From the Shadows …

Some monsters should never be disturbed.

Some demons should never be summoned.

Some people should stay dead.

I guess these guys never got that memo …

You know who you are. Your pilgrimage across the deserts of Hell are well documented from behind the thin veil of your fiction. You’ve been there – you’ve seen evil; where it lives, breathes and breeds. Your horrors are too vivid to be flights of fancy. We know that you feed the beasts that inspire you. That’s why they let you live.

You write of them often. I wish I could say it was to warn us, but your words draw us in and deliver us beyond the veil and into the abyss of your imagination. You lead us to them; the latest victims to your insatiable muse. You tell us not to scream but we defy you. Our only solace comes from the echo of our last breath as we close the book.

Behind our eyes linger the scars of our encounter.

Through your words we have become the haunted.

It’s every horror writer’s dream to scar the psyche of their readers with characters that haunt them in those quiet moments before sleep. It’s a legacy passed between friends as they thrust a copy of the book at their nearest and dearest, feeding the creatures within a fresh mind to torment. The writers you are about to meet are living that dream as their stories continue to menace the selection panel and sink their claws into the judges.

And now it is your turn to catch a glimpse of their world.

Step up and succumb. You might enjoy it.

Australian Shadows Award Nominations for Long Fiction

Deborah Biancotti is an Australian author of urban and dark fantasy. Her first published story won an Aurealis Award and her first collection, A Book of Endings, was shortlisted for the 2010 William L. Crawford Award for Best First Fantasy Book.

A Book of Endings is a collection of 21 of my short stories in the dark genres of horror, urban fantasy, dark fantasy, call-it-what-you-will. We roughly cut up the stories into three acts or types: end of days, end of the world, end of an era. We kinda did that just for fun, but when one reader asked how the end of the world could occur before the end of an era, I realised that I was trapped in what Freud would call the paradox of the ego: I can’t picture the end of the world without imagining that I’d survive it. Ah, Freud, you crazy, cigar-chewing coke addict. I hate when you’re right.

Deborah is now working on her first novel, working title Broken set in contemporary Sydney where the subconscious world is reaching out and snatching people up. She likes to think it’s a work of fiction. She has new fiction coming out in time for the 2010 WorldCon in Melbourne, including a novella set in contemporary Sydney from Gilgamesh Press. She also has an upcoming essay on ³No Country for Old Men² in Twenty-First Century Gothic: Great Gothic Novels since 2000.

She continues to write short stories and refer to herself as a ‘tired idealist’. You can find Deborah online at her homemade website, or her lj blog, or her favourite interwebby outlet, Twitter. Say hi, she likes that.

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Honey Brown lives in country Victoria with her husband and two children. She has been writing novels and screen plays for seven years, and during this period wrote Red Queen. Before settling down she worked and lived in various remote places around Australia. She spent her childhood in Tasmania, growing-up in a convict built house. In her late twenties she was involved in a devastating farm accident, and now lives with challenges of a spinal injury.

In writing Red Queen my intention was to strip back the apocalyptic genre to the bare necessities. I considered how isolating a worldwide catastrophe would be; far from having all the details and knowing the facts, a survivor would know very little. The fear of the unknown would be ever-present. I wanted the novel to be sparse, and the characters raw. Having a woman as the antagonist was a natural decision – in a psychological thriller, a woman could do justice to the sly and manipulative behavior that was needed. I enjoyed writing Red Queen. The characters took on a life of their own, and surprised me with the things that they did. In the end the novel wrote itself, and I typed fast, trying to keep up.

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Paul Haines was raised in the ‘70s, in the wrong part of Auckland, New Zealand. After completing a degree in the frozen, drunken depths of Otago he wound up working in computers and was eventually lured by sex and money to Australia in the ‘90s. Vowing to never call it home, he now lives in Melbourne with his wife and daughter. He is the author of the collections Slice of Life (The Mayne Press, 2009), Doorways For The Dispossessed (Prime Books, 2006) and the forthcoming The Last Days Of Kali Yuga (Brimstone Press, 2010). He has won the Aurealis, Ditmar, Sir Julius Vogel and Chronos Awards for his efforts.

Wives was inspired by a footnote in my travel guide to China, stating that young women were being routinely kidnapped for wives due to short supply and a growing demand. It started off as the perfect 2,500 word horror story but evolved into something quite different, coming in at just under 38,000 words. It took me over four years to write it in three major sittings. I lost confidence after every sitting and sat there wondering just what the fuck I was doing writing something as nasty and evil and all too fucking true-blue close-to-the-bone, mate, as this. My Great Australian Novella.

Fair Dinkum. What did you say? Do ya wanna go? Cunt!

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Stephen M. Irwin‘s debut novel, supernatural thriller The Dead Path, was born in a lovely and restful three-month space between corporate writing jobs. It was adopted by Hachette Australia, who gave it a good clean and very pretty clothes, then set it loose among the unsuspecting public in mid-2009. Like the nasty thing it is, it has spread – initially to Europe, and later this year to the continent and on to China. Stephen is quietly hoping no one will be spared. He is boning up on his pumpkin-carving skills in anticipation of the book’s release by Random House in the US this October. In the interim, he has his TV writer’s mask on and is working on a new Australian crime series, after which he is returning to his second novel, with which – he confesses – he is giving himself the willies.

I’m determined that people realise Brisbane is a most unsettling place.

(He is speaking, I’m sure, in terms of fiction writing. But don’t pick up any strange, leering pumpkins, just in case.)

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We wish all the nominees the best of luck on April 5th, 2010 … but rest assured, evil wins no matter what.

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