Tuesday, 28 June 2022

Submissions Open: Tales from the Ruins

Black Beacon Books is accepting submissions for our post-apocalyptic anthology, Tales from the Ruins. 

Please read the specific guidelines below and refer to our submissions page for general guidelines.

a) We're looking for post-apocalyptic tales with a focus on the struggle of one character, couple, or a small group to survive in a ruined world. We want action and atmosphere, but most of all, we want to feel for the protagonists. Preferred length between 5,000 and 10,000 words.

b) The deadline is the 31st of July.

e) Rates are 20€ for original stories and 5€ for reprints plus one print copy.



https://unsplash.com/@danny_lincoln
NB. This is not the cover.

Tuesday, 8 March 2022

Introducing our Monthly Fiction Contest on Patreon

Black Beacon Books now runs a monthly fiction contest on Patreon. The competition is open exclusively to patrons who subscribe to one of the four highest tiers: Moonlight Smuggler, Sea Witch, Assistant Keeper, or Lighthouse Keeper. The winning story from each month is published on Patreon and is available only to fellow patrons. At the end of each year, our monthly winners will be invited to have their stories included in our "Tales from the Black Beacon" e-anthology which will be free for patrons and sold to the public on Amazon.

Other advantages (according to which patronage tier you choose) include being invited to provide guest posts and answer interviews for our website, having a promotional mention or quarter-page ad in each edition of the e-anthology, and receiving ebook or print book copies of each publication. Full details about tiers are available on our Patreon page and you can find the entry details for the monthly competition in this post.

Friday, 3 December 2021

The Black Beacon Range

As 2021 draws to a close, it's time to look back not only at the year that has been, but also at how far we've come since it all kicked off back in Brisbane, Australia, in 2013. The Black Beacon range now boasts nine thrilling titles; five anthologies and four books written by the founding editor, Cameron Trost. At least two further titles are planned for release next year; a Hitchcockian anthology and the first collection of Oscar Tremont mysteries. The "at least" is because two more anthologies are in the works (our first post-apocalyptic anthology and The Second Black Beacon Book of Mystery) and the former may also be released in late 2022. You'll find all the details on our submissions page. In the meantime, thank you so very much for your support. The indie publishing game isn't easy but we believe in our books because we only accept quality stories from talented authors. We've got the goods, but we rely on you, our cherished readers, to help spread the word. Please take the time to share, rate, and review our books on social media (see our "contact" page) and particularly on GoodReads and Amazon. Every rating and review really helps. 




Lock the door, curl up under the blankets, and let Black Beacon Books thrill you all the way from this year to the next!







Thursday, 29 July 2021

Submissions Open: Hitchcockian Suspense

Black Beacon Books is accepting submissions for our Hitchcockian anthology. 

Please read the specific guidelines below and refer to our submissions page for general guidelines.

a) We're looking for suspense stories directly inspired by a Hitchcock film. The story doesn't have to be set in the 50s or 60s but it must convey the atmosphere and tension that make his films so memorable. Preferred length between 5,000 and 10,000 words.

b) Please submit the first page only of your story and a brief synopsis of the entire plot. You must include the name of the film that inspired your story in your introduction. We aim to acknowledge reception within a few days. If it hooks us in, we'll invite you to send the whole story when you've completed it. If you don't hear back from us with an invitation within a month, it means we won't be considering your proposal for this anthology. Please do not expect a rejection letter. 

c) Reprints are welcome if they fit the specific theme.

d) The deadline is the 31st of January.

e) Rates are 20€ for original stories and 5€ for reprints plus one print copy.







Saturday, 10 July 2021

Black Beacon Bundles


Our titles are available from all good online retailers, from your local bookshop, or via direct order from us. If you order a Black Beacon Bundle, you can request signed copies and you'll also receive a free sticker and bookmark for each book ordered. 

Full details on our "shop" page, or simply get in touch with any queries. 

Saturday, 10 April 2021

Murder and Machinery: An Interview with Sarah Jane Justice

 


Sarah Jane Justice's "The Box" is just one of the mad mechanical tales featured in Murder and Machinery.


Tell us three interesting facts about yourself.

These are the barest summaries of stories that I could talk about for hours. Reducing them to a single sentence makes them all the more intriguing.

- When I was fresh out of high school, I was recruited by an established ska band and spent two years touring Australia and New Zealand.

- Over the course of a few strange years, I managed to achieve nationwide notoriety in an extremely competitive augmented reality game.

- In 2016, I wrote and performed a science-fiction cabaret show that was on the programme for the Adelaide Fringe Festival that year.

What drew you to this particular theme? 

I love writing to prompts, and I especially love finding creative ways to approach any given theme. The submission call for this anthology came with a list of suggested authors for stylistic influence, and that drew my attention more than anything else. The list contained some of the most classic authors in the genre, and it completely set the tone for how I should approach writing this piece. I took the time to sit with it, aiming to think of something that might not have been done before. With the style in mind and the idea I came up with, I had an excellent time writing ‘The Box’. (Editor’s note: And what a chillingly original tale you came up with!)

What’s the most frightening machine for you personally?

This might seem like an odd answer, but cars. These are immensely powerful machines that have the potential to kill in an instant. What makes them so frightening is that most drivers rarely, if ever, consider that. Because we drive them every day, we let ourselves get distracted, we ignore safety regulations, and we drive dangerously just for the fun of it. Even though the worst consequences are happening every day, it’s far too easy to forget about them. These are machines that surround us, that kill more consistently than any other, and we barely think twice about it. It can be quite terrifying when you stop to think about it.

Which short story authors or authors in the horror genre inspire you? 

Shirley Jackson is a horror author whom I find both inspiring and deeply fascinating. I highly encourage readers to look up her work, as well as her life story. For a more obvious choice, Mary Shelley is incredible as a pioneer of the genre.

Do you have a favourite story about machines, other than The Pit and the Pendulum?

‘The Fly’ – When I was a teenager, I worked at a video rental store. We were encouraged to watch as many movies as we could, and I decided to watch all the most classic horror and thriller movies. This one stuck with me. It’s such a fascinating concept.

What does your editing process look like? 

I’m very methodical in my writing and organisation, and my editing process is no exception.

I get the initial draft down first. Then, I go back and pick it apart from start to finish, rewriting everything that needs to be changed while keeping the flow of the story intact. Finally, I go through and neaten up the writing. I watch for phrases that are too repetitive, metaphors that could be more creative, grammatical mistakes etc. I go over and over until I can finally declare myself to be finished. Then I let it sit for a few days and discover that I was not, in fact, finished. Repeat.

Do you write everything and then edit or do you meticulously plan before you write? 

There is an element of spontaneity in the drafting process, but always within the frame of a plan. I find that my writing is far more efficient if I know where it is going, and where I want it to end up.

What are you working on now?

Currently, I’m crawling through the editing processes on a science-fiction novella. This has been very satisfying to write, especially given how easily it seems to be coming together. There have been no major problems in the drafting process, major plot elements and characters are all fitting where they need to, and I’m already pleased with the quality of the writing. I’m getting very excited about the finished product.

Where can we find you online?

I have a website that I keep regularly updated – www.sarahjanejusticewriting.com

Additionally, I have a Facebook page, an Instagram, and a Twitter, all linked below:

https://www.facebook.com/sarahjanejusticewriting 

https://www.instagram.com/sarahjanejusticewriting/

https://twitter.com/sjjusticewrites

Thanks, Sarah!

Sunday, 4 April 2021

Murder and Machinery: An Interview with Kurt Newton



Kurt Newton's "The Wedge" is just one of the mad mechanical tales featured in Murder and Machinery.


Tell us three interesting facts about yourself.

1. I went to school to become an engineer and came out discovering I was a writer.

2. My current job of over twenty years is in the field of Health Physics. In other words, I work with radiation.

3. I’m nearing retirement age and have a six-year-old who’s better at Mario Kart than I am. I hear “I beat you Dada” in my dreams. The kid will one day be the death of me.

What drew you to this particular theme? 

The inner workings of machines have always fascinated me. As a kid, I used to take things apart just to see how they worked. The same applies to people, except it’s psychological. As a writer, I try to get at the heart of the invisible machine inside us all.

What’s the most frightening machine for you personally?

A kitchen sink garbage disposal. It’s even got lips. It’s gross. And scary.

Which short story authors or authors in the horror genre inspire you? 

Three of the best short story collections (that happen to be predominately horror-based) are Ray Bradbury’s The October Country, Stephen King’s Night Shift and Dennis Etchinson’s The Dark Country. If I taught a course on the great American short story, I’d definitely put these on the reading list.

Do you have a favourite story about machines, other than The Pit and the Pendulum?

When I was kid, watching the movie The Time Machine with Rod Taylor and the Morlocks was mind-altering. Another was the Twilight Zone episode A Kind of Stopwatch with Burgess Meredith.

What does your editing process look like?

I hardly ever have enough time to write a complete story in a single sitting (flash being the exception). Most times, I write then I print what I have so far. The next time pick it up, I edit that then write some more, print, edit, write, etc. until it’s done. Then I print the whole thing and set it aside. It could be weeks or months before I revisit the story with “fresh” eyes.

Do you write everything and then edit or do you meticulously plan before you write?

Writing is visual for me, so I can usually envision what the story will look like--the setting, the mood—even before I start. Then it’s just a matter of transcribing those visuals onto paper. For longer stories, I sketch out just enough actions or scenes to keep the story interesting. I find that if I think through too much, I tend to lose interest in the story because, in my head, it’s already written.

What are you working on now?

In my early days of writing, I created an alternate future world that I’ve revisited several times. There’s a novel in-progress and several other related projects of interconnected stories. At the moment, I’m working to finish a novella I began many years ago called House of Giants, House of Ghosts that takes place in the same world.

Where can we find you online?

The usual social media playgrounds: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. I also have author pages at Amazon, Goodreads and Librarything.

Thanks, Kurt!