Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Author Photo

Whilst attending a wedding at the mansion that is Caversham House, Swan Valley (Caversham), I couldn't resist an 'author photo' moment in a secluded, long-forgotten area. What do you think? I went for the traditional black and white and then brought some colours back. Does it look weird?


Image Copyright 2009 Avril Bezant

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Forthcoming Titles that might interest you

I was browsing through some of the publicity brochures from publishers and began to make a list of titles/authors that caught my eye. Being a reviewer means that you often don't get to pick what you read all the time (though HorrorScope tries its best to make it that way). But if I could choose some titles... Well, I decided to type out said list to let you all know of some forthcoming novels I would love to read and review.

Note that most of these are from the Hachette Australia/Orion/Gollancz group, simply because they send me the most information. This means most novels are in the crime/thriller/horror genre. Most books are also from international writers. Don't take this list out of context and say I should have included such and such - I probably had no idea their book was coming out. In other words, please feel free to comment and include a book you are looking forward to being released.

And don't get me started on my 'To Read' list outside of reviewing. I am a bookaholic, and each week I have more to add to my pile of books I can't wait to read but never have the time to...


October 2009
Ben Elton – Meltdown
Ian Rankin – The Complaints
Kenneth Cameron – The Bohemian Girl
Peter Temple – Truth
David Wellington - Frostbite (and 23 Hours)


November 2009
Stephen King – Under the Dome
John Connolly – The Gates
A E Moorat – Queen Victoria: Demon Hunter
Cody McFayden – Abandoned
Sam Savage – The Cry of the Sloth
Conrad Williams – Decay Inevitable


December 2009
Adam Roberts – I am Scrooge (A Zombie Story for Christmas)
Jesse Bullington – The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart


January 2010
Joe Gores – Spade and Archer
Robert J. Sawyer – Wake
Jasper Fforde – Shades of Grey
Steve Leather – Nightfall
Seth Cregan – The Levels



February 2010

Joe Hill – Horns
Robert Rankin – Retromancer
Robert Jackson Bennett – Mr Shivers


March 2010
Scott Sigler – Ancestor
Jonathan Maberry – The Dragon Factory

Reviews are out



With some time up my sleeves now I've been able to get a stream of reviews started on HorrorScope. I have recently posted reviews for the following:
- The Timer Game - by Susan Arnout Smith
- Eagle Rising - by David Devereux

- One - by Conrad Williams


Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Ringing the Bell of Change

Hi all,

Tomorrow, Term 4 of school starts in WA. Which means my daughter will no longer be tearing up the carpet, chasing the dogs maniacally and asking for more, more, more lollies, ice cream, etc. (I kid, she is an angel 70% of the time). Which means the house will be rather quiet. That, for the most part, is a good thing - for my writing, at least. During the past 2 weeks I have typed up the first draft of my YA paranormal adventure novel. This was written a while ago now, so it's good to return to the story. The first draft clocked in at roughly 28 000 words, which is great - this means I have room to play around with. It was the first time I have written something by just sticking to the bare bones of a racing plot. Usually I am having to hack out scene after scene that I loved but just isn't relevant. This time I get to add certain details I missed, hopefully without impacting the overall story. Then it will be time to get it out there for reading, more editing, and so on...

Looking at my posts, it's been a while. Well, that's because...DRUM ROLL... I worked my a** off and I have now completed my teaching degree. That's right, the University confirmation is through - I am a qualified primary school teacher (K-7)! After 6 years (4 of the course, cut in the middle by 2 years in Melbourne for my wife's work, where I was full-time dad), that means a hell of a lot to me. How does that impact my writing? Not much for now, honestly. I will be trying to get relief work as I wait for a permanent position, and my writing will typically be undertaken in the shadowy hours of the night, and/or during the day when I have no work.

My Eclecticism E-zine's second anniversary issue (#9) was a huge success. Two of its contributors have gone on to win BIG prizes - Joseph D'Lacey grabbed the British Fantasy Society's Best Newcomer Award, and Jason Fischer won the L.Ron Hubbard's Writers of the Future Contest (second quarter 2009). Well done to those two very talented writers! Issue #10 of Eclecticism E-zine is coming along smoothly, with most acceptances and rejections going out in the next 2 days.

I'll keep you posted on more writing developments as they happen - hopefully more often, now.

Cheers,
Craig Bezant

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Eclecticism E-zine Turns 2!

My e-zine, Eclecticism, has just celebrated its 2nd Anniversary with the release of Issue 9. Ah, my baby has grown up.

Download some wonderful work for free at the website, with 9 contributors over 69 pages, including the talented UK horror author Joseph D'Lacey who provided an exclusive short story as a birthday present.

You can also view it as an online magazine should look, thanks to the folk at Issuu:

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Uploads and Interviews

For those who haven't glanced over at HorrorScope lately, I have posted a couple of reviews (Chris Simms' 'The Edge' and Kaaron Warren's 'Slights', both wonderful books) and *drum roll* my interview with Scottish crime writer Stuart MacBride. I interviewed him during the wild storm in Perth on Monday night, and also attended his author talk at the Melville Civic Centre.

I was mighty chuffed to see how much of a pleasant guy he was - willing to talk at length about anything I asked. He really loves his craft, and gave me more experience as to how to talk to a crowd about my own writing (I try to go to as many author talks as possible for this very reason - not all are good!). If you haven't bought a copy of his latest novel, 'Blind Eye', you need to - I'll be posting the review for that shortly (it's damn good, which is why I'm saying to buy it).

Now to practice my own speech/reactions for interviews and author talks, just in case...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A Double Dose of Delight

Fantastic Scottish crime writer Stuart MacBride is touring Australia during July, and I will be interviewing him during his Perth leg of the tour! I became an instant fan after reading ‘Flesh House’ last year, which I reviewed and recommended on HorrorScope’s end of year editorial list. I am deep into his next novel, ‘Blind Eye’, and have not been disappointed (well, thus far). So I will try my hardest to act professional and not like a gushing fan. Now, to think of some interesting questions...

As if that wasn’t enough, the 2nd Anniversary of my Eclecticism E-zine is fast approaching (31 July 2009) and to celebrate the occasion I have had a little (well, HUGE) help from UK author Joseph D’Lacey (of ‘Meat’ and ‘The Garbage Man’ fame (Bloody Books, UK)), who is contributing a long short story to the issue! I can’t wait for you all to read the story, because it’s a good one (of course). And of course I haven’t stopped fainting from the kind contribution. It’s all quite surreal to me.

Here’s a sneak peek at the cover of Eclecticism E-zine Issue #9:



The lessons here: keep doing what you love, it will pay off; and never, ever (and I’ve said this before) underestimate the power of ASKING.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Don't judge me (because I'll be judging you)

If you have not heard/received the marketing by now, I have been chosen as one of three judges to compile the shortlist for this year's Australian Shadows Awards, run by the Australian Horror Writers Association (AHWA).

Shane Jiraiya Cummings is the Director this year, and has made the extremely sensible move to split the awards into three categories - Short Fiction, Long Fiction, and Edited Publication. This ensures a novel is not competing with a short story, etc, which I found to be rather bizarre in the past (but hey, maybe that's just me).

I can't wait to compile the list - I've already begun reading, obviously. It's wonderful to see the amount of work Australian writers are trying hard to put out there.

Time slips on by

Wow, I finally freed up some time to write on my blog and website, and realised how long it's been since I've done so. I apologise (to myself, really). So, in my last blog I stated that I would be heading to Adelaide for the Conjecture convention. Well, obviously I took said trip, had a blast (didn't win the Ditmar Award, but c'mon, I lost to the Aussie master of horror), and met lots of wonderful writers/editors/illustrators/fans. I could fill an entire blog post with their names, but you know who you are - thanks for making me feel welcome in my first full convention, in another State I had never been to, no less.

During the convention I capatilised on being unable to write too much for the better part of seven weeks (due to my teaching prac). If I wasn't at a panel, drinking with aforementioned people, or exploring Adelaide, I was sitting down writing (actually, I took a notebook around and wrote in numerous spots around Adelaide). And boy, did I write - six chapters! So if I appeared rude to anyone (sitting at the bar alone, scribbling away) it's 'cause I have had months-worth of plotline boiling away in my head, and it all needed to get out!

I am really enjoying this crime/suspense novel - my main character is slowly being forced (coerced?) to slip back into a life of crime he did everything to pull himself out of, and that just makes me tingle as I write out the progress. I'll keep you updated on the novel's progress - I'm probably only a quarter of the way there yet. In the meantime, I've been typing out and editing my draft for a young adult novel. I've passed the 11 000 word mark and counting (the draft is obviously longer). But that's a post for another day.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Flying High

Hi all,

It's all booked - my plane tickets have been paid for (thanks, Nan and Pop!), the hotel room is reserved, and my convention fees are paid - I'm going to Conjecture!

I know, it's exciting. Conjecture is the National SF Convention, to be held in Adelaide from 5-8 June. It's during this convention that the Ditmar Awards are announced, in which I have been nominated for Best Fan Writer. I can't wait to experience it all, especially since I have never been to Adelaide before. Look out, local cafes, I'm on the prowl!

The downside to this is that I miss two days of teaching - I now have to cram it all in to an already bulging timetable (what with Foundation Day in WA on Monday). But I'll manage; it'll be worth it.

If you're going to be at Conjecture, let me know. We'll have a drink.

Cheers,
Craig.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Pause for breath

Yes, I've been run off my feet, as of late, and barely have enough time for the necessities of life, such as breathing. Why? Well, I am in the middle of my final year's teaching prac and the planning and marking consumes almost every second of the day. For those who think teachers have it easy and leave at 3, you can pull that veil off your eyes now. But the effort will be worth it - I'm having a good time, and my teaching qualification and hence job is on the horizon (I think).

In writing news, I'm sure most in the dark fiction fan/writing community have heard of the recent release of this year's Ditmar Awards final nominations. I awaited the final ballot with a great sense of nervousness, wondering if my Eclecticism ezine would make this list. It didn't, but, lo and behold, I did! Yes, I've been nominated for Best Fan Writer, for my reviews on HorrorScope (and I presume the associated Black Magazine).

That took what little breath I had for quite a while. I am shocked and amazed and damn proud to be nominated. Reviewing novels has been wonderful, and to know that people are actually reading the reviews and enjoying them is the icing on the cake. My best times reviewing are when authors take the time to comment on your review - my last entries have received comments from Jonathan Maberry, Scott Sigler, Joseph D'Lacey, Dean Lorey, and many more. It is a testament that such writers are still humble enough to thank you - even if the review isn't all in their favour - and has been a wonderful example of what I will try to do should one of my novels actually make its way onto a bookshelf (that isn't mine).

I am so excited that I'm arranging my trip to Adelaide for the convention, Conjecture, where the Ditmar Awards will be nominated. That's right, in June I'll be visiting SA for the first time! I encourage you all to have a look at the nominations and vote (if you can, since its a Logies-style fans-only affair) as there are some wonderful, deserving entries, and I congratulate all my colleagues for their nominations - the night is going to be a HUGE party!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Eclecticism E-zine Issue 8 Released




ISSUE #8 of my Eclecticism E-zine is OUT NOW! It has a 'Conspiracy' theme (and Open section) and features the work of: Dianne Dean, Jacqui Dent, Stefan Fergueca, Emma Furness, Alice Godwin, Clyde Grauke, Nicholas Messenger, Melissa Mercado, Keith Nunes, Peter Tonkin - and the Featured Artist, Demitasse-Lover.

That's five works of short fiction, three works of poetry, and three art works (over forty-four pages).

What are you waiting for - download now! IT'S STILL FREE, PEOPLE!
http://www.eclecticzine.com

Monday, March 30, 2009

Tin Ducks 2009

Hi there,

My e-zine, Eclecticism, has been nominated once again for a Tin Duck Award (Best WA Fan Production), celebrating works from West Aussies. That makes it 2 years in a row for nominations! Since the e-zine has only been out in those 2 years, well, it makes me beam with pride.

A HUGE thanks goes out to all the contributors who help make the e-zine special, and to all the readers who think it's special. And of course, to those who actually nominated the e-zine, an extra-big thanks goes to all of you. The voting process now is part luck, part brown-nosing (aw, come on, you know it is) - you have to be a paying member of the convention to vote (Swancon, in Perth, where the award ceremony will be held). I'm thinking I'll be the man at the con with a suit made of hundred dollar bills... just joking. Good luck to all, it's a great lineup (although it saddened me not to see HorrorScope there).

You can check out the nominations at the Swancon website.

Friday, February 20, 2009

One Down, One Up

Yesterday I finished the first draft of my first foray into a Young Adult novel. Now comes the very lengthy task of editing, as I know there is quite a bit to reshape (since the story morphed itself along the way). Should be fun though (yes, FUN - for the first couple of edits at least). Now comes the impossible task of placing the story in a genre (for queries to agents/publishers). It is an adventure/dark fantasy story. It is NOT a story about a boy wizard with glasses, which every agent/publisher seems to automatically think now when you mention fantasy (thanks, Rowling) even though fantasy is one of the broadest genres out there. What's in the story, you ask? Well, I can't tell you yet. Let's just say it involves a small country town, Lassetter's Reef, ley lines, a girl who can see auras and werewolves. That's just the first installment, too. Interesting?

So straight after finishing that novel, I began my next adult novel (yes, I don't stop). After my experience with the mentorship program for my last novel, I have decided to again focus on a crime thriller-style manuscript. Well, it will be more of a suspense thriller with crimes thrown in. Make sense? It doesn't have to, I haven't finished it yet.

And, since I realise my time is spent on (as yet) unpublished novels and people may forget who the hell I am, I also began two short stories, the first I have written in around a year (my last ones were 'Hot Sauce' (in Black Box) and 'Zombie Brewing' (in Ripples)). Should I finish those, I can't wait to try and place them.

Now you've caught up on the writing world of Craig. Good for you :)

Top 30 Part 3: TV Shows

Most of the time, I don't really watch television shows when they are actually on television; rather, I may watch it once or twice and if I like it I'll buy the DVD versions and slowly watch them. So, like the movie list, a lot of entries will be quite new shows; the rest of the list is made up of shows I grew up with (yes, even Rosanne. It may not be the best show in the world, but my family watched it every week while it was on the air). A quick scan of the list will emphasise how much I enjoy 20-30 minute bursts of humour. I love my comedies. I usually save the serious stuff for movies and books (well, if I want to read comedy I'll go for Max Barry or Christopher Moore). Again, there were a lot of titles I missed out (Buffy, anyone?) - maybe it will look more comprehensive as a Top40 list on my 40th (shudder). Anyway, enjoy:

TOP 30 TV SHOWS:

1 The Simpsons
2 American Dad
3 The IT Crowd
4 Scrubs
5 Stark Raving Mad
6 My Name is Earl
7 Futurama
8 Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
9 Black Books
10 South Park
11 The Goodies
12 That 70s Show
13 Family Guy
14 Venture Bros.
15 The X-Files
16 Seinfeld
17 King of the Hill
18 Little Britain
19 The Office (US)
20 The Twilight Zone
21 The Muppet Show
22 3rd Rock from the Sun
23 Daria
24 Kath & Kim
25 Inspector Gadget
26 The Late Show (D-Generation)
27 Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law
28 The Ren & Stimpy Show
29 Transformers (1980s series)
30 Rosanne

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Top 30 List 2 - Movies

Hi all,

To continue the lists made for my 30th birthday, here are the movies that grab my attention the most. Note, this is a personal list. I have left out many classics (try and pick only 30 movies, geez - I think I narrowed my choices from ~100). These are movies I grew up with or, because of the constant shuffle of my attention, ones I watched rather recently. In fact, many are quite new - I should perhaps do a Top 30 list of movies from my childhood (Gremlins, anyone?). Another day, perhaps. For now, enjoy this (and feel free to add your own suggestions):

1 Back to the Future Trilogy
2 Indiana Jones Trilogy
3 Lucky Number Slevin (The Wrong Man AUS)
4 Ghostbusters
5 Shaun of the Dead
6 The Illusionist
7 007 - Goldeneye & License to Kill
8 Stranger than Fiction
9 Star Wars ep. 4-6
10 Evil Dead Series
11 Terminator 2
12 The Wedding Singer
13 40 Year-Old Virgin
14 Van Wilder
15 Jason Bourne Series
16 Mr & Mrs Smith
17 Snatch
18 The Whole Nine Yards
19 The Pursuit of Happyness
20 Enter the Dragon
21 The Mummy Returns
22 Pulp Fiction
23 The Italian Job
24 Kiss of the Dragon
25 Detroit Rock City
26 The Princess Bride
27 Spaceballs
28 Galaxy Quest
29 Without a Paddle
30 Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang

Monday, February 16, 2009

30 Years Young

Yes, I've officially joined the 30s club. Valentine's Day 2009 was my 30th birthday. I celebrated by hosting a party at my house, with ~50 family members (and friends), many of which I have not seen in several years. It was a fantastic time, much too fast though. Especially since I spent several weeks preparing for it. One of the highlights of the night (for the relatives) was a slideshow I put together, containing many insightful pictures into my background (love those 80s fashions and furnishings). In that slideshow I also made a series of Top 30 lists (including images of the top 10 choices). This was an incredibly hard series of lists to make, many great choices left out. The lists were shaped by items that have affected me, remain burning in my memory, are in my actual collection, and so on. I thought I would share these lists with you. You can nod your head or pick on them, your choice. I will post 1 a day (there are 4). It makes sense to start with fiction. And yes, I realise several have multiple choices, it was just that hard to decide:

TOP 30 FICTION

1 I am Legend; 7 Steps to Midnight - Richard Matheson
2 The Shadow of the Wind Illustrated Edition - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
3 Others; The Ghosts of Sleath; The Magic Cottage - James Herbert
4 Carter Beats the Devil - Glen David Gold
5 Soul Mountain - Gao XingJian
6 Vernon God Little - DBC Pierre
7 Heart-Shaped Box - Joe Hill
8 Lemony Snicket Series
9 The Autograph Man - Zadie Smith
10 Out - Natsuo Kirino
11 Savage Moon - Chris Simms
12 Creepers; The Fifth Profession - David Morrell
13 Odd Thomas - Dean Koontz
14 The Pilo Family Circus - Will Elliot
15 Company - Max Barry
16 Salem's Lot Illustrated Edition - Stephen King
17 Chasing the Dime - Michael Connelly
18 World War Z - Max Brooks
19 The Burglar Who Liked to Quote Kipling - Lawrence Block
20 Jurassic Park - Michael Crichton
21 Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury
22 Once - Morris Gleitzman
23 Ring - Koji Suzuki
24 Let the Right One In - John Ajvide Lindqvist
25 The Night Country - Stewart O'Nan
26 Road to Mars - Eric Idle
27 The Spy who Came in From the Cold - John leCarre
28 The Shark Net - Robert Drewe
29 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
30 The Keeper - Sarah Langan

RIP another great

Too many heavyweight writers have passed away in the last year, including Sir Arthur C. Clarke and a score of sci-fi godfathers, Michael Crichton, and John Updike. I was very saddened to learn in the last few weeks that Donald E. Westlake joined that list, on New Year's Eve 2008. I came across the news by accident, whist looking at David Morrell's website, since I am a drifter in the world of news (I rarely watch the news on television since it is way too graphic for my 4-year old to view, so I rely on the Internet and newspapers).

I'm deeply saddened by the man's passing. I've really been getting my claws into Westlake's work (it started when I read 'The Hook' to make sure it was nothing like my crime novel). Many will also know him under the pseudonym Richard Stark. Westlake had the wonderful ability to inject humour, darkness and intelligence into all his mysteries. I encourage you all to look at his work - I only wish I could have met the master before it was too late.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Eclecticism #7 Out Now


Well, the title is pretty self-explanatory. The next issue of the Eclecticism E-zine, my online child, is now up and running (kids grow up so fast). It's been a blast to make, yet again. This issue has 5 short stories, 3 pieces of poetry, and 3 works of art, with Featured Artist Natalie Shau. The theme is Twisted Fairy Tales, but there is plenty in the open section too.

So go ahead, you know you want to click off this site and read it. IT'S FREE! Head to: http://www.eclecticzine.com

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

'Stralia Day, Mate, & Mentorship Praise

Hi all,

I trust most celebrated Australia Day by getting drunk - go, Aussie, go! No, I'm not being mean, just realistic. Perhaps here in Perth if we had something more than fireworks to celebrate, everyone wouldn't feel the need to get trashed. Just saying. Or maybe it’s just the looming depressive recession. Me? I took my family to the movies, cooked a meal and, yes, had a beer. But just one, honest. Okay, two. While I can.

Well, if you've been reading my previous posts, you will know I've been very busy writing. I've now finished editing my crime thriller novel, which is being read by my wife for approval (and dissection). I am currently finishing the draft of a Young Adult novel I began during my trip to the Melbourne Writers Festival in August (2008). When I've finished that and begin its editing process, I will begin another adult novel, a different crime-slash-drama (involving the bad choice of reconnecting with one's past). I've been doing lots of research for that. Oh, and I actually started (but not finished) 3 short stories, the first I've attempted in a long time (I'm thinking a year, but could be wrong).

So, my plate's pretty full. But that's a wonderful thing - I couldn't imagine life if I stopped writing. If you feel like me, I want to give my praise to the Australian Horror Writers Association and its mentorship program. Accepted members are matched to a professional writer, be it for a short story, novel, article. I was lucky enough to be a mentoree last year, with author Martin Livings, for the crime thriller I recently completed. I encourage you to try, because it was more than worth it! Submissions begin at the start of February.

So, two more things - Eclecticism E-zine is ready to go, and will be released this Friday 30 January. And, the big one, I will be turning 30 years old this Valentine's Day (Feb 14). Or is it 30 years young? No, old I guess. When I was 15, I thought people my age were old. Boo hoo. I'll have to make it a celebration to remember.

Until next time,
Craig.