CSFG

CSFG/Conflux 12 Short Story Competition – Red Fire Monkey

The CSFG/Conflux  Short Story competition is back for Conflux 12

We want your stories of 4000 words or under, in any speculative fiction genre, on this year’s theme, which is: red fire monkey.

The competition is open to all Australian residents and members of either the Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild or Conflux 12.

Entry is $5, unless you are a member of the CSFG or Conflux 12 or you are aged 16 or under, in which case it is free!

Prizes

First prize is $200 and a 2017 Conflux 13 membership! Second prize is $50 and a discounted Conflux 13 membership, and third prize is $25 and a discounted Conflux 13 membership.

Guidelines

Stories should be written in English, suitable for a general audience (ie, no gratuitous violence or erotica), and, of course, your own original, unpublished work.

Please submit them in the following format: RTF, double spaced, courier font, with the story title in the top right header.

Make the first page of your document a cover sheet that includes your name, contact details and story title (we’ll remove this before we give it to the judges). YOUR NAME MUST NOT APPEAR ON ANY OF THE OTHER PAGES OF THE STORY.

Get it to us at csfgshortstorycomp@gmail.com before midnight on 31 July 2016.

Fees

Fees can be paid by direct deposit (BSB: 805022 Acct: 03421621) or Paypal to canberra.specfic@gmail.com (For other options or any more information contact us directly at the csfgshortstorycomp@gmail.com address)

Members News – April – May 2016

Awards

The Australian Horror Writers Association recently announced the winners for the 2015 Australian Shadows Awards, representing the very best in horror works produced by Australian and New Zealand writers in the calendar year of 2015. CSFG members taking home the incredibly cool Shadow Award statues this year included:

We should also give a shout-out to Marty Young’s Blurring the Lines, which won the Shadow Award for Best Edited Work and includes stories by CSFG members…wait for it…Alan Baxter and Kaaron Warren.

Professional development

Leife Shallcross and Rob Porteous are both pleased to announce this week that they have been accepted into ACT Writers Centre ‘Hardcopy 2016’ professional development program for writers. Congratulations to Leife and Rob, and for any of our local members looking for some assistance with their novel manuscripts in 2017, check out the Hardcopy program.

Games and Interactive Fiction

A number of CSFG members are pursuing non-traditional writing gigs you may not have considered.

Matthew Farrer, Elizabeth Fitzgerald and Rik Lagarto all contributed to Under Quarantine, an expansion book for the Through the Breach roleplaying game from the Wyrd games company.

Felicity Banks  has written several new interactive fiction adventures recently:


Books

Dawn Meredith’s The Boy Who Went to War, a five-year project written in collaboration with 92 year old WWII veteran Jim Haynes, will be launching soon if you happen to be near the Blue Mountains: 2:00 pm on 30th April 30th at Wentworth Falls School of Arts.

The launch of Gillian Polack’s most recent work The Wizardry of Jewish Women has been deferred due to ill health and publication problems. Hopefully it’s no more than a temporary pause. (And get well soon Gillian!)

Workshops and Short Courses

Chris Andrews will be presenting a new short course at CIT Solutions this semester: Creating Compelling Characters. If you need to spice up your characters and turn them into people your readers will love (or hate!), check out Chris’ course.

Craig Cormick is presenting a free session at Gungahlin Library on Wednesday, 27 April, talking about “How to Make a Short Story Better”. Unfortunately the session is completely booked out, but keep an eye on the Gungahlin Library site for similar upcoming events.

The Witch – Flash fiction contest

CSFG is really excited to announce we have been given a bunch of free passes to THE WITCH!

To win one, you need to write us a flash fiction piece in 200 words or less on the theme below and post it to the CSFG mailing list. (Only CSFG members are eligible to enter)

Our judges, acclaimed horror writer Kaaron Warren (Bram Stoker nominee, winner of the Shirley Jackson Award and innumerable Australian Shadows, Aurealis and Ditmar awards, and now a Shirley Jackson Award judge) and Shauna O’Meara (a 2013 Writers of the Future winner, multiple Ditmar nominee, award-winning illustrator and Aurealis judge) will judge your entries and award four passes this week, and four next week.

This week’s theme is: Peek-a-boo.

All the winning pieces (and perhaps a few other honourable mentions) will be posted to our website and FB page. Happy writing!

THE WITCH is a terrifying new horror film exploring the age-old concepts of witchcraft, black magic and possession. It starts in cinemas on 17 March and is showing exclusively in Dendy.

New England, 1630. Upon threat of banishment by the church, an English farmer leaves his colonial plantation, relocating his wife and five children to a remote plot of land on the edge of an ominous forest —within which lurks an unknown evil. Strange and unsettling things begin to happen almost immediately — animals turn malevolent, crops fail, and one child disappears as another becomes seemingly possessed by an evil spirit. With suspicion and paranoia mounting, family members accuse teenage daughter Thomasin of witchcraft, charges she adamantly denies. As circumstances grow more treacherous, each family member’s faith, loyalty and love become tested in shocking and unforgettable ways.

Writer/director Robert Eggers’ debut feature, which premiered to great acclaim at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival — winning the Best Director Prize in the U.S. Narrative Competition — painstakingly recreates a God-fearing New England decades before the 1692 Salem witch trials, in which religious convictions tragically turned to mass hysteria. Told through the eyes of the adolescent Thomasin — in a star-making turn by newcomer Anya Taylor-Joy — and supported by mesmerizing camera work and a powerful musical score, THE WITCH is a chilling and groundbreaking new take on the genre.

Members News – January to March 2016

Update: Edited to correct the spelling of Rivqa’s name – sorry Rivqa!

Awards Season

Several of the major Australian genre awards are upon us, with nominations recently announced for the Aurealis and Ditmar Awards. CSFG members were well-represented on the shortlists:

In the Aurealis Awards shortlist:

  • Kimberley Gaal featured with two nominations for Best Young Adult Short Story (“In Sheep’s Clothing” from Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #61, and “The Nexus Tree” from the CSFG anthology The Never Never Land). Congrats Kim!
  • Clare McKenna and Kaaron Warren will be facing off for Best Science Fiction Short Story for “The Marriage of the Corn King” (Cosmos) and “Witnessing” (The Canary Press Story Magazine #6) respectively
  • Tehani Wesselly has been nominated as editor for Best Anthology for Focus 2014: highlights of Australian short fiction (FableCroft Publishing)

In the Ditmar Awards shortlist:

  • Cat Sparks has been nominated for Best Novella or Novelette for “Hot Rods”, Lightspeed Science Fiction & Fantasy 58
  • Alan Baxter has been nominated for Best Short Story for “The Chart of the Vagrant Mariner”, in Fantasy & Science Fiction, Jan/Feb 2015
  • Tehani Wesselly as co-editor has been nominated for Best Collection for Cranky Ladies of History, edited by Tansy Rayner Roberts and Tehani Wessely (FableCroft Publishing)
  • Shauna O’Meara has been nominated for Best Artwork for her beautiful cover for CSFG’s own The Never Never Land
  • Rivqa Rafael and Tim Napper have both been nominated for Best New Talent
  • Tehani Wesselly has also picked up nominations for the William Atheling Award for Criticism or Review for her collaborative review project Reviewing New Who and Squeeing Over Supergirl

In a bit of unusual news for CSFG, Donna Maree Hanson (under her Dani Kristoff pen name) is a finalist in the Australian Romance Readers Association 2015 awards for her paranormal romance novel Spiritbound!

Congratulations to all the nominees and good luck for the upcoming awards!

Books

Kaaron Warren shared the very exciting news of a new book deal with Australian speculative fiction publisher IFWG, who will be publishing her novel The Grief Hole later in 2016.

Gillian Polack’s new non-fiction work History and Fiction: Writers, their Research, Worlds and Stories is out from Peter Lang International Academic Publishers in the UK in April-May. The book is about how writers use history in their fiction and includes interviews with a number of CSFG authors.

Short Stories and Flash Fiction

Tim Napper has been busy lately: he has sold short stories to Lontar: The Journal of Southeast Asian Speculative Fiction and Grimdark Magazine (appearing in issue #6, out now). His previously announced story ‘The Flame Trees’ is coming out in Asimov’s Science Fiction in April or May. Tim has also sold two translated stories to Austrian magazine Visionarium and the Hebrew-language SF site Blipanka.

Rivka Rafael has a short story forthcoming in Twelfth Planet’s anthology Defying Doomsday.

Zena Shapter’s short story ‘Let the Tempest Hold Me Down’ will be free to read from 24 March at Sci Phi Journal. Zena adds “Sci Phi Journal is an online science fiction and philosophy magazine that ‘explores questions of life, the universe, and anything that delves into the deep philosophical waters of science fiction universes. Oh, and I’m also supposed to encourage peeps to subscribe (in March!) because the journal’s authors get paid a percentage of subscription fees.”

David Versace has a flash fiction story in the February releases at EGM Shorts called ‘Incidental’.

Literary Festivals

Canberra’s Noted Festival is coming up in March. Kaaron Warren will be running a workshop on getting away from the desk to find inspiration for writing horror: Where the Wild Words Are

Academia

Finally, congratulations to Donna Maree Hanson, who started her PhD studies at the University of Canberra in February.

 

 

Romance for Speculative Fiction Readers

Over at her Earl Grey Editing blog, Elizabeth Fitzgerald is providing a few recommendations for introductory reading in speculative works that double as a gateway to the romance genre (or vice versa). As anyone who has attended the multidimensional GenreCon convention in recent years can attest, there’s a lot for speculative readers and writers to learn from the romance genre. For anyone looking for ideas on great entry points, Elizabeth has you covered:

There are a lot of misconceptions out there about the romance genre and, like any genre, there’s a lot of less than stellar material. If you’re a speculative fiction reader new to romance or looking to get started, it can be difficult to know where to begin.

Part One of Elizabeth’s recommended reading list offers some reliable works. In the second part of the discussion, Elizabeth throws the floor open to a few friends for their opinions.

Important – Next meeting location!

Due to the renovations going on at the Gorman House Arts Centre, the February general meeting will be held in a new location:

The Academy of Interactive Entertainment
49 Phillip Avenue, Watson

(You might also know it as the Canberra Technology park). The timing is still 7:30 pm on Wednesday 17 February.

We don’t have an exact room location yet but we will try to have signage or a traffic conductor available to steer members to the right spot.

Click for Map (AIE Watson)

2016 workshops

Canberra and Canberra-adjacent members should check out the newly-updated Workshops and Courses page.

You will find details of a number of short courses for writers being offered in the first half of 2016 by CSFG members Chris Andrews, Ian McHugh and Gillian Polack.

Flensing your filter words

CSFG member Simon Dewar, currently editing the Suspended in Dusk 2 anthology, has been reading a lot of slush lately. He offer this very useful advice on tightening up your prose by hunting down and eliminating filter words:

One of the worst culprits for weakening your prose, distancing our reader from the protagonist’s point of view and the action, are filter words. This is where you say “John thought x y z ” or “It seemed as though x y z” or you say your character thinks/knows/realises/notices/decides/wonders things… rather than just showing the character doing those things.

A great example (and perhaps the most obvious) is if I write “John saw the big man lift his pistol and fire.” You don’t need to tell us John saw it… John is present in the scene and is our POV character. Unless John is blind,  the default position is that he sees the things that go on in the scene. And if he was blind, you wouldn’t be saying he’d seen something, right? Instead of “John saw the big man lift his pistol and fire.” just write “The big man lifted his pistol and fired.”

Read the rest of Simon’s essay – and get some good editing tips – at his blog.

ANU Course – Search for Life

CSFG members may be interested in this upcoming course at ANU’s Centre for Continuing Education. The course is called “Search for Life” and covers the progress science has made on answering the question “Are we alone in the universe?”

The course is aimed at the general public and will consist of lectures on biology, astronomy and extra-terrestrial life.

It begins February 1 2016, runs for 6 weeks on Mondays from 6-8 pm and costs $199.

(CSFG has no direct association with the ANU or the presenter(s) and offers neither guarantee or endorsement. But it does look pretty interesting right?)

Members’ news – October to December 2015

CSFG members have been busy as usual – here’s the latest news. Congratulations in particular to everyone who picked up various awards and gongs! And here’s to a bountiful and successful writing year in 2016!

Short story

Alan Baxter has enjoyed a few publications in an end-of-year rush:

Alan also has a heap of stuff coming out next year:

  • “Under Calliope’s Skin” – SNAFU: Future Warfare anthology (ed. Geoff
    Brown and A J Spedding, Cohesion Press, due Feb. 2016)
  • “Served Cold” – Dreaming in the Dark anthology (ed. Jack Dann, PS
    Publishing, due 2016) (Novelette)
  • “Golden Fortune, Dragon Jade” – And Then… anthology (ed. Lindy Cameron,
    Clan Destine Press, due mid-2016) (Novelette)
  • “Crying Demon” – Suspended In Dusk 2 (ed. Simon Dewar, Books of the Dead
    Press, due mid-2016

Darren Goossen’s “Every Useless Parameter” is coming out soon in Kaleidotrope,

Tim Napper’s short story “A Strange Loop”, which the CSFG critiquing group helped him to polish, will appear in the next next Interzone (#262 – Jan/Feb).

Serial fiction

Kaaron Warren and Craig Cormick have serialised stories coming out over ten days during the Christmas & New Year period on the RiotAct website. This link takes you to Part One.

Novels

Elizabeth Dunk (the nom de plume of Nicole Murphy) has the third in her series of contemporary romances Much Ado About Love coming out on 5 January 2016.

Gillian Polack has sold her novel Secret Jewish Women’s Business, to Satalyte. Gillian describes it as “a very Australian feminist Jewish novel with magic and superpowers and bushfires”.

Non-fiction

The Wheeler Centre has commissioned new CSFG member Nalini Haynes to write a piece on disability: “Eye and Prejudice: A vision for equity

Chris Large recently interviewed Ann Leckie for Aurealis #86 (the current issue). He also spoke with Trudi Canavan about the release of her new novel Angel of Storms. That interview will appear early in 2016 when Aurealis goes global.

Gillian Polack study of the past decade or so will be going to press sometime in 2016. History and Fiction: Writers, their Research, Worlds and Stories. Several CSFG writers were interviewed in the early stages of this and are quoted.

Awards and Honours

Alan Baxter is going to be the Special Guest at Conflux 12 in October 2016.

Donna Maree Hanson is about to commence a PHD in Creative Writing at the University of Canberra; her topic will be Feminism in Popular Romance.

Nalini Haynes recently graduated with an Associate Degree in Professional Writing and Editing. Her grades were sufficiently high to attract an invitation to join the Golden Key International Honours Society.

Chris Large’s story “Future Me, Future Her” was highly recommended by the SciFi Film Festival and won a Dimension6 encouragement award at the ceremony.

C.H. (Celia) Pearce won the Marjorie Graber-McInnis Short Story Award for a speculative short story titled “Torvald’s Year”.  The ACT Writers Centre will publish the story on their blog and in their magazine early next year.

Workshops

Gillian Polack teaches creative writing course through Belconnen Community Service every Wednesday morning during term.

Gillian also has a number of courses available through the Australian National University Centre for Continuing Education:

(These will all go on the Workshops and Courses page soon)