Monday 27 February 2023

Cover Reveal: The Black Beacon Book of Horror

Our Patreon patrons have already seen it as part of their exclusive benefits, and now it's your turn. Behold Greg Chapman's cover for our very first anthology dedicated solely to horror stories, The Black Beacon Book of Horror! Submissions close tomorrow (the 28th of February) but we already know that this book will be teeming with eerie folk horror, mind-bending cosmic terror, and creepy psychological dread. Expect more news, including the announcement of the table of contents and the anticipated publication date, to be revealed by the end of March.

Is that a shiver of excitement running down your spine...or one of terror foretold? 



Friday 24 February 2023

A Post-Apocalyptic Interview with Claire Davon

Our next anthology, Tales from the Ruins, is going to be a cataclysmic one! It will be released on the 25th of February but the Kindle version is available for pre-order today at just 99c instead of $3.99. To celebrate the imminent publication of the first Black Beacon Books anthology exclusively dedicated to post-apocalyptic fiction, we’re interviewing the contributing authors. Behold the maniacal workings of their troubled minds!

Hi Claire,

Let’s make the first question a lighthearted one...hmm...okay, got it! Is your story simply an entertaining piece of fiction or are you giving us a peek at the terrifying fate tomorrow will unleash upon us?

My story actually stems from a dream I had back as a wee lass when we were always afraid that Russia was going to drop the "big one" on the US, or vice versa. It felt like a terrifyingly possible reality then, and it’s little different now—only perhaps the method of our demise as told in my story has been somewhat—altered.

What is it that makes post-apocalyptic fiction so appealing? Would the world be better off if more people read this genre?

We live in a world where disaster hangs over our head with every news story, so how can people not think about it? Post-apocalyptic fiction takes us to that natural conclusion. As for being better off if everyone read it? Depends on whether you like your sleep at night !

Do you have a favourite post-apocalyptic author?

Perhaps not an author per se, but I grew up reading all manner of SF and Fantasy, including John Wyndham and Richard Matheson. However, my favorite novel in the genre is The Stand by Stephen King.

Some people like to listen to music while reading. Which song can you imagine providing the soundtrack to your story? 

A heartbeat.

If you woke up in your story tomorrow, what would you do?

Probably the same thing my main character did! 

There are no firearms or ammunition. You have to choose an everyday object from the home or garden as your weapon of choice—what’s in your hands?

A shovel with a long handle.

Time to get more personal. Tell us three interesting facts about yourself. 

1. I live in Southern California and work at a movie studio
2. I used to party on the Sunset Strip in the 1980s/1990s
3. I tend to live life as though I have a soundtrack behind me and have been known to break out into song (to suit the occasion, of course)

What do you aim to give your readers?

A little bit of everything. I write in many genres so someone reading all of my stories will be in for a ride!

What are you working on now?

Edits for a contemporary romance, a PNR shifter novella, a superhero romance series and the final book in one of my self-pubbed PNR series.

Where can we find you online?

I’m lots of places, but here are three of my most active! Thanks for reading!
Website: www.clairedavon.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ClaireDavonindieauthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ClaireDavon

Thanks for playing along. Good luck in the wastelands!

Wednesday 22 February 2023

A Post-Apocalyptic Interview with Joseph S. Walker

Our next anthology, Tales from the Ruins, is going to be a cataclysmic one! It will be released on the 25th of February but the Kindle version is available for pre-order today at just 99c instead of $3.99. To celebrate the imminent publication of the first Black Beacon Books anthology exclusively dedicated to post-apocalyptic fiction, we’re interviewing the contributing authors. Behold the maniacal workings of their troubled minds!

Hi Joseph,

Let’s make the first question a lighthearted one...hmm...okay, got it! Is your story simply an entertaining piece of fiction or are you giving us a peek at the terrifying fate tomorrow will unleash upon us?

Hopefully “Cast Upon The Water” is more of an entertainment than a prophecy. I don’t actually specify in my story exactly what caused the evident catastrophe, but it involves devastated land and rising waters. I don’t think you can read the story without thinking of climate change, and if it leads to a single reader taking that problem more seriously, great. For the most part, though, I just wanted to put a few characters in a terrible situation and see how they dealt with it.

What is it that makes post-apocalyptic fiction so appealing? Would the world be better off if more people read this genre?

The world would be better off if more people read, period. What they read is obviously important, but secondary. Unfortunately, post-apocalyptic fiction probably is popular right now because so many people do have an impending sense of doom. This is nothing new—Mary Shelley wrote a novel about a global plague that wipes out humanity hundreds of years ago. The most important moment for the genre, though, was certainly the introduction of nuclear weapons, which suddenly made the end of the world something more than hypothetical. Now we have to worry about the bomb, about pandemics, and about the climate. These are all, by the way, problems made much worse by widespread, determined stupidity, which brings us back to people needing to read more.

Do you have a favourite post-apocalyptic author? 

He obviously doesn’t always write in this genre, but I think the single greatest post-apocalyptic book I’ve read is “The Road,” by Cormac McCarthy. It’s probably the text that was most influential on how I wrote my story.

Some people like to listen to music while reading. Which song can you imagine providing the soundtrack to your story? 

Is Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water” too obvious?

If you woke up in your story tomorrow, what would you do? 

Cry some, I imagine, then try to find a library or someplace else with a stash of books where I could read away my remaining time. I’m not delusional enough to think I’d suddenly develop survival skills!

There are no firearms or ammunition. You have to choose an everyday object from the home or garden as your weapon of choice—what’s in your hands? 

The obvious choice is a kitchen knife, but truthfully my preference would be a baseball bat.

Time to get more personal. Tell us three interesting facts about yourself. 

-I didn’t begin publishing fiction until I was in my 40s.
-I’ve been to games in 21 Major League Baseball parks and hope to see all of them in my lifetime.
-During the pandemic I became obsessive about building Lego sets.

What do you aim to give your readers? 

Hopefully, a diverting and entertaining experience that will stick with them for a while. I hope most of my stories include a line, or an image, or a character that the reader will find themselves thinking about days later.

What are you working on now?

I write exclusively short stories, and almost all of them are in the mystery/crime genre. I usually have a few stories in different stages of development at any one time. By my count, I’ve had 85 stories published. I’m hoping to get to 100 by the end of the year! 

Where can we find you online? 

I have a website (https://jswalkerauthor.com/) and I’m on Twitter @JSWalkerAuthor. Among other things, the website has links to several of my stories that can be read online for free, so it’s a great way to get a taste of my work.

Thanks for playing along. Good luck in the wastelands!

Thanks. I’m honored to be part of Tales from the Ruins!

All Hail the Reviewer

All Hail the Reviewer (or Book Reviews: A Call to Arms) by Cameron Trost, Black Beacon Books

Independent publishers are always asking readers the same questions over and over again, probably because there are almost as many answers as there are bookworms out there. Why do we do this? Well, its quite simple; we don't have a marketing department, so we need to do our best to work things out for ourselves. Perhaps you've answered the kind of questions and surveys I'm taking about... Do you judge a book by its cover? Where do you buy your books? Choose ONE: print or ebook! Arghhh, hate that last one! But we do this because we want to put our books into the hands of readers likely to enjoy them. That's what the game is all about. Now, one of those questions you've probably been asked, and you've naturally been kind enough to answer, is: Do you read reviews before you buy a book? Am I right? You may have said yes, or you may have said no. Regardless of your answer, the fact of the matter is that many readers are more likely to buy a book with several ratings and reviews (and not just five-star ones) than a book that has none. Understandable, isn't it? That's why we keep posting on social media asking you to take a few minutes to leave a rating and review once you've finished one of our books. Ratings and reviews may not necessarily matter to you, but they do to other potential customers out there in online-land.

Consider this a call to arms to defend the indie approach to publishing. We don't want to (and can't afford to) pay for reviews, and to be honest, it doesn't fit with what we represent. We want to keep it real. So once you've finished that Black Beacon Books title you're currently reading, go and leave a rating and review wherever you can. There are links to the Amazon and Goodreads pages for each book right here on the website. You can even follow us on our Goodreads page. If you want to take it a step further, and you have a blog of your own, we're more than happy to get involved in helping you post reviews, sneak peeks, and interviews. Just get in touch. Anyhow, that's enough for now... I'll let you get back to reading that book of ours! 

 

 




Tuesday 21 February 2023

A Post-Apocalyptic Interview with Adam Breckenridge

Our next anthology, Tales from the Ruins, is going to be a cataclysmic one! It will be released on the 25th of February but the Kindle version is available for pre-order today at just 99c instead of $3.99. To celebrate the imminent publication of the first Black Beacon Books anthology exclusively dedicated to post-apocalyptic fiction, we’re interviewing the contributing authors. Behold the maniacal workings of their troubled minds!

Hi Adam,

Let’s make the first question a lighthearted one...hmm...okay, got it! Is your story simply an entertaining piece of fiction or are you giving us a peek at the terrifying fate tomorrow will unleash upon us? 

Well I certainly didn’t hope to bore anyone with it but I think I was trying to get at a particular angle of the apocalypse in the story by considering the way a certain small slice of the population would be little affected by it, though of course only for so long.

What is it that makes post-apocalyptic fiction so appealing? Would the world be better off if more people read this genre?

There can be something cathartic about apocalyptic fiction, especially in the times we live in, where apocalyptic scenarios feel all too imminent. It’s worth remembering that Greek tragedy often served the function of helping Athenians cope with their own struggles and uncertanties and I think this genre can do the same for us. It can even be optimistic in its way, since it’s a genre that is pretty much always about survivors it shows us how people can always endure even through the worst. That’s something I think most people could benefit from.

Do you have a favourite post-apocalyptic author? 

I don’t know if I can single out a particular author who I see as excelling specifically at this genre, though of course there are many superb works that have been produced. Samuel R. Delaney’s Dhalgren (sort of a mild apocalyptic novel) left a profound impression on me, as did Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. And of course we can’t discount all the great apocalyptic cinema out there, especially the Mad Max films.

Some people like to listen to music while reading. Which song can you imagine providing the soundtrack to your story?

Given its natural surroundings, I’d say no soundtrack at all, or perhaps nature sounds if you’re into that sort of thing.

If you woke up in your story tomorrow, what would you do? 

Probably die. I don’t have the survival skills my hero does.

There are no firearms or ammunition. You have to choose an everyday object from the home or garden as your weapon of choice—what’s in your hands?

A hammer. It’s lightweight and easily concealed but packs a deadly punch and might also come in handy if I needed to find some way to drive some nails into a piece of wood.

What do you aim to give your readers? 

I hope my readers come away from my work with something to think about. I’m not interested in just entertaining, I always try to go for something deeper.

What are you working on now?

I just finished up a smattering of short stories to start sending out. While I’m doing that I’ll be revisiting a novel project I had to put on the back burner for a bit because I hit a wall on it, but I think I see my way past it now. There is plenty more coming from me though, believe you me.

Where can we find you online?

I recently quit Twitter for reasons that probably don’t need to be stated (rhymes with Schmelon Schmusk) so unfortunately I don’t have much of a social media presence at the moment, but keep an eye out. I’m sure I’ll pop up again somewhere.

Thanks for playing along. Good luck in the wastelands!

Monday 20 February 2023

A Post-Apocalyptic Interview with Stuart Olver

Our next anthology, Tales from the Ruins, is going to be a cataclysmic one! It will be released on the 25th of February but the Kindle version is available for pre-order today at just 99c instead of $3.99. To celebrate the imminent publication of the first Black Beacon Books anthology exclusively dedicated to post-apocalyptic fiction, we’re interviewing the contributing authors. Behold the maniacal workings of their troubled minds!

Hi Stuart,

Let’s make the first question a lighthearted one...hmm...okay, got it! Is your story simply an entertaining piece of fiction or are you giving us a peek at the terrifying fate tomorrow will unleash upon us?

Maybe things won’t get quite as bad as my story depicts, but one thing I can be sure of is that humanity will always be treading the thin edge that separates darkness from light.

What is it that makes post-apocalyptic fiction so appealing? Would the world be better off if more people read this genre? 

Who doesn’t love reading about horrible people doing horrible things? Because we know that the future could never really turn out that bad, could it ? Because humans learn from their past mistakes, don’t they?

Do you have a favourite post-apocalyptic author?

I’ve always loved The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Its portrayal of the relationship between a father and son is breathtaking.

Some people like to listen to music while reading. Which song can you imagine providing the soundtrack to your story? 

Slipknot’s ‘People=Shit’ mixed in with Sparks’ ‘Left Out in the Cold’.

If you woke up in your story tomorrow, what would you do?

Given that I’m a big coward, I’d probably ingratiate myself with the nearest powerful warlord.

There are no firearms or ammunition. You have to choose an everyday object from the home or garden as your weapon of choice—what’s in your hands? 

Does a border collie count?

Time to get more personal. Tell us three interesting facts about yourself. 

I used to have a private pilot’s licence.
I played bass in some pretty average garage bands.
I’ve skied in Africa.

What do you aim to give your readers? 

Hopefully they’ll enjoy a good adventure story with some interesting plot twists.

What are you working on now? 

A killer opening for my first novel. Maybe involving a killer.

Where can we find you online? 

I’m on Instagram at olver.stuart. My brother and I maintain a website for our ‘Dawn to Dusk Publishing’ imprint (coffee-table books): robolver.com 

Thanks for playing along. Good luck in the wastelands!

Saturday 18 February 2023

An Interview with Małgorzata Mika

You've seen the cover for The Second Black Beacon Book of Mystery, now meet the artist.

1. Hi Małgorzata, Thanks for agreeing to answer a few questions for our readers. First of all, we'd like to know a little about you. Who are you and how did you end up moving from Poland to Sydney?

I have been living in Sydney for five years now as an international student. I come from a small town in Poland called Czechowice-Dziedzice and since I felt stagnant in my country, I decided to take a leap of faith and recreate myself on the other side of the world. Currently, I am studying IT and I hope to merge the technological part of knowledge with my creative side. I have dabbled into art since childhood and for a couple of years now, I have been gravitating towards using my artistic part for generating income and engaging myself in more and more projects.

2. Can you tell us three interesting facts about yourself?

I am a science fiction aficionado, but oddly enough my artworks gravitate towards horror, fantasy and its derivatives.  Although the realm of the fantastic has been captivating me since childhood, that has hardly been the case with the genre of fantasy which I continue to distance myself from in terms of my reading choices or other forms of entertainment.
I love creating concept art for games I would love to watch someone play, but most likely I would  never play them myself. While working on an illustration, I like listening to epic music (E.S. Posthumus, Two Steps from Hell, Tomme Profit) as it helps me to picture a scene more vividly and create artworks more efficiently.

3. How do you go about preparing a cover for a book? Do you have a particular process you follow?

My process of designing a book cover frequently follows a particular modus operandi: while illustrating short stories and novellas, the author usually sends me an unpublished text and after reading it, I am allowed to pick the scene that will illustrate that piece of writing in the best compelling manner. In the case of novels or anthologies, I am either presented with an excerpt of a scene that is to be transformed into a cover, or I receive a short instruction on what the cover needs to present. Once the content and style of the cover are delineated, I create a few sketches so that the client could choose the version of the cover they approve of the most. When the design is picked, I work on a fully rendered version of the book cover. Upon its compilation, I consult my work with the client to see if any corrections need to be introduced. When both sides are happy with the result, the cover is used in the publication process and I receive my remuneration.

4. What inspires you? Do you have a routine or special place you go to get the ideas flowing?

I would characterise my inspiration as very fluid and adaptable. When I create a personal work, a character from a favourite I develop an emotional response to may become my muse. On a daily basis, I find Pinterest very helpful in finding captivating photographs of people who will become my study project or the basis of my character design. Sometimes, it is the way a person looks at you, a unique coiffure, or attire attract my attention to such an extent that I feel the need to incorporate them into my artworks; at times, I attempt to paint my muses as they are with little interpretation of my own, just to capture their souls in painting. 

5. Who are your favourite artists?

There are a few artists that are close to my heart as I cherish them for their style and their professional approach to concept art. These are Adam Duff, Daniel Bolling Walsh and also mentors from the college I studied at, CG Spectrum: Bernie Kang and Brandon Reimchen.  

6. Where can we find you online?

You can find me in a few places. If you are looking for digital art I create, please check my Artstation: malgorzatamika.artstation.com or Instagram: @malgorzata_mikart. If you wish to delve into the written realm, head off to Medium (@malgorzata.mika87) where I post articles revolving around creative self-development and the issues affecting the world of digital art.

Thanks you, Małgorzata.

Friday 17 February 2023

Cover Reveal: The Second Black Beacon Book of Mystery

The Second Black Beacon Book of Mystery is set to be released on the 8th of July. You've already discovered the line-up comprised of both usual suspects and new villains...posted below in case you missed it. Now, it's time to reveal the cover. Without giving too much away regarding particular stories, it's safe to reveal that this second volume of what we hope will be a long-running series of mystery stories features a lot of poison! For this volume, we worked with artist Malgorzata Mika and here's the sinister art she came up with. We hope you like it! Enjoy that tea.

Alexander's Nose by Dave Duncan
Bread Pudding by Karen Keeley
Christmas Funeral Potatoes by E. E. King
Lost at Sea by F. K. Restrepo
Lurking in the Shadows by Edward Lodi
The Impossible Theft by Cameron Trost
If It's Tuesday, This Must be Murder by Josh Pachter
Justice for Jaynie by Yvonne Ventresca
Keep Your Friends Close by Maggie King
Too Many Sherlocks by Paulene Turner
Villainy in the Vertical Village by Joseph S. Walker
Screen Shot by Teel James Glenn
Spanner in the Works by Alan Barker
The Murderer's Vade Mecum by Erica Obey
There is a Tide by Elizabeth Elwood

Of course, if you haven't read the first volume yet, now's the time!



Thursday 16 February 2023

A Post-Apocalyptic Interview with L.P. Ring

Our next anthology, Tales from the Ruins, is going to be a cataclysmic one! It will be released on the 25th of February but the Kindle version is available for pre-order today at just 99c instead of $3.99. To celebrate the imminent publication of the first Black Beacon Books anthology exclusively dedicated to post-apocalyptic fiction, we’re interviewing the contributing authors. Behold the maniacal workings of their troubled minds!

Hi Liam,

Let’s make the first question a lighthearted one...hmm...okay, got it! Is your story simply an entertaining piece of fiction or are you giving us a peek at the terrifying fate tomorrow will unleash upon us?

It doesn’t seem like the rich and powerful have our best interests at heart, does it ? I’m getting a very ‘Russia, 1917’ vibe about the world right now.

What is it that makes post-apocalyptic fiction so appealing? Would the world be better off if more people read this genre?

Conflict is an almost essential part of narrative, especially in genre fiction. The post-apocalyptic element allows readers to see conflict in a setting separate from day-to-day life – same as with a lot of horror. That offers us the thrills but also the escapism.

Do you have a favourite post-apocalyptic author?

The classics by John Wyndham (The Chrysalids) and J.G. Ballard (Concrete Island) offer interesting takes on the stripping away of buttoned-down, English sensibilities after everything goes to hell. I reference Ray Bradbury in my story as well. More recently, Emily St. John Mandel (Station Eleven) and Chuck Wendig (The Wanderers) have been great reads. Utopias don’t seem as much fun, do they?

Some people like to listen to music while reading. Which song can you imagine providing the soundtrack to your story?

Mogwai with their builds from quiet to loud would be wonderful. Otherwise, Godspeed You! Black Emperor.

If you woke up in your story tomorrow, what would you do? 

I’m afraid I’m more a Greg than an Elizabeth. I’ll leave it there.

There are no firearms or ammunition. You have to choose an everyday object from the home or garden as your weapon of choice—what’s in your hands?

That’s a cool question because firearms remove the need and threat of proximity. If I was at The Deep End, I might go with a hammer. Or I’d pick up a bible, start ranting, and see if I could just become part of the furniture. That gives me a story idea…

Time to get more personal. Tell us three interesting facts about yourself.

Eeek! ‘Interesting facts’ are so subjective.
i. I’ve lived overseas for almost half my life.
ii. I love horror movies but generally hate true crime (unless David Fincher is
somehow involved).
iii. I once went to seven countries on three different continents in six weeks. I
don’t recommend it.

What do you aim to give your readers?

I hope to put my protagonists in situations where they have an inner as well as outer journey. I also enjoy exploring power dynamics a lot. I also hope to provide a fair amount of mayhem.

What are you working on now? 

I have a post-apocalyptic novel that I’m sending out at the moment. And a zombie novel, an Agatha Christie/Lovecraft mash-up, lots of stuff…

Where can we find you online?

I’m on twitter for now at @l_p_ring and on mastodon at @lpring@writing.exchange .

Thanks for playing along. Good luck in the wastelands!

Cheers! I hope they still serve good beer.

Tuesday 14 February 2023

A Post-Apocalyptic Interview with Cameron Trost

Our next anthology, Tales from the Ruins, is going to be a cataclysmic one! It will be released on the 25th of February but the Kindle version is available for pre-order today at just 99c instead of $3.99. To celebrate the imminent publication of the first Black Beacon Books anthology exclusively dedicated to post-apocalyptic fiction, we’re interviewing the contributing authors. Behold the maniacal workings of their troubled minds!

Hi Cameron,

Let’s make the first question a lighthearted one...hmm...okay, got it! Is your story simply an entertaining piece of fiction or are you giving us a peek at the terrifying fate tomorrow will unleash upon us?


I'm afraid it's a double whammy. In fact, the scenario faced in The Deep End happens - perhaps to a slightly less dramatic extent - in the world around us every day. Nowadays, we talk about the apocalypse in terms of a world-ending event, but apocalypses have happened over and over again throughout history...Pompeii and Stalingrad anyone? In my story, lines of communication have been cut for years. There's no longer any formal government or infrastructure, but the characters don't know whether it's the same all around the world, or just in their neck of the woods. This seems a likely "post-apocalyptic fog" to me. Entertaining, yes - in a brutal, primitive way - and so terribly plausible at the same time.

What is it that makes post-apocalyptic fiction so appealing? Would the world be better off if more people read this genre?

It's appealing as a writer, and likewise as a reader, because it provides a clean slate. All the rules have gone out the window. It's like writing fantasy set in your own street. Can post-apocalyptic fiction change the world? Let's be realistic here. There's no doubt the world would be better off if those in power listened to artists and philosophers, but that's not how the game works. Read post-apocalyptic fiction, but don't start thinking you're an armchair revolutionary by doing so. By the same token, don't feel guilty about enjoying it, but be thankful...because things could be worse.

Do you have a favourite post-apocalyptic author?

I have a confession to make...I don't actually read all that much post-apocalyptic fiction, or at least, not books that fit neatly into the genre. I would argue though that several of my favourite novels are essentially post-apocalyptic in nature; "High-Rise" by J.G. Ballard is the perfect example of "civilised society" falling apart, and it's heavily influenced by "Lord of the Flies" by William Golding...just swap that island for the microcosm of a block of flats. "The Children of Men" by P.D. James, although far from her best work, is also an original and entertaining novel, and in many ways "A Clockwork Orange" by Anthony Burgess hits the nail on the head. Reading the stories in Tales from the Ruins, the genre clearly has plenty of fresh talent and just as many troubling new takes on the end of days.

Some people like to listen to music while reading. Which song can you imagine providing the soundtrack to your story?

I listen to post-punk and industrial music every day and it plays a big role in my creative process. There are so many answers I could give here, including just about everything by NIN and KMFDM, but I'm going to go with a really cold and hopeless post-apocalyptic sound; Exercise One by Joy Division...there are Ballardian influences in there if you listen to the lyrics.

If you woke up in your story tomorrow, what would you do?

I'd do what my protagonist does...and that somehow both reassures and scares me.

There are no firearms or ammunition. You have to choose an everyday object from the home or garden as your weapon of choice—what’s in your hands?

My carpenter's hammer. No question about it. I prefer crushing to cutting.

Time to get more personal. Tell us three interesting facts about yourself.

I'm an immigrant, having moved from Australia to France...well, Brittany to be precise. Let's stick to the theme...ah, so I grew up in Australia but have never surfed...shock, horror! Three things? Okay...I speak French fluently, of course, but I also speak enough Breton to say hello, order a beer, and talk about the weather.

What do you aim to give your readers?

I want to make them feel and I aim to do it with an original and unpredictable story.

What are you working on now?

Too much...that's the simplest answer. There's a post-apocalyptic novel in the works, as well as my first Oscar Tremont novel.

Where can we find you online?

Almost everywhere, including TikTok...even though I don't know why yet!

Full links: https://linktr.ee/camerontrost 

Website: https://camerontrost.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/camerontrostauthor
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/camerontrost_author
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/camerontrost
Twitter: https://twitter.com/trost_cameron

Thanks for playing along. Good luck in the wastelands!

Saturday 11 February 2023

A Post-Apocalyptic Interview with Karen Bayly

Our next anthology, Tales from the Ruins, is going to be a cataclysmic one! It will be released on the 25th of February but the Kindle version is available for pre-order today at just 99c instead of $3.99. To celebrate the imminent publication of the first Black Beacon Books anthology exclusively dedicated to post-apocalyptic fiction, we’re interviewing the contributing authors. Behold the maniacal workings of their troubled minds!

Photo credit: Kathy Luu

Hi Karen,

Let’s make the first question a lighthearted one...hmm...okay, got it! Is your story simply an entertaining piece of fiction or are you giving us a peek at the terrifying fate tomorrow will unleash upon us?

It leans more toward the latter. It relies on the unlikely event of an alien invasion, but the message is relevant to our tomorrow. No matter how hard-won, many of our freedoms can disappear overnight. This can happen after a catastrophic event or because of complacency over time.

What is it that makes post-apocalyptic fiction so appealing? Would the world be better off if more people read this genre?

It’s appealing because it is shocking. We recognise ourselves in the characters and realise just how fragile our society is. If reading this genre meant that people did not grow complacent, then yes, more people reading post-apocalyptic fiction would be a good thing.

Do you have a favourite post-apocalyptic author? 

Not really. There are several books I love – “The Children of Men” by P.D. James, “The Crysalids” by John Wyndham, “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy, and “Oryx and Crake” by Margaret Atwood. If pressed to pick an author, I’d say Margaret Atwood. She does a disturbing line in post-apocalyptic and dystopian stories simply because the worlds she creates feel a breath away from becoming real. I also love Octavia E. Butler. Some may argue that her Parable novels are more dystopian than post-apocalyptic as there is no single catastrophic event. However, these books paint a frightening picture of the USA, where the apocalypse is a slow burn of evangelical Christianity and neoliberalism. Like Atwood, it’s all too easy to imagine that world becoming real.

Some people like to listen to music while reading. Which song can you imagine providing the soundtrack to your story?

Gimme Shelter by The Rolling Stones. It’s about war, but many of the lyrics resonate with my characters.

If you woke up in your story tomorrow, what would you do?

Cry. One of the characters in my story says, “I used to love sci-fi and fantasy. Before I started living it.” I think that is true for all post-apocalyptic tales. And then, because I would be an outcast, I’d find somewhere safe to sleep at night and locate possible food sources.

There are no firearms or ammunition. You have to choose an everyday object from the home or garden as your weapon of choice—what’s in your hands? 

I’d say an axe, except I don’t have one. {Makes a note to buy one asap.} I have a mattock, so that would have to do.

Time to get more personal. Tell us three interesting facts about yourself. 

I have a PhD in Ethology (the study of animal behaviour), but as there are few jobs in science, I work in IT testing software. I used to be an actor. I can dance, sing, and play the guitar and ukulele, but I’m out of practice for all four.

What do you aim to give your readers? 

Entertainment and something to think about after they have finished being entertained.

What are you working on now?

I am rewriting and editing two novels. I started plotting out a new novel and accidentally wrote the first two chapters. But that’s now on hold until the mammoth editing project is done.

Where can we find you online?

Website: https://karenbayly.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KarenBaylyAuthor
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/here.be.karen.bayly/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6596968.Karen_Bayly
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Karen_Bayly

Thanks for playing along. Good luck in the wastelands!

Thursday 9 February 2023

SAILORS' DELIGHT: A Post-Apocalyptic Teaser

Tales from the Ruins will be released on the 25th of February, and the Kindle version is available for pre-order at just 99c instead of $3.99. You'd be mad to miss out on that deal, ebook readers! We've been posting short teasers on social media, particularly on the Facebook event page, but it's time to really plunge you into story...to really tease you! Below are the first few paragraphs of Claire Fitzpatrick's scary contribution to the anthology.

SAILORS' DELIGHT - Teaser!

The sand was littered with the holes of polychaete worms and ghost crabs. The scratchy footprints of the crabs ran to the water’s edge as the worms wove their way in and out of the holes, their thin bodies more like red string than something that lived and breathed. Olive snails with great cylindrical shells ploughed through the sand searching for other small animals to smother and eat. Woven in and around the crab and worm holes were ant-lion tunnels, some of them larger than the others, almost the size of a saucer. Lydia adjusted the straps of her pack and stepped around them, treading lightly so as not to draw them out.

She’d been walking for hours, with no sign of a path leading to the caves or an ending to the beach. She’d followed the crudely drawn map and was sure of her internal navigational skills. But it kept going, on and on, as far as the eye could see. She ran her tongue over her dry and cracked lips and concentrated on sidestepping the sand critters. One foot after the other, she told herself. You’ll make it. You will. You must.

Lydia hadn’t seen anyone else on the trail for several days, ever since she was separated from the group. They’d entered a part of the track where the mist was so thick, and they’d stumbled through it blindly, knowing it was too dangerous to head back the way they’d come. At first, they’d used the climbing ropes from their packs to tie themselves together. But then the mist came, and when it finally thinned, Lydia’s rope was slack, and everyone was gone. They shouldn’t have left so much space between them. They should have done many things. But it was fruitless to dwell on the past.

Lydia kept one eye on the ocean as she walked; the frothy blue-green water stopped as it reached the tide line and slowly rolled back. Clumps of seaweed had washed up on the sand, and she picked some up as she walked, stopping to put them in her pack when her hands grew too full. She’d mix it into her stew later on.

In the beginning, the ten of them had made the decision to stick together as a group. ‘A wolf without its pack is just a wild dog barking at the moon,’ Jodie said. They’d found safety in a community centre, and took turns patrolling the fence at night, Kate often volunteering in case Joel came back. Lydia often wondered what she’d do if he did. Would he be the same wisecracking man as he’d always been, or would he be like them? Some people went mad when their loved ones returned. It didn’t make sense. How could the world do such a thing to them? For the religious, it was worse. How could God allow it to happen? Soon they realised all the tables and chairs they piled against the windows and doors weren’t enough to keep them out, and the group had moved on, searching for somewhere higher to reside...

TO BE CONTINUED HERE!