Award season is upon us!

Firstly, the Ditmar Awards are open for nominations as of right now. These are the fan-voted national genre awards here in Australia. Anyone “active in fandom” can vote for work they think worthy – that means if you’re a writer, reader, watcher or any other fan of SFFH, you can nominate. There’s a full list of eligible work here, an explanation of voting rules here, and you can nominate work easily with this online form.

If you think any of my 2018 work is worth your nomination, I would be hugely grateful. I have the following eligible stuff:

In the Best Novel category:

Devouring Dark, Alan Baxter, Grey Matter Press, November 2018.

Hidden City, Alan Baxter, Gryphonwood Press, Feb 2018.

In the Best Novella or Novelette category:

“Manifest Recall”, Alan Baxter, in Manifest Recall, Grey Matter Press, June 2018.

In the Best Short Story category:

“Crying Demon”, Alan Baxter, in Suspended in Dusk 2, Grey Matter Press, August 2018.

“Waters Strangely Clear”, Alan Baxter, in What October Brings, Celaeno Press, October 2018.

“Simulacrum of Hope”, Alan Baxter, in Strange Aeons Magazine issue 23, ed. Justin Steele, October 2018.

So if you’d like to nominate any of that work, I’d be mighty appreciative, but also make sure you nominate any other work published in 2018 that you enjoyed and think worthy. Given that this is a fan-voted award, the more people voting means the more representative the award is of public feeling. Tell your friends to get involved, spread the word, and make the Ditmar Awards as good as they can be.

Meanwhile, in other award news, I’m absolutely stoked to see that I got two finalist nominations in the recently announced Aurealis Awards shortlists. The Aurealis Awards are Australia’s premier genre fiction awards, voted on by panels of judges. I’m so thrilled to see Devouring Dark is a finalist for Best Fantasy Novel, and “Crying Demon” is a finalist for Best Fantasy Short Story. And seriously, every single shortlist is just jam-packed with amazing work by incredible authors. Check out the full list of finalists here.

Finally, the Australian Shadows Awards, which are the national jury voted awards for dark fiction and horror, closes to entries in two days. So get your stuff in! All the details here.

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Melbourne, Gold Coast, and Rotorua, New Zealand!

This writing gig is a funny old thing and sometimes it takes me to distant and interesting places. It’s a genuine honour when I get invited to these things, and it’s always so much fun. I’m a lucky dude. Already 2019 is getting busy and I can’t wait to get out of the BaxCave and meet your animated skeletons in meatspace.

In April, those amazing people at Supanova Comic Con & Gaming have invited me back as a guest to be on tour with them to Melbourne (April 5-7) and Gold Coast (April 12-14). I haven’t been down to Melbourne in about three years, so that’s definitely overdue for a visit. There will be heaps of fantastic guests there, and a great line-up of other authors, so come along and say hi. I’ll have loads of the Alex Caine trilogy, heaps of Hidden City, Manifest Recall and Devouring Dark, all at discounted prices, all signed for free. And anyone who buys any book will get a Devouring Dark pin while stocks last.

And in June, there’s a really exciting event where I’ll be a Guest of Honour at an overseas convention for the first time. Those Geysercon folks in New Zealand have invited me to join Kaaron Warren, Laura VanArendonk Baugh and Alena Van Arendonk as a guest for the NZ Natcon from May 31 to June 3. Same details as Supanova above, plus loads of other fun stuff like panels, awards ceremonies and general shenanigans. This will be the first time I’ve been to New Zealand in about twenty years, so I’m excited about that.

Click on the links above to get all the details and I hope to see you there!

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2018 in review.

2018 has been a pretty solid year for original publications! Three novels HIDDEN CITY, DEVOURING DARK, and OVERLORD (co-written with David Wood), one novella, MANIFEST RECALL, and four short stories: “Simulacrum of Hope” in Strange Aeons Magazine (a weird Australian horror story), “Waters Strangely Clear” in the What October Brings anthology (a Lovecraftian story set in Innsmouth), “Crying Demon” in Suspended In Dusk 2 (a digital horror story), and “Her Grief In My Halls” in the Te Kōrero Ahi Kā anthology (an Australian gothic ghost story).

I’ve never has four books out in one year before, and likely won’t again, but that’s the strange timelines of publishing for you. I certainly didn’t write all this stuff in one year. This also sees 10 books with my name on the cover (and a further 5 with my name and David Wood’s) and that feels like quite a milestone. I’m incredibly happy with this. And, with a bit of luck, I’m well on the way to 2019 publications, as I’m always working on something new. Often more than one something.

2018 has also been a stellar year for writerly things in general. I’ve had the privilege to be a guest at Supanova in Sydney and Perth, a guest at Oz Comic-Con in Sydney, and a guest instructor where I taught workshops for the Sydney Writers’ Festival Live & Local event in Wollongong, at the Shaolhaven Writers’ Festival, and the Wollongong Writers’ Festival. I’ve had several other book store and book club events around the country, the pinnacle of which was the recent amazing book tour for the launch of DEVOURING DARK which took in Sydney, Brisbane and Canberra.

And in March I went to the US for the first time and attended StokerCon (as a member, not a guest) and that was an incredible experience. I’m hoping to go again in 2019.

All this is possible because there are you folks out there who want to read the shit I make up. Which blows my mind on a daily basis. I’m honestly blessed and privileged to be able to do all this stuff, and it’s thanks to you, out there, the readers. So if you’ve ever read a book of mine, talked about one, reviewed one, shared one or gifted one, I seriously can’t thank you enough. You are a rock star. For my part, I promise I’ll keep doing what I do, and hopefully you’ll keep coming along for the ride. With any luck we’ll pick up more folks along the way, so do be sure to keep spreading your enthusiasm for my work. Reader word of mouth is the blood in the veins of a writer’s career. Thank you.

Onwards!

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Signed books for Xmas, including a very special offer!

Ho ho ho, Christmas is coming. It’s that time of year when you show friends and loved ones how much you care with gifts and togetherness. And you know what the best gift is? Whisky. But after that, it’s books. Honestly, you can’t go far wrong with books as a gift. You’re showing love by sharing a thing you’ve loved. You’re saying, “This story bent my brain in all the good ways and now I want to bend your brain the same. Then we can talk about how brainbent we’ve become.” It’s both gift and togetherness. But you know what’s better than a book? A book signed by the author. It adds that something extra special. Books are special enough, but when it’s signed by the author and dedicated to your friend or loved one by name, that’s the pinnacle of gift giving.

So, here’s the thing. I’m happy to send any of my books to you or anyone else, signed to whoever you choose. Just reach out to me via the contact page here and we can sort it out. You pay for the book and postage, which makes it not only the best gift, but also a damned affordable one. Bonus!

Unless you live outside Australia, that is, as AusPost are bloody footpads when it comes to international postage costs. But fear not! There are always solutions. Two options. 1. You pay exorbitant postage costs (like $US20-40 or something, depending on weight/number of books) and enjoy the knowledge you’ve gifted something wonderful, or 2. You buy the book/s in your own country from Amazon, Indiebound, wherever, and then you hit me up for signed bookplates that you can stick into the book before gifting it. I’ll sign as many bookplates as you want and post them anywhere in the world for the nominal postage fee of US$5. Then you turn a sweet book into a sweet signed book like some gift-giving wizard.

And now here’s a very special deal for people in Australia (and overseas too, but the previous caveats apply. Read on.)

When the Alex Caine trilogy (BOUND, OBSIDIAN, and ABDUCTION) was originally published in the US, it was with Ragnarok Publications. Sadly, they went under not long after publication. Thankfully the series was picked up by Gryphonwood Press, and it lives on. However, the result of the Ragnarok collapse was that they ended up sending me a few boxes of books, the US editions of the trilogy. As it’s published by HarperVoyager here in Aus and NZ, I can’t sell those copies here, due to territorial rights. But I can give them away. Happy Christmas! So, if you want a signed trilogy, you just have to pay postage. A pre-paid satchel from AusPost within Australia is AU$14.55. I’ll need to bubble wrap the books to make sure they arrive safe, so we’ll add a couple of bucks to the price to make sure it’s all covered, then there’s PayPal fees – so let’s call it AU$18 all up for a signed trilogy. That’s only $6 per book! They’d make a great Xmas present too, so if you want more than one trilogy, let me know. I’m not sure how many I have, but probably a couple of dozen or so. First come, first served! So get in quick.As above, email me via the Contact page here to order.

IF YOU’RE OUTSIDE AUSTRALIA, the postage is brutal. It’ll cost something like AU$45 to post them overseas. Which is insane. Of course, I’m more than happy to send them to you under the same deal (but that’s $50 instead of $18), but you could buy the new Gryphonwood Press editions much cheaper – it’s about US$30 for all three. If you want to buy them in the US and have me send you signed bookplates to stick in them (as per above), that’s not a problem at all. If you’re really keen to have these last few Ragnarok editions (maybe they’ll be collector’s items one day?), then I’m happy to send you those.

This is what you’ll get:

So, if you’re interested, get in touch asap and when they’ve all gone, that’s it. I made this offer to newsletter subscribers first, and there’s only a handful of books left, so get in quick. All my other books, or the Voyager editions of Alex Caine, are plentiful of course.

For anyone outside Australia, you’ve only got about a week left to guarantee Xmas delivery, so don’t delay.

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Curious Fictions for short stories and articles.

I’ve signed up at Curious Fictions. I’ve always struggled with the idea of a Patreon or similar account, as I don’t know that I’d be able to generate much income from it, but I would feel obliged to provide a lot of content for anyone who kicked into it. I’ve always thought that ratio would be tough for me as I’m so time poor. But, it is true that as authors, we need a variety of income steams to survive. Curious Fictions is a bit different from Patreon and its ilk. People can subscribe for a small amount and then have access to anything I post there, and the focus is on short stories and blog type posts. I won’t be blogging there – hell, I hardly blog here any more now that social media is so pervasive – but I will be using the account to post hard-to-find or out-of-print short stories, novel excerpts, experimental pieces, and the occasional non-fiction article. I may use it to curate all the guest posts and articles that end up all over the net. After they’ve had a month or two of exclusivity at their destination, I may collect them at Curious Fictions.

So far, there are three short stories and the first chapter of Devouring Dark up there, so if it sounds like your kind of thing, click here to check it out. And thanks!

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A Reader’s Guide To The Works Of Me, Alan Baxter

I’ve reached a strange and unexpected stage of my career. I always wanted to be a career writer, of course, and I still feel like I’m only just getting started, but now I’m up to 10 books with my name on the cover (and a further 5 with my name and David Wood on the cover). It’s starting to feel like quite the little library I’ve got going on, and a strange and unexpected result of that is people telling me they want to start reading my stuff, or they want to gift my books to a friend or loved one, but they don’t know where to start. It’s one thing to simply read all my stuff in the order in which it was published, and that’s fine, of course, but it’s not readily apparent what that order might be. Plus, I’ve spread myself over quite a few genres or genre combinations, and some of my books might be more appealing than others to certain readers. So, herewith I present a breakdown of all the books I’ve written and why you might like them. They’re in order from the most recent to the oldest (stuff co-written with David Wood is after my solo stuff), and in the case of a series, the quote, blurb, and buttons are for the first book in that series. To learn more about any given book or series, click on the cover, or select from the buttons directly below each entry. If you ever want to know stuff you can’t find here, I’m always around social media, so hit me up with questions. I’ll update this page every time a new book comes out.

DEVOURING DARK (a novel)

So what’s it like?

It’s like Clive Barker wrote LOCK, STOCK & TWO SMOKING BARRELS, influenced by the novels of Ramsey Campbell.

Random Review Quote:

“Devouring Dark is a thrilling mix of crime and horror, a book that somehow defies either description yet embraces both. It moves like a juggernaut, thundering towards an intense, emotional conclusion. I devoured Alan Baxter’s dark; you should too.” – Gary McMahon, author of Pretty Little Dead Things.

Back Cover Blurb:

Matt McLeod is a man plagued since childhood by a malevolent darkness that threatens to consume him. Following a lifetime spent wrestling for control over this lethal onslaught, he’s learned to wield his mysterious skill to achieve an odious goal: retribution as a supernatural vigilante.

When one such hit goes bad, McLeod finds himself ensnared in a multi-tentacled criminal enterprise caught between a corrupt cop and a brutal mobster. His only promise of salvation may be a bewitching young woman who shares his dark talent but has murderous designs of her own.

Devouring Dark is a genre-smashing supernatural thriller that masterfully blends elements of crime and horror in an adrenaline-fueled, life-or-death rollercoaster ride that’s emblematic of the fiction from award-winning author Alan Baxter.

My personal note:

This is a book that grew from my award-winning short story “Shadows of the Lonely Dead” (which is reprinted in the back of the novel). It’s probably my most personal book, drawing on aspects of grief, death, terminal illness, personal tragedy, justice and redemption.

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MANIFEST RECALL (a novella)

So what’s it like?

It’s like JOHN WICK meets MEMENTO meets THE SOPRANOS, with echoes of Tom Picirilli, plus ghosts.

Random Review Quote:

“If you like crime/noir horror hybrids do check out Alan Baxter’s MANIFEST RECALL. It’s a fast, gritty, mind-f*ck.” – Paul Tremblay, author of A Head Full of Ghosts and The Cabin at the End of the World.

Back Cover Blurb:

Following a psychotic break, Eli Carver finds himself on the run, behind the wheel of a car that’s not his own, in the company of a terrified woman he doesn’t know. As he slowly rebuilds his memories, layers of ugly truth are peeled back and dark secrets are revealed. Before long, the duo find themselves on the wrong side of Eli’s old criminal syndicate, in a struggle for survival against the most dangerous forces in their lives.

They have to go back into the underbelly of humanity, laid bare and ready for the bullet or the knife. And all the way, Eli is haunted by the ghosts of people he’s killed in the past, haranguing him, a supernatural peanut gallery of mockery and hate. Manifest Recall follows Eli Carver’s downward spiral of psychosis, through the darker aspects of lost memories, human guilt, and the insurmountable quest for personal redemption.

My personal note:

This is my southern gothic supernatural noir novella, where I get to exercise all my love for the hard-boiled noir genre, with added weird.

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HIDDEN CITY (a novel)

So what’s it like?

It’s like Jim Butcher’s DRESDEN FILES meets H P Lovecraft meets Raymond Chandler noir, with added cosmic weirdness.

Random Review Quote:

“Hidden City is a delicious supernatural noir, the song of a city of the lost with both Chandleresque and Lovecraftian undernotes and distant echoes of Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden. But it is very much its own thing, razor sharp, dark, compelling, cosmic and strangely touching all at once. Highly recommended.” – William Meikle, author of The Ghost Club.

Back Cover Blurb:

Steven Hines listened to the city and the city spoke. Cleveport told him she was sick. With his unnatural connection to her, that meant Hines was sick too. But when his friend, Detective Abby Jones, comes to him for help investigating a series of deaths with no discernible cause, Hines can’t say no. Then strange fungal growths begin to appear in the streets, affecting anyone who gets too close, turning them into violent lunatics. As the mayhem escalates and officials start to seal Cleveport off from the rest of the world, Hines knows the trouble has only just begun.

My personal note:

This is my novel homage to all the greatest noir I’ve enjoyed, where the city itself is arguably the main character. But of course, I can’t help adding the weird, so this is cosmic horror noir. This book is like a link between my urban fantasy and my horror.

SAMPLE: Read the first three chapters here.
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THE BOOK CLUB (a novella)

So what’s it like?

It’s like GONE GIRL meets TALES OF THE UNEXPECTED meets police procedural, with extra cosmic strangeness.

Random Review Quote:

“The Book Club is one of the best novellas that I’ve read in all of my years as a reader. I can’t remember the last time I was so enthralled by a story, or so emotionally wrecked by the plot twists and conclusion to the story… To put it simply, this book is nightmare fuel (in a good way). Baxter continues to grow and impress as a storyteller, and I can’t wait to see what he releases next. The Book Club is a must read for fans of cosmic horror, horror, and mystery stories. 5 out of 5 stars.” – Smash Dragons.

Back Cover Blurb:

Jason Wilkes’s life takes a turn for the worse when his wife fails to come home from her book club. Jason calls Kate’s ‘book buddy’, Dave, who assures him she left hours ago. Contacting the police, Jason finds them equal parts sympathetic and suspicious. He tells them almost everything, except that he’s been hearing Kate’s voice, calling as if from far away. He certainly doesn’t mention that he’s seeing shadows that reach for him. With the police getting nowhere fast, Jason takes matters into his own hands, even as nightmare images and Kate’s distant cries continue to haunt his waking moments and his dreams, and the strange, grasping shadows persist. Jason begins to unravel the mystery, but he’s at odds with the police, he’s being lied to by Kate’s book club friends, and his chances of finding Kate slip ever further away. It seems that everything is going to go as wrong as it possibly can.

My personal note:

With this novella, I deliberately set out to write a straightforward mystery/police procedural that then takes an utterly weird turn and ventures out into deeply strange territory. I think I pulled it off.

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BOUND, OBSIDIAN, and ABDUCTION – The Alex Caine Series (a trilogy of novels)

So what’s it like?

It’s like Clive Barker’s WEAVEWORLD meets Stephen King meets Lee Child’s Jack Reacher (with a spell book), plus added monsters and martial arts.

Random Review Quote:

“Baxter’s efficient prose never gets in the way of the story, and his dialogue is vivid and dynamic. I had a lot of fun reading this book. It kept me hanging in there, eagerly flipping pages to find out who was going to be the next brutalized victim or what twisted deed would be performed next. This story packs a punch! I recommend Bound for readers who love violence, sex, monsters, and blood-splattering action.” – Grimdark Magazine.

Back Cover Blurb:

Alex Caine is a martial artist fighting in illegal cage matches. His powerful secret weapon is an unnatural vision that allows him to see his opponents’ moves before they know their intentions themselves.

After a fight one night, an enigmatic Englishman, Patrick Welby, claims to know Alex’s secret. Welby shows Alex how to unleash a breathtaking realm of magic and power, drawing him along a mind-bending course beyond his control. And control is something Alex values above all else.

My personal note:

This is my dark urban fantasy trilogy where I got to write a martial artist as the main character and exercise all my martial philosophy through him and his teacher. I combined that with all my best efforts to subvert existing fantasy tropes.

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CROW SHINE (a short story collection)

So what’s it like?

It’s like if Roald Dahl, Neil Gaiman, and Clive Barker made short story soup combining dark fantasy, horror, and the weird, with heaps of supernatural strangeness.

Random Review Quote:

“Alan Baxter is an accomplished storyteller who ably evokes magic and menace. Whether it’s stories of ghost-liquor and soul-draining blues, night club magicians, sinister western pastoral landscapes, or as uburban suicide–Crow Shine has a mean bite.” — Laird Barron, author of Blood Standard.

Back Cover Blurb:

The debut story collection by award-winning Australian dark fantasy writer Alan Baxter. 19 stories, 3 original to the collection.

My personal note:

I’ve always loved short stories and I’m extremely proud of this first collected volume. It was nominated for three different awards and won one of them.

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REALMSHIFT and MAGESIGN – The Balance – a novel duology

So what’s it like?

It’s like THE DRESDEN FILES if they were written by Quentin Tarantino and Alfred Hitchcock trying to out-do each other with supernatural madness.

Random Review Quote:

“For lovers of dark fantasies, thrillers or just a bloody good read, this book comes highly recommended.” – Book Lover’s Club.

Back Cover Blurb:

Isiah is having a tough time. The Devil is making his job very difficult.

Samuel Harrigan is a murdering lowlife. He used ancient blood magic to escape a deal with the Devil and now he’s on the trail of a crystal skull that he believes will complete his efforts to evade Lucifer. But Lucifer wants Samuel’s soul for eternity and refuses to wait a second longer for it. Isiah needs Samuel to keep looking for the crystal skull, so he has to protect Sam and keep the Devil at bay. Not for Samuel’s sake, but for all of humanity.

RealmShift is an engrossing Dark Fantasy thriller; a fascinating exploration of the nature of people’s beliefs and their effect on the world around them. Magic, action and intrigue, from dank city streets to the depths of Hell and beyond.

My personal note:

RealmShift was my first published novel, so it holds a special place in my heart. This duology was my exploration of the power of belief and set me on the dark and supernatural path I’ve followed ever since.

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Books co-written with David Wood

PRIMORDIAL and OVERLORD – The Sam Aston Investigations (ongoing novel series)

So what’s it like?

It’s like if INDIANA JONES was an Australian marine biologist and he went after monsters instead of treasure.

Random Review Quote:

“PRIMORDIAL has everything you’d want from a monster story—great characters, a remote location and a creature with bite! Mixing history and lore with science and action, David Wood and Alan Baxter have penned a thriller that is hard to put down.” – Jeremy Robinson, international bestselling author of Apocalypse Machine and Project Nemesis.

Back Cover Blurb:

Sometimes, the legends are true. When eccentric billionaire Ellis Holloway hires renegade marine biologist Sam Aston to investigate the legend of a monster in a remote Finnish lake, Aston envisions an easy paycheck and a chance to clear his gambling debts. But he gets much more. Something terrible lives beneath the dark waters of Lake Kaarme, and it’s hungry. As the death toll mounts, Aston faces superstitious locals, a power-hungry police chief, and a benefactor’s descent into madness as he races to find the legendary beast of the lake.

My personal note:

These books I write with David Wood are unashamedly fun monster thrillers – creature features in novel form, with more depth and character than movies.

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BLOOD CODEX and ANUBIS KEY – The Jake Crowley Adventures (ongoing novel series)

So what’s it like?

It’s like if JAMES BOND meets INDIANA JONES and THE DA VINCI CODE, except it’s good.

Random Review Quote:

“Blood Codex is a genuine up all night got to see what happens next thriller that grabs you from the first page and doesn’t let go until the last.” – Steven Savile, bestselling author of SILVER.

Back Cover Blurb:

An ancient order. A deadly conspiracy. A race against time. When Jake Crowley rescues Rose Black from assailants on the streets of London, the two find themselves embroiled in a mystery that could cost them their lives. People are dying, and all the victims have one thing in common with Rose: a birthmark in the shape of an eagle. From beneath the streets of London, to castle dungeons, to the heart of Christendom and beyond, Jake and Rose must race to stay alive as they seek to unlock the secrets of the Blood Codex.

My personal note:

These books I write with David Wood are huge fun where we get to play with all the classic adventure tropes like secret societies, hidden rooms, mystical secrets and kick-ass action.

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DARK RITE (a short novel)

So what’s it like?

It’s like HAMMER HOUSE OF HORROR meets DELIVERANCE.

Random Review Quote:

“Wood and Baxter have delivered a stunning tale that reminds of an early Stephen King’s talent for the macabre with a pinch of Graham Masterton’s flair for witchcraft and terror. A sinister tale of black magic and horror – not for the faint hearted.” – Greig Beck, bestselling author of Beneath the Dark Ice and Black Mountain.

Back Cover Blurb:

A small mountain town hides a dark secret…

When the death of his father brings Grant Shipman to the tiny Appalachian town of Wallen’s Gap, he believes his biggest problem will be dealing with the slow pace and odd townsfolk. But something sinister is at work. A dark power rises, an echo of the town’s bloody past. A book of blood magic offers an unspeakable horror a gateway into the world of the living, and only Grant stands in the way of their Dark Rite.

My personal note:

This short novel David Wood and I wrote is a deliberate homage to all the great B-movie horror films like Hammer made in the 70s, only it’s deeper and less cheesy.

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Bonus sci-fi!

GHOST of the BLACK (a novella)

So what’s it like?

It’s like Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer meets Blade Runner in interstellar space.

Random Review Quote:

“I really liked how the futuristic setting took a back seat to the almost crime-noir story and character… I could actually go back and read some old hard-boiled detective fiction after this, but I’d have a feeling that this would still be more fun!” – E. Patrick Dorris.

Back Cover Blurb:

Ghost is possibly the best bounty hunter in the universe and he always gets the job done. At least, that’s the reputation he rides on. When the DAP employ him to track down and capture a rogue Magicker who’s running across the galaxy killing anyone who gets in his way, Ghost realises this is a job that could cost him his reputation. It’s also a job that could cost him his sanity.

My personal note:

I wrote this back in 2008 and serialised it on my website in 34 weekly episodes, mainly to play around with the idea of serial fiction. Once it was finished, I self-published it as an ebook and paperback. (You can still read it all for free on my site.) I had heaps of fun with it and one day I want to write more stories in this universe. And it ties in with several of the (admittedly few) sci-fi short stories I’ve written. I have plans to eventually put all these things together into a kind of SF mosaic novel. One of many projects sitting on the whiteboard…

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And a little non-fiction.

WRITE THE FIGHT RIGHT

So what’s it like?

Well, it’s not really like anything in terms of story because this one is an ebook-only writers’ guide to crafting good fight scenes in your fiction. It’s more like a really long essay than a full-length book and doesn’t go into super-deep detail, but gives loads of quality pointers about the real aspects of fighting to give your fight scenes that authentic, bone-cracking pizazz.

Random Review Quote:

“The best way for a writer to learn what’s really involved in brawling, short of going down the pub and starting something.” – Pete, WA.

Back Cover Blurb:

A short ebook designed to look at the things that make a fight scene in a story read as realistically as possible, while maintaining excitement and pace. By looking at the various factors that go into a real fight, paying attention to the things that we train for when we learn to fight, we can write fight scenes that stay exciting without breaking the rules of realism that shatter believability.

My personal note:

I started running workshops on writing good fight scenes and people kept asking if there was something they could read, as a follow-up. So I wrote this, which is more like a long essay than a full-length book, to cover all the stuff we go through in the workshops.

Free podcast on writing fight scenes
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Awards eligibility post 2018

It’s that time of year again when people start thinking about all the good stuff they’ve read in order to nominate their favourites for awards. And that means it’s time for us writers to remind everyone of all the good stuff we’ve had published in the last calendar year, in case things get forgotten. So with the Stokers, Nebula, Hugo and other awards all around the corner, here’s all my stuff published in 2018 and the category it’s eligible in:

NOVEL/BEST NOVEL
This is for work over 40,000 words.

DEVOURING DARK – eligible for horror and fantasy awards.

HIDDEN CITY – eligible for horror and fantasy awards.

OVERLORD – eligible for horror awards.

NOVELLA/LONG FICTION
This is for work between 17,501 and 40,000 words.

MANIFEST RECALL – eligible for horror and crime awards.

SHORT FICTION
This is for stories up to 7,500 words.

“Simulacrum of Hope” – Strange Aeons Magazine (ed. Justin Steele, October 2018) – eligible in horror and fantasy categories.

“Waters Strangely Clear” – What October Brings (ed. Douglas Draa, Celaeno Press, October 2018) – eligible in horror and fantasy categories.

“Crying Demon” – Suspended In Dusk 2 (ed. Simon Dewar, Grey Matter Press, August 2018) – eligible in horror and fantasy categories.

“Her Grief In My Halls” – Te Kōrero Ahi Kā anthology (ed. Grace Bridges, Lee Murray, Aaron Compton, SpecFicNZ, March 2018) – eligible in horror categories.

So that’s my output for the year. It seems like a lot, but publishing can be like that sometimes. Strangely, I’ve had a lot of books out this year but only a few short stories. Usually it’s the other way around. Anyway, if you’ve read any of these and think they’re worthy of an award, and you’d like to nominate or recommend them, I can’t thank you enough. Apart from the obvious pleasure of being nominated for or winning awards, the shortlistings also do wonders to help with a book or author’s visibility, which directly translates to new readers. And more readers is really what it’s all about. All the awards in the world don’t compare to a large and enthusiastic readership. So to everyone who’s read my work, thank you! Please tell your friends if you’ve enjoyed your reading.

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DEVOURING DARK is out now!

Happy book day to me! It’s always exciting and nerve-wracking when a new book comes out, but the immediate response to the release of DEVOURING DARK has been wonderful, so thanks to everyone for that. I’m really proud of this book and hope you’ll give it a go if it sounds like your kind of thing. You can find all the info you need, and all the relevant links here.

Meanwhile, there are a few accompanying guest posts around the net:

Firstly, I’m over at Chuck Wendig’s blog talking about The H-Word, horror as a ghetto genre.

And I’m at Joanna Penn’s blog, The Creative Penn, with 7 Tips for Writing Horror Stories.

And here I am at Frank Michael Errington’s blog with a guest post called Dealing With Death.

And here I’m at John F D Taff’s blog with a post called Why do you write such horrible stuff?

There’ll be some other bits and pieces cropping up over the next week or two, so watch my social media. But in the meantime, if you are interested in getting a copy of DEVOURING DARK, please grab it soon even if you can’t read it just yet. Those early sales and early ranks REALLY help with a book’s ongoing visibility and shelf-life. Thanks and I hope you enjoy it!

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What October Brings: A Lovecraftian Celebration of Halloween

I’ve written a lot of cosmic horror – it’s a staple of my stuff – and while H P Lovecraft is an undeniable influence on the theme and definitely on me, his work has been in many ways surpassed. And I’d always avoided writing anything within the actual Lovecraftian mythos. Until now! WHAT OCTOBER BRINGS is a new anthology of Lovecraftian Halloween stories and features my first Lovecraftian yarn, “Waters Strangely Clear”, which takes place in Innsmouth. And it’s out now! You can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/4902075903/

And look at that sweet Daniele Serra cover! (Click it for a bigger version.) Here are the details:

What October Brings: A Lovecraftian Celebration of Halloween
Edited and with an introduction by Doug Draa

Halloween, a time for laughing children in white bedsheets and superhero costumes. A time for chocolate candy, and pumpkins, and Trick-or-Treat.

A time for dark things everything to slink out of the shadows and into our lives, reminding those unlucky few that our charades of Halloween cannot erase the centuries of history and pain behind the facade…

What October Brings celebrates the dark traditions of the autumn rituals, of Halloween and Samhain, in homage to the uniquely fascinating fiction of HP Lovecraft. Masters of the short story offer you a “once in a lifetime” Trick-or-Treat experience…

…perhaps your last experience!

The commissioned cover is by acclaimed Italian painter Daniele Serra.

Reviews
What October Brings is a veritable Candycornucopia of fatal delights! A hell of a Trick-or-Treat bag! (Or is that a Trick-or-Treat bag from Hell?) And not a crummy orange or walnut in the haul! But that doesn’t mean there aren’t razor blades in the chocolates! Let’s face it: you’d feel disappointed if there weren’t! My tummy’s already pleasantly aching from tasty treats by Cody Goodfellow, Ann K. Schwader, Darrell Schweitzer, Adrian Cole, Brian M. Sammons, and (burp) John Shirley. And I’m going back for more!
—Robert M. Price, Editor, Crypt of Cthulhu and Eldritch Tales

Contents
• Paul Dale Anderson :: That Small, Furry, Sharp-toothed Thing
• Alan Baxter :: Waters Strangely Clear
• Ran Cartwright :: The House on Jimtown Road
• Adrian Cole :: No Other God But Me
• Storm Constantine :: Down into Silence
• Tim Curran :: Spider Wasp
• Arinn Dembo :: The Old Man Down the Road
• Cody Goodfellow :: The War on Halloween
• Andre E. Harewood :: The Immortician
• Nancy Holder :: Nyarlahotep Came Down to Georgia
• Erica Ruppert :: Summer’s End
• Brian M. Sammons :: A Night for Masks
• Ann K. Schwader :: Inheritance
• Darrell Schweitzer :: Uncle’s in the Treetops
• John Shirley :: Hum—Hurt You. Hum—Hurt You. Hum—Hurt You.
• Lucy A. Snyder :: Cosmic Cola
• Chet Williamson :: Hell Among the Yearlings

Available in September 2018 in print and ebook editions:
– Softcover
ISBN: 978-4-902075-90-8
List: US$20.00

– Ebook
ISBN: 978-4-909473-51-6
List: US$6.99

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