Back… sort of

Back. Sort of. Well, not really. It’s a long and continuing story.

Thanks to those kind souls who enquired about my absence.

For the interested, while my writing this year has been slow and sporadic, the publications continue. Intriguingly (especially for someone perhaps best known for flash fiction), I appear to have drifted into novelette/novella range

Of my fiction appearances this year, “Yamabushi Kaidan and the Smoke Dragon” (in Fantastic Wonder Stories) and “Beneath Southern Waves” (Daikaiju 2) both weigh in as novelettes around 9-10k words. Neither are horror stories (although some may see horror in the latter).

Two of my best works are novellas: the still unsubmitted/unpublished novella (~25k words) “Phoenix and the Darkness of Wolves” and my most recently written story “Requiem for the Burning God” (~18k words). Completing a novella is brilliant for the ego. There is a tremendous sense of achievement – more so than a short story – perhaps because of the investment in time and creative energy.

‘Burning God’ was demanding – probably my most demanding story to write for reasons I’ll keep to myself – taking me many more months to write than expected. It is my first fully-fledged Cthulhu Mythos piece (derived from the body of ‘cosmic horror’ work of HP Lovecraft and friends) and will appear in David Conyers’ forthcoming Mythos anthology Cthulhu’s Dark Cults. I can only thank David for his infinite patience. Writing Burning God has ignited a passion in me to write more Mythos-style fiction. My natural style seems well-suited to it.

Here’s a sample:

“Know how to handle a gun, Calder?” Dirke pulled a Mauser automatic pistol from his shoulder holster and aimed it at Max’s chest.

“Steady on,” MacKenzie grumbled.

“I know enough not to point my gun at people unless I’m intending to do something about it, Mr Dirke,” Max said.

Dirke searched the faces of his colleagues, hoping to find support in their eyes. When he didn’t, he muttered and holstered his weapon, eyeing off Calder all the while.

Unbeknownst to Dirke and the others, Max relaxed his grip on his revolver, which was tucked under the flap of his shirt. The Webley was warm in his grip and buzzed with static electricity as he pried his fingers away, almost reluctantly, one at a time.

An uncomfortable silence settled over the men as the truck continued its bumpy course through the streets of Lima. Calder tuned out the sights and sounds of the city, choosing to concentrate on the job ahead and his next move. Only the off-key tune of a flute pierced his thoughts, coming from some far-off corner of Lima and carried over the ebb and flow bustle of the streets.

The tune tickled Max’s ear in a most peculiar way, the notes rising when he expected them to fall, lingering when they should have been cut short, as though the flautist was an idiot-savant, a maestro without rhythm or a feel for the instrument. The tune lingered in Max’s mind well beyond Lima’s limits as the truck climbed onwards and upwards into the Peruvian Andes.

Best of Apex 2006 anthology
You can also keep an eye out for my fiction coming out from Apex Publications. The most excellent editor Jason Sizemore recently released the Best of Apex 2006 anthology, which includes my story from Apex Digest #8, “Genesis Six” (with a brilliant appreciation/foreword to my story from Dark Discoveries editor James Beach). This is a great value antho, and I’d encourage anyone with a love of dark science fiction to pick it up – or take out a subscription to Apex Digest. To me, Apex Digest offers a hell of a lot more value than those staid old rags like Analog and Asimovs, and is much more in touch with current SF trends (not just publishing the good ol’ boys).

My erotic horror story “The Cutting Room” (THAT story from Clarion 05) will appear in the Apex Publications anthology Gratia Placenti (trans. ‘for the sake of pleasing’). The rather psychedelic cover art can be seen here. I consider this story my best horror short story to date. I hope it is well received. Last year’s Apex anthology Aegri Somnia was short-listed for HWA’s Bram Stoker Award, so I’m looking forward to this one.

As mentioned a while back, a Spanish translation of “The Cutting Room” will also appear at the end of the year in the Spanish horror anthology Paura 4.

And in case you think I’ve been getting slack, the Black Box table of contents was finalised a month or two ago. I’ll update the Brimstone website with the full contributor list soon. HorrorScope is ticking over nicely, with the one and only Rob Hood joining the team. I’ll post a bunch of overdue reviews and interviews very soon.

In the meantime, my duties as Convenor of the Aurealis Awards horror panel and a judge of the Australian Shadows Award this year fill whatever little spare time you imagine I may have – although reading Aussie horror is an enjoyable way to spend the wee hours. I made the mistake of looking on a few blogs on my return and saw some kerfuffle about the Aurealis Awards. The only thing I’ll add is: don’t make wild assumptions on what judges are and aren’t doing. I won’t speak for other judges and panels, but do you honestly think I’m going to overlook anything in the horror field? I mean, really.

Lots to do. More silences to come. So yeah.