Robert New



Colours of Death

A Blacker Black and Whiter White

Due a weird conflux of having two books out with editors and catching up on my day job as a teacher over the school holidays, this weekend I found myself bored and with time on my hands.

I wound up painting an artwork. This is my first time doing such a thing for myself. The artwork is straightforward a block of black 3.0 surrounded by white 2.0. That’s it. But, like most artwork, it is the story behind/about the artwork which is what brings it to life.


A story I wrote for my forthcoming sequel to Colours of Death involved me researching colour, in particular Black 3.0 and White 2.0, both paints created by Stuart Semple for CultureHustle.

I was fascinated by the story behind the creation of the paints. A few years ago a blacker black was created. Known as Vantablack, it was the blackest known substance (absorbing 99.96% of light). However, Anish Kapoor bought the rights to it, thereby preventing the art world from using this incredible product. Out of spite, Stuart Semple created Black 2.0 and then Black 3.0. Black 3.0 absorbs 99% of light (regular black paint is about ~90%). It’s the blackest freely available paint on the market. What I particularly loved was that when I went to buy some I had to sign that I was not Anish Kapoor, nor associated with him in any way.*

This led me to ponder the broad intellectual debate as to whether or not a colour should be ownable. Semple refers to people/organisations which have tried to control certain colours as colour criminals*2

It’s an interesting concept. I mean if you invent a process to create a pigment then do you have the right to control that? In 2009, a new blue pigment was accidentally created as the byproduct of research into multiferroics. YInMn Blue (for yttrium, indium, manganese) is the name given to the pigment, which has at least been made available under licence. But what if someone wanted to own a specific colour? Would it be ethical for a colour to be controlled by one person or group? Given much of the fine arts are about use of colour what impact would this have on artists?

I’m not going to attempt a full argument along these lines, but I think the questions are worth thinking about. For what it’s worth, I don’t think it’s ethical to control the use of colour.

Among the main protagonists, the debate is at times a heated one, but it’s not without a sense of humour. For example, Stuart Semple makes his glow-in-the-dark pigment (called LIT) available for free to Anish Kapoor, so that he can see the light.*3

*Here is the text:

Note: By adding this product to your cart you confirm that you are not Anish Kapoor, you are in no way affiliated to Anish Kapoor, you are not purchasing this item on behalf of Anish Kapoor or an associate of Anish Kapoor. To the best of your knowledge, information and belief this material will not make it’s way into the hands of Anish Kapoor. 

*2 here is the text about them:

Why are the colour criminals banned? 

  • Anish Kapoor & the creators of Vantablack for hoarding the material and for generally being rotters.
  • Dupont for the imprisonment of tech consultant Walter Liew for espionage, after he stole and sold blueprints for their secret titanium white process for over $30million.
  • T-Mobile & its parent company Deutsche Telekom for claiming magenta as their own and suing small businesses for using it.
  • Scientists at ISIS Neutron and Muon Source who are in the process of investigating polar bear fur, insect scales and fathers for industrial and commercial applications.
  • 3M for their ownership of Canary Yellow.
  • Daniel Smith, for buying up the last reserves of quinacridone Gold pigment in the world, so that only they would be able to sell it to artists.

*3 Especially Anish Kapoor. If you are Anish Kapoor, can prove you are associated with Anish Kapoor or to the best of your knowledge information and belief this substance is going to make it’s way into the hands of Anish Kapoor, your order will be free! We want you to know how lovely it feels to #shareTheLight

Some Happy News

My book Colours of Death: Sergeant Thomas’ Casebook was released just on a year ago. I’m pleased to say it has sold over 500 copies in that time. A reasonable portion of those came from my most recent 99c promotion. I used a few different promoters this time and whether it was just the fact that my book was new to their lists or that they are just better lists, it was my most successful promotion ever. I sold over 150 copies. This was enough to put me on a bestseller list. That’s me at #6, outselling Sherlock!

Then last weekend I decided to google myself (not a euphemism) and stumbled upon a review for my book. The reviewer had bought it at Continuum last year. Here are some of my favourite parts:

“It’s an anthology of detective stories, following the same detective and following the theme of colours. Each story has a different colour as the title and that colour is plays a role in the mystery. It was great. I love the ingenuity of the author in figuring out some of the deaths. I’d never thought of any of those methods before so each one was a real eye-opener.”

“So, do I recommend it? Oh, definitely.”

You can read the full review here:

As of August the ebook has had a discount to US$3.95 and AUD$4.95 (Amazon US and AU respectively).

I’m pleased to report I’ve now written seven out of a planned nine stories for a sequel collection. I’m really happy with how the stories are turning out, even in first draft form. It’ll probably take me another month or two to write the last stories, but hopefully I’ll be able to get the book in ‘time for the editor’ shape by the end of the year. Who knows, maybe it’ll even be able to be out in time for the next Continuum, which I can only hope will run (& in a world which has eliminated covid).

Upcoming Promotion and Give-Aways.

In celebration of my son and my upcoming birthdays (we’re two days apart), and to celebrate the April 6th launch of Eddy’s Treasure which we wrote together, I am making my other titles e-books either free or super-cheap ($0.99) over the next couple of weeks.

The bonanza commences tomorrow on the 2nd of April when my best-selling book Incite Insight becomes free for five days (until April 6th). (AU, UK, US)

My most recent book, Colours of Death: Sergeant Thomas Casebook gets an 80% discount to $0.99 or €0.99 from the 3rd April to the 10th April. (US, UK),

My speculative short story collection, Movemind, is free from the 10th April to the 14th. (AU, US, UK)

Much News Part 2


This week a member of my writers group sent me an image of a display of my books that had been set up in her school’s library (where she works). It was really wonderful to think that my books will be appreciated by some new readers.

  • Next Novel

In February I repeated my trick from last year, which was to write 250 words a day on weekdays and 500 a day on weekends. Somehow, I averaged over 650 words a day and wound up writing about 18.5 thousand words of my next book. I’m hoping to repeat the performance in March, but even if I only hit my original target, I’ll still be 30,000 words into the novel when I start my long service leave. That sounds good to me, and means I may (just may) have time not only to complete my first draft of the novel, but also make significant progress on my non-fiction project which has currently stalled. Maybe, I’ll have two books ready for release in 2020. That would be amazing. I only have one novel and about four short stories that I have ideas for and particularly want to write after these current projects, but I’ve previously been in the situation of having written all the stories I’d wanted to write and still found new inspiration to write more. So, I’m not worried I’ll run out of ideas any time soon. I’m heading back to uni (degree number 6!) in July, so we’ll have to see how things go.

  • One last thing

I may be a little late, but I just found out that back in 2015 when I released Incite Insight, I made a bloggers list of notable Australian authored fiction for the year. Curiously, they had me in the horror section (it was a fantasy and horror list). Still chuffed to have been included.

Much News Part 1


  • First Lines

On the 20th of February it was my pleasure to launch the anthology, The First Line, which I wrote the foreword to, and contributed a short story, The Coat Hanger (also in Mug Punter). I chair the Monash Writers Group, whose anthology it was and helped publish it through Tale Publishing. The launch was well attended and it was great to get the 15 contributors together to celebrate having a story published. The launch was ably MC’d by Councillor Lynnette Saloumi from Monash City Council.

  • Mug Punter

In November my latest book, Mug Punter was released. This was an experimental project for me. The book is only 48 pages long and contains three short stories. It’s intended to be something I can just give away or use to promote sales (ie: buy two books and I’ll throw this in), but it seems to be gaining a bit of life of it’s own as online sales keep trickling in.

  • Colours of Death

In July my next full-length book, Colours of Death: Sergeant Thomas Casebook will be released. It’s a collection of nine short stories featuring the detective from Incite Insight, although, it should be stressed this is a stand-alone collection. The stories each feature a colour theme. I recently received the proof copy. It was great to finally hold the book in my hands. That feeling of having produced something never gets old.

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