On Sunday 3rd December I was honoured to receive the 2017 Joe O'Sullivan Writers' Prize from the Australian Irish Heritage Association for my story 'The Centre Cannot Hold'. The award was presented by Denis Bratton of the AIHA at the Irish Club in Subiaco in conjunction with the annual Brendan Awards. I was made to feel very welcome indeed and was treated to an afternoon of singing, laughing and of course a couple of pints of Guinness! 'The Centre Cannot Hold' will shortly appear in the AIHA's quarterly publication, The Journal, as well as on their website. Thanks very much to Denis and the rest of the Perth Irish community for making my day/month/year.
I'm pleased to report that 2017 is finishing on a positive note. Four of my stories were recently selected for Just off Message: a 20th year anthology from Interactive Publications. Two of the stories are reprints, but two ('Killjoy' and 'Losing Her Zen') appear here for the first time. 'The Kennedys: A Yellowcake Story' is a bridge of sorts between Yellowcake Springs and Yellowcake Summer. It first appeared in the now-defunct Eclecticism E-zine. 'Epoch O'Lips: A Tyler Bramble Mystery' is the fourth tale featuring Tyler Bramble. It first appeared in P3 WA. Thanks to David Reiter and IP for helping to bring these stories back into print.
I’ve been busy this week, not only in chipping away at the draft of City of Rubber Stamps, but also with some other writerly events. Firstly, my review of David Whish-Wilson’s excellent Perth crime novel Old Scores is up at Westerly’s Editor’s Desk. My wife and I had the pleasure of attending the novel’s launch at the suitably noirish Buffalo Club in Fremantle on Wednesday night. There I caught up not only with David but with a cadre of Perth crime fiction aficionados and writers like Ron Elliot, Bruce Russell, Michelle Michau-Crawford and Ian Reid. Old Scores is a rip-roaring trip through eighties Perth and highly recommended. You can read more about it and even a sample chapter over at the Fremantle Press website.
Tonight I’m off to my second launch for the week, this one at the Centre for Stories in Northbridge. It’s launch day for Writing the Dream from Serenity Press, which is a book of non-fiction pieces on writing and publishing by 25 mostly WA authors, including the likes of Juliet Marillier, Natasha Lester and Louise Allan. If you are keen on meeting the authors and picking up a signed copy, then you’ll need to head up to the Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers’ Centrein Greenmount on Sunday 27th November for the second launch date. I’d love to attend this myself, but as I’ll be on my honeymoon in Tasmania it’d be a long way to travel. Writing the Dream is an outstanding and highly practical ‘how to’ guide to writing and publishing as well as being a source of inspiration for aspiring writers. It’s available now from any number of online outlets such as Amazon and Booktopia.
‘Frank’ and a bevy of other works of fiction, non-fiction and poetry by emerging WA writers are online and free to download in Westerly: New Creative as of this minute. I’m really stoked to have a piece in such a venerable publication and I’m also looking forward to the official launch of the ebook at the upcoming Australian Short Story Festival on October 23rd. Thanks to Rashida Murphy for pointing this out and to Josephine Taylor for working with me on editing ‘Frank’ for publication.
My crime story 'Frank', which won the 2015 City of Rockingham Short Fiction Award, has been selected for publication in Award Winning Australian Writing 2016, which is being launched at the Melbourne Writers Festival on 31st August.
This story has led a charmed existence. Written in October 2015, 'Frank' was entered into the Rockingham competition a few days before the deadline. By mid-November, I'd been informed of its win, so I sent it off to Westerly: New Creative before their November 30 deadline. In February of this year I was informed that it had made the cut, so I sent it off to AWAW, and in July I was told that 'Frank' was in.
Huzzah for 'Frank', basically.
Three pieces of recent publishing news: first, my story ‘Frank’, which won the 2015 City of Rockingham Short Fiction Award, has now been chosen for publication in Westerly’s upcoming ‘New Creative‘ online issue. I’m really looking forward to appearing alongside a host of other (as yet unnamed) emerging authors.
Secondly, my baroque future fantasy piece, ‘when the jellyfish rule the oceans’, has been published online in Pound of Flash.
And finally, a non-fiction piece about my (torturous) pathway to publication, ‘Hard Travelin’, will be published later this year in Writing the Dream.
I’m pleased to be able to report these successes, but I’m still looking for homes for my fourth Tyler Bramble detective story, ‘Epoch O’Lips’, as well as a literary story about obsessive compulsive disorder and a dead ferret, ‘Losing Her Zen’. Hopefully I’ll find suitable homes for them in the coming months.
I’m very pleased to announce that my short story, ‘Frank’, has been awarded First Prize in the Open Section of the 2015 City of Rockingham Short Fiction Award! Competition judge KA Bedford praised the story’s “Intrigue and hijinks, leading to a very satisfying resolution follow,” and said “This was a great piece, and I award it First Prize with no reservations”. I’m very pleased to have won this award, even more so in that I admire Bedford’s Time Machines Repaired While-U-Wait, surely the only time travel novel in the history of science fiction to be set in Malaga, Western Australia. A requirement for entering this competition was that stories had to use the above picture, ‘(Light) House of the Rising Sun’ by Julie Podstolski, as a stimulus. In writing ‘Frank’, I also decided to listen to the Animals’ famous song every day before writing to get myself in the mood; hopefully some of that bluesy feeling made it into the finished story. There’s no publication associated with this award, but it hasn’t escaped my attention that this win makes the story eligible for entry into next year’s Award Winning Australian Writing anthology from Melbourne Books.
After my run of outs in recent times, this news comes as a much needed boost to my confidence. This award has been running for a few years now but it’s the first time I’ve entered. Not many writing competitions have free entry these days, and the prizes are pretty generous too. Thanks to the City of Rockingham and Lee Battersby (Coordinator Cultural Development and Arts) for supporting this award.
I'm pleased to report that I've been selected for a two week Emerging Writer-in-Residence gig at the Fellowship of Australian Writers (Western Australia). I'll be staying at Mattie Furphy House in Swanbourne from April 12th - 25th, which handily for me falls during the Easter school holidays. While at FAWWA, I'll be putting the finishing touches on my current novel-in-progress THIRSTY WORK, which I plan to send off to the Australian/Vogel Award in May. I also have a short story, "The Milk for Free", to work on during this time. Lastly I'll be presenting a workshop at FAWWA on Saturday 19th April, so I'll be a busy boy. More details about this workshop will follow soon.
In April and May of last year, I spent a glorious four weeks at the Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers' Centre in Greenmount conducting a similar residency. You can read more about my time at KSP here. That was an incredibly enjoyable and productive time for me and I'm sure that the FAWWA residency will be equally successful. Can't wait!
That’s right - Yellowcake Summer has arrived at the Kindle store and is available to purchase for $9.99. You can read the first 3-4 chapters for free by following the above link. For those of you waiting for the physical edition, you can purchase it from Amazon here. I’ll add links to other booksellers as they become available. To celebrate the release, I’ll be launching the novel with my publisher David Reiter of Interactive Publications at the Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers’ Centre in Perth at 3pm on Sunday September 15th – details here. I’ll also be appearing as part of the Avon Valley Writers’ Festival on the weekend of 21-22nd September in Northam and Toodyay. Exciting times!
My third novel, Yellowcake Summer, which is a sequel to Yellowcake Springs, will be released by IP in September. The novel follows the fortunes of Rion, Sylvia and Peters — all major characters from the first novel — as they swelter through the thirsty Australian summer. I’ve written this story in two parts, so there won’t be a third Yellowcake volume. Everything that is set up in Yellowcake Springs comes to a head in Yellowcake Summer.
To celebrate the release, I’ll be holding launch events at the Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers’ Centre in Greenmount and the Northam Regional Library during September. More details on this will follow soon. I’ll also be promoting the novel at the Avon Valley Writers’ Festival on September 22-23 in Toodyay and Northam, where I’ll be presenting a workshop on novel writing.