Dying Embers out now

Dying Embers out now

Sunday 7 December 2014

12 of the best reads of 2014

I've been reading and (trying to) write a lot recently, but not blogging much. So, to put that to rights at least for the moment, here is a list and summary of some books I would recommend.

Elizabeth Bowen is perhaps one of the best short story writers in the English language; and
certainly one of the most prolific. I have been working my way through this collection of 79 of
her tales for some time, and enjoying every minute. Her stories are finely-wrought and multi-layered.
Everyone who reads or writes short stories should be familiar with her work. Blog post soon.
Barbera Roden's NORTHWEST PASSAGES has been one of my finds of the year. These are beautifully
written, literary tales of restrained strangeness. Their settings are varied, from polar exploration to
abandoned amusement parks, Victorian households, a Vancouver hotel, a cabin in the woods...
Roden's imagination runs riot, and her flair for creating atmosphere means the reader
will not forget these stories in a hurry! Review soon. Available here.
Superb collection by the recently deceased Joel Lane. I find his work to be relentlessly downbeat,
but quite compellingly so, and full of original ideas and flair. He was adept at the creation of
an alternative world, where nothing is quite as it seems. Immerse yourself in these
monochrome tales of conflict and misunderstanding. Available here.
I have recently bought several of Dennis Etchison's collections that have been made
available as e-books. In THE BLOOD KISS, there is a feast of plenty. Some of the
tales within made me sit back and say, "wow, I wish I could write like that!"
are all superb, and essential reading. (Although I must admit I was at first put off by the
covers used for Etchison's collections. The stories are more subtle than they look).
Blog post and reviews coming up soon. Available here.
My good friend Mark Fuller-Dillon suggested I read some of William Sansom's short stories, and I'm
very thankful he did. This is the only easily-available collection of his I could find, and it's a little
uneven. Not all of the stories are suspenseful; some seem like nothing more than snippets of post-war
life in London; but no less intriguing for all that. Of course, this collection includes THE VERTICAL LADDER,
which is nail-bitingly good – and worth the price of admission alone! Available here.
I love S.P. Miskowski's writing; and this is a tightly written novella which tells a compelling story...
however, I'm now reading the previous installments of the Skillute Cycle (KNOCK KNOCK,
DELPHINE DODD and ASTORIA), so I will wait until I understand how they all fit
together before reviewing. Great reading. Available here.
HAIR SIDE, FLESH SIDE by Helen Marshall is an intriguing collection of beautifully-realised
literary strangeness, consisting in a world of its own making. Helen Marshall's debut collection
is tender, dark, surreal and unforgettable. Review soon. Available here.
I love this collection. I had never previously heard of William Croft Dickinson, but having read DARK
ENCOUNTERS, I can see why it has been referred to as 'Ghost Stories of a Scottish Antiquary'.
These are ghostly tales of antiquarians, historians, archæologists, and scientists, in a style similar to
M.R. James. Perfect for those cold winter evenings in front of the fire! Available here.

This is a strange one. SEELING NIGHT; A PSYCHOMANTEUM is a deeply flawed book, but nonetheless
a fascinating read. Yes, it needs decent formatting and editing (at least in the e-book version I have), but
there was something about the linked stories which kept me hooked. The main character is well-wrought,
and some of the scenes have stuck in my head. If something left-field appeals, read it with an open mind! Available here.
BEFORE AND AFTERLIVES by Christopher Barzak is a loosely intertwined collection of weird
tales set in a small American town. Eerie, thought-provoking and dark; well worth a read. Available here.
Supremely weird, creepy stories from Michelle Kilmer. LAST NIGHT WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING
is one of those books that makes you shake your head and wonder at the writer's imagination.
Nicely illustrated, too. Available here.
A great collection of the weird by Susie Moloney. THINGS WITHERED was one of those books I had
wanted to read for some time, and then thoroughly enjoyed. These are engrossing tales of the unusual behind
the façade of everyday life; of the strangeness which is glimpsed from the corner of the eye. Available here.

As usual, I will do my best to review as many of these books as I can.... but there is never enough time in the day. In the meantime, I'm pushing on with the writing. Happy reading to you!

Friday 24 October 2014

Anthologies and excuses

I must apologise for not creating any blog entries for some time. I've been preoccupied with writing, looking after kids and house renovations. However, there are several items of good news... the first is that the writing is going well. The second is that a short story of mine has been included in an anthology. The third is that a short story of mine has been included in an anthology!

TURNING THE CUP, a ghost story concerning tasseography, is appearing in HAUNTED, published by Boo Books and available now for pre-order here. Just in time for Hallow'een!

Also, my short story STRIKE THREE will be appearing in the Dark Lane Anthology Volume One, published in conjunction with Noodle Doodle Publications, coming up later in the year.

I'm also well ahead with a number of other short stories, one about a strange kind of photography, one about a weird workplace, one about a rip tide on a beach which is not what it seems... And more. These may or may not be destined for a 'themed' collection some time next year.

Anyway, that's it from me for now. I'll post updates about how things are progressing.

Monday 15 September 2014

Review: The Brittle Birds, by Anthony Cowin

Mathieu is haunted by a pivotal incident from his youth, in which his brother Dominic pushed him into a stream. While retrieving his catapult from the icy water beneath a bridge, he sustained some injuries which changed his life. But were those injuries caused by the legendary Hohokw bird, which supposedly lived under the arches of the bridge? The Brittle Birds is a short horror story by Anthony Cowin, published by Perpetual Motion Publishing. It's a story of the lasting effects of childhood trauma, and the coping mechanisms of the brothers as they grow older and realise there can be no escape from the past.


The brittle birds of the title gradually infiltrate Mathieu's life. He sees them everywhere, even under a microscope in a "chilly chemistry lab" when he's at school. Eventually he becomes convinced that they threaten his very existence, and that of those all around him. It seems that this obsession will be his undoing, yet the reader hopes against hope. This is a very well written short story; Cowin successfully builds tension, using the metaphor of the unearthly birds as harbingers of doom. In just the right amount of well-chosen words he conjures a tale which is both deceptively simple yet more than the sum of its parts, and its assured prose lends it atmosphere in spades. Each reader will make something different of this intriguing story, and its ambiguous, open ending will leave you deep in thought.

Monday 18 August 2014

The ghost of Crookhaven Lighthouse

A while back we took a couple of weeks' break, down the NSW coast at Currarong. Unfortunately, I managed to get rather ill while down there (pneumonia caught from my daughter, but that's another story...) However, as I recovered, we went on a few walks. One such foray was to Culburra Beach, a small, rather remote village. From there we walked north, towards Crookhaven Heads, past the entrance to the Shoalhaven river. In winter, this is a wild, wet and windy place. We didn't see anyone else on this walk, apart from a couple of sea fishermen way out on the rocks off the heads.

The track from Culburra Beach to Crookhaven Heads is rough and remote
We followed the track into the headland, across increasingly rough ground. Eventually we climbed between trees, and we were intrigued to spot a sign telling us there was a lighthouse further along. It could be said we were in the middle of nowhere by then (or perhaps I should say "the back of beyond?") so we were fascinated to encounter a clearing, in the middle of which stood the Crookhaven Lighthouse.

Or perhaps I should say, the ghost of what once was the Crookhaven Lighthouse. I've since found out that it was first built as a wooden structure in 1882, then demolished in 1904 when the current building was commissioned. It is now in a dilapidated state, severely vandalised. It's a shame, as in Australia lighthouses are generally restored and looked after well; however, due to its remote location, Crookhaven Lighthouse has always been vulnerable. It was fully renovated in the 1990s, apparently, but you'd never guess. Without an on-going plan for upkeep, it quickly deteriorated once more. All the glass and the reflectors have been broken or removed. Inside, there is access to the miniscule living quarters, but not to the spiral stairs which still wind up the tower.

We noticed an oppressive atmosphere about the place, no doubt partly due to it being such a dreary and overcast afternoon. In the past, the headland was cleared regularly, allowing the light to shine out across the sea; but in recent years the scrub has been allowed to grow unrestrained, surrounding the lighthouse from all sides. In the 1990s, a clearing was established around the building itself, but nonetheless the impression the visitor gets today is that of isolation and decay. Strangely, the sea, so nearby and so loud on that occasion, could not be heard from around the lighthouse at all.

We left the lighthouse and followed the track further along, into the trees and down the other side of the promontory. There was a lookout there, from which we enjoyed a spectacular view. It was clear why a lighthouse was needed in that area. We could see basalt ridges spreading out threateningly just below the surface of the water, for a very long way – who knows what hazards are hidden from the seafarer's view? Once we'd made our way back up to the lighthouse, it had started to rain, so we barely said goodbye to the sad old building as we hurried back towards Culburra. Perhaps one day soon Crookhaven Lighthouse will be restored and looked after properly. I'm sure it could become a tourist attraction and bring some benefit to the area. Right now, however, it's just a ghost of its former self.

There's an expansive view of the treacherous coastline from the lookout
The lighthouse in its original state, 1908

Friday 15 August 2014

Review; The House of Three, by Lily Childs

32 Cherry Street has come up for sale, deceased estate; and Sarah is happy to be able to purchase what once was her childhood home. However, is she prepared for the memories it will bring back, or the spirits that may be released? The House of Three is a stand-alone short story from Lily Childs. It is a ghost story in the traditional sense, yet in a modern, suburban setting.


Sarah and her brother Johnny go to view the Victorian terraced property, which they had not seen for twenty years. As they explore the dilapidated house, they realise that absolutely nothing has changed in all that time; and the familiar smell of roses forces their minds back all those years. Once the house belongs to her, she persuades Johnny to return, and they explore it together... and that's when the voices start. "They seemed to want to sooth her, as they did for the year before she was forced from her childhood home – a ten-year-old, an orphan."

Once they discover from the local paper how the house's most recent occupant died, their doubts begin, both about the house, and also about their own childhood memories. Their differing fortunes since adoption force them to reassess their lives. Once they have made a grim discovery, in a bedroom which was strictly off-limits to them as children, they understand that nothing will ever be quite the same again. Are their fears imaginary, or are they forming something more tangible – something with the power to threaten their very existence?

Childs has created an intriguing scenario here, with authentically flawed characters who are unable to escape the power of their shared past. The House of Three is a short but satisfying read with a powerful ending. Perfect late night reading for lovers of a good ghost story!

Review; Drive, by Mark West

I didn't mean to sit up late in order to finish Drive, the new novella from Mark West, published by Pendragon Press. I really didn't. However, once I started to read, I found it difficult to stop. It's not often I get caught up in the moment with a book; usually I get drawn in slowly, soaking up the atmosphere. Yet here I was, quite unable to put the thing down, compelled to find out what happens next.

West's writing style, which I am familiar with from several excellent short stories (The Bureau of Lost Children springs to mind, from Ill At Ease 2 which I reviewed here) is perfect for this style of breathless adventure. David finds himself in the nondescript urban sprawl of Gaffney, attending a course for his work. He offers Natasha a lift back to her flat, and becomes haplessly embroiled in a night of pursuit, escalating violence and terror. Although Drive is not a supernatural tale, the setting of a deserted town in the early hours of a weeknight works well enough to suggest dark stories of the past, such as Don't Get Lost by Tanith Lee. The protagonists become drawn deeper into a furious chase through the sodium-lit streets, trying to escape from a mysterious and threatening Audi.

"The Audi pulled up alongside and David glanced over. The driver was looking straight ahead, his hood pulled up so that all could be seen was the tip of his nose and his pursed lips. There was a person in the back, also wearing his hood, slumped low and almost out of sight".

A sense of impending confrontation pushes things along at breakneck pace, and by the time the satisfying conclusion arrived, I had to read something a little more relaxing before going to sleep... Drive is a great tale, atmospheric and exciting. Perhaps this could be the first of a series? Recommended for all lovers of a high-octane read!

Sunday 27 July 2014

Review: The Gate Theory, by Kaaron Warren

Kaaron Warren is an award-winning Australian author, and The Gate Theory collects five of her short stories, all of which have been previously published. It was first released in late 2013, and was the first publication from Cohesion Press, an Australian publisher of dark fiction.

All of these tales are darkly disturbing, and in the very best of ways. Purity kicks off proceedings, and is a great introduction to Warren's labyrinthine powers of creativity. Therese is the unfortunate daughter of a slovenly mother; she does not doubt she is loved, but she lives in a "mud-slapped, filthy, stinking home – with its stacks of newspapers going back as far as she was born, spoons bent and burnt, food grown hard and crusty..." What's more, her elder brother lives in the basement; rarely emerging and pale from a lack of sunlight. When Therese manages a temporary escape from her situation by working in a supermarket, she meets a young man called Daniel and his grandfather Calum. Their fragrant cleanliness absorbs her. Eventually, she accepts their invitation to go to a party; but is she able to find a more permanent escape, and what's more, can she ever be truly cleansed?

Warren is clearly influenced deeply by her surroundings, and That Girl is set in Bali, where she lived for some time; its authenticity cuts like a knife. This story works on so many levels. On the surface, it tells about the origins of a local legend, brought to the protagonist's attention by the inmate of a mental hospital. Beneath lies that individual's own tale of terror; then, the reader is confronted with abuse and cover-up, blurred by both cultural practices and the casual discrimination against women. That Girl is a complex and perfectly-formed piece.

Dead Sea Fruit is concerned with anorexia and all its horrors. The protagonist is a dentist who often treats anorexic girls in a hospital ward. She finds out she can kiss her clients to experience their very essence. "Then I kissed a murderer; he tasted like vegetable waste. Like the crisper in my fridge smells when I've been too busy to empty it." She hears the girls on the ward speaking in hushed tones of the Ash Mouth Man, and of what happens if he is kissed. But has she met the Ash Mouth Man himself? There is a strong supernatural element to this tale, and the ending is beautifully incisive...

The History Thief adds a touch of humour to the mix, in what is the most conventionally supernatural tale here. Alvin realises he must be dead when he gazes at his own body "on the floor of his dusty lounge room". As what might be called a ghost, he finds he has no real substance; but that he can find the density he needs through contact with living beings. However, this means he has to steal their memories. Can he be trusted with the lives of others? This is an effective tale of alienation, with a satisfying twist at the end.

Lastly is my favourite piece, The Gaze Dogs of Nine Waterfall. I often feel that a great title begets a great tale, and that's clearly the case here. The reader is taken on a bizarre journey with Rosie, who is paid to supply examples of rare dog breeds to clients. On this occasion, she is after four vampire dogs; she has to travel to the jungle on a remote island in Fiji to capture them, which is a risky process. Her journey is arduous, and compellingly told – Rosie herself is a very strong character, and she drives the story powerfully. The Gaze Dogs of Nine Waterfall is very much a horror story, concluding with a supremely nihilistic message.

Kaaron Warren is without doubt one of the world's leading writers of dark fiction, and The Gate Theory showcases her talent perfectly. (If you need any more convincing, check out her other superb collection, Through Splintered Walls.) Her prose is powerful, her sense of place is evocative and her imagination knows no bounds. This is the kind of book that you will remember long after you finish reading the last story.

Saturday 26 July 2014

More recommended reads of 2014

I've read so many great short story collections this year that I feel the time has come to list some more. Certainly, it's been a bumper year so far; and there are many more collections and anthologies in the pipeline too.
So, here are some of the books I've been enjoying recently.

Errantry by Elizabeth Hand is a fascinating, literary collection. It contains
among others The Maiden Flight of McCauley's Bellerophon and Near Zennor;
two cracking stories you really should not miss. Review soon
Worse Than Myself by Adam Golaski was brought to my attention by
James Everington, and his taste is of course excellent. This is a superb
collection of weird tales which will take you out of your comfort zone. It kicks
off with The Animator's House... and doesn't let up. Review soon

Superb Tartarus edition of Nugent Barker's classic collection,
Written With My Left Hand
. Contains the much-anthologised and
influential Whessoe among many other wonderful tales.
I recently reviewed Rebecca Lloyd's excellent Mercy and Other Stories here,
and so it was no surprise to me to find out that The View From Endless Street
is just as wonderful. Full of incisive, intriguing tales, it is a must read. Review soon
The Haunted Grove is a tightly written novella from Tim Jeffreys.
It's pretty compelling; I read it in one sitting. You might do too
Perspectives is an intriguing project; each story
in this collection is inspired by a piece of photography, and the two writers
(Darcia Helle and Maria Savva) take turns to provide their tales.
Some are dark, some less so; all are compelling
Of course, Supernatural Tales are always essential reading; and now
they are available on Amazon (back issues included) it's
even easier to enjoy them. Number 26 is as good as the modern
ghost story collection gets!

I would love to review all of these books, but there are only so many hours in the day. However, do keep an eye out for the ones I manage... and in the meantime, I hope you enjoy some of my recommendations as much as I did.

Thursday 24 July 2014

Review: All Roads Lead to Winter, by Mark Fuller-Dillon

Earlier this year, I reviewed Mark Fuller-Dillon's short story collection In a Season of Dead Weather, which is still one of my reads of the year; so I couldn't resist following it up with this intriguing "science fiction" novella, All Roads Lead to Winter. It's not often that I finish reading a book and say to myself, "Wow! That was quite something," but I did with this one.


This is a supremely incisive tale, almost an allegory for the modern condition. Thomas Bridge is a political prisoner, alone in a remote Canadian prison camp. When he visits his wife's grave, he is visited by Avdryana, a feline female; she is one of the Dwellers of the Night, inhabitants of a parallel Earth who are trying to save humanity from self-destruction. Their liaison lasts the night, and is beautifully described. Here, All Roads Lead to Winter becomes almost a love story; but it is so much more than that. Fuller-Dillon creates remarkable prose, and this simple tale blossoms into a touchingly well-observed account of how alien species may interact.

'Avdryana turned away from the screen and gave him a tilt of her cougar-like head. "When our kind travels, we love to feel the wind on our faces, the cold and the heat on our fur. We are Dwellers of the Night, and we live to feel the rigours of the world. To us, your vehicles are filled with dead textures and dead air; they feel like coffins."'

This novella is driven by punchy dialogue, expertly handled, which is a refreshing change from many contemporary writers who shy away from such complex interaction. I was enchanted by the story of Thomas and Avdryana, and I could not stop reading until Thomas's fate was revealed – his choice made. All Roads Lead to Winter is a wonderful tale, expertly told and perfectly formed. It feels like it must have been a very personal journey for the author. Go and download a copy now; Mark Fuller-Dillon is a rare talent who deserves to be much more widely read.

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Review: Autumn in the Abyss by John Claude Smith

Following on from this author's excellent collection The Dark is Light Enough For Me, Autumn in the Abyss provides the lucky reader with five more darkly perceptive tales, including the substantial title story.

First up is Autumn in the Abyss itself, and it sets the scene perfectly. Obscure poet Henry Coronado disappeared mysteriously in 1959, along with the truth about his poem, Autumn in the Abyss; and our agoraphobic protagonist has become obsessed with finding out the truth. However, the more he discovers, the further he strays from his comfort zone, and the closer he gets to his own oblivion. "Coronado not only confronted these monsters, his demons, he brought them into play with his words. I thought they weren't real. Coronado proved I was wrong." The idea that words themselves can change the world is taken to its literal conclusion in this memorable opening story.

Broken Teacup is next, and it came as a bit of a shock. It's a rough ride, but among the wreckage, Smith manages to keep enough focus on the mental side of the situation to keep the tension well and truly up. We also get to meet the enigmatic Mr. Liu, to whom there seems to be more than meets the eye. In fact, Mr. Liu makes an appearance through most of the stories here, providing a neat link to tie them together. In La Mia Immortalità, Mr. Liu commissions a sculpture from Samuel, an artist who is obsessed with his work to the exclusion of all else – and his influence ensures the work of art is not quite what Samuel envisaged.

Becoming Human takes the reader on a crazy, dark ride with Detective Roberto "Bobby" Vera, who is confronted with an impossible dilemma; a copycat serial killer who is more than he seems. It's bitter, twisted, compelling, and strangely up-beat; a real accomplishment. My favourite story here must be the final one, Where the Light Won't Find You. A slighter tale, perhaps, but set so atmospherically in a down-at-heel multiplex theatre, it instantly struck a chord. Derek Jenner manages to steal into a bizarre showing of a strange film, Where the Light Won't Find You. While the film runs, he notices there is only one other patron, who has a surprise in store for him... and the strange Mr Liu has an alternative for Derek. Whether he can keep his side of the bargain, though, is yet to be seen. This tale reminded me of Mark Fuller-Dillon's superb Lamia Dance.

These are deep, visceral tales, sometimes of a challenging nature, yet Smith's skill is in the juxtaposition of the humane and the horrific; the reader is persuaded they exist so close together that they are almost one and the same thing. In summary, these are powerful, original stories, written with vivid prose that jumps off the page. John Claude Smith has given us one of the best collection of dark fiction I've read this year, and I look forward to his next journey into the shadows!

Thursday 10 July 2014

Review: Mercy and Other Stories, by Rebecca Lloyd

Rebecca Lloyd is a writer of exquisitely dark tales who I've discovered courtesy of those remarkable people at Tartarus Press. Mercy and Other Stories includes new material from her as well as stories published elsewhere between 2002 and 2014.

The opening piece is Mercy itself, which explores with subtlety and tenderness the transience of beauty, but not necessarily of love. "We all want to hold on to cherished things, for life is quickly gone." Mercy is short, sharp and sweet, and showcases perfectly Lloyd's remarkable gift for the short story. The Careless Hour is next, a more complex tale with a fascinating premise. The noises from an adjoining house take on sinister significance as the protagonist fears for the sanity of her neighbour, Michael. When he invites a girl, Catherine, for a meal, she hears enough through the thin walls to be concerned; but not enough to understand. The Careless Hour is a tale of half-truths and subtle deceptions, and grips the reader to the end.  

The Meat Freezer is a different prospect. Gary has an unsavoury past, and has been allocated a house on the rough Ackroyd estate in which to return to the community. His strange observations of a trespassing youth whom he thinks of as 'Icarus' forms the backbone of this hard-hitting story; but is it reality, or his past coming back to haunt him? The truth might just be too painful to know. What Comes is almost a haunted house story, but is so much more than that. Cath and Martin are moving into an old cottage, and confronting issues between Cath and Martin's mother, Patricia. She does not approve of the relationship nor the property. However, for a while things are fine, and Martin, an artist, finds inspiration. However, a damp stain over the kitchen door is spreading. As they tackle this problem, something is disturbed within the fabric of the house that reveals darkly powerful local folklore.

The Bath is one of Lloyd's better known stories, dealing with the desperation and pressures in a poor neighborhood. Gavin Bauble lives alone, as it would seem his wife has deserted him; "She wouldn't join in, that's all. No one's better than anyone else in Cotton Street". His home has become a shrine to the past, and is cluttered to the ceiling; but does it house something more precious, something that will have to be released?

Perhaps the most straightforward tale here, Maynard's Mountain is nonetheless compelling, and gently humorous. A poor family is initially torn apart by the careless loss of a winning lottery ticket; so Daddy decides to burrow into the side of the local dump, where the rubbish bag containing the item would have been taken. Eventually this project involves all the members of the family, each with their own tunnel; but if it is found, would this threaten their newly-found closeness? In The Reunion, a dream-like tale of a visit to a stately home (Shuttered House) to visit eccentric parents, I am reminded a little of Aickman's The Unsettled Dust; and this collection is brought elegantly to a close.

These are wonderfully written tales, dealing with life, love, relationships and the loss thereof in a thoroughly believable way, and with a depth not present in many works of short fiction. The way Lloyd interweaves the past with the present is hugely impressive, and adds an extra dimension to her impressive body of work. This has been one of my books of the year so far.

Friday 4 July 2014

Dying Embers official launch

Last Saturday, June 28th, saw the official launch of my debut collection of short stories, Dying Embers. It was held at Gleebooks, in Glebe, Sydney, and was part of a Satalyte Publishing "double-header" whereby Andrew J. Mckiernan's collection of short stories, Last Year, When We Were Young, was launched too.
Kaaron Warren, M.R. Cosby, Andrew J. Mckiernan, Alan Baxter
It was a great experience for me. To say I was nervous would have been an understatement, especially as I did a reading too, something which I had never really envisaged myself doing. However, I owe a huge debt of thanks to the wonderful Kaaron Warren, who introduced both our books so beautifully. She made such well-observed and complimentary comments about Dying Embers that by the time it came for me to speak, my nerves had (almost) disappeared! I am forever grateful.
Many thanks are also due in a big way to the estimable Alan Baxter, who was good enough to be the master of ceremonies for the event, which he did with great panache.

Me reading an excerpt from In Transit,
a short story from Dying Embers
It was great to meet Kaaron, and to catch up with Alan after meeting him at Supanova a couple of weeks back. It's amazing that there is such a helpful, supportive community of writers "out there", and I am humbled.
Me signing one of many copies of Dying Embers at
the launch... admirably helped by my daughter Imogen!
Of course thanks must also go to all at Satalyte Publishing for giving me the opportunity to have a book launch at all! It was such a shame that Stephen and Marieke could not make it to the event, I'm sure they would have enjoyed it very much.
Lastly I'd like to thank James Everington for providing the excellent foreword for Dying Embers. The small matter of geography meant he could not be present, but if it were not for those 6,ooo miles I reckon he would have had a good time too!

Here is Andrew J. Mckiernan's collection, Last Year, When We Were Young; if you like the idea of my collection, Dying Embers, you should try his too; darkly atmospheric tales. Click on the image for link to buy.

Kaaron Warren's fiction needs no introduction from me; she is an award winning author. If you have not read her work, you should do so without delay. Her collections, The Gate Theory and Through Splintered Walls are two of the best books I've read in a very long time. Click on images for link to buy.

Alan Baxter's latest novel, Bound, is Alex Caine book 1, and is a powerful dark adventure. Its launch is coming up soon, so be one of the first to check it out! Click on the image to buy.


James Everington writes great dark fiction, and you should definitely read his latest collection of short stories, Falling Over. It was one of my books of the year last year. Click on the image to buy.


Tuesday 17 June 2014

Dying Embers at Supanova!

Last weekend involved a lot of 'firsts' for me.
It was the first convention I'd attended; the first time I had met any of the friends made through writing and on social media during the past couple of years; the first time I'd signed a copy of Dying Embers in person: and the first time I'd met R2D2.
I arrived early on the Saturday morning. I was immediately welcomed into the fold of Satalyte Publishing by the great Stephen Ormsby, who had previously only existed to me either as a disembodied voice, a Facebook comment, or as the request for an edit. It came as quite a shock to see he was actually a living, breathing person! We made our way to the Satalyte booth, where I met Andrew McKiernan, a fellow Satalyte author promoting his own collection of short stories, Last Year, When We Were Young.

Andrew McKiernan, Stephen Ormsby and Martin Cosby on the Satalyte booth
The crowds grew, and we watched any number of superheroes wandering by. Stephen polished his sales technique, showing me the ropes, and I began to learn the basics about what it really means to sell books. It's hard work! By the end of the Sunday, we were all exhausted, yet Stephen still had to drive all the way back to Melbourne. His enthusiasm and energy is both admirable and infectious.

Signing a copy of Dying Embers
Overall the weekend was a great success for Satalyte, and I certainly gained a lot of invaluable experience. I also met some key people, including Alan Baxter, who will be at the official launch of Dying Embers at Gleebooks on Saturday June 28. More details here.

One of the more unusual visitors to the Satalyte booth...
I must admit to being a little nervous about the launch, as that will be another and even bigger 'first' for me; but, once more, it will add to my experience, and at the same time I feel both privileged and excited. See you there if you can make it!

Tuesday 3 June 2014

DYING EMBERS; details of the official launch

I'm very pleased to announce to the world (well, at least to the people who read this blog!) the details of the official launch of Dying Embers, my first collection of strange stories. This event will take place on Saturday 28th June 2014 at Gleebooks, the landmark bookshop and café in the heart of Glebe in Sydney. I'm sure it will be the perfect venue.

This will be a 'double-header' of Satalyte Publishing authors, as I am very proud to say that Andrew J. McKiernan will also be there, launching his own collection of stories, Last Year, When We Were Young. The two titles complement each other perfectly.

The event begins at 3.30pm for 4.00 start, so make sure you keep an hour or so free that afternoon. I'm sure Andrew and myself will be sociable, and more than willing to sign all sorts of combinations of each other's books!

A big "thank you" is due to all at Satalyte Publishing, who have put in such a great effort to ensure Dying Embers has entered the world in such good shape. There is an event page on Facebook here.

I will post more details when they are available. I hope to see you all there!

By the way, if you can't make it, you can always pop in to the Supanova Pop Culture Expo, Sydney (June 13th-15th), where I'll be at the Satalyte Publishing table. I'll be more than happy to sign copies there too.