Intensely editing TWINMAKER at the moment, so apologies for being especially tardy on all fronts. Ordinary everyday tardiness will resume soon.

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On Monday, the wonderful Amanda returns from Canada, where she's been on a rather inconveniently timed research trip. Our schedules are often like this: she's home while I'm away, then I'm home while she's away. Sometimes we overlap for a few days, home or abroad, and that's always nice--but do jetlagged days really count as days, or are they just wistful dreams of far-off normality?

Anyway, we worked out this morning that in total we've spent just two weeks out of the last eleven together. And that, on anyone's calculator, is a rather sad result. So extra excitement for Monday. Roll out the champagne and hold all calls! At last my heart will be where my home is.

AA aftermath

Congrats to SpecFaction and everyone involved for a terrific event last night. Congrats to the winners, the nominees, and everyone who submitted work for consideration. And congrats to the crazy Rapture-dudes for being wrong about the world ending before the Australian spec fic community got its party. We deserve nothing less! I'm glad someone up there realises it too.

(Not that there is anyone "up there", of course, but if there was She would totally dig spec fic, not to mention the vibe in the bar last night.)
Happy times, not End Times.

Aurealis Awards - reasons to party

You probably know that the Aurealis Awards have moved to Sydney. You might also know who the nominees are and that this year's round of awards will be presented on May 21 (details here). You might be coming--in which case, awesome! You don't need to read any further.

This post is for those on the fence.

Here's why you should be there.

Being a writer is a whole lot more than just words. It's about people and the connections between them. In this context, I like to bander one particular word around a lot: community. Oh, and celebration, which is a whole lot more than tossing back champagnes and scoffing pizza at two in the morning. Events like the Aurealis bash give writers a chance to celebrate the community that welcomes, guides and supports them (us) through what can, honestly, be a pretty shitty career path. They provide opportunities to bond, to form networks, and to share info. Cons do the same thing, but this is just one night. It's cheaper. Why wouldn't you go?

Besides, this is the night of the year on which we, the speculative fiction crowd of Australia, really truly frocks up. You know that cliche about fans wearing Star Trek costumes? Well, anyone who's been to an AA night knows just how stupid that is. We are one hot looking bunch. And the spotlight's on everyone, not just the nominees and winners. We bask in each other's brilliance.

I'm assuming that every Sydneysider who can physically make it has already bought a ticket and will be coming along. (I'll be there--I'll notice if you're not!) I understand that for everyone else it's a long way to go and money is tight. Just think seriously about it. I've lost count of the number of AA bashes I attended in Brisbane and elsewhere, sometimes in very lean times indeed, and I regard it as money well spent. An investment in my vocation--hell, even the ATO agrees with me on that.

Without you, celebrations like this aren't possible. Community isn't possible. So come along and clink glasses with your best mates and your worst enemies. We're all in the same boat, after all, and the journey is so much more enjoyable in good company.

Why are Aussies so good at the Writers of the Future Contest?

Australians win more WOTF awards per entry than any other country. For real. That's something I learned just today. And you know what? I'm not surprised. We've been taking home the gongs for over twenty years now, and I've lost track of how many winners we've had all up. There were three this year alone. Three.

So what's our secret? Any guesses? I'm at a loss, but I reckon it's a bloody good thing.

(Userpic taken at a past award night. Note the hair: a long time in the past.)
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My Swancon DJing Rules (to keep things interesting)

Dave Cake and I are DJing at Swancon next weekend, as is our wont, and in response to the occasional criticism that I play the same old stuff over and over again (I take that as a compliment!) I've decided to liven things up by not playing songs I've played more than once before unless someone requests it. So no "Jesse's Girl", no "Block Rockin' Beats", no "Dancing Queen", no "Blue Monday"--unless you ask for it, in which case I'd be happy to fit it in somewhere (twist my rubber arm). This doesn't apply to Dave--in fact, we haven't even discussed it--but I'm looking forward to the challenge. Thinking out of the box, all that.

So what will I be playing instead? I don't know for sure, beyond the opening two or three songs. It depends on the night. Some classic Aussie rock, maybe, and I have a progressive house set that I could be talked into. Stick around and find out.
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appearances and disappearances

Here's my schedule for the rest of the year:
If you want to catch me at any of these events, check the sites for program details. I'm the Australian GOH of Swancon, an invited guest of LA, Auckland, Sydney and Hay, a possible presenter of an AA, and just hanging out at this stage at WFC. There will also be the odd signing and tour date outside those festivals, which I’ll try to update here.

Sadly, I won’t be at this year’s Writers of the Future bash because it clashes with both Sydney and Auckland. Congrats to all the winners--particularly, and rather parochially, the Australians (I’m told we have a couple this year). My apologies for not being able to be there to celebrate with you.

I'll also miss the Nebulas (clashes with Sydney), which is a shame as I was keen to attend at least one SFWA committee meeting while ORD. Can't be everywhere at once, I guess, but I still feel a little guilty about it.

If you're in Adelaide and want to catch up . . . July is looking good!
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TFU2 up for an award!

The nominations for the annual Scribe Award have been announced, and I'm very pleased to see Star Wars:The Force Unleashed II on the list. Presented by the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers, the awards acknowledge excellence in the field of licensed tie-ins--novels based on TV, movies and games--and I'm absolutely chuffed to have one of my books nominated. It's the first time, and quite an honour. The results will be announced at a special ceremony at the San Diego Comic-Con in July.

This reminds me that there has been some good press recently for my Star Wars novels, so here are reviews and news that I've been remiss in posting.

The Old Republic: Fatal Alliance was voted one of the top ten best Star Wars novels of 2010 over at Village Gate. It's been described as "an outstanding addition to the Expanded Universe” (EUCantina) and “one of the most solidly entertaining Star Wars novels I’ve read” (Fantasy Book Review), with “space battles, lightsaber fights, chase scenes and lots of strange planets to visit, not to mention scheming Sith lords – everything you’d want out of a great Star Wars book” (Fantasy & Sci-Fi Lovin’). So that's awesome. 

The first Force Unleashed instalment continues to garner reviews: “This is a great book with lots of action and some interesting plot twists. I highly recommend it.” (Ezine@rticles) “[A] book that even manages to resonate on an emotional level with a belter of a finale”. (HorrorScope) And the sequel has been getting a bit of love too, apart from the Scribe nomination. “If you were a fan of The Force Unleashed, you'll definitely want to see where this next installment leads.” (SF Site) And Itchy Thumbs described it as “an enjoyable look at the early Rebel Alliance...altogether making for a worthwhile read”.

I'm making notes for a Star Wars short story this week (more later, I hope) so it's a great time to get good news on that front.