Archive for the ‘Pete’s Work(s)’ Category

Whips, Shotguns and “Mud”

Perhaps I should have called this post “Monsters, Murders and Magic Trees”, given the subject matter of my latest writings. It’s been a great 6 weeks for me since the middle of March. A story in Niteblade and another (free) one over at Out of the Gutter. To top it all off…

Hazardous Press announces the release of Horrific History, featuring stories from a bevy of talented writers … and one by me. (Hilarious, I know). My contribution is titled “Mud“, a World War 1 horror tale and my homage to all the brave men who selflessly sacrifice life and sanity in causes they largely don’t understand at the time.

The anthology:

Evil has lurked behind the scenes since the dawn of time. Read the story behind the stories, and you’ll never look at history the same way again.

Featuring tales by Brent Abell, Pete Aldin, Jason Andrew, Monette Bebow-Reinhard, Rose Blackthorn, Rebecca L. Brown, Deborah Drake, T. Fox Dunham, Gwendolyn Edward, Aaron J. French, Tara Fox Hall, Christian A. Larsen, Ken MacGregor, Lynne MacLean, Adam Millard, Douglas J. Moore, Doug Murano, Christopher S. Nelson, Brent Nichols, Emerian Rich, Stephen D. Rogers, Julianne Snow, Cameron Suey, Jenny Twist, D. Alexander Ward, Jay Wilburn, David Williamson and Lee Clark Zumpe.

Available currently from Amazon.

The Whipping Tree

 

Huzzah! I’m chuffed to announce the publication of my short story The Whipping Tree in Niteblade Fantasy and Horror Magazine #23.

Visit the link below for your copy. Note that Niteblade are offering this edition as part of a fundraiser. You could just spend the $3 for the pdf edition, or you could look at some of the other prizes on offer for larger donations.

http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/337065/

 

 

The Next Big Thing

 

The Next Big Thing is an ongoing chain letter / blog virus / networking project, where writers answer ten set questions about their current work-in-progress and then tag more writers to do the same a week later. Been a long time since I was caught up in a “meme” like this (meme-ories…)…Ahem. Sorry.

The delightful Tor Roxburgh (author of the refreshingly original The Light Heart of Stone) has targeted me to answer these questions about my main work in progress, then pass the questions on to blogging writer-buddies of mine. By the way – http://torroxburgh.blogspot.com.au/2012/12/the-next-big-thing.html – You all need to read about Tor’s current work-in-progress. I just have to have that book when it’s done! Sounds amazing!

Let the Q&A begin!

1) What is the working title of your next book?

Sanctuary.

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?

A few places, like any good story:

  • the mistreatment of albinos through the ages (and in modern times);
  • the idea of two characters stuck together whether they like it or not (although this has become a minor theme now – the story has evolved);
  • and an image I had in my head of a hulking figure standing off in the dark haunting a town whenever a murder was about to happen. In the beginning, the book was going to be called The Quiet Man…then I discovered that was both the name of an old Western movie and an Australian pub.

As I said, the story evolved, but from such small ideas…

3) What genre does your book fall under?

Medieval fantasy murder mystery.

You know that really small shelf in the local bookshelf with, like, 6 books on it? Mine will be the 7th.

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

When I first sat down to draft this book, I actually trawled through some photos of largely unknown actors in a couple of agencies to flesh out the characters for me. But this question is asking me about known ones, so…

Father Marcello (our main character) – bookish, dry, a man of principle rather than action, a heart of gold and a sarcastic mouth that gets him trouble with his parishioners. I think Mark Ruffalo has the emotional depth and the wryness to pull this off. And when he’s called on to do a bit of action, it’d be realistic and not melodramatic.

Carmina (our female lead) – firey, angry, an outcast in her society because she dared accuse the local Bishop of trying to molest her. The murder victims are both friends of hers and she’s determined to find out who is doing it and bring them to account. She’d have to be played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead whose work in Die Hard 4 and especially The Thing prequel was great.

Gareth (our chief suspect in the murders and fugitive who’s taken sanctuary in Marcello’s chapel) – I was thinking of a genuine albino actor. If I had to pick a mainstream actor instead, it’d be Joseph GordonLevitt (who in my opinion has never put a foot wrong as an actor) … just with lots of makeup.

 

 

Nasty Bishop Salustio – not a good cell in his body. I’d love Vincent Cassell for this role.

 

 

 

Commander of the Town Watch Sergente Alesio – tough, seasoned, ex-soldier, smart-mouthed. I’d have to go with

 

one of my favourite “bit role” actors, Ron Pearlman, whom I’ve loved in a

 

lot of movies but particularly his roles in Hellboy and Alien Resurrection.

 

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

I’ve been telling people “Think Name of the Rose with magic and monsters” (when they look blank, I say “Think Brother Cadfael with magic and monsters” and they go “Ohhhh” …and still look blank.)

Let’s try another one: “A bookish priest and an excommunicated girl join forces to find out who is killing the young women of their town…and whether the killer is human at all.”

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

My goal is traditional publishing. I don’t have representation yet, but I have an agent currently reading the first 3 chapters of a completed epic fantasy novel. Soooooo, hopefully they’ll say yes to that, and I’ll be going the traditional route with Sanctuary as my 2nd published novel.

…Hopefully.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

3 long years…largely because my plot ran aground and it took 18 months to fix it and put it back out to sea again. Geez, did I learn a lot through that. And meantime, I wrote Last Among Equals which narrowly missed out on publication by Angry Robot books and is currently under submission to an agent.

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

No idea. I’ve never read anything like it. That’s my claim and I’m sticking to it.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Heh heh. So much. So very much. Ok, for starters, it has an albino character (Gareth). I was inspired to have a character who was painted by everyone else in the book as a villain simply because he’s albino.

This is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the idiotic novel/film The DaVinci Code and its albino villain…and all the other villains that have been albinos in film and novels over the decades. My character turns out to be a normal person with flaws and with a heroic and romantic bent to his character.

Other ideas came from my obsession with the abuse of power in religious communities and organisations.

And the conflict I often feel within myself which a writerly friend of mine (Davidh) beautifully defined for me as “The conflict between your religion and your faith”.

On top of that, I just love a good monster tale…and a good fantasy tale…and a good murder mystery. So why not do all three at once???

10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

Hm. A young woman is found dead in a disused wine merchant’s store. It appeared she drowned but she is nowhere near water and there is blood on the floor near her from abdomenal wounds. Also nearby is an arcane symbol meant to summon a primordial reaper-like figure not seen in the land for over a thousand years…

Also, there’s quite a few fart references scattered throughout the book. I’m nothing if not classy.

That’s me done. Now I’d like to “dob in” (Aussie slang) the following terrific writers to be the next links in the chain:

 

 

 

1 August, 2012: The Month in Review

 

Well, that’s July done. Not a fantastic month in terms of output. But a satisfying one in terms of editing, polishing a whole 12 chapters of my fantasy murder mystery novel. On top of working fulltime and doing a bit of study, that is a heaven of a lot of editing for me, and I feel like this project (which stalled for two years) is flying ahead.

 

I deliberately didn’t count the number of rejections I had on the same two short stories (but I think it was 6 or 7 all up). I actually gained a Personal Best in rejection time: submitted and rejected all in under 4 hours! Ya just gotta check a few new markets, find one that the story will serve well and send it on back out there. Then turn away. Get on with other things.

 

Early in the month, I made the decision that I’d leave short story writing for the time being and focus on my two novel projects. One (the shiny new idea / first draft) is where I go to play when I get sick of editing. The other (the nose-to-the-grindstone second draft) is coming along reasonably nicely. I find that in a first draft the idea that it’s ok to write crap and fix it later works well for me. But when I get to Draft 2 and a couple of chapters still don’t work for me, it can be a little disheartening. Fortunately with my new purchase (Scrivener), I’m finding I’m editing faster and by editing faster I’m keeping a better big picture view of the book and feeling great about it. Those other pesky chapters will get fixed in the next polish run.

 

Bit of a patchy post but that’s the state of my brain at the moment. Bring on August…

 

AHWA SHORT STORY COMPETITION winners

 

Congrats to the Australian Horror Writers’ Association SHORT STORY COMPETITION winner Joanne Anderton with “Always a Price” and to the FLASH COMPETITION winner Shauna O’Meara with “Blood Lilies”. I look forward to reading both pieces in Midnight Echo.

 

Unfortunately for me, this means my story “Mud” (having not won) now begins the search for a new home.

 

“Mud” was shortlisted for Andromeda Spaceways last year but didn’t make the cut. It’s been knocked back from several other publications since, and I find that weird personally, because I think it’s a more polished piece (and a historically interesting one) than Night Music or The Bridge, both of which had no problem selling.

 

Perhaps it’s the length: at 6900 words, it’s a harder sell than a 3 or 4 thousand word piece. Anyway, it’s back to the drawing board for “Mud” as its author tries to decide between submitting to a magazine, anthology or perhaps another comp.

 

I Need Your Ideas

 

Okay. This is a dangerous thing to do.

 

I have this story. It’s unfinished. It has sat – unfinished – on my various computers for four years. Occasionally I open it and think, ‘There’s potential here”. And then I stare at it for twenty minutes wondering variously “What happens next?” or “How does this end? Where’s it heading?”

 

And then I come up blank, close the document and turn to something else.

 

So. I’d like to know what you think. Can you see an ending to this short tale which makes it worth telling? I don’t want you to write it for me; just make a suggestion or two. Or not. See how you feel at the end.

 

The story so far …

 

 

Lifeboat

By Pete Aldin

“I never knew my father,” David said quietly. He wasn’t really sure why he was talking. Maybe to take his mind off the thick warm air or the hopelessness of their situation.

 

And why the hell was he bringing up his father? Why now?

 

Bernard peered at him through the gloom and looked away. A few seconds passed, keeping time with the flicking of the green atmosphere status light. Then the older man said, as if confessing, “I never really knew my kids.”

 

David reached around to massage his own lower back through his jumpsuit. “I mean, I vaguely remember him. But he left us when I was four.”

 

Bernard’s eyes had glazed over. “I guess, I got busy. Away on ships for months at a time. Not really there, even when I was there. You know?”

 

“Why would he do that? I’ve never understood it.”

 

“My wife, Dianne. Geez I miss her. She was always there for them. A fixture, rock-solid and stable.”

 

“My Mom, she was crazy as hell. All the time. Mad as a cut snake, actually. Mad like in angry and mad like in crazy. Maybe that’s why he left. Maybe she was that way because he left.”

 

David shifted his stiff legs, knocking against Bernard’s unintentionally. It was hard not to in the confined space of the lifeboat. Their eyes met and they looked away, suddenly embarrassed. Bernard pulled his feet closer to himself, holding them there for a full minute, then let them stretch as far as they could to rest against the opposite bulkhead beneath David’s seat.

 

David leaned down and rubbed at his calves. How long they could take it, cramped up like this, he didn’t know. He didn’t want to think about it. He didn’t want to think about whether or not anyone had received the ship’s distress message. He didn’t want to think about whether they were alone out here, no other survivors, just the two of them in an iron cylinder, waiting to die.

 

But he was, he was thinking about it.

 

He sucked in another lungful of warm moist air and blew it out hard. “So. What did you do on the ship anyway?”

 

Bernard sighed. “Engineering. I’m a tinkerer. Making sure things ran properly. Good money. Respectable job. Made the time go quickly.”

 

“Is that important? Making time go quickly, I mean?” David had always found it bizarre, the human compulsion to rush through life where there was nothing at the other end but death. His gaze took in Bernard’s pot belly, his greying temples and receding hairline, the capilaries visible on his nose. Presumably Bernard had once been as young as him; why would a man want to age fast?

 

“Sure,” Bernard grunted. “Why not? It’s not like I enjoyed the work.”

 

“Then why do it at all?”

 

“Gotta do something. Job is everything. When people ask me what I do, I can answer them.”

 

David snorted and looked away.

 

There was nothing to look at. He closed his eyes, feeling guilty for his mocking snort. The older man was pleasant, a nice guy. Even if he was stupid.

 

“And you, young David? What did you do? I’m guessing kitchen from the looks of your uniform. You a chef?”

 

He snorted again. “Just a kitchenhand. I was working my passage across to Centauri.”

 

“And what were you going to do when you got there? Had a job lined up, did you?”

 

“No.” He thought for a while. “I guess I was going to see what happened.”