Ticonderoga to publish my first short fiction collection, Crow Shine

crowshine-cover1cSo this is news that makes me happier than a drunk in a brewery. Ticonderoga Publications, one of Australia’s premier presses, is going to publish my first collection of short fiction in September. It’s going to be called Crow Shine, and just look at that amazing cover!

It’s no news to regular readers here what a fan I am of short stories. Ever since I was about 11 years old and picked up a Roald Dahl book called Switch Bitch, expecting something like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or Danny the Champion of the World and got… well, I got my mind blown. I think the short story and novella are a unique art form, one that is incredibly hard to do well, entirely different from novels, but one that is utterly captivating. They’re something I’ve loved reading, and subsequently writing, ever since I was that wide-eyed eleven-year-old holding Switch Bitch like it was both beautiful and dangerous. Which is was. Which all good short fiction is, hopefully. Like a brightly polished and finely honed knife.

So to be in a position now where a publisher as respected as Ticonderoga are publishing a book collecting the best of my own short stories? My mind is blown again. It’s amazing. Crow Shine will contain nineteen short stories and novellas, and is named after one of the three stories original to this collection. The other sixteen are drawn across many years of my yarns exploring the dark weird fantastic that I love so much. Crow Shine will be released in ebook and papaerback, of course, but also in hardcover and (get this!) Limited Edition signed and numbered hardcover. The Limited Edition will be restricted to 100 copies. Honestly, it just gets better and better, right?

Here’s what editor, Russell B Farr, had to say in the official Ticonderoga Publications press release about the deal:

“Alan Baxter is rapidly becoming one of Australia’s premier dark fantasists, and Crow Shine showcases some incredible work. While his stories can be dark, they also show an incredible respect for the human condition, and each one enriches the reader.”

That’s some sweet praise right there. And thanks to my wonderful agent, Alex Adsett, for brokering this deal. Crow Shine will be launched in early October, so watch this space and keep an eye on my social media to know when things are happening, especially if you want one of those 100 Limited Edition hardcovers.

Now, please excuse me while I Snoopy dance.

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I won the 2015 Paul Haines Award for Long Fiction

snafunotwonojosephI’m still in mild shock, but absolutely chuffed. The Australian Shadows Awards winners were announced last night and I won the Paul Haines Award For Long Fiction for my novella, “In Vaulted Halls Entombed”, which was published in the SNAFU: Survival of the Fittest anthology, published by Cohesion Press.

Holy shit! To be nominated for these awards was awesome. To be nominated in the one named after my buddy, Paul Haines, was especially cool. To win it is more special than I can really convey. I wish Paul was still around to celebrate with me, but in the circumstances this is about as sweet as it gets. And huge thanks to Geoff Brown at Cohesion Press for publishing this story.

Here’s the official announcement from the awards ceremony:

Our next award is the Paul Haines Award for Long Fiction (novella). The award is named in memory of one of the association’s most generous, talented and respected author’s Paul Haines. If you’ve never read his work, go do so now (well, after the awards) and if you’ve got a glass nearby raise one with us now.

This year’s winning entry really embodies the soul, energy and nightmare inducing imagery that would have come straight from the mind of Mr Haines. We believe he would have approved.

And the winner is…

In Vaulted Halls Entombed – Alan Baxter

“In Vaulted Halls Entombed seamlessly blends modern military action tropes with classic Lovecraftian cosmic horror to create a fresh, compelling and genuinely frightening story. Baxter uses the subterranean setting to devastating effect, creating a powerful sense of claustrophobia and exquisitely mounting tension.”

That’s so cool I can hardly believe.

Here’s the full list of winners and nominees:

Novels:
WINNER: The Catacombs – Jeremy Bates
The Haunting of Blackwood House – Darcy Coates
The Transgressions Cycle: The Mothers – Mike Jones
The Transgressions Cycle: The Reparation – Mike Jones and Leonie Jones
The Big Smoke – Jason Nahrung

Comics/Graphic Novels:
WINNER: The Road to Golgotha – G.N. Braun & Amanda J Spedding
Troll – Michael Michalandos
The Monster – Ben Rosenthal
Undad – Shane W. Smith

The Paul Haines Award for Long Fiction:
WINNER: In Vaulted Halls Entombed – Alan Baxter
The Haunting of Gillespie House – Darcy Coates
Night Shift – Dirk Flinthart
The Whimper – Robert Hood

Edited Works:
Bloodlines – Amanda Pillar
Lighthouses – Cameron Trost
Midnight Echo 11 – Kaaron Warren
WINNER: Blurring the Line – Marty Young

Collected Works:
The Abandonment of Grace and Everything After – Shane Jiraiya Cummings
WINNER: Peripheral Visions: The Collected Ghost Stories – Rob Hood
Cherry Crow Children – Deborah Kalin

Short Fiction:
The Bone Maiden – Greg Chapman
Eight Seconds – Pandora Hope
El Caballo Muerte – Martin Livings
Perfect Little Stitches – Deborah Sheldon
WINNER: Mine Intercom – Kaaron Warren

Rocky Wood Award for non-fiction and criticism:

The Literary Gothic by Marija Elektra Rodriguez

Congratulations to all the winners and nominees, and huge thanks to the AHWA and for hard work of all the judges.

And if you haven’t read any of the winning publications, I suggest you rectify that ASAP! Apart from my own story, everything listed above is well worth your time and money.

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New Alex Caine Series covers revealed!

This is so very exciting! The entire Alex Caine Series will finally be available in print everywhere in Australia and New Zealand in July. All three books will land in bookstores and you can at last get the whole set in paperback. And they’ve got these amazing new covers. The ebooks are out now, so get on board at your favourite ebook retailer if you can’t wait for the paperbacks. Check them out:

postcards copy

These covers are so much better, really conveying the dark thriller style of the books. What do you think of them? I can’t wait to see them actually for real, all papery and solid and in my greedy little hands! In the meantime, we can enjoy the dark awesomeness of these new covers. Magic, monsters, mayhem and martial arts, coming your way in just a few short months. Tell your friends!

And for the rest of the world, you’ll remember a little while ago I revealed in the international cover for Bound: Alex Caine #1, which will be available in the US, UK, Canada, etc. Well, that should drop in December this year, with Obsidian and Abduction hopefully not too far behind. Sorry you have to wait a bit longer, but it’ll be worth it!

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Blurring The Line: Rena Mason

12003146_879319075487621_892517258321694034_nBlurring The Line is the new anthology of horror fiction and non-fiction, edited by award-winning editor Marty Young, published by Cohesion Press. You can get your copy here or anywhere you normally buy books (the print edition is coming any day now).

To help people learn a bit more about it, I’ve arranged for each fiction contributor to answer the same five questions, and I’ll be running these mini interviews every weekday now that the book is available.

Today, it’s:

Rena Mason

Rena Mason Bio PicRena Mason is a two-time Bram Stoker Award® winning author, as well as a 2014 Stage 32 / The Blood List presents: The Search for New Blood Screenwriting Contest Finalist. She’s a member of the Horror Writers Association, Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and The International Screenwriters’ Association. She writes a column for the HWA Monthly Newsletter, event write-ups, and occasional articles. Rena has served as a Literary Chair Committee Member for the Las Vegas Valley Book Festival and Co-Chair on the StokerCon2016 Event Committee.

A Registered Nurse, and an avid SCUBA diver since 1988, she has traveled the world and enjoys incorporating the experiences into her stories. She currently resides in Reno, Nevada with her family.

For more information about this author, visit her website: RenaMason.Ink

1. What was the inspiration/motivation behind your story in Blurring The Line?

Because of the shortage for nurses, as an R.N. I often found myself working side by side with traveling nurses from abroad. It takes a strong personality type to come from another country and be able to provide such a diverse range of care in a foreign land. Travelers who specialize in medical/surgical care get scheduled to work on whatever floor they’re needed, which can span from specialties such as cancer to post-op patients. It’s something I personally wouldn’t want to do.

A few traveling nurses I’d worked with told me that life in the states wasn’t what they thought it would be like, and that they’d return home after their contract was up. They complained of being homesick, missing their families, the people, and familiar foods. So I took the culmination of all those things, amplified them a notch or two with locale, added more distinctly mixed cultural diversities in a city’s population, taking the horror to a level that would push my main character over the edge.

2. What does horror mean to you?

It’s anything that makes me feel fear, uneasy, unsettled, or disturbed.

3. What’s a horror short story that you think everyone should read?

“The Old Nurse’s Story” by Elizabeth Gaskell. A classic, chilling ghost story.

4. What horror novel should everyone read?

Hell House by Richard Matheson.

5. Name something that you think just might be real, or might not…

The Loch Ness Monster.

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Previous posts in the Blurring The Line interview series:

Marty Young
Tom Piccirilli
Lisa Morton
Tim Lebbon
Lia Swope Mitchell
Alan Baxter
James Dorr
Peter Hagelslag
Gregory L Norris
Steven Lloyd Wilson
James A Moore
Alex C Renwick
Lisa L Hannett
Kealan Patrick Burke
Brett McBean
Kaaron Warren
Paul Mannering
Charles L Grant
Patricia Esposito
Rena Mason

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Blurring The Line: Patricia Esposito

12003146_879319075487621_892517258321694034_nBlurring The Line is the new anthology of horror fiction and non-fiction, edited by award-winning editor Marty Young, published by Cohesion Press. You can get your copy here or anywhere you normally buy books (the print edition is coming any day now).

To help people learn a bit more about it, I’ve arranged for each fiction contributor to answer the same five questions, and I’ll be running these mini interviews every weekday now that the book is available.

Today, it’s:

Patricia Esposito

promotion photo 2015Patricia J. Esposito is author of Beside the Darker Shore and has published numerous works in anthologies, such as Main Street Rag’s Crossing Lines, Anna Purna’s Clarify, Undertow’s Apparitions, and Transmundane’s Distorted, and in magazines, including Not One of Us, Scarlet Literary Magazine, Rose and Thorn, Wicked Hollow, and Midnight Street. She has received honorable mentions in Ellen Datlow’s Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror collections and is a Pushcart Prize nominee.

Find her at: http://patricia-j-esposito.blogspot.com/

1. What was the inspiration/motivation behind your story in Blurring the Line?

My story “A Distorted and Holy Desire” came out of my need to explore the mystery of music’s deep effect on us. Sometimes we experience art that transcends, that takes the pain of life and lets us experience it and yet, through art, come out of it. Art as catharsis. In the few times I saw the band Beautiful Collision (BeCo) play, I felt that transcendence, and yet the singer/guitarist would say, almost shyly, a very simple, “Thank you.” Sometimes it’s hard to imagine that so much passion and beauty can come from a mortal human form. Sometimes emotion is so great I wonder how we survive it. I wrote to see how I survive it, though I’m not sure I do.

2. What does horror mean to you?

Horror can range from stories that elicit heart palpitations to cringing and nausea to an unease that won’t let go. Horror that makes me jump and then laugh at the adrenaline rush can be fun, and I can appreciate the imagery of a well-done slasher scene—both designed to shake us, give us a quick thrill?—but I generally seek out horror that evokes that unnameable unease, that makes me think and wonder and try to establish how the horror might fit in myself or the world I’m part of. I think the unknown plays into most horror; however, I’m drawn to horror that remains a bit of a mystery, that entails the ambiguous, something that might lie within us if not without, or that we finally perceive with a sense of near awe because it is beyond our control and yet part of this world, not to go away.

3. What’s a horror short story that you think everyone should read?

I had trouble with this because I’ve read a number of excellent short stories from recent years, in magazines and anthologies, and I always wonder what will stand the test of time. I’m a fan of Michael Kelly’s work, which combines the imagistic language I love with the psychological aspects of our inner fears. I’ll offer one of his, “The Woods,” because I think it’s an example of how subtle horror can be most powerful at times. Two old men sit across from each other in a cabin that’s suffocated in snow. We never learn of the crime and no one is accused outright, and yet the tension that builds from what is not stated and from the images of isolation that Kelly conveys so well left me more uneasy than if we’d learned the truth. The chill is in what we know is potential!

4. What horror novel should everyone read?

Here I turn to my personal taste for psychological horror and recommend a classic, Henry James’s Turn of the Screw. I first read the novella in high school, and it remained with me ever since, obviously influencing my own horror. I like when barriers between worlds seem to be breaking, and yet it could be what our own minds and distressed subconscious have done. How often and easily we scare ourselves by letting the imagination go; yet usually something keeps us over the edge. I like to explore going over that edge. (I’d also always recommend Ray Bradbury for the experience of his imagery that makes us thoroughly feel the world and the characters and for the elevated nature of what he proposes we can be.)

5. Name something that you think just might be real, or might not…

When it’s quiet and I’m absorbed in my writing, I wonder if all that had faded around me was ever real, or if we design the tangible in a collective effort for sanity.

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Previous posts in the Blurring The Line interview series:

Marty Young
Tom Piccirilli
Lisa Morton
Tim Lebbon
Lia Swope Mitchell
Alan Baxter
James Dorr
Peter Hagelslag
Gregory L Norris
Steven Lloyd Wilson
James A Moore
Alex C Renwick
Lisa L Hannett
Kealan Patrick Burke
Brett McBean
Kaaron Warren
Paul Mannering
Charles L Grant
Annie NeugeBauer

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