These islands – “strung like a shimmering necklace between the mainland and Vancouver Island”, if I can steal the Lonely Planet description – have such a unique vibe and special place in my heart (my family have a house on Galiano Island). Not only do they offer stunning landscapes of beaches, bluffs, lakes, and forests, the islands attract communities of artists, free-spirits, nature-lovers and independent thinkers. On Galiano for example, you won’t find a commercial supermarket, but you will find a bookshop and artisan galleries. The island culture therefore feels concurrently caught in the past (rustic and pastoral) and a step ahead (free of the constraints and boxes of the modern world).
My book ‘The Arcade‘ uses the spirit and beauty of the islands as inspiration, but it’s still very much fictional. It’s an environmental-fantasy story that follows a group of island teens as they reach adulthood, grow curious of the world outside their small peaceful realities, and take on the external forces that threaten to endanger their utopian home.
I think it’s time we started talking more about environmental issues in young-adult fiction, given the uncertainty of our future on this planet (there are many things I could reference here, but the latest on the Arctic seed bank is particularly pertinent).
The first book is finished now and I’m currently seeking an agent, but thought I should start getting this idea out into the world, to see if anyone’s interested in knowing more or beta-reading for me. I’ve also just made the Pinterest board that I’ve been using as inspiration for the past year public.
Thanks so much to everyone who sent through submissions for my ‘Krampus Crackers’ project with Tiny Owl Workshop. I loved reading the varied and fantastic stories Krampus inspired. It was hard to choose the final twelve, but I’m pleased to announce that the following stories will be appearing in Christmas crackers around Brisbane this December:
Christmas Cake – Amanda Niehaus Mum, I’m In Love With Krampus – Andrei Seleznev The Story-Stealer – CC Macdonald The Horns of Christmas – Omar Sakr Krampus Meets the Original Slashie – Glen Donaldson The Gift – Ira McGuire Give a Shit This Christmas – Ryan Sim How to Survive a Family Christmas with the Norse Gods – Robert G. Cook Kramme Pass – Stuart Dunstan The Christmas Wish – Mish Gittens Reindeer in Admin Roles – Harlan Ambrose Horns – Nicola Nixon
I endeavoured to get back to everyone who submitted, as I did really appreciate the response. So even if you didn’t make the list, check your inbox for some feedback!
Now the editing begins. Stay tuned for where and how you can read these darkly festive pieces.
Writing a four-part serial story for Steez magazine. Steez is a US-based snow, skate & culture quarterly, and they’re basically too cool for me. But they’re featuring my story ‘Rocky’–about a stolen parrot–over the next four fantastic issues. Check out Part I in Issue 31 here.
Reading at June’s ‘Whispers’ literary salon run by the Queensland Writers Centre. If you’ve never been to a Whispers event, GOOOOO. Such a great opportunity to meet and hear from local established and emerging writers. Our theme for June was ‘The Best Thing’ and I read a story about a guy who can talk to birds, which is now seeking a good home. (Side note: all my stories lately are about birds, help).
Cooking up an exciting Christmas project with Tiny Owl Workshop. Will be posting more about it in July when submissions open, so keep an eye out. And for God’s sake, become a Tiny Owl Workshop fan if you aren’t already–they’re taking indie publishing to the NEXT LEVEL. They were the masterminds behind the recent napkin stories collections and the Pillow Fight project I was lucky enough to be a part of last year.
Trying very very hard to seriously plan a trip with theBook Bus. I won’t even try to explain why this is so important to me. Just check it out for yourself (hint: animals and cool kids).
Feeling very glad I didn’t let not loving ‘The Luminaries’ (winner of the 2013 Man Booker prize) deter me from Eleanor Catton altogether. I went out and bought her first novel ‘The Rehearsal’ and wow, that girl can write. Please check it out also.
Reading subs for Aurealis magazine. If you’re a fan of quality fantasy, horror & sci-fi, check that out too.
Got enough cool lit stuff to check out now? Tired of me saying ‘check it out?’ Good. I’ll check out.
This is something I’ve been working on since 2009, so if you’ve talked to me about writing in any capacity over the last four years, you’ve probably heard me mutter a little about it. It’s the only manuscript I’ve ever completed and that initially scared me–what was I meant to do with this thing I had now made? I had an obligation to somehow send it stumbling off into the world, right?
Awesome competitions like the Hot Key Books Young Writers Prize give people like me an answer to that daunting question. They give young writers a chance and, if we happen to make it this far, that lovely feeling of validation that people who know what they’re talking about have read your work and liked it. The prize itself, of course, is even more awesome–a potential worldwide publishing contract and full editorial support from the Hot Key team.
Regardless of who takes out the prize, I’m super grateful for the opportunity. It feels like every week I’m discovering new platforms giving emerging writers a shot, and that makes me really excited for the future of publishing.
I recently found out about The Entroperfrom one of my writing calls & contests sources. Still in its genesis, The Entroper is a new online literary journal looking to publish ‘fresh’ and ‘surreal’ works of fiction, poetry, art and photography. I know there are a lot of quality online literary journals and zines out there, so it can be hard to choose what ones might be the best fit for your work, and vice versa, when you’re looking to submit. The thing that intrigued me about The Entroper was its interest in ‘works that play in the in-betweens’. The concept of ‘the in-betweens’ is something I’ve always been fascinated by, and eager to explore, so I’m looking forward to seeing what works The Entroper will showcase in the future.
For now, I’m pleased that they’re featuring my short prose piece ‘Broken Teeth‘, a brief contemplation of dreams, on the website now. I’m among good company over there; go check it out!
splinterswerve describes itself as an e-zine of the arts and encourages work that “gets under the skin of its audience and its creators”. Its name and manifesto are inspired by the Emily Dickinson lines:
The Brain, within its Groove Runs evenly—and true— But let a Splinter swerve
The zine has an edgy experimental feel, which isn’t often what I choose to write or read. Composing my flash fiction piece, Oh, Ephemerality, therefore involved playing around with the unfamiliar, in terms of both style and content, and I’m very pleased that the splinterswerve team chose to feature it. It may not be entirely indicative of what I want to do as a writer, but it can be fun to wander down strange paths every now and then and see if we end up liking them.
Check out the issue–there’s a pretty cool collection of creative non-fiction, fiction, poetry, photography and sound up there, and it’s always great to support independent collectives.