Robert N Stephenson Flash Fiction & Short Story Competition Winners

The AHWA is very proud to announce the winners of this year’s Short Story and Flash Fiction competition, for the first time named in honour of Robert N Stephenson to remember him and his excellent efforts with the AHWA.

Firstly, a huge thank you to everyone who made the effort to enter. We received many more entries in both categories this year, in comparison to last year’s competition. To those of you who didn’t get on the winner’s podium, keep trying and never give up. It certainly doesn’t mean your stories are not great, and we’re sure many of them will be published. And there’s always next year!

To this year’s winners.

In the Flash Fiction category, the winner is:

“Mother Always Gets What She Wants” by Tim Hawken

With an honorable mention to:
“Nightingale” by K.S. DeVille

Congratulations to you both.

Our judges said:
“Mother” stands out in terms of style, structure, clarity and overall delivery, as well as being a snapshot of despair.”

In the Short Story category, the winner is:

“The Best Medicine” by Pauline Yates

With an honorable mention to:
“The Favourites” by K.S. DeVille

Congratulations to you both.

Our judges said:
“The Best Medicine had well developed characters, is an emotional and satisfying read, and had an unexpected ending.”

Thank you so much to our six judges for giving up so much of their time, and to AHWA Committee Secretary, Anthony Ferguson, for coordinating the entire contest.

AGM and new AHWA Committee

The AHWA recently had its AGM and some changes were made to the committee.

Firstly, our president, Greg Chapman, stepped down after three years doing a stellar job at the helm. Thank you, Greg! Also stepping down after terms of excellent service are Al Hodge and Caroline Angel. Thank you too, Al and Caroline.

A new committee was established, with Alan Baxter taking on the role of President after serving as Vice President for the past year. Also joining the committee are Paul Sheldon, Matt Tighe, and Chris Jacobs – we would like to welcome our new committee members!

So now the new committee looks like this:

President – Alan Baxter

Vice President – Position not filled, the Committee will seek expressions of interest from the wider membership.

Secretary – Anthony Ferguson

Treasurer – James Doig

Membership Officer – Paul Sheldon

General Committee Members:

Matt Tighe

Lynette Watters

Bernie Rutkey

Chris Jacobs

Let’s hope the AHWA continues going from strength to strength!

DROP BEARS AND TANIWHA (Australian & New Zealand Horror News) – August 2020

DROP BEARS AND TANIWHA (Australian & New Zealand Horror News) – August 2020

By Marty Young

Who wants to listen to me rattle on, so without further ado, let’s get stuck into all the horror goodies from the far side of the world!

The Australasian Horror Writers Association is simmering along so there’s no new update from them this month, other than a reminder about the Robert N Stephenson Short and Flash Fiction Competition, which is now open to submissions. Full details can be found at: (and don’t forget, the winning entries get published in Midnight Echo magazine!).


The winners of the 2019 Aurealis Awards were announced in late July. Congratulation to all the winners, and a huge thank you to the judges for the hard work they put in! For the horror category, we had:

Best Horror Short Story: “Vivienne and Agnes”, Chris Mason (Beside the Seaside – Tales from the Day Tripper)

Best Horror Novella: “Into Bones Like Oil”, Kaaron Warren (Into Bones Like Oil)

Bes Horror Novel: The Rich Man’s House, Andrew McGahan (Allen & Unwin)

The full list of winners can be found at:


There’s lots of interesting news out of the Well this month… Things in The Well publisher and editor Steve Dillon has announced the closure of his Australian based publishing company. Dillon has been extremely busy over the years publishing quality anthologies and collections, picking up awards in the process, but more importantly, raising money for vital charities along the way. The spec-fic industry will miss him (but see TiTW items later in this column, as Dillon isn’t quite done just yet).

Steve says “This is my last hurrah as a publisher, I’m afraid. But to celebrate the imminent closure of my literary well, trapping forever these things within, I’m giving away a 28-title paperback bundle of books… Check out the competition at the TiTW Facebook group:



Claire Fitzpatrick reports that her latest project is ‘A Vindication Of Monsters’, a non-fiction book about Mary Shelley. Claire says, “I’m inviting 9 authors to contribute 1500-2000 word essays on her work (not limited to Frankenstein), and her life. This can also include others in her life, for example her mother Mary Wollstonecraft, or her husband Percy Bysshe Shelley, and how they influenced her work. I am also looking for internal artwork related to the theme (I’m hoping for 5 pieces to accompany the chapters).

“Payment will be $50 per essay and per artwork, respectively. This will be a book similar to ‘The Body Horror Book’, in that I will compile and edit each chapter. Submissions are open now, and close October 1st; the book will be published in December. Contributors will receive an ebook and paperback copy. Please send any inquiries and submissions to”



New Releases

Recall Night (Eli Carver 2) by Alan Baxter (Grey Matter Press), was released August 25th. This is the sequel to the highly acclaimed Manifest Recall, and is available from:

“Eli Carver is back with a vengeance! That’s bad news for some but good news for readers. RECALL NIGHT is brutal, gritty fun and a phenomenal follow-up to MANIFEST RECALL.” — Brian Keene, author of The Complex.

Back from self-imposed exile in Canada where he fled to avoid the law following the blood-stained events in Manifest Recall–the first installment of award-winning author Alan Baxter’s latest supernatural thriller series–Eli Carver returns to the states with thoughts of starting over. But an accidental encounter on a train with a mysterious woman, one he soon learns has her own dangerous past, threatens to unravel his well-intended plans.

Upon their arrival in New York, the duo quickly find themselves entangled in an ongoing war between two rival crime syndicates. And with the ghosts of his own past continuing to torment him, Eli finds himself taking the darkest of turns as he’s drawn down a perilous path into a world of ancient religion and deadly occult rituals.


Pre-orders are now being taken for Outback Horrors Down Under, the latest anthology from Things in the Well! Here’s the link:

Eleven new stories from some of the best horror writers in Australia and New Zealand, including GM Hague, Robert Hood, Lucy Sussex, Dan Rabarts, Chris Mason, Tabatha Wood, and more!

Originally intended for launch at the Worldcon 2020 in New Zealand, the anthology presents an array of stories that can only really be set here in Australia/New Zealand. Written by authors who are either born or live here, providing an authentic view of some really scary scenarios…

Edited by Shirley Jackson Award-nominated author and Things in the Well series editor, Steve Dillon.


The Savage Coloniser Book by Tusiata Avia (VUW) – available for pre-order now from

‘The voices of Tusiata Avia are infinite. She ranges from vulnerable to forbidding to celebratory with forms including pantoums, prayers and invocations. And in this electrifying new work, she gathers all the power of her voice to speak directly into histories of violence.’

‘Avia addresses James Cook in fury. She unravels the 2019 Christchurch massacre, walking us back to the beginning. She describes the contortions we make to avoid blame. And she locates the many voices that offer hope. The Savage Coloniser Book is a personal and political reckoning. As it holds history accountable, it rises in power. ‘

The Lost Sea by Toby J Nichols (Severed Press) came out on the 15th July, and is available from:

A routine helicopter muster in Queensland becomes a fight for survival 65 million years in the past.

Finding dead cattle during the muster was the first sign that something was wrong. The trees and lake were the second and third. But instead of going home, Jessie Hall, his nephew, stockman, and a neighbor investigate.

Jessie feels safe in the helicopter but when something large knocks him out of the sky and he’s forced to ditch into the water, he realizes while they might still be in Queensland they have ended up in the past when the Eromanga sea existed, pterosaurs rules the skies and what lives in the ancient forest is even worse.

To get home they’ll have to cross the prehistoric sea where the Kronosaurus hunts.

The Better Sister and Other Stories by Piper Mejia (illustrated by Ariel Skippen) (Breach) was released July 31.

Covering fantasy, science fiction, Shakespearean tragedy, Greek myth and a strong focus on Pacific and Maori points of view, this collection of stories looks at the complexity of the sister-trio relationship in worlds where women struggle for a voice, a place to stand and peace in themselves.

Featuring the 2018 Australian Shadows-shortlisted “Planned and Expected”.

Available from


Extinction Plague by Greig Beck (Momentum) – released July 28 and is available from

Around the world entire towns are being wiped out, a trail of boneless bodies left behind from a plague of terrifying creatures risen from deep in the Earth.

Professor Matt Kearns, paleolinguist, and a team of scientific and military specialists, rush to decipher the hidden secrets of a pair of ancient stones that prophesize the next great extinction on Earth.

In a heart-pumping adventure that begins in the hold of a sunken German U-boat, Matt Kearns travels to the lost Nazi treasure tunnels in Poland and dives deep down to sunken caves below Easter Island. Matt is fighting for his life, the ones he loves, and the existence of the entire human race.



Red New Day and Other Microfictions by Angela Slatter (Brain Jar) – released September 7.

This is ‘a chapbook collection of 16 vignettes and microfictions from one of Australia’s finest authors of dark fantasy and sinister horror.’ Available for pre-order now at your favourite bookstore, or order direct from Brain Jar Press and get $4.99 off the print book price:



Little Sneaky Bits

Rose Carlyle’s first novel, The Girl in the Mirror, has created quite a stir, with a bidding war between six American publishers resulting in a six-figure deal with HarperCollins. Not only that, but the thriller novel has been sold into four other languages, with a major Hollywood movie deal already signed. Keep an eye out for it on October 20.

Lee Murray has made history by becoming the first New Zealander to ever appear in Weird Tales (established 1923) with her Asian-NZ grimdark fairy story ‘The Good Wife.’ Keep an eye for the tale in Weird Tales 364! Congrats, Lee!!

The audio debut of ‘The Masque of the Red Death’ took place during Words Out Loud, a special podcast released July 30 as part of the Melbourne Spoken Word Festival Online (which ran until 9 August 2020). The Masque of the Red Death’ is an arrangement of Edgar Allan Poe’s short story, originally published in 1842. This interactive composition rendition features spoken word performed by Jason Nahrung, with voice recording by Kirstyn McDermott, and music and sound design by Talie Helene. Listen in here:

Aurealis #132 was recently released and is available from This all-New Zealand issue was in celebration of CoNZealand, the 78th World Science Fiction Convention. There are short stories by New Zealand’s top science fiction and fantasy authors, articles on the history and current state of NZ speculative fiction, and reviews of 26 recently-released books by New Zealanders that should be on your reading list!

Wakefield Press has announced their October 2021 short story anthology Hometown Haunts: #LoveOzYA Horror Tales, which will showcase established and new voices in YA. Better still, there will be an open call-out across Australia for YA horror stories, with 4 slots available. Check out the full submission details at

Snapshot 2020 features short interviews with 220 (!!) spec-fic writers from Australia and New Zealand, and was put together by Tehani Croft in one heck of a stellar effort. It’s well worth checking out:

‘Australia’s premier genre film festival, Monster Fest, will return to Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth & Adelaide from Thursday 29th of October to Sunday 1st of November for 2020: MONSTER FEST – WELCOME TO THE APOCALYPSE. Once again in partnership with CINEMA NOVA & EVENT CINEMAS, 2020: MONSTER FEST will see all five cities play host to four days of diverse and highly imaginative film programming and we are pleased to reveal our first wave of programming.’ Full details, including tickets, are available at

DROP BEARS AND TANIWHA (Australian & New Zealand Horror News) – July 2020

By Marty Young

Lots of cool news out of Australia this month, plus a whole stack of new releases! So knuckle down and get reading – and please keep safe, everyone. It’s stressful and frightening out there!


Cancer can get fucked – but it’s not going to go away easily.

The Aussie Speculative Fiction Group are putting together an anthology called Stories of Survival, inspired by Aiki Flinthart, a member of the ASF family who is battling cancer. All proceeds will go to the Melanoma Institute of Australia.

ASF ‘have had so many offers of support in terms of cover design, reading the submissions, and editing the accepted stories that it’s been overwhelming! But now we need your stories.

‘We want stories with a theme of “survival” from every speculative fiction subgenre (though please, not too dark or gory). Try to keep them under 3,000 words, and get them to us by Monday the 28th of September.’ E-mail submissions to with the subject line ‘Stories of Survival’

More information at:




Some exciting news from Monster Fest, Australia’s premiere genre film festival:

Do you have an idea for a genre film that is both original and truly terrifying? Entries are now open for Australia’s ultimate genre film development initiative…AACTA Pitch: Isolation in partnership with Monster Pictures.

Monster Pictures are teaming up with the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) to bring Aussie writers, directors and writer/director teams an opportunity to pitch their concept for a feature that draws on the theme of ISOLATION.

Isolation is one of the most powerful tools for horror and genre movies to build atmosphere and tension from iconic contemporary horror films like The Babadook to gripping Wolf Creek, to the dystopian world of I Am Mother and recent box office hit The Invisible Man.

On offer to the winner is $10,000 in development funds and an Australian theatrical distribution agreement with Monster Pictures Distribution, as the first steps toward the project being fully financed and produced. The winner will also be invited to attend the 2020 AACTA Awards presented by Foxtel in Sydney, December 2020. More info, including submission requirements, can be found at:


New Releases

Outback Horrors Down Under, an anthology of Antipodean terrors, will be released by Things in the Well Publications in August 2020. Featuring stories by Australian and New Zealand writers G.M. Hague, Robert Hood, Tabatha Wood, Dan Rabarts, Simon Dewar, Lucy Sussex, Marty Young, and more to be announced soon. Be sure to like the Facebook page to keep up with all the author announcements and release information, including pre-orders.



Marty Young’s debut collection Behind the Midnight Blinds with other devilish things (Things in the Well Publications) is also scheduled for an August release, and will contain a collection of new and previously published flash, short, and long fiction tales, with illustrations once more by long-time collaborator David Schembri (who also illustrated Marty’s two previous novels).

For more information on this exciting collection, check out the Facebook page: for all the latest updates.



All the Laird’s Men by Sir Julius Vogel-nominated Tabatha Wood (Wild Wood Books) is available for pre-order at:

Corporal Hopkins just wants to go home. After many years serving with the Laird’s Men, he deserves his freedom. But while the long war that fractured New Britain is over, Raiders in the Scottish forests still pose a deadly threat.

Charged with dismantling a roving horde, Hopkins and his elite unit are outnumbered and woefully unprepared for the real horror that awaits them. From the shadowy depths of the great Loch Ness, an ancient evil is rising.

When the battle for survival in an unforgiving country never ends, Hopkins knows it doesn’t matter which side you’re on. In the darkness, everybody bleeds the same.



Car Crash Weather (Dark Crib Publications) by Matthew Tait is available from

Horror writer Michael Richards is disturbed from his daily grind by blood dripping from the ceiling, which steadily worsens.

Soon, the blood becomes Michael’s personal metaphor in a battle of denial …



Flyaway by three-time World Fantasy and one-time Hugo shortlisted illustrator and Ditmar award winning writer Kathleen Jennings was published July 28 by Available from:

Strange what chooses to flourish here. Which plants. Which stories.

Bettina Scott lives a tidy, quiet life in Runagate, tending to her delicate mother and their well-kept garden after her father and brothers disappear – until a note arrives that sends Bettina into the scrublands beyond, searching for answers about what really happened to this town, and to her family.

For this is a land where superstitions hunt and folk tales dream – and power is there for the taking, for those willing to look.

‘In spellbinding, lyrical prose Jennings lulls readers into this rich, dreamlike world. Lovers of contemporary fairy tales and magical realism will find this a masterful work.’ Publishers Weekly


A Sanctuary of Sorts: & Other Stories by G.W. Cook (Brain Tree Books) was published June 27 and is available at: With nine bleak tales set in New Zealand suburbs, countryside, small towns and factories, GW Cook stakes his claim as a writer of edgy literary fiction with this debut collection. His deceptively simple prose portrays a broken world, where the banality of life and the intrusion of The Western Dream is the disease, and the merciless response of nature, is the cure.


The View From the End of the World by Sean Williams is available for free from Andromeda Spaceways Magazine ( From the website: ‘In order to help our passengers through these troubled times, Andromeda Spaceways is proud to present some apocalyptic short stories by Sean Williams to entertain you while we lock you in your quarters. Each story has been given a rating from eleven (hopeful) to one (get out the tissues and prepare to be depressed) so you can tailor your reading experience to how you feel.’



Protégé by Australian Shadows Award finalist Anthony Ferguson is now available at: A violent tale of the troubled relationship between three generations of men, one of whom is dead.


Ominous: A Collection of Dark Tales by Ian J Middleton was published June and is available at If you’re craving a hit of horror, itching for a taste of terror, or desperate for a dose of dark fiction, this collection will satisfy that burning hunger within.

Eli Carver 2: Recall Night by Alan Baxter (Grey Matter Press) is out on August 25th and up for pre-order now:


Dimension6 issue 20 is now available for free download from: This issue features stories by Simon Petrie, Charlotte Platt, Dominic Teague, and Ben Peek. Well worth checking out.


Aurealis #131 is available from With stories by Joshua J Newnes, J Ashley-Smith, Davide Mana, and Dirk Strasser, plus reviews and articles and more.



Little Sneaky Bits

Jason Franks drops in to let us know that all three Argonautica Press titles (plus future publications) should be available in bookstores throughout Australia and New Zealand from August through a deal with Novella Distribution! More at:


The 9th amazing issue of Retro Sci-Fi Tales can be ordered now on Kickstarter (, with exclusive bonus stretch goal items. This 52 page, full colour sci-fi anthology comic by Dark Oz Comics ( features 6 stories and 8 pin-up/cover pages from 18 talented creators, all in the old-school, retro style fun of the classic era of science fiction.


Australian writer, editor, journalist, and former AHWA-mentor, Jason Nahrung is now offering manuscript and editing services. From Jason’s website: ‘This builds on a 30-year career in newspaper journalism, much as a sub-editor with skills in grammar, punctuation, spelling and clarity of expression, and a decade of providing editing and manuscript services to professional bodies, publishers and fiction writers. My own experience as a published writer further informs my practice.’ For more information about how Jason can improve your writing, check out


If you’re an Aussie or a kiwi and have horror news, or know of horror-related events or gatherings or anything else at all, let me know at and I’ll include it here.