Small Press

“The Goodbye Message” published at ticon4

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April 2, 2012

I’m very pleased to announce that my short story, “The Goodbye Message”, is now published and free to read online at the wonderful ticon4 e-zine. ticon4 is part of independent publisher Ticonderoga Publications, and publishes excellent fiction for free, through donations and book sales, as well as reviews, interviews and other bits and pieces.

“The Goodbye Message” is a story about a troubled writer who starts receiving messages he can’t explain or understand. Is he losing his mind?

This story came about because here at home we regularly get a message like the first one described in the story. The light on the answering machine is flashing, we press the button and get told, “You have one new message.” Then the message plays and it’s just a female voice saying, “Goodbye.”

We still have no idea why it happens, but presumably it’s some automated telemarketer bullshit, so we just ignore it. But it was a good seed for a story, and “The Goodbye Message” grew from that. I hope you enjoy it.

I’ve added the link to the Dark Shorts page, where you can find a lot more of my fiction if this one whets your appetite.

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Guest post at The Great Raven

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March 26, 2012

My dark fairy story, The Everywhere And The Always, was recently published in the Mythic Resonance anthology. One of the other contributing authors, Sue Bursztynski, has been having a series of guest posts about it on her blog. My post is up now, wherein I talk about mythology, folklore and the beauty of storytelling. Among other things. Tis here.

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The Darkest Shade Of Grey ebook now available

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March 23, 2012

DSOG-coverI’m really excited about this, so excuse me while I Snoppy Dance. My novella, The Darkest Shade Of Grey, is now available as an ebook, from Amazon and Smashwords. It’ll soon populate out through the Smashwords Premium catalogue to iBooks and all the other good places for ebooks.

David Johanssen’s drinking problem goes beyond the usual need for self-medication. He sees things he shouldn’t be able to see, things no one could handle seeing. And he has no one but himself to blame.

When a chance encounter offers the possibility of answers, he follows the bloody trail in spite of his own fears. It could be the big story he needs to keep his job. It could be the meaning of life. Or it could be the end of his world.

The story is published by The Red Penny Papers, and serialised on their site in four parts. Those four parts and a mini interview with me have subsequently been collected into this ebook edition, which will only cost US$1.99 of your Earth money. Less than half a cup of coffee for what the publisher calls “stunning supernatural noir”. How can you go wrong?

Don’t trust me or the publisher? Well, don’t panic. I’m also Snoopy Dancing due to this excellent review of The Darkest Shade Of Grey from the Australian Godfather of Darkness, Robert Hood. I couldn’t be happier that someone I respect as much as Robert Hood enjoyed my work and gets what I was trying to do. Thanks, Rob, for a great review!

I’m very proud of this story and pleased that it’s been publihsed by such a classy outfit as The Red Penny Papers. Go get some. If you do read it and enjoy it, please leave a review at Amazon, Smashwords or wherever else you usually hang out. Reviews are the very life essence of a writer’s career. Well, actually, love and royalties are the real life essence, but they’re powered by reviews.

The Darkest Shade Of Grey at Amazon.

The Darkest Shade Of Grey at Smashwords.

The Darkest Shade Of Grey at The Red Penny Papers.

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The One That Got Away and Monstres in the post

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March 14, 2012

It’s a funny old game, this writing business. I was lamenting a couple of recent rejections this morning, feeling misunderstood and cheated. You know, the usual egotistical, self-obsessed writer angst kind of thing. It always passes, but we all fall prey to it from time to time. This morning I didn’t get to wallow in it for long before not one, but two physical objects slapped me back to reality. It’s always a solid reminder of why we do this when we hold a physical book in our hands with our name on the cover.

Today, when I got back from teaching a class, there were two parcels waiting for me. The first was my contributor copy of The One That Got Away anthology from Dark Prints Press, which features my story In The Name Of The Father.

I’m really proud to be in this book, among some truly awesome names. Seriously, check it out: http://www.darkprintspress.com.au/books_totga.html. Get your copy from there. I can’t wait to read mine.

The other parcel this morning was my contributor copy of the Monstres! anthology from Celephais Publishing. I can’t read this one, at least, not very well. It’s my first foreign language translation, into French. This time a reprint of my story Deep Sea Fishing, originally published in Seizure magazine. Or perhaps I should say, Peche En Haute Mer.

Again, I’m sharing the ToC with some great names – like Kaaron Warren and Lavie Tidhar – so this is another book I’m very proud to be in.

I’m not going to stress too much about those annoying rejections. I’ll just keep plugging away and soon enough I’ll get more parcels like this morning. It’s a funny old game.

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Review honestly and often

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March 12, 2012

One of the best things about the modern world of publishing is that there is more good stuff available, and it’s easier to get hold of, than ever before. Small press and boutique publishers are springing up everywhere and, along with indie and self-publishers, they’re giving the “big six” more of a run for their money than ever before. I think this is great, as it really does give an outlet for pretty much anything. There are still gatekeepers in the form of all the hard-working editors at those small and boutique presses. Hopefully there’s still control in content from the self-publishers, as they should be employing editors and proof-readers and cover designers to make their work the best it can be. Of course, a lot aren’t and, whether indie, small press or big six, there’s an awful lot of shit out there.

So, this is where everyone else steps in. That’s you and me, the readers and consumers. I’ve blogged before about readers as gatekeepers and this post is an expansion of that. In part, this is simply a reminder of that post – you’re a reader, so you have the power to share the good stuff by reviewing and/or rating it on Amazon, Goodreads, your blog and so on. Keep doing that.

But the expansion is this – do your reviews regularly and honestly. If you see a book on Amazon and it has ten five star reviews and nothing else, it’s altogether possible that it’s really that good. Or it’s equally possible that ten friends and family of the author posted a review and nothing more. A lot of value is added to a book when there’s a variety of reviews and ratings. A book with ten reviews that are a mix between three, four and five star reviews is a lot more likely to be something reviewed by a variety of people who actually read the book. You can read their comments and get a real feel for the book that way and decide if it’s going to work for you. That’s kind of thing is far better for authors.

I can understand not wanting to give a bad review. That’s fair enough, and if you really hate something you can just choose not to review it. If you feel you want to review and mark it poorly with only one or two stars and explain why, then that’s great too. If you’re clear about what you didn’t like, others can get value from that. What pissed you off might actually attract another reader with different sensibilities. The honesty of a range of reviews from a variety of readers is far better for an author than just a few dollops of glowing praise that won’t really move anyone reading them.

So please, don’t forget to review. It takes hardly any time, it’s incredibly easy with places like Amazon and Goodreads, and it’s invaluable for authors. If you enjoy their work, think how much time and effort was involved in making it and spend a few of your own precious minutes clicking a star rating and typing a few words of opinion. It doesn’t have to be much at all, just a couple of comments about why you did or didn’t like the book and the author will love you for it. Be honest. If I get a three star review and, “I liked this book and would recommend it. Not the greatest thing I ever read, but worth your time” then I’m as happy as Larry. (Who is Larry, anyway?)

Of course, I much prefer four and five star reviews, because I love it when people enjoy my work enough to praise it that highly. But any review is helping me out one way or another.

Review everything. Review honestly. Be a pal to all the authors.

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The Darkest Shade Of Grey now complete, and ebook on the way

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March 12, 2012

The Darkest Shade Of GreyI’m very proud of this story, and it’s now up at The Red Penny Papers in its entirety. It’s a novelette in four parts, totalling about 18,000 words. I’m also very pleased to announce that it will be the first in a new range of novella and novelette ebooks from Red Penny Papers. They run regular serials as well as their short story editions, and now all the serial authors will have the option to have their serial collected in an ebook edition after the initial web run. The stories will stay on the web as well, and be available on Amazon Kindle and via Smashwords. The Darkest Shade Of Grey ebook will be out next week for $1.99. Bargain! Details here. I’ll make another quick post with links when it’s available, or you can read the story now at The Red Penny Papers. Click the link or the book cover on the left.

And what a great cover it is, too. Megan Eckman was commissioned by RPP for that and she did a great job. It really captures the story, I think.

The story itself was inspired by a friend of mine, who told me about something that happened to him back in his days as a journalist. From that account, the germ of this story idea grew and it just blossomed into what eventually became The Darkest Shade Of Grey. The story is set in Sydney and tells of a bitter, divorced, alcoholic journalist, David Johanssen, who’s desperately trying to see the point to his existence. He’s saddled not only with his bitterness and alcoholism, but with unwanted supernatural abilites he developed after messing with occult practices he should have left well alone. And then one day he crosses paths with a very strange homeless man, who sets in motion a series of events that could make David’s career. Or destroy him completely.

The publisher describes the story as “a bit of stunning supernatural noir”.

I hope you enjoy it. Please tell your friends and colleagues if you do and share the links around.

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Mythic Resonance is real

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March 9, 2012

I got a good parcel in the post today. My contributor copy of Mythic Resonance arrived.

It’s even got my name on the cover. Very nice. The blurb reads thusly:

Ea, master of Apsu, the great water beneath the earth; Gelert, the faithful hound; Medusa and Herakles; sirens, valkyries, fairies; Leonardo Da Vinci and Snow White — these are just some of the legendary characters that resonate within this thought-provoking garland of short stories from Australia.

Archetypes from ancient mythology, lurking in the depths of our psyches, peer at us through the haze of history; cautionary tales from our nursery years remind us of what can happen when we disobey The Rules; well known themes of obsession, betrayal and exploitation, love and loss and renewal are skillfully manipulated into new and compelling forms.

From the lighthearted and tongue-in-cheek to the sad and the sinister, this selection of tales, with their clever mythic echoes, is sure to entertain, enlighten and challenge readers of all ages.

And the full Table of Contents is:

Foreword — Sue Hammond and Stephen Thompson
The Salted Heart — N A Sulway
The Everywhere And The Always — Alan Baxter
Annabel and the Witch — Paul Freeman
Through these eyes I see — Donna Maree Hanson
A Tale of Publication — Les Zigomanis
La Belle Dame — Satima Flavell
Glorious Destiny — Steven Gepp
Meeting my Renaissance Man — Vicky Daddo
Wetlands — Jen White
Man’s Best Friend — Tom Williams
In Paradise, Trapped — Kelly Dillon
Holly and Iron — Nigel Read
Brothers — Sue Bursztynski

Get your copy here!

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Tuesday Toot – Deborah Biancotti

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2
March 6, 2012

Tuesday Toot is a semi-regular feature here at The Word. 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 readers of The Word will find edifying.

Bad PowerToday it’s Deborah Biancotti.

Who is Deborah?

I’m a Sydney-based fiction writer whose first story won an Aurealis Award (Best Horror short) and first collection, A BOOK OF ENDINGS, was shortlisted for the William L. Crawford Award for Best First Fantasy Book. Though right at this exact moment I’m working on novellas and novels.

What are you tooting about?

My second collection is out from Twelfth Planet Press. It’s a short story suite about the consequences of being especially gifted or powerful in a world that doesn’t encourage that. It’s part of the TWELVE PLANETS series, and it’s called BAD POWER.

To quote one blog review, it’s a world that has ‘super powers but no superheroes’, where the victories are relative and the defeats are absolute (to paraphrase my own back cover blurb).

There are five interlinked stories in the book, each from the point of view of a different character, though most of the stories fall into the genre of contemporary supernatural police procedural. Hence we’re calling it a ‘pocketbook police procedural’. Nifty, eh?

The one character who appears more than anyone else is Detective Enora Palmer. She’s the kind of character I describe as a ‘beautiful fuckup’. I mean, she’s really trying hard to do some good, you know? And the world, my friends, does not give brownie points for trying to do good. The world does not differentiate, it does not bless the deserving or punish the evil. The world breaks everyone roughly about equally, as Hemingway taught me.

It also has an awesome introduction by Ann Vandermeer.

Oh, and it’s short. Only 30,000 words. A quick read!

Where to buy the book: http://www.twelfthplanetpress.com/store-items/bad-power

Where to find Deborah:

http://deborahbiancotti.net
http://deborahb.livejournal.com
http://www.facebook.com/deborahbiancotti
http://www.goodreads.com/deborahbiancotti
https://twitter.com/deborah_b

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The Darkest Shade Of Grey, episode 2 now live

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0
February 28, 2012

My serial novella, The Darkest Shade Of Grey, is being published in four weekly installments by The Red Penny Papers. It’s free to read online, so get on over there and check it out.

Episode 1 is here.

Episode 2 is here.

Episodes 3 and 4 will be published over the next two weeks.

If you enjoy it, please do share the links with your family, friends and colleagues.

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Mythic Resonance is out now, featuring a story from me

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February 16, 2012

Mythic ResonanceMythic Resonance is The Specusphere‘s first printed publication. It is an anthology of speculative fiction short stories by Australian writers following the theme of myths and legends.

I’m proud to say that my story, The Everywhere And The Always, is included. Here’s the full ToC:

Foreword — Sue Hammond and Stephen Thompson
The Salted Heart — N A Sulway
The Everywhere And The Always — Alan Baxter
Annabel and the Witch — Paul Freeman
Through these eyes I see — Donna Maree Hanson
A Tale of Publication — Les Zigomanis
La Belle Dame — Satima Flavell
Glorious Destiny — Steven Gepp
Meeting my Renaissance Man — Vicky Daddo
Wetlands — Jen White
Man’s Best Friend — Tom Williams
In Paradise, Trapped — Kelly Dillon
Holly and Iron — Nigel Read
Brothers — Sue Bursztynski

The print version is available now with an ebook due out any time.

All the details here.

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Welcome

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. Zetetic.

Learn more about me and my work by clicking About Alan just below the header.

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