Welcome to Women’s History Month 2015, which has the theme “Weaving the stories of women’s lives”, which fits perfectly with our Cranky Ladies of History anthology project! After 18 months of work, including our successful crowd-funding campaign in March last year, we are proudly releasing the anthology on March 8. To celebrate, our wonderful authors have supplied blog posts related to their Cranky Lady, and we are delighted to share them here during the month of March.
To get your own copy of Cranky Ladies of History, you can buy from our website, order your favourite real world bookshop, or purchase at all the major online booksellers (in print and ebook).
Elizabeth Tudor: Last Queen Standing by Faith Mudge (“Glorious”)
To understand how Elizabeth Tudor became the woman she was, you need to know a few things about her father.
At a huge diplomatic event known as the Field of the Cloth of Gold, King Henry VIII of England challenged the French king to a public wrestling match. (He lost.) When the Pope refused permission for him to divorce his first wife, he changed the whole religious structure of his country so that he could do what he wanted. When his second wife, Anne Boleyn, bore a girl instead of the son he expected, he refused to attend the christening. He divorced Anne of Cleves after six months because he decided she wasn’t pretty enough, ordered for Catherine Parr to be arrested when she argued with him and is reputed to have been playing tennis while Anne Boleyn was executed.
In short, he was a violent egomaniac whose word was law, and who placed little worth on the lives of women. Not an ideal father for two daughters.
Elizabeth was born on the seventh of September in 1533, during the volatile years of the Reformation, when the only safe belief you could have about anything was ‘whatever the king says’. She was not quite three years old when her mother was beheaded, and her father remarried in the same month. This marriage, to Jane Seymour, soon produced the son he craved so much. That left Elizabeth, his middle child, in an immensely precarious position – disinherited, declared illegitimate, essentially superfluous and a living reminder of the woman Henry had loved then hated.
You could say that’s when I met her. The first incarnation of Elizabeth I remember encountering was an article in an old magazine, and the sense of isolation it conjured has stuck with me: an image of a little girl surrounded by whispers and watchful eyes. The only person Elizabeth could count on to protect her was herself.
POTENTIAL SPOILERS FOR “GLORIOUS” AFTER THE CUT – check out the story in Cranky Ladies of History before you read!
Read the rest of this entry »
The annual Ditmar Awards shortlists were announced a few days ago, and we’re absolutely over the moon to have several works feature in various categories, alongside lots of other excellent Australian stuff! To celebrate, we’re offering up some free fiction, including our two shortlisted short stories, samples of Faith Mudge’s wonderful work, and an extract from Tansy Rayner Roberts’ Ink Black Magic. We’ve also linked to Kathleen Jennings’ Illustration Friday posts, as one of her pieces was on the cover of Focus 2012 (and we think she’s awesome…). Click on the highlighted links below to download the samples!
- Ink Black Magic, Tansy Rayner Roberts (FableCroft Publishing)
- Fragments of a Broken Land: Valarl Undead, Robert Hood (Wildside Press)
- The Beckoning, Paul Collins (Damnation Books)
- Trucksong, Andrew Macrae (Twelfth Planet Press)
- The Only Game in the Galaxy (The Maximus Black Files 3), Paul Collins (Ford Street Publishing)
Best Novella or Novelette
- “Prickle Moon”, Juliet Marillier, in Prickle Moon (Ticonderoga Publications)
- “The Year of Ancient Ghosts”, Kim Wilkins, in The Year of Ancient Ghosts (Ticonderoga Publications)
- “By Bone-Light”, Juliet Marillier, in Prickle Moon (Ticonderoga Publications)
- “The Home for Broken Dolls”, Kirstyn McDermott, in Caution: Contains Small Parts (Twelfth Planet Press)
- “What Amanda Wants”, Kirstyn McDermott, in Caution: Contains Small Parts (Twelfth Planet Press)
Best Short Story
- “Mah-Song“, Joanne Anderton, in The Bone Chime Song and Other Stories (FableCroft Publishing)
- “Air, Water and the Grove”, Kaaron Warren, in The Lowest Heaven (Jurassic London)
- “Seven Days in Paris”, Thoraiya Dyer, in Asymmetry (Twelfth Planet Press)
- “Scarp”, Cat Sparks, in The Bride Price (Ticonderoga Publications)
- “Not the Worst of Sins”, Alan Baxter, in Beneath Ceaseless Skies 133 (Firkin Press)
- “Cold White Daughter”, Tansy Rayner Roberts, in One Small Step (FableCroft Publishing)
Best Collected Work
- The Back of the Back of Beyond, Edwina Harvey, edited by Simon Petrie (Peggy Bright Books)
- Asymmetry, Thoraiya Dyer, edited by Alisa Krasnostein (Twelfth Planet Press)
- Caution: Contains Small Parts, Kirstyn McDermott, edited by Alisa Krasnostein (Twelfth Planet Press)
- The Bone Chime Song and Other Stories, Joanne Anderton, edited by Tehani Wesseley (FableCroft Publishing)
- The Bride Price, Cat Sparks, edited by Russell B. Farr (Ticonderoga Publications)
- Cover art, Eleanor Clarke, for The Back of the Back of Beyond by Edwina Harvey (Peggy Bright Books)
- Illustrations, Kathleen Jennings, for Eclipse Online (Nightshade Books)
- Cover art, Shauna O’Meara, for Next edited by Simon Petrie and Rob Porteous (CSFG Publishing)
- Cover art, Cat Sparks, for The Bride Price by Cat Sparks (Ticonderoga Publications)
- Rules of Summer, Shaun Tan (Hachette Australia)
- Cover art, Pia Ravenari, for Prickle Moon by Juliet Marillier (Ticonderoga Publications)
Best Fan Writer
- Tsana Dolichva, for body of work, including reviews and interviews in Tsana’s Reads and Reviews
- Sean Wright, for body of work, including reviews in Adventures of a Bookonaut
- Grant Watson, for body of work, including reviews in The Angriest
- Foz Meadows, for body of work, including reviews in Shattersnipe: Malcontent & Rainbows
- Alexandra Pierce, for body of work, including reviews in Randomly Yours, Alex
- Tansy Rayner Roberts, for body of work, including essays and reviews at www.tansyrr.com
Best Fan Artist
- Nalini Haynes, for body of work, including “Defender of the Faith”, “The Suck Fairy”, “Doctor Who vampire” and “The Last Cyberman” in Dark Matter
- Kathleen Jennings, for body of work, including “Illustration Friday”
- Dick Jenssen, for body of work, including cover art for Interstellar Ramjet Scoop and SF Commentary
Best Fan Publication in Any Medium
- Dark Matter Zine, Nalini Haynes
- SF Commentary, Bruce Gillespie
- The Writer and the Critic, Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond
- Galactic Chat Podcast, Sean Wright, Alex Pierce, Helen Stubbs, David McDonald, and Mark Webb
- The Coode Street Podcast, Gary K. Wolfe and Jonathan Strahan
- Galactic Suburbia, Alisa Krasnostein, Alex Pierce, and Tansy Rayner Roberts
Best New Talent
- Michelle Goldsmith
- Zena Shapter
- Faith Mudge
- Jo Spurrier
- Stacey Larner
William Atheling Jr Award for Criticism or Review
- Reviews in Randomly Yours, Alex, Alexandra Pierce
- “Things Invisible: Human and Ab-Human in Two of Hodgson’s Carnacki stories”, Leigh Blackmore, in Sargasso: The Journal of William Hope Hodgson Studies #1 edited by Sam Gafford (Ulthar Press)
- Galactic Suburbia Episode 87: Saga Spoilerific Book Club, Alisa Krasnostein, Alex Pierce, and Tansy Rayner Roberts
- The Reviewing New Who series, David McDonald, Tansy Rayner Roberts, and Tehani Wessely
- “A Puppet’s Parody of Joy: Dolls, Puppets and Mannikins as Diabolical Other”, Leigh Blackmore, in Ramsey Campbell: Critical Essays on the Master of Modern Horror edited by Gary William Crawford (Scarecrow Press)
- “That was then, this is now: how my perceptions have changed”, George Ivanoff, in Doctor Who and Race edited by Lindy Orthia (Intellect Books)
Voting is now open for the Awards, for anyone who is a member of the 2013 Natcon (Conflux) or this year’s Natcon (Continuum X). Thank you so much to everyone who nominated our work!
A little while ago, FableCroft author Faith Mudge guest posted at SF Signal on the topic “Feminism in Fairytales”. Faith’s excellent story “Oracle’s Tower” (in To Spin a Darker Stair) is a very clever reworking of a traditional tale, and her beautiful piece in One Small Step also subverts fairytale tropes. Faith blogs frequently on fairytales at her own blog, and she really knows her stuff! From the article:
I don’t know if anyone else noticed, but I’m pretty sure 2012 was the Year of the Fairy Tale. There wasn’t an official announcement or anything, but the nod was clearly given in secret circles and the retellings spread outwards like ripples on the waters of speculative fiction. Novels such as Kate Forsyth’s Bitter Greens, Sophie Masson’s Moonlight and Ashes and Marissa Meyer’s Cinder were released, there were big movie adaptations Mirror Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsman, there was even a TV series. Hell, there were two TV series! I’m a fiend for fairy tales; I was in paradise. And I was seriously impressed by the ingenuity of all these storytellers for finding something new to say about stories that have been retold over so many years.
But there was also a bitter aftertaste that’s been bothering me for some time. It was so subtle, and so pervasive, that it is difficult to pin down when exactly I first noticed it – in the reviews? The promotional interviews? The posts I read afterwards? What I noticed was this: that when people spoke about a fairy tale adaptation, the assumption was that it would be better than the original. Specifically, that the women would be better.
I highly recommend the post to you, if you’re at all interested in the resurgence of fairytale retellings in all media, and particularly the portrayal of women in these.
We would like to congratulate all our authors whose works will appear in the 2012 Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror (from Ticonderoga Publications, July 2013). In particular, three stories first published by FableCroft will be reprinted! Well done to Thoraiya Dyer (“Sleeping Beauty” from Epilogue), Faith Mudge (“Oracle’s Tower” from To Spin a Darker Stair) and Tansy Rayner Roberts (“What Books Survive” from Epilogue). Lovely news!
Speaking of news, we’ve started a new page on this website called “FableCroft Books in Review“, where we link to online reviews of our books – check it out to see what reviewers have been saying about us!
People have been tweeting about receiving their copies of To Spin a Darker Stair, and they are saying such lovely things!
Faith Mudge, one of the authors, sent me a beautiful note, and I hope she won’t mind me quoting her description: “The book is gorgeous – so small and sweet, a bookling really!” I LOVE it – bookling indeed!
Artist Kathleen Jennings talks us through the process of the cover art on her blog – so PRETTY.
DarkMatterzine has already reviewed it! Nalini says: “I’m charmed by the book … these are re-imaginings from the dark side.” (among other nice things).
And on Twitter, Tansy Rayner Roberts called it, “a fairy cobweb of a … book.” Beautiful!
And finally (for now!), author Catherynne M Valente also had some things to say on Twitter – I’ve captured it as a picture to have forever! My favourite bit? “… a beautiful, delicate, strange book…”
If you’d like a copy too, pop over to the Shop and pick one up!