Saturday, December 29, 2007

Shiny Review

Rich Horton has reviewed Shiny in his yearly roundup of the markets.

Shiny is a brand new Young Adult speculative fiction ezine edited by Alisa Krasnostein, Tansy Rayner-Roberts and Ben Payne, out of Australia. I think a YA short fiction outlet is a great idea. Two issues appeared in 2007, each with 3 short stories, so a total of 6 short stories, about 27,000 words. From the first issue my favorite was Eugie Foster’s "Close to Death", a lighthearted piece about a literal encounter with Death on an Atlanta freeway. From #2 I liked another lighter piece, Tina Connolly's "The Goats are Going Places", sort of a sendup of "Gossip Girl" type stories about ritzy prep schools, in this case with a heroine whose aunt, a witch, teaches her a lesson.

Four of the six stories were by women, and two of the stories were SF.

Buffy Retrospective

You know, it occurs to me that doing this retrospective is going to become a big deal to me - I have never, ever rewatched the episode The Body. Now, I know it's ages and ages away from now but ... I actually am going to have to kinda psyche myself up for it.

- Alisa

Sneak Peek From Shiny 2

"The Goats Are Going Places"
by Tina Connolly

Once in the most boring lunchroom of the most boring junior high school in the world, there sat a girl who refused to be bored for one more minute. Renee Ryder cut P.E. and found some interesting girls who liked to hang behind the shop building and get artistic with spray paint. She decided to be their leader. With Renee in charge, the girls got very good with spray paint. In the amount of time it took a red light to change, they could paint an entire ocean on a car, with goldfish and seahorses and two dolphins doing it. But then they got busted for tagging the vice-principal's minivan, and then Renee was snarky and got expelled, which was fine with her because she'd mastered both the graffiti and the girls by now and it was all so boring.

Renee's parents shrieked, which was also boring, but then Renee's aunt Simone stepped in and said Renee could come live with her and go to the very best junior high in the City. Renee's mother, who often called her sister something rhyming with witch, cackled. "Whatever happens to you, you'll deserve it," she said.

"Six bedrooms, a hot tub, my own flatscreen the size of a bed? You bet I deserve it," said Renee. She packed her ripped jeans and her cans of spray paint, her old teddy bear and her lighters, and went to live on 1313 Strega Place with her aunt.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Buffy Retrospectives - Starting Mid January

For a while now I've been wondering how I can contribute to the meta discussion on YA works. Both Ben and Tansy wrote really interesting editorials for the first two issues of Shiny and I was kinda at a loss as to what I would say in mine, when it came round to my turn. They both are so much more well-read in recent YA novels than me. What could I possibly have to add to the discussion?

It then occurred to me that what I know about YA is television. I've been a big fan of YA TV series since, well, since I was a young adult myself and I've never really lost my love for it. And I thought what I could add to the discussion is the extra dimension of the celluloid medium.

I have just finished the final season of The Gilmore Girls. This has been a rather serious accomplishment, since in Australia, broadcasting of this show has had obstacles at every turn. It's sad because this show so heavily relies on the in jokes, often of current pop culture, and this is what I loved about this show. And the fast talking. And so much of the pop culture references get dated when you have to wait three years to view the show. As part of my protest to Channel 9, I started buying the series as they were released on and am happy to have finally seen the whole show all the way through.

Although the final season suffers from the change in writers, I noticed something that has kinda piqued my interest. Whilst the show started out deeply entrenched in YA territory - one of our lead characters is embarking on High School (Australian equivalent being Year 10) - by following one year of her life for every year of the show, by the seventh season, we are no longer in YA land anymore, Toto.

And really, isn't any YA ongoing series destined to this end point? Unless the characters stagnate with following instalments using a restart button, a la Star Trek, time must surely move on. And isn't that what we, as consumers of the material, want? I know I want to invest in a character and see them grow and learn and change. And to do that ... don't they have to grow up? Off the top of my head, I came up with some other examples: Harry Potter, Dawsons Creek, The OC, Anne of Green Gables, Roswell and on.

What's interesting to me is that the initial instalments are YA and appeal to a (mostly?) YA audience but as they progress, the characters must surely grow up and grow up along with the initially targeted audience. My question, though, is does that limit the material to the originally hooked audience or can a younger audience buy in? Does the later material still appeal to the younger (or original target demographic) audience even though it is no longer technically YA? And how do you categorise it? Are the final books of Harry Potter still YA? Are shows that finish set in College when they started in High School still considered YA? Would an older audience buy into such material had they not been there for the set up?

And this leads me to Buffy The Vampire Slayer, where for me, all roads inevitably lead. Because, really, is it not the Queen of YA TV? Is it not the be all and end all of everything? (It is for me). And I find myself with a fair bit of time on my hands, suddenly. And in the mood for a bit of angst. And so I thought I might revisit my Mecca and see how the show stands up with this much distance and with this much extra life experience. And so ... over the coming year, Ben and I are aiming to feature two episodes a week here on this blog with some meta discussion and commentary.

And we would love for you to join us. The first episode should be covered here in the third week of January. So feel free to watch ahead or along with us and come past and join in the discussion!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Shiny 2 - Sneak Peak

Blurred Horizons
by Bren MacDibble

Tash adjusted her goggles and scanned the horizon. A low drone, barely audible, was the only clue that something was up there. She blocked the sun's glare with her hand. A dark shape slid into view, distorted by heat. It took Tash a few minutes to make out the shape of an old transport, an older series Kenworth Big Rig Flyer by the looks of it. The old hulks were the only things that stopped here now. New transports could get clear across the country without refuelling. Once all the old-style Flyers were scrapped, the station would close and Tash and her mum would have to leave.

Tash held her breath as the vehicle descended onto the concrete pad. Red alluvial dust billowed up, stuck to the sweat on her skin, and thickened her hair and clothes. The day was a stinker. She wasn't looking forward to braving the full blast of the sun.

The Flyer touched down with a clunk and its motor shut off. Tash snatched her slouch hat from the bench beside her, jammed it firmly on her head and strode over to the vehicle. She wasn't in the mood for work today. Not after what had happened last night.

-- to read the whole story buy a copy of Issue 2 --

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Shiny Issue 2 released!

Issue 2 is now available. Don't miss out!

"The Goats Are Going Places" by Tina Connolly
"Cracks" by Trent Jamieson
"Blurred Horizons" by Bren MacDibble
Young Adult Fantasy Review: From the Sublime to the Frivolous by Tansy Rayner Roberts

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Keep on subbing

Once again one of the market listing pages has listed us as being closed to subs... not quite sure where they got the info from, but when in doubt check back here. We're very much still looking for stories, so keep sending us the good stuff!

In other news, we are ploughing through the edits for Issue 2, so expect to see it prancing happily through the fields, chewing daisies and collecting bees in a jar for Mayday with Aunt Gertrude and a dog called Patches very soon!


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Shiny Issue 2

Hello all! I am meandering my way home from World Fantasy Con in Saratoga Springs via London. I had a really awesome time and it was cool to hear that our new little trial ezine had made its way all the way out there by word of mouth.

Keep your submissions coming! We still have to fill Issue 3 and hopefully issues beyond!

Issue 2 is very nearly on its way out to subscribers. We have three new stories and almost none of them are about death. This issue features a hilarious story about trying to fit in in high school by Tina Connolly, called "The Goats are Going Places". Bren MacDibble brings a cool SF story with time travel to the Shiny pages with her story "Blurred Horizons". Finally, Trent Jamieson contributes "Cracks" which is a story worlds away from the one he gave us in Issue 1.

So make sure Shiny Issue 2 is in you email inbox as soon as it's out and preorder your copy now.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Shiny Issue 1, the Clean Version

The clean version of "The Sun People" is now available. Check the Paypal button on the side menu to purchase this version of Issue 1 of the magazine.

Check out another review of Issue 1 at the newly relaunched The Fix here. Shaun C Green says:

"Shiny has begun well with its choice of fiction. Perhaps the most difficult challenge facing it will be raising its profile amongst teenagers who might not know where to find an e-zine like this. But I wish the editors and their readers all the best and look forward to seeing Shiny grow and develop over its coming issues."

Friday, October 12, 2007

Shiny Issue 1 - second version

Twelfth Planet Press are happy to announce the release of a cleaned up version of "The Sun People" for those who felt the use of some offensive language in Shiny Issue 1 prevented them from purchasing the issue. You can register your interest at shinystories @ gmail dot com or wait for the new paypal button soon to hit this site!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Another Shiny Review

ASif! has published their first review for Shiny here.

Rachel Holkner says:
In all, it’s a strong start from Shiny. I have been rough on a couple of the stories, but only because I really want this to be, as TPP have declared on their website, “up there with the best current YA fiction”. In essence, I want more. I also would like to see some illustrations, but that’s being greedy.

Check out her whole review here or join the discussion buy grabbing your own copy (see paypal buttons to the side).

Paypal got you down?

Want to subscribe to Shiny but don't have paypal?

Email the editors at shinystories @ gmail dot com to arrange for a direct debit.

Find an editor in person to give cash - editors can be found in real life in Perth, Brisbane and Hobart.

Alisa will be attending World Fantasy Con later this month and can thus be found in real life in NY to make cash payments.

Shiny Reviews

One of the most agonising aspects of editing is the bit between launching your publication and hearing what people think of it. Limbo land.

But here is the first review I've come across of Shiny Issue 1:

I still can’t decide if it’s a good idea to market an e-zine to young adults. On the one hand, today’s teenagers may well feel more comfortable reading electronic publications than adults do, because they will have grown up with computers and therefore be used to the medium. On the other hand, how likely are teens to have the means to make electronic payments through Paypal?

These are indeed the questions we are still wrestling with. Read the rest of the review and/or grab a copy of the ezine and make up your own mind.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Shiny has launched!!!!!!!

Shiny Issue 1 has finally left the nest and has set flight for inboxes everywhere.

Not in your inbox? Buy your own copy now:

Issue 1 features:
"Small Change" by Trent Jamieson
"Close to Death" by Eugie Foster
"The Sun People" by Sue Isle

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Shiny Submissions

We've had a few queries - yes! yes! we are still accepting submissions for Shiny. We are still looking for exciting, fresh new YA stories for Issue 3 for this year!

Book Review: Peeps

Check out Alisa's review of Scott Westerfeld's Peeps over at the ASif! website.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Sneak Peek: The Sun People

Here's a sneak peak of the third of three stories in Issue 1 of Shiny. Don't forget you can subscribe using the paypal button on the sidebar to get yourself a copy of the whole issue as soon as it comes!

The Sun People

by Sue Isle

The only way into Perth these days is to catch a ride with a supply truck from one of the private operations. Not many of us know how to drive any more. From Melbourne I got a series of rides to the WA border where I hooked up with an interstater. I helped Sharon, the driver, load supplies and bags of mail and then piled into the truck's cabin. She wanted to chat and that, of course, is the main payment for riding.

"Why the fuck do you want to go back there now that you're out?" was the question she most wanted cleared up.

"I was only in Melbourne for medical treatment. I'm not an evacuee."

"Yeah but what happens if you get sick again? There's shit-all in WA now. You couldn't even score an aspirin."

"I won't get sick again. It wasn't that kind of problem." The last thing I wanted was to explain what it was and maybe have Sharon throw me out of the truck. While not exactly the stereotype of the female truckie, she was definitely more muscular than I was. Her red tank top and shorts didn't leave much to the imagination.

"You couldn't pay me to live in Perth. It's so fucking hot they have to do all their work and whatever at night and just lie around during the day."

I didn't answer that. It was pretty well true. When the sun rose on the highway, Sharon cranked up the air conditioning which was so noisy that I didn't have to talk any more. When we stopped for a mutual leak on opposite sides of the truck, I opened my shirt and peeked at the scars covering my chest. They were healing fine, which wasn't why I was checking. I just wanted to look at them again and make sure this was really real. I'd finally gone under the surgeon's knife in Melbourne and come out looking like the real me. I was still sort of skinny and would have to look up to a lot of guys but I didn't care about that. I'd been warned that unless I could continue with the medication, I might not muscle up very much or need to shave a lot. They'd given me as many pills as they could but I wouldn't exactly be able to wander down to a chemist to get more. They'd done a really good job below the waist too.

Sneak Peek: Small Change

Here's a sneak peak of the second of three stories in Issue 1 of Shiny. Don't forget you can subscribe using the paypal button on the sidebar to get yourself a copy of the whole issue as soon as it comes!

Small Change

by Trent Jamieson

I found the door on the third day after we moved into the new house, and the eighth day of the summer holidays. The door was behind a big empty bookcase which, if things had been normal to begin with, Mum and Dad would have filled straight away. But they weren't. I'm still not sure why I decided to find out what was behind the bookcase, though I can imagine what Mum would say.

"What possessed you to look behind the bookcase is what possesses you to read books, Julia. You are a curious, imaginative soul, and an empty bookcase, well... what might lie behind it is exactly the sort of thing that would appeal to you. The type of books you read, the books that would normally be contained within that bookcase, are all about magical doorways."

Which isn't precisely true, but Mum is given to hyperbole. I really hadn't expected to find anything there. I knew the difference between the worlds I inhabited in my head, and the one I clumped around in, in my shoes.

I moved the bookcase by degrees. Sort of rocked it to one side. It was rather heavy, but after a couple of teetering swings, I could see the door. I shifted it a little more, creating a wedge of space, and then crept in. I was sweaty. It was hot outside, but here near the door it was quite cool. The bookcase shuddered dangerously behind me, but I ignored it, because here was a door, and in my head, I knew it would open inwards, away from the back of the bookcase, and out into..

And it did.

This would not have been peculiar, if the bookcase hadn't been against the rear wall of the house. You can see where this is going, because if you're reading this, you probably like the same sort of books I do. What the door opened onto shouldn't have been there.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Sneak Peek: Close to Death

by Eugie Foster

Calling the northbound traffic on Georgia 400 a crawl was an insult to all crawling things. Tortoises could have overtaken them without breaking a sweat. Ronnie wondered briefly if tortoises sweated, but then she regretted it. Thinking about sweating tortoises made her acutely conscious of the perspiration soaking her pantyhose and the sticky feel of the vinyl seat against her skin.

“We’re going to be late.” Don gripped the steering wheel of their timeworn Honda Civic. His face matched his voice, grim and resigned.

“Will they wait for us?” Patsy asked from the back seat.

Ronnie flipped down her sun visor with its inset makeup mirror. As far as makeup went, she couldn’t think of a better way of turning herself into a Tammy Fay Baker casualty than to apply it in a moving vehicle. But the little mirror was perfect for keeping tabs on kids in the back.

Patsy’s golden pigtails drooped, wilting with perspiration, but her bright blue eyes glittered eagerly. “I don’t want to miss seeing Uncle Henry’s body.”

Shiny Set to Launch

Table of Contents for Issue 1 of Shiny:

"Close to Death" by Eugie Foster
"Small Change" by Trent Jamieson
"The Sun People" by Sue Isle

Shiny is set to launch with the first issue due out any day. Keep an eye out on this blog for some teasers and for news on when the first issue is finally available!

Friday, August 3, 2007

Reviews: City of Bones & The P.L.A.I.N Janes

Tansy here - it's a while since I've done some YA reviews on this blog, so I thought I'd catch you up.

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare was one of the major YA hardback releases of the year. Clare already has a large internet following thanks to her major involvement in Harry Potter fanfic several years back (though her fic is no longer available on the web), so there was plenty of buzz about this book before it came out.

Clary is a smart, arty everygirl character who is thrust Buffy-like into a weird world of demons, magic and dispossessed teenagers. The more she finds out about the magical side of life, the more worried she gets about her own dark family history... and while she's busy trying to save her mother, her own neck, and to survive the bitchiness and betrayals of her new world, she also has two cute boys competing for her affections.

I enjoyed City of Bones (once I wrested it back from my 60+ mother who stole it and adored it) as a fun, non-insulting addition to the subgenre of YA supernatural fiction. I did feel that it slotted in neatly with books such as Westerfeld's Midnighters series, Holly Black's faerie books and Larbalestier's Magic or Madness, but without adding anything overly new to the subgenre. City of Bones is vivid and compulsively readable, though, and while it is a dreaded first book of a series, it ends on an interesting enough note that I felt satisfied rather than frustrated.


The P.L.A.I.N. Janes, by Cecil Castelluci, was another high profile YA release of this year, as a graphic novel in DC Comics' new Minx line. It was Castelluci's name, though, that made me go to the trouble of ordering this in from the US, as I have absolutely no trust in DC's ability to gauge what female readers want from comics.

I can't fault their publishing of The P.L.A.I.N. Janes, though. This is a fantastic story about girl misfits, beautifully balancing a darker story thread about terrorism with the natural humour and flawed life of teenagers. The art is awesome, with girls who look like individual people, not just the same bodies with different hairstyles.

Jane's life is changed forever when she is caught near a bomb blast in her big city. She reacts to her near death experience by cutting off her hair, obsessing about a coma victim of the attack, and becoming an artist. Her parents react by whisking her away from the city to Safeville, Suburbia.

Constantly frustrated by her parents' attempts to wrap her in cotton wool, Jane is determined to make a fresh start in this school. She evades the cool kids, who want her to join them, preferring to hang out with the Janes, a disparate group of girls who only sit together because none of them fit in to the clubs they want to join. Together, they embark on the P.L.A.I.N. (People Loving Art in Neighbourhoods) project, a form of guerrilla street art, which is interpreted by the authoties as a form of terrorism.

Basically, The P.L.A.I.N. Janes is a funny, cool story about girls trying to find their identity through art. It ends a little abruptly, and I was glad to know there's going to be a sequel, as I could happily read volume after volume of this series. Excellent stuff.

Shiny Interview

Eugie Foster has interviewed Tansy about Shiny over here:

Monday, July 23, 2007

Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Tansy reviews the latest, and final, instalment of the Harry Potter series over at ASif!: here

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Your Summer Blog Blast Tour

Check out Colleen Mondor's blog for the Tour schedule for YA authors being interviewed across the blogosphere. The Tour started on Sunday and finishes this Saturday.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Still open

Hi everybody.

It's been brought to our attention by a kindly passerby that some markest listings are listing us as temporarily closed to subs.

This is *not* the case. We're still open to submissions, and we'll make an announcement here if that changes.

We still have a few slots to fill in our first year's worth of issues, so keep sending us the good stuff!


Saturday, June 16, 2007

Shiny Natcon

Since I'm the one with nothing to brag about, it's my duty to blog that all three Shiny editors went to the latest Australian Natcon, where the three of us met for the first time. It was very cool to hang out with my co-editors, who are three times more charming and intelligent in person than they are in blogland.

Tansy launched her very cool children's book Seacastle, at a very swish do at the Melbourne library.

Alisa picked up three Ditmar awards for her editing work at ASif!, including the Best New Talent award... the first time the latter has ever been won by an editor!

And I achieved nothing, but just generally had a good time

(file photo)

Peace out,


Monday, May 28, 2007

Shiny Sneak Peak

Here at Shiny we’ve received a decent amount of submissions – enough that I don’t feel that we are being forced to take things we don’t absolutely love and not too much that we are being overwhelmed to the point that we can’t move for slush.

We’ve accepted 4 stories with one pending acceptance, in my opinion. We need 9 for the 2007 series. That’s 3 issues each with 3 stories. So I guess that puts us at the half way point. I get to send out the rejections. Rejections are not the fun bit about being an editor. You know that someone is waiting at the other end of the email you are writing, maybe a bit excited, and when they read what you’ve written, it’s kinda gonna put a dark cloud over their day. On the other hand, being involved in the Last Short Story project at the same time has really helped me get over the rejecting of slush woes. Because … rejecting work does the writer, the reader and the magazine a favour. There are far too many markets out there being too nice. Far, far too many.

But every now and then you get a STORY. You know the kind … the one that stands out from the rest. The one that is so gripping and intriguing that you shut out the world and inhale it all in one go and get really excited that you get to be the one to accept and publish it.

For me, in the Shiny project, that story is called “The Sun People” and it was written by Sue Isle. I jumped on the Isle bandwagon last year reading her 2006 works “Daughter of the Red Cranes“ and “Mary Bennet gets a Life”. Isle has such a strong and unique voice. She writes from her own perspective and puts something fresh out there. She writes for characters that are usually the wall flowers in stories and she makes them compelling. She speaks for the unspoken and that makes me, as the reader, feel like I’m stumbling across something new and important. And maybe just a bit fragile.

I asked her to consider submitting something to Shiny and she told me she can’t write under 8000 words. I have to admit to being in a novelette kinda mood these last months. As a reader, I’m erring on the longer story as a preference so 8000 words didn’t faze me. And then she submitted “The Sun People”. I’m so excited about this story. There is so much to *be* excited about with this story. It’s a strong YA piece. It’s set in Perth and centres around a transgendered youth. It’s a quest for self identity and survival in a post apocalyptic, globally warmed world. It’s tightly written and moving. It’s very possibly my favourite story that I’ve read all year.


Friday, May 11, 2007

Ben searches for his inner YA

So we have a third of our shiny shiny stories selected now. All you authors aspiring to appear in our first year’s worth of issues, start polishing those shiny stones!

I’ve written a review of Scott Westerfeld’s The Last Days over at ASif! ( I know, I know, we’re always ranting about Westerfeld around here. But it’s a damn good book, and if you want to find out just how good YA can be, it’s a book you should check out.

I keep mulling around and around in my head, while we’re slushing, trying to work out what this thing YA is. On the one hand, I think adhering too vigorously to what is essentially a marketing category is crazy. But on the other hand, it’s obviously how we define ourselves, as a magazine, and so we have to have some kind of idea.

I’m still at the kind of “I know it when I see it” stage. There are stories we get that are well written but just aren’t YA. Stories that seem like they’re written for forty-five year olds. Now, there’s nothing wrong with that, but it ain’t the Shiny tone.

On the other hand, I’ve been happy that we’ve been able to find stories that differ in tone. YA isn’t a tightly-defined, narrow genre. There’s a lot of room to move within it, and the authors sending us stories have proven that.

One of the fun parts, for me, of the process, is trying to get back in touch with my inner YA self. Fortunately I don’t have too far to go, as I was never hugely wise or mature to begin with. But it’s enjoyable to try to reconnect with the way you engaged with the world when you were younger, before all the years of baggage and social conventions started to close you up and limit your personality. YA-time is a time of potential, a time of discoveries and coming-into-being. It’s a time when you’re free to define and redefine yourself, where you dig unashamedly into the guts of your mind and try to find out just who you are.

I hope Shiny reflects that sense of discovery and redefinition and honesty.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Shiny 5 with Alisa Krasnostein

1. What's your favourite kind of story to read?
Stories that change me in some way. I like a story that has an unexpected ending or that educates me on an issue or subject or reveals a new perspective or point of view.

2. Do you prefer character or plot driven stories?
I think I’m going to have say that I prefer plot-driven stories but with the caveat that all plot and no character investment makes for a dull story. I do need some kind of direction and pay off. I’m not really all that taken by 2000 word vignettes of a character that don’t develop or go anywhere.

3. Would you rather be stranded on a desert island or on a space station?
See I want to say desert island. They always look so luxurious in the travel pamphlets – all those palm trees, and clear blue water and long sandy, deserted beaches. Of course, I hate to sunbake, I’d have brought the wrong book and there’d be no-one to bring me cool drinks in tall glasses with umbrellas. I’ll have to go for space station and hope it has one of those food dispensers like on the Enterprise and a comprehensive database of reading material.

4. What do you like about YA over other subgenres?
I like that they’re shorter and easier to read. When did it become the goal of writers to write books so long that you can use them as book stops when you’re down and filled with pages and pages and pages of unnecessary world building that’s totally irrelevant to the actual plot? I want to get to the story, right straight into the angst, by the end of chapter 1 and be really invested in what’s going to unfold. A lot of YA does that really well.

5. What are you looking for in stories submitted to Shiny?
I’m looking for new ideas and fresh perspectives. I’m looking for stories that don’t patronise the reader and aren’t self-conscious. I’m looking for stories that are tightly written and draw me in so that I can’t put them down till the end. I’m looking for stories that have something interesting to say or an absorbing tale to tell. I’m looking for stories that will be a great way to spend a coffee break and will leave me better off for having read them.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Rundown

Well this morning we accepted our 4th story for the 2007 Shiny Trio Series. At almost the halfway mark, I thought it might be interesting to have a look at some of our stats.

We've received 120 submissions.
Of those, 44% have been from female authors with a ratio of 61 male subs to 53 female and 6 unknown.
Of those, 16 were Australian authors (13%) and overwhelmingly 77 or 64% were from Americans. The full nationality breakdown is as follows:

16 Australian
7 Canadian
1 Israeli
3 New Zealanders
1 Swede
5 Britons
77 Americans

We have accepted 3 stories from female authors and 1 from a male. We have accepted 2 stories from Aussies, 1 from a Brit and 1 from an American.

Our submission guidelines state that we are looking for stories between 2000 and 8000 words. We have read 429,421 submitted words, with the average story being about 3730 words. It's not surprising then that 3 of the stories we have accepted are at the 3000 - 3500 mark. The shortest story we have received is 900 words and the longest is 9650 words. 14 submitted stories fell outside the submission guidelines range and of these, whilst all still fully considered, we have accepted none.

Our average turnaround for a story in the slushpile is 6 days. The longest turnaround was 61 days and 93 of the submitted stories were in the slushpile for less than one week.

Submissions are logged with a number in the order that they are received. Our accepted stories came in at 38, 78, 99 and 118. So if I put my best predictive hat on, by the numbers, we should be accepting stories 128 and 138. (Hey, I'm an Engineer ... that's what we *do*!!)

- Alisa

Saturday, April 21, 2007

The Shiny 5 with Ben Payne

1. What's your favourite kind of story to read?

My favourite stories are about people. They move me, or make me think about my own life or life in general. They challenge me. They make me feel less alone.

They have some aspect of life in them which glimmers and slips through my eye into my brain and makes me think "Oh yeah, that's right... that’s how life is..."

The best stories make you feel more alive for having read them...

2. Do you prefer character or plot driven stories?

I prefer character driven stories. I think that "why" people do things is a lot more interesting than "how", and that short stories tend to reflect that. The plot of a story tends to deal with how things happened, the character stuff tends to look into why the characters acted the way they did, and how the events affected them. The how stuff is far from irrelevant, of course, but it's the "why" that interests me the most.

Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule.

3. Would you rather be stranded on a desert island or on a space station

Would I be alone on the space station? Cos if not, then that one, definitely...

If I had to be alone, I think I'd prefer the desert island... less claustrophobic, and at least I could befriend a jaguar or something. It could fetch my tea and we could have interesting conversations over coconuts.

4. What do you like about YA over other subgenres?

YA tends to say, "Let's skip the bull. Let's get to the point."

I can think of a few subgenres that could do with heeding that advice.

There's less room for pretension... I don't think YA audiences are impressed by tricks... they just want to get into the guts of the story, into the guts of the characters, into the depths of our internal selves.

I think YA also appeals to me because it isn't afraid to say that how we feel and how we think *matters*... I think a lot of authors aimed at older readers become almost embarrassed by emotion... they want to hide it underneath guns or magic battles or whatever... YA authors need to get into the raw emotion because that's what their audience demands... teenagers, you see, (and select adult readers) are not yet dead inside:)

5. What are you looking for in stories submitted to Shiny?

I'm not gonna repeat what I've already said, but I'll try to sum it up.

I want stories that make me laugh, stories that grip me and hold me in my seat.

I want stories that smash my heart with a brick.

I want stories that undo my sense of self and make me reconfigure the way I think about everything I think.

I want prose that makes reading something I enjoy.

I want characters I am interested in and/or care about.

I want stories that make me feel that reading them was the best way I could have spent that twenty or so minutes of my life.

...and stories with talking birds. I like talking birds.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Shiny Review: So Yesterday

So Yesterday
by Scott Westerfeld
Reviewed by Alisa Krasnostein

Currently I'm in a Scott Westerfeld state of mind. In fact, he's rapidly becoming one of my favourite authors. I've just finished So Yesterday which Tansy suggested I read since she mentioned it in the Shiny Submission Guidelines and all.

What I love most about Westerfeld is his writing style. It's laid back and affable but it's intimate – he makes you feel as though the narrator is in direct dialogue with you, the reader. You never feel removed or set back from the action. Perhaps that's why I so often find myself sitting down for just 10 minutes of reading and surfacing 50 pages or more later. Reading his work is effortless and a pleasure.

Westerfeld doesn't talk down to his (intended) audience – his characters are you adults but he doesn't balk from using grown up material and language. Westerfeld also tends to use interesting and adult topics around which he writes his YA plots. In a world where young adults mature faster than ever before, Westerfeld shows himself to be in touch with his audience. Whilst his characters still struggle with the familiar YA issues – coming of age, first loves and discovery of identity and place in the world – they do so very mature scenarios. Westerfeld writes with such a likeable sense of humour that its hard not to find yourself smiling at offhanded, throwaway asides. Finally, his books are smart, the plots driven by clever devices and I always finish a Westerfeld novel in some way smarter than when I started it. I like that he writes intelligently and uses facts to inform in a fun and fascinating way.

So Yesterday, as hinted at by the title, is about "cool" and the manufacturing of "cool". Hunter lives in New York City and is a cool hunter – that's someone who is hired to find out what will be the next cool fad. How does he do it? He looks out for "innovators" – those people in society who just *are* cool. These are the people who invent. They invent the new gadgets and gimmicks, new ways of doing things or wearing things. Hunter is employed by "The Client" to find these on-the-verge-of-being-fads – like shoe styles, ways of wearing a cap, the new must-have mobile – so that they can commercialise it and profit off it. Just as Hunter meets and falls for Jen, an innovator who he discovers for the way she laces her shoes, his boss, Mandy, mysteriously disappears. Hunter and Jen embark on an utterly cool New York City adventure of a lifetime to get to the bottom of who abducted Mandy and why.

A couple of years ago I saw a documentary made for MTV on this very subject. It looked at the way large corporations seek out to find sub culture before it becomes pop culture and repackage it and serve it back up to consumers as their subculture. Examples in the documentary included the Pepsi Top 10 Video Hits and the Mountain Dew sponsored Pop Album launch parties. It kind of reminds me of the hangers-on at parties that somehow become part of the event. You don't really remember inviting them but you can't forget that they were there. An important part of culture jamming (that's when you subvert the adoption of some fad) is pointing out to consumers how they are being subliminally manipulated into consuming. This documentary did that for me at the time and So Yesterday worked to reinforce those ideas.

Throughout the book, the narrator refuses to label name drop, preferring to refer to labels and products in several worded descriptions. This tool works to bring the reader along and feel part of it. "Oh yes!" you think, as you recognise references to Nike, the Matrix movie franchise and so on. And it serves to make you feel ... well ... cool. That is, of course, until the culture jammers come into play. And you realise both in real life and in So Yesterday that your brand recognition is a manipulative play to make you consume what you think is cool and what you think is cool is because you feel a part of some kind of (manufactured) cool movement. Because as we all know, the truly cool are those riding the crest of the cool wave – the innovators. The rest of us are well, merely adopters.

This book is going on my 2007 list of Really Really Good Books I read. It was a quick and enjoyable read which made me think about who I am in society and what and why I consume the products that I do.

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Shiny 5 with Tansy

1. What's your favourite kind of story to read?
Funny, or witty, with a strong character voice and bright, colourful visuals.

2. Do you prefer character or plot driven stories?
Character all the way, though it helps if the plot doesn't suck.

3. Would you rather be stranded on a desert island or on a space station
I hate the outdoors, so space station. As long as they have broadband. :)

4. What do you like about YA over other subgenres?
I find that the stories are more fluid and don't get as bogged down in trying to impress the reader as adult fiction often does. And there's more of a focus on clean prose & interesting characters and situations rather than the kind of pretty-for-the-sake-of-it writing that feels like work to read it. I don't mind working to get the most out of my reading sometimes, but when I read for entertainment I want to be entertained! Plus there happens to be some awesome stuff in the YA genre right now - some great authors who really excite me.

5. What are you looking for in stories submitted to Shiny?
Strong, character based stories in which something happens - too many promising stories have been let down by finishing where the story really should be getting started. Some fun, bright stuff would be good because so far the best stories we've received have been on the emo side, and I want contrast. We could also do with some girly toned stories that aren't completely frivolous - chick lit for teens, but with substance. I'd love to publish something of the quality of Kelly Link's "The Fairy Handbag" or Ellen Klages' "In the House of Seven Librarians".

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

My Wish List

We've had near on 100 submissions to Shiny so far and we've formally accepted 2, with one more possibility still being considered.

At this point, I thought I'd put out a wish list of what I am hoping to see in the slush pile. The thing about rejections is that you never really know for sure why your story was rejected (unless the editor took the time to count the ways ...) From an editor's point of view, first and foremost, I want to choose GOOD stories. And I guess *I* get to decide, when I'm choosing, as to what GOOD is. But asides from that, as an editor, I also want to put forward a balanced magazine - issues that are diverse and can appeal to a variety of readers. That means that sometimes you might have choose between GOOD stories and take something that balances what you have already chosen.

So here's a hint as to how to get a foot further in the door than the average sub for the next little while ...

Send us something fun, funny, uplifting, light and, of course, well-written.

If we accept one more uberly depressing (yet fantastically written) story, we might get in trouble for being the cause of teen angst.

But if you have really GOOD sad, depressing, heartbreaking stories ... we still want to see them!


Sunday, March 4, 2007

The Mother of All Coming of Age YA Reading Lists

Tansy RR says:

Colleen Mondor over at Chasing Ray has been compiling a list of recommended YA novels dealing with the classic theme of "Coming of Age."

It's a long, interesting list with lots of books I know well, know of and have been intending to read, as well as plenty I've never heard of. In the interests of revealing a little of our editorial tastes, I thought I'd name some of my own favourite picks from the list, and explain why. I'd love it if the other Shiny editors did the same! (hint, hint)

Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta

One of the many books I read because my Dad made me. :) This is one of my favourite Australian novels ever, dealing with a young girl's trials, tragedies and getting-through-it grit with a good balance of drama and comedy. Also, incidentally, had a movie made of it which is (I think) one of the rare examples of a film adaption that gets it absolutely right, both in interpreting the book, and in its own right as a film.

Boy Proof by Cecil Castellucci

A cool, funny story about what it's like to be a girl geek, and the essential coming-of-age discovery that in fact this thing which alienates you from the majority of humankind is a good thing.

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

Cute, romantic story about which should appeal to all dreamy, imaginative girls who spend their lives with a nose in a book while their glamorous sisters get up to no good. Also has an excellent film adaption which was supremely underrated at the time. I discovered this book at just the right time, in my early teens. It's still a cultural reference that I refer back to regularly.

The Anne of Green Gables Series

One of my favourite and probably the most-read of the classic childrens' novels. (pauses to wonder if have read Anne's books more than Little Women books, suddenly notices that Little Women wasn't on the Chasing Ray list - interesting omission, really) Anne of Green Gables is not one of my favourites - but older Anne, and particularly mother Anne, was something I just glommed to as a young reader. Rilla of Ingleside was my favourite, and is one of the many works that got me so attached to what-the-women-did-during-the-war stories.

Valiant by Holly Black

There are so many faerie books and fairy tale books out there, but this one did something different, making faerie gritty and hard-edged and dangerous in a way I'd never quite felt before. Plus, she inverted the sexy vampire, sexy werewolf trend (which I think everybody is so over, yes?) to create sexy troll. For which she should be commended. (OK there's a challenge for writers, how about some sexy orc action?)

Howl's Moving Castle and Fire & Hemlock, by Diana Wynne Jones

While Archer's Goon is my first DWJ love, these two books constantly vie for my favourite DWJ book spot, and at times even my favourite book ever spot. Howl's has a ridiculously complicated plot, but pulls so many excellent tricks out of its hat that I forgive it every time. Sophie is one of my favourite protagonists, and Howl such a beautifully ridiculous and selfish hero. I think this book has conditioned me to love manga, for which I am dubiously grateful.

Fire and Hemlock is one that I keep thinking I shouldn't love, because I already love a version of Tam Lin (see below) and surely you can't have two versions of the same story on your best books ever list, especially when the story itself (in its original form) doesn't especially do anything for you. But this is so sweet and clever, the child heroine so vulnerable, the adult hero so desperate not to take advantage... and the way the myths and the imagination and books mix with real life, tough magic is just breathtaking. Best DWJ book ever. No, wait...

Tam Lin by Pamela Dean

Best book ever.

Possibly book most responsible for women having unreasonably romantic expectations of university.

Every word in it is perfect, and whenever I read it, I never want it to end

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

PreOrder your Shiny Magazine

Issue 1 of Shiny magazine will be available as a downloadable pdf and will be emailed from August 2007.

Preorder the first issue or all three issues of the 2007 series now and receive the email a week before it's available from the site.

Issue 1 Aus$3

2007 Trio Series Aus$8

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Shiny Submissions - the Story so far

We've now processed about 50 stories (of which we have accepted 1 - not a bad hit rate from either side of the fence), and thought we'd check in with some commentary on the most common problems that we've noticed among the submissions. This is aside from *really* common problems such as writing that doesn't flow well enough, drafts that are too drafty, and other basic elements of good prose.

1. The material is not suitable for a YA audience.

The YAness of a story may be more in the eye of the beholder than, say, whether a story is Romance or SF, but we've been sent some stories that no one in their right mind would want to be responsible for emailing to teenagers or school libraries. Sex and violence as themes or topics to discuss within the narrative are fine, but gratuitous sex scenes, rape, abuse and toddler incest are really not what we're looking for.

We will not publish stories which present teenagers (or any character!) in a sadistic, voyeuristic or exploitative way. We would also prefer not to read them.

2. Just because your story does *not* have excessive amounts of sex and violence in it does not automatically mean it counts as a YA story.

a) If you don't read and enjoy YA extensively as a genre, please do not submit to us. Your story is unlikely to be a match for Shiny. We are looking for stories that fit into an active, thriving genre.

b) Good YA almost always has a teenage protagonist. There are exceptions to this, but they are rare. Your story must certainly have a protagonist who is going to appeal to a teenage audience. Forty-something protagonists with marriage problems and mid life crises are really not going to cut it.

c) YA is for intelligent, well-read teenagers. Not children. Think fifteen year olds rather than eleven, eight or six year olds.

d) Telling the reader that the character is a teenager is not enough - if the voice of the character doesn't feel authentically like someone at that particular phase of life, the story will simply not work. This applies to "teenage" characters who sound too young as well as too old. (yes, this is an inexact science. yes, perception is everything. yes, it's difficult)

We have also noticed lots of:

3. Stories where nothing happens, despite a promising back story, setting, character and problem.

4. Stories that are let down by a blah "so what?" kind of ending.

5. Stories that patronise the reader.

6. Stories with boring, obvious plot "twists".

Okay, that all sounded kind of negative, didn't it? Next post will be cheerfuller. We're planning on reviewing some of our favourite YA books up here to start giving you an idea of material we *like* and will hopefully start putting a recommended reading list together for people who want to give themselves something of a YA crash course. In the mean time, check out this post on Colleen Mondor's Chasing Ray blog, where she attempts to put together a shortlist of some of the best coming of age YA stories of all time:

Tansy (& the Shiny team)

PS: When we say we want to read more of your work, we really mean it.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Submission Guidelines

Twelfth Planet Press would like to announce the launch of Shiny, a new e-zine of Young Adult speculative fiction, in August 2007. Initially, the zine will be published as a limited series of three issues. If it proves viable, the series will continue in 2008.

Shiny is looking for fresh, entertaining stories between 2000 and 8000 words long. The style and substance of Shiny stories should be up there with the best current YA fiction, and should (for the most part) feature teenage protagonists. We're mostly interested in stories with speculative elements - science fiction, fantasy and horror - but we're open to non-speculative stories that would appeal to genre readers [as with, for example, So Yesterday by Scott Westerfeld, Boy Proof by Cecil Castelucci, or "Anda's Game" by Cory Doctorow]. We prefer a contemporary setting and/or feel to our stories, but will not let this restrict our choices. Shiny is aiming to appeal to teenagers, but also to the wide body of adults who read and enjoy Young Adult fiction. We look forward to reading your submissions!

Who: the editorial board consists of Alisa Krasnostein, Tansy Rayner Roberts and Ben Payne

How: send your submission in rtf attachment to Keep an eye on our blog at for more about what we're looking for.

Payment: AUS$50 per story

Rights: First International e-rights, and exclusivity for three months after first publication. We are not looking to reprint stories that have been previously published in print or online.