Game of Thrones house sigil fun

House-BaxterThere’s this little bit of fun knocking around the intertubes at the moment where you can go to jointherealm.com and design your own Game of Thrones style house sigil, with your own motto and everything. So I thought I’d do one, because, you know, I should be writing, but procrastination is perfectly okay, anyway, who are you my mum, shut up!

Ahem. Basically, I took the two primary aspects of my life – kung fu and writing – and made the House Baxter sigil. I had to photoshop it a bit, because the website is a bit bloody puritanical and wouldn’t allow swearing. Not even “arse”. It wouldn’t even allow “sh!t” if you can believe that. So I ‘shopped it. Suck on that, fuckers!

It was also pointed out to me by a very knowledgeable medievalist friend (yes, I have a friend who’s a medievalist and that is very cool, actually) that I’ve broken heraldry rules by having a sun shape below a building. But I went back and tried switching the “Shaolin gate” and the book to the other way around and it looked a bit rubbish. So screw heraldry – House Baxter laughs at your rules and regulations! If you have a problem with that, come here and I’ll kick your arse. Then write a story about it.

So yeah, I really should be writing.

.

Cover reveal and blurb for Dark Rite

Dark Rite 5I’m very excited about this. David Wood and myself have collaborated on a new novella (almost a novel, in fact) called Dark Rite. It’s coming out in a few weeks from Gryphonwood Press and look at that sweet cover. When my wife saw it, she said, “Ooooh… eesh…” which is *exactly* the reaction I like to hear! When I say it’s almost a novel, it’s actually about 42,000 words, so it’s right at the upper end of novella territory. A lot of the old pulp novels were around the 50-60k word mark. I’m very happy with what David and I have come up with, so I hope readers enjoy it too. Here’s the back cover blurb:

A small mountain town hides a dark secret…

When the death of his father brings Grant Shipman to the tiny Appalachian town of Wallen’s Gap, he believes his biggest problem will be dealing with the slow pace and odd townsfolk. But something sinister is at work. A dark power rises, an echo of the town’s bloody past. A book of blood magic offers an unspeakable horror a gateway into the world of the living, and only Grant stands in the way of their Dark Rite.

And we’ve got a couple of great reactions so far:

“Wood and Baxter have delivered a stunning tale that reminds of an early Stephen King’s talent for the macabre with a pinch of Graham Masterton’s flair for witchcraft and terror. A sinister tale of black magic and horror – not for the faint hearted.” Greig Beck, bestselling author of Beneath the Dark Ice and Black Mountain

“With mysterious rituals, macabre rites and superb supernatural action scenes, Wood and Baxter deliver a fast-paced horror thriller.” J.F. Penn, author of the bestselling ARKANE thriller series

I’ll post again when the book is available to buy. It’ll be available in print and ebook wherever books are sold, and hopefully an audiobook to follow eventually.

.

Simple writing advice on hands

I love this idea. The Passive Voice blog shared this great idea from Shared Worlds. Shared Worlds asked some of speculative fiction’s finest artists, editors and writers to write advice on their own hands and send in a picture. Very simple and effective! One of them is this great picture from Neil Gaiman and I just had to have it for my blog:

GaimanNeil

I also have to share this one from Patrick Rothfuss:

RothfussPatrick

And this one from Lev Grossman:

GrossmanLev

Seriously, on three hands right there is pretty much all you need to remember. And you’ll notice there’s some overlap. After that, it’s all about polishing, getting it critiqued, taking that advice, rewriting and pushing on. But none of that happens unless you do what it says above.

Now go and read the advice on the hands of all the other awesome people they included. Because, honestly, it’s all brilliant stuff, and all very valuable after you’ve done those things above.

.

Video trailers for RealmShift and MageSign

I’m very pleased with these. My publisher, Gryphonwood Press, has put together these two simple video trailers for my dark urban fantasy novels, RealmShift and MageSign. I’m very much of the opinion that a simple trailer for a book is the best option. If you have loads of money to spend on a really professional, slick video, then great. But if you do it on the cheap, it looks tacky and… well, cheap. And that does no favours for your book. But Gryphonwood Press commissioned top notch voice actor Jeffrey Kafer to voice these trailers and just used the book covers for the visuals. The result is simple and effective. At least, I think it is! What do you think?

Here’s RealmShift:

And here’s MageSign:

.

Midnight Echo 9 cover revealed, featuring me

Cover_2013_03_26Check out the awesome cover for issue 9 of Midnight Echo magazine. That’s some great, creepy work by Mahdesigns. This issue, edited by Geoff Brown, is horror stories themed around myths and legends. It features my story, The Fathomed Wreck To See. I’m really pleased to have a story in this issue, as I’m a huge fan of the magazine. Not only that, but if you look closely you’ll see I’ve even got my name on the cover along with some seriously talented people in the horror field. And honestly, seeing your name on a book or magazine cover never gets old. Such a treat and such an honour to be included among so many talented people who have work in this issue. Check it out:

Midnight Echo 9 Table of Contents:

Literature

Changeling by Jonathan Maberry
Black Train Blues by James A Moore
Black Peter by Martin Livings
The Road by Amanda J Spedding
Coffee Rings by Kristin Dearborn
The Wee Folk by JG Faherty
From the Forebears by Steven Gepp
Little Boy, Little Girl, Lost in the Woods by Mark Patrick Lynch
The Fathomed Wreck to See by Alan Baxter

Poetry

ganesh by Talie Helene

Comic

Allure of the Ancients; The Key to His Kingdom – story by Mark Farrugia, illustrations by Greg Chapman

Special Features

The Mythology of Mid-World by Robin Furth (non-fiction)
Russian Field of Mysteries by Tony Vilgotsky (non-fiction)
An Interview with Jonathan Maberry
An Interview with Mel Gannon

Regular Features

A Word from the AHWA President – Geoff Brown
Tartarus – Danny Lovecraft (poetry column)
Pix and Panels – Mark Farrugia (comic column)
Black Roads, Dark Highways #4 – Andrew McKiernan (column)
Sinister Reads (all the latest releases from AHWA members)

Pre-orders for the limited print edition are now being taken, and it will be available in all electronic formats too. For more information on this amazing issue, head to www.midnightechomagazine.com

.