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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 »

Opportunity for Writers

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on May 29, 2012

The QWC Hachette Mauscript Development Program has opened again. This is not genre specific, in fact it is not even fiction specific, so you might have a non-fiction book to submit.

Submissions close 5pm, Thursday 12th July.

You can download the Application Guidelines here and the Application Form here.

Posted in Literary Competitions, Mentorships, Nourish the Writer, Publishing Industry, Writing Craft, Writing Opportunities | Tagged: , , , | 5 Comments »

Flappers With Swords: Tansy’s Blog Tour

Posted by tansyrr on May 28, 2012

I recently embarked upon a boutique blog tour, to celebrate the international Kindle release of my Creature Court Trilogy. I had great fun talking about history, women, and some of the crunchier (and occasionally, sillier issues I came across while writing the Creature Court series, and fantasy fiction in general. I thought I’d put the links up here as well.

If any new readers discovered me and my Kindlicious editions of the Creature Court books in recent weeks, do let me know! These things make authors very happy.

Much gratitude to everyone who has written a review for the Creature Court books on Goodreads or Amazon, and an extra special multitude of thanks to the many awesome bloggers who let me borrow their space & their readership to help get word of my books out there. You all rock!
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Australian Spec Fic Scene, Authors and Public Speaking, Book Launches, e-books, Genre Writing, Promoting your Book, Research, World Buildng, Writing Craft | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Calling writers of childrens and young adults books

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on May 15, 2012

Text Publishing have opened their Children and Young Adults Writing Competition again. See here for details.

‘Both published and unpublished writers of all ages are eligible to enter with works of fiction or non-fiction. Judged by a panel of editors from Text Publishing, the winner will receive a publishing contract with Text and a $10,000 advance against royalties.’

You can see the 2008, 2009, 2010 winners to get an idea. It closes June 1st, so set yourself a deadline and submit.

Posted in Creativity, Writing for children, Writing for Young Adults, Writing goals, Writing Opportunities | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

Aurealis Award night

Posted by richardharland on May 13, 2012

I had to tear myself away from revision work on the latest novel (I’m really in the flow!) to go to the Aurealis Awards last night – but so glad I did! The turnout was amazing – people from every state, a who’s who of spec fic in Australia. I’ve never seen an Awards night better attended by authors and publishers. It was so great to catch up with friends!

Our own Margo on the left there, Kate Forsyth in the middle and Kaaron Warren on the right.
The venue is the old Independent Theatre in North Sydney, with its spectacular ceiling. Not sure if it’ll come out in this photo-

That’s when people were filing in, and Rob Hood’s first bit of video was showing on the screen. (The first time video clips were used was in the Brisbane Aurealis Award nights, if I remember.)
ROR was fairly quiet in the awards list this year – hey, we gotta be fair, we did so amazingly well last year. Trent received an Honourable Mention for best Horror Novel, which in this particular year meant one of the 2 best Aus horror novels published. (Especially honourable when he wasn’t even supposed to appear in that category!) Tansy went up along with Alisa Krasnostein and Alex Pierce to collect the Peter Macnamara award for major contribution to the growth of Aus spec fic in any form … in this case, the form of their feminist spec fiction podcast, Galactic Suburbia (check it out if you haven’t already!) Here’s the presentation –

Alisa on the left, Tansy in centre, Alex sort of hidden behind Tehani Wessely. Tehani not only presented that award but was official judge-wrangler for the awards in general.

Posted in Australian Spec Fic Scene, Authors and Public Speaking, Awards, Uncategorized | Tagged: , | 4 Comments »

Having a ball at Supanova!

Posted by richardharland on April 23, 2012

I had a ball at Supanova, signing Worldshakers and Liberators, and doing a joint presentation on steampunk with fellow Australian steampunk author Michael Pryor. I was a huge event – I didn’t hear final numbers, but on Saturday it was well on the way to being the biggest Supanova ever. Most of the guests were international, stars of TV and film, graphic novelists, all sorts of talents. It was exciting to sit in the Green Room chatting to them!

The authors were mostly Australian, except for Brendan Sanderson, the American author who’s finishing off Robert Howard’s Wheel of Time series. [Whoops – quick revision – I had a brainsnap there – I meant Robert Jordan!} Our very own Trent was there – also Keri Arthur, Kylie Chan and my fellow steampunk author, Michael Pryor. Michael and I did a talk on steampunk – very well attended and approved enthusiastically. Steampunk is definitely making waves!

I loved seeing so many steampunk costumes there! In fact, there were more the second day than the first – because people had been buying steampunk gear from the stalls around.

For some classy steampunk costuming, here are Angela, Cherie and Michael (not the author) – plus me, not quite so classy because my shirt is hanging out. A real Victorian-era gentleman would probably die of shame if seen with his shirt hanging out!

I’m wearing my aviator helmet and goggles in that pic, but I got to wear my new steampunk hat most of the time. It attracted a lot of attention, that hat! Here I am wearing it, with Michael Pryor who also dressed up in full steampunk regalia.

I haven’t got a pic of all the authors at the signing table – I was sure I had, but I haven’t. Nor of Trent at the event – perhaps you can post one up, Trent?

Posted in Australian Spec Fic Scene, Authors and Public Speaking, Fantasy Genre, Genre TV Shows, Movie/TV Adaptations, Steampunk | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Richard and Trent at Gold Coast Supanova

Posted by richardharland on April 18, 2012

(Richard writes) I’ve been a hermit lately – a very productive hermit, finishing the next novel. (Steampunk, of course – same world as the juggernaut books, but a different time and different characters.) Now I’m going to get out and about again – starting this weekend with Supanova on the Gold Coast. I’ve been invited as a guest, and so has fellow-RORee, Trent Jamison. It’ll be great to catch up, Trent – seems a long long time since we met outside of cyberspace.

Michael Pryor and I will be doing a joint presentation on – of course – Steampunk! (Sunday at 3.15) Costumes and videoclips and readings and all sorts of wonderful things are guaranteed! Trent – if I can speak for you – I see you’re on at 2.40 Saturday with Kylie Chan, talking about Storytellin.

I’m really looking forward to it because I’ve never attended a Supanova before – but I hear the buzz is fantastic. I’ve just found an image of the hotel where I’ll be staying, the Hilton at Surfers –


How about that? I just hope it doesn’t topple over between now and Friday night.
Supanova itself is in the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre at Broadbeach. The authors’ gang includes Keri Arthur, Bevan McGuinness, Brandon Sanderson (the American author who’s continuing Robert Howard’s series) and, I think, Alison Croggan, as well as Trent, Michael and myself. The media stars are even more dazzling, but still, that’s quite a show of authors. It’s going to be grrrrreat!

Posted in Australian Spec Fic Scene, Authors and Public Speaking, Creativity, Nourish the Writer, Promoting your Book, Publishing Industry, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

Congratulations to the ROR Aurealis Award Finalists 2011

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on March 23, 2012

First of all a big congratulations to everyone who made the final lists for the 2011 Aurealis Awards. Having worked on the awards for 5 years I know what goes on behind the scenes and I want to thank the team who organise the awards and the panels who read the entries, and agonise over the final lists, all of them volunteers!

Celebrating our ROR 2011 Aurealis Awards – Finalists

FANTASY NOVEL

The Shattered City by Tansy Rayner Roberts (HarperVoyager)

FANTASY SHORT STORY

“The Proving of Smollett Standforth” by Margo Lanagan (Ghosts by Gaslight, HarperVoyager)

“Into the Clouds on High” by Margo Lanagan (Yellowcake, Allen & Unwin)

 

HORROR NOVEL

NO SHORTLIST OR WINNING NOVEL – TWO HONORABLE MENTION:

The Business of Death by Trent Jamieson (Hachette)

 

HORROR SHORT STORY

“Mulberry Boys” by Margo Lanagan (Blood and Other Cravings, Tor)

 

YOUNG ADULT SHORT STORY

“The Patrician” by Tansy Rayner Roberts (Love and Romanpunk, Twelfth Planet Press)

COLLECTION

Love and Romanpunk by Tansy Rayner Roberts (Twelfth Planet Press)

 

 Best of luck to everyone on the awards night. For more infor see here.

Posted in Australian Spec Fic Scene, Awards, Fantasy Genre | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Margo Reveals What it’s like inside a ROR Crit Week!

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on February 6, 2012

From Margo …

A Deepening ROR—a wRiters On the Rise workshop, from the inside

That's where we were circled in red

First there’s a bit of foreplay. Someone pipes up online: “When’s the next ROR?” Someone at the other end of the country: “I’ll have a novel draft ready by about January; how’s everyone else set?” And all the ROR-ettes speak up one by one, with their first or later drafts that are in synch, or the obligations or health issues or financial limitations or lacks of work-in-progress that’ll keep them away this time.

ROR meets roughly every 18 months to 2 years; I haven’t been able to get to the last couple of retreats but when this one was mooted, I decided that I had a chance, if I went hell for leather during November-December, of getting a super-rough first draft of my colonial NSW fantasy written for ROR’s perusal for the end of January workshop.

Tansy and Andrew scoped out Steele’s Island Accommodation; we discussed timing and settled on the weekdays 30 Jan-3 Feb, because the place is booked out with weddings most weekends.

All went quiet for a while. I dealt with Sea Hearts copyedits and proofs, wrote stories for Twelfth Planet Press, judged the Australian/Vogel’s Award, wound up my time on the Literature Board talked at the Brisbane Writers Festival, launched two other writers’ books, day-jobbed 3 days a week and, by the looks of the calendar, dined with a lot of different people. Clearly I didn’t scratch myself; there wouldn’t have been time.

On 1 November I started writing the draft of Formidable Energies. I registered with Nanowrimo, because I wanted some company, and besides, they have this neat graph that you can use to track your progress against the ideal path towards the 50K words. I like a neat graph, and I’d never make one for myself. Generally I’m not wordcount obsessive; this time, though, I definitely had to achieve a book’s worth.

It was lonely, exhilarating, hilarious, keeping up the pace, papering over the chasms in my research, blithely charging on, jumping in and out of the story, going from jam scene to jam scene and ignoring any bread-and-butter bits, but trying to keep it coherent enough for my ROR friends to be able to see what I was getting at, the nature of this beast.

I didn’t have the know-how, about Celtic gods, about Irish language, customs, culture and history—and only a 20-year-old history degree to help me with the convict ships, penal law and early colonial Sydney. I researched as I went just so I could picture enough setting in which to tell the tale. Perhaps this research was the most fun. I prowled around the State Library, requesting old travel books on Ireland and copying useful pages onto the iPad. I learned so much during that month—but most of all I learned what huge gaps existed in my knowledge, and the enormous job I might have on my hands if I ever went at the research properly.

And I knuckled down and wrote. Here’s my completed Nanowrimo graph, to give you the bare bones of the story of my month:

I was happy with that. I booked my ticket to Hobart. I wrote on for another 2 weeks into December, and managed a draft of 45K, which took the story from (what I imagined was the) beginning to (one possible) end. Manuscripts began to fly between email boxes. I did what pulling-together of the draft I could, wrote some explanatory/apologetic notes to cover the worst breaks, trailings-off and confused bits, took a deep breath and sent it off to my ROR-mates.

There was a flurry of communication as we sorted out accommodation moneys. Then came silence as we read each other’s drafts; that’s a lonely stage too, that one, keeping your opinions to yourself, addressing comments to an unresponsive screen, worrying that you haven’t quite captured what you felt about this character or that piece of plot logic, or that you haven’t phrased it helpfully. Weeks, it takes, reading five novels and assembling meaningful critiques.

Departure date loomed. I anguished a bit more over my reports, then saved them, printed them out for good measure and started packing.

The view up the estuary

Steele’s Island Accommodation: the perfect place for a writers’ workshop. Huge spaces for meeting and lounging in, more rooms and beds than we could fill, even with half our families along. Outside, a river-beach to stride along to the sea, a wooded hill across the water, waves and mountains in the distance, weather pouring across the sky. Only a few distant holidaymakers reminded us that there was a world beyond ROR. And the landscape showed that this was once an extremely popular place to feast on oysters. We kept to that tradition, at least.

Steeles Island Midden

But aak!, Formidable Energies was scheduled for the first critique session in the morning, and I hadn’t thought about it for six weeks—how would anyone’s comments make sense to me? So after the welcome dinner, deep into the first night and early in the morning I went over it again, reacquainting myself with its wild ambitions, its flights of fancy, its longueurs and its pathological avoidance of any form of action on the part of its main character.

Then on the Tuesday morning, all those weeks of solitary work suddenly blossomed into community, and made perfect sense. My story, which had seemed so stale and stuck, sketchy and hopeless, suddenly loosened, lightened and took flight on contact with the possibilities brought to it by my colleagues. From feeling as if I couldn’t progress without wearing amounts of research and tedious clunky plot-making, I went in the space of 2 hours to being excited about the many, many ways this story could go, the means by which I could get my main man moving, the significance I could bring to the powers plaguing him, both in Ireland and the new land. I saw the way forward; I saw several ways forward. I couldn’t wait to get back to the ms. and try out these ideas.

Just as good, if not so directly personally affecting, were the rest of the critique sessions. I would come out of the 2 x 2-hour sessions almost unable to think straight, I’d absorbed so much as I listened to Rowena, Richard, Dirk, Tansy and Maxine’s encounters with the same manuscripts. They’d responded so differently – or they’d felt the same, but phrased their response so differently, or come up with some completely ingenious solution. It was thoroughly absorbing to watch other RORers’ novels fly apart under each critiquer’s hands and then be brought back together in new ways.

Thank you so much, ROR-ettes, for the time and thought that went into your reports. Thanks for the privilege of reading and considering your works in progress. Thanks Tansy and Andrew for finding Steele’s Island, Dirk for the wonderful food, Daryl and David for radiating calmness, Steven for tourist-ing on our behalf, and Raeli and Mima for providing an understorey of questions, songs, sand-sweeping, fruit-eating and general play.

Posted in Australian Spec Fic Scene, Authors and Public Speaking, Book Launches, Dialogue, Editing and Revision, Genre Writing, Nourish the Writer, Plotting, Point of View, Research, Story Structure, World Buildng, Writing Craft, Writing Groups | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »