Archive for the ‘General excitment’ Category

So after my news, I find that things are moving along very quickly. This week I’m hoping to see the concept art for the cover of Dragon wine  1: Shatterwing. You can’t imagine how excited I am about that. Momentum have been great to work with so I have expectations!

Then it’s just over 5 weeks before the book comes out. I mean how quick is that (I mean 10 years in the making).

I’m heading the UK for Loncon 3 and I’ll also be at British Fantasy con in York in September. It will be fab to catch up with friends and acquaintances and also do some research. I need to trawl through the streets of London for the Ruby Heart sequel Emerald Fire and maybe get into a sewer (but as London’s sewers are closed when I get there I may have to settle for a sewer tour in Brighton). While I’m away I’m expecting the edits to Dragon wine 2: Skywatcher and I don’t know how hard that will be doing those while travelling. The edits of Shatterwing required a bit of effort. Not that I’m complaining. I’m very glad to be put through my paces. I just don’t know how that will mesh with travelling and conventions etc. However, as my partner is a writer I’m sure he’ll be supportive and it will all work out. We even bought a mobile office thing to carry my laptop safely.

Travel is also a time to get inspiration and to research streets, buildings and people for future work. It is also a time when I can relax and my mind can invent new scenes.

I’m going to have print copies available and I will be doing a few launch type things when I get back in October. I’ll keep you posted about that.

Meanwhile, Dragon Wine 1: Shatterwing is turning up in places for pre order in ebook. Here are a few of them.


Amazon Australia

Google Books



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I have let out hints on Twitter and Facebook about contracts! Yes, plural. I’m so excited and I’ve been dying to tell but a few things happened. One, I hadn’t signed the contracts yet. Two, my laptop fell off my bed and broke. I’m afraid I was traumatised. But it’s now fixed and all is right in my world again.

If you have been following me for a while, you would know about my novel Dragon Wine. It’s the work of the heart, my major work, my first glimpse of writing something good way back when (2005). It was a massive  door stopping beginning to a trilogy, which I started in 2005. It wasn’t quite as good then as it is now. If it wasn’t for the Varuna MS development awards it may not have been written. I was encouraged by being long listed for the first 25 000 words (all I’d written at the time) of this first imaginings of Dragon Wine in 2005. At the time, I had a little vineyard so I did think a lot of it up while I was out there working on the vines, pruning them, caring for them. I wrote more in 2006 and it made the long list again, then I submitted again finally making the shortlist.

I did a quite a lot of posting a while back about how I cut it back after some feedback and also to make it eligible for some slush piles. However, I hadn’t quite got it where I wanted it to go. And those slush piles. Shrug. Publishing is a different place from when I started writing way back when.

I was thinking to do another rewrite of Dragon Wine this year, as you do with a work  you never give up on, when I had a chance to submit it to Haylee Nash at Pan Macmillan Australia. The wonderful thing was she read it straight away and loved it. I was offered a deal with Momentum Books and I took it. All very quick. It felt amazing to have an editor read it and love it. You can’t imagine how it felt. I’ve been working on this book for 9 years.

So Dragon Wine is coming out really soon. It is coming out in two parts. Dragon Wine is the name of the series and the first book is Shatterwing, which is the name of the remains of the shattered moon above Margra, the planet where Dragon Wine is set. The second book is called, Skywatcher, which is the name given to the people who watch the skies and shoot down meteors. Alex Adsett, my literary agent, coined the term-post-apocalyptic dragons when she read it.

You can probably tell that this is a weird sounding fantasy as it seems to have science fiction elements. It does! It’s also a pretty dark fantasy in that the world is not nice and is inhabited by some pretty nasty and desperate people. Of course, my story is about the people who are good and want to change things. Anyway, you will have to wait for the blurb! Then not very long after for the books. I am hoping to launch them at Conflux in October in Canberra.

Meanwhile, I post things as I hear or see (like the covers!). I’ve just got the copy edits for the first part. And I’m going to get the next ones when I’m in the UK in August, eep! There is more to the story of course, but being a commercial world we need to see how these two go before decisions are made about the next installments. But I do have the next two drafted!

And I have good news for Dani K too, but that’s another blog!

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So my bags aren’t quite packed, but my darling man bought a keyboard cover for the iPad Air so I can take it instead of the heavy laptop. I’m so excited by that. He is awesome. I didn’t have time today to go shopping but Matthew went after work.

Tonight my children cooked me a late birthday/early mother’s day dinner, with prezzies. Homemade lasagne and flourless chocolate cake with coconut cream/chocolate frosting. It was great to see them and I’ll miss them while I’m away. Matthew is staying here holding the fort, having horror movie nights, hopefully not eating too badly and enjoying the cold. I understand that New Orleans is warm. Yay, I had to totally rethink my wardrobe, but I’m quite prepared to shop!

I’ve printed out the stuff I need, now I just need to organise what I’m taking with me. Not easy to do when you’re on the computer.

I injured my knee in the move in November and have a torn tendon. Everything had been going fairly well, not hurting, able to walk, except these last couple of days it’s flared up. Now I have to get on a plane for 15 hours with a bad knee. I’ve bought a knee support and just hope I won’t need to buy a walking stick. Eek!

I’m looking forward to the RT Convention and the shopping and eating, except I believe I’m now allergic to fish so I have to be careful. I love fish so you can imagine not being able to eat it is going to be tough. The other night we had chips from the local takeaway and I reacted to them. I’m getting more and more sensitive.

I’m taking Invoked, my current WIP with me to work on. I’ve not done much in recent weeks except on writing dates, with  my mother being deadly ill over Easter and then family coming down to say their goodbyes, but mum rallied, but is still exiting this life, just more slowly. I really thought she was leaving and I went through all the saying goodbyes, the crying, the grieving and now I have to adjust to her being still here, but also with a different personality. It’s just plain odd, but the brain injuries do weird things.

Anyway, it’s time to cuddle my man and leave this computer be. I may blog while I’m away, it depends on how well wordpress and ipad get one.


A shot of me and Cat Sparks

A shot of me and Cat Sparks

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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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Just a quick note to let you know that I’m off on a writers’ retreat with the gang. It’s the first day and so I haven’t done much yet except eat, tweet and blog!

We’ll all be blogging over here.

Drop in for a bit of a laugh.

I hope to progress Into the Dark Glass and revise some other work and also enjoy myself in this amazing house on Lake Jindabyne.

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The other week I was interviewed by the lovely Helen Stubbs for Galactic Chat. We talked about a range of writing related things, Rayessa and the Space Pirates, the difficulties writing the sequel, using a pseudonym for my paranormal romance work, using dictation software and also about things I’d either watched or read. With regard to reading, I mentioned reading Anna Cowan’s Untamed, a fresh and interesting take on Regency Romance. I think it’s more fringe Regency, with a cross-dressing duke and a barely there lady. I was mesmerised by it. I had also just bought A Single Girls Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse by JT Clay, out with Momentum Books. A zany sounding book, packed full of fun.

Anyway, I have to get to work. I am moving house over the next week. I’m moving in with my partner of four years in a big house in Canberra.

Here is the link to the Galactic Chat interview.


BTW Did I mentioned I handed up the last of my Masters of Creative Writing assignments? All done!

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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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I have been shamefully absent. This means I have been absent from my blog and I’m shameful about it.

I have excuses though. Good ones!

I was up in the Torres Strait for work for nearly two weeks before Easter. It was beautiful and so very humid that I nearly expired with the heat. Once back, I’ve been on leave and I had an intensive manuscript writing workshop at uni and a test and I’ve been plodding along with my two masters’ subjects. Eek! So in the next four weeks, I have a national science fiction convention to run (with Nicole and the team), two uni assignments to complete and a writers’ retreat. Doesn’t sound like much when I put it like that but there’s heaps to do on all levels. Then it’s back to work to report writing.

As well as the above I had to revise and resubmit a manuscript to a publisher and hopefully I’ll hear back about that soon. I guess I have a new outlook on crazy busy. Oh yeah, I forgot. I’m making some new outfits for Conflux 9. A new Victorian bustle dress and a new Regency dress and last night I dreamed of making a cake. (I need to be sedated. Pronto!)

Last night I had my first Conflux inspired insomnia episode.

Conflux 9 is going to be great. There’s a great positive vibe, a good swag of people coming (over 200) and fantastic guests and panelists. We have cool events. And some creative people designing and managing the things like the Junkyard Cathedral Masquerade and the Ditmar Awards on Saturday.

I used to  enjoy doing this stuff, but I realise that I don’t have the youth and vigour I did 9 years ago when I chaired the last Natcon in Canberra. Thank god I’m doing this gig with the powerhouse Nicole Murphy. She is awesome, brilliant and visionary. However, I shall be hanging up my con running hat after this. It’s time to truly concentrate on the writing. The best part about organising a convention and choosing the guests. We have fab guests, Marc Gascoigne from Angry Robot Books, Nalo Hopkinson, Jamacian/Canadian award winning author, Karen Miller, who is too prolific to list her titles, Kaaron Warren, a very talented and award winning horror writer and Rose Mitchell our Fan Guest of Honour. Rose has a long history with Conflux. I couldn’t name all the highlights and favs of this convention, but it is thrilling to be able to bring workshops and pitching opportunities to the writers among us. We have some top class panelists and some very cool topics to discuss.

Hopefully, after I put the house back in order after the carpet cleaning today. (so mundane! so necessary) I may blog again when my head is less full.

Cheers D

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I’m so tired and I was caught up doing some stuff for Conflux 9, which zapped me.

However, I thought I would preview by blogging a picture of the UFO cake I made for the launch party.

I had the idea to make a space ship cake, one of my own design. However, time grew short and then I got the idea to use the tagine to make the cake. For those who don’t know what a tagine is, it is a Morrocan ceramic baking dish. Here is a picture of mine.




It seemed really cool but when I made the cake, the top of the tagine and the base did not fit into the oven and it was really hard to judge how much mixture but…

ufo cake 1 Here is how it turned out. The inside is lime green cake, with a lemon spread filling. It has a butter cream underlay and a fondant overlay. It looked a bit like a crayon when we started so we did a black wash and then etching. You can see my daughter here doing all these crazy alien language designs over it. If you look closely you can see the little green alien sticking his head out.

Here is a close up of the alien.

UFO alien close up

It was very fun to make, even though we were rushed. Because I was sick all week I had no prep time. We were doing this a few hours before the party.

My daughter Erana had the idea to use glo sticks to offset the cake.

UFO glo

So it added something to the kitsch SF party.

Here is a look at the inside.

ufo green cake


That’s enough about the cake. Tomorrow the launch party guff.

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So the launch party went off last night. I haven’t gathered my wits yet, but Cat Sparks has already put up her photos. Beware the nasty space pirates.


The link is here. http://www.flickr.com/photos/42956650@N00/sets/72157632566123458/with/8397518770/

They’ll be more. It was very cool even if I do say so myself. Many thanks to my daughter Erana Loftus for putting in a whole day to clean and design the interior. Special thanks to Nicole Muprhy who slaved the whole day putting up props, cleaning, begging to be fed and support beyond the call of duty and to my lovely partner, Matthew Farrer who also put in a big day getting things ready. Well done us and thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Rayessa is officially out there.





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