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Archive for June, 2012

A short story competition for writers of mysteries

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on June 22, 2012

Since I began interviewing spec fic writers I’ve noticed that many of them also write mysteries*. I think the world building needed to write SF or fantasy is similiar in some ways to the world building needed to craft a mystery.

Here’s a short story competition run by the Sisters in Crime (Australia) – The Scarlet Stiletto Awards.  The only caveat is that it is open to women writers, because this is the Sisters in Crime, not Siblings in Crime. This is the announcement:

19th Scarlet Stiletto Awards Crime short story competition now open

Sisters in Crime Australia’s 19th Scarlet Stiletto Awards, Australia’s only crime writing competition for women, are now open with a record $5350 up for grabs.

Note: the increases in the Harper Collins 1st prize and the Allen & Unwin’s and 2 new awards:

  • Athenaeum Library ‘Body in the Library’ competition $1000/$500 runner-up for the best crime story containing the words ‘body in the library’.
  • Catherine Leppert Award for ‘best environmental theme’ ($250).

Other prizes include:

Harper Collins 1st prize (now $1000) plus the coveted scarlet stiletto trophy

Kill City Bookshop 2nd prize ($400)

The Cate Kennedy 3rd prize ($350)

Allen & Unwin Young Writers’ Award (now $500) for writers 18 or under.

The Kerry Greenwood Malice Domestic Award ($500)

Benn’s Books: Best Investigative story ($200 voucher)

ScriptWorks Great Film Idea Award: ($200)

 

Pulp Fiction Bookshop: Funniest Crime Award ($150 voucher)

Thanks also to Spinifex Books

 

To explore what makes a winning story, you might want to read Scarlet Stiletto: The Second Cut, a collection of 22 winning stories from the last four year of the competition, and the  reprint of Scarlet Stiletto: The First Cut, a volume of 26 stories from the first 13 years,  published by ClanDestine Press for SheKilda 2011: Australian Women Crime Writers’ Convention, Sisters in Crime’s 20th anniversary celebrations. Scarlet Stiletto: The Second Cut was The Age’s ‘Book of the Week’ on 17 December last year. (Copies can be ordered via Sisters in Crime web site. )

The 19th Scarlet Stiletto Awards close on August 31, 2012. Entry fee: $10. Maximum story length: 5000 word. Entry forms are available or writing to Sisters in Crime Australia, GPO Box 5319, Melbourne 3001

Further info: Contact Carmel Shute, National Co-convenor, Sisters in Crime Australia 0412 569 356 cshute@internode.on.net

*Watch out for my noir-paranormal-crime The Price of Fame.

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Posted in Crime and Thrillers, Literary Competitions, Nourish the Writer, Writing Opportunities | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Short Story Competiton

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on June 20, 2012

The New Zealand Writers College short story competition is open to both NZ and OZ writers (who have had less than 4 short stories published). Winning or placing in competitions is a good way to establish your writing credentials.

The theme is: Full Circle.

See here for details.

It is a very reasonable first prize ($1000).  You can see archived winning entries here.

(With thanks to Sonny Whitelaw, (writer of Stargate books among other things), for bringing this to my attention).

 

 

Posted in Creativity, Literary Competitions, Nourish the Writer, Writing Opportunities | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Possible Market for SF, F and Horror

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on June 20, 2012

When I was at World Con in 2005 I met Jo Fletcher (we were on a panel together). At the time she was editing for Gollanz. Now she has her own line with Quercus Publihsing. And she’s looking for books.

From the web site:

Jo Fletcher Books is a specialist science fiction, fantasy and horror imprint, but as Jo’s own personal tastes in fiction have always been so wonderfully eclectic, and as the field of imaginative literature is so incredibly wide, Jo Fletcher Books is going to be as broad a church as possibly, hopefully publishing something for everyone.

Submissions

Jo Fletcher Books is currently accepting submissions of finished manuscripts in the science fiction, fantasy and horror genres.

Please contact Nicola Budd with the first three chapters (or first 10,000 words), plus a synopsis and covering email sent to the following email address:

submissions@jofletcherbooks.co.uk

 

 

Here’s a link to the books s Jo Fletcher is releasing.

 

(With thanks to Angela Slatter for bringing this to my attention).

Posted in Editors, Nourish the Writer, Publishing Industry, Writing Opportunities | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Wow! The A. Bertram Chandler Award!

Posted by richardharland on June 14, 2012

I couldn’t believe it on Sunday night, when I got a text from Jack Dann saying he’d just presented me with the A. Bertram Chandler Award for 2012 at the Melbourne Natcon – only I wasn’t there. I felt bad not to have accepted in person, though I’m sure Jonathan Strahan did a great job accepting on my behalf – but what an occasion to miss. It’s the first Melbourne Con or Natcon I’ve missed in ages.

Of course, I had no idea I might win anything, let alone the A. Bertram Chandler Award, which is an overall award for making a major contribution to Australian SF and spec fiction. I look over the list of previous recipients and think, wow, do I really belong in that company? It’s a huge honour, and I feel kind of humbled.

The actual prizes arrived today – a massive decorative plate, a lovely little engraved glass plinth, and a framed citation certificate. I took a photo –

Hmm, not sure if that shows up very well. I did my best!
I wasn’t the only RORee winner on the night – but since I wasn’t there, I’ll leave Tansy to report …

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments »

Winner Paula Weston Book!

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on June 9, 2012

Paula says:

Thanks for all the great comments – there was some really interesting early reading material mentioned. I wish I had copies for all of you, but the winner is Braiden. Hope you enjoy Shadows. 🙂

Braiden if you email me I’ll pass your address along to the people at Text Publishing, who will send you a copy of Shadows.  rowena(at)corydaniells(dot)com

Posted in Australian Spec Fic Scene, Book Giveaway | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Supanova steampunk documentary!

Posted by richardharland on June 6, 2012

It’s a week and a half to the Sydney Supanova – the special big bash, Supanova’s tenth anniversary celebration. Not only stars of film and TV (more than I can list – check ’em out at http://www.supanova.com.au/guests/) but also two RORees as author guests – Marianne de Pierres and yours truly, Richard Harland! (the overseas author is Christopher Paolini, of Eragon fame)

For me, the most exciting bit will be the filming of a steampunk documentary. Michael Pryor and I will be doing a panel on all-you-ever-wanted-to-know about Steampunk, and filming will take place during and after the panel. Come in steampunk togs if you have any – or come anyway.

Here’s the official invite, open to anyone attending Supanova on the day –

“Would you like to appear in a Steampunk TV documentary? Simply, attend Michael Pryor and Richard Harland’s panel over the weekend at Supanova in Sydney. Filming will take place during the panel as well as an opportunity to be interviewed straight after the panel. So come dressed in your best outfit and tell us why you love Steampunk! Tell your friends and family to come along and make this event one to remember!

Keep checking this page for confirmation of which day and room this event will be held.
http://www.facebook.com/events/336659733073113/

We look forward to seeing you there.”

For any further information, please contact Trevor Howis at info@vinceroproductions.com

http://www.supanova.com.au/activities/calling-steampunks/

Posted in Australian Spec Fic Scene, Book Launches, Fantasy Genre, Genre TV Shows, Movie/TV Adaptations, SF Books, Steampunk, Uncategorized, Writing for Young Adults | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Paula Weston asks: Why aren’t YA books as respected as ‘adult’ books?

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on June 2, 2012

Today we have Brisbane based author, Paula Weston, whose debut YA fantasy Shadows has just been released from Text Publishing. Paula is going to talk about her passion, writing for Young Adults.

She raises the question why are YA (and children’s books) less respected than adult novels.

Watch out for the give-away question at the end.

 

‘Young adult is a point of view, not a reading age.’

I don’t know who said it (or in what context) but I love that sentence. Not just because it justifies the amount of time I spend reading (and enjoying) young adult stories of all genres, but because it’s true.

To suggest – as a Times magazine columnist recently did – that adults should only read adult books and leave everything else to teenagers, is remarkably narrow minded. His justification? Because ‘books are one of our few chances to learn’. In other words, there is nothing of value in young adult stories.

In that case, why do we let our teenagers read them?

The idea that a young adult novel is somehow less well written, less intelligent, less engaging and less capable of moving a reader, is insulting to writers and readers alike. Sure, there are varying degrees of quality among young adult books, but that can said of novels in any section of a book store or library.

Yet young adult novels come under stronger criticism. And when you combine the words ‘paranormal’ and ‘young adult’, you’re almost guaranteed to be immediately dismissed as lightweight in many circles. (And yes, I know spec writers – adult and young adult alike – have faced this sort of discrimination for years.)

Like many writers whose books end up in the YA section, I didn’t set out to specifically write a young adult novel.

I’d had an idea bouncing around for a while for a paranormal story but I kept pushing it aside because I was working on a fantasy series. My agent (Lyn Tranter of Australian Literary Management) came very close to scoring a publishing deal on the latter, and when it fell through, I went through my usual round of self doubt, frustration and yes, a teeny bit of self pity. (At that point I’d written five full-length manuscripts, with my first rejection slip dated 1995.)

Once I dusted myself off, I knew I needed a break from the pressure I’d put myself under to land a publishing deal. I just wanted to write something for fun, and that increasingly insistent idea in the back of my mind was the perfect outlet.

So I started on a story just for me, not worrying about anyone would think. I wrote a few scenes, which became a few chapters, and suddenly I had half a novel. Characters had never come so easily and I’d never enjoyed writing so much. I sat down and fleshed out the plot in greater detail and realised I had a story that would take more than one book to tell (four in fact). My agent loved the idea, and those early chapters, and I suddenly had an exciting new project on my hands.

I chose the age of my characters based on what would work best from a narrative perspective and what I needed for plotting (Gaby, my narrative character is 19…or so she thinks.)

When the wonderful folk at Text Publishing offered me that long-awaited contract, they felt the Rephaim series was young adult. The team there really knows what its doing in the YA market, and I was more than happy with that call. My only concern was that my series not be marketed to children or younger teens, given the amount of violence and profanity it features.

I’m an eclectic reader – from literary to paranormal and everything in between – and I’ve consistently found some of my favourite writers on young adult shelves (Aussies Melina Marchetta and Markus Zusak, and US writer Maggie Stiefvater). Some of the best books I’ve read in the last 12 months have been YA (and written by Aussies), including Vikki Wakefield’s All I Ever Wanted, Leanne Hall’s This Is Shyness and Jane Higgins’ The Bridge (okay, Jane’s from New Zealand, but you get the picture).

And if you don’t think YA spec fic stories can’t be complex and rich with analogy and metaphor, check out Marianne de Pierre’s Night Creatures series or Veronica Roth’s Divergent series.

Certainly, some YA stories can have a lighter touch, particularly when it comes to dealing with sexual issues (compare the YA and adult paranormal novels of writers like Richelle Mead, Lilith Saintcrow and Kelly Armstrong), but others push the boundaries more than adult fiction.

I agree there are boundaries that should be respected when the primary target is teens. But more and more, young adult novels are crossing over to wider markets. Harry Potter – still referred to in some quarters as ‘children’s fiction’ – sparked that fire, and it shows no sign of burning out any time soon.

Absolutely, teens should own the YA section of book stores. But the rest of us shouldn’t have to feel like we’ve left our brains at the door when we want to read great stories that just happen to wear the YA label.

Paula has a copy of Shadows for one lucky commenter. Give-away question:  When you were growing up what YA novel (or writer) made a big impression on you?

Shadows: Book 1 of the Rephaim series (Text Publishing) is out 2 July

Posted in Australian Spec Fic Scene, Book Launches, Characterisation, Fantasy Genre, Genre Writing, Publishing Industry, Readers and Genre, Visiting Writer, Writing Craft, Writing for children, Writing for Young Adults | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 20 Comments »