adder "Lifeblood of the City"
  • S. Zanne "Seeing Red"
The complete Aurealis Award Winning List is below (congrats again to all the winners and finalists). Here in Perth we had a fantastic time at the Pan Pacific Hotel, where the great gang at Swancon had it streamed live from Brisbane on a big screen (with food and alcohol catered for). Wonderful night and it felt as if we were almost there.

A Single Stone, Meg McKinlay (Walker Books Australia) 

The Singing Bones, Shaun Tan (Allen & Unwin)                  

“The Miseducation of Mara Lys”, Deborah Kalin (Cherry Crow Children, Twelfth Planet Press)

“Bullets”, Joanne Anderton (In Sunshine Bright and Darkness Deep, AHWA)

“The Miseducation of Mara Lys”, Deborah Kalin (Cherry Crow Children, Twelfth Planet Press) 

“The Giant’s Lady”, Rowena Cory Daniells (Legends 2, Newcon Press) 

“Defy the Grey Kings”, Jason Fischer (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Firkin Press) 

“All the Wrong Places”, Sean Williams (Meeting Infinity, Solaris)

“By Frogsled and Lizardback to Outcast Venusian Lepers”, Garth Nix (Old Venus, Random House)

To Hold the Bridge, Garth Nix (Allen & Unwin) 

Bloodlines, Amanda Pillar (ed.) (Ticonderoga Publications) 

In The Skin of a Monster, Kathryn Barker (Allen & Unwin) 

Day Boy,Trent Jamieson (Text Publishing)

Day Boy,Trent Jamieson (Text Publishing) 

Illuminae, Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (Allen & Unwin) 

The Watergivers [The Last Stormlord (2009), Stormlord Rising (2010), Stormlord’s Exile (2011)], Glenda Larke (HarperVoyager)

Letters to Tiptree, Alexandra Pierce and Alisa Krasnostein (Twelfth Planet Press)

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Awards and Reads and Releases

 Congrats to All: Aurealis Awards and Ditmar Award Finalists

It's Ditmar and Aurealis Awards time in Australia. The shortlists are out and it's a thrill to say that the latest anthology I've a story in, Bloodlines ed. Amanda Pillar (Ticonderoga Publications), is a finalist for both awards.

There are plenty of great writers on the lists here and rather than congratulate everyone individually I've attached the links to the short listed works below.

Congrats to the editor of Bloodlines, Amanda Pillar, along with Ticonderoga Publications. I would also like to personally congratulate fellow Perth writer, Stephanie Gunn, whose novella from the same anthology has been short listed in the category of Best Fantasy Novella (Gunn is also a finalist for another novella in Hear me Roar ed Liz Grzyb).

Aurealis Awards Link

Ditmar Awards Link

Short Story Recommendations

It's not often you find Australian short fic being recommended so I feel humbled that Fossick Book Review has recommended one of my stories. 'Reading Coffee'  (originally published in Overland 204 in 2011) was the first story that I was truly proud of and it's recommended here alongside, Angela Slatter's (who is a giant of short spec-fic) 'Brisneyland by Night'. Once again the link is attached below.

Twenty One New Zealand Books We're Looking Forward to in 2016

The next anthology I've a story in, At the Edge ed. Dan Rabarts & Lee Murray is on this list of New Zealand books to look forward to reading. It's released in June.

21 NZ Books to Look forward to 2016

Lee Battersby's launch of Magrit

On Saturday I attended Lee Battersby's launch of his new novel for children Magrit. Battersby usually specialises in dark spec-fic (often with a comical edge) so hearing Battersby read so well to a much younger audience than usual was an enjoyable surprise. The story had all the wit and evocative imagery that readers expect from Battersby's adult work too. Lee ran a fun launch and Stefen Brazulaitis of Stefen's Books (check the store out in Shafto Lane if you get the chance) organised a great pub lunch post-launch too. 

Latest Read

Just finished Nights at the Circus by the incredible Angela Carter. It's a genre defying tour de force, well worth savouring and it deserves all the kudos it has received.  The perpetual dichotomy of the winged heroine, Fevers makes for one of the great characters in literature. It's already one of my all time favourite novels.

Currently Reading
  • I've a few pages to go in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. And yes, Harper Lee ironically passed away when I was about midway through.  It was a sad day for literature but what a legacy Lee left behind her with TKAM. I can see why it's deemed an all time classic; the narrative voice of Scout is both innocent and gutsy, allowing for a beautiful observational voice. I don't think I'll read the recently released prequel/sequel Go Set a Watchman though. From the snippets I've read about Go Set a Watchman, I wouldn't want to tarnish my reading of what I believe the Finch family stand for in TKAM.
  •  The Noise of Time by Julian Barnes. Interesting look into Shostakovich, his music, and his relationship with the totalitarian regime (what Barnes aptly labels "his relationship with 'Power'"). The prose, as always with Barnes, has a pure feel due to his strong use of nominalisation throughout, and let's face it, little imagery. I'm almost at the end of this novel too. I've enjoyed it so far, but to be honest, at times I wanted a little more from the narrative, especially after reading Barnes' captivating Arthur and George a couple of years ago. Still, a good, solid read.

Political Gripe: Okay, we can't really say too much Down Under after the rise of Tony Abbott but at least he's now fallen. Yet the Americans have trumped (or drumpfed if you've seen John Oliver's comical segment) us in the Mad Tea Party stakes. What's dangerous about the far right is that it plays on fear and division rather than inclusiveness. Wake up, America! This guy, Drumpf, is leading you down a foolishly dangerous and bigoted path.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Writers [On Writing]: James Salter

I understood, of course - it was dogma - that a true education was based on being well read, and for ten years or more I read all I could. These were wonderful years of voyage, discovery and self-esteem. 
James Salter, Once Upon a Time, Literature. Now What?