Writing

2013 Aurealis Award winners announced

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April 8, 2014

Saturday was a big day. I drove down to Canberra, took part in the Conflux Writer’s Day minicon, where I did a highspeed “Social Media for Authors” presentation, then went for a quick change of clothes in order to attend the Aurealis Awards ceremony. Nicole Murphy, who organised everything that day, did a truly amazing job. The writers day and awards ceremony were both superb. We caroused and drank and laughed, and fantastic Australian fiction scored very well-deserved awards.

Here are all the fantastic nominees and winners. If you want a sampler of excellent recent Aussie spec fic, here’s your huckleberry:

(The winners are separated at the top of each list of nominees.)

Best Science Fiction Novel

  • Lexicon, Max Barry (Hachette)


  • Trucksong, Andrew Macrae (Twelfth Planet)
  • A Wrong Turn at the Office of Unmade Lists, Jane Rawson (Transit Lounge)
  • True Path, Graham Storrs (Momentum)
  • Rupetta, Nike Sulway (Tartarus)

Best Science Fiction Short Story

  • “Air, Water and the Grove”, Kaaron Warren (The Lowest Heaven)


  • “The Last Tiger”, Joanne Anderton (Daily Science Fiction 5/17/13)
  • “Mah Song”, Joanne Anderton (The Bone Chime Song and Other Stories)
  • “Seven Days in Paris”, Thoraiya Dyer (Asymmetry)
  • “Version 4.3.0.1”, Lucy Stone (Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #57)

Best Fantasy Novel

  • A Crucible of Souls, Mitchell Hogan (self-published)


  • Lexicon, Max Barry (Hachette Australia)
  • These Broken Stars, Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner (Allen & Unwin)
  • Newt’s Emerald, Garth Nix (Jill Grinberg Literary Management)
  • Ink Black Magic, Tansy Rayner Roberts (FableCroft)

Best Fantasy Short Story

  • The Last Stormdancer, Jay Kristoff (Thomas Dunne)


  • “The Touch of the Taniwha”, Tracie McBride (Fish)
  • “Cold, Cold War”, Ian McHugh (Beneath Ceaseless Skies 6/13/13)
  • “Short Circuit”, Kirstie Olley (Oomph: A Little Super Goes a Long Way)
  • “The Year of Ancient Ghosts”, Kim Wilkins (The Year of Ancient Ghosts)

Best Horror Novel

  • Fairytales for Wilde Girls, Allyse Near (Random House Australia)


  • The Marching Dead, Lee Battersby (Angry Robot)
  • The First Bird, Greig Beck (Momentum)
  • Path of Night, Dirk Flinthart (FableCroft)

Best Horror Short Story

  • “The Year of Ancient Ghosts”, Kim Wilkins (The Year of Ancient Ghosts)


  • “Fencelines”, Joanne Anderton (The Bone Chime Song and Other Stories)
  • “The Sleepover”, Terry Dowling (Exotic Gothic 5)
  • “The Home for Broken Dolls”, Kirstyn McDermott (Caution: Contains Small Parts)
  • “The Human Moth”, Kaaron Warren (The Grimscribe’s Puppets)

Best Young Adult Novel (Tie)

  • These Broken Stars, Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner (Allen & Unwin)
  • Fairytales for Wilde Girls, Allyse Near (Random House Australia)


  • The Big Dry, Tony Davies (Harper Collins)
  • Hunting, Andrea Host (self-published)
  • The Sky So Heavy, Claire Zorn (University of Queensland Press)

Young Adult Short Story

  • “By Bone-Light”, Juliet Marillier (Prickle Moon)


  • “Mah Song”, Joanne Anderton (The Bone Chime Song and Other Stories)
  • “Morning Star”, D.K. Mok (One Small Step)
  • “The Year of Ancient Ghosts”, Kim Wilkins (The Year of Ancient Ghosts)

Best Collection

  • The Bone Chime Song and Other Stories, Joanne Anderton (FableCroft)


  • Asymmetry, Thoraiya Dyer (Twelfth Planet)
  • Caution: Contains Small Parts, Kirstyn McDermott (Twelfth Planet)
  • The Bride Price, Cat Sparks (Ticonderoga)
  • The Year of Ancient Ghosts, Kim Wilkins (Ticonderoga)

Best Anthology (Tie)

  • The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2012, Liz Grzyb & Talie Helene, eds. (Ticonderoga)
  • One Small Step: An Anthology of Discoveries, Tehani Wessely, ed. (FableCroft)


  • Dreaming of Djinn, Liz Grzyb, ed. (Ticonderoga)
  • The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Of The Year: Volume Seven, Jonathan Strahan, ed. (Night Shade)
  • Focus 2012: Highlights of Australian Short Fiction, Tehani Wessely, ed. (FableCroft)

Best Children’s Fiction

  • The Four Seasons of Lucy McKenzie, Kirsty Murray (Allen & Unwin)


  • Kingdom of the Lost, Book 2: Cloud Road, Isobelle Carmody (Penguin Group Australia)
  • Refuge, Jackie French (Harper Collins)
  • Song for a Scarlet Runner, Julie Hunt (Allen & Unwin)
  • Rules of Summer, Shaun Tan (Hachette Australia)
  • Ice Breaker: The Hidden 1, Lian Tanner (Allen & Unwin)

Best Illustrated Book/Graphic Novel (Tie)

  • Burger Force, Jackie Ryan (self-published)
  • The Deep Vol. 2: The Vanishing Island, Tom Taylor & James Brouwer (Gestalt)


  • Savage Bitch, Steve Carter & Antoinette Rydyr (Scar Studios)
  • Mr Unpronounceable Adventures, Tim Molloy (Milk Shadow)
  • Peaceful Tomorrows Volume Two, Shane W Smith (Zetabella)

The annual Aurealis Awards ceremony took place at the Great Hall, University House, Australian National University, Canberra. All the details of the awards can be found at the Aurealis Awards website.

Congratulations to all the winners and nominees!

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Earthsea revisited and visited anew

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April 1, 2014

I mentioned a while back that I was embarking on a reread of Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea novels. It was, in fact, only a part reread. There are six Earthsea books, that Le Guin likes to refer to as either the Earthsea Cycle, or the two Earthsea trilogies. Until now I’d only read the first trilogy. (There are also two short stories in the collection The Wind’s Twelve Quarters, but I’m not including those. I’ve got that collection and will get around to it at some point.)

Earthsea 300x174 Earthsea revisited and visited anewI came across the first trilogy – A Wizard of Earthsea, The Tombs of Atuan and The Farthest Shore – when I was 10 or 11 years old. I devoured them and absolutely adored them. They bent my tiny mind and I read them over and over again. I had no idea there were more books in the series (back then, there weren’t). The next trilogy – Tehanu, Tales of Earthsea and The Other Wind – came out much later. The first trilogy was published in 1968, 1971 and 1972. The second in 1990, 2001 and 2001, respectively. Having loved the first trilogy so much, it’s amazing it took me this long to get around to the second, but there you go. So I recently reread the first three and then went on to the “new” three.

Even though I’d read them so many times, it’s been a long time since I last read the original trilogy. I was desperately hoping it wouldn’t turn out to be a disappointment. Within a few pages, my fears were quashed and I was back in Earthsea and remembering just why I loved it so much. The writing is beautiful, so poetic and lyrical, evoking such a fantastic sense of place and character. Yet it’s also tight and spare, no flowering dissertations on every aspect of the story. These are 200 or 300 page novels that could easily be 500 page novels if Le Guin was prone to the “big fat fantasy” style so common today. But she’s not and it’s one of the things I like so much about these books. They’re perfectly sized stories, perfectly written. And the tales themselves are just as enchanting now I’m in my 40s as they were before I hit my teens. I can’t wait until my son is old enough to read them.

So then I was set to embark on the second trilogy for the first time. Would these disappoint? Could I be as charmed by a revisit to those classic novels? Well, yes, I could. In all honestly, I think I enjoyed the first of the new three, Tehanu, more than the others. But the set of six as a whole does a wonderful job of telling a huge story. Especially as Tales From Earthsea is a collection of short stories and novellas, all designed to fill in history and backstory of the bigger arc, yet all wonderful stories in their own right.

One of the most interesting things for me was an afterword by Le Guin in the last book, where she talks about the time spent writing these six novels and how she thinks it’s finished now, but never say never. Perhaps the most interesting part of that for me was that she didn’t really recognise the theme of the whole series until she was writing the last book. She realised what she was fundamentally writing about when she’d finished, not when she started. She began telling stories she was compelled to tell and let the underlying theme of her work worry about itself. I think that’s a great lesson for writers – don’t stress about what you’re trying to do or trying to say, as then you might focus too much on the message and lose the magic. Just tell your stories, and trust that whatever thematic form is squirming in your subconscious will find its way out over time.

Either way, I loved my return to Earthsea and it still stands as one of my favourite series of all time. Six wonderful books that I’m sure I’ll visit again and again.

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Bound is done

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February 21, 2014

It’s a terrifying feeling, to let go of a book. To say, “Okay, this is as good as I can make it and it’s time to let it go.” There’s that saying – Great art is never finished, only abandoned. There’s a lot of truth to it. Eventually you have to say, “Enough!” And I just have with Bound, the first Alex Caine book. I approved or not the last copy edits, made the last few tweaks and sent the manuscript back to HarperVoyager yesterday. That’s it. No more. Once the typesetter puts in those last changes we’re done. That’s the book that will be published in July. I can’t have anything more to do with it. It belongs to the readers now. And, fuck, I hope they like it!

I like it. I really do. I’m terrified, racked with self-doubt like always, of course. That destructive little voice is still whispering away. You’re a fucking fraud, it mutters. This book, it’ll ruin you. People will read it and laugh. Reviewers will refuse to even give it a rating. Not worthy of a single star. They’ll invent a new way to anti-review books just for you. It’ll get MINUS FIVE STARS!

Honestly, that voice is a complete bollocks. It never goes away. But I draw a deep breath and tell it to go fuck itself. Because I’ve worked my arse off on this book and I’m really bloody proud of it. People I hugely respect – Paul Haines, Angela Slatter, Joanne Anderton, Kylie Chan – have endorsed it. All amazing writers and they tell me it’s good. HarperVoyager are totally behind it. It would be disingenuous of me to insist in the face of all that support that the book is shit. Of course there will be people who don’t like it. You can never write something that everyone will love. And I can already think of things that I might do differently if I had a chance. But I have to let go of those things. I have to accept that I’ve written a good book here, one I can be proud of and stand tall.

Come July, when it’s released, I’ll be a mess, I’m sure. I’ll be breathing into a paper bag and intravenously consuming single malt scotch. But regardless, I’m proud as fuck of this book. And of Obsidian and Abduction, which follow it and will both be released in quick succession after Bound. I’ve yet to do the last edits and release on those, so I don’t have to let them go just yet. But I will. I’ve seen the covers (not yet finished, but close) and they are brilliant. I honestly can’t wait to share these books with the world and I really hope they go down well. I know I’ve done the best I can and hopefully that’ll show.

Bound is done and out of my hands. It’s a very strange feeling – exultation and trepidation. But it’s a good feeling. Fuck, yeah!

Excuse me, I gotta go find a paper bag.

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The Writing Process blog chain

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February 17, 2014

I got linked into this latest bloggy memey thing by Zena Shapter. You can see her post on the subject here. The idea is that writers answer four questions that talk about their work and their process and then tag three other writers to do the same. Anybody reading along gets to see all the various ways people work. If I’ve learned anything along this weird and unforgiving writer’s road it’s that there is simply no right way to go about it. “Writer’s rules” are usually bollocks and can’t possibly apply to everyone. They’re a good guide, maybe, sometimes, but there is only one rule that applies to everyone: To be a writer, you must write. Simple as that. How you go about it is as variable as the types of stories you might come up with. But I’ve ranted on this subject before, so I’ll leave it at that. In the meantime, maybe clicking through a few of these posts will help to illuminate a variety of options.

1. What am I working on?

Well, having just delivered book three of The Alex Caine Series to HarperVoyager, I currently have no deadlines. Which is a pleasant feeling, although I was enjoying the pressure of those deadlines while they were there. However, it leaves me free to work on anything I like, so I’m back to a novel I started in the middle of last year, then had to put aside to get Alex Caine stuff finished. This new novel is a standalone book, a kind of horror/noir/dark urban fantasy thing. I’m still formulating notes and getting organised, but the first few thousand words are down. It’s an exciting stage, just getting into a new project with all the possibilities that entails.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I don’t really know how to answer this. I like to think my writing voice is uniquely my own, so I guess it differs in as much as it’s an Alan Baxter book. You often see people, when asked for writing advice, give some variation of “Write the book only YOU can write”. That’s a hard thing to do, as it takes a long while to find your voice and style, but I like to think I’m finding mine.

3. Why do I write what I do?

Because it’s hella fun and it’s what I love to read.

4. How does my writing process work?

I sit at my desk and sob and cry and tear at my scalp (my hair has long since left the building) until words bleed out of my face. Well, that’s not entirely true, but it’s what it feels like sometimes. In truth, I’m a hybrid pantser/planner. I start with ideas for characters and story and I make all kinds of notes. When I’m ready to actually begin work on a book, I write down a very loose timeline of key events and then I start to write. Those key events can easily change if new ideas come to me, or the story starts going in directions I didn’t expect. I enjoy the organic process of letting my subconscious work and let the story tell itself. I try not to backtrack too much during the first draft – I like to plough on steadily until the first draft is complete. I’ll make notes along the way of things that I know will need fixing in the second draft. Then I go and fix those things in that second draft and then go through a few more drafts, fixing and polishing and caressing until I think the book is as good as it can get at that point in time. Then I send it out to beta readers and brace myself for their critique and feedback. Then I redraft again and again based on their comments and observations and hopefully I end up with a good book.

Then I start all over again. Because I’m a fucking professional. And something of masochist. But then, all writers are, really.

And to keep this things rolling, next week you’ll see posts from the three writers I tagged:

Joanne Anderton

Andrew McKiernan

Robert Hood

So be sure to check out their blogs.

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Conflux Writer’s Day, featuring all sorts of writers including me

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January 28, 2014

I’m going to be one of many presenters at this awesome day for writers organised by the Conflux convention committee. Looks like it’s going to be well worth your time if you’re a writer and able to get to Canberra on the day. The best part? It’s the same day as the Aurealis Awards presentation gala night, so you can come to the writer’s day for professional development and general inspiration, and then glam up for the awards night.

The Writer’s Day presentations are from 9am-5pm on Saturday April 5 2014. Registrations are open now at http://conflux.org.au/conflux-writers-day-2/registration/. It will take place at University House, Australian National University, Canberra.

The theme of the day is ‘The Writers Journey’, which will be covered by four sub-themes – ‘Writing Skills’, ‘Writing Processes’, ‘Submission and Publication’ and ‘Building a Career’.

Four plenary speakers will be addressing these themes. These speakers are:

Joanne Anderton
Kaaron Warren
Ian McHugh
Keri Arthur

Clicking on those names will take you to the Conflux page describing their talk.

There will also be a bunch of concurrent presentations bringing great thoughts and ideas to writers at all stages of their career. That’s where I come in. I’ll be talking about “Building an online presence: social media for authors”. Here’s the abstract, describing what I’ll be talking about:

A presentation on how authors can best build an online presence to promote themselves and their work, utilising the most powerful social media tools, with a central website hub to streamline their activity. Too often, an emphasis on social media distracts from writing time, or an author is overwhelmed by all the things they think they *should* be doing online, instead of writing. This presentation will break down the basics, identify the most powerful online tools and how to use them effectively with very little effort or time required on the part of the author. We will also debunk the myth of the “author platform”.

We will look at personal websites, integrated social media feeds and what an author really *needs* to do. There will be a decent amount of time at the end of the presentation for Q&A.

You can go here for a full breakdown of the day’s presentations. The concurrent presentations are factored in around the plenary speakers, so you can go to all four keynote speeches and then take your pick of all the other stuff. There are some great people with loads of knowledge presenting at this thing, so if you’re able, I highly recommend you try to get along. If you do, come and say hi. Hope to see you there.

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My year in review

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December 20, 2013

I guess this post is more for my own benefit than the interest of readers, but what the fuck? They say blogging is dead anyway. Actually, it’s not, by a long way, it’s just changed. But still. I’d like to think this post might also serve as some kind of inspiration. After all, it’s been a hell of a good year for me, writing-wise, and I’ve been working my arse off for a long time to get to this point. Maybe others can draw strength from that. I started to take being a professional writer seriously in 1997, after all. That’s 16 years ago now. Shit, eh? Where does the time go? We’re all getting older, life’s a bitch and all that. But 2013 was a fucking good year for me, so maybe it can inspire others who are trudging this long road to keep going. One more step. Then another. Art hard and don’t give up, motherhumpers.

After all, a successful person is a simply a failure who refused to godsdamn quit.

And you know, the longer I work at this gig, the more true that becomes. I’ve talked before about how success is basically hard work, luck and determination. It’s really the determination that’s the key. If you’re determined to keep going and keep working hard, you’ll get better. If you get better and stay determined, you’ll get more luck. More opportunities will come along if you’re busy working hard. You just have to notice and take them.

So, professionally, what’s happened this year for me? In short fiction, I’ve had the following publications:

“Not the Worst of Sins” – Beneath Ceaseless Skies #133 (October 31st, 2013)

“Roll the Bones” – Crowded Magazine issue #2 (August 2013)

“The Beat Of A Pale Wing” – A Killer Among Demons anthology (Dark Prints Press, June 2013)

“The Fathomed Wreck To See” – Midnight Echo Magazine, issue 9 (May 2013)

“On A Crooked Leg Lightly” – Dreaming Of Djinn anthology (Ticonderoga Publications, May 2013)

“Quantum Echoes” – Next anthology (CFSG Publishing, April 2013)

“A Time For Redemption” – Urban Occult anthology (Anachron Press, March 2013)

“Tiny Lives” – originally published in Daily Science Fiction (25th December 2012) this was reprinted in the Year’s Best Australian Fantasy & Horror 2012 (Ticonderoga Publications, August 2013)

That’s seven original stories and a reprint published already, including two pro sales (5c/word or more). I’ve still got three more publications due out this year, all in December:

“All the Wealth in the World” – Lakeside Circus 1, due any day now.

“It’s Always the Children Who Suffer” – Midnight Echo Magazine, issue 10, Winner of the 2013 AHWA Short Story Competition (due end of December, 2013)

“Exposure Compensation” – Midnight Echo Magazine, issue 10 (due end of December, 2013)

So that’s 10 original stories published and one Year’s Best reprint. Which is pretty awesome. And you’ll notice one of those originals is the winner of the 2013 AHWA Short Story Competition, another great high point for the year. I’ve also sold a couple of stories already that will be out next year, so it’s good to get a start on that.

Also published this year was Dark Rite, the short horror novel I co-wrote with David Wood. That’s some good, pulpy, Hammer-esque horror fun if you’re into that sort of thing, and barely more than a novella, so a quick, easy read.

All the anthologies, magazines, novels and so on I’ve talked about here, and all the others I’m involved with, can be tracked down via this page: http://www.alanbaxteronline.com/books/

I’d be very happy with all that as a year’s work on its own, but of course, I’m saving the best for last. A couple of months ago I signed a three book deal with HarperVoyager Australia, and they’re publishing my trilogy The Alex Caine Series between July and December next year. That’s not only the high point of the year, it’s the high point of my career to date. I couldn’t be more excited about it.

And on top of all that, my son was born at the end of October.

Oh yes, 2013 is going down as one HELL of a year. It’s hard work all the way, but it’s paying off. I’m getting better all the time, I’m staying determined, I’m working hard and I’m starting to see real results.

You can too. Go for it!

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Blog Tour Stop: Trick or Treat

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November 6, 2013

I’m a bad blogger. But in my defence, I have a nine day old son at home and that has quite an effect on everything, especially deadlines. But mea culpa, this was supposed to go up two days ago. I was tagged in this one by the wonderful Angel Leigh McCoy, and it goes like this. Basically it’s a tag to tag set of posts where authors answer four questions and pass the baton along so readers can see what’s happening in all these different worlds and maybe find a few new authors to read along the way. Angel described it like Trick or Treat – You go from “home” page to “home” page and get a little treat at each one. I like that idea, so I’m rolling with it. Also, sleep-deprivation, so new ideas not so good right now. Here are the questions and my answers:

1. What are you working on right now? 
I’m currently ensconced in two projects. One is writing some game dialog on a freelance basis for a new open world RPG game called Frontiers. The other is polishing up book three of the Alex Caine series, Abduction, as that’s coming out from HarperVoyager next year. Nope, still can’t get used to that, even though it’s true. Holy crap, I’ve got a trilogy coming out from HarperVoyager next year! *hyperventilates*
Aaannnnyway, books 1 and 2 are polished, finished and delivered, but book 3 needs some more work. I’m hoping for some beta-reader feedback soon and I’m making notes of my own and I’ll soon be using every available writing hour to make sure that book is as good as it can get. I’m really excited about getting that done and delivered early next year.
2. How does it differ from other works in its genre?
This is a bit difficult to answer. The Alex Caine series is a grim dark urban fantasy. The main difference, I think, is the protagonist. He’s an underground MMA (mixed martial arts or cage-fighting) champion, who finds himself entangled in a world of magic and monsters and considerable personal danger. I like to think there’s lots of other original stuff in it, but you’ll have to wait til next year to find out about that. (I’m not really a fan of this type of question!)
3. Why do you write what you do? 
Most of my stuff is horror and dark fantasy set in our own contemporary world. I love to play with magic and mythology, monsters and demons, the supernatural and the just plain weird, and I like to set it in our world because I think it has most impact there. It also carries the most powerful allegory to our own actual lives. It’s not so much of a stretch to imagine that monsters really exist in our world, that magic is really possible, and dickheads out there will abuse it and there will be consequences. A lot of my writing explores the ideas of justice, fairness (or lack of them) and consequences.
4. How does your writing process work? 
I think shit up and write it down. Honestly, beyond that I don’t really know what my process is. I’m always writing in my head, regularly stopping to make notes wherever I may be, always observing people and situations I see around me. And when I get writing time, I inject all of that into whatever project I’m working. Keep writing, keep reading, keep working fucking hard at getting better. I guess that’s my process.
And now I have to tag three people to pass this on to. So I choose the following three lovely folks:
Joanne Anderton
Angela Slatter
Jason Fischer
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2013 British Fantasy Award and World Fantasy Award winners announced

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November 4, 2013

The British Fantasy Society announced the winners of the 2013 British Fantasy Awards at a ceremony during the World Fantasy Convention in Brighton, England on November 3, 2013. The full list of nominees is shown below, with the winner being the first entry in each category:

Best Novel (the August Derleth Fantasy Award)

  • Some Kind of Fairy Tale, Graham Joyce (Gollancz)

 

  • Red Country, Joe Abercrombie (Gollancz)
  • The Brides of Rollrock Island, Margo Lanagan (David Fickling)
  • Railsea, China Miéville (Macmillan)
  • Blood and Feathers, Lou Morgan (Solaris)

Best Horror Novel (the August Derleth Award)

  • Last Days, Adam Nevill (Macmillan)

 

  • The Kind Folk, Ramsey Campbell (PS)
  • Some Kind of Fairy Tale, Graham Joyce (Gollancz)
  • The Drowning Girl, Caitlín R. Kiernan (Roc)
  • Silent Voices, Gary McMahon (Solaris)

Best Novella

  • The Nine Deaths of Dr Valentine, John Llewellyn Probert (Spectral)

 

  • The Respectable Face of Tyranny, Gary Fry (Spectral)
  • “Curaré”, Michael Moorcock (Zenith Lives!)
  • Eyepennies, Mike O’Driscoll (TTA)

Best Short Story

  • “Shark! Shark!”, Ray Cluley (Black Static #29)

 

  • “Sunshine”, Nina Allan (Black Static #29)
  • “Our Island”, Ralph Robert Moore (Where Are We Going?)
  • “Wish for a Gun”, Sam Sykes (A Town Called Pandemonium)

Best Collection

  • Remember Why You Fear Me, Robert Shearman (ChiZine)

 

  • The Woman Who Married a Cloud, Jonathan Carroll (Subterannean)
  • Where Furnaces Burn, Joel Lane (PS)
  • From Hell to Eternity, Thana Niveau (Gray Friar)

Best Anthology:

  • Magic: An Anthology of the Esoteric and Arcane, Jonathan Oliver, ed. (Solaris)

 

  • Terror Tales of the Cotswolds, Paul Finch, ed. (Gray Friar)
  • The Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories by Women, Marie O’Regan, ed. (Robinson)
  • A Town Called Pandemonium, Anne C. Perry & Jared Shurin, eds. (Jurassic London)

Best Small Press (the PS Publishing Independent Press Award)

  • ChiZine Publications (Brett Alexander Savory & Sandra Kasturi)

 

  • Gray Friar Press (Gary Fry)
  • Spectral Press (Simon Marshall-Jones)
  • TTA Press (Andy Cox)

Best Non-Fiction

  • Pornokitsch, Anne C. Perry & Jared Shurin, eds.

 

  • Ansible, David Langford
  • The Cambridge Companion to Fantasy Literature, Edward James & Farah Mendlesohn, eds. (Cambridge University Press)
  • Coffinmaker’s Blues (column), Stephen Volk (Black Static)
  • Fantasy Faction, Marc Aplin, ed.
  • Reflections: On the Magic of Writing, Diana Wynne Jones (David Fickling)

Best Magazine/Periodical

  • Interzone, Andy Cox, ed. (TTA)

 

  • Black Static, Andy Cox, ed. (TTA)
  • SFX, David Bradley, ed. (Future)
  • Shadows and Tall Trees, Michael Kelly, ed. (Undertow)

Best Artist

  • Sean Phillips

 

  • Ben Baldwin
  • Vincent Chong
  • Les Edwards
  • David Rix

Best Comic/Graphic Novel

  • Saga, Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples (Image)

 

  • The Unwritten, Mike Carey, Peter Gross, Gary Erskine, Gabriel Hernández Walta, M.K. Perker, Vince Locke, and Rufus Dayglo (Vertigo)
  • The Walking Dead, Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard (Skybound/Image)
  • Dial H, China Miéville, Mateus Santolouco, David Lapham, and Riccardo Burchielli (DC)

Best Screenplay

  • The Cabin in the Woods, Joss Whedon &Drew Goddard

 

  • Sightseers, Alice Lowe, Steve Oram, & Amy Jump
  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, & Guillermo del Toro
  • Avengers Assemble, Joss Whedon

Best Newcomer (the Sydney J. Bounds Award)

  • Helen Marshall, for Hair Side, Flesh Side (ChiZine)

 

  • Saladin Ahmed, for Throne of the Crescent Moon (Gollancz)
  • Stephen Bacon, for Peel Back the Sky (Gray Friar)
  • Stephen Blackmoore, for City of the Lost (DAW)
  • Kim Curran, for Shift (Strange Chemistry)
  • Anne Lyle, for The Alchemist of Souls (Angry Robot)
  • Alison Moore, for The Lighthouse (Salt Publishing)
  • Lou Morgan, for Blood and Feathers (Solaris)
  • E.C. Myers, for Fair Coin (Pyr)
  • Molly Tanzer, for A Pretty Mouth (Lazy Fascist)

 

Also at the World Fantasy Convention, the World Fantasy Awards winners for works published in 2012 were announced on the same day.

Again, the full list of nominees is shown below, the World Fantasy Award winners being the first listed in each category:

Life Achievement:

  • Susan Cooper
  • Tanith Lee

Novel:

  • Alif the UnseenG. Willow Wilson (Grove; Corvus)

 

  • The Killing Moon, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
  • Some Kind of Fairy Tale, Graham Joyce (Gollancz; Doubleday)
  • The Drowning Girl, Caitlín R. Kiernan (Roc)
  • Crandolin, Anna Tambour (Chômu)

Novella:

  • “Let Maps to Others”, K.J. Parker (Subterranean Summer ’12)

 

  • “Hand of Glory”, Laird Barron (The Book of Cthulhu II)
  •  The Emperor’s Soul, Brandon Sanderson (Tachyon)
  • “The Skull”, Lucius Shepard (The Dragon Griaule)
  • “Sky”, Kaaron Warren (Through Splintered Walls)

Short Story:

  • “The Telling”, Gregory Norman Bossert (Beneath Ceaseless Skies 11/29/12)

 

  • “A Natural History of Autumn”, Jeffrey Ford (F&SF 7-8/12)
  • “The Castle That Jack Built”, Emily Gilman (Beneath Ceaseless Skies 1/26/12)
  • “Breaking the Frame”, Kat Howard (Lightspeed 8/12)
  • “Swift, Brutal Retaliation”, Meghan McCarron (Tor.com 1/4/12)

Anthology:

  • Postscripts #28/#29: Exotic Gothic 4, Danel Olson, ed. (PS Publishing)

 

  • Epic: Legends of Fantasy, John Joseph Adams, ed. (Tachyon)
  • Three Messages and a Warning: Contemporary Mexican Short Stories of the Fantastic, Eduardo Jiménez Mayo & Chris N. Brown, eds. (Small Beer)
  • Magic: An Anthology of the Esoteric and Arcane, Jonathan Oliver, ed. (Solaris)
  • Under My Hat: Tales from the Cauldron, Jonathan Strahan, ed. (Random House)

Collection:

  • Where Furnaces Burn, Joel Lane (PS Publishing)

 

  • At the Mouth of the River of Bees, Kij Johnson (Small Beer)
  • The Unreal and the Real: Selected Stories Volume One: Where on Earth and Volume Two: Outer Space, Inner Lands, Ursula K. Le Guin (Small Beer)
  • Remember Why You Fear Me, Robert Shearman (ChiZine)
  • Jagannath, Karin Tidbeck (Cheeky Frawg)

Artist:

  • Vincent Chong

 

  • Didier Graffet & Dave Senior
  • Kathleen Jennings
  • J.K. Potter
  • Chris Robert

Special Award Professional:

  • Lucia Graves for the translation of The Prisoner of Heaven (Weidenfeld & Nicholson; Harper) by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

 

  • Peter Crowther & Nicky Crowther for PS Publishing
  • Adam Mills, Ann VanderMeer, & Jeff VanderMeer for Weird Fiction Review
  • Brett Alexander Savory & Sandra Kasturi for ChiZine Publications
  • William K. Schafer for Subterranean Press

Special Award Non-Professional:

  • S.T. Joshi for Unutterable Horror: A History of Supernatural Fiction, Volumes 1 & 2 (PS Publishing)

 

  • Scott H. Andrews for Beneath Ceaseless Skies
  • L. Timmel Duchamp for Aqueduct Press
  • Charles A. Tan for Bibliophile Stalker blog
  • Jerad Walters for Centipede Press
  • Joseph Wrzos for Hannes Bok: A Life in Illustration (Centipede Press)

Congratulations to all the winners and nominees in both Awards.

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Great Inspiration with Andrew McKiernan

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October 7, 2013

Since I wrote this post about a moment of great inspiration I wasn’t even aware of at the time (when I met Neil Gaiman in 1989), I’ve been hosting some guest posts from other writer friends where they share their moments of equally great inspiration. You can read all the posts so far under the Great Inspiration category here. Today we have a tale of library magic from Andrew McKiernan:

It is impossible for me to separate my desire and inspiration for writing from my original desire and inspiration to read. They both stem from the same source.

When I was a kid, my grandmother was the cleaner for our local public library. I think I went with her a couple of times when I was really young, maybe five years old, but all I did then was make pretty patterns with date-stamps on blank loan cards. Our family moved away for a few years, then came back into the area when I was 9. By that time I’d moved on from mashing date-stamps to Little Golden Books and non-fiction about dinosaurs and space. I hadn’t really read much fiction.

So, I’m 9 yrs old, and two or three nights a week my grandmother would drop by to pick me up. She’d take me with her to the library and I could just hang around while she cleaned. To my 9yr old self, was very different to what I’d experienced 4 yrs before. Picture it. It’s night and the library is closed. Empty. The lights are all off but for a few dim security signs. And all around me, from wall to ceiling and row upon row, are books. So many books!

I wanted to read them all. I wanted to be the sort of person who wrote them.

The main pleasure for me — apart from the awe of being so small in such a large, dark place — was the freedom I had. I knew there was an ‘Adult’ section of the library that I was too young to borrow from. And the strange ‘Adult Reference’ section, whose books were so important that nobody could borrow them and they weren’t allowed to be taken from the library at all! On cleaning nights, these sections were mine and mine alone. My grandmother lay no restrictions upon me. She (with full knowledge of the librarians) allowed me to borrow any book I wanted. Any book!

It was in those years (between ages 9 and 12) that I discovered Charles Dickens and Robert E Howard and HP Lovecraft. Most importantly, I discovered a copy of a book that I knew was ‘NOT FOR KIDS’. My mum had read it. My uncle and aunt and grandmother had read it. I’d seen them with it a few years before and the girl with the bloody face on the cover intrigued me like no other book. When I finally found a hardcover copy of Stephen King’s Carrie, the exact same bloody-girl was on the cover. I sat down in the dark between two aisles. Alone. Surrounded by books. I carried a small torch with me and I used it see the pages. I began to read.

I think it was there, at that moment, that I knew I wanted nothing more in life than to tell stories and to read the stories of others.

Libraries will always be a very special place for me. Every one I enter, I imagine what it would look like at night, in the dark. How the ambient light might illume a few feet in front of you. The lined-up spines of books moving past you in the darkness as you walk the aisles. How the lack of vision makes the books smell so much more pungent. So enticing.

And, just like when I was a kid, I imagine that one of the books on that library shelf just might be mine.

Andrew McKiernan is a writer and illustrator. You can read all about him on his wikipedia page here.

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Great inspiration with Jason Franks

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October 3, 2013

Since I wrote this post about a moment of great inspiration I wasn’t even aware of at the time (when I met Neil Gaiman in 1989), I’ve been hosting some guest posts from other writer friends where they share their moments of equally great inspiration. You can read all the posts so far under the Great Inspiration category here. Today we have a tale of discovery from Jason Franks:

A Writer of Earthsea

For my ninth birthday, some kind soul gave me a book called Over the Rainbow: Tales of Fantasy and Imagination. This was an anthology comprised of individual chapters taken from the works of J.R.R. Tolkein, Alan Garner, L. Frank Baum, C.S. Lewis, H.G. Wells, and others. I had been working through Enid Blyton’s catalogue over the preceding couple of years, so this gift was perfectly judged. I don’t remember who gave me the book, but I sure as hell remember the stories it contained. I still have my copy.

wizard of earthsea by ursula le guin 178x300 Great inspiration with Jason FranksOver the Rainbow was full of amazing work, but the piece that had the biggest and most immediate effect on me was “Warriors in the Mist”, from Ursula Le Guin’s novel A Wizard of Earthsea. It was a happy day when I found the complete book in my local library. I devoured it whole, and then immediately went on its first sequel, The Tombs of Atuan.

I’ve revisited the Earthsea books–the original trilogy and the newer volumes–a number of times throughout my life, and each time I have discovered new wisdom in them, for all their taut plotting and slender spines. These novels were written for children, but they are not in the least bit childish. Le Guin treats her readers as adults, never lecturing or sugar-coating, and her prose remains singularly beautiful. The Earthsea cycle stayed with me because it challenged me in ways that other children’s fiction did not. Once I was done with it I moved on to the general fiction area of the library and I have seldom looked back.

Not only do the stories Le Guin presents prefigure my own concerns as a writer, but they in many ways parallel my writer’s journey. In A Wizard of Earthsea, the hero, Ged, engages with many of the usual tropes of fantasy literature–defending the village, fighting the dragons, travelling off the map, and so on–but there’s never a sense of glory to his victories. This is not a book about good versus evil. Ged does not undertake a quest to stop some cosmic threat: Earthsea is built on Taoist principles and the narrative soon turns away from the expected progression of events. Despite his accomplishments, Ged is forever scarred by his early mistakes. This book is about the hero coming to terms with his own personal failings.

As I have started to meet my writing goals–first acceptance, first cheque, first time in print, first solo title–I have found little relish in the victories. By the time I have attained one goal I am already fixated on the next. This is the lesson of Earthsea: the shadow that pursues you does not care about what you have already achieved. Your story isn’t over until you turn and face it.

Jason Franks writes comics, prose and source code. His first novel, Bloody Waters, was short-listed for an Aurealis Award. He is the author of the Sixsmiths and McBlack graphic novels. Find him online at www.jasonfranks.com.

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The website of author Alan Baxter

Alan Baxter, Author

Author of horror, dark fantasy & sci-fi. Kung Fu instructor. Personal Trainer. Motorcyclist. Dog lover. Gamer. Heavy metal fan. Britstralian. Misanthrope. Learn more about me and my work by clicking About Alan just below the header.

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