Friday, February 27, 2009

Reminder - WITS NoWriMo

Don't forget!

March is just around the corner and so is the WITS Novel Writing Month. If you are a WITS member and would like to participate, please send an email to so that we can keep you up to date on group writing sessions, send you helpful information and so that we can assign you a nifty little widget like the one below to help keep you on track.

Remember, March is for researching not for writing, so keep an eye on the blog this month for tips on plotting and how to research your novel. The progress-o-metre widgets will go up on the blog on April 1st.

Celebrating our Successes - February 2009

  • Congratulations to Casey Salt, Stephen Ryan, Nikesh Murali, Kerry Ashwin, Lori & Peter Hurst. Their collaborative project T'ville has been completed and is available for download.
  • Kerry Ashwin's podcast all Free today has been selected as a highlight on the ABC's Letter Vox. Kerry also featured on the Radio National BookShow on the 23rd of Feb and her photo was used at Pool for one of their stories for the BookShow.
  • Dr Mary Casolin has received the proof for her second volume of poems Safron Sunset and will be expecting the finished published version any day now.
Remember, if you would like to see your name in our monthly Peacock Awards, send some information about your accomplishment to

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

e-Books and self-promotion

With the recent release of T'ville as an electronic download, it's perhaps timely to look at how you as the author can increase the number of people reading - and buying! - your e-Book.

Back in January, The Shack listed a link to an article on the blog The Urban Elitist called How to get your e-Book read. This article has a whole heap of great pointers including:
  • Create compelling advertisements - put something on YouTube that people will want to watch for its own sake
  • Use merchandise like a musician - iPhone / iPod covers, hats, buttons, whatever. Give a free t-shirt to everyone who buys your e-Book!
  • Get a great cover design - readers will always judge a book by its cover
  • Make the first sentence a great one - when a potential buyer can get to the first page with a single click of their mouse, you better make sure what they read is good
The Writers Guide argues that having an online presence is one of the most important methods of marketing and promotion for writers - both e-Books and traditional print - in the digital age. Chapter 7 is an excellent starting point for learning how to optimise sales through the use of social media, banner ads, virtual launches and tours, trailers and more. This chapter also gives some links to organisations that offer professional development opportunities in digital marketing and distribution.

For many more great online resources for digital marketing, see The Writers Guide marketing_howto bookmarks on delicious.

Flash Me!

Flash Me Magazine is a quarterly publication available online for free or as a PDF for a small fee. They are a paying market and accept all genres of fiction under 1,000 words. They are currently looking for more sci-fi, fantasy and humour submissions and will be publishing an all-fantasy issue in October.

For more information go to:

Friday, February 20, 2009

A Dog's Life

Pavlov, can you do something about your mongrel.
Look at the mess!
Slobber everywhere
and the bells,
tinkle tinkle,
tinkle tinkle.
day and night.
What is it with you?
Nothing better to do?
get a life,
and Pavlov, can you please do something about your mongrel.

By Phil Heang

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Land it like Sully

Here’s another online dictionary to check out.

Urban Dictionary is a dictionary of slang, and is very up-to-the –minute. It could be helpful for those writing contemporary fiction (especially YA).

Check out this example:

Land It In The Hudson
An expression used to encourage yourself or someone else when it appears an endeavour is headed for a disastrous outcome (due mostly to external conditions).
Based on when Sully averted tragedy by successfully landing US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River. See also, "Land it like Sully."
The company is on the brink of failure, so let's Land it in the Hudson.

You can subscribe to the dictionary and get a ‘free new word’ each day, delivered to your inbox.

Monday, February 16, 2009


You skim across the surface
Your words flitting like pebbles
Flat blunt stones
Cast forward

Such meaningless statements
You pelt dull descriptions
Obvious prescriptions
Stating the obvious
You say everything
... everything

Yes even the dynamic
... the complex ... the magical

Sketching human patterns with the blandest brush
A jaded palate
The broadest strokes
Skimming over details
Like flippant pebbles
Minus the ripples
For your words leave no mark

Left to your simplicity
Your rights and wrongs, light and dark
Them and us, me and you
I envy your peace of mind
Your lack of fitful dreams
Yet you leave a bitter taste,
Your ignorant bliss obscene

I walk away, descend within
Leave you skipping pebbles
Shallow presence by a stream

By Imbi Johnston

Friday, February 13, 2009

Twixt and between

In sharp shine of sunlight on leaf
and in deep dark pooling of shadow
somewhere twixt and between
there is movement
there is dance

in silver-winged flash of red damsel fly
and twirl and slash of flick-tailed fish
somewhere twixt and between
god hovers at vision’s edge

somewhere twixt and between
god waits

by Lynn Scott-Cumming 2009

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Brain Harvest

Brain Harvest: An Almanac of Bad-Ass Speculative Fiction is a new publication that will begin on March 1, 2009. It will be published on the web and on mobile devices i.e. iPhone and Blackberry.

Rates are 5 cents a word for stories 100-750 words. Submissions open on February 15, 2009. The editor advises not to submit before then, as everything dated before this will be deleted.

Go to for more information.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


From the Smallest Embers Rise the Beasts of Fire Like the Phoenix
And the hot ashes from their flapping wings fall on snow-white clouds and plunge the earth into darkness.
From the smallest embers I drew fire to trace your form on the forest floor
And now walls of flame race through the landscape of twigs and thorns
In the roar of this great fire, I hear the laughter of that single ember.

By Nikesh Murali

Monday, February 9, 2009

WITS Logo Competition

WITS has lost its logo and needs your help to find a new one!

The new logo should represent what WITS is all about, should be simple and distinctive, and should bring the club into the 21st century.

Send your entries as an attachment to or to PO Box 4083, Kirwan QLD 4817.

The competition is open to all WITS members and closes on Saturday, 28th February 2009.

NOTE: Please do not include your name on the attachment. A number will be allocated to your entry to ensure fairness.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Attention thriller writers

Here’s a competition with a difference!

Do you love thrillers? Are you an aspiring writer? Borders is offering you the chance to join Australia's biggest selling crime author, James Patterson in this world-first online chain story that takes place over 30 days. James Patterson will write the first and last chapters in this 30 chapter thriller and we are looking for 28 writers to complete the rest. Each of the winning 28 authors will receive a copy of the finished book, with one lucky author to receive a chance of a lifetime one-on-one master class in the form of a telephone call with James Patterson himself.

To enter you need to complete this paragraph in 250 words or less:
The sky had turned grey as the four men walked nervously past the police car...

To find out more and to enter the competition, go to:

The competition started at 9am on Friday, January 30, 2009 and closes at 5pm (daylight savings time) on Sunday, February 15, 2009

Thursday, February 5, 2009

WITS Novel Writing Month

At midnight tonight, the train departs. Fifty thousand words. Thirty days. An unforgettable ride.

WITS member Tess McCarthy has set us a challenge; write 50,000 words in one month. This challenge is based on the book No Plot? No Problem!: A low stress, high velocity guide to writing a novel in 30 days by Chris Baty. Here are the basic guidelines:
  • Do your research in March, but DO NOT begin writing
  • Start your engines on April 1st and keep writing until midnight April 30th
  • It's a first draft, so remember, it's likely to be crap
  • Absolutely no editing!
  • 1st person or 3rd person point of view; no 2nd person
  • Tell your loved ones what you are doing because you will likely need all the support and understanding you can get
  • Don't read out loud to anyone or let anyone read your novel until it's all over
  • Meet with your WITS NoWriMo support crew once a week (outside of normal WITS meeting times) for intensive writing sessions
  • Celebrate once it's all over and receive your certificate of completion
If you want to participate or would like more information, send us an email at

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Presto-Strange-O is a new print zine of weird fiction and is now open to submissions of fiction. Their submission guidelines say:

Fiction is Presto-Strange-O's lifeblood! Without it, our pages would be mostly blank, and who wants a zine full of blank pages? Not you, I'm sure. Presto-Strange-O wants fiction that is weird. Genre doesn't matter; we like them all! Sci-fi, fantasy, horror, romance, bizarro, surreal, western, literary - they're all good, yo - there simply must be something weird going on in the story. Something strange. We really like stuff that's funny, but we don't dig stuff that reads like it's trying too hard. Dark humor is awesome. Try to keep it under 2,000 words. Reprints rock, as long as you still have the rights to it. Try to keep it clean - none of this p*!n stuff all the kids are talkin' about, and try not to drop too many f-bombs - you're better than that. Also, we ain't too keen on political stuff.

For more information go to:

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A Lazy Summers Morn

I lie on a blanket in a grassy field
Surrounded by a stand of magnificent trees;
Closing my eyes to the sights now revealed
Feeling the kiss of the early morning breeze
My naked body absorbs the warmth
Radiating from the sun that's rising at last
Filling my being with life giving force
Drained by physical labours now past.
I hear water flowing in a nearby brook
Bouncing and bubbling over leaves in decay
Caressing each pebble as it passes each nook
Tumbling and falling over rocks in its way.
Bellbird's melodies tinkle down from the trees
Playing their part in nature's sweet song;
A medley of notes, trying always to please
A continuum of sound echoing all day long.
The camp fire still burns, its place in the shade
Exuding fragrant aromas from cooking and smoke
That Eucalyptus leaves and pine cones have made,
Warming a billy of water to wash and to soak.
My opening eyes play on horizons afar
Such expansive boundaries for man to cross,
Shimmering haze at distance with eyes just ajar
Images and objects distorted, fine details are lost.
May this peace and tranquillity continue forever,
This beautiful country pleases and eases the fervour.
It permeates and overpowers me in this glorious weather
For paradise on earth I need travel no further.
This has to be life at its glorious best
Worries and cares forever gone
Where naught needed but relaxation and rest
While I'm here in heaven on this glorious morn.

Poem by Peter Hurst, Drawing by Rae Enever

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Shack

Have you visited The Shack yet? In the words of it's founder and WITS member Nikesh Murali:

The Shack is a forum, a discussion space, a pool of resources, a portal to share contacts and links that will lead to greater success in the publishing arena for all of us struggling writers!

So till you sign that million dollar book deal and move into that superfluously luxurious chateau on the banks of Lake Como, this is the place to be. So come all ye faithful, let's shack up and do some sharing, writing, bitching and supporting!

T'Ville Anthology

Great news! The T'ville anthology is now available for download. Go to the Chronicles of T'ville blog for more information or to download your copy.

Congratulations to WITS members Kerry Ashwin, Lori Hurst, Peter Hurst, Nikesh Murali, Stephen Ryan and Casey Salt! All your hard work has finally paid off!

Sunday, February 1, 2009


Always the path twists and turns.
Never a straight road so
you can look back and say,
'I've been from there to here.'
You look back and see a bend.
You try and imagine,
'Where was I at the start of the day?'
All this weaving and winding,
conspiring to confound your sense of direction.
Who planned this path?
What convoluted,
tortured mind gave us this?
Why can't the way be straight?
Why, why?
Y is a crooked letter,
Z no better.

By Phil Heang