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Gardening Delights and Disasters



Above is a peek at our back yard in autumn. Autumns do not last long in Perth. Our trees turn yellow almost overnight, and then the first decent rain washes the leaves away. Most of the trees here are deciduous, and were well on the way to being established when we moved in 5 years ago. Husb and I have differing gardening philosophies. I like wild and natural, while Husb likes cultured and pruned. What we end up with is mostly a cross between the two as the summers are too hot to do too much and Husb only prunes once a year during green waste week. If anything cannot survive water restrictions, we replace it with a native plant, but mostly the garden copes well. We have a cat, but she's too lazy and too well fed to hunt, so we have willy wagtails and wattle birds nesting in spring. The cat likes to watch them from the upstairs window, but stays well away from the trees when they are inhabited. Wattle birds have sharp beaks.



Our vege patch didn't last the latter months of summer, thanks to the 40C+ temps. The twig in the half-buried green pot in the front patch was a blueberry tree, that thrived right up until a few months ago. We had to put it in a pot because our soil is too sandy and too alkaline. (Most of Perth is built on sand dunes). Last year we harvested a cup of blueberries. Soon we'll be planting new herbs and winter veges like Boy Choy. The tiles surrounding the veg patch are stained brown from the bore water sprinklers which have a high mineral content. The plants love it, but even bore water is subject to water restrictions, so we can only use the sprinklers three times a week. On other days, it's hand watering only. If someone forgets for more than one day, that's the end of the vege patch for the summer.
Windy Hooker Glacier

KSP Mincon: Sunday 2nd May

Straight from the KSP Minicon Blog

It's getting better by the day. There will be panels peopled by some of Perth's finest speculative fiction writers and publishers. You'll be able to buy a range of books from Fantastic Planet and indie publishers Ticonderoga Publications and Twelfth Planet Press as well as from local authors. And, of course, there are the kaffeeklatsches - but you'll have to be early to book into those. Numbers are limited.

Just to remind you, the details for the KSP Mini Con are:

Where: Katharine Susannah Writers Centre, 11 Old York Rd, Greenmount

When: Sunday, May 2, from 10:00 am 'til 5:00 pm.

Entry: Adults $5.00 Family pass $10.00

There'll be snacks and tea and coffee available at a reasonable price.

Here's the programme:

10:00: Casting Call: heroes, villains and monsters. Hal Colebatch, Toby Coulstock, Liz Grzyb, Bevan McGuiness and Carol Ryles (mod)

11:00: Writing Intensives e.g. Clarions, Writers of the Future: do they work? Lee Battersby, Lyn Battersby, Carol Ryles, Helen Venn and Annette Backshall (mod)
(or you can attend a Kaffeeklatsch on Nanowrimo with Elaine Kemp and Sarah Parker )

12:00: Stuck in the Mud: Writers' block/painting characters into a corner: Stephen Dedman, Sue Isle, David Kitson, Bevan McGuiness and Annette Backshall (mod)

1:00: Should WA writers use WA settings? Lee Battersby, Adrian Bedford, Stephen Dedman, Juliet Marillier and Russell B. Farr (mod)

2:00: Romance in Fantasy: Lyn Battersby, Satima Flavell, Elaine Kemp, David Kitson and Sarah Parker (mod)

3:00: World Building: Dave Luckett, Bevan McGuinness, Helen Venn and Carol Ryles (mod)
(or you can attend a Kaffeeklatsch on E-publishing with Elaine Kemp and Tehani Wesseley)

4:00: Turkey City Lexicon: Have some fun with overused tropes of SF. Russell B. Farr, David Kitson, Dave Luckett, Ian Nichols and Annette Backshall (mod)

Hope to see you there
Windy Hooker Glacier

Belong, Scary Kisses, and Space Cougars!!!



So, the good news is: I've got my contributor's copies of Belong. For once I haven't had to wait ten weeks for something just because I live in WA. They look very pretty. I've read several of the stories and can't help thinking what an awesome job everyone has done: writers, editors, printers and British and Australia Post for getting "Belong" to Perth on time.

My story, "Deeper Than Flesh and Closer" is about a vastly changed Future Earth that has been colonised by refugees from the past.

Thank you and hugs to Belong's fantastic editor, punkrocker1991

Belong will be launched this Thursday at Swancon 9pm at the All Seasons Hotel, 15 Robinson Ave, Northbridge. Sonia Helbig will be there as well, reading a teaser from her excellent story, "Initiation".

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



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

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

My Clarion West friends albionidaho, chris_reynaga and Carlton Mellick III were hanging out at Worldcon 2009 when they got together and co-wrote the story, Space Cougars with S. Hutson Blount, Peter V. Brett, Erin Cashier, Alan DeNiro, Gordon van Gelder, Jay Lake, Nick Mamatas, E.C. Myers, Devin Poore, Ken Scholes, John Skipp, Peter Straub, Michael Swanwick, Jackson Juiceely. It has been accepted in The Magazine of Bizarro Fiction. For the story behind the writing of space cougars go here and here. And have fun.
Windy Hooker Glacier

Uphill is Fun



I'm smiling at the top of this hill, despite knowing that the next several kilometres will be all downhill. I much prefer walking up because walking down usually ends up with me slipping and sliding and ending up like a beached turtle flat on my backpack and unable to get up, much to the amusement to those following behind. Fortunately only a few minor bruises though, as a full backpack is a worthy cushion. Photo taken last year on the Routeburn Track, South Island, NZ.

This week it's been mostly uphill for my Clarion West friends:

chris_reynaga received official confirmation today that his story "Say Goodbye to the Little Girl Tree" has been sold to the anthology, Up Jumped the Devil! (PS Publishing). We critted this story at Clarion and it's inspired by the Nick Cave song.

Carlton Mellick's book, "Cannibals of Candyland," which was written after Clarion, has been accepted by a German publisher, Festa Verlag. It's to be published WITH A SCRATCH AND SNIFF COVER to smell like strawberry. Carlton writes the bizzarrest Bizzarro and his Clarion story, "Candy Coated" is published here in Vice Magazine

And as for me, I'm back on the novel, this time second drafting. I'll blog about that soon on WA Egoboo.
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Publications



Moonrise over Eagle Bay, WA.

My Clarion West friend, rajankhanna has a story, "The Furies" published in Skulls & Crossbones, edited by Andi Marquette and R. G. Emanuelle. The anthology can be purchased as a pdf here. Raj writes a great story, so go check it out.

My story, "Deeper than Flesh and Closer" is to be published in Russell B Farr's Belong Anthology in April. The Table of Contents is here.

Over at Egoboo WA, Satima speculates on the speculative and Sarah writes that Editing is Creative Writing too.
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Clifftops, Critting, Plotting, Fun and Hello Caren

So, there we were, walking along the track that was supposed to lead us to the spot where Gimli fell off his horse in The Two Towers. But we must have walked past it, because we ended up here. It sort of looks like the cliff that Aragorn fell off, but it wasn’t:




The cliff that Aragorn fell off was here, overlooking the Queenstown Airport runway, where you can see Airbuses flying beneath you:



In a display of utter madness, almost-hobbit number 3 attempted to follow in Aragorn's footsteps, but was saved by a conveniently wide ledge about 3 feet below.

Photos taken at Deer Park Heights, Queenstown, NZ.

Over at Egoboo WA Helen Venn talks about how we ran our Critting Sessions at Eagle Bay while I look at plotting in the movie, Avatar, bearing in mind that to learn how to plot effectively, it's good to know how the formulas work first.

Jay Lake laughs about The larval stages of the common American speculative fiction writer which made me laugh too.

And finally, hellos and waves to my Clarion buddy, Caren Gussoff, who gave me the best welcome at the airport when I arrived in Seattle. Check out her publications here. She also has a story, Games forthcoming in Destination: Future, edited by Z.S. Adani and Eric T. Reynolds
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Creative Flurries on Egoboo



The tourists on the opposite side of this tarn are walking the exact path taken by refugees from Rohan on their flight to Helm's Deep. Deer Park Heights, Queenstown, South Island, New Zealand, which we visited Christmas 2008 before the park closed indefinitely. We found this spot easily because it was well sign posted and the park owners provided maps which took us to several filming sites. Unlike in Lord of the Rings, there were llamas grazing in a nearby field. And a mobile phone tower over the hills behind us.

Over on Egoboo WA, Sarah writes about Creative Flurries

Yesterday I went back to an old 7500 word story and thought hard about why it wasn't working. It had all the right stuff, but just too much of it. So I thought about which paragraphs were merely window dressing and which were pulling their weight. 2500 deleted words later, my story was pretty much the same story, but felt much much better.

Now I think the novel has lain fallow long enough. It's time to get back to work again.
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Hobbits and Aus Spec Fic Carnival



Four almost-hobbits crouched in the exact spot where Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin hid from the Ringwraiths not long after they left the shire. The big tree and its roots were fake -- and fortunately so were the big insects -- but the background trees are exactly as they were in the movie. Mt Victoria, Wellington, North Island, NZ. We found this location with the help of The Lord of the Rings Location Guidebook (extended Edition) by Ian Brodie.

This month Egoboo WA is hosting the Aus Spec Fic Carnival so take a look and see what Aussies have been up to this month.
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2010 Already? Surely Not....

One of my Clarion buddies, pamrentz keeps a great blog and has a story, The Battle of Little Big Science forthcoming in Asimovs. She often prefaces her posts with a stunning picture of some awesome place in the USA, so I thought I'd have a go at doing the same -- so Pam could see some of my pictures too :) So, to start the ball rolling, here's a picture of Mt Doom. Not just any Mt Doom, but the one with the
kind of fire that forges a certain type of ring. It's also known as Mount Ngauruhoe. We took this picture from the car window when we were on our way from Lake Taupo to Wellington, New Zealand.



Not that I'm feeling doomed at the moment, because right now 2010 is shaping up just fine. My novel writing group, Egoboo, has been wonderful for providing friendship, support and advice during the long haul of writing my first finished novel. We blog here, and yesterday I wrote a post about my thoughts on writing cross gender here

A couple of days ago, I sold an 11,000 word novelette to Ticonderoga Publications, for their Anthology, Belong. But more about that soon.

Also, watch this space for more about my Clarion West Buddies, but if you can't wait that long, there's a list of their post-clarion publications here, courtesy of the wonderful pamrentz
Windy Hooker Glacier

Indiebooks Donating to Toodyay Bushfire Appeal

For the next two weeks, Indiebooksonline are donating to the Toodyay fire appeal: $5 from every paperback and $10 from every hardback sold through their webpage. Toodyay is a small town about 80 km from Perth, in Western Australia. More about the fire, including the destruction of 38 homes here.

Books available through Indie include Dirt Magic by Sean Williams and The Infernal by Kim Wilkins.