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  1. Representations of the Occult in Fiction

    Deep Dive for Continuum: Melbourne’s Speculative Fiction Convention
    Delivered Sunday 10th June 2018
    From vampires to sorcery and beyond: Representing the occult in fiction
    Photo by Heather RiddellMost of us, if we have any idea of the occult at all, associate it with select clubs, mysterious rituals, secret knowledge, special powers, and evil. If that is what you think, you are not wrong, but it is a partial understanding, not the whole picture.
    I’ve had a long association with the occult. I have a vivid imagination, which is a prerequisite, I’m super sensitive and I seem to be able to see into people and situations. ...
  2. A Perfect Square

    I’m delighted to re-blog this thoughtful review of A Perfect Square.

    Tinted Edges
    I received a copy of this book courtesy of the author.

    “A Perfect Square” by Isobel Blackthorn is an Australian novel about two mothers and two daughters. Eccentric artist Harriet has her carefully controlled bohemian-bourgeois lifestyle in the Dandenong Ranges in Victoria upturned when her pianist daughter Ginny moves back home after a breakup. Tension crackles between them as Ginny tries to pry the truth about her father from her mother ...
  3. Book Review: Last Year, When We Were Young by Andrew J McKiernan

    Here’s my review of yet another terrific collection of horror shorts, this time from award-winning Australian horror writer, Andrew J. McKiernan.

    “WINNER: 2014 AHWA Australian Shadows Award, Collected Work
    ‘Last Year, When We Were Young’ brings together 16 tales that defy conventions of genre and style, every one with an edge sharper than a razor and darker than a night on Neptune.
    From the darkly hilarious “All the Clowns in Clowntown” to the heart-breaking and disturbing title story, this debut collection from multi-award nominated author and illustrator Andrew J McKiernan pulls ...
  4. Book Review: Crow Shine by Alan Baxter

    I’m delighted to share my review of this short story collection by Australian horror author, Alan Baxter.

    “The dark fantasy collection features 19 stories, including the Australian Shadows Award-winning “Shadows of the Lonely Dead”; and original title story “Crow Shine” in addition to two other never before published stories.
    “Alan Baxter is an accomplished storyteller who ably evokes magic and menace. Whether it’s stories of ghost-liquor and soul-draining blues, night club magicians, sinister western pastoral landscapes, or a suburban suicide–Crow Shine has a mean bite.”—Laird Barron, author ...
  5. Finding my Author Identity: A Story of Alienation and Belonging

    How many authors struggle with finding their literary identity? Some know exactly who they are and what they want to write and it never enters their mind to deviate. Others struggle to find their way. My story should be a warning to budding writers. It’s far better to have things all figured out in advance. Here’s my story.

    It was early in 2009 when I first thought to write creatively. I’d already composed a memoir of the life I was leading then, a work since shelved. When that little seed of inspiration germinated in my awareness I was transported instantly to one of my former homes: The Canary Islands, Spain. A powerful, ...
  6. Deep Diving into the Occult

    For years I’ve been hiding a dark lamp of hidden knowing from public view for fear of being misunderstood. Thanks to the encouragement of my peers, this is set to change. On Sunday June 10, 2018, 4pm, I’m giving a forty minute talk at Continuum: Melbourne’s Speculative Fiction Convention on Representations of the Occult in Fiction, and I’m giving that talk from a particular standpoint. It’s one of deep understanding from the point of view of both an occult practitioner and a scholar of Western Esotericism.

    Neither of these things make me an expert in this vast field, other than perhaps in my tiny little quarter of it. Whole books ...
  7. The Drago Tree review to make my day!

    Sometimes reviews are long and detailed and demonstrate a deep engagement with the story. Other times they are short and sweet, but the engagement is still present, in the words the reviewer chooses to convey how they feel. Which is why I am thrilled to share this review, just in via NetGalley, of The Drago Tree, my literary love story set on Lanzarote. Really, reviews don’t come any better than this!

    You will find The Drago Tree in paperback ...
  8. THE LEGACY OF OLD GRAN PARKS – Isobel Blackthorn

    Delighted to share this thoughtful review of The Legacy of Old Gran Parks from book critic, Ann Creber.

    a good book, a good life
    WARNING: Don’t read this book if you are planning a trip to Cann River or if you are about to tuck into a pie!! (Oh, and maybe you’d better give it a miss if you are an admirer of Joan Baez!)
    If none of these constraints apply, then you can settle to an entertaining, startling, violent ...
  9. Book review: Wanderers No More by Michelle Saftich

    Having read and thoroughly enjoyed Port of No Return by Michelle Saftich, I am delighted to share my review of its sequel, Wanderers No More.

    “The war may be over, but the fight to belong is just beginning.
    Left homeless, starving, and almost killed by the Second World War, the Saforo family are refugees fleeing Italy for a better life. The shores of Australia are calling to them and they head off, packing dreams of jobs, a home and … soccer.
    But from the moment they get off the boat, adapting to the Australian way of life is harder than
    it seems. Their family doesn’t speak right, eat right or even look right. As they struggle ...
  10. Book review: Return to Tamarlin by K. M. Steele

    It is rare that I read a general fiction novel set in rural Australia. I thought I better spread my wings a little, so here’s my review of Return to Tamarlin by K. M. Steele.

    “When Tamara Slender disappears from an isolated property in Western NSW in 1975, gossip runs wild with rumours she has run off with a local man, Roger Bryte.
    Months later, Tamara’s teenage daughters, Nancy and Mary, realise they encountered Bryte in caves on their property the day before their mother disappeared. Despite their suspicions, their father refuses to involve the police, and the girl’s grief, fuelled by the town gossips and their father’s inaction, ...
  11. My #GranParks author interview on Jera’s Jamboree

    Big thanks to Shaz of Jera’s Jamboree for inviting me to answer her interesting questions! Here I reveal the inside story of The Legacy of Old Gran Parks.
    “Please summarise The Legacy of Gran Parks in 20 words or less.
    In a lawless town in a coastal wilderness, four women encounter four deviant men. Gran Parks stands at the crossroads.

    What was the idea/inspiration for your novel?
    I started with the setting. A friend and former neighbour had relocated to a remote town deep in the forest on Australia’s south-eastern corner. I know the town as I have passed through it many times on my way up the coast from Melbourne. Cann River is a coach stop; it’s where tourists pull in for a rest after driving through the forest ...
  12. Book review: Them by James Watts

    Continuing my run of horror novel reviews, I am delighted to share my review of Them by James Watts.

    “Ray Sanders returns home from Florida to bury his mother.
    Soon, the supernatural evidence behind his mother’s demise begins to surface in the form of dreams and mysterious happenings.
    During all of the madness, Sanders must face his destiny and vanquish the generations-old evil that has plagued his family since the 1800’s…
    In 1854, Louis Sanders, with the help of Elias Atkins, dug a well to provide water to the family farm. What they did not anticipate was the water to be infested ...
  13. The Legacy of Old Gran Parks’ Book Tour wrap up

    First, I would like to thank Faye Rogers for her efforts in organising this book tour and all those book bloggers who read my book and wrote some fabulous reviews. The tour has had its highs and lows. Here are my reflections:
    When a new book comes out, it is the job of authors and publishers to go on the hunt for reviews. The more the better and the one place we want them all to end up is on Amazon, because Amazon counts reviews and based on the number (not the quality) it will activate its own internal promotion of your book. We need 20-25, or better still 50, to be taken seriously. Less than 10 looks sad. To make matters even harder, Amazon splits the reviews up, so a review posted on the UK site or the AU site does not appear on the ...
  14. Blog Tour + Review : The Legacy of Old Gran Parks by Isobel Blackthorn

    A fabulous review of The Legacy of Old Gran Parks!

    Bibliophile Angel Book Review Blog

    Set in Cann River in Australia’s rugged southern wilderness, The Legacy of Old Gran Parks is a tale of a remote town haunted by a legacy, a legacy with ominous consequences.
    It’s a warm evening in the autumn of 1983 when Miriam Forster rolls into town in her broken down car.
    Frankie the deer hunter, is up in the forested hinterland with her gun. ...
  15. Book review: The Amnesia Girl by Gerri R. Gray

    The horror genre is vast and catches comedy in its net. Gerri Gray’s The Amnesia Girl is a shining example of top-class comedy-horror.

    “Filled with copious amounts of black humor, Gerri R. Gray’s first published novel is an offbeat adventure story that could be described as One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest meets Thelma and Louise.
    Flashback to 1974. Farika is a lovely young woman who wakes up one day to find herself a patient in a bizarre New York City psychiatric asylum. She has no idea who she is, and possesses no memories of where she came from nor how she got there.
    Fearing for her life after being attacked ...