Friday, May 28, 2010


There are stirrings of life within my dead-as-road-kill brain.

I'm reading. My lovely wife purchased a whole heap of books from Jodi Lee (of New Bedlam Project and Belfire Press fame) for my birthday. For those of you who know and follow Jodi, you'll all be aware of her different lifestyle to what many in the city and cloistered religions of the world would call the norm. Well, I'm interested in introducing a new character into Inner Voice with some of the same inclinations but with a great deal more internal conflict, and who, by her very nature, will also cause my other two main characters plenty of conflict.

In the words of Homer Simpson: mmmm...conflict!

So I'm researching and educating myself in the ways of older beliefs and interesting rituals and getting a really good grasp on this new character. No new writing yet, but I have a plan for that as well - so in the not-too-distant future, I'll be putting it into action and producing lots of lovely new words.

At the same time, I've decided I'm going to ween myself off the coffin nails (cigarettes for those not in the know). I've been smoking for 33 years so it's going to be a monumental task (especially without medicinal help), but I'd like to think my will power is strong enough to enable me to control my own body. We'll see. I'm on day two of my quest and have so far gone from smoking 25-30/day on Tuesday, to 10 on Wednesday and 9 yesterday. My promise didn't start until yesterday (hence only day two today), but I began cutting it down a day early anyway. Lunchtime has just commenced and I've only had two so far. Hopefully I'll be able to climb into bed at the end of the day having only consumed 8 or less. Wish me luck. The plan is not to cut down by one each day but it seems to be working out that way at this early stage. Whatever works...

The final title I'm reading is (I believe) a yet to be released manuscript also involving Jodi Lee (she has a lot to answer for). I promised I'd read it and review it for her some time ago and am only now actually getting around to it (sorry, Jodi).

So there is life in the old creative side of my grey matter. I was beginning to think I should sell all my jumpers and t-shirts which claimed I was a writer! I think organising some time off between now and November is the next step so I'm fully into the groove come NaNoWriMo, which is when I want to write the next book in the series. A big statement seeing how I haven't finished the first one. Best be getting a move on...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

More Dark Pages News

Dark Pages is now available on Kindle and Smashwords!

Blade Red Press have been busy little bees and have made our little antho available in more locations. See here for the official release details. I've also been notified that Dark Pages has hit the top 100 book list on This list is updated hourly (I think) and we're not there now, but we were, and with your help, we can get back in there and stay for a while. Thank you for getting us into it in the first place.

On the Smashwords page you can also read samples of the stories, so if you've not decided whether to take the plunge or not just yet, go have a look at the quality of the stories that await you.

Happy reading!

Friday, May 21, 2010


I've not got any evidence, but it seems sales of Dark Pages should be doing okay - at least if everyone who has made a comment on either this blog or the blogs of the contributors is anything to go by. I'll await official confirmation on numbers from the publisher before getting specific. In better news, my copy arrived in the mail last night. Stoked would be an understatement. The reaction of my little girl when she saw my name on the front cover was also priceless. Now if I can only get a book I've written with my name on the front cover...editing is great and I feel a huge sense of accomplishment, but it isn't the same. I want that total immersion in a feeling of my art being presented to the unsuspecting public. One day...

But I have a problem stopping me from getting there at the moment.

I've still not written anything new. I began two short stories back in January but let them fizzle out unfinished and unloved. These two mis-starts are the only pieces I've written since October 2009. I did a single read-through of Inner Voice around the same time and added a poultry few hundred words, and pinpointed a couple of areas that need work.

I'm still thinking about Inner Voice (hence the blog title). The short comings of it are still percolating inside my skull and different solutions are being trialled and discarded, or kept for further introspection. I'm enjoying simply squirming into the skin of the characters and thinking about the different scenarios I've thrown at them. I've recognised where they're not fully developed and have suggestions on fixing that - some of which lead onto further stories.

I have a couple of ideas for the next book in the series and a whole bunch of new tricks for Nathan Steele to use to get himself and his friends out of trouble. I have copious sticky notes around the place with ideas. I have a new family to create as I'm ditching a nosey neighbour and introducing the possibility of a slight paranormal bent for this and future books in the series. It will give me additional conflict between a scientific mind and a more pagan belief, and the old classic of a second possible love interest so my heroine will have competition for the affections of Nathan as I move forward. More irons in the plot-fire can only be a good thing.

So yeah, I'm not writing, but I am thinking about it a lot.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Dark Pages Launched!

Dark Pages Volume One has been listed on for a paltry $10 and on for a very reasonable £6.99! (Thanks for the tip, Alan)

The cover image should update onto Amazon very soon.

It's kind of like my baby has taken its first steps out into the world - all very exciting and yet a little scary as well.

Now it's time for you to do your bit. Go order multiple copies for yourself and your loved ones.

I'll add the link to the side bar just so you'll always know where you can get it from.

Stolen from Alan Baxter's website.

The Stain of the Psychopomp King by Lucien E G Spelman
Heart Of Ice by Martin Livings
Neptune’s Garden by Lisa A Koosis
Dust by Naomi Bell
To Die For by S D Matley
The Franchise by Joe L Murr
Clip Notes by Marty Young
Blood on Green by Victoria Anisman-Reiner
Cargo by Aaron Polson
Nepenthe by Felicity Dowker
Yellow Water Pike by Derek Rutherford
Surveying The Land by B D Wilson
Nightwork by Robert Neilson
Hand And Cradle by Trent Roman

Cover art is by the awesomely talented Australian artist Halinka Orszulok.

You can find Dark Pages now at and Don’t forget you can also order the book directly from the press see Alan's website for details.

Treat yourself to a sumptuous feast of dark fiction today. While you’re at it, treat a few other people too. You won’t regret it. Would these people lie to you? (Well, they might actually, but in this case they’re being very honest):

“Blade Red Press have honed their knife to an edge that sits uncomfortably next to the skin, teasing the veins and arteries beneath. The stories within can and will make you feel things you may prefer stay buried, allowing you to breathe that little bit easier in the waking day.

These stories will grab you by the balls, or cruelly twist your nipples, making you sweat and squirm, and then when you least expect it, touch your heart and make you want to cry. Why the hell haven’t I got something in here?”

- Paul Haines, award-winning author of Slice Of Life

“What can I say other than, ‘Wow!’ Every one of the fourteen stories nestled within these Dark Pages is intriguing, different, grabbing. And definitely dark. From dystopian future-worlds to quietly dark fantasy, the stories will have the reader hooked from beginning to end.”

- Gill Ainsworth, Co-Editor of the Stoker Award-nominated anthology Aegri Somnia

“An eclectic collection, ranging from the mysterious through to out-and-out horror, all the way to hardcore science fiction. Some fresh new voices side-by-side with well-seasoned genre hands. An entertaining read.”

- Cat Sparks, multi award-winning writer and editor

“Dark Pages offers an admirable diversity of subject matter, theme and approach – quietly unnerving or brutal, naturalistic or speculative, these tales range from everyday horrors through to full-on supernatural terror. An entertaining exploration of dark possibilities.”

- Robert Hood, author of Backstreets & Immaterial: Ghost Stories

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

New Tabs

Using the new Blog feature of adding pages, I've done a bit of a tidy up of the sidebar. You'll see new links directly above the heading of this post.

Why am I mentioning this? At the end of April 2009, I'd posted 140 times. That's 140 posts in 120 days!

This year I've posted 37 times in the same period :c(

I think it's official--I've gone just a tad quiet...

Doing a bit of site maintenance is as good a reason as I could think of for today's post. Sorry about that.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Too Long

I think I've spent way too long contemplating my next move. The wife snapped this picture of me recently while in one of my trances...

What do you think? Should I get out more?

News is through that things are looking up to enable me to move forward with the renovation schedule--excellent news! Woohoo!

I think much better (and I'm much better to be around) when things move forward.


Monday, May 10, 2010

Still Not Writing

It's been 12 days since my last post, in that time my writing and reading has continued to stand still--but the house is coming along.

The bathroom is all but done. The electrician is booked to come in and fit the three-in-one light/heater/vent unit and new switch arrangement, and then we can call it completely done.

I've begun installation of the range-hood above the stove. The unit has been attached to the wall and the flue kit and external 'chimney' will go in this coming weekend (hopefully).

By the end of next week I'm hoping to have all my ducks aligned and we'll have the ready cash to move forward on things like the landscaping and kitchen cupboard renovations. Fingers crossed.

The day job is still an amazingly 'lost' place to be. We have a saying here: 'Couldn't organise a pissup in a brewery' - I believe the inventor of this saying also worked here once upon a time as it describes our management team to a 'T'!

The stress of work and of getting the house sorted has been immense. The uncertainty of it all, the total lack of any control of forces that impact so largely on me directly is a new experience I haven't been sure how to cope with. I like to be in control of things around me, even if it's only a perceived control. Perception is a person's reality, and my reality has been somewhat warped of late, but I'm getting help and support from my loved ones so, hopefully, I'll be back on track sooner rather than later.

Getting things sorted will hopefully allow my creative side to surface once more and the words will begin to flow. Being able to sit quietly and get some reading done would be a nice improvement, but at the moment any spare moments need to be used to get the house finished and I feel guilty if I'm not moving that project forward--and the last thing I need is more self-imposed stress, so reading just has to wait. Oh, and I'm hooked on a computer game at the moment which allows me to sit for long periods and not think about anything of consequence. I love my art too much to be able to not care about it so the game is my way of zoning out without having to think too much.

Strangely, I'm still picking up new visitors and followers to this blog. To the new arrivals, I apologise for the current irregularity of posting and the lack of writing related material - it's one of those moments in a writer's life when art is forced into the background and life takes over, but welcome anyway. Feel free to back over the older material and ask any questions in the comments section. I still check my emails (not as regular as I once did but still regular enough), and I'll make sure I do a new post to answer any questions you may have.

And just so I don't feel alone (because I know I'm not in this one), what's the longest period you've gone without being in a real writing schedule? I know some of you began writing, stuck at it for a few years, and then had a break before coming back to it. How long was that break?