Golden Fortune, Dragon Jade out soon!

My next venture in self-publishing is officially released on March 3rd. Golden Fortune, Dragon Jade is a kind of re-release. I’d always wanted to write something in the vein of the great wuxia (martial heroes) kung fu epics I’ve loved so much my whole life. I’ve been a career martial artist for four decades, so kung fu has been an integral part of me for pretty much forever. But I’m a horror and dark fantasy writer for the most part, and had never got around finding a good story to scratch that wuxia itch. Then, back in 2016, Lindy Cameron of Clan Destine Press asked me to write a story for her new anthology. She wanted big stories, full of epic adventure, with fantasy or science fiction cores. But the story also needed to be a bit more family-friendly than my usual fare. And it needed an Australian connection. This is what came of that request.

The two protagonists in this yarn are cousins – he a Shaolin monk, her an accomplished geomancer. The Shaolin monk, Yong Fa, shares his first name with my Sifu, my kung fu teacher, in a subtle homage to him, and the character shows some of my teacher’s irreverence and cheekiness, but is otherwise an entirely made up person. The character certainly is not based on my Sifu. The geomancer, Zi Yi, is altogether more serious and focussed, but an accomplished mage in her own right. Together their skills are complementary and that’s just as well when they realise the scale of their task, the distance they have to go to track down their missing jade dragon, and the kind of unforgiving country they’ll be led to.

I’d had a nebulous idea for this Chinese-inspired fantasy story in mind for ages, with Shaolin martial arts and spirit magic, travel and adventure, but never quite had the framework to make it sing. Then the request for the story from Clan Destine Press said it needed an Australian connection of some kind, and I realised that setting this Chinese fantasy towards end of the Aussie gold rush would be perfect. It made the original idea better, and I was able to give a historical nod to my adopted country. It all catalysed into what I hope is an exciting novella.

You should check out the two volumes of And Then..? from Clan Destine Press, but as this is a story that’s unlikely to ever find its way into one of my collections, I thought it would be a good idea to release it on its own as a chapbook. And as I have more room to spare now, this is a slightly expanded and embellished version compared to the one originally published. I got to add a few flourishes I had to cut out before.

It was a hell of a lot of fun to write, and I hope people have at least as much fun reading it.

Here’s the blurb:

The Jade Dragon protected Long-En for centuries – until it was taken.

When the Jade Dragon is stolen from the temple in the quiet village of Long-En, the locals are stunned. The very idea of such a theft is unimaginable. And without the protection of the powerful icon, what awful fate might befall the peaceful hamlet?

Two young cousins, Li Yong Fa, a martial monk recently returned from years of training at the Shaolin Temple, and Li Zi Yi, a potent geomancer, team up to track down the thief, recover the priceless statue, and return it safely to Long-En. Little do they know how far afield they will be taken, and what dangers they will face in strange and inhospitable lands, before they even get close to their goal.

You can pre-order the ebook now and the paperback will be up for pre-order any day now. The book is out on March 3rd, so not long to wait. I hope you’ll give it a go. All the details and links are here.

 

Ditmar Awards open for nominations.

The Ditmar Awards are open for nominations. Any creator or fan can nominate for these awards. My eligible works are:
 
Best Collected Work:

Served Cold by Alan Baxter, Grey Matter Press.

 
Best Novella or Novelette:
 
“Yellowheart”, Alan Baxter, in Served Cold, Grey Matter Press.
 
Best Short Story:
 
“Exquisite”, Alan Baxter, in Served Cold, Grey Matter Press.
“The Ocean Hushed the Stones”, Alan Baxter, in Served Cold, Grey Matter Press.
“The Throat”, Alan Baxter, in SNAFU: Last Stand, Cohesion Press.
 
Be sure to nominate all the work you’ve enjoyed last year – the more people involved and the more nominations cast, the better the awards reflect the strength and variety of our genre. The rules for the awards are here: https://wiki.sf.org.au/Ditmar_rules

The eligibility list is here: https://wiki.sf.org.au/2020_Ditmar_eligibility_list

And you can nominate easily online using this form: https://ditmars.sf.org.au/2020/nominations.html
Have at it, folks!

Genesis of The Roo

Sometimes the stars align.

Every once in a while, a bizarre situation unfolds that you could never plan, but which takes over everyday life for a little while. This all started with a ridiculous situation on Twitter. There was a news article going around with the headline: ‘Australian Town Terrorised By Muscular Kangaroo Attacking People And Eating Gardens’. A more Australian story is hard to find.

When author Charles R Rutledge tweeted that it sounded “like something Zebra Books would have published back in the day”, Kealan Patrick Burke (superb author and excellent cover designer) mocked up a brilliant old school horror novel cover in response. Several of us started joking about how a cover that cool really should be on an actual book. One thing led to another, and as I was the Aussie in the conversation, people started saying I should be the one to write it. And honestly, the cover had inspired me. The timing was fortuitous in two significant ways: For one, I’d just hit a period where I was planning to take a month off from other projects and write a couple of short stories – so I thought I could write this instead. Secondly, one of those planned short stories was going to be an outback horror story addressing themes of domestic violence – so I decided I could use this story, which in my mind was a novella, instead. I thought it would be a really fun creature feature. But surely, the whole concept was just nonsense. A bit of a joke. Then people kept hassling me to write it. I even got a few private messages along the lines of, “Dude, please, you have to do this!” Terrible enablers, all of them. They were actually fucking serious.

And I’m easily led astray, it would seem. So I asked Kealan if I could have the cover were I to write a killer roo story. He said yes, but he wanted to polish it up, rather than the five-minute mock-up he’d done originally as a joke. So that’s what he did. And enough people bugged me that I did in the end agree to write it, based on the fortunate circumstances outlined above. I knew the idea was perfect for a horror novella. As I mentioned, I already had a short story in mind, so the general framework was already in place. I could extend it into a novella without too much work. There’s no way I would usually be able to turn around such a big story so quickly, but as the bones for this had already been marinating in my brain juices for some time, changing the threat to a killer kangaroo wasn’t much of a leap. In fact, it turned out to be a better idea than the story I was originally planning to write.

So I wrote it. I decided I would self-publish it in short order, while people were still excited for it. I think it’s a good idea to have a few self-published bits and pieces in my catalogue and I’d been intending to release a some more, but wasn’t sure what. So, why not start with this?

Buzz on Twitter was great, lots of people really looking forward to the book, so I got right on it. Normally I can’t write an entire novella in a couple of weeks, but this one just poured out of me. Incredibly, all this started on December 16th, and by January 16th I was uploading the book files with a January 28th publication date. The power of modern self-publishing! I’ve never turned anything around so fast before, and it’s not something that would ever happen often. This one feels fated. And honestly, it’s been a blast!

But I didn’t do it all alone. I didn’t want to half-arse it. This needed to be a full-arse extravaganza. I can’t thank Kealan Burke, Amanda Spedding (of Pheonix Editing), and David Wood enough for helping me with cover, editing and layout respectively at the ridiculous short notice speeds I was working to. I couldn’t have done this without them. Thanks for prioritising me, guys! The cover of the book you see above is Kealan’s amazing work, after he took the original concept and polished it into that incredible piece of art.

Here’s the back cover blurb for the novella inside:

Something is wrong in the small outback town of Morgan Creek.

A farmer goes missing after a blue in the pub. A teenage couple fail to show up for work. When Patrick and Sheila McDonough investigate, they discover the missing persons list is growing. Before they realise what’s happening, the residents of the remote town find themselves in a fight for their lives against a foe they would never have suspected.

And the dry red earth will run with blood.

In keeping with the theme, I’ve shamelessly written the book to be as ocker as the outback. There are words and phrases in it that will no doubt confuse non-Aussies. So there’s a (limited and certainly not exhaustive) glossary of Australian slang and terminology in the back. You might need to look up some translations. If you’re not too familiar with the anatomy of kangaroos, may I also suggest you Google ‘kangaroo feet’ before you start reading. Seriously, you might think you know, but have another look. They’re insane.

Almost every main character in this story is named after someone on Twitter who goaded and cajoled until I caved and agreed to write it. But I just used their names – the characters are most definitely not based on those people. This is the kind of thing that happens when horror writers and reviewers are dicking around when they should be working.

Twitter: More dangerous than a killer kangaroo.

The novella is available in paperback and ebook wherever books are sold. (Paperback: ISBN-13: 978-0-9805782-6-3)

Buy the ebook now.

Buy the paperback now.

Add THE ROO to Goodreads.

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Authors For Fireys

(Please note: All the photos in this post were collected over the last couple of weeks from Twitter and I’ve lost track of who took them. If a photo is yours and you’d like credit or you’d like the photo removed, please let me know on [email protected] and I’ll credit or remove right away. Thanks!)

I’m pretty sure that wherever you are in the world, you’ll be aware that Australia, especially the east coast, is suffering through the worst bushfires we’ve ever known. So far they’ve killed 23 people, burned 8.4 million hectares, destroyed more than 1700 homes, and over half a billion animals have died. When we use the word catastrophic, it’s not hyperbole. The ongoing, so far unmeasured health effects of living for weeks with an Air Quality Index more than double the level of New Delhi is something we’ve yet to see. The smoke has travelled to Chile and Argentina. It’s here in Australia, but it’s a global issue.

 

 

Our firefighters, known here as fireys, have been battling the unprecedented bushfires for months. This last couple of weeks have been pure hell. They are woefully underfunded mainly due to a criminally negligent government that still refuses to accept climate change and embraces fossil fuels. That government has gutted funding to essential services. Due to a changing climate, hazard reduction burns have been harder to do every year – the cool season when those measures are usually taken have been shorter, hotter, and drier, meaning the usual methods employed can’t be done nearly as effectively. Couple that with massive cuts in funding that prevent our fireys doing their best work during the fire season, and a distinct lack of equipment, and you can see why so many of us are furious with our so-called government right now.

 

Our fireys should be a full-time, salaried force, but most are volunteers. So much of their work is funded by donations (which yeah, is absolutely fucked, but see above.) These incredible men and women fight fires without pay, putting their lives at risk to save people, land, wildlife and homes. Several have already died this year. So people are stepping up where our government has failed. Generosity from at home and around the world has been fantastic. So many different ways of helping have emerged, and authors are getting on board too.

Presenting #AuthorsForFireys

It’s a Twitter auction of signed books, author services, tuckerisation, and much more. It runs until January 11th. People bid directly in @ replies to the tweet, and the highest bid wins. When that bidder shows a receipt of their donation to the CFA, the book or whatever is sent out. Brilliant idea!

You can get all the details about how it works here: https://authorsforfireys.wixsite.com/website

So check out #AuthorsForFireys and see where you can get involved.

I’ve got three separate auctions running:

Five novel pack (Alex Caine trilogy, Devouring Dark, Hidden City), signed, sent wherever you want:


Manifest Recall, signed, sent wherever you want:


Crow Shine, Limited Edition signed and numbered hardcover (there’s only 100 of these in existence), sent wherever you want:

Bid high! And only vote for people who promise to tackle climate change head on.


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Books read in 2019

I’ve had a stellar reading year. 70 books read in 2019, some absolute gems among them. I always set my Goodreads challenge at 50 books and usually exceed it. But I only record the books I enjoy in my GR reading challenge, so I can recommend all of these. I include graphic novels, novellas and anything else that vaguely qualifies as a book! This year my son graduated to actual chapter books, so I’ve enjoyed a lot of kid’s stuff this year too. I didn’t include young kid’s books in previous years, but now we’re reading stuff like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Secret Seven, so I’ve started including them.

I thought I’d look at a few stats. I’m basing this purely on general knowledge and author name, so if I get anything wrong, I apologise. I wanted to read more books in translation this year, but I fell a bit short of that, only reading a few. I also try to make sure I get a relatively even split of men and women authors, and a good amount of PoC authors, in order to have the broadest reading experience I can. I don’t want to only read old white man stories. And the wider I read, the better an author I become. Hopefully!

So:

Total books read: 70

Male/female author split: ~40/30 (this is approximate as some are multi-author anthologies, etc.)

PoC author: 6 (that I know of)

LGBT author: 5 (that I know of)

Books translated from a language other than English: 2

Non-fiction: 1 (this is bizarre, because I’ve read loads, but I guess I only finished one this year and added it to the challenge. I’ve read lots of stuff for pleasure and research, but not in its entirety.)

Overall, not a bad split in terms of gender, but I really want to do better with non-white, non-English language books in 2020. And I need to finish some of the non-fiction books I have on the go.

My reading challenge page is here, for details. Or you can click on the images below to see all the covers of the stuff I’ve read this year. What about you? A good reading year?

 

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SNAFU: Last Stand is out now

The SNAFU anthology series from Cohesion Press has rightly seen a lot of success. High-octane stories of military horror, loads of action, loads of monsters, how can you go wrong? I’ve had a pretty good run with writing for the series too – my stories appear in SNAFU: Survival of the Fittest, SNAFU: Future Warfare, and SNAFU: Black Ops. And now, I have a story in the latest volume, SNAFU: Last Stand. My story in this one is called “The Throat”. It shares pages with a bunch of incredible yarns from an impressive list of contributing authors, and it has a foreword by Hollywood’s own Tim Miller (Deadpool, Love, Death & Robots, etc.) I heartily suggest you get on board. Happy reading!

The US Amazon link is –> https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07ZBY3GKQ
The UK Amazon link is –> https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07ZBY3GKQ
The AU Amazon link is –> https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B07ZBY3GKQ

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#ScaryStories on Twitter

This writing business is a weird gig at the best of times. Sometimes, it’s downright bizarre. And usually lots of fun (not counting the endless waiting and relentless rejections!) And to make any kind of living, lowly mid-listers like myself are always on the lookout for extra work. The thing that came my way recently turned out to be a whole heap of fun. Along with a few fellow horror writers (John F D Taff, Richard Thomas, Olivia White, Gabrilelle Faust, Josh Bernoff, and Grady Hendrix) I was commissioned to write three scary stories to be promoted on Twitter throughout October, in the lead up to Halloween. Each story had to be pretty short, ideally around 500 words total. The other writers took various approaches – some penning straight-up third person yarns, some using a more obscure approach. Personally, I chose to use Twitter for the first person format it is and made my stories as indistinguishable from real life as possible. And in fact, all three draw on genuine real experience. How much? Well, that’s for you to wonder, dear friendo. Anyway, now the campaign is over, I thought I might immortalise the yarns here for posterity. I’ve regularly used Twitter for micro-fiction, and will continue to do so – I’m a writer, after all. But as these were three yarns for a particular purpose, I figured I’d keep them together here.

Below are each of the stories, in the order they were posted. At the start of each is the original first tweet, so you can click on that and read the thread on Twitter as it was posted, or you can just scroll through this post and read them here. All the other stories from the campaign are linked at the end. Enjoy!

Story 1 – Walking Rufus
Release Date: Tuesday, October 8 (~10pm Eastern Standard Time) | Wednesday, October 9 (~noon Aus. time)

Had a spooky experience last night. It started with a weird thing that happened walking my dog. #ScaryStories

I kinda wrote it off as paranoia, but I’m not so sure. It began when I was walking Rufus along an old farm track we regularly use.

Here’s a photo of us enjoying it once before. It’s a great place to walk, because there are hardly ever any cars, except maybe the farmer in his pick-up every now and then. You can see up to one side it’s a steep hill of thick bush.

Walking there late yesterday, right before dark, there was crashing in the trees. Rufus stiffened, staring into the gloomy bush, his hackles up.

“Chill, dog,” I said to him. “Just a roo.” They blunder through there all the time. But this did sound a bit different.

The breaking sounds stopped, right in line with us, but too far in to see anything. I got Rufus to (reluctantly) come with me and we carried on. After a few paces the crashing started again. We stopped. It stopped too.

I had the sensation of being watched. Rufus growled.

I’d left the walk a bit late, so it was getting dark and, I’m not too proud to admit, I was getting spooked. I decided to call it a day and head home. I started back the other way and called Rufus to follow.

The noises started again—and they seemed to be getting closer. I started jogging. My nerves were up by now.

Roos don’t track people. Why would they? But what else could it be? Then Rufus barked and tore off into the trees.

I stopped, yelled for him, whistled, running back and forth near where he’d gone in. I heard his barking, and a deep growling sound, then more bush being ripped and broken.

Then a deep, thrumming kind of… groan? Then a yelp.

I shouted myself hoarse for Rufus. There was more thrashing in the bush. I braced myself, not sure how the hell to fight whatever might come out.

Relief surged through me when I saw Rufus, eyes wide with fear. He had blood around his mouth—and something else.

Once I realised the blood wasn’t his I decided not to think about where it came from.

I don’t know what else was on the fur around his snout. Some sort of grease or slime. In the failing light, it seemed almost green.

Rufus whined and trembled. “Come on!” I said, and we ran together the couple of kilometres home.

I thought that was it. But much later, right before I was about to go to sleep, Rufus leapt from his bed, teeth bared. He stared out the courtyard doors.

He stood there like this for ages, growling low, still with a tremor in his legs. No light out there.

It was late and I was a bit freaked out, so I didn’t do anything else, just decided to go to bed. Made sure everything was locked up and that was it.

But I can’t stop thinking about it today. Might not walk there again for a while…

This story originally ended here, but I followed it up with some extra fun, so click here to see how the thing grew from this original posting:

 

Story 2 – Hitchhiker
Release Date: Tuesday, October 15 (~10pm Eastern Standard Time) | Wednesday, October 16 (~noon Aus. time)

Let me tell you about the weirdest hitchhiker experience I ever had. #ScaryStories

I was on a short book tour, and being a low-key author like me, that means a lot of driving myself around and staying in cheap motels.

One time I was driving late after a signing. I’d decided to get in a few hours towards the next location before stopping for the night.

As I left town, a young woman was standing at the side of the road, thumb out.

Tall, blonde hair, well-dressed, and wearing a short denim jacket.

I thought she was taking a risk, but then again, maybe she was a serial killer and I was the one taking the risk if I stopped.

But I couldn’t ignore a woman on her own at night.

So I pulled over, asked her where to. She said, “Anywhere. Just away from him before it’s too late.”

Sounds pretty heavy, right? So she got in and I drove on. She was quiet, subdued. I guess scared.

I didn’t want to pry, but I asked if she was okay. She said, “He told me one day he’ll lock all the doors and burn the house down with me in it. So I’m leaving.”

I told her that sounded like the best plan. Did she need me to call the police? Could I take her anywhere specific? She shook her head, hugging herself. “I just need to get away,” she said, almost whisper.

Okay. I could help with that.

We drove on in silence for a while. Then she sucked in a breath. “Is it hot in here?” she asked.

She pulled off her denim jacket and threw it in the back.

I turned the AC up a bit, but I didn’t think it was hot. More silence. I tried to think of something to say.

Eventually I turned to tell her I where I was heading, just to make conversation. She wasn’t there. No-one was there.

My heart slammed and I nearly steered off the road. I’d been doing 100kmh on open highway for a good twenty minutes.

I figured I was more tired than I realised, and I stopped at the next motel.

I came back that way four or five days later. Passed through the same town late at night, maybe close to midnight.

I should have stopped there really, got some rest. But after the last time I was a little freaked and decided to drive right through.

On the way out the other side of town, I saw someone at the side of the road, thumb out.

I didn’t stop, didn’t catch her eye.

But I glanced over as I went past. Sure enough, the same well-dressed young woman, same blonde hair. Same need to leave. No jacket though.

Because that was still in the back of my car. Had been all week. I’ve kept it ever since.

Story 3 – The Old Lady In White
Release Date: Tuesday, October 22 (~10pm Eastern Standard Time) | Wednesday, October 23 (~noon Aus. time)

There’s an old lady in our lane, always wears white, and my son thinks she’s a witch. He says the white is camouflage. I’m inclined to agree with him. #ScaryStories

It started with little things. One time on a bright sunny day some black cockatoos flew over, screeching like they do. “It’ll rain soon,” the old lady said. I looked at the clear blue skies and she just smiled. An hour later there was a downpour.

But that’s folklore, you know? There are other things, little things that add up to bigger things.

She grows weird herbs I’ve never seen anywhere else. They smell kinda… rich. She talks to her cat in a weird language. She says it’s Greek, but I’m not so sure.

Sometimes, at night, there’s a weird keening sound in the lane and my wife says it’s just the cows.

The mama cows lament their calves when they’re taken. It’s sad as hell. But this sound is different, and I think it comes from the old lady’s place.

One time I got home really late at night and saw movement behind her house.

I caught a glimpse of what looked like someone naked, dancing in the moonlight, such pale flesh. But not quite the right shape for a person.

I didn’t stop to see more.

She always smiles a little weirdly when she sees my son, and her voice changes. Becomes creaky and wheedling, like a child herself. It’s a hypnotising tone.

Sometimes her eyes are so bloodshot they look red.

But here’s the thing that really made me think my son is right about her.

A while ago, a backpacker was visiting. German, maybe, or Swiss? Anyway, he’d stopped with our neighbour across the lane for a while, doing work around their place in exchange for room and board.

He was arrogant, not a nice guy. Really up himself, thought he was better than everyone. No idea why.

One day the old lady was tending the herbs out the front of her place, and that backpacker dude told her she had an ugly garden. How weird is that?

“Why don’t you grow some nice flowers?” he asked her. “Instead of ugly leaves like your ugly face!” The hell?

The old lady didn’t respond, just scowled at him, and headed back inside. I caught her eye, but she only smiled. I felt sorry for her. “Pretty rude, mate!” I said to the guy. “What’s your problem?”

He just laughed. “Crazy old lady!”

Later that day, I heard music playing and saw the German dude working in the front yard of the neighbour’s place again. He had a radio on the fence, blasting too loud. Like I said, arrogant.

The day wore on and that music kept blaring. I went to ask him to turn it down, but he was nowhere to be seen. So I turned the radio off and left it for him to collect later. There was an empty coffee mug sat next to it.

Later that night as I was closing up the curtains I saw the radio was still on the fence, but the mug had gone. I remember it well, it had this strange design on it, like runes.

I never saw that guy again.

A week or so later I saw my neighbour and asked where the guy was, had he moved on?

“I guess so,” my neighbour said. “And honestly, we don’t miss him.” I asked if they kicked him out. “No,” they said. “It was weird. One day he was out here working in the front yard and then he was gone. Left his backpack behind and everything.”

“That *is* weird,” I said.

“We told the police,” my neighbour said. “They asked a lot of questions, took his bag, but we haven’t heard anything since. Maybe they’ll ask you some stuff soon.”

“I don’t know anything,” I said. “How strange.”

But then I remembered taking Rufus for a walk that day the radio was playing so loud. Right after I turned it off, I headed down the lane with the dog and I noticed smoke coming from the old lady’s chimney, kinda black and oily.

I thought it was odd, way too warm to need a fire. And I smelled something as well, partly enticing, partly disturbing, like roasting pork. I didn’t like it, and neither did Rufus. We hurried on.

After I spoke to my neighbour about the guy disappearing, I looked over to the old lady’s house. She was sitting in her front yard, drinking from a mug. The same mug I’d seen next to the radio that day. She grinned at me, and winked. #ScaryStories

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So there you have it! It was a pretty fun project. If you’re keen to read the Twitter threads of all the stories in the promotion, here’s a full list:

Olivia: Leave My Shells Alone

https://twitter.com/horrolivia/status/1181359223399161857

Alan: Walking My Dog

https://twitter.com/AlanBaxter/status/1181722583021936640

Gabrielle: Jack-O-Lantern

https://twitter.com/Gabrielle_Faust/status/1182098005769560065

John: Greenspace

https://twitter.com/johnfdtaff/status/1182461085829533698

Olivia: My Dear Old Neighbor Barbara

https://twitter.com/horrolivia/status/1182808127000981504

Gabrielle: Mirror Sister

https://twitter.com/Gabrielle_Faust/status/1183170219939942402

John: Chewed 

https://twitter.com/johnfdtaff/status/1183548259949858816

Gabrielle: Open Windows

https://twitter.com/Gabrielle_Faust/status/1183893318687698944

Alan: Hitchhiker

https://twitter.com/AlanBaxter/status/1184258388512821248?s=20

Olivia: Serena’s Necklace

https://twitter.com/horrolivia/status/1184620270071488512

John: Red, Red Paint

https://twitter.com/johnfdtaff/status/1185004665722822656

Richard: Danielle Descends

https://twitter.com/richardgthomas3/status/1185345627951108096

Josh: Aurora

https://twitter.com/jbernoff/status/1185707759347666944?s=21

Jess: WeWork

https://twitter.com/JessZafarris/status/1186070114518654985

Richard: Richard Returns

https://twitter.com/richardgthomas3/status/1186432591022428161

Alan: The Old Lady in White

https://twitter.com/AlanBaxter/status/1186793823256502272

Richard: Martin Migrates

https://twitter.com/richardgthomas3/status/1187157393546907649

Josh: Mindless Work

https://twitter.com/jbernoff/status/1187517404152238082?s=21

Grady: Square Feet

https://twitter.com/grady_hendrix/status/1187889147979223040

Jess: Opposite the Gorilla

https://twitter.com/JessZafarris/status/1188961273024843778

Grady: The Room Mate

https://twitter.com/grady_hendrix/status/1188247415414853632

Gabrielle: Daddy Long Legs

https://twitter.com/gabrielle_faust/status/1188607741063061504?s=21

Josh: Final Edit

https://twitter.com/jbernoff/status/1188977750004129792

 

Awards eligibility post for 2019

We’re getting towards the pointy end of the year again (honestly, time is fleeting!) and it’s about now that I like to look back on published work for the year. It serves two purposes – one is a reminder for myself of what I’ve accomplished in a year, because it can be easy to forget how far I’ve come. Even when not much has happened in any given year, it’s worth celebrating what *has* happened. The second purpose is to remind folx what’s out there and eligible for awards, as it’s easy to forget that stuff too. I always appreciate these posts from other writers, so I make sure I do one. If anything I’ve had published this year rocked your world enough for you to consider it award-worthy, I would be eternally grateful for your vote!

Things like the Aurealis Awards and Australian Shadows Awards are jury voted, so I’ll be sure that I or my publishers enter my work in those. But things like the Ditmar Awards and Bram Stoker Awards are fan-voted, so it’s really great if you guys can get involved and vote for stuff (or recommend it, in the case of the Stokers). Remember, the more you get involved with fan-voted stuff, the more it represents the view of fandom as a whole rather than a focussed subset of active people.

For reference, here are the links to various awards rules and entries:

Aurealis Awards

Ditmar Awards

Australian Shadows Awards

Bram Stoker Awards

Shirley Jackson Awards

As for my own work, that being the real point of this post, here’s the stuff I had published in 2019 and what category it’s eligible for:

Served Cold (published September 2019, Grey Matter Press) is eligible for Best Collection in all Awards.

Original stories this year:

“Yellowheart” (originally published in Served Cold) is eligible in the Novelette/Long Fiction category of all awards.

and then the following stories are all eligible in the Short Fiction category of all awards:

“Exquisite” (originally published in Served Cold)

“The Ocean Hushed The Stones” (originally published in Served Cold)

“Jeremiah’s Puzzle” – Prehistoric anthology (ed. S J Larsson, Severed Press, July 2019)

The next two stories aren’t out yet, but they will be out this year and eligible, so look out for them!

“A Star Has Died” (A Silhouette Story) – Side Quests (OZTober, November 2019)

“The Throat” – SNAFU: Last Stand, (ed. AJ Spedding & Matthew Summers) Cohesion Press, due Nov 2019.

Should any of these be worthy, in your opinion, of an award nomination, I can’t thank you enough.

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Interviews in text and podcast and video oh my.

One of the things about being a writer is that people often want to interview you, to ask about your life and work. This is a great thing, and I’m always happy to get involved wherever I can. But interviews come in many shapes and sizes. Sometimes, people have a small following and they want the author to boost their listenership. Sometimes, they already have a big and engaged audience and the interview is excellent value for us, the authors, as it gets our name and work further out there. In most cases, the whole thing is symbiotic – we bring readers to their site/podcast/what-have-you, and they bring listeners to our books. One thing that I often think though, is how much do people out there really give a shit?

I can only base it on my opinion, and I often enjoy listening to or reading interviews, particularly with authors who’s work I admire. And especially if it’s with an interviewer who has done their homework, and asks interesting and thought-provoking things. Something I’ve noticed after a few years of doing this is that often someone will ask me for an interview and then when they get me on the mic or send me the questions, it’s clear they’ve done no research at all. There’s not a single question that couldn’t be answered from my Wikipedia page or by simply Googling “Alan Baxter” “interview” – seriously, do that and you’ll see how many of these things I’ve done.

Now there’s obviously going to be a lot of overlap. I’m only so interesting and I’ve only written so many books, and that’s okay, because each place will have a different audience. It’s all about reaching readersbut there’s a really noticeable difference between an interviewer who is keen and has done some homework compared to one literally just phoning it in. Anyway, I’ll rarely say no to interviews, because I’m small fry and I’m always keen to increase my readership. But when people get deep into things, I genuinely enjoy it. For me, the most fun interviews are usually podcasts. No typing and just talking shit for however long you want me. I’m good at that. I’ve made a whole list of links here with some of the most fun I’ve had with interviews over recent years (podcast, text and video). I’ll add to this as any more come along, and as I track down some others I couldn’t find right away. Enjoy! (And hey, if you’re new to the interviewing game and you’re thinking of asking me to do an interview with you, maybe look over one or two of these first!)

Podcasts:

This Is Horror – Always an absolute blast, and I’m always happy to go back.

TIH 174: Alan Baxter on Confronting Mortality, Starting Out Writing, and Early Life Lessons – https://www.thisishorror.co.uk/tih-174-alan-baxter-on-confronting-mortality-starting-out-writing-and-early-life-lessons/

TIH 175: Alan Baxter on Writing for Video Games, The Book Club, and Crow Shine – https://www.thisishorror.co.uk/tih-175-alan-baxter-on-writing-for-video-games-the-book-club-and-crow-shine/

TIH 176: Alan Baxter on Relocating to Australia, Writing Fight Scenes, and Martial Arts – https://www.thisishorror.co.uk/tih-176-alan-baxter-on-relocating-to-australia-writing-fight-scenes-and-martial-arts/

TIH 246: Alan Baxter on Devouring Dark, the Worst Flight Ever, and Releasing Four Books in One Year – https://www.thisishorror.co.uk/tih-246-alan-baxter-on-devouring-dark-the-worst-flight-ever-and-releasing-four-books-in-one-year/

TIH 247: Alan Baxter on Horror as a Dirty Word, The Master of Dark Fantasy, and the Supernatural – https://www.thisishorror.co.uk/tih-247-alan-baxter-on-horror-as-a-dirty-word-the-master-of-dark-fantasy-and-the-supernatural/

Write Through the Roof – On @ApplePodcastshttps://buff.ly/2mitUos or On @Stitcherhttps://buff.ly/2mNZGdj

Conversations with Writers – this one got really deep and personal, almost as if he’d done too much research! 🙂 – https://www.alanbaxteronline.com/personal-deep-interview-writing-fighting/

 

Text Interviews:

This Is Horror – Why I Wrote Devouring Dark – https://www.thisishorror.co.uk/why-i-wrote-devouring-dark-by-alan-baxter/

Sci-Fi & Scary – https://www.scifiandscary.com/alan-baxter-interview/?fbclid=IwAR3Z30570avD5N6iBOb3N388UV9GBTSFRyQ9aD39TISmvzneie8Fp6kev6Q

Fantasy Focus (podcast) – http://fantasy-focus.com/2019/08/writing-short-fiction-and-dark-fantasy-novels-with-alan-baxter/?fbclid=IwAR0OQUZRdy-r53FmaTTIEP6QWCwHkZX9o4Ch0SHNjbbHqADSbr0oJaq0SKU

Kendall Reviews (interviewed by the whole review team!) – http://kendallreviews.com/feature-interview-kendall-reviews-vs-alan-baxter/

GeyserCon  – http://www.geysercon.nz/updates/interviewwithalanbaxter

Authors Interviews – https://authorsinterviews.wordpress.com/2019/07/03/here-is-my-interview-with-alan-baxter/

CSFG – https://csfg.org.au/news/interview-with-alan-baxter/

More 2 Read – https://more2read.com/review/interview-with-alan-baxter/

Fantasy Faction (2014) – http://fantasy-faction.com/2014/alan-baxter-interview

 

Video:

Lovecraft eZine (although I’m voice only due to connection issues) – https://youtu.be/4FIC3zO31tI

Geekish at Supanova – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aPvIWWWevIw

E G Stone – https://youtu.be/ftlTjiyAaV8

Creative Penn – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXeqOlKJpWs

Creative Penn – How to write short stories that sell – https://youtu.be/KcVLs4cHkUE

Creative Penn – How to write fight scenes – https://youtu.be/iEvXaNbMH4Q

Fantasy Fiends (video but again, I’m voice-only) – https://youtu.be/cuFRMGbIPQ0