“Mary, Mary” makes the Year’s Best

The Year's Best Dark Fantasy and Horror 2016Lovely news! My short story “Mary, Mary” is going to be reprinted in The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror 2016, edited by Paula Guran. It’s looks to be fantastic anthology this year, with a stellar line up that include some of my favourite Australian authors — Angela Slatter, Lisa L. Hannett and Kaaron Warren. I’m already slavering to read this book!

“Mary, Mary” is based on the life of Mary Wollstonecraft who was among the first avowedly feminist authors in England and who would also give birth — in tragic circumstances — to a little girl who would grow up to be Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein. Both Marys were smart, fiery, passionate and utterly fascinating women but it always saddened me a little that the work of Mary Wollstonecraft has been so overshadowed by her daughter’s legacy. “Mary, Mary” is one of the best stories that I’ve written recently and was first published in Cranky Ladies of History from FableCroft Publishing. My deepest thanks to both Tehani Wessely and Tansy Rayner Roberts, my most UNcranky editors, for giving me the both the inspiration and opportunity to bring it into being. It’s not a story I would have even thought of writing without them.


Perfections and Madigan Mine go digital (redux)

Perfections and Madigan Mine by Kirstyn McDermott

It’s been a little while since ebooks of my novels Madigan Mine and Perfections have been available but the good folks at Twelfth Planet Press have now released them back into the wild. So if you haven’t yet snagged yourself a copy or if postage costs were putting you off the print book (I know, believe me, I know), then your time is now.

If you are one of the super-wonderful people who have read and enjoyed one or both of the novels already … first of all, THANK YOU, but second of all … can you do me a really big favour? Head on over to the relevant Amazon page from the links below and leave a quick review. It doesn’t have to be terribly long or terribly erudite and if you have already reviewed the book(s) somewhere else please feel free to copy that straight on over. On Amazon, books live and die by reviews and I’d love to see these two get their second wind. (And I hate asking for favours like this, which should tell you how very important it is.)

Digital versions can be purchased via the following links:

Buy Perfections at Twelfth Planet Press (epub and mobi)
Buy Perfections at Amazon (mobi)
Buy Perfections at Kobo (epub)

Buy Madigan Mine at Twelfth Planet Press (epub and mobi)
Buy Madigan Mine at Amazon (mobi)
Buy Madigan Mine at Kobo (epub)


In Your Face!


It might be the holiday season but, over at FableCroft Publishing, Tehani Wessley has been busy wrangling a new anthology that aims to showcase a whole bunch of Australian writers at their provocative best. And believe me, us Australians can certainly be a confronting bunch, even when we’re not specifically asked to be so!

In Your Face will be made up of original and reprinted speculative fiction stories that deal with very provocative themes but with a firm purpose – they are pieces that will perhaps make readers uncomfortable because they are a bit too hard-hitting or close to the bone, but which interrogate these themes and ideas, and make a point about the world we live in.

FableCroft is running a modest Pozible campaign during the month of January to increase the payment made to the writers from 3 cents per word up to a pro-rate of 6 cents. There are some lovely rewards available, including discounted pre-order pricing for In Your Face, so if you have some funds to spare please head on over and support what promises to be a great anthology.

My piece, “Accidents Happen” was rattling around as an idea in my pocket for years, sparked off by a funny but embarrassing anecdote related to me by a friend. (Not that she, or anyone else, will likely recognise it in the story as it now stands … which is perhaps a very good thing.) In all that time, I never came up with an ending that was in any way satisfactory, which is why it remained unwritten for so long.

When Tehani asked me to consider contributing a story, I had several bright-and-shiny first thoughts, none of which I really had time to research and write at short notice. Besides, I began to feel as though I was trying to think up something just to be confronting for the sake of it … which wasn’t what I wanted to do and clearly wasn’t what Tehani was after either. So I pretty much wrote this off as yet another cool antho to which I wouldn’t end up submitting. Such is life and all that jazz.

Then I went to a  laid-back gig in Fitzroy one night and, while I was sitting back, listening to live music and happily drinking cider, this old idea of mine came slinking up out of my pocket. After sitting on my shoulder for a while, chatting amiably, it developed a story and a narrator and an ending. And it was a nasty little piece, in a subtle, passive-aggressive and downright petty kind of way. I wrote it over the next three or four days, which is damn fast for me but still too long to have had that particular narrator living inside my head. Mental hot showers, I needed several.

Oddly, the headlining band that night, the one I had gone to see, had among their members the same friend who had told me the original anecdote all those years ago. Or perhaps it’s not so odd. Connections spark, synapses fire, cycles come full circle. And, happily or otherwise, accidents happen.



The Writer and the Critic: Episode 47

The latest episode of our podcast is now available for direct download and streaming from the website or via subscription from iTunes. Feedback is most welcome!

Things gets a little highbrow on this episode of The Writer and the Critic, when your hosts, Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond enthusiastically tackle Satin Island by Tom McCarthy [5:35] and Lament for the Afterlife by Lisa L. Hannett [59:45]. The words ‘semiotic’ and ‘taxonomy’ may appear with alarming regularity. Also, mosaic fiction, people. Let’s make it a thing.


During the course of the discussion, mention is made of the following articles, reviews and books:

If you’ve skipped ahead to avoid spoilers, please come back at 1:47:45 for final remarks.

The next episode will air in February 2016 and will mark the shift to a more curatorial phase of the podcast. The books up for discussion will be Slade House by David Mitchell along with House of Small Shadows by Adam Nevill. Read ahead and join in the spoilerific fun!


Valé Smudge


January 1996 ~ November 2015

She was my first cat. There had been several family cats growing up (one of them more “mine” than the others), but she was the first I’d adopted as an adult. The first for whom I had full responsibility. My First Cat. She was almost twenty years old and I’d said that when she got to twenty, she would henceforth be known as The Venerable Smudge. Contrary to the end, she decided that venerable wasn’t her speed.

We let her go this afternoon. She’d had a good last month, after we got her on cortisone tablets to help counter whatever it was growing in her belly (I still maintain it was probably an over-inflamed spite gland), and she had a very good Last Day.  There was a bit of medium-rare steak for dinner! There was sleeping in our bed overnight! There was fresh shower-water in the morning! But she was weak and wobbly and could barely stand or walk without falling over, and I decided to spare her the heat wave of the next few days which would likely have finished her anyway.


Truly the Tiny Cat, even in her prime.

She was done, my cat.

I needed to let her go. I needed to help her go.

Sometimes, responsibility is the worst.

The vets were wonderful. They came to our home and she passed her last moments on the couch where she spent so much of her days and nights, with us by her side. She was tired and slightly dozy but still very much herself. It was the last thing I could do for her, and I’m deeply grateful to have been able to do it.

She had acquired many names over the years. Smudge, of course, and Smudgie, and even a handful of ostentatious extensions: Smudgie La Rue; Smudge-a-roonie of the Roonies; Smudge-a-rooster. She was Fluffbot and Black Cat and Tiny Cat. She was Honey Bear, with Bear for short or Bear-ba-loo for long, and she was most recently TBCTotal Best Cat. She was also, according to my beloved, the Varmint. And, damn it, she was The Venerable Smudge as well.

After we buried her in the garden, we walked around the side of the house and saw an unusual cloud formation above the garage. A couple of soft, blurry clouds, smudged around the edges. If I squint, I can almost imagine it’s a little white moustache floating up there in the sky.


Humans are funny creatures. We fall irrevocably in love with small furry animals and take solace in the random patterns of clouds when our hearts are breaking.

My first cat, now and always. My Smudge. I miss you so much.


My little known feline co-writer.

The Writer and the Critic: Episode 46

The latest episode of our podcast is now available for direct download and streaming from the website or via subscription from iTunes. Feedback is most welcome!

On this episode of The Writer and the Critic your hosts, Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond, open with a brief preamble — or perhaps a pre-ramble — detailing some exciting new developments for next year. They then jump straight into a discussion of the two nominated books, Day Boy by Trent Jamieson [4:20] and Viper Wine by Hermione Eyre [49:10].


For those who want more vampire goodness, the full interview with Trent Jamieson on Fantasy Book Review is well worth a read!

If you’ve skipped ahead to avoid spoilers, please come back at 1:28:40 for final remarks.

For the next episode, Kirstyn has chosen Lament for the Afterlife by Lisa L. Hannett while Ian is recommending Satin Island by Tom McCarthy. Read ahead and join in the spoilerific fun!


The Writer and the Critic: Episode 45

The latest episode of our podcast is now available for direct download and streaming from the website or via subscription from iTunes. Feedback is most welcome!

On this episode of The Writer and the Critic your hosts, Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond, open with a discussion about gender, publishing and awards, focused around the following articles:

They then move on to the two chosen books, The Godless by Ben Peek (31:55) and The Book of the Unnamed Midwife by Meg Elison (1:12:45).

The reviews, blogs and podcasts mentioned during the discussion can be found via the following links:

If you’ve skipped ahead to avoid spoilers, please come back at 1:54:00 for final remarks.

For the next episode, Kirstyn has chosen Day Boy by Trent Jamieson while Ian is recommending Viper Wine by Hermione Eyre. Read ahead and join in the spoilerific fun!



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