“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.



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.



Cranky Ladies of History TOC

Cranky Ladies of HistorySuch exciting news! The Table of Contents for Cranky Ladies of History, due to be published by FableCroft next year, has just been officially announced and it is a corker. I am so pleased and proud to have my story, “Mary Mary” — about author, critic, philosopher, and pre-feminist Mary Wollstonescraft — included in the anthology. It’s a very different story to what I’ve written in the past and I suspect I shall pen a brief blog post about it, and about Mary, at some stage in the non-too-distant future, but for now, let’s all just bask in the glow of all these wonderfully cranky ladies of times past:


Author Provisional Title Cranky Lady A little detail…
Joyce Chng “Charmed Life” Leizu Chinese empress who discovered silk
Amanda Pillar “Neter Nefer” Hatshepsut Egyptian ruler
Barbara Robson “Theodora” Theodora, wife of the Byzantine Emperor, Justinian the first Wife of the Byzantine Emperor, Justinian the first
Lisa Hannett “For So Great a Misdeed”  Hallgerðr Höskuldsdóttir Icelandic woman
Garth Nix “The Company of Women” Lady Godiva Anglo-Saxon noblewoman
Juliet Marillier “Hallowed Ground” Hildegard of Bingen German writer, composer, philosopher, Christian mystic, Benedictine abbess, visionary, and polymath
LM Myles “Little Battles” Eleanor of Aquitaine French queen & mother of dynasty
Foz Meadows “Bright Moon” Khutulun Central Asian warrior
Laura Lam “The lioness and her prey” Jeanne de Clisson French pirate
Liz Barr “Queenside” Mary Tudor (Mary I of England) Queen of England
Deborah Biancotti “Look How Cold My Hands Are” Countess Bathory countess from the renowned Báthory family of nobility in the Kingdom of Hungary. She has been labelled the most prolific female serial killer in history
Dirk Flinthart “The gift of freedom” Grace O’Malley Queen of Umaill, chieftain of the Ó Máille clan sometimes known as “The Sea Queen of Connacht”
Faith Mudge “Glorious” Elizabeth I Queen of England
Havva Murat “The Pasha, the girl and the dagger: The story of Nora of Kelmendi” Nora of Kelmendi Albanian warrior
Kirstyn McDermott “Mary Mary” Mary Wollstonecroft English writer, philosopher, and advocate of women’s rights.
Thoraiya Dyer “Vintana” Queen Ranavalona I of Madagascar, also known as Ranavalona the Cruel Queen of Madagascar
Stephanie Lai “The dragon, the terror, the sea” Cheng Shih Chinese pirate
Jane Yolen SACAGAWEA SACAGAWEA Lemhi Shoshone woman, who accompanied the Lewis and Clark Expedition, acting as an interpreter and guide, in their exploration of the Western United States
Kaaron Warren “Another week in the future” Miss CH Spence Scottish-born Australian author, teacher, journalist, politician and leading suffragist.
Sylvia Kelso “Due care and attention” Lilian Cooper British-born Australian doctor
Sandra McDonald “Cora Crane and The Trouble with Me” Cora Crane American businesswoman, nightclub and bordello owner, writer and journalist.
Nisi Shawl “A Beautiful Stream” Colette French novelist and performer
Liz Argall “Oodgeroo is Not Yet Your Name” Oodgeroo Noonuccal Australian poet, political activist, artist and educator.


Open for Submissions

Attention, writerly types! Two exciting new Australian small press anthologies have been announced in the past week with an open call for submissions. Time to get busy and start subbing.

After the Rain (FableCroft Publishing)

FableCroft Publishing seeks original speculative fiction stories between 2000-10000 words on the theme “After the Rain”. The interpretation of the phrase is multi-faceted and may be literal or figurative, but stories must contain some speculative element – science fiction, fantasy and horror, and all sub-strands of these, are welcome.

The After the Rain anthology is intended for adult readers, but the editor is not looking for overt erotica or gratuitous violence that does not advance the story in some way.

Submissions are open to Australian citizens or residents and close October 31, 2010.

Further information and guidelines can be found here.

Dead Red Heart (Ticonderoga Publications)

We all know about vampires, drinking blood, banished by garlic, killed by sunlight or a stake through the heart.

We all know about Australia, the land down under: sand, beaches and lots of sunlight. That splash of red you see could be a world renowned shiraz, or tomato sauce on a meat pie.

Dead Red Heart will be an anthology of Australian vampire stories, showing vampires in Australian settings. It could be the beach, the outback, suburbs or cities. It could be historical or contemporary.

The editor is looking for stories that capture the essence of vampirism and the essence of Australia. Submissions close 1st December, 2010.

Further information and guidelines can be found here.