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Archive for October, 2009

Twas the Night Before Nano…

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on October 31, 2009

I Nano. Do you Nano too?

November 1 is the beginning of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). All around the world, tens of thousands (is it still only tens?) of people are gearing up to spend the next 30 days writing 50,000 words. That’s 1667 words a day, every day.

The first time I heard about Nano, I thought it was insane. Later I was intrigued, but thought it was impractical. Then I grew impressed by people who had the bottle to do it.

Then I accidentally talked a friend of mine into doing it. Which meant I had to do it too. And, apparently, so did everyone we knew. Last November was a wild ride.

The most awesome thing about Nano is the sense of community. If you have people close by also participating, you can do write-ins, getting together at cafes or each other’s places to write in company. Because you have to get so much done, you have to be strict – only small amounts of talking, using earbuds to shut out the world, you are here to WORK.

As someone who writes all year around, usually without other people across the table from me, it’s just lovely.

If you don’t have locals in your vicinity who are crazy and wonderful enough to join you, then there are online communities and forums. You’d be amazed at how inspiring it is to have someone there on IM shouting go! and then comparing word counts after 15 minutes of furious typing.

Last year I wasn’t able to do ‘proper’ Nano, which means starting a new book fresh on 1 November (it still counts if you hit 50K and haven’t finished the book yet, though the purest Nano experience is to be finished at 50) so I didn’t register my “win”. I started writing a few weeks early, and hit 69,000 on the 30th – just what I needed for my first draft of a pre-contracted novel. It later took another 6 weeks to polish that novel to submission level quality.

I thought that my book contracts and commitments to the Creature Court Trilogy meant that I would be too busy editing/revising to manage Nano this year, which made me unbelievably sad. But I’ve managed to get enough ahead of myself on drafting book 2, and finishing up edits for book 1, that I can justify taking November to draft the first 50K of book 3 before I go back and revise book 2. I’m delighted to be able to do this, because to be honest I have no idea what’s going to happen in book 3, and it would be nice to find some of it out before I take another pass on book 2.

That, and NaNoWriMo is the most fun ever. For the next month I get to have writing open days at my house, hang out with friends, and drill 50,000 words into my laptop with a baby strapped to my chest. I’m bouncing even thinking about it.

If you’re interested in knowing more, or signing up, you need to check out – if the site doesn’t load, that’s cos the servers have melted. Don’t panic, it happens a lot at this time of year. Nano is… kinda popular. Kinda.

My in person group are writing for the second year running, and the other planned projects include a historical murder mystery, an Egyptian fantasy, a category romance, at least two novels based on life experiences from this year, and one classic No Plot, No Problem, which means she has no idea what she is going to write until she starts scribbling on November 1st.

Are you Nanoing this year? Would you ever consider it?


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VICAR OF MORBING VYLE as free download

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on October 31, 2009

Hi Edwina!

I’m very interested to hear your experience of turning a short story into a novel. I was going to be on a panel for that topic at Conflux, except that the panel got cancelled. Not because I’ve ever turned a short story into a novel in the past, but because I’m planning to do so. In fact, I’ve written the first 12k words, but it’s a huge project and will take many years – and in the meanwhile, it’s more urgent to write LIBERATOR, the sequel to WORLDSHAKER. But what I seemed to find in the writing and planning is that the novel keeps leaving the short story further and further behind. I hope this is a good thing(?)

I’ve been letting people know that my famous/notorious cult novel, THE VICAR OF MORBING VYLE, is now available as a free download. From responses since the day before yesterday (when it went up), a lot of people have been wanting to get hold of this book for a very long time (it was published in 1993 and has been out of print for probably 10 years.) It’s bizarre, comic-macabre, gothic fantasy … or something like that.


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Edwina Harvey talks about the Road to Publication for her YA Novel, The Whales’s Tale.

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on October 24, 2009

Edwina with the cover artist, Elle Clarke.

My book, The Whale’s Tale, started life as a short story called Restitution which was awarded an Honorary Mention (equal place 3rd) in the 1997 Mary Grant Bruce Awards for Children’s Literature offered annually by the Victorian FAW. (Fellowship of Australian Writers.)

It was the second time I had placed in this prestigious award, having received another Honorary Mention for a story about dragons some years earlier.

To some degree, “Restitution” was influenced by my years working in a law library (at the University of NSW.) I’ve been interested in dolphins and whales for much longer than that, and saw the story as a way to address the injustice of continuing to hunt an endangered species to extinction by setting the story in a future where humans have discovered they can communicate with dolphins and whales, and where cetaceans have become dominant players in Earth politics and space travel.

While writing “Restitution”, I had to keep a tight rein on the word count, and realised it wanted to be a much longer piece. When it did well in the MGB’s I decided to “give the pony its head” and see what the story’s “natural length” was.

I ended up with a novel-sized manuscript that then went through so many rewrites that I’ve lost count! Along the way the storyline shifted dramatically from a stodgy, serious piece to a more entertaining work that young readers will hopefully enjoy visiting.

I think turning points for the manuscript were getting a beta reader to tell me what was wrong with it. He was ruthless. I didn’t like hearing a lot of what he had to say, but I didn’t turn away from it either, I just absorbed it, and applied some of it. Deciding to invest in myself and my writing by paying a professional editor to edit my work was what bridged the gap between getting complimentary reject slips (nice, but they were still reject slips!)to getting an offer of publication.

So there it is, enter competitions, listen to your Beta readers and never give up, never surrender. Do you have a brave Beta reader, who gives you fearless feedback on your manuscript?

Edwina supports the Speculative Fiction genre by editing the Australian Bullsheet, an E-newsletter about the Australian fan and professional scene.

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Gushing Fan Girl Moment!

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on October 14, 2009

I’ve discovered the covers of Brent Week’s new books and I’m having a Gushing Fan Girl moment. They combine both Character and Style!

This is how the three books work together.

If my publisher produced covers like these for my new series, I’d consider myself seriously lucky!

The artists are Calvin Chu and Peter Cotton. The original art was done by Calvin Chu and Peter Cotton did the design. I’ve googled them and can’t find a dedicated web page.

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Covers for Rowena

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on October 14, 2009

Jeez, Rowena, you must be super special – not just asked about a particular cover, but even what KIND of cover you want. I looked at your 3 examples, and I couldn’t decide at all. They all look good to me, even the traditional fantasy. I’m not generally mad on the traditional illustration, but your example looks good. My only contribution is that the symbolic type of cover doesn’t exactly suggest ‘rollicking’.


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Realt-time Facebook Whodunnits

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on October 14, 2009

I’ve been a little tardy in posting here, but am popping in to say hello to the ROR blog readers and mention my Facebook Whodunnits. The protagonist in my new crime series, Tara Sharp, now has her own facebook page from where she is telling/living a real time crime story. You can follow the postings there or read a summary of them at

Tara seems to be posting on Facebook more than I am. Soon she’ll be more real… than …

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The Cover Dilemma.

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on October 14, 2009

I’m in the wonderful position of having an editor ask me for cover suggestions for my new series, King Rolen’s Kin, which comes out next year.

Do I want a traditional fantasy cover like this one?

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The Cover Dilemma.

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on October 14, 2009

Since we’re talking about covers I thought I’d poll readers.

I’m in the wonderful position of having an editor ask me for cover suggestions for my new series, King Rolen’s Kin, which comes out next year.

Do I want a traditional fantasy cover like this one? You know the sort of cover, a castle in the background, often there are rolling fields and a warrior on a horse.

Or do I want to go with a character cover like this wonderful illustration of one of George RR Martin’s characters?

Or do I want something symbolic like the lovely covers of Kate Elliot’s Crossroad’s series?

I want a cover that says this is a ‘ Rollicking Fantasy Read’, while looking stylish.

Which covers would make you pause and pick up the book?

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Love at first Bite…

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on October 10, 2009

Siren Beat/Roadkill is out now! This double publication from Twelfth Planet Press features urban fantasy novelettes by myself (Siren Beat) and World Fantasy Award-winning, Dalek-writing Robert Shearman (Roadkill).

At least, I’m pretty sure mine is urban fantasy. Are the rest of you as confused as I am?

I’ve been recently reading the truly brilliant Beyond Heaving Bosoms, a snarky reader’s guide to romance novels – basically, it is to the romance genre what Diana Wynne Jones’ A Tough Guide to Fantasyland is to fantasy. One thing that startled me was how they discussed paranormal romance as if it was… well. Part of the romance genre. I’ve been thinking of it as part of the fantasy genre, and an inter-changeable term with urban fantasy.

It’s quite a controversial issue, as it happens. I can’t turn around without seeing someone else in the blogosphere re-defining ‘urban fantasy’ or ‘paranormal romance’ and every time they do, I change my mind about what Siren Beat is.

This great post looks at the boundaries between mainstream literature and urban fantasy, in which she defines urban fantasy as being anything fantastical set in ‘our’ world. By those standards, Siren Beat, a dark adventure story about battling murderous sirens on the docks of Hobart, is definitely urban fantasy.

But maybe it’s paranormal romance too. It has… sort of a romance. A fairly unromantic one, though not in comparison to the marvellously awkward failed romance at the centre of Roadkill. It has all those elements that people claim for paranormal romance – a tough chick protagonist, an otherworldly hot male for her to lust after, several other dangerous and lusty magical creatures to fight off, and paranormal action which is given priority over any kind of Happily Ever After.

Of course, if Siren Beat was really a paranormal romance, my protagonist would have more than one love interest! Lust triangles (or um polygons) are a definite feature of the genre. I couldn’t quite justify that at novelette length, though…

Some people get quite outraged at the paranormal (AKA ‘fangfucker’) stories getting to use the urban fantasy label, which previously belonged a more gentle, literary slipstream kind of story without quite so many tight leather garments. Hmm, is anyone else suddenly imagining a cage match between Charles De Lint and Laurell K Hamilton?

Where do you draw the line between Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy?


To get hold of your own copy of Siren Beat/Roadkill, pick up a copy here for a mere $12/$15 depending on which part of the world you live in.

I’ll be posting more about Siren Beat and paranormal romance/urban fantasy over at my own blog all this week.

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inky awards

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on October 10, 2009

2009! I love it! It’s my favourite year ever!

Just heard that WORLDSHAKER has made the shortlist for the Golden Inky award, i.e. selected as one of the 5 best YA novels by an Aussie author in the year. (The first prize is worth $2,000, but I can hardly hope to be that lucky.)

I forgot to mention some other great news at the Canberra SF/fantasy con last weekend – apparently, Ellen Datlow has blogged about the stories she’s selected for her Years Best Horror anthology, and “A Guided Tour in the Kingdom of the Dead” is one of em! Yay and mega-yay! That’s the David Hartwell/Tor anthology and now the Datlow anthology – two of the top, if not the top, US anthologies.

This is the cover of the David Hartwell/Tor anthology, above.


PS Must check out Tank Girl. It seems ages since I’ve been to the movies.

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