Category Archives: News

Lockdown Fiction: New Moon

This week, the Improbable Press prompt drew a song out of me. (Check out the site and try the prompts yourself!)

I’ve been thinking about werewolves a lot, for an upcoming story, and this is the lyric that happened.

It might also apply to vampires, actually, but mostly it was written for a new werewolf.

Yes, I have a melody for it.

New Moon

Shine on, shine on
Little darlin’
Night is comin’ soon

Don’t let shadows
On your shoulder
Take away the moon

Darlin’ do not hunger for the sun
Let me tell you, darlin’
It’s for you the moon was hung

Lift your head up
Little darlin’
Sing to the starry sky

It is only a
Trick of vision
To see through the lie

Darlin’ do not hunger for the sun
You can feel it, darlin’
It’s for you the moon was hung

Shine on, shine on
Little darlin’
Night is comin’ soon

Don’t let shadows
On your shoulder
Keep you from your moon

September Price Promotion – Grounded

In a world where wings give everyone the freedom to fly, an artist born wingless uses her art to show the winged world the wonder of the ground. But when she meets a recently injured police officer who finds himself grounded, they will both learn that there is more than one way to soar.

From 1 to 30 September, Escape Publishing is offering Grounded at a special price on Amazon Australia for Australian and New Zealand readers! This ebook is available for only $3.99 until the end of the month!

To make the deal even sweeter, I’m offering a separate promotion of my own (to Australia-based readers only)!

If you reblog this post, you’ll get one entry into a competition to win one of three Dangerous Charms items of jewellery, inspired by Grounded.

If you buy Grounded at the special offer this month, message me with proof of purchase via the Contact page (under About Narrelle) or via @daggyvamp and you’ll get 10 entries in the draw.

Get Grounded from Amazon Australia for $3.99 until 30 September!

On offer are a necklace and two sets of earrings, to be posted anywhere in Australia for three winners.

The Dangerous Charm jewellery promotion is only open to people based in Australia, as I’m not able to post small items overseas under the current Covid-19 Australia Post restrictions.

New Anthology: Oz Is Burning

B Cubed Press’s fundraising anthology Oz is Burning has been released, just a little behind its original timing to coincide with the NZ Worldcon!

B Cubed commissioned the stories as a response to the devastating bushfires of February 2020 (how long ago that seems now) and a portion of the proceeds will be going to WIRES.

Australian and New Zealand writers were asked to submit stories of a post-apocalyptic world. My own contribution, Harvest, has a little fire, a little water, a few seeds and a certain amount of mindful weeding. (My Patreon supporters got a sneak peek of the story earlier in the year).

If you read the ToC reveal in April, you’ll see that Oz is Burning contains stories by some of ANZ’s best writers of specfic and horror, including Gillian Polack, Kyla Ward, Lucy Sussex, Jack Dann and Jason Nahrung (who recently won an Aurealis Award for his PhD thesis!)

Oz is Burning – edited by Phyllis Radford – is already available for Kindle and is likely to be on other platforms soon.

Help to support the writers and WIRES by getting a copy!

More poems to get you Through the Day

I wrote last week about the pleasure I’ve found in rediscovering poetry through Samuel West’s Pandemic Poems on Soundcloud.

Spurred by those poems, I’ve also been delving into Australian poetry, partly because of the series of Quintette interviews I did early on in the pandemic. Among the books I bought or were sent to me, I have Jenny Blackford’s The Alpaca Cantos Michael Farrell’s Family Trees and Thuy On’s Turbulence.

And these books also reminded me that a while back, Tim bought Omar Sakr’s These Wild Houses for me as well.

I’m not a great scholar of the poetic form, and tend to write lyrics rather than straight poetry myself. At school I adored John Donne until he got religion and I found his poems a bit boring (his cheeky love poems make me laugh) and I’ve always had a soft spot for Phillip Larkin. (I think I must like sass in poetry form).

I’ve also recently come to admire Carol Ann Duffy particularly, and to appreciate the gifts of a wider range of writers. I often encounter poems and words that speak to me, so while not every poem appeals (and while I don’t understand every poem) I do love the sound of them, the rhythm and the dream-like qualities they have.

I found Michael Farrell’s poems particularly dream-like in that way, less to be understood than felt, though there’s understanding to be had.

With lines like ‘My name is Bedingfield and I almost exist’ (in “If You Want to Drink Whiskey with the Big Boys You Have to Drink the Whiskey”) and the visuals of ‘”Knitting a Poem by the Hoover Dam”, it’s an intriguing collection.

The Alpaca Cantos are great fun, with many poems about animals – including, but not limited to, alpacas. Slugs, for example, described as ‘the small monster’ and a failed kitty hunter that loses a baby rat, ‘the tiny terrifying wild thing’. The section of “Lamentations”, dealing in part with dementia, touched a chord in me too (or maybe a nerve) with my father’s recent loss. It’s a charming, slim little volume and a lovely introduction to Jenny Blackford’s award-winning poetry.

Two of the poems are here on the Rochford Street Review if you want to hear more.

Thuy On’s poems in Turbulence were inspired by big changes in her personal life, and the words are sensual, raging, insightful. Some of it is bitterly funny, and it’s all fantastic. I really responded to so much of its imagery, like ‘Bare-limbed and straight-backed / we braced against the rising vowels’ (“Vertigo”) and I loved the fed-up fury of “To date an Asian woman” and its ‘Not a lotus flower / in fragrant docility / an exotic bloom silk petal’ and later ‘learn my name / I’m not a mass of continents / a chopstick dish’.

A particular favourite is “Carpe Noctem” and all the reasons ‘She wears black…’ which is short and I don’t think I can reproduce here, so you’d best just buy the book.

All of these books led me back to These Wild Houses by Omar Sakr, a bi Muslim Australian poet. He examines identity from this perspective, which is fascinating and beautifully told. In “Door Open (Like all habitats, my body tells)” he writes, ‘…Come inside, let me / warm you with all I am. Mind your head / here on the ridges of my teeth. Careful / where you step, I am breakable…’.

“Call Off Duty” opens with the poet addressing someone playing the video game and ends with the poet having sent a coming out letter to that person, fearing the worst, ‘…saying I forgive you / for all that is to come, and hoping / at last for salaam to exist between us…’ The ache of it is soothed at the end with ‘And everything I thought I knew / broke into a sound like prayer’.

StylusLit has a much more comprehensive review. Sakr has since released a new collection called The Lost Arabs.

Support an Aussie poet

Michael Farrell’s Family Trees

Thuy On’s Turbulence

Jenny Blackford’s The Alpaca Cantos

Omar Sakr’s These Wild Horses