THE DAGGER’S PATH… DITMAR FINALIST

 THE DITMAR are reader voted awards, open to Australian authors/artists and voted upon by the Australia National Science  Fiction Convention attendees. 

Last year’s award for Best Novel was the plaque (see pix to the right), which was awarded to  

THE LASCAR’S DAGGER
the first book of the Forsaken Lands trilogy.*











This year, Book 2 is up —  

THE DAGGER’S PATH, 

and it has been voted on to the short list of five books. The other four are:

  • Day Boy, Trent Jamieson 
  • Graced, Amanda Pillar
  • Lament for the Afterlife, Lisa L. Hannett
  • Zeroes, Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, and Deborah Biancotti


 My guess for a winner? I reckon it will be Trent’s year this year, but we will see.

 If you are attending the National Convention, or attended last year, be sure to vote.

And don’t forget:
Book 3 will be long in just 8 weeks…

























*it tied with with Trudi Canavan’s novel “Thief’s Magic.”

Looking for some reading matter over Xmas/NY?

Before I get on to some suggestions of non-Australian fantasy writers below, here’s the cover of my next book, which will be published mid-April, worldwide. 
This is the final book in The Forsaken Lands trilogy.
While you are waiting for it  …
Here are some writers with new books to try 
(I will talk about some Australian writers in another post):

Ian Tregellis:
 

War looms over New France and the Brasswork Throne in THE RISING, Ian’s newest novel, which is book 2 in the Alchemy Wars trilogy. 
See more here: http://iantregillis.com/

Kate Elliott: 

Kate has a new book out. Yay! She is one of my favourite authors.
BLACK WOLVES is the first book in a new epic fantasy series. 
Find more here: http://www.kateelliott.com/

Carol Berg:

The second and final of her Sanctuary novels is out. ASH AND SILVER — War Magic: A secret military Order that can erase memory. What could go wrong? See more here: http://www.sff.net/people/carolberg/
 
Alex Dellamonica:

A DAUGHTER OF NO NATION, second novel in the Stormwrack fantasy series is out.

Steven Harper:

BLOOD STORM, a new fantasy novel from Roc. The power of the shape returns, but will it bring peace or war? 
See more here: http://stevenpizikscom.netfirms.com/?page_id=16

Juliet E. McKenna:

Juliet has been putting her backlist up on Wizard’s Tower Press. Take a look!
Juliet’s webpage:  http://www.julietemckenna.com/?p=1827
Wizard Tower: http://wizardstowerpress.com/
 

On reading one’s own reviews…

I really don’t get this whole thing about not reading reviews of one’s own books. To me, that’s like writing into a vacuum. 

Most of us novel authors write because we love to create a story* — few would do it, then never ever let anyone read those stories.


Yes, we sometimes get scathing reviews. You can’t please everyone. But you also might get called “This decade’s best fantasy writer” as one recent Amazon reviewer said about me. I don’t actually believe that, mind you, but boy, does that boost the ego, and inspire me to write!

*Few do it  for the money — most of us don’t make sufficient income from books to live on!

Where Do You Get Your Ideas From?

Over the past two weeks I have been asked by three different people:
                                  Where do you get your ideas from?”
If you are not a novelist, you probably have no idea how common that question is!


Answers vary from the tongue in the cheek (“At this quaint little curiosity shop in the lane behind the markets…”), to the more mundane (“From inside my head”). Only one of those is near true.


Even more truthfully, I can illustrate the answer to the question by the photo above, taken this week while with a group of naturalists from the West Australian
Naturalists Club exploring the Mount Lesuer National Park near Jurien
Bay, some 270 km north of Perth. If you look very carefully, you will get an idea of scale — there is someone actually standing at the middle of the foot of that dark…thing.



Most people, coming across something like that, would look at it — and after dismissing the possibility of an elephant rampaging around in the West Australia woodlands — would decide that it is actually some kind of dead plant. In fact, a closer look would reveal a dead tree covered with a tangle of dodder, a kind of creeper (Cuscuda sp).


 But to  a writer?

Our brains work differently. We look at something ordinary, and think something extraordinary. In effect, we ask ourselves, “What if…?”


In this case:
“What if that was really an alien life form?” (A science fiction writer)
“What if there was a skeleton hidden in there?” (A crime writer)
“What if that dodder was a magic twine keeping an evil sorcerer imprisoned in its coils?” (A fantasy writer)
“What if that plant was about to take over the earth?” (A horror writer)
“What if it was the disguised entrance to an underground laboratory?” (A thriller writer.)

So the truth is that writers see exactly landscape as non-writers, but our brains use the mundane as the spring board for our imaginations. And that is where we get our ideas.



SWANCON-NATCON 2015, AWARDS and…

Well, what a lovely day yesterday was.


SWANCON, the SF convention of Western Australia, was this year also the Australian National SF convention, which for a start is always fun. This year the International Guest was author and blogger John Scalzi ( an inspired choice!) and the National Guest was Kylie Chan (equally fabulous!). And I was sharing a hotel room with Donna M. Hanson, Canberra writer, con-organiser and longtime friend. So all those things = have a great time.


Lots of old friends, uncovered new ones. 
Yesterday I had a kaffeeklatsch with some of the attendees, which gave me an excuse to babble (and thanks for all who came to listen). In the evening, there were the awards, which included the Tin Ducks (for West Australian talent), the Ditmars (the national awards) and the A.Bertram Chandler Award for Contributions to Australian SF.


So what  could  be better than for me to win two awards and for Donna to win the Bertram Chandler (richly deserved, I might say, as there is no one who has worked harder than Donna in the interests of Australian SF). The Ditmar was shared in a tie with the lovely Trudi Canavan (who is touring in Europe at the moment). For my book to be up there with Thief’s Magic is a huge compliment.


So there I am with not one, but two, especially crafted and totally gorgeous trophies and some very golden memories. The photo below is of Donna holding Trudi’s award and me with my Ditmar.

Me looking as supercilious as possible

The presenter was John Scalzi, and that man is SO MEAN. We had been talking earlier on and I’d told him that I’d never won anything and so there was no way he’d be presenting anything to me that night, cos I don’t win things.

When he announced the award, and realising that Trudi was not present, he said “And the winner is Thief’s Magic by Trudi Canavan!”
That presentation was made and I thought, ‘Oh well, no surprise…’
 And that sneaky man then said, fixing me with a beady eye…  “Wait, there’s more. It was a tie…”

 And here is me (cynically dubious of the depth of his contrition)  wondering if I should forgive him:

Of course no one wins awards without help. 
My beta readers are fabulous for a start. 
My editor at Orbit (Hachette), Jenni Hill, deserves a mention.
 And then there’s all the folk at Swancon and Natcon who worked to organise the awards. And lastly — and perhaps most importantly — all those people who voted. 

Very hard to photogroph because they are clear!

You rock, one and all.







THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN US & UK COVER

The one on the left is the UK cover.  The book itself is a smaller size and the cover is slightly bluer and darker. 
 The US book on the left has a tinge more green and is lighter.
The other difference is in the reader/reviewer comments on the back. 
UK has quotes from Elizabeth Moon and Karen Miller; 
US has Karen again (but a different quote), Publishers Weekly and RT Book Reviews.
I have no idea why there is a difference, 
but I suspect there is a reason!

The Kind of Review…

 …that every author loves.

Every now and then you get a review from someone who really “gets” what you, the writer, are trying to say.
Here is one such, from Ryan Frye at Civilian Reader blog.

Below is Ryan’s summary, but you can read the whole review here.


Overall, The Lascar’s Dagger is a great read. The pacing is
great, with plenty of action and swagger. While I thoroughly enjoyed
every aspect of this book, Larke left plenty of hints that there’s
greater depth to the characters, the world and the story to be found in
later volumes. If you are looking for a new epic fantasy series that
will engage, entertain (and maybe even enthrall you) in equal measures,
then Larke’s your author and The Forsaken Lands is your series.

NEWS! NEWS! NEWS!

THE LASCAR’S DAGGER 
has been shortlisted for two Australian awards for 2014.



One is the Aurealis Awards, which is a juried (juryed?) award. 
The book is up for the Best Fantasy Novel 2014.
The winner will be announced in Canberra on April 11th.


The other is the Ditmar Awards, which is a reader/fan-voted award
and it is up for the Best SpecFic Novel 2014.
This will be announced at the Australian National SF Convention over Easter (which is Swancon this year).

This is the eight time I have been shortlisted for the Aurealis, but I think the first time I have had a novel shortlisted for both.