Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The end of the trail

Sadly there will be no mini-con in 2014. The Katharine Susannah Prichard speculative fiction group seems to have reached the end of its useful life, at least for now.

All groups have a natural lifespan, and this one, in its eight years of existence, has seen several members go on to professional publication as well as hosting four very sucesssful and enjoyable mini-cons. Perhaps there will be a revival in the future and perhaps not. Maybe another group will arise sometime in the future to work the same kind of SF magic in our lovely city of Perth, Western Australia.

Whatever the future holds, the fate of speculative fiction in Australia looks bright and will continue to do so as long as there are fans, writers, gamers and filmakers to carry the flag and keep it flying, whether through writers groups, convention committees, small-press publishing or any other means.

Viva SF!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

All gone minicon. Roll on 2014!

So it's all over for another two years, and what a wonderful day it was. I'm kicking myself, as usual, for not getting any photos, but if I come across any taken by others I'll upload them to our Facebook page.

Counting KSP members, guest authors and visitors, over 50 people attended this time, which is just a nice number for the Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers Centre to hold, and it was a beautiful day, weather-wise, which meant we could spill out onto the verandahs and into the lovely grounds. Lunch, supplied by Lynda and our hard-working kitchen team, was yummy. The panels were enjoyed by all and Juliet Marillier held a kaffeeklatsch for her fans, which was, as you can imagine, very well attended. We sold a few books (and most of us bought a few more) discussed various writing-related topics on the panels and generally had a great time. We even attracted a few writers who were not SF buffs, because they'd heard what a great day it usually is. We did not let them down. It was indeed a great day.

Putting even a small convention together necessitates a lot of hard work, but the work is soon forgotten and the joy of the day remains - so all being well, there will be another minicon in two years' time. See ya'll in 2014!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Minicon Program: Note About the Kaffeklatches

Due to limited space in the library, Kaffeklatch numbers will be limited, so we'll be providing a sign-up sheet on the day, first in best dressed. To avoid disappointment be sure to sign up from any time after 9:30 am.

1:00 PM – 1:30 PM Joanna Fay: Publishing with a small press overseas (Update 7/9/2012: Joanna Fay sends her sincere apologies that her Kaffeklatch must be cancelled due to illness).

2:00 PM - 2:30 PM David Kitson: Self Publishing – A complete end to end guide for anyone planning on doing it themselves 

3:00 PM – 3:30 PM Juliet Marillier: History and Worldbuilding 

For the full minicon and kaffeklatch schedule see the Minicon program in the previous entry below

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Mini-con program

Program for the 2012 KSP Speculative Fiction Writers Group Minicon
Panellists include :
Local Writers: Lee Battersby, Amelia Beamer, Hal Colebatch, Cathy Cupitt, Stephen Dedman, Satima Flavell, Elaine Kemp, Pete Kempshall, David Kitson, Martin Livings, Dave Luckett, Juliet Marillier, Ian Nichols, Anthony Panegyres, Carol Ryles, Guy Salvidge, JB Thomas.

When: Sunday, 9 September, 2012  9.30am-4.30pm

Where: Katherine's Place, Old York Road, Greenmount (Turn into the first driveway after you turn in from the highway and park at the back)

Cost: $15, or $10 if you book in advance. Leave a comment at 
http://kspminicon.blogspot.com.au/ if you want to do this.

Lunch: A decent meal and tea and coffee will be available for a gold coin donation or you can BYO - there are no eateries in the vicinity.

Discussion Panels: Meeting Room
10:00 AM Breaking the Rules
“Look, that's why there's rules, understand? So that you think before you break 'em.” - Terry Pratchett
Sometimes the 'rules of writing' need to be broken. But what are they and how and when do you get away with breaking them? And what do you need to be aware of before you do? All the best writers are renowned for breaking rules and new writers are crucified for it, yet there are times when we all need to cross that line.
Lee Battersby
Martin Livings
Anthony Panegyres
Guy Salvidge
J.B. Thomas

11:00 AM Is the Internet the New Slush Pile
Google the question: “is the internet the new slush pile?” and the wisdom of the masses will tell you that since mid 2011, there has been a grass-roots change in the world of publishing. The inference given in hundreds of articles unearthed by such a search is that you should no longer submit to slush piles while trying to get noticed. There's a new wave of authors who publish their material directly to the Internet in the hope that their book will attract the attention of publishers and agents. But what does this method of gaining attention achieve and will it replace the tradition of slush pile Mondays? For that matter, with so many new writers self-publishing, is there a need to be picked up at all? Or is it a path to self-destruction of the writer's rights?
Stephen Dedman
David Kitson
Dave Luckett
Ian Nichols

12:00 noon Lunch 
Book Launch: The Corpse Rat King by award winning author Lee Battersby 
(Angry Robot Books)

Lee Battersby is the author of the novels The Corpse-Rat King (Angry Robot, 2012) and Marching Dead (Angry Robot, 2013) as well as over 70 stories in Australia, the US and Europe, with appearances in markets as Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror, Year’s Best Australian SF & F, and Writers of the Future. A collection of his work, entitled Through Soft Air has been published by Prime Books. He’s taught at Clarion South and developed and delivered a six-week Writing the SF Short Story course for the Australian Writers Marketplace. His work has been praised for its consistent attention to voice and narrative muscle, and has resulted in a number of awards including the Aurealis, Australian Shadows and Australia SF ‘Ditmar’ gongs.

He lives in Western Australia, with his wife, writer Lyn Battersby and an increasingly weird mob of kids. He is sadly obsessed with Lego, Nottingham Forest football club, dinosaurs, the Goon Show and Daleks. He’s been a stand-up comic, tennis coach, cartoonist, poet, and tax officer in previous times, and he currently works as the Arts Co-ordinator for a local council, where he gets to play with artists all day. All in all, life is pretty good.

For more about Lee see Snapshot 2012

1:00 PM Critting and Crowd-Sourced Editing
Should writers have their manuscripts criticised by a broad audience of their fellow writers? What value does it add to your work? Can you lose your ideas by letting others see your manuscript before the editor does? How about crowd-sourcing of editing? Is it possible to let others perform the work for you while reading early revisions of your manuscript? And how do you even take advantage of such services? Should they be avoided completely?

Amelia Beamer
Satima Flavell
Pete Kempshall
Juliet Marillier

2:00 PM Building Characters without Cardboard
In online reviews, a common complaint against many recent authors, especially those who choose to self-publish, is that their characters seem two-dimensional or otherwise lack depth. So what does the aspiring author need to consider in their writing so that their characters seem more real to the reader? And how do they achieve it? Are characters planned or imagined? And what are the pitfalls that many new writer, and even experienced ones, fall into? And how do you write convincing characters from the other gender?

Lee Battersby
Hal Colebatch
Martin Livings
Juliet Marillier
Carol Ryles
JB Thomas

3:00 PM Has Erotica Become Just another Mainstream Sub-Genre
With Fifty Shades of Grey now the fastest selling book ever, it's difficult to ignore the part that erotica has played in this series’ success. Writers thinking of including sexually explicit content in their novels are often confused by the terms ‘erotica’ and ‘pornography’. How should a modern writer approach this situation? How to avoid mistakes? Should erotica feature in a serious novel at all?

Amelia Beamer
Cathy Cupitt
Stephen Dedman
Elaine Kemp

Kaffeeklatsch Schedule (Library)

2:00 PM - 2:30 PM David Kitson: Self Publishing – A complete end to end guide for anyone planning on doing it themselves
David’s self-published novel, Turing Evolved, broke into the top 20 Science Fiction book list on Amazon.com and is now rated at four-and-a-half stars with one hundred and fifty customer reviews. Learn about David’s experiences with editing, uploading, customer feedback and eventual contact and representation by a literary agent.

3:00 PM – 3:30 PM Juliet Marillier: History and Worldbuilding
Juliet is a New Zealand-born writer who now lives in WA. Her historical fantasy novels for adult and young adult readers include the popular Sevenwaters series and the Bridei Chronicles. Juliet’s books have won many awards including the American Library Association’s Alex Award, the Prix Imaginales and the Aurealis Award. Her lifelong love of folklore, fairy tales and mythology is a major influence on her writing. Juliet has two books out this year: Shadowfell, first instalment in a fantasy series for young adults (available now) and adult fantasy Flame of Sevenwaters, to be published in November.

And don't forget that there will be books by our panellists and other guests for sale all day. Take advantage of their presence and get your purchases signed! 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Tempus fugit

Isn't it amazing how quickly two years can fly by? And even more amazing that nine years can seem like last month? Maybe it's a sign of age, but I’m finding as I get older that time is telescoping into ever-smaller collapsible segments.

It's already time for another mini-con at the Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers Centre in Greenmount, a lovely district in the hills that lie east of Perth, Western Australia. Greenmount is really an outer suburb these days, but when Australian writer and political activist Katharine Susannah Prichard lived there (she died in 1969 at the age of 86) Greenmount was a tiny place and considered to be a long way out of Perth. Her house is now a writers centre; one I have been involved with for ten years.

In 2003, I attended a workshop at KSP with Perth author Dave Luckett, also known as DH Lawrence. I learnt so much from that workshop that I was delighted when Dave suggested that a speculative fiction group be started at the centre.

About a dozen people attended the first get-together, and after we’d been meeting for a few months, some of us formed a team to produce an entry for the 2004 Book-in-a-Day contest, which is run annually by the Centre. Led by Dave Luckett and Stephen Dedman, the team also included several authors who have gone on to achieve other gongs in the publishing world – Ian McHugh, for instance, who created the cover art as well as writing his obligatory chapter, has since won many other awards for both artwork and writing, and has an impressive run of short stories to his credit. James Hansen, Carol Ryles and I have also had some success with our work (Carol has a novella in the pipeline – watch this space!) while Lee Battersby is forging a career for himself as an arts administrator, writer and writing coach. His first book, The Corpse-Rat King, is just on the market from Angry Robot publishing.

And guess what? TA DAH … Lee is launching the book at the KSP SF group’s fourth biennial mini-con next month!

It was actually Lee and I who got the mini-con going. Numbers in the newly-formed group dwindled a bit after that first rush of enthusiasm, and at one meeting we were wondering what we might do to perk up our own interest and maybe attract a few more people. The first mini-con, held in late winter of 2006, was the fruit of our discussion.

It was hard work, though. There are two clear-cut sets of responsibilities involved, and realistically, it’s not practical to have more than one person working on each set of duties, so the bulk of the work falls on two pairs of shoulders right up until the day of the convention. On the day, of course, it’s all hands to the wheel – we take entrance money from several score attendees; we prepare and serve a hearty mid-day meal, we feed and water our invited guests and sit with them on panels ranging from topics as diverse as character creation, the writing of erotica and the role played by the internet in modern publishing, and at the end of the day we clear it all away for another two years.

I have been one of the two organisers for the first three mini-cons, but this year Helen Venn (who took over from Lee when he moved to the Deep South) and I can take a back seat while two other members, Carol, David and Lynda, take over. They are learning fast, so hopefully Helen and I can retire gracefully from the mini-con field after this year. My biggest chore this time will be minding a bookstall for a few hours.

We bill it as ‘the writers' con’ because it’s run BY readers and writers of Speculative Fiction FOR readers and writers of speculative fiction! No movies, no gaming, no cosplay – just lots of talk about reading and writing books!

Local authors come ready and willing to sign books and chat with like-minded souls. This year, for instance, Juliet Marillier hopes to be there to discuss her newest book, Shadowfell. (I’ve already read it and it’s a beauty!)

And, as announced above, we are proud to have foundation member Lee Battersby launching his first novel. If you want to be among the first in Perth to get a copy, get thee to the KSP SF mini-con! It’s at Katharine’s Place, 11 Old York Road, Greenmount, on Sunday 9 September, starting at 10.00 am.

You can find us on Facebook, too: http://www.facebook.com/KSPMinicon and http://www.facebook.com/events/480383725307102/

Monday, August 6, 2012

Ready, get set..

It's nearly time for the KSP Minicon at the Katherine Susannah Prichard Writers Centre.

This is the writers' con - run BY readers and writers of Speculative Fiction FOR readers and writers of speculative fiction!

There will be lots of panels on writing and publishing and chats with some of your fave authors - and books to buy. Lee Battersby is going to launch his novel, The Corpse-Rat King, published by Angry Robot. Be the first in Perth to get a copy! And I'm sure Lee will be very happy to sign it for you!

When: Sunday, 9 September, 2012 9.30am-4.30pm

Where: Katherine's Place, Old York Road, Greenmount (Turn into the first driveway after you turn in from the highway and park at the back)

Cost: $15, or $10 if you book in advance. Leave a comment if you want to do this.

Lunch: A decent meal will be available for $5 or you can BYO - there are no eateries in the vicinity.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

And it's on again!

The fourth KSP mini-con will be held on 9 September 2012. It's always a fun event, run by readers and writers of speculative fiction FOR readers and writers of speculative fiction. It's always a great day out (families welcome) with panels, talks, a BBQ, books to buy and sell and talk, talk, talk!

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