Booktopia SF & Fantasy Buzz

If you don’t already subscribe to this newsletter, I suggest you do. Mark Timmony edits it and it’s jam-packed full of great reviews and interviews and more. This month I’m very excited to say that Bound is the SFF Buzz Book of the Month. Excuse me while I Happy Dance. Mark reviews Bound and there’s an interview with me at the end. The review says things like:

Baxter takes us on a roller-coaster ride…

This is a page-turning dark fantasy that doesn’t shy away from sex, violence and the underbelly of society. Filled with guts, passion, and the will to survive Baxter has delivered a great romp of a novel and I’m looking forward to see where he takes Alex Caine next.

That’s a seriously great review. Mark asked me Ten Terrifying Questions, including things like, What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why? What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now? Whom do you most admire and why? What advice do you give aspiring writers?

You can find all the answers to those questions and more here.

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Early reviews for Bound coming in

I’ve been in a state of angst for quite a while. As if impending publication of my first major publishing novel wasn’t daunting enough, several weeks ago the advance copies went out to reviewers. I’ve been chewing my nails, hoping the book wasn’t going to get thoroughly trashed. You expect a few poor or lukewarm reviews – you simply can’t please everyone – but as long as the poor reviews were few and there were some good reviews, I’d be happy. Thankfully, the feedback so far has been pretty positive. Here’s a few excerpts with links to the full reviews.

From Collins Booksellers (Edwardstown, SA):

The start to this series has given me faith that the Urban Fantasy scene is not just the same story with different characters.

Full review here.

From Mark Timmony of Booktopia and Postcards from the Emerald City:

This is a page turning dark fantasy that doesn’t shy away from sex and violence and the the underbelly of society. Filled with guts, passion, determination and the will to survive Baxter has delivered a great romp of a novel and I’m looking forward to see where he takes Alex Caine next.

Full review here.

From Jamie Marriage reviewing at Marianne de Pierres blog:

Bound is a fantastically gritty and modern view of dark fantasy, with twisted mythologies, sexual deviancy, and unapologetic characters. Most chapters have plenty of action, but not enough to hide the fact that there is a great story-line and dialogue going on from cover to cover. Greed, gluttony, wrath, and lust are all demonstrated in large portions throughout, and no character is without their vices and imperfections. It all comes together to create a book that’s difficult to put down and thoroughly worth re-reading. Baxter has proven he has real skill with this genre, and if this first novel is anything to go by, there are even greater things to come.

Full review here.

All these things make me so very happy. I couldn’t ask for better things to be said about this book. My angst is still there, but it’s been mollified a little bit!

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Albedo1 reviews SQ Mag 14 very positively and is very kind to my story

Roderick McDonald over at Albedo1.com has reviewed issue 14 of SQ Mag. It’s a fine review and says very nice things about my novelette.

“The Darkness in Clara” by Alan Baxter punched you in the face right from the start. On discovering her long-time partner Clara hanging by the neck as a result of suicide, Michelle feels she has to dig up the past to try to fathom the depths of the departed’s soul. Maybe not a wise decision, nevertheless she goes back to the town where Clara grew up only to find severe hostility. Of the many characters there was nobody to beat Wendy. What great descriptions you get in the story! Anyway, it turns out that Wendy and her pals detested Clara and had no sympathy for her suicide. Something in the past was the source of irritation and it was possibly to do with black magic!

An uncomfortable story to read because of the subject matter, it nevertheless became gripping especially with very believable characters that don’t miss and hit the wall. A really good story!

Can’t get much better praise than that.

You can read the full review here.

And you can read SQ Mag and my story here.

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New RealmShift review at Fantasy Faction

I do love a good review and Dan Hanks at Fantasy Faction has written a pearler about RealmShift. Thanks, Dan! Here’s a few highlights:

“…a thoroughly enjoyable and thrilling book—and one that showcases a writer unafraid of throwing universe-sized ideas out there, before nailing them to the page like a pro.

As you’d expect for a thriller, the writing is crisp and solid, with little in the way of flowing, flowery fantasy sentence structure. But…it’s different too. There’s an almost noir-haiku-like quality to the author’s prose that I found really interesting.

Overall, thoroughly enjoyable. I highly recommend.”

It’s been a while since RealmShift saw any review love, so this is good to see. You can read the full review here.

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Bloody Waters by Jason Franks – review

Here’s my latest review posted at Thirteen O’Clock:

BW_cover_eBook_t-193x300Bloody Waters by Jason Franks

Possible Press, 2012

ISBN: 978-0980813531

Bloody Waters is the debut novel from Jason Franks, maybe better known for his comics work. I reviewed The Sixsmiths here a while ago. This first novel was nominated for an Aurealis Award for Best Horror Novel last year and I can see why. Here’s the blurb:

When guitar virtuoso Clarice Marnier finds herself blacklisted she makes a deal with the devil for a second chance. Soon Clarice and her band, Bloody Waters, are on their way to stardom… but cracking the Top 10 is one thing; gunfights with the Vatican Mafia and magical duels quite another. Clarice is going to have to confront the Devil himself – the only question is whether she’ll be alive or dead when it happens.

I had no expectations going into this book, other than knowing it had an award nomination. I was really surprised. It’s a unique read. The writing style is tight and powerful, the book clips along at a solid pace. We start with young Clarice putting aside Barbie dolls for a guitar and we follow her progress through high school and into her first band and beyond, where nothing else matters but the music. Absolutely nothing. The chapters are short and the description spare but complete.

Clarice herself is an interesting main character. She’s very well-realised by Franks as a balls out, takes no shit hero of rock’n’roll. If I have any complaints about this book it would be that sometimes Clarice is a bit too cold and calculating. I would have liked to see a few more moments of humanity in her, but it’s no surprise they weren’t there. She is a force of heavy metal nature and no one gets away with messing with her. Except, perhaps, the Devil himself…

Read the rest of my review at Thirteen O’Clock.

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