Slither makes the Australian Shadows shortlist

Australian Shadows shortlist for horror short stories

Cthulhu Deep Down Under Vol 2Very pleased indeed to learn last night that ‘Slither’, my short story in Cthulhu Deep Down Under Vol 2, has been named a finalist in the Australian Shadows awards for best horror short story, alongside some very fine talent.

This follows on from an Aurealis nomination in the same category — go you little story! I found one of the early drafts of it just this week when I was looking for something nice and family-friendly to read at Clunes Booktown on Sunday (nup, have to wing it) — 2003. That’s how long it took me to get it right.

Kind of a horror story, kind of an alternative history, definitely an ode to my father. I’m very pleased this story has been noticed in this way, because it means a lot.

Congratulations to everyone who made the final running – it’s an achievement in itself!

Read the full list of finalists here.

The awards will be presented at the Continuum convention in Melbourne on June 7-10.

You can read more about ‘Slither’ here.
 

Aurealis Award nomination for Slither

Cthulhu Deep Down Under Vol 2Dead chuffed to hear last night that ‘Slither’, my short story in Cthulhu Deep Down Under Vol 2, has been named a finalist in the Aurealis Awards for best horror short story.

It sits alongside these finalists, and while a trophy seems unlikely, it’s an absolute thrill to think something I’ve written has garnered this kind of recognition, especially given what is a very talented field of Australian horror writers.

‘The Offering’, Michael Gardner (Aurealis #112)

‘By Kindle Light’, Jessica Nelson-Tyers (Antipodean SF #235)

‘Hit and Rot’, Jessica Nelson-Tyers (Breach #08)

‘Sub-Urban’, Alfie Simpson (Breach #07)

‘The Further Shore’, J Ashley Smith (Bourbon Penn #15)

The nomination is all the more appreciated because it comes amid the tension of the death throes of my PhD! Finally, something to smile about 🙂

I have a bunch of friends also up for awards, and it’s always great to see this kind of recognition for them. I especially note a certain Kirstyn McDermott in the best horror novella category (for her most excellent Triquetra).
Congratulations to everyone who made the final running – it’s an achievement in itself!

Read the full list of finalists here.

The awards will be presented at an event in Melbourne on 4 May, 2019.

You can read more about ‘Slither’ here.
 

Double the adventure

and then vol 1 and 2 by clan destine pressThe And Then… double-volume set of dynamic-duo adventure yarns has been unleashed.

A packed room at the Rising Sun Hotel in Melbourne was treated to a thoroughly entertaining launch by Jane Clifton (‘make it annual, Lindy?’), who highlighted the genre diversity and high level of thrills offered by the yarns packed into the handsome volumes.

Sadly, I had to slink off to work before the drinks were flowing, but it was great to see the project come to its fruition.*

Still, it was great to squeeze in quick hellos with fellow contributors Alison Goodman, Lucy Sussex, Amanda Pillar, Emilie Collyer and Amanda Wrangles, and to put a couple of new faces to names too: Evelyn Tsitas, Fin J Ross and James Hopwood.

Lindy Cameron launches And Then anthology

Lindy Cameron , with Michele in the background, doing the not-so-hard sell

It’s been a long road for publisher Lindy Cameron**, but finally the quest has been achieved!
The blurb:

… page-turning stories by 32 award-winning, established and emerging Australian writers of science fiction, crime, speculative fiction, horror and fantasy.
The settings are futuristic, contemporary and historical; the heroes are human, animal, alien and mythical; and their adventures are real-world, far-out, speculative, scary, mysterious, speculative and fantastical.

Head over to the Clan Destine Press website to check out the double anthology: in paperback and ebook.

* One day, I should really return to my broken Brisbane mythos. It really is a lot of fun.
** Vol.1 came out in 2016, if any of this sounds familiar!
 

‘Slither’ finally sees the light

cthulhu deep down under vol 2My contributor copy of Cthulhu Deep Down Under Vol 2 has arrived. It contains 10 stories*, as the title suggests, drawing inspiration from Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos, all set in the southern hemisphere.

Peter Rawlik, in his generous and knowledgeable introduction, describes the yarns as “unique and vibrant interpretations of the weird, the cosmic, the Lovecraftian Cthulhu, even in his absence”.

So there are two stories to my story in this anthology.

The first, is that this three-volume set being published by IFWG arose out of a crowd-funded megavolume called Cthulhu Deep Down Under (it’s great to see a couple of the illustrations from that delicious volume reproduced here) that came out in 2015. My story in that original was a reprint, in which I proposed an occult cause for the disappearance of skindiving prime minister Harold Holt off a Victorian beach. But a reprint wasn’t cutting the mustard for this revamped three-book set. A new story, please.

Which leads me to the second story, the story of the second story. Okay? Cool.

CDDU Vol 2 is now available for pre-order, and goes on sale on August 1. Vol 1 is in the wild!

The earliest version of ‘Slither’ on my hard drive harks back to 2003. I remember it being critiqued at a Vision critique group meeting in Brisbane … sometime. But it never sang. I’d revisit it on and off over the years, trying to work out what was wrong with it. Brought in a second character, changed the focus … I ended up with a second version that’s quite different, might even have legs of its own. But this version, this intense single POV and intensely personal version, just wouldn’t behave.

Until CDDU2 hit me up for a new story.

Maybe a little pressure was all it needed. I straightened out the narrative, finally framed the ending in a way I was happy with … I think it works. The editors certainly think so (whew!). Your mileage may vary. But I’m grateful that story is finally at some kind of rest, after all these years of haunting the periphery, its little black tentacles reaching out, refusing to be forgotten, begging to be set free.

So now I’m wondering, what else is lurking in folders of unfinished work? No doubt some will be, rightfully, left to lie dormant, but what others are just awaiting the right spark to bring them to life?

* It’s worth noting among this splendid company is one Kirstyn McDermott, an uncommon occasion in which we share a table of contents of original fiction.

Dark Imaginings: Gothic Tales of Wonder

image from Dark Imaginings at Melbourne Uni
 
What a wonderful title for an exhibition — how can you resist? For the University of Melbourne has prepared just such a show, running 1 March to 31 July.

It features artists, body snatchers, and some of the renowned writers and poets, and trick photography and magic lantern slides to get a little ghosty.

As well as wonderful art, there will also be some events, such as a curator’s talk, a workshop on writing horror/Gothic with Dmetri Kakmi (he knows his stuff, people!), lectures by Mary Luckhurst and Ken Gelder (on vampires!), and an “in conversation”.

This last item includes Kirstyn McDermott, Michelle Goldsmith, Narrelle Harris and yours truly, hosted by Louise Swinn (of Sleepers Publishing and Stella Prize fame, amongst other things).

We’ll be yarning about speculative fiction noon-1pm on 14 June at the uni’s Parkville campus: details and bookings here.

All events are free but bookings are required. More here on Dark Imaginings.
 

We have launch: Shadows on the Wall by Steven Paulsen

Steve Paulsen launches his collection Shadows on the Wall

Steve and Kirstyn


 
Kirstyn and I were stoked to be asked to launch Steve Paulsen‘s Shadows on the Wall, a collection of 14 spooky, at times extremely poignant, occasionally funny short stories penned over the past 30 years.

The launch was held yesterday at the Printers Room, the new home of Words Out Loud in Ballarat, and what a splendid venue it is. It was an excellent launch, with an eager and appreciative audience helping to celebrate the milestone. (Steve had a Melbourne launch earlier in the week, shared with IFWG stablemate and fellow good guy Jason Franks.)

The picture above is of Kirstyn and Steve chatting about the book and his career to date: very gratifying to hear he has more tales on the drawing board, and one might just be set in Ballarat!

Find out more about the book, and where to snaffle a copy, at Steve’s website.
 

Dreaming in the Dark: seeing the light in Brisbane

dreaming in the dark

A reminder, friends: I’m chuffed to be attending the Brisbane launch of the Dreaming in the Dark anthology, edited by Jack Dann and published by UK-based PS Publishing. Still gotta pinch myself when I look at the contributors to this epic tome of Aussie speculative fiction.

So yes, it’s worth a party with contributors (edited to add more — huzzah!) Veny Armanno, Paul Brandon, Kirstyn McDermott, Angela Slatter, Janeen Webb, Kim Wilkins and me in attendance; Paul and Sarah Calderwood will provide some musical atmosphere; Jack will do his thing; the book will be launched and you’ll be able to get your copy signed by a third of the contributors in one fell swoop!

Please join us, at Dymocks Brisbane in Albert St, on Thursday 8 December from 6pm. It’s free, but RSVPs are being taken here.