Kathryn Flaherty

Writer, Reader, Truck Driver and Fairy Floss Maker

The Day the Sky turned Red

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The world is an unreal place, earthquakes, floods, droughts, volcanoes and cyclones. No matter where you live you can always experience something you’d never expect but you don’t always remember.

I decided to clean out my photo files this week. I found a few photos that I had forgotten about. I was in a little town in Outback New South Wales and I never expected this storm to happen.

I had been driving for two days to get to this town. It had been windy the whole way with the dust at times as thick as a pea-souper fog. But it was white.

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Then it started to change colour on the second day.

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Until finally it turned into this.

Dust Storm

I imagine this is what it would look like on Mars. The dirt burnt as it hit my skin, it was horrible and the photo doesn’t do justice to the scene I was looking at. I’m amazed that I forgot about this, it was only eleven years ago in 2004. The photo’s were taken within ten minutes of each other at around three in the afternoon. I’m glad I took them because I know for certain if I hadn’t I wouldn’t have remembered it, and that afternoon was something that should never be forgotten.


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A Double-Ton for AntipodeanSF

It’s February and that means it’s AntipodeanSF’s 17th year anniversary. I know 17 years is an odd number to celebrate but it also means my favourite magazine has reached 200 issues. That is amazing for any online magazine let alone one that specialises in speculative fiction.

I first found AntipodeanSF while I was looking through an issue of The Australian Writers Marketplace. It was listed in the magazine/sci fi section and I was hooked after my first glance. Sci Fi had a new name, Speculative Fiction, and for me it was a perfect fit. I subscribed to the email list and as soon as Nuke (the editor) announced a new issue I jumped straight over and devoured it.

I sent in a submission on a dare from a friend. I want to be a writer but I don’t think I’m any good. I figured I’d get a rejection slip and it would be the first in my writing folder. Well that didn’t happen, Nuke accepted my story with a few editorial changes and a couple of pointers. I was over the moon to begin with then I was nervous. I never expected my first submission anywhere to be accepted. I thought I would get at least a dozen rejections first.

It was a while between my first and second submission. I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and on the advice of my GP I travelled overseas and saw Machu Pichu and Mt Everest while I was still fit, before the RA spread to my knees. Every spare minute for a couple of years was occupied with hiking up and down water towers carrying a full backpack for training.

My second submission was a 50 worder. I had done an online writing course and made a friend who liked the idea. I polished it up and thought this time I’ll get my rejection. I didn’t, instead Nuke told me he had no editorial quibbles. My first reaction was damn, how am I going to top that. So with my next submission (another 50 worder) I sweated over it, then decided I’ve got to be third time unlucky. Nope, he liked that one as well. I’m know I’m going to get my rejection soon, I think I might have to send him a real stinker just to get the monkey off my back.

I’ve met Nuke, I’ll probably stick in his memory forever as the only writer to chase him down with a bucket of fairy floss as a bribe for future submissions. In real life he is as nice as his editorials read, I feel privileged to have met him and Elizabeth.

I made it into the 200th issue. It’s called When No One Remembers and you can read it here.  It has two iconic Australian characters in it. One of them is a Bunyip and the other has clues to his identity. If you’re an Aussie you should guess it but if you can’t let me know.

Oh I nearly forgot, for people who don’t like cricket, a double-ton (tonne) is slang for 200 but how can anyone not like cricket it has a position called ‘silly mid on’ what more can you need to make a sport awesome.