Last chance to win a signed copy of RealmShift

December 28, 2010

Well, the last chance for now, at least. This is just a quick reminder that Book Lover’s Club on Facebook is featuring RealmShift at the moment and they’re running a contest to win a signed copy. Head over to their page here, click the Like button and leave a comment where you see the contest mentioned.

Tell your friends!


Christmas shopping solved by SpecFaction NSW

November 17, 2010

specfaction logo1 Christmas shopping solved by SpecFaction NSWThanks to the amazing generosity of many people within our local speculative fiction community – SpecFaction NSW are hosting a fundraising Ebay auction.

You can bid on an original print from Scott Westerfield’s Leviathan or a bundle of autographed fantasy, science fiction or horror novels from a huge list of Aussie authors including: Sara Douglass, Ian Irvine, Sean Williams and Shane Dix, Traci Harding, Karen Miller, Stephen Irwin, Nathan Burrage, Richard Harland, Marianne De Pierres, Angela Slatter, Kate Forsyth, Isabel Merlin, Sophie Masson, Jack Dann, Kaaron Warren, Shane Jiraiya Cummings and Kirstyn McDermott.

The autographed books are being auctioned off in five book-bundles. For a complete description of the contents of each bundle or to bid on one of these great items refer to the list of Ebay item numbers below and make sure you place our bid between 16 and 25 November, 2010.

You can view all the items on auction at the SpecFaction eBay auction page or click on the item number links below to go to specific items.

Signed short story collections including an unpublished story by Sean Williams (Item Number: 200542551759)
New and signed fantasy novels (Item Number: 200542236233)
New and signed fantasy novels for all ages (Item Number: 200542554272)
New and signed science fiction novels (Item Number: 200542552834)
New and signed dark fantasy, horror, and historical novels (Item Number: 200542556121)
Print from Scott Westerfeld’s novel Leviathan, signed by the artist (Item Number: 200542561373)

The auction is being held by SpecFaction NSW Inc., hosts of the 2010 Aurealis Awards. Funds raised will go towards holding the awards night and helping create a range of NSW based events and activities for readers and writers of speculative fiction. SpecFaction NSW is a not for profit group.

For more information on the 2010 Aurealis Awards go to


House Of Horror Duel anthology now available

October 8, 2010

You may remember that earlier this year I was part of a horror writers duel over at House Of Horror, a UK based webzine. The premise was simple – two writers are given a theme and just a few days to write a 1,500 word story. Then those stories are published on the site and the site visitors vote for their favourite. The winner goes through to the next round to write again.

I was invited to take part won my first round. Unfortunately I had to pull out the following week and couldn’t defend till the end, so I only had the one story in. And no, I didn’t pull out because I was scared. My wife had a horse riding accident and ended up in hospital for a few days, so I was unable to write in the timeframe.

Anyway, all those duelling rounds have now been collected into an anthology and you can get it here. If you mention my name in your order, I’ll get an extra royalty. Which is nice. Scroll down to The Duel – Can You Defeat Death?, which is currently the third book down the list, if you’re interested. (Or, if you just want to read my yarn, that’s available right here.)


BOFF and a free book

August 18, 2010

If you’re a regular around here you’ll know that I periodically post a bit of free fiction under the Friday Flash banner. Friday Flash is the brainchild of J M Strother. His idea was that every friday people post a piece of flash fiction (1,000 words or less) on their websites and share said fiction with others via the #fridayflash hashtag on Twitter. It grew very popular and now J M has an engine on his site that collates all the stories every week and it’s become quite the fiction movement. So much so that there’s now a Best Of volume – BOFF, or Best Of Friday Flash Vol. 1, is available now as an ebook with a trade paperback coming soon.

I certainly don’t post every week, but one of my stories was lucky enough to be selected for inclusion in this first Best Of. As a promotion for the launch of the book, you can win a free copy along with a free copy of another novel, just by commenting on J M’s blog. The other novel might be Strange New Feet, by Shannon Esposito, Prophecy Moon by Laura Eno or RealmShift, by little old me. Two free books, just for making a comment. You can’t say fairer than that.

Get over to J M’s site now to enter and learn more about the BOFF while you’re there.

The full Table of Contents for the collection can be found here.

BOFF Cover BOFF and a free book

Become a Shambler to win a zombie prize pack

August 16, 2010

UncleSamZombie Become a Shambler to win a zombie prize packNecroscope is the zombie-specific sub-blog of Horrorscope, the Australian Dark Fiction blog, described thusly:

NecroScope is the official zombie review subsite of Horrorscope (the award-winning news and literary criticism zine dedicated to dark fiction). Necroscope deals specifically with all things related to zombies, revenants, and the walking dead, whether in fiction, non-fiction, cinema, comics, games, or any other media, and regardless of origin or variety (supernatural or viral, Voodoo or Romero).

At the moment, Necroscope is having a subscription drive. Become a Shambler (a Necroscope follower) and go into the draw to win a prize-pack of zombie-related goodies:

* A copy of the novel State of Decay, by James Knapp (Roc, 2010).
* A copy of Feed, by Mira Grant (Orbit, 2010).
* A copy of Dead or Alive, by William Harms (Absolute Tyrant, 2010).
* One copy each of Black House Comics’ After the World: Killable Hours (Clay Blakehills) and After the World: Gravesend (Jason Fischer).
* A copy of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Zombie Jim, by Mark Twain and W. Bill Czolgosz (Coscom Entertainment, 2009).
* A copy of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Zombies, by Nathan Robert Brown (Penguin Books, 2010).
* A copy of the comic George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead: The Beginning, Issue #1 (Avatar Press, 2006).

Now that is quite the prize pack you lovers of the shambling dead. Get over to the official site to follow and earn a place in the draw.


Write a haiku, win a zombie novella

August 13, 2010

I’m prepared to bet that the above title has never been seen by humans before. And it takes a dude like Jason Fischer to make that happen. Jason is a good friend of mine, a top notch writer, a Writers Of The Future winner, no less, and a master of puns. His novella, Gravesend, published by Black House Comics, is available now. It’s an installment in After the World – a new ongoing series, each issue a new story set in a world where the dead don’t take no for an answer.

Gravesend is in newsagents now, but you can win a copy simply by penning a haiku. Jason is running this contest on his site and the rules are very simple:

To enter, simply compose a haiku – the only catch is it must be zombie or apocalypse themed. Post your haiku in this comments thread (either at or on the LJ feed, it’s all good). As long as you meet the 5-7-5 rule, I’m not too fussed if you mention a seasonal reference – though if you mention winter and brains, it will earn you bonus points.

Go to Jason’s site here to enter. (This contest is only open to Aussie residents). I’ve entered. Will you?

Gravesend Banner 2 Write a haiku, win a zombie novella

Writers Of The Future Honourable Mention

June 28, 2010

For the first time ever I entered a story in the Writers Of The Future competition. The thing takes a fair while to turn around, with entries going into a quarterly judging period. Winners of each quarter battle it out at the end of the year.

My first effort just scored me an Honourable Mention for this year’s 2nd Quarter, so I’m pretty happy with that. I wonder if that’ll help me sell the story somewhere else now?


Pushed Too Far on Dark Shorts

May 21, 2010

My duel winning story from House Of Horror has been added to the Dark Shorts page. Use the button on the left or this is a direct link to the story.

It’s a little under 1,500 words and Friday Flash stuff is supposed to be 1,000 words or less, but I thought I’d mention this in Friday Flash circles anyway, for those of you interested to have a read. I hope you enjoy it.


House Of Horror short story duel now up

May 11, 2010

You may remember a few days ago I blogged about suddenly having a deadline to write a 1,500 word story for a writer duel over at House Of Horror.

The theme was “something written on a tombstone”. I put together my story, my opponent has written his and now they’re both up for the voting public to read and decide which is best. It looks like you need to leave an email address and a comment as your vote, presumably something along the lines of “I like Pushed Too Far by Alan Baxter best!” Assuming, that is, that you do prefer my story.

Follow this link to the House Of Horror website and scroll down to Let The Duel Begin. Click that and there you’ll find a text box with both stories and under that the two fields for you to place your vote. I’d love to get your votes, but if you can’t be bothered, that’s fine – go and read the story anyway. You can always comment here and let me know what you thought of it. Or just have a read and don’t worry about commenting anywhere. Or don’t even bother to read it. See how many options are open? Incidentally, the site in question has embedded sound effects which can be a bit annoying, so hit the mute button before you click on the link to avoid those.

If you do read my story, I hope you like it.


Interview with Kate Forsyth

February 15, 2010

the puzzle ring Interview with Kate ForsythKate Forsyth’s new young adult fantasy novel, The Puzzle Ring, is a story rich in faerie lore, set in the wilds of Scotland. You can read my review of the book here. As part of her blog tour, I talked to Kate about the book, the process of writing it and her hopes for it.

AB – Hi Kate. Thanks for dropping by to talk about The Puzzle Ring.

KF – Hi, Alan. Thank you so much for having me!

AB – Firstly, the descriptions of Scotland are very vivid. I’ve spent a lot of time there myself and was utterly convinced by your storytelling. What sort of connection to Scotland do you have, if any?

KF – My grandmother’s grandmother Ellen Mackenzie emigrated to Australia when she was only a young girl. It’s a really sad story. She and her sister lived in a grand house on the Black Isle in the Scottish Highlands with their parents, but her father was drowned in a dreadful storm and her mother died a few days later (we think whilst in child birth, her baby dying with her). Ellen and her sister Jane were sent to Australia by their uncle, who inherited the estate (we always thought he’d done it illegally, but sadly I think girls were not permitted to inherit under the law of the day). Ellen Mackenzie was a grand storyteller who used to tell her children lots of stories about Scotland, which in time came to be told to my sister and me. We knew more about Scotland than we did about Australia! It began a lifelong fascination with all things Scottish, which I was able to draw upon in writing this story. I went to Scotland with my husband and my three children and stayed there for a month, visiting all the places described in the book.

AB – You clearly did a lot of research into faerie mythology for this story. Was that difficult or a labour of love?

KF – Oh, absolutely a labour of love. I really do enjoy researching, I think it helps you make all sorts of serendipitous discoveries (like Mary, Queen of Scots giving her husband Lord Darnley a ring just hours before he was murdered).

AB – Is faerie mythology something you’ve been interested in since you were a girl? Was it exciting or disappointing to learn that faeries are not the nice little sparkly things at the bottom of the garden after all?

KF – I’ve always been interested in fairy lore, and of course it is woven into many of my books in one shape or another. I used to search for fairies in the bottom of my garden when I was a little girl – in fact I wrote them lots of letters begging them to show themselves to me. However, I also used to look for a doorway into Narnia in the back of wardrobes. What was disappointing was never finding that doorway, and never seeing a fairy for myself. I’m still looking.

AB – Yeah, me too! Don’t give up. You also use the actual history of Mary, Queen Of Scots, to great effect. Which came first, the desire to write a story around Mary, or the story of Hannah herself?

KF – The puzzle ring came first. I read about the history of puzzle rings in a jewellery catalogue and thought at once what a wonderful idea it would make for a quest story. I had it in the back of my mind for a long time, wondering to myself ‘but WHO would search for a puzzle ring and WHY?’ Then I discovered ‘The Book of Curses’ (that is its actual title!) in a second-hand book shop. I say down on a stool and opened it, and the pages fell open on a chapter on a famous Scottish curse, called the Seaforth Doom. I read that chapter, sitting there in the gloomy, cobwebby old shop, and at once thought, ‘Yes! A curse … I could write a book about a girl who must search for the lost puzzle ring because it’s the only way to break a curse!’ I at once began to develop the story in my mind. In the story of the Seaforth Doom, a warlock called Kenneth casts the curse on the Mackenzies of Seaforth (my own clan!) which takes another few hundred years to come to pass. He had a magical hag-stone which enables him to see things no-one else can see. That first made me think about setting the story in Scotland, though I did play with other ideas for a while. There are lots of ancient curses in Scotland, though, and the richest fairy lore in the world, and so I ended up deciding to set the story there. It took me a while longer to settle on Mary, Queen of Scots – I played around with the idea of having each loop of the puzzle ring in a different period of Scottish history for a while, but I prefer to write in long sustained narrative, rather than lots of short stories. Gradually I circled in on Queen Mary, and then on a period of six months in her tumultuous life. Once I had my story planned, the writing came very easily to me, it’s almost as if it wrote itself.

AB – This certainly seems like a book targeted at a young adult audience, particularly girls. Was that the intention? What are your thoughts generally on fiction for young folk?

KF – I always know exactly who I’m writing for when I’m writing a book. I tried to write the sort of book I would have loved to have read when I was 11 or 12. That is one of my favourite age groups to write for, because they are old enough to have a sophisticated story told in sophisticated language, but young enough still to willingly suspend disbelief. I remember vividly the books I read at this age, and I believe they helped shape me into the person I am now. I want to write the sort of books that children will carry with them forever after.

AB – I think you’ve certainly achieved that with The Puzzle Ring. Are we likely to see any other stories about Hannah and her friends?

KF – I have an idea for a sequel that I’d like to write one day. I’m working on another story now, though, so it might be awhile.

AB – So what’s next on the agenda from you?

KF – I’m just proofreading a YA fantasy that is due to be published in May. Called ‘The Wildkin’s Curse’ it is the sequel to my earlier YA fantasy, ‘The Starthorn Tree’. And I’m about one-third of the way through writing the third in the series, to be called ‘The Starkin Crown’.

AB – Great, I’m sure there’s a lot of folks out there looking forward to those. Thanks, Kate!


This interview and my review of The Puzzle Ring are part of Kate’s Blog Book Tour. You can see the previous stop on the tour at The Book Bug and the next stop will be at I Want To Read That tomorrow.

If you’d like to win a copy of The Puzzle Ring, leave a comment on this post with your thoughts about the book, the review, the interview or anything else. We’ll pick a random winner from all the people that comment.



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. Misanthrope. Learn more about me and my work by clicking About Alan just below the header.

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