Home > My Writing, thirsty work, Yellowcake Summer > 2013 in Review: Writing, Editing, Judging, Publishing and Targets for 2014

2013 in Review: Writing, Editing, Judging, Publishing and Targets for 2014

2013 was a breakthrough year for me in a number of ways relating to my nebulous writing career. This year I wrote 100,000 words of prose fiction for the first time in a decade. In April and May I was an Emerging Writer-in-Residence at the KSP Writers’ Centre. I completed one novel, Yellowcake Summer, which was published by IP in September, and started working on another, Thirsty Work. This year I wrote just one short story, “A Void”, which was shortlisted for the Carmel Bird Award and was recently published in The Great Unknown, edited by Angela Meyer. I had a further three stories published in 2013, all of which were written in 2012, and I made my editorial debut alongside Andrez Bergen with The Tobacco-Stained Sky.


Like I said, I hit 100,000 words of prose written for the year, which I’m very happy about. The bulk of these words consist of the second half of Yellowcake Summer and the first half of Thirsty Work. 40,000 words of Thirsty Work were written in three weeks while I was at KSP, so I have the residency to thank for reaching this total. This is in additional to working full time as an English teacher, although I am lucky enough to have twelve weeks off from that per year.


Earlier this year I was invited by Andrez Bergen to co-edit The Tobacco-Stained Sky with him. Andrez had already selected a story of mine, “The Dying Rain”, for the anthology, but the book was in need of a prose editor and I was happy to step up to the plate. This was a demanding but enormously satisfying experience for me, and I’m very proud of the anthology. Thanks again to Andrez and to Kristopher Young of Another Sky Press for affording me this opportunity. I’ve always (rather perversely) enjoyed line-by-line editing, and as part of my KSP residency I also enjoyed mentoring WA writer Franci Leibenberg and editing a novel-in-progress of hers.


I was lucky enough this year to be invited by Martin Livings of the Australian Horror Writers’ Association to be one of three judges for this year’s AHWA Short and Flash Fiction awards. Working alongside Joanne Anderton and Ashlee Scheuerman, I had the rewarding task of reading dozens of stories in these categories and selecting the winners. The Flash Fiction winner jumped out at us, but the judges couldn’t split stories by Alan Baxter and Zena Shapter in the Short Fiction category. All three stories have since been published in Midnight Echo.


2013 was a watershed year for me in publishing, with one novel and no fewer than four short stories seeing print. I’m especially pleased of that second figure, as it represents all four stories I wrote in 2012 and 2013. Sequel to 2011’s Yellowcake Springs, Yellowcake Summer won Best Fiction in this year’s IP Rolling Picks competition and was published by IP in September. A science fiction story, “The Last First”, was published in Alien Sky from Another Sky Press, edited by Justin Nicholes. The other three stories are set in the universe of Andrez Bergen’s Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat. “Blue Swirls” was the first to see (digital) print in the first issue of Tincture Journal, edited by Daniel Young. “The Dying Rain” got a gig in The Tobacco-Stained Sky, as explained above, and recently “A Void” found a home in The Great Unknown.

Targets for 2014

It’s seldom a good idea to state one’s future targets so publicly, but here goes. In 2014 I aim to completely finish Thirsty Work by May 31st in time to submit it to the Australian/Vogel Award, and if that doesn’t work out I’ll start doing the rounds regarding potential publishers and literary agents thereafter. I’d also love another opportunity to pursue a Writer-in-Residence position in Perth or elsewhere. I want to try my hand at writing some literary stories for submission to Australian journals like Meanjin and Overland, but even if I get somewhere with that, those stories won’t see print until 2015. So 2014 certainly won’t match 2013 in terms of novels and stories published. I’d love to hit the 100k mark in writing next year, but that will probably be dependent on obtaining another residency. This will also necessitate me starting work on a new novel, perhaps another crime novel. So far I have a title for that and nothing more: Opprobrium.

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