Escape Artists need our help

You all know by now what a huge fan I am of short fiction podcasts. I listen to a whole bunch of them. I also love it when my own short fiction gets podcast, and that’s happened a few times now. I made a page here with all my own podcast fiction linked up and a list of all the audio fiction magazines I enjoy. Check it out, I promise you’ll find good stuff there (and not just my own stories.)

Among my absolute favourite short fiction podcasts are the three Escape Artist ones – Pseudopod for horror, Escape Pod for sci-fi and PodCastle for fantasy. They collect original and reprint fiction from a wide variety of sources and always commission excellent readers. These podcasts are regular, brilliantly produced and full of a broad range of stories. They also pay excellent rates to their authors. But they’re currently in dire financial straits and need some help – and it’s very easy to help them. All these type of online zines have options to subscribe or make once off donations to pay their server costs and authors. Until now, I’ve always gone to their sites at the end of each year and made a small donation.

But it it turns out that less than 1% of the people enjoying these otherwise free stories are regular subscribers. It’s got to the point where all three Escape Artist podcasts will have to shut down at the end of the year if they can’t increase their incomes. This would be a tragedy, because they’re awesome. So rather than remembering to make a once a year donation, I’ve just gone in and signed up as a regular monthly subscriber to all three. You can subscribe with as little as US$2 a month. That’s US$6 a month for all three. That’s not even two cups of coffee!

And no, they’re not paying me to say all this. Pseudopod published one of my stories and I hope all three podcasts are around long enough to publish more of my work. I’m just sharing their appeal because I love these podcasts, I wish more people would listen and I really wish more people would subscribe.

It’s as easy as clicking a PayPal button. If you’re a regular listener, go and sign up. If you’ve yet to discover the joys of Escape Artists, go now, subscribe for $2 a month and cancel your subscription if you decide it’s not worth. I bet you won’t.

Pseudopod is here (horror).

Escape Pod is here (sci-fi).

PodCastle is here (fantasy).

Go get some awesome short fiction in your listening holes.


All Hallow’s Read 2013

AHR13All Hallow’s Read is a new tradition. It was started a couple of years ago by Neil Gaiman and the concept is very simple: On Halloween, or during the week leading up to Halloween, give someone a scary book.


You can learn all you need to know here: But honestly, I’ve already told you all you really need. So I thought I’d get the ball rolling a little bit early this year. I’ve got a book giveaway at the end of this post, but had some other ideas too, so read on.

The idea is to give people an actual book as a gift, which is about the best gift you can ever give, for any reason. But we live in a world where some books are made of magic digibits and that makes them even easier to give away. Fuck yeah, the future! And there are lots of scary short stories out there in digibitland that are even easier to give away, by simply sharing a link. So listed below are a few of my scary stories that are free to read online. After that, I’m giving away actual solid papery books.

Here are the online scares you might like to investigate – click the titles to read:

A journalist carrying the weight of unwanted paranormal powers tries to find direction and catharsis by investigating the plight of a strange homeless man. This is a novelette, serialised in 4 parts at The Red Penny Papers. It’s also available as an ebook via Amazon or Smashwords – and you can gift Kindles these days, so you can use this as one of your All Hallow’s Read gifts if you like.

A young blues player meets a strange, enigmatic guitarist one hot summer night who makes him a frightening offer. Short story published at The Red Penny Papers.

A troubled writer starts receiving messages he can’t understand. Short story published at Ticon4.

A woman’s father leaves her a strange legacy after his death and, as she investigates, she uncovers disturbing possibilities about his past. A short story originally published as a podcast by Pseudopod, episode 242, subsequently reprinted in the Dark Pages 2 anthology from Gryphonwood Press and free to read right here on my site (click the title above).

So that’s three short stories and a novelette to get you started – feel free to give them away.

As for the papery book giveaway, I’m going to give away a copy of Dark Rite, the short horror novel I co-wrote with David Wood, a copy of RealmShift and a copy of MageSign. Here’s how the giveaway will work – leave a comment on this blog post with your recommendation of a scary read for Halloween – it can be something free online, a book, a graphic novel or comic. Anything, as long as it’s scary and something you read. In the week leading up to October 31st, I’ll select three random commenters and send them one of the above three books (again randomly selected).

Share this post around, tell your friends and let’s see if we can get a good list of scary reading recommendations in the comments.

Go on, get commenting and reading and giving away and scaring.


Write the Fight Right digital course on sale

A while back I collaborated with Joanna Penn to make my Write the Fight Right workshop into a multimedia digital course available online. At the moment, Jo is running a sale on a bunch of her online courses, and mine is included. Between now and October 13th, all the included courses are 20% off.

They are all multimedia – with PDF material, audio MP3s and in some cases, videos for viewing online or downloading to your computer. The material is extensive and is aimed at helping answer all your questions about the topic.

You can learn all you need to know here.


Year’s Best contributor copy in my paw

photoThis arrived today and it makes me very happy. It includes a reprint of my story, Tiny Live, originally published at Daily Science Fiction. And it’s an honour to share the pages with so many other amazing authors and their work. This is the third Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror volume from Ticonderoga Publications and it’s a truly brilliant series. I was lucky enough to have a story reprinted in volume 1 as well. I can’t recommend these books highly enough. If you want a truly astounding cross-section of Australian fantasy and horror short fiction, plus essays from the editors Liz Grzyb and Talie Helene on the industry, plus a recommended reading list of stuff they couldn’t fit in the actual book, you’ll do well to drop some sheckels on these.

You can get the hardcover or trade paperback here or search it up via Amazon, etc. To prove I’m not joking about the quality, here’s the contents of just this latest volume:

The contents are

  • Joanne Anderton, “Tied To The Waste”, Tales Of Talisman
  • R.J. Astruc, “The Cook of Pearl House, A Malay Sailor by the Name of Maurice”, Dark Edifice 2
  • Lee Battersby, “Comfort Ghost”, Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine 56
  • Alan Baxter, “Tiny Lives”, Daily Science Fiction
  • Jenny Blackford, “A Moveable Feast”, Bloodstones
  • Eddy Burger, “The Witch’s Wardrobe”, Dark Edifice 3
  • Isobelle Carmody, “The Stone Witch”, Under My Hat
  • Jay Caselberg, “Beautiful”, The Washington Pastime
  • Stephen Dedman, “The Fall”, Exotic Gothic 4, Postscripts
  • Felicity Dowker, “To Wish On A Clockwork Heart”, Bread And Circuses
  • Terry Dowling, “Nightside Eye”, Cemetary Dance
  • Tom Dullemond, “Population Management”, Danse Macabre
  • Thoraiya Dyer, “Sleeping Beauty”, Epilogue
  • Will Elliot, “Hungry Man”, The One That Got Away
  • Jason Fischer, “Pigroot Flat”, Midnight Echo 8
  • Dirk Flinthart, “The Bull In Winter”, Bloodstones
  • Lisa L. Hannett, “Sweet Subtleties”, Clarkesworld
  • Lisa L. Hannett & Angela Slatter, “Bella Beaufort Goes To War”, Midnight And Moonshine
  • Narrelle M. Harris, “Stalemate”, Showtime
  • Kathleen Jennings, “Kindling”, Light Touch Paper, Stand Clear
  • Gary Kemble, “Saturday Night at the Milkbar”, Midnight Echo 7
  • Margo Lanagan, “Crow And Caper, Caper And Crow”, Under My Hat
  • Martin Livings, “You Ain’t Heard Nothing Yet”, Living With The Dead
  • Penelope Love, “A Small Bad Thing”, Bloodstones
  • Andrew J. McKiernan, “Torch Song”, From Stage Door Shadows
  • Karen Maric, “Anvil Of The Sun”, Aurealis
  • Faith Mudge, “Oracle’s Tower”, To Spin A Darker Stair
  • Nicole Murphy, “The Black Star Killer”, Damnation And Dames
  • Jason Nahrung, “The Last Boat To Eden”, Surviving The End
  • Tansy Rayner Roberts, “What Books Survive”, Epilogue
  • Angela Slatter, “Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean”, This Is Horror Webzine
  • Anna Tambour, “The Dog Who Wished He’d Never Heard Of Lovecraft”, Lovecraft Zine
  • Kyla Ward, “The Loquacious Cadaver”, The Lion And The Aardvark: Aesop’s Modern Fables
  • Kaaron Warren, “River Of Memory”, Zombies Vs. Robots

Go get some!


Lakeside Circus, Short fiction and other oddities

I’m very happy to report that my new short story, All the Wealth in the World, will be in the inaugural issue of a new digital magazine from Dagan Books called Lakeside Circus. It’s a short-form speculative fiction magazine, published quarterly. Beginning late in 2013, the mag will be for sale in multiple ebook formats, and then most of the content will be released online over the course of three months (free to read). Readers can subscribe, purchase the individual ebooks, or wait for the free content to appear on the site.

Lakeside Circus aims to publish 200,000 words of new flash fiction, short stories and poetry every year. They’re currently running a subscription drive to get the word out. If you subscribe now, you can get the first year for only $20. Even better, if you purchase your subscription before November 15, the first issue will be delivered a week early. Before anyone else can buy the magazine or begin to read online, you’ll have an entire quarter’s worth of short stories, flash fiction, and poetry, including work by:

Dean Fracis Alfar, C.S.E. Cooney, Trevor Shikaze, Ada Hoffmann, Mike Allen, Alan Baxter, Lucas Ahlsen, Cate Gardner, Jill Corddry, Rachael Acks, Conor Powers-Smith, Andrew Williams, Lisa Bradley, John Murphy, Dan Campbell, Gitte Christensen, Megan Arkenberg, Rich Larson, Jon Arthur Kitson, David Sklar, Andrew Gilstrap, FJ Bergmann, Virginia Mohlere, Michael Haynes, John Skylar, HL Fullerton, Sofia Samatar, Eric Rosenfield, Jamie Lackey, Bonnie Stufflebeam, Bryan Thao Worra, and more!

(That’s my own self-indulgent bit of bolding up there.)

You can learn more here: