Archive for November, 2009

Sinister Reads ~ It’s a Stoker kind of thing.

Posted in Awards Announcements on November 28, 2009 by ahwasinisterreads

Public Service Announcement

We interrupt this Stoker update to bring you some important information:

Calling all clown haters! We need your help! We’ve just been informed that Santa Claus is a white face and a red nose away from being a clown, and has ditched those two elements of his look in order to gain our trust. Would you go to so much trouble with the cooking and the presents to let Pennywise or Ronald McDonald break into your house once a year? We didn’t think so. We need to defend ourselves! Lace the cookies with poison, hook up the Christmas lights with the dodgy wiring, and rig the fireplace to see just how flame resistant that cheery red suit is. We all have to band together to defeat the real menace, after all ‘He knows when you are sleeping. He knows when you’re awake…”. We have surplus razor wire if anyone needs it.

And now we return to our regular programming.


Recommended for Short Fiction

Sinister Slices is what we like to call them. Those little stories that sneak up on and take your breath away (and maybe a kidney – we’ve heard rumours) leaving you wanting more. Ask any writer and they will tell you that writing the perfect short story is an artform, an often thankless pursuit in which the wordsmith labours under a tyrannical muse as the shapeless creature demands eloquence, articulation and a bottle of our finest red – nothing less. The writers we are about to introduce to you have fed the muse and met its demands, granting them a spot on the recommended list for the Stokers. They also wish to ask that should anyone have a case of AB negative blood lying around they would be happy to take it off your hands – no questions asked.

Joanne Anderton ~ Shadow of Drought

We all know the story – to get any kind of job within three miles of the publishing industry you have to kill someone in the biz and assume their identity – so while ‘Joanne‘ was at work  we took the liberty of excavating her backyard. Once we found the leverage we needed we gave ‘Joanne’ a call and she was happy to answer a few of our questions.

From her home in Sydney, ‘Joanne’ puts in some serious overtime to keep her muse satisfied – dedicating nights, weekends and lunch hours to serve its macabre appetite. Her disguise as a mild-mannered marketing co-ordinator for an Australian book distributor is complimented by a beloved husband and a menagerie of animals to help her blend into the background as she offers up her creative heart in service to the beast. Her labours have appeared in Midnight Echo #2, CSFG’s Masques, Australian Dark Fantasy and Horror Vol 3, and Aurealis. When her muse wasn’t looking, she once tested the self destruct button for Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine and survived long enough to edit Issue #34.

While ‘Joanne’ was busy muttering something about lawyers and a restraining order, we asked her what creative veins she was tapped into at the moment. Once we assured her that we would hand over the evidence as soon as we had an answer, she told us that she is currently working on a dark fantasy/steampunk-ish trilogy, and whatever short stories her muse demands on their way home from work.

David Conyers & Brian M. Sammons~ Six-legged Shadows

When we went looking for David and Brian for a little Q&A and only managed to catch up with David – we have to admit we started to worry. With David living in Adelaide we admit that the whole ‘life imitating art’ concept may have crossed our minds, but David assured us that Brian is alive and well, even if he is chained up downstairs working on their current collaboration.

David’s love of sci-fi and horror has seen his fiction appear in Jupiter, Book of Dark Wisdom, Midnight Echo, Antipodean SF, and Andromeda Spaceways as well as a dozen anthologies published world wide. He is the co-author with John Sunseri of the novel The Spiraling Worm and editor of the horror anthology Cthulhu’s Dark Cults, both published in the United States. His fiction has also earned him the Australian Horror Writer’s Association’s Flash Fiction Award in 2007 and seen him shortlisted for the international Aeon Award in 2007 and receive multiple nominations for the Aurealis, Australian Shadows and Ditmar Awards.

When we asked David what his muse had lined up for him, his list made us wonder who was working who. There’s the space opera novel, editing a science fiction horror issue of Midnight Echo with Jason Fischer and David Kernot, several more short stories, mostly science fiction, in development, one of which is a collaboration with Brian M. Sammons on a new Cthulhu Mythos novella in the same setting as The Spiraling Worm. Not to mention the upcoming anthologies Best New Tales of the Apocalypse, Macabre and Scenes from the Second Storey that will feature his stories. Hmmm, perhaps we should get a blood test to see which one of you is shelling out the blood fee…

Jason Crowe ~ Losing Tahlia

Another Sydney-sider, Jason dwells in the metropolis with his wife and daughters where he would have you believe he’s just an ordinary guy. If only we didn’t know better…

Jason’s published work has thus far haunted the pages of Midnight Echo and Shroud Magazine, with more coming soon in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine. When he isn’t ignoring the consistent pleas from a certain individual (you know who you are) to write his black comedy starring Mr Squiggle, his muse and the AHWA crit group keep him chained to his PC as often as possible to ensure his list of publishing credits continues to grow.

After we distracted his muse with a blue steak, Jason was able to tell us that he continues to explore the world of his story Losing Tahlia, with more tales in the Wounded Bay series. He is also working on a dark urban fantasy novel The Sea of Thoughts, with various other short stories at various stages of development.

Now about the Mr Squiggle story…

Miranda Siemienowicz ~ Penthouse

Short fiction along the dark literary surrealist spectrum keeps Miranda and muse tied to their keyboard. From their home in Melbourne, they have straddled the great literary/genre divide to get work published in many major Australian literary journals including Island, Overland, Quadrant and Hecate as well as speculative fiction magazines such as Aurealis. Some of her stories have been or will be reprinted in anthologies including Ellen Datlow’s Best Horror of the Year, Volume 1 and the Brimstone Press Australian Dark Fantasy and Horror series. Be sure to check out some of the fruit of Miranda’s bloodletting here.

In recent months, Miranda has been involved with Coeur de Lion editor and publisher Keith Stevenson’s short fiction podcast Terra Incognita Speculative Fiction reading her story Aleph Mem Tav, a medieval philosophical psychology piece about loyalty and sacrifice. Make a cup of coffee, pull up a chair and take the time to enjoy some first class story telling from one of Australia’s rising stars. We’re sure your muse won’t mind if you take a little break.

Felicity Dowker ~ The Emancipated Dance

Being recommended for two categories is no small feat, and Felicity’s work is generating some attention. We chased her down to get the scoop on what her muse has got her working on at the moment.

Felicity is currently halfway through the first draft of a very dark urban fantasy novel. She’s also knee-deep in a multitude of half-finished short stories, targeting Weird Tales and Writers of the Future (where she received an Honourable Mention in the most recent quarter); but her main focus is getting that novel publishable. As always, Felicity is reading and reviewing for the Specusphere. She’s also editing issue #44 of Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine (due for publication in February 2010). And, because she never sleeps, Felicity recently joined the AHWA committee, where she has just secured the legendary Clive Barker for an online Halloween chat with AHWA members.

Hands up all those that believe that Felicity is manipulating the space-time continuum?


Best of luck to all of our writers on making it into the long ballot, and may your muse keep you occupied in the meantime.

P.S. SR team 29 – Smurfs 29. We found the golf clubs.

Sinister Reads ~ It’s a Stoker kind of thing.

Posted in Awards Announcements on November 22, 2009 by ahwasinisterreads

We’ve taken a break from making our preparations for the Jolly Fat Man to introduce you to another Stoker’s hopeful. As these offerings to the gods of Macabre inch closer to the long ballot, we will continue to prod their creators with various sharp impliments for you reading pleasure. One second – “No! I said put the razor wire half way down the chimney to shred his ass after he commits to the drop.” Please excuse us – we must get back to our preparations. “I want him bleeding by the time we release the dogs.”


Recommended for Collections

There’s a lot to be said for writing a horror story that engrosses the reader as the twisted tale unfolds. So what do you say about that special breed of writers that manage to manifest a collection of stories that crawl under your skin, burrow into your flesh and leech on your veins. You say nothing – you just kidnap their muse and run like hell. If that fails, at least you can rest (in peace) assured that the monstrosity vanquished in their next story is probably going to be based on you.

Shane Jiraiya Cummings ~ Shards

This month, Shane gave up his day job to live the dream and concentrate on writing full time. After he told us this, we may have accidentally jabbed him a little harder with the kitchen knife than we intended. On the up side ~Coming Soon~ Limited Edition SJC Writer’s Ink – If you don’t ask us who’s in it – we don’t get indited. A-hem where were we… His main projects include a series of Japanese fantasy novels (featuring the characters from his Ditmar and Aurealis Award nominated novelette Yamabushi Kaidan and the Smoke Dragon) and a paranormal fiction trilogy based on Hindu mythology (which he assures us will be much darker than the usual angsty vampire-ridden fare, isn’t that right Shane /twist knife). Shane’s dark fantasy novella set in a post apocalyptic Australia will be published by Damnation Books in December. He is also putting the finishing touches to a collection entitled In the Heart of Midnight, which will showcase Shane’s longer work. He has two Ditmar Awards to his name, and he has been nominated for numerous other Ditmars, the Aurealis Award, and the Australian Shadows Award. He has spun more than sixty tales that have found publication in Australia, North America, and Europe, many of which have been threaded together into Shards.

On top of his prolific writing activities, Shane is positioned at the centre of the web of Australian dark fiction. He is the Vice President of the Australian Horror Writers’ Association, Managing Editor of HorrorScope, and editor of several anthologies. You will find Shane lurking here, however, if it takes him a little while to respond, he could tied up addressing supply issues for our new ink venture.

Update: We’ve just been informed that Shane has moved his muse to a new secure facility. We’ll do our best to get the new location out of him. Who’s got the leg wax?

Best of luck Shane – now get back to writing!


P.S. Step away from the office for three days… SR team 17 – Smurfs 21. Not happy Jan!

Sinister Reads ~ It’s a Black Friday Stoker kind of thing.

Posted in Awards Announcements on November 13, 2009 by ahwasinisterreads

Oh yes indeed ~ the veil falls and the mischief givers roam the streets. Another Black Friday befalls us and what better way to start the day than to take a look at the twisted minds that fed their muse God knows what to bring you some great horror. So grab a spoon everyone and dive in – first to take a bite gets to lick the bowl.


Recommended for Long Fiction

When it comes to going the distance, these three have proven they have the guts, even if they did have to disembowel someone to get it. Small intestines and formaldehyde aside, these fine writers have spilled their ink for our enjoyment as the Stoker’s creep ever closer.

Felicity Dowker ~ Phantasy Moste Grotesk

FelicityWith work being considered in two Stoker categories, and a shiny 2009 Ditmar Award for Best New Talent, it seems that Felicity’s muse is well fed (any time you want to give up that recipe Flick…). Her sold out limited edition chapbook Phantasy Moste Grotesk was released in April by Corpulent Insanity Press and her short fiction appears in Aurealis, Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, Borderlands, Midnight Echo, and many other Australian and international magazines and anthologies.

To add to her avenues of chaos, Felicity is a committee member of the Australian Horror Writers Association, a member of the ASIM Publishing Co Op, and a reviewer for the Specusphere. When asked what she does in her spare time, we listened to 12 minutes of maniacal laughter before she gave us this link to her blog. At the request of Felicity, her lawyers and ours we must include the following disclaimer: Enter, stranger, at your riske: here there be Tygers (She isn’t kidding – the good news is they eat Smurfs.)

Be sure to check back in the coming days when we ask Felicity where she hid the bodies.

Andrew McKiernan ~ The Message

amckiernan_authorphotoWe’ve been tossing a few theories around the office and we’ve come to the conclusion that Andrew isn’t human. He ‘claims’ that he is an author and illustrator living and working on the Central Coast of New South Wales. We say let us peel off your skin and let us make the final call. Check out this list of credits and make up your own minds: Art Director of Aurealis: Australian Science Fiction & Fantasy magazine since 2004, the incoming Art Director of the AHWA’s Midnight Echo magazine. His illustrations have appeared in magazines such as Orb, Aurealis and Midnight Echo as well as the In Bad Dreams 1: Where Real Life Awaits, Masques and Festive Fear anthologies. He has designed and illustrated covers for Aurealis, In Bad Dreams 2: Where Death Stalks, Life Through Cellophane by Gillian Pollack, Paul Haines’ Slice of Life and the forthcoming Classic Australian SF series from Chimaera Publications. Most recently, his illustrations were showcased in the collection Shards: Short Sharp Tales and its accompanying free PDF e-book Shards: Damned and Burning, both published by Brimstone Press.

But wait, there’s more!

Andrew first short story, Calliope: A Steam Romance, was published in the Shadow Plays anthology in 2007 and included on a number of Australian Years’ Best short-lists. Since then his twisted tales of darkness have appeared in Aurealis, the Black Box e-anthology, CSFG’s Masques anthology, and In Bad Dreams 2: Where Death Stalks. His most recent story, The Message, appeared in Midnight Echo #2, a story which award winning author Martin Livings said “… ‘jeez, I wish I’d written this!'”

Human, I think not! And it gets worse!

Andrew is writing more short stories set in the Clowntown universe, and he is also working on illustrations for a collection of Richard Tierney’s Lovecraftian poetry, to be released by P’Rea Press in 2010, and making serious in-roads into completing his first novel.

If you would like to see footage of the alien autopsy we performed on Andrew, click here.

Matt Venne ~ Cruel Summer


It’s hard to imagine any sinister stories lurking behind that Cheshire cat smile, but we here at Sinister Reads are glad that Matt has taken the time to put them to paper. An accomplished screen writer, Cruel Summer is Matt’s first book ~ we hope the first of many. He teamed up with Steve at Tasmaniac Publications to print his novel and since it’s July release, all copies in Australia have sold out. For those of you who missed out on grabbing a local copy, don’t despair. There is still stock available from  Jeff ‘n’ Joys Quality Books.

After some gentle persuasion, well as gentle as one can be with hot pokers and a syringe, we’ve extracted discovered that Matt is currently working on adapting Stephen King’s Bag of Bones for Mick Garris (The Stand, The Shining, Desperation) to direct, while also adapting the novel The Scent of Adam for Lakeshore Entertainment. We loosened his gag long enough for him to assure us that he was still committed to writing prose, with some short stories about famous figures in American history secretly fighting various monsters, and the follow-up book to Cruel Summer.


We wish our three murderous musketeers the best of luck, and we’ve sacrificed 12 Smurfs to Felicity’s Tygers for the cause. SR team 15 – Smurfs 1.

Sinister Reads ~ It’s a Stoker Kind of thing.

Posted in Awards Announcements with tags , , , , , , , on November 8, 2009 by ahwasinisterreads

The lights are out and the zombies are fed, which means it’s time to introduce you to the next group of nefarious authors hell bent on unhinging your mind and stealing your soul. When they aren’t lurking  under your house or tampering with your brakes, this pair of writers can been see slaving over their keyboards in service to the muse. To all creatures human and otherwise, we bring you fresh blood – errr ink.


Recommended for First Novel

A first novel – that first literary exorcism of body and soul captured in ink long cherished by writers. For two Australian authors, the ritual of creation has manifested several recommendations a piece. We persuaded them (and by persuaded we mean we jabbed them with hot pokers behind their knees) to tell us a little bit about themselves and what they are up to.

Karron Warren ~ Slights


Kaaron’s first novel Slights was launched by Angry Robot this year to critical acclaim. After her short story collection The Grinding House won a number of awards, Karron’s work continues to draw attention. We hope that Slights is the first of many novels.

Karron stopped screaming long enough to tell us that she’s working on two new novels at the same time because they are both filling her with inspiration. Her short fiction will appear in Datlow and Mamatas’ Haunted Legends and Gilgamesh Press’ Ishtar. And be sure to keep an eye out for A Positive, the short film based on the award-winning story of the same name, to be released next year.

Karron also hit one of those ‘Don’t you hate it when that happens’ moments recently when a title she had given a short story was used for an upcoming film. We feel your pain Karron. You want to borrow the poker?

Be sure to pick up a copy of Slights from Amazon before they sell out.

Stephen M Irwin ~ The Dead Path

Stephen-M_Irwin_BWStephen has lived in and around Brisbane, Queensland all his life. At an early age, he was discovered to be a lousy swimmer and an poor cricketer. Fortunately he found and fostered a love of reading and writing.

His short stories, films, and poems have won numerous national and international competitions and awards. His first novel, The Dead Path, was released by Hachette Australia in mid-2009 to excellent reviews and was the August 2009 selection for The Big Book Club – as a result, Stephen toured the country astounding innocent folk with his bizarre Brisbane accent and terrifying them with tales about stonewash denim and finger cramps. The Dead Path will be available in the UK in late 2009 as The Darkening (by Sphere), and in 2010 in the US (by Doubleday) and Germany (by Blanvalet). You can hunt down your copy at either Folio Books or Infinitas.

Stephen is currently working on his second novel… and working as a series writer for a new Australian TV drama series… and working with other producers on a different series… and is engaged as an educational consultant… and writing a feature film script… and trying to do research for his third book… Don’t worry if you see sparking arcs of electricity blooming from Stephen’s rooftop late at night – he is simply trying to clone himself.

Stephen still haunts Brisbane with his wife and son. He reports that his swimming has improved, but the cricket remains a lost cause.


We wish you both the best of luck, and we look forward to seeing some of your new work.

Update: Sinister Reads team 3, Smurfs 1. Turns out Handy Smurf lived up to his name – but not for long.

Sinister Reads ~ It’s a Stoker kind of thing.

Posted in Awards Announcements with tags , , , , on November 3, 2009 by ahwasinisterreads

Hello and welcome to a special edition of Sinister Reads. We’ve put down the chainsaw, left the devil on hold, and postponed the clown massacre to bring you a special series of posts in support of our members currently being recommended for the annual Bram Stoker Awards – presented by Horror Writer’s Association (HWA).

The authors you will meet over the coming weeks have had their work recommended towards the Long Ballot, and are vying for a top ten spot to go on to the next round. On behalf of The Australian Horror Writer’s Association and the team here at Sinister Reads, we wish to congratulate all of our authors that have been recommended, and we wish you the very best in the lead up to the Stoker’s. We are proud to support you and the macabre you create, and we look forward to your fresh ink.

If you loved their work and would like to show your support, please leave a comment!


Recommended for Non-Fiction

Rocky Wood  ~  Stephen King: Uncollected, Unpublished

In the ficticious worlds we weave, where our creatures roam the corridors of our imagination, we surrender to the lies and mystery held within, not thinking about the people who may come along to dissect the fruit of our minds. One such man is Rocky Wood.

Rocky Head ShotBased in Melbourne, Rocky is one of the world’s leading experts on the works of Stephen King.  His Stephen King: Uncollected, Unpublished received a Stoker nomination in 2007. (We’d love to be able to tell you where you can buy this gem, but alas, both US and Australian editions have sold out!)  Rocky has been dedicated to documenting the facts about fiction through a variety of non-fiction sub-genres since 1978.

When asked what mischief project he was working on at the moment, Rocky was happy to tell us that he’s currently completing a graphic novel, The Great Storytellers of Horror, in conjunction with famed horror illustrator Glenn Chadbourne.

Best of luck Rocky!


P.S. We regret to announce that no Smurfs were harmed during the making of this post. We will try harder next time.