Sale: Little Loves, to Dark Matter Magazine

Thrilled to be able to announce that I have sold Little Loves, my space wasps, to Dark Matter Magazine for publication in 2021!

It’s a little piece of flash fiction that explores my healthy fear and respect of nature. Little Loves stems piece of research I read about predatory wasps suggested their brain chemistry is manipulated by the egg-laying sting of the wasp, and this then forces the poor creature that plays host to do what is best for the wasp larvae.

It also draws on a particularly gross hoax from my uni days about breast cancer and creepy crawlies that started to circulate, documented by Snopes here. Content warning, it’s a gross image and possibly NSFW. If you are grossed out, you might be a trypophobic like me – meaning fear or disgust of closely-packed or irregular holes. (Do yourselves a favour and don’t go looking at mango worm infestations). The idea of something implanted beneath your skin has been a gross-out for me since the era of the original Goosebumps.

These come together into a little body horror that you will be able to read next year over at Dark Matter Magazine. Their first issue is publishing one of my faves, OJ Cade and a host of other wonderful authors. Fresh off their Kickstarter, the team have discounts coming for early subscribers and it would be great to have another mag in genre.

Head on over to to check them out and I will let you know when my piece is available for purchase, if any of the above is of interest to you.

2018 Round-Up

This post will be short as I don’t feel like I achieved much, but I recognise the imposter’s rancid breath in my ear in this.

So, to acknowledge all the good in 2018, there was:

  • First professional sale and publication, thanks to Jeff Wheeler and the Deep Magic team
  • Publication of my oldest and most treasured story, Sleepers
  • Nomination by the publisher for the Pushcart Prize, a prize specifically for indie and small publishers and their work, again thanks to the Deep Magic team
  • Prioritising my writing for the first time in almost a decade, wherein I began learning to revise
  • Getting to attend two awesome writing retreats, where I had a marvellous time with good friends
  • My new local crit group who are awesome and helped me with one of my newest short works, now out on sub
  • Meeting so many wonderful writers at different community events and conferences
  • I’ve been tremendously lucky and acknowledge the sheer privilege of having the resources to prioritise my writing this year.

As for 2019, I want to continue to improve my craft through more writing, critiques and practice.

And read more. I really miss reading.

And time with the fluff. And the husband.

So, the wishes from me to you are for the time to dedicate to the pursuits you love, and more cuddles with furry loved ones.

That’s my 2019 plan after all.2018

Literal depiction of NYE at our house.

Story sale: Sleepers

Sleepers will be appearing in the Fall issue of Deep Magic released next month.

Sale details

Sleepers will be appearing in the Fall issue of Deep Magic released next month. Deep Magic is pro-payment magazine that is, in their own words, “dedicated to professional quality fantasy and science fiction that is free of graphic violence, sex and vulgarity, and with almost no profanity.” They’ve recently re-opened for publishing, so check them out for submissions if you’re a writer. Editions are $3.99 AUD, links on their page. Continue reading “Story sale: Sleepers”

Benign neglect and facing up to inadequacy

I’m giving my blog a little bit of a dust off. It’s been suffering a bit of benign neglect, like the study you keep meaning to go into but get distracted. On the surface, it might all look fine, and dust motes look so pretty in the afternoon sunshine, but that grittiness sticks to your fingertips, no matter how you rub them. 

Most of it was feelings of inadequacy. Other writers I know were talking about their year’s achievements. Inevitably, this turned into: What have I done? And the answer felt like measurably nothing, whatever has been happening in my personal and other professional life. And I couldn’t think of anyone who would want to know about it.

It is, however, a quintessential part of the creative career: many years look like nothing was achieved. And sometimes trying to drill down into that encourages the Imposter’s whisperings in your ear and a fugue of depression and hopelessness settles upon your shoulders. 

So, I just wanted to address that before I say I am back. I want to post about my recent trip to Europe and other bits of life I experience for me, and if any of you want to read that, then that’s great. If not, it’s your life. 

And that’s all there is to it. 

Repost: 5 Steps to Good Writing

This may just be the narrative inside my head.

Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

1. Write. Sit down and write.

2. No. Turn off the solitaire. No, don’t open the web browser. For crying out loud, stop distracting yourself.

3. That is not the TV remote. Seriously. There isn’t even anything you want to watch.

4. Cleaning?! You hate cleaning. What are you even doing?

5. Fine, go for coffee. It’s not like you were doing anything productive anyway. That one sentence doesn’t even count.


Reposted from my deactivated Readwave profile. Can you tell I was having a great writing day?

February fun

February has been burning through the days post-haste, as if the month wasn’t already short enough. (Can you sense my panic of a wedding deadline rapidly approaching?)

But it’s been fun. I’ve been participating in Post-it note poetry month. You might have seen the poems I’ve been sharing. Post-it note poetry started out of Brisbane with Jodi Cleghorn and Adam Byatt, and is now collated by a SB Wright, or Sean Wright, who you would recognise from The Adventures of a Bookonaut blog.

I’ve been introduced to new forms–my poetry is often free form prose–which has been a great new avenue for me. Mostly I’ve been posting my own page, but there’s also a Facebook group for Post-it note poetry or you can check out the #pinp16 hashtag on Twitter to see many gorgeous poems. Below are two of the poems that people seemed to like the best: Grind & Wheel and To Sunshine. I’ll also do a wrap up at the end of the month.

Grinandwheel_SYorkston_pinp16   Tosunshine_SYorkston_pinp16

It’s also WiHM, or Women in Horror Month. It’s been great to see well-deserving writers getting the press and attention they deserve for their work and careers. And it should be every day, but it isn’t and until that day, we need to keep promoting.

Simon Dewar, editor of Suspended in Dusk, has collated a series of interviews with women from all aspects of the horror genre over at his blog. He even interviewed yours truly!

In honour of the month, I’ve been working on a disturbing short for publication; hoping I can polish it up a bit more in time for a looming deadline.

SQ Mag Edition 25 is also in the works, so I am busy getting that together.

But boy, what a fun and productive month (not to forget hectic) it has been so far!

Writing update for May

I know it’s been a little while since I posted or updated. Life has been tripping away for this writer over the last few months.

While I must confess that not much writing has been done, there’s been some positive author career steps last month for this scribe. As of the 31st of May, I have two stories in for consideration at different places. I’ve tried to place a short, sweet little flash I wrote a while back, Perfect Match, in a publication with a wonderful ideology. Thanks to help from my wonderful mum, I got it sent in for consideration with The Big Issue’s Short Story edition. A physical submission; a little hard for me to send from Canada to get there in time for its closing 1st of June.

I’ve also given The Lane of Unusual Traders another go. A wonderful, collaborative world building project from Sue Wright and the rest of the team at the Tiny Owl Workshop. A great project with free shorts which you should check out immediately! Which reminds me, I still need to work on placing the wonderful story that I wrote for that last time, which didn’t quite fit with the vision of the Tiny Owls. Wish me luck.

On the editing front, I’ve just sent of a great Lovecraftian-related novel by a new author for IFWG Publishing, Shaun Meeks. Great to have a Canadian on the books now, and he’s been great to work with. It’s a great, fun read, and I will update you all closer to the release date.

Related note, if anyone is in the Hawkesbury River area this weekend, the lovely Paula Boer will be selling her great Brumbies series at the Tom Quilty Cup. I worked as an editor for Paula’s work and it’s a great NA/YA about Australian rural life with gorgeous illustrations from Rowena Evans and some great new covers to top it off. If you’re in the area, drop by: Paula’s writing comes from lots of equine experience and she loves to talk that kind of shop.

Otherwise, SQ Mag is going along well. We’re on a little submission hiatus, and finally getting through some backlog, whittling away the numbers waiting. There’s some names I know waiting, and I can only say, soon! Very soon.

Currently, I’m jobless and travelling in the US, which is great and a wonderful adventure. I’m going to try and post about some of our stops over the next couple of days. We’re heading home to Australia in August.

Happy mid-year everyone! Hope all your travels are happy and uncomplicated.

January Writing Roundup

January has been a splendid month for me, personal writing wise.

With the impetus of the new year, and the major goal I assigned myself, I started to work on my novel again. Originally titled The Whale Singer, a title I think will have to be scrapped as it doesn’t quite fit in with the story that has evolved, the last month I have been working on it consistently (but not always consecutively). I’m really pleased to announce that that work has resulted in another 2 chapters and that I have now broached the 40,000 words mark.

I will state that while it is a quantity marker, and not what I am wanting to measure overall, it certainly is a marker of how I am progressing with my creative long game. The story is progressing (tick!) and it is a milestone because this is the longest I have ever worked on a piece and the furthest I ever gotten with a piece. The feeling for me is that this is about a third of the way into the three main aspects of the storylines.

It helps that I believe in the heart of this story, and while it may take me a while to finish it, I think I have a good chance of completing it this year.

Submissions are light on for January, so I haven’t been on that roundabout as much this month. Mostly that is because several large markets are closed, but it is also because some of my work needs to refined. I like all the original stories, but with some feedback I’ve received, I know that they could be better.

I attribute some of this productivity also to a project spurred by one of my writing collectives, where there was a move to return to journaling. So far as I can tell, it has been a success for all of us, allowing us to clear our busy minds and giving greater mental clarity and freedom. I have some beautifully Japanese paper covered journals with gorgeous paper to honour  myself and my words.

For anything I’ve written out there, January 1 meant my review for The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies was published in SQ Mag. Head on over to check out what I’ve been working on for the past few years. The ezine is great, going from strength to strength and it’s all free!

On a personal note, my two day jobs are now being condensed into only one. I will be leaving one of my positions in the wind down to us leaving Canada in May, which will definitely leave me with more time for writing and a more regular routine. I will be really sad to leave the wonderful team I have been working with (in both places), all the friends I have made and Canada in general, but both Greg and I feel the tug of Australia and home.

So I’m hoping January’s feeling and productivity are an omen for an auspicious year, but whatever happens, I’m going to ride this wave for as long as I can.

Thanks for reading and happy February!

Goals for 2015

When it comes to ushering in the new year, goals are always the hardest part for me. I even had a hard time writing this down. If I do not reach them, it can be disheartening and that affects my work. So I wanted to keep the goals manageable and down to me. But I also want to have some accountability, get over this seat of my pants thing.

My biggest, and probably the hardest for me: Finish my first novel.  I have a good short game, but this stamina thing is new to me. This is a biggie, but it is an achievement I want to cross off. It means learning to turn off my inner editor, critic and quality control. It comes down to just do!

Secondly, I want to submit more than I did this year. I summed what I did this year up in my end of 2014 post, so I have to submit more than thirteen times. Which means I have to tidy up some of these babies and get them out there. I’d ideally like to get some more stories written and back out there. But getting the ones I’ve written published is my aim.

Thirdly, I’d like to hone my craft, and that comes from goals one and two, plus any additional extras I can lay my hands on. Courses and conferences like the Surrey International Writers Festival. Maybe formal courses but we’ll see how that fits in with other plans for the year.

It’s going to be hard to top last year, as the first year of being published is a special gift, but surely that will only get better when my name is on half a dozen of these babies (starting the year with high hopes, as you can see).

So, keeping it simple. I hope that I can keep up to my end of the bargain. Here’s hoping 2015 is a productive and fruitful writing year for all the writers in my life and a year full of wonderful for all. Bring it on!

2014: A Writing Year

Now that it is officially 2015 here in the northern hemisphere, I feel like I can finally take a look back on this year and see where I’m starting from this year, particularly in terms of my writing. It’s been a big year for me both as a writer and an editor.

IMG_2742-1.JPG2014 had a lot to offer me, and I have to be grateful for its magnanimity. It was the year that I began submitting my work to magazines and anthologies, and there has been a success or two. The year started strongly with my early acceptance into the Subtropical Suspense anthology from Black Beacon Books. I am incredibly proud to have been part of this project; Queensland was my home for a long time and there is much to recommend it. Cameron Trost is also a wonderful editor, and tireless in his endeavours to get these stories out to a wider audience. It’s also been lovely to have so many of my family and friends tell me how much they liked my story, with especially heartwarming praise from my grandfather comparing it stories published in a highly regarded suspense magazine that he enjoyed. This anthology will always hold a special place in my heart as my first publication.

twistyxmas3The Best of Twisty Christmas Tales, from Phantom Feather Press out of New Zealand, were my second success. This children’s publishing press is a powerhouse, and the collective powers of Alicia Ponder, Eileen Mueller and Peter Friend are immense. They marketed for all it was worth, were very inclusive of the authors as well as allowing us all to help, and ran a great crowdfunding campaign, which resulted in a sell out launch and sales doing very well up to Christmas. I heard about this anthology through a new friend, Dan Rabarts (great Kiwi writer to keep an eye out for), and had a couple of ideas, one of which was my Manuka Mischief story. I will review the collection soon, here on the blog, but the team at Phantom Feather Press collected some great writers here, so it is well worth checking out (details here). After I had been accepted, I also discovered Eileen is a cousin of our dear Kiwi friend here in Vancouver, Jacqui. Small world!

So, in 2014 I submitted thirteen times, and was accepted twice, for an acceptance rate of 15%. 36% of those submissions received personalised feedback from the editor, and several of them positive (enjoyed but of the ‘not quite the fit for this collection’ variety). Of those submissions, there are several stories submitted a number of times. My favourite, a short science fiction called Sleepers, has been hit back from some big markets, but I am aiming high. It’s my best work to date, it feels true to me and to my characters, and it’s polished and ready for the right home. I have more places to try to place it in the new year. I have eight completed shorts that are polished to a degree; some that I need to review in my new year.

Sadly, my novel project is a bit like pulling teeth. I’m proud of the largest narrative I’ve ever written, and by Jim, I will finish it, because I need that victory, so that I know I can. It will need lots of work when I finish it, but hey, what novel doesn’t need that. The original title I had in mind doesn’t really work with the novel as it is shaping up, so it will also need to be renamed.

So overall, writing wise, I’m very pleased with what I’ve done. There’s been oodles of words and lots of hard work from me here.

This year was also a reasonable editing year for me. I’ve continued as the Editor in Chief at the SQ Mag ezine. I have however been very grateful to receive the help of some great slush readers in the latter part of the year. It’s been great working with Paula Boer, Gareth Edwards and Louise Zedda-Sampson. It’s also been wonderful to review alongside author Mysti Parker and Damien Smith. Gerry Huntman has, as always, been a great boss and the behind the scenes guru. It’s been another great year working together, Gerry!

I’ve also completed the Brumbies series with Paula Boer, as part of my ongoing work with IFWG Publishing Australia. I worked with Paula on the last of her series this year: Brumbies in the Outback and the very recently released Brumbies in the Mountains. I’m so pleased to have been a part of this process over the years. We’ve worked together since Paula’s first book came out: The Okapi Promise. Paula’s prose has gotten so tight with these last couple of books that editing has gotten to be so easy! It’s been great to get to work together and I think the quality of her books speaks to the passion we both have for her work. Congratulations to Paula on the completion of your series, and I wish you all the best with the new project that is in the works!

Another wonderful work I helped get out there this year is a debut novel, a science fiction called The Pouakai by David Sperry. David’s a US writer out of Seattle these days, but he’s a pilot and former resident of the Hawaiian Islands, where the novel is set. This took a little while to organise, due to me, but David was so great to work with and his story is extremely imaginative–the aliens in it are really different. He also introduces people to smaller islands in the Pacific, which I always think is great. If you have time, pop on over and have a look at his book on the IFWG page.

On a personal note, there’s been some great connections I’ve made with other writers this year. I’ve been lucky enough to be included in a small online writing group, courtesy of a few writing friends I’ve made in the publishing game. We worked in a 6 stories/pieces in 6 weeks challenge, which I really think was the most productive portion of my year. I’m really honoured to be included amongst the puppies and have made some great friends along the way. It’s wonderful to have a group of people to be your sounding boards, editors and beta readers, commiserators and cheer squad, who you know are all facing the same struggles. Thanks for including me.

I’ve also got a great writing group here in Vancouver. I meet with the girls irregularly about once a month. They are a wonderful and lively bunch. Caitlin has been a great friend, Deana has made me open my mind to get my head around a couple of my faltering stories, and Jen and I have been brainstorming on how to cure the science fiction world of its hesitation about female writers in the genre. Each of these girls has read my work and helped me make it better in some way, and they’ve been great to bring me back up when I have been feeling imposter syndrome. With all my heart, thank you, my friends!

I’m also very grateful to Deana for turning me on to the Surrey International Writers Conference this year. This is very much a craft-centric event, and I felt like I learnt a lot. I wish I had been up to the point where I could have worked on my synopsis with an editor, or had a fellow author read my work and critique it, or even pitched to an agent. It’s a crucial learning process I could have used and I certainly would recommend this to any person who writes and wants to be published.

Particularly, I want to thank all of my friends who read and constructively criticised my work this year. It has helped so much, with both my opportunities and with what I’ve learnt. I do want to add a shout out to my other writer friend Mark Hargrave, whose advice and deconstruction has been solid and so right every time.

Also, thank you to everyone who either bought, reviewed, shared any piece that I’ve worked on online, or given me their honest thoughts. It is so important to hear how you liked my writing, or promoted it. That support keeps me going. You all rock.

Otherwise, the only other big event of this year was my engagement. After four and a half years, Greg decided that he liked me enough to keep me around, and proposed on a mountain top in the Yukon. I am a bit sore at the Aurora Borealis for not being visible so he could go with his original plan of proposing to me under them, but one small satisfaction is you can’t really hear me complaining about cold hands and being obstinate on our proposal video (sneaky Greg).

2014 was hard, but I think it was a learning year for me professionally. I am grateful for my lessons, but I am hoping to have a bit more success in the future without so many tears and tribulations. Bring on 2015, may it be a successful one for us all.