GenreCon 2017

Hi Guys,

For the last three days I have been at GenreCon held at the State library of Queensland at Southbank in Brisbane, Australia. This was the first GenreCon I’ve attended and wow, what an experience. It was three days jampacked full of workshops, seminars, panels and socialising with some writing greats. Everyone was fantastic and while I can’t thank everyone here, I would like to make particular mention to Zaide Bishop for her ‘Half A Million Words in Nine Months Workshop’, Belinda Pollard for her ‘Perfect Your Book’ workshop, Aiki Flinthart for her ‘How to Write Fight Scenes for Women’ workshop and Alex Adsett for her ‘Top 10 Tricks and Traps of Publishing Contracts’.

The panellists were also fantastic. They included such authors like Garth Nix, Angela Slatter, Nalini Singh, Delilah Dawson and Claire Coleman. The panels were both informative and hilarious with many laughs being had.

I met many new authors at this event and got to catch up with other author friends. My head is full to bursting with all the new information and I can’t wait to put the advice into practice. If you’ve considered going to a GenreCon, I heartily suggest it and know that I will not be missing it for many years to come.

I’d like to take a moment to thank Peter Ball and all the volunteers and organisations that helped to put it together. You guys have done an utterly fantastic job.

Till next time,
Ashleigh

Featured image: The above image is the panellists of the final panel on Sunday afternoon. They are from left Garth Nix, Angela Slatter, Nalini Singh, Emma Viskic, Delilah S. Dawson, Claire Coleman, Sean Williams, Daniel Findlay and Amy Andrews.

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Arena of Champions – Fire

It's not fun and games, until someone is burnt to a crisp - Lyra

The sun had long since set behind the mountains when the four armoured horsemen rode into the village. It was a relatively large village, full of farmers, labours and miners. Hard working folk who liked nothing better than to unwind with a good drink at the local tavern after a tough day. The tavern was a sight to behold. Truly the highlight of the town. A lavish four story building, it was always bustling with traders and townsfolk. On this night, like every other, it was packed. Nearly every room on the upper floors had been rented by travellers and the tavern below was utterly full. It was thus when the four men entered, they had a struggle getting to the bar.Glancing down at the rabble through narrow eyes, Lyra sighed. She had stayed at this place for two days and it never emptied. Tossing her long black locks over her shoulder, she moved down the stairs from her room and into the throng. Quickly locating her saved table tucked away in a corner, she sat down. Reaching forward, she grasped the neck of the bottle sitting in the middle of her table. No doubt another futile attempt by the son of the rich halfwit who owned the joint. Removing the lid with her teeth, she leant back, resting her legs atop the table. She was used to these kind of advances. Taking a mouthful, a pleasant smile crossed her lips. Actually good stuff. Too bad she had to leave soon.

‘Excuse me miss,’ a deep voice interrupted her thoughts, ‘We are going to need you to come with us.’ Lowering the bottle, she saw four armoured men standing at her table. The insignia on their armour labelled them as Honour Guards of the realm.

‘My lords,’ she inclined her head towards them, ‘May I inquire why?’

‘You are hereby detained and ordered face punishment for your crimes.’

‘My crimes?’

‘Yes,’ the guard confirmed, pulling a scroll from his belt, ‘You are under high suspicion in the following incidents. The destruction of twelve minor buildings and seven major establishments including the Yurn manor house, Hysus’s Temple at Taroona as well as setting fire to twenty four fields of various crops, burning down half of Lipers Forest, and attempting to set fire to four monks of Hysus whom were residing in the previously aforementioned temple during the aforementioned incident.’

Sitting back in her chair, Lyra couldn’t believe her ears. Seven major establishments? Four monks of Hysus? Four?
‘Is that all?’ She grinned, ‘Are those the only ones you’re charging me with?’

‘Yes,’ the man hissed, his eyes narrowing, ‘and before you think about setting fire to this tavern and escaping, note that we have been equipped with Fire Null Gems. Enough to render you powerless. Your flame magics won’t help you here.’

‘You’re making a dangerous assumption there, my friends.’ She slowly lowered her legs off the table, leaning forward.

‘Really?’ the guard to the left scoffed, ‘and what’s that?’

‘You’re assuming I haven’t set fire to the tavern yet.’

Right on cue, people started pouring from the top floors, screaming as smoke slowly began to drift in. Sliding under the table, Lyra kicked up with her legs, sending the table crashing into the guards, knocking them back into the mass of panicking people.

Sending her cup crashing through the small window above her, she jumped up and slipped through, landing gently on the other side. Turning, she walked away, the burning tavern fully ablaze behind her. Sighing happily, she tucked the bottle under her arm and reaching into her pocket pulled out a long thing strip of parchment. Glancing at the contents, she drew her finger quickly across, scorching a line through an entry.

‘Tavern of Sonhill, done. What’s next? Library of Nartiul.’ A wide smile crossed her lips, ‘that’s going to be fun.’

Tucking the parchment safely away again, she brought the bottle to her lips once more, savouring its brash flavour. Gasping, she lowered it, grinning then frowned. Two steps had taken her from a burning city into ancient ruins. She turned. There was no more flaming tavern. Just a huge stone arena that circled her. She glanced down at the bottle in her hand and back up again. Maybe she should consider cutting down.

Check back soon for Lyra’s opponent. She’ll be a breath of fresh air.