Her Words and Worlds (with Book Giveaway!)

Madigan Mine by Kirstyn McDermott

The wonderful and always eloquent Stephanie Gunn has embarked upon an ambitious personal project she calls Her Words and Worlds, wherein she chooses a female author and endeavours not only to read her entire published bibliography — in chronological order — but to write a lengthy and considered review of the body of work at the end of it all.  It’s a brilliant idea which I’m sure which lead to some fascinating overviews and I’m looking forward following her along on her journey.

And, of course, I was delighted and honoured when Stephanie chose me to be first cab off the rank.  She provides very insightful commentary about my work over the years, and I have to admit that the some of the questions she asked me in her follow-up interview really kicked my brain into a higher gear. It was a strange — but very rewarding — experience to be asked reflect upon my own work in such a way and make explicit a lot of ideas and intentions which have always enjoyed a fairly nebulous existence inside my head. Hmm, thoughtful writer is thoughtful.

To top it all off, Stephanie is giving away a copy of my debut novel, Madigan Mine, which I’ll be more than happy to personally sign for the lucky winner. For a chance to win, all you need to do is visit the Her Words and Worlds page and leave a comment. Entries close this Sunday, 7th August.

Here’s a quick taste of what Stephanie can do with a scalpel:

McDermott’s work tends towards the dark and the feminine.  Several themes wind their way through her body of work, including that of the seductress, of romantic obsession, of blood and sex and death.  Many pieces also deal with the nature of art and the artist; these pieces are arguably amongst the strongest of McDermott’s body of work and culminate (thus far) in her debut novel, Madigan Mine.

The next author up for dissection is the frightfully talented Angela Slatter. As a massive admirer of Angela’s short fiction, I await the new installment of Her Words and Worlds with a heightened sense of antici . . . pation.

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Ellen Datlow’s Best Horror of the Year – Honourable Mentions

Ellen Datlow has just published the full list of her Honourable Mentions for Best New Horror of the Year and I’m very pleased to see two stories of mine included:

  • “Monsters Among Us” (Macabre, Brimstone Press)
  • “We All Fall Down” (Aurealis #44)

It’s an impressive tally of stories and one that makes for a most daunting reading list. And it’s also great to see so many Australian writers included — including the horrifyingly brilliant Angela Slatter, who has garnered no less than ten HMs, mostly from her gorgeous collection of reloaded fairy tales, Sourdough. (Have you bought this book yet? No? Really? Really?)

The full list lives here (A-K) and here (K-Z).  Ellen Datlow’s Best New Horror of the Year Vol.3 will be published by Nightshade Books in June 2011.

Bram Stoker Awards Final Ballot

Macabre: a journey though Australia's darkest fears

Wow! The final ballot for the 2010 Bram Stoker Awards has been announced and my novella, “Monsters Among Us”, has been nominated for Superior Achievement in Long Fiction. This comes as a particular surprise, considering it wasn’t actually on the preliminary ballot — the Awards have a jury which can nominate an additional work per category if they feel something has been overlooked.

Also added to the final ballot by the jury was the book in which my story was published — Macabre: A Journey Through Australia’s Darkest Fear edited by Angela Challis and Marty Young. It’s wonderful to see this landmark anthology getting international recognition. Congratulations to Angela and Marty, and to the rest of the Bram Stoker nominees. It is indeed a most impressive list:

Superior Achievement in a NOVEL

HORNS by Joe Hill (William Morrow)
ROT AND RUIN by Jonathan Maberry (Simon & Schuster)
DEAD LOVE by Linda Watanabe McFerrin (Stone Bridge Press)
APOCALYPSE OF THE DEAD by Joe McKinney (Pinnacle)
DWELLER by Jeff Strand (Leisure/Dark Regions Press)
A DARK MATTER by Peter Straub (DoubleDay)

Superior Achievement in a FIRST NOVEL

BLACK AND ORANGE by Benjamin Kane Ethridge (Bad Moon Books)
A BOOK OF TONGUES by Gemma Files (Chizine Publications)
CASTLE OF LOS ANGELES by Lisa Morton (Gray Friar Press)
SPELLBENT by Lucy Snyder (Del Rey)

Superior Achievement in LONG FICTION

THE PAINTED DARKNESS by Brian James Freeman (Cemetery Dance)
DISSOLUTION by Lisa Mannetti (Deathwatch)
MONSTERS AMONG US by Kirstyn McDermott (Macabre: A Journey through Australia’s Darkest Fears)
THE SAMHANACH by Lisa Morton (Bad Moon Books)
INVISIBLE FENCES by Norman Prentiss (Cemetery Dance)

Superior Achievement in SHORT FICTION

RETURN TO MARIABRONN by Gary Braunbeck (Haunted Legends)
THE FOLDING MAN by Joe R. Lansdale (Haunted Legends)
1925: A FALL RIVER HALLOWEEN by Lisa Mannetti (Shroud Magazine #10)
IN THE MIDDLE OF POPLAR STREET by Nate Southard (Dead Set: A Zombie Anthology)
FINAL DRAFT by Mark W. Worthen (Horror Library IV)

Superior Achievement in an ANTHOLOGY

DARK FAITH edited by Maurice Broaddus and Jerry Gordon (Apex Publications)
HORROR LIBRARY IV edited by R.J. Cavender and, Boyd E. Harris (Cutting Block Press)
MACABRE: A JOURNEY THROUGH AUSTRALIA’S DARKEST FEARS edited by Angela Challis and Marty Young (Brimstone Press)
HAUNTED LEGENDS edited by Ellen Datlow and Nick Mamatas (Tor)
THE NEW DEAD edited by Christopher Golden (St. Martin’s Griffin)

Superior Achievement in a COLLECTION

OCCULTATION by Laird Barron (Night Shade Books)
BLOOD AND GRISTLE by Michael Louis Calvillo (Bad Moon Books)
FULL DARK, NO STARS by Stephen King (Simon and Schuster)
THE ONES THAT GOT AWAY by Stephen Graham Jones (Prime Books)
A HOST OF SHADOWS by Harry Shannon (Dark Regions Press)

Superior Achievement in NONFICTION

TO EACH THEIR DARKNESS by Gary A. Braunbeck (Apex Publications)
THE CONSPIRACY AGAINST THE HUMAN RACE by Thomas Ligotti (Hippocampus Press)
WANTED UNDEAD OR ALIVE by Jonathan Maberry and Janice Gable Bashman (Citadel)
LISTEN TO THE ECHOES: THE RAY BRADBURY INTERVIEWS by Sam Weller (Melville House Publications)

Superior Achievement in a POETRY collection

DARK MATTERS by Bruce Boston (Bad Moon Books)
WILD HUNT OF THE STARS by Ann K. Schwader (Sam’s Dot)
DIARY OF A GENTLEMAN DIABOLIST by Robin Spriggs (Anomalous Books)
VICIOUS ROMANTIC by Wrath James White (Bandersnatch Books)

The winners will be announced in June 2011 over the Stoker Weekend.

Twelve Planets (and two reviews)

Twelfth Planet Press

This is something I’ve necessarily been keeping under my hat for a while, but now I am very proud to report the following update regarding the Twelve Planets series forthcoming from Twelve Planets Press:

Who Are the Twelve Planets?

Margo Lanagan, Lucy Sussex, Rosaleen Love, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Deborah Biancotti, Kaaron Warren, Cat Sparks, Sue Isle, Kirstyn McDermott, Narrelle M Harris, Thoraiya Dyer, Stephanie Campisi.

What Are the Twelve Planets?

The Twelve Planets are twelve boutique collections by some of Australia’s finest short story writers. Varied across genre and style, each collection will offer four short stories and a unique glimpse into worlds fashioned by some of our favourite storytellers. Each author has taken the brief of 4 stories and up to 40 000 words in their own direction. Some are quartet suites of linked stories. Others are tasters of the range and style of the writer. Each release will bring something unexpected to our subscriber’s mailboxes.

When Are the Twelve Planets

The Twelve Planets will spread over 2011 and 2012, with six books released between February and November each year. The first three titles will be Nightsiders by Sue Isle (March), Love and Romanpunk by Tansy Rayner Roberts (May) and the third collection will be by Lucy Sussex (July).

How to Receive the Twelve Planets

The Twelve Planets will be available for purchase in several ways:

  • Single collections will be priced at $20/$23 International each including postage.
  • A season’s pass will offer the three collections of the season for $50/$65 International including postage and each sent out on release.
  • Full subscriptions to the series are $180/$215 International including postage and each sent out on release.

More information relating to upgrades, ebooks and distribution will be made available in due course. Please visit the Twelfth Planet Press website for more details.

In other news, two short stories of mine have garnered brief but satisfying mentions in reviews this month.

Scenes from the Second Storey (edited by Amanda Pillar and Pete Kempshall) received a lengthy and very positive write-up on HorrorScope in which Shane Jiraiya Cummings notes:

She Said” by Kirstyn McDermott is another standout, an almost painfully personal sketch of an artist, Josh, and his girlfriend, Mallory. There are strong surrealistic touches in this story, but unlike other, more bizarre tales, “She Said” is held together with well-realised characters and an internally consistent world. As McDermott says in her afterword, this story is about “masochistic muses”. There is a thread of need pervading this story, and that neediness feels dirty, both for the characters and the reader. Darkness doesn’t get much more personal than this.

Also in Horrorscope, the anthology Macabre (edited By Angela Challis and Marty Young) is highly recommended by Tony Owens who says of my piece:

Kirstyn McDermott’s story of Melbourne goths and a nasty little secret, “Monsters Among Us”, has the virtue of sounding like the author had eavesdropped on a real group of people. The dialogue has an exciting verisimiltude that is sometimes lacking in dark fiction.

And that’s probably more than enough preening for one day! Back to the bunker, McDermott.