GeyserCon, NZ’s 40th national SFF convention, came, and it went — in a blur of sci-fi & fantasy discussion, events, education, networking, crafting, hilarity and fun. I had a busy weekend. For me, there were many highlights, best shown in photos! Okay, the photos aren’t brilliant, but they’re all I have!
Kids’ Workshop – Super Heroes & Interactive Fiction
Groan, not that early in the morning! Yes, it was worth it. Yes, we’re all bleary-eyed after little sleep the night before! The redwood forests in Rotorua were beautiful.
GeyserCon: Future of High Fantasy Panel
I had an interesting time moderating a panel discussion on the future of High Fantasy with fellow writers Laura VanArendonk-Baugh (Guest of Honour), David Hair, Mark Johnson and Dan Rabarts. This photo does not do the panel justice. Although the photographer only caught Mark Johnson laughing in this shot, we did have fun, and the audience did too. It was a stimulating discussion, first thing in the morning — a great start to the day.
Laura VanArendonk-Baugh (Guest of Honour), David Hair (thinking hard), Mark Johnson (laughing at David’s witty comment) and Dan Rabarts (listening)
GeyserCon: Marketing for Indie Authors
Yes, I did give a presentation and there is a photo somewhere on the internet on someone’s feed, but I don’t have it! Rumors said it was great though!
GeyserCon: Creating Fantasy Maps
Ava Fairhall teaches at Yoobee design school. I was lucky enough to meet her online in an international writers’ forum and find out she lived near me! Ava gave a fascinating presentation on creating fantasy maps. The huge coloured map on the left is Dragons’ Realm, the world of my Riders of Fire series.
The fun kept going all weekend!
Ready to rock! Watch out for the guy in the back! He’s trouble (Darian Smith is a great writer of epic fantasy).
Cosplay Guests of Honour
Lauara VanArendonk-Baugh & Alena VanArendonk, our international cosplay experts, entice Lee Murray into a costume. Well, a hat anyway.
You’d never believe that in real life Alena (right) has really long hair!
Victoria Dreyer had a fun time with kids (young and old) in the craft corner (writers have multiple talents). No prizes for guessing which piece of dragon-themed jewellery I made!
World Con 2020 – ConZealand
There was lots of cool news about ConZealand, WorldCon 2020! You can get more info here and confirm the rumours that George R R Martin is toastmaster and that great authors like Mercedes Lackey & Larry Dixon will be here in NZ next year!
The Sir Julius Vogel awards shortlists came out while I was standing behind a stall at Armageddon flapping my dragon wings and chatting to readers about books. In the flurry of cosplay, book talk and oddly-garbed visitors popping by the stand, I nearly missed the announcement.
My friends were far too onto-it to let that happen.
They tagged me on social media, and after hours on my feet, as I got home, drooping and all talked out (yes, imagine that!), I saw the great news.
Here is the full shortlist for the Sir Julius Vogel Awards :
2019 Sir Julius Vogel Awards – Finalists
PROFESSIONAL AWARD NOMINEES
The Kingfisher’s Debt by Kura Carpenter (IFWG Publishing)
Restoration Dayby Deborah Makarios (Oi Makarioi)
Into the Sounds by Lee Murray (Severed Press)
Teeth of the Wolf by Dan Rabarts & Lee Murray (Raw Dog Screaming Press)
The Voyage of the White Cloud by M. Darusha Wehm (In Portentia Press)
Best Youth Novel
When Gina Pressed Enter by Elise De Silva (EDS Publishing)
Ezaara, Riders of Fire, Book 1 by Eileen Mueller (Phantom Feather Press)
Lutapolii – White Dragon of the South by Deryn Pittar (Junction Publishing)
Quest by A.J. Ponder (Phantom Feather Press)
The Suburban Book of the Dead by Jamie Sands
Best Novella / Novelette
Where the Sun Does Not Shine by Paul Mannering (Adrenaline Press)
Skin Deep by Violet Penrose (Griffon Press)
The Glassblower’s Peace by James Rowland (Published in Aurealis #114, September 2018)
The Martian Job by M. Darusha Wehm (Choice of Games)
Best Short Story
“On the Run” by Kevin Berry in Te Korero Ahi K? (SpecFicNZ)
“Girls Who do not Drown” by A.C. Buchanan (Apex Magazine, December 2018)
“We Feed the Bears of Fire and Ice” by Octavia Cade (Strange Horizons)
“A Devoted Husband” by Melanie Harding-Shaw (Breach Zine)
“Dead End Town” by Lee Murray in Cthulu: Land of the Long White Cloud (IFWG Publishing)
Best Collected Work
The Fairies of Down Under and other Pakeha Fairy Tales by Geoff Allen (Makaro Press)
Te Korero Ahi Ka Edited by Grace Bridges, Lee Murray and Aaron Compton (SpecFicNZ)
80,000 Totally Secure Passwords that no Hacker Would Ever Guess by Simon Petrie
Cthulu: Land of the Long White Cloud Edited by Steve Proposch, Christopher Sequiera and Bryce Stevens. (IFWG Publishing)
Best Professional Artwork
Cover for Te Korero Ahi K?, Created by Evelyn Doyle (SpecFicNZ)
Cover for Quest, Created by Craig Phillips (Phantom Feather Press)
Cover for Capricious 9, Created by Laya Rose (Capricious)
Cover for The Baker Thief, Created by Laya Rose (The Kraken Collective)
Best Professional Production/Publication
Breach Magazine, volumes 5-9 Edited by Peter Kirk
New Orbit Magazine Edited by Naomi Moore (New Orbit Productions)
Writing from a Dark Place by Lee Murray (Victoria University Press)
Overgrown by Laya Rose
Info Text subtitles for Earthshock, on Doctor Who: The Collection – Season 19 Blu-ray Box Set (BBC, 2018) by Paul Scoones (BBC)
Black Archive #15 by John Toon (Obverse Books)
Best Dramatic Presentation
Wellington Paranormal, Directed by Jermaine Clement and Jackie van Beek (New Zealand Documentary Board)
Mortal Engines, Directed by Christian Rivers (Universal Pictures)
FAN AWARD NOMINEES
Best Fan Artwork
The Thirteenth Doctor by Laya Rose
Best Fan Production/ Publication
The Future According to Mikey (Curdled Milk Productions)
Star Trek in the Park – The Trouble with Tribbles (Enterprise Entertainment)
Phoenixine Edited by John and Lynelle Howell (Phoenix Science Fiction Society)
Special Award Nominees
Best New Talent
The Kingfisher’s Debt is Kura Carpenter’s debut novel and very cleverly set in an Urban Fantasy world overlaying (or underlying, depending on your perspective) Dunedin, New Zealand. The writing is crisp, the plot excellently designed and executed. The work, I believe, clearly shows a writer who has taken the writing process seriously, from conception to drafting, to re-drafting, and producing a book that fits neatly into the Urban Fantasy genre while also having a strong Kiwi flavour.
With her unique and empathetic perspectives on disability, sexuality, and the human condition, Saf Davidson has quickly cemented herself as one of the foremost upcoming New Zealand SFF writers. Her work on serials “Tourist” and “Mountain Sound” has garnered broad praise, and as an award-winning comics writer and editor of games, it’s clear that she refuses to be put in a box—whether creatively or professionally.
As Concealment’s publisher, I nominate and highly recommend this fast paced, action packed and gripping Sci-Fi novel. The below precis speaks for itself.
Our genes: will they be our hope or our undoing?
Three centuries from now humanity has made its last stand – a city high in the Swiss Alps, a place of safety and security from a deadly past. This is the reality of Nathanial Paquette’s life and it has been this way for the whole of his sheltered twenty-three years. But with a knock at the family’s apartment door everything changes. Now he must face an uncertain future and unexpected truth – he is genetically altered, and what really matters is what lies hidden within his blood.
Together with eleven others, Nathanial discovers not only does he have to navigate the competing agendas of the city’s ruling council and a man of science but survive the rigorous training he and his fellow recruits are faced with.
It’s a world where friendships are forged, enemies are made, and death awaits – ever wanting to become everyone’s new best friend.
This is the first book of a six-book saga, I promise you, you will be on the edge of your seat from the beginning to the end. The author quickly draws you into the characters’ lives and their world and moves the story along at pace. Using compelling language, this new author reels you into the narrative and leaves you wanting for more.
Deborah Makarios has produced a beautifully presented novel that is warm, laugh-out-loud funny, full of twists, and well-drawn characters. The fantasy has not only believable characters, but the land itself is a key character, possessing a magic of its own. She sticks to her genre, but the surprises are many along the way, and the ending is satisfyingly positive. Effortlessly woven into the fast-moving story, there are many current themes – the environment, justice, corporate greed and racism – even though the setting is old. I can’t wait to see what Makarios produces next.
The back-cover description of the novel is as follows:
“Princess Lily was born to be queen, but she leads a pawn’s existence in the shadow of her guardians’ control. She dreams of the day when she will take her rightful place in the world.
At last her chance arrives, with a quest for the three Requisites of Restoration Day, the royal rite which renews the life of the land. But she’s been hidden away too long, and Arcelia has changed.
Stripped of everything but the identity which has become a life-threatening liability, Lily will need to do more than cross the board if she is to emerge triumphant as the queen she knows she must be. The land she thought was hers becomes the field for a gripping game–and this time she’s playing for her life.”
Since writing and publishing her first novel (The Lady in the Coat) in 2017, Anna’s confidence of writing horror stories has been continually improving. She is a real enigma in the world of horror writing.
What astounds more than anything, is that Anna understands how the brain works; how we, as human beings cope/deal with fear, terror and paranoia.
After reading Deceptive Cadence, Anna’s collection of short stories, you will question the noises you hear as you drift off to sleep at night. Could there really be someone lurking outside you window, waiting?
And let’s not forget the monsters living in The Room at the End of the Hall. They cannot be real, can they?
You will seriously second guess yourself after you have read Deceptive Cadence. You will jump at every noise you hear.
Anna Ryan is an up and coming writer with imagination and writing skill to be a hugely successful horror writer
I was absolutely thrilled – and more than a little speechless – to receive a 2017 Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best New Talent at Lexicon, the New Zealand Science Fiction and Fantasy National convention. The full 2017 SJV awards list is here.
With the deep blue backdrop of Lake Taupo, and snow-tipped ranges across the water, the setting for Lexicon was magical. Ninety teenage writers attended workshops on Friday and boggled us with their talent. A weekend full of interesting panels, discussions, impromptu meetups with writers and fun social activities kept me on my toes. Not to mention the last-minute accommodation booking I made without realizing my bed was situated above a nightclub. It was actually above a nightclub AND three bars, the only nightlife in Taupo!! Yes, I was dancing all night – even in my asleep.
Even though I was on the shortlist, it was still a nerve-wracking process waiting through the ballot and having that envelope opened on stage in front of my eyes. Then there was that long moment: sitting, stunned, while people nudged me to get to my feet!
Thank you to my wonderful readers for nominating me. And thank you to everyone who has supported my writing – by beta reading, believing in me, critiquing my work and brainstorming plot fixes. Thanks to my publishers, The Fairytale Factory and Phantom Feather Press, they’re great! I’d also like to thank the New Zealand speculative fiction community, Romance Writers New Zealand and Holly Lisle’s online writing community.
My critique groups deserve a proper mention. I’m lucky, I have two. Monkey Lab: Alicia Ponder, Charlotte Kieft, Michelle Child and Peter Friend; & Clarke’s Critters: Lee Murray, Simon Fogarty and Alicia Ponder. Everyone needs a tribe, so thanks for being mine. You’re all more than critique partners, you’re wonderful friends.
Radio host Sherri Rabinowitz interviewed me on Blog Talk Radio about winning a Sir Julius Vogel Award, my books, dragons, and my real passion in life.
We also had fun discussing interactive fiction, strategies for dealing with bullying, kids’ literacy and literary festivals. It was blast. Please download the podcast here. I hope you enjoy listening to the show!
I was gobsmacked. Speechless. And in tears. Quietly (my friends can vouch that’s not usual for me), I thanked the many people who have shaped my writing – a long list – while tears tracked down my cheeks.
But, wait, roll back. What’s this show of emotion about?
On Sunday night, my book, Dragons’ Realm, received the 2016 Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best Youth Novel.
Internationally acclaimed fantasy author, Juliet Marillier, and New Zealand fantasy author, Anna McKenzie, had both been teaching us over weekend. Juliet was presenting the writers’ awards. I was sitting at the back of the room, tucked out of sight, when the results were announced.
A tear leaked from my eye. Then another…
Faced with such tough competition, it was such a shock to win.
Kevin Berry nudged me. “You have to walk up the front,” he whispered. “Off you go.”
Usually fast on my feet, I was so stunned that I hadn’t moved! Once I got to the front of the room, you could’ve heard a mouse squeak.
Then my ‘thank yous‘ started. And here they are again.
Thank you to every reader who nominated my book Dragons Realm for Best Youth Novel. Thanks to you, my novel got on the shortlist. And thank you to fans who voted for my shortlisted book in the secret ballot.
My amazing publishers, Deb Potter and Blair Polly of the Fairytale Factory, have been imaginative and worked hard to make Dragons Realm the best book it could be. Thank you to Monkey Lab and Clarke’s critique group – my fantastic peers who review my work: Alicia Ponder, Peter Friend, Lee Murray, Simon Fogarty, Charlotte Kieft and Michelle Child. You guys are my tribe and I love your insight, brainstorming sessions and sense of humor!
Thank you to Grace Bridges of Splashdown Press and Chila of Port Yonder Press for awarding me first place in the SpecFicNZ Going Global Award which opened many doors for me. Dan Rabarts and Lee Murray were my first editors on the Baby Teeth project which saw Marie Hodgkinson of Paper Road Press publish my first short story.
Thanks to Alicia Ponder who found me and introduced me to Phoenix Writers, who got Lost in The Museum with me. Geoff Popham deserves a big thank you for his award-winning art. Then there are all the Phantom Feather Press authors who helped make the Best of Twisty Christmas Tales a success. Paul Mannering’s crazy ideas always spark more of my own. Vicki Cunningham is always positive and cheerful. My family is very cool and support my books – Kurt and the kids love riding dragons and cracking jokes. My friends at home, and loyal readers, friends and writers around the world have been amazingly supportive – especially Holly Lisle’s online forum – all my Write a Book with Me buddies. (I can hear you cheering!)
And thanks to Kyle Mewburn, who mentored me and strengthened my voice!!! (Yes, they can hear me in Switzerland now when I sing!) To the many writers whose workshops I’ve attended (Juliet Marillier, Anna McKenzie, David Hill, Fleur Beale, Ruth Paul to name a few). To Joy Cowley, Dave Freer and David Hill for their contributions to The Best Twisty Christmas Tales.
It’s also great to be part of the SSFANZ, SpeciFicNZ, NZSA, Storylines and the Wellington Children’s Book Association.
Is there anyone I haven’t mentioned? If so, thank you too. We all need a tribe, a village, a city… a circle of supporters, friends and mentors.