The Selkie Before Summer


southern fur seal; Milford Sound, New Zealand, February 2008

My long poem “The Selkie Before Summer” is up at Liminality! It’s about a southern fur seal (or maybe an Australian fur seal) who leaves the ocean for the first time to rescue a lover and ends up exploring Victoria and gender and matters of the heart. (And there’s another poem in this issue about a sea creature who heads inland, by Sandi Leibowitz!) Yes, it is yet another S-title poem about skin. I might have gotten it out of my system now but I promise nothing.

Earless seals like greys and harps have always seemed like quasi-fantasy animals to me. I knew they were real, I saw them on documentaries, but they were just so different to the fur seals I was more familiar with that there was something mythical about them. (White swans have the same effect. When I visited Britain and saw them it was a very “how is this even a real island” moment. Seeing a lone black swan amongst a group of white swans in Windsor did not help this surreal disconnect.) But imagine an Australian fur seal selkie walking along a yellow sandy beach, their brown skin draped over their head to keep off the burning December sun, even though every story and art I see specifies otherwise. That’s more real to me than anything involving a grey seal and the Atlantic.

Of course, it is now well and truly summer, but I was in fact in Victoria this past spring, so here’s two indulgent photos. (If the eucalypts look strange, they’re shedding their back, which is one of my favourite things! Such a beautiful time of year, seeing the trees shed and change colour.)


The Otways, Victoria, September 2015


The Twelve Apostles, Victoria, September 2015


sky and kin

My story “Tanith’s Sky” is one of 50 reprinted in The Best of Luna Station Quarterly: The First Five Years! This anthology’s only in paper form but you can still read “Tanith’s Sky” online here. It’s about what happens after the world’s been saved, it’s about grief and non-romantic love and maths and astrology and gender.

And I’m in the new issue of Lackington’s with “Kin, Painted”, which is illustrated by Likhain! It’s about finding a way to be happy in yourself, in your family and in your life, it’s about paint and non-romantic love and romantic love and compromise and being different amongst the different and quite a lot of paint. In a couple weeks the issue will be online for free but if you can’t wait there’s the (very recommendable) ebook and subscriptions available!


skins and seas

My short poem “Skin Ashore” is up at inkscrawl! It’s got a selkie and consonance and difficult life choices.

And my longer poem “Singing Her Body Oceanic” is up at Liminality with mermaids and tattoos and yearning for something new.

Along with “stone” that makes three poems published this month (!), all with S titles and all featuring changing skin. They were all written in different years so that’s quite some coincidence there. I feel like I should probably understand poetry better now but most of it is just ??? to me still.

Short notes:
The supralittoral zone sits above high tide and is regularly splashed.
The photic zone is well-lit.
The mesopelagic aka the twilight zone is 200 to 1000 metres below the surface.
The bathyal zone aka the midnight zone is 1000 to 4000 metres below the surface; sunlight does not breach it.


Love Over Glass podcast

You can now listen to “Love Over Glass, Skin Under Glass” over at the GlitterShip podcast! And also read it, as there’s a full transcript provided! This is the first time “Love Over Glass” has been free to read or hear online (it was originally published in Aurealis and then reprinted in Heiresses of Russ 2014) which is super exciting! It’s a creepy romance about obsession, compromise, differences and self-discovery.

GlitterShip is a new podcast focusing on queer SF&F stories. Definitely check it out!


Heiresses of Russ 2014

Heiresses of Russ 2014: The Year’s Best Lesbian Speculative Fiction is out! And it contains my romance “Love Over Glass, Skin Under Glass” (published in Aurealis last year)! I’m stunned and delighted to be part of this series.

My favourite in it so far is “Her Infinite Variety” by Sacchi Green. It’s such a beautiful and taut story.

Goodreads; paperback: Book Depository; Amazon; ebook: Kindle; Smashwords.


Tanith’s Sky

My story “Tanith’s Sky” is up at Luna Station Quarterly! It deals with grief, love, maths, gender and the end of the world. I’m fond of it and it contains some very personal bits of my heart, and I’m so glad to see it out in the world. Wouldn’t have been possible without R, who inspired it, and Alex, dottie and Zoe! I hope people enjoy it!

Grief is a hell of a thing. Some of Ash’s experiences in going through the grieving process are mine; my mother died a few years ago, suddenly, too young, with no chance to say goodbye. I can’t remember if I set out to write about the grieving process–R’s prompt certainly didn’t mention it–and I don’t know if I’d say it was a cathartic story, but it was so natural to write and I’ve ended up sharing more than I ever have before. It’s a strange sort of time, never sure how appropriate or awkward it’d be to say something like I heard the front door open and I knew it was her, knew it, until I remembered, until I realised what I’d forgotten to your friends.

And once again I’ve written about a couple with not-quite-aligning views on their relationship. Of course all relationships must have compromises and those sorts of things, but I find especially interesting those with dissimilar sexual and romantic inclinations.