Tag Archives: Isobelle Carmody

Speculative Fiction Festival at #NSWWC

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Be Careful What You Wish For

As you all know I can’t resist a good festival so I of course went to the Speculative Fiction Festival at the New South Wales Writers’ Centre run by Cat Sparks. A good time was had by all. My main take-aways from the day are listed below. Enjoy.

Garth Nix

  • Garth Nix is so brilliant and so talented that he sold his first short story at the age of 19 to a magazine he didn’t even submit to. No I don’t feel like elaborating on that story because the specialness might decrease and I prefer to keep him godlike in my mind.
  • Garth Nix states that there are no dead manuscripts. A manuscript might not sell simply because it does not fit with the appeal of the time, in another five years it might suddenly be in. Don’t ever throw away manuscripts, resubmit, recycle, repurpose them.
  • Garth Nix said that I could sit in the same sunny spot as him. I died and the ran away. Totes kept my cool…

James Bradley

  • Initially thought that he would live out his days as a poet in poetry excellence of the most poety kind. Turns out he unfortunately needed to have written more than six poems to do this.
  • If you win a cheque, don’t lose it, the organisers of whatever competition or award you won it for will be pissed off that they have to rewrite it.
  • Authors get rejected all of the time. Don’t let rejection deter you because even if you have one success that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a nasty rejection lurking around the corner.

Kate Forsyth

  • Submit your manuscripts typed. Publishing houses don’t generally accept ones hand written in an exercise book that you have illustrated yourself.
  • Always be brave and keep on persevering. Never let your own fear or ego hold you back.
  • Kate Forsyth signed a copy of Impossible Quest 3 for my niece. I am now the favouritist aunt ever.

Marianne de Pierres

  • Internal logic is key to ensuring that your work is believable and accepted by the reader.
  • Marianne de Pierres says she doesn’t know how she feels about a lot of issues hence her characters have different views and she allows them to sort through bigger picture issues. Her works are explorations not morality messages.
  • Write to you personality style. That being style, genre/subgenre, length, strength of message etc. You have to write your novel not somebody else’s.

Stephanie Lai

  • Stephanie Lai starts with a human/scientific problem and then develops the story around that.
  • Stephanie Lai leans towards short stories because she loves quick immediate communication and gratification.
  • Stephanie Lai says to keep the science real but the world fun and fantastical.

Isobelle Carmody

  • Isobelle Carmody crowd funded her book before crowd funding was a thing. That’s how cool she is. She sold shares in her first book for $30 each and agreed to give the money back should she ever be published.
  • Isobelle Carmody has never been rejected. She humbly claims that it is because she takes so long to write her books that publishers are too scared to say no lest she never write another one or takes even longer next time.

Bruce McCabe

  • Bruce McCabe starts with real life problems being explored in scientific labs today, then moves out twenty years and explores what will be happening with those issues and advances.
  • Bruce McCabe feels that trying to box Science Fiction into a narrow definition isn’t productive. That there is a whole spectrum of sci fi ranging from hard to soft and they’re all equally valid.

Pamela Freeman

  • Okay, I am so spun out by what she said to me personally that I cannot even remember what she said on her panels. It would have been insightful too because she always says really good stuff. Pamela Freeman told me that she had read my ebook What Happens in Book Club… and had laughed so hard that she had to read bits to her husband. I nearly died in fangirling overload. I’m not confident that I am actually awake and this isn’t some extended dream. If I truly am awake… GO ME!

Now the bit that you really want, WHAT DID THE PUBLISHERS SAY THEY WANTED?!?

FableCroft Publishing

They are looking for sci fi. Middle Grade and YA. Make sure you read their submission guidelines or Tehani Wessley will cry. You don’t want to make her cry do you?

Ticonderoga Publications

They like anthologies. Love them! So write an awesome short story. Just don’t be sexist, and violent for the sake of shocking rather than for the sake of the story, otherwise Liz Gryzb will cry. You don’t want to make her cry either, do you?

Just quietly, I did pitch to one of the owners the idea of making a The Voice / Literary Pitching crossover show. They weren’t down with it, so if you have any great ideas like that, don’t pitch those to them. Russell Far rather kindly pointed out that although spinning chairs would be fun, they don’t actually see the person pitching as it is, only their words. Good point Russell, good point. However, if there are any TV execs out there who like my idea I am prepared to except my millions of dollars now.

Pantera Press

Their rep was so warm and wonderful that I think everyone wants to now submit every manuscript to them. Seriously, he was lovely and so caring. He was the Rick Martin of the Panel because he had such passion. The rep in attendance likes Romance so I think we’re all switching just to work with him.

Momentum

Genre fiction with a very clear audience in mind. So none of that boundary hopping, all over the place, wishy washy stuff. Keep it tight, keep it focused, keep it commercially appealing.

Harper Voyager

Wouldn’t mind seeing a bit of Epic Fantasy. But please don’t use humour in your submissions, or guilt trips over the fact that your family will starve if they don’t pick up your manuscript. They don’t like that.

Bloomsbury

Submit through the UK website

Hope to see you at the next festival.

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“All I Want For Christmas Is You” … and books, mainly books

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Trust me, he wanted a book not that sweater.

Have you left Christmas shopping until December? Have you just realised that stores are now zoos full of rabid animals? Never fear, I can and will help you… well,  not so much me as books. Books can and will solve your problems. So here are my Christmas recommendations for those of you without the time to think.

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Where Do You Hide Two Elephants? by Emily Rodda. Ridiculously cute picture book.

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The Red Wind by Isobelle Carmody. For the lover of fantasy. Added bonus, yes it is a series. We fantasy geeks love a good series.

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Impossible Quest Series by Kate Forsyth. The first two books are already out. Get into them before they blow out Harry Potter style. Fantastic kids series.

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The Protected by Claire Zorn. Incredibly moving YA novel about grief, resilience… I actually have to stop writing about this novel now because I’m tearing up just thinking about it. It’s powerful stuff. I’ll leave it at that.

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The Fictional Woman by Tara Moss. Non Fiction exploration of stereotypes and beliefs thrust upon women/Tara Moss. That description does not do it justice at all. Captivating read. Just go out and get it for any and all women you know.

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Under Siege by Belinda Neil. A memoir about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It rings true for a lot of mental illnesses though, such as depression and anxiety,  not only PTSD, so is highly accessible.

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Holiday in Cambodia by Laura Jean McKay. For you travel bug friend. Get Destination Cambodia by Walter Mason as a companion piece. Your friend will love you forever. I’m trying not to literally laugh out loud remembering the “dangerously jolly” scene in Destination Cambodia.

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The Black Dress by Pamela Freeman. Get it for the woman who wants to read about strong women and also anyone with an interest in religious history. A truly excellent read about Mary MacKillop.

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Burial Rites by Hannah Kent. Yes, you can believe the hype. Buy it for yourself for Christmas.

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The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton. For your historical fiction loving friends who enjoy some romance.

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The Nightingale by Fiona McIntosh. Another beautiful romantic historical fiction novel.

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Fishing for Tigers by Emily Maguire. For the Literary snob who secretly likes it a bit sexy. In other words,  exceptionally well written but they get down to business.

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Avoiding Mr Right by Anita Heiss. For the woman who likes the idea of chick lit but needs something with a bit more depth.

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Sea Hearts by Margo Lanagan. Styled as young adult but so brilliant. Honestly,  it’s for any adult, young or old, human or seal. A beautiful take on the Selkie myth.

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Blood and Circuses by Kerry Greenwood. Love a light murder mystery and the cover is very cool. Seriously, I know you can’t judge a book by its cover but… well… we do.

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Animal People by Charlotte Wood. Slightly traumatising but oh so good. For your friend who likes a bit of real life grit.

Okay Christmas peoples,  go forth and part with your cash. Probably online, so you can avoid the people. Mwah.

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The Kids and YA Festival: #NSWWC the sour grapes version

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I think for many of us at the Kids and YA Festival, at the New South Wales Writers’ Centre yesterday, the highlight was the Pitch Competition. At the beginning of the day we were able to put our names into a box and at the end of the day six names were to be selected at random and those people were allowed to pitch. What we needed to bring was a one paragraph pitch and the first page of our completed manuscript. I like many others did just that, despite the fact I’m not 100% confident that I have my head around this whole how to pitch bizzo. I found myself crossing my fingers like a four year old hopefully as each name was drawn silently willing my name to be drawn.

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Unfortunately my paragraph and my first page remained unneeded, unnecessary and uninvited in my sweaty, burrito stained lap. Turns out my willpower is not so flash. When the sixth person finished there was a collective sigh. What surprised me was that it was a sigh of relief that their names hadn’t been called, what surprised me even more was that mine was a small sigh of sadness for not being picked. Apparently I have more confidence and belief in myself than I had thought. Perhaps this INFJ (introvert) is becoming an ENFJ. Stranger things have happened. So here is my pitch that I wrote without knowing how to pitch and my first page. It was quite different from those presented. The boring school teacher in me took things quite literally and the first sentence says the genre, target audience and title. I then briefly state what the heart of the story is. I shall have to think of a way to jazz it up!

Chloe Prime: Alien Space Vet is a fantasy adventure ideal for bedtime reading with middle Primary School aged confident readers. It is set on the planet Giovanus in the year 3021, but some things never change – the first day at a new school is nerve wracking, friends are the best and the worst, and nothing motivates you more than needing to go to the toilet. Join action ready Chloe Prime and her best friend, the studious Hippopotati Joshua Suza as they travel through space and school together, learning to communicate with insects, battling the academic wilderness and doing whatever it takes not to get weeed on.

Chapter One: The Night Before the Day After

BANG!

Chloe Prime poked her head out above her blankets and eyed her wardrobe suspiciously. Had it just made a noise? She watched and waited for a few minutes. Nothing. Perhaps it had all been in her imagination. A flight of fancy? She nestled back under her covers.

BANG!

Chloe pulled her covers down again and glared at her wardrobe. Honestly, this was getting ridiculous. She had to get a good night’s sleep for the first day at her new school tomorrow. This just would not do.

BANG!

Chloe vaulted out of bed and stood in front of her wardrobe in a fighting stance. Her hair reared out from her head in crazy curls, ready for action. Her legs were encased in a metallic exoskeleton, which made her look every bit like a miniature cyborg, with medusa hair, at the ready. If there was a monster in that wardrobe she was going to have at it.

‘I came here for a bedtime story and to kick butt,’ ten year old Chloe challenged her empty cupboard. ‘And I already finished my story.’

Whoosh!

Kent Prime came running into his daughter’s room closely followed by her mother. Chloe turned to see her father staring at her in shock.

I’ve just realised the title of this blog is entirely misleading. It really doesn’t have enough vitriol to truly be sour grapes. Hard to get truly bitter about a process that uses random selection and your brother’s best friend from year eight ends up winning. But I made a promise in that title so I really owe it to you to live up to it (if I don’t live up to the promise I have made the reader a certain writing teacher will kick my butt), so I’m going to give it a red hot go!

Darn that Sorting Box. Someone needs to seriously question the impartiality of that box. It clearly had an anti Ravenclaw bias! (I did the sorting hat online and that’s where it put me so I’m assuming this is a solid fact) My daughter played in a box until it broke last week and clearly it was a cousin of the Sorting Box and it used that against me. Darn you Sorting Box and all of your kind! I shall never, EVER, use a box again!!! Shakes fist.

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