Saturday, January 27, 2007

Ten New Laymon Books!


I just found out yesterday that I was the lucky winner of a choice of ten Richard Laymon paperbacks from Leisure Books in the U.S. I was stoked! All I had to do was answer a trivia question on the Richard Laymon Kills website and go into the draw to win - and I did. How cool is that?

When I entered the competition I didn't really think much about it because I've never really won a prize like this before, so you could imagine my delight at getting an email from Steve Gerlach himself, informing me that I won. It made my day.

What I'm reading: Jack Ketchum's The Girl Next Door

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Devil's Number Update

Recently, I took a break once I completed my first draft of The Devil's Number. During that time I've been enjoying writing short stories again and have had a ball writing and re-working my latest one, The Chocoholic. It's nearly ready - all I have to do is re-write the ending to make it resonate with a prospective editor and apply a little polish. I plan on sending it out in February when reading periods open up again.

Over the last week or so, I've commenced work on the second draft of the novella and I've already cut two scenes from it. My prologue originally had three different situations that relate to the main content of the novella's plotline. After coming back to it I thought, it's way too much information for the reader before the main story begins so two scenes were cut, leaving behind the one that is the most interesting. This scene, I'm expanding with a bit more detail, just meaty enough without too much length to draw the reader in.

So the first half of 2007 will see much of my time taken up with the second and third drafts with a target completion date of 30th June.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

FlashSpec Volume 1 Review

On friday I just read a new review on FlashSpec Volume 1 on ASif's website. My two stories, Angel of Death and Bedtime Story got mentioned. Angel of Death didn't fare very well, but - you get that. Bedtime Story, on the other hand did get a favourable mention so it wasn't all that bad a result, really.

Since I wrote Angel of Death quite some time ago when I was a little greener, I have since improved my craft a bit more by writing twenty more stories, and completing the first draft of a novella so I'm not doing too bad at the moment.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

'Decapitated' is Released!

Yesterday morning, my micro story, Decapitated got emailed out to countless subscribers and I was delighted. In case you missed it, here it is...

Copyright Christopher Elston 2006

I am unable to escape the wrath of the storm. I turn in time to see the metal projectile hurtle toward me -- large, square and sharp. When it hits me, I feel nothing.

The side of my head rests against the ground. I gaze up at the turbulent sky, oblivious to pain as I watch my headless body sway in tune with the wind, waltzing with the elements until, finally, it topples to the ground. I stare helplessly at the oozing stump where my head used to be attached.

Everything goes dark as I plunge into eternal darkness.

Don't get me wrong, I'm delighted the story got published. But when I read it after writing it six months ago, I thought to myself - I'm not as impressed with it now. Could this be because I'm improving and growing as a writer? The mind boggles...

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Last Year's Reads

I just thought I'd share this with you, my list of books I managed to find time to read last year, in no particular order....

The Mother - Brett McBean
Carnies - Martin Livings
Skeleton Crew - Stephen King
Firestarter - Stephen King
Carrie - Stephen King
Cujo - Stephen King
The Dead Zone - Stephen King
The House - Bentley Little
The Collection - Bentley Little
On Writing Horror - HWA
Treasure of Kahn - Clive Cussler
Velocity - Dean Koontz
Life Expectancy - Dean Koontz
The Husband - Dean Koontz
Thinner - Stephen King
Uncollected, Unpublished - Rocky Wood
Midnight Voices - John Saul
Seven Ancient Wonders - Matthew Reilly
Shadows - John Saul

So, there it is. Pretty freaky, huh? I can't help it. My reading appetite is insatiable.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Off to a Great Start

On Saturday morning, I got up and the first thing I did was check my email. Imagine my surprise and delight at opening up an email from the folks at DemonMinds saying that they have accepted my flash fiction piece, A Visit From Santa. Feel free to check it out at .

Now, it's one thing to have a story accepted for publication, but another one entirely to have one published that just happens to be one of your personal favourites. They are also considering the story as a feature so fingers crossed for that. It's a hell of a way to start the new year, one where my goals are much more ambitious than 2006. Here they are, in no particular order:

1. To be published in Shadowed Realms

2. To be published in Brimstone Press' Black Box

3. To win a competition

4. To be published in Cemetery Dance (a long shot)

5. To win or be nominated for an Aurealis Award

6. To see my first novella in print

7. To become a better writer

8. To write thirty new stories

9. To start work on a novel

10. To be featured in FlashSpec Volume 2

So, there they are. I've aimed pretty high this year but I think you have to up the bar to grow as a writer, to focus on your goals and actually achieve them.

What I'm reading: Brett McBean's The Last Motel

Monday, January 01, 2007

2006 in Review

Happy New Year, everyone!

I thought it fitting that my first post for 2007 should be a round-up of 2006. It was pretty big year for me as a writer. I had just finished my Short Story 1A & 1B course at Tafe and felt a little lost because there was no safety net anymore, no other people to workshop my stories. I found myself getting over that quickly because the class had given me the tools I need to start a career as a writer - it's what I wanted to do more than anything.

So, I set myself a couple of goals. To get published and to win a competition. The first goal, I achieved in May. Two of my flash fiction pieces, Bedtime Story and Angel of Death were accepted into FlashSpec Volume 1. This was a turning point because it was very exciting to see my work in print within five months of setting the goal and it gave me the confidence to keep writing and keep submitting.

I also had my first radio interview with ABC radio in Ballarat in November. That was exciting - I got to read out one of my micro fiction pieces. That was real highlight for the year.

Later in the year, two of my micro fiction pieces, Decapitated and Silent Treatment were accepted by Flash Shot, which was also quite a buzz. Sadly, I didn't end up winning competition but, I'm sure I will in 2007.

The only let down in 2006 (apart from quite a few rejections) was that my sci-fi story, The Jaunt isn't going to be published as planned - the anthology it was submitted to fell through, but I've adopted a philosophical attitude towards it, knowing that it'll probably happen to me again, but I guess it's a part of the writing life and I've accepted that and moved on.

Above all else, though, 2006 saw me produce an absolute shit load of new material. I think I wrote about fifteen new stories which I didn't think was a bad effort, as well as completing a first draft of my novella, The Devil's Number.

So, 2006 was quite a busy and exciting year for me. In my next post, I'll talk more about how 2007 is going to be one of the most exciting years of my life - both as a writer and a new Dad!