Archive for the ‘Slights’ Category

Last month I went to Lexicon, the New Zealand Science Fiction convention. I loved the location, Lake Taupo, where the air seems to suit my health. My hair doesn’t frizz, my skin feels soft, my lungs feel clear. And with the massive lake, filled with mystery and beauty, and things stick out of the water, I was creatively inspired as well! To be surrounded by that environment, and by clever, funny, creative people…what a great weekend it was.

Grace Bridges is chairing the 2019 Convention, which will likely be held at Rotorua. They asked me to return as a guest and I absolutely agreed!


Lots of exciting things happening during the Conflux Science Fiction Convention which runs Friday September 29 to Monday October 2. I’m lucky enough to be MC for the event, which has two incredible guests: Ellen Datlow! and Angela Slatter! We’ll be doing a one hour event at Muse Bookshop, one of my favourite places in Canberra, on the Thursday night. Conflux is such a good convention for meeting writers, publishers and editors and for finding inspiration in words.



My story “Mine Intercom”, which I consider one of my scariest, appears in the 2015 Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror. Edited by Liz Grzyb and Talie Helene, this book is a beauty with great stories from Australian writers. This story first appeared in Review of Australian Fiction.


years best

Possibly the biggest news is the awards! “The Grief Hole” has become the first Australian novel to win the Aurealis Award, the Shadows Award and the Ditmar Award. Absolutely thrilled! It also one the Canberra Critics Circle Award, and I’m beginning to the think they are the predictors of what’s to come, because they also gave me the award for “Through Splintered Walls” and “Slights”, my other two most awarded books!

Here is the book its awards. Admittedly the Shadows Statue is my one from last year, but I couldn’t wait to post the news!




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A couple of new reviews for Slights.

Mark Deniz at Beyond Fiction recently re-published The Blue Stream, my second story in print and one I’m inordinately proud of. He reviews Slights here.

Gnostalgia is a very interesting review and commentary site, and Barry gives Slights 5 out of 5!

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Slights review

One of the things I love about reading reviews of my books and stories is the different things people pick up on.

Poppet, who reviews Slights at her website Poppet’s Planet, says this:

“….One in particular is a metaphor including a see-saw. You cannot find balance unless you work with the person on the other side. Always pushing up when you’re on the bottom. You can’t focus on just one end, because that process doesn’t work if you’re alone.”

Poppet’s talking about a couple of parts of the book. One is a memory of early childhood

Somewhere at the back was a see-saw; I can remember playing on it for a short while. I found it so boring, just up, down, up, down, nothing to look at but Peter’s silly face.

He loved going up, didn’t like going down.

“Going up you might be able to fly, you can lift your arms and might be a bird. Going down you land with a bump or squash your legs, and then you have to push up again.” I watched his face, swapping joy for anticipation and I was only three, I copied him.

and the other has Stevie’s brother, Peter, a motivational speaker, use this childhood experience in his lectures:

Peter used his childhood experience with our see-saw as an analogy, a motivational tool for stirring people to action. He honed it over the years, though he never mentioned me. I don’t know who people pictured on the other side of the see-saw. A best friend, uncle, cousin, a different kind of sibling perhaps. I think his analogy failed there; he should have talked about balance, how good comes with bad, work comes with rest, and these things occur because there is another person on the other side of the see-saw.

He said, on the rostrum, “I like to go up, not so much to go down. But even going down is good, because it is the push which helps us reach the top.”

I love that Poppet has commented on this, because to me it shows a deeper part of Stevie’s nature, and I’m glad she noticed!

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Very interesting article by Nicholas Seeley at Strange Horizons. He interviewed a lot of the writers in the Apex Book of World SF and put this story together.

Also, I’ve just discovered that Danielle has put together a playlist of the “Stephanie Says” soundtrack James Batley made for me at the ‘Slights’ launch in Fiji!

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My novel, ‘Slights‘ has scored a couple of recommendations for “Best First Novel” in the Stoker Awards, and there are a few other Aussies on the list, too. Sinister Reads will profile all those recommended over the next few weeks.

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Harry Markov at Temple Library Review has posted a spooky short interview series, asking horror writers about their early scares. I’m there talking about “The Shining”, but more about the night I first saw it.


Also, Richard Larson has posted a thoughtful review of “Slights” at Strange Horizons.

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Colin Harvey, Angry Robot Author, whose novel “Winter Song” is out now, reviews Slights at his Suite 101 site. Colin liked the way I tell part of the story in marginalia in library books. I talk about the books I deface at my live journal, starting at this page.

Jeff Ritchie, over at ScaryMinds, is very complimentary about “Slights”. I like that he’s picked up on a couple of small details in the book; I love it when that stuff works!

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Slights Location

In “Slights”, one of the people who inhabit Stevie’s dark room is a shop keeper.

This is how I describe their interaction:

I liked to dig for hours on end, sleep, eat, buy my needs from Mrs Beattie at the corner shop. I really enjoyed entering that place. It was dark, cool, small, the goodies all lined up like a marching band. I loved picking things up and putting them down, just out of place, until Mrs Beattie said, “Can I help you?” as if I hadn’t worked there for three years, from the tender age of fifteen. Her arms were fatter than ever, and she hadn’t bought a new dress in years, so you could see a tight line of strain pressing into her flesh.

The thing she hated most was the way I bought lollies. I had half the kids doing it too; they had a fine instinct for what irritated an adult.

“I’ll have a red traffic light. And a green traffic light. And another red traffic light. And a yellow traffic light. And a green traffic light,” until my bag was full. I don’t even like lollies; I gave them to all the sugar-starved children.

The shop I describe was inspired by the corner shop where I lived in Rose Street, Annandale. I passed it every day but rarely shopped there, because, like many corner shops, it often didn’t have what I needed. It was indeed quite dark with a great sense of age about it. I can’t remember if the shopkeeper had fat arms or not!

Now the old shop has been turned into a cafe! Jonathan Shaw, at his Me Fail? I Fly! blog has photos and a description. Revolver looks fabulous from the photos. If I ever write another story about Stevie, I’ll have to make her go and order a coffee in an irritating way!

Here is Jonathan’s history of the shop.

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Harry Markov at Temple Library Reviews has written an incredible review of Slights. Really gives me chills to think that my book is affecting people in this way.

For all those in the New York area, make sure you come see me read at the KGB Bar on Wednesday night.  We all go out for a meal afterwards. I’m looking forward to a night out on the town!

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Lots of news

I’m feeling very excitable today. Here’s one reason:


Yes, I’m only book of the month at Borders in the UK!

Plus, Charles Tan has an interview up with me here.

Plus, my Fiji Launch is on tomorrow night and I have a musical surprise provided by a musical genius.

Plus, I just did an interview with the Fiji Times. Smart questions. The reporter was really interested in my philosophy, what inspired me to write certain stories. Wonderful stuff.

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