Recent Travel Adventures

Hiker admires the view in You Yangs Regional Park

Hiking the You Yangs Regional Park

The You Yangs Regional Park rises starkly out of flat farmland. It’s a massive rock formation, Flinders Peak appearing in the distance on the way from Melbourne to Geelong. The You Yangs offers some of the best peak views in Melbourne, and the hike to the top is not difficult for people with a good […]

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Statue at 1000 Steps Kokoda Track Memorial Walk

1000 Steps Uphill - Hiking the Kokoda Track Memorial Walk

1000 steps and I’m at the bottom of them, along with women clad in fluorescent active wear, hikers hauling weighted training packs and dads carrying kids. The Kokoda Track Memorial Walk, popularly called the 1000 Steps, is a short but steep walk in the Dandenong Ranges, Melbourne.

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Writing Advice

Jock Serong, Kat Clay, Emma Viskic, Andrew Nette, Iain Ryan (below), Liam Jose, Leigh Redhead

Sometimes it's hard to keep writing. Then there are weeks like this.

It’s a hard slog being a writer. No matter what form you practice, rejection becomes a part of life. You’re constantly slapped in the face with your apparent failures (I say apparent because most rejections are not personal, but it’s hard not to take it personally). 

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Upcoming Appearances: Noir at the Bar and the Science for Science Fiction Conference

I am so excited to have a number of Melbourne appearances in March and April. I’ll be speaking alongside some incredible Australian authors. Whether your interest is in crime or science fiction, there’s something for everyone. 

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Photography Tips

Light travel backpack and camera bag

Travelling light as a photographer (no zip-off pants allowed)

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.

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footscray new years eve fireworks

How to take photos of fireworks

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 […]

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Recent Posts

Blanket Bay

Hiking the Great Ocean Walk – What You Need to Know

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.

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Organ Pipes National Park

Hiking Organ Pipes National Park – Photos

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.

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And then book cover

And Then… the Great Big Book of Awesome Adventure Tales Vol 1 Now Available

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!

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migoals planner

Stop daydreaming and start doing: Setting your creative goals

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.

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pile of books

The Best Genre Books I read in 2016

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).

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Fireworks in Melbourne

24 Hours in Melbourne

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).

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World Fantasy Convention Panel

Notes from the World Fantasy Convention 2016

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.

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World Fantasy Convention Program

World Fantasy Convention 2016 Wrap up

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.

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Glass bottle in front of bookshelf

How I wrote a novel in nine months

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.

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Books on chaotic London

Chaotic London: August Reads 2016

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.

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Melbourne City of Literature

Walking the Melbourne City of Literature in Pictures – Part I

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.

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manuscript word

How to manage and format your book manuscript in Word

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.

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neon noir books

Neon Noir: Limbo, Leviathan Wakes and Phonogram Review

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.

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Continuum 12 Conbook

Fans, dragons and point and click adventure games: Continuum 12 Wrap-Up

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.

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Continuum 12

Continuum 12 – Stranger than Fiction Panels

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.

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Aurealis Awards

Contact 2016 Natcon Wrap Up

Kat Clay

Loving the red lipstick! Me getting ready for the Aurealis Awards

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.

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Coloured pencils and pen

How To Be Creative (When You’re Not A Creative Person)

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.

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Why comparing yourself to everyone else is stupid

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.

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Hardboiled Holmes: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Valley of Fear

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.

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