The Business of Writing… and Swords

Our first meeting of the year kicked off with the topic of ‘the Business of Publishing’, a subject where few dare to tread (but plenty showed up of course 😉 ). Our very own Donna Maree Hanson, author of the Dragon Wine series, and Paula Boer, author of the Brumbies series, turned a potentially dry topic into a bountiful cornucopia of fascinating insights into the publishing industry. They discussed how they got started, traditional vs. self-publishing, marketing and many other topics. You can find Paula’s notes in our Yahoo Groups files.

For those who sadly missed our first meeting for the year, do not despair…

For our upcoming second half presentation on 21 March 2018, we’ll have the Ancient Arts Fellowship (AAF) our local Anglo-Saxon period re-enactment group come to speak to us about swords, armour, sword-fighting and a whole bunch more. These guys know their stuff and regularly perform re-enactments for the public, they practice their martial techniques each week and are an absolute treasure-trove of knowledge that extends beyond just the martial aspects of the period. There will not be any ‘do not despairs’ if you miss this, there will only be despair. If you’re a fantasy writer this is an absolute must.

By | 2018-03-15T06:07:40+00:00 14th March, 2018|0 Comments

CSFG at the 2018 CAP Expo

A quick shout out to say that the CSFG will be hosting a booth at the 2018 Connect and Participate (CAP) Expo!

So if you’re a member and want to lend a hand, are watching from afar and interested in joining, or just have questions about what we do, drop on by and say hello. If you’re at a loss for what to read next, then we’ll of course be selling copies of our CSFG anthologies and members’ books, so come on down and have a browse.

The 2018 CAP Expo is being held on Saturday 24 March 2018 from 11am until 4pm. The CAP Expo is a Canberra-wide Expo that brings together many of the community and special-interest groups in the ACT with the chance to showcase what they offer to the public. More details can be found at the Community Services website.

We hope to see you there!

By | 2018-03-14T15:54:45+00:00 12th March, 2018|0 Comments

Our New Look Website

You may have noticed that the look and feel of the website has changed. One of our members, Alis Franklin, has helpfully updated our website for us. You should find all your familiar pages, plus a few added extras.

All of us here at CSFG hope you enjoy it and find it intuitive. If you have any questions, concerns or suggestions, please feel free to contact us via our contact form (select About us on the top panel and then Contact us). We’ll spruik some of the added features soon.

CSFG Committee

By | 2018-03-11T11:08:28+00:00 11th March, 2018|0 Comments

A Hand Of Knaves authors and stories announced!

CSFG received a huge pile of story submissions to our upcoming anthology, A Hand Of Knaves and our editors Chris Large and Leife Shallcross had some very tough decisions to make in deciding on the final cut. Thank you to everyone who trusted us with their work. We are now pretty damn happy to announce the final author lineup.

And here it is:

  • Eugen Bacon, Ace Zone
  • Amy Brown, A Tale Of The Marriage Of Gawain
  • David Coleman, Immortal, Coiled
  • Tom Dullemond, The Killblaine Legacy
  • Maureen Flynn, Gardening Through the Danse Macabre
  • Rebecca Fraser, The Pedlar
  • Isobel Johnstone, The Apothecary’s Apprentice
  • Grace Maslin, A Question Of Identity
  • Chris McGrane, Trojan Thoughts
  • Claire McKenna, The One Who Walks The Permanent Way
  • Cassandra Page, The Best Heist Yet
  • CH Pearce, The Last Magicians of Sad Hill
  • Simon Petrie & Edwina Harvey, On the Consequences of Clinically-Inhibited Maturation in the Common Sydney Octopus
  • Louise Pieper, A Widow’s Worth
  • Robert Porteous, A Fair Wind Off Baracoa
  • Charlotte Sophia, Stardust
  • HK Stubbs, Lost Property
  • David Versace, A Moment’s Peace
  • Angus Yeates, Anchor Point

Congratulations! We can’t wait to share these fantastic stories with you.

What kind of stories, you ask? Well. You want knaves? We’ve got knaves. We’ve got space pirates, smugglers, hackers, thieves, shysters, time bandits, sorcerers, tricksters, assassains, schoolgirls, rogue demon hunters, insidious cephalopods and vengeful queens.

These submissions were read blind, so Chris and Leife didn’t know who they were reading until after they’d put together their shortlist. But we’re pretty thrilled to have a bunch of CSFG authors in the mix, along with some familiar names and a few new ones you’ll no doubt be seeing more of in years to come.

And just to add sugar to the spice, thanks to all the generous supporters of our recent crowdfunding campaign, we were able to double the base payment to our authors, who will now get $60 per story.

Congratulations again to all our AHOK authors. We’ll let you know when you can start pre-ordering your copy!

By | 2018-03-08T08:25:28+00:00 27th January, 2018|0 Comments

CSFG goes wild and howls at the Solstice moon

If you missed our November meeting, you missed a wild time.

Leife and Louise traipsed us through the woods and the wilds with a view to learning a little more about all creatures big and small, and how an understanding of animal folklore can enrich the stories we write.

We talked about beastly bridegrooms and selkie brides, heraldic symbolism and animal-related superstitions, and how your choice of familiar can tell the reader a great deal about your witch.

If you’re curious to enrich your writing with folklore, you can learn more by taking a walk in the woods with author Terri Windling – – or follow #folklorethursday –

With only half a month left of 2017 you might be ready to review your writing year. Whether you’re looking at word count tallies or publications, rejections or successful plot-wrangling triumphs, there’s no need to do it alone.

Share the highs and lows of your writing year, and your plans for 2018, with the rest of CSFG at our end-of-year celebration. It’s conveniently timed in between the full moon and the solstice, leaving you free to pursue other, er … commitments.

Join us at The Snug, at King O’Malleys, on Wednesday 20 December at 7:30pm for drinks, dinner if you wish, and festive frivolity liberally laced with silly puns (you know that last aspect is inevitable – just embrace it).  

By | 2018-03-08T09:14:42+00:00 14th December, 2017|0 Comments

2017 AGM 18 October

A quick note to formally advise that next month’s meeting, to be held on Wednesday 18 October, is the CSFG Annual General Meeting.

Generally, the AGM will take up some of the first hour of our normal meeting (from 7:30 pm). The outgoing committee will report on the activities and our many achievements for the year, and current projects, and the members present will vote in a new committee and office-bearers.

Of course, you’re welcome – nay, encouraged – to nominate yourself if you’re interested in a role on the committee, be that President, Treasurer, Vice President, Public Officer, Secretary or general committee member. And remember that more than one person can nominate for a position (in which case the membership then votes between them). People usually tend to nominate for the committee at the AGM, but if you want to nominate yourself ahead of time, feel free.

Following the AGM, we are scheduled to hear a presentation from the Napoleonic Re-enactment Society. I understand that their presentation is detailed and awesome.

By | 2017-09-23T10:28:53+00:00 23rd September, 2017|0 Comments

Submissions window open!

And our A Hand of Knaves submissions window is open! Check out our guidelines (for the love of all that’s holy, please read the guidelines) on our submissions page, then submit your word sorcery to knaves.anthology.csfg[at]

And check out our fabulous art from Shauna O’Meara. If you love it like we do, keep an eye out for our crowdfunding campaign for ways and means of scoring awesome Hand of Knaves swag featuring these images.

And follow all the news and updates on our new A Hand of Knaves Facebook page!

By | 2017-08-01T23:47:53+00:00 1st August, 2017|0 Comments

What CSFG’s up to in July and August


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.


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!

By | 2017-07-30T09:04:28+00:00 30th July, 2017|0 Comments

A Hand of Knaves – anthology update

The A Hand of Knaves (AHOK) editorial team (Leife Shallcross, Chris Large, Simon Petrie and Juliette Morley) has been hard at work behind the scenes organising a solid base from which to build our exciting new anthology. The premise of stories featuring rogues, scoundrels and ne’er-do-wells in speculative fiction seems to have struck a chord with writers and we’re looking forward to reading some fantastic stories when submission open next month.

The CSFG committee may have some announcements to make about some exciting AHOK-related developments in coming weeks, but for now we just want to remind everyone thinking of answering the call, that submissions will be open from the 1st of August to the 15th of November 2017.

That’s a pretty wide window, so there is absolutely no excuse for missing out. But don’t leave your submission to the last minute. Remember, Simon (our slushwrangling knave) will allow up to three of your stories to pass. That’s three bites at the cherry. So even if at first you don’t succeed, you can literally try, try again. Perhaps that makes us gluttons for punishment, but we don’t see it that way.

We want to read your stories of mayhem and misadventure. So get scheming, plotting, and scribing. Send us your brightest treasures, but polish them until we’re dazzled by their brilliance.

A Hand of Knaves will be a character-based anthology, so give us characters we can’t ignore, and will never forget. And writers of a darker bent don’t despair, while we’re definitely after tales of thigh-slapping adventure, we are entirely open to stories of heartache, woe and spine-tingling terror. If you still need inspiration, Leife and Chris (our editorial knaves) have opened up their (until now super-secret) Pinterest board – containing over 200 pins – to get those creative juices flowing.

Go get inspired here.

By | 2018-03-07T12:15:16+00:00 22nd July, 2017|0 Comments

CSFG in June and July

For those who weren’t able to make it to our June meeting, we road-tested our new venue – the Metis room upstairs at the Canberra City Hellenic Club. This proved to be a bit of a winner, with members taking advantage of the opportunity to grab a coffee or a drink, or even dinner, before the meeting. The Chess Club next door proved to be very rowdy and based on the uproarious cheering, we can only imagine there were some very devious queen-takes-rook moves and dramatic checkmates going on. (Or maybe that was the crowd watching the State of Origin downstairs…)

Our scheduled session with Ian McHugh was unfortunately not able to go ahead (there is a happy ending to this, though), so we enacted our cunning Plan B. This was a round table discussion on was “What advice would you give your younger writer self?”, which generated some thought-provoking conversation. A sample of the advice offered included (paraphrased and possibly embellished by Leife):

  • Angus: make your villain someone you admire, make them the hero of their own story.
  • Rik: get that first draft done; polish the sucker later.
  • Dave O: Find your writing community. You will blossom like a flower in spring.
  • Louise: authors are human beings, not divinely appointed, godlike beings (which means you, yes YOU, have a shot at this); AND give yourself a deadline.
  • Juliette: don’t let anyone distract you from writing. Don’t let them tell you it’s not a real job or it’s a worthless activity.
  • Shauna and Amelia: Start earlier.
  • Tim R: make reading fun. Put the non-productive, non-fun things aside. Read and write the stuff you enjoy.
  • Simon: Take chances. Write the crazy stuff.
  • Leife: (Paraphrasing Ira Glass) You have good taste. Keep at it and one day you might measure up to your own standards.

And because Leife is actually writing this post, here’s a handy vid of the Ira Glass advice that struck a chord with her.

Ira Glass on Storytelling from David Shiyang Liu on Vimeo.

And that happy ending you were hoping for? Well, if you missed the June meeting, or if you were there, but disappointed you didn’t get to hear what Ian McHugh has to say about getting your short stories published, we’ve rescheduled him for our July meeting:

7.30pm, Wednesday 19 July

The Metis Room, upstairs at the Canberra City Hellenic Club

See you there!


By | 2017-07-06T23:57:10+00:00 6th July, 2017|1 Comment