You’ll have to forgive me a spate of seemingly self-indulgent blog posts of late, so look away now if you’re not into lists of achievements.

However (in the interest of total honesty):

This is all leading up to something I believe in. Awards, or at least the recognition associated with awards. Yes, personal recognition is part of it, but 2005 was a year of achievements made on behalf of others, or working in tandem with others, and these projects are the ones for which I seek to gain recognition.

I’ll keep this matter of fact so we can get back to ‘regular programming’.

The Ditmars are open for nomination until February 17. The full details are available on the website: http://www.conjure.org.au/ditmars.htm.

If you felt any or all of the following were worthy of recognition, drop the Ditmar organisers an email (as per the rules on the website etc.).

I’ve listed the following works/people/publications (both my own, those I’m associated with) by category (with explanations where appropriate). Where it comes to my own works, I’m suggesting the ones I believe are worthy of consideration (for instance, I’ve had a dozen or more stories published in 2005, but only think a couple are worth looking at for the Short story category). My suggestions are:

‘Ian’ by Shane Jiraiya Cummings (Ticonderoga Online #5)
‘Congo Jenga’ by Shane Jiraiya Cummings (Shadowed Realms #8)

Shadowed Realms (edited by Angela Challis) – in 2005, published six regular issues, including a special issue for #6 (Jul/Aug). Contributors through the year included Poppy Z Brite, Terry Dowling, Robert Hood, Richard Harland, Lee Battersby, Martin Livings, Paul Haines and many many more. In 2005, Shadowed Realms became a SFWA/HWA professional market. In my opinion, no magazine has been more consistent or more deserving of recognition for its growth and support of local talent on an international level than Shadowed Realms. Angela’s done one hell of a job in bringing it into the elite of international pro webzines.

Shadow Box e-anthology (edited by Shane Jiraiya Cummings & Angela Challis) – People have described this as ‘ground-breaking’, and ‘the future of e-books’. With seventy flash stories from sixty six authors, including award winners like Kaaron Warren, Geoffrey Maloney, Martin Livings, and Lee & Lyn Battersby – and lavishly crafted with multimedia extras and digital art on each of the 120+ pages, there’s never been an anthology like Shadow Box. I’m biased but Shadow Box is frickin’ excellent!

Shane Jiraiya Cummings for Shadow Box – I created every piece of digital art that appeared in Shadow Box, including the cover. (Incidentally, I do all the graphic work for Shadowed Realms).

Shane Jiraiya Cummings – I’m the managing editor of HorrorScope: The Australian Dark Fiction Web Log, where I’ve contributed scores of news items, reviews, and the odd editorial or two. I also write a monthly column on Australian speculative fiction for Stoker-award winning US newsletter Hellnotes.
Mark Smith
Miranda Siemienowicz
Andrew McKiernan
Matthew Tait
Stephanie Gunn
All of the above HorrorScope editors have contributed some of the most insightful reviews and interviews I’ve ever read. They deserve acknowledgement for their tireless efforts in expanding HorrorScope and being damn fine writers of genre criticism and review.

HorrorScope: The Australian Dark Fiction Web Log – since August, the HorrorScope team have covered the spectrum of Oz spec fic in their reviews, reliably and consistently. Among other things, we broke the news of the Lothian Books call for novel submissions, and have since expanded to conduct reviews of some of the finest professional publications in the world, such as Weird Tales, Interzone, Black Static/TTA, Crimewave, Surreal, and Book of Dark Wisdom.

See FAN WRITER for myself and the HorrorScope team. This category was focussed on specific reviews last year. I was particularly proud of my HorrorScope review of the Bubba Ho-Tep DVD. The HorrorScope editors came up with a plethora of excellent reviews – it’s an embarrassment of riches. 🙂

The Shadowed Realms Issue 6 launch at Continuum (Angela Challis & Shane Jiraiya Cummings)- this was the cornerstone of Shadowed Realms in 2005. We conducted (what I thought was) an outstanding multimedia presentation in conjunction with the AHWA, where we announced the ascension to international pro status (and corresponding pay increase to 8c/word), the Shadow Box, Book of Shadows, and Macabre anthologies, the imminent Redback special issue, and the table of contents for issue 6 (including the winners of the AHWA flash fiction comp). For a sneak peek, you can check out the multimedia invitation we sent to over 100 people: www.shadowedrealms.com.au/ff

The formation of the Australian Horror Writers Association (Marty Young, Kirstyn McDermott, Carl Schaller, Angela Challis, James R Cain, and Mick Piemontese) – the AHWA has made a significant impact on the Australian dark fiction genre. It’s like we have shepherds guiding the flock of black, slightly angsty sheep. Marty and the gang have done tremendous things, such as start the short story competition, instigate the Australian Shadows award, plus a heap of online articles and support systems.

Shane Jiraiya Cummings – *deep breath* In the last twelve months, I’ve had stories appear in/sold to almost every Australian SF publication (Aurealis, ASIM, Borderlands, Ticonderoga Online, Shadowed Realms, Shadow Box, Daikaiju2, Antipodean SF, Ripples); I’ve made a number of professional sales (Surreal, Book of Dark Wisdom, Nowa Fantastyka); been published in Polish (Nowa Fantastyka); I’ve been Highly Commended in the Aurealis Awards and the KSP short story comp; I’ve edited and released the Shadow Box e-anthology and Robots & Time anthology, as well as assisted Angela with Shadowed Realms and the forthcoming Australian Dark Fantasy & Horror: Best of 2005 anthology; I’ve graduated from Clarion South; I became a columnist for Hellnotes; and I began HorrorScope and have since contributed dozens of news items and reviews. I’m proud of my accomplishments in 2005, both as a writer (see my full bibliography if you like) and as an editor.

Angela Challis – In 2005, Angela took Shadowed Realms into the ranks of the international pro publications and published a who’s who of Oz spec fic. Aside from producing six solid issues of Shadowed Realms, she’s edited the Shadow Box e-anthology, plus has edited (or is working on) the following forthcoming anthologies: Australian Dark Fantasy & Horror: Best of 2005, The Book of Shadows, Fading Twilight, and Macabre: The New Era in Australian Horror. She has, almost single-handedly, been behind practically every publishing opportunity for Australian dark fiction writers in 2005.

Bear in mind, both Angela and I are new to the Australian SF scene. We only started all this at the end of 2004.

Okay, excuse all the self-focussedness – it’s been a busy twelve months. I won’t be returning to this again for the sake of everyone’s sanity.