Rolling like a D6

It’s alive! Today issue #6 of Dimension6 has hit the internet, and it contains a trio of fun reads, including pieces by Louise Katz and Steve Cameron. My own contribution is the reprint of the lead novella from “Everything is a Graveyard”, a story by the same name.

The city of Adelaide is in ruins. Gangs of petrol-heads rule the roads, pumping out 70s tunes even as they fight off ferocious drop-bears…what’s not to like?

Now, you can read it for free, here and now! Just click on the following links:

Dimension6 Issue #6 in .epub format

Dimension6 Issue #6 in .mobi format


I only ask that if you enjoy this free heaping of science fiction that you consider purchasing the full collection of “Everything is a Graveyard”, available at Ticonderoga Publications. Hard copies can be purchased here, and an e-book is now available via Amazon or Smashwords.

Everything is an Update!

A couple of things worth noting. Firstly, have a sneaky peek at the cover of the next issue of Dimension6 magazine:


This hits the wilds on the 3/10, and amongst other things it contains a reprint of my novella “Everything is a Graveyard” from the collection of the same name. It’s a real treat to get a story into this new magazine, past issues have been a great read with some of the cream of Australian SF short story writers.

Speaking of “Everything is a Graveyard”, the good folks at Ticonderoga Publications have just re-released most of their backlist as e-books, so for the first time “Everything is a Graveyard” (the collection) is available to purchase for your favourite reading device.


“Dropbear, bogan, Torana. Our Aussie detectors are going off the charts!”

Try these links:

And also via Smashwords:

If you groove on hard-copy books, here’s how to order a physical copy:


Reviews roll in for Defy the Grey Kings

Now, if there’s anything an author likes, it’s reviews. We hunt them down like bloodhounds, scoffing down each morsel as we howl “they love me, they really love me!”


So some reviews are rolling in for my latest epistle “Defy the Grey Kings” (now available over at Beneath Ceaseless Skies). Bust out the crayolas and colour me tickled pink! When I read this first review, I actually lost my mind and cracked up laughing. Best reviewer ever!

TUSK ART 2 Daniel Watts 2012_NEW_NEW

(artwork by Daniel Watts, from the lamented Terra mag)

Any review called “If Babar Were a Bloodthirsty Death Machine” is bang on the money. This reviewer actually goes through and offers a detailed comparison of the Babar books with my own story, in which blood-thirsty elephants have enslaved humanity.

“Babar enjoys quiet strolls through the woods with friends, or relaxing in a hammock after a busy day. Ascaro, a respected and feared bull of an elephant, enjoys getting drunk on melon wine and murdering his human slaves by stomping on them until their bones are ground to dust or they’ve choked to death in the mud.”

“Neither Babar nor Fischer’s ‘Grey Kings’ aspire toward Nabakovian levels of character complexity, but what they offer instead are rich, imaginative worlds in which a conflict (e.g., Which bow-tie will Babar wear to the picnic? or: How will the half-crippled slave-warrior Ghost manage to stab a spear directly into his drunken master’s brainstem? etc.) is addressed by an invested, active character.”

OMFG.  Seriously, I love you FictionFeed. Keep on being rockstars. Rest of the best review ever can be found here -

Next up is a review from Tangent Online in which reviewer Joshua Berlow says:

“We’re not overwhelmed with the details of the elephant kingdom’s politics, history, religion, and whatever else. Instead, we’re given pertinent, interesting details regarding the life of these slaves and we get into gladiatorial action quickly. Ghost is selected to be Rothai, human slaves that fight atop their master elephant in battle. The elephants amuse themselves and determine hierarchy in these deadly tusk-to-tusk battles on Blood Meadow.”
“This story has cinematic potential as well, if somehow intelligent elephants and their battles could be portrayed effectively on film. Altogether a rousing and engaging story that redeems Beneath Ceaseless Skies#180.”
Full review here:

Next up is a review from Charles Payseur at Quick Sip Reviews, who offers a well-considered review of my story. He says:

“This is a much darker story, though one that deals with the harsh realities of slavery and torture and death. In some ways it is a difficult story to read, because it follows Ghost, a slave to elephants, as he suffers and kills for his master’s benefit and slowly sees everything around him rot and die. Raised to be of no value, he witnesses the cruelty of the elephants, how they treat their slaves, and dreams of the day when he can be free. His plan of action, though, does not go well. Not well at all. Again, it’s a rather difficult story to read at times, because it is very, very dark. Bleak. And I’m not entirely sure what to think of that. The world building is fine and interesting, the elephants quite terrifying antagonists with their size and cruelty. But then, the elephants become devils because they are seen as only evil, as cruel without anything really redeeming about them.”

“Again, I like many aspects of the story, and it is gritty and dark and brutal. And it does show how the cycle of violence continues, how slavery poisons people, makes them see the world in terms of master and slave without a way out, without thinking to take the system itself down. I like the message that slavery must be fought, and I hesitate to say that such fighting has to be nice or non-violent, but I do believe that it should be a struggle to eradicate slavery and not just changing who is on top and who on bottom. Still, a story worth grappling with, and I’m sure there are many who will have more fun with it than me.”

The full review can be read at this link:

Seriously, head over and read what the reviewers have to say about my story and others. Reviewing is a hard road to hoe, and when done well you can get a great feel for what an anthology or magazine is like before you put your dollars down. Whether the reviews are positive or critical, someone put down some serious time to read the piece and offer detailed commentary, and that makes them a legend in my book. I seriously love reviewers!


An update fit for an elephant!

Today, my fantasy story “Defy the Grey Kings” went live over at Beneath Ceaseless Skies. This is a new short story in the same setting as my infamous serialised novel Tusk, the world where iron-age elephants have enslaved humanity…


(Picture courtesy of Rhys James, from the late lamented Terra magazine)

“There are many ways to kill an elephant. When that mountain bears down on you, shaking the earth and screaming for your blood, show no fear.

Only without fear will you see the truth. They are quick, even draped in chain and iron, but you are quicker by a whisker. They fight like devils, but it only takes three people who know what they are doing to bring an elephant down.

They are afraid of you.

All elephants can die.”

To read the full story, visit the most excellent Beneath Ceaseless Skies via this link:


Do Androids Dream of Electric Tamsyn?

So, Google came up with a weird algorithm that allegedly mimics what an AI would dream about, or some such. You might have seen a bunch of pictures doing the rounds, where the original image has been rendered psychedelic by the new Deep Dream code.

It took a few days, but I fed the cover-art for Quiver through Deep Dream. Dreams play a very important role in this book, and it was interesting to see this end result:


Instead of zombies, it looks like a dog headed Tamsyn (with a creature living in her belly) is facing down some foes from a Hieronymous Bosch painting.  The clouds look like sinister business men, the beach looks like a cthulhian oil-slick, and her shoe looks like the curl of a millipede, or maybe a snake.

TRIPPY AS HELL. I recommend everyone use this thing for the lolz. Here is the original artwork, for your reference. Once again, huge thanks and all credit for this artwork go to Jason Paulos, artiste extraordinaire.

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I Finished My Damn Novel

Well, I just put the finishing touches to THIS EMPTY EARTH, a science fiction thriller.

So I started this in November 2013, while being distracted by life, earning the very tricksy certification to do clinical coding, and every now and then sneaking off to work on a short story or novella. I suppose 18 months isn’t too bad a stretch for cranking out a novel, fitting a writing career around every other damn thing :-)

With the caveat that this is of course the first draft (draft 1.5 I suppose, as I edit while I go) I am now in the market for some wonderful beta readers who will pull no punches. I shall thank any volunteers with an acknowledgement should the book find a home, my eternal thanks, and the offer of a quid pro quo beta read should you also be a writer.

Peter Ball, please inform your parents that I have finished my damn novel :-)

The End

The Long Slog

Writing can be such a long slog, but like all things worthwhile it doesn’t always come easy. Fellow ink-scribe Steve Savile once described it to me thus: “A writing career should not be a sprint, but a marathon,” or words to that effect.

I would paraphrase this even further, if I may. A writing career is like a series of swift kicks to the gut, interrupted by the occasional lollipop. It’s great having written, but everything up to that point is godawful solitude, a lonely pouring of your brain juices onto the page. Worse, it might not even work as a piece of creative expression, and you’re left with festering brain juice and nothing decent to show for it.

However, I cannot imagine doing anything else but this :-) here’s to all the ink-scribes and creatives, just keep at it! Here’s some Acker Dacker to spur you on.

WINNER – “Name that Cat” Contest

Had some great entries for the “Name That Cat” contest for my novel-in-progress “This Empty Earth”. Some real imaginative efforts here, as well as many people taking the piss. I salute you all!

There can be only one winner, so the cat in my novel will hereby be known as Pushkin. Congratulations, Thoraiya Dyer, you are the winner of a copy of my novel “Quiver”, and in the happy event that the book gets published, I shall list you in the acknowledgements :-)

Now, onward with the writing! Pushkin awaits.

COMPETITION – Name That Cat!

Okay folks, it’s competition time. I’m about 3/4 of the way through the first draft of “This Empty Earth”, a thriller novel where every living creature on the surface of the Earth mysteriously vanishes. The only ones to be spared from this event are those up in planes, skydiving, hot-air balloons, you name it.

Naturally enough, I have a cast of plucky heroes/heroines, and plenty of dastardly villains. I also have a cat survivor, who for various reasons is important to the plot of the story. Cats were also wiped from the face of the earth, except for a lucky few felines who were up in air, snoozing in their animal carriers.

This cat has the placeholder name of Miffsy, which is less than ideal. So I’m looking for name suggestions. They could be your real life cat, a person’s name, or something so ridiculous that I have no choice but to go with it :-) the winner of this impromptu contest as judged by me will win a hard-copy of my zombie novel Quiver (posted in Australia only – international people, I shall find something equally awesome for you should you win).

So either leave your entry as a comment here, as a comment on my Facebook page under this entry, or email your suggestions to “mail AT”

I’ll leave this contest open till I receive the perfect name. Go to it, cat callers!