I’m happy to announce one of my short stories will be in a new steampunk anthology called Clockwork Cairo, released on May 28th. Clockwork Cairo is a collection of Egyptian-themed steampunk that includes twenty stories.
Here’s a list of the contributors:
Tee Morris and Pip Ballantine
John Moralee (me!)
E. Catherine Tobler
K. Tempest Bradford
More information about this book can be found at the publisher’s website: Twopenny Press.
Last Friday, I was shocked to learn my local council intends to close two of the three libraries in my region. That will mean I’ll have to travel thirty minutes to the remaining one, which is something I won’t do, even though I love reading. It’s just not practical for me to travel so far. Instead, I’ll be forced to buy every book that I want to read, which will severely limit what I choose because I don’t have an infinite budget. I won’t discover any new authors by casually browsing until I find something new and exciting. I won’t learn obscure facts from giant reference books. I won’t try something different because it was free to borrow. Instead, my reading will be limited to only those books I can afford to buy.
Unfortunately, libraries are closing all over the country – in vast numbers. The government are slashing the number to save cash – allegedly.
When I was little, my dad used to take me to the local library so I could borrow loads of books on every subject under the sun. I love books today because I was exposed to so many when I was younger. If those books had not been free to read, I would not have read them and learnt to expand my imagination.
It’s incomprehensible to me any civilised society would close libraries when the benefits of keeping them open are so obvious. Libraries are a vital resource. Reading books develops critical thinking. It educates children. It provides pleasure and stimulates the mind.
Without libraries, future generations will be less educated than the current one, creating more problems than it solves, so it makes no sense to close them, no matter how bad the state of the economy. Employers always complain about the poor level of education of graduates unable to spell basic words and form grammatical sentences. Investing more in libraries will help solve that problem. The government needs to invest more in libraries – much, much more – if they want to reduce crime and poverty and improve society. Cutting back the number of libraries to save money costs more money in the long term. It’s insane. No libraries should be closed to “save” money.
In April 2013, I attended a “Writing to Sell” workshop at the 52nd Natcon Convention in Canberra. This workshop focused on factors to think about when writing short-form fiction for the professional speculative fiction market. The following contains some of the tips I gleaned and, while most of them are familiar and self-explanatory (writer 101 stuff), there were a couple of pointers I hadn’t thought of so I thought I’d share.
Obviously, the usual rules apply. There is no one way to get published and no ‘formula’ per se to writing fiction (after all, if there was, everyone would be doing it). There is also hard work involved. Like any of the arts, writing is a skill that takes time and practice to master.
1) Your work should come across as professional (fail to do this and you won’t get a look in)