Tag Archives: Publication


Last weekend edition #63 of ASIM was released at Contact in Brisbane. This edition includes my story Glow, which was a runner-up in the Australian Horror Writers Association short story competition in 2014. The story was accepted for publication shortly after the competition results were announced, so that tells you how long this publication has been in the works.

I’ve been trying to get into ASIM for years now, probably over 10 years if I’m honest, so it is strange to finally have achieved this goal. The irony is also not lost on me that it was with a story that was written with no thoughts of sending it to ASIM, and even now I don’t know why I did send this story to ASIM first, but I’m glad I did.

Many times I’ve read advice which says purchase a few copies of the magazine you want to get into to get a feel for what they have published, then write something for them. I did this with ASIM and got numerous humours science fiction stories out of the process, but none of them found homes at ASIM. My not-funny-at-all horror story did.

So yet again this seems to show that advice is not always going to be correct. Sometimes doing the ‘wrong’ thing can be exactly the right thing to do. If I’ve learned anything on this writing journey, it’s that all rules are made to be broken.

Publication! Carbon Leap

Yes, it has been a long time since the last one, but the fantastic Antipodean SF have published my story Carbon Leap. And I’m more than a bit chuffed that the header page picture links to my story! Exciting eh?!?

This story got rejected a few times, and the feedback I kept getting was that it felt like it should be longer. But when I wrote it, it came out at around 500 words and it felt like I had said everything I wanted to say. So I’m glad it got to stay flash and it got out into the world.

So I hope you like Carbon Leap, and I hope it makes you stop and ponder the next time you get offered a quick fix.

Flash, short, long or novel

I can’t explain the how or why, but when I get a story idea I almost always know the approximate length the story will be. Often it is only a small moment or part of the story that I see, but even then it will feel like a novel, or a short, or a flash.

My feelings probably then dictate how I end up writing the piece, so I can’t entirely put it down to the communal unconsciousness of writing, for example I recently wrote a flash fiction piece (which will be published in Antipodean SF next month) which could easily have been a short story, or even a novel, but it felt like flash so I kept it under 500 words.

Having said that, I repeatedly saw one scene of the novel I’m currently writing, which has turned out to be the opening chapter, but at the time I had no idea what the story would be, how it would end or even who was in it. But I always knew it was going to be a novel.

So I will keep thinking it is the magic of this writing thing. The stories are already out there, they randomly choose a writer to discover them.

The exciting thing is that I can feel another novel tapping at the side of my brain, waiting to step forward. And what do I see; a small parrot darting over the top of a boy. I’m serious, that is what is haunting me. It’s what I know about that moment, about the boy and about the parrot that tells me it is a novel. I love this writing thing.


Last week my flash fiction story Ice Mine was published by Antipodean SF. It is but one of the many flash fiction stories that has tumbled out of me this year. Hopefully I’ll be able to find a few more homes for the other stories before the year is through.

Antipodean SF was the first place to publish one of my stories many years ago, so I will be forever grateful to Antipodean for giving me my first taste of success. Ion Newcombe is the tireless editor of this magazine and he is not afraid to work with new authors. He wants to see you published!

The magazine looks pretty schmick too, so if you haven’t seen it, please do check it out and lend your support to this fantastic little zine. And if you don’t feel like reading, there is a radio version of the show you can listen to as well.

Thanks Ion, and I hope you all enjoy Ice Mine 🙂

It’s an honour

The Australian Horror Writers Association Short Story winners have just been announced – and I’ve got an honourable mention for my short story ‘Glow’.  I am so excited that I’m almost shaking!

I started this story three times. I finally finished the first draft in March and two days later put it through my Adelaide writers group. There were problems with the story. I re-wrote it, re-wrote it and re-wrote it. Finally I subbed it to the competition nearly a whole week before the closing date (I was determined NOT to be the final entry as I normally am). By now I both loved and hated this story.

Then I got the news that there had been a record number of entries. There were nearly double the number of what they had received last year. My heart dropped. This story had been banging about inside my head for four years, why did I pick this year to give it life?

Of course you know the punch line, so I won’t labour the point, but I do have to give a massive thank you to Lilliana, Sam and Margot from my writers group for their fantastic feedback. I thought the story was finished and they all explained to me the many reasons why it wasn’t. It was a much better story after I added and cut what they suggested, and this honourable mention is proof of that.

For all of you out there who think a writers group will crush your creativity or box you into a style that is not yours, I want to say that’s rubbish. You have been going to the wrong writers groups. I’ve been a part of two so far and they have both taught me so much. I am a better writer because of them.

Thank you!


As I have confessed in earlier posts, I’ve not been subbing much this year. Partially due to my focus on my novels, and partially because I’m being lazy (if I’m honest). But I’m pleased to say that I have had a short story accepted this year, and it has just been published by Stupefying Stories.

I have a bit of a soft spot for this story, it spilled out one night, all in one go, and had me in its clutches from about 8:30pm until 11pm. I still remember sitting on the lounge, computer balanced on my lap, thinking I really should be getting to bed. I’m glad I didn’t because otherwise it might have sat on my ‘stories to be finished’ pile forever.

As much as I had fun with it, I know it is not to everyone’s taste. It has been through both of my writers groups with lovers and haters, more so than any of my other stories. The first time I showed it to the world one person in the group said that it wasn’t working on any level and I should give up on it.

I don’t like that kind of advice, so I ignored it. And a fortunate thing too, because I really enjoyed playing with this story and it was quite different from my usual style. No, it won’t change the world, and you won’t learn anything from the lead character’s journey, but hopefully it will make you smile, and I think that is enough.

So I hope you enjoy Stanhope’s Finest, and I’m grateful that the editors at Stupefying Stories have the same quirky sense of humour that I do!

Fan fiction?

My novel and I are having a few issues. Two of the characters are working really well with me, communicating lots, handing over great ideas and really coming alive. The other two are being a bit recalcitrant, whispering their secrets to each other and sometimes seeming to disappear off the page altogether. I think it is the wrong time to write it.

But with my October 31st submission deadline looming, and the upcoming WriMoFoFo, I needed to find a YA novel to write. So I jumped into the plans I had uncovered a couple of weeks ago and among the many ideas I discovered I had gone through a fan fiction phase.

It wasn’t your usual fan fiction; borrowing characters from other authors and living lives in other people’s worlds, instead I borrowed people. As I read the old stuff I saw me, my flatmates, River Phoenix, me, my chemistry teacher, Keanu Reeves, friends, me, my parents, Johnny Depp, me. It was a bit embarrassing to read.

The odd thing is, now I never use real people in my stories, I may use a hand gesture or a nervous tick, but I never package a whole, real person. But I can’t work out when my fan fiction writing ceased and my character writing began. There is no archaeopteryx with a few real ones and a few fakes as I made the transition.

Interestingly enough, all of my publications are stories entirely peopled with made up characters. So I’m glad I made the move, because obviously the stories these unknown people tell me are much more interesting than the fantasies I put myself in when I was younger.

Now names, that is a different story! I’m sorry, but if you have worked with me, you probably have a character named in part or full, after you. Please don’t sue; I can honestly say that they aren’t actually based on you!


Given I only started sending stuff out in the second half of this year I am pleased to let you know that recently I have had two stories published;

Addiction – Antipodean SF which reflects my view about what direction Facebook is heading toward, and may explain to my Facebook FriendsTM why I never log onto my account any more.

Antipodean SF is a fantastic online magazine that has been supporting the Australian writing scene for years, so I’m glad that one of my publications this year is in this wonderful magazine. My first ever publication was in Antipodean SF and the editor worked with me to get my piece up to scratch –I’ll never forget that!

Jaxon’s Gift – Trembles Magazine. This is the story that got me an honourable mention in last year’s Australian Horror Writers Flash Fiction competition. This story was inspired by a friend’s child who spent most of my visit at his house wriggling his tooth before finally pulling it out to show me just before lunch was served. So gross on so many levels. Parents must get endless inspiration for horror stories… 

Hopefully these won’t be the only publications this year, but I wanted to share them while they were still fresh!

Will they steal my idea?

Something I’ve heard many times from new and would-be authors is the fear that if they send off their work to a publisher or magazine that work will be ‘stolen’. Obviously this fear can prove quite damaging to your writing career given that no-one will actually buy your writing if you never give them an opportunity to read it!

Before I feed any paranoid ideas around this by giving you some tips about how to protect your legally binding copyright, let me first explain why a publisher, or at least a reputable publisher, will not steal your writing.

The writing community is generally pretty tight-knit, even if they don’t physically get together and catch up (which most do, and I highly recommend) they are always connected through email, Twitter and blogs. So if any publisher were to ‘steal’ an idea or piece of work, everyone would know about it, and pretty quickly too! So do a search on your prospective publisher and see what people are saying about them online. Places like duotope and ralan also provide a commentary on what a publisher is like, so use these resources.

For major publishers I would suggest you do not even need to do such a search. There is nothing a publisher would like more than to discover the next fantastic author. A publishing house is also not looking for a great story, they are looking for an author with longevity who can provide them with many stories. So if they see merit in your work they are more likely to sign you for a three book deal than try to lift your idea.

But if this still isn’t enough to convince you, this is five years of your hard work after all, how can you protect your copyright? One of the most basic ways is to save it to a disk or flash drive, seal it in a letter (a line of continuous sticky tape across the top, but under the stamp is a good seal) and post it to yourself. The post-mark of the postal system is a legally provable date. A more modern way (which I am not sure if it has been used in court but would probably have a lot of weight) is to email the attachment to yourself, which will clearly display the date*.

I know there are a lot of places that charge you money to register your copyright, but the fact is that the moment you write your piece you are covered by copyright. All you need to do to protect that copyright is to prove you wrote it first. You don’t need to spend lots of money to register it.

One word of warning for the paranoid before they project their claims of injustice; just because the place you sent your novel to releases one with a similar theme soon after they reject yours does not mean they stole your idea. Often similar themes come through at the same time, so don’t assume they stole your idea. You probably tapped into the collective unconscious and wrote a similar story, after all, there is no such thing as an original idea.

*Please seek legal advice on this matter if you wish to use it. I do not have any legal qualifications and as such cannot give legal advice.

Do you believe in magic?

I am a great lover of magic. You will never hear me beg a magician to tell me how they did their trick; I want to believe they actually did it. I would rather consider the possibility that their years of practice had brought them to an enlightened power over the physical world, rather than a power over every muscle in their body so they can shift, sort and switch things without me seeing.

That’s why I wrote ‘The Amazing Salvador’.

I know a lot of people won’t like this story; a lot of people who beg the magician to tell them ‘how they did it’ and who Google the explanation behind David Copperfield’s amazing walk through the Great Wall of China or Criss Angel’s superb disappearing Lamborghini stunt (so good I’m going to insert it rather than reference it).

So thank you Title Goes Here for seeing the magic in my story, and not telling me magic is ‘so yesterday that it is in the same category as vampire stories’ – I hope you all enjoy it.

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