Because on the interwebs, everyone can hear you scream

Here’s my advice for today:

Should you decide to write a young adult fantasy novel set in modern day Turkey and you are not Turkish and/or do not live in Turkey and/or have not spent a considerable amount of time in Turkey taking careful note of your surroundings, then please make use of the wonders of the interwebs to do some basic fact-checking. You know, like the capital of the country. That sort of thing.

Because, should you decide not to do said research and instead go ahead and publish your book in its geographically and culturally error-riddled state, it is bound to get read and reviewed on said interwebs by someone who is Turkish and who is also quite happy to point out the problems your book has in this area. They will probably be a little miffed, especially if they have looked forward to reading your book specifically because it was set in Turkey. Consequently, their review will not be glowing.

Should this happen, please be professional and refrain from responding to said review in any way. This not only draws attention to it, but makes you look petulent and condescending. Especially when you insist on pointing out that you obviously know more about Turkey than someone who is actually Turkish . . . or even someone who isn’t Turkish but does have access to the interwebs.

However, should you decide that such a response to said review is absolutely necessary, then please write it under your own name. Do not, under any circumstances, reply to the reviewer (let alone carry on an entire conversation!) using a pseudonym and claiming to be your own editor. Especially when you have previously used said pseudonym to give glowing reviews to your own books. When you are found out — and you will be found out — you will look like a dick.

And the interwebs will resound with the sound of your fail.

That is all.


Shave an Editor, Help Fight Cancer

Russell B Farr

Russell at AussieCon4

This will indeed be a sight to behold!

Russell B. Farr of Ticonderoga Publications is pledging to shave off his lovely red locks along with — gasp — his beard to help raise funds for the ACT Eden Monaro Cancer Support Group.

Russell says:

The ACT Eden Monaro Cancer Support Group have given my mum a great deal of support. The work they are doing is first rate. It isn’t easy being in Perth while she battles cancer in NSW, and to have this support group helping her when I can’t be there is a great relief.

To show my appreciation for this I am prepared to look like an idiot.

If you look at the photo, you can see that I’m looking rather hairy. When I reach my target, I’ll shave it all off – that is beard and hair.

While I’m hoping to reach my target by 1 November, I’d like to reach this earlier if possible. This will give me time to grow some hair back before I visit mum again in December (she doesn’t like shaved heads).

Click the button below to visit the official donation page:


Donate what you can or simply leave a message of support. It’s a very worthy cause. Plus, you know, Russell Farr sans hair — who doesn’t want to see that?

Macabre on ABC Radio

Macabre: a journey though Australia's darkest fears

Brisbane writers Gary Kemble, Will Elliot and Stephen Irwin were interviewed by Richard Fidler on ABC Brisbane radio a couple of days ago. I missed it live on air, so it’s great to see that the audio file is now available to download online. The guys talk about the Brimstone Press anthology, Macabre: A Journey Through Australia’s Darkest Fears, as well as their own writing and horror fiction in general. Well worth a listen!

Macabre is an impressive anthology, showcasing a variety of Australian writers both past and present, and I’m very proud to have a story — “Monsters Among Us” — included within its dark-tinged pages. If you’re at all interested in horror and dark fantasy fiction, especially that with a decidedly Australian flavour, then this book really should be sitting on your shelves.

Valé Sappho


January 1998 ~ September 2010

my darling Sappho

the sweetest
most good-natured cat
I have ever known.

You will be missed
and loved

Sleep now
safe in the earth
and dream
the stars.


Not so much breaking news . . .

. . . as a handful of notable events that have happened over the past month. Old news, most likely, but I still like to keep a record of such things here if only for my own edification.

The 2010 Ditmar Awards for Australian SF were announced at the Australian National Science Fiction Convention, NatCon-Dudcon III, on 3rd September (the Friday night of WorldCon). It was a pleasure to see a whole bunch of very deserving people take home a shiny trophy. The full list of winners and nominees are on the Locus Website. It makes for a very fine reading/viewing list indeed!

The 2010 Hugo Awards were also announced at WorldCon, with the ceremony taking place on Sunday, 5th September.  Australian author and gentleman Garth Nix did a superb job as Master of Ceremonies, and the entire event was streamed live and now can be viewed online. The full list of winners and nominees are on the AussieCon4 website — congratulations to everyone!

Ticonderoga Publications have announced the first in an ongoing annual series of Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror, to be edited by Liz Grzyb and Talie Helene. Hopefully, this series will fill a void left by the untimely end of the Brimstone Press “best of” collection, Australian Dark Fantasy and Horror, while expanding the boundaries into other areas of the fantasy genre. The first volume will cover stories published in 2010, and will be published in June 2011. Full submission guidelines can be found here.

Finally, I’m extremely excited to learn that Ticonderoga will also be publishing Adelaide author Lisa Hannett’s debut short story collection in July 2011. Bluegrass Symphony promises us cowboys and fallow fields, shapeshifters and rednecks, superstitions and realities in harsh prairie country — and a whole bunch of other things thrown in the mix. Lisa is a brilliant writer and I can’t wait to get my hands on this book!

Now we are sick

Has it really been a month since my last post? Yes, yes I believe it has. I’ve been on the road for most of that month, travelling to Adelaide, Noosa, Brisbane and Sydney, with a stop back in Melbourne for WorldCon somewhere in the middle of all that. And I am sick with one of the worst cases of flu I’ve ever had. Three visits to three different GPs in three different cities and my ears are still blocked with fluid. Seriously, it’s been like living underwater for the last couple of weeks, except without the wrinkly fingers and toes. But enough talk of illness.  Instead, let’s have a whirlwind catch-me-up for all that’s happened in the past month combined with a mammoth Closing of Tabs Session. Buckle up, dearhearts, I shall be using bullet points . . .

  • Adelaide. Flew over, drove back with a couple carloads of friends through the Barossa and along the Great Ocean Road. Bought and drank lots of wine. My beloved started to get ill somewhere in the middle. Hmm, pre-WorldConFlu?
  • Melbourne, WorldCon. Lots and lots of fun, for the most part. Spoke on scheduled panels about horror, Australian Gothic, vampires and 3D cinema. Was shanghaied onto a very cool panel about gender and sexuality by innocently asking a question from the audience. Sat in on other panels of varying interest, attended a few delightful book launches, swanked around at a couple of parties (thanks Voyager and Orbit!), drank far too much with lots of lovely people in the Hilton Bar. Was hit by The Flu Truck on the Monday morning of the Con, and have been struggling through various degrees of ickiness ever since. Thus ends my Con Report. It’s not much of a Con Report, but hell. I’m in not much of a state for reportage right now. Other people have been far more fluent and effusive than I would be. Google them.
  • Noosa. Supposed writers retreat with a swag of clever and talented people, including Jack Dann and Rob Shearman in the role of Tutors Extraordinaire. Spent three days in spent instead, curled up with antibiotics, tissues, codral and neurofen (yes, yes, I know about the risk of strokes associated with that latter, conveniently announced just when I needed it most; do not email me). Managed to drag myself from the plague house long enough to socialise a little and have a novella critted. For extra special fun, spent one day with conjunctivitis. Not. Pretty. Have never been so Not Pretty in my life. Bought a new black dress as we were leaving Noosa to cheer myself up. Partially worked.
  • Brisbane. Signed some books for folks at Pulp Fiction, left more signed copies in Dymocks in the Queen Street Mall (just in case anyone’s interested). Sick and mostly still deaf with ongoing tinnitus. Caught up with some lovely people for dinner and did not drink alcohol. Apparently, this is possible.
  • Sydney. Very worried about how ears would cope with flight so procured EarPlanes to help equalise pressure.  Amazing little things. No pain at all. Considered having a first born just so I can call her/him EarPlane. Lunch with my publisher and editor. Was assured that extension of deadline for Novel the Second would not be a big deal. Was told that the creative process should not be rushed. I heart my publisher. Very, very much. Caught up with other writerly friends at my agent’s annual seminar and dinner event. Managed to give a brief scheduled talk without coughing up a lung, although it was touch and go there for a bit. It was a fun trip, in a weird, too-sick-too-care-about-being-too-sick kind of way.

Now I’m back home. Still sick, as is my beloved. But we’re getting slowly better and hopefully the latest round of medication prescribed by our Melbourne GP will finally kick this thing in the guts once and for all. And I’ve just realised that this post has gone on for far too long, and that it’s been pretty much all about being sick, and that I’m yet to close a single tab. Blurgh, redux. My apologies if you actually made it this far — my next post will contain something a bit more substantial. Promise.