Sometime between 3 an 4 PM today, Alex and Andy Mac put on a track that was a country style piece “About the 457 Visas” that are currently in use. I believe it was called something like “Aliens among us”. It essentially glorified segregation and suggested the best way to deal with the situation was to kill the aliens, who were depicted as having non Anglo Saxon features.
Given the explanation of the purpose of the song, I find it hard to believe Joy allowed the song to be aired and given the complete lack of tongue in cheek sarcasm or humour, it’s very difficult to interpret the song as anything beyond racist. I fully appreciate the 457 visas are a contentious issue. I agree there appear to be loopholes and perhaps people should do more to stand up to the mining magnates and ensure the government doesn’t bow to their lobbying. Vilifying the individuals entering the country on such a visa is neither helpful nor an action taken by members of society accepting and supporting diversity, and it is saddening that such an action was taken by radio presenters on Joy FM today.
While I’m sure further parallels could easily be drawn between the attitudes expressed in the song with the still racist attitudes expressed by a portion of the queer community, I doubt there was that much thought put into the song choice. I would like to think that the entire incident stemmed from a lack of thought, rather than malice, but even in that best case scenario, one would have to question if there is an element of unconscious racism in such a choice, the same way that the queer community still struggles against unconscious homophobia.
I don’t have much to say other than that I am deeply disappointed by the song choices on air today, and I have to admit I do feel a little betrayed by a radio station that has been founded upon the idea of inclusivity and being a voice for a marginalised minority group. I also know that this one program is not the entire station, but I cannot with good conscious continue to support Joy FM if music that vilifies and stereotypes another group to the extent of advocating their deaths is allowed to be played on air.
NB: Andy Mac and Alex’s program is Three Chords and the Truth, broadcast on Sunday between 2 and 4, which is when I will not be tuning in.
Earlier this month a milestone passed quietly in the world. It wasn’t momentous, really. Not really. Just a meeting in Bangkok of 178 delegates from a number of countries. And the Thylacine–Tasmanian Tiger–was removed from the list of animals with trade bans by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). To the best of our knowledge, the last Thylacine was died in 1936 inside Hobart Zoo. The last known wild Thylacine had already been shot in 1930. So really, there’s been no change in the story of the Thylacine. Perhaps all that could be said is that humanity has officially decided to give up hope that any Thylacines were left in the world who could be saved. Somewhere. Anywhere.
I don’t know why the Thylacine has had such a great impact on me personally. Possibly it’s the first creature I learnt of that had died out because of us–humans. I knew about the dinosaurs and I thought they were cool. I even convinced my dad to take me to see Jurassic Park when I was twelve despite the fact that it had a PG 13+ or maybe even 15+ rating, and my mum was pretty strict on what films and shows I was allowed to see back then. But the dinosaurs had died out because of a meteor strike, or so the popular wisdom went–and as far as I know, still goes. The Thylacine had been shot. A beautiful creature that existed nowhere else in the world was shot as a sheep killer, even though studies now suggest Thylacines killed very few sheep, and indeed the majority of a farmer’s losses in those days were more likely to be due to people and the feral dogs who had been introduced by said people.
There have been many attempts to bring back the Thylacine, through cloning and genetic engineering. It’s not quite Jurassic park given that the bones and tissue samples we have are not fossilised. There’s arguments against playing God, although I’d argue that in killing off multiple species we’re already there, and other concerns around genetic diversity and a sustainable population, but I can’t help wishing there could be a day when I will be able to see a real live Thylacine, not just an old grainy video of the last one we mistreated. At least it wasn’t clubbed to death by some sailor for sport as the last dodo was I suppose.
Recent evidence suggests that some idiot purposely introduced foxes into Tasmania, and I like to think there’s a special circle of hell reserved for whoever it was who thought that was a good idea.
In any case, I just wanted to take some time to remember a remarkable animal who we slaughtered and who I will never get to see.
Recently Matthew had a bit of a chat to Kendall McKenna, writer of military and military werewolf stories about her books and writing, which in her own words, is about a lot more than just romance. He started by asking her why she wrote:
Kendall: I write because I’ve always had stories in my head. I enjoy forming sentences and selecting words that say something specific, or that sound a certain way. I write because I just love to do it. I love being creative and constructing story arcs and developing interesting characters. I love the feeling of completing a story, it’s a powerful sense of accomplishment. It’s also pretty gratifying when readers appreciate what I’ve written.
Matthew: You say you wrote your first story at the age of nine. Can you tell us what that story was about?
Kendall: I suppose it was a form of fanfiction, only I didn’t know what that was at the time. There was a song that was popular, or had been popular in the recent past, I can’t recall. Anyway, I realize now that the song was nonsense. However, back then, I thought it was telling a story in a vague way. I thought it was deliberately non-specific for creative reasons. I was intrigued and I wanted to know the entire story. The only way to do that, was to write my interpretation of the story. And that’s what I did. I incorporated some aspects of the song and expanded on them until I had a full story.
I wrote it in a journal that I kept as a class assignment, and I have no idea where it is now. Somewhere, I have a spiral notebook that holds a Return of the Jedi fanfic that I wrote when I was about 12, but I’m not sure where that is, either.
Matthew: Do you have a personal connection to the military? What makes soldiers your characters of choice?
Kendall: I’m going to get technical on you. Soldiers are army. Marines are Marines, and are a subset of the Navy. It seems nitpicky, but every Marine you’ll ever meet will correct you. A fellow author wrote a story about a Marine and called him a soldier through the entire story, and she gets email from readers correcting her!
I have never served in the armed forces, but I have been around them in some capacity, my entire life. The grandfather I was closest to was a Recon Marine. He was an original member of Third Recon when they were formed in WWII. All the men in my family served in one branch of the military or another. I grew up in San Diego, which has more Navy and Marine bases than I can easily count. Coronado is the home of the Navy SEALs, MCRD is the west coast intake facility for the Marines, Camp Pendleton is the home of First Recon. My social circles growing up and as a young adult always included Marines. Friends married Marines. They have been omnipresent in my life.
When I read a couple of stories that had a Marine (or someone military) as a main character, I was always thrown off by the inaccuracies. From the use of the jargon, to an obvious lack of knowledge about now military training and chain of command works, the stories didn’t ring true for me. I sat down to write one and realized my greatest understanding was of the Marine Corps, so that’s what I wrote. I have a knack for it. The cadence of their speech, the equipment they use, the way a Marine Corps base is laid out, are all things that are a part of my personal knowledge base and easily translate to my writing. I realized I was good at writing these characters and these stories, and that I really enjoyed it.
I was searching for a niche in which to write, and this turned out to be it. Military stories aren’t overly common (frequent, but not common), especially written in the way I write them. Because I turned out to be good at it and it set me apart, I found I enjoyed it. Now it’s become my little niche.
Matthew: What’s harder to write, a fight scene or a sex scene?
Kendall: For me, a fight scene is more difficult. I’m comfortable with sex and using all of the words and terms that go along with it. The narrative used in writing the sex scenes is pretty much the same as the rest of the story, and more closely fits my natural writing style. It’s done with compound sentences and use of all five senses. The characters have a wider view of the immediate world and can have more wandering thoughts.
Action scenes require short sentences. The words used have to be action oriented rather than a state of being. The narrative needs to resemble the action itself, moving quickly and abruptly, relying more on sight and sound than smell and feel, unless explosions are involved! The focus of the POV character is very narrow and very tight. Their minds can’t wander. Writing action scenes requires a change in my natural writing style so they take me longer to write, they require a little more effort, and I tend to revise them more times than the rest of the manuscript. Just because they’re more difficult to write, I have no plans to reduce the number of them I write and include in my stories. They’re part of what sets me apart from other writers in my genre and I’m pretty proud of that.
Matthew: Do you have any plans to revisit your cops and/or cowboys in the future?
Kendall: I go back and forth about that. I doubt I’ll write Marines exclusively forever. But if I write what I know, I know cops better than I know Marines. I had a plan to write a story about two cops. Then I realized it would be fun to make one of them a K9 handler, which I also know a lot about. After that, I thought it would be fun to write one of them as a Vet. During my research for the werewolf story, I collected a lot of knowledge about military dog handlers so now I’m thinking it would be fun to go that route. Recently, my publisher, MLR, put out a submission request for Average Joes. On one of my social groups, a reader gave me a plot bunny everyone thought I should be the one to write, and it involves a federal agent and a cowboy. So, yeah…eventually!
Matthew: You’ve also got a new book out, involving werewolves. What inspired you to write about them and can you give us a teaser as to what it’s about?
Kendall: The werewolf story that has taken the m/m genre by storm! I DID NOT see that coming. I thought it might do well because paranormal stories are popular right now. I did not anticipate that I had changed up the genre so much, that it would become a ‘must read’. I literally had a friend, who likes werewolf stories, ask if I thought I could write Marine werewolves. I told her I would try. I sat down and got about 6,000 words written and realized I did have an entire story to tell. 95,000 words later, I had Strength of the Pack, and ideas for two more stories.
I don’t read shifter stories, so I wrote this blind to the usual conventions and tropes. My werewolves serve openly in the military, side-by-side with humans. They are not only accepted, they are revered because they are fierce warriors. A human platoon commander finds himself in charge of werewolves for the first time, and he’s in over his head. At the same time, he and one of his NCOs are growing closer emotionally, but he’s resisting, out of a sense of duty. Ancient history and legends come into play as the two grow closer. Most of the story takes place in a combat outpost in Afghanistan.
Matthew: Now I understand we have an excerpt to share with our readers. Would you mind introducing it for us?
Kendall: Sure. Lieutenant Lucas Young is a Marine Corps platoon commander. His senior NCO is Sergeant Noah Hammond. They are very strongly attracted to each other, but Lucas keeps putting responsibility and duty and honour first. The werewolves are about to embark on their monthly full-moon-run, and Lucas considers it his duty to stand watch in case of trouble. He’s never seen a run before, so this is all new to him. The last thing Noah has expected was his platoon commander to take having werewolves in his command quite so seriously. So, they’ve gathered for the run and Lucas tires to learn about werewolves and Noah tries to learn about Lucas.
Lucas pulled his SUV into the parking lot. The sun blazed orange and hung low over the ocean, streaking the sky with shades of red and purple. Lucas estimated it was about forty-five minutes before sunset. There were several vehicles already parked, but Lucas knew there would be many more rolling in.
Noah was easy to spot, leaning against the spare tire of a Jeep, legs crossed at the ankles. A thrill ran the length of Lucas’ spine as he took the parking place beside the Jeep. Stepping out into the still warm evening, he realized he wouldn’t need the jacket he’d brought.
“I will admit, Lieutenant,” Noah said by way of greeting, “I didn’t think you’d actually show up.” His eyes were glittering silver.
“I said I would, Sergeant,” Lucas replied. “Why would you doubt it?”
“Not a mistake I will make again,” Noah drawled laconically.
Lucas knew there was more meaning behind that statement than was immediately obvious. He held out the clipboard with the roster of werewolves expected to show tonight. “Do you already have one of these?”
Noah glanced at the list and back up into Lucas’ eyes. “I won’t need that, sir. But if it makes you feel better to use it as a back-up, by all means.”
He knew Noah was laughing at him, and Lucas bristled. “You can keep track of exactly who shows up tonight and if they make it back in the morning, without writing anything down?”
“Yes, sir, I can.” It was a simple statement of fact, devoid of any arrogance.
“Since we’re off duty, we can set rank aside for the evening,” Lucas said, wondering at the wisdom of his words even as he spoke them. “Explain to me how you keep track of such a large group of shifters.”
“Yes…Lucas,” Noah replied. His face was expressionless, but his voice was laced with humor. “At the end of the night there will be two distinct scent trails for everyone who turns out for the run. If there’s any trail that goes out but doesn’t return, I’ll use that to track down the missing werewolf.”
Lucas ignored the tug of attraction he felt at Noah’s subtle amusement. “Does that happen often?” he asked brusquely.
“No, Lucas. Not very.”
Lucas suppressed a shiver at the husky, suggestive way Noah said his name. It had to be due to his impending shift into wolf form. He watched as Noah’s nostrils flared slightly.
“When it does,” Noah continued. “It’s usually a case of someone misjudging how far out they’ve run. Occasionally, I have to deal with trapped legs or lacerated paw pads.”
Lucas thought of how Noah always seemed to be scenting him. “Is that how you all keep track of each other?” He silently chastised himself for hoping he was something special.
Noah’s eyes narrowed as he studied Lucas for several seconds. “Are you asking if every werewolf is able to differentiate between over a hundred individual scent trails and identify the age of each trail?”
Not really. “Yes.”
The abrupt answer took Lucas by surprise. He waited for Noah to elaborate but quickly realized he didn’t intend to.
“So it’s a skill unique to Alphas?” Lucas persisted.
“Having the ability to monitor several different scent trails contributes to an Alpha being able to successfully lead a pack.”
Lucas forced himself to be patient. It was like pulling fucking teeth. He decided to meet Noah’s silence with his own.
Finally, Noah pushed off from the Jeep and said, “True Alphas can track and monitor larger packs. It manifests naturally; we don’t have to develop it.”
Lucas nodded thoughtfully. That was a hell of a useful skill to have.
“Listen up,” Noah suddenly shouted, causing Lucas to jump. “Everybody check in and out with my Lieutenant, here. He’s standing Sentinel, so make it easy for him.”
Lucas looked around, abashed that the parking lot had begun to fill up while they’d stood there talking, and he hadn’t noticed. How such a large group had remained so quiet baffled him.
As the Marines passed by, each one called out his or her name. Lucas checked the first box for each one on his alphabetized list. The entire process went quick and smooth. As the group checking in dwindled, Lucas turned to find Noah kicking off his shoes.
“Now what?” Lucas asked, surprised at his own informality.
Noah opened the back of the Jeep and pulled out several plastic tarps that he handed off to other Marines. “We walk out into the setting sun, get naked and shift into wolves.”
Lucas’ mouth went dry at the mental picture of Noah stripping himself naked. “And the tarps?” he asked distractedly.
“Nobody likes putting on clothes that have lain in the dirt all night.” Noah’s grin made Lucas’ chest tighten.
“Of course,” Lucas replied, wondering when he’d lost the power of deductive reasoning.
The large group had almost all moved out into the growing dusk. “I should warn you; some of us are going to show back up in different states of…arousal,” Noah said, looking like he was avoiding meeting Lucas’ eyes. “There could be squabbling. There will definitely be some fucking. It’s typical. Just ignore it.”
Lucas wasn’t sure how to respond. He stared wordlessly at Noah for several long moments. “Seriously?”
“Ever been in combat?” Noah asked, finally looking directly at Lucas with his silver eyes.
“Yes.” Lucas wondered what that had to do with anything.
“Similar reaction,” Noah replied.
Lucas suddenly understood. “Copy that.”
“Are you really going to sit in your car all night waiting for us to come back?” Noah asked abruptly.
Why was this so fucking hard to believe? “I’ve got a book, a thermos and a cell phone. If something goes wrong out there, send someone with a message, and I can get help.”
Noah gave a slight shake of his head. “Are you for real?” he muttered.
“Excuse me?” Lucas had no clue how to answer, or if he even should.
“The first of us should start showing back up just as it gets light,” Noah said over his shoulder as he walked into the dark, his hips rolling slowly, broad shoulders cutting a defined silhouette.
Lucas locked down the sudden spike of lust that rocketed through him. “What’s the appropriate thing to say, right now?” he asked, hoping levity would dispel the sudden awkwardness. “Good luck? Stay safe? Play nice with the other wolves, and don’t pick up any strange fleas?”
Noah stopped in his tracks and slowly turned back. Lucas was sure he’d crossed some sort of line of inappropriateness. He mentally berated himself for openly flirting with an NCO under his command.
Relief washed over him when Noah suddenly grinned. “I wondered if there was any spirit to go with that brain.”
Lucas stayed rooted to his spot, speechless, blood thundering in his ears, as he watched Noah walk into the darkness.
Kendall was born and raised in Southern California, where she still lives and works. A non-conventional relationship has kept her happy for the last decade. Her four dogs enjoy it when she writes, as she sits still long enough for them to curl up around her.
I’ve been to Niel Perry’s Spice Temple twice now, and I figured it was time to write a review for it. I have a lot of respect for Neil Perry. He’s done wonders with the QANTAS food, is a massively internationally respected chef, and for me to feel disappointed by his food, was something I was not expecting.
But there it is. I was disappointed. In terms of cuisine and flavour, the best description I can give is ‘lite’. It was ‘lite’ in a number of ways I would normally expect from a Chinese restaurant. It was ‘lite’ in oil, which was good. It was ‘lite’ in size–i.e. servings were quite small–and it was ‘lite’ in drama. For me it feels like Perry has taken the western sensibility of flavour balance, understated, restrained and refined food and applied to Chinese cuisine, where I’m not sure it sits.
The words I associate with Chinese–and specifically Cantonese–food is powerful, generous and dramatic. Heavy’s probably in there too, but not in the good way. Cantonese food is about powerful, bold flavours, large servings to be shared and visually stunning. I find this important because if it looks appealing, I want to eat it, and I get more excited about eating it. From a cultural standpoint, having expensive, dramatic food was also a way to show your status–as if to say ‘hey, look at me, I can afford to eat crab’, and everyone could tell because you had a giant platter mounded high with noodles and the crab shell perching proudly on top. When I lived in Hong Kong, my father pointed out how some families would deliberately over order. Much like Jewish families traditionally want to have leftovers–otherwise someone may have gone hungry–Chinese families have often seen being able to waste food as a sign of wealth, and one that can be done very publicly.
I’m not advocating that mindset in any way, but looking at that, I hope you can understand why Cantonese food is so dramatic–the piles of crab shells, the giant serves, the way you can identify what a dish is just by looking at it, the hand made noodles stretched and shaped tableside–and why I expect it. So when Spice Temple served up a crab already de-shelled as a rather insipid looking stir fry, I wondered why someone would bother ordering it when it looked just like chicken–a rather dry chicken, given crab meat’s tendency to fall apart very quickly.
So it was with some trepidation that I returned for yum cha with my sister, ordering a range of dishes, from our favourite pot stickers, xiao long bao, a fish fragrant egg plant hot pot (pictured) and a garlic cucumber salad and a few other oddities such as a szechuan style Wagyu beef and imaginative ‘sliders’–a fusion of the white Chinese bao and a western style burger. It started well–after the daintiness of the previous dinner I was ready for miniscule servings and . . . → Read More: Review – Spice Temple
Matthew is planning on attending the Goodreads M/M Romance Group February catch up this Saturday the 16th of February. If you’d like to come along to chat with other readers of queer fiction–and a few Aussie Authors, like Matthew and Isabelle Rowan, feel free to come along as well.
The catch up is lunch at Blue Train Cafe in Southbank, starting at 1 PM. If you arrive early there will be a gathering in the food court below the cafe from 12 noon. It’s nothing formal, just a chilled day out with cool people who love books.
Where: Blue Train Cafe, MR5 Mid Level, Southgate Landing, Southbank, VIC 3205 When: Saturday 16th February, 1 PM. Cost: Whatever you order for lunch.
Perfect, by M. A. ChurchSequel to PricelessThe Gods: Book Two
Cupid (Latin, cupido, meaning “desire”) in Roman mythology is the god of desire, affection, and erotic love. His Greek counterpart is Eros, but Cupid is also known in Latin as Amor (“Love”).
Many names for one person, right?
Eros appears in Classical Greek art as a young-looking, slender-winged youth who is often depicted as being mischievous, but during the Hellenistic period he’s increasingly portrayed as a chubby boy. It was during this time he acquired the bow and arrow that remains a distinguishing attribute; a person, or even a deity, who’s shot by Cupid’s arrow is filled with uncontrollable desire. But he also has arrows that could fill someone with hate.
But… what if the gods do walk among us?
What if Cupid is more than what the mythology tells us? What if he isn’t married to Psyche, and insteads stumbles across a human male who is destined to be his mate while in Las Vegas at The Palms, shooting his arrows to meet his quota? Heavenly day, what if Cupid wants to take human form and age himself so he can attract the interest of this man?
What if we humans have no idea just how badly we’ve messed up the pantheon?
And finally, what if there’s a side to Cupid we’ve never heard about? The dark, obsessive side of love that’s caused more than one war throughout time; an alter ego known as Jealousy that even the god of all gods, Zeus, fears? Can the love of the human known as Jeff control Jealousy? Can he tame the beast?
Jeff backed Cam into the door and brushed his lips across Cam’s. Heat flared between them as Jeff lost himself in the feel of Cam’s soft lips and scratchy five o’clock shadow. He enjoyed the kiss, but something was missing. He raised a hand and rested it on Cam’s neck. His strong, quick pulse thudded under the silky skin. Cam slid his hands around Jeff’s waist and suddenly turned them around. Surprised, Jeff broke the kiss. He opened his mouth to say something but Cam leaned into him, backed him up against the door, and attacked his mouth. Desire roared out of nowhere, knocking Jeff off stride as Cam took over again. Jeff’s head spun with pleasure as Cam ground against him. Shock waves of pleasure raced through his body. Shaking from the intensity, he moaned as Cam led him down a whole new path; he was actually concerned he’d come in his pants… from a kiss. Breathing harshly, they broke apart. “I need to go inside.” Cam ran his thumb over Jeff’s wet bottom lip. “Let’s go.” “I’m going inside; you’re going back to your friends.” Confused, disappointed, and aroused to the point of pain, Jeff ran his hands through his hair. “Are you…? Do you mean to tell…? Dammit, Cam.” Jeff rested his head against the door. “I’m dying here. You really . . . → Read More: Guest Post: What if the Gods Walk Among Us? – M. A. Church
For on the 26th of January, many years ago, our country was invaded, its land claimed by a foreign power and a long running campaign to subjugate and kill its native inhabitants was instigated by a foreign power: The British. Um, actually I was meaning to say something about mateship, the lucky country and crack about us probably failing our own citizenship test, but there’s no way around the fact that historically, Australia Day wasn’t a happy time for a lot of people, much in the same way that Thanksgiving in America is often seen–rightly or wrongly–to commemorate of an indigenous slaughter.
Cartoon by Joel Tarling
Almost all of us are immigrants to this nation, and we bring with us our cultures, our histories, our food, let’s not forget food, and to some degree we all adopt the cultural cringe and attempt to distance ourselves from Being Lara Bingle and The Shire. That’s not really Australian, we say. January the 26th means a lot of different things to different people, but perhaps the most important thing to do is take what may not have had the most auspicious of beginnings, and reclaim it for the future. We are lucky, having avoided most of the economic crises that have hit other countries in the last two decades. We have relatively low unemployment, a good name internationally for both business and tourism, and a healthcare system that Americans can only dream of—or cringe at if they’re staunch Republicans, I suppose.
We’re lauded as friendly, hard working, and with some notable exceptions (cue the cultural cringe once more) multicultural. Technically, on Australia Day we’re supposed to celebrate the landing of the first fleet. I have no ties to the first fleet. Many of my friends don’t either. But we can and do feel privileged to live in this country and for many Australians, Australia Day is simply a time to celebrate those things that make Australia great—the country that is, not the movie. Clearly the only thing great about that movie was Hugh Jackman shirtless. And I believe we can do that while acknowledging that most of us live on the land of native peoples who have never ceded sovereignty of it to the occupying power that is still here today, that they too are part of our rich—if sometimes bloody—history, and while we count our blessings, I think we should also spare a thought for those who we have not always treated in the spirit we laud ourselves for today. And those people may not be Indigenous Australians. They may have been Greek or Italian, Chinese or Vietnamese, or the more recent immigration waves of Indians and Africans that are now seen as ‘un-Australian’. It may have been those who don’t drink, or vegetarians, or just that weird kid in the corner with the acne and no friends because he or she wasn’t cool.
Today we bring you Matthew’s interview with Author and Illustrator Ana Bosch, who considers herself a writer of more than just romance, and currently working on a trilogy about, well, why don’t you just wait and find out? Matthew began by asking her why she wrote:
Ana: There are so many reasons! Primarily, I write because I love crafting stories. I love exploring the ways characters interact with each other, and I love being able to step outside myself and into another world. I also find it cathartic. While none of my writing can be considered anywhere near autobiographical, I often find ways to make sense of the struggles of my daily life by twisting and translating them into fiction—often in surprising and unpredictable ways. Also, as someone with tastes that usually don’t fall within the realm of mainstream American entertainment, it’s really important to me to be able to share stories that are a little outside the norm and serve an audience that is often neglected by the mainstream.
Matthew: You’re also an illustrator, correct? Do you find your writing informs your illustration or vice versa?
Ana: It really does go both ways. My artistic background was a source of inspiration for Art of Death, Bonds of Death, Lifelines (the upcoming third book in my undead series), and even my Christmas story, Lucky. Art is a big part of my life, so many of my stories involve art or artistic characters. Riley, the main character from the undead series, shares my profession. But ironically, he had the job before I did. I didn’t become a freelance illustrator until after I wrote the draft of Art of Death, and I’ve had a lot more luck in the field than poor Riley. I also think my artistic background has helped my writing itself. It’s much easier for me to visualize and describe characters and settings now than it was when I had less artistic experience. On the flipside, my desire to be a storyteller definitely influences the way I create my illustrations as well. While every job is different, I prefer to create conceptual illustrations that suggest a story and raise questions in the viewer, rather than just displaying something pretty. It’s easier to do this when I’m working with my own stories, but when I’m given enough information and freedom, I try to do it with all my work.
Matthew: What makes a story worth reading for you? Worth writing?
Ana: I don’t have as much reading time as I would like, so I have to be selective. For a story to be worth reading, it has to be fresh, new, and different. It has to be either wildly creative or from a different perspective, and it has to challenge me to think. I don’t read a whole lot of fluff . . . → Read More: More than Romance: Ana Bosch
It’s nearly here. I’m going over the final galleys now and the novella should release on the 2nd of January 2013 (well, the 3rd for us Aussies given Dreamspinner works on American time). You can Pre-Order the eBook now for $3.99, or $2.99 if you catch the Christmas sale. And because it’s Christmas, here’s an excerpt from the story–the very first time our friend Leon (that’s him in the blue hoodie), meets Warrick the student nurse, AKA the guy in the green box on the cover. Not the footnotes start at seven because this section is already six footnotes in.
The room wasn’t what Leon had been expecting. For starters, it was mostly bare, with two ward beds empty and the third containing the limp figure of an aging matron, a thin, white cotton sheet doing little to conceal her bulk. Leon focused his gaze on the furthest corner of the room, where a yellow privacy curtain had been drawn back, allowing sunlight from the nearby window to play over the unmoving figure in the fourth hospital bed. The bed was large to Leon’s eyes, and the patient it contained looked a bit like a child in comparison, even though Leon knew Rook to be at least six inches taller than himself. The bedsheets were tucked around the recumbent figure, still neat and crisp, as if they had just been fitted around his body. Obviously, coma patients didn’t move much. An unused tray table and a soft chair—upholstered in the poo brown that had been ever so popular in the 1950s or some other decade before Leon’s time—sat off slightly to one side, a bunch of wilted flowers on the bedside table, and a small stack of get well cards the only personal touches in the otherwise institutional space. Leon would have expected a scrunched tissue or indented cushion or something—anything—to indicate the presence of parents, but apparently they lived far out in the middle of Woop Woop7. The last few days hadn’t been kind to Rook—or as he was known on his patient chart, Travis Rookford. The left side of his face was still swollen and bruised, the skin lacerated with a myriad of cuts that, according to newspaper sources, had been inflicted by a smashed bottle. One source8 said Rook was lucky to not have lost an eye. His right leg was elevated and in a heavy cast, and Leon knew that somewhere under the chest bandages were a number of broken ribs and a lot of internal bruising, and a significant amount of internal bleeding. “H-hi,” Leon said. The only response was a triple-fluted snore from the lady in bed three and the steady beep-beep-beep of Rook’s heart monitor. “You probably don’t remember me. Actually, I’d be surprised if you did,” Leon said, eyes wandering over the tubes that led from Rook’s muscled arm to the bag of intravenous . . . → Read More: Pre-Order ‘The Way You Are’ Today!
It’s been a while, but we can now show you Confessions of a Drunkard, Matthew’s screen debut. Filmed for the 48 Hour Film Festival, Confessions of a Drunkard made it to the finals before being beaten by some very stiff competition. It’s finally made it onto YouTube, and more to the point, we’re now allowed to show it to you, so enjoy. In case you’ve missed it, Matt’s the one in the rainbow t-shirt. We’ll try to slip you some pictures if we can get Matt to agree not to fire us for it. We will be slipping you cover art from his newest novella shortly. It’s just about ready to go and The Way You Are is slated for a January release at the moment, but it might be pushed back if the edits drag out.
Here’s to a happy holiday season, whatever season you’re actually in, or what season the weather thinks you’re in. Currently Australia is fluctuating between spring cold and summer heat, and we’re trying to convince Matthew to spend more time writing and less time at the beach with his new man. Maybe the storms will help. Or not. In any case, check back soon for more writerly goodness and hopefully a cover art reveal or two.
If you’re in Melbourne, Australia and feel like making a film or two, check out the Film By Democracy crew.