Here I am chatting with David McDonald at Galactic Chat. I think I only render him speechless one.
In very exciting news, Slights has been released as an audio book from Audible! Lisa Coleman narrates and I think she sounds perfect.
My story “Finding the Path”, written from the same spark as my story “Ghost Jail” is in the audiobook “Thirteen“, which has just been shortlisted for an Audie Award! The audiobook also has stories from Kim Newman and Dan Abnett among others and is really very good.
“Born and Bread” in Once Upon a Time, edited by Paula Guran
“Blood is Blood” in Scott Harrison’s Twisted Histories
My novella “Sky” is reprinted in Tehani Wessely’s Focus 2012, Australian award winning fiction.
In December last year, I was lucky enough to be awarded the 2013 ACT Writers’ and Publishers’ Award for Through Splintered Walls. This means that all three of my eligible collections have won this award! The Grinding House, Dead Sea Fruit and this one. I received a voucher from one of my favourite bookshops, Paperchain in Manuka. The hard thing is choosing a book!
Judges were Alex Adsett, agent and more extraordinaire, and the wonderful Gia Metherell, who was the Canberra Times Literary Editor for a long time.
Highly Commended: Nigel Featherstone’s I’m Ready Now (Blemish Books) and Donald McMaster’s Provocation (Arcadia). Nigel has a story at the Review of Australian Fiction at the moment. Definitely worth a read; he’s a talented writer.
The Aurealis Awards shortlist was announced. I’m on it twice! Such a strong field.
A second-hand book I’m referencing today is “Who Did What”, a biographical dictionary. Mostly, I bought it because of all the clippings the previous owner collected, and the names they’ve added to the front page.
Names added include:
Joseph Merrick, Elephant Man.
Newton (Sailor, then clergyman) wrote the Poem ‘Amazing Grace’ then mayed into song.
Vegemite “Parwill” 1928 Fred Walker. (I know that Parwill was an early name for Vegemite, an answer to the produce Marmite. Marmite, but Parwill!)
The clippings are curious indeed.
“Wife enjoys humiliating him”, about a man who says his wife is frigid, yet blames him in public for his ‘inability’.
“Anti-smoke drug alert as 19 die”. The drug is Zyban. I wonder if it is still prescribed?
“Beware these Carcinogens” and lists a number of them.
“Warning to Asthma sufferers”. This is another drug-gone-wrong story.
I’m getting the picture of someone who is very concerned with their health. Hypochondriac?
There are also pressed flowers and leaves.
It’s quite a book.
I’ll be in Brighton for the World Fantasy Convention! Very excited, and can’t wait to meet up with friends old and new.
On the Thursday night, I’ll be at Forbidden Planet bookshop (179 Shaftesbury Avenue, London) as part of the so-called Angry Robot Halloween Takeover.
You’ll also be able to catch Wesley Chu, Adam Christopher, Joseph D’Lacey, Anne Lyle, James A Moore, Emma Newman, David Tallerman and Mike Shevdon
On the Friday, I’ll be reading at 2pm, Hall A (Readings 1). Not sure yet what I’ll read. Anything on your wishlist you’d like to hear?
Apart from that, it’s food and drink, talk and laughter.
My story “All You Can Do is Breathe” is now live at Nightmare Magazine. Other stories in the issue are from from Megan Arkenberg (“The Crowgirl”) and Norman Partridge (“10/31: Bloody Mary”), and Alaya Dawn Johnson (“The Score”).
So pleased to be in this magazine. John Joseph Adams is an excellent editor, with an eye for what works and a startling attention to details.
I talk about the story here.
Rare dog breeds; people will kill for them. I’ve seen it. One stark-nosed curly hair terrier, over-doped and past all use. One ripped-off buyer, one cheating seller. I was just the go-between for that job. I shrank up small into the corner, squeezed my eyes shut, folded my ears over like a Puffin Dog, to keep the dust out.
from “The Gaze Dogs of Nine Waterfall”, in The Gate Theory. The collection is still being free, for another 8 hours.
This is another travelogue of Fiji story. I’ve spoken before about how you gather snippets as a writer, remember things, retain images until you need them. In this story, it’s things like the article in the Fiji Times about blue-skinned vampire dogs killing livestock, reported manner-of-factly.
Colo-i-Suva, the place I describe in the story, does exist. It’s a beautiful place but it’s the only one you’re warned about when you arrive in Suva. “Don’t go there alone,” you’re told. Some say it’s because of robbers. Some say it’s because of ghosts. We did go there a few times, because it is beautiful, and we saw the women cooking curry in enormous pots over contained fires. The delicious smell stayed with us all the way.
Three days Alvin lay on the floor of his dusty lounge room before he realized he was no longer anchored to his body.
from “The History Thief”, in The Gate Theory.
Twice or three times in all the stories I’ve written, I’ve started with the title. “Fresh Young Widow” (soon available electronically in The Grinding House) was one. “The History Thief” is another.
I wrote it for one of my favourite horror writers, Gary McMahon, for the anthology he edited for Pendragon Press (Wales), called Visions Fading Fast. Chris Teague, who runs Pendragon Press, bought a very early story of mine. After I sold to him, I went to parties and called myself an Internationally Published Author in a loud voice while waving a plastic cup of cheap wine in people’s faces.
I’ve always been disturbed by loneliness. It breaks my heart, and I’m terrified of it. So I know how to write about a lonely man who has experienced nothing, loved no one. Who discovers he can steal the history of others as if he lived their lives himself.
The Gate Theory is free on Amazon for 48 hours. Please download, read, review and share.
And you know of course I never did do that thing at parties.
I have a collection of baby teeth, sent to me by recovered anorexics from the ward. Their children’s teeth, proof that their bodies are working.
from “Dead Sea Fruit”, in The Gate Theory
I actually do have a collection of baby teeth. When I worked for The Helix magazine, we had a science project where the readers (most of them under 12) sent in their baby teeth to be studied at, I think, a University in Norway. The Uni studied lead and cadmium levels in children around the world.
I packaged up and sent off hundreds of teeth. It was DISGUSTING. Some of them were covered in dirt from being buried. Some had holes. One came with a piece of dental floss still around it.
But I sent them off to Norway.
After a while, the project ended but the teeth kept coming in. I didn’t have the heart to tell the kids they were too late, so I sent off the letter saying “Thank you for your tooth” and kept all the teeth in a little plastic jar.
I still have them.
(I googled myself and The Helix, just in case I was on there, and discovered that someone has archived a story I wrote for the magazine in 1998!)