Netherkind – my third novel

I’m proud to announce the news that Omnium Gatherum books will be releasing my third novel, NETHERKIND in May!

This is my first foray into urban dark fantasy and is a work I’d dipped into on and off over the past decade. It’s also the longest thing I’ve penned so far, at just over 85,000 words. It’s a pretty deep and meaningful work: an exploration of whether a monster can have a soul and a destiny that means something beyond killing. That we’re more than just flesh. It’s full of shape-shifting creatures, flesh-eating creatures, occultists, bounty hunters, all centred around an underground war and a soul-searching cannibal with a conscience. It was originally an unpublished short story that I expanded into a novel.

Here’s the synopsis of the novel:

Thomas is no ordinary man.

To live, he must devour human flesh. His habitual existence is one of killing and feeding and taking on the physical characteristics of his victims.

Thomas tries to fit in with the rest of humanity, but when his beautiful neighbor, Stephanie deceives him and turns out to be a monster just like him, he decides to discover his heritage and take revenge. Little does he know that there are many other “Fleshers” out there hiding in the shadows of the world and they are at war with each other.

I also created the cover art and I also had a real blast putting it together. I’m also really glad to be working with Omnium Gatherum again. They published my debut novel Hollow House in 2016 and also re-released my novellas The Followers and Torment last year.

You can pre-order the paperback now via OG’s website HERE, or the Kindle version HERE. I hope you’ll give it a whirl when it comes out on May 6.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Vaudeville and Other Nightmares (Revisited)

My short story collection, Vaudeville and Other Nightmares was recently re-released with a whole new look!

Originally published in 2014 by Black Beacon Books (to whom I will be forever grateful), this new edition by Specul8 Publishing – based in my hometown of Rockhampton – contains additional stories and 30 accompanying illustrations.

The volume was well-received by readers when it was originally published and I’m hopeful that the addition of illustrations and stories will entice old and new readers alike to take another dip into my fiction.

The book is a compendium of my last 10 years as a horror writer and I’m really happy with how the project has gone. The new illustrated edition was officially launched at Capricon Rockhampton on April 6 in paperback and hardcover editions. You can order the book via Amazon HERE

TC Phillips, owner/publisher of Specul8, has gone all out with promoting the book with video trailers, animations and even a competition where you can win some prints of the illustrations and even one of the original drawings I did of Mister Crispin, the villain from the novella, Vaudeville. Check it out below!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

December

Hey all,

It’s almost Krampusnacht (I mean Christmas)!

As Christmas is the perfect time for ghost stories, I thought I’d share this little Christmas-themed piece of flash fiction I wrote, called “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”, first published by the Australasian Horror Writers Association in their anthology Hell’s Bells.

Enjoy!

_____________________________________________________________

I’ll be Home for Christmas by Greg Chapman

Natalie had been watching the fireplace with tears in her eyes when she heard the mail slot open.

She walked to the door and picked up the solitary envelope, her address in neat handwriting. Inside she found a Christmas card and her heart began to thunder; people stopped sending her Christmas cards a long time ago.

The front of the card was of simple design, a Christmas tree with presents and a fireplace, not unlike Natalie’s own living room. The inside was blank. Natalie turned the envelope over; there was no return address or postmark. She quickly opened the door, but no one was there, not even a mailman, just a blinding carpet of snow.

Natalie closed the door and put the card on the mantelpiece above the fireplace. She could feel the knot in her gut twisting even tighter. Christmas was the worst time of year, but she felt obliged to celebrate.

She was pondering the card when the phone rang and the knot coiled again. She picked up the phone and sat before the fireplace.

“Hello?”

“Hello Natalie, it’s Ingrid.”

“Hello, Mrs. Colton.”

“I just wanted to call… to see how you are.”

“I’m okay.”

A moment’s silence then Natalie could hear Ingrid’s soft sobbing. “It feels like her last Christmas all over again.”

Natalie watched the flames; she could see the fabric burning like it was yesterday. “Yes, it does.”

“I’m sorry Natalie. I know it must be awful for you to have to think about her too.”

“I wish it had been me and not Susan,” Natalie said.

“Don’t say that sweetheart… you survived. I just wish he’d let both of you go…”

Near the Christmas tree, Natalie could almost see Susan crying tears of anger.

“I’m sorry Mrs. Colton, but I have to go.”

Natalie ended the call and wiped away tears. Every Christmas was the same lie and she couldn’t do it anymore. The story of the ‘stranger’ had grown thin in the telling. She was surprised it still held water after all these years.

The card fell to the floor and Natalie scooped it up like it was the last snowflake.

Fifteen years ago she’d told everyone that she and Susan Colton had been attacked by a crazed killer on Christmas Eve.

Natalie opened the card to find writing inside:

I’ll be home for Christmas.

A log slipped in the flames sending sparks into the air. In front of the Christmas tree, she saw Susan screaming, a photo of Natalie and Susan’s boyfriend kissing in her hand.

It all came flooding back: The screaming, the hair-pulling, the fire-poker in Natalie’s hand – the blood and all-consuming fire.

Beneath Natalie’s feet, the floorboards rattled. Natalie turned just as a decrepit hand burst through the wood. The planks gave way to reveal a rotting corpse, emerging with impossible life, but undeniable rage. In its once golden locks, a deep gouge bloomed. The reanimated Susan glared at Natalie and reached out to clutch the fire-poker.

Natalie screamed.

____________________________________________________________

Giveaway winner!

And finally, as promised I can announce the winner of the free digital copy of my novel, Hollow House!

The lucky person is JOSEPH PINTO! Congrats Joe, I’ll be in touch to send you your copy.

Until next year, I hope you have a Merry Krampus and terrifyingly good New Year. And don’t forget – books make great stocking fillers!

FOLLOW ME!
Facebook
Instagram

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

November

Hi all, and thanks again for reading. There’s been quite a bit happening this past month, so read on and I might even give you a chance to win a digital copy of one of my books!

Announcements

The biggest announcement this month was declaring my involvement in Crystal Lake Publishing’s forthcoming non-fiction anthology, It’s Alive: Bringing Your Nightmares to Life.

This is a massive tome, edited by Eugene Johnson and Joe Mynhardt, that is essentially writers helping writers by providing insights and tips into the writing craft. But these aren’t just any writers. Take a look at just some of contributing authors announced so far:

Clive Barker, Chuck Palahniuk, Michael Bailey, F. Paul Wilson, Kevin J. Anderson, Christopher Golden, Rachel Autumn Deering, Yvonne Navarro, Greg Chapman, Tom Monteleone, Lisa Morton, John Palisano, Joe R. Lansdale and Kasey Lansdale, Todd Keisling, Richard Thomas, Brian Kirk, Elizabeth Massie, Lisa Mannetti, Jess Landry, David J. Schow, Tonya Hurley, Linda D. Addison, Cody Goodfellow, Stephanie M. Wytovich, Tim Waggoner, David Wellington, Elizabeth Massie, Bev Vincent, James Chambers, Stephen Graham Jones, Vince A. Liaguno, and Jonathan Maberry and Mary Sangiovanni! With an introduction by Richard Chizmar. What a line-up right?

My essay centres on how I penned my debut novel, Hollow House and how I’d agonised for years in taking the leap to write it.

The anthology will be released on December 14 and it’s already picking up some rave reviews, so if you’re a writer, you should definitely have this on your shelf.

The return of the short story collection

Back in 2014, I had my debut short story collection published – Vaudeville and Other Nightmares and I’ve decided to resurrect it with a new look, and new(ish) stories.

To be published by Specul8 Publishing here in my hometown of Rockhampton, the new edition will feature 30 stories, including the novella Vaudeville, with each story illustrated by yours truly.

The book is expected to be released around April 2019, so please watch this space for more details.

But to give you a taste of what to expect I’ve included an image of one of the pieces of internal art opposite.

 

Torment re-released

And finally, the re-release of my very first published novella, Torment, happened this month. The fine folks at Omnium Gatherum Books have done a fantastic job giving this story a new lease on life.

Available now in digital and paperback formats, the novella is a creepy haunting/exorcism tale set in Scotland.

The Horror Fiction Review has said that “Torment features some genuinely scary moments and keeps you guessing…” so I hope you’ll check it out!

 

Horror is actually good for you!

I’ve always maintained that watching (and reading horror) can be beneficial to your health and this article about a university study into the health benefits of watching horror flicks supports that view.

Research has found that watching horror movies releases neurotransmitters, which not only increase brain activity, but expand our ability to think! It also apparently burns as much calories as taking a 30-minute walk!

Amazon and Australia

There’s been a number of issues with Amazon and Australia of late and (until recently) it wasn’t exactly good news if you’re an author, publisher, (or a customer).

So last year the Australian Government decided to impose GST (Goods and Services Tax) on Amazon.com for goods purchased from their site and shipped to Australia. In response, Amazon restricted access to the Amazon.com site and set up an Australian-based site Amazon.com.au. The issue meant some items were not available and publishers were no longer able to ship direct contributor copies to their Australian-based authors without incurring an additional cost.

The good news is that Amazon.com appear to have since waived that decision to exclude Australians from the .com site. But I’m still not sure whether publishers can send books direct to Australia. Hopefully some clarification will be available on that soon.

Sketches

The last month I’ve been playing around with different medias, watercolour, pen and ink and just the good old HB pencil. Here’s some of the results:

  Image may contain: drawing Image may contain: drawing

No automatic alt text available.

Horror in 3D (printing)!

So I work at a university and their engineering labs have a bunch of 3D printers. Because they’re always looking for a challenge, I asked if they could print a few horror-themed items for me that I could paint. Check out the results below!

 No automatic alt text available.

Giveaway!

Want to win a digital copy of my Bram Stoker Award-nominated novel, Hollow House? Just subscribe to my blog to go into the draw.

The lucky winner will be announced in next month’s blog – just in time for that annual visit from Krampus! 🙂

Feel free to share and thanks for subscribing!

 

 

FOLLOW ME!
Facebook
Instagram

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

October

Hello and Happy Halloween!

I hope you had a fantastic Halloween because I sure did! Here in Australia, Halloween is starting to take hold. For the past four years my family and I have put a yard haunt display on in our street and this year, we attracted more than 600 trick r treaters. Ten other houses also participated with their own haunts, so it was great seeing so many people in costume coming out and having fun.

Check out some photos of my yard haunt below. Everything you see here is handmade, including the giant spider, which was a labour of love! And yes, that’s me in the horrible zombie mask! 🙂

Free story: HARVEST

Here’s a story I wrote to send a chill up your spine for the most wonderful time of the year (artwork is also by yours truly!) I like playing with the emotion of grief in my stories and I’ve always wanted to flip the trope of pumpkin-carving on its head. Enjoy!

To many, Halloween was the one night of the year when the dead could return to the land of the living.

Michael had never believed in such a superstition, but he was willing to accept anything just to have her back.

The shovel was like a stone in his hands, an extension of his weary body, his anguished soul.

He stared at the grave, read the words on the tombstone through tear-streaked eyes:

Alexandra McBean

Our precious angel

Taken too soon

The thought of his daughter, rotting away six feet under, sent waves of sadness through him and his legs almost giving out beneath him. 

He only wanted to hold her again. 

A gaggle of laughter made Michael turn and he glimpsed a quartet of costumed children skipping alongside the fence surrounding the cemetery. To them, Halloween was nothing more than a sugar high, a flight of fancy. 

To Michael, it was the day his only daughter took her own life.

Alexandra had been one of a spate of suicides on Halloween – thirty-one in fact – and the great loss had always remained unanswered. A wound that refused to heal.

His mind dragged him back one year to the day, to that terrible instant. To the kitchen spattered with blood and the message she’d left on the face of the pumpkin, a single word she’d carved with a kitchen knife before she used it on herself:

HARVEST

The memory flashed away and Michael turned back to consider her grave, to contemplate the task ahead.

“I’m sorry baby…” he said, his voice a whisper lost in the fog.

The shovel stabbed at the earth, SHUK-SHUK-SHUK, over and over. He felt the cold sweat running down her back and found it easy to visualise Alexandra’s blood trailing from her wrists. It urged him on, the shovel carving a path to her through the dark soil. Time passed and after a while, the blisters on his hands burst and eased from burning into numbness. The only feeling left to feel. Was that how Alexandra felt in her final moments?

The light penetrated the blackness inside his head and he was wrenched back to that horrible day. Alexandra’s body on the gleaming steel table, her skin like fresh snow. He recalled hearing the detective’s voice, explaining that she was one of many to die the same way, the only clue being that solitary word – HARVEST. But how could carving a pumpkin have led to suicide?

Another flash left his head swimming, but soon he felt himself sinking inch by inch into the ground, edging deeper, closer to his little girl. He studied his work and was surprised by how symmetrical his digging had been. The edges clean and straight, like the lines of a door. He was building a door in the hope that she’d be waiting on the other side.

The clang of steel on wood jolted Michael out of his melancholy and for the first time in many months, hope reawakened him. He dropped to his knees and swept the dirt from the lid of the coffin. Panting, he retrieved his knife and pried open the door.

Only to find darkness.

No Alexandra, adorned in her favourite dress.

Not even her bones.

He stood in a daze of disbelief. She should be here, he thought. He knew he’d put her in the ground. His heart still had the scar to prove it.

The black mouth of the coffin mocked him.

He grabbed the shovel from the dirt in a rage and smashed it into the coffin, again and again, the wooden frame shattering to splinters. He cried out into the October night, hoping his daughter or anyone would hear his pain and put him out of his misery.

Freezing breath ran across the back of his neck and Michael about-faced to find the apparition had been standing behind him. He stumbled and fell into the coffin, its walls intact enough to contain his terrified soul.

Alexandra stood over him, arms outstretched and clutching the pumpkin, which was now emblazoned with putrid rot. Yet the word HARVEST was still plain to see. Protruding from its flesh was the same kitchen knife, gleaming like firelight. Fresh blood spilled from Alexandra’s wrists and vacant eyes. Tears of pain. She spoke not a word, but her blood and that word told him everything. 

Halloween was a time of HARVEST.

His daughter’s eyes implored him to take the knife and with the steadiest of hands, he plucked it from its resting place. He was willing to add his soul to the collection. The knife’s kiss filled him with relief and his blood mingled with hers.

The edges of the hole Michael had created collapsed then, toppling down like two halves of the Red Sea onto father and daughter. The black door closed in on their combined grief forever.

Alexandra had always known the truth about Halloween, and finally, Michael did too.

____________________________________________________________

Through the eye of the beholder

I recently binged Mike Flanagan’s The Haunting of Hill House TV series on Netflix. I found this show genuinely fascinating and creepy. “Horror with heart” is the best way to describe it. The character development and production values were second to none. The way the supernatural elements intertwined with this poor tormented family’s real-life trauma was so very well crafted. Some might not agree with the ending but I thought it was fitting and powerful. I highly recommend you check out this show. Check out the trailer!

 

 

Another Netflix show I’m also loving is The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. This is a really creepy show with a great cast and production values. Best of all it’s a whole lot of fun and thankfully is nothing like the 90’s sitcom. Check it out.

 

 

I’m also a reviewer for the New York Journal of Books

Two titles I recently read and enjoyed were Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage and Flight or Fright, edited by Stephen King and Bev Vincent.

I’m currently reading Vampire: A New History by Nick Groom and Bedfellow by Jeremy C. Shipp.

____________________________________________________________

Works in progress

I’m currently preparing edits on my third novel, tentatively titled Skin Deep. This book, which is urban dark fantasy and poses the question of whether monsters can have souls, will be published by Omnium Gatherum Books mid-2019.

____________________________________________________________

Recent releases

Artwork

My artwork graces the cover of the latest issue of Morpheus Tales. It’s a bit of digital manipulation on my part and I’m glad with how it turned out. I like taking old photographs and twisting them to suit my purposes. You can pick up a copy of this magazine HERE

 

 

 

 

I’m a huge fan of Josh Malerman’s writing, particularly his novel Bird Box, which will soon be released as a film, starring Sandra Bullock and John Malkovich on Netflix. It’s a fantastic tale that takes paranoia to it’s limit. I was inspired to create some artwork for it and Josh liked it so much he shared it on his Facebook feed. If you haven’t read Bird Box, I highly recommend that you need to correct that immediately! Check out the trailer for the film!

 

 

 

Cover art

A couple of covers I designed for Matthew Tait and Christian Saunders.

Fiction

Omnium Gatherum Books in the US recently re-released my post-apocalyptic novella, The Followers. Originally titled The Eschatologist, this story is one of two opposing sides of faith – secular faith and faith in one’s self. It’s a survival story in the keenest sense of the word. I also created the cover art and interior illustrations for it. OG will also be re-releasing my very first novella Torment, which is my take on an exorcism tale but set in the Scottish Highlands. Horrible Books Reviews had this to say about it: “A story of family, sacrifice, and the scary idea that even in a world that has completely fallen apart there will always be a lunatic fringe.” You can buy a copy in ebook or paperback at Amazon

 

Specul8: The Central Queensland Journal of Speculative Fiction recently released its fifth edition, a Halloween special called Behold the Nightmare. It contains my tale, “Left on October Lane” which is about a young boy escaping the impact of domestic violence on Halloween night. You can buy a copy HERE

 

 

 

My books

 

FOLLOW ME!
Facebook
Instagram

_____________________________________________

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

More than monsters

Horror has been much maligned.

Regarded as little more than “blood and gore” with no true message. Shock for shock’s sake.

This couldn’t be any further than the truth.

The horror genre is slowly seeing a resurgence of respect on a wider scale through recent films, but horror has always deserved to be regarded as meaningful and worthy.

There has been many a time at book expos or signings when some people have visibly winced when I’ve mentioned I’m a horror writer. It used to bother me, but over time I’ve shrugged it off and told myself that these people are missing out on an opportunity to not only be entertained, but to explore themselves.

I’ve always maintained that horror is a mutli-faceted genre, more so than others. It provides more than chills and goosebumps. Beyond the werewolves and zombie viruses, is a map of the human condition, of emotion, psychology and even social commentary. Below are some examples of works that I believe speak to the power of the horror genre.

Bird BoxJosh Malerman’s novel Bird Box, is a remarkable example of horror that delves deep beneath the surface of feverish fright. The characters, by being forcibly blinded, are in turn forced to look within themselves and into the eyes of each other at close quarters. The paranoia is palpable, driving the story forward. It’s a story of survival, loaded with symbolism and there’s barely a drop of blood spilled.

By comparison, Clive Barker’s The Hellbound Heart sheds much blood in its exploration of curiosity gone horribly wrong, but if you peel back its layers there are issues of abandonment, the objectification of women, the empowerment of women, and the power of desire. The Cenobites are secondary monsters – the embodiment of punishment, yes, but moreover they serve as warnings against human frailty.

A Head Full of GhostsPaul Tremblay’s A Head Full of Ghosts is equal parts family tragedy and a look at the impacts of mental illness plaguing today’s youth. The story is told so keenly that you almost forget that it’s also about an exorcism. Through sleight-of-hand, Tremblay weaves all of these ideas together while pointing the finger squarely at the sensationalist nature of reality television.

Into The MistPast regrets, losses, and guilt pervade horror fiction. Tim Waggoner’s Deep Like the River is a painful journey both literally and figuratively, as a canoeing trip down a river forces a woman’s past to rise to the surface of her mind. Daniel I. Russell’s Entertaining Demons is an even deeper look at the evil of reality TV, with our worship of it becoming fodder for demons. Lee Murray’s Into the Mist is an exciting action-packed monster hunt, but it also provides an insight into Maori culture, mythology, and the New Zealand landscape. There’s also subtle environmental commentary, the darkened forest where the hunt takes place threatened not just by the creature, but also the dominance of military authoritarianism. Brett McBean’s The Awakening is on the surface a coming-of-age story, taking the zombie sub-genre back to its voodoo roots, but it’s actually a beautiful story about life and death told lyrically through the eyes of a young boy and an old man.

Many books and films that are considered “mainstream” are actually horror. The Lovely Bones by author Alice Sebold and later as a film by Peter Jackson, is one example. On one side you have the psychological aspect of the family processing the grief of losing their daughter, while on the other you have the spirit of the victim herself coming to terms with the fact that not only is she dead, but that she died horrifically. The Silence of the Lambs is another mainstream book and film that would be considered by many more crime thriller than horror, but actually contains all the key elements that comprise good horror fiction, particularly in the second half of the story.

Horror has also encouraged diversity, with acclaimed authors of colour like Victor LaValle (his novella The Ballad of Black Tom won a Shirley Jackson Award and numerous nominations for other awards) coming to the fore. The film Get Out written and directed by Jordan Peele, won an Oscar and a Bram Stoker Award for its screenplay, and could be compared to other psychological thrillers like The Strangers or You’re Next, but what its sets it apart is that it’s a commentary on prejudice and racism. LGBTQI authors also thrive in the horror genre, with numerous films and books containing gay or transgender characters and themes. Again, Clive Barker and other authors like Poppy Z. Brite, Aaron Dries, Mark Allan Gunnells and Caitlin R. Kiernan come to mind.

I could go on, but I urge you the reader to look beyond the misconceptions and explore the horror genre for yourself. These are just a few of the stories that provide the “depth” horror can encapsulate. You’ll note that these authors all strive for meaning in their stories. They’re not all just out solely to splatter you with buckets of blood. Authors like the ones I’ve outlined above and others such as Kaaron Warren, Stephanie M. Wytovich, Mercedes M. Yardley, strive to push the boundaries of the genre and carry on a fine tradition that horror has always had – one of relevance and introspection.

All we horror authors ask is that you look past the lurid cover, put your assumptions to one side and see the meaning between the lines. But most of all, look within yourself.

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Horror Fiction: A bleak and depressing look at truth

Today’s guest post comes from horror author Greg Chapman, who recently released Pandemonium through the incredible Bloodshot Books. Greg’s essay deals with why his work may considered bleak or depressing and the importance of the truth when it comes to horror fiction. This is an insightful piece that gives readers a look at Chapman’s work and what […]

via Horror Fiction: A Bleak and Depressing Look at Truth by Greg Chapman — Ink Heist

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment