Some writing facts and figures for 2015

As much for myself as anything else, it’s nice to look back on a year and see what’s been achieved. Given that I’m always striving for more, it’s good to stop and remind myself what I have managed along the way. So here are some writing facts and figures for 2015.

I had no new books out this year, but I wrote some – more on that below.

New short fiction publications this year were:

“How Father Bryant Saw the Light” – Blurring the Line anthology (ed. Marty Young, Cohesion Press, November 2015)

“Reaching For Ruins” – Review of Australian Fiction (ed. Matthew Lamb, Vol. 16, Issue 3, November 2015)

“Old Promise, New Blood” – Bloodlines anthology (ed. Amanda Pillar, Ticonderoga Publications, October 2015)

“In Vaulted Halls Entombed” – SNAFU: Survival of the Fittest anthology (ed. Geoff Brown & A J Spedding, Cohesion Press, September 2015) (Novelette)

“Beyond the Borders of All He Had Been Taught” – Insert Title Here anthology (ed. Tehani Wessley, Fablecroft Publishing, April 2015)

“The Chart of the Vagrant Mariner” – The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction (ed. Gordon Van Gelder, Jan-Feb 2015 issue)

That last one, selling to F&SF, is a real career high point for me. It’s my holy grail of sales and I finally nailed it. I’ve loved that magazine since I was a kid and seeing my name in one was mind-numbing. Plus, it’s just been listed on the Tangent Online Recommended Reading List, so that’s a nice bonus. Now to beat my best by selling to F&SF again.

As for the business of submissions, I made 37 short fiction submissions in 2015, so fewer than normal. But I got 8 acceptances, a couple of them pro, which is a higher ratio than normal. A few of those were solicited, so the strike rate is always higher that way than cold subs.

As for new writing, I wrote about a dozen new short stories, all of which are either sold or (four of them) out on submission.

I finished a novel that I started in 2014, which is now with my agent.

I wrote a whole new collaborative novel with David Wood which is now out on submission.

I wrote a novella of about 30k words that’s also out on submission.

And I’m halfway (about 50k words) through a new novel that I hope to have finished in first draft by the end of Feb.

Also in 2015, I won an Australian Shadows Award, for “Shadows of the Lonely Dead”, and was nominated for a second one for “Mephisto”, both short stories. And I was nominated for a Best Novel Ditmar Award for Bound, a Best Novella or Novelette Ditmar Award for “The Darkness in Clara”, and a Best Horror Novel Aurealis Award for Obsidian. And the Shadows Award winning story was reprinted in Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror. Not actual writing stats, but fucking significant writing achievements in the year.

So while there’s only been six new stories published this year (my lowest count since 2011), and no new books, I have nonetheless been very busy. That’s the business – nothing happens fast. But you have to work like a pro 100% of the time to see results. And they do come if you never quit.

Hopefully I’ll land a new book deal or two in 2016 – cross your eveythings for me.

How was your year? Productive, I hope. Let’s all try to beat our best in 2016. Happy new year!

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End of year publishing news.

I thought I should catch up on a few bits and pieces before we roll over into 2016. There’s been a bit of stuff going on.

I mentioned before that the Alex Caine series is getting new covers from Harper Voyager and we finally have release dates for the trilogy in paperback. Well, I’ve seen the new covers, they are truly awesome and I can’t wait to share them with you. I can hopefully do that soon. And all three books in the trilogy will be published together in July next year. So you can buy the whole set all at once. In print. Finally! So very exciting.

For the Americans and everyone else, Ragnarok Publications have acquired the rights to the trilogy and they should reveal their covers before too long. We should see a release from them in the autumn of 2016.

Incidentally, if you’ve enjoyed the Alex Caine books, or any other book for that matter, and you have a few minutes to spare, please take a moment to leave a rating and/or honest review at Amazon, Goodreads, iBooks, or anywhere else you frequent. It really does make a difference!

In short fiction news, a few books have been released recently featuring stories by me. It’s been a quiet year until now, then suddenly everything at once.

I have an original story in an amazing new anthology which is available now. Blurring the Line, featuring my story, “How Father Bryant Saw The Light”, is out in the world, edited by the award-winning Marty Young. Learn about that here. I’m currently running a blog series where I’ve asked each fiction contributor the same five questions. This is the first of those.

Also out now is the new dark urban fantasy/horror anthology, Bloodlines, and that features another new story from me, “Old Promise, New Blood”. And another award-winning editor for this one, the awesome Amanda Pillar. Get the skinny on this book here.

And another new horror story by me was recently published. “Reaching For Ruins” is in Review of Australian Fiction (ed. Matthew Lamb) Vol. 16, Issue 3, for November 2015. RAF has two stories every two weeks from Australian authors and it’s more a lit mag than a genre mag, so I’m very happy to have landed a horror yarn there. Check that out here.

And as for new short stories yet to be published, there’s:

“Under Calliope’s Skin” which will be in the SNAFU: Future Warfare anthology (ed. Geoff Brown and A J Spedding, Cohesion Press) due out in Feb. 2016, and a novelette called “Served Cold” coming out in the Dreaming in the Dark anthology (ed. Jack Dann, PS Publishing) due some time in mid-2016. I’m very excited about both those books.

There’s very exciting new project on the horizon for next year too. Clan Destine Press are releasing And Then… which is a massive two-volume collection of fantastic SF and fantasy adventure yarns. It’s packed with amazing writers, including me. My story, “Golden Fortune, Dragon Jade”, is a novelette featuring a Shaolin monk, a powerful geomancer, a stolen jade dragon and the Australian gold rush. I had heaps of fun writing it and can’t wait for people to read it. The books are being partly funded by an indigogo campaign where you can pre-order both volumes in ebook for AU$20, or both volumes in print and ebook for AU$50. There are loads of other perks available at the campaign too, so to get on board with that, head over here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/and-then-the-great-big-book-of-awesome–2#/

And lastly for now, I’m happy to report that editor Simon Dewar has got the go ahead for Suspended In Dusk 2. He asked me to contribute again and my story, “Crying Demon”, will be in the book, due out around mid-2016.

Happy holidays, whatever type you may or may not celebrate. Eat, drink and be merry, all the time not just in December. Be nice to each other.

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St Alban’s Writers’ Festival

It’s a little way off yet, but the website for the St Alban’s Writers’ Festival has just gone live. As I’m going to be a guest there, I thought I’d share it so you can put it in your diaries. I think it’s going to be good fun. This one is a new festival, which is described thusly:

St Albans Writers’ Festival is a new Australian literary festival celebrating writers, books and writing of all styles, genres and forms, based in the small and picturesque village of St Albans. The landscape of the Hawkesbury with its diverse population of farmers, artists, writers, tree-changers and weekenders provides a unique and stimulating setting to meet writers, discuss books and debate ideas. This intimate festival – places are limited to about 350 – happens over two days and two evenings, starting on Friday 18th September with drinks and nibbles at the Festival Centre.

They made me a page on the website here: http://www.stalbanswritersfestival.com.au/portfolio_page/alan-baxter/ and you can see all the other guest writers here.

The festival is from the 18th to the 20th September 2015, so get your tickets now before they’re all snapped up. I’ll be there all weekend taking part in a few things, so come and say hi.

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New author photo

Alan BaxterI just wanted to make a quick post to show off my new author photo. I hope you like it. I love it! It was taken by the extremely talented Nicole Wells, and I highly recommend that you check out her work.

She has a website here: http://www.nicolewells.com.au/

And a Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/nicolewellsphotography

Author photos are notoriously hard things to get right, especially when, like me, the author is no catwalk model. I think Nicole captured just the right vibe with this one, given the dark weird fiction that I write. And even my artist wife, who is very hard to please with this sort of stuff, thinks it’s a brilliant photo. So approval all around. Thanks, Nicole!

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