Awards Nomination Time

MBOD coverHey ho, it’s that exciting time of year again, when Award Nominations for the Sir Julius Vogels and the Australian Shadows are open!

So yes, I’ve got some eligible works, as do a whole lot of people I know. You can see other recommendations from the NZ Spec Fic community at the following sites:

Darusha Wehm

AC Buchanan

JC Hart

AJ Fitzwater

Paper Road Press

My works which are eligible for consideration are as follows:

Short Stories

Endgame, in Fat Zombie, Permuted Press, edited by Paul Mannering (January 2015) – Horror

Elffingern, in In Sunshine Bright and Darkness Deep, Createspace/AHWA, edited by Cameron Trost (March 2015) – Horror

Floodgate, in The Mammoth Book of Dieselpunk, Running Press, edited by Sean Wallace (June 2015) – Dieselpunk

Long Fiction / Novella

Oil & Bone, in Insert Title Here, Fablecroft Publishing, edited by Tehani Wessely (April 2015) – Steampunk

Nominations for the Sir Julius Vogel Awards close on February 28th. Details on how to nominate can be found here.



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…And Then

And Then image

So, a little while ago I was invited to write a story for quite a different sort of anthology, and I took up that challenge. Tales of adventure, featuring a duo in the lead roles, and with a setting or characters from Australia or New Zealand. So how could I turn that down? The result is Tipuna Tapu, a piece of dieselpunk set in a monster-apocalypse Aotearoa.

Tipuna Tapu is one among a couple dozen novella-length stories being published in …And Then – The Great Big Book of Awesome, which is now looking at running to two volumes. Other authors also in the book include some of the biggest names in the Australian fiction scene, such as Alan Baxter, Amanda Pillar, Jason Nahrung, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Jack Dann, and Lucy Sussex, among many more.

Publisher Clan Destine Press is now running a pre-sales campaign to help get this big book of awesome off the ground. If you’d like to see my newest adventure tale take off you can help by supporting the book, for as little as $20AUD for both ebooks, crammed full of rollicking adventure tales, or $50AUD for paperbacks of both books. I’d love it if you could stop by the Indiegogo page and back the project with a pre-order.

To whet your appetite, here’s a taste from the opening of Tipuna Tapu:

“Storm’s coming in,” Maddy said, ramming down the gas pedal in a burst of rancid bioethanol smoke.

“I see it.” Ihaka didn’t need to be told. He tugged his goggles down and grabbed the nailgun trigger grips, checking the air pressure was solid and that the ammunition belt was running free. It didn’t pay to get caught out in a storm without plenty of firepower. He braced his feet in the metal stirrups at the back of the jeep, swivelling the gun on its gimbal. Quickly, he touched fingers to the pounamu at his throat in silent benediction to unseen ancestors, then gripped the twin triggers again. Scanning the sky, he glimpsed a shape, all wing and spiral, twisting through the boiling clouds. “How far to the caves, e hoa?”

“Too far!” Madeline shouted back, her hair whipping about her face as she slammed through another gear, jerking the steering wheel to avoid a skein of fallen fence-posts.

“Thanks,” Ihaka yelled back. “That’s really helpful.”

“Not exactly Highway Sixty-Six out here,” she snapped in her thick English brogue, wrestling the wheel as the front tyre slid in a slurry of mud. The jeep slewed, gripped, hurtled forward. The engine snarled as she revved it hard, a plume of smoke spilling from the tailpipe. Ihaka tried to hold the gun steady, sighting down the barrel for something—anything—he could draw a bead on. The storm writhed closer, rushing across the darkening sky with all hell’s fury. But the way the jeep was jinking and jiving across the tumble-down paddocks strewn with rusted farming equipment and collapsed fencing, he could barely keep a bead on the horizon, much less anything darting through the clouds above.

Lightning flared, followed by rolling cracks of thunder. Something swooped across the cloudbank, banking and descending. Ihaka swung the nailgun, lining it up, judging speeds, distances, range. Black wings folded into razor sickles carved a line across the grey, before the creature twisted off and vanished back inside the cloudbank. White light burst sudden, brilliant, as it swept away. The heavens shook.

“Tell me it’s not right on top of us already!” Madeline yelled.

“OK,” Ihaka shouted, rain streaking his goggles. “It’s not on top of us already.”

“Don’t lie to me, Ihaka!”

“Wouldn’t dare.”

Maddy threw the jeep into a hard right, then a left, and Ihaka glimpsed the skeleton of a tractor whip by them, almost obscured by the tall grass. Probably a good thing to go around, and not through

“You just keep your eyes on the road. Leave the taniwha to me.”

“Road?” Madeline yelled. “What road?”

Movement then, a shadow against the black, a glimmer of fire within, spiralling towards them, twin scythes sweeping toward the kill. Ihaka wove the cannon, matching the beast’s descent, counting off the distance between them as it closed. He could make out the open jaws, the spark within, the bright glints of its onyx eyes. A lesser man would’ve emptied the ammo belt at the mere sight of it, but Ihaka had lived through such nightmare more than once, and he had done so through a combination of a steady hand, iron nerves, and a skilled and cocky driver at his back. He let the monster close in. Most folk wouldn’t believe it if you said you have to wait until you see the white of their eyes before you shoot. Most had never been that close, close enough to see the white pinpricks at the centre of those pools of black.

Ihaka had. Lonely stars in an empty night sky, those eyes. His fingers settled on the triggers. “Steady if you can,” he said, his voice firm but suddenly calm. “Taniwha incoming. One click.”

And Then Promo 2


If you want more, head on over and support …And Then – The Great Big Book of Awesome.


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Dieselpunk, Horror, and a new narration in the wild

MBOD coverI’ve been buried up to my neck in edits for At The Edge these past few weeks, so much so that I’ve almost dropped the ball on some pretty big news.

Not long ago, I had a story appear in The Mammoth Book of Dieselpunk, titled Floodgate, which tells the story of an Australian pilot who encounters a rogue company of the Maori Battalion in the deserts of Northern Africa during an alternate history Great War. As you know, I’m a huge fan of dieselpunk as a subgenre, so I was absolutely thrilled to have a story accepted amongst such fine company as the late Jay Lake, Carrie Vaughn, Jeremiah Tolbert and E. Catherine Tobler. Not to mention the amazing cover art, and that it’s a beautifully produced book. As a short story writer, this one has been a real high point for me.

I also have another story appearing this month, in the inaugural showcase anthology produced by the Australian Horror Writers Association, In Sunshine Bright and Darkness Deep. The story is called Elffingern, and is another dark tale set around the First World War, and the fates of two soldiers who left New Zealand’s sunny shores and only found snow and blood and … something darker. Something that comes home.

ISBADD coverThis year is the centenary of the defeat of the ANZAC forces at Gallipolli, an event which has left an indelible scar on the national psyche of both countries. I guess it was weighing on me these last couple of years, to have written two stories which explore the role of New Zealand and Australian soldiers in the wars fought in distant lands for Queen and Empire, and what that cost us. So it is a significant milestone for me to have had not one, but two stories delving into this subject published this year.

As well as this, during my research into these stories I learned that one of my ancestors was part of the Maori Battalion, who fought and was wounded at Gallipolli, and later died of his injuries in a hospital in London. He never saw New Zealand again. It gives both stories even greater meaning and resonance for me, because they carry some of the personal journey I went on while writing them, some of my own pain, and that of my family long before me. Which makes seeing these stories in print this year really worthwhile.

On a lighter note, I recently completed a narration for my favourite fantasy podcast, Beneath Ceaseless Skies. The story is Moogh and Great Trench Kraken, by Suzanne Palmer, and I have not had so much fun reading a story for a long time. It’s a wry, dry, witty tale of a noble but none-too-bright barbarian who comes across a great, unruly river that flows the wrong way, throwing itself against the sandy bank rather than flowing like a river should. So much fun. Go, read it, or listen to me reading it. You’ll have a laugh, I promise.



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‘At The Edge’ Table of Contents and Cover Art Revealed

At the Edge_front coverI’m very pleased to announce the stories to be included in our upcoming anthology, At The Edge.

Edited by myself and Lee Murray, At the Edge is shaping up to be a stunning collection of short science fiction and fantasy from both sides of the ditch, Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia. We’re thrilled to announce that among the line-up will be a reprint of Phillip Mann’s short story The Architect. Phillip was short-listed for the Arthur C Clark Award in 2014 for his novel The Disestablishment of Paradise.

Without further ado, the table of contents for At the Edge, in no particular order except alphabetically by author surname:

Joanne Anderton, “Street Furniture”
Richard Barnes, “The Great and True Journey”
Carlington Black, “The Urge”
A.C. Buchanan, “And Still the Forests Grow though We are Gone”
Octavia Cade, “Responsibility”
Shell Child, “Narco”
Jodi Cleghorn , “The Leaves No Longer Fall”
Debbie Cowens, “Hood of Bone”
Tom Dullemond, “One Life, No Respawns”
A.J. Fitzwater, “Splintr”
Jan Goldie, “Little Thunder”
J.C. Hart, “Hope Lies North”
Martin Livings, “Boxing Day”
Phillip Mann, “The Architect”
Paul Mannering, “The Island at the End of the World”
Keira McKenzie, “In Sacrifice We Hope”
Eileen Mueller, “Call of the Sea”
Anthony Panegyres, “Crossing”
A.J. Ponder, “BlindSight”
David Stevens, “Crop Rotation”
David Versace, “Seven Excerpts from Season One”
Summer Wigmore, “Back when the River had No Name”
E.G. Wilson, “12-36”

The cover artist for the anthology is Kapiti-based Emma Weakley, who recently released a twelve-page wordless comic, Main.

At the Edge will be launched in June 2016.

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Trip Report, and an Interview!

Trip Report Cover copyA year after the event itself, my Trip Report for FFANZ, covering my visit to Melbourne and all the fun of the circus which was Continuum X, is now available for purchase for a mere $2.50, or more if you prefer, by clicking the Donation widget on the right hand side. All monies raised from the sale of the Trip Report go directly to the next fund, so please consider grabbing a copy and having a read.

For every donation, I will supply PDF, epub, and mobi copies of the Trip Report.

Also, I was interviewed a short while back by the lovely Susan Barker Allen of Wellington’s Regional News, and you can now read that interview in case you missed it in the flesh.

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‘The Crooked Mile’ rides again, and a new narration hits the air

CeaselessWest_Cover600I’m currently buried up to my eyeballs in day job stuff, plus I’m thrashing a new novel-length project and have just passed the 80k mark on that (Yay!), and I’m working on a dieselpunk adventure novella, so it’s all go in Camp Dan right now. But I’ve got time for a quick bit of news.

The Crooked Mile, my Weird West story which first appeared in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, has been reprinted in Ceaseless West, an anthology of all the best Weird West fiction to have featured on BCS. Very exciting. You can find it here.

Also, I have a new narration up over at Tales to Terrify. Burning, Always Burning is a fine piece of work by Aussie dark fiction authors Felicity Dowker and Alan Baxter, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this one.

Oh, and I was recently interviewed by local paper The Regional News. When I can, I’ll post that here too.

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At The Edge – Submissions now open!

I’m very pleased to announce  that I am involved in a new anthology project. Together with Lee Murray and Paper Road Press, we are now taking submissions for At The Edge.

We’re looking for speculative fiction short stories, covering the range of horror, science fiction, and fantasy. At The Edge will be an anthology of stories about the edge of civilisation, the fringe of reason, the border of reality, by writers from the edge of the Earth.

Stories should  be between 3,000 and 10,000 words, with payment based on word count. For full details on what we’re looking for and how to submit, head over to Paper Road Press.

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Narrations and Story News Ahoy!

ITH-CoverI’m very pleased to announce that I’ll have a story coming out in the upcoming anthology Insert Title Here, from Aussie small press Fablecroft Publishing, alongside fantastic authors like Alan Baxter, Joanne Anderton and Thoraiya Dyer. Oil and Bone is another work of Kiwi steampunk, with an awfully dark edge. The book’s due to be launched at Swancon in Perth over Easter. Exciting times.

On another note, my short story, The Crooked Mile, which appeared in Beneath Ceaseless Skies in 2012, has been selected for a BCS Best of Weird West anthology, to be released later in the year.

I’ve also had a couple of new narrations pop up the past couple of months. One is a story by Lavie Tidhar, The Mystery of the Missing Puskat, on the crime podcast Plan B, and the other is a horror tale over on Tales to Terrify; Thank You for Choosing Evil, by Christopher Munroe. If you like short fiction that makes you think, both of these tales are worth your time.


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Story News: ‘Endgame’ published in ‘Fat Zombie’

large_FatZombie_EbookCoverMy short story Endgame is now available as part of the anthology Fat Zombie, a collection of stories of unlikely survivors of the apocalypse edited by Wellington author Paul Mannering and published by Permuted Press.

I had a lot of fun writing this one, which starts out with a good dose of humour and twists itself into some pretty dark places by the time we reach the brutal end. Fun.

In this book you’ll also find a story by Baby Teeth author Sally McLennan, and Aussie horror author Martin Livings, as well as several new writers. I’m looking forward to getting my copy and reading all the stories. It’s available in print and ebook from all the usual places.

There’s also been talk of a Wellington launch of some kind, with Sally and Paul and myself, so if you’re local, keep an ear out. Be good to see you there.


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New Narration at Tales to Terrify

TTTcover.2014JuneI’ve got a new narration up, over at the Tales to Terrify podcast.

Episode 148, from November 14, 2014, includes the short story Green Thumb, by Nebula Award-winning author Nancy Kress.

This is a story of obsession, creeping madness, and manipulation. Fun stuff!

Go have a listen, and never do the gardening again.

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