Podcast of my Aurealis Award winning story

What’s just as nice as winning an Aurealis Award?

Being approached by the lovely people over at PodCastle to do a podcast of the story. (You can find the Podcast of The Giant’s Lady here) A big thank you to the team at PodCastle and to Barry Haworth for going that extra mile to get the pronunciations right.

And it is great to see PodCastle supporting Australian writers by doing an Aurealis Awards series of pod casts. Go Aussie Authors!

‘The Giant’s Lady’  was published in Legends 2, edited by Ian Whates, Stories in Honor of David Gemmell. It was a thrill when Ian asked me to submit a story for this anthology and now I hope new readers will be able to connect with the story via the podcast.

Warning: Technical Writerly Stuff and possible Spoiler Alert

When the story won the award the judges said they liked the unreliable narrator. This is interesting because I wasn’t trying to write an unreliable narrator. The narrator was trying to make sense of the world and the motivations of the people around him, just as we all do, all the time. Sometimes we misinterpret other people’s motivations.

Here’s the anthology, along with the Aurealis Award.

Legends 2, where 'The Giant's Lady' appears, and the actual Aurealis Award for best fantasy short story

Legends 2, where ‘The Giant’s Lady’ appears, and the actual Aurealis Award for best fantasy short story


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Ebook on Sale

Solaris, my publisher, is having an Advent Calendar, where ebooks go up on sale for a short time.  You can find a copy of The King’s Bastard here for only 99p. (From this I suspect it is only available for those readers in the UK, although it does say, the book is available in Amazon, iBooks, Google Play and Kobo).

And here is the super cool, updated covers from the new Solaris Classics line.


Many thanks to the guys at Solaris/Rebellion!


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Fan Fic

First of all, as a writer I’m honoured that readers find my fantasy series so compelling that they want to delve further into them and do this by writing fan fic.

I don’t mind if someone wants to write stories set in my world with my characters. But …

  • Obviously, you can’t sell stories you’ve written using my characters and world. (That would be a breach of copyright and annoy my publishers no end).
  • Please don’t tell me anything about the stories you write and I can’t read  fan fic. I don’t want anyone to think that I have ‘stolen’ their ideas.

Of course, if you want to be a published author in your own right then you need to be writing original stories about your own characters set in your own worlds.

I have a long list of useful articles. Look in the right column under ROR Writing Group, Writing Craft.

There is something intrinsically satisfying about building a world and exploring it through characters. I wish you all the best with your writing.

Me, after a hard day's writing

Me, after a hard day’s writing

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Bonza Day (as we say here in Australia)

I came home from the shops (which is a bit of a trek now that I live in the wilds of Tasmania) to find a note in my letter box saying there were parcels to pick up from the post office. I thought it would be the possum trap we’ve ordered.

Here I digress…

Over winter the possums have eaten the bark of several of the fruit trees and then they ate two little azaleas that I planted. I thought azaleas would be safe since they haven’t eaten others. I was wrong. So it wasn’t the possum trap (in case you are worried, we intend to drive down to the river which is part of a national park and let the possum go so it will be a pig in mud, rather than making a pig of itself in our garden).

The parcels were… drum roll … my copies of Solaris Classic KRK, All FOUR books.  I was expecting book one but I should have realised Solaris would send all four books since they were being printed together, so they could be released a month apart.

The updated covers look terrific. Here they are on the kitchen table. Kudos to Clint Langley for the wonderful artwork.


You’ll notice on book two there’s a sticker letting people know that Garzik’s novella, The King’s Man, is included at the end of book two. Great news, for all those readers who contacted me wanting to buy a print version.

And then I turned the books over and discovered the layout artist had done something really clever. Ta Da!


They’ve used silhouettes from the front covers. Very graphic, very nice. So kudos to the graphic designer at Solaris for this!

And now I’m all set up to do the GoodReads giveaway for book one which starts on the 24th of September and runs until the 30th of November. (Will see if I can add a link to the giveaway when it goes live). Must get to work on all the blog posts I promised as well.

See here where the Fantastical Librarian interviewed me. Thanks to the lovely Mieneke.


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Whoot and Wobbly Knees

Well today is the 13th of September and it’s the day Solaris release KRK book one.  This is the launch of their new Solaris Classics line. Yaaaay



I’m incredibly honoured but also quietly terrified. I don’t know if writers ever get over this sense of trepidation.

I’m really pleased because The King’s Man, (a novella about Garzik) was only available as an ebook and now it will be printed at the end of book two, so people who contacted me wanting a print version will be satisfied.

It’s coming out in what we call trade paperback here in Australia. The cover looks stunning.(Many thanks to Clint Langley for his gripping artwork)  Here’s hoping the readers think so too.

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One Step at a Time…

One Step at a Time… A blog post in support of #HoldOnToTheLight SF/F Authors and Fans for Mental Wellness


When Gail Z Martin, the Pocket Rocket, approached me to take part in this campaign to raise awareness of mental health issues I wanted to be involved. At the same time I felt the subject was very raw and I wasn’t sure that I could put my thoughts into coherent blog post. (There is a list of useful sites at the end of this post).

Here goes…


I know so many people who have battled mental health issues, from depression through anxiety and bi-polar to schizophrenia. I don’t know whether we just talk about it more nowadays, or if there are more mental health issues due to the epi-genetic consequence of last century’s conflicts but I do know these issues affect us all one way or another.

Mental Health Issues are a bit like back pain, you can’t see anything obvious but it really hurts. And when it hits you or someone you love, you wonder where did this come from and what can I do about it.

There is some interesting recent research on the topic. Firstly genetics and epi-genetics. It used to be thought that genes were a code which was expressed in the way we developed and that was it. We now know differently.

In an article by Annie Murphy Paul in the Discover Magazine, she explains that children whose mothers had been in the third trimester of their pregnancy when their fathers were killed in the World Trade Centre were more likely to have low levels of cortisol which can be associated with anxiety. This same phenomenon has been noted in the children and grandchildren of holocaust survivors.

Paul interviewed Psychiatrist Rachel Yehuda who said: ‘I have a long-running interest in the transgenerational transmission of PTSD risk, or the handing down of a susceptibility to PTSD from parent to child.”

According to Paul: ‘Yehuda encountered a vivid example of this phenomenon in 1993, when she opened the first clinic in the world devoted to the psychological treatment of Holocaust victims. She expected a flood of inquiries from people who had experienced Nazi persecution firsthand. But she soon got a surprise: for each call her clinic received from a Holocaust survivor, it was getting five calls from their grown children. “Many of these members of the second generation had symptoms of PTSD,” Yehuda says. They reported the same nightmares, the same panics, the same hair-trigger vigilance their parents had. Yehuda’s research confirmed that the offspring of parents with PTSD were more likely to develop PTSD themselves, even though they were no more likely to encounter traumatic events than other people.’

While there is nothing we can do about our genes or what affected us or our parents before we were born, we can change how our genes are expressed in our everyday lives. Have you ever wondered why one identical twin will develop a disease or mental health issue yet the other one doesn’t? It is due to lifestyle factors causing genes to express differently.

In an MIT Tech Review article by Emily Singer on Gene expression in identical twins, she says: ‘In the recent study, scientists at the University of Michigan studied 11 pairs of twins in which one member of the pair had rheumatoid arthritis, an auto-immune disease that destroys the tissue lining the joints. Experts say that genetics accounts for about 60 percent of the occurrences of the disease, while other factors, such as infections or exposure to toxins, are responsible for the remaining 40 percent. And both members of an identical twin pair don’t usually have the disease; if one twin has it, the other will have it about 15 percent of the time.’

It is such a cliché but we need to be kind to ourselves. Treat yourself as you would treat your best friend, with nonjudgmental compassion.



If we take care of ourselves based on the best current research, we are giving ourselves the best chance for a fulfilled life. After all, we owe this to ourselves and to the people we love.

There is also some interesting research on mental health issues and our gut biomes. It turns out ‘gut feelings’ are a real thing.

In an article in the Molecular Psychiatry Magazine titled: ‘Genomics of schizophrenia: time to consider the gut microbiome?’ They say: ‘Within our bodies resides a dynamic population of microbes forming a symbiotic super-organism with whom we have co-evolved.15 Recent investigations indicate that these microbes majorly impact on cognitive function and fundamental behavior patterns, such as social interaction and stress management.’

We now know that our mental state can be affected by the kind of organisms in our gut. This means we could be at the beginning of a new way of treating these challenging issues as more research is done into our gut biomes.

According to Charles Schmidt in the Scientific American:  ‘Microbes may have their own evolutionary reasons for communicating with the brain. They need us to be social, says John Cryan, a neuroscientist at University College Cork in Ireland, so that they can spread through the human population. Cryan’s research shows that when bred in sterile conditions, germ-free mice lacking in intestinal microbes also lack an ability to recognize other mice with whom they interact. In other studies, disruptions of the microbiome induced mice behavior that mimics human anxiety, depression and even autism. In some cases, scientists restored more normal behavior by treating their test subjects with certain strains of benign bacteria.’

All of this sounds hopeful but these treatments are still in the future. Having lived through some very fraught times I know there are no easy answers and sometimes we just have to put one foot in front of the other and hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

So be kind to yourself. Be kind to others. And share the good times. As a wise person once said:



When I am feeling overwhelmed by what life has thrown at me I take a mental holiday. I go online and look up beautiful artwork, beautiful homes, ways to repurpose furniture and yes, cute kittens and puppies. (After all, our perception of the world is based on how we perceive it and sometimes we need to reset it with the positive).

Makes me smile every time

Makes me smile every time

So… Hold onto the Light and keep putting one foot in front of the other, One Step at a Time.


About the campaign:

#HoldOntoTheLight is a blog campaign encompassing blog posts by fantasy and science fiction authors around the world in an effort to raise awareness around treatment for depression, suicide prevention, domestic violence intervention, PTSD initiatives, bullying prevention and other mental health-related issues. We believe fandom should be supportive, welcoming and inclusive, in the long tradition of fandom taking care of its own. We encourage readers and fans to seek the help they or their loved ones need without shame or embarrassment.

Please consider donating to or volunteering for organizations dedicated to treatment and prevention such as:

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Home for the Warriors (PTSD)

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

Canadian Mental Health Association



BeyondBlue (Australia),

To Write Love On Her Arms and the National Suicide Prevention Hotline


To find out more about #HoldOntoTheLight, find a list of participating authors, or reach a media contact, go to www.Facebook.com/WeHoldOnToTheLight.




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This is one thrilled writer

I’m honoured to learn that my King Rolen’s Kin series is going to be the launch series of the new Solaris Classics line.  Had to pinch myself twice when I read this.


KRK is the series that was a finalist in the Inaugural Sara Douglas Fantasy Series Award. There were 55 series entered in this award so the judges deserve kudos for their efforts.

The Solaris Classics line will be printed in what we call a trade paperback here in Australia and they have rejigged Clint Langley’s lovely covers.

Solaris Editor-in-Chief Jonathan Oliver commented:

“Solaris has now been going for almost eleven years, and I felt that it was time to take stock: to look back over the hundreds of titles we’ve published and to champion the very best of this fiercely independent, innovative and wide-reaching imprint.

Solaris Classics highlights the titles that have shaped our imprint over the years, the titles that have brought widespread critical acclaim, commercial acclaim, and demonstrated the breadth of our publishing vision. Fantasy has been at the core of what we do from the very beginning, and it continues to be a genre that we invest in, constantly looking for new voices while championing the writers that have seen us go from success to success.

Rowena’s King Rolen’s Kin series shows traditional fantasy at its best. This is engrossing, exciting story-telling, designed to immerse the reader in a world of intrigue, magic and political machinations. Rowena’s series will be the vanguard of what I hope to be a series demonstrating the very best in independent genre publishing.”

Rowena Cory Daniells’ King Rolen’s Kin series will be published by Solaris from September 2016.
Naturally, I am delighted, if a little overwhelmed by this. The KRK series has had a good response from readers, ranging from, Curse you, I was up all night reading your book and now I have to go to work, to My husband has dyslexia and doesn’t like to read. He finished  your books in a week, which is a record for him. And then there was one of my students (I used to teach multimedia narrative at UNI), who told me he gave my book a nine out of ten. High praise indeed!
The books will be coming out a month apart, which makes them easy to find. Now I have to knuckle down and work on my secret projects. I have two on the go but one has top priority. It is good to be writing again.

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Another Lovely Surprise

Over the Nat Con weekend Marianne asked me if I wanted to come to the Ditmar Awards with her because she had to present the SF book award. (Congratulations to all the nominees and winners by the way). I thought it would be a good chance to catch up with the friends I only see once a year at conventions.

Here we are in the bar, where all writers end up during a Con.

Marianne, Rowena, Dirk, Trent and Grace

Marianne, Rowena, Dirk, Trent and Grace

So there I was in the Ditmar Awards ceremony, clapping in the right places and enjoying the vibe when Sean Williams started to present the Peter McNamara Lifetime Achievement Award. (Peter McNamara was involved in small press publishing and established, then nurtured the Aurealis Awards back in the 1990s. He was a stalwart of speculative fiction in Australia).

Next thing I knew my name was read out and I realised that Marianne and Tehani (who was the judge this year) had been really sneaky!

Pat McNamara, R and Sean Williams

Pat McNamara, Rowena and Sean Williams

It would be honest to say that I was stunned.

When I went up to accept the award and had to stand there while Sean read out my list of achievements. It was excruciating.

In my acceptance speech I told the story of my meeting with Robert Silverberg at the Australian World Con in 1999. We’d been wedged in a corner at an industry party where, being the socially awkward creature that I am, I’d said, ‘How does it feel to be the Grand Old Man of Speculative Fiction.’ To which he said, ‘Pretty strange considering that I used to be the Bright Young Thing.’

And there I was, giving an acceptance speech for a Lifetime Achievement Award when I used to be one of the vanguard of new faces.

I’d moved to in Melbourne in 1976 (aged 18) with Paul Collins, just after the first Australian World Con which was held in 1975. Back then there weren’t very many published authors in Australia and it was SF fandom, with lots of keen young people meeting to discuss ideas and books. Naturally, we all wanted to be writers. When he learned I wanted to write, Wynne Whiteford gave me the old portable typewriter that he had taken through World War Two. After my first book published in 1999, I acknowledged Wynne at the trilogy launch and sent him a copy of the book.

In 2005 at the National SF Con in Tasmania (where the lovely Anne Bishop was GOH) I’d shared a coffee with Stephanie Smith from Harper Collins and Marianne McNamara, never dreaming that one day I would receive the award named in honour of her husband.

Now that is is 2016, it is a funny feeling to realise that I have been involved in SF Fandom for forty years.

Hopefully, this Lifetime Achievement Award will not mean that my life or my achievements are over. :->

Thank you to everyone this weekend.I’m touched by the support and kindness of my peers.

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Thelma and Louise Inspiration

The real Thelma and Louise

The real Thelma and Louise

When Tehani asked Marianne and I to be the co-hosts for the Aurealis Award it made me think about what the two of us had been through. This September it will be twenty years since we met at the first Vision Writers meeting. Back then we were both so determined to become published authors that we had abandoned our husbands on Father’s Day. For years, we wore our fingers to the bone writing and rewriting books. We submitted, were rejected, reworked our books or wrote new books and submitted again. I speak for myself here, but I think it was the same for Marianne – I think our drive to succeed arose partly because we wanted the validation that we weren’t fooling ourselves. We wanted proof that we really could write.

For the awards we decided to be cheeky and do a Thelma and Louise inspired intro. What follows is my opening speech.


This year the Aurealis Awards turn 21. Over the years the awards have evolved, new categories have been added and a great many dedicated people have volunteered their time and energy to grow the awards and the genre. Having been involved in both running and establishing awards I know how much hard work there is and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of those people.

Marianne and I are delighted to be your co-hosts tonight. Like the awards we have evolved over time. We met twenty years ago at the first Vision writers meeting. Between us we had nine children, seven of them boys. Even though our youngest boys were under two, like Thelma and Louise, we dared to dream.

Unlike them, we dreamed of becoming published authors. In between making school lunches and nursing sick children we formed a writing group, went to workshops, attended writers’ festivals and studied the craft of writing. To make the time to critique our work we formed our own play group, and gave each other feedback.

Thanks to our long suffering husbands we were able to escape our families once or twice a year to attend conventions and Aurealis Awards where we really did feel like Thelma and Louise, giddy with the excitement of freedom and mental stimulation.

Somehow we found the time to meet our family responsibilities and still write books and short stories that were good enough to be published. In our spare time we organised national workshops and writers groups and helped judge awards so that we could give back to the writing community and grow the genre.

It’s been a rollicking ride and it is an honour to be here tonight co-hosting the twenty first Aurealis Awards. To celebrate we’re going to do a selfie just like Thelma and Louise.

Unlike Thelma and Louise, we won’t drive the awards off a cliff.

Marianne and I doing our Thelma and Louise impression. Photo courtesy Cat Sparks

Marianne and I doing our Thelma and Louise impression. Photo courtesy Cat Sparks who did a much better job as a photographer than our selfie

After the awards several younger women came up to us and said how they admired what we had done and that we had inspired them to dare to dream, and they spoke of the importance of role models. At the time I hadn’t thought about this, I had been too busy juggling my large family and trying to meet deadlines but hearing from these younger women and sharing in the joy of their successes made me realise that what you do has a ripple effect.

It was lovely to catch up with so many people. If I seemed a little stunned by the end of the evening please accept my apologies. This was the first time I have been out in public doing an event in over two years.


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Major Squee

Legends 2, where 'The Giant's Lady' appears, and the actual Aurealis Award for best fantasy short story

Legends 2, where ‘The Giant’s Lady’ appears, and the actual Aurealis Award for best fantasy short story


When I heard in February that my work had been shortlisted for two Aurealis Awards I was both delighted and surprised. In Australia the Aurealis Awards are our Big Thing.


Here are the short listed stories for the fantasy section:


“The Giant’s Lady”, Rowena Cory Daniells (Legends 2, Newcon Press)

“The Jellyfish Collector”, Michelle Goldsmith (Review of Australian Fiction Vol. 13 Issue 6)

“A Shot of Salt Water”, Lisa L Hannett (The Dark, TDM Press)

“Almost Days”, DK Mok (Insert Title Here, FableCroft Publishing)

“Blueblood”, Faith Mudge (Hear Me Roar, Ticonderoga Publications)

“Husk and Sheaf”, Suzanne Willis (SQ Mag 22, IFWG Publishing Australia)


And here is my KRK series rubbing shoulders with some of the best in the field.


The Chronicles of King Rolen’s Kin [The King’s Bastard (2010), The Uncrowned King (2010),The Usurper (2010), The King’s Man (2012), King Breaker (2013)], Rowena Cory Daniells (Solaris Press)

The Watergivers [The Last Stormlord (2009), Stormlord Rising (2010), Stormlord’s Exile(2011)], Glenda Larke (HarperVoyager)

The Lumatere Chronicles [Finnikin of the Rock (2008), Froi of the Exiles (2011), Quintana of Charyn (2012)], Melina Marchetta (Penguin Random House)

Sevenwaters [Daughter of the Forest (2000), Son of the Shadows (2001), Child of the Prophecy(2002), Heir to Sevenwaters (2009), Seer of Sevenwaters (2011), Flame of Sevenwaters (2013)], Juliet Marillier (Pan Macmillan Australia)

The Laws of Magic [Blaze Of Glory (2007), Heart Of Gold (2007), Word Of Honour (2008),  Time Of Trial (2009), Moment Of Truth (2010), Hour Of Need (2011)], Michael Pryor (Random House Australia)

Creature Court [Power and Majesty (2010), Shattered City (2011), Reign of Beasts (2012)], Tansy Rayner Roberts (HarperVoyager)


Being shortlisted ‘made my day’.

Then, when Marianne and I were asked to co-host the awards I was both touched and honoured.  I figured I hadn’t won either award and this didn’t surprise me, not with such a strong field. Co-hosting the awards was a chance to ‘glam up’ for an evening and catch up with the friends I only see once a year. (Or in this case I haven’t been out in the ‘real world’  for over two years).

Here I am doing my Marilyn imitation (as a mother of six my life is not at all glamorous)

Here I am doing my Marilyn imitation (as a mother of six my life is not at all glamorous)


When I track down from photos (my camera has died) I’m going to do a separate post about the awards ceremony and the fun we had. But right now I’d like to say the things I didn’t say when I was so gobsmacked by winning the award.

I’d like to thank the team who organise the award for all their hard work. There was 55 entries (over 200 books) in the Inaugural Sara Douglas Fantasy Series Award and over 100 short stories in the fantasy section. I’d also like to thank Ian Whates for inviting me to submit to Legends 2, Stories in honour of David Gemmell. 



The full list of Aurealis winners is below. Many of these people are my friends and I am delighted for them. Others are up and coming writers and I wish them all the best with their careers. It is an honour to be included in such a talented group.


The Winners of the 2015 Aurealis Awards



Congratulations to all the winners of the 2015 Aurealis Awards!


A Single Stone, Meg McKinlay (Walker Books Australia) 


The Singing Bones, Shaun Tan (Allen & Unwin)


“The Miseducation of Mara Lys”, Deborah Kalin (Cherry Crow Children, Twelfth Planet Press)


“Bullets”, Joanne Anderton (In Sunshine Bright and Darkness Deep, AHWA)


“The Miseducation of Mara Lys”, Deborah Kalin (Cherry Crow Children, Twelfth Planet Press)


“The Giant’s Lady”, Rowena Cory Daniells (Legends 2, Newcon Press)


“Defy the Grey Kings”, Jason Fischer (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Firkin Press)


“All the Wrong Places”, Sean Williams (Meeting Infinity, Solaris)


“By Frogsled and Lizardback to Outcast Venusian Lepers”, Garth Nix (Old Venus, Random House)


To Hold the Bridge, Garth Nix (Allen & Unwin)


Bloodlines, Amanda Pillar (ed.) (Ticonderoga Publications)


In The Skin of a Monster, Kathryn Barker (Allen & Unwin)


Day Boy,Trent Jamieson (Text Publishing)


Day Boy,Trent Jamieson (Text Publishing)


Illuminae, Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (Allen & Unwin)


The Watergivers [The Last Stormlord (2009), Stormlord Rising (2010), Stormlord’s Exile(2011)], Glenda Larke (HarperVoyager)


Letters to Tiptree, Alexandra Pierce and Alisa Krasnostein (Twelfth Planet Press)

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