New flash fiction

Greetings from post-blizzard New York City!

I’ve really been getting into writing flash fiction, or micro-fiction, lately. It’s fun to try to give a strong impression of a scene, a story, in few words. And other people seem to like my super short pieces too. Seizure has just launched a flash fiction section of its website, Flashers, and my story ‘My Sweetheart Saw a Child’s Face in the Train Window‘ is the first one up. I hope you enjoy reading it.

Do also check out the submission guidelines.

I also recently had two super-short stories published as part of the London Literary Project. It’s first challenge is based on the London Clock. One of my stories is set at the Green Park Tube Station, and the other features George Orwell. I’m happy to be involved in such an interesting project.

The London Clock submission guidelines are here.

Geek Mook launch; Killings interview

Geeks! My latest published piece is an essay on Ghostbusters, in Geek Mook, to be launched at Bella Union bar, Trade’s Hall, on 13 July. See the invite on Facebook.

Pretty sure I’ll be dressed up and reading a snippet from my essay, so do come along and ask me if you can please see the storage facility Mr Venkman.

More about the Mook (magazine/book), edited by Aaron Mannion and Julian Novitz:

Geek Mook explores the worlds of hackers, gamers, steam punk fashionistas, trekkies, neo-punk trainspotters and obsessives of all the other fixations that give us a reason to stave off death (and quite frequently sex as well). The book explores the ways the ways geek, literary and human have crashed up and mashed up in our lives and imagination. Geek Mook exposes the fleshy heart beneath the robot carapace.

Don’t miss it. And if someone asks if you’re a God, say YES.

Also, there is an interview with me up at the Killings blog today re the ‘A Drink with…’ series. Check it out!

Some of my short stories available as ebooks

I decided to extend the life of some of my short stories that have been published in journals/magazines over the last few years, by publishing them digitally. It’s a bit of a (fairly safe) experiment in self-publishing and the world of ebooks. I’m loving reading on my Kobo eReader, and I’ve made these stories available in a large number of formats by publishing them through Smashwords and Amazon’s Kindle. You can read them on your computer, ereader, iPhone, iPad – pretty much any device – all you have to do is choose the right format. The most exciting thing about this project was getting some incredibly talented friends – artists and designers – to create some amazing covers for me. Aren’t they gorgeous?

I hope you enjoy reading the stories. I made them as cheap as Smashwords and Amazon would let me, without making them free (99c each). I’m going to put a permanent page in the sidebar of the blog here soon, linking my available (digital) stories, so that they’re easy to find. I would also be so grateful to you if you left a review of one or more of the stories, as it will help them be seen by more people.

The stories (which you can also find via my Smashwords and Amazon author pages) are:

You Will Notice That Hallways Are Painted

Ava is locked up in an institution. Her sentence is ‘overt overabundance’. Her new roommate Monty is ‘highly inadequate’. Ava is fond of everyone, but there’s something explosive about the bug-loving, show-tune-singing (and taken) Monty.

They’re not really crazy but they aren’t ‘functional’ members of society either: they drink, feel, touch and love too much. Is it possible to hold onto yourself, and still get out of the institution?

Originally published in Torpedo Greatest Hits (Hunter Publishers, 2010) edited by Chris Flynn.

Cover artwork and design by Kenneth Erickson.

NB. the novel manuscript I’m working on came out of this story.

For epub (ie. Stanza reader), PDF, online HTML reading, LRF (for Sony), RTF and more, click here. For Kindle and Kindle app, check it out on Amazon US, UK and Germany. (In Aus, go to Amazon US.)

Obsolescence

In the rainy city of Bergen, Norway, a tattooed, troll-like figure quietly disposes of ‘the guilty’. But Knut’s instinct-driven mission is becoming more and more complex…

Originally published in The Lifted Brow 6: Atlas, edited by Ronnie Scott.

Cover: artwork by Cecile Raposo-Knight, design by Sonja Meyer.

For epub (ie. Stanza reader), PDF, online HTML reading, LRF (for Sony), RTF and more, click here. For Kindle and Kindle app, check it out on Amazon US, UK and Germany. (In Aus, go to Amazon US.)

Birds

‘It’s just a job. It’s just a day. Everyone does it. People are worse off somewhere. There is nothing wrong. The walls are not closing in. You are fine.’

A near-future story about anxiety.

Originally published in Wet Ink: Issue 14 (2009).

Cover: artwork by Lily Mae Martin, type by Kenneth Erickson.

For epub (ie. Stanza reader), PDF, online HTML reading, LRF (for Sony), RTF and more, click here. For Kindle and Kindle app, check it out on Amazon US, UK and Germany. (In Aus, go to Amazon US.)

I wrote a winning haiku

I’m very excited to announce that a little haiku I wrote one morning is the winner of Australian Poetry’s haiPhone competition. It goes:

Potential faces
In steamy bathroom mirrors
Residue of stars

I’ve been invited to read it out as part of the Emerging Writers’ Festival on 1 June at the Poetry Cafe. G told me I should ‘Shatner’ the haiku – make it last as long as possible.

My other entry was:

Unutterably
charming fellows giving one
another roses

Lots of fun. I’m mainly a prose writer, as you know, but I write poetry in bursts. I don’t often show anyone or send anything off, but I really enjoy it. Some ideas just can’t be anything else. I hope to write a few small pieces while travelling soon. I’ve been encouraged, too, by Ali Alizadeh, a poet and prose writer I admire, after he liked my flash fiction piece on Capsule and we discussed the closeness between flash fiction and prose poetry. According to my rough research, there’s a very fine line between them. Prose poetry is often more abstract and works in the realm of metaphor, while a flash fiction piece will often maintain some semblance of narrative form: beginning, middle, end. But of course that fine line can be crossed. I enjoy working with imagery and mood in these short forms, and I hope to keep playing around with them and getting better.

Thanks so much to Australian Poetry and the Australian Poetry iPhone app. I’m really looking forward to my prize: a one-on-one with the wonderful poet and critic Chris Wallace-Crabbe.

Brief review of The Kid on the Karaoke Stage in this month’s ABR

Just a quick note to say that I wrote an ‘in brief’ review of the excellent short story collection The Kid on the Karaoke Stage and Other Stories, edited by Georgia Richter (Aus), for this month’s Australian Book Review, out now in print and online. Here’s an extract:

‘While the stories in The Kid on the Karaoke Stage vary thematically, they are predominantly realist in style, with plenty of seemingly serendipitous through-lines. Georgia Richter, who has edited the collection superbly, says that she was interested in “the way we turn to writing to crystallise moments of realisation”. The authors all have links to Western Australia, but their ‘moments of realisation’ are refreshingly global, particularly in the later stories.

There are coming-of-age stories, off-kilter stories, sad ones, stories of internal and external landscapes, and a few that are wonderfully strange…’

The issue also features Colin Nettelbeck on Sartre, Brian McFarlane on The Tempest, Jo Case on childhood autism, Morag Fraser on Joyce Carol Oates’ widowhood, Joel Deane on Julian Assange, Colin Golvan on copyright and the internet, the announcement of the Calibre Prize winners and, of course, plenty of reviews. I look forward to getting stuck into it.

Social media marketing & bringing back the letter

Those two things might seem incompatible, but they are two things I have spoken about and written on lately…

Recently I was a guest of the Australian Publishers Association at the Social Media Marketing seminars in Sydney and Melbourne. There were all sorts of speakers – writers, booksellers, publishers, a ‘guru’ and someone like me who sits in the middle of everything, wearing several hats at once. I spoke briefly about LiteraryMinded in the blogosphere and in the social media realm, and then gave some ‘dos and don’ts’, from my own experience, on using social media. Basically I spoke about having genuine conversations, providing insight, and engaging with books and with readers. Charlotte Harper over at the ebookish blog has done a nice write-up of my talk. Check it out here.

My latest publication is in the NSW Writers Centre print magazine Newswrite. It’s called ‘Bringing the Letter Back’. In it, I write a letter to my old Dolly pen-pal Kristal, telling her why I think the letter should make a comeback. I talk about the Women of Letters events, run my Marieke Hardy and Michaela McGuire; and I mention Beth Sometimes’ postcards, Nabokov’s forthcoming collection of love letters, letters between Miles Franklin and Katherine Susannah Prichard and ideas about the link between letters, zines and vintage. I hope you guys get a chance to read it.

Review of Ali Alizadeh's Iran: My Grandfather up at Mascara

IRAN_my_grandfather(1)My review of Ali Alizadeh’s wonderful book Iran: My Grandfather (Aus, US) has been published in Mascara Literary Review.

You can read the review here.

While you’re there, have a look at the poems, reviews, stories, photographs and translations in this elegant bi-annual which focuses on the work of contemporary Asian, Australian and Indigenous writers