Let Me Digress

Kathryn Hore - Writer

Continuum 15, it was grand

So I attended Continuum 15 in fine old Melbourne Town last weekend. For three days I watched, listened, pitched, panelled, talked, laughed, admired, caught up with old friends, made new ones, met a huge number of very lovely people, and drank way too much wine.

I went with a certain agenda – to pitch my manuscript, to make the acquaintance of a couple of people I wanted to meet, to appear on a panel, and to have a grand time. I came away from the Con having pitched multiple times (with corresponding invitations to submit), with a manuscript assessment spot on in excellent feedback, and having met an amazing number of people, all of whom were wonderful. And I definitely had a grand time.

Here’s a few pics, including from the panel I was on, “Fictional Librarians and Archivists” with the wonderful Sean McMullen and Gillian Polack, both writers I admire very much, so I had a great time on the panel with them.

Myself, Sean and Gillian deep in discussion

One of the first panels I attended – “We do this job so you can write about it” – featuring the ever awesome Aiki Flinthart, Sophie Yorkson, Kat Clay and Justin Bennett:

Guests of Honour for the convention were Kate Elliot and Ken Liu, who were both wonderful and engaging speakers. Here’s Kate’s session on narrative structure and working with audience expectations:

Kate Elliot presenting at Continuum 15

What Con would be complete without wine? What about wine in a tin? Yes, we had it. Yes, it is bizarre. And totally classy, I swear. I had about three sips from the can, then had to pour it into a glass, just to feel somewhat normal.

Tinned wine! Yes, it exists! Yes, we drank it!

I attended Aiki Flinthart‘s amazing workshop on ‘Writing Fight Scenes for Female Characters’. She presented an huge amount of information, all exceptionally well researched, ranging from the psychological to the physical aspects of fight scenes. I’d recommend it for anyone who ever has the chance to attend.

Aiki Flinthart presenting her workshop on Writing Fight Scenes for Female Characters

And lastly, a couple more pics of the panel I was on – Fictional Librarians and Archivists. Because if you’ve glanced at the landing page of this site, you’ll know that’s what I do when I’m not writing: work in information management, records, archives and libraries.

Sean, myself and Gillian on the panel
My fellow panelists and I.

Right, that about covers it. A bunch of us also agreed that WorldCon next year in New Zealand was an absolute must, so looks like there’ll be some travelling in 2020…

Shadows Winners Announced!

For those of you who couldn’t be at Continuum 15 to see the Australian Shadows Awards winners announcements last Saturday, you missed a grand night 🙂

Here is the full list of winners – but first, a pic of the wonderful Silvia Brown, this year’s convener and MC of the awards, presenting the winner of the Short Fiction award – Dan Rabarts for his story Riptide:

I’ve picked this one in particular to show, because I was on the judging panel for short fiction this year and it was an incredibly difficult decision to choose a winner, and to even create a short list, from all the amazing entries. But Dan’s story was a clear standout for the whole panel and a well deserved win. Congrats Dan.

The full winners list is here – congratulations to all winners and shortlisted entries!

2018 WINNERS:

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE WINNERS AND FINALISTS OF THE 2018 AUSTRALIAN SHADOWS AWARDS (ANNOUNCED AT CONTINUUM, MELBOURNE, JUNE 8, 2019

Collected Works

*WINNER: Shadows on the Wall by Steven Paulsen

FINALISTS
Bones by Andrew Cull
The Dalziel Files by Brian Craddock
Exploring Dark Fiction A Primer by Kaaron Warren
Beneath the Ferny Tree by David Schembri

Edited Works

*WINNER: Hellhole Anthology of Subterranean Horror Lee Murray

FINALISTS
Cthulhu Land Long White Cloud | Sequeira, Proposch, Stevens
Cthulhu Deep Down Under Vol. 2 | Sequeira, Proposch, Stevens
Behind the Mask Steve Dillon

Graphic Novel
(The judges for Graphic Novel unanimously agreed on a winner but not a shortlist.)

*WINNER: THE DEMON HELL IS EARTH written by Andrew Constant

Novel

*WINNER: Tide of Stone by Kaaron Warren

FINALISTS
Devouring Dark by Alan Baxter
Contrition by Deborah Sheldon
Teeth of the Wolf by Dan Rabarts & Lee Murray

Paul Haines Award for Long Fiction

*WINNER: The Black Sea by Chris Mason

FINALISTS
Time and Tide by Robert Hood
Love Thee Better by Kaaron Warren
Thylacines by Deborah Sheldon

Poetry

*WINNER: Revenants of the Antipodes by Kyla Lee Ward

FINALISTS
Your Mortician Knows by Bee Nielsen
Matinee by Hester J. Rook
Polarity by Jay Caselberg
The Middle of the Night by Rebecca Fraser

Short Fiction

*WINNER: Riptide by Dan Rabarts

FINALISTS
Planned and Expected by Piper Mejia
Slither by Jason Nahrung
The Ward of Tindalos by Debbie & Matt Cowens
The House of Jack’s Girls by Lee Battersby

The Shadows Awards – Shortlists Announced!

Hey folks, the shortlists are announced for the Australian Shadows Awards and it’s a stellar lineup.

I don’t have anything shortlisted, I didn’t enter this year because I’m on the judging panel 😀 And I’ve had a seriously amazing time reading some of the best Australasian horror short stories produced in 2018.

It was an incredibly difficult decision to get to the final five in the short fiction category and it was heartbreaking to drop some truly brilliant stories in favour of others for the final shortlist. But we had to narrow it down to five short story finalists and only one winner, and after much panel discussion, debate and agreements, that we did. And we think we found the greatest five horror stories published in 2018 – each of them is exceptional.

Winners are announced at the Shadows Awards ceremony, held at Continuum in June. I’ll post more on that later.

But for now… Congrats to all the finalists in all the categories!

2018 AWARDS

Announcement

2018 SHORTLISTED WORKS:

  • Best Collected Work: Bones by Andrew Cull, The Dalziel Files by Brian Craddock, Exploring Dark Fiction #2 A Primer to Kaaron Warren, Shadows on the Wall by Steven Paulsen, Beneath the Ferny Tree by David Schembri.
  • Best Edited Work: Cthulhu Land of the Long White Cloud & Cthulhu Deep Down Under Volume II – eds. Steve Proposch, Christopher Sequeira, Bryce Stevens, Hellhole An Anthology of Subterranean Horror – ed. Lee Murray,  Behind the Mask – ed. Steve Dillon
  • Best Graphic Novel: The judges of the Graphic Novel category unanimously agreed on a winner but shortlist will provided this year.
  • Best Novel: Devouring Dark by Alan Baxter, Contrition by Deborah Sheldon, Tide of Stone by Kaaron Warren, Teeth of the Wolf by Dan Rabarts & Lee Murray
  • Best Poetry: Your Mortician Knows by Bee Nielsen, Matinee by Hester J. Rock, Polarity by Jay Caselberg, Revenants of the Antipodes by Kyla Lee Ward, The Middle of the Night by Rebecca Fraser.
  • The Rocky Wood Award for Non-Fiction and Criticism: Several of the non-fiction entries received were excellent short form pieces, with great writing, quality research, and bravery shown in addressing the various subject matter. The judges felt that none were of sufficient depth or length to qualify for the Rock Wood Award.
  • Short Fiction:  Planned and Expected by Piper Mejia, Slither by Jason Nahrung, The Ward of Tindalos by Debbie & Matt Cowens, The House of jack’s Girls by Lee Battersby, Riptideby Dan Rabarts.
  • The Paul Haines Award for Long Fiction: Time and Tide by Robert Hood, Love Thee Better by Kaaron Warren, The Black Sea by Chris Mason, Thylacines by Deborah Sheldon.

ASA Award Mentorships

So, this happened:

Winners Announced for the ASA and Copyright Agency Writers’ and Illustrators’ Mentorship Program 2019

I’m just a massive bit excited, as you might expect. I’ve been awarded the mentorship for a YA manuscript I currently have in development – a Western, that’s also speculative fiction, but still mostly Western. SpecFic and Westerns have long walked happily arm-in-arm, of course.

Here’s the premise: a stranger rides into town.

I did mention this was a western, didn’t I? So what more do you even need to know?

Oh, okay, how about this:

Chelsea is young and female in a town which values neither, but she’s got lucky. She’s the lover of the town’s much older, all-powerful leader, Granger, and that gives her protection and shelter both.

Until a stranger rides into town. With a gun on one hip and bullwhip curled on the other, and a long scar down one cheek, this stranger also happens to be a woman.

As rumours swirl about the town’s bloodied past and a woman whipped to death twenty years previous, Chelsea finds herself drawn into someone else’s frightening quest for justice, but is driven by her own need for vengeance. Before the night is out, she’s going to have to decide who’s side she’s really on, and just how far she’s prepared to go to achieve autonomy of her own. Hopefully before more blood soaks the ground… this time maybe her own.

See, it’s just as I said. A stranger rides into town. 😉

Anyway, that blurb above is based on the first draft alone, which is where I’m currently at on this one. Who knows how it’ll all end up once I’ve revised and redrafted and rewritten a dozen times, but I’m looking forward to finding out.

‘Till next, folks…

Off to a cabin in the woods again

So last weekend I headed off with a like-minded writer type to a cabin in the woods to get some serious writing done.

Here’s a glimpse of what that looked like:

Yes, there was some wine involved. I won’t deny it. It’s not a prerequisite for such weekends, but somehow always seems to be there, hmmm…

In the last few years I’ve started going off on a few of these weekend retreats – now the kids are just old enough for me to steal the occasional weekend for myself – and they are brilliant for getting writing work done. Sometimes I go with a group or on formal retreats – the Vic chapter Australasian Horror Writers Association retreats are amazing – and sometimes it’s just a couple of writing friends organising stuff ourselves.

Here’s all you need to know about retreats: plan what you’re going to work on before the time. I learnt this trick early. First retreat I ever went on, I didn’t have much of a work plan, and I faffed around between projects and didn’t achieve much of substance. Had find, mind. Didn’t regret a minute. But didn’t get a lot of serious writing done.

These days, I’m an old hand. I make sure I know what project is the priority project of the day, and that I focus on.

For this retreat I worked on revising a first draft fantasy romance, a fairytale if you will, with imprisoned princesses and a king of thieves and a hint of magic. And also, because it’s me, dark political intrigue, cynical pragmatism, complex revolutionary plots and lot of blood spilt. I do like a bit of politics in my fantasy romances.

Anyway, whether you go on your own, or set off with a group, or find a formal established retreat to attend, it’s a valuable experience I’d recommend to any and every writer. Seriously, writing with this view is pretty divine:

The only other tip I’d give is don’t drink too much of this stuff, or you’ll curse yourself when it comes to revision time…. 😉


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