Words Out Loud in Ballarat – August edition

words out loud in ballaratShare “the road ahead” when Words Out Loud returns to Babushka lounge in Ballarat on Thursday, August 18, 7-9pm, for its next session of spoken word.

Writers, readers, poets — all word lovin’ folks with a hankering to share the love are invited along, with five-minute open mic spots on offer. Babushka has excellent sound and backing tracks can be accommodated. You won’t find a friendlier venue.

While the theme is “the road ahead” (make of it what you will), it isn’t compulsory! Share your own work or something that has moved you, or just come to enjoy the performances and meet district writers.

Entry is free, though a gold coin donation would be appreciated for this non-profit, community event.

Keep up to date at the Facebook page: www.facebook.com/wordsoutloud/.

 

Forged in Blood — now free in ebook formats!

forged in blood vampire storyLast month I staked out a free short story on my website to mark the anniversary of the release of the two Vampires in the Sunshine Country books by Clan Destine Press. But the story, a backgrounder to one of the key characters, was only in PDF because that’s as much as I could get my head around.

Well, CDP has come to the rescue, and now mobi and epub versions are available on the CDP website, iTunes or Amazon (sadly, my website host doesn’t allow these formats, but the PDF is available there). These are free, except, I’m told, on Amazon, where the store imposes a fee (boo!). This means it has an ISBN — yes, it’s a “real” story now! Hope you enjoy!

Sharing the love — little heart warmers

2016 has been a bit shit in a lot of ways, hasn’t it? Loss and meanness and downright ugliness. But, as Heart would say, or sing, rather, what about love?*

Well, recently my writerly community was gathered in Melbourne** celebrating their love of the written word, in various literary and visual forms, and my wife and I were off at the other end of Ballarat taking a quiet anniversary weekend out. Here’s a picture: let’s call it Love 1.

Worldmark Ballarat resort

If you like willows and lake reflections and red bricks against blue sky, you’ll find more pictures here.

On day 1 of the weekend, we ate dumplings at our favourite dumpling house (Fu Man Lou) and then went on a ghost tour***, the tickets for which had been given to me for my birthday. That’s love right there — a gift from someone who “gets” you. For the record, the tour started out pretty well, in a haunted Victorian-era bakery subject to flooding, but kind of went off the boil as the night wore on and the cold set it. Too much sauce, not enough substance — unlike the dumplings. Nom nom nom. Funnily enough, the site of the dumpling house was also the setting for one of the ghost stories. What the hell, Love 2.

The second night, we went to Catfish Thai. Oh my, times a bunch. Seven courses, each one delectable. We had a window seat looking over this old brick place and next to it a wall covered in winter ivy — noice. Wonderful restaurant, great service, divine tucker, with a bill best suited to special occasions. Love 3.

And then, as there are on anniversaries, wee small gifts of affection: a Plague Doctor Bird! My beloved secured this months ago, a fabulous work by KJ Bishop, a damn fine writer who also is a dab hand at gardening and sculpture. Round it out with a Batman mug: Love 4!****

Plague Doctor Bird

The weekend wasn’t entirely without its “literature”, of course. We slummed for a day and watched Anomalisa, a disappointing film from Charlie Kaufman about a dude not coping with his decisions in life and hurting everyone; the well-constructed and quite engaging, and infuriating, The Big Short; and a surprisingly entertaining Trainwreck. Claymation annoyance, effective rom com and political statement: Love 5. The wine and cheese gets the movie marathon over the line. Also, do check out a card game called Sushi Go! Great for pairs or groups, quick and easy but not without its strategy. It’s Australian, and, I’ve just found out, was the subject of an Indiegogo campaign: more love!

And, as readers of this blog might realise, I finished off that weekend by sharing that other love of mine: my vampires. But that’s enough about that.

As shit as it all gets, we’ve got nature, and art, and each other. It’s worth taking the time out sometimes to remember that. Love out.

* New album out next month! (New versions, a couple of new tunes *drums finger* still no Oz tour, but.)
** We missed youse all!
*** We did their Ararat ghost tour a few years ago and it was brilliant.
**** In return, there were poppets. We love poppets:)

Words Out Loud in Ballarat – July edition

words out loud julyWords Out Loud is striking while the iron is hot in July — it’ll be running on the SECOND Thursday, rather than the usual third.

The theme is “light it up”, and it’ll be giving ol’ midwinter a run for its chill with hot spoken word and blazing slam poetry!

Writers, readers, poets — all word lovin’ folks with a hankering to share the love are invited along, with five-minute open mic spots on offer. As always, performers are encouraged to take the theme and run with it for their 5-minute slots — or ignore it altogether!

Entry is free, though a gold coin donation would be appreciated for this non-profit, community event.

Words Out Loud will be held at the wonderfully warm and welcoming Babushka lounge in Ballarat on Thursday, July 14, 7-9pm.

Keep up to date at the Facebook page: www.facebook.com/wordsoutloud/.

In Your Face – speculative fiction with bite!

in your face anthologyIn Your Face, an anthology of confronting speculative fiction from FableCroft Publishing, will soon be in the wild (next month!)! This volume contains 22 stories from some of Australia’s biggest hitters in the genre (Sean Williams, Kaaron Warren, Angela Slatter and more!), as well as some lesser known writers such as myself, and they’re packing a punch.

Says a review in Aurealis, “some of these stories are confronting, even shocking in the subjects they tackle head-on … In Your Face is a truly rewarding and affecting experience”.

My yarn, A House in the Blue, is a reaction to the shitful health policies championed by the thankfully dead Abbott government (we note the Turnbull government’s similarity to its predecessor) and is no doubt all too familiar to readers in the United States. It is set in the climate-change affected future Brisbane introduced in 2014’s Watermarks. The sad thing about my story is that I think I’ve underplayed the situation, but I guess only time will tell.

There is a Goodreads contest running until June 30 offering a free copy, or you can read more here (or preorder at the online bookstore of your choice, pretty much). The countdown continues!

Happy birthday, Kevin the vampire! Here’s a free story to celebrate with

forged in blood vampire storyTo mark the first-year anniversary of the launch of the Vampires in the Sunburnt Country duology, I thought I’d open the window to a secretive event in the life of Kevin’s nemesis, the Hunter Phillip Reece.

The story was written in 2011 as I was coming to grips with Reece’s background. The event detailed in the story, set in 1970s Brisbane, is never explained in either Blood and Dust or The Big Smoke, but is alluded to as Reece looks back at his long history with the villainous Mira.

It was a fun and effective way to explore the characters’ first meeting, even though much of the detail never made it into either book because it simply wasn’t needed. But I like to think it gave those few references emotional depth and, of course, consistency.

Find out more and read the story in PDF here

UPDATE: as of 7 July 2016, free mobi and epub versions of the story are available at the Clan Destine Press website!