Dark Places 2 anthology out for Halloween

October 26, 2012

The publisher of my novels, Gryphonwood Press, has got a bit of a tradition going. Each Halloween there’s a new anthology featuring dark short fiction from Gryphonwood authors. The first one was last year, and now there’s Dark Places 2. That makes it a tradition. So shut up. You can get it in any ebook format you prefer right here from Smashwords.

Dark Places 2 features short fiction from Justin R. Macumber, Terry W. Ervin II, John E. Bailor, David Wood and myself. My contribution is The Seven Garages Of Kevin Simpson. This story was a Pseudopod original in episode 242 back in August 2011. That, of course, was a podcast. Now it’s available in text at last.

For the absolute steal of 99c, (buy it here, now!) these five stories should hopefully entertain and set a good Halloween vibe. I’ve read David Wood’s Aqua Zombie and it’s a great yarn. And yes, an aqua zombie. Think about it. Now go and get the book and read about it. You’ll also get my creepy story about a dead man with seven unexpected garages, plus stories from Justin Macumber, Terry Ervin and John Bailor. How can you go wrong with that?

What’s more, if you wait till Halloween to buy the book, it won’t even cost you 99c. It’ll be free on Halloween. Seriously, free. Nada. Zip. Nothing. But seeing as it’s only 99c anyway, you might as well get it right now. I’ll put a quick post up here on Halloween with the coupon code for the freebie, but I’m sure you won’t be able to contain your excitement. I mean, what’s 99c? You can’t even buy a newspaper for that kinda moolah. In fact, you’ve probably already gone to buy it and I’m talking to myself right here, aren’t I. Huh? Aren’t I? Hello?



On suicide and hope

October 12, 2012

This is a very serious post. I’ve just come back from the funeral of a teen suicide. I’m not going to go into any more detail than that and I’ve thought long and hard all week about writing this post, but I think it’s important. I’m also going to plug a book here, with good reason, so bear with me.

Any loss of life is just terrible. When a person takes their own life, to me it’s far worse. To think the person reached a state where they considered suicide the only option is just appalling, for all involved. Especially when that person has barely even begun their life. As a friend of mine, who used to be a high school teacher, said, “I always told the teens at school to keep in mind that it will get better than this.” And he’s right. So many people yearn for the halcyon days of their youth, but you couldn’t pay me to be a teenager again. It fucking sucks. It’s hard and you feel like you have no control over your life and no one understands the very real concerns you bear every day.

But once you get beyond those teen years and start taking responsibility for yourself as an adult, even if life is still shit, at least it’s your shit. As an adult you can make your own decisions. It’s never as hard as it is when you’re a teenager.

But of course, even when a person is all grown up and in charge of their own destiny, they can spiral down to feeling like there’s no way out. They have no other options and suicide is the only thing that makes sense. It’s not the case, and these people are clearly not in their right minds, lost to despair. It’s easy for us to say, “Never give up!” when we’re not the ones in the middle of the fight. But never stop reaching out. Sometimes people are failed by their friends or family, sometimes by the system, even as they’re desperately trying to get help. Sometimes everyone is doing the best they can and suicide is still the only option people can see. There are no easy answers. But never stop reaching out. There are always people somewhere who care.

What we can do is be there, show we care, show the person that there are other options. We have to recognise that the issues and problems the person is dealing with are very real for them. And here’s where I plug a book, because it’s something I think can really help. A while ago I was asked to donate an original story to an anthology called Hope. The publisher lost her son to suicide when he was only 18. She decided to make this book to raise awareness about suicide and to raise money for suicide related charities, and that’s why I’m plugging it now. All the stories are speculative fiction, and all work towards a hopeful ending. In between each story throughout the book are articles and information about suicide and suicide awareness – how to spot suicidal people who might be experts at hiding their distress, things you can do to help them and resources where you can get help.

Here are some of the things I learned from the book:

Approximately 1 million people die by suicide each year worldwide.

In 2006 there were 1,799 suicides recorded in Australia (a country of only 20 million people).

In 2008, 24% of all male deaths aged 15 to 24 were by suicide.

A person doesn’t need to have a mental illness to be suicidal.

The book has lists of causes for suicide, warning signs to look out for, how to help friends, myths and facts and more. There are essays from Beyondblue, Dr Myfanwy Maple and Mr Warren Bartik from the University of New England. All of this set between a great selection of stories by some excellent authors. I’m very proud to be a part of this book, because I think it really can help.

There’s a lot we can do about suicide, if we learn about it. There are lots of ways to learn more. You don’t have to buy the Hope anthology, of course, though it is a very good resource and all the profits from it go to suicide awareness. There are plenty of other resources out there. Below I’ll list some Australian places. Wherever you are, there will be similar organisations you can find, whether you have thoughts of suicide yourself or you’re concerned about someone else. Don’t just let it go and think it will all be okay. It very well might not be.

In Australia:

Beyondblue infoline – 1300 224 636

Kids Helpline – 1800 551 800

Lifeline – 13 11 14

Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467

You can buy the Hope anthology (edited by Sasha Beattie) directly from the publisher, Kayelle Press, or from Amazon or any other good book store. It’s available in print or ebook.

Suicide is very real and it’s horrible. There are things we can do about it.


Stories like buses

September 24, 2012

I’m very pleased to say that I’ve just sold my short story, Crossroads & Carousels, to The Red Penny Papers. It’ll be out in October in their fall issue, and available online from here: If they sound familiar, they should. Apart from the fact that they’re awesome, they also published my supernatural noir novella, The Darkest Shade Of Grey, which is still available online or in all ebook formats. Click the cover in the sidebar for more details on that.

It’s been a funny old year for me with publications. I’ve had two gluts of releases with an arid desert of nothing in between. Between February and April this year I had five original stories published and one reprint. Obviously, those things were written and sold across a wide spread of time. The wait from sale to publication can vary massively. For example, I’ve sold a story that has taken more than a year to see publication, and sold another story months later that hit print within weeks. Publishers and editors all work to a wide variety of schedules. It usually means that things come out spread neatly across the year, but not in 2012. After one rush of publications in February, March and April, nothing of mine has seen print (or pixel) since.

Until now, where I’ve got three things coming out within a few weeks of each other. My depression-era story based on the Tiny Dancer lyric, “Jesus freaks, out in the street”, which is part of the Shadows At The Stage Door anthology, is being launched at Conflux this weekend (be there – a post about that is forthcoming).

Then my story, Cephalopoda Obsessia, is coming out in the Bloodstones anthology in time for Halloween. It’s a great line-up in that book, so I’m excited to read it.

And now Crossroads & Carousels is coming out in The Red Penny Papers Fall edition, due around the end of October. I’m really pleased this story has a home. I’ve always wanted to write a Devil-at-the-crossroads tale, and this is it. I’ve also combined that idea with an homage to one of my favourite songs, so I think I’m pretty clever and you can’t tell me otherwise, so shut up.

Publications like buses, nothing for ages, then three come along at once.


From Stage Door Shadows

September 3, 2012

I’m very pleased to have a story in this anthology, which is launching very soon. It’s a cool concept, from editor Jodi Cleghorn. She puts together these Literary Mix Tapes anthologies, which are all heavily based on music. In this case, each contributing author got a line from the Elton John song “Tiny Dancer”. Short speculative fiction stories were written using those lines as a prompt.

My story is called “Fear Is The Sin” based on the song lyric, “Jesus freaks, out in the street.” Here’s the full blurb:

Editor: Jodi Cleghorn
Original Artwork: Blake Byrnes
Cover Design: eMergent Publishing
ISBN: 978-­0-­9871126-­8-­2 (paperback)
978‐0‐9871126‐9-‐9 (eBook)

Twenty-­six authors trade Tiny Dancer’s California-­blessed lyrics for the shadowed recesses of stages large and small in From Stage Door Shadows, a speculative fiction homage to the darkness just beyond the limelight of the entertainment industry.

The stories re‐introduce the women Benny Taupin wrote about and Elton John sang about: blue jean baby, LA lady, the band’s seamstress, the music man’s wife and the girl dancing in the sand, along with a stellar cast of musicians, singers, thespians, fans, managers, dancers, DJs, magicians, talent show contestants, stars and has-­beens.

From vaudeville to opera, piano bar and street corner, hotel suite and beauty pageant, From Stage Door Shadows is a backstage pass to where dreams of fame, fortune and fulfillment live and die in a heartbeat.

Here’s the full ToC:

Rites of Spring  – Graham Storrs

Torch song – Andrew J. McKiernan

Fear is the Sin Alan Baxter

Candentia Clive Martyn

Luminaire Joanne Anderton

House of the Cantomancer Jennifer Muirhead

White Poppy Serenade S.G. Larner

Time Signature Melanie Saward

Tiny Dancer Emma Kerry

Sing to Me Laura Meyer

Discovering the Gift – Len Lambert

Indigo Jodi Cleghorn

The Last Illusion – Rus VanWestervelt

Dancing in the Sand Rebecca L. Dobbie

A Perfect Evening Sam Adamson

My Moment Theresa Milstein

Music Box Laura Eno

Open Audition Devin Watson

A Living Doll Monica Marier

The Last of the Undead Beats Daniel Wynne

The Gods Are Just Janette Dalgliesh

The Music Man Lisamarie Lamb

The Colour of Blood Cath Barton

Velvet J.M. Donellan

The Twilight Dream Tom Dullemond

Muted Jessica Bell

The official launch will be at Smith’s Alternate Bookstore in Canberra on Saturday 29th September, as part of Conflux 8. I’ll be there for the launch, so come along and join in the fun if you can.


A Killer Among Demons from Dark Prints Press

August 25, 2012

I’m very happy to announce that my short horror/crime story, The Beat Of A Pale Wing, has been accepted by editor, Craig Bezant, for his anthology, A Killer Among Demons, to be published by Dark Prints Press around April 2013.

From the website: A Killer Among Demons aims to encapsulate the deep, intriguing, and twisted tales that arise from the wonderful combination of paranormal/supernatural crime.

I’m very happy to be in this book and trust Craig to put together an excellent selection of yarns. I’ll post more information about it as I learn more. Now please excuse me while I Snoopy dance.


Anywhere But Earth now available direct from the publisher

August 11, 2012

You’ll remember me talking a lot about this book when it was published. I’m very proud to have a story in it – my deep space horror story, Unexpected Launch. And personal bias notwithstanding, I think this is one of the best science fiction anthologies money can buy. It’s a huge book, 728 pages and around 30 stories of excellent science fiction. The range of style and subject included is mind-blowing. It’s great for sci-fi fans and it’s a brilliant introduction for people who don’t read much sci-fi. Editor, Keith Stevenson, has really done an amazing job with this volume.

It includes stories by luminaries such as Margo Lanagan, Sean McMullen, Richard Harland and Kim Westwood, and includes Robert Stephenson’s Aurealis Award winning short story Rains of La Strange.

Anyway, just buy a copy. Or two. You won’t regret it. And now you can buy the print or ebook edition directly from the publisher, Coeur De Lion. Go on, you won’t regret it.


Tales From The Top Shelf interview

August 8, 2012

Talie Helene has started a thing on her blog called Tales From The Top Shelf, an interview series looking at individual stories from The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy & Horror (Ticonderoga Publications), edited by Liz Gryzb and Talie Helene. Why? As Talie says:

…while you may correctly surmise that in the process of editing, I’ve read all the anthology stories over, and over, and over… there’s still a lot for me to learn about them! Because between what we bring as readers, and a writer’s intentions – that spooky space of story is mysterious and always open to interpretation.

I’m lucky enough to be first cab off the rank in this new series, talking about my story, The King’s Accord, which was reprinted in The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy & Horror 2010.

Talie asks some great questions, about the story itself and about the themes explored in the story, the nature of fantasy and horror as genres and much more. It’s a good piece – you can find the whole thing here. Check it out.


Bloodstones ToC announced, including my story, “Cephalopoda Obsessia”

July 3, 2012

I’m very pleased that I can finally announce this one. The ever brilliant Ticonderoga Publications has teamed up with award-winning editor, Amanda Pillar, to produce an anthology of myth inspired dark urban fantasy called Bloodstones.  The anthology is loaded with seventeen fantastic tales of monsters, gods, magic and so much more. It’s going to be an annual series, I think, and I’m very pleased to say that my story, Cephalopoda Obsessia, is going to be in this inaugural volume.

My story is the result of a daft Facebook conversation that occurred quite a while ago, about the psychic octopus, Paul. Remember him? He was the one predicting the football world cup results from his tank in Germany. If you want to know just what I did with that unusual character, you’ll have to get Bloodstones and read the story.

Bloodstones will be published in October 2012, in time for Halloween, and will be available in trade paperback and ebook formats.

Pre-orders for the anthology will be available shortly from Ticonderoga’s online shop at, and on release from internet bookstores such as Barnes and Noble, The Book Depository,, and anywhere good books are found.

And I have to say, I’m in some stellar company in the book. Ticonderoga today released the full Table of Contents. The 17 stories are:

  • Joanne Anderton, “Sanaa’s Army”
  • Alan Baxter, “Cephalopoda Obsessia”
  • Jenny Blackford, “A Moveable Feast”
  • Vivian Caethe, “Skin”
  • MD Curelas, “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes”
  • Thoraiya Dyer, “Surviving Film”
  • Dirk Flinthart, “The Bull in Winter”
  • Stephanie Gunn, “The Skin of the World”
  • Richard Harland, “A Mother’s Love”
  • Pete Kempshall, “Dead Inside”
  • Penny Love, “A Small Bad Thing”
  • Karen Maric, “Embracing the Invisible”
  • Christine Morgan, “Ferreau’s Curse”
  • Nicole Murphy, “Euryale”
  • Jessica Otis, “And the Dead Shall be Raised Incorruptible”
  • Dan Rabarts, “The Bone Plate”
  • Erin Underwood, “The Foam Born”

Behold the awesome. Can’t wait to read this one.


Launching Bread & Circuses

May 31, 2012

Further to my NatCon update post below, the cat is out of the bag that the reason I’m attending the launch of Felicity Dowker’s debut collection, Bread & Circuses, other than because she’s a very good friend of mine, is because I have the honour of actually launching the book. And that might be the longest opening sentence to a blog post I’ve ever written.

It really is an honour to launch this book and I just got myself a real, actual copy of the thing in the post this morning. Lookit, it’s lovely:

So Sunday 4 until 5pm in the Drummond Room at Continuum 8. Be there!

(I better work on my speech…)


Damnation & Dames in my sweaty paw

April 30, 2012

D&DLookit! I got my contributor copy of Damnation & Dames in the post today. It features the story I co-wrote with Felicity Dowker (who you may remember from such posts as the one right before this one). Our story is called Burning, Always Burning and I’m very proud of it. It’s my first published collaboration, and Felicity’s, so it’s a pleasure to not only feature in another Ticonderoga Publications book, but to share that feature with Felicity.

And remember me saying in the previous post about how Ticonderoga are producing some of the best books in Australia at the moment, with some of the best covers? Seriously, check that shit out. That’s another sweet-looking cover. Compared to a lot of stuff coming out these days you could be forgiven for thinking that covers are deemed unimportant and can therefore be bland and unimaginative. But not with Ticonderoga.

I can’t wait to read this book, with sixteen paranoirmal tales from a selection of great authors. It’s available now, from here.

Damnation and Dames (tpb)
[978-1-921857-03-4 ]

edited by Liz Grzyb & Amanda Pillar

The anthology brings you sixteen stories of murder and mayhem, monsters and mysterious femme fatales.

324 pages

  • 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 G. Ross – Hard Boiled



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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