Postcardia-cum-Poetica #96

Cornell Capa’s 1958 photo of the Bolshoi Ballet School, Moscow, USSR with words from The Starling Requiem.

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SnapShot 2014

[SnaphotLogo2014%255B4%255D.png]It’s my first year involved with the SpecFic Downunder SnapShot and I have to thank Sean Wright for yet again investing in my writing career. In the interview I talk about new collaborative projects, the erratic nature of poetry, bending narratives, what Australian spec-fic I’ve read recently and loved, what it would take to get to the bottom of my to read pile and drop the news on a flash fiction collection.

You can read the full interview here.

Sylvie #MarchMonologue

March is the month of monologues. I’m using monologues as character development for the six characters of my birthpunk novellas. Here we see Sylvie, a young midwife, who wants to escape the world she no longer fits, alone in a darker, starker, more dangerous landscape.

One. Two. No…it can’t be. But yes…there it is: the second heart beat. How easy it would be to miss it behind its sibling.

Keep a straight face. Hold it close and work out what twins mean here where all the talk is of a chosen child. A child. Just one.

If you want one, you, glaring down at me, which one do you want? And what will you do with the other? I have never lost a baby. I don’t plan to. Not out here where there is nothing but death pressing in through every crack and crevice. Death might be your handmaiden but it is not mine.

The girl’s fingers are hot, wrapped around my cold ones. Always so cold, especially under Daniel’s hand in the back of the car. His hand jerking away from mine. Rejection, betrayal or survival? Or my will to push him away.

Doesn’t matter now. You’re far away Daniel. So far it doesn’t beg thinking about. I close my fingers around this girl who needs me. I squeeze hard enough to assert my presence, my belief in her ability to birth twins, but not too hard. I’m only here to support, not to control…not like the woman around us. Those who hold us against our will.

I’m so awfully afraid. But you are afraid too. Terrified.

What have I done?

I can’t…

The crone looks at me.

A piercing glance and the hairs on my neck bristle like a cliché. Everything is wrong about this. About her.  About the girl. This room and me in it.

Where is Sophie? Is she safe?

If only my beeper worked. I’d be able to let her know I’m still here. I promised her I would be there. And I will. I will Sophie. You believed in me. And I believe in you. I don’t go back on my word. I know you are scared. I’m scared too. If only the beeper worked. I could ask for help.

The crone looks at me, her gaze penetrating me like a rusty metal blade. Violent and deadly.

The pinnard is heavy in my hand. Not as heavy as the sentence I let go as I struggle to work out what to do. The words catch in a choking cough as though I’m not meant to say anything. They bounce off the crumbling walls of the room.

The crone nods. Oh my Goddess, she nods. And I have time.

The cold, sharp air… ahh, after the closed, stinking interior of the birthing room it’s a relief. Colder than the water I’ve just asked to bathe under. Colder than the glare Marcus, the man could as easily undo me as save me, gives me when I tell him what I want.

Are you for me, or against me? Tell me?

Your back is the only answer I get because, I can’t ask. The black cotton sticks in weird contours that defy anatomy.

One foot after another, after another, in the dusty tracks, leading me away from that building.

Lead me anywhere, away form there, deeper into the Dead Zone. It makes no sense, but I trust you. I shouldn’t, but I do. Keep me safe please, Marcus. Please.

I need to get back to Sophie. I gave a promise and I will do anything to keep it.

PS: Happy 500th post here at 1000 Pieces of Blue Sky!

Eighty Nine


Here we go on the next Literary Mix Tapes rollercoaster ride of speculative fiction goodness.

The cover is getting rave reviews and so it should. Blake Byrnes our newest cover artist (incidentally born the year the books revolves around) has done a stellar job under a demanding schedule. If that artwork doesn’t wow a future employer for Blake (who is a little over a month out of completing his uni degree) I don’t know what would.

So what is EIGHTY NINE all about. The blurb goes something like this:

1989: a cusp between decades.

The year the Berlin Wall came down and Voyager went up. Ted Bundy and Emperor Hirohito died. The birth of the first Bush administration and computer virus.

In San Francisco and Newcastle the ground shook, in Chernobyl it melted. Tiananmen Square shocked the world and Tank Man imprinted on the international consciousness. Communism and Thatcherism began their decline, Islamic fundamentalism its rise.

It was the year Batman burst onto the big screen, we went back to the future (again), Indiana Jones made it a trifecta at the box office and Michael Damian told us to rock on.

Based on a play list of 26 songs released in 1989, Eighty Nine re-imagines the social, political, cultural and personal experiences at the end of the decade which gave the world mullets, crimped hair, neon-coloured clothing, acid-wash denim, keytars, the walkman, Live Aid, the first compact disc and MTV.

Included in the author line up are the usual suspects, along with a raft of new authors debuting for LMT (you’ll see them in intalics):  Paul Anderson, Cath Barton, Tanya Bell, Jim Bronyaur, Adam Byatt, Jodi Cleghorn, Jason Coggins, Jonathan Crossfield, Rob Diaz II, Rebecca L Dobbie, J.M. Donellan, Laura Eno, Kaolin Imago Fire, Jo Hart, Susan May James, Maria Kelly, Stacey Larner, Monica Marier, Laura Meyer, Lily Mulholland, Emma Newman, Dale Challener Roe, Devin Watson, Icy Sedgwick, Benjamin Solah & Alison Wells.

You will be able to pre-order paperbacks shortly with a release scheduled for late October/early November. After a very long wait in seeing this anthology make publication, I’m impatient to finally get it in readers’ hands.