“She Said” now on Audio over at Pseudopod

I’m crazy-busy getting ready for Continuum and our triple podcast recordings this week — whoever thought that was a good idea? — but I had to pop in and let you all know that my short story, “She Said”, has been recorded by the the good people over at Pseudopod: the sound of horror and is now available for downloading and streaming. Or if you’re already a subscriber to Pseudopod, no doubt it will be queued up and waiting for you.

“She Said” is still one of my personal favourites and Christopher Reynaga did a brilliant job of bringing it dramatically to life for audio.  It was admittedy a little weird at first to hear the narrator’s voice with an American accent — the story is written in first person — when Josh has always been very much a Melbourne boy in my head! But it was truly fascinating to hear a different interpretation of my words, with different inflections and speech patterns. I’m very grateful to Pseudopod both for accepting the story and for producing it so professionally. If you get a chance to have a listen, I hope you enjoy it.

The story was originally published in Scenes from the Second Storey (ed. Amanda Pillar & Pete Kempshall, Morrigan Books, 2010), and subsequently won both a Ditmar Award and an Australian Shadows Award. It has been reprinted in The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror (ed. Talie Helene & Liz Gryzb, Ticonderoga Publications, 2011).

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Pseudopod

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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.

My ‘Meet the Writer’ Interview at Read Horror

It’s been quiet around here lately, mainly because I’ve been a) wrestling with a new computer, and b) wrestling with my novel. More of the former this past week, unfortunately! But I am getting the words down and I expect a massive boost from Rabbit Hole this weekend. I’m not insane enough to set myself the 30,000 words target, but I am trying for 10,000 over three days — which is near warp speed for me considering my obsessive, stitch-in-time, edit-as-I-g0 process. I’ll report back next week on how I did. See, accountability!

In the meantime, here’s an interview I did for Michael Wilson for Read Horror. I enjoyed answering the questions, even though I did find the one asking why people should read my work to be a particular challenge. Obviously, I need to get better at the whole self-promotion thing. You know, being able to publicly acknowledge that my writing is actually good and that people might actually enjoy reading it. I’m pretty crap at that. Of course, “enjoy” is such a relative term . . .

Right, back to the words.

SwanCon, MegaPodcasts and Ditmar Awards

SwanCon36 was a wonderful convention and merriment was had by all. I was on a lot of panels and even managed to sit in the audience for quite a few that I wasn’t involved with — which doesn’t always happen, depending on how busy I am catching up with people and how good the bar is (and it was a very good bar). My program highlights were seeing Kaaron Warren interview Ellen Datlow — it was more of a friendly conversation — as well as being on a very lively discussion panel with Kaaron, Ellen and Paul Haines called “Darkness Beyond Borders”. Heaps of fantastic audience involvement and fascinating debate about horror and dark fiction, where the genre fits and how it bleeds into the mainstream. The live Galactic Suburbia podcast was also a lot of fun to watch and there were quite a few enthusiastic discussions over the weekend — on and off the program — concerning eBooks and social media. Much food for thought!

Speaking of podcasts, Jonathan Strahan from Coode Street, Helen Merrick from Pangalactic Interwebs, Alex Pierce from Galactic Suburbia and my own good self got together to record a live SwanCon MegaPodcast on the Friday afternoon. You can download or stream it from The Writer and the Critic, and the others will no doubt have their own links floating about the place in due course. It was a blast and gave me a welcome practice run for recording W&C with Ian live at Continuum 7 in June.

On Sunday afternoon Ticonderoga Publications threw a 15th Birthday celebration and launched their two newest anthologies, More Scary Kisses and Dead Red Heart. There were yummy cupcakes and fine wine and some heart-fluttery readings — I read an extract from “Frostbitten”, the story I have in More Scary Kisses, although I had to make a last minute switch when I saw there were kids in the room! Ticonderoga has been releasing some remarkable books in the last few years, with more exciting titles to come. I’m particularly looking forward to Bluegrass Symphony by Lisa L. Hannett, due for release later this year.

Ditmar Award 2011

Because SwanCon36 was also the 50th National Science Fiction Convention, the Ditmar Awards were presented on the Sunday night. I’m extremely proud to report that “She Said” (my piece from Scenes from the Second Storey) tied for Best Short Story with “All the Love in the World” by Cat Sparks. Cat’s story is brilliant and Sprawl, the Twelfth Planet Press anthology in which it was published, also won Best Collected Work. Twelfth Planet did extremely well at the awards overall which just goes to show what a powerhouse it has truly become in SpecFic publishing.  It’s worth pointing out that TTP doesn’t just publish traditional print books, but is also heavily involved in new media production, with Galactic Suburbia and the ASiF review website being well represented in the awards:

  • Best Novel: Power and Majesty, Tansy Rayner Roberts (HarperVoyager)
  • Best Novella or Novelette: “The Company Articles of Edward Teach”, Thoraiya Dyer (Twelfth Planet Press)
  • Best Short Story (tie): “All the Love in the World”, Cat Sparks (Sprawl, Twelfth Planet Press) & “She Said”, Kirstyn McDermott (Scenes From the Second Storey, Morrigan Books)
  • Best Collected Work: Sprawl, Alisa Krasnostein, ed. (Twelfth Planet Press)
  • Best Artwork: “The Lost Thing” short film (Passion Pictures) Andrew Ruhemann & Shaun Tan
  • Best Fan Writer: Alexandra Pierce, for body of work including reviews at Australian Speculative Fiction in Focus (Twelfth Planet Press)
  • Best Fan Artist: Amanda Rainey, for Swancon 36 logo
  • Best Fan Publication in Any Medium: Galactic Suburbia podcast, Alisa Krasnostein, Tansy Rayer Roberts, & Alex Pierce  (Twelfth Planet Press)
  • Best Achievement: Alisa Krasnostein, Kathryn Linge, Rachel Holkner, Alexandra Pierce, Tansy Rayner Roberts, & Tehani Wessely, Snapshot 2010
  • Best New Talent: Thoraiya Dyer
  • William Atheling Jr Award for Criticism or Review: Tansy Rayner Roberts, for “A Modern Woman’s Guide to Classic Who”

Locus has published the full list of Ditmar nominees and winners, as well as the results of the Tin Ducks and the other awards presented at SwanCon over here. Congratulations to everyone!

Now I’m back home and very tired, but also very much looking forward to the next time I get to hang out with the fine folks that make up the Australian speculative fiction community. Enthusiasm! Creativity! Gin and tonic! What more can you ask from a long weekend?

Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2010

Year's Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2010

Ticonderoga Publications has just announced the contents for its inaugural volume of The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror.

Edited by Liz Grzyb and Talie Helene, the anthology weighs in at a mighty 150,000 words and collects 33 of the best stories published last year  — and I’m very pleased to report that my own “She Said” has been selected to appear within its pages. It will also include a review of 2010 and a list of recommended works.

In alphabetical order of the author, the stories to be included are as follows:

RJ Astruc: “Johnny and Babushka”
Peter M Ball: “L’esprit de L’escalier”
Alan Baxter: “The King’s Accord”
Jenny Blackford: “Mirror”
Gitte Christensen: “A Sweet Story”
Matthew Chrulew: “Schubert By Candlelight”
Bill Congreve: “Ghia Likes Food”
Rjurik Davidson: “Lovers In Caeli-Amur”
Felicity Dowker: “After the Jump”
Dale Elvy: “Night Shift”
Jason Fischer: “The School Bus”
Dirk Flinthart: “Walker”
Bob Franklin: “Children’s Story”
Christopher Green: “Where We Go To Be Made Lighter”
Paul Haines: “High Tide At Hot Water Beach”
Lisa L. Hannett: “Soil From My Fingers”
Stephen Irwin: “Hive”
Gary Kemble: “Feast Or Famine”
Pete Kempshall: “Brave Face”
Tessa Kum: “Acception”
Martin Livings: “Home”
Maxine McArthur: “A Pearling Tale”
Kirstyn McDermott: “She Said”
Andrew McKiernan: “The Memory Of Water”
Ben Peek: “White Crocodile Jazz”
Simon Petrie: “Dark Rendezvous”
Lezli Robyn: “Anne-droid of Green Gables”
Angela Rega: “Slow Cookin’ ”
Angela Slatter: “The Bone Mother”
Angela Slatter & Lisa L Hannett: “The February Dragon”
Grant Stone: “Wood”
Kaaron Warren: “That Girl”
Janeen Webb: “Manifest Destiny”

The Year’s Best is due for release in June 2011 and is available for pre-order here. Look at that TOC! Look at that gorgeous cover! Go on, you know you want it!

Australian Shadows Award winners announced!

AHWA

I awoke this morning to the wonderful news that my short story, “She Said” (from Scenes from the Second Storey), has won an Australian Shadows Award! I think this is one of the best stories I’ve written and I’m so very, very pleased to see it recognised.

This annual literary award is presented by the Australian Horror Writers Association and is judged on the overall effect – the skill, delivery, and lasting resonance – of horror fiction written or edited by an Australian.

From the Judge’s report:

The story that resonated the most with me, and which came back to me at odd hours of the day for a week after reading, was Kirstyn McDermott’s “She Said.” McDermott’s story embodies all the qualities of the others: sadness, cruelty, bizarreness, and originality. Her imagery is deeply disturbing because it seems so right in the story. She has created a man so evil, so foul, and yet so attractive and lovable that I was conflicted as I read as to whether he was really evil or simply misunderstood. This trick, I think, is what makes McDermott’s story a brilliant one.

If you’d like to read the story for yourself, Morrigan Books has made it available as a free download from their website. The link will only be valid for a limited time in the run up to the Ditmar Awards, for which the story has been nominated. (Also available at that same link is “The Blind Man” by Felicity Dowker, a fellow Ditmar nominee.)

Congratulations to all the Australian Shadows winners and nominees:

LONG FICTION: Under Stones by Bob Franklin (Affirm Press)

Also Nominated:

  • Madigan Mine by Kirstyn McDermott (Picador Australia)
  • The Girl With No Hands by Angela Slatter (Ticonderoga Publications)
  • Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healy (Allen & Unwin)
  • Bleed by Peter M. Ball (Twelfth Planet Press)

EDITED PUBLICATION: Macabre: A Journey through Australia’s Darkest Fears, edited by Angela Challis & Marty Young (Brimstone Press)

Also Nominated:

  • Scenes From The Second Storey, edited by Amanda Pillar & Pete Kempshall (Morrigan Books)
  • Dark Pages 1, edited by Brenton Tomlinson (Blade Red Press)
  • Scary Kisses, edited by Liz Gryzb (Ticonderoga Publications)
  • Midnight Echo #4, edited by Lee Battersby (AHWA)

SHORT FICTION: “She Said” by Kirstyn McDermott (Scenes from the Second Storey)

Also Nominated:

  • “Bread and Circuses” by Felicity Dowker (Scary Kisses)
  • “Brisneyland by Night” by Angela Slatter (Sprawl)
  • “All The Clowns In Clowntown” by Andrew J. McKiernan (Macabre: A Journey through Australia’s Darkest Fears)
  • “Dream Machine” by David Conyers (Scenes from the Second Storey)

As an added sweetener for me, the judge’s report for the Long Fiction category includes a lovely write-up of my novel, Madigan Mine:

Madigan Mine (Kirstyn McDermott) is a truly frightening novel of obsession and the paranormal, related in a recognisably Australian tone. With a gripping plot revolving around destructive relationships, addictive personalities, and genuinely Evil machinations, this novel is absolutely ‘unputdownable’, and may well come to be considered a genre classic against which future Australian dark fiction is judged.

Ah … I’ll be able to bask in the Australian Shadows glow for weeks!

Ditmar Awards Ballot

I need to travel more often. On Tuesday, I got off a plane in Newcastle to hear that my novel, Madigan Mine, had been nominated for an Aurealis Award. Yesterday, while I flew back to Melbourne, the Ditmar Awards finalists were announced and I was welcomed home by news of no less than three nominations!

There was much dancing of a joyful nature. 🙂

Madigan Mine has been nominated for Best Novel while “She Said” is on the ballot for for Best Short Story. And The Writer and the Critic — the podcast I produce with my dear friend Ian Mond (and the Pointy Stick) — also garnered a surprise berth in the Best Fan Publication in Any Medium category. It’s especially interesting to see this latter category dominated by podcasts — five out of the six finalists. Definitely a sign of changing times . . .

Along with the Aurealis Awards shortlist, the Ditmar ballot showcases the very impressive work being produced by the Australian speculative fiction community right now. It’s tremendously exciting to see so many talented people being acknowledged, even if such a strong ballot makes deciding who to vote for that much harder!

The winners of the Ditmar Awards will be announced at SwanCon 36, which doubles at the 50th Australian National SF Convention, over in Perth this Easter. If you’re a member of the convention, or were a member of the 2010 NatCon (DudCon 3), then you’re eligible to vote for this year’s Ditmars.

The full Ditmar ballot can be found here, along with voting information and instructions. If you’re eligible, please take a few minutes to look over the list and cast your vote — you have until Friday, 22nd April 2011.