An interview and an ebook

A strange little double header of news today. Firstly, I’ve been interviewed over at On Fiction Writing, wherein I answer questions like Has a book every made you angry? and Which four literary characters would you like to invite to dinner, and why? and What was the first story that ever made you afraid? among others. You can find the full interview right here. It’s a good bit of fun.

Secondly, the ebook edition of The Red Penny Papers: Vol III, Issue 1, Fall 2012 is now available at Smashwords for FREE! That’s the one that contains my story, Crossroads & Carousels, as well as fiction by Cat Rambo, M Bennardo, Jamie Mason and Katy Gunn. It’s available in any e format you can think of there, so have at it. While you’re there, you might like to pick up my supernatural noir novella, The Darkest Shade Of Grey, also published by Red Penny Papers, and only $1.99.



Tuesday Toot – Jason Nahrung

Tuesday Toot is a semi-regular feature here. 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 that regular readers here will find edifying.

This time, it’s Jason Nahrung. Take it away, Jason!

Who is Jason?

Jason Nahrung grew up on a Queensland cattle property and now lives in Melbourne with his wife, the writer Kirstyn McDermott. He works as an editor and journalist to support his travel addiction; in particular, an abiding love affair with New Orleans.

He has an on-again, off-again relationship with short fiction, but when they’re on, the stories are invariably darkly themed, perhaps reflecting his passion for classic B-grade horror films and ’80s goth rock.

His most recent long fiction title, the Gothic tale Salvage (Twelfth Planet Press), was released earlier this year.

His next publication will be the outback vampire novel Blood and Dust, a bloody piece of Australiana hopefully out in time for Christmas. Ho ho ho!

Jason lurks online at

What are you tooting about?

Salvage, and the fact it’s now available at Amazon for Kindle,and through other e-sellers, too. The story was developed over three years, one week per year, during an annual writers retreat on the island that forms the backdrop.

Melanie and Richard head to the island to try to save their rocky marriage, but Melanie meets Helena, and consequently has to reconsider her ideas about love, death and happiness. And stay alive. Because Helena’s got a few secrets of her own …

There are shades of the story ‘Carmilla’ and the movie ‘The Long Weekend’ in there. There’s a bit of Fraser Island, a bit of Bribie. It’s a slow burn, kind of like slipping into a warm bath, only to realise that not all the ripples are yours: that there’s something else in there with you that’s not … quite … right.

It’s gratifying to see the book available in digital format; others are on their way. The digital realm is probably a good fit for a novella-size read, so I’m glad it’s out there, testing the waters and sharing some melancholy love!


Publetariat Omnibus ebook

I started out as an indie author, and I still believe the hybrid model, where writers combine aspects of self-publishing and traditional publishing, is the best way forward. I have some self-published stuff out there, plenty of traditionally published stuff too and I have every intention of continuing in that vein. And regardless of how your stuff gets out there, a lot of the processes are much the same. For a long time now I’ve been a regular contributor at, a website built for indie authors, but also of enormous benefit to small press owners, indie collectives and even big publishers for that matter. The powerhouse behind Publetariat is April Hamilton and she has now put together an ebook which collects all the best advice from the first four years of into one handy resource.

A few of the articles in there are mine, and I share the pages with some very well-informed folks. Here’s the official blurb:

A compendium of advice, lessons learned and how-tos from leading authors, publishing industry pros, consultants and subject area experts, drawn from the first four years of’s operation. They’ve been there, done that, and now they’re sharing their lessons learned. This book includes articles written by:

Alan Baxter, Julian Block, Mark Coker, Melissa Conway, Nick Daws, Joel Friedlander, April L. Hamilton, Joseph C. Kunz Jr., Cheri Lasota, M. Louisa Locke, Shannon O’Neil, Joanna Penn, Virginia Ripple, Fay Risner, Mick Rooney, L.J. Sellers, Dana Lynn Smith, Bob Spear, Richard Sutton and Toni Tesori.

Here you’ll find everything from craft advice to tax advice, from marketing tips to design walkthroughs, from self-editing how-tos to copyright boilerplate you can use in your own book, and more! Having these 67 collected articles is like having a publishing consultant, editor, designer and business adviser by your side as you set out on your own indie publishing path.

The book is set out into sections:

Think; Write; Design; Publish; Sell; Business End and Lighter Side Of The Writing Life.

It really is quite a significant resource, and only $5.99 on Amazon. Go get it here.


Words by Craig Furnis

A friend of mine sent me this recently because he thought I’d like it. He found it via a mutual friend on Facebook. He was right – I fucking loved it. It’s a poem about words by a guy called Craig Furnis. He posted it at his new blog and was happy for me to reproduce it here. He’s been too nervous to put his words out into the public until now, and I think he needs to keep at it. Make sure you visit his new site to see when he puts up some more words. In the meantime, check this out. It’s long, but worth it.

Words by Craig Furnis

I love words
Mapping emotional, spiritual, political topology
But sometimes, irrelevant of meaning, it’s just the sounds that get on top of me.
Get right into me.
Tickling and pleasing me.
Piglet – all percussive symmetry
Infinity – small label for a huge dude so big I can’t begin to grasp your magnitude, you’re just too big for me
Flippantly – thrown out with no forethought you care not a jot for the other words or phrases surrounding
Allegorical – your meaning woven through the pages of prose or poetry
Love – four little letters, so simple yet with just a thimble full of you dark turns to light, day from night and I find the might to struggle on, despite the pain remaining in the rest of my life.
Fuck – filthy-dirty and deliciously potent; violent, sexy and ready for all manner of moments
I love words
When packed with meaning they move and abuse me, hearing or reading them they allow me to lose me
Fusing me to a thought or thoughts that hadn’t previously visited or viewed me
Crudely I try to use them to express the complexity I feel, the complexity that is in me, that is me
I don’t say that lightly and I don’t say it self indulgently
We’re all complex, we’re beautiful and we’re all dying slowly
This staggeringly complex strength and frailty exists in each and every one of us eternally
Birth to death, from first to last breath we each express our best and worst and worst and best through the words we get off our chest
The ones we use, and yes the ones we have the unfortunate habit of using to abuse
We’re all the conflicting feelings of peace and rage, action and passivity
The horror and the beauty is inside all the yous and all the Me’s, it’s in all our do’s and all our deeds, it’s in the he’s, the she’s and the we’s, it’s in our wants and in our needs across races, religions, colours and creeds.
I love words.
They’re our greatest achievement.
Language gives is freedom, gives us the opportunity and the tools to reason, it both describes and inspires feeling, can leave us reeling in a million different ways; hurt, laughing or healing
I love words
It’s words with which me make starts to the journey we share with the one person who, because of how much they seem to care, we dare to show our whole self to.
And it’s words we throw like stones. When we’re overcrowded yet somehow alone and every hard word is blown up and out of all proportion.
Yes its words with which we make starts, but it’s also words we use to break hearts.
But I love words.
They’re the building blocks for the stories we tell
Foundations laid to build heaven from hell so shout, scream, yell,
Compel the world to change through words placed on a page or spat from a stage
It’s not about rage or rebellion, it’s about connection
About communication, about education, about evolution of ideas
Change the story, change the fears and watch as these changes echo through the years to change everything
Cheer as the mere musings of mortals written and told affect the young and the old alike
Watch as the dike of opinion bursts it’s banks and give thanks that words have this power
With words we can make deities cower
We’ve invented cellophane flowers and saved princesses from the tallest of towers
Our ideas given birth to – we’ve shown sin, we’ve shown virtue
We’ve shown reflections of out world to be beautiful though it seems sometimes determined to hurt you.
I love words.
They can change the world.
Change your own world by changing the words that you use.
Change all your cant’s to can do’s, your No’s to yeses.
Change to determination, forget second guesses.
Blessed be the ones who embrace a new story for life.
Blessed be the storytellers and blessed be their minds because they take us out of here, away from here, take us anywhere, everywhere, somewhere
To see anything
They’ve shown mountains exploding and seas emptying
We’ve seen the coronation of kings, wooden boys alive with no strings – words breathe life into so many things
So soar on the wings of a story through fantastic landscapes teeming with life gloriously never before imagined.
Laugh and cry as you learn how it happened. How it all began.
Where it’s come from and where it’s going.
Slack-jawed and astounded at the storytellers showing it all to you
Leading you hand in hand through wonderland, the sands of time slowing into a stretched moment you know you can visit again and again.
Pick up a pencil.
Pick up a pen.
And tell me your words. Your moments.
Tells me your stories, tell me your lies.
Tell me of good times. Of bad.
Tell me the worst nightmare you’ve ever had.
I want to hear it.
Speak your words direct to my soul, I want to feel it, breathe it, be it, believe it.
Let me spend five minutes in your mind and you can spend five minutes in mine.
Let’s get a cheap bottle of wine and spend some time sharing our words.
I offer you mine.
I’d love to hear yours.
Because I love words.
They’re our greatest achievement.
Language gives is freedom, gives us the opportunity and the tools to reason. It both describes and inspires feeling, can leave us reeling in a million different ways; hurt laughing or healing.


Good, eh? Stick at it, Craig – don’t hide this talent away.


The Next Big Thing

THE NEXT BIG THING is a chain of book and author recommendations. One author tags five others, who then each tag five others. The idea is that we all help people out there learn about all the good stuff that’s just out or coming soon. The wonderful Angela Slatter tagged me on her blog and now it’s my turn.

1. What is the working title of your next book?

It’s called Bound. That’s actually the final title, so I hope it sticks. Although you can never be sure until the ink is dry on the cover.

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

I’ve always been told that I write great fight scenes, and I do enjoy writing them. I’ve even run successful workshops on the subject. So it occurred to me that I should embrace that in a full novel and I came up with a character who is a very talented martial artist and the story grew from there. I combined it with a nasty little idea I’d had knocking around in my fevered noggin for a while and it turned into a book of which I’m very proud.

3. What genre does your book fall under?

Like RealmShift and MageSign, it’s a dark urban fantasy horror kinda thing.

4. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

I have no idea. There are two main couples in the book, but I’m reluctant to suggest actors because I like readers to paint their own pictures of what my characters look like.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Alex Caine is a masterful fighter and the master of his life, until a chance encounter exposes him to magic, danger and a total loss of control.

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

That’s currently in process, but it won’t be self-published.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

Hard to say. Probably somewhere around 6 to 8 months.

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Well, it’s in a similar vein to RealmShift and MageSign, as it’s set in the same world. In fact, there are a few cameos from those books. As for other authors’ work it compares to, it bears similarities to the work of Neil Gaiman, Clive Barker, H P Lovecraft… and more. Think good, dark urban fantasy and hopefully it bears comparison.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

As mentioned in 2. above, it came partly from the main character, which was a person I wanted to explore. And also from the primary item the character gets tied up with, but I won’t say what that is, because I don’t want to give anything away.

10. What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

Martial arts, beautiful people, monsters, magic, items of magical power, elder gods, chaos, mayhem and excitement! And that’s only in the first few chapters.

And now to tag other authors. You can read their answers to the same questions next Wednesday.

I tag:

Joanne Anderton

Andrew McKiernan

Rob Hood

David Wood

Jason Fischer

You can see their answers to the questions above next week, on Wednesday, November 28th.