Friday, January 24

This ship of mine is sailing - 2020 here I come!


2020 is not even a month old and it already started with a pile of good publishing news for me: 

My nano-fiction work, Metamorphosis, was published in the paperback anthology, YEAR ONE - Dark Moments (Black Hare Press). More info here 

They also accepted a brand new story, Medusa Rising,  for the upcoming anthology OCEANS! 

Also, my new take on an old classic in Snow White and The Evil King Grau, is going to be published in the anthology APPLES RED AS BLOOD (FantasiaDivinityPress) later this year!

In OTHER NEWS: Six of my visual art works from a series I've created a few years ago (aka Friederike Krishnabhakdi-Vasilakis) was published TODAY, 24 January 2020 in the Moonchild Magazine, issue 6!


'Woon's Spirals' is a series of photographic/acrylic works responding to music and walking as pain management: 

"I have created The Woon Spirals series 2012 as visualisations of Jamie Woon's album 'Mirror Writing', which I listened to during walks when the idea for this series came about. Walking meditation and pain meditation are part of my chronic pain management. The Woon Spirals 2012 photographic series reflects on visualisation processes used in meditation."

You can view all images here and read some of the exciting multimedia poetry and fiction by a number of other writers here ! I'm very excited to have my work presented in this beautiful magazine! 

Come and check these out (and perhaps leave a comment?). They are FREE to view, too.

Sunday, December 29

My Writing Year - 2019

The year is nearly over and I want to take the opportunity to take stock before this year, this decade ends. And what a year, what a decade it's been!

Those of you, who follow my blog, know this has been my first year as a full time writer. It's been fun and challenging at the same time, but I feel that a good routine and being part of the writing community is important. 

I volunteered at the CBCA Illawarra Branch's Kids Day out, which was fun: I joined a writers group of talented and lovely writers; I attended writing workshops with Claire Zorn and Alyssa J. Montgomery and did an online course with James Scott Bell. I also find being engaged in the wider writing community online and at writers' festivals, such ass the Heroines festival, the Diversity Festival and the Wollongong Festival, have kept me real and my writer's fingers warm.

Here is some things on my list I was able to tick off:

  • Get several short stories and poems published 
  • Join a writers group
  • read more than fifty books and bought most of them
  • Attend festivals and workshops
  • Meet other writers
  • Collaborate with other writers
  • Sign up for online writing courses
  • Meet other writers

The Heroines Festival

A Festival of Women Writers Who Write Women's Stories

A festival of women writers, who write women’s stories.The Heroines Festival is a day of panels, readings, book launches, author signings, conversations and friendships. Writers festival guests told forgotten or unknown women's stories, spoke about the craft of finding or inventing lost histories, and how they imagine the future for women.

>>Plot is the character in action<< Kate Forsyth

>>I wrote a brown book in a white cover<< Shankira Chandran

Boundless Festival

The Festival of Diverse Writers

Another first for me was the Writing NSW’s Boundless Festival. The festival focused on Indigenous and culturally diverse Australian writers and writing and had some of my favourite authors, including Alice Pung and Benjamin Law, Jack Latimore, Nardi Simpson, Sarah Ayoub, Stephen Pham and Winnie DunnBoundless is a biennial festival for Indigenous and culturally diverse writers presented by Writing NSW and Bankstown Arts Centre, in collaboration with Sweatshop.


While the whole day offered a really interesting program, including informative and entertaining sessions  Find Your Audience, Growing Up in Australia and Other Worlds were probably the three standout sessions for me (mind you, I haven't been able to attend all sessions, so I would have [robably added a few more!).
In Other WorldsEugen Bacon, Hannah Donnelly and Khalid Warsame in conversation with Roanna Gonsalves talked about why sometimes the best way to grapple with reality is to write about something else entirely. 

>>These writers have created other worlds as a way to reflect on and challenge what we consider to be solid and true. << Writing NSW

This amazing festival is free! Don't miss it next time if you can travel to Blacktown.

The Wollongong Writers Festival

Where The Stories Are

Wollongong Writers Festival is a not-for-profit arts organisation devoted to stories. WWF - Unleashed literature, art and ideas at its best. As every year, this festival brings a diverse array of experiences, including panels, readings, workshops, interactive performances, music and spoken word events to Wollongong. Founded on the principles of diversity, access and participation, WWF showcased local and national writers, artists and thinkers.

This Festival gets better and better every year. I loved every session I went to. Hard to pick the highlights: the first one was Let The Light In, with Lorin Elizabeth in conversation with YA writers Helena Fox and Erin Gough about feminism and mental health to growth and trust in teen fiction. 

Jackie Bailey talked to Charlotte Wood about The Weekend and what makes it so different to The Natural Way of Things as a concept and writing process.

Literature, Creativity & The Manus Prison Theory was an eye opening session with Behrouz Boochani (via Skype), his translator Omid Tofighian and Mark Isaacs. The three talked about the writing and publishing process of the award-winning book No Friend But The Mountains, while incarcerated in the Australian detention facility on Manus island.

Luke carman and Tony Birch talked about The White Girl, his latest novel. Tony also sat on another panel, First Nations Writers: Speaking Truth, talking with Kirli Saunders and Alison Whittaker about the importance of speaking their truth to honour identity, culture, language and country in the literary landscape and broader society.

What Do We Want From Education? was the question tackled by Rhiannon Hall and her panelists, Benjamin Law, Kirli Saunders, Gabbie Stroud and Jane Caro.

Dicey Topics at the very end was a very intimate look into the lives of Clementine Ford, Stephanie Wood and Jess Hill who answered questions about death, politics, sex and other taboos.

Of course, I could go on and on about this and the other festivals, but I will just recommend you go and check them out for yourself! I highly recommend these fabulous festivals!

The take away from this year's experience are that I learned things that help me develop as a writer:

  • STRUCTURE: I work best when I start before 8am and work until the afternoon. Pretty much like my old job, I keep to the same hours, more or less. 

  • PLANNING: I plan my week ahead and write all writing and non-writing commitments in a weekly desktop planner. That way, I know what priorities may need shifting etc.

  • REGULAR WRITERS GROUP: This gives me the chance to connect and exchange ideas with other writers and workshop WIPs and give and get valuable feedback. I've learned so much from my peers, who are - lucky me - awesome writers and people!

  • ONLINE PRESENCE: I have a writer's account on Twitter @FreddyIryss for over a year now and have grown my follower numbers to more than 1500 (which is a lot for me, who also prefers real interaction than just chasing numbers. I have especially enjoyed the interactions with the friendly writers at #AusWrites and the #WritingCommunity. But I have to say, I do have two Twitter accounts. My old one, which is more research-oriented, I have had since 2013, which has also grown by about 400 followers through more engagement on my behalf (before 2019, I  wouldn't touch it sometimes for months - or years - on end).

  • DEADLINES: They came in all sorts of shapes but I cannot emphasise enough the importance to put yourself out there. I have tried to post on my blog every month and except for November, which was a horrendous month, writing-wise, I have succeeded. I also submitted to 2-3 short story competitions and anthology call-outs each month (some of them I have sent multiple times). I have nine pieces, inlcuding three poems out there now (see list below).

  • GENRE HOPPING: I had a lot of fun writing SciFi, horror, fairytales, feminist historical fiction, Young Adult, Middle Grade historical fantasy fiction, speculative fiction. Maybe next, I will write a detective story or even romance? The point is, no one was more surprised to find out that I actually can write in other genres besides children's fiction. It helped me boost my confidence in my writing ability and get my work out there, while I'm looking for a home for my novels.

  • NETWORKING: apart from online networking, I find connecting with other writers at festivals a real buzz. You can learn so much behind-the-scenes stuff that is so valuable. It is  also kind of nice to see that even the great and successful authors struggle from time to time and what strategies they use to press on with a project. Besides, I've yet to meet a writer, who wasn't good to talk too. (I have met Kate Forsyth and even signed a copy of an anthology that had one of my stories in it for her!)

So, while I still haven't found an agent and the fact that I had only rejections for my historical MG fiction, I feel my first year as a full time writer has been successful. Last, but not least, nine of my short fiction and three poems have been published in 2019! Here they are:


Eugène von Guérard, Cabbage tree forestAmerican Creek, New South Wales, 1860. Oil on canvas, 51.2 x 85.5 cm (image), 69 x 103 x 6.5cm (frame). Collection Wollongong Art Gallery. Purchased with assistance from the Wollongong Gallery Society, NSW Office of the Minister for the Arts, Public subscription, 1984, 1984.001

'A tale from the cabbage tree forest (Figtree)' in Griffith Review

This eco-tale is the first of a series of eco-tales and part of the curated collection of Things We Want To Know But Forget to Ask - Stories about the painted past and the precarious future, and responds to this beautiful, historic painting and local ecology

MECO: The Material Ecologies Research Network


"Metamorphosis" (A coming-of-age story of a different kind), is my first story in this genre and it was published on Dark Moments, by Black Hare Press, Sep 2019). 

Read it for FREE here


"Katharina, The Sorcerer and Her Scientist Son" A feminist-historical short story about Katharina Kepler -- healer, inn-keeper, mother of scientist Johannes Kepler, who was accused of witchcraft in 16th century Germany. Paperback published by Neo Perennial Press in the Heroines anthology, vol 2, 2019, edited by Sarah Nicholson and Caitlin White).

The book is available here


"Match", "Spacepirates" and "Take Away", all micro-fiction stories, were published by Black Hare Press in the anthology (paperback and eBook) Worlds, book 1, in the Dark Drabbles series. 

The book is available here


Baby Teeth Journal

Three of my poems, "In A Name", "Wollongong To Wagga" and "A-Dog"  were published by Baby Teeth Journal.  Visit their patreon site here

Two of them can be read for FREE here


My very dark rendition of a well-known fairy-tale, Snow White and the Evil King Grau, will be published in 2020.

Overall, I'm very pleased with the success I had in 2019, despite the fact that I haven't found a publisher/agent for my historical fiction, Wolf And The Chainmail Ghost. Maybe it's to do with the fact that knights and ghosts are not in fashion at the moment? Who knows. I keep trying. 

Meanwhile, I have the first draft of my fantasy novel completed and am revising my YA novel at the moment. I keep busy and am happily writing away. I hope you are, too!

Happy New Year and all the best for the next decade which I hope will be filled with writerly success for you!

Happy reading and writing,

Freddy Iryss