If you’ve scored yourself a Kindle for Christmas, fill your stocking with my major works, including The Abandonment of Grace and Everything After, The Apocrypha Sequence Master Collection, Shards, and the bestselling anthology Rage Against the Night!
Monte Cristo homestead, Junee. Credit: Wiki Commons
I’ve just concluded the first year of my Master’s of Creative Writing course, and I’m having a great time. I’ll post more about that soon, but one of the things that’s come out of the course is new work!
One of my units was Creative Non-Fiction, which has opened a world of new possibilities. I’ve written a couple of creative non-fiction essays so far, and I reckon I’ll return to the form in the future. I like the personal nature of the genre, which means the stories can be emotionally powerful.
I’ve published my first creative non-fiction essay today on this site. It’s an exploration of Australian haunted houses, tied to a recent trip to “Australia’s most haunted house” – Monte Cristo in Junee, NSW.
I don’t tend to talk politics, so my views on the US presidential election would probably surprise people. Trump was elected on a wave of anger, and I share a lot of that anger. I think I’ll expand on my thoughts in a serious, detailed essay soon, but in the meantime, I feel it’s important to take a step back from the political divide and get Schwifty!
It’s been a busy year, so I’ve been quiet online since my flurry of posts about The Abandonment of Grace and Everything After. I’m deep into my Master of Creative Writing at Macquarie University (with a view to an eventual PhD) and novel writing, but I’ve snuck in a couple of short stories in between.
The big news is that I’ve been working with the Australian Horror Writers Association selecting the stories for Dead of Night: The Best of Midnight Echo.
The anthology has been a labour of love, and it is expected to be released before the end of the year (I have a few more manuscript changes to make before that happens). The cover, if you were wondering, is by Australian artist (and writer) and AHWA stalwart Greg Chapman, and it suitably captures the vibe!
I’ll post an update when Dead of Night is available. Trust me, it’ll be worth the read!
The book has been going great guns: it was recently a finalist for Australia’s major SF awards, the Aurealis Awards, and made the longlist/preliminary ballot for the world’s major horror prize, the Bram Stoker Awards.
I think that effort deserves another rendition of the One-Punch Man theme! Hero! Killshot!
Speaking of Australian Shadows, pictured below (the haughty demonic statue, towering over my other trophies) is my recently-received Australian Shadows Award from last year. Thanks AHWA for such an awesome trophy! I hope to win more in the years to come and give the big some company. 😉
The finalists for the Bram Stoker Awards were announced the other day, and my collection, The Abandonment of Grace and Everything After, missed the cut. I’m disappointed, of course, but I’m proud to have been listed on the preliminary ballot (and for my book to have been included on that ballot by the jury).
However, I’ve been blessed with successes, too, and it can be all too easy to forget that fact when disappointed by an individual result. So I won’t! Instead, I’m thankful to the people who have read and enjoyed my book – now I just have to convince more people to read and review it! 🙂
Congratulations to all the Stoker finalists! May your work inspire dread in others!
I like to write action-oriented Japanese fantasy, so I watch (in the name of research) lots of videos of battles, duels, and various shenanigans.
In doing so, I came across this super-awesome clip from a movie I thought was one of the best movies I’d ever seen back in the 1980s. It doesn’t age well, but that doesn’t matter! This is the ninjutsu I was taught in the 90s. 😉
Make no mistake. Sho Kosugi is everything! *smoke bomb* *disappears*
I said a while back that my story “The Song of Prague” was being published in Japanese in Night Land Quarterly 4. Well, it appears the issue was published this month, and I’m sharing a table of contents with some legendary authors such as H. P. Lovecraft (a reprint of one of my favourites, “The Music of Erich Zann” – and one of the inspirations for “The Song of Prague”), William Hope Hodgson, and Joe R. Lansdale.
I reckon if I could read Japanese, I’d find this to be a bleak issue! 🙂
As a writer, you can enter the pop culture zeitgeist in any number of ways. Recently, it’s been through awards (see previous post), but sometimes, it’s random things (like my story “Ian” being listed in the Wikipedia entry for Ian). Today’s random thing is crashing the Merriam Webster online dictionary entry for “Flautist”.
Someone took notice of the number of times I used the word “flautist” in my Ravenous Gods novella, Requiem for the Burning God (click image to enlarge). Cool! For the record, it’s eight.
Good stuff, original storyline. I hope Cummings writes more stories for his Captain Max Calder hero, I think there’s only 3 or 4 now. A possibly-immortal WWI fighter-pilot/occasional time traveler, Calder fights the dark Lovecraftian enemies of Earth with Victorian bravado and his trusty Webley .455 revolver at his side.
Exciting news of the day: The Abandonment of Grace and Everything After is a finalist for the Aurealis Award (Best Collection). It’s heartening to receive recognition like this for a book that is my most heartfelt – especially on top of being on the Preliminary Ballot for the Bram Stoker Awards.
Of the other finalists, I’m intrigued to read Carole Nomarhas’s collection.
Anyway, congratulations to all the finalists and commiserations to the deserving works that missed out (especially Rob Hood’s master ghost collection – it was my tip for a shoe-in).
Looking over the finalists, I wonder what happened to the horror novel category? With novels in 2015 by Gary Kemble, Jeremy Bates, Greg Beick, Trent Jamieson, Jason Nahrung, and others, surely more than one deserved to be shortlisted?
Actually, no, it’s none of my business …
Instead, for no real reason except I’m in that kind of mood, I’m gonna play a video of the baddest man in Anime, Kenshiro, returning from the dead and straight up murdering some dudes because they’re being dicks. #kenfcknshiro!
Having been involved in Brimstone’s Australian Dark Fantasy & Horror series, I know the challenges of putting together a ‘year’s best’ anthology. It’s the most difficult gig in the business, combining awards judge with anthologist – the editors have to read everything in the field.
I also know the rewards, and there are plenty of awesome ones in this Kickstarter! Personally, if I had the cash, I’d go for the Instant Library reward. Check out the link above and enjoy some Ticonderoga goodness!
The say fear of the unknown is the most powerful and primal fear, and that’s what I wanted to explore with this story. It’s part mystery, part crime thriller, part supernatural confrontation … I view this story as a literary Rorschach test. What better metaphor for fear of the unknown could there be than a mysterious black door? A little heavy-handed, I admit, but it is an early story.
I say “story”, but it’s more of a well-realised fragment.
There’s a reason this story was first published in Apocrypha Sequence: Insanity. Well, a couple, actually. The most obvious is that the black door can be seen as a metaphor for madness. Less obvious is that I wanted to link this story to other stories I’ve had published. Notably, “Song of the Infernal Machine”, which was published in my first collection Shards and reprinted in Insanity. Ever wonder what those muffled noises were coming from inside the infernal machine? If I ever expand “The Black Door” into a novella, I would explain the connection.
Speaking of insanity, I have a personal soundtrack to insanity. Like a lot of writers, I listen to music while I write. However, it’s a sporadic process for me. Sometimes I can’t concentrate with music in the background; sometimes, it gets me into the writerly zone. A lot of this depends on the song, of course. The soundtrack to my insanity stories, “The Black Door” and “Song of the Infernal Machine”, comes from one of my favourite bands, Filter. Specifically, a weird, wordless song entitled “The 4th” from the band’s album, The Amalgamut  (see video above). “The 4th” is an eight minute tune with heavy bass and the subliminal message “oh what a hell of a price, what a hell of a price” [to pay] playing backwards. It’s funny how “hell” sounds the same backwards or forwards. The song is terrific mood music.
To digress, that entire album is an underrated gem, and it includes a couple of my all-time favourites: “God Damn Me” and “Where Do We Go From Here?”, as well as “The 4th”. While I’m not entirely certain of this, I believe that another track on the album, “The Missing” influenced me to write “Wrack”, a short story published in Shards and Apocrypha Sequence: Deviance. “Wrack” is a nasty, mean-spirited piece of fiction, and it’s one of my personal favourites. Thanks, Richard Patrick and Filter.
Chinese New Year starts today – 2016 is the Year of the Fire Monkey. Happy Chinese New Year!
Ahh, the Fire Monkey. In Chinese astrology, he is my mortal enemy (I am a Tiger – a Wood Tiger, to be precise, although it’s very important to note I’m not Tiger Woods. Different guy, I swear!).
If you believe in that kind of thing, with the Monkey being such a trickster, linked to the fire element and all, it will be a turbulent year (here are some predictions).
The Year of the Fire Monkey one is a bad one for us Tigers (and I thought last year was an Annus Horriblis!). That prancing little shit-throwing chimp gets all up in our regal tiger business and mucks everything up.
Reading the predictions for a Tiger in 2016 is a bit depressing: struggles with finances, struggles with work, possible accidents. There’s little in the way of good news.
The Tiger is the king of animals, but the Monkey is craftier. The only way for the Tiger to prevail is for the Tiger to become smarter.
So that’s what I’m doing. I’m having a terrible run on the job front, finances are going backwards, so I’ll be investing in my education this year. I’m enrolled in a Master of Creative Writing at Macquarie University, and I’m picking up all the skills and experience I can through activities and self-directed learning.
Most importantly, I’m writing – a lot more than I have in years. This year, writing will be my refuge.