Three, two, one, let’s jam

We have launch on Qualia Nous!

There was a surprising info leak two days back, that the mammoth science fiction and horror anthology was available to purchase on Amazon before the “official” release of the book. Word from the publisher, Written Backwards, is that the contributors told the world, and sales bloomed.

Whether you want to catch my story in the anthology, or read the phenomenal work from my co-contributors, or wish to enjoy yet another brilliant project coming out of Written Backwards, Qualia Nous is here and ready to make an impact.

Buy your copy now.

Happy release day to editor and writerlings;
Michael Bailey
Stephen King
Usman T. Malik
Gene O’Neill
Emily B. Cataneo
Erik T. Johnson
Ian Shoebridge
D.J. Cockburn
John R. Little
Jon Michael Kelley
Lori Michelle
James Chambers
Jason V Brock
Marge Simon
Peter Hagelslag
Christian A. Larsen
Max Booth III
Richard Thomas
Erinn L. Kemper
William F. Nolan
John Everson
Pat R. Steiner
Paul Anderson
Lucy A. Snyder
Rena Mason
Thomas F. Monteleone
Patrick Freivald
Mason Ian Bundschuh
Elizabeth Massie
and Gary A. Braunbeck
Know that it’s an absolute pleasure to share the pages of Qualia Nous with all of you.

~A

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The names, the names!

The names, the names! So many names.

Prepare yourselves.

The prodigious publisher, Written Backwards, will welcome Qualia Nous to print in the following month (released by early September). I am purely giddy to be a part of this anthology, sharing pages with writerlings I call my friends, as well as names I have admired from afar, and new authors to enjoy.

And it’s going to be huge. Not just because the Table of Contents is topped by Stephen King himself, but we look forward to a 454 page delight of science fiction / horror. I am so ready.

From the official announcement, here is the final line-up.

Michael Bailey with the introduction “0-1”
Stephen King, with a novelette titled “The Jaunt”
Usman T. Malik, with “The Vaporization Enthalpy of a Peculiar Pakistani Family”
Gene O’Neill, with “The Shaking Man”
My own story, “Dyscrasia”
Emily B. Cataneo, with “The Rondelium Girl of Rue Marseilles”
Erik T. Johnson, with “The Angel Chaser”
Ian Shoebridge, with “Psychic Shock”
D.J. Cockburn, with “Peppermint Tea in Electronic Limbo”
John R. Little, with “Second Chance”
Jon Michael Kelley, with “The Effigies of Tamber Square”
Lori Michelle, with “Shades of Naught”
James Chambers, with “The Price of Faces”
Jason V Brock, with a novelette titled “Simulacrum”
Marge Simon, with the poem “Shutdown”
Peter Hagelslag, with a novelette titled “Lead Me To Multiplicity”
Christian A. Larsen, with “Cataldo’s Copy”
Max Booth III, with “The Neighborhood Has a Barbeque”
Marge Simon, with the second poem “Tomorrow’s Femme”
Richard Thomas, with “The Jenny Store”
Erinn L. Kemper, with “Night Guard”
William F. Nolan, with “A New Man”
John Everson, with “Voyeur”
Pat R. Steiner, with “Kilroy Wasn’t There”
Paul Anderson, with “In the Nothing-Space, I Am What You Made Me”
Lucy A. Snyder, with “Dura Mater”
Rena Mason, with “Ruminations”
Thomas F. Monteleone, with “Good and Faithful Servant”
Patrick Freivald, with “Twelve Kilos”
Mason Ian Bundschuh, with “Breathe You In Me”
Elizabeth Massie, with “18P37-C, After Andrea Was Arrested”
and Gary A. Braunbeck, with a novelle titled “No Fixed Address”

Wow. Yeah. Wow.

~A

Cross a name off the list

Publisher Written Backwards has been responsible for some of my all-time favourite anthologies. Which makes me all the more amazed to be included in the next one…!

A short story happened one day, a strange little piece indeed. Inspired by reading about cutting edge medical breakthroughs in cancer treatment, at the same time as ancient Greek medical theories, and finding myself in a strange overlapping territory – “dyscrasia” being both the old Greek term of health imbalance, and now used in naming plasma cell cancer.

The music I happened to be listening to topped off the whole event. Somehow, I had a complete story on my hands, without being sure what to do with it.

I determined after sitting, reading, editing the whole thing that it was probably cyberpunk, a sub-genre of science fiction. And then I waited, and read, and re-read, still uncertain. What was this piece? What would I do with it? There was something very appealing in the story for me, but I don’t normally write sci-fi, and I spent a lot of time glaring at my computer screen. I edited a touch more here and there before throwing Dyscrasia at my beta readers. They got back to me, expressing opposite opinions. Add in another beta reader. Another day. Another reaction.

A new thought tickling at the back of my mind.

Editor Michael Bailey had mentioned his next anthology, Qualia Nous, was not entirely invite-only. The door might still be unlocked for those willing to knock. A great coming together of sci-fi and horror, guaranteed to be as epic as the previous Written Backwards anthologies, and here I figured, why not submit? I don’t know what else to do with Dyscrasia. Almost as if… I was passing the time. So submission goes off, I sleep, then head out for work, life goes on.

I get home again, see an email in my inbox.

It hasn’t even been 24 hours.

I’ve been formally accepted into Qualia Nous.

Dyscrasia is exactly what the editor was waiting for.

That weird cyberpunk story which bubbled up on its own accord, truthfully when I was procrastinating away from writing other novels, had landed me a place beside some amazing authors in one of the most exciting new markets out there. I can’t wait to hold a copy of Qualia Nous in my hands and see how this anthology has come together, with me, somehow, a part of it.

~A

The Next Big Thing

Friend and fellow Perth writer Martin Livings, who has been kicking around the industry for over two decades, has pegged me for this: The Next Big Thing writer promotion cycle. Answer the interview, tag more writers, watch as it takes over the blogosphere. Many thanks, Martin! On that note, I highly recommend everyone wriggle on over to pick up Martin’s short story collection, “Living With The Dead” because this man knows his horror, yes he does.

I also have to make mention of both Michael Bailey and Annie Neugebauer who asked me to participate after I already agreed to be one of Martin’s tag-ees. Thanks, both of you!

Now! I give you The Next Big Thing(s). Yeah. I’m a big cheater, so absolutely no one should be surprised when I break all the rules and talk about the collective of my current work. It’s all connected! That has to count for something! But let me try and keep the focus on my first novel, The Damning Moths, coming out soon.

ONE: What is the working title of your next book?
Disclaimer: my working titles are always lazy and hasty. The Damning Moths was known as “Novel Series” until it got properly named. Uh huh. Book Two is exactly that, although pre-draft it received the codename “Spiral Leaves”. The novella prequel has the misfortune of being called “By Blood”. This is why I never discuss working titles. Moving on.

TWO: Where did the idea come from for the book?
The first concept which triggered the plot for everything is actually slated to be in Book Three, and I believe that was from a dream I had. During the subsequent two years of writing, editing, and refining the ideas, it has blossomed to where we are right now. The individual ideas tend to come to me through asking questions of the characters. What is their motive? What do they believe in? What makes them tick? With knowing those answers, I then ask: What will shatter their world? The resulting implosion is what happens in the book. Something to shake the character’s personal resolve in an integral way and see how far I can push them before everything breaks.

THREE: What genre does your book fall under?
Dark fantasy. Fantasy setting, horror lifeblood. I’ve had so many people look me up and down then ask why I write dark stuff. It’s an interesting subject, to be sure. I like the feeling of things being really, really bad for the characters. I enjoy the psychology in writing those who have to deal with horrific things. And I like being a little scared.

FOUR: What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
This is a terrible question, and the person who originally asked it should feel bad. That said, I always have the disparity between the actors and actresses who look most like each character, and those I feel would play the role to perfection. This is part of why I don’t aim for live action films, and would love to see a high budget anime made of TDM.

FIVE: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
“A world of blackened Faerie Tales is bubbling over with the conflict of past sins and perverse schemes as the gods’ glorious crown is passed to a new, unwilling victim.”

SIX: Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Coming out through World Ender, my independent media label!

SEVEN: How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Six furious weeks on the scant and roughest draft of The Damning Moths, where words flew from my fingertips incomprehensibly. It took me another five months of changing the POV, fleshing out all the necessary parts, adding in characters, and finally, some very tough editing, before I had gotten it into the shape of a real novel instead of whatever I had spun in a bleary daze of drafting. The novella was drafted in five weeks, and Book Two is still in the works.

EIGHT: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Goodness, I don’t know. I struggle with this constantly. A lot of other dark fantasy is very much the armies, swords, and dragons kind of thing. Those who write about the fae kingdoms often stick with the very Tolkien/D&D styled races, or have a much more traditionally detached take on Faerie. Since there is a convoluted and vast history which triggers the political conflicts in TDM, as well as eldrich themes, big magic, and a character-driven plot, it’s not in one or the other camp, and I don’t know if I’ve read anything much like it before. I’ve had early readers compare my writing to far more dramatic names than I’m brave enough to repeat. I expect fans of George RR Martin and Laurell K Hamilton would find something to appreciate.

NINE: Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Other authors inspire me to create, though each individual story is told because of the characters. I want to see where they go, all because they are fascinating to me. A dream started this tale, as is true of many stories I write, but inspiration is a constant flow for me. In the words of the awesome Chuck Wendig, Ask a writer: “Where do you get your ideas from?” And the writer will reply: “How do you make yours stop?” I’ve been writing for fifteen-some years. This just happens now.

TEN: What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
Let’s take “about the book” rather liberally, shall we?
First, The Damning Moths is illustrated with some of the best artwork I’ve ever seen, and that’s before my bias kicks in! Truly, I have been overwhelmed by the quality of the illustrations and how well the artist has captured the scenes and characters. Readers will get treated with a page of artwork every chapter. Yay!
Second, there is an original soundtrack written for the book, an amazing post-rock/progressive electro rock album by The Revolver Project. I am so, so, so happy with how the soundtrack has come out. Early listeners have universally proclaimed, “This sounds like it’s from a horror movie”. I think that counts as a massive success. Music is an integral part of writing for me, so there is something inherent and natural about a book having companion theme songs. Double yay!

With great pleasure, I introduce to you my tag-ee, and the star of a “Next Big Thing” post! Please direct your attention to the lovely Kristen Tsetsi!

~A

Surviving the End is here!

My first ever fiction publication, the neat little story of “Harvest”. It’s a little surreal to be holding the book, reading the other pieces (which are AWESOME, by the way!) with mine wedged in between. The editor and Story Keeper has pulled everything together tightly with the interludes keeping momentum going from one tale to the next, even when they are as vastly different as the people telling them.

One of the best parts of being in this anthology has most certainly been the other contributors. Meeting these writers has been great fun, they’re awesome to interact with, and it’s always brilliant to be introduced to other great stories.

Those of you who have pre-ordered Surviving the End should see your copy very soon! If you didn’t pre-order and are interested in these stories of post apocalyptica, I direct you to the publishers website: Dark Prints Press – Surviving the End.

And of course, thank you all for your support and encouragement. Means the world to me!

~A

Newcomer

As if Surviving the End was not already awesome enough, there’s been a surprise last-minute addition to get excited about!

News delivered from the Dark Prints Press Facebook Page! The illustrious list of authors in our post-apocalyptic horror anthology will now be joined by a piece from Jonathan Maberry. Still slated for a release this April (goodness, only two months to go!), I’m seriously enthusiastic about reading the full collection.

Every now and then, I will re-read my short story, Harvest. My memory is vague enough that I don’t remember the exact way it was written, the precise pacing, each particular word choice. I enjoy re-reading for that reason – even when it comes to my own work, it would seem! I still like this story, partly for its difference to my other writing. Different character types and interactions. Different motivation for the story itself. It borders on frantic, and I’m still left grinning like a maniac at the end. But maybe that’s just me.

And, of course, I’m looking forward to everyone else getting a chance to read it as well!

Here’s the updated list of stories included in Surviving the End:

Joseph D’Lacey, with a novella titled “The Failing Flesh”;
Jason Nahrung, with “The Last Boat to Eden”;
Martin Livings, with “Unwanted”;
Amanda J Spedding, with “The Long Ago”;
Michael Bailey, with “Hiatus”;
Kathryn Hore, with “The Stuff of Stories”;
my own story, “Harvest”;
and now, Jonathan Maberry, with “The Wind Through the Fence”.
Not forgetting the Story Keeper himself, Craig Bezant, adding in the interludes connecting our various stories and bringing the tales of survival together.

April may be just around the corner, but I’m excited and impatient to see the books arrive!

~A

No, no, be cool

Let’s not get too worked up. No squealing, no bouncing in the chair; that sort of behaviour often ends in toppling over or breaking dinner plates. Besides, we knew this day was coming. We were counting down! We checked as soon as we came online because of that! Just be cool. Make a calm announcement.

Pah. What would my brain know? The actual appropriate response is: TELL EVERYONE IMMEDIATELY.

Pre-orders for Surviving the End have opened! Yes!

The print version of this anthology is going to be something special. Not only will it include writing from my good self (hehe), but it also features the work of:
Joseph D’Lacey, with a novella titled “The Failing Flesh”;
Jason Nahrung, with “The Last Boat to Eden”;
Martin Livings, with “Unwanted”;
Amanda J Spedding, with “The Long Ago”;
Michael Bailey, with “Hiatus”;
and Kathryn Hore, with “The Stuff of Stories”.
Owner, editor and our story collector, Craig Bezant from Dark Prints Press, will be tying it all together with his own short interludes, as well. The physical book will have rough-cut page edges for an authentic after-the-world-has-ended feel and sketches scattered throughout the pages. This will be an experience, I can assure you.

I can’t tell you how ridiculously exciting this whole thing is. With a release date in April 2012, I might even get a chance to chill out in the meantime – then again, I’ve been asked to join the publisher at a convention for the release, so that’s going to have me riled up plenty.

Biggest thanks to everyone for all your support in these past few months! Now if you’ll excuse me, I have more people to inform of the news!

~A