All posts by Editor-in-Chief

Something About Alaska

Something About Alaska cover
Something About Alaska cover
by J. A. Cooper

PB 224 | 198 x 128 | $19.99
ISBN: 9780987380975 | September 2022
Young Adult | Also available as ebook
MidnightSun Publishing
Distributed by NewSouth Books

‘It’s a wicked cold, the Alaska winter, and can kill a man in a second…’

Nearing 15, Zac Greene travels to Alaska to re-connect with the father he’s only ever known from a distance. But Zac’s dad is a lone wolf – a wounded soul who’d rather drown his regrets in a bottle of bourbon than confront the mistakes of his past. As Zac struggles to earn his father’s approval, things spiral out of control forcing Zac to take his chances with the Alaskan winter. Whatever hope remains for father and son quickly fades, as Zac is forced to hitchhike to escape the hostile weather and soon finds himself sharing a remote cabin with a total stranger… and his gun.

‘They say you don’t know your enemies from your friends until the ice breaks beneath your feet…’

‘A beautifully crafted coming-of-age story, set in the unforgiving Alaskan winter, that sensitively explores the power of forgiveness.’ Cameron Nunn, author of Echo in the Memory

Something About Alaska is like the Northern Lights: huge and wild, unpredictable and joyful, evocative and beautiful. A startling debut by J.A. Cooper.’ Rosanne Hawke

J. A. Cooper

J.A. Cooper
J.A. Cooper
Years ago, James Cooper travelled the world over and once spent three months tending sled dogs in Alaska. His work as a teacher took him from southern England to the remote Australian outback, and he completed his Ph.D. while living in a tin shed on 40 acres. Nowadays, his adventures mostly take place on the page. He loves reading and writing poetry and stories that reveal the extraordinary in the ordinary, and his work has appeared in such journals as Dappled Things, Light Poetry Magazine, and Continue reading J. A. Cooper

Wild Bush Days

Wild Bush Days cover
Wild Bush Days cover
Written by Penny Harrison, illustrated by Virginia Gray

HB 32 | 210 x 295 | $29.99 | ISBN: 9780987380906
August 2022 | Picture Book | MidnightSun Publishing
Distributed by NewSouth Books

Jessie Hickman was Australia’s bold, but little-known, Lady Bushranger. Raised in the circus during the early 1900s, she later turned to a life of crime and cattle hustling. She used her skills as a rough-rider and tightrope walker to elude police, often hiding in a cave, deep in the mountains. Continue reading Wild Bush Days

Penny Harrison

Penny Harrison
Penny Harrison
Penny Harrison has always lived in a world of stories. A journalist for more than 20 years, her work has appeared in a variety of leading magazines, newspapers and journals. Penny is the author of acclaimed picture books such as Extraordinary and the CBCA Notable Me & My Boots. Wild Bush Days is the story of her childhood. Penny grew up on a farm in the NSW Capertee Valley and spent much of her time exploring the bush, always dreaming up adventurous tales and the possibility of finding the Lady Bushranger’s cave. She now lives on the outskirts of Melbourne with her family and an ever-growing menagerie.

Virginia Gray

Virginia Gray
Virginia Gray
Born on Kangaroo Island in South Australia, Virginia developed at an early age a keen appreciation of nature in all its forms. Her family then moved to Adelaide where she continued her schooling, later training as a fashion illustrator. Moving to the UK, Virginia worked in London for many years as a fashion illustrator for Harrods, Selfridges and various advertising agencies. She adapted her style to illustrate children’s educational books, focussing on history, where her interest in costume detail and fashion proved very useful. Eventually Continue reading Virginia Gray

Random Acts of Unkindness

Random Acts of Unkindness
Random Acts of Unkindness
by Anna Mandoki

PB 352 | 234 x 153 | $29.99 | IBSN: 9780987226587
July 2022 | Fiction | Also available as ebook
MidnightSun Publishing
Distributed by NewSouth Books

In an all-too-recognisable Melbourne of the near future, the lives of three very different women become intertwined.

Emily is a researcher at the University, carrying out experiments on overcrowding in rats. Free-spirited Amala is an international student feeling the strong tug of home. Roz is a struggling photographer who has visions of the future, although she tries her best to ignore them.

When Roz foresees a terrible tragedy, she is finally driven to act. But can she turn things around once a direction has already been set? As events rapidly escalate Continue reading Random Acts of Unkindness

Anna Mandoki

Anna Mandoki
Anna Mandoki
Anna Mandoki is an Australian author and artist. She was born in the UK and lived and worked in London and Budapest before making her home in Melbourne, on beautiful Wurundjeri woi wurrung country.

Anna has a Bachelor degree in Psychology from the University of York and a Diploma in Professional Writing and Editing from Melbourne’s RMIT. Her short fiction and non-fiction has appeared in various journals and anthologies including Island and Westerly, and has been broadcast on ABC Radio National. Random Acts of Unkindness is her first novel.

The Rider on the Bridge

The Rider on the Bridge cover
The Rider on the Bridge cover
by Scott Pearce

PB 192 | 234 x 153 | $29.99
ISBN: 9780987226556 | 18 May 2022
Fiction | Also available as ebook
MidnightSun Publishing
Distributed by NewSouth Books

‘It is a good story, although I cannot say it is true. Like most stories I suppose there is some truth in it, but the absence of truth does not diminish the story, does it?’ In late autumn, Kitten, so named by a girl he met long ago, sits and remembers an aching adolescence; not of lost love and romance, but of wild and unbound Continue reading The Rider on the Bridge

Scott Pearce

Scott Pearce
Scott Pearce
Scott Pearce is originally from Mooroolbark, Victoria. He received his PhD from Deakin University in 2016 and has published his academic research in journals and books, with a focus on the role of race and gender in the Western and Weird Western film/television genres. His first novel Faded Yellow by the Winter was published in 2019.

Scott has been teaching English and Literature at Alia College since 2003 and holds the all-time record for goals kicked in lunchtime soccer games. He lives in the Yarra Valley with his partner and their four children and enjoys early morning runs in the darkness, creating new reasons to never cut the lawn, and writing.

Scott’s novel, The Rider on the Bridge, was published by MidnightSun Publishing in May 2022.

Xenoflight

Xenoflight cover
Xenoflight cover
by Nean McKenzie

PB 240 pages | 198 x 128 | $17.99
IBSN: 9780987226518 | May 2022
Middle-Grade Fiction
Also available as ebook
MidnightSun Publishing
Distributed by NewSouth Books

Apart from her flying pet ferret Fernando and her auntie Carla, 13-year-old Nessa Santiago is alone. Her mother died in a circus accident and she has never known her father. But when the day finally comes for Nessa to meet him, everything goes wrong. Her auntie unexpectedly leaves in a helicopter and a menacing Cryptid Hunter, who captures unusual creatures like Fernando, shows up instead. In order to keep Fernando safe, Nessa must Continue reading Xenoflight

The Rat-Catcher’s Apprentice

The Rat-Catcher's Apprentice cover
The Rat-Catcher’s Apprentice cover
by Maggie Jankuloska

PB 192 | 198 x 128 | ISBN: 9781925227949 | $17.99
Middle-grade fiction | Also available as ebook
MidnightSun Publishing | March 2022
Distributed by NewSouth Books

It’s 1665. Rats have infested homes and alleys in Marie Perrin’s provincial French town. Twelve-year-old Marie is set to become a maid, although she hungers for adventure. However, one mistake alters her fate and as punishment she is forced to Continue reading The Rat-Catcher’s Apprentice

Maggie Jankuloska

Maggie Jankuloska
Maggie Jankuloska
Maggie Jankuloska was born in Ohrid, Macedonia. She has worked as a teacher/tutor in numerous settings. Maggie was one of the recipients of the 2018 Maurice Saxby Creative Writing Program. Her short fiction and non-fiction pieces have appeared in: The Age/Sydney Morning Herald, SBS Voices, Award Winning Australian Writing, n-SCRIBE and more. In 2020 she participated in the Written in the Time of COVID-19 public art display and was featured in the subsequent anthology. The Rat-Catcher’s Apprentice is Maggie Jankuloska’s first published novel. Continue reading Maggie Jankuloska

Tank Water

Tank Water cover
Tank Water cover
by Michael Burge

PB 300 | 234 x 153 | ISBN: 9781925227888 | $29.99
Novel | Also available as ebook
MidnightSun Publishing | October 2021
Distributed by NewSouth Books

James Brandt didn’t look back when he got away from his rural hometown as a teenager. Now, he’s returned to Kippen for the first time in twenty years because his cousin Tony has been found dead under the local bridge.

The news that Tony has left him the entire family farm triggers James’s journalistic curiosity — and his anxiety — both of which cropped up during his turbulent journey to adulthood. But it is the unexpected homophobic attack he survives that draws James into Continue reading Tank Water

Michael Burge

Michael Burge
Michael Burge
Michael Burge is an Australian author and journalist who lives at Deepwater in the New England region of NSW with his husband and their dogs. After graduating from the National Institute of Dramatic Art, Michael undertook media studies in the United Kingdom. His non-fiction debut Questionable Deeds: Making a stand for equal love lifted the lid on familial and institutional homophobia in Australia during the marriage equality campaign.

Michael has written, edited, directed and broadcast for Fairfax Media, Intermedia, United News & Media, Margo Kingston’s NoFibs and a range of lifestyle mastheads. He is director of the annual High Country Writers Festival in Glen Innes. His complete works can be found at burgewords.com. Tank Water is Michael’s first novel.

Book Cover Design Competition

Book Cover Design Competition

MidnightSun Publishing is on the hunt for Australian creatives to design covers for two of our upcoming novels. Whether you are currently studying, new to the field, or an experienced designer, we would love to see what ideas you come up with. This is a unique opportunity to have your work shown on a real published novel set to be released mid-2022 and win a cash prize of $500 per cover.

MidnightSun spines
MidnightSun spines

The brief is to design the front cover, back cover, and spine based on a description of each novel. We are looking for something that encompasses the tone of the story, but also incorporates elements of the characters and plot. If you would like references to see the types of work we have published previously, please feel free to look through our Books Page. These examples may help grasp the type of style we usually go for on our book covers. However, we are looking for bold, new directions in our designs so please send unique and interesting work. We especially encourage entries from First Nations designers and designers from diverse backgrounds.

The two cover competitions will be assessed separately, so you can choose to submit a design for one or both novels. As the tone of the books are very different, we would love to see how you can implement distinctive styles based on the different briefs. Along with your submission, we are also asking you to include a short personal statement so we can get a better understanding of your background and design process. This doesn’t need to be too detailed; it is just an opportunity for you to outline any previous work, experience, or education you may have. The personal statement will not have an impact on our assessment of your cover design.

Applications are open now and will close on Sunday 10th October 2021. To submit your entry, please follow the links below to visit the application forms. As a point of reference, there is a template available outlining the dimensions for the cover. The link to download the PDF and InDesign template can be found on the application form.

The winning designs will feature on the published novels, which comes attached with a cash prize of $500 per cover, and there is the opportunity for other entries to be highly commended. Submissions will be assessed by MidnightSun’s Director Anna Solding and the rest of the MidnightSun team as well as the outgoing designer Kim Lock after the 10th October, once the closing date has passed. Successful applicants will then be contacted within two weeks.

If you have any questions about the competition, please email intern@midnightsunpublishing.com

Good luck to all!

Covers
MidnightSun covers

 

 

 

Book 1:

The Rider on the Bridge – Appy Here

SHORT DESCRIPTION:

The Rider on the Bridge tells a story from 20 years ago of a young narrator’s escape to Melbourne in an attempt to flee his unstable mother. After encountering the charming Julia, he is invited to stay with her friends in a derelict two-storey art deco squat hidden behind an overgrown wilderness. The story follows the narrator’s recollections of the adventures shared with his manor companions, as well as a memory recounted by his mother of a boy precariously riding his bicycle on a bridge high above a busy motorway.

LONG DESCRIPTION:

In late autumn, Kitten, so named by a girl he met long ago, sits and remembers an aching adolescence; not of lost love and romance, but of wild and unbound joys and sorrows. And of those enduring friendships that linger at the periphery, that come with the hope that one day everything will return to what it once was.

The Rider on the Bridge tells of an episode that occurred 20 years previously in the life of the narrator when he was fifteen: He escapes from an unstable mother and flees into Melbourne where he encounters the charming Julia. She names him ‘Kitten’ and invites him to stay with her friends in their Balaclava squat that they refer to as The Manor. It is a derelict two-storey art deco building hidden behind a wilderness of overgrown trees and bushes. Here, Kitten meets Brad, erstwhile leader of the group, Sophie, Julia’s associate, and Jake, a come-and-go wanderer with a penchant for unplanned adventure. Together the group decides to save money and move to Byron Bay.

The title of the book comes from a recollection Kitten has early in the novel. His mother tells him of how she saw, on a rail bridge nearby, a boy ride his bicycle along the edge of the bridge, high above the two-laned road below. The boy’s companions gathered money from people who stopped to watch and to bet that he would fall. This image of a precarious balancing act that hovers between thrill and disaster, the obscene fascination of those gathered to watch, stays with Kitten.

This is a story that takes place, predominately, in late autumn and winter. Their tones inform Kitten’s memory of the boy on the bridge and his recollection of the experience he shared with his Manor companions.

Book 2:

Random Acts of Unkindness – Apply Here

 SHORT DESCRIPTION:

Set against a post-pandemic Melbourne struggling with the effects of climate change, the story follows three characters as their lives collide. A novel about destiny, and how the choices we make may be able to change it, if not always in the way we might expect. It explores the importance of compassion and human connection in an increasingly fragmented world.

LONG DESCRIPTION:

Random Acts of Unkindness is set in a Melbourne of the near future, where the effects of climate change mean that the weather can be volatile and extreme. Bushfires burn on the outskirts of the city, low-lying Pacific Islands are underwater, and tsunamis devastate India’s south-west coast. Australia is in a protracted cold war with China, and Melbourne’s Treasury Gardens has become an encampment for refugees and the homeless.

Against this post-pandemic background, fifty-two year old photographer Roz Hale lives in an inner-Melbourne Housing Commission flat with her black Kelpie, Sam. Her life is a daily struggle to put food on the table, and keep the electricity on so that she can work on her colourful abstract photographs and listen to her beloved jazz music. Roz was born with an excess of empathy, and her ability to tune into other people’s distress allows her to see a short way into the future.

Emily is a thirty year old behavioural psychologist at the University of Melbourne, who is carrying out experiments on white lab rats to research the effects of overcrowding. She also volunteers at Careline, a telephone counselling service that Roz likes to use. Emily meets a young Indian man, Rajiv, who gives her his card showing a pink lotus flower unfolding on a blue background, and they start a relationship. At around the same time, she begins to receive threatening calls and text messages from an unknown stalker.

Rajiv’s beautiful, horoscope-loving sister, Amala, is in Melbourne to study social work, but misses her home town of Pondicherry, on the Bay of Bengal. To cover her tuition fees and living expenses, as well as satisfy her love of expensive clothes, she secretly works as an escort. She also has a blog called ‘Random Acts of Unkindness’, where she invites people to post their stories of the spiteful and unpleasant things that others have done to them, and then responds with her special brand of light-hearted advice.

The three characters’ stories collide when Roz has a vision of a female suicide bomber blowing up a Melbourne train, and believes that Emily and Amala are in danger of being caught up in the disaster. Roz will need to overcome her lack of faith in herself if she is to help the women. But first, she has to solve the puzzle of what may be about to happen, and even then, there may not be enough time to save both women.