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

Continuum 13 Convention Program book

Continuum 13 Wrap-up

After every convention I go to, I try to put some meandering brain thoughts into words, so that everyone can partake of the wonder that is a speculative fiction convention. This year Continuum 13 was the Australian National Science Fiction Convention. Last year I’d been on the committee for Continuum, so this year was an entirely […]

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A black cat lazes on concrete

Upcoming appearances: Continuum 13

Heading into the Queen’s Birthday long weekend is always an exciting time in Melbourne, because it means it’s Continuum time! *Waves arms in excitement*

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Photography Tips

hiking the Overland Track with a heavy backpack

What camera should I take on a multi-day hike?

When you have to carry all your own gear, it can be really hard to figure out what camera to take on a multi-day hike. That 70-300mm lens sounded like a great idea at the time, but after four days of trekking the extra weight really adds up. I’ve just got back from a six […]

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man taking phone photo

Free e-book giveaway! 10 Tips to Take Better Phone Photos

Ever got photo envy? Why are their photos so much better than mine? Chances are, a few little tweaks could take your photos from average to amazing.

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Recent Posts

Continuum 13 Convention Program book

Continuum 13 Wrap-up

After every convention I go to, I try to put some meandering brain thoughts into words, so that everyone can partake of the wonder that is a speculative fiction convention. This year Continuum 13 was the Australian National Science Fiction Convention. Last year I’d been on the committee for Continuum, so this year was an entirely different experience. For one, I wasn’t on seven panels and trying to man the registration desk at the same time.

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index cards used for plotting books

Why I converted from pantsing to plotting

Plotting or pantsing? It’s a debate that comes up at every writers festival, convention or event. Do you plot your books or fly by the seat of your pants? The responses vary: some mix both, some write to uncover the story, some people prepare excel spreadsheets. I used to laugh at the people with plot spreadsheets for stories.

That was until I wrote my latest novel.

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hiking the Overland Track with a heavy backpack

What camera should I take on a multi-day hike?

When you have to carry all your own gear, it can be really hard to figure out what camera to take on a multi-day hike. That 70-300mm lens sounded like a great idea at the time, but after four days of trekking the extra weight really adds up. I’ve just got back from a six day hike lugging my own gear. Thankfully this time I’d converted to a lighter body, the Nikon D750, and my new full frame camera meant I only needed to take one lens (the Nikon 24-70 f/2.8) vs two (an additional wide-angle). But you might be wondering what the best option is for you…

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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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