New publications like buses

It’s a funny old game, this writing business. High highs and crushing lows. Hours of toil for seemingly no return, wondering why we bother, then something happens that reminds us exactly why we bother. And I don’t know if this is the case for other writers, but my career seems to always be a fluctuation of flood and drought. Right now, I’m very happy to say, it’s a bit of a flood.

I’ve been banging on about Dark Rite the last week or so, as that book has just been published. I won’t say more on that for now, other than to mention that at the time of writing it’s sitting at #39 in bestsellers for horror on Amazon. That’s great news, so thanks to all who bought a copy.

I’ve also had some excellent news in other areas too. In order of happenings, I’ve sold my contemporary fantasy story, Roll The Bones, to Crowded Magazine. Crowded is a new pro-paying magazine in Australia with a very funky idea on crowdsourcing its content. Do check it out whether you’re a reader (as it has some excellent content!) or a writer (pro rates!) That should be out around the middle of the year.

Secondly, I’ve sold my wild west ghost story, Not The Worst Of Sins, to Beneath Ceaseless Skies, due out around the northern autumn. I’m very excited about this one, as BCS is one of my favourite pro-zines and I’m really happy to get published there.

years-best-fantasy-and-horror-2012And, as if all that wasn’t enough, I can announce today that my story, Tiny Lives, originally published at the end of last year in Daily Science Fiction, has made the cut to be reprinted in the Year’s Best Australian Fantasy & Horror 2012, due out soon from Ticonderoga Publications.

See what I mean about a flood? It’s a flood of fucking awesome, is what it is. These are the times you have to remember when the slog is getting you down and the rejections are threatening to drown you. Hard work and perseverance pays off, as long as you have the pig-headed determination to never give up and to always work on improving your craft.

I’m sharing some amazing company in the 2012 Year’s Best. Here’s the full ToC:

  • 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 Apex Book Of World SF
  • 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

And look at that fantastic cover art! You can pre-order your copy of the Year’s Best here. In addition to the above incredible tales, the volume will include a review of 2012 and a list of highly recommended stories.

I’ll be sure to let you know when these publications come out.

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Dark Rite out now!

Dark RiteIt’s official! Dark Rite, the short horror novel/very long novella I co-wrote with David Wood, is available now! *trembles* You can find it in any ebook format you prefer, DRM-free, from Smashwords, or you can buy the Kindle or print edition from Amazon. Only $2.99 for the ebook and $7.99 for print. How can you possibly go wrong? It’ll be available in all the usual places soon, so watch your favourite store if you prefer to shop elsewhere. If you click on the cover image there, it’ll take you to a page of information about the book with direct buy buttons.

So it’s happy book day to myself and Dave. It’s always very exciting when a new book comes out, and I hope any of you horror fans out there enjoy it. Here’s a few responses we’ve had from early readers:

“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

“Wood and Baxter have taken on the classic black magic/cult conspiracy subgenre, chucked in a toxic mix of weirdness, creepshow chills and action, and created a tale that reads like a latter-day Hammer Horror thriller. Nice, dark fun.” – Robert Hood, author of Immaterial and Fragments of a Broken Land: Valarl Undead

That’s right – Greig Beck said it’s a bit like Stephen King and Graham Masterton. Holy shit, you guys! I think I’ll leave it at that. If you do buy a copy, I’d love to know what you think. You know where to find me.

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365 Shorts – 1st Quarter update

So, back on December 10th I posted this. In a nutshell, I set myself a challenge to read 365 short stories during 2013. And I expected to fail. Well, bizarrely, I’m actually ahead of schedule at the moment. I know, I’m as surprised as you are. You’re surprised, right?

Firstly, I should point out that I made a couple of small changes to the rules. Get fucked, it’s my game. I can make whatever rule changes I like. Basically, it occurred to me that if I set the challenge for all of 2013, the end would be at the busy Xmas/New Year time and might get lost or forgotten. So I decided to start my year on December 1st, 2012 and run till November 30th, 2013. As I’d just read a short story collection, it seemed fitting. So I started to record all my short fiction reading from then. I set up a document in Dropbox that I can access and edit in Documents To Go on my iPhone or iPad, or just edit directly from my laptop. That way, it’s easy to update the list wherever I am and whatever format I’m reading in (ebook, online, printed book, podcast, etc.)

Now is the end of February, which makes three months, or one quarter of the year down. I just did a quick calculation and I’ve read 153 stories so far. If I want to make 365 stories in a year, I need to average just over thirty stories a month, or about 93 stories every quarter. I’m leaps and bounds ahead of schedule at the moment. That does include a week’s holiday up in the Snowy Mountains, where I read almost nothing but short fiction, as I had two issues of Midnight Echo to catch up on, and a couple of anthologies. But even so, I’m taking it as an auspicious start. I have a pile of anthologies still to go in my reading pile, plus the usual selection of magazines (print and online) that I read, and regular podcast listening. At this stage, I’m quietly confident that I might succeed in my challenge. Of course, it could all turn to shit at any moment.

One thing that really helps is the awesome Daily Science Fiction. Not only because they published me at the end of last year (and no, I’m not including my own stories in the challenge!) but because every weekday they drop a new story in my inbox. I don’t read them all – if I get more than a day or two behind, I let the ones I’ve missed go, but I try to read them all. And it’s certainly helping my total.

Anyway, enough waffle. I’ve set up a page here, where I’ve listed all the stories I’ve read so far. I’ll update it either monthly or quarterly or whatever, and each time I do I’ll post here so you can keep up if you’re interested. Of course, it can fall apart at any time, so if you never hear about this again, don’t you dare remind me!

How about you? Are you playing along? How are your numbers so far?

365 Shorts 2012/13 – My reading so far.

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Emma Newman and Between Two Thorns

If you’re a regular here, the name Emma Newman probably rings some bells. It should, because she’s a mighty talented person and I’ve talked about her a bit. I was lucky enough to be asked by her publisher to pre-review and blurb her short fiction collection, From Dark Places. You can see that review here. I was also happy to host one of her Split Worlds stories here last year.

Well, now the Split Worlds has expanded into the first of a series of novels, published by Angry Robot Books, called Between Two Thorns. And the reason I’m talking about it now is because there’s a sweet little pre-order special offer happening.

Between Two Thorns is an urban fantasy novel. Here’s the blurb:

Something is wrong in Aquae Sulis, Bath’s secret mirror city.

The new season is starting and the Master of Ceremonies is missing. Max, an Arbiter of the Split Worlds Treaty, is assigned with the task of finding him with no one to help but a dislocated soul and a mad sorcerer.

There is a witness but his memories have been bound by magical chains only the enemy can break. A rebellious woman trying to escape her family may prove to be the ally Max needs.

But can she be trusted? And why does she want to give up eternal youth and the life of privilege she’s been born into?

Sound interesting? Well, here’s the offer:

Pre-order a copy of Between Two Thorns for a chance to win a great prize!

BetweenTwoThorns-COVER1-e1355137730189Pre-order a copy of Between Two Thorns and you’ll be entered into a prize draw. If you win, you’ll have a character named after you in All Is Fair – the third Split Worlds novel (released October 2013) – and a special mention at the end of the book.

You have to admit, that’s a pretty cool prize.

How to Enter

Pre-order a copy of the book from your favourite retailer (if you pre-order from Forbidden Planet you’ll get a signed copy).

If you order from Forbidden Planet or robottradingcompany.com (for ebooks) you don’t need to do anything else – Angry Robot will take care of your entry for you. If you pre-order from anywhere else you’ll need to email a copy of your order confirmation to: thorns AT angryrobotbooks.com and they’ll assign a number to you.

Here are links to all the places you can pre-order:

Forbidden Planet (signed paperback) http://forbiddenplanet.com/97907-between-two-thorns/

Angry Robot Trading company – for DRM-free ebook http://www.robottradingcompany.com/between-two-thorns-emma-newman.html

Amazon (paperback) UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/Between-Two-Thorns-Split-World/dp/0857663194/

US http://www.amazon.com/Between-Two-Thorns-Emma-Newman/dp/0857663208/

The Book depository (Worldwide free postage)

UK Edition http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/Between-Two-Thorns-Emma-Newman/9780857663191

US Edition (bigger) http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/Between-Two-Thorns-Emma-Newman/9780857663207

There are two UK launches and an international one using the magic of telephone conferencing. All the details are here: http://www.enewman.co.uk/real-world-adventures/between-two-thorns-launches-prizes-and-parties

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Urban Occult anthology available for pre-order, with special offer

UrbanOccultEbook-LoresMy story, A Time For Redemption, is included in this anthology of urban occult stories. It’s due for official release around the start of April, but the publisher, Anachron Press, is offering a special deal for the first 50 pre-orders that will see you getting more for your buck. Here are the deets:

Urban Occult Limited Pre-Order

Limited to 50.

Behind urban life, weird and horrific things fester.

The whispers and chills of things long gone… the promise of power from the darkness… the seduction of those that lie in the shadows… the occult is all around us: in town houses, in mansions, and in your very own street.

Editor Colin F. Barnes collected together fifteen stories by a cast of critically acclaimed authors from around the globe who look into the stygian gloom, explore the dark corners of our houses, and peer into the abyss of human temptation.

Featuring stories by: Gary McMahon, Ren Warom, Gary Fry, Mark West, K.T. Davies, Nerine Dorman, Alan Baxter, Adam Millard, Julie Travis, Jason Andrew, James Brogden, A.A Garrison, Jennifer Williams, Sarah Anne Langton, and Chris Barnham.

Special Pre-Order Edition Limited to 50.

This pre-order edition means you will get the book at least a week to two weeks ahead of general release and:

A FREE ebook version (for any eReader)

and A FREE ebook of Day of Demons. (eBooks will be emailed to you on the 4th of March).

Just £9.99 (+£2.99 shipping anywhere in the world).

Pre-Order here: http://www.anachronpress.com/product/anthologies/urban-occult-limited-pre-order/

That’s a pretty sweet deal for just thirteen of your moneypounds. Hop to it.

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