Some months, there’s a unifying theme to the good books I read. And sometimes, you get a femme fatale, gymnastics parents, samurais, private eye cats and Jane Austen.
Recent Travel Adventures
The Great Ocean Walk runs along the southern coast of Victoria, Australia. Despite a couple of steep sections, the short days and well-marked trail make it a scenic and relaxed hike, suitable for hikers getting their first taste of long distance walks. You’ll pass through the green forests of the Otways to the rugged coast, […]Read More ›
It’s been a tough couple of weeks for me, and I always know that when everything feels overwhelming the best thing for me is to get back into nature. I’d been meaning to visit Organ Pipes National Park for ages – it’s only a half-hour drive from my house, and it’s got one of the […]Read More ›
With the recently released And Then… anthology chock full of amazing Aussie authors, I couldn’t resist drawing on their collective writing knowledge. I asked them for their best short story tips and they delivered!Read More ›
I’m stoked to be in my first anthology ever with some amazing Australian authors! And Then… the Great Big Book of Awesome Adventure Tales Vol 1 is now available as an e-book, with paperback to come. It includes my short story, In the Company of Rogues, a satire on all the tropes in the epic […]Read More ›
Two and a half weeks with only cabin baggage sounds terrifying to most people. And it’s exactly what I’m doing tomorrow morning. I’m flying off to the States with only a small backpack and my camera satchel.Read More ›
Over the new year I always love to take photos of fireworks. Nothing says celebration like a giant fireworks explosion! It was my first new year in Melbourne, so I sought out a great spot to take pictures in Footscray, watching both the 9:30pm fireworks in Footscray and the midnight fireworks over the city. My […]Read More ›
The Great Ocean Walk runs along the southern coast of Victoria, Australia. Despite a couple of steep sections, the short days and well-marked trail make it a scenic and relaxed hike, suitable for hikers getting their first taste of long distance walks. You’ll pass through the green forests of the Otways to the rugged coast, past some of Australia’s most well-known landmarks.
It’s been a tough couple of weeks for me, and I always know that when everything feels overwhelming the best thing for me is to get back into nature. I’d been meaning to visit Organ Pipes National Park for ages – it’s only a half-hour drive from my house, and it’s got one of the few examples of these special basalt stone structures in Australia, formed from volcanic lava which has shrunk and cracked over millions of years.
With the recently released And Then… anthology chock full of amazing Aussie authors, I couldn’t resist drawing on their collective writing knowledge. I asked them for their best short story tips and they delivered!
I’m stoked to be in my first anthology ever with some amazing Australian authors! And Then… the Great Big Book of Awesome Adventure Tales Vol 1 is now available as an e-book, with paperback to come. It includes my short story, In the Company of Rogues, a satire on all the tropes in the epic fantasy genre. Randall the Rogue has contracted a carnally transmitted illness from too much ‘rogueing’. Together with his sidekick, Dennis the Budgerigar of Doom, he goes on a quest find the cure, fight half-elves in chain mail bikinis, battle necromantic skeletons, and potentially fall in love.
I would love it if you bought the book, wrote a review or spread the word about this fantastic genre anthology. Melbourne launch dates are to come!
If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say “I’d love to do xyz, but I don’t have [insert excuse here]” I wouldn’t need to work.
I can count on one hand the number of people in my university classes who stuck with film-making and writing. I was one of them. Now I earn my whole income from creativity, whether that’s producing videos, photography or writing.
Well this is the tough love blog post for the start of 2017.
Each year I take some time to reflect on the books I’ve read throughout the year. I read 67 books in 2016, which is a recent record for me. You can see almost all of them on Goodreads, but I wanted to highlight some of the special ones in my unofficial awards below. These books are from all different publication years, not just 2016. And as for my personal tastes, I only really read genre fiction (apart from the intriguing non-fiction books).
With a thriving café scene, arts culture and festivals every other week, it’s no wonder Melbourne’s been dubbed the world’s most liveable city six years in a row!
After a two-year round the world trip I made Melbourne my home and I reckon it’s one of the best places in the world (not biased or anything). There’s so much to do in this city, so here are my very top tips for spending 24 hours in Melbourne. I’ll give you the things I love doing as a local. None of this tourist stuff (okay some tourist stuff, but it’s cool tourist stuff).
If you’ve seen me scrawling down notes (or in recent times, typing) at a con, you’ll know I take a lot of notes in panels. I’m interested in what people say and it helps me engage with the content. I also love to share this information, especially for people who can’t make the conventions. So here are my notes from the World Fantasy Convention 2016. Where possible I’ve attributed the thoughts to the relevant person, but sometimes it’s a whole group discussion.
I’ve just got back from a two week trip in the US which included attending the World Fantasy Convention. I had a great time catching up with friends, meeting other authors and attending panels. Unfortunately I won’t be going back to the World Fantasy Convention for a while, mainly because I can barely afford one international convention a year and I might be going to Worldcon in Helsinki next year.
Two and a half weeks with only cabin baggage sounds terrifying to most people. And it’s exactly what I’m doing tomorrow morning. I’m flying off to the States with only a small backpack and my camera satchel.
At the start of the year I wrote about my goal to write a novel in a year. I’ve just finished the first draft, all in the space of nine months. I’m not the world’s fastest writer, nor am I the slowest. But the point is, I have 250 pages of work which make sense from start to finish.
I wanted to share some of the things I’ve learned in the last nine months of writing.
Every month I find myself meandering around a theme in my reading. Somehow all the books manage to link to each other via their subject matter. This month, most of the books revolved around the theme of anarchy and the world in chaos, especially in London. There’s something about this city which has attracted revolutionaries since its foundation, whether in Guy Fawkes or his various literary incarnations.
What better day than National Bookshop Day to start walking the Melbourne City of Literature? With my trusty literary companion, Edie Hawthorn, we set out to visit as many bookstores as we could in a three hour period (less than we thought, given how much time we spend in bookstores). But this is only the first part of a multi-part adventure – think Indiana Jones in a bookstore – as we try to go to all the bookstores in Melbourne in the upcoming months.
Yes, I get excited about software. I am a self-confessed nerd. Microsoft Word is my go to program for all my fiction writing needs. But sometimes it’s hard to figure out how you should format and manage your manuscript, especially if you’re new to this writing gig. I’m going to go through my process of setting up my documents, and how I use Office to manage big novels with large chapter structures, as well as my research and notes that go with it.
In June I read a bunch of neon noir books and comics, including Limbo, Leviathan Wakes and Phonogram. Inspired by 80s aesthetic, neon noir embraces the big, bold themes of the decade with the shoulder pads to match. There’s a reason why it’s often linked with supernatural or science fiction themes, given the number of great dark SF films which came out of the period – think Robocop, Aliens and of course, Blade Runner.
It’s taken me about a week to recover from Continuum 12 and I thought I better write this up otherwise I’d put it off until next year. It was the first time I sat on the committee for a convention (I only went to my first con two years ago and now I’m kinda addicted). So it was a really different experience for me sitting behind the reg desk, rather than just going to panels and lurking in the bar with other authors.
I’m so excited about this year’s Continuum speculative fiction convention in Melbourne. I’ve been on the committee to help organise this year’s event, and the programming looks fantastic. There’s a great range of topics and creators speaking this year. If you’re in town for the long weekend, why not come along and check it out? Friday night is open to all for the cost of a gold coin.
After a huge weekend at the Australian Natcon, I’ve had some time to recover from what was an epic four days. It was great to catch up with some old friends and meet some new ones. After being in the fan scene for a couple of years now, I’m feeling much more at home at conventions. The Guests of Honour, Ben Aaronovich, Jill Pantozzi, Keri Arthur and Maria Lewis, were all incredibly entertaining. I don’t think I’ve laughed this much at a convention, especially at the fan fund auction where you could even bid on a piece of string.
Have you ever said to yourself, I’d love to be creative, but I’m just not that sort of person?
As a full-time creative professional, I hear this wish expressed all the time. I wish I was creative. I wish I could do what you do. Creativity can seem like the daunting domain of people with funky dress sense and hipster glasses. Of course, I don’t believe there’s a line between creative and non-creative people. It’s not like there’s a secret creative land where all the artists, writers and photographers live, and non-creative land for everyone else.
I was having one of those days. Sitting there writing, thinking that even if I write and write and write, I’ll never be as good as [insert author name here].
Funnily enough, it seems like a bunch of other writers were having those days too. I checked into social media, where at least three author friends were feeling down about their progress in their writing career. Most of us don’t have a huge fan base to build us back up with praise. The comments sections lie empty on blogs.
In researching a new novel, I stumbled across a curious tidbit within The Scientific Sherlock Holmes by James O’Brien. It briefly mentioned The Valley of Fear, one of the four Sherlock Holmes novels, as an early precursor to the hardboiled novel. Intrigued as Holmes coming across a mystery, I immediately sought out the story. I’m a perpetual dabbler in Sherlock Holmes – I’ve read and enjoyed many, but not all of the stories.
Since I was a teenager, I wanted to be the lead singer in a rock and roll band. It was something about watching Renee Zellweger rocking out on the top of Empire Records that did it for me. Everything in that moment was thrown to the wind in the name of music. The movie finished, but life goes on.
It’s been a month since I got back from New York and I’ve finally had a chance to read through all my notes from the World Fantasy Convention. I travelled there with a grant from the Melbourne UNESCO City of Literature, and part of my grant was to bring knowledge back to writers in Melbourne. So I thought it would be useful to type up all my notes (at least the interesting ones) from some of the panels. Hopefully these contain some ideas and book recommendations for your own writing.
There’s an undeniable attraction for writers to New York City. Whether it’s the conglomeration of culture, the proportion of publishers or just the way the city has featured in so many art forms. Walking New York is like being in an artwork itself. The buildings are the paintings, the streets the galleries. Having been to the city twice, I spent a week after the World Fantasy Convention exploring and revisiting some of my favourite destinations.
The scales were hard under my fingers, but after 120 million years, I still expected to feel some of the softness of a live fish. And yet, here I was, in the presence of possibly the oldest thing I had ever touched, apart from the Earth which I walk upon. While children ran around, shouting in joy at the dinosaur skeletons, I took a moment to stop and think, this is where I am, and it is a small place indeed.
In which Kat discusses the World Fantasy Convention, writerly adventures and the joys of bagels.
It’s been an intense, insane weekend and I’ve finally had time to sit down and collect my thoughts. Last weekend I attended the World Fantasy Convention for the first time. It was a fantastic experience, one of those defining moments in a writing career, especially being in the early days of my publishing journey.