Fantasy

Tuesday Toot – Jo Anderton

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November 20, 2012

Tuesday Toot is a semi-regular feature here. An invite-only series of short posts where writers, editors, booksellers and other creatives have been asked to share their stuff and toot their own horn. It’s hard to be seen in the digital morass and hopefully this occasional segment will help some of the quality stuff out there get noticed. It should all be things that regular readers here will find edifying.

This time, it’s Jo Anderton. Take it away, Jo!

Jo Anderton photo Tuesday Toot   Jo AndertonWho is Jo?

Apparently, Jo Anderton looks quite normal from the outside. But don’t let this fool you, because she’s actually a writer, and you know what they’re like. Even worse, she writes science fiction, fantasy, and horror. You should feel sorry for her characters.

Jo’s had a few short stories published here and there, most recently in Light Touch Paper, Stand Clear and Epilogue. She won the Australian Horror Writer’s Association short story competition in 2012. Her short fiction has been shortlisted for a couple of Aurealis Awards, and the WSFA small press award. Her first novel, Debris, was published by Angry Robot Books in 2011. It was shortlisted for an Aurealis Award and a Ditmar. Jo won the Ditmar for Best New Talent.

Whenever she’s not torturing characters and cackling manically to herself, Jo works as a marketing co-ordinator for an Australian book distributor. She lives in Sydney with her husband and too many pets.

suited Tuesday Toot   Jo AndertonWhat are you tooting about?

Suited, the sequel to Debris! This series is set in a world of industrialised magic, where most people can see and manipulate semi-sentient, subatomic particles called pions. Pions can be used to rearrange matter, and the stronger you are or the more people you have working with them, the greater the effects. So you have enormous cities full of impossible, majestic buildings, all powered by massive pion-binding factories. But this comes at a cost. Pion manipulation creates debris — a waste product that destabilises pion bonds. As you can imagine, this could be terribly dangerous for a world built on pions. Most people can’t even see debris, so the ones who do are conscripted by the state to clean it up. Really, they’re nothing more than glorified garbage collectors, over worked, poorly paid and definitely underappreciated.

In Debris we met Tanyana. She starts off as a powerful and wealthy pion binder. But a terrible accident leaves her scarred, and her pion sight gone, replaced with an ability to see debris instead. She’s forced to become a debris collector, with a suit of living metal drilled into her very bones, her income slashed and her life in ruins. The first book is about Tanyana struggling to come to terms with her new identity… but nothing is what it seems. The accident that ruined her might not have been an accident at all. In fact, debris itself might not be the waste product everyone thinks it is. It might be something much more important.

Suited follows straight on from where Debris left off. Tanyana deals with the consequences of the choices she’s made, the alliances formed and the enemies she’s well and truly pissed off. But the hardest battle is within herself.

These books are a little bit science fiction and a little bit fantasy, with influences from anime and video games. I’ve loved writing these books, and I hope readers enjoy them too!

You can find Jo online here.

I should post a caveat here, as Jo is a very good friend of mine, but I can also vouch for the fact that her writing is awesome and her books are well worth the read. I loved them and can’t wait for the third book in the trilogy. If there’s any doubt about her talent, look at it this way – she was nominated for the 2011 Ditmar Award for Best New Talent, and I was nominated for the same award. Jo won it and I couldn’t be happier for her, because she totally deserved that win. (I mean, sure, I wish I’d won a Ditmar, but Jo totally deserved it.) So, go and buy her books. You won’t regret it.

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My work is recommended reading

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November 9, 2012

 My work is recommended readingLook at that lovely cover. That’s the latest Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror (2011) from Ticonderoga Publications. It’s a lovely book with 32 awesome stories in it. Sadly, none of mine made the book this year. My story The King’s Accord was reprinted in last year’s Year’s Best, which I’m still very chuffed about. But I have just discovered that no less than five of my stories published in 2011 made the Recommended Reading List in this latest edition. Five of ‘em! Fuck me, can’t complain about that.

So, as they’re recommended reading, I thought I’d help people find them, in order to read them. As recommended. They were published in a variety of anthologies, a podcast (now in print too) and one in a magazine, but you can still find them all easily enough. So here they are:

Dream Shadow – This is an urban horror story, first published in the Winds Of Change anthology from CSfG Publications. You can get a copy of that book here (use the Contact Us page to order a copy).

The Seven Garages Of Kevin Simpson – This was a podcast original, on Pseudopod, episode 242. You can still listen to it there for free. It was also just reprinted in Dark Places 2, the e-anthology from Gryphonwood Press, and you can get that for just 99c right here.

Duty And Sacrifice – This is a fantasy story I wrote for the Hope anthology, published by Kayelle Press. This is a really important book, with lots of great stories and information about suicide and suicide awareness. All profits of the book go to relevant charities. I wrote a big post all about that stuff here. You can get this great anthology here.

Mirrorwalk – This is a dark urban fantasy/horror story that was originally published in issue 16 of Murky Depths magazine. You can still get a copy of that from here.

Punishment of the Sun – This is a vampire horror story, written for the Australian vampire anthology Dead Red Heart, from Ticongeroga Publications. This story also made the recommended reading list in Ellen Datlow’s Year’s Best Horror 4. Dead Red Heart is a great big book of vampire yarns, with some real crackers among them. You can get your copy of that book here.

Of course, all these great books and magazines are also available from Amazon, B&N, etc. or you can order them through your local bookstore or library. So hopefully that will help you find some stuff that editors extraordinaire Talie Helene and Liz Grzyb recommend. And you know what else is recommended reading? The whole Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror 2011. Go get it here. Seriously.

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Urban Fantasy, or is it?

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November 9, 2012

I’ve got this guest post up at S F Signal at the moment:

Genre definitions are always very slippery things. I was recently asked by the wonderful folks here at SF Signal to take part in a Mind Meld. It was a pleasure, as I’ve always enjoyed reading those thought-provoking posts. The subject we discussed was The Intersection Between Gothic Horror and Urban Fantasy and the subsequent answers really gave me pause for thought.

The concept of the question, based on this year’s World Fantasy Convention theme of “Northern Gothic and Urban Fantasy”, is that Urban Fantasy represents the new Gothic; castles and haunted locations have been replaced by the Modern City. There was a lot of variation in the responses and I realised it was largely due to the definition of urban fantasy being considered. Many people didn’t think there was a connection between gothic and urban fantasy, which really surprised me. Among those who thought urban fantasy might well be born from gothic horror, there was an implication that it’s somehow lighter in tone, or that it needs to have a romantic element or female lead to be urban fantasy. Are any of those things true?

It’s not news to anyone that urban fantasy is regularly used to refer to that branch of modern paranormal romance where there’s not necessarily a happy ending (whereas, to be a romance, the lead couple have to get together in the end). I’ll explore the romance aspects below. But to me, especially in the context of the Mind Meld question posed, urban fantasy is a far broader term. It’s in the broader context of the genre definition that I answered the Mind Meld, as did many others, but it still raised problems with just what urban fantasy is…

Read the rest of the post here at S F Signal.

sfsignalLogo Urban Fantasy, or is it?

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Bloodstones anthology is out, featuring me!

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November 2, 2012

blood stones web 200x300 Bloodstones anthology is out, featuring me!The Bloodstones anthology from Ticonderoga Publications, edited by the amazing Amanda Pillar, is now out. It’s ” loaded with stories of dark urban fantasy imbued with mythology; seventeen fantastic tales of monsters, gods, magic and so much more.” Alphabetically, here’s what’s in it:

  • 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”
  • Kat Otis, “And the Dead Shall be Raised Incorruptible”
  • Dan Rabarts, “The Bone Plate”
  • Erin Underwood, “The Foam Born”

You can buy it here now in trade paperback. Or you can get a shiny hardcover here. It’ll be available on Amazon any day now. Go get some!

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RealmShift and MageSign both now available as audiobooks

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November 2, 2012

I’m very pleased to announce that my dark fantasy thriller duology, RealmShift and MageSign, are now both available in full-length audiobook from audible.com. Within the next few days they’ll be available on iTunes and Amazon as well, or you can get them directly from audible now. At only $7.49 each, they’re a steal. I don’t know how long they’ll stay at that price.

realmshift magesign audio cover1 RealmShift and MageSign both now available as audiobooks

My publisher, Gryphonwood Press, negotiated a deal with voice artist Matt ‘Bentley’ Allegre, to record both books. RealmShift has been out for a while, and now MageSign is out too. Bentley does a great job – he has a good voice for the style of the books. It’s strange to hear my stuff with an American accent, but I expect more people would find it strange if it were in my mongrel British-Australia-WTF accent, so there you go.

Go forth, buy, listen.

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GenreCon this weekend, Nov 2 – 4

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November 1, 2012

GC web banner e1334023900490 300x117 GenreCon this weekend, Nov 2   4I wasn’t originally going to be able to attend GenreCon this weekend, but now I can, so firstly I want to thank the Australian Horror Writers’ Association for making that happen. I’ll be there as an official representative of the AHWA for the Sunday afternoon shenanigans. I won’t be able to make the Friday night part of the con, but I’ll be there all day Saturday and Sunday. What is GenreCon? Here, from the website:

GenreCon is a three-day convention for Australian fans and professionals working within the fields of romance, mystery, science fiction, crime, fantasy, horror, thrillers, and more. One part party, one part celebration, one part professional development: GenreCon is the place to be if you’re an aspiring or established writer with a penchant for the types of fiction that get relegated to their own corner of the bookstore.

Sounds pretty sweet, huh? There’s all kinds of stuff going on, which you can find from the Program page on the website. My official duties will be on Sunday from 3 – 4 pm when the AHWA will host afternoon tea and, as part of the festivities, we’ll be launching Martin Livings’ new collection, Living With The Dead. So don’t miss out!

Come and find me and say hello. I’m looking forward to catching up with old friends and making new friends this weekend. All the details here.

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The Intersection Between Gothic Horror and Urban Fantasy – S F Signal Mind Meld

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November 1, 2012

I’ve always enjoyed the frequent Mind Meld posts over at the S F Signal blog, so it was quite an honour to be asked to participate in one. The subject was The Intersection Between Gothic Horror and Urban Fantasy based on the theme of this year’s World Fantasy Convention: “Northern Gothic and Urban Fantasy”. We were asked to comment on the idea that Urban Fantasy now represents the new Gothic; that castles and haunted locations have been replaced by the Modern City. It seems that my ideas on the subject are in the minority compared to most of the respondents, but I think that’s largely due to differing ideas of just what urban fantasy is. I think the idea of urban fantasy as purely an extension of paranormal romance does an incredible disservice to the scope and variety of what makes up urban fantasy today.

Sure, there’s the stuff that draws on the paranormal romance model, but there’s so much more than that. Certainly, my own work has nothing to do with romance and everything to do with dark fantasy and horror in urban (and other) environments.

Anyway, the various responses still make for interesting reading. The people involved include Anton Strout, Carrie Cuinn, Carrie Vaughn, Damien Walters Grintalis, David Annandale, J.A. Pitts, Mindy Klasky, Nick Mamatas, Stina Leicht, Teresa Frohock and myself. You can find the post here.

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Red Penny Papers Vol III, Issue 1, featuring my story “Crossroads & Carousels”, out now

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October 29, 2012

rpp2012fallmed 206x300 Red Penny Papers Vol III, Issue 1, featuring my story Crossroads & Carousels, out nowCheck out that brilliant cover (by artist C. Bernard). What a thing of beauty. This is the second anniversary issue of The Red Penny Papers and it features my story, Crossroads & Carousels. The full ToC is:

- A Connection to Beyond by Cat Rambo
- Breathing Room by Jamie Mason
- Fearsome Critters and Friendly Giants by M. Bennardo
- Crossroads and Carousels by Alan Baxter
- The Extravagant and Venturesome Lives of Woman Pyrates by Katy Gunn

That’s a pretty great line-up and I’m very proud to be a part of it. On top of all that, the whole thing is free right here. The ebook version of this issue should be out soon and mini-interviews with all the authors are forthcoming.

Crossroads & Carousels is a story I’d been planning to write for a long time. I finally found the right framework for the story and I’m very pleased it found a home at RPP. The story is a homage to two things I’ve always loved – the old blues legends of the crossroads and the Dire Straits song, Tunnel Of Love. I have a pretty eclectic taste in music and, while I might be a blues and metal fan at heart, I’m into a wide cross-section of sounds. One of my favourite bands for years has been Dire Straits. Mark Knopfler’s blues inspired guitar playing is just sublime. In fact, it’s almost entirely due to Mark Knopfler and David Gilmour from Pink Floyd that I learned to play guitar myself.

It’s also the lyricism of bands like these that appeals to me so much. Both Dire Straits and Pink Floyd tell fantastic stories with their music. One of the stories that’s always appealed to me and fascinated me is Tunnel Of Love. It contains such evocative lyrics and such emotive imagery. I finally found my crossroads story through a short fiction retelling of the story behind Tunnel Of Love. So I hope my homage is as enjoyable to everyone reading as it was to me in the writing. I’ve changed the location and a lot of things about the song, of course, as it was inspiration for this story – I haven’t just written a short story version of the song. But you’ll recognise key motifs in the story if you know the song. I hope I’ve done it justice.

Go here, and read.

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Tuesday Toot – The Fildenstar

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October 9, 2012

Tuesday Toot is a semi-regular feature here. An invite-only series of short posts where writers, editors, booksellers and other creatives have been asked to share their stuff and toot their own horn. It’s hard to be seen in the digital morass and hopefully this occasional segment will help some of the quality stuff out there get noticed. It should all be things that regular readers here will find edifying.

Today, it’s The Fildenstar. Here’s Kate Rowe:

The Fildenstar at Denmark Festival Of Voice 2012 pic Tuesday Toot   The FildenstarThe Fildenstar was born out of a desire to tell original SF stories, but in song form. We look like steampunk(ish) aviators, and we sing tales from other dimensions. It’s really fun! And I hope, also, that it’s haunting and beautiful for the audience to listen to. We sing about things like ghost butterfly ships, space junk, strange gods, and places where night is illegal. And more importantly, about the people witnessing these things.

Kate Bush is one of my biggest influences, and I often think about her song ‘Cloudbusting’ in relation to The Fildenstar. Like that song, we try to tell you enough of the story, but not everything—we are aiming to make the unusual perfectly believable. Our piano style is fairly simple, classical in style—something like the American Beauty soundtrack but with synth and occasionally percussion.

Our actual names are Kate Rowe and Ryan Morrison. We also perform as singer-songwriters under our own names on the folk festival circuit, both for grownups and for children, and have traveled all round Australia and the UK. We’ll be working on a Fildenstar album soon, so if you’d like to keep in touch, email thefildenstar [at] gmail.com, or visit www.thefildenstar.com to hear a couple of demos. Listen to ‘When the Gods Walked Among Us’: we were playing live with a fantastic percussionist from W.A. called Steve Richter and it was very exciting!

You may remember that I mentioned these guys in my wrap-up about Conflux recently, which is where I saw them. Kate does indeed have a beautiful voice and the storytelling in their songs is excellent. Be sure to check them out if you get the chance. – Alan

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Stories like buses

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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: http://redpennypapers.com/ 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.

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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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