How To Create a Compelling Villain, by Jess Rae

Image from the Victorian Illustrated Shakespeare Archive I recently re-watched all the Harry Potter films and whilst doing so found myself rolling my eyes at “he-who-shall-not-be-named.” I found Voldemort to be, quite frankly, rather boring, with boring motives; his followers were far more interesting. It got me thinking about villains I do enjoy in series…

Review: If I Tell You by Alicia Tuckerman, by Shelley Carter

Title: If I Tell You Author: Alicia Tuckerman Publisher: Pantera Press (2018) Genre: YA Contemporary If I Tell You follows the story of small-town teenager Alex Summers as she navigates her final year of high school and a budding relationship with her first love, Phoenix Stone. When Phoenix moves to the farming community of Two…

Interview: Australian YA author Lisa Walker

Interview by Shelley Carter Lisa Walker is an established Australian author with a range of works under her belt, ranging from young adult fiction to radio plays. Her latest novel, Paris Syndrome, has been likened to author John Green and features a coming-of-age story set against the backdrop of Paris. Editor Shelley Carter spoke to…

The Right Way to Organise a Bookshelf by Jemimah Halbert Brewster

Part One of my 2019 TBR shelf, alphabetised by author’s first name One of the greatest joys in life is organising and re-organising one’s book collection. The heady rush of excitement when you think of a new system that you can spend a whole weekend applying to every book; the joy as you take each…

Issue 27: Case

Cover by Jess Gately Issue 27: Case is here On page 6 you’ll find this issue’s book review by yours truly, then our fabulous fiction begins on page 8, continuing with our Case theme until you reach the bumper selection of opportunities for writers down on pages 22-25. We hope that this issue will help…

What to do when you receive feedback on your writing, by Jess Gately

Image from Canva Free Stock Images Receiving feedback can be a painful process. As writers, we should actively seek it, but there’s no taking away that sting when your feedback says something isn’t working. And it’s ok to feel that sting. It’s only natural when you’ve shared a project you’ve worked hard on and feel passionate about…

Freelance Writing Series Part 12: Creative Briefs

Article by Jess Gately Image from Canva Free Stock Images In our last post, we discussed pitching for those of you who are looking at article writing but this post is more useful for those of you who are looking at copywriting, real estate writing, advertising, social media management or other such roles. Jobs like these often…

Interview: Elizabeth Kuiper, author of ‘Little Stones’

An interview by Jess Gately Elizabeth Kuiper grew up in Zimbabwe before emigrating to Perth with her mother. In 2016 she graduated from the University of Melbourne with a degree in politics and philosophy and she is now a writer and law student living in Melbourne. Her debut novel Little Stones was released 1 June…

Review: My Father’s Shadow by Jannali Jones, by Jess Gately

Title: My Father’s Shadow Author: Jannali Jones Genre: YA Mystery/Thriller Favourite Part: Just when you think you’ve figured it out, Jones throws a curve ball at you! The Black&Write! Fellowship has produced some cracking reads so of course I couldn’t wait to dig into Jannali Jones’s debut. The blurb for My Father’s Shadow doesn’t give…

Interview: Nova Weetman, middle-grade and YA author

An interview by Shelley Carter Nova Weetman has been writing since she was a preteen and has not stopped since! True to the Underground Writers’ aesthetic, her writing career began with an old, black typewriter. I spoke to Nova about her writing career and what it’s like to write for a middle grade and young…

Freelance Writing Series Part 11: A word from the professionals

Article by Jess Gately Image from Canva Free Stock Images The last few posts have been a whirlwind of information! While it may feel daunting and overwhelming, our resident professional freelancers Ruth Dawkins, Lindy Alexander and Abby Alexander are here to help you break it all down. So, what do they have to say about portfolios, pitching, and…

Writing Opportunities July 2019

Overland speculative alternatives issue ‘Overland is seeking fiction submissions for a special online edition themed around the future(s) you would manifest, to be guest edited by Eda Gunaydin.’ Maximum length is 4,000 words. Closing 15th July KSP Little Black Dress Spooky Story Competition Free to enter, youth (8-18) short stories should be no longer than…

Writing Advice from 7 Contemporary Australian Authors, by Jess Gately

Image from Canva Free Stock Images We’ve all seen those lists of lovely quotes from classic writers telling us all we need to know about writing. But what about writing in the modern world? What about the dangers of submitting too quickly and dealing with instant feedback? What about marketing yourself and building an author platform? What…

Writing a Story Cycle, by Kate Lomas Glendenning

As an admirer and writer of short stories, I decided to challenge myself by writing a different genre. After a bit of research, I discovered I did not have to stray far from my beloved short stories! Enter: the short-story cycle (also called short-story sequence, short-story composite, composite novel and novel of interlinked stories). A…

Freelance Writing Series Part 10: Pitching

Article by Jess Gately Image from Canva Free Stock Images In our last post we discussed finding your first clients and getting your first paid gig. If you’re looking to write for magazines, blogs or newspapers, a large portion of your career is going to be spent pitching. So, what is pitching? Pitching is when you put…

Kate & Jess Rae on Aussie Women Authors

Kate Lomas Glendenning and Jess Rae recently appeared on Six Minutes For Me’s #ReadingWomenMonth Camera Flip series to help viewers fill in the ‘Aussie Author’ section of their bingo cards. You can watch the full video below. The bingo board (pictured below) was provided by the Reading Women Podcast. You can play along on your…

Interview: Poppy Nwosu, YA author

Poppy Nwosu is an Adelaide-based, young adult author. Growing up in central North Queensland, she enjoyed a thoroughly wild childhood surrounded by rainforest and cane fields. Her debut novel, Making Friends with Alice Dyson, was published in March this year and has just been shortlisted for the prestigious Readings Young Adult Book Prize 2019. Editor…

Review: The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone by Felicity McLean, by Shelley Carter

Title: The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone Author: Felicity McLean Genre: Fiction Thriller/Mystery Favourite Part: When a young Tikka re-enacts (unsuccessfully) the Lindy Chamberlain saga as her talent show act — it was a great juxtaposition to the seriousness that was happening regarding the Van Apfel sisters during the climax of the story, and also…

Freelance Writing series part 9: Getting your first paid gigs

Article by Jess Gately Image from Canva Free Stock Images In the last post we discussed ways that you can start a portfolio of your writing by incorporating articles you may have written for university, for your personal blog or things you’ve written for former employers, or by listing previous ‘clients’ you’ve worked with for free. In this…

Writing Opportunities for June 2019

Image from Canva free stock images BREW: Bush Retreats for Eco-Writers residencies The Bush Retreats for Eco-Writers (BREW) network offers free 10-day residencies for writers, poets, students and artists exploring ecological themes. There are five properties across NSW, Victoria and Queensland. More information at their website. Wombat Books accepting unsolicited children’s book manuscripts ‘We are looking for…

Review: Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte, by Jess Gately

Title: Four Dead Queens Author: Astrid Scholte Publisher: Allen & Unwin (2019) Genre: YA Fantasy Every so often a book comes along where the pacing is so perfect—the tension rises steadily  and the plot races forward—that you find yourself turning the last pages at two o’clock in the morning wondering how ‘just one more chapter’…

Writing Your Author Bio, by Jemimah Halbert Brewster

Image from Canva Free Stock Images Whether you enjoy or loathe writing them, an appropriate author bio is essential when presenting yourself to your audience as it orients you within the writing canon, and educates others on your particulars. Some authors use their bio to denote what genre or format they work in (e.g. poetry, essays, etc….

Perth Independent Book Tour, by Jess Rae

When you don’t drink alcohol or coffee, what could possibly be your vice? Bookstores—duh! At least in my case that’s exactly what it is. It’s true, loyal Underground readers: I took one for the team, went on a bookstore tour and spent a lot of money, but shhh. Don’t tell anyone. It’s for research, I…

Freelance writing series part 8: Building a Portfolio

Article by Jess Gately Image from Canva Free Stock Images Your business is now pretty much set up and ready to go, but there’s one last thing you’ll normally need to attract clients—a portfolio. Just like in any business, people want to know that you can actually do what they’re asking you to do and the best…

Issue 26: Ashes

Cover by Ari Moore Issue 26: Ashes is here for your reading pleasure. This month we bring you a tasting plate of short fiction, flash fiction and poetry by writers from around Australia, including Sophie Roberts, Elaine Mead, Nadia Kim, W.D. Farnsworth and Ash Leonard. Editor Shelley Carter gives us a run-down of Gus Henderson’s…

Review: The Sunday Girl by Pip Drysdale, by Jess Rae

Trigger warning: this review discusses a book that contains themes of abusive relationships, drug-abuse, and sexual assault. WARNING: This is the kind of book that requires a comfy couch, a good hot beverage and maybe some snacks too because once this book gets going you’re not going to want to stop. I saw this book…

Interview: Lorna Hendry, author

An interview by Shelley Carter Lorna Hendry is a writer, editor, graphic designer and teacher, and studied a Bachelor of Science at university before writing children’s non-fiction. She currently writes for Wild Dog Books and in her current published work How to Win a Nobel Prize, she teams up with Nobel Prize winner Barry Marshall…

8 Aussie Podcasts for Writers, by Jess Gately

Image from Canva free stock images Writing is something you can learn in many different ways and while many will tell you to learn by reading, we can also learn by listening! The rise of the podcast means that speciality shows catering to all your passions, learning and entertainment needs, are just a click away. So, of…

Stella Prize 2019 Overview: what was shortlisted this year? By Shelley Carter

Picture credit to 2ser Tuesday Book Club Since its inception in 2013, the Stella Prize has aimed to “recognise and celebrate Australian women writers’ contribution to literature.” It celebrates those who courageously and authentically share their stories, subvert genres, and experiment with form. This year was no different, and both the longlist and shortlist offering…

Freelance writing series part 7: A word from the professionals

Article by Jess Gately Image from Canva Free Stock Images We’re welcoming back Ruth Dawkins, Lindy Alexander and Abby Alexander, our resident freelancers who are discussing some of the things we’ve been talking about so far and giving us an insight into the working world of freelance writing. What was the hardest thing you had to learn…

Interview: Dee White, author & playwright for children & young adults

An interview by Shelley Carter Dee White is a published author of 18 books and two plays for children and young adults, with two new books due out this year. She has had extensive experience in the publishing industry, including conducting writing workshops and online classes about writing. She has presented at a number of…

Writing Opportunities April 2019

Image from Canva free stock images Red Room Poetry: School Poetry Object 2019 “Victorian primary schools are invited to register – FOR FREE – in the first-in-the-nation primary school poetry slam competition, in 2019, with OutLoud primary finalists to appear at the Melbourne Writers Festival. Registration would usually be $275 per primary school team but the free…

Planning a Novel, by Jess Gately

Image from Canva Free Stock Images Take what you will from this process and build upon it in a way that best suits you. You may wish to use all of the steps, or you may wish to use only some, but the key is to work in a way that is best suited to you and…

Review: Driving Into the Sun by Marcella Polain, by Dylan Dartnell

Title: Driving Into the Sun Author: Marcella Polain Genre: Literary fiction Publisher: Fremantle Press (2019) The novel that took some ten years to write, Marcella Polain is back with her breath-taking work, Driving into the Sun (Fremantle Press, 2019). The story revolves around an eleven-year-old girl named Orla on the precipice of womanhood. She, like most…

8 BookTubers to Spice up Your Reading, by Shelley Carter

I discovered Booktube back in 2016. It was like a whole new world of literature had opened up to me. Books I had no idea even existed made their way onto my TBR list, and I even discovered Goodreads because of the people I was watching. I had found a community of people that were…

Freelance Writing series part 6: Tax & Superannuation

Image from Canva Free Stock Images Article by Jess Gately Those dreaded words. The ones that fill our heads with question marks and swear words. For many people tax is frustrating, confounding and unintelligible. Having a tax agent is a really good idea when you’re freelancing, but there are still lots of things you can do to…

Writing Opportunities March 2019

Image from Canva free stock images Yirra Yaakin Writers’ Group “Yirra Yaakin invites established and aspiring Aboriginal playwrights to participate in an intensive playwriting program that guides writers through craft and writing sessions aimed at turning ideas into scripts. At the culmination of the workshop program, six writers are selected for one-on-one assistance to help them prepare…