Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Book Launches at Swancon: Belong and Scary Kisses

So, the good news is: I've got my contributor's copies of Belong and it looks very pretty. I've read several of the stories and can't help thinking what an awesome job everyone has done: writers, editors, printers and British and Australia Post for getting "Belong" to Perth on time.

Thank you and hugs to Belong's fantastic editor, Russell B Farr.

Belong will be launched this Thursday at Swancon 9pm at the All Seasons Hotel, 15 Robinson Ave, Northbridge. I'll be there, along with Sonia Helbig and we'll both be reading a teaser from our stories: Sonia's is "Initiation" and mine is "Deeper Than Flesh and Closer", which is about a vastly changed future Earth that has been colonised by refugees from the past.

Also being launched at Swancon -- this time Friday at 10pm -- is Elizabeth Gryzb's anthology, Scary Kisses. The anthology is a collection of sexy and scary paranormal romance which will definitely whet your appetite. And the fantastic cover is by Amanda Rainey.

Contributors to Scary Kisses include Annette Backshall who is a member of our writer's group at the KSP Writer's centre and one amazing lady. When she's not fighting fires in Perth as a professional firefighter, she writes an awesome story and is a great critiquer as well. Date with a Vampire is Annette's first publication. Go Annette!!

If you can't make it to Swancon, both books can be ordered from Indie Books Online


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Don’t sweat the small stuff

Eventually, any writer who is serious about the craft will start to think about sending work to a publisher or agent for consideration. If the creator has ever attended a publication workshop or Googled for instructions, they will take great pains to “get it right” according to whatever method they've come across.

But just what does “getting it right” entail? There is a standard formatting system that is preferred by many publishers, particularly those in the short story market and more especially the American speculative fiction short story market. It involves using Courier or Courier New fonts, double spacing the lines, indenting five spaces at the beginning of lines (opinions vary as to whether or not the first line after a line break should be indented) using a hash as marker for line breaks and not using widow/orphan control. A useful version of this, written by Vonda McIntyre, can be found at http://www.sfwa.org/2008/11/manuscript-preparation/.

Yet there are many publishers who dislike Courier fonts and specifically request, for example, Times New Roman. Some say one and half spaces between lines are fine. Some want the synopsis double-spaced; some say this applies only to the manuscript. Some don’t say what they want at all.

I suspect these things are not as cut and dried or even quite as important as some pundits would have us believe. I've seen several mss by published authors that varied widely from the commonly accepted standard. For example, one uses a pair of tildes, centred, as her line break markers; one uses three asterisks, centred, and another uses a hash but prefers not to centre it. I've seen at least one ms by a published author that just left the gap with no marker at all. And I have edited material by published authors that was not even double-spaced! Mind you, these people are all fine writers, far better than I, and they could probably write the ms by hand on coloured paper and get away with it. As a new author, I would not dare do that, and neither, probably, should you!

While we need to give ourselves every chance in this wretched publication gamble, the important thing is that we have good stories, set out in a way that's easy to read. All the hopeful new author can do is read the guidelines on the publisher’s or agent’s website and stick to them to the letter, and if no guidelines are given, just use something like the above method and cross your fingers. As with all things, there's no profit in sweating the small stuff. After all, in a hundred years - or even five years - it will not matter at all!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Shades of Sentience: A Short Story Anthology

Shades of Sentience, an anthology of fantasy, horror, magic realism and science fiction short stories edited by Alanna and Lara Horgan, will be launched at the Brisbane Supanova from April 9-11. The collection is drawn from winners and finalists in the recent Shades of Sentience Short Story Competition run by sentientonline.net, a website that offers reviews, interviews and articles on everything from geek stuff to science fiction that has become real. Contributors include Joanna Fay, a member of Egoboo WA and the Speculative Fiction Group at the Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers' Centre.

'Fantasy and horror, science fiction and magic realism: these terms provide only the barest glimpse of what you'll find within these pages. Enter dreamscapes and nightmares; fall with souls rocketing into oblivion and fly with others who've discovered how to glide on broken wings. Walk within the minds of angels, demons, monsters and humans, not a sparkle among them, and try to choose your side. Nothing in this book is black and white - good or evil. We all see the world through different eyes, and each story gives you a different perspective. Will any of them change yours?'

This book is a collection of twenty new short stories by award winning authors from Australia and around the world:

Thou Art by Lewis Allan
The Sound of Water by Charles Canning
A Final Glimpse of Dark and Light by Debbie Cowens
Murray the Sex Machine by Matt Cowens
Time I Am by Stephen Davey
Threadsongs by Joanna Fay
Problem Solving and Its Consequences by Chris Fletcher
Forever Young by Steven Gepp
Mirror Mirror by Alice Godwin
Loving the Gorgon by Laura E. Goodin
Lucid Dreaming by Kia Groom
Sentience by Alanna Horgan
Memorandum by Crisetta MacLeod
Special Treatment by Craig Maslowski
The Ambush by Michael Noonan
Devil?s Dinner by Melanie Rees
Incident on the Tulla by Janeen Samuel
Monster by Amanda Spedding
The Candle Suicide by Daan Spijer
Revelations by Katharine Stubbs

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Belong To Be Launched at Swancon

Belong: Interstellar Immigration Stories edited by Russell B Farr (Ticonderoga Publications) is to be launched at Swancon in 4 weeks. Preorders can be made now at Indiebooks Online

Contributors include Egobooer, Carol Ryles and also, our good friend, Sonia Helbig, who are both members of the KSP Speculative Fiction Writers Group.


23 tales that ask the question: how far would you go to belong?

The answers will amaze and astound you. Interstate, international, interstellar, beyond the grave - into the great unknown.

113,000 words of original fiction from around the world. Australia, Canada, Argentina, United Kingdom, U.S.A. and Belgium.


"Border Crossing", Penelope Love
"Mrs Estahazi", Barbara Robson
"Norumbega", Linda L. Donahue
"Ice", Zdravka Evtimova
"United". Jennifer Moore
"Rekindle the Sun", Mary E. Lowd
"The Gift", Barry Rosenberg
"Prisoner of the Faceless", Kurt Bachard
"Merpeople", Gwen Veazey
"Feather-light", George Ivanoff
"Speaking English", Stephanie Burgis
"Green, Green Grass of Homeworld", Donna Maree Hanson
"I Belong to this Red Land", Edwina Harvey
"All Tales Must End", Michelle Muenzler
"Namug", Gustavo Bondoni
"Song of the Blackbird", Sarah Totton
"A Friendly Gesture", Chet Gottfried
"Initiation", Sonia Helbig
"Slow Cookin’", Angela Rega
"The Ballad of P’toresk", Simon Petrie
"The Hollow Ones", Kylie Seluka
"Trassi Udang", Patty Jansen
"Deeper than Flesh and Closer", Carol Ryles