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Edition 8: Interview with Tonia Brown

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Interview by Sophie Yorkston

photo-Tonia Brown

Who were your greatest female role models?

My mom was a military wife, bore four daughters, raised them in a military environment with a husband that wasn’t always around (because of work) and constantly on the move. Once we all grew up, she followed her own dreams, returning to nursing school and eventually becoming an RN. I’ m proud/envious of her. I only hope to achieve half of what she has managed in her life.

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Edition 8: Digging In The Deep by Tonia Brown

flag USWhen miners lose their jobs and start disappearing, it’s chalked up to desertion. Thomas knows better. He starts digging, but perhaps the family line of work is not the safest pursuit in these dark times… SY

“He’s my pa,” Thomas said. “I just want to know where he is.”

The officer nodded at him, but said nothing.

“I ain’t seen him in three weeks,” Thomas said.

“He isn’t in there,” the cop said. “if that’s what you’re thinking.”

Thomas looked past the officer, into the darkened recesses of the mine beyond. “I know that. But…I mean…isn’t there anything you can do?”

The officer looked up to him, more exasperated than concerned. “Look, kid. A lot of men have supposedly gone missing in the last few weeks. Not just your father.”

“I know.” Thomas was sort of worried about the other guys too, but mostly about his father. Jack Barns was the first to go missing weeks ago, then Roger Wells a few days later, then Marcus Downey, then Jeremy Stills, then Donald Walker. The list went on and on.

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Edition 8: Book Review: Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger

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 Reviewed by Mysti Parker

cover of etiquette and espionage

While looking for a book to review for this month’s edition, I came across this fascinating cover and title and knew I had to take a look. When I read the description, I knew I’d have to give it a try. Now that I’ve read the first book in Gail Carriger’s ‘Finishing School’ series, I can see why this YA author has accumulated a legion of fans.

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Edition 8: Dreaming of You by Felicia A. Lee

flag USMira begins to dream of a house and family that aren’t hers. She dreams of them constantly, and it becomes scarily real, especially when her own reality seems to be slipping away. When Mira’s mother suggests that she is not who she thought she was, the dreams worsen. Does her mother’s secret hold the key to escaping the tedium of her oppressive nightmare? SY

Back in Serbia, people never talked about their dreams. Nana said that to do so was not only rude, but bad luck—and, as she always said, wasn’t there already enough bad luck in the world?

But here in Los Angeles, it sometimes seems as though people can talk of nothing else. In high school I took a psychology class and one day the teacher asked each of us to share a recent dream. This was just after we moved here, and I didn’t know Americans liked to talk about their dreams. For me, this felt like being asked to stand naked on top of my desk. When it was my turn, I lied and said I couldn’t remember any.

I was scared too for another reason: the teacher asked this of us just after the dreams started. It was as if she somehow knew.

Now that I’ve been here a few years, I don’t mind talking about my dreams so much. Amy and Caitlin, my roommates at UCLA, said that talking about their dreams made them feel better. I hope you don’t mind.

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Edition 8: Interview with Emma Newman

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Interview by Sophie Yorkston



Who were your greatest female role models?

You know, I was thinking the other day that the role models who have had the most influence on me are male (My Dad, Doc Emmett Brown from Back to the Future and Indiana Jones—though that was mostly crush I think). Then I felt a bit sad. Where were the female role models in my life?

Then I remembered Princess Leia being a big hero of mine as a child. She kicks ass, she’s one of the rare women in film who are actual leaders—and shown leading others very capably—and she is so very brave. There’s Ripley (from Alien/s) too.

As I’ve got older I’ve discovered people like Aphra Behn, thankfully.

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Edition 8: Tea In The Secret Garden by Emma Newman

flag UKLeonie and Geoff delight in their afternoon tea in the secret garden. Sometimes, when people want to keep their secrets, it’s best to leave them alone. A hard lesson, for some.  SY

Leonie wondered whether to start with an attack, and then be soft, or whether to draw him close and then, when he was truly relaxed, deal the vicious blow. Both had their merits, but neither was original. So she simply stirred in the sugar, picked up the tea cup and saucer and sat back in the chair.

She crossed her legs, making the nylon rasp, drawing Geoff’s eyes to them. It made her smile as she took her first sip. Exquisite; both the tea, and the hunger he couldn’t hide.

“Do you want to keep the corporation running?” he asked. “Or are you going to break it up and strip the assets?”

Years of cigar smoking and whisky had made his voice husky. Ignoring the bags beneath his eyes and the waddle of fat hanging from under his chin, she could still sense his vitality.

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Edition 8: The Traveler by Laura Haddock

flag USWhen you’re travelling in the infiniteness of space, the smallest miscalculation can result in a nightmare. So it was for Carl, looking for a quiet break. His error would send him to one of the worst places to end up: Earth.  SY

It was the damn Dot Bug screwed it up.

Carl used the first two days of his vacation to plot his course with paper and pencil, just like great-great-great grandpa did it.  His calculations were accurate—even beautiful. Travel computation was an art, really. Auto-plotters were for cretins.


The tiny Dot Bug did what Dot Bugs do. It scuttled into Carl’s note pad and settled in between a 3 and a 5 to suck on the paper-pulp.

It looked like this: .

Decimals make a difference in space travel.

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Edition 8: Interview with Cat Sparks

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Interview by Sophie Yorkston



Who were your greatest female role models?

I’m presuming you mean writers. Growing up: Joan Aiken, Tove Jansson, Susan Cooper, Andre Norton, Vonda McIntyre, Doris Lessing, Maya Angelou. Now: Jane Austen, Margaret Atwood, Kim Wilkins, Octavia Butler, Margo Lanagan, Connie Willis.

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Edition 8: Chinaman’s Bluff by Cat Sparks

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A woman and a boy are travelling alone in hostile Australia, seeking their future in service to an unknown benefactor. It can be a dangerous place to be, the Australian bush, the very place to find ruffians and outlaws. Only with a little help from an unusual friend will Juliana and Arthur make it in this foreign land.  SY

Juliana Morris was a long way from home and even further from civilisation according to the poorly-sketched map she’d acquired from the Captain of the Mary Elisabeth. Just follow the river windin’ all the way to Wharftown, he’d said, which seemed like a reasonable proposition, only there hadn’t been any river flowing into the ramshackle port where the captain had set them down. A port so small it didn’t even have a name. Shielding her eyes from the sun’s harsh glare, she surveyed the pitiful landscape with dismay. Everything was covered in a layer of dust. The inhabitants had a hard-bitten look about them. None of the women she passed would return her smile. Juliana’s life in London had been far from luxurious. She hadn’t known what to expect of Australia, but somehow she’d expected more than this.

Juliana and her small son Arthur spent a restless night in a cramped and none-too-clean inn one street back from the docks. The Mary Elisabeth and her captain sailed on the morning tide, leaving them both to fend for themselves in a strange, inhospitable land.

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Edition 8: Book Review: Bluegrass Symphony by Lisa L. Hannett

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 Reviewed by Damien Smith



Bluegrass Symphony is the first collection from South Australian author Lisa L. Hannett. Each story feels carefully crafted to fit in to the same world, though it is never specified where or when exactly this world is. It has the feel of the Deep South in the not-too-distant past. It is also never specified where each story takes place in relation to the others, but they are woven so carefully that there is the constant feeling that characters fleeing one plot will come crashing through the middle of another.

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