Year of the Pig

It’s been a couple of months… I owe some deserving people emails, but before I get to those, I thought I’d post a bit of an update

The Year of the Pig was just that. One of those Annus Horriblises worth forgetting. Two things came out of it – a pretty successful string of short story publications and a resolution to be more honest and uncompromising when it comes to people’s bullshit.

I’ve also completed my duties as convenor of the Aurealis Awards horror division. Congratulations to Susan, Anna, Terry, Cat, and all the nominees and honourable mentions (if you look at the judges’ reports, you’ll see there are more than a few across the divisions – in Horror, Margo Lanagan, Martin Livings, and Miranda Siemienowicz received HMs for their shorts, while Keri Arthur, David Conyers, and Jason Nahrung received HMs for their novels).

I’m glad I was involved in the awards process. It’s given me a greater appreciation for what’s involved, and it was great to hear the winners were so chuffed about it all.

I especially think Ron, Kate, Damon, and the judges deserve a special mention for putting the hard yards in. It wasn’t perfect at times but I think it was the smoothest and most professionally run AAs to date (and despite some impressions, the judges and admin went out of their way to ensure everything was considered – I personally hunted up every short story I was aware of and encouraged my fellow horror judges to read electronic submissions where appropriate). Everything within the bounds of possibility was considered (except where publishers and authors refused to participate), the commercial interest of sponsors and advertisers was met, deadlines were met, the results were made available within hours of the ceremony (a huge cheer for that), and judges were given a formal opportunity to debrief. You can’t ask for much more than that.

It was immensely vindicating (and surprising) to see one of my stories nominated for the Aurealis Award in the YA division (congrats to Deb for her fine “A Scar for Leida”, btw). It was also fantastic to see Russell score five nominations from Fantastic Wonder Stories. My nod for “Yamabushi Kaidan and the Smoke Dragon” was my first Aurealis nom (I had an HM in 2005 for “Revision is Murder”). I do a hell of a lot of ‘back end’ stuff – like running HorrorScope, editing anthologies (ADFH 2006, Black Box etc), and awards judging, so it’s great to see some people appreciate my writing (which I’ve always maintained is my primary goal, despite the chronic volunteerism) enough to rate a story of mine in their top five.

Here’s how the Year of the Pig went down for me, short story wise:

“Yamabushi Kaidan and the Smoke Dragon” (Fantastic Wonder Stories)
“Beneath Southern Waves” (Daikaiju! 2)

“Genesis Six” (Apex Digest #8 – on the cusp of Dec06/Jan07)
“Dread Seasons Quartet” (four flash stories in Antipodean SF issues)
“Itch” (Horror Literature Quarterly #1)
“Memoirs of a Teenage Antichrist (ASIM #31)
“The Garden Shed Pact” (reprinted in Australian Dark Fantasy & Horror 2007 edition)
“The Cutting Room” (Gratia Placenti – published last month)

I also sold a few that are expected to appear this year – I’m especially looking forward to my appearances in Dark Wisdom, Macabre: A Journey Through Australian Horror, and Cthulhu’s Dark Cults (from Chaosium).

So, bring on the Year of the Rat.