2015 Rundown and highlights

Well, this post is only about six weeks late. Not too shabby. Not too shabby at all. I’ll mix the WFC post with a 2015 rundown post, methinks, and get it all out of the way in one fell swoop.

So, 2015: stuff happened.

CJ0b6XaUwAA0IZKMy publishing output was quite low, with three short stories in English (“Bluebeard’s Daughter” in SQ Magazine; “Bearskin” in The Dark; and “Lavinia’s Wood” in She Walks in Shadows), one short story in Japanese (“The Heart is a Mirror for Sinners” in Night Land Quarterly) and two novellas (Of Sorrow and Such, one of the Tor.com inaugural new series; and Ripper in Stephen Jones’ Horrorology, with cover and internal art by Clive Barker). There were also eleven reprinted stories in a variety of domestic and international anthologies.

But: in April this year I signed a three book deal with horrorologyebkJo Fletcher Books (an imprint of Hachette International), brokered by my delightful International Literary Agent of Mystery, Ian Drury of Sheil Land. This means I am able to eat for three years and I get to work with an editor I’ve admired for a long while, Jo Fletcher herself. The first two books are Vigil and Corpselight, which follow my wise-cracking, cake-addicted heroine Verity Fassbinder as she tries to keep Brisbane safe from wayward Weyrd, murderous Normals, and all manner of strange occurrences. The third book might be Restoration, but in all honestly we’ll have to wait and see how well the series does (there’ll be a new post on that called “The Three Book Problem”, appearing next week, about the practicalities and challenges of surviving publishing).

Art by Greg Ruth

Art by Greg Ruth

I sold an original novelette to Ellen Datlow for Tor.com, called “Finnegan’s Field”, which will be out in January 2016 (oh, hey, wait, tomorrow is January 2016). I’ve sold two short story collections to appear in 2016, one in the US and one in the UK, both mostly reprints but with a couple of new stories to spice things up. Official announcements when I’m allowed.

Kathleen Jennings and I turned in our story book for grown-ups, Flight, which should be out in February 2016 via Tiny Owl Workshop.

Photo by Lisa

Photo by Lisa

In April I was fortunate enough to win three Aurealis Awards (Best Fantasy Short Story for “St Dymphna’s School for Poison Girls”, Best Horror Short for “Home and Hearth”, and Best Collection with Lisa L. Hannett for our Twelve Planets instalment, The Female Factory). That was nice, and we had a great trip to Canberra (one night only!) and got to catch up with friends, however briefly.

At BWF in September, I got to interview Kelly Link, and then to moderate a panel on folklore with her, Holly Black and Sjón Sigurðsson, which was excellent. Also I went to Adelaide in early October for the launch of Lisa’s debut novel, Lament for the Afterlife, and bonding with Garth Nix over doing dishes. In late October, Lisa came over here for GenreCon = big fun.

Photo by JS Breukelaar

Photo by JS Breukelaar

My major trip this year was to World Fantasy in Saratoga Springs, NY. I was lucky (unlike poor Lisa — her tale of woe can be read here) and my flights from Bris-LA, the LA-NYC went smoothly. The long and tedious ride in the shared taxi was long and tedious (but at least not 20 hours unexpected stopover in Abu Dhabi tedious, so I no complain). I arrived at the hotel about 9pm on 3 November, ate much of the mini-bar for dinner and went to sleep. I spent pretty much all of 4 November asleep, then finally rose as the sun set (vampire-like) and set off for Times Square, where I met up with Dan Braum. The kind man got me coffee and dinner, then we headed to NYC’s only haunted house experience, The Kill Bar, just down the street from Times Square. It’s a great venue and a big thanks to Matt Kressel who stepped in to read with me as Lisa was still stuck in transit hell. The reading went really well, I met some lovely folk, and a big YAY to home-girl Jennifer Breukelaar, who was in NYC and came along, and to Alp Beck who took some great photos of the event.

Photo by Lisa

Photo by Lisa

I’d been able to get a late checkout at the hotel and my travel agent at home changed our train tickets from the morning to the afternoon trip (no extra charge! Thanks, Ben!). An exhausted and bedraggled Brain turned about 10.30 the next morning (5 November), had a shower and then we walked around the corner to the French patisserie, which served good coffee and ever better pastries (and would become our breakfast home for the four days we returned to NYC after the con), and had a catch-up. In the afternoon we headed to Penn Station, armed with knowledge from Kathleen Jennings (who always goes before and sends helpful tips back) about the usefulness of Redcaps in guiding one to the train, and sat around for a bit waiting for our train. And yes, I was a wee bit disappointed to find that the Redcaps were not gnomes with actual red caps, but probably for the best that your luggage isn’t taken by a murderous goblin.

With the Sisters Marshall

With the Sisters Marshall

Train trip was uneventful, although as we chugged into the mists coming off the Hudson, Lisa observed that we were either going into Tír na nÓg or a Stephen King novel. On arrival at our hotel in Saratoga Springs we found Haralambi Markov! Huzzah! A meeting in person at long last. 🙂 And Nicole Korhner-Stace! And later on Cat Valente! And Helen and Laura Marshall and Chris Roberts and Garth Nix and Jonathan Strahan and Ellen Datlow and Gemma Files and Irene Gallo and Lee Harris and Kelly Link and Gavin Grant and John HS Stevens and Martin Cahill and Alyx Dellamonica and Kelly Robson and Michael Kelly and Marianne De Pierres and Delia Sherman and Ellen Kushner and Usman Tanveer Malik and Jeffrey Ford and Janeen Webb, and and and … a whirlwind of most excellent humans … and if I’ve forgotten you, I’m sorry, but I do love you!

What they want you to think happened

What they want you to think happened

I won’t go into great detail about the next four days, mainly because it’s all a blur at this point, but Lisa’s post gives you some idea. I did a panel about ghosts with Helen Marshall, Sandra Kasturi, Stephanie Feldman and Kit Reed. I did a reading from Of Sorrow and Such, its first outing, which seemed to go well. Went to dinner with the lovely folk from Tor.com; collected Tremontaine cakes and went to buy a new suitcase with Kelly Robson; went to the Tremontaine launch party (plum brandy fountain! cakes!); had dinner with the lovely Jo Fletcher, Ian Drury, Lisa Hannett and Robert Jackson Bennett. Looked longingly at art, which I could not afford, bought books, talked until my throat was hoarse, caught up with friends, made new ones, ate food that didn’t come from mini-bars.


What really happened

The Big Thing was winning a World Fantasy Award for Best Collection for The Bitterwood  Bible and Other Recountings. The really excellent thing was sharing the award with the fabulous Helen Marshall and her amazing collection Gifts for the One Who Comes After (you should go and buy it, really you should). It was a lovely surprise and a shock and an honour; then it got even better going out to dinner at an excellent Mexican restaurant with the Sisters Marshall, Lisa, Chris and friends!

Photo by Lisa

Photo by Lisa

The next day it was back to NYC for more good coffee, pastries, hotdogs, pretzels, and culture! Over the next few days we went to the Tor.com offices in the Flatiron Building and recorded an interview, had lunch with the adorable Katharine Duckett, Mordicai Knode, and Lee Harris (and ran into Harry Markov, too!). We wandered along 5th Avenue (a heart-breaking juxtaposition of the homeless and the lost propped up against the ridiculous richness of shops like Prada and Versace and Apple) to Bill Shunn’s launch of The Accidental Terrorist. We raced around the Guggenheim in 25mins before it closed, we meandered through Central Park and then found the Met where we stuck our noses against the glass of the Medieval collections cases. We went out to The Cloisters for a morning and mourned that there was not more Cloisters (we loved The Cloisters, we want more Cloisters — although, having read John Connolly’s The Killing Kind, I couldn’t help but imagine Mickey Shine’s head on one of the candelabrum in a corner).

eanddAnd on our last night in NYC we went to dinner at the amazing apartment of the amazing Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman. Gorgeous dinner, fabulous company, and we brought NZ wine (coz the Oz selection was shite) and French macarons. We left with heads spinning and hearts overflowing.

And then it was done. I went to the airport and got home without incident. Lisa had a few more hours to kill and did so at the Met once more. I got the great, big, ugly Howie head through security; I did get pulled aside in both JFK and LAX airports, but security staff were pretty impressed when they saw the damned thing and let me through with no further incidents. hobbits

I had two days at home then David and I flew off to New Zealand for our first proper holiday in two years. Which was awesome! We love NZ. We saw stuff, drank wine, visited Hobbiton and the Weta Workshop coz, nerds. And then home. And back to edits on Vigil. And now I am madly trying to hit all of my March deadlines, all the while making noises like a boiling teakettle.

Those are pretty much the highlights.

So, 2016 for me looks like this on the publishing side:

1 x novel, Vigil

2 x short story collections

4 x original short stories in various anthologies

And writing-wise:

Deliver 1 x novel, Corpselight

Write 1x novel of some description

Write 1 x book of film crit on Hammer Horror’s Karnstein Trilogy

Write and deliver 7 original short stories

Deliver 1 x edited novella to Spectral Press

I’ll be at Contact 2016 (NatCon and Aurealis Awards) in March in Brisbane (which is highly convenient), but am not sure about my other travelling arrangements for this year. Probably no WFC for me as the cost is just huge coming from Australia. I’ve got a two week residency gig, but details aren’t yet available so let’s just pretend I didn’t say anything.

Have a Happy New Year, folks, stay safe.

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