Saturday, 21 March 2015

Welcome to the Library

Dear reader, I welcome you to my library. If you would like a sample of my fiction, simply click here. If you are already sure that my tales are to your liking, please click here to purchase my short story collection.

Enjoy the suspense!


Friday, 9 January 2015

The Freedom to Create and Criticise

Having lived in France and read this provocative publication, the recent murder of the Charlie Hebdo staff was a crime we had all been expecting. The cartoonists knew that their murder could have happened at any moment. Despite this, they continued producing the magazine. We all know the saying that tells us the pen is mightier than the sword. These artists truly lived by the pen and died by the pen.
  The staff of Charlie Hebdo understood the power of satire. By mocking corrupt and self-serving politicians of all inclinations, misguided religious zealots of all denominations, and more general idiotic and hypocritical practices in society, these cartoonists fought for a better world. Satire has long been a weapon used to encourage progress in society.
  Aristophanes was one of the best known early satirists. He criticised politicians and commented on social habits and trends that he considered to be negative through his plays. In particular, he criticised the powerful Cleon, and his play, Drunkenness, contains an attack on the politician, Callimedon. His reader is meant to question received knowledge and to seek reform and progress.
  It seems to me that now, in the 21st century, we seem to have forgotten that the Golden Age of the Greeks and the Renaissance that later sought to light the flame of humanism once again, ever happened. Satire is a confronting form of comedy and it easily offends. Why? Because those targeted by it are acutely aware of their absurdity.
  The staff of Liberation, another passionate French publication, will produce the next issue of Charlie Hebdo. This issue is expected to sell well over a million copies, more than ever before.
  As a writer, I assert my freedom to create and criticise, and following the initiative of fellow writer, Lee Battersby, here is my humble cartoon in support of Charlie Hebdo and all who fight against fascism, violence, and sheer stupidity.
 
 
If you are a cartoonist, or a writer, musician, or artist of any kind, please create your sketch for Charlie Hebdo and all who strive to use their art to make the world a better place. Here's your post-it note - get creating, and please share it with me on Facebook.
 
 

 
  

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Logical Unsanity: Brisbane's 24/7 Bookshop

Time to go insane!

Logical Unsanity Books & Miscellaneous Phantasmagoria is a growing network of bookshops and art galleries specialising in curious and collectable books, and strange and beautiful art. Last week, they opened what is believed to be Brisbane's only 24/7 bookshop! So, if you wake up at three o'clock in the morning and have a pressing need to grab a good preloved book, all you have to do is make your way through the sleepy streets of Bardon, while flying foxes and possums frolic in the branches overhead, and visit the shed at 3 Morgan Terrace. The books are mostly from $2 to $6 and can be bought by depositing the correct amount (or a little extra if you want to support this great new business) in the honesty box.

As if this wasn't exciting enough, Logical Unsanity have even grander schemes in the works. They are currently planning the development of an arts hub/school containing studios, rehearsal, performance and exhibition spaces, creative industries workshops (picture framing, bookbinding, printing, restoration, leather, wood, metal, etc.), library services, accessible future technologies, education, food and health programs.

This morning, I braved the rain and strolled down there to buy a couple of books. I also donated a couple, including a copy of my short story collection, Hoffman's Creeper and Other Disturbing Tales.



 

 Logical Unsanity, Kobblers
3 Morgan Tce, Bardon
Outdoor Shed Open 24×7
Indoor Bookshop & Gallery by appointment only until 2015
 

Saturday, 4 October 2014

A Celebration of Books, Maleny

Maleny is a quiet rural town nestled in the Sunshine Coast hinterland about a hundred kilometres north of Brisbane. It is known to Queenslanders for dairy farming and cheese making, as well as for its local arts and crafts scene. The town has long been popular with eco-friendly weekenders and hikers heading to the Glasshouse Mountains or to Kondalilla National Park near Montville.

I have been to Maleny several times over the years, but this is the first time I'll be going to the annual "Celebration of Books" which takes place over three days from Friday the 24th to Sunday the 26th of October. I'll be there on Saturday.

I'm particularly looking forward to spending some time under the shady branches of the Book Swap Tree, which is in Cooke Park, Maple St - near the Maleny town clock. Bring a book you have read and enjoyed, browse through the books others have read and enjoyed, and swap it with another quality book. I'll be bringing several second-hand paperbacks along and will even have a copy or two of my own collection on me.
You'll also be able to meet some of Maleny's writers at the Community Centre from nine o'clock to midday on the Saturday.

For more information about the celebration, visit the website at: http://www.celebrationofbooksmaleny.com/

If you are coming along and would like to catch up with me, don't be shy, just send me a message at ctrost (at) hotmail.com or via Facebook.


    Image from the Celebration of Books website.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

A Wordy Weekend

This weekend has been all about books and writing. Sure, I still have housework to do, but I rarely have so much time to dedicate to my craft in one weekend.

Yesterday was National Bookshop Day in Australia. Independent bookshops have been doing it really tough in recent years, probably because people are (a) reading less and (b) buying books online or as ebooks. I know it's not always cheap to buy books from an actual bookshop, but can you imagine a world without them? How sad! If you didn't buy a book from your local independent retailer yesterday, how about making up for it next weekend, or during the week if you have the time.

Also, yesterday, I did my first public reading at Whispers: Curiouser and Curiouser, at the State Library of Queensland. I read from my short story, Hoffman's Creeper, which is about a retired botanist and his struggle to keep his most treasured specimen alive. Doesn't that sound curious? By the way, if you happened to take of photo of me, please let me know.

Last night, after a few drinks with my fellow "furious" writers, I caught the bus home - had to wait for nearly an hour but that gave me time to read, The Horror in the Museum, by Hazel Heald... it's scary Lovecraftian fiction - and spent several hours reediting short stories. I got a huge amount of work done.

Today, it continues, I have a meeting with the other committee members of the Australian Horror Writers' Association, and we expect to have some big news for Aussie horror writers and readers very soon. But before that, I have some new fiction to work on... bye for now.

Monday, 28 July 2014

The Genesis of Martha and May

 
Today, I am hosting a guest post by Pauline Montagna, the author of "Suburban Terrors". I read this collection more than a year ago and absolutely loved it. Pauline and I have a very similar take on the suspense genre.
 
Over to you, Pauline...
 
Suburban Terrors is a collection of twelve stories with thriller, supernatural and gothic elements and Cameron has asked me to write about the origins of one of those stories, Martha and May.
 
Strangely enough, for a story with absolutely no supernatural elements, Martha and May came out of a lesson on Magic Realism. As Magic Realism often revels in the shocking and macabre, our teacher asked us to write about the most bizarre thing we had ever heard of.
 
Only recently I had seen the BBC television series, The Secret Life of Twins, and one pair featured in that series were the American conjoined twins Lori and Reba Schappell. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lori_and_George_Schappell In their forties at the time, they were born joined at the head and shared part of their brain. Reba had spina bifida so she had to move on a specially devised wheeled stool, but Lori often had to carry her and this was putting a strain on her spine.
 
What I found bizarre was their absolute ordinariness despite the strangeness of their situation. In every other way they were like any two sisters. Despite their shared brain parts, they had completely different personalities and led separate lives. Reba was reserved while Lori was outgoing. Reba was artistic and had performed as a country and western singer. Lori was more of a homebody. (They’re actually even more different than that but, fortunately, I didn’t know that at the time. Heavens knows what I would have made of the fact that Reba, who had already changed her name from Dori to escape rhyming with Lori, has since identified as a man and is now called George. George has also become a Mormon while Lori hasn’t.)
 
Pondering how to build a story around such a pair of twins, I wondered what would happen if one had a boyfriend and the other got jealous. What would be the result if the jealous twin acted out that jealousy?
 
It was at this point that a second bizarre element entered the story. This time it was a case which had stayed with me since my youth, that of Karen Ann Quinlan. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karen_Ann_Quinlan As a young woman, back in the 1970s, again in America, Karen collapsed into a coma after taking a combination of drugs and alcohol while on an extreme diet. After several months, realising their daughter would never recover, her devout Catholic parents wanted to let nature take its course and they asked the hospital to take her off her life-support system. The hospital refused and the Quinlans had to drag the matter through the courts. When they finally got permission to take Karen off the machines, amazingly she survived though still unconscious. The last I heard of her, Karen was lying, shrivelled and comatose, on a nursing home bed. (She survived for another nine years.)
 
How did I combine these two strange cases? I’m sure you’ve guessed by now.
 
The final element, the twins’ names, came from my school days. The nuns loved to tell us the Bible story of Martha and Mary of Bethany. Whenever Jesus went to visit them, Mary would sit at his feet listening to him while Martha busied herself making him comfortable and preparing his food. One day Martha got annoyed that Mary wasn’t helping her, but Jesus rebuked her saying that it was Mary who was doing God’s work. Since the nuns were preparing us to be good wives, I don’t really know what point they were trying to make with this story!
 
Could I also take this opportunity to tell readers that I’ll be holding a book group discussion about Suburban Terrors on my Goodreads Group between September 1 and 12 (one day for each story). To join in you will need to become a member of my group at https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/114808 . In the meantime you might want to comment on this book tour, or put a question to me. I look forward to seeing you there.
 
Thank you, Pauline.
 
Dear reader, you could win your very own copy of "Suburban Terrors" by participating in this raffle. Good luck! a Rafflecopter giveaway