Go one-on-one with me

Those wonderful people at HarperVoyager, publishers of the Alex Caine series, have organised this pretty sweet arrangement. It’s a chance to win a meet-up with me where we can talk about writing, kung fu, dark fantasy and horror or anything you like. Except eggplant. I don’t like eggplant. Click on the image to the left for some details or read on below.

Here’s the official blurb for the comp:

#WIN a one-on-one session with author Alan Baxter! Learn about his writing, the kung fu that inspired Alex Caine and take away a copy of the new book, Abduction (http://bit.ly/1r82daV).

To enter, tell us who you would save from abduction and why!
Sorry Australian residents only.

Leave your entry as a comment on the Voyager Facebook page here.

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Photoshop Bound giveaway winners

So I stole this idea from Mark Lawrence and asked people to photoshop the cover of Bound into whacky pictures, just for a laugh. I was going to pick a winner. Then I couldn’t decide and asked people to go the Facebook album where I put all the pics and Like their favourites. Then I decided to reward the top three, which turned out to be four due to a tie! So I’ll be sending out four signed copies this week.

Here are the results:

Geoff Brown’s entry was a clear winner with 27 Likes (plus it panders beautifully to my ego.)

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Also:

David Wood with 11 Likes (you sick fuckers, all o’ya!)

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And joint third:

Voytek Zochowski and Josh Connolly with 7 Likes each. And come on, Bruce Lee and CoD Predator? Top work.

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Click on each image for  larger version. Those Likes might change, but that’s how they stood at 11pm Sunday when I decided to call it.

I’ll contact the winners privately for address details. Congrats all, and thanks to everyone who entered. What a lot of fun that was!

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Photoshop competition for a signed copy of Bound

I saw this done by Mark Lawrence on Facebook and I’m shamelessly stealing it because it’s a very cool concept. The idea is that you photoshop my book into another image and link me to your work of art. The one I like (or perhaps the one that disturbs me) the most, gets a signed copy of Bound. Even though the book is only out in the Australia and New Zealand region this week, I’ll send the comp winner anywhere in the world, so you could score the book long before it’s available in your area.

The cover images are below. Click on them for a higher res version, then right click and save as, and let your creativity fly. You don’t have to be a dab hand at photoshop either – I don’t care about your technical skills so much as the idea. Dodgy graphic art can be hilarious. Impress, amuse or disturb me and you could score the book. Think things like King Kong reading a copy of Bound atop the Empire State Building, or Batman with a copy in the Batmobile or Bound as the Necronomicon or… or… the possibilities are endless. Get surreal, get nightmarish, get weird. When you’ve made your image, you can post a link to it in the comments here, or post it on my Facebook page here, or Tweet it to me here. I’ll start a gallery of entries on my Facebook page and pick a winner at some future point not too far from now.

EDIT: Some entries are coming in and they’re very cool. I’ve started to collect them in an album on my Facebook page here.

Here are the images – have at it!

Front cover:

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Full cover:

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3D book mockup:

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Midnight Echo 10, featuring me. Twice.

Well, this is a first for me and one that requires double Snoopy dancing. You all know by now how much a fan I am of Midnight Echo magazine. It’s the official magazine of the Australian Horror Writer’s Association and one of the classiest glossy mags on the market. And available in digital format too, of course. I was very proud to have a story in issue 6, the sci-fi/horror special, and in issue 9, the myths and legends special. Now, I couldn’t be happier to say that I’m going to be in issue 10 as well, with two stories. I’m calling that a personal best and giving myself a special Achievement badge.

It’s a funny old path to publication. I entered the AHWA Short Story competition way back when it was opened and thought nothing more of it. These things take ages to be judged usually. While the judging was going on, guest editor Craig Bezant opened for submissions for issue 10 of Midnight Echo, which has a ghost story theme. So I submitted a story for that.

A little while later, the results of the AHWA Short Story comp were announced and my story had won (in a tie with Zena Shapter). We learned that, as part of the prize, our winning stories would see paid publications in Midnight Echo 10. Then, a month or two later, I got word from Craig Bezant that he liked my story and was going to buy it for Midnight Echo 10. So all of a sudden, I have two stories due out in the same mag. And now the full Table of Contents for issue 10 has been announced and there’s my name, listed twice. Seriously, what a singular honour that is. Here, check out the full ToC – it’s pretty amazing:

Midnight Echo 10 Table of Contents:

Cover art by Vincent Chong
Interior art by Mel Gannon and Greg Chapman

Literature
Lunch by Joseph A. Pinto
Crybaby Bridge #25 by Gary A. Braunbeck
Stillegeist by Martin Livings
I Want to Go Home by A.J. Brown
Tourist Trap by Richard Farren Barber
Blood and Bone by Robert Mammone
Exposure Compensation by Alan Baxter
Stinson Way: A Southern Gothic by Jacob Lambert
A Little Peace by Rebecca Fung
Mother’s House by Greg Chapman

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

Special Features
An interview with Victor Miller
AHWA Short Story and Flash Fiction Competition winners –
It’s Always the Children Who Suffer by Alan Baxter
Darker by Zena Shapter
Moonlight Sonata by Tim Hawken

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 #5 – Andrew McKiernan (column)
Celluloid Nightmares – Mark Smith-Briggs
Sinister Reads (all the latest releases from AHWA members)

And on top of all that, the cover art will be done by Vincent Chong. That makes me very happy, as Vincent’s artwork is amazing. He did the cover of the anthology A Killer Among Demons, also edited by Craig Bezant, published by Craig’s outfit, Dark Prints Press. You’ll have heard me talk about that book, as it has my story, The Beat of a Pale Wing, in it. And I’ve mentioned before that I think that anthology is one of the best produced in recent years (even if it does feature me!)

So really, this is just tremendous news all around. You can pre-order the limited print edition of Midnight Echo 10 here now. The mag is due for release on November 30th and we’ll have a cover reveal before then.

*Snoopy dance*

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I won the AHWA Short Story competition!

snoopy-danceWell, I actually co-won in a dead heat with Zena Shapter. The Australian Horror Writers’ Association (AHWA) runs a competition every year for both short stories (1,000 to 8,000 words) and flash fiction (up to 1,000 words). You may remember that last year I was a judge along with Felicity Dowker and Jason Fischer. I thought I should really enter the competition that is run by the association I’m a member of and that I’ve judged in the past, so this year I entered both the short story and flash categories. I couldn’t be happier that my story, It’s Always the Children Who Suffer, was picked as a joint winner with Zena’s story, Darker. I also scored an Honourable Mention in the Flash category. Pretty bloody good all around!

Here are all the winners and HMs:

SHORT STORY WINNERS:
Alan Baxter, “It’s Always the Children Who Suffer”
Zena Shapter, “Darker”

SHORT STORY HONOURABLE MENTIONS (in no particular order):
Cassandra Newman, “Divorce Granted”
Ron Schroer, “Lustbader”
Shaun Taylor, “Open Windows, Closed Doors”
Noel Osualdini, “Skin”
Sam Howard, “Wee Willie Winkie”

FLASH FICTION WINNER:
Tim Hawken, “Moonlight Sonata”

FLASH FICTION HONOURABLE MENTIONS (in no particular order):
Noel Osualdini, “Night Escape”
Mark Farrugia, “Palatable”
Mike Pieloor, “The Itch”
Alan Baxter, “Under a Wing and a Prayer”

Martin Livings, the competition manager, did a great job. The comp is judged blind, so all stories go to Martin first and he strips them of all identifying marks so the judges get nothing but a story and judge each one on merit alone. Martin also figured out some stats on the competition. The stat I was most pleased to see was the Entries by Gender one. In a field so historically dominated by male writers, it was great to see not only a joint decision with a man and a woman picked as the short story winners, but according to Martin’s stats, entries were split male/female as 58% / 42%. That’s not bad and it’s great to see. Australia has a fantastic tradition of women horror writers (Kaaron Warren, Angela Slatter, Joanne Anderton, Felicity Dowker, et al), and it’s great to see that reflected in stats like these.

Lastly, I want to thank my four year old niece, Malina Cootes. We all know that kids come out with the weirdest shit, and my winning story was inspired by something Malina said, as reported to me by her mum. She woke up one night, very upset from a nightmare. When her mum went to comfort her, Malina said, “There’s a dream in my bed!”

And a story was born. And it won the AHWA Short Story competition. Thanks, Malina!

The three winning stories will be published in a future issue of Midnight Echo magazine, so I’ll be sure to let you know when that’s out.

Now excuse me while I Snoopy Dance.

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