Write whatever the hell you want

Maybe I’ve limited myself to only writing horror?

But honestly, I’ll write whatever the hell I want.

My most recent novel Hollow House was a twist on the haunted house tale, but the story was also about how we are a society of apathy; how we really couldn’t care less about our neighbours.

The novel I’m writing now is a sequel to The Noctuary, but instead of just a continuation with more of the same monsters, the work is slowly turning into a much deeper mythology which goes right back to the beginnings of civilisation to find out where the darkness inside of all of us comes from.

When I go to any author events fledgling authors approach me and talk about how they want to write a sci-fi novel or a dark fantasy novel. It usually takes me a few prompts to get them to tell me what the story is about and why they want to write it.  That’s what writing is all about for me – the meaning of the story. I’ve written about this sort of thing before, but I don’t want to go over that again. What I want to talk about (in a very round-about way) is self-doubt.

I think self-doubt comes to writers because at the outset we feel we have to slot our stories into genres and sub-genres. First and foremost, the story should be the central focus and nothing else. Screw all that genre stuff, or premature editing. Just write the story that first comes into your head. Seek the meaning of the story within yourself and the rest will flow from there.

Years ago I contemplated writing crime, and I penned a few short stories in the crime/mystery genre, but my tales seemed way too dark and exploratory for it. I realised I was boxing myself into a “genre”. I shrugged off the labels and let my ideas and concepts lead me to what I wanted to write. I wanted to tell stories, and those stories just happened to be dark and neatly slotted into the “horror genre”.

I like to explore dark themes. The human race is inherently flawed and you only need to turn on the news on any given night of the week to see what we’re capable of. Not all of my stories have a happy ending or even a clear ending. You might not even find a hero within the pages of my books, nevertheless, they’re the stories I wanted to tell.

And if you’re reading this and doubting yourself, shrug it off and write whatever the hell YOU want to write.

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The Last Night of October – re-released

Hot on the heels of the release of my first novella, Torment, I’m very excited to announce word that Cemetery Dance Publications in the US just re-released the digital edition of my Halloween themed novella, The Last Night of October.

This novella was first released in 2013 in e-book and paperback, and I’m glad to see it in the very capable hands of CD.

Lynne Hansen has provided killer new artwork for the cover and captured the feel of the read perfectly. I’m humbled to hear that this novella is on the yearly Halloween reading lists of several reviewers.


Whether you’ve read the story before or are looking for a creepy Halloween read, I hope you’ll give this new edition a whirl.

Thanks to Norman Prentiss and CD for bringing this tale back for Halloween.

(Incidentally if you want even more Halloween tales from me, you can pre-order this bad boy as well).

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Torment re-released!

After five years my very first novella, “Torment” is back in print!

This new edition, published by the fine folks at Lycan Valley Press in Canada, contains five black and white internal illustrations by yours truly, and will be available in paperback, hardcover and digital formats.


The illustrations will only be available in the print formats, so if you would like to have some of my art to compliment the story, I encourage you to get it in print. Really, don’t we all prefer print books? 😛

As Torment was my first novella-length publication, (first published in 2011 by the now defunct Damnation Books), I really wanted to make the re-release special and I’d like to thank Jo-Anne Russell and LVP for allowing me to create some art for it. There’s a sample in the below promo ad:


The trade paperback has just been released. You can grab a copy HERE. Hardcover and digital formats will follow soon.


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Snapshot of Aussie SpecFic writers!

Australian Speculative Fiction is alive and well!

For the past couple of weeks, the Australian SpecFic Snapshot Project has been on a mission – to profile as many speculative fiction authors as they can and get them seen by readers across the world.


A small group of volunteers (including myself) have tracked down authors from all around the country to pick their brains on what it means to be a speculative fiction author, and of course, ask the important questions about their next spellbinding story. The project first appeared way back in 2005, and it’s great to see it still going.

I had the privilege of interviewing several authors – Matthew Tait, Daniel I. Russell, Aaron Sterns, Brett McBean, and Zena Shapter, and also provide a memorial post on Rocky Wood. I was also interviewed by Matthew Summers. But there are so many more incredible authors out there.

To read all the interviews (so far) head over to the website: www.austsfsnapshot.wordpress.com

Congrats to everyone who volunteered their time to make this all happen. We authors need all the support we can get!

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2016 Snapshot: Greg Chapman

I’ve been snapped up by the fine folks at the Australian Specfic Spotlight Project!

Australian SF Snapshot Project

Interview by Matthew Summers.

greg-chapmanGreg Chapman is a horror author and artist from Australia. After joining the Australian Horror Writers Association in 2009, Greg  was selected for its mentor program under the tutelage of author Brett McBean. Since then he’s had more than a dozen short stories published in magazines and anthologies in Australia, the US and the United Kingdom. Greg is the author of four novellas, Torment, The Noctuary (Damnation Books, 2011), Vaudeville (2012) and The Last Night of October (Bad Moon Books, 2013). His debut collection, Vaudeville and Other Nightmares, was published by Black Beacon Books in September, 2014. He is also a horror artist and his first graphic novel Witch Hunts: A Graphic History of the Burning Times, written by Bram Stoker Award® winning authors Rocky Wood and Lisa Morton was published by McFarland & Company in 2012. Witch Hunts won the Superior Achievement…

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Guest Post: Hollow House by Greg Chapman

Thanks to AJ Spedding for letting me hijack her blog to talk about the morally ambiguous characters in my novel, Hollow House

Author, editor, caffeine-addict, wannabe ninja

Today, good friend and fellow scribe, Greg Chapman, is here to talk about his debut novel Hollow House, and the characters that call Willow Street home. I was lucky enough to get an advance read of the story, and Greg’s nailed the use of grey characters (my favourite kind). Add an abandoned house with a checkered history, nosy neighbours, and an up-and-coming serial killer… well, you’ve got quite the cauldron of chaos.

*hands over mic* You’re up, Greg!

There’s a saying that goes something like, “For evil to thrive, good men need do nothing.”

Which begs the question: if evil were to appear in the form of a creepy old house, in a normal everyday street in today’s era, how many of the people living there do you think would care? And how many would have the courage to take on that evil?

This, is in essence, the crux…

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Author Interview: Monique Snyman

Today, I’m speaking with fellow Omnium Gatherum scribe, Monique Snyman, from Pretoria, South Africa about her new novel, Muti Nation.

Muti Nation: What inspired this cool-sounding story?

9108DYQc1uL._UX250_I sometimes Skype with a friend in England who’s rather fond of unexplained phenomena, and somehow we got to talking about traditional beliefs. I told her about muti-murders and tokoloshes and sangomas, and I watched her jaw drop in response. These things that South Africans live with every day are unknown in the outside world. She was so enthralled by what I was telling her, she told me to write a book about it, and so I did. It took three years to write, because it hits a bit close to home in places, but I’m glad that I could tell the story.

Occult detective tales have been a staple of horror and speculative fiction for decades – what is it about yours that sets it apart from the rest?

Ooh, this is a good question! Well, firstly I think it’s because Muti Nation is quite unique for the genre. The book is set in predominantly Pretoria-West—my hometown—and none of the other authors I’ve read seems to set their books in that particular area. It’s always Johannesburg or Cape Town if they choose a South African setting.

Furthermore, Muti Nation’s plot is very real at times. Muti-murders happen frequently, we just don’t talk about it. Sometimes reports of tokoloshes make it to the newspapers or magazines, but it’s still not polite to speak about it. The reason for all of this is because the veil is much thinner here in Africa and people are scared. It should be noted we’re more afraid about what lies in the unknown than what other people will think of us.

Mostly, however, I think Muti Nation is different to other occult detective novels because my protagonist, Esmé Snyders, is not a paranormal investigator (even though I think she wouldn’t have minded chasing ghosts). She’s an academic who just happens to be interested in fringe sciences, who wants to explain the unexplainable.

Muti Nation sounds like a much different type of story to your previous novels. Was this novel easier, or harder to write?

Muti-Nation-WSMuch harder. I’ve always loved horror as a genre, and I’ve dabbled in it with short stories, but I didn’t realise how difficult it would be to get a full novel written. That said, I think the most difficult part about switching genres was realising I had been fooling myself when I began writing for an audience who thought I was something I’m not. I’m not a googly eyed school girl who pines over a guy like some helpless maiden. I’ve never been like that. For some reason, though, that’s what I wrote in the past. In my defence, I was a nineteen year old idiot at the time and I knew nothing about the business. *laughs* Muti Nation on the other hand is completely me. I take the reader on a journey through my hometown where we meet some people I’ve met in real life. Even my writing sounds more like me in this book. So, yes, it was much harder, but by the end of it I was for more fulfilled as an author.

You’re also an editor for Crystal Lake Publishing. What’s harder – writing or editing?

In my opinion, writing. I started off as a reviewer, so I’m good with critiquing other people’s work and I’m quick to pick up mistakes as an editor, but being on the other side of the red pen is hell.

What does writing mean to you? What does the horror genre mean to you?

Writing is a coping mechanism. Sometimes something pops into my head and it just will not leave until I’ve explored the idea. Most of the ideas goes into the scrap bin, because they’re just plain horrid at the end of the day. As for the genre itself … Well, it’s a part of me. I watched my first horror flick—Child’s Play—when I was three (it wasn’t my mom’s fault, I snuck into the living room after bedtime while my older cousin and she was watching it), and I did it again with Nightmare on Elm Street, and then with Halloween, etc. The genre has always been fascinating, so it just became one of the building blocks that makes me Monique.

What’s next for you? What are you writing right now?

Right now I’m exploring a monstrous concept. Vague, I know, but it’s still in its preliminary stages. I’m also working on getting my thoughts together for the sequel to Muti Nation. The ideas are flowing, and the words are coming, I just need to put them down in the right order.

For more information on Monique and Muti Nation, visit her wesbite: http://charmingincantations.com/blog/

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