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The Winners of the Aurealis Awards 2015

Posted by Angie on March 28, 2016 at 7:20 PM Comments comments (0)

It was with much regret that I missed out on attending the Aurealis Awards over the Easter weekend and missed out on the festivities that surround this celebration of Australian speculative fiction. Here is the list of winners taken from the Aurealis Awards website. Congratulations to all the nominees and winners. What a wondrous line up!

Yip! Yip!


BEST CHILDREN’S FICTION

A Single Stone, Meg McKinlay (Walker Books Australia) 

BEST GRAPHIC NOVEL / ILLUSTRATED WORK

The Singing Bones, Shaun Tan (Allen & Unwin)

BEST YOUNG ADULT SHORT STORY

“The Miseducation of Mara Lys”, Deborah Kalin (Cherry Crow Children, Twelfth Planet Press) 

BEST HORROR SHORT STORY

“Bullets”, Joanne Anderton (In Sunshine Bright and Darkness Deep, AHWA)

BEST HORROR NOVELLA

“The Miseducation of Mara Lys”, Deborah Kalin (Cherry Crow Children, Twelfth Planet Press)

BEST FANTASY SHORT STORY

“The Giant’s Lady”, Rowena Cory Daniells (Legends 2, Newcon Press) 

BEST FANTASY NOVELLA

“Defy the Grey Kings”, Jason Fischer (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Firkin Press) 

BEST SCIENCE FICTION SHORT STORY

“All the Wrong Places”, Sean Williams (Meeting Infinity, Solaris)

BEST SCIENCE FICTION NOVELLA

“By Frogsled and Lizardback to Outcast Venusian Lepers”, Garth Nix (Old Venus, Random House)

BEST COLLECTION

To Hold the Bridge, Garth Nix (Allen & Unwin)

BEST ANTHOLOGY

Bloodlines, Amanda Pillar (ed.) (Ticonderoga Publications) 

BEST YOUNG ADULT NOVEL

In The Skin of a Monster, Kathryn Barker (Allen & Unwin)

BEST HORROR NOVEL

Day Boy,Trent Jamieson (Text Publishing)

BEST FANTASY NOVEL

Day Boy,Trent Jamieson (Text Publishing)

BEST SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL

Illuminae, Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (Allen & Unwin)

SARA DOUGLASS BOOK SERIES AWARD

The Watergivers [The Last Stormlord (2009), Stormlord Rising (2010), Stormlord’s Exile (2011)], Glenda Larke (HarperVoyager)

THE CONVENORS’ AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE

Letters to Tiptree, Alexandra Pierce and Alisa Krasnostein (Twelfth Planet Press)

Strange Little Girls

Posted by Angie on February 23, 2016 at 7:35 PM Comments comments (1)

Strange Little Girls are made of sugar and spice, and something not quite as nice...

The strange little girls are orphans and changelings, suburban princesses, housewives, nuns and monsters. They are quirky and sweet, terrifying and heartbreaking. All of them a little lost, brimming with their own uniqueness.

In this strange little book of nineteen tales, Lotte goes swimming with her new fishy friends, Rin is freshly dug up, D'arcy strikes a bargain with the midnight mailman and Adelaide enters the mysterious House of Infinite Diversions. Our girls must fasten their bonnets and straighten their skirts to battle otherworldly dangers and challenging circumstances, internal struggles and doubts – and maybe find out who they really are.


Edited by Camilla Bruce and Liv Lingborn.

Table of Contents:

Fairy Tale Ending by Terra LeMay

Deep Down by Tim Jeffreys

The Cottage of Curiosities by Annie Neugebauer

Black Flower Butterfly by Rich Hawkins

Beehive Heart by Angela Rega

Annabelle’s Sleepover by Jan Stinchcomb

Bones in Boxes by Frances Pauli

Marco Polo by Calypso Kane

Teeth Bite Harder in the Dark by Sierra July

Sisters in the Art of Dying by Megan Neumann

The Empty Birdcage by L. Lark

Cedar Lake by Ekaterina Sedia

Pinhole by Tantra Bensko

From Strangers by Ephiny Gale

D’arcy Gray and the Midnight Mailman by Ian MacAllister-McDonald

Pretty Jennie Greenteeth by Leife Shallcross

Where Summer Ends by Colette Aburime

We Have Always Lived in the Subdivision by Karen Munro

House of Infinite Diversions by Aliya Whiteley


I'm really excited to have a story included in this anthology and  to be ToC buddies with the lovely Leife Shallcross!

You can buy a print or ebook copy here!

 


Star Quake 3 - SQ Mag's Best of....has arrived!

Posted by Angie on February 23, 2016 at 5:30 PM Comments comments (0)

Look what arrived in the post! So excited to be part of this anthology! Featuring stories by writers including Ken Liu, Alan Baxter, Kaaron Warren, Sean Williams and Michelle Jager and edited by Sophie Yorkston - this is a lovely tome of tales!

You can order your copy at https://ifwgpublishing.com/stores/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">https://ifwgpublishing.com/stores/






Aurealis Awards Finalists 2015 Announced!

Posted by Angie on February 17, 2016 at 7:20 AM Comments comments (0)


The 2015 Aurealis Awards finalists were announced today. So many wondrous writers and publishers on that list! A special shout out of cheers and hooplahs to the amazing Suzanne J. Willis, Angela Slatter, Lisa Hannet and D.K. Mok!

The full list is here:

BEST CHILDREN’S FICTION

A Week Without Tuesday, Angelica Banks (Allen & Unwin)

The Cut-Out, Jack Heath (Allen & Unwin)

A Single Stone, Meg McKinlay (Walker Books Australia)

Bella and the Wandering House, Meg McKinlay (Fremantle Press)

The Mapmaker Chronicles: Prisoner of the Black Hawk, A.L. Tait (Hachette Australia)

BEST GRAPHIC NOVEL / ILLUSTRATED WORK

The Undertaker Morton Stone Vol.1, Gary Chaloner, Ben Templesmith, and Ashley Wood (Gestalt)

The Diemenois, Jamie Clennett (Hunter Publishers)

Unmasked Vol.1: Going Straight is No Way to Die, Christian Read (Gestalt)

The Singing Bones, Shaun Tan (Allen & Unwin)

Fly the Colour Fantastica, various authors (Veriko Operative)

BEST YOUNG ADULT SHORT STORY

“In Sheep’s Clothing”, Kimberly Gaal (Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #61)

“The Nexus Tree”, Kimberly Gaal (The Never Never Land, CSFG)

“The Miseducation of Mara Lys”, Deborah Kalin (Cherry Crow Children, Twelfth Planet Press)

“The Heart of the Labyrinth”, DK Mok (In Memory: A Tribute to Sir Terry Pratchett, Sorin Suciu)

“Blueblood”, Faith Mudge (Hear Me Roar, Ticonderoga Publications)

Welcome to Orphancorp, Marlee Jane Ward (Seizure)

BEST HORROR SHORT STORY

“Bullets”, Joanne Anderton (In Sunshine Bright and Darkness Deep, AHWA)

“Consorting with Filth”, Lisa L Hannett (Blurring the Line, Cohesion Press)

“Heirloom Pieces”, Lisa L Hannett (Apex Magazine, Apex Publications)

“The Briskwater Mare”, Deborah Kalin (Cherry Crow Children, Twelfth Planet Press)

“Breaking Windows”, Tracie McBride (Aurealis #84)

“Self, Contained”, Kirstyn McDermott (The Dark, TDM Press)

BEST HORROR NOVELLA

“Night Shift”, Dirk Flinthart (Striking Fire, FableCroft Publishing)

“The Cherry Crow Children of Haverny Wood”, Deborah Kalin (Cherry Crow Children, Twelfth Planet Press)

“The Miseducation of Mara Lys”, Deborah Kalin (Cherry Crow Children, Twelfth Planet Press)

“Wages of Honey”, Deborah Kalin (Cherry Crow Children, Twelfth Planet Press)

“Sleepless”, Jay Kristoff (Slasher Girls and Monster Boys, Penguin)

“Ripper”, Angela Slatter (Horrorology, Jo Fletcher Books)

BEST FANTASY SHORT STORY

“The Giant’s Lady”, Rowena Cory Daniells (Legends 2, Newcon Press)

“The Jellyfish Collector”, Michelle Goldsmith (Review of Australian Fiction Vol. 13 Issue 6)

“A Shot of Salt Water”, Lisa L Hannett (The Dark, TDM Press)

“Almost Days”, DK Mok (Insert Title Here, FableCroft Publishing)

“Blueblood”, Faith Mudge (Hear Me Roar, Ticonderoga Publications)

“Husk and Sheaf”, Suzanne Willis (SQ Mag 22, IFWG Publishing Australia)

BEST FANTASY NOVELLA

“Lodloc and The Bear”, Steve Cameron (Dimension6, coeur de lion)

“Defy the Grey Kings”, Jason Fischer (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Firkin Press)

“Broken Glass”, Stephanie Gunn (Hear Me Roar, Ticonderoga Publications)

“The Flowers that Bloom Where Blood Touches the Earth”, Stephanie Gunn (Bloodlines, Ticonderoga Publications)

“Haunting Matilda”, Dmetri Kakmi (Cthulhu: Deep Down Under, Horror Australis)

“Of Sorrow and Such”, Angela Slatter (Tor.com)

BEST SCIENCE FICTION SHORT STORY

“2B”, Joanne Anderton (Insert Title Here, Fablecroft)

“The Marriage of the Corn King”, Claire McKenna (Cosmos)

“Alchemy and Ice”, Charlotte Nash (Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #61)

“Witnessing”, Kaaron Warren (The Canary Press Story Magazine #6)

“All the Wrong Places”, Sean Williams (Meeting Infinity, Solaris)

BEST SCIENCE FICTION NOVELLA

“Blood and Ink”, Jack Bridges, Prizm Books

“The Molenstraat Music Festival”, Sean Monaghan (Asimov’s Science Fiction)

“By Frogsled and Lizardback to Outcast Venusian Lepers”, Garth Nix (Old Venus, Random House)

BEST COLLECTION

The Abandonment of Grace and Everything After, Shane Jiraiya Cummings (Brimstone Press)

Striking Fire, Dirk Flinthart (FableCroft Publishing)

Cherry Crow Children, Deborah Kalin (Twelfth Planet Press)

To Hold the Bridge, Garth Nix (Allen & Unwin)

The Fading, Carole Nomarhas (self-published)

The Finest Ass in the Universe, Anna Tambour (Ticonderoga Publications)

BEST ANTHOLOGY

Hear Me Roar, Liz Grzyb (ed.) (Ticonderoga Publications)

The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2014, Liz Grzyb and Talie Helene (eds.) (Ticonderoga Publications)

Bloodlines, Amanda Pillar (ed.) (Ticonderoga Publications)

Meeting Infinity, Jonathan Strahan (ed.), (Solaris)

The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy 9, Jonathan Strahan (ed.) (Solaris)

Focus 2014: highlights of Australian short fiction, Tehani Wessely (ed.) (FableCroft Publishing)

BEST YOUNG ADULT NOVEL

In The Skin of a Monster, Kathryn Barker (Allen & Unwin)

Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club, Alison Goodman (HarperCollins)

The Fire Sermon, Francesca Haig (HarperVoyager)

Day Boy,Trent Jamieson (Text Publishing)

Illuminae, Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (Allen & Unwin)

The Hush, Skye Melki-Wagner (Penguin Random House Australia)

BEST HORROR NOVEL

No Shortlist Released

BEST FANTASY NOVEL

In The Skin of a Monster, Kathryn Barker (Allen & Unwin)

Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club, Alison Goodman (HarperCollins)

Day Boy,Trent Jamieson (Text Publishing)

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

Tower Of Thorns, Juliet Marillier (Pan Macmillan Australia)

Skin, Ilka Tampke (Text Publishing)

BEST SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL

Crossed, Evelyn Blackwell (self-published)

Clade, James Bradley (Penguin)

Illuminae, Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (Allen & Unwin)

Their Fractured Light, Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (Allen & Unwin)

Renegade, Joel Shepherd (Kindle Direct)

Twinmaker: Fall, Sean Williams (Allen & Unwin)

SARA DOUGLASS BOOK SERIES AWARD

The Chronicles of King Rolen’s Kin [The King’s Bastard (2010), The Uncrowned King (2010), The Usurper (2010), The King’s Man (2012), King Breaker (2013)], Rowena Cory Daniells (Solaris Press)

The Watergivers [The Last Stormlord (2009), Stormlord Rising (2010), Stormlord’s Exile (2011)], Glenda Larke (HarperVoyager)

The Lumatere Chronicles [Finnikin of the Rock (2008), Froi of the Exiles (2011), Quintana of Charyn (2012)], Melina Marchetta (Penguin Random House)

Sevenwaters [Daughter of the Forest (2000), Son of the Shadows (2001), Child of the Prophecy (2002), Heir to Sevenwaters (2009), Seer of Sevenwaters (2011), Flame of Sevenwaters (2013)], Juliet Marillier (Pan Macmillan Australia)

The Laws of Magic [Blaze Of Glory (2007), Heart Of Gold (2007), Word Of Honour (2008), Time Of Trial (2009), Moment Of Truth (2010), Hour Of Need (2011)], Michael Pryor (Random House Australia)

Creature Court [Power and Majesty (2010), Shattered City (2011), Reign of Beasts (2012)], Tansy Rayner Roberts (HarperVoyager)


Fairy Tale Friday - Leife Shallcross

Posted by Angie on October 22, 2015 at 7:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Fairy Tale Friday - Leife Shallcross!


This week's Fairy Tale Friday is writer,  Leife Shallcross. Leife lives in Canberra, Australia, with her family and a small, scruffy creature that snores. She reads fairy tales to her children at night, and then lies awake listening to trolls (or maybe possums) galloping over her tin roof. Her work has appeared in Aurealis and several Australian and international anthologies, including the forthcoming Belladonna Publishing anthology Strange Little Girls. She is actively involved in the Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild and is the current president. When writing is not consuming her spare time and energy, she plays the fiddle (badly). She can be found online at leifeshallcross.com and on Twitter @leioss. Welcome, Leife!



The term ‘fairy tale’ can conjure up clichéd images of ‘happy ever afters’ and thanks to Andrew Lang’s ‘Coloured Fairy Books’ Victorian tales for children told before bedtime. In your experience as a reader and writer, what is a fairy tale?


Imagery is critically important to me, and an important part of the fairy tale canon is the kind of imagery the stories rely upon. As a reader, the first things that attracted me to fairy tales as a young child were the simplistic fantastical elements – the resplendent ball gowns, the hidden princesses with impossibly long hair, wizened gnomes guarding treasure troves and turreted castles surrounded by forests. These things are just as important to me now as they were when I was little, but my Hilda Boswell-inspired repertoire of imagery has now been expanded by the quirky charm of Joan Aiken, the velvet seduction of Tanith Lee and the dark eroticism of Janine Ashbless.

I was also lucky enough to have been plied with a large range of feminist fairy tales as a kid. So from an early age my fairy tale world was well-populated with clever princesses, enterprising peasant girls, cunning old women and fairies with ulterior motives. This is another thing I love about fairy tales. Despite popular misconceptions, these tales (the really interesting ones) often are a place where female characters get to exercise agency and influence.

Another big part of my enjoyment of fairy tales is the way they’re told. They have such a strong narrative structure. Even if it is a brand new, original tale, if it has this structure you know it’s a fairy tale because you can feel the rhythms of the oral traditions that make up the soil the old tales are rooted in. There’s something enchanting about the way fairy tales loop around themselves several times before coming to a conclusion. The wicked stepmother has to try three times to poison Snow White; Donkeyskin must attend three balls in dresses of increasing splendour before her prince comes in search of her, Rumplestiltskin spins for the Miller’s daughter three times before her marriage is assured and, in turn, she gets three opportunities to guess his name. This rhythm is one of the things that keeps me coming back to these tales as a writer. It’s such a compelling framework for storytelling.



Writers such as Angela Carter have written retellings of fairy tales set in contemporary worlds. In your retellings or re-imaginings how important is it to keep the original content? How important is divergence to you? Or is this something that is discovered through the writing process and unique to each story?

I guess I can’t see the point of writing a retelling if you aren’t going to put something of your own into the mix. That’s what I love so much about writing or reading retellings of old tales – that sense of seeing something familiar in a new light, or of discovering something old at the heart of something new.

A great example is the Cinderella movie Ever After. It’s very clever about how it takes the key motifs of Cinderella and weaves them into a new tale – incorporating elements from at least one other folk tale (Clever Manka) along the way. On the other hand, I found the recent Disney Cinderella movie a massive disappointment because it simply didn’t do anything new with the tale. It was very pretty, but there was no substance to it and it was ultimately unsatisfying.

That’s another important aspect of my enjoyment of fairy tales – the way retellings and reimaginings become layered with meaning. The way these stories are constantly reshaped and mashed together or picked apart and have their key motifs extracted by new writers is what keeps them alive and relevant and exciting.

Sometimes writers work with the bones of fairy tales to write new tales. When ‘working the bones’, do you find that the original tales act as scaffolds, metaphors or symbols for your new tale?

I probably do a bit of all of that. I am certainly conscious of using fairy tales as scaffolds for new tales, or twists on tales that I dream up. I like to think of fairy tales like colouring-in stencils. You have the outline of the picture, but how you colour it in and what extra detail you add is up to you. (I think that’s why I love the silhouette illustrations of artists like Arthur Rackham and Jan Pienkowski so much – they capture that quality of the stories.)

What I find fascinating is how malleable fairy tales are. There are so many ways you can use them, and just being able to draw the connection back to an existing body of folklore makes a tale so much richer and deeper.

One of the most memorable modern fairy tale “retellings” I’ve read was not so much a retelling, as an exploration of one of the shadowier corners of an existing tale. You Wandered Off Like A Foolish Child To Break Your Heart And Mine by Pat York (Silver Birch, Blood Moon, ed. Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling) was inspired by this line from Briar Rose by the Grimms:

...from time to time, several kings’ sons came, and tried to break through the thicket into the palace. This, however, none of them could ever do; for the thorns and bushes laid hold of them, as it were with hands; and there they stuck fast, and died wretchedly.

York’s haunting tale tells of the fate of those princes. (Not so much a Happily Ever After.)



Can you tell us about a favourite fairy tale you have worked with for one of your stories? Was it a retelling or a re-imagining or a new story with the skeletons of past tales?


Argh, so many. The tales in their simplest forms leave so many questions unanswered. If you try to make sense out of their elements, they don’t work and you’re forced into creative conjecture to fill in the gaps. By way of example, Beauty and the Beast I seem to play with endlessly. I have written a novel-length version of it, and several short stories. Why was he cursed really? If he was that awful, that a fairy was minded to sock him with an impossible curse and lock him away in isolation from society, how is it possible he could be rehabilitated? What if he can’t be? Or, if he wasn’t that awful, why was he cursed? What would happen if Beauty’s family refused to give her up? If Beauty really does fall in love with him, how does she feel when he transforms back into a man?

I’m also fascinated by the way certain motifs seem to keep appearing in different tales. The curse – that typically can only be broken by a love-token like a kiss or promise of marriage. The high hedge sequestering someone from the world, be it a beast or a sleeping princess. The something lurking at the heart of a forest.

Cinderella, is another favourite. It’s probably one of the most overused tales, but it has such a compelling story premise at its heart, and there are so many ways you can spin it. I’m shopping around a dark, novella-length version at the moment, told from the perspective of Prince Charming’s male lover, and I’m writing a YA novel length retelling in which faking her father’s death is only the first act of desperate cunning my Macgyver-like Cinderella has had to resort to in order to foil a dastardly plot.



If you could invite three fairy tale characters to dinner, who would it be? And why?


I can’t help feeling that would be a dangerous thing to do. One only has to look at the cautionary tale of Sleeping Beauty to understand the perils of leaving someone off the guest list. However, I will brave the possibility of being sent to sleep for a century, and, having raised the issue of problematic guest lists, I think I would invite Princess Amethyst (Amy to her friends) from M.M. Kaye’s The Ordinary Princess, because she seems lovely and is basically responsible for my deep abiding sense that proper fairy tale princesses would rather climb trees and live in the woods than sit in towers guarded by dragons and do embroidery. I’d also invite Tatterhood, because she’s so much her own person and I’d love to find out more about her. And perhaps Little Red Riding Hood’s grandmother, because I’d love to know why a little old lady was living out in the woods on her own.



 

Fairy Tale Friday with Elizabeth Carroll

Posted by Angie on October 16, 2015 at 12:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Fairy Tale Friday with Elizabeth Carroll!

This week's fellow writer of fairy tales is Elizabeth Carroll. A graduate of Clarion South, Elizabeth Carroll lives in Tasmania with her family and at present writes during baby naps. Her previous work has been published in Island Magazine and Strange Horizons, and shortlisted for an Aurealis Award. She is currently learning how to write her first novel during those naps, which has its fair share of natural philosophy, automata, angels and a certain miniature assassin.


The term ‘fairy tale’ can conjure up clichéd images of ‘happy ever afters’ and thanks to Andrew Lang’s ‘Coloured Fairy Books’ Victorian tales for children told before bedtime. In your experience as a reader and writer, what is a fairy tale?


I like Professor Tolkien’s idea that they are ‘tales of Faerie’ – ‘a place of myth and magic where faeries have their being…’ ‘Faerie’ according to Professor Tolkien contains all manner of supernatural creatures, but also all the natural world, ‘including ourselves… when we are enchanted.’ From my point of view Faerie is a place or state of mind where happily ever afters can’t necessarily be guaranteed, although like in real life that makes them more precious when they do happen.

More seriously perhaps, what we now call fairy tales have changed again and again – first told by the fireside, then in print, first told for adults or a gathered family, then for children, and now for all ages again. But even the darkest, grimmest tales can offer children something as well as adults, and adults crave happy endings while kids maybe just expect them, because we know they’re a little rarer on the ground. Fairy tales show us the world through new eyes – it isn’t a safe world, but it’s beautiful and strange and sometimes you can win your happy ending.



2. Writers such as Angela Carter have written retellings of fairy tales set in contemporary worlds. In your retellings or re-imaginings how important is it to keep the original content? How important is divergence to you? Or is this something that is discovered through the writing process and unique to each story?


While I enjoy reading them, I’ve never written a straight re-telling of a fairy tale yet – I suspect it might be a bit like me writing a straight historical fiction. I’d feel a bit too bound by what I know of the original. It’s not been that important to me so far to retain the content of the original – but that might change in the future. Every story is different and in each one I have to learn how to write all over again.



3. Sometimes writers work with the bones of fairy tales to write new tales. When ‘working the bones’, do you find that the original tales act as scaffolds, metaphors or symbols for your new tale?


I find they are like sparks or seeds for a new story – so perhaps somewhere near the heart of the story, but it’s often a process of discovery and surprise rather than sitting down deliberately to write a variation on Cinderella. So they suggest themselves while I’m already writing something. Ideas from myths or folk tales get stuck in my head and they come out in my stories. We read and read and listen and listen, and as storytellers our brains spit up these ideas into our stories. Sometimes I only realise where it came from after I’ve written it. Sometimes my storytelling brain is far smarter than my conscious brain.



4. Can you tell us about a favourite fairy tale you have worked with for one of your stories? Was it a retelling or a re-imagining or a new story with the skeletons of past tales?


One time I have sat down deliberately to re-tell a tale is a variation on the tale of the Loathly Lady, which almost immediately met up with the tale of the curse of Macha on the men of Ulster and ran off in a completely different direction. The Loathly Lady was everything that is ugly, embarrassing and undesirable in a woman. She demanded of her knight that he accept her as she is, to marry her, kiss her or have sex with her in all her grossness, and in doing so he finds she becomes a goddess. Macha had been forced to run a race when about to give birth by the King of Ulster. As she died in childbirth she cursed the Ulstermen so they could no longer fight without suffering her pain. That story is a third of the way written and even writing what I have above I feel the same excitement I did when those ideas met up in my head!



5. If you could invite three fairy tale characters to dinner, who would it be? And why?


Joseph Campbell writes about the hero with a thousand faces, and fairy tale characters in the traditional tales are just like that – they have so many faces, they need to be all things to all people. Can you invite an archetype to dinner? Are archetypes specific enough to have a conversation, enjoy your cooking or flirt with your guests? I’m not sure. So I don’t think I’d invite Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty or Baba Yaga to dinner, but I might invite specific versions of these fairy tale characters that I’ve loved rewritten by authors I admire: Beauty and her Beast from Robin McKinley’s ‘Beauty’, the questing young queen in Neil Gaiman’s ‘The Sleeper and the Spindle’, and Mossy and Tangle from George McDonald’s fairy tale ‘The Golden Key’. All have had such extraordinary adventures that I could listen to their stories all day and all night.

 


Fairy Tale Friday Natalia Theodoridou

Posted by Angie on September 17, 2015 at 8:15 AM Comments comments (0)

It's Fairy Tale Friday with Natalia Theodoridou!



This week’s Fairy Tale Friday’s featured writer is Natalia Theodoridou. Natalia writes stories that sing of  strange darkness and stark beauty. She is a media & cultural studies scholar based in Portsmouth, UK. Her short stories and weird unclassifiables have appeared in The Kenyon Review Online, Clarkesworld, Interfictions, the Black Apples anthology, and elsewhere. Find out more at her website (www.natalia-theodoridou.com) or drop her a line on Twitter @natalia_theodor.


1. The term ‘fairy tale’ can conjure up clichéd images of ‘happy ever afters’ and thanks to Andrew Lang’s ‘Coloured Fairy Books’ Victorian tales for children told before bedtime. In your experience as a reader and writer, what is a fairy tale?

As a child of the 1980s I was, of course, exposed to all the Disney-fied versions of well-known tales like Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Little Mermaid, etc. But I was also growing up in northern Greece, with grandparents that spoke Turkish mixed with Russian; their fairy tales were very different. They felt darker, dangerous. These were the stories that attracted me the most, the stories I kept going back to: there were short men with long beards defying giants and making soup out of stones; women cutting off their breasts and feeding them to their husbands; girls hunted down by their fathers and turning into stars. Later I also went looking for the original, untamed versions of the fairy tales that came to us from further west. What I found clicked perfectly with my experience of fairy tales as something wild, and sometimes deeply cruel, but resonating in a very truthful way.


2. Writers such as Angela Carter have written retellings of fairy tales set in contemporary worlds. In your retellings or re-imaginings how important is it to keep the original content? How important is divergence to you? Or is this something that is discovered through the writing process and unique to each story?

I never begin a story with such considerations in mind, unless I am doing it as a writing exercise or I am responding to a very specific call for submissions. That said, it is usually the thing that makes a specific fairy tale resonate for me that I try to preserve in the retelling, be it a major component, such as a character or a plot element, or something subtle and hard to pin down, like a particular detail, some tragic irony, a feeling. For example, in "The Shadow and the Snake" (in Black Apples), it was the sense that all these extraordinary things that can happen in a Greek folk tale are absolutely normal--they can happen every day, any day, to anyone. In "The Ravens' Sister" (in The Kenyon Review Online), it was the origin of the motif that intrigued me; a lot of stories about lost brothers turning into birds (e.g. the Seven Ravens, the Six Swans, the Twelve Wild Ducks, etc.) came about at times of war. I wanted to explore this in a more contemporary setting.


3. Sometimes writers work with the bones of fairy tales to write new tales. When ‘working the bones’, do you find that the original tales act as scaffolds, metaphors or symbols for your new tale?

Fairy tales are useful blueprints, but I think it is the story-as-metaphor that has more impact in the end. Because some of these narratives are so familiar to many readers, it is easy to make them do double duty in a retelling: on the one hand they act as familiar background, and so perhaps allow the writer to set the scene with a few broad strokes, and on the other hand they bring in old themes that illuminate, and are in turn illuminated by, the new settings in which they are transplanted. It is my feeling that, when a fairy tale is rewritten and retold, both the "original" and the "retelling" are imbued with something new. After writing or reading a retelling, the original tale will never be the same for me again--it will have always already included its own retelling, as well as all of its other retellings by other writers I've read. That's what makes fairy tales so interesting, I think; can you really tell when you first read a fairy tale and what you thought of it, or is your memory already coloured by all your subsequent encounters with it? It's almost as if you can never read a fairy tale for the first time.


4. Can you tell us about a favourite fairy tale you have worked with for one of your stories? Was it a retelling or a re-imagining or a new story with the skeletons of past tales?

I think I may have already answered that when talking about "The Ravens' Sister" above. It would be the story of the Six Swans (even though I ended up retelling the Seven Ravens instead, which had similar themes but a different structure). I followed the major plot points of the original story, but I went experimental with the format, because I wanted to say something about the ways histories (both personal and national) are fluid, contested, and full of silences, erasures, strikethroughs. I also wanted to find out exactly who the Sister was, how she viewed the world. So I tried to write her as a fully-formed person rather than an archetype. Inevitably, where there is a new character, there is a new story.


5. If you could invite three fairy tale characters to dinner, who would it be? And why?

I'm not sure how many dinner guests I could handle (I am terrible at social interaction), but I would definitely invite as many of the children from Hamelin as I could fit around my small dining table. It's not easy being uprooted from your home--I bet they would have some interesting stories to tell.

 

Fairy Tale Friday Suzanne J. Willis

Posted by Angie on September 9, 2015 at 7:55 AM Comments comments (0)

It's Fairy Tale Friday! Introducing Suzanne J. Willis!


This week we have magical wordsmith and citizen of the world of fae, the very talented and dear friend of mine, Suzanne J. Willis. 

Suzanne is a Melbourne writer and a graduate of Clarion South. Her short stories have appeared, or are forthcoming, in Schlock Magazine, Luna Station Quarterly, the British Fantasy Society Journal, Fantasy Scroll Magazine, SQ Mag and anthologies by PS Publishing,Prime Books, Fablecroft Publishing and the Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild. She works full-time and writes in the spaces around it, inspired by fairytales,ghost stories and all things strange. Suzanne can be found online at suzannejwillis.webs.com

1. The term ‘fairy tale’ can conjure up clichéd images of ‘happy ever afters’ and thanks to Andrew Lang’s ‘Coloured Fairy Books’ Victorian tales for children told before bedtime. In your experience as a reader and writer, what is a fairy tale?


Fairy tales are the stories that I grew up on and the ones that I return to time again, for comfort, entertainment, elucidation and inspiration. They are, in some ways, the perfect form of short story – the reader is immediately plunged into the heart of the tale, we quickly recognise the characters and identify with them, and they allow us to escape into a world in which magic is commonplace and justice is (almost always) served.

As a reader and a writer, the most appealing aspect of the tales is the darkness that runs through them, revealing the unforgiving nature of the world. Who doesn’t shiver when they read of Snow White’s wicked Queen being made to dance in re-hot iron shoes until she is dead, or the Goose Girl’s false bride suffering her own punishment of being placed in a barrel full of nails and dragged along by two white horses until she, too, expires?

For me, fairy tales give us a glimpse into and a wander through the dark heart of human beings.


2. Writers such as Angela Carter have written retellings of fairy tales set in contemporary worlds. In your retellings or re-imaginings how important is it to keep the original content? How important is divergence to you? Or is this something that is discovered through the writing process and unique to each story?

Much of the joy of fairy tales is in everything that isn’t written, but is there waiting for the imagination to explore. The depths of the forest, thorny and dark and overgrown with shadowy things, surely contain more than one hungry wolf; castles have any number of rooms and cellars and forgotten treasures waiting to be explored; an ever-after that is not so happy, after all. So, I like to keep pieces of the original tales – a character, an unexplored relationship, an image that seems more than what it is – and use them as a springboard for other stories. Rather than keep the original content, I use these snippets that speak to create different spins on the old tales, or tell the story of what came after.


3. Sometimes writers work with the bones of fairy tales to write new tales. When ‘working the bones’, do you find that the original tales act as scaffolds, metaphors or symbols for your new tale?

It all depends on the tale! I tend to carve the bones into new shapes, I guess. For example, When the Sea is Blue and the Shallows Clear (reprinted in Luna Station Quarterly’s 2015 “The First Five Years” best of anthology) is a story inspired by the Little Mermaid. It has all the main characters of the original, the Little Mermaid’s home and the sharpness of the knives under her feet, but the mermaid, the prince and his wife are very different characters with a completely different dynamic between them. The original story inspired the “what if” questions about character and motive, the bones shaped into a new form of story about morality, love and sacrifice.

Even in my stories that aren't fairy tales, as such, there still appear familiar elements and motifs. The resourceful, lost child, wicked kings, old earth magic, often appear as the anchor points from which new stories and conflicts are spun.


4. Can you tell us about a favourite fairy tale you have worked with for one of your stories? Was it a retelling or a re-imagining or a new story with the skeletons of past tales?

I’ve always loved The Pied Piper of Hamelin – such a creepy story, with all those children following the piper out of town and disappearing forever. But the piper is left to wander the world and I just knew he hadn’t disappeared in the same way. The Rattenfanger’s Pipe (Shlock Magazine February 2014) sees the re-emergence of the piper many years later, still up to his old tricks, revelling in human misery and folly. A new tale, requiring knowledge of the old. A familiar skeleton in new skin!


5. If you could invite three fairy tale characters to dinner, who would it be? And why?

Oooh, so many choices! Definitely the Snow Queen, bringing a glorious winter with her (but hopefully not lodging any ice in my heart!). The nightingale, so I could listen to the music that brought an emperor back from the brink of death. Lastly, the witch from Hansel and Gretel, provided that she brings the dessert.



Year's Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2014 Pre-order Now!

Posted by Angie on August 27, 2015 at 6:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Want the best fantasy and horror stories from down under in 2014?

Pre-order The Year's Best Australian Fantasy and Horror here!

So excited to have my story, Shedding Skin published by Crossed Genres included in this collection.


The Cabinet of Oddities

Posted by Angie on August 19, 2015 at 7:55 AM Comments comments (0)

A couple of months ago, the lovely and multi-talented, Laura Goodin, asked me if I would like to contribute a story to an exciting project, The Cabinet of Oddities. Laura is known for her artistic collaborative projects and the name of the project alone was enough to arouse my excitement and inspire me to get scribbling.

The Cabinet of Oddities is a project that fuses story, flute and art for “an evening of whimsy”. Each story is assigned a composer to set the tale to music. As an avid lover of story-telling I am very excited to be part of this and see how the stories will meld into and take shape from the music. There are stories by Sean Williams, Jack Dann, Robert Shearman, Dirk Flinthart, Simon Brown, Jason Fischer, David McDonald and our visionary, Laura Goodin. The music will be by Houston Dunleavy, Eve Klein, Joe Dolce, Sam van Betuw, Andrew Batterham, Peter Sheridan and Melanie Walters and artwork by the sublime Katheen Jennings. I am humbled and deeply honoured to be asked to be a part of this wondrous line up.

The Cabinet of Oddities will be held on October 4, 2015 as part of the Conflux Speculative Fiction Convention in Canberra. Laura has posted an announcement about the event so I am posting it here, too.

You can also donate to the project here: