Monthly Archives: January 2012

Tuesday Toot – Andrew McKiernan

January 31, 2012

Tuesday Toot is a semi-regular feature here at The Word. An invite-only series of short posts where writers, editors, booksellers and other creatives have been asked to share their stuff and toot their own horn. It’s hard to be seen in the digital morass and hopefully this occasional segment will help some of the quality stuff out there get noticed. It should all be things readers of The Word will find edifying.

Today, it’s Andrew McKiernan.

Aurealis46Who is Andrew?

Andrew J McKiernan is an author and illustrator living and working on the Central Coast of New South Wales. His first short story, Calliope: A Steam Romance, was published in the 2007 anthology Shadow Plays and was named in a number of year’s best recommended reading lists for fantasy. Since then his stories have been published in magazines such as Aurealis, Midnight Echo and the Eclecticism e-zine, as well as the anthologies In Bad Dreams 2, Masques, Scenes from the Second Storey, Macabre: A Journey Through Australia’s Darkest Fears, and Year’s Best Australian Fantasy & Horror 2010. His stories have twice (2009 & 2010) been shortlisted for both Aurealis and Australian Shadows Awards, as well as a Ditmar Award shortlisting in 2010. His story The Desert Song from the Scenes from the Second Storey anthology received an Honorable Mention in Ellen Datlow’s Best Horror of the Year Vol.3. Andrew’s illustrations have appeared on many book and magazine covers, as well as featuring in the collections Shards: Short Sharp Tales by Shane Jiraiya Cummings from Brimstone Press and Savage Menace & Other Poems of Horror by Richard Tierney from P’rea Press.

What are you tooting about?

Three short blasts from my own trumpet today…

Toot the First

In a land where the veil between life and death has been torn aside, how far would you go for the one you love? This is the question asked in Love Death, my new story appearing in Aurealis #46 on Kindle and at Smashwords. It is about the death of love and the love of death and how those two things entwine like lovers within the human psyche. It has romance. It has love lost and love regained, and love lost again. It has life and death and states in between. It is exotic and erotic and disturbing by turns. And in the end, there is hope. But most importantly, it is available to read for FREE from Smashwords!

Toot the Second

After a 650,000 year round-trip through the Oort Cloud, long-period Comet C2094VI is returning to our solar system. The Peregrine Expedition is sent to the very edge of the Kuiper Belt to land on Comet C2094VI. Their mission? To unlock the scientific secrets trapped within its icy time-capsule. But what nameless horrors lurk at the comet’s heart? And what does its return mean for the future of humanity? Find out in my Lovecraftian SF story The Wanderer in the Darkness available now in Midnight Echo 6, the official magazine of the Australian Horror Writers Association.

[NB – My own story, Trawling The Void, also happens to be in that particular issue of Midnight Echo – Alan]

The Final Blast

Having just passed that most wonderful Festive Season of stress, depression, credit card debt and familial disfunction, what could be more appropriate to our mood than an anthology of Christmas themed horror? Ho Ho Horror from The Australian Literature Review is now available in both print and e-book formats. Edited by Steve Rossiter and featuring stories from both new and up-and-coming authors such as Gordon Reece, Belinda Dorio, Sam Stephens and Cameron Trost this anthology is certain to have you quaking in your santa boots. And believe me, I know! I had to illustrate each of their sordid and depraved tales for the anthology, as well as supplying the full-colour cover illustration! Even weeks after reading the stories, I still can’t look at a plum-pudding or sprig of mistletoe without a shiver of terror. Go get it now… it will make a great stocking filler for your kids next year.

Andrew’s website:


The Drabblecast

January 31, 2012

DrabblecastYou’d all know by now what a fan I am of fiction podcasts. I’d heard mention of the Drabblecast many times, but never got around to checking it out until recently. Norm Sherman, the host there, often features on other podcasts I listen to, as a narrator or guest, and I’ve enjoyed his work. I’m kicking myself that it took me this long to get around to subscribing to his own podcast. It’s everything I love about fiction and more.

As it describes itself:

The Drabblecast is an award-winning, illustrated, listener-supported audio fiction magazine, released as a free to download, weekly podcast. It features short stories at the far side of weird, including science fiction, horror, fantasy, and everything in between. It is hosted and produced by Norm Sherman. The Drabblecast is open to submissions and is a paying market.

The production values are excellent, the host is great, there are all kinds of fiction including Drabbles of 100 words and Twabbles of just 100 characters. These things really aren’t stories per se, but they are good fun. In a dark, sick and twisted kind of way, which is exactly how I like my fun.

And I’ll certainly be submitting some work to the Drabblecast in the future. If you like your fiction weird and podcasted, get on board this crazy train.

All the details here: Drabblecast.


Damnation And Dames ToC and cover art announced

January 26, 2012

D&DSeriously, how sexy hawt is that cover? This is the new anthology coming soon from Ticonderoga Publications, called Damnation And Dames – Sixteen Stunning Tales Of Paranormal Noir. Or, as I’ve decided to called it, paranoirmal. That’s right, suckers, I’ve just named a genre. Remember, it all started here.

Well, it actually started with editors extraordinaire Liz Gryzb and Amanda Pillar, who came up with the concept for this book and put out the submission call. It’s a great theme. I love noirish stories and all my work tends to have some influence from the noir or crime angle. Even a lot of my sci-fi – I just can’t help it.

And yes, I have a story in this book, of which I’m very proud. But it’s not as simple as that, because I can’t take all the credit for the story. For the first time ever I’ve collaborated on a piece of writing, and the story in this book is called Burning, Always Burning, and was co-written with the hugely talented Felicity Dowker.

I would often see collaborative stories and think to myself, “How the freaking fuck do people do that?” My work is usually so personal. I sit here in my cave and tap away at my keyboard, letting the sweating babies of my fetid imagination creep out into the world. How could I ever share that process with anyone?

As it happens, it was surprisingly easy. Felicity and I have been good friends for a long time, and have long respected and enjoyed each other’s work. During an email exchange one day, when we should have been working, we started slinging lines back and forth in a noirish, Mickey Spillane kinda way, just for shits and giggles. We only got about half a page of stuff down before it petered out, but we both agreed it would be kinda fun to write something together one day.

A while later, Liz Grzyb and Amanda Pillar put the call out for paranormal noir stories. It seemed fated. So we decided to give it go and dusted out those couple of parapgraphs, polished them up, talked about our ideas and plot and then just started bouncing the thing back and forth. We’d write about 500 words, edit the previous 500 and email it away. Sooner or later, it would come back – the 500 new words edited and another 500 added. Or so. It just worked. The story grew. We live nearly a thousand kilometres apart, but through emails and text messages we came up with our yarn and, without any subjective bias of any kind, it’s fucking great.

We submitted it and we’re both very proud that it was accepted. Seriously, look at the company we’re in:

Lindsy Anderson – The Third Circle
Chris Bauer – Three Questions and One Troll
Alan Baxter & Felicity Dowker – Burning, Always Burning
Jay Caselberg – Blind Pig
M.L.D. Curelas – Silver Comes the Night
Karen Dent – A Case to Die For
Dirk Flinthart – Outlines
Lisa L. Hannett & Angela Slatter – Prohibition Blues
Donna Maree Hanson – Sangue Sella Notte
Rob Hood – Walking the Dead Beat
Joseph L Kellogg – The Awakened Adventure of Rick Candle
Pete Kempshall – Sound and Fury
Chris Large – One Night at the Cherry
Penelope Love – Be Good Sweet Maid
Nicole Murphy – The Black Star Killer
Brian Grant Ross – Hard Boiled

And you’ll notice among that stellar company the All-Time Collaboration World Champions, Lisa L. Hannett & Angela Slatter. Sixteen stories, eighteen authors, paranormal, noir, sexy covers, murder and mayhem, monsters and mysterious femme fatales. How can this book not be freaking awesome?

Damnation & Dames will be launched at Swancon 37, Easter 2012, and will be available in trade paperback for $30, and as an ebook in Kindle format post-launch. The anthology will be available from Ticonderoga’s online shop at, and internet bookstores such as and Seriously, I can’t wait.


ThrillerCast episode 36 – The Long and the Short of It with Angela Slatter

January 26, 2012

ThrillerCastThrillerCast is back for 2012. Fellow Gryphonwood Press author, David Wood, and myself are back crapping on again about all things reading, writing and publishing related, especially things relevant to genre fiction. Thrillers, action adventure, sci-fi and fantasy, crime – if it’s good stuff, we’ll crap on about it. And if it’s bad, we’re not afraid to go there either.

Episode 36 is live now and we have a great chat with short story expert and all around top lass, Angela Slatter. We talk about the highs and lows of various lengths of fiction and Angela gives some great advice.

Get a listen on here.


Beautiful reading time-lapse gif

January 23, 2012

I snurched this from Hex’s tumblr – it’s just lovely, and the sentiment is reason enough to read. Even if we can one day dream of being like those people and doing those things, we can read in the meantime.


Post-apocalyptic short story podcasts at Wily Writers, edited by me

January 22, 2012

Wily WritersYou should know by now what a fan I am of podcast short fiction. I wrote about my favourite podcasts a while back. I also wrote here about giving generously to podcasts you enjoy, as the stuff they produce is usually free, but the writers and podcasters need to be paid for their work. My own fiction has been podcast a few times now – I read my story Crossfire for Outlandish Voices, Pseudopod released my original short story, The Seven Garages Of Kevin Simpson in their episode 242 and Wily Writers have podcast two of my stories – a reprint of Stand Off and my post-apocalyptic yarn, Declan’s Plan, which co-won Wily Writers Short Story Contest. Stand Off was also included in Night Mantled, Volume 1 of The Best Of Wily Writers.

And that neatly segues to my reason for posting today. I was very honoured when Angel McCoy, the power behind Wily Writers, asked me to guest edit a themed month for their podcast. The theme of my month was Post-Apocalypse/Dystopia. I read a lot of really good stories and it was hard to pick the two winners. I’ll blog a bit later on about the process of reading, judging and editing for that, and my thoughts on the subject. Hopefully it’ll help both myself and other readers here when we submit our own fiction to any publication.

In the meantime, I did select two winning stories. I wanted strong stories, with good ideas, powerful characters and a tangible sense of place. But I also wanted two stories very different from each other, to explore the theme as fully as possible.

The first story is up now:

Bloodstone by R.B. Payne

Even horror writer J.P. Bloodstone is unprepared for the actual end of the world. Stranded in Beverly Hills, he discovers something far worse than decomposing zombies, vampiric aliens, or infected mutant motorcycle-riding killers.

As I wrote on the Wily Writers site about this story:

I really like the voice of “Bloodstone.” It evokes all kinds of classic writerly angst, like the misanthropic Hunter S. Thompson. Imagine someone like that on their own in a post-apocalyptic world, and you’ve got the start of this story. Couple that with a classic bit of writer/reviewer animosity, and the bones of the story are in place.

This piece is well written with a strong character and an excellent description of the post-apocalyptic world. It also cleverly uses the character to explore possible reactions to an apocalypse, while the reality in this case is a lot less exciting. There’s humour here as well, in the character and the situation.

All Wily Writers stories are published on the site in text as well as podcast, so whatever your preferred format, the option is there. Bloodstone is a great story, read by the excellent Philip Pickard (who also did a great job reading Declan’s Plan for me).

Find the story here.

I’ll post about this again when the other winning story goes up, then I’ll post about the process of judging and editing after that.

And thanks again to Angel McCoy for inviting me to be a part of this. As a writer, it was fun to be on the other side of the fence for a change.


Place As Person – my guest post at Mary Victoria’s site

January 21, 2012

You might remember a few days ago that I posted a Tuesday Toot for Mary Victoria. Mary was tooting about a new anthology she’s in called River, and part of her promotion of that book is to run a series of guest posts on her own site. Each post is by a different specfic writer and each writer is discussing the idea of Place As Person.

Have you ever become so deeply fascinated with the setting of a book that it lingers on, invading your mind long after reading is done? We all know good world building is essential to any story. But occasionally an author takes that art one step further, creating an environment that enthralls, breathes, lives.

I was very pleased that Mary asked me to contribute, because I’m a huge fan of well-realised places in fiction. Locations are definitely characters in my stories.

You can find my guest post on the subject at Mary’s site here.


SOPA and PIPA are stupid, Oatmeal nails why

January 19, 2012

I’m very much in support of sites like Wikipedia, which are blacking out in protest of SOPA and PIPA. If you don’t know what they are, there’s this (the only Wikipedia page NOT blacked out) and this handy infographic. This is something that affects all of us, and it’s very important. Don’t think it’s only those crazy Americans and it doesn’t affect us – this affects everyone and is the start of a slippery slope.

My books are pirated all the time. I see them on fileshare sites and there’s nothing I can do about it. And yes, it pisses me off. But it’s a part of the modern world. As the old saying goes, the only thing worse than piracy is obscurity. Sure, I’d like to see stricter controls in place to protect film and music piracy, and, of course, ebook piracy. It’s in my interests – it affects my ability to make a living. But I do not agree with SOPA or PIPA as anything like valid ways to deal with the problem. It needs to be crushed for the fucking idiocy it is.

Of course, my little corner of the web here won’t make much of a dent if I black out. Ironically, the only thing likely to happen is that I might lose a couple of books sales. But I will speak out against the bills. And I can’t think of a better way to do it than with this animated gif from The Oatmeal. It’s simply perfect:


ThrillerCast is back for 2012

January 18, 2012

TITLEThrillerCast – the podcast I co-host with thriller/action adventure author, David Wood, is back for another year. We chat about anything to do with thriller and genre fiction, and regularly have cool guests on the show.

The first ep of 2012 has just gone live and it’s a corker. We talk about our plans for the year, discuss KDP Select, have some free books to give away AND have a chat with Myke Cole, author of the Shadow Ops books – the first one, Control Point, is out next week from Ace.

The books sound great:

Cross The For­ever War with Witch­world, add in the real world mod­ern mil­i­tary of Black Hawk Down, and you get Control Point, the mile-a-minute story of some­one try­ing to find pur­pose in a war he never asked for. – Jack Camp­bell, New York Times Bestselling author of The Lost Fleet series

I’m definitely looking forward to reading that. Myke is a great guy too, and a total nerd for roleplaying games. It’s a fun chat.

Check out the new episode here.

And check out Myke’s site here. You can pre-order Control Point now.


Tuesday Therapy at Lisa L Hannett’s blog

January 17, 2012

Lisa Hannett has been running a regular feature on her blog called Tuesday Therapy where she’s had a variety of writers give a little snippet of advice or experience for other writers to take solace or inspiration from. It’s a great idea and some very interesting stuff has already gone up there. She was kind enough to ask me to contribute and my post is up today, wherein I talk about one of the many similarities between writing and martial arts.

Tis here; go read.

You can find all the previous posts in the series here.



The website of author Alan Baxter

Alan Baxter, Author

Author of horror, dark fantasy & sci-fi. Kung Fu instructor. Personal Trainer. Motorcyclist. Dog lover. Gamer. Heavy metal fan. Britstralian. Zetetic.

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