Monday, August 27, 2007

And the new novel...

Is gone. I still like the idea but I couldn't get excited about it. That's the bad news.
The good news is that I have had a character wandering around in my head for weeks and she seems to be growing every day. Last week she set off on a vision quest with no help from my conscious mind and wouldn't you just guess, it's all ending in tears. The story is obviously much bigger than a short story so now I think it might be, "Welcome to the new new novel." We shall see.
By the way she's a much more interesting character than the main character in the previous novel attempt. Maybe that's why she's grabbed my attention so firmly. I'm looking forward to following her adventures.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Katharine Susannah Prichard Speculative Fiction/Fantasy Awards 2007 2

Here is the list of winners for this year.

Shire of Mundaring National Young Writers' Awards

1st place Melissa Wellam (ACT) The Succubus
2nd place Monica Revy (WA) The Day of Reckoning

Stephanie Wong (WA) Unfolding Plots and Story Lines

Open Section

1st place Helen Venn (WA) The Healing
2nd place Susan Wardle (NSW) The Chance

Highly Commended
Helen Venn (WA) Surrogate

B.J. Thomason (VIC) Uptoun Wells
Sonia Helbig (WA) Trillion Dollar Baby
M. LeGuier (WA) Deathwatch
Monica Carroll (ACT) Dog Luck

I am over the moon and don't expect to land again sometime soon.

Katharine Susannah Prichard Speculative Fiction/Fantasy Awards

I'm off to the Katharine Susannah Prichard Speculative Fiction/Fantasy Awards presentations today where, having been short-listed, I am reading from two of my stories. I'll post the winners when I get back.
I've arranged for a guided tour of the Writers' Centre for some friends before it starts and, although I have attended workshops there for years, I have never been on a tour. The centre is based in old home of author, Katharine Susannah Prichard, on Greenmount, right on the edge of the Darling scarp behind Perth. It's a wonderful setting and I'm looking forward to learning more of its history.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


I've spent most of the day going through all the story beginnings I've accumulated in years of writing. They have come from a wide range of sources: journal entries, writing exercises, workshops, writing marathons. They are snippets written in hospital waiting rooms, at my writing group, on retreats, while waiting for the dentist, physiotherapist, doctor, on buses and trains, in cars, under trees on freezing winter mornings, on baking beach sand in summer, in churchyards, on river banks and snuggled into bed during a winter storm.
There are hundreds all filed away for later. Many of their companions have already morphed into completed stories and, in their time, so will these. They come from a variety of triggers. An idea or a word, something from the news, a new scientific discovery, an overheard fragment of conversation or something as simple as my cat hiding (unsuccessfully) behind a blade of grass.
The best though is the writing marathon. A phrase, a sentence or a word chosen at random sends me off into places I'd never have come to without it. Sometimes these beginnings seem to have no future and I file them away for days when inspiration is running low but others nag at me and I find myself thinking, planning and writing. And a new story is born.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Sunshine and Flowers

It's amazing how a few sunny days changes my life. The computer is abandoned and I'm out in the garden, taking the chance to treat the roses and grapevines to their overdue pruning. I know the grapevines will be grateful because as I cut away the dead wood on every plant I discovered tiny ant nests. Each must be the offspring of the flying ant swarms in late autumn where queens, desperate for homes, settled on the gaps where the centres of the dead stems hollowed out as their cores shrank. From there they had chewed out nurseries to raise silvery white larva. If they would stick to the rotten sections I would be happy to leave them alone but they inevitably encroach into the living wood and that can be fatal.
The sun has brought out the bees too. Dozens of them buzz around the potted camellia sitting outside the family room all winter as it scatters its saucer sized blossoms in a carpet of rich pink and white. Jaz, who is allergic to bee stings, dices with death whenever she is let out. Fortunately she is not very good at catching them.
Tiny grey skinks sun themselves on the brick wall, some not much bigger than a matchstick, with scales like fine, delicate lace, and, along the back fence, the trees are packed with nesting honeyeaters and wattlebirds. The eggs and nestlings are very popular with the raucous ravens that squabble loudly in their home tree in the next street. They drop in for a snack far too often. I know they have to eat but I'd rather not see their predations. Jaz loathes them, having been cornered by one when she was a puppy. They are big birds, handsome in their glossy black, and quite capable of doing a little dog an injury. Although she no longer has to worry about that she has not forgiven them and throws herself at the door barking frantically until someone lets her out.
All the signs are there. Spring is just around the corner and we are enjoying the prelude.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Of TV programmers

Looked in the TV guide this morning. No Torchwood tonight. Checked another guide. Still no Torchwood.
What is it about television programmers? Don't they realise that if we get messed around too much we stop watching their channel. That means we don't see their advertisements either. That means advertisers begin to wonder why they are paying lots of money etc etc etc... I've already lost interest in Medium because of the insertion of repeats and out of sequence episodes by the same channel and Torchwood is still establishing its audience here. Wouldn't it be a good idea to lock us in before you start playing around with it? Just a thought.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Conflux - Virtual Minicon

What fun it was! I wasn't sure it would work but it did - beautifully. I managed to visit the author sessions I most wanted to - Simon Brown, Melaina Faranda and Glenda Larke - with a look in at a couple of others. Then I hung out in the virtual Lounge for a while where conversation largely centred around chocolate and alcohol or the two combined. It was especially good to see Laura Goodin and Peter Ball at Melaina's session. It made a mini-reunion of Clarion South 2007 with the four of us there, mini being in this month apparently.
I'm still trying to organise my finances so I can go to Conflux 4 in real time. After last night I want to go all the more. We shall see.