Aurealis Award News

Aurealis Award News

Dear Friends,

So much has happened since I last wrote, but here is my most exciting piece of recent news. My short story, Falling Leaves, is a finalist for an Aurealis Award in the category of Best YA Short Story. I’m super pleased. You can read it for free online.

I have been someone who spends a lot of time torturously thinking and then writes her stories super fast or fail to write the story at all. When it works it is the most glorious feeling, one of those touched by the muse feelings that is one of my favorite kinds of agony where you just have to keep writing and when you read back the words there are tears in your eyes. When it doesn’t work it’s a pretty sad and empty feeling.

This short story is the story where I changed this pattern and learned how to radically rewrite in a way that worked (I’ve done radical rewrites in the past, but none of them have sold). Falling Leaves started at a creative prompt from audience members at an open mic night at Inner Chapters. From there every detail mutated and changed, although it only exists because of the original story seeds (which were Gondolier and San Jose… or perhaps a more remote part of California). At one point it was over 15,000 words long and it was looking like it was going to be a novel following Charlotte and Nessa from cradle to grave. Then I realized I’d flinched on a moment at 7K and needed to go back and push into the repercussions of the fall. The title changed every few months and my critique groups (Horrific Miscue and Sounds on Paper_ gave me valuable insights, although I could not quite figure out how to use all their notes.

I’d created a story I loved, that made me cry when I reread it and it was ready to send out into the world… and there it got very nice rejections, a lot of almost, but not quites… until Lynne Marie Thomas, who was editor of Apex Magazine at the time, gave me an invitation to rewrite and few notes. Using those notes I cut a further 500 words and changed two important nouns and it had gone from a story that was so close to a story that was turned up to 11.

… although I must confess I’m still a little sad that I had to cut the section that explains why it’s a synthetic tree not a real tree and how, for carbon sequestration purposes, gmo hemp is a better and faster water investment (although not without it’s problems, I’m sure my future Australia has some hemp megacorps).

Lynne accepted the story and when Sigrid Ellis became editor of Apex she made sure Falling Leaves had a loving home.

And now my story is up for an award, the juried speculative fiction award of Australia. It feels nice that a little bit of me is back home while the rest of me is in Seattle. The awards ceremony will even be in my home town in Canberra, I wish I could be there. The ceremony is on April 11 and tickets will be $40 until March 11 and then go up to $50. I hope everyone has a grand night out. I have never ever ever had to write a potential acceptance speech before and that feels like a prize in itself!… and thanks to Sam Miller I wish I could be there just so we could follow his tradition of everyone reading their acceptance speeches at the after party because there are alternate realities where everyone wins (since writing this post Sam has told me that he did not come up with this idea, he just sure as heck talked about it and made sure it happened. Dear person who came up with this concept, I would love to know who you are).

You can hear Jonathan Strahan, Alisa Krasnostein, Sean Wright and Tehani Wessely talk about this year’s Aurealis Awards over at Coode Street.

And this is the full list of 2014 Aurealis Award Finalists


Fireborn, Keri Arthur (Hachette Australia)

This Shattered World, Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (Allen & Unwin)

The Lascar’s Dagger, Glenda Larke (Hachette Australia)

Dreamer’s Pool, Juliet Marillier (Pan Macmillan Australia)

Afterworlds, Scott Westerfeld (Penguin Books Australia)

Daughters of the Storm, Kim Wilkins (Harlequin Enterprises Australia)


“The Oud”, Thoraiya Dyer (Long Hidden, Crossed Genres Publications)

“Teratogen”, Deborah Kalin (Cemetery Dance, #71, May 2014)

“The Ghost of Hephaestus”, Charlotte Nash (Phantazein, FableCroft Publications)

St Dymphna’s School for Poison Girls”, Angela Slatter (The Review of Australian Fiction, Volume 9, Issue 3)

The Badger Bride”, Angela Slatter (Strange Tales IV, Tartarus Press)


Aurora: Meridian, Amanda Bridgeman (Momentum)

Nil By Mouth, LynC (Satalyte)

The White List, Nina D’Aleo (Momentum)

Peacemaker, Marianne de Pierres (Angry Robot)

This Shattered World, Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (Allen & Unwin)

Foresight, Graham Storrs (Momentum)


The Executioner Goes Home”, Deborah Biancotti (Review of Australian Fiction, Vol 11 Issue 6)

Wine, Women and Stars”, Thoraiya Dyer (Analog Vol CXXXIV nos 1&2 Jan/Feb)

The Glorious Aerybeth”, Jason Fischer (OnSpec, 11 Sep 2014)

“Dellinger”, Charlotte Nash (Use Only As Directed, Peggy Bright Books)

“Happy Go Lucky”, Garth Nix (Kaleidoscope, Twelfth Planet Press)


Book of the Dead, Greig Beck (Momentum)

Razorhurst, Justine Larbalestier (Allen & Unwin)

Obsidian, Alan Baxter (HarperVoyager)


The Executioner Goes Home”, Deborah Biancotti (Review of Australian Fiction, Vol 11 Issue 6)

“Skinsuit”, James Bradley (Island Magazine 137)

“By the Moon’s Good Grace”, Kirstyn McDermott (Review of Australian Fiction, Vol 12, Issue 3)

“Shay Corsham Worsted”, Garth Nix (Fearful Symmetries, Chizine)

Home and Hearth”, Angela Slatter (Spectral Press)


The Astrologer’s Daughter, Rebecca Lim (Text Publishing)

Afterworld, Lynnette Lounsbury (Allen & Unwin)

The Cracks in the Kingdom, Jaclyn Moriarty (Pan Macmillan Australia)

Clariel, Garth Nix (Allen & Unwin)

The Haunting of Lily Frost, Nova Weetman (UQP)

Afterworlds, Scott Westerfeld (Penguin Books Australia)


In Hades”, Goldie Alexander (Celapene Press)

Falling Leaves”, Liz Argall (Apex Magazine)

“The Fuller and the Bogle”, David Cornish (Tales from the Half-Continent, Omnibus Books)

“Vanilla”, Dirk Flinthart (Kaleidoscope, Twelfth Planet Press)

“Signature”, Faith Mudge (Kaleidoscope, Twelfth Planet Press)


Slaves of Socorro: Brotherband #4, John Flanagan (Random House Australia)

Ophelia and the Marvellous Boy, Karen Foxlee (Hot Key Books)

The Last Viking Returns, Norman Jorgensen and James Foley (ILL.) (Fremantle Press)

Withering-by-Sea, Judith Rossell (ABC Books)

Sunker’s Deep: The Hidden #2, Lian Tanner (Allen & Unwin)

Shadow Sister: Dragon Keeper #5, Carole Wilkinson (Black Dog Books)


The Female Factory, Lisa L Hannett and Angela Slatter (Twelfth Planet Press)

Secret Lives, Rosaleen Love (Twelfth Planet Press)

Angel Dust, Ian McHugh (Ticonderoga Publications)

Difficult Second Album: more stories of Xenobiology, Space Elevators, and Bats Out Of Hell, Simon Petrie (Peggy Bright Books)

The Bitterwood Bible and Other Recountings, Angela Slatter (Tartarus Press)

Black-Winged Angels, Angela Slatter (Ticonderoga Publications)


Kisses by Clockwork, Liz Grzyb (Ed) (Ticonderoga Publications)

Kaleidoscope: Diverse YA Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories, Alisa Krasnostein and Julia Rios (Eds), (Twelfth Planet Press)

Amok: An Anthology of Asia-Pacific Speculative Fiction, Dominica Malcolm (Ed) (Solarwyrm Press)

Reach for Infinity, Jonathan Strahan (Ed) (Solaris Books)

Fearsome Magics, Jonathan Strahan (Ed) (Solaris Books)

Phantazein, Tehani Wessely (Ed) (FableCroft Publishing)


Left Hand Path #1, Jason Franks & Paul Abstruse (Winter City Productions)

Awkwood, Jase Harper (Milk Shadow Books)

“A Small Wild Magic”, Kathleen Jennings (Monstrous Affections, Candlewick Press)

Mr Unpronounceable and the Sect of the Bleeding Eye, Tim Molloy (Milk Shadow Books)

The Game, Shane W Smith (Deeper Meanings Publishing)


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