Friday, 11 July 2014

Writing Process Blog Hop

Pauline Montagna is a wonderful writer with whom I have much in common. Her short story collection, Suburban Terrors, is right up my alley. It explores the strange and disturbing events that may very well take place in your street on a daily basis. The biggest difference between us is that her tales are set in Melbourne and mine are mostly set in Brisbane. With this in mind, I couldn't refuse Pauline's invitation to this blog hop.

Here are my answers to the four questions. Rest assured, I'm much better at writing fiction than responding to questions about my writing process.

1) What am I working on?
I always have several tales on the go at once. I have an urban adventure novel set in - and under – the streets of Brisbane being considered by a publisher at the moment. I started writing a second novel, a tale of gothic horror, a few days ago. I also have two or three short stories that are at various stages of being written or edited. One is a ghost story with a difference, one is disturbing social satire, and one is a weird horror tale.
   But the biggest news at the moment isn’t about my writing, my editing and publishing work. Subtropical Suspense, a Brisbane mystery and suspense anthology, will be launched at Black Cat Books (179 Latrobe Tce, Paddington, Brisbane) at 2 pm on Saturday the 19th of July. The anthology will feature sixteen gripping tales of mystery and suspense set in Brisbane!

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
It’s my writing, my ideas, and my style. I admire many writers but I don’t copy any of them. I don’t know how or why my work differs from others in the genres of horror and mystery, but my readers have told me they would recognise one of my stories even without seeing my name. I like that.

3) Why do I write what I do?
I write the stories that creep into my head, and I have a natural tendency towards all things mysterious, eerie, and strange. It’s as simple as that. I never have and never will jump the bandwagon or try to write a “marketable” story. I write provocative and disturbing tales, and I’m not talking about graphic violence, that’s not my thing, I’m talking about themes and topics. Most readers, even if they won’t admit, want to read the same comfortable plot over and over again. I don’t do that. I write stories that surprise and inspire me, and work hard at making them as original, thought-provoking and, entertaining as possible.

4) How does my writing process work?
Do I have time? A weekend in isolation from all worldly responsibilities? I’ll take that. Do I have ideas? Always! The only question is which one needs my urgent attention?
   My writing process varies from story to story. Sometimes, I start with the final scene and build a story that leads to it. Sometimes, I have an idea for a quirky character and the story develops itself as I write - although these stories tend to come in short spurts over a long period time. They incubate.
   In terms of atmosphere, I like to write somewhere far from human activity, a place with trees and birdsong, or the frolicking of bats at night.  A few glasses of scotch never go astray either, and candlelight, and a full moon shining through the clouds, or during a thunderstorm. Atmosphere is the key to a great writing session.

Nene Davies is next in line for the blog hop. Here's a little about her:

In 2002, Nene and her husband packed up their home and three children and emigrated to Australia from Pembrokeshire, Wales. These days Nene is living her dream in sunny Brisbane where she writes full time.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Subtropical Suspense

July is set to be a special month for me. I'll be making my debut as an anthology editor!

"Subtropical Suspense" will feature sixteen gripping tales of mystery and suspense set in Brisbane!
It will be launched at Black Cat Books (179 Latrobe Tce, Paddington, Brisbane) at 2pm on Saturday the 19th of July. There will be readings and signings, a raffle, a detective costume competition, and complimentary drinks.

Here is the impressive table of contents and the cover design by Greg Chapman:

A Lasting Impression    FN Karmatz
Penelope Potter    Frank Ince
The Deluge    Gerry Huntman
Magnetic North    FN Karmatz
Scarlett Fever    Alice Godwin
Downpour    Sophie Yorkston
Missing    Kerry Lown Whalen
The Woman from the West    David Dolan
Living Statue    Barry Rosenberg
Incident in Wilston    Phil Brown
Like Me, The River    Duncan Richardson
Campus of Fear    Frank Ince
Cold Comfort    Sam Muller
The Final Cut    Linda Brucesmith
Blood on the Ice    Helen Stubbs
The Death, Rise and Deliverance of Greer Cabot    Kirk Marshall

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Of Devils and Deviants

Crowded Quarantine Publications have just announced that "Of Devils & Deviants: An Anthology of Erotic Horror" is now available to pre-order from Barnes & Noble. It is available as a hardcover or paperback, the ebook will be available in late May. 

This stunning anthology features artwork throughout and stories from Graham Masterton, Lucy Taylor, Aaron J. French, Mandy DeGeit, J. Daniel Stone, Kenneth W. Cain, Taylor Grant, Maynard Sims, and many, many more. My contribution, "Lauren", is a tale about what happens when boy meets girl in one of Brisbane's grooviest cocktail bars, The Bowery. Where it goes from there, you can't possibly imagine... suffice to say, it's kinky and creepy.

Place your order today at:

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Writing Process Blog Chain

Last Monday, Marty Young of "809 Jacob Street" fame tagged me in the Writing Process Blog Chain. Always happy to be tagged for a post chain - especially since wrestling isn't my thing - here are my four answers:

1) What am I working on?

There’s a lot happening at the moment. In terms of my own writing, I’m concentrating on the sixth (or is it seventh?) draft of my urban adventure novel set in and under the streets of Brisbane. I’m taking my time with this manuscript and don’t intend to submit it to publishers until I feel that there is nothing I could improve upon. Of course, if it manages to grab a publishers’ attention, I’m sure there will be hundreds of changes suggested all the same. But, hey, whatever makes the story stronger. I’ve always got a short story or two cooking on low flame. My next short story to be published is “Lauren”. It’s a sexy and maniacal tale and, honestly, I think it’s one of the best I’ve written. It will be released by Crowded Quarantine Press on the 1st of April (no joke) in the anthology, “Of Devils and Deviants” and will be accompanied by tales by a host of other talented authors, including the illustrious, Graham Masterton. I’ve also been busy with my small press, Black Beacon Books. Our debut anthology is coming along nicely. “Subtropical Suspense” will be a volume consisting of mysterious and suspenseful fiction set in Brisbane. Submissions close on the 31st of March.
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Every writer has his own voice and I think that mine sounds different from any others. My fiction tends to be a mix of mystery, suspense, horror, and the just plain strange. The fact that most of my stories are set here in my city of Brisbane makes them different. However, the big difference is my originality. The plot and twists in my short stories are unusual and, in many cases, unique. Read them and you’ll soon know what I mean.

3) Why do I write what I do?

That’s a difficult question. I have ideas for stories and I write them. That’s what it boils down to. I love mystery and suspense, tales that are full of atmosphere and that expose characters who are weird, or completely normal – which can be the weirdest of all. I want my readers to reach the end of my stories and react by gasping, pinching themselves, or getting up to check that the doors and windows are all locked.

4) How does my writing process work?

I need solitude and a glass of scotch. Every story has its own story. Sometimes I have an idea for a climax and have to work towards that. Other times, I imagine a character or initial setting and discover where the story is going while I write – which can be exciting – or frustrating. Once I’ve completed a second draft, I tend to let a story incubate for several weeks before going back and attacking the third.

My turn to do some tagging:
Jeremy C. Shipp, Kit Power, Greg Chapman

Friday, 28 February 2014

The Church of Asag

"The Church of Asag" is a very strange tale. It teeters at the cliff edge that separates the uncanny from the supernatural, asking the reader to decide whether or not the plunge has been taken.

Gary Inglewood, a CSIRO scientist, moves from Brisbane to Isisford with his family for a work project. They find themselves in a quiet backwater where the townsfolk seem peculiar, to say the least. But it's when a couple of locals come to talk to the Inglewood family about the town church and its 'conversion' that things really get surreal.

Issue 13 of SQ Mag features tales by Jeremy C Shipp, J R Johnson, Dan Rabarts, Brian G Ross, Megan Neumann, Tom Barlow, and Patricia Russo. The chilling cover illustration is by Steve G Santiago.

You can read the issue for free, but donations are greatly appreciated: SQ MAG #13


Sunday, 2 February 2014


The second guest post of the "From Australia With Love" blog hop is from S.M. Johnston.
by S.M. Johnston 
Title: Sleeper (Book I in the Toy Soldiers series) 
Author: S. M. Johnston 
Release Date: December 2, 2013 
Publisher: Entranced Publishing, Rush 
Genre: Upper YA/NA speculative fiction  Blurb: A new heart should mean new life, not a living nightmare.  Mishca Richardson’s life is at an all-time high after her heart transplant. With new boyfriend, Ryder, the two of them have the perfect summer romance. Even the nightmares that have been plaguing her sleep since her operation can’t dull the high she’s on.  Things start to unravel as Mishca develops superhuman abilities. She does her best to hide them so as not to end up a science experiment in a lab. But she can’t ignore the instant attraction she experiences when she meets her university professor, Colin Reed.  Torn between the blossoming love and the obsession, Mishca must decide if she wants Ryder or Colin. But the organization responsible for her changes and her connection to Colin, is moving to secure Mishca for himself so that she can be the weapon he always intended her to be. If Mishca can’t resist her programming she’ll have a lot more to worry about than romance.  Goodreads:
Buy Links:  
Kobo: Coming soon 
SOMEONE WILL DIE SO I can live. I’ve come to terms with that. It used to turn my 
stomach, how my donor might die, but now I’m used to it. It’ll most likely be a car accident or a 
drunken fall from a height, especially at this time of year, with all the end-of-school parties. But 
not from illness or any other “natural” causes. A violent, painful death will be my savior. That’s 
how I will get my new heart. 
I open my eyes and stare upwards, hoping the white, fluffy clouds that splotch against 
the blue sky will distract me from the images of people dying that flow through my head. I guess 
I’m not as used to the idea of getting someone else’s heart as I thought. The harsh Australian sun 
brings beads of sweat to my brow and a squint to my eyes. I swing my legs around and hoist 
myself upright on the stadium bleacher, looking out over the sports field. I readjust the singlet 
strap that had slipped off my shoulder and try to think happier thoughts. At least I won’t be 
responsible for the person who dies so I can get a new heart. 
Yeah, happier thoughts. 
I let out a sigh. This is not how I expected to be spending my schoolies week, with my 
dad as he puts hopeful rugby league players through their paces. My friends are all doing the 
traditional, Aussie, end-of-high-school celebration with a weeklong party, but instead of Airlie or 
the Gold Coast, they’re all in Bali, where I should be. It’s the big party to start our summer 
holidays before we find out which university we’ve been accepted into. When Mum and Dad 
found out I was at the top of the transplant list, they vetoed my November plans in case 
someone croaks this week. So all my friends left, minus me. I know it’s because Mum and Dad 
care. They’ve proved time and time again that you don’t need blood ties to be great parents, or 
overprotective ones. 
“All right, boys. That wraps it up for today,” Dad calls out to the pack of sweaty guys. 
“Hit the showers, and I’ll see you all tomorrow.” 
I do my best not to stare as the group heads towards me. Half of them are shirtless, their 
muscles glistening after the training session. Okay, so I’m staring. A cute, red-haired guy catches 
me looking and winks. So, I reward him with a smile. A guy from school, who obviously chose a 
potential sporting career over a party week, nudges Cutie Ginger and then shakes his head. I 
hold back a huff. I thought with the end of an era, I could have a fresh start, but my reputation 
looks like it will haunt me beyond high school. Mishca the untouchable. 
Dad lingers behind, deep in discussions with the managers and trainers, no doubt 
discussing the fates of the young men desperate to break into rugby league at a national level. 
They were all trying so hard to get Coach Tom Richardson’s attention. If only I had that many 
guys chasing after me. I wipe the sweat that’s formed at the edge of my almost afro, before it 
trickles down my brow. Yuck. Finally, Dad makes his way towards me, leaving his entourage 
“So, any contenders in your latest batch of victims?” I ask, picking up my discarded copy 
of West Side Story. I’d been rereading my university audition piece, torturing myself on how I 
could have performed it better. I wish I had tried out for plays at school, but I was a closet actor, 
only performing in drama class for fear that somehow my weak disposition would get in the way. 
But next year will be different. A new heart and new hope. 
“There may be some. Tomorrow will be the clincher,” Dad replies, humouring me. He 
knows I’m not that interested in his latest player acquisitions. He puts his hand on my shoulder. 
“I’ve got to grab some paperwork from the office before we go.” 
“Sure thing,” I say to his back as he retreats up the tunnel under the stadium. I trudge 
behind him, my book clutched in my hand.With each step the tips of my curls brush lightly against my bare shoulders. It tickles and 
I regret agreeing with Mum to grow my hair out. I shove my hands into the pockets of my denim 
shorts and focus on the cool shade I’ll get once I’m inside. 
My nose wrinkles the moment I step in the door. The whole place smells like dude, and 
not in a good way, but in the male equivalent of a stinky, wet dog way. I walk down the corridor 
and lean against the cool cement wall outside Dad’s office. 
My heart transplant operation is like a ticking time bomb waiting to go off, only there’s 
no countdown to watch. Evil thoughts invade my mind again, only now about my parents.  
Would they still have wanted to adopt me if they’d known I had a congenial heart disease, or in simpler terms, a hole in my heart? 
Review Snippets: 
I love this book! I've read several versions over the past two years since I met Sharon on inkpop, and I enjoyed all of them. I'm so thrilled this is getting published because it's a fun, super cool concept!!” - Wendy Higgins 
Giveaway Code: a Rafflecopter giveaway 

About the Author:  Sharon is a writer from Mackay in Queensland, Australia who has short stories published in anthologies and was also runner-up in the Australian Literary Review's Young Adult short story contest with KARMA. By day she is a public relations executive and by night she writes weird fiction and soulful contemporaries while her husband, two sons and cat are fast asleep. 
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