From the Waste Land – sharpening your appetite

From the Waste Land

Hey everyone! I’m re-blogging this fab post about From the Waste Land by one of the amazing contributors. I’m sure you’ll agree that reading just a little of this will sharpen your appetite for the entire anthology.

We can’t wait to share it with you!

In the meantime, try this:

From the Waste Land – a new anthology by contributor BP Marshall*

*and a reminder about his wonderful novel The Last Circus on Earth

The Last Circus on Earth by BP Marshall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And also admire the fab graphic created by multi-talented contributor Cat Sparks!

From the Waste Land
From the Waste Land edited by Clare Rhoden, graphic by Cat Sparks

 

Fantasy on Four Feet: out NOW!

Look below for your link to a wonderful collaboration of nine original fantasy tales all about animals.

Check out the list of fantastic authors and their wonderful stories. Then read them! You’ll love them all!

I’m thrilled to be involved in this project, as a story-teller and the editor, and I’m very grateful to Black Ink Fiction for ushering this precious cub into the real world.

PS: Let me know if you’d like a signed paperback – they are on the way!

From the Waste Land: announcing the stories!

wooden bridge in snow

One hundred years ago…

TS Eliot’s The Waste Land, a masterpiece of modernism, reaches back into legend and forward into dystopia. First published in October 1922, the poem resonates with the grief of the Great War.

You know, ‘the war to end all wars’…

A hundred years later, we can easily empathise with that mood. But we also know that, despite our fears, humanity continues its struggle to find the goodness and the light.

Autumn 2022

I’m thrilled to announce that later this year PS Publishing UK will release our anthology From the Waste Land: stories inspired by TS Eliot (edited by Clare Rhoden), marking the centenary of publication!

PS Publishing UK
PS Publishing UK has acquired our anthology

Meet the stories

With a mix of ghost stories, sci-fi, fantasy and apocalyptic tales, these original stories conjure wastelands from the 1500s to many centuries ahead.

You’ll also find hope for humanity and a belief in our shared future.

You’ve already met the wonderful team of authors; now let me introduce the contents.

Delightful, shocking, unique, extraordinary… you’re sure to find something amazing in these gems of speculative fiction.

From the Waste Land: contents

Death by Water, by Grace Chan
A Winter Respite, by Clare Rhoden
She Who Walks Behind You, by Leanbh Pearson
The Watcher of Greenwich, by Laura E. Goodin
Exhausted Wells, by Tee Linden
Rats Alley, by Jeff Clulow
Fragments of Ruin, by B.P. Marshall
Dead Men, by Cat Sparks
A Dusty Handful, by Aveline Perez de Vera
Lidless Eyes That See, by Geneve Flynn
A Witch’s Bargain, by Rebecca Dale
And Fiddled Whisper Music on Those Strings, by Eugen Bacon
Mountain of Death, by Austin P. Sheehan
Fawdaze, by Rebecca Fraser
Over the Mountains, by Tim Law
A Shadow in This Red Rock, by Louise Zedda Sampson
Dry Bones, by Robert Hood
April, by Francesca Bussey
The Violet Hour, by Nikky Lee

sunrise
Autumn sunrise … hope for the future (photo C Rhoden)

Keep an eye out for more news as this exciting project nears completion.

Personally, I can’t wait for the cover reveal!

Where The Weird Things Are, edited by Clare Rhoden and Austin P Sheehan

book cover

I’m delighted to announce a new member of the family: Where The Weird Things Are Volume 1 is here!

A collection of strange and sometimes spooky stories, Where The Weird Things Are Volume 1 is your guide to travelling Australia and Aotearoa … but with fantastic and freaky adventures.

My story ‘A Beechy Boy’ was inspired by the little bush block we had for a long time at Gellibrand River in Victoria’s Otway Ranges. Some of you have visited me there! My, it was beautiful.

But that persistent fog. Those strange noises in the night. That creeping cold. That monstrous king wallaby. That sense of remoteness in the night.

They all come together in a story that riffs off the old ‘Little Boy Lost’ tale. I hope you enjoy it!

Available now as an e book at the Zon: Weird Things Vol 1 e book

 

And as a paperback on Booktopia: Weird Things Vol 1 PB

 

And I’ll have my own paperback copies coming soon, for anyone who wants it signed.

Where the Weird Things Are Volume 1 is published by Deadset Press, one of Australia’s foremost independent publishers of awesome speculative fiction (PS, check out their site for new story calls!)

Open submission calls: March 2022

Re-blog with thanks, from Cosy Catastrophes

thinking
Think of all those stories that need a home…

 

Tim Major says: Since I started out writing a decade ago, I’ve treated the submission (and rejection!) process for short stories as an important part of the gig. I still find myself scouring submissions calls almost daily, even though I respond to fewer of them each year (mainly because I’m writing fewer short stories and more novels). I […]

Open submission calls: March 2022 — Cosy catastrophes

New Tales both Old and New (again)

March brings change and growth, they say. There’s certainly a lot happening in my writing world, with new tales. New Tales of Old, both old and new. Let me explain.

New Tales

I’m thrilled to say that my story ‘Starting Over’, set in the world of The Chronicles of the Pale, is now available in a splendid new wolf-themed anthology from Black Ink Fiction. New Tales of Old Volume II: Wolves Among Us has just been released.

From the blurb, to whet your appetite:

Once upon a time, there was a Big, Bad Wolf … he blew down the houses of swine, stole from little girls visiting their grandmothers … but maybe the wolf wasn’t so big or bad … Twisted fairy tales centred around this majestic creature written by 45 indie authors from all over the globe

New Tales of Old V2 blurb
New Tales of Old Vol II: Wolves Among Us

New Tales Again

Just as exciting is the news that Black Ink Fiction have acquired the rights to New Tales of Old Volume I (previously published by Raven & Drake.

New Tales of Old Volume I, republished by Black Ink Fiction.

So if you missed this anthology in its former too-short life, now is the chance to add it to your collection. I love the new cover too!

 

Fantasy on Four Feet

Finally, I can reveal the cover for the upcoming anthology Fantasy on Four Feet, my first foray into editing a collection. I spoke a little about this collection in a previous post.

cover image
Fantasy on Four Feet: a forthcoming collection of animal-themed stories.

Enjoy the cover. Isn’t is great? More about the stories when the book becomes available soon, from the amazingly prodigious Black Ink Fiction.

 

In the meantime, please feel free to check of New Tales of Old, and maybe ask your local library to buy a copy too!

 

LINKS

New Tales of Old Volume I

New tales of Old Volume II: Wolves Among Us

More new stories: 2022 writing projects

Welcome to 2022

A year of potential, of reckoning, of change and reassessment. A year of the Tiger, a strong character who banishes evil and demonstrates courage. It’s a year to keep going.

For me, 2022 is a year for new writing projects, and the completion of earlier ones. Let me show you my planned journey.

New writing projects

From the WasteLand

An anthology of literary speculative fiction inspired by TS Eliot’s seminal poem The Waste Land, first published in October 1922.

Stories inspired by one of the most important poems of the 20th century

If you are unfamiliar with the poem, suffice it to say that it’s as long as a novella, and its subject matter is the fragmentation of society during and after World War One (WWI). All in beautiful, strange, evocative words. I’ll be writing a lot more about this project soon. It’s going to be wonderful and amazing.

Peggy’s Story

A companion novel to The Stars in the Night

In this novel, I’m focussing on the Australian home front during WWI.

I’m writing a new novel about the women left at home during WWI

If you’re familiar with Stars, you’ll know that it’s the story of two brothers, Harry and Eddie, who fight at Gallipoli and in France. This new book will fill in all the gaps about what was happening back in Semaphore. More about this story as it progresses. I hope to have the whole manuscript completed this year to submit for publishing in 2023 or 2024.

Where the Weird Things Are

Aussie Speculative Fiction are about to publish a guide to the fantastic, freaky, and far-out in Australia and New Zealand.

Coming in early 2022, Where the Weird Things Are Volume 1 will feature a story of mine, inspired by our former bush block in the Otway Ranges.

How could a kangaroo inspire a horror story?

I’ll be working on the edits soon and I can’t wait to see this tale in print.

How to Survive Your Magical Family

My middle-grade novel

Don’t worry, How to Survive Your Magical Family is definitely coming this year, from the wonderful Odyssey Books. There have been just too many interruptions to the publishing industry, and too much pressure on staff due to the pandemic.

How to Survive Your Magical Family (2022 release)
How to Survive Your Magical Family (2022 release)

I’m now hoping for a February release. And I’ll most definitely keep you updated!

Forthcoming stories

In 2021, I kept busy with some substantial shorter fiction for themed anthologies, as well as the odd little tale for drabble collections (a drabble is a tale told in EXACTLY 100 words, no more, no less).

New Tales of Old Volume 2

New fantasy tales based on old myths, fairy stories and legends.

New Tales of Old Vol 2

This features my story ‘Starting Over’, set in the same world as The Chronicles of the Pale. It’s being published by Black Ink Fiction — and yes, I’ll let you know as soon as it’s available.

Fantasy on Four Feet

Tales from the animal kingdom: fantasy stories coming in 2022

Original stories from the animal kingdom

This fantastic (pun intended) anthology is coming from Black Ink Fiction in March. My story features the Cwn Annwn, ghostly hounds of the Welsh hunt.

Ancient Gods

Stories about a fantasy ancient kingdom inspired by Greek myths and legends

Ancient Gods: tales inspired by Greek mythology (2022)

In this wholly realised world, gods and demons vie for supremacy, with humans at risk. Twelve inter-linked stories unfold the tale of the semi-divine women who must face the demons. My story is  ‘Ione and the Sea Demon’. This is also coming from Black Ink Fiction in 2022.

Cursed Shards

Fantasy tales of a malevolent magic mirror

Lady Marian’s Gambit in Cursed Shards…coming in 2022

An ancient curse, a lingering threat: these stories tell of the evil effects of the broken mirror’s curse. The stories are all based on legends and all feature the fateful Fae mirror. My story ‘Lady Marian’s Gambit’ plays with the Robin Hood legend. This is coming in 2022 from the groundbreaking Australian independent Black Hare Press.

Winter Shocks

This wintry horror collection features my drabble about the Sugar Plum Fairy. The book is available now from Black Ink Fiction. Here’s a link: Winter Shocks

Winter Shocks – tiny tales of terror published by Black Ink Fiction

And not forgetting From the WasteLand

…but a whole lot more about that next time.

Till then, happy reading.

 

 

My Five Star Reads of 2021 … and a peek at 2022

taking-baby-for-a-walk

Here are (some of!) my five-star reads from 2021.

Of the 80 or so books I read every year, some stand out. As I’ve mentioned previously (see my post on book choices), I’m pretty good at judging what books will suit my readerly needs. I should be, after reading so many!

If your reading preferences are anything like mine, you might like to check out this selection from my 5-star reads this year.

Recommended Reads 2021

Permafrost

A stunning debut collection of wonderful short stories

 

Permafrost by SJ Norman

Coralesque

Prepare to be amazed. A great book to take on your beach holiday, full of scary seaside stories

Artifact Space

A wonderful first instalment in a new coming-of-age series. take yourself to the stars and beyond with this exciting and diverse novel

Worldshifter

A brilliant little novella about a world-building alien who just happens to be one of the sweetest -dog-like characters you’ll ever meet

Worldshifter by Paul Di Filippo
Worldshifter by Paul Di Filippo

Taking Baby for a Walk

A terrifying story about a missing child, set in an ordinary Queensland town. Unputdownable. How about that cover in the top image of this post?!

Danged Black Thing

Black fiction that leaps and cavorts, alive with challenge, wit and a very big heart. Read these stories with gusto and amazement

Before You Knew My Name

An unusual read for me. This is the best murder mystery I’ve ever encountered, and I love the way it foregrounds the victim instead of the vile killer. Eye-opening and such great writing.

Court of Silver Flames

My favourite of the entire series. An insightful and tender exploration of depression and anxiety through the lens of dark fantasy.

The Gulp

Ha! Want to be terrified on your summer road trip around Australia? Meal-sized tales of antipodean horror from a master.

The Harp of Kings

The first of a new series by Juliet Marillier, whose evocative writing immerses the reader in ancient Ireland. Myth, romance, adventure and tragedy combine in this wonderful story.

Watch out for in 2022

As a reviewer, I’m privileged to read quite a few books prior to their release, in the form of ARCs (advanced reader copies). I love being considered an advanced reader LOL! Here’s one I adored for its teeming, lush fantasy world.

Saint Death’s Daughter

And here’s two that I can hardly wait for! From the marvellous Odyssey Books, out early in 2022:

Fleetwalker by J Victoria Michael
Fleetwalker by J Victoria Michael

Fleetwalker

The eagerly-awaited third book in the GriffinSinger series … and of course

How To Survive Your Magical Family

A fabulous new fantasy from yours truly 🙂

The link is to the Booktopia pre-order page, but I’ll have my own pre-order page early in the New Year. Keep your eyes peeled!

 

How to Survive Your Magical Family (2022 release)
How to Survive Your Magical Family (2022 release)

The Good Child: a review of upcoming Australian historical fiction

THE GOOD CHILD

Do you ever wish you could go back in time and warn your younger self? Get ready to have that feeling as you follow the adventures of Lucille and Quin in the forthcoming Australian historical fiction:

The Good Child by SC Karakaltsas

An enthralling read, The Good Child tells the story of two women whose lives are linked – and damaged – by the one man.

Unfolding through a series of flashbacks interspersed with current happenings of the 1990s, the story introduces us first to Lucille and Quin. They’ve both lost everything. The two women meet on a country train headed to Melbourne. They’re on their way to attend a trial. Although they don’t know it for a while, they both have their lives invested in the man in the dock.

Lucille, like many of our mothers or grandmothers, was born between the wars. She lived through the hungry 1930s and blossomed in the 1940s. She suffered some awful tragedies, the sort that rip the heart out of women. Then WWII stamped all over her life.

Maybe her grandmother’s warning was right:

“Marry the wrong man and your life will be nothing but misery.”

When at last Lucille raises Tom, a golden boy, everything seems better. Perhaps life will be kind after all. Maybe the mistakes and heartaches will disappear into the mists of time.

A well-loved child, Tom leaps on the ‘greed is good’ train of the 1980s, spreading his charm and his captivating energy with a generous hand.

How could anything go wrong with his ambitious financial scheming? Well, what about shady dealings? Or the mates’ rates he shares glibly? And what about his greedy, grabby habits?

Ah well, if you lived through the 80s you’ll know what can go wrong.

Quin was one of Tom’s star workers, writing up loans, sealing deals, helping as he schmoozed up customers.

She knows that some of what she did enabled Tom’s rapacious dealings, but she wasn’t prepared for the double cross that sacrificed her to the wolves when the going got tough.

Quin would love to right her own wrongs and see Tom pay for his crimes. Her budding relationship with Lucille promises to heal some of the wounds of the past.

Finally, the compassionate insight of women bypasses the slick and deadly traps of masculine over-confidence.

This story is very generous in detail

The Good Child recreates its diverse time periods with such a keen attention to everyday life that readers are immediately immersed in the settings.

It’s almost possible to smell the kitchen of the 1940s, touch the dresses of the 1950s, hear the hubbub of the 1960s six-o’clock swill, and taste the extravagance of the 1980s.

Author S.C. Karakaltsas has a thorough understanding of the periods covered in this wide-ranging novel, as well as a keen eye and a happy gift with dialogue. Perhaps most remarkable is her ability to bring out the green shoots of hope in a story that charts so many tragedies.

It’s easy to get lost in the world of The Good Child, riding the emotional lows and brief highs as the story inevitably unfolds to its very satisfying end. If you love Australian historical fiction with a feminist slant, this one is for you.

A story that rings true in every scene, and

one that will make you glad that you read it.

See more great fiction from SC Karakaltsas

Website: https://sckarakaltsas.com

Pre-order link:

https://www.amazon.com.au/Good-Child-S-C-Karakaltsas-ebook/dp/B09FJ818D6/

 

The Ten Stages of Writing a Series: Part 1 The First Novel

The Chronicles of the Pale series

This month is the second book-iversary of my dystopian fiction series The Chronicles of the Pale.

I’m very proud of these books and still very much in love with them.

But how did this love affair with talking animal stories begin?

Today I’m letting you into the ten hidden stages behind the Chronicles.

Stage 1: An Idea

Ideas comes from everywhere. I can’t stop them.

This one began with a dream in 2014. We were shut inside a gated compound while outside, crying babies were dying from exposure. We couldn’t get out, but my dog Dinny (an ancient and beloved German Shepherd) snuck out and carried the two babies into safety.

German Shepherd Dinny
German Shepherd Dinny, the original model for Mashtuk

From small kernels of inspiration, a big story grew.

Dogs had to feature!

Stage 2: A Short Story

The story of the babies left to die Outside was too good to lose, especially during the height of the worldwide refugee crisis. The wise and compassionate canini Mashtuk and Zelie, the heartless humachines, and fully-human Hector appeared in my head.  I wrote them into a story and submitted it to progressive journal Overland. My first ever short story acceptance!

Man-machine-dog-Illustration
Man-machine-dog-Illustration from Overland #215

Man/Machine/Dog‘ is available online.

If you’ve read The Pale, you might like to see where it started.

Stage 3: A Novel

After the story was published, an indie publisher contacted me because my Overland bio said that I was writing a novel about these characters.

Ahem.

I hadn’t started, but I immediately began. Ideas came too fast and the novel grew too long, but I submitted it within six months.

Stage 4: A Rejection

Sadly, The Pale Version 01 didn’t make the grade. The novel was BLOATED with too many characters and dozens of subplots, and falling over itself with over-complex world building.

While the feedback was positive, the novel needed severe editing.

Stage 5: An Acceptance

More time passed. I took a good hard look at my manuscript and pruned a few thousand words. Some of the off-cuts were old favourites: names for every (and I mean every) minor character, a newly invented calendar based on the many seasons recognised in indigenous cultures, and a subplot involving flashbacks to the time before the Great Cataclysm…

Then I sent the new manuscript to my dear, dear beta readers. Their ultra-valuable feedback (thank you – you know who you are!) resulted in more tidying…and THEN

I sent the manuscript off to another indie press looking for new authors.

The Pale cover detail: Mashtuk
The Pale cover detail: Mashtuk

About three months later, and email came, asking if The Pale was still available.

Yes! I shrieked. Yes, yes, yes!

(Thank you Odyssey Books!)

 

What next?

Oh, my. Having a novel published was a lifelong dream come true.

I fell onto a steep learning curve. Working with fiction editors challenged me, but I could see that every discussion, every point, made my work better. A wonderful cover artist sent me concepts, and I jumped with delight on the one with the city and the canini – of course, it’s Mashtuk!

I’ve talked about launching here, and I can still remember the wonderful feeling. The Pale sold some copies. Readers contacted me and asked about the characters and what happened next? The characters gambolled around in my head.

And the publisher said: is there a sequel?

Next week, I’ll explain how I got from a single dream to a three-novel series … and perhaps a set of short stories in genesis.

The Pale
Chronicles of the Pale #1: The Pale