Enrolments are now open for the Australian Writers Marketplace Online Learning Centre’s October intake of my 6 week Writing The SF Short Story Course.

The July intakes rocked the granny’s panties, and were full of vibrant, passionate, and altogether excellent commentary, opinions, analysis and most importantly, stories.

If you want my undivided attention for six whole weeks, and a guaranteed half a dozen solid gold stories that will make your fortune and turn you into the world famous Rock & Roll Tyrannosaurus Sex God of Speculative Fiction * you always knew you really were deep down inside, then knock on over to the AWM Online site and enrol now.

I guarantee you’ll feel better for it.**

*Actual Rock & Roll Tyrannosaurus Sex God status not included. Some things you just have to work at.

** No genuine feelings of…. actually, no, I do guarantee you’ll feel better for it. If you can’t feel better after immersing yourself in being a writer for 6 weeks, you’re probably not a writer to begin with.


Wot ‘e sez.

‘Tis true: my 1000th post, and how fitting that it should be by way of a general Nate of the Station update. For it has been a busy couple of weeks, my little cabbage-leaf wrapped spatchcocks, and much WriterGuy goodness has been noticed.

We’re five weeks into the first intake of the Australian Writers Marketplace Online SF Course, and the second intake has now begun: it’s not too late to enrol, and we’re only chatting amongst ourselves until you can make it.

My first set of students have become analytical T-Rex’s and are producing story beginning after story beginning– there will be some hypercharged writers with a trunk full of stories coming atcha in the next couple of months, and it’s been gratifying to watch as they turn on to what I’m teaching and apply the lessons to their own writing. It really is quite amazing how an author’s work can evolve in a short period of time just by absorbing a few well-placed lessons, and there are a couple of names who are going to come out of this course and establish themselves over the next year or so. At which point I shall claim bragging rights and mango beer tributes in equal measure.

The agent search for The Corpse-Rat King continues: I’ve had a number of requests for partials, and one full has been asked for as well, so even though the rejections come regularly there’s enough interest out there to keep my spirits up. The adjustment from short stories to novels is a sharp one, and I have to keep reminding myself that it was a long time between writing my first short and selling my first, and that I can’t expect to simply pen my first longer work and have the world fall at my feet. Will I sell this one? Dunno. Will I have the patience and fortitude to write three, five, eight novels before I sell one? Fuck, I hope I don’t have to. But if I do, so be it. Everything is a learning curve. Still, let’s hope I sell CRK and we can go from there…

On the appearance front, I’ll be heading out into the wide world in my WriterGuy disguise on a couple of occasions over the coming months:

Luscious and I have both been shortlisted in this year’s KSP Speculative Fiction Awards, and I’ve been invited to attend as the guest author for the day, so I’ll be giving a little speech about my writing life and philosophies (and trying not to sob) as well as giving a reading, kissing babies, and doing the watusi with any stray gypsies who may be passing. Join us on the 14th August at the KSP Writers Centre to find out the winners and share in the general bonhomie and watusiriness.

I’ll also be heading out to Curtin University on the 26th of September to deliver a guest lecture to a Web Publishing class on social media and how I use it as part of my Dayjob and WriterGuy goings on. (Part of their Internet Communications Major, and how old does that make me feel? You can get a degree in the Internet. A degree. Does your degree come in pdf? I’m going to have a Horlicks and listen to my 78s will I think about it). That’s right, me: the guy who couldn’t get Google + to work, and still can’t get it to link to FB and Twitter properly. Me. Anyone else as amused by the thought as I am? Send your reply via this blog, my website, my Amazon page, twitter feed, Goodreads page, LinkedIn profile, Facebook, Google +, AHWA member page, or Livejournal RSS feed, or just tag this blog on Stumbleupon like any reasonable person would….

Lastly, as part of Dayjob World, I’ve taken up the mantle of Municipal Liaison for the Rockingham/Mandurah region of Nanowrimo once again, and have already started to compile the activities and prizes to keep everyone racing towards their 50 000 word target. Last year we conducted a series of workshops with Simon Haynes, Dave Luckett and Tehani Wessely as speakers. This year we’ll be holding a masterclass with an internationally-renowned Fantasy author from Perth who shall not be named just yet because we’re still confirming details but she’s very cool and one of my favourite people in the biz, and I’m busy gathering prizes for The Night of Writing Dangerously event to be held on the 12th: five hours of catered writing time broken only by prize giveaways, competitions, and the opportunity to go head to head with an established pro to win yourselves goodies. More details as they come closer to hand, but if you really want to join in you could always register on the Nanowrimo website, join the Rockingham/Mandurah region, and take part in the write-ins that we’ll be holding. All the cool kids will be doing it.

And that, for the moment, is about it. How was your day, my darlings?


You will forgive me, of course, for I’ve been busy doing good Writer Guy things:

Firstly, news of the day is the start of my very first intake as AWM Online Learning SF Short Story Guru Guy (it’ll take a big t-shirt to fit that title….). Due to circumstances beyond, well, stuff and things and junk, the course will start this coming Monday, the 27th June, rather than the 6th of June previously advertorialised (It’s a word! Well it is TODAY!), so if you’ve been slapping your knee and cursing oh shucks, oh crivens at the thought of missing out on 6 weeks of my undivided attention, well, hie thee to a nunnery the AWM Online Learning Centre and sign yourself up. We’re just chatting amongst ourselves until you get there.

Look, they even gave me a shiny web piccie thing with which to advertise:

Secondly, in news that will please any fans I have left out there minus any fans I have left out there who would much rather I was working on the Father Muerte novel, I’ve been hitting the agent trail with the completed manuscript of The Corpse-Rat King. It’s a hell of a time-intensive task, putting final edits to a 250 page manuscript, especially when you edit in the 19th century way I still do– print the whole thing out, go over it in 10 page batches with a pen, then input the marked-up edits back onto the manuscript, especially when your editing pain threshold runs to about 30 pages a day max, but a week off work recently (the only one I’m likely to have this year) gave me the impetus to apply arse to office chair and get the job done.

Feedback seems reasonably optimistic so far– I’m hitting many more rejections than signs of interest, which is to be expected: it’s a massive world, and agents have no compunction about binning enything that doesn’t immediately grab them, because there’s always another author wanting attention– but there have been a couple of nibbles, which has been enough to keep my dander up. With any luck (tentacles crossed), it’ll all bear fruit, and I can quit my job, order me up a swag of supermodels, and start shopping for zeppelins by the end of the year.

I’ve also been busy being Competition Guy: adminstering a short story competition through work and reading entries in the AHWA Short Story Competition, which I’m judging along with the incomparable Kaaron Warren and Stephen Dedman (both of whom have finished waaaay before me. Ahem.)

So I’ve been silent, my friends, but silent like a duck– 1/10th quiet above water, whilst the rest of me makes heaps of farty bubble noises below. Or something like that.

It’s part of my charm.


Want six weeks of my undivided attention, but don’t know how to get it?

Well, yes, you can do that, but say you want my attention and you want to learn to write fabulosio short stories and you want to keep your clothes on and retain your dignity?

Can’t be done, you say?

How wrong you are!

Starting June 6, that’s right, starting next week, AWM Online, the online learning arm of the Australian Writers Marketplace, presents Writing The SF Short Story, a six week course penned and helmed by my little old self.

Over six weeks you will learn how to build worlds, character, voice and mood in this challenging and rewarding form. The Online Learning Centre gives you the flexibility to study at your own pace, when and where it suits you, as well as plenty of opportunities to interact with other students and receive feedback from me in course forums. Covering topics such as “Writing What You Know is For the Weak”; “Unicorn Physics”; and “The World Plus One”, I’ll take you through a multitude of writing and analytical tasks designed to give writers the skills necessary to create unique and eye-catching stories that will have the editor of your choice bending over and waving a lubed-up blank cheque in your direction.

Not to mention, you’ll pick up a series of knowledge sets that, hopefully, will enable you to avoid many of the pitfalls encountered by aspiring short story writers who want to work in the speculative fiction field. You’ll also create a body of work you can begin sending out to magazines and anthologies.

The course is split into two broad sections: writing, and analysis. Students will be expected to deliver written work regularly, and to discuss a series of questions on the course forum each week. I’ll be dropping by twice a week to answer any questions and interact with students ‘live’, as well as providing feedback, commentary and advice on the work handed in for assessment.
Most of all, however, the course is about having fun– opening up your imagination and letting it fly on the strongest winds possible. You’ll read works from some of the best speculative fiction writers, get an opportunity to make connections with peers and colleagues, and have the chance to create new works in a safe and supportive atmosphere. And you’ll write, write, and write again.

Which is still the most fun I’ve ever had sitting down.

Enrolments close this Friday, so head on over to the AWM Online Learning Centre and sign up.