Reviews, interviews and things

July 15th, 2014 at 4:24 pm (Miscellaneous)

Guardian coverAlex Stephenson has written a fantastic review of Guardian in Aurealis #72 – among other things, Alex says:

Guardian is a tremendously satisfying conclusion to an already celebrated series.

…Anderton is to be commended for her ability to create such rich and original settings.

A fitting end, or entry, to the trilogy, Guardian is as excellent as Anderton’s fans deserve. It is a pleasure to read modern science fiction driven by a female lead as strong and nuanced as Tanyana.

Thanks Alex! You can read the whole review (and new fiction and other things as well!) in the issue, just $2.99 at Smashwords.

Another review of Jo’s Veiled World books comes from Paul Bonamy on Goodreads, who calls them: “…an excellent series, and well worth reading.”

Jason Franks has interviewed Dirk Flinthart over at his blog, talking a lot about Path of Night and what’s coming up next. Don’t forget that while you wait for book 2 in the series, “Sanction”, a short story set after the events of Path of Night, is available super cheap from Amazon!

Did we mention that The Bone Chime Song and Other Stories won Best Collection at the Australian Shadows Awards last month? It DID! Nice double with the Aurealis Award – congratulations Jo!

Speaking of The Bone Chime Song and Other Stories Dave Versace reviewed the book on Amazon, saying it’s full of, “Beautiful, dark stories of humanity on the fringes of normality or the verge of extinction.” Much appreciated Dave!

Elanor Matton-Johnson gave Ink Black Magic by Tansy Rayner Roberts five stars on Goodreads, saying it’s, “A brilliantly batty romp…” – we agree! And Cissa on Amazon said, “VERY recommended, especially if you like surreal mash-ups.” Thanks Cissa!

Let us know if you review a FableCroft book on Amazon, Goodreads or your blog, and we’ll happily link to it!

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Announcement: We’re growing up!

July 15th, 2014 at 9:49 am (Miscellaneous)

FableCroft Publishing has always been very lucky in the wonderful people who help make our books happen. In particular, people like our awesome designer, Amanda Rainey, proofer Elizabeth Disney, and other generous friends like Dirk Flinthart, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Jo Anderton and Alisa Krasnostein. Without them (and of course the authors and artists I love working with) it would be impossible to publish the books we do, and the books would be FAR poorer for the lack of their input.

But today we’re announcing a new big step for FableCroft – we’re completely over the moon to announce that we officially have an INTERN! Intern Katharine has been offering help and support to FableCroft (and me) for quite some time, as well as volunteering as a judge for the Aurealis Awards and supporting the wider community with excellent reviews of more books than even I can get to! She really knows her stuff, and I’m so grateful for her willingness to be part of our journey.

About Katharine:

KatharineBioPicKatharine Stubbs used to be mentor and municipal liaison for NaNoWriMo (2005-2012) and an ambassador for National Young Writers Month (2011), but has now retired to be a faithful book reviewer. She is currently in her fourth year of being a judge for the Aurealis Awards, and has recently completed a year as a judge of the CBCA Book of the Year Awards. Some day, Katharine would like to be a published author but until then she is happy rewriting her many manuscripts, reading as much as possible, and travelling. She is greatly looking forward to interning with FableCroft Publishing, and simply adores the Australian spec fic scene! 

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Insert Title Here vital statistics

July 12th, 2014 at 6:46 pm (Insert Title Here)

Image from Jeff Bullas

Image from Jeff Bullas

I’ve tried to record some statistics for my anthologies when I can, because I find it interesting myself, and I know that some people like to know this stuff! In the past six months or so, I’ve been reading for Insert Title Here, an unthemed speculative fiction anthology. While it takes a bit of extra time, I recorded (to the best of my ability) the vital statistics of the submissions, and here’s a bit of a breakdown about the slush. The usual disclaimer: I’m an editor/publisher, not a statistician! 

252 submissions from at least 16 countries, for a total of over 1,200,000 words.

Gender breakdown 1 unknown, 92 F, 2 M/F duo, 157 M.

Story submissions by country: 76 Australia, 2 Belgium, 9 Canada, 2 Greece, 2 Ireland, 1 Israel, 1 Italy, 1 N. Ireland, 7 New Zealand, 1 Norway, 1 Philippines, 2 Singapore, 1 Sweden, 1 Czech Republic, 33 UK, 106 US, 6 unknown.

19 stories were accepted for Insert Title Here (plus 11 for an alternative anthology that emerged from the slushpile. I also solicited two further works for ITH).

Of the 19 accepted stories for Insert Title Here, 9 female authors, 1 F/M combo, 9 male authors (2 additional stories both by female writers). All 11 for alternative anthology by female writers.

Of 19 acceptances for Insert Title Here, 13 Australian, 1 NZ, 2 UK, 3 US (2 additional both Australian). Of 11 for alternative anthology, 10 Australian, 1 Philippines (plus one solicited US and one solicited AU).

Other information:

  • I asked for two rewrites on submission and received one, but ended up being unable to make it fit.
  • Despite clear submission guidelines about multiple and simultaneous submissions, word count and the fact it is a speculative fiction anthology, I received several stories contravening the guidelines, including a number that were withdrawn on acceptance elsewhere. Stories outside of guidelines were rejected unread.
  • Several stories reached the very final round of reading, with quite a number being very hard to let go of – the reading for this book was the most challenging I have done, and the quality of the top 25% of stories the highest I’ve seen.

The slush was for an unthemed anthology, but as I was reading, it became clear that several stories themed themselves into the new book (to be titled Phantazein). I had sort of expected I might get a few stories on similar themes, but to have so many evoke a strong sense of connectedness really surprised me. To include them all in Insert Title Here would have unbalanced that book, so I exercised my right as a boutique publisher and decided to build an entirely new book for them! I call this the “Faith Mudge effect”, as it’s the same reason To Spin a Darker Stair evolved, and one of Faith’s stories was the catalyst for both books.

I’m hoping to launch both books at Conflux in Canberra in October! Lots of work to do between now and then…

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Announcement: Table of Contents for Phantazein

July 12th, 2014 at 6:26 pm (Phantazein)

LogoWhat is Phantazein, I hear you ask? Well, a funny thing happened on the way to the slush… While reading for the unthemed Insert Title Here, several stories emerged as working very well together, with a strong sense of unity between them. To include all these wonderful pieces in Insert Title Here would have unbalanced that book, but given I’m a boutique publisher and can do things as and when they take my fancy, I decided to create an entirely new project, just for them! I call this the “Faith Mudge effect”, because Faith’s stories have now been the catalyst of two entirely new projects sprung from slushpiles :)

The title, Phantazein, is both the root word of the word “fantasy” and has its own meaning of “to appear”, which I think is most apt!. The astonishing Kathleen Jennings has agreed to create a cover for the book, and I’m very excited about this project – I hope you will be too! 

The stories!

Faith Mudge Twelfth
Tansy Rayner Roberts The love letters of swans
Thoraiya Dyer Bahamut
Rabia Gale The village of no women
Jenny Blackford Golden Eyes
Suzanne J. Willis Rag and bone heart
Nicole Murphy A Cold Day
Vida Cruz How the Jungle Got Its Spirit Guardian
Stacey Larner Kneaded
Charlotte Nash The Ghost of Hephaestus
Cat Sparks The Seventh Relic
Foz Meadows Dragon poem

I’m still negotiating on another story for the book, so hopefully we will have more to add to that fantastic lineup, but I’m really looking forward to bringing this anthology to you at Conflux in October!

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Announcement: Table of Contents Insert Title Here

July 12th, 2014 at 6:23 pm (Insert Title Here)

We’re delighted to announce the table of contents for the forthcoming FableCroft book Insert Title Here, an unthemed anthology of speculative fiction. We read more than 250 stories (over 1.2 million words) and have selected a fabulous lineup of stories from both established and emerging authors, which range from science fiction to fantasy to some truly dark horror, with some of the most unusual and engaging genre-bending stories I’ve ever read. It was really tough to select from the great slushpile, and Insert Title Here will be our biggest anthology yet – check out this amazing lineup!

Kathleen Jennings The Last Case of Detective Charlemagne
Joanne Anderton 2B
DK Mok Almost Days
Matthew Morrison Sins of meals past
Tom Dullemond The Last Voyage of Saint Brendan
Dirk Flinthart Collateral Damage
Dan Simpson The Winter Stream
Darren Goossens Circle
Alan Baxter Beyond the Borders of All He Had Been Taught
Thoraiya Dyer The Falcon Races
Robert Hood Footprints in Venom
Caitlene Cooke Circa
Tamlyn Dreaver Reflections
David McDonald Her face like lightning
Marianne de Pierres Salvatrix
Dan Rabarts Oil and bone
Ian Creasey Ministry of Karma
Stephanie Burgis The art of deception
Marissa Lingen & Alec Austin Empty Monuments
Sara Larner Living in the Light
Alexis A. Hunter Always Another Point

We’re aiming for release at Conflux in October (all going well) and I can’t wait to share this book with you!

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Young Adult, all grown up

July 12th, 2014 at 4:58 pm (Conventions, On writing)

Image from http://jinleephd.com/2013/06/29/23-why-should-you-write-young-adult-literature/

Image from http://jinleephd.com/2013/06/29/23-why-should-you-write-young-adult-literature/

At Continuum X on the June long weekend, I had the privilege of moderating a panel called “YA: all grown up”, which featured Guest of Honour Ambelin Kwaymullina, and other YA writers Amie Kaufman, Leonie Rogers and Sue Bursztynski as panellists. We had a chat by email beforehand, so kind of knew the sort of things we wanted to talk about, but of course, you never know where the conversation will go. With such intelligent and well-read panellists, it went all sorts of great places!

We talked about why YA was both important and popular, with readers of all ages, with the panel suggesting that YA is important because “the young matter more” (Ambelin), and that it’s popular for reasons such as the fact it share qualities with genre fiction, the writing is pared back, and YA stories tend to be more diverse that adult-oriented fiction. The reasons why our panellists wrote YA were discussed, and we challenged the idea that YA was “easier” than adult fiction, to write or read, although it’s often shorter and more to-the-point!

Recommendations from the panel for quality YA:

Tehani said (though it would change on any given day) that top reads for her are: Laini Taylor (the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series), Liar by Justine Larbalestier and recommends Awards lists such as the Aurealis Awards, CBCA Older Readers, Inky Awards and various Premier’s literary awards.

Amie suggests Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo and Legend by Marie Liu.

Ambelin says to pick what you love and don’t worry about where it comes from in the bookstore. Read something you wouldn’t normally read – diverse and different perspective and challenge you and make you smarter.

Sue recommends anything by Melina Marchetta and Michael Pryor’s Laws of Magic series.

Leonie seconds Ambelin’s words, and adds Terry Pratchett’s The Wee Free MenBrandon Sanderson’s Rithmatist books, and Bonnie’s story, a blonde’s guide to mathematics by Janis Hill.

I’d like to thank the panellists for being so darn awesome and smart, and for making the hour-long discussion absolutely fly by!

Please note that the notes I took were definitely on the run, and my memory is always suspect. Hopefully I’ve not misrepresented or misremembered anything here – I welcome comments from audience members and the panellists if I’ve got it wrong or missed anything super important!

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FableCroft out in the world

June 24th, 2014 at 10:16 pm (Miscellaneous)

It’s been a busy time here at FableCroft, and I feel like a duck or an iceberg or something right now. Frantically paddling to keep serenely floating, with so much going on under the surface that you can’t see! However, there are a few things out in the world I wanted to share!

BoneChimeCoverDraftJo Anderton was interviewed by the AntipodeanSF podcast after winning Best Collection at the Aurealis Awards in April, and the interview went live a couple of weeks ago. Check it out here. Oh, and Jo also won the Australian Shadows award for Best Collection last week! HUGE congratulations!

Suzanne J Willis’s story “Number 73 Glad Avenue” has been reprinted not once but TWICE now! The story became our second to hit the airwaves on the Starship Sofa podcast in April (the first was Michelle Marquardt’s “Almost Greener” back in Novemberlast year), and it will appear again in the anthology Time Travel: recent trips, edited by Paula Guran (Prime Books, October 2014). Well done Suzanne, it’s a fantastic story and we’re delighted to see it getting continued exposure!

I’m 98.3% (or thereabouts) done with story selection for Insert Title Here, and there’s been a somewhat interesting development on that front which I’ll be announcing very shortly – stay tuned for that, and (hopefully) a table of contents reveal real soon!

Cranky Ladies of History stories are starting to trickle in, and we’re looking forward to reading about the amazing women our authors are writing about. I’ve peeked at a few of them already, and WOW – can’t wait to read them all!

I’ve seen some new reviews of FableCroft works out and about on Goodreads and Amazon – thanks to those folks who take the time to write about our books!

Right, back to the grindstone! More news soon…

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Buzzing about Guardian

June 22nd, 2014 at 10:57 am (Guardian)

Two weeks ago we launched Jo Anderton’s third Veiled Worlds novel, Guardian, to a great audience at Continuum (photos by Cat Sparks), and there’s been some lovely buzz about the book around the traps too!

Jo shares her Big Idea over at John Scalzi’s Whatever.

At SF Signal, Jo discusses what finishing a trilogy taught her about the creative process.

And the story behind Guardian over at Upcoming4Me!

Donna Hanson interviews Jo here.

And Alan Baxter does so here.

Ventureadlaxre gives a great first review of the book here, saying:  “…strength and wit in the face of adversity…gives this novel the edge that makes you unable to stop reading…”

And even our amazing cover artist, Dion Hamill, has been spreading the word!

HUGEST thanks to the wonderful Tansy Rayner Roberts for doing such a fantastic job of launching the book into the world (loved the line “bibliophile search and rescue”!), as well as Alex and Katharine for being big help setting up and selling during the launch; to Justin from Slow Glass who has been a rock for convention sales and distribution; to Cat for the (as usual excellent) photos; to the brilliant Continuum X team for a great convention and a really awesome launch spot; and to the fabulous con-goers who came along and supported – you all rock!

And so we are out in the world. All pre-order copies have been sent, so if you have not yet received one, please let me know! Everyone else, please ask your local bookstore to order copies if they don’t have them on the shelf, or purchase from your favourite online bookseller (obviously we recommend Slow Glass Books for print copies!).

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Book Review: Kaleidoscope by Alisa Krasnostein & Julia Rios (eds.)

June 18th, 2014 at 1:13 pm (Reviews)

I don’t usually review books here on the FableCroft site, but like to periodically do so when it’s a book by one of the authors we have published in the past or is something so brilliant from another small press that it deserves to be shouted from the rooftops! Like this one:

kaleidoscopeKaleidoscope: Diverse YA Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories

ISBN: 978-1-922101-11-2

August 2014, Twelfth Planet Press

Alisa Krasnostein & Julia Rios (eds.)

Kaleidoscope is one of the best anthologies I have read for a very long time. It’s not just the concept, which is both necessary and overdue; it’s not just the stories, which are engaging and beautiful and thoughtful and brilliant; it’s not just the way the authors explore science fiction and fantasy from perspectives all too frequently unseen in fiction; it’s all of these things, and that it seems so natural. In this anthology, every story takes a character (or two or three) who is often “othered” in fiction (and life), and makes their differences a part of the story. Readers will see themselves, they will see their friends, they will see their families, their cultures, their religious beliefs, their sexuality, their physical and mental states and they will see them as normal, as okay, as special. Not othered. Important and relevant and very very good, Kaleidoscope offers a powerful message to our society about difference, and about what we, as readers, want (and need) to see in our stories.

Some pieces, such as Tansy Rayner Roberts’ “Cookie Cutter Superhero”, offer a biting commentary on popular culture, couched in humour and teen spirit; others, such as “Seventh Day of the Seventh Moon” by Ken Liu, take a gentler approach, examining first love with a fantasical twist. Some stories shade darker, as with “The Legend Trap” by Sean Williams (set in his Twinmaker universe, an added bonus for fans) and “Kiss and Kiss and Kiss and Tell” by E.C. Myers; still others take a familiar trope and turn it sideways, like Faith Mudge’s “Signature” and “The Lovely Duckling” by Tim Susman. Some of my favourite works in the book were those that embedded the story in the protagonist’s nature, like the magic of Jim C. Hines’ “Chupacabra’s Song” and Karen Healey’s astonishingly good “Careful Magic”. There are so many wonderful stories in the pages of Kaleidoscope that every reader will find a favourite (or two or three), and every reader, teen or adult, will find at least one that speaks to them in deeper ways.

Thank you to the publisher for my review copy of the book. Kaleidoscope will launch on August 5, 2014 and can be preordered here.

Review cross-posted to Goodreads.

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Continuum schedule

June 5th, 2014 at 6:53 pm (Conventions)

c10coverTHI’ll only be at Continuum X on Saturday and Sunday, but it’s going to be a busy couple of days! At this point, I’ll be hanging in the Dealer Room for most of the time during the day, except when enpanelled. And my panels look like this:

4pm Saturday – Book Launch: Guardian

Join the FableCroft Publishing team to officially launch Jo Anderton’s new Veiled Worlds novel, Guardian. Prizes, treats and special launch prices available!

Tehani Wessely, Jo Anderton, Tansy Rayner Roberts

6pm Saturday – Getting Involved In Awards

From Aurealis to Ditmars to Hugos, there are a wide range of Australian and international speculative fiction awards ad almost as many ways to participate in them. Our panellists discuss the awards they’ve participated in, and how you too can get involved.

PRK, Tehani Wessely, Justin Ackroyd, Alex Pierce

10am Sunday – Young Adult – All Grown Up

Is YA fiction just fiction with YA heroes? What is YA, what makes it good, what differentiates it from adult or “new adult” fiction?

Tehani Wessely, Ambelin Kwaymullina, Amie Kaufman, Leonie Rogers, Sue Bursztynski

2pm Sunday – The Crowdfunding Experience

Sites like Kickstarter and Pozible allow ambitious creators to fund projects through small contributions from vast numbers of curious consumers. When it works, it often works spectacularly – but projects can fail just as spectacularly. A look at pros and cons of the crowdfunding business model by creators who have tried it.

Tehani Wessely, Josh Vann, Laura Wilkinson, Ben McKenzie, Paul Nicholas

4pm Sunday – Live Slushpile

Ever wondered how that story got chosen – or rejected? Our panel of editors will read out the openings of a few SF stories complete with realtime analysis, explaining at what point they would decide to keep or dump a story and why. explain why some stories make it through and others don’t.

Cat Sparks, Tehani Wessely, Jack Dann, Sue Bursztynski, Amanda Pillar

5pm Sunday – Punching Above Their Weight: Small Press in Australia

They take chances. They go where no big press dares. They publish new writers and artists and veterans alike. They publish SF, fantasy, horror, humour, YA, children’s books, themed anthologies. Big press publishes FFT – fat fantasy trilogies. How and why can Australia’s vibrant small press do things large ones can’t?

Sue Bursztynski, Paul Collins, Edwina Harvey, Simon Petrie, Tehani Wessely

8pm Sunday – The Awards

Other than all that (more panels than I’ve EVER been on at a convention, I think!) I’ll hoping catch a few friends for dinner and see everyone in the Dealer Room!

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