This book arrived in the post yesterday. In Sunshine Bright and Darkness Deep: An Anthology of Australian Horror collects short stories from 14 members of the Australian Horror Writers Association. “If you are unfamiliar with Australian horror, let this book be just the first step on a long voyage of dark discovery,” the blurb says.
The anthology contains a reprint of my story ‘Triage’, from 2005 — the only reprint in the book. I offered ‘Triage’ because it’s a special story to me, and it had only a limited airing on first printing, in sf-envision, a magazine printed by Fantastic Queensland that came out of the EnVision writers workshop run in 2003 and 2004 in Brisbane.
It was at this workshop that I largely met the people who would form the Writers on the Edge critique group, who remain good friends even though my departure from Brisbane spelled the ultimate end of the critique meetings. Some of us still share stories online.
It was also where I got to know the tutors, and these industry contacts have become friends over the years: like minds, generous spirits.
The message here: go to workshops, improve your craft, never stop learning, meet people. Be kind to one another. Pay it forward.
‘Triage’ is also important because it mined the death of a close friend; it tried to give him, on some ultimately inadequate level, what the story’s hero, Nosplentyn, tries to do for the dying patient: a memorial of the heart and mind. Nosplentyn, a name coined by one of my roleplaying game mates and used with his blessing, is a prototype for the Needle in my Vampires in the Sunshine State books. He has changed much, as have we all.
We in the Edge Writers have since lost one of our own. Nea has a story in sf-envision, an excerpt of her then work in progress that, sadly, never saw publication. We hold them in our memories, these ageless loves, and the words take us back to them and the times we shared.
So ‘Triage’ is both sunshine and darkness, a touchstone for bright memories and dark ones. It seemed to fit for the AHWA’s book. Bon voyage.
* ADDENDUM: the book is officially launched 18 September. Its appearance on Amazon beforehand was to allow contributor copies to be sent out. But, y’know, wishlist away!