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It’s here that I would usually say “How are you?” or “Are these strange times or what?” but it’s all starting to seem repetitious. I hope you are well and this newsletter finds you navigating the shitshow of modern life with aplomb.
I’m doing okay, for a given value of okay. While Victoria is seeing a crushing wave of COVID, we here in NSW aren’t doing too badly at the moment and my classes are back on for the time being. I do get mild anxiety attacks every time I have to get ready to go and put myself in a room full of people to teach a class, but we’re taking all reasonable precautions. I’ve honestly never wished for a bigger readership more, though. I will always teach kung fu and qi gong, as it’s a passion and has been all my life, but it would be nice to make enough from writing that I didn’t HAVE to teach. I would gladly suspend my school for a few months if that was feasible. So please tell your friends and colleagues about my books!
On that front, let’s get to the book news, shall we? First and foremost, the second Eli Carver book is imminent!
I love that cover so much! When people were so supportive of Manifest Recall and asking for more of Eli Carver’s story, I got chatting to Grey Matter Press about it and we thought perhaps this could be an ongoing novella series. GMP said, “Well, you write book 2, we’ll publish it, and see how it goes from there.” So I did. And here it is. Recall Night picks up soon after Manifest Recall left off and is more of the same high-octane, hyper-violent mayhem with Eli and his peanut gallery of hateful ghosts. I’m really pleased with how it came out and the early response has been great. Brian Keene (yes, THAT Brian Keene, the absolute horror legend) was kind enough to read it and he said:
“Eli Carver is back with a vengeance! That’s bad news for some but good news for readers. RECALL NIGHT is brutal, gritty fun and a phenomenal follow-up to MANIFEST RECALL.” — Brian Keene, author of The Complex
So that’s just fucking amazing. Thank you, Brian!
Please add Recall Night to your Goodreads shelves if you hang out there.
And here’s a set of Amazon links to get you started. The book is out on August 25th and you can pre-order right now.
Of course, you can shop anywhere you prefer to buy books or order from your local store or library. And thank you in advance for any of those things.
In other news, I had the absolute honour recently of winning another Australian Shadows Award. It’s my fourth now, and that just blows my mind. My second collection of short stories, Served Cold, won in the Best Collected Works category. That also means that both volumes of my collected short stories are Shadows Award winners, as Crow Shine also won back in 2016. Massive thanks to the judges and everyone involved. You can find Served Cold here.
Lastly in book news, I’m currently working on something that I think is coming together really well. I had the idea to write a collection of long stories all set in the same fictional Australian country town. Rather than the dusty outback like in The Roo (which is still going gangbusters, so thanks to everyone who’s got behind that crazy gonzo book) I thought it would be fun to set it in a remote harbour town, which is not based on where I live at all I promise what do you mean my fingers are crossed behind my back?
I love weird horror and old pulp horror and that’s what I’m putting together here, with a distinctly regional Australian angle. The book will be five novellas, all between 15,000 and 20,000 words. Each story is entirely its own thing, but all five have overlaps and easter eggs from each other in them. In the finish, all five will make something of a mosaic novel. I’m having so much fun with it and have totally creeped myself out a few times, which is always a good sign. I’m working on the last of the five stories now, so hopefully I’ll have it finished soon and out around the end of this year or early next. Also, my wife said I could use one of her paintings for the cover and that’s starting to look incredible. Title, cover reveal and all that stuff coming soon.
So, what else have I been up to? Well, I like to share the art I’ve been consuming because I’m all about shouting out the good stuff. On that front, I’ve been watching a Netflix show called Ozark. I’m about halfway through season 3 and I just heard that season 4 will be out soon and that will be the last one. I like it when a thing is complete, so that’s good to hear. And I have to say, Ozark is compelling and anxiety-inducing television. It’s brilliantly written, the actors are all outstanding and the story is some of the most twisted and clever crime writing I’ve ever seen. No way could I live under the kind of stress these characters put themselves under, but shit man, I can’t look away!
When it comes to reading, I’ve enjoyed some amazing books lately. Christina Henry wrote a horror adaptation of Alice in Wonderland, called Alice, and it’s incredible. Definitely not what you expect and it blew me away. I read a novella by Sara Tantlinger called To Be Devoured, and that is some twisted and messed up stuff that I greatly enjoyed. Lisa Hannett has a new collection out called Songs For Dark Seasons that is well worth your time. But the standout read for me recently was Blacktop Wasteland by S A Cosby. Cosby isn’t an author I’d come across before, but this book kept showing up in my social media feeds, so I bought it and read it and holy shit am I glad I did. It’s a fantastic crime novel from an angle we don’t see much of, and it’s also an incredible study of family, especially fatherhood. It rockets along and is just fantastic. I blitzed through in only two or three sittings. Oh, and one last thing – last time I mentioned the new Laird Barron novel, Worse Angels. I read that and it’s brilliant. He takes this crime series way deeper into horror territory with this third book in the series and each book just gets better and better.
That’s about all I have to share right now. This is the part of the newsletter where I normally talk about signings and events, but all that is royally fucked at the moment. In fact, at this very moment I should be in new Zealand enjoying Worldcon. Fuck COVID. But we still have digital media, so stay in touch and now is a great time to read books!
Last thing, Aussies don’t forget you can order signed paperbacks direct from me if you’re keen, I still have a few left of:
The Alex Caine Trilogy (Bound, Obsidian & Abduction) – $50 for all three plus postage.
Devouring Dark – $20 plus postage.
Hidden City – $20 plus postage.
Manifest Recall – $15 plus postage.
The Roo – $15 plus postage.
Recall Night will also be $15 plus postage, available after August 25th.
Postage is $10 for one book, $15 for two or more books. All prices Australian dollars and available in Australia only, I’m afraid. Sorry about that. International postage is killer. But remember, if you want to buy my books in your country and get some signed book plates from me to stick in them, I can arrange that. Email me [email protected] and we’ll sort that out.
Lots of people are doing it really tough right now, especially in the arts sector. If you can, support the arts you love whenever and wherever you can. That includes book stores. A lot of them are really struggling, but they’re also doing their best with mail order, so that’s something to consider too. And just talking about and sharing the stuff you love helps more than you might realise. People can’t buy books they’ve never heard of!
That’s all for now. I hope you’re all safe and sound.
Stay wicked, all you witches, warlocks, and wargs.
Contact me at [email protected]