Graced by Amanda Pillar – Guest Post

A big thank you to the Warrior Scribe, Alan Baxter, for posting this blog entry on my debut novel, Graced! [Aw, shucks! You’re welcome. – Alan]

Graced by Amanda Pillar
Graced by Amanda Pillar

Graced is an urban fantasy story that follows the journey of four diverse characters; it features vampires, weres, humans and a race called the Graced.

But, rather than another synopsis, I thought I’d share some of the background research that helped me develop the Graced universe!

  • It could take only 10,000 years for evidence of a society of our technological level to disappear and become nothing more than archaeological ruins
  • Blue eyes do not have blue pigmentation to make them blue
  • Speciation is occurring all the time in nature; there are animals even now in our world that are evolving new adaptations (the Australian yellow-bellied three-toed skink is changing from laying eggs to having live young)
  • Gun powder was originally developed in China and used for fireworks
  • The general ranking of the English peerage was King/Queen, Duke/Duchess,  Marquis/Marchioness, Earl/Countess, Viscount/Viscountess, Baron/Baroness
  • The colour of mourning varies from culture to culture in today’s world (red, white and black among other colours are worn)
  • Marriage was often once a political alliance, rather than an exclamation of love
  • Eye colour inheritance isn’t the simple four step process we were taught in school eg a brown (B) eyed parent, and a blue (b) eyed parent equals BB, Bb, Bb, bb. It actually does not.
  • Aside from dire wolves having a dramatic name, it was the largest canis species although it has been extinct for at least 10,000 years. Grey wolf males on average weigh up to 45 kgs.

So while the above points may have had a hand in the development of the Graced world, not all of them are apparent in the book. But that’s the beauty of world-building. All of these things helped shape Dante, Elle, Clay and Anton’s world.

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Amanda_small-1Amanda Pillar is an award-winning editor and author who lives in Victoria, Australia, with her husband and two cats, Saxon and Lilith.

Amanda has had numerous short stories published and has co-edited the fiction anthologies Voices (2008), Grants Pass (2009), The Phantom Queen Awakes (2010), Scenes from the Second Storey (2010), Ishtar (2011) and Damnation and Dames (2012). Her first solo anthology, Bloodstones (2012), was published by Ticonderoga Publications. Amanda is currently working on the sequel, Bloodlines, due for publication in 2015.

Amanda’s first novel, Graced, was published by Momentum in 2015.

In her day job, she works as an archaeologist.

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SNAFU: Survival of the Fittest and Blurring the Line

The last couple of months have been a bit quiet on the publishing news front, then I just got two tremendous acceptances in the space of three days. It tends to go like that.

2015_02_10_dean_hiltonSo I’m very excited that I’ll have a story in the next SNAFU anthology from Cohesion Press, this one entitled SNAFU: Survival of the Fittest, edited by GN Braun and AJ Spedding. My story is called “In Vaulted Halls Entombed”. It sounds like an album by a death metal band, and I’m just fine with that. But it’s not. It’s a story of cosmic horror. The full line up for this book is:

Badlands – S.D. Perry
Cold War Gothic II: The Bohemian Grove – Weston Ochse
After the Red Rain Fell – Matt Hilton
Show of Force – Jeremy Robinson & Kane Gilmour
‘Untitled’ – Joseph Nassise
Of Storms and Flame – Tim Marquitz & J. M. Martin
In Vaulted Halls Entombed – Alan Baxter
The Slog – Neal F. Litherland
Sucker of Souls – Kirsten Cross
Fallen Lion – Jack Hanson
They Own the Night – B. Michael Radburn

Now that is some absolutely radical company to be sharing a Table of Contents with. And that cover is bloody superb. The SNAFU series focuses on military horror stories. It might sound like a limited theme, but it’s really not. I had the pleasure of reading the original SNAFU anthology and writing the Foreword for it. The range of story and style in there was mind-blowing. I’m sure this volume will be the same – all kinds of historical periods, all kinds of genre, yet all featuring soldiers, war and horror. How can you go wrong?

IMG_0668The other acceptance also came from Cohesion Press, but a very different book, called Blurring the Line. This one is edited Marty Young, himself a great horror writer. He’s also a great editor, being half of the editing team (with Angela Challis) of the groundbreaking Macabre anthology from a few years ago. That book was special in that it covered Australia’s landscape of horror by reprinting literary greats of the past, then featuring new stories from established horror writers of today, and up and comers recently emerging and making a name for themselves. Marty has also edited Midnight Echo and was the founder of the Australian Horror Writer’s Association and its president for five years. He’s what we call a horror pedigree.

Blurring the Line is described thusly:

Do you know what’s real and what isn’t?
There are many tales and urban myths of monsters that shouldn’t exist, of demons and devil possession, of serial killers wearing human skin, of ghosts terrorizing families…
But these tales also sound like fiction, don’t they?
We hope so.
But…
But what if…

Blurring the Line will take you into the far reaches of your darkness, without letting go of reality. It will make you believe.

You can probably understand why I just had to write a story for that book and I’m ecstatic that my yarn, “How Father Bryant Saw The Light”, has been accepted. The anthology will also feature internal illustrations, non-fiction articles and more. The full Table of Contents hasn’t been released yet, but I think it’s going to be a pretty fucking special book. And again, look at that astounding cover. You can click on both the covers in this post for a bigger version.

These books are due out later in 2015, so I’ll be sure to shout about it when they’re available.

Now please excuse me while I Snoopy dance.

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Bound and Clara nominated for Ditmar Awards

I got a very nice surprise this weekend when the 2015 Ditmar Award ballot was released and I saw my name on there twice. I had to do two Snoopy dances! I’ll list the full ballot below, but a little about the awards first.

The Ditmar Award has been awarded annually since 1969 at the Australian National Science Fiction Convention (the “Natcon”) to recognise achievement in Australian science fiction (including fantasy and horror) and science fiction fandom. The award is similar to the Hugo Award but on a national rather than international scale. They are named for Martin James Ditmar “Dick” Jenssen, an Australian fan and artist, who financially supported the awards at their inception.

So you can imagine how happy I am to be shortlisted for two of them this year. I got nominations for BOUND: Alex Caine #1 in the Best Novel category and “The Darkness in Clara” (originally published in SQ Mag #14) in the Best Novelette or Novella category. You can read “The Darkness in Clara” for free online by clicking above, and Bound is still only around $2 in ebook and available in print in all bookstores. If you’re eligible to vote, and you’ve enjoyed either or both of those, I’d greatly appreciate your vote.

Anyone who is a member of Swancon 40 (including supporting members) and anyone was who a member of Continuum 10 last year (who was eligible to vote in the 2014 Award) can vote in this year’s award. I strongly recommend that anyone who is eligible to vote exercises that right, as the more people voting, the better the views of readers are represented in the winners. You don’t have to vote in every category. Voting has opened, and will remain open until one minute before midnight AWST (ie. 11.59pm GMT+8) on Sunday, 22nd of March, 2015.

If possible, please vote online at:

http://ditmars.sf.org.au/2015

The online voting system provides a passworded facility to adjust your vote at any time before the close of voting.

Alternatively, votes will be accepted via email to:

ditmars@sf.org.au

An official ballot paper, including postal address information, will be made available shortly, and may be downloaded as a PDF format file from:

http://ditmars.sf.org.au/2015/2015_Ditmar_ballot.pdf

The 2015 ballot is as follows:

Best Novel
———————————————————-
* The Lascar’s Dagger, Glenda Larke (Hachette)
* Bound (Alex Caine 1), Alan Baxter (Voyager)
* Clariel, Garth Nix (HarperCollins)
* Thief’s Magic (Millennium’s Rule 1), Trudi Canavan (Hachette Australia)
* The Godless (Children 1), Ben Peek (Tor UK)

Best Novella or Novelette
———————————————————-
* “The Ghost of Hephaestus”, Charlotte Nash, in Phantazein (FableCroft
Publishing)
* “The Legend Trap”, Sean Williams, in Kaleidoscope (Twelfth Planet Press)
* “The Darkness in Clara”, Alan Baxter, in SQ Mag 14 (IFWG Publishing Australia)
* “St Dymphna’s School for Poison Girls”, Angela Slatter, in Review of Australian Fiction, Volume 9, Issue 3 (Review of Australian Fiction)
* “The Female Factory”, Lisa L. Hannett and Angela Slatter, in The Female Factory (Twelfth Planet Press)
* “Escapement”, Stephanie Gunn, in Kisses by Clockwork (Ticonderoga Publications)

Best Short Story
———————————————————-
* “Bahamut”, Thoraiya Dyer, in Phantazein (FableCroft Publishing)
* “Vanilla”, Dirk Flinthart, in Kaleidoscope (Twelfth Planet Press)
* “Cookie Cutter Superhero”, Tansy Rayner Roberts, in Kaleidoscope (Twelfth Planet Press)
* “The Seventh Relic”, Cat Sparks, in Phantazein (FableCroft Publishing)
* “Signature”, Faith Mudge, in Kaleidoscope (Twelfth Planet Press)

Best Collected Work
———————————————————-
* Kaleidoscope, edited by Alisa Krasnostein and Julia Rios (Twelfth Planet Press)
* The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2013, edited by Liz Grzyb and Talie Helene (Ticonderoga Publications)
* Phantazein, edited by Tehani Wessely (FableCroft Publishing)

Best Artwork
———————————————————-
* Illustrations, Kathleen Jennings, in Black-Winged Angels (Ticonderoga Publications)
* Cover art, Kathleen Jennings, of Phantazein (FableCroft Publishing)
* Illustrations, Kathleen Jennings, in The Bitterwood Bible and Other Recountings (Tartarus Press)

Best Fan Writer
———————————————————-
* Tansy Rayner Roberts, for body of work
* Tsana Dolichva, for body of work
* Bruce Gillespie, for body of work
* Katharine Stubbs, for body of work
* Alexandra Pierce for body of work
* Grant Watson, for body of work
* Sean Wright, for body of work

Best Fan Artist
———————————————————-
* Nalini Haynes, for body of work, including “Interstellar Park Ranger Bond, Jaime Bond”, “Gabba and Slave Lay-off: Star Wars explains Australian politics”, “The Driver”, and “Unmasked” in Dark Matter Zine
* Kathleen Jennings, for body of work, including Fakecon art and Illustration Friday series
* Nick Stathopoulos, for movie poster of It Grows!

Best Fan Publication in Any Medium
———————————————————-
* Snapshot 2014, Tsana Dolichva, Nick Evans, Stephanie Gunn, Kathryn Linge, Elanor Matton-Johnson, David McDonald, Helen Merrick, Jason Nahrung, Ben Payne, Alex Pierce, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Helen Stubbs, Katharine Stubbs, Tehani Wessely, and Sean Wright
* It Grows!, Nick Stathopoulos
* Galactic Suburbia, Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce, Tansy Rayner Roberts, and Andrew Finch
* The Writer and the Critic, Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond
* Galactic Chat, Sean Wright, Helen Stubbs, David McDonald, Alexandra Pierce, Sarah Parker, and Mark Webb

Best New Talent
———————————————————-
* Helen Stubbs
* Shauna O’Meara
* Michelle Goldsmith

William Atheling Jr Award for Criticism or Review
———————————————————-
* Reviews in The Angriest, Grant Watson
* The Eddings Reread series, Tehani Wessely, Jo Anderton, and Alexandra Pierce, in A Conversational Life
* Reviews in Adventures of a Bookonaut, Sean Wright
* “Does Sex Make Science Fiction Soft?”, in Uncanny Magazine 1, Tansy Rayner Roberts
* Reviews in FictionMachine, Grant Watson
* The Reviewing New Who series, David McDonald, Tansy Rayner Roberts, and Tehani Wessely

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