Archive for the ‘Aurealis Awards’ Category

On the bus this morning my Twitter and Facebook feed started going a bit wild. I was wondering why people were congratulating me. When I relaxed enough on the bus I started checking the phone. I had no book with me either.

OMG! I was short listed for an Aurealis Award from my short story collection, Beneath the Floating City.

So many friends are in the short lists. Some have been nominated many times and a number of those have won. Here I am little old me, getting a short listing for my self-published collection. The collection is mostly previously published works of science fiction, from early stories back in 2003, such as ‘Other’ to my later stories. I also published a new story in the collection called ‘Lake Absence’ that was inspired by Lake George when I was taking the bus to Sydney to head to the Denver Worldcon many years ago. I just couldn’t get that story published, though I came close with the Aurealis Magazine with one of the previous editors.

In previous years I would never have thought about publishing a collection of my own stories. Although it make sense to gather them up into one book because they are just there instead of scattered around. This was my first attempt and I gathered together SF stories. I have at least two others in mind. A magic realism collection called Through These Eyes and a fantasy collection, name not conceived yet. Since I’m also Indie publishing these days, the collection was something else I could publish.

I realise now that I just put this out there and I didn’t advertise it widely. I know this because the image for the cover was not in my WordPress archive.So I didn’t even blog about it. I think it was because it was just before I went to Europe.

So here it is. The wonderful cover was produced by Patty Jansen. I give this book away free to newsletter subscribers and it’s for sale in ebook everywhere for $2.99 USD. If you want a free copy, the link to sign up to my newsletter is here.

What does this mean for me?

Well heaps actually. To get this kind of acknowledgement is lovely. I had thought that my short story writing days were over. That there wasn’t any point because you know…well. Authors can sometimes have serious downward mind speak that squashes them down. I have mentioned this before but the whole “I’m not worthy thing” is difficult to control at times. That’s why it is so nice to get feedback, of the nice kind, and to be acknowledged with a short listing or an award or a review. It’s like being patted on the head and told keep going, you’ll get there.

I threw this in for the Aurealis Award without expectation. As someone who has researched Australian speculative fiction in the past I know how much the eligible works lists mean to the researcher, how useful. And I wanted to make sure that the work I put out was in the bigger lists. I wasn’t expecting a short listing.

Now I shall not give up writing short stories. I shall write those ideas that bash around inside my brain eventually.

Many thanks to the judges for their hard work. Congratulations to all the other nominees.

My name appears on a list with such amazing writers, I am over the moon, chuffed. Margo Lanagan, Kate Forsyth, Kim Wilkins, Tansy Rayner Roberts and Peter Ball.  Here is the link. 

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My day job has been rather tense and hectic. I was pushing to get a report out and you know what…I stuffed up. Maybe that was in a small way. Proofing errors and a couple of little things that I really couldn’t afford to do. I thought I was having a stroke or something. The errors weren’t because I wasn’t being careful. I was. The errors happened because I couldn’t see them.

A workmate took me aside. She had lost her mother more recently than me. Her explanation for my lapse made sense. She said that I was still grieving for my mum. I had thought I wasn’t suffering too much grief at all, but I’m pretty good at sublimation or suppression. Her theory was that a good part of my mind was elsewhere. That made sense to me. I’m not trying to suppress anymore. Work moved on and the report cleared. Now it seems that a cloud has lifted. Maybe it’s because we took mum’s ashes to Bondi Beach and let the sea take her away, maybe it’s because I have acknowledged it and maybe a combination of both.

Like most people my mother was fundamental to my existence. She was a source of both pleasure and pain, love and anguish. I also realise that I had been responsible for her welfare for nearly 19 years. All my decisions were made around her, mostly so these last four years. So maybe I should just give myself a break, pat myself on the back and move along.

Tomorrow, I fly to Perth. I’m going to spend time with the lovely, awesome and inspiring Glenda Larke and then we are heading to Swancon for the Easter long weekend. I feel light. I feel happy. John Scalzi and Kylie Chan are the guests of honour. I believe we are going to the guest of honour dinner on Wednesday.

Canberra is turning cool so I’m hoping Perth will offer some warmth. I have some friends and acquaintances that I hope to catch up with. The weekend after I get back is the Canberra Jane Austen Festival and on Saturday 11th the Aurealis Awards. Later in the month it’s my birthday. April is so jam packed.

In other hyperactive news, I’ve been making silk flowers, a bonnet and Regency cross over front dress. Also, my editor sent this photo of me signing at the ARRA conference recently. Technically I was signing as me and Dani K. I’m hoping to put up another author interview soon.Donna signing

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As I mentioned in my previous post about the Canberra Writers Day, the Aurealis Awards were on in the evening. Usually my involvement with the AAs is as an event. I go because it’s a fab evening. I get to see friends and network with the industry. I also get to see the people win awards, some of whom I’ve never heard of so in that case it’s a discovery.

This year I was a judge in the Graphic Novel category and I was…wait for it…the trophy chick. I said to Nicole wouldn’t it be fab if I was your trophy girl instead of some young beautiful thing…and she fell for it. The downside to being the trophy girl is that you get to stand through most of the award ceremony in very uncomfortable high heels and my post may reflect some of that pain and maybe a photo of sore feet.sore feet

So the venue at University House turned into a charming venue for the awards ceremony. First there was the cocktail party where we all got to mingle (but not sufficiently for me to get around to everyone I knew or meet new people. Sorry Thoraiya I didn’t even get to say hello properly). I managed to get a glass of bubbly in before the fun began (because I was a dutiful person who went to rehearse with the presentation).

So a few snaps from the cocktail party. Alan Baxter and the lovely Rochelle Fernandez. Alan has a trilogy coming out with Harper Voyager, coming July. I have a book coming out with Harper Impulse under Dani Kristoff (http://danikristoff.wordpress.com for details). BTW I wasn’t out to take photos as Cat Sparks and Mr Fitzgerald were doing that.

Alan Baxter and Rochelle Fernandez

Alan Baxter and Rochelle Fernandez


So here is the room, the Great Hall at University House done up with lights.

University House, Great Hall with lights for the Aurealis Awards Ceremony

University House, Great Hall with lights for the Aurealis Awards Ceremony

Here is a piccie of the candelabra that was next to me. They were placed around the room with real candles. Nice!

Candelabra Great Hall, University House, Canberra

Candelabra Great Hall, University House, Canberra



Then there were the two fabulous MCs, Sean Williams and Simon Brown who were very funny and who created fantastic tales of intergalactic woe and time spinning tales about the presenters.

Sean Williams and Simon Brown, Masters of Ceremonies Aurealis Awards

Sean Williams and Simon Brown, Masters of Ceremonies Aurealis Awards

And so there were a few surprises in the winnings. Having been a judge I know how close it is to decide the winners so if you were short listed you are amazing to be there.

The ceremony went off without a hitch. (As trophy girl I did not drop anything or confuse the names, even though I didn’t have my glasses on-that’s because Nicole Murphy is so organised).

Some of the winners


Ally (Allyse Near) with her two awards- a tie for Young Adult and for Horror novel. Fairytales for Wilde Girls (Oh no. Not a good photo!)

Allyse Near, Aurealis Awards April 2014

Allyse Near, Aurealis Awards April 2014




Joanne Anderton, best collection for The Bone Chime Song and other stories

Joanne Anderton, Aurealis Awards April 2014

Joanne Anderton, Aurealis Awards April 2014



Kaaron Warren best SF short story, Air, Water and the Grove.

Kaaron Warren, Aurealis Awards 2014

Kaaron Warren, Aurealis Awards 2014


Jackie Ryan-tie for best graphic  novel

Jackie Ryan, Aurealis Awards, April 2014

Jackie Ryan, Aurealis Awards, April 2014


Mitchell Hogan for best fantasy novel, The Crucible of Souls. This was a wow moment for me. It was self-published and his thank you speech included editors I knew and I realised I’d been down a similar road to him with my own fantasy novel (and got nowhere). It opened my eyes quite wide. Well done you, Mitchell. Fabulous.

Mitchell Hogan, Aurealis Awards, April 2014

Mitchell Hogan, Aurealis Awards, April 2014


A photo of Liz Grzyb-who tied for best and anthology for the Year’s Best (with Talie Helene). The awards are in the boxes.

Liz Grzyb, Aurealis Awards, April 2014

Liz Grzyb, Aurealis Awards, April 2014


A shot of the wonderful Nicole Murphy looking on at the end of the ceremony. The mastermind behind the flawless awards ceremony.

Nicole Murphy, Aurealis Awards, April 2014

Nicole Murphy, Aurealis Awards, April 2014



Now for some of the crowd, Keri Arthur and gang.

Leife Shallcross, David Versace, Keri Arthur and  Rob Porteous. Aurealis Awards, April 2014

Leife Shallcross, David Versace, Keri Arthur and Rob Porteous. Aurealis Awards, April 2014


Liz’s fab shoes, which I snapped later at the after party. They are  Fluevogs. Want! That’s it from me. Don’t forget to come along next time.

Liz Grzyb's shoes, Fluevogs

Liz Grzyb’s shoes, Fluevogs






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It’s July already and I wonder where half the year has gone. I get to this point and look back over the year and think what have I done, usually in the sense of what have I written. Now that Conflux 9 is done and almost dusted (I’m doing the accounts for Conflux Inc), I’ve been free to write.

I drafted a category length paranormal romance late last year and have revised it a number of times, particularly after Conflux 9, where my wits were standing all on end and I really didn’t have the brain space to polish and you can’t get away from the having to polish. I haven’t had it acquired yet, but here’s hoping. A bit of finger tapping going on.

Over the June long weekend, I started writing the sequel to Rayessa and the Space Pirates. I finished the draft over the weekend and it’s now with Nicole, my faithful beta reader  and good friend. She sometimes wears leather when she critques, which is good. So I’m drumming my fingers on the desk about that too.

My first royalty statement is due, but has been delayed. More fingers are tapping.

Late last year, I also finished a longer paranormal/urban fantasy novel. That’s what I’m meant to be working on this month. At work though I’ve been drafting the early stages of a report, which means a lot of time in front of the computer. I have the excuse that I don’t want to do it and I’m a bit brain dead to be thinking about sex scenes and make them zing. (thanks Nicole!) So I have that to do. Not tonight though, even though I think I’m bored out of my wits. A bit of head banging on desk over this. I have the guilt warring with good sense.

I enrolled in uni so I’m set to complete the Masters in Creative Writing this year. We don’t start till August so I have a little bit of time to play with my paranormal fantasy before I get back onto my young adult, steampunk, romantic fantasy that I’m working on. I nod my head. I think a break is a good thing sometimes.

I spoke to my boss about leave for RWA in Freemantle in August. He was happy about that until I pointed out that the deadline to get the issues papers out coincided. I need to check the date, maybe it’s the week before. Still that means some hard work between now and then and a bit of angsting about leave. I’m currently working full time so I should be able to get through everything to meet my deadline. The operative word is should.

The biggest news of the week is that I bought our tickets to go to the World Fantasy Convention in Brighton UK. Finally, we made the commitment. So now we just have to plan who we will visit when we are there and maybe fit in a trip to Ireland. We’ll be gone for a month. Some of the travel overlaps the uni work, so it looks like I’ll have to have assignments done before time, again. Oh well. I’ll see what I can negotiate.

At this point in time I don’t know if I can negotiate, but it’s an option.

Somewhere in there I sighed up to be an Aurealis judge in the graphic novel category. Nothing to read just as yet, but I am looking forward to the  awards ceremony being in Canberra.

That’s all my little news.

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I’m late with this and I don’t have many photos, but what I do have are awesome.

Sydney completed its third wonderful Aurealis Awards. As it was so close to Conflux I wasn’t certain I was going to make it and with one thing and another I didn’t think I could afford it.  Nicole was of the same mind. While we were on a writers’ retreat with Cat Sparks and others, she told Nicole and I we had to come and she even offered accommodation close by for free. That made it doable and of course, we didn’t want to upset Cat.

So like Uncle Jed, we loaded up the car and moved to Sydney for a night. We had Kaaron and Jasmina with us for the road trip. All arranged very last minute but accomplished successfully.

The ceremony was once again at the Edwardian era, Independent Theatre in North Sydney. Venue info here.

We had dinner first at the Thai restaurant next door and we were pretty wowed by the food including braised lamb shank in a coconut curry. (Oops no sidelining to food got it!)

So before the ceremony is a cocktail party, with nice bite sized food and bubbly, wine and beer etc. I was so full I only managed one canape. Oh dear! I managed to squeeze in two glasses of bubbly. This was the time for smoozing and catching up with friends and acquaintances. We got to say hello to Robert Hood, Thoraiya Dyer, Alex Adsett, Amanda Pillar, Cat Sparks, Kaaron Warren and others. (older persons’ memory cells), before being ushered in to the ceremony itself. I didn’t take a photo inside the theatre though it is lovely.

Scott Westerfeld hosted the ceremonies and did a bang up job. He was funny, wooed us about how awesome spec fic genre is and was generally very cool. Margo Lanagan won so many awards, she of course got teased about it. One of them was shared.  The young adult novel with Kaz Delaney.

Here is a link to the press release with the winners.

So then we rock on to the after party. We all mingle outside, grab photos before heading to the bar. My shots come from these. I managed to snag a few winners with their awards.

Thoraiya and KaaronThis is Thoraiya Dyer and Kaaron Warren with their awards. They were giggling a lot. The shot below is them posing a bit better.

Thoraiya and Kaaron 2They were so happy!

Outside I managed to capture Margo Lanagan.

MargoThis amazingly talented author couldn’t carry all her awards. Okay I’m kidding. I’m sure she had them there somewhere.

In the squeeze in the bar I managed to corner, Daniel O’Malley with his award in hand and the Aurealis Awards convenvor, Tehani Wessely.


I was dressed in retro and so was Amanda Pillar (editor!) so we begged someone to take a photo of us. (I had a little red cardigan but dropped it. Lucky Sydney isn’t as cold as Canberra so I didn’t freeze).

amanda and me

Nicole Murphy is the person to watch.

NicoleShe was having a fab time after all that work co-chairing Conflux with me. It was fun just to hang.  Wasn’t it Nicole?
nicole with wineTo tell the truth she could have been minding my glass of champagne.

The party moved on to Rydges North Sydney.

I grabbed a shot of Alex Adsett (agent and in red) and the lovely Kaz Delaney (must buy her book too), who tied with Margo for young adult novel. She told me she is a romance writer. Yay!

Kaz and Alex

I was feeling pretty tired myself, so I parked myself in a chair with Steve Dunbar and then chatted to who came along.

Here is a shot of Kaaron looking happy and replete after her award win. She said it’s the second one but with a big gap between. She won for A-Positive in 1998 and now with Sky in 2013.

Kaaron in the bar

And then I took passing shots of people who were at my table. Here is Cat Sparks talking to Steve Dunbar.cat and steveAmanda Pillar and RobThat’s one of Amanda Pillar talking to Robert Hood. It was late by the time we went home. I was knackered and guilted Nicole into going home earlier than she would have liked. She was having a ball. We arranged to come back to the hotel for breakfast, which gave us a chance to catch up with the people we didn’t catch up with. Highlights for me were Liz Gryzb’s and Kirstyn McDermott’s shoes. Just being there in the buzz and the announcement that Canberra is going to host next year’s Aurealis Awards. That’s right. Conflux Inc, with Nicole Murphy at the head will be hosting the next ceremony sometime in March. Here is a shot of Nicole explaining to the Conflux committee about what her vision and strategy is for the next awards ceremony. You think after Conflux she’d had enough but no, Nicole the dynamo is charging ahead. Me? I’m going to just linger on the sidelines, although I have signed up to judge the graphic novel section of the 2014 awards. Don’t forget to come along to Canberra next year. We know who you are!

Nicole talking AAs

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