As you guys may have figured out having read my blogs for the past year or so, we writer-types are a pretty tight knit bunch. You may not know this, but both The Lord of the Rings and the Chronicles of Narnia were both written, thanks in large part, to the weekly outtings to the local pub by J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. And that same camaraderie is still just as true today among writers as it was back then…though a bit more difficult to pop down the pub when your author friends live an entire world away. But it was this close community that I’m talking about that led me and several other fantastic authors to come together for a very special anthology that Seven Realms is releasing in October…THE GAME. I’ll tell you more about THE GAME toward the end of this post, but the important thing is that I wanted to be sure to tell you about each author that is contributing to this great anthology. And it hit me…one author involved has never been featured on my blog at all! Trust me…I’d definitely be remiss if I left him out. You guys wouldn’t forgive me for years to come…trust me. So, all that being said, it’s time to introduce you to my Aussie author friend, Alan Baxter.
Now it’s no secret that I really love urban fantasy. Jim Butcher. Anton Strout. R.P. Steeves. You name it…if it’s urban fantasy, I love it. So when I found out about Alan and his books, I definitely knew I had to get to know him. You see, Alan Baxter is the author of two dark fantasy novels filled with murder, magic, gods, demons, and all sorts of unsavory things. REALMSHIFT is the first in the series, followed by MAGESIGN.
Here is a product description for REALMSHIFT:
Isiah is having a tough time. The Devil is making his job very difficult. Samuel Harrigan is a murdering low-life who used ancient black magic to escape a deal with the Devil. Now he’s on the trail of a crystal skull that he believes will complete his effots to evade Lucifer. But Lucifer wants Samuel’s soul for eternity and refuses to wait a second longer for it. Now Isiah must protect Samuel and keep the Devil at bay, because Isiah needs Samuel’s search for the skull to continue…
…not for Samuel’s sake, but for the sake of all humankind. RealmShift is an engrossing dark fantasy thriller; a fascinating exploration of the nature of belief and its effect on the world. Magic, action, and intrigue, from dank city streets to the depths of hell and beyond.
Sounds REALLY cool, right? Well, it gets even better! ‘Cause check out what MAGESIGN is all about:
Three years have passed since Isiah’s run in with Samuel Harrigan and the Devil. He has some time on his hands – a perfect opportunity to track down the evil Sorcerer, Harrigan’s mentor. It should have been a simple enough task, but the Sorcerer has more followers than Isiah ever imagined, and a plan bigger than anyone could have dreamed. With the help of some powerful new friends Isiah desperately tries to track down the Sorcerer and his cult of blood before they manage to change the world forever. In this long-awaited sequel to the highly acclaimed RealmShift, Baxter once again keeps a breathless pace and blistering intensity with gods, demons and humans entangled in magic and conflict. This is dark fantasy at its best.
So yeah, if you love fantasy…the darker the better…then I know you’ll want to go pick up copies of these books! So, here are some links for you to check them out on Amazon!
Well, recently I had a chance to chat with Alan and ask him a few questions about his books, writing, and future projects. Here’s what he had to say:
1. I’ve already shared a little about your books RealmShift and MageSign…but I always enjoy hearing what the author has to say about their own books in their own words. Tell us a little about this series. What are they about for those who might be uninitiated?
RealmShift and MageSign are a duology of dark fantasy thrillers. Essentially they’re fast paced thriller novels, packed with gods and demons, monsters, mayhem and action. They fundamentally explore the nature of belief and how the things people believe can affect the world around them. I love to play around with religious mythologies and weave an exciting yarn around characters in our world and time, along with all kinds of less than human characters. There’s a lot of the supernatural, magic and intrigue along the way.
The first book, RealmShift, follows Isiah as he struggles to get a low down murderer, Samuel Harrigan, to the right place at the right time, while evading the Devil himself. Isiah really doesn’t want to be harbouring Harrigan, a Satanic murderer and blood mage, but the safety of humanity is at stake.
In the sequel, MageSign, Isiah decides to take some time out on his own and track down the man who taught Samuel Harrigan his blood magic, a man known only as The Sorcerer. Isiah hopes to prevent any more like Harrigan being created. But he discovers that the Sorcerer has a group far bigger and more powerful than he ever anticipated, with a plan more audacious and dangerous than anyone could have imagined.
2. Tell us a little bit about your character Isiah. Who or what is he? What is his primary motivation behind what he does?
Isiah is a powerful immortal. He was originally a normal human man, but he was taken by a powerful force known as the Balance and turned into an Agent of Balance. His job is to guide humans when necessary to keep a certain balance of faith in the world. If any one faith, therefore any one god, became too powerful, humanity would lose their free will. Isiah’s job is to protect all gods as much as possible and keep as much balance as possible in the world. This often means doing unsavoury things, but that’s his job. Over many centuries Isiah has become a very powerful man, far removed from the mortal human he once was.
3. Who are some of your favorite authors? How have they influenced your own writing?
I have so many favourites! Certainly among the top influences on my work would be the great fantasists and horror writers like Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, Clive Barker, Garth Ennis, Alan Moore, H P Lovecraft, Edgar Allen Poe… and so many more! I love writers who explore mythology and mysticism and use that exploration to expose the human spirit and analyse it. In my own writing I try to do similar things – I want to mainly spin an exciting, engrossing story, but it’s nice to get people’s brains ticking over too.
4. Now you and David Wood host your own podcast radio show called ThrillerCast (I never miss an episode!). Care to share a little about it? What people can expect when they tune in to listen?
Glad to hear you listen in! ThrillerCast is a lot of fun. It grew initially from the love of thrillers that David and I share, but it encompasses all thrilling writing, including genre fiction. So if it’s a thriller, a fantasy, science fiction, horror, action-adventure, we love them all. If it’s thrilling, we talk about it. On the podcast we review books, talk about the craft of writing and being an author, the nature of publishing and so on. We regularly have guests on – recently we had Jeremy Robinson on for a chat, and Trent Jamieson, Sean Ellis and others. We should be having a chat with Adam Christopher soon. So tune in and have a listen – it’s about a half hour or so every couple of weeks. All the info at thrillerpodcast.com.
5. Besides writing, what are some of your favorite things to do? Hobbies? Interests?
My “day job ” is as a martial arts instructor, and I run the Illawarra Kung Fu Academy. Other than writing, martial arts has been the main focus of my activities since I was a kid. I’m also a keen amateur photographer and big fan of music. I used to play in a band, but there’s not enough time for everything these days. I’m also a keen motorcyclist and enjoy a good bike ride – I find it’s an excellent way to let stories percolate. I go out for a ride and think up plots!
6. Care to share any upcoming projects you might have coming up? Any other books my readers might should know about?
Well, RealmShift and MageSign are out now in print and Kindle, and all kinds of other formats at Smashwords – you can track them down through Amazon or follow links from my site or Gryphonwood Press.
I’ve got a third novel in the works at the moment that I’m currently hunting down a publisher for, so I hope that’ll be out before too long.
I’ve written a writer’s How-To book, called Write The Fight Right, which helps writers understand the nature of fighting to make the fight scenes in their fiction more realistic – you can find out about that at http://www.alanbaxteronline.com/write-fight
And then there’s my short fiction. I’ve got a novella out, a noir sci-fi thriller called Ghost Of The Black, and I’ve had nearly thirty short stories published in a variety of places. Again, check out my website for details – check the Books page or there’s a Bibliography link on the About page at www.alanbaxteronline.com
7. Now you’re contributing to Seven Realms upcoming anthology entitled THE GAME…a collection of short stories inspired by the classic tale “The Most Dangerous Game”. I’ve already share a little about this anthology in general, but I was wondering if you’d like to share a bit about your own contribution. Without giving too much of the story away, what can you tell us about it?
Well, the exciting about this one was the request that we write a short story inspired by The Most Dangerous Game using characters from our published work. So I got to write another Isiah short story (Wily Writers published an Isiah short a couple of years ago). I decided to make Isiah a secondary character helping out a young fellow who finds himself hunted by a very unusual pack. If you’ve ever heard of The Wild Hunt you’ll have a clue what’s going on!
8. Finally, the question I always ask my featured authors (and I’m honestly always intrigued by their answers)…if you could offer only one piece of advice for aspiring writers, what would it be?
Write, write, write, read, read, read – repeat! All aspiring writers should read voraciously, all kinds of things from all kinds of genres, to really learn how it works for other writers. And they need to continually write and improve their own craft. You don’t have to write every day or hold any particularly strict regime, but to make it as a writer you need to read and write all the time and never give up!
Thanks Alan! We wish you the very best of luck. And as always, I encourage all your blog readers to support Alan by picking up one (or more or all) of his books! Remember, you can find out more about Alan at his website: www.alanbaxteronline.com. And be sure to check out his radio show at www.thrillerpodcast.com
Now, to share a little something about this anthology I was talking about. THE GAME is a collection of short stories inspired by Richard Connell’s classic story “The Most Dangerous Game.” We have an awesome gathering of some of the best indie authors out there today including: David Wood, Rick Chesler, David Sakmyster, Sean Ellis, R.P. Steeves, Nicholas Boving, William Meikle, Alan Baxter, and yes…me too! 🙂 As we draw closer to the release date, I’ll reveal more about the book and will be featuring these authors in upcoming posts, so be sure to keep checking in every week! You never know if there might be a really amazing contest or something waiting for you. 🙂