CSFG

Author Archives: Dave Versace

What CSFG’s up to in July and August

July

For our July meeting, Ian McHugh took us to market, to market to buy … well, to sell our short stories.

Ian provided insight on the short story market for speculative fiction, and the process of getting our work out there, and published. It all boiled down to a simple three step process:

  • Write the story (and edit it to goodness)
  • Submit the story
  • Repeat

Simple, but harrowing. Nevertheless, we persisted…

Here are the links to the two genre-focused submission lists which Ian mentioned:

and submission savvy members also recommended Submission Grinder.

Ian spoke from experience on the practical, and important, aspects of being professional, and checking for fit, response times, pay, status, and more. He talked about Helsinki buses (it’s a metaphor for persistence in creative endeavours) and about keeping things real when dealing with rejection.

And even though submitting your short stories to market meets Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity (doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result) Ian recommended it, to general acclaim.

August

What’s coming up next month? Well, they say every dog has his day, but every thoroughbred horse has its birthday on the 1st of August, and for our August meeting we’re talking horses.

Is it time to send in the cavalry on your WIP?

  • Does your writing include fictional horses which you don’t know how to whip into a shape which resembles something believably horse like?
  • Is your story languishing in the hard drive because your protagonist is riding around on a horse which currently has the personality of a grass-eating Skoda? (I’ll just park that over here, shall I?)
  • Have you always wanted to know more about a unicorn’s fetlocks?

Our panel of experts will be on hand to answer your questions about all things horseful … horsish … steedly – OK, let’s run with equine.

Best of all, if you ask your questions early, in the comments here, or on the group chat, our panel members will be able to give more thought to providing you with the details you need to make your fictional horses prance off the page.

Don’t miss our August meeting:

7.30pm, Wednesday 16 August

We’ll again be in the Metis Room, upstairs at the Canberra City Hellenic Club – it’s warm, it’s got fantastic food and coffee, as well as the bar, so you can have dinner before the meeting, or order something to be delivered to the meeting room.

See you there!

And now, a message from the President

What we’ve been discussing at the CSFG…
…and what’s up next.

Here at the CSFG we’re always trying to challenge ourselves – push our craft of writing into what might be unfamiliar or challenging areas – and by doing so become more dynamic writers.

So, for our May meeting, we discussed writing the ‘other’ gender. Men writing women and women writing men – we’ve all seen it done poorly and we’ve seen it done well. Our very own Louise Peiper ran us through some of the different mistakes, hurdles and misconceptions and, importantly, how we can avoid and correct these. Louise artfully facilitated some lively, mature discussion in what can sometimes be a fraught topic.

If you missed out, then don’t be disappointed, because in our June meeting we’ll have Ian McHugh, one of our most experienced, talented and award-winning short-form writers, discussing submitting to short story markets. He’ll regale us with his considerable experience, describing where, how and who to submit, dos and don’ts, hints and tricks.

Come along and for some valuable insights.

Angus Yeates
CSFG President

Conflux short story contest – Blood, Gold, Lies

We are excited to announce that Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild is once again partnering with Conflux Inc to bring you the CSFG/Conflux 13 short story competition!

This year’s theme is (wait for it…)

BLOOD, GOLD, LIES

These bright and bitter threads wind through the heart of many a grim tale and we want to see what you make of them. We want your tales of 4000 words or under, incorporating these three words somehow, in any speculative fiction genre. It doesn’t have to be a twisted fairy tale, but it does have to be speculative.

The competition is open to all Australian residents and members of either the Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild or Conflux 13.

Entry is $5, unless you are a member of the CSFG or Conflux 13 or you are aged 16 or under, in which case it is free!

Prizes

First prize is $200 and a 2018 Conflux 14 membership! Second prize is $50 and a discounted Conflux 14 membership, and third prize is $25 and a discounted Conflux 14 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 2017.

Fees

Fees can be paid by direct deposit (BSB: 805022 Acct: 03421621 Acct name: Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild) or Paypal to canberra.specfic@gmail.com

(For other options or any more information contact us directly at the csfgshortstorycomp@gmail.com address)

Membership fees raised

The CSFG Committee agreed at the March meeting to raise annual membership fees. As of 16 March 2017, memberships will be at the following rates:

  • General membership – $30.00
  • Concessional membership – $20.00
  • Outer Canberra membership – $10.00

The Committee regrets this unavoidable increase. The hike in membership rates is specifically intended to cover new expenses for Public Liability Insurance and accommodation costs.

If you have any concerns or questions, please contact the Committee:

Member News – November 16-January 17

We have a world of news to catch up on since our last update, which only goes to show that life can move pretty fast if you’re not paying attention (or if you just neglect your blog for several months over a very hot summer!)

World’s Finest!

One of the big ticket items on the speculative fiction calendar is the end of year proliferation of year’s best anthologies. This year CSFG have had a probably-record two entries in international volumes recognising the best S&SF of 2016:

  • Ian McHugh’s ‘The Baby Eaters’, originally printed in Asimov’s January 2016, will appear in in The Year’s Best Science-Fiction, Thirty-Fourth Annual Collection, edited by Gardner Dozois.
  • T.R. Napper (aka Tim)’s story ‘A Strange Loop’, originally printed in Interzone 262, will appear in Neil Clarke’s The Best Science Fiction of the Year – Volume 2.

Congratulations to Ian and Tim!

Australian Year’s Best

Ticonderoga Publications’ annual anthology of The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror is another highlight of the Australian speculative community’s year. An impressive lineup of CSFG members have made the Table of Contents this year, including Rivqa and Cat’s stories from CSFG’s most recent anthology The Never Never Land.

  • Alan Baxter, “The Chart of the Vagrant Mariner”
  • Kimberley Gaal, “In Sheep’s Clothing”
  • Rivqa Rafael, “Beyond the Factory Wall”
  • Cat Sparks, “Dragon Girl”
  • Kaaron Warren, “Mine Intercom”

Best of Midnight Echo

Australia’s premiere horror fiction magazine Midnight Echo, the journal of the Australian Horror Writers Association, recently published Dead of Night: Best of Midnight Echo. The anthology is “a showcase of Australia and New Zealand’s darkest imaginations”, and features stories by CSFG’s:

  • Alan Baxter, “Trawling the Void”
  • Shauna O’Meara, “Blood Lilies”
  • Zena Shapter, “Darker”

Recommended Reading

Early in the new year, a number of sites post recommended reading lists, summarising what they consider the best and most notable works of the past year – and again, CSFG members have made appearances.

Tangent Online’s Recommended Reading List mentions two CSFG’ers: “Flame Trees” by T. R. Napper (Asimov’s April-May 2016) and “Breathing” by Leife Shallcross (Aurealis #95)

If that list isn’t long enough for you, you might also want to check out the Locus Online Recommended Reading List. It doesn’t have any CSFG members on it, but is still a useful collection of links to some excellent stories).

Anthology

Rivqa Rafael is co-editing an intersectional feminist spec fic anthology called Problem Daughters. Problem Daughters will amplify the voices of women who are sometimes excluded from mainstream feminism. It will be an anthology of beautiful, thoughtful, unconventional speculative fiction and poetry around the theme of intersectional feminism, focusing on the lives and experiences of marginalized women, such as those who are of colour, QUILTBAG, disabled, sex workers, and all intersections of these.

Problem Daughters is crowdfunding until 14 February 2017, so hop on over if you would like to support this project.

Rivqa recently had a guest post on Elizabeth Fitzgerald’s blog regarding Problem Daughters and international differences in diversity. She’s also appeared in conversation with Gillian Polack at The History Girls blog: Two Jews, Three Opinions.

Other News

Satalyte Publishing

After all that good news, some bad: Satalyte Publishing went out of business early in the new year, which has sadly affected a number of CSFG members. Commiserations to Gillian Polack, Phill Berrie, Dawn Meredith and Chris Andrews, who all either had novels in print or were due to be published soon. (Especially Gillian, who has just had four books go out of print, including one that was only launched in September!)

Elizabeth Fitzgerald

Elizabeth is running a series of interviews with all the GUFF candidates. The first is with
Belle McQuattie
, with others to follow. Don’t forget to cast your vote for a GUFF candidate, or just make a donation to support the cause, if you haven’t already!

Ross Hamilton

Ross has secured a semi-regular gig writing book reviews for The Big Issue. (The issue out this weekend contains one of his).

Gillian Polack

In better news for Gillian, her essay on James Tiptree Jr/Alice Sheldon was voted one of the top five columns in Strange Horizons’ 2016 Readers Poll.

Gillian has also become (as far as this post editor is aware) the first CSFG member to launch a Patreon page to solicit support for her ongoing writing. Please consider pledging if you want to help fund Gillian’s ongoing writing – there are recipes (and also a treasure trove of Gillian’s previously unpublished juvenilia, recently recovered from a box)!

And finally, Gillian will be presenting a paper at Worldcon. What will it be about? You might have to go to Worldcon in Helsinki in August to find out!

Zena Shapter

Zena has recently signed with the Donald Maass Agency in New York, which will hopefully lead to big things. The full announcement is on Zena’s blog.

Zena is also teaching her year-long course ‘The Year Your Book Gets Written’ at Mosman College. The Mosman Daily did a little article about it.

Workshops

This is probably an incomplete list (we will update the relevant part of the site soon!) but Gillian Polack has a range of short course and workshops coming up:

(The latter is timed to coincide with a new collection of essays on Game of Thrones, in which Gillian gets the last word closing essay)

 

Normal Service has been Restored

You might have noticed the CSFG site was down for a few days. Or you might not (we almost didn’t).

Sorry for the outage folks. No idea what happened there, but as far as we can tell everything is back in its usual place.

If you detect any anomalies, just assume it’s very misguided Russian hackers at work and let us know.

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.