Five book launches at Smiths Alternative Bookshop

On Saturday night,  29 September from 7 pm,  Conflux presents:



Join Conflux MC, mulitiple award winning author and editor Jack Dann at the launch of five new books by writers of fantasy, science fiction and horror:


Wild Chrome – collected stories by Greg Mellor

From Stage Door Shadows – edited by Jodi Cleghorn

Ms Cellophane –  ebook by Gillian Polack

The Light Heart of Stone – by Tor Roxburgh

Time Vandals – by Craig Cormick.


Wild Chrome – collected stories by Greg Mellor

Damien Broderick says:

“This is a tour de force, and by itself is proof that Gregory Mellor is a writer to watch in the way we kept an eye on Ursula K. Le Guin and Brian W. Aldiss and Roger Zelazny when they were setting out, learning to pilot their burning imaginations into the realm of words shaped to ignite the dreams of their readers.”

Greg Mellor is a Canberra-based author published in Cosmos Magazine, Clarkesworld Magazine, Daily Science Fiction, Antipodean SF and Aurealis, as well as small press anthologies in Australia and the United States. Greg holds degrees in astrophysics and technology management. He was a finalist in the Aurealis Awards and is a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) and the Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild (CSFG). Wild Chrome is his first collection.


From Stage Door Shadows – edited by Jodi Cleghorn

Twenty-six authors trade Tiny Dancer’s California- blessed lyrics for the shadowed recesses of stages large and small in From Stage Door Shadows, a speculative fiction homage to the darkness just beyond the limelight of the entertainment industry.  The stories re-introduce the women Benny Taupin wrote about and Elton John sang about: blue jean baby, LA lady, the band’s seamstress, the music man’s wife and the girl dancing in the sand, along with a stellar cast of musicians, singers, thespians, fans, managers, dancers, DJs, magicians, talent show contestants, stars and has-beens.  From vaudeville to opera, piano bar and street corner, hotel suite and beauty pageant, From Stage Door Shadows is a backstage pass to where dreams of fame, fortune and fulfillment live and die in a heart- beat.

Featuring stories from Sam Adamson, Joanne Anderton, Cath Barton, Alan Baxter, Jessica Bell, Jodi Cleghorn, Janette Dalgliesh, Rebecca L. Dobbie, J.M. Donellan, Tom Dullemond, Laura Eno, Emma Kerry, Lisamarie Lamb, Len Lambert, S.G. Larner, Clive Martyn, Monica Marier, Andrew J. McKiernan, Laura Meyer, Theresa Milstein, Jennifer Muirhead, Melanie Saward, Graham Storrs, Rus VanWestervelt, Devin Watson and Daniel Wynne.

Jodi Cleghorn is a writer, editor and publisher mining the dark vein of humanity. She is the cofounder of eMergent Publishing and 2010 recipient of the Kris Hembury Encouragement Award for Emerging Artist.


Ms Cellophane – e-book by Gillian Polack,

“Life was standing still, waiting for Liz to fall into its trap.”

Elizabeth Smith, recently made redundant, thinks that her life is deadly dull. She feels like cellophane – like people look right through her, like she’s not even there. A simple redecoration job involving a mirror turns her life upside down.  Through ominous horror and an unexpected romance Liz learns to become a whole person – someone who takes up space in the world, and demands to be herself.

Part gentle love story, part bizarre horror tale, but never, ever boring, Ms Cellophane is a revealing look at one woman’s nightmare transforming her reality in unexpectedly amusing ways.

Ms Cellophane, Gillian Polack, Momentum Books

Dr Gillian Polack is a writer, editor, critic and historian. Her latest publication is a novel Ms Cellophane (Momentum, 2012). She edited the Ditmar-finalist anthology Baggage (Eneit Press, 2010) and was awarded the 2010 Best Achievement Ditmar. She is currently completing her second doctorate.


The Light Heart of Stone – by Tor Roxburgh

11-year-old Fox lives in Kelp province where her father is the Indidjiny keeper of the land and sea. When the 84-year-old Oak Companion arrives to test the camp’s children for talent, Fox finds herself wrenched from her family, forcibly adopted into the famous Oak clan, and thrust into the slow culture of the city of Komey. Fox’s adoption should signal a life of bound motherhood, aimed at returning her talent to its rightful owners, but nothing is as it seems. The Companionaris’ ability to grow plants and breed animals is failing, a murderous ambition has been sparked, and there is a stirring of old magic in the air.

Tor Roxburgh is the author of 15 books. She has written non-fiction on family violence, pregnancy and youth homelessness and is the author of 12 teen romances. Her latest book, The Light Heart of Stone, is an epic fantasy novel that explores many contemporary themes. The Australian Broadcasting Commission’s, Prue Bentley, calls it “very Australian”.


Time Vandals – by Craig Cormick

A story of time travel, alternative realities and zombies!!

Imagine that you had a unique set of GENES that allowed you to travel to ALTERNATIVE WORLDS safely – when nobody else could. And imagine that somebody had opened a hole between our world and a very similar world, causing time to have changed. You would be recruited to join a SECRET AGENCY to travel to different world and repair the changes. But would you be prepared for all the things that could cause EVEN BIGGER CHANGES to our world? And who exactly are the TIME VANDALS who are changing time???

Dr Craig Cormick works as a professional science communicator and has published or edited over twenty books in non-fiction, fiction and short-stories. His writing awards include the ACT Book of the Year Award and a Queensland Premier’s Literary Award.










Lee Battersby gives 5 stars to Pyrotechnicon by Adam Browne

    Lee Battersby has given 5 stars to: Pyrotechnicon by Adam Browne

    Lee writes in Goodreads:

I had the very great joy of beta-reading this novel just before it went to final print, and found it an utter delight: frothy, wildly inventive, and unendingly madcap, with a voice the recalls the best adventure writing of the period it purports to portray. It’s a rich confection of a book, with moments that made me cry out in joyful recognition at regular intervals. Reading it was is like watching the bastard child of Voltaire and Dumas get smashed on muscat.

Browne is a unique voice, and a vastly underrated one. This novel will reward readers who love to see words built in layers, who enjoy seeing a vocabulary earn its crust and see narrative spun out of increasingly spiralling levels of absurdity whilst maintaining its internal consistency. It is breathtakingly inventive, and a genuine treat.

It is, simply, too much fun.”

     And Lee is not the only one who rates Pyrotechnicon highly.

Hugo and Nebula award-winning science fiction author, Greg Bear calls it “A rich dessert of a novel, filled with finely crafted wit and adventure — Adam Browne has resurrected Cyrano in fine form. Delightful!’

Jeff Vandermeer — World Fantasy award-winning author of Finch says that ‘The title does not mislead. PYROTECHNICON is a literary cabinet of curiosities filled with lush imagery and exotic notions. A delicious concoction of swashbucklery and delight. Highly recommended.’

     Join Jack Dann, author Adam Browne and coeur de lion publisher Keith Stevenson to celebrate the worldwide launch of PYROTECHNICON: being a TRUE ACCOUNT of CYRANO DE BERGERAC’S further adventures among the STATES and EMPIRES of the STARS at Conflux on 30 September.





Tiny Dancer Takes to the Stage at Conflux 8

Jodi Cleghorn of eMergent Publishing writes that the long-awaited fourth Literary Mix Tapes anthology, From Stage Door Shadows (formerly known as “Tiny Dancer”), will launch at Conflux 8 in late September.

From Stage Door Shadows is based on Benny Taupin’s lyrical tribute to California in the 1970s, “Tiny Dancer”. The song appears on Elton John’s fourth studio album, Madman Across the Water and although not a hit at the time of release, went platinum in August last year.

The anthology is a backstage pass to the underbelly of the entertainment industry. The stories re-introduce Taupin’s blue jean baby and LA lady, along with the the seamstress for the band and a myriad of other characters who step out of the carefree Californian sun and onto brooding stages small and grand. The anthology inhabits darkened theaters, vaudeville and concert halls, opera houses, piano bars, dressing rooms, pageants and talent searches, soulless hotel suites and street corners, where dreams of fame, fortune and fulfillment live and die in a heart beat.

Blake Byrnes (EIGHTY NINE) returns as cover artist.

A full table of contents will be released shortly.


The Adjustable Cosmos – animated film

Conflux 8 will be screening The Adjustable Cosmos, a short animated film written by Adam Browne and directed by Adam Duncan, based on Adam Browne’s story ‘Space Operetta’, published in Aurealis #31.

Adjustable Cosmos is a fantastical adventure played out in a jeweled cosmos housed inside a great crystal sphere. A 15th Century Vatican commands Viennese King, Frederick III, to take war to Constantinople. Discovering the stars are much against his victory, his astrologer has a solution: fire a cable heavenward to hook onto the North Star; haul themselves heavenward and rearrange the cosmos! In a wondrous vessel, they travel into the constellations to amend the royal horoscope… Our medieval astronauts catapulted through space, braving the terrors and wonders of the Ptolemaic universe (Ottoman attack ships, a shimmering, bird-covered moon; Faberge constellations tinkling on ormolu rails …) – to reach for the stars.

Watch the  Teaser.  It’s beautifully animated.



Conflux Pre-Con Workshop Timetable Friday 28 September

Check out the timetable  for these great workshops.  You don’t have to be a Conflux Member to join.

Follow the links for  workshop details and the  booking form.




AUTHORS: selling books at Conflux 8

Coming to Conflux 8? Let Nicole Murphy know, and she can tell the bookseller so there will be some of your books on sale (note – the bookseller will only be present on the Saturday).

Email with the title, publisher and ISBN of all your books by September 4.

If you’ve not yet joined, but are coming don’t worry – you can still let Nicole know. You might also want to contact Conflux chair Jane Virgo on so she can factor you into the programming.

See you there!


Changes to workshops on Friday

Sorry for the inconvenience, but we’ve had to swap two of the workshops. Jack Dann’s workshop “A Writer’s Guide to Dreaming” has moved back to 3pm, while Karen Herkes’ “Mental Magic” has moved forward to 12pm. If you want to book for any workshop, email asap.


A couple of announcements

This is just a quick message to pass on some important announcements about Conflux 5.

First, and most importantly, we need to announce an identity change to our overseas guest. Sharon November, who had been scheduled as our international guest, has had to withdraw due to unavoidable circumstances. We are, of course, sorry to lose Sharon, but we’re very pleased to have arranged instead for Liz Gorinsky to attend in the capacity of overseas guest. Liz is an editor with Tor, in the US, and has worked extensively with both established big-name authors and up-and-coming writers. We’re very much looking forward to her involvement in the Con. You can find out more about Liz on the guests page

We’d also like to bring to your attention that Mark Shirrefs will also be attending Conflux, as a guest, and will be presenting a special screening of his BAFTA- and Oscar-nominated animated specfic short film, ‘The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello’. Mark has considerable experience in writing for TV and the big screen. You can also find out more about Mark on the guests page . There’ll be more about both Mark and Liz in the fourth and final Progress Report, which will be along soon.

Finally (for now), if you’re thinking of putting in an entry for the art show, laying claim to a dealers’ table, or booking for Saturday night’s Banquet, please don’t delay. We’re busy finalising the lists for all of these, so first in best dressed.

That’s it for now. Looking forward to seeing you in – what is it? – less than 20 sleeps now.


Conflux programming update

Some updates on Conflux for you all. For those who don’t know, Conflux will take place in Canberra at the Marque Hotel on October 3 to 6. All things going well, the program will be up on the website Monday of next week. So check at that time to see the fun that will ensue.
In the meantime, bookings are now open for the workshops, and the Prohibition New York dinner. To attend the dinner, you need to book using the form on the website, and need to do so BEFORE the convention – we have to confirm numbers with the chef, so can’t take bookings at the con. To book into a workshop, you need to email I’m replying to them as soon as I read them, so if you’ve sent an email and haven’t had a reply, I haven’t seen it and you’re not booked in. Please, send it again.
Workshops are:
Friday October 3
Blogging with Gillian Polack (costs $10)
Caring for Your Collection with April Herzog (free for members)
The Business of Writing Comics with Liz Argall (free for members)
The noble and knightly art of the longsword with Chris Barnes (free for members)
A writer’s guide to dreaming: how to transform thoughts, ideas and dreams into fiction with Jack Dann (costs $55))
Finishing the first draft with Maxine McArthur (free for members)
Mental magic: illusions and tricks of the mind with Karen Herkes (free for members)
Emarketing for authors with Fiona McLennan (free for members)
Creating dynamic characters with Karen Miller (free for members)
Monday October 6 (all free for members)
Dream Magick, an experiential workshop with Margi Curtis and Leigh Blackmore
Grant Writing with Peter Strong
Writing the otherword with Felicity Pulman
Workshop 13 – superstition, with Nicole R Murphy
A day membership of $50 can get you into Friday or Monday of the con, so you can go to the workshop of your choice as well as take in other aspects of the con on that day. To book, email Spaces in the workshop are limited to 15 people (except the sword workshop, which goes to 16) and they will go for 2 1/2 hours. And there won’t be any worksheets or notes for anyone not able to attend – sorry, but you have to be present to get the advantage of the expertise of the people involved.


Conflux panel program – round 2

We’ve had some discussions, tossed around a few ideas and here is the next list of possible panels. Feel free to comment, add your own suggestions and if you’re coming, and there’s a panel you just have to be on, let me know. Note that Conflux will have a maximum of four people on a panel, and we want to try to limit people to three or four appearances at the convention, so there are lots of different views shared.

Welcome to the con – how to get the most out of the experience

Where to start – the must-reads

Writing the tie-ins – novels from series

Moving on from mobiles – where to next for technology

Filking 101 – the secret of the great song

Cultural tales – writing ethnicities into your work

What people want – spec fic booksellers tell all

Flying fire – dragons in literature and story

Fans v.2 – how do we grow fandom

Clarion revisted – do structured writing workshops work

AAAARRRRGGGHHHH! – the worst SF and Fantasy in history

Blinded by science – the state of psychological sci fi

Pilots with pms – women in sci fi

Blowing the ship with one shot – fiction of science fiction battles

Levels 1 to 10 – the role of gaming in developing the genre

How to find a hero – avoiding the king-hidden-as-shepherd type clichés

Beach balls and strobes – cheap but effective special effects

It came in a dream – how to generate story ideas

Writing for the end of the world – environmental sci fi

Returning to the world – when you have to go back.

It’s great – the art of the review

Type and photocopy – creating a fanzine

Scary or weird – what is horror

10 things beginning writers get wrong

Prayer and prophet – creating an authentic fictional religion

Keep the hero going – just what does he/she need to reach the end of the story? Looking at food, sleep and so on

Writing disciplines – the impacts of other styles of writing

The dead body – how to kill someone

Young adult fiction – is it real or just marketing

Blogs – the new community

What is fear and what is evil

Gothic romance – the genre

Literature vs film – where does horror belong

What makes a good villain in story and real life

Scientification – the history of fandom

Dr Who – the fans talk

Beasts of Burden – moving around in literature

Space opera – did it ever die

Love, crime and spells – cross-genre work

Scrolling through the story – past, present and future of webpublishing

Cons – why do it

Making you squirm – horror writers read their work

It’s over – what we think of Harry Potter

Authors blogs – good pr or a waste of time

Take me to your leader – who the aliens should talk to

Original versus derived – spec fic movies