Tuesday, January 29, 2013

"Dreaming of Djinn" and Other News

Dreaming of Djinn ed. by Liz Grzyb

A similar post vanished into Ether-Ether Land, so once again it's a pleasure to announce that I'll have a story in the up-and-coming anthology Dreaming of Djinn ed. Liz Grzyb (from award winning Ticonderoga Publications). It's great to see that two of the three fellow Aurealis Award finalists in the Fantasy Short Story Category last year, Thoraiya Dyer (winner) and DC White, also have stories included ('The Queen' Margo Lanagan was the other finalist).

The cover art is a beautiful piece by Ukranian artist, Nadia Starovoytova.





It was a new and daunting (but ultimately rewarding) experience to purposefully write for an anthology.
Dreaming of Djinn should be out in April/May.

Contents
18 stories by:
  • Marilag Angway "Shadow Dancer"
  • Cherith Baldry "The Green Rose"
  • Alan Baxter "On A Crooked Leg Lightly"
  • Jenny Blackford "The Quiet Realm of the Dark Queen"
  • Jetse de Vries "Djinni Djinni Dream Dream"
  • Thoraiya Dyer "The Saint George Hotel"
  • Joshua Gage "The Dancer of Smoke"
  • Richard Harland "The Tale of the Arrow Girl"
  • Faith Mudge "The Oblivion Box"
  • Havva Murat "Harmony Thicket and the Persian Shoes"
  • Charlotte Nash "Parvaz"
  • Anthony Panegyres "Oleander: An Ottoman Tale"
  • Dan Rabarts "Silver, Sharp as Silk"
  • Angela Rega "The Belly Dancing Crimes of Ms Sahara Desserts"
  • Jenny Schwartz "The Pearl Flower Harvest"
  • Barb Siples "The Sultan's Debt"
  • Pia Van Ravestein "Street Dancer"
  • DC White "A Dash of Djinn and Tonic"
Current Reads:

Just finished Homer & Langley by E.L. Doctorow and I'm currently reading The Night Circus  by Erin Morgenstern.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Writers [on Writing]: Alice Hoffman


Writers [on Writing]: Alice Hoffman

While it does not pertain to me at all, the following quote from Alice Hoffman is valid for many writers I know:

‘Writers don’t choose their craft; they need to write in order to face the world, and this was still true for me.’
Alice Hoffman, Sustained by Fiction While Facing Life’s Facts

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

25 Highly Recommended Short Stories from my 2012 Reading


25 Highly Recommended Short Stories from my 2012 Reading


I read 134 short stories in 2012 (most of them great). I thought a cut-off at my 25 favourites would be best -  I could have listed more but lengthy lists tend to be tedious. All are the meatier kind of short story. So for lovers of the ‘long’ short story here are some more recommended gems:

from Children’s Reminiscences of the Westward Migration’ (St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves) by Karen Russell      

“St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves” Karen Russell (St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves)

‘Out with the Old’ (Eleven Kinds of Loneliness) Richard Yates

‘Ava Wrestles the Alligator’ Karen Russell (St. Lucy’s HOME for Girls RAISED by WOLVES)                                                                 


‘A Glutton for Punishment’ Richard Yates (Eleven Kinds of Loneliness)

‘No Pain Whatsoever’ Richard Yates (Eleven Kinds of Loneliness)

‘Singing My Sister Down’ Margo Lanagan (Black Juice)

‘The Star Gazer’s Log of Summer-Time Crime’ (St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves) by Karen Russell       

‘The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains’ Neil Gaiman (STORIES)

‘Z.Z.’s Sleep-Away Camp for Disordered Dreamers’ (St. Lucy’s HOME for Girls Raised by Wolves) Karen Russell                                                   

‘Haunting Olivia’ Karen Russell (St. Lucy’s HOME for Girls RAISED by WOLVES)

“The Coffin-Maker’s Daughter” Angela Slatter (The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy & Horror, 2011)  

‘Earthly Uses’ (Black Juice) Margo Lanagan                         

‘Images’ Alice Munro (Selected Stories)

‘The Stars are Falling’ Joe R Lansdale (STORIES)

‘Microscosmic Dog’ Michael Swanwick (Tales of Old Earth)

‘The Best of Everything’ Richard Yates (Eleven Kinds of Loneliness)
 
‘Jody Rolled the Bones’ Richard Yates (Eleven Kinds of Loneliness)

‘Walker Brothers Cowboy’ (Selected Stories) Alice Munro

‘The B.A.R Man’ (Eleven Kinds of Loneliness) Richard Yates

‘A Really Good Jazz Piano’(Eleven Kinds of Loneliness) Richard Yates

‘Doctor Jack-o’-Lantern’ Richard Yates (Eleven Kinds of Loneliness)

‘Perpetual Light’ Margo Lanagan (Black Juice)

‘Postcard’ Alice Munro (Selected Stories)

“The Hall of the Lost Footsteps” Sara Douglas & Angela Slatter (The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy & Horror, 2011)

Monday, January 7, 2013

Brief Reading and Writing Reflection, 2012


Brief Reading and Writing Reflection, 2012

BOOKS READ 2012

Swamplandia! Karen Russell

St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves Karen Russell  (collection)

A Fine Balance Rohinton Mistry

Eleven Kinds of Loneliness Richard Yates  (collection)

Writers [on Writing]: Collected Essays from The New York Times  

Tales of Old Earth Michael Swanwick (collection)

Gentlemen of the Road Michael Chabon

Black Juice Margo Lanagan (collection)

I, Lucifer Glen Duncan

Specimen Days Michael Cunningham

Red Spikes Margo Lanagan  (Collection)

Treasure Island Robert Louis Stevenson

The Master of Ballantrae Robert Louis Stevenson

Brave New World Aldous Huxley

The Kite Runner Khaled Hosseini

Stories ed Neil Gaiman & Al Sarrantonio (anthology)

The Midnight Examiner William Kotzwinkle

Transition Iain Banks

New Australian Stories 2 ed. Aviva Tuffield (anthology)

Aristotle : A Very Short Introduction Jonathan Barnes

Claw of the Conciliator Gene Wolfe

Cold Comfort Farm Stella Gibbons

The House on Mango Street Sandra Cisneros (novella)

The Hobbit JRR Tolkien (reread – children’s novel)

Super-Cannes J.G. Ballard

Tomorrow When the War Began John Marsden  (Young adult)

Good Omens Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Stieg Larsson

My Favourites:
Most books on this year’s list I’d happily recommend. There were, however, some personal favourites:

Novel(s):
Swamplandia! by Karen Russell was superb.  A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry was also excellent although I felt overly (and unnecessarily) pummelled in the final scene.

Collections: St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves by Karen Russell and Richard Yates’ Eleven Kinds of Loneliness were two of the best collections that I’ve ever read.  Black Juice by Margo Lanagan and Tales of Old Earth by Michael Swanwick were also very strong, with some superb stories.

Disappointment: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Less said the better.

Almost Finished

I’ll comment on the following next year

The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy & Horror, 2011 ed. Liz Grzyb & Talie Helene (which includes my Overland story: “Reading Coffee”)

Religion for Atheists Alain de Botton

Short Stories

I read 134 short stories this year and I’ll produce a list of recommended standouts soon.

Writing

My first half of the year was quite productive: I finished a second draft of a novella and I’m in the latter part of my first draft of a novel. Both, however, are quite ambitious endeavours. I also wrote two short stories. This means that I met all my goals outside of one (finishing the draft of a novel)

It’s pleasing to say that I already have a couple of stories in line to be published in 2013. I’ll keep you posted.

Personal

In terms of celebrations, the Aurealis Awards night in Sydney was certainly a highlight. 

Writing Goals 2013:

  • Write two short stories
  • Finish the first draft of my novel
  • Possibly a third draft of the novella

Reading Goals 2013:
Around 24 books.

PS As always, feel free to email or comment if you want feedback on any book mentioned.