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

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.

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