CSFG

Conflux – Blog roundup

Conflux 12 Red Fire Monkey is done!

Convention Book Cover by Shauna O'Meara

Convention Book Cover by Shauna O’Meara

Here’s what our members had to say about it:

Elizabeth Fitzgerald‘s report dives deep into the panels she attended: Part One and Part Two.

Tim Napper‘s report comes primarily from the bar, where the writing conversation is good and the rugby league grand final participation rates are disappointingly low: The Writer’s Training Regime Part V.

Leife Shallcross split her report into two photo-filled parts: Part One and Part Two.

David Versace was less organised with his posts (he blames exhaustion!): Day One, Days Two through Four and a somewhat abashed afterthought post.

Bonus Pictures

Finally, the illustrious Cat Sparks took some beautiful photos of the convention goers, which you can check out at her Conflux 12 Flickr gallery.

Member News – October 2016

With the busy business of Conflux and the CSFG AGM now behind us, it’s time to celebrate the wins, the milestones and the culmination of grand schemes that take us ever closer to our perhaps-overshared secret goal of WORLD DOMINATION!

In other words, here’s what our lovely and brilliant members have achieved over the past few months that they would like to share with the world.

Novels

It’s a pretty huge deal to get a publishing contract, so we’re very pleased to have not one but two members with exciting book deals to announce:

Sam Hawke has taken the first step toward an exciting publishing debut with a two book deal with Tor. Her first novel, City of Lies, is the first book in The Poison Wars epic fantasy series. Here’s the official Tor announcement! And here’s what Sam had to say over at her blog: My Best Boring Story (hint: it’s not boring, it’s super exciting!)

Zena Shapter has announced the sale of her new novel  Towards White to IWFG Publishing. (Here’s the press release) And as if that were not enough,just this week Zena launched the middle grade science fiction novel Into Tordon (co-written by 9! authors under the name Z. F Kingbolt) from Midnight Sun. Check it out!

Phill Berrie‘s novel Transgressions (Book One of the Engelian Transformations series) has been out in ebook for a while, but Satalyte Publishing recently launched the hardcopy version at Conflux.

Short Stories

Simon Petrie put his novelette ‘All the Colours of the Tomato” through the CSFG critiquing group a few years ago. This month it appeared in Dimension6 magazine #9, available for free download from Couer de Lion. For a much quicker read, Simon’s very short story ‘Jumping to Conclusions’ featured recently at Anti SF online magazine.

Leife Shallcross has a story called ‘Breathing’ in this month’s Aurealis #95 (which went out to subscribers as I was writing this post, so consider it hot off the presses!)

Zena Shapter‘s had a busy few months. As well as her novels, her story ‘Made’ is about to appear in the anthology Let Us In Volume 3 from Time Alone Press. As well as that, her story ‘Let the Tempest Hold Me Down’ has been included in the new collection of stories Sci Phi Journal, Q1 2016: The Journal of Science Fiction and Philosophy (Volume 1).

 

Congratulations to everyone on the great work!

AGM and Life Memberships

Committee News

This week’s CSFG Annual General Meeting saw the turnover of the Committee and the appointment of a new President:

Angus Yeates has succeeded Leife Shallcross as the World Dominator-in-Chief of the CSFG. Congratulations to Angus for stepping up to become our human shield glorious leader!

Angus is joined on the Committee by returning members Rik Lagarto, Mitchell Akhurst (Secretary) and Leife Shallcross, and new volunteers Louise Peiper (Vice President) and Amelia Cook.

Update! Also Simon Petrie, who has returned to the Committee from his adventures wandering the outer dimensions, and will share the secrets he has learned with those who show promise of greatness by matching him pun for pun!

David Versace has agreed to remain as a vague spectral presence somewhere near the corner of the Committee’s eye until such time as a new Treasurer can be successfully summoned and bound.

Our thanks and congratulations to the outgoing Committee and a hearty welcome to the fresh-faced, match-fit newcomers!

Life Memberships

As its final act, the outgoing Committee conferred lifetime memberships of the Guild to two long-time members who have made outstanding contributions to the Canberra speculative fiction community and to the Australian genre landscape. This was the first time since the Rules were amended in 2015 that this honour has been conferred.

Nicole Murphy and Kaaron Warren are long-standing members of CSFG who have both made remarkable impacts over the years.

csfg-life-members

The new life members, flanked by outgoing and incoming CSFG Presidents. (Leife, Nicole, Kaaron, Angus)

Nicole (who also writes as romance author Elizabeth Dunk) has been a CSFG member, a Committee member of multiple Conflux conventions, the organiser of the Conflux Writers Day and a convenor for the Aurealis Awards. Somehow between all that she has had nine novels and dozens of shorts stories published.

Kaaron is the author of five novels – the latest of which, The Grief Hole, was launched at the National Library in August – and over a hundred short stories (including six collections, one of which was published by CSFG). Kaaron has been awarded or shortlisted for almost every horror fiction prize going, here and overseas; she won a Shirley Jackson Award in 2013 for her novella ‘Sky’ (which also picked up the Aurealis, Ditmar and Australian Shadows awards. It’s really good!).

Congratulations to our new Life Members – may they go on to ever greater accomplishments (for which CSFG will then shamelessly claim partial credit)!

GUFF News

GUFF is the Get Up and Over Fan Fund. This fund sends a delegate to a major convention (sometimes to more than one) at the other side of the world.

Jukka Halme came to Australia early in 2016, representing European fandom. CSFG’s own Gillian Polack represented Australasia at Loncon, Liburnicon and other conventions in 2014.

This year, GUFF is selecting a delegate to travel to WorldCon 75, which will be held in Finland (9-13 August 2017). The length of the trip varies from year to year, and winners often visit fans before or after the WorldCon.

Delegates are chosen by fans, through a competitive ‘race.’ The first stage of this is nominations, followed by voting. Nominations are now open for the northbound race. They will remain open until 17 November 2016. Anyone active in fandom who lives in in Australasia may nominate.

To stand, you need three Australasian and two European nominators (who will each need to confirm their nominations), a platform of no more than 100 words and a non-refundable sum of £15/€20/AU$25 as a guarantee you will attend the 2017 Worldcon if you win.

Again, if you’re not sure who would be appropriate to nominate you, talk to Gillian Polack. If you’re not certain that you’re eligible or have other questions, again talk to Gillian (see below for contact details).

Voting will run from the moment nominations close until 1 April.

Once the winner has returned home, they take over shared administration of the fund for two cycles (one southbound and one northbound, in this case), complete their trip reports, and share the task of replenishing the fund for the next round.

For more information:

  • The GUFF Site: More information about the fan fund in general, its history and where to buy trip reports by previous delegates. (James Shields’ report is an excellent place to begin, as he explains the way the fund works and how the delegate fits within it as well as telling of his Australian adventures).
  • Details on the 2016 Northbound Race
  • Ask Gillian directly for more on her experience and how you can participate.

 

A Flurry of Launches

CSFG members have a veritable outburst of book launches happening in the new couple of weeks:

Felicity Banks’ debut steampunk adventure novel Heart of Brass will launch as part of the Canberra Writers Festival in the Ferguson Room at the National Library on Saturday 27th August at 10 am. (Details here)

Immediately afterwards, Kaaron Warren’s latest novel The Grief Hole will launch at exactly the same location (what are the odds?!): 11:00 am at the Ferguson Room (Details)

And finally for our Melbourne members, Gillian Polack’s latest novel The Wizardy of Jewish Women will launch at Readings in Hawthorn at 6:30 pm on Monday 5th September. (All the details)

We encourage everyone to get out and support our local authors if you can!

Event – An Evening of Awesome – 24 August

CSFG members may be interested in an event next Wednesday:

As part of the Canberra Writers Festival fringe event, ten of Canberra’s best writers – including CSFG alumni Kaaron Warren and Craig Cormick – have come together to showcase the talent we have inside our small, but passionate, territory. Join Canberra’s award-winning authors for a night of readings and celebrations about being a writer in Canberra.

An Evening of Awesome

7:30 – 10:00 pm
Main Hall, Gorman Arts Centre
Ainslie Ave, Braddon

ACT Writers Centre are excited to announce the authors and writers reading at this event include: Craig Cormick, Zoya Patel, Hal Judge, John Clanchy, John Stokes, Kaaron Warren, Melinda Smith, Shu-Ling Chua, Sarah St Vincent Welch and Tony Eaton.

Book early as space is limited.

Late notice for August meeting

For anyone that did not catch the news via social media, be advised that CSFG’s August meeting will be back in the ACT Writers Centre.

7:30 pm Wednesday 17 August 2016
ACT Writers Centre Meeting Room
Gorman House

Author Felicity Banks will be there to talk about writing interactive fiction (and there are unconfirmed reports of cake!)

Member News – July 2016

Lots of exciting activity going on with CSFG members during this winter months. Canberra’s wet and miserable weather seems to be spurring us to great (indoor) efforts!

Sales and Publications

Tim Napper’s story ‘The Great Buddhist Monk Beat Down’ will appear in an upcoming edition of Galaxy’s Edge Magazine.

Tim has also secured the services of a UK literary agent (Piers Blofeld of Sheil Land Associates) to help him sell his debut novel.

Shauna O’Meara’s flash fiction ‘Photo of a Tiger’ is currently appearing in The Worcester Journal.

Shauna also has a military SF novella ‘Hashtage WhiteBitch’ in The Last Outpost anthology from Pushpin Books and the story ‘The Laugh Contagious’ in the anthology Let Us In Volume 1 from Time Alone Press.

Finally in Shauna’s big news month, she was also a finalist in the Arizona State University Climate Fiction Short Story Contest (judged by Kim Stanley Robinson!) with her story ‘On Darwin Tides’.

Gillian Polack’s article on how she constructed the conversation in Langue[dot]doc has been published the most recent edition of postmedieval: a journal of medieval cultural studies.

With the revivication of Satalyte Press, the launch date of Gillian’s next novel The Wizardry of Jewish Women should be rescheduled soon.

(And congratulations to Gillian, of course, for getting through her recent health troubles. We’re all very glad to hear you are on the mend, Gillian!)

Cat Sheely has been leading the charge down at the coast: the Secret Society of Words (SSOW) recently released their NaNo 2015 shared writing project – a novella called Alien Zoo. It is available this month on Smashwords for USD $0.99 for July.

Interviews

Chris Large’s interviews in Aurealis continue with an excellent two-part interview with Jennifer Fallon in issues 90 and 91. That’s followed in issue 92 by an interview with Tasmanian author Francesca Haig, whose novels The Fire Sermon and The Map of Bones have been purchased by DreamWorks and are in the process of being adapted for film by Nicole Perlman of Guardians of the Galaxy fame.

Chris’ interview with David McDonald about his Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain America novels will appear later in the year.

Ian McHugh has interviewed Alan Baxter about the relaunch of his Alex Caine novels, in which they handily propose a new Principle of World Building.

Conventions and Talks

Another reminder, if anyone still needs one, that Alan Baxter will be the Guest of Honour at this year’s Conflux convention (29 September to 2 October in Canberra).

Cat Sparks will be speaking on speculation, science fiction, collective consciousness and environmental narratives of the future, an ‘In Conversation’ with Chris Palmer as part of ANU’s Student Research Conference, 5.30pm, Thursday, 14th July.

Gillian Polack will be presenting the latest in The Write Stuff series of free writing workshops at the Gunghalin Library on the subject of world-building on Wednesday 20 July. Bookings essential as places are limited.

Alan Baxter and Zena Shapter will be appearing on a speculative fiction panel at this year’s BezerkaCon, along with Richard Harland and Keith Stevenson (Sunday 31st July in Croydon, Sydney).

Retreat

Rob Porteous and Paula Boer will be among the mentors attending The Writers of the Far South Coast retreat in Tathra on the weekend of 5-7 August. A great opportunity to do some writing in a peaceful location and get some one-on-one mentoring as well.

Writing Opportunities

A reminder that the Conflux/CSFG short story contest closes on 31 July. Free entry to CSFG members, and the prize money is Not To Be Sneezed At!

The deadline for Cat Sparks and Liz Grzyb’s Ecopunk anthology has been extended to 31 August.
Cat adds: If you’re not really clear on what we’re looking for, I suggest getting hold of a copy of Loosed Upon the World, The Saga Anthology of Climate Fiction edited by John Joseph Adams. Several of the stories within hit the Ecopunk nail right on the head. Eg: ‘Staying Afloat’ by Angela Penrose or ‘Outliers’ by Nicole Feldringer, or ‘Mitigation’ by Tobias S Buckell & Karl Schroeder.

Workshop Reminder – How to Use History in your Novel

Just a late reminder that Gillian Polack is presenting a workshop tomorrow at the Gorman Arts Centre. No guarantees that places are still available but if you are interested check the contact details at the bottom of the post.

How to Use History in Your Novel with Gillian Polack

10am-4pm Saturday 9 July

This course takes the concepts and practical advice developed from twelve years of research into how fiction writers use history and condenses it into a single day of intensive learning.

At the heart of using history in fiction is the type of novel and the world it requires. In this course you will examine this, and then look at what kinds of history and historical research work best with what kind of novel. Gillian will discuss the differences between the past the reader sees and the one the historian knows and how writers can bridge this gulf (or choose not to). You will also look at writing techniques you can use to make history come to life.

Learning outcomes

  • An understanding of the relationship between history and the novel
  • An understanding of how the world of the novel impacts on the novel itself and how it can work to carry readers into the story.
  • An understanding of writing and research techniques that can be used to help create novels.

 

Gillian Polack has five published novels, two anthologies, a co-authored book about the Middle Ages, seventeen short stories, and a historical cookbook. One of the novels (Ms Cellophane/Life through Cellophane) was a Ditmar Finalist, as was one of the anthologies (Baggage). She was awarded the Best Achievement Ditmar in 2010.

She has PhDs in Medieval History and in Creative Writing and advises writers on subjects ranging from grammar to the Middle Ages. She has recently finished a major project on how writers think of history and how they use it in their fiction. Gillian has received two writing fellowships at Varuna, arts grants, and is in demand at SF conventions because she carries chocolate most of the time.

Cost: $130 members, $105 concessional members, $195 non-members (includes 12 months of membership), $155 concessional non-members (includes 12 months of membership)
Venue: E Block Seminar Room, Gorman Arts Centre (formerly ACT Writers Centre workshop room)
Bookings: You can book into this course online or by calling 6262 9191. If you have any queries, please email admin@actwriters.org.au.

The Never Never Authors – Kimberley Gaal

The ebook launch of The Never Never Land, CSFG’s speculative anthology of
Australian myths, yarns and campfire stories, is coming on 1 July 2016.
We interviewed some of the authors to hear what inspired
their unique version of the sunburnt country.

theneverneverland

‘The Nexus Tree’ by Kim Gaal is a laugh-out-loud yarn about chainsaw-based landscaping and some unexpected squatters.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Questions like this always make me wish I had an interesting backstory (or at least a cool scar that hinted at a daring escapade) but truthfully I’m very ordinary. I live in Canberra, I work in graphic design and event management, and I just had a baby who I think is the greatest human on Earth but who is probably less exciting to everyone else.

What was the inspiration behind your The Never Never Land story?

My writing group held a session on the use of indigenous culture and material in fiction. Before that I’d had a vague notion that I might like to write a story using a creature from Aboriginal mythology, but after hearing from the speakers I realised that using something from that culture for no other reason than because I’d ‘had a vague notion’ was actually really insensitive. So instead, I came up my own, non-specific Aussie whatzit, which turned out to be Mr Muggund. I enjoyed meeting him, and thought he would be fun to write a story about.

Was there anything you found hard about writing this story?

Not really. It was a fun, casual story about a few ridiculous and adorable characters. I enjoyed writing it a lot.

Why did you decide to submit to the TNNL anthology?

I’m a member of the CSFG and wanted to be part of one of their anthologies. I’m proud that the group of puts out such strong, professional SFF publications, and glad I finally got to add my name to their impressive list of contributing authors.

What was your favourite other story in TNNL?

There are a lot of good stories in The Never Never Land, but I got was part of the critiquing process for both ‘The Swagman’ and ‘To Look Upon a Dream Tiger’, which means I got to read them in their ‘before’ and ‘after’ states and see how the authors absorbed critiques and used them to improve their work. I learn so much about writing from critical reading so these stories had an extra layer of enjoyment for me.

What are you working on now?

A multi-perspective YA novel set on an alternate Earth in which monsters are swarming up out of the ocean and killing everyone who lives within two-days of the coast. I got the idea during a seminar I attended about rising sea levels and how people should be way more concerned about them than they are because so much of the world’s population lives right next to a major body of water. Your house being in the ocean is going to cause you some problems, even if you don’t care the tiniest bit about the environment.

(And I’m not judging you if you don’t.)

(Except that’s a lie, I am, but only on the inside.)

(And maybe a little on the outside.)

Climate change, and the serious issues it’s going to cause, is something we all have a habit of burying our collective heads about, and I think part of that is that we’re just so good at ignoring problems until they are right in our face, chewing off our noses. I want to write about the problem as if it were something impossible to ignore – something immediately nose-chew capable.

Where do you want to take your writing? What are your writing goals?

I want what most writers want, I guess. That is: *inserts pinky tip into mouth* one MILLION dollars!

Nah, I just want to write stories readers love, and hopefully encourage them to think more deeply and more openly about the world. I believe that everything you put out contributes to this massive, global conversation we’re all having, and I hope I can contribute something positive.

Where can we find you?

You can’t. I’m like Wally – always hiding, surrounded by people who look and dress exactly like I do, sometimes behind an elephant.

However I am on Twitter (@KimberleySG) and I’m represented by the wonderful Rachel Letofsky at The Cooke Agency (www.cookeagency.ca)

 

theneverneverland

The Never Never Land is available now in paperback and
launched in standard ebook formats on 1 July 2016.