Thursday, July 19, 2012

WINNER of the 2012 NK Hemming Award for SF & Fantasy...

To CELEBRATE my win of this prestigious Aussie Award for Excellence in the Exploration of Themes of "Otherness" in the human condition through SF & Fantasy (e.g. race, gender, sexuality, disability etc) , I'd love to giveaway a signed copy... So I'd love to hear from you about a significant moment in your life when you felt like an outsider...  
Champagne Glasses Clinking

And to whet your appetites, here's an excerpt:

Hindsight: Chapter 1: Severing Serenity

Mira noticed the body on the beach from halfway across the new bay bridge.
Jogging across from Likiba Isle to the mainland, trying not to look like an escapee from the sanctuary, she wore a cotton sundress instead of a track suit and stayed alert to every sound in the rising fog, and every shadow. Dawn chased her with the first sharp blades of the day but as she drew nearer to the body, she paused with her hand on the damp rail.
Heights and bridges always made her sway. Her violet sunshades helped to some extent; the darker hues making everything appear more solid and real. Still, she couldn’t help the feeling that the bridge might evaporate out from under her at any moment, leaving nothing between her and the stunted mangroves that dotted the small cove and its crooked inlet.
Gripping her shades with one hand to prevent them from falling, she clamped tighter onto the ghostly rail and looked down along the small beach below.
Through the violet haze, she saw a young blonde woman, much like herself, lying on her back, and except for one soggy jogging shoe, she was naked.
Mira clasped a hand over her mouth, feeling ill. The fresh corpse wasn’t the first she’d ever seen, but it was the first woman. Sunrise bathed the body in a soft ghostly glow, while the shallow waves of the incoming tide licked obscenely higher along the dead woman’s thighs. Semi-adrift against a patch of scuffled sand, her arm pointed above her head to a spilled bucket of fish, with a basket of tackle uphill and a long rod, still upright in the sand at the water’s edge. The line hung slack with the bait and hook bobbing at her knee, almost as if she’d caught and landed herself. Or perhaps netted. Her leather bikini was twisted around her mouth and head. However, it was the blast marks in her chest which had obviously put an end to her struggles. Three rounds at close range. Her hands were punctured and blown out too, as if she’d seen the shots coming and tried to shield herself.
A trail of scuffled sand stretched from the body to the bridge, disappearing below Mira into murkier shadows. Men’s voices came to her through the thinning fog too; the derelict tram bridge nearby now muttering with local fishermen.
A purple seagull swooped down past Mira’s shoulder, startling her. It landed on the dead woman’s face, and in reflex, Mira hissed at it before she realised she was too far away, and far too late. The bird preened its wings, oblivious. Then rumbling beneath Mira’s feet, the long bridge trembled with the approach of a heavy rig.
Anyone who recognised her outside the sanctuary could pose a risk. Gate pass or no gate pass, it was unusual for anyone to make it so far on foot and alone at such an early hour. Questions would be raised, and such delays were the last thing she needed today.
Glancing about, she calculated the chance of making a dash off the nearest end of the bridge onto the mainland. She might make it to cover in time behind a grassy dune or picnic bench. Or she could stay and maintain the pretense of normality; just a local cane farmer’s daughter, out for a walk. However, at such an early hour as 6am, she reassured herself it was common for delivery trucks to be as keen as she was to escape Serenity after unloading; time enough for them to get through the security checkpoint and make it off the isle completely before any of the most dangerous clients were let out of their wards for morning exercises.
Sea hawks squawked a warning overhead, invisible against the violet sky. Mira heeded them and spun her back to the road, hugging the rail and shielding her glasses just as a gust of small stones and sand whipped past her from the speeding wheels. She heard a series of jolts as the truck accelerated off the bridge, but by the time she uncurled herself from the rail, the engine was already fading inland, dissolving into foggier swamplands and cane farms towards the interstate freeway. Within seconds, she heard the familiar growl of another engine – Bennet Chiron’s old Camaro headed her way, this time through the maze of cane fields.
Mira hurried for the overgrown picnic area to meet him, but the meandering footpath led her closer to the beach first as it followed the low dune towards the old public parking area.
A horn sounded and brakes squealed as Ben slewed against the kerb to her right.
‘Mira!’ he called above the rough rumble of his engine. ‘What’s the deal?’
The car backfired, making her jump.
‘You okay?’ His door clanked as it stuck open. She heard him jogging over, leaving the engine chugging, but she didn’t bother turning to greet him. No point, since she couldn't see anything unless it happened to coincide with its exact position and movements a fortnight ago. Her crystalline eyes filtered out everything else from the present. 
He stopped a short distance behind her. ‘Does Matron Sanchez know you’re out here?’
She shrugged, and a cold shiver caused her to hug herself. A platinum pass gave her authority to come and go from Serenity any time during the day so long as she returned in time for meals and other scheduled activities, but no walking distance ever seemed far enough if she could still see Likiba Isle. As a gloomy backdrop to the dead body, it seemed almost inevitable that someone would die here.
‘Hey, Mira,’ he said, with a cautious step closer. ‘Are you with me?’
She nodded, wishing she never had to go back there...

But she was blind, officially, and where else did she belong, thanks to her "delusions" of seeing history - except a health sanctuary, once known as the Serenity Asylum.   

{Buy with free postage and great discounts any time from}


sienny said...

Being an outsider is a bad feeling. I can't describe it, but it's bad and i hope i don't have to feel it again =__=

smile_1773 at yahoo dot com

Annalouise said...

It's said of abused children that we have to develop a false, 'pleasing' personality when the clear message from the abusing parent is 'I don't like you the way you are, but I *might* like you if you are whom I want you to be.' (The kicker is, of course, that the goalposts keep moving...) And we suppress whom we really are for however long it takes to liberate ourselves.

Well, I did liberate myself, but kept it hidden from family - easy when I was living several hundred kms away. Then I returned 'home' for a weekend, and the mantle of 'false me' dropped over me again (reinforced, of course, by expectation...) Except...a special boyfriend phoned me there to say he'd be coming over from Sydney soon.

Now, this was the day of the fixed phone, and my family's was fixed in the living room, another form of control, ie one couldn't ring out or take a call without all of it being overheard. And in this instance, the entire family was gathered there anyway. And I, with my back to them, and absolutely delighted, totally forgot whom I was supposed to be, and talked like the real me this boyfriend knew...

When I hung up and turned around, everyone had stopped talking, every eye was on me, every person frozen in their chair or sofa. I'd been *sprung*!! Yes, I'd always been treated as the outsider in the family.

That moment made me even more of an outsider, but also for a moment, it reversed the situation: *they* were the outsiders. (It should go without saying that the family spent the next 10 years trying to beat that 'other' me out of me, one way or another - very threatening for them.)

Valerie said...

From an early in my life I felt like an outsider....from my own family. I was nothing like any of them, not in looks or feelings and for many years I thought I must have been adopted but I wasn't.
How could I feel like this?
I used to watch the members of my family, my mother and grandparents, (my father had deserted us when I was six years old so didn't know him much except bad memories.)

bn100 said...

Congratulations and great covers! I guess it's when I don't want to do the same thing as everyone else in a group.


Llehn said...

When I'm hanging out with published authors.


SandyG265 said...

The first day on a new job when I'm eating lunch with people who've known each other for a long time but whom i've just met.

molly.frenzel said...


To answer the question, I've kinda always felt like an outsider. I just did my own thing and rolled with it. But there is one time that sticks out in my mind. I had just moved to a new state and was going to my second grade class for the first time. I arrived after the bell had rung and my mom walked me to my classroom. After I was introduced, I actually hid behind my mother. The look of disdain that I saw on all those kids faces made me burst into tears. My mother literally had to pry me off of her leg. That was a hard year for me.


Sharon Stogner said...

woot! congrats on the honor :)

Denise Z said...

Congratulations on this awesome award! I personally think that anyone who has ever had a moment of self-doubt or insecurity has felt like an outsider at one time or another. As I truly believe this encompasses most of the population I guess I am not alone after all LOL I do have a bit of a unique situation to comment on. My husband and extended family speak a language that is not my own and it is certainly interesting to attend gatherings ;) I find lurking, smiling, and being pleasant seems to be a great balm to the your not really included feelings and in reality I do not think I am excluded, it is just differences :) Thank you for the awesome excerpt and sharing today.

donnas said...


Ive felt it a few times both back in school and in work. Horrible feeling and I try not to think about it.

Eli Yanti said...

congratulations :)

really don't like to be outsider :(

AA Bell said...

Hey Gang!... My cat chose 8 winners to announce from this blog. She must have been feeling generous – or starving for breakfast - because I was still only half-way thru my highly technical process of eenie-meenie-mynie-mowing a winner from a list that I’d transferred to a spreadsheet, when she danced across my keyboard and deleted half the entrants. So it must be Fate… Congratulations to Sienny, Annalouise, Valerie, Bn100, Llehn, SandyG265, Mollyfrenzel and DeniseZ. I know most of you already own autographed copies, so I’ll contact you offlist to see if you’d like signed copies for friends, or perhaps be first to get your hands on Leopard dreaming… And if you didn’t send me your email addie yet, I’ll need it now please. Or else email my personal assistant, Julie at: needie35 AT hotmail DOT come