Greg Chapman's Blog, page 7

May 29, 2013

As of this writing Facebook has (dare I say it) done a complete "about-face" and re-instated the official Witch Hunts page.

https://www.facebook.com/settings?ref...

We can only put this down to the support of our colleagues in the horror community who fought on our behalf to have this censorship lifted. We thank those who supported us. Power to the people!

This is indeed a win for common sense, but maybe Facebook should have put some of that into practice in the first place!

Although this is great news - for the record we still never received an explanation from Facebook or a clarification of what the "bullying" was in relation to.

Perhaps we need to set some rules for Facebook?
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Published on May 29, 2013 18:06 • 33 views
Facebook.

We all use it to share with friends, to promote our books or just chat about writing, but what happens when it goes bad?
I discovered what happens today when Facebook, in all its omnipotent wisdom decided to shut down the official Facebook page for the graphic novel I illustrated, Witch Hunts: A Graphic History of the Burning Times.
According to a very vague message from Facebook, the site breached its community standards, specifically in the area of "bullying". 
The thing is Facebook won't tell us what constituted the bullying. They just shut us down - even after we made an appeal.
There is nothing on our Witch Hunts page that constitutes bullying, or any other breach. In fact the graphic novel has received nothing but positive reviews from critics, is a textbook in a history program at a US college and is up for a Bram Stoker Award.
Worse still, mine, Rocky Wood's and Lisa Morton's Facebook accounts have been temporarily blocked for 12 hours.
Whether the complaint is genuine is now less important compared to the actions of Facebook. To shut down a page without a warning, or better still the opportunity to reply to the complaint - in other words to find us guilty before innocence has been proved - is ironically tantamount to wait for it ... BULLYING!
If someone out there has a genuine complaint then let's hear it. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Everyone is also entitled to have a fair right of reply.
I ask anyone who reads this to share this on your social pages. The only way we are going to get Facebook to change it's barbaric ways is to let the world know about it.
In the meantime, you can still find out all there is to know about our book at www.witchhuntsbook.com
Here's Rocky Wood's thoughts on the debacle http://witchhunts.lisamorton.com/wp/?p=339

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Published on May 29, 2013 00:00 • 33 views

May 20, 2013

For almost 15 years I've been a professional writer, but not in a fictional capacity.

My writing background comes from being a newspaper journalist on three newspapers in Central Queensland. I was a reporter for about eight years and in that time I wrote countless news articles and news features; stories on fatal traffic accidents, murders, train derailments, you name it. I had to do death-knocks (where you go through a phone book or electoral roll to find the family members of a deceased person and as them how they feel about it). I had to invade people's privacy and talk to them in their worst moments just to get a story and and earn a wage to feed my kids. I hated doing it, but it was my job.

There were good stories as well; stories about heroes saving people's lives, people getting justice, couples still in love after 60 years, charities making a difference, war veterans being honoured. Each person I interviewed left a mark on me and I loved telling those "human interest" stories. Not to diminish that the bad stories didn't need to be told too, but sometimes I wonder if the horrible things I witnessed as a journalist have fostered my passion for writing horror - at least on a subconscious level?

It was while I was working on one particular newspaper that two things occurred which influenced my decision to change my line of work. Apologies if this is all a bit too much, but I guess it might put things into perspective. The first story was about a man who died in a caravan fire. I was tasked with going out to the scene and covering the death for what would be the front page of the next day's paper. What I saw at the scene was truly horrible, an image of a deceased person that will be forever ingrained on my memory. I won't describe that image, but sometimes when I'm writing a story it's the first images that easily comes to mind.

The other story concerned a two year old boy butchered by a relative who suffered from a mental illness. Given I had two of my own children at the time, doing this story had a profound effect on me, but what affected me the most was that the little boy's family told me they forgave his killer - that it wasn't his fault, he was simply sick.

Let me state here and now that I was never offered counselling, most journalists are never offered counselling.

Although I'm a horror writer and I write pretty grisly tales about death and damnation, nothing I write will ever compare to what I wrote about as a journalist.

It took me a few years to get out of journalism, and for the past four years I've worked as a media officer. All of the stories I write are positive and the job is the job. I still love writing fiction and sometimes I wish it was all I did, but at least it's fiction and not reality. I don't ever want to do that type of writing again.
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Published on May 20, 2013 19:28 • 26 views

April 25, 2013

For years I've illustrated in the traditional way: pen and ink on paper, paintbrushes etcetera. I was trained to use my hands when I create a piece of art. I've always had an aversion to using digital media to create art, because in a way, it felt like I was cheating myself. I saw digitally-produced art being published and it felt well, not fake, but not true. I'm not setting out to disparage digital artists. There are many stellar digital artists out there doing fantastic work.

Until recently I felt that using a computer program like Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator would be to dishonour my own artistic style. Using a drawing tablet and wireless pen, seemed like sacrilege. Then I bought one. A small Wacom tablet. To be honest I was afraid to even contemplate using it, but like any artist, I wanted to challenge myself. To "have a go", as we Aussies like to say. Now I have used Photoshop and programs like to enhance or colour my art, but drawing on a tablet, not at all.

Over the past few months I've been giving it a shot and it's kind of like making a new friend or getting a new pet. You have to grow on each other. Just getting used to the wireless pen was a lesson in frustration, but I stuck with it. Below are some drawings I've done using the Wacom.

There is one thing I will say about drawing tablets. They sure allow you to work fast when you need to, but I'm not ready to give up the hands-on illustration just yet :)

Let me know what you think:



  
 All images © Greg Chapman

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Published on April 25, 2013 20:37 • 28 views

April 24, 2013

April 17, 2013

Brian G Ross has just had his novella "Replay" released through Australian publisher Dark Prints Press, who also published my book Vaudeville last year.

I managed to track Brian down and quiz him about his latest tale, his favourite authors and what he's got planned down the track:

Give us a bit of an idea about your background and how you got into writing.
I've been writing since I was a child, and (although I didn't admit this to anyone back then) it is really the only thing I have ever wanted to do with my life. As a lot of writers will tell you, it was originally an escape. Not that life in the real world was particularly bad, just that it was never as interesting or exciting as those environments you could build in your head.
 
Tell us where the inspiration came from for Replay?
Well, the original incarnation of Replay was written in the early months of 2001, while I was at university. I've always wanted to write a school-based horror story, and this is what came out. I think it's a bit like The Breakfast Club, as seen through a funhouse mirror. The version you can read today has been substantially overhauled.
 
What was the most satisfying scene to write in Replay?
Replay has four central characters, each with their own dedicated scene. I enjoyed getting to know each of my protagonists, and discovering their strengths and weaknesses. The longer format of the novella allowed me to establish their positions and explore their motivations in a way that a short story does not, and I am thankful for that.
 
Your favourite author/s?
Over the years I have read (and enjoyed) most of Stephen King's material, along with Dean Koontz. If I was struggling to find something to read, I would dip into their back catalogues, and they were my two basic food groups for many years. I discovered Ed McBain's 87th Precinct novels when I was in my twenties, and most of them are very good indeed. In one month I got through fifteen of them! His minimalistic approach to the police procedural genre is something I truly admire.
 
What's the last thing you read that really blew you away?
That's a difficult one. Probably Robinson Crusoe, which I didn't read until I was in my thirties. I went into it thinking the prose would be dense and that the whole thing would be a struggle, given that it was first published in 1719, but I was wrong. It's a fantastically engaging story that rarely feels as old as it is. Highly recommended.

What are you working on at the moment?
I have several projects on the go at the moment - I tend to be a bit of a creative platespinner, in that I rarely focus on one thing. The next story that should see completion is called Wyrmhole, and - other than a couple of very short flash pieces - it's my first foray into sci-fi, so I look forward to seeing how that is received.

Where can people find you on the web?
My website is http://briangrantross.com or Twitter @Slipwater

To celebrate the release of Replay, Dark Prints Press has discounted Vaudeville and Rope to just 99 cents! (Just select your preferred ebook format and it will redirect you to paypal with the discounted price)
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Published on April 17, 2013 02:32 • 53 views

April 11, 2013

At 9pm Eastern Australian time Friday April 12 (in other words, tomorrow!) the winners of the Australian Shadows Awards will be announced and I'm proud to say that I played a big part as a judge this year!

I was very fortunate to be selected as a judge in the Short Story, Collected and Edited categories this year and it was an absolute pleasure just to read works by other authors.

It was quite daunting when I accepted an invitation to be a judge. I thought - what gives me the right to judge other author's work, especially authors who have been writing for decades and pass judgement on them!? I mean I'm just a newb! What would I know? But then I realised I had to put the writer in me to one side and judge from a reader's perspective and as an avid reader of speculative fiction, I know what makes a good story.

In the end I devoured six collected works, eight edited works and more than 80 short stories in the space of about 6-8 months. Thousands of words; writers pouring their hearts and souls on to the page. Many of the tales resonated with me, while others lingered with me for days. They were the successful ones.

When it came to finally deciding upon the winners it seemed my fellow judges (Stephen Clark and Steve Gerlach) and I, were all on the same page from the outset. I'd like to thank the "Steves" for the opportunity to collaborate. I'd also like to say thank you to Australian Shadows Awards Director Robert Datson for managing the process with a great deal of professionalism and patience.

I trust that you agree with us when the winners are finally announced.

After seeing the trophies the authors will be receiving I'll admit that I felt the sting of jealousy, but then I remembered I received an even more precious gift, the chance to read a multitude of talented authors and experience their stories for the first time.

Congratulations to all the winners and finalists - you deserve it.

To follow the announcement of the winners just LIKEAustralian Shadows Facebook page.
the


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Published on April 11, 2013 02:13 • 39 views

March 25, 2013

The crazy crew at the Australian Horror Writers Association have released the cover for the upcoming 9th issue of Midnight Echo Magazine!
This artwork, created by Mel Gannon, is deliciously dark and I think captures the theme of the issue - myths and legends.

I'm very excited about this issue as I'm providing not only the next chapter of the Allure of the Ancients: The Key to His Kingdom comic, written by Mark Farrugia, but also the interior "corner" art and a stand alone one page illustration to compliment one of the pieces of fiction.

A story I submitted for the issue made it to the short list, but sadly no further. Still I can't wait to get my contributor's copy and behold all my artwork within when it's released in May!

Until then you'll just have to settle for the table of contents:

The details on ME#9 are as follows:
Cover art by Mel GannonInterior art by Greg Chapman
The Table of Contents:
Literature
Changeling by Jonathan Maberry
Black Train Blues by James A Moore
Black Peter by Martin Livings
The Road by Amanda J Spedding
Coffee Rings by Kristin Dearborn
The Wee Folk by JG Faherty
From the Forebears by Steven Gepp
Little Boy, Little Girl, Lost in the Woods by Mark Patrick Lynch
The Fathomed Wreck to See by Alan Baxter
Poetry
ganesh by Talie Helene
Comic
Allure of the Ancients: The Key to His Kingdom - story by Mark Farrugia, illustrations by Greg Chapman
Special Features
The Mythology of Mid-World by Robin Furth (non-fiction)Russian Field of Mysteries by Tony Vilgotsky (non-fiction)An Interview with Jonathan MaberryAn Interview with Mel Gannon
Regular Features
A Word from the AHWA President - Geoff BrownTartarus - Danny Lovecraft (poetry column)Pix and Panels - Mark Farrugia (comic column)Black Roads, Dark Highways #4 - Andrew McKiernan (column)Sinister Reads (all the latest releases from AHWA members)
Pre-orders for the limited print edition are now being taken. Please visit www.midnightechomagazine.com for full details.
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Published on March 25, 2013 22:12 • 38 views

March 21, 2013

 Rick Hautala In the past week the world's horror community has lost three great authors - David B.Silva, James Herbert and Rick Hautala.
 Even though I didn't know these men (I did have several exchanges with David via email when he was running Hellnotes.com and found him to be very cordial and receptive to the promotion of my own work), I respect them as fellow writers of what is a very unique genre.
These men, these writers, will live on in the hearts of their close friends and loved ones, but for those of us who didn't know them, we can can get some idea of their personas through the brilliance of their words.
 James Herbert

Here are the links to where you can find their works -
David B. Silva
James Herbert
Rick Hautala
  David B. Silva I encourage every reader, horror afficionado or no, to go out and obtain copies of David, James' or Rick's works and pass on your condolences by immersing yourselves in their imaginations. I'm sure these horror legends would look down on us and smile.
Rest in Peace Gentlemen and thank you for your contribution to horror.
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Published on March 21, 2013 22:54 • 30 views