science fiction and fantasy writer

Archive for June, 2013|Monthly archive page

Everything I Know About Storytelling I Learned From Star Wars

In Uncategorized on June 24, 2013 at 11:18 am

A new guest post by me on the CSFG blog:

Star Wars is an eternal font of analogy and example. Like The Simpsons and Calvin & Hobbes, there’s a Star Wars example for everything. In particular, Star Wars has boundless wisdom to offer the budding storyteller. Some of it is the bleeding obvious stuff you could learn any old place, like The No Comedy Sidekicks Offensively Reminiscent Of Blackface Minstrelry Rule and The Don’t Let Fan Service Make Nonsense Of Your Story Rule.*

(*Star Wars Gold Bikini Caveat: unless it means dressing Carrie Fisher c.1982 in a gold slave-girl bikini.)

But there’s other aspects of storytelling for which Star Wars offers uniquely illuminating examples. We’ve covered one or two of these at CSFG before, like The For Crying Out Loud, George, He’s Strong With The Force, Who Gives A Shit About His Mango-Chlorine Count?! Rule. Here’s another nine:

Read more…


Another new story out!

In Uncategorized on June 21, 2013 at 11:52 am

My story “The Canal Barge Magician’s Number Nine Daughter” is now available in the Clockwork Phoenix 4 anthology from Amazon and Barnes & Noble ($4.99 for the e-book).

This one started with the title, which elves inserted into my brain one day, apropos of apparently nothing. I thought a title like that, coming out of nowhere, deserved a story to go with it. So far, the anthology has got mostly strong reviews and my story has earned the following comments:

“Adventure in a richly-imagined fantasy world, full of intrigue, cruelty, and magical combat. Most striking is terrifying figure of Aghor, a villain of consummate ruthlessness.” (Locus) -Yay!

“Fantastic piece — I love stories like this. Blood magic is used in cruel and vicious ways in this story and the world building is amazing.” (Just Book Reading) – Yay!

“A dark sword & sorcery tale with an unexpected ending. Definitely recommended.”  (Tangent Online) – Yay!

“There’s nothing particularly wrong with the piece, but I felt it stretched itself thin with weirdness. Or maybe it just stretched me thin. That said, there’s going to be readers who fall in love with the story.” (Dusty On Movies) – Boo! No wait… maybe a bit yay?

New story out!

In Uncategorized on June 14, 2013 at 10:40 pm

My story “Cold, Cold War” has been published at Beneath Ceaseless Skies.

This one started from a dream a friend of mine told me she had, about a novel I will have written, which starts with blue aeroplanes flying past a monstrous tower over a white plain. Not long after, I found a photographic history book of the Russian Civil War. Oh, and an article about those newts that break their own ribs to make themselves spines to deter predators. Bang the three things together and voila: Biggles vs the zombie apocalypse!

(Well, not exactly, but you’ll see what I mean.)

CSFG is entering the Write-a-Book-in-a-Day contest again!

In Uncategorized on June 12, 2013 at 2:15 pm

Please support Paediatrics at the Canberra Hospital (PatCH) by sponsoring the Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild’s Write-a-Book-in-a-Day entry in 2013.

Last year, through the generosity of our sponsors, CSFG raised over $600 for PatCH. (You can find out more about last year’s escapade here.)

And now we’re doing it again!

The Write-a-Book-in-a-Day contest is a fundraising event for state children’swabiad logo hospitals that runs from April to August each year. It began in Perth in 2003 and has since expanded across Australia. Teams of 5-10 writers are given 12 hours to collaboratively plan, write, illustrate, print and bind a book (of around 8000 words in the Open category, less in the schools categories).

PatCH also came into being in 2003 to provide a clear and unifying identity for the paediatric health services at the Canberra Hospital. PatCH consists of several clinical areas; a 40 bed inpatient ward including a separate adolescent area, a DayPatch logo Stay/Surgery unit, Outpatient Clinics and the Administration and Research areas.

CSFG will be writing our 2013 book in a day on Sunday, 4th August.

You can donate by:

  1. Visiting the Write-a-Book-in-a-Day website
  2. Choosing PatCH from the list of children’s hospitals and programs
  3. Choosing CSFG from the list of teams supporting PatCH and entering your credit card details.
  4. Or downloading the Sponsorship Form to donate by cheque or money order.