Far Voyager Postscripts #32/33 ToC announced

Pete Von Sholly's "Troop Inspection" for Far Voyager.
Pete Von Sholly’s “Troop Inspection” for Far Voyager.

This has been far and away the longest gap between a story sale and story publication, for many reasons mostly out of everyone’s control, but I’m very happy to say that Far Voyager Postscripts #32/33 from P S Publishing is finally coming out and it will include my story, Thirty Three Tears to a Teaspoon, along with a plethora of amazing writers. I’m really thrilled to be a part of this one. See the solid list of names below. And also check out that amazing cover artwork. It’s Pete Von Sholly’s “Troop Inspection”. You can click on that image for a larger version.

What’s also very exciting, apart from being in this publication myself, is that quite a few other great Aussies are in there too. As it’s a very well-respected UK publisher, it’s always great to see Australian voices represented. Along with myself are Angela Slatter, Lisa Hannett, Angie Rega, and Suze Willis.

The full ToC is shown below. I’ll be sure to post again when you can pre-order/buy the release.

Far Voyager — Ian Sales
3 A.M. in the Mesozoic Bar — Michael Swanwick
Dear Miss Monroe — Andrew Jury
The Case of the Barking Man — Mel Waldman
One Hundred Thousand Demons and the Cherub of Desire — Andrew Drummond
An American Story — Darrell Schweitzer
Irezumi — John Langan
Sister Free — Rio Youers
A Little Off the Top — Tom Alexander
Sweetheart, I Love You — Mel Waldman
Winter Children — Angela Slatter
A Girl of Feather and Music — Lisa L. Hannett
Thirty Three Tears to a Teaspoon — Alan Baxter
The Rusalka Salon for Girls Who Like to Get Their Hair Wet — Angie Rega
The Psychometrist — Suzanne J. Willis
Sea Angels — Quentin S. Crisp
Plink — Kurt Dinan
Xaro — Darren Speegle
We Are Not Alone — Richard Calder
The Curtain — Thana Niveau
Playground — Gio Clairval
What Once Was Bone — Gary A. Braunbeck
Darkscapes: Three Journeys to the Night Side — Mel Waldman
Services Rendered — Bruce Golden
GW in the Afterlife — Robert Reed
Eskimo — Andrew Hook
With Friends Like These — Gary Fry
An Inspector Calls — Ian Watson
Confessions — Mel Waldman
A Legion of Echoes — Alison Littlewood
Talk in Riddles — Mark Reece
The Mermaid and the Fisherman — Paul Park


Dimension6 Issue 1 available now and it’s free

D6badgeCoeur De Lion Publishing is one of Australia’s best small press outfits and they always produce fantastic work. You may remember a while ago I was going on about the Anywhere But Earth anthology, which is about the best science fiction short story anthology I’ve seen in years (and not only because I have a story in it!) Keith Stevenson, editor and owner of Coeur De Lion also produced the amazing X6 novella anthology, worth it for Paul Haines’ story Wives, apart from the other five sterling pieces of work therein.

Well, now Keith is weaving his magic again with a new project. Dimension6 is an ebook magazine, featuring three spec fic stories, three times a year and it’s both DRM-free and cashmoney free. That’s right – free to read on any device. Issue 1 is out now and you can get mobi or epub versions here. While you’re there, sign up for the D6 newsletter so you always know when a new issue comes out.

Issue #1 features:

‘Ryder’ by Richard Harland
Sent from bustling Sydney to boring country NSW during World War I, life is undeniably dull for Sally. Until she meets Ryder.

‘The Message’ by Charlotte Nash
On a future Earth ravaged by the Event, a soldier with a terrifying secret must travel behind enemy lines.

‘The Preservation Society’ by Jason Nahrung
For the undead, blood is more than sustenance. It’s a connection to the memory of life.

Issue 2 will feature three more great Australian authors including yours truly. My story, Upon a Distant Shore, will be in Dimension6 issue 2 in July. In the meantime, get your reading teeth (eye teeth?) into issue 1.


Earthsea revisited and visited anew

I mentioned a while back that I was embarking on a reread of Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea novels. It was, in fact, only a part reread. There are six Earthsea books, that Le Guin likes to refer to as either the Earthsea Cycle, or the two Earthsea trilogies. Until now I’d only read the first trilogy. (There are also two short stories in the collection The Wind’s Twelve Quarters, but I’m not including those. I’ve got that collection and will get around to it at some point.)

EarthseaI came across the first trilogy – A Wizard of Earthsea, The Tombs of Atuan and The Farthest Shore – when I was 10 or 11 years old. I devoured them and absolutely adored them. They bent my tiny mind and I read them over and over again. I had no idea there were more books in the series (back then, there weren’t). The next trilogy – Tehanu, Tales of Earthsea and The Other Wind – came out much later. The first trilogy was published in 1968, 1971 and 1972. The second in 1990, 2001 and 2001, respectively. Having loved the first trilogy so much, it’s amazing it took me this long to get around to the second, but there you go. So I recently reread the first three and then went on to the “new” three.

Even though I’d read them so many times, it’s been a long time since I last read the original trilogy. I was desperately hoping it wouldn’t turn out to be a disappointment. Within a few pages, my fears were quashed and I was back in Earthsea and remembering just why I loved it so much. The writing is beautiful, so poetic and lyrical, evoking such a fantastic sense of place and character. Yet it’s also tight and spare, no flowering dissertations on every aspect of the story. These are 200 or 300 page novels that could easily be 500 page novels if Le Guin was prone to the “big fat fantasy” style so common today. But she’s not and it’s one of the things I like so much about these books. They’re perfectly sized stories, perfectly written. And the tales themselves are just as enchanting now I’m in my 40s as they were before I hit my teens. I can’t wait until my son is old enough to read them.

So then I was set to embark on the second trilogy for the first time. Would these disappoint? Could I be as charmed by a revisit to those classic novels? Well, yes, I could. In all honestly, I think I enjoyed the first of the new three, Tehanu, more than the others. But the set of six as a whole does a wonderful job of telling a huge story. Especially as Tales From Earthsea is a collection of short stories and novellas, all designed to fill in history and backstory of the bigger arc, yet all wonderful stories in their own right.

One of the most interesting things for me was an afterword by Le Guin in the last book, where she talks about the time spent writing these six novels and how she thinks it’s finished now, but never say never. Perhaps the most interesting part of that for me was that she didn’t really recognise the theme of the whole series until she was writing the last book. She realised what she was fundamentally writing about when she’d finished, not when she started. She began telling stories she was compelled to tell and let the underlying theme of her work worry about itself. I think that’s a great lesson for writers – don’t stress about what you’re trying to do or trying to say, as then you might focus too much on the message and lose the magic. Just tell your stories, and trust that whatever thematic form is squirming in your subconscious will find its way out over time.

Either way, I loved my return to Earthsea and it still stands as one of my favourite series of all time. Six wonderful books that I’m sure I’ll visit again and again.


Bound – This is the really real world!

Bound-proofSo HarperVoyager AU tweeted a blurry image today of the proof copies of Bound, Book 1 of The Alex Caine Series. The proofs have just arrived in the office there. It’s really real. Look! It’s an actual freaking book right there in the picture in the really real world. To say I’m a bit excited about this is like saying the Catholic Church has a couple of bucks stashed away for a rainy day. In other words, it’s a celestially massive understatement. It’s really actually happening, you guys. This also constitutes a sneaky little cover reveal for the first book.

I’m glad it’s a bit blurry because, as far as I know, there are going to be a couple of small artistic tweaks to the cover yet before the final version that will officially go to print. Plus it maintains a little but of mystery. It’s quite normal for advanced copies like these to have a few small last minute changes, as I understand it.

But I can tell you that the next two books will have covers like this one, obviously with a 2 and a 3 in the background respectively, with variations in the distance background and in the character poses, but all three make a kind of connected triptych design. Honestly, how cool is that? For anyone wondering, the title, Bound, is big and clear on the spine. I should be getting a copy of this proof myself this week, so I’ll post another picture of it then. Probably with my maniacally grinning face right next to it. Now scuse me while go Snoopy dancing.

EDIT: HarperVoyager posted a better picture, so I’m sharing that too.



The little anthology that could – Suspended in Dusk

I’m glad we can finally announce this one officially. Editor, Simon Dewar, approached me a while ago asking if I’d be interested in submitting to an anthology he was putting together called Suspended in Dusk. The theme was exactly what the title suggests and loosely based at that. He wanted a collection of horror and dark fantasy stories and the publisher was already lined up.

botd-logoI sent him a story which he liked and everything was going ahead when he ran into some problems and the publisher had to put the book on indefinite hold. No one’s fault, just one of those industry things that happens from time to time. Rather than hold on to everyone’s stories indefinitely, Simon said he would try to find another publisher or let our stories back to us if he couldn’t. Another publisher cropped up but didn’t eventuate. Simon was prepared to give it all up as an unfortunate series of events, but like a good terrier, he gave the whole project one last solid shake and landed the anthology with Books of the Dead Press and it’s all going ahead after all. Simon’s official announcement is here.

As Simon says:

Over the last few months I’ve collected 19 short stories which I feel are a broad representation of some of the established and new talent within the horror/dark/weird genres. I am also very pleased that over one-third (42% unless I screwed the maths) of the table of contents are women who, frankly, scare the crap out of me every bit as much as their male counterparts (probably more!).

The anthology has a great lineup of names including Ramsey Campbell (Bram Stoker and British Fantasy award winner), Angela Slatter (British Fantasy Award Winner and Aurealis Award winner) and John Everson (Bram Stoker Award winner) along with myself and a bunch of other emerging and established names. The full Table of Contents will be announced in due course. I’m very pleased to be in such august company. My story is called Shadows of the Lonely Dead and I’m very proud of it and glad it’s found such a good home.

Watch this space for further announcements.