Archive for April, 2010

Sinister Reads ~ April 2010

Posted in Awards Announcements, General Information, New Releases, Pre-order, Sinister Slices on April 19, 2010 by ahwasinisterreads

“The process of delving into the black abyss is to me the keenest form of fascination.”

H.P. Lovecraft

What terrors lurk within morbid minds? What evil lingers on a whispered word? Once you learn the truth there’s no going back. Each story, each journey into darker hearts changes you as you learn about the limits to your own dark fascinations. Maybe you expected more gore, more blood for your buck, and you seek out writers to satisfy your thirst. Perhaps your last trip through a demonic domain left your psyche scarred and now you have to leave the TV on when you read. Which ever situation fits you best there’s one thing for certain – you keep coming back for more, and more is what they give you. This month’s update is proof of that.

And the winners are… Australian Shadows Awards Update

Congratulations to this year’s winners Karron Warren (Long Fiction ~ Slights), Jennifer Brezek & Amanda Pillar (Edited Publication ~ Grants Pass) and Deborah Biancotti (Short Fiction ~ Six Suicides). The judging panel had their work cut out for them this year trying to select winners out of the record number of submissions, and the quality keeps getting better. The AHWA would like to thank the judges for their tireless efforts and everyone that submitted and supported this year’s awards. Next year is set to be bigger and better!

The proof is in the ink.

Be sure to check out the Sinister Reads spread in Midnight Echo #4 to be released in May/June!  We offered up a kidney and claimed a third page (let’s see them try and get it back next issue /evil laugh) to help promote your work. Be sure to send through your submission to be a part of our campaign to claim a fouth page in Midnight Echo #5. Feed the beast here.

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Sinister Reads

~Pre-Order~ RealmShift

by Alan Baxter

Gryphonwood Press

ISBN: 9780982508749

RRP: $9.99 US

Release date: 27th April 2010

Available from: Gryphonwood Press

Check out the first 3 chapters free!

Isiah is having a tough time. The Devil is making his job very difficult.

Samuel Harrigan is a murdering lowlife. He used ancient blood magic to escape a deal with the Devil and now he’s on the trail of a crystal skull that he believes will complete his efforts to evade Lucifer. But Lucifer wants Samuel’s soul for eternity and refuses to wait a second longer for it. Isiah needs Samuel to keep looking for the crystal skull, so he has to protect Sam and keep the Devil at bay. Not for Samuel’s sake, but for all of humanity.

RealmShift is an engrossing Dark Fantasy thriller; a fascinating exploration of the nature of people’s beliefs and their effect on the world around them. Magic, action and intrigue, from dank city streets to the depths of Hell and beyond.

Reviews:

“…fast-paced and full of vibrancy, the characters fascinating, and the plot intriguing” Maggie Pragratis – Author

Realmshift is action packed and keeps you wanting more, with a plot that builds to an exciting crescendo… If you, like me have found yourself getting tired of the usual stuff being churned out by well known authors, then give this book a read. You will not be disappointed.” James Frost

the story is fast-paced and engrossing… a book that was thoroughly enjoyable. I look forward to reading the sequel! 4 1/2 Stars (out of 5)” Linda – Clubreading.com

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~Pre-Order~ MageSign

by Alan Baxter

Gryphonwood Press

ISBN: 9780982508756

RRP: $9.99 US

Release date: 27th April 2010

Available from: Gryphonwood Press

Check out the first 3 chapters free!

Three years have passed since Isiah’s run in with Samuel Harrigan and the Devil. He has some time on his hands – a perfect opportunity to track down the evil Sorcerer, Harrigan’s mentor. It should have been a simple enough task, but the Sorcerer has more followers than Isiah ever imagined, and a plan bigger than anyone could have dreamed.

With the help of some powerful new friends Isiah desperately tries to track down the Sorcerer and his cult of blood before they manage to change the world forever.

In this long-awaited sequel to the highly acclaimed RealmShift, Baxter once again keeps a breathless pace and blistering intensity with gods, demons and humans entangled in magic and conflict. This is dark fantasy at its best.

Reviews:

MageSign is a thriller, a mystery, a love story and a thought-provoking examination of the relationship between religion and humanity in all its glory and shame. Alan Baxter takes the reader right to the edge and then pushes us over. And I thank him for it.” Bitten by Books.

difficult to pin to any particular genre … fantastic qualities … horrific at times. “MageSign” is a great addition by Alan Baxter, and I highly recommend it.” William Estep – Clubreading.com

“MageSign by Alan Baxter, is a fast-paced ride through a visceral reality which holds a mirror up to today’s apathetic society.” B. Tomlinson – Horrorscope

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Return of the Prophet

by Greig Beck

Pan Macmillan

ISBN: 9781405039826

RRP: $32.99 AU (Trade), $19.99 AU (Mass Market)

Available from: Big W and Pan Macmillan

Alex Hunter, the Arcadian, returns in an adventure that takes him deep into the deserts of the Middle East that will test out every one of his fantastic skills.

During Iranian tests to enrich uranium in a secret laboratory buried below the ancient Persian ruins of Persepolis, a freak accident with new laser technology accelerates atoms to a speed of light and forces particle collisions that generates the most powerful entity in our universe, a black hole. Seen as a powerful new energy source, tests to generate the black holes continue. However, what they have accidently done is open a doorway; a portal through which something slips through, something that should never have walked amongst mankind.

Meanwhile the Iranian President wants to use the black holes for a much more sinister use. He sees their creation as proof of an ancient prophecy, one that spells doom for mankind and the end of the world. Now, Alex Hunter and his team of HAWCs combine with a brilliant Israeli scientist and a beautiful and skilled Mossad agent, to find the source of the powerful gamma radiation spikes, and stop an end of world event.

Alex must stop the black holes growing to absorb our very planet, and confront a terror from another world in an adventure that is both thrilling and terrifying.

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In-human

by Anna Dusk

Transit Lounge

ISBN: 9780980571738

RRP: $29.95 AU

Available from: Transit Lounge and Dennis Jones

In-human is a snarling, glittering creation, a funny, yet disturbing story of transformation set in Oatlands, Tasmania. The irrepressible Sally Hunter is turning into a werewolf. As a string of killings takes place we are drawn into her sensual, visceral and highly charged world. The way she embraces her change into a powerful beast challenges us to confront our own lusts and capacities for violence, while the small town setting and the people in Sally’s world ring with a disarming truth. Dusk’s bone-deep understanding of her characters, and the chilling narrative set in motion a complex fugue of memory and confrontation that builds to a shattering climax. Described as a cross between Catcher in the Rye and Buffy, this is a heady mix of horror and reality. Dark, poignant and oddly affecting, In-human is destined to make waves and attract fans.

Reviews:

There are moments of distilled beauty and home  truths here but this is no simplistic, pretty coming of age story. Horror fans accustomed to dark humour and unrelenting rampages of gore should enjoy but the squeamish, those offended by details of bodily  functions, graphic violence, sex or obscenities probably won’t.” Paula Grunseit

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Pilgrims ~ (Pendulum, Book One)

by Will Elliott

Publisher: HarperCollins (Voyager)

ISBN: 9780732289478

RRP: $22.95 AU

Available from: HarperCollins Australia

Eric Albright is leading a normal life until a small red door appears under a train bridge near his home. Then a ghostly being wakes him in the dead of night, with a message from another world: You are Shadow.

In Levaal, the world between worlds, the dragon-gods grow restless in their sky prisons, and the Great Spirits struggle to contain them. Vous, the world′s Friend and Lord, simmers 
in madness as he schemes to join the ranks of gods. He and the Arch Mage have almost won their final victory over the Free Cities. A dark age dawns.

But Eric and his friend Case are now Pilgrims, called to Levaal for a battle more ancient than the petty squabbles of men. And they will learn why some doors should not be opened …

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Sinister Slices

Dead Letter Drop

by Pete Kempshall

Published in: Close Encounters of the Urban Kind

Available from: Apex Publications

Monster

by Amanda Spedding

Published in: Shades of Sentience Anthology

Available from: Shades of Sentience Anthology

Thief of Tears

by Jason Crowe

Published in: Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine ~ Issue #43

Available from: Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine

Cursebreaker: The Welsh Widow and the Wandering Wooer

by Kyla Ward

Published in: Scary Kisses, Ticonderoga Publications

Available from: Indie Books Online

Past Engagements

by Mark Farrugia

Published in: Eclecticism E-zine ~ Issue #12

Available from: Eclecticism E-zine

Fireflies of the Bushfire

by Marty Young

Published in: Masters of Horror

Available from: Triskaideka Books

Clip Notes

by Marty Young

Published in: Blade Red Press

Available from: Blade Red Press

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The day the Shadows came…

Posted in Awards Announcements on April 5, 2010 by ahwasinisterreads

When is horror not horror?

When it is a horror writer’s pleasure.

Your nightmares are born from a caffine driven euphoria of fiction where words fall from fingertips to take the many shapes that can haunt readers long after they’ve closed the book. When you write to them and tell them how you couldn’t get to sleep, they smile for a job well done. When you blog about how a particular chapter made your skin crawl, it feeds the newborn creatures that stir in the back of the writer’s mind waiting to take shape. Make no mistake, they love what they do and what it does to you. It begs the question: was it good for you?

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Australian Shadows Award Nominations for Short Fictiom

Kaaron Warren lives in Canberra, with her husband and two children. They are recently returned from Fiji where they spent three years in the diplomatic corp. Her short story collection The Grinding House, CSFG Publishing (published as The Glass Woman by Prime Books in the US) won the ACT Writers’ and Publishers’ Fiction Award and was nominated for three Ditmar Awards, winning two. Karron also has the distinction of being nominated in both the Long and Short Fiction caragories.

Kaaron has three novels with Angry Robot Books. The critically acclaimed Slights was nominated for an Aurealis Award and made the long list for the British Fantasy Awards and the preliminary ballot for the Stoker Awards. Her award winning short story A Positive had been made into a short film by Bearcage Productions.

Gaze Dogs of Nine Waterfall was inspired by a terrifying dog I saw in a market in Lami, Fiji. He was arrogant like a handsome man in a bar full of women he thinks he’s better than. He had massive genitals. And I swear he looked me in the eye. I had to write a story about him.

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Andrew McKiernan is an author and illustrator living and working on the Central Coast of New South Wales. He has been writing and drawing since a very young age, mainly due to him being athletically incompetent at just about any sport he attempts but quite adept at twirling a pencil between his fingers (that isn’t a sport, is it?). He has variously been; a retailer, a musician, a storeman, a purchasing/logistic manager, a fast-food delivery driver, a bookseller, a trainee paper salesman, a web developer, an occultist and a graphic designer.

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 Magazine, the Black Box e-anthology, CSFG’s Masques anthology and In Bad Dreams 2: Where Death Stalks.

The Message is a story of broken marriages, lost childhood, and the subtle art of taking phone messages. The inspiration for the tale came from a news report following the Indonesian Tsunami of 2004 about a pay-phone in a small general store that began ringing night and day with messages from those who’d drowned in the tsunami to be passed on to their loved ones. The Message has been shortlisted for an Aurealis Award and now an Australian Shadows Award.

Andrew is currently writing more short stories set in the Clowntown universe first hinted at in Calliope: A Steam Romance and The Dumbshow, with All the Clowns in Clowntown slated to appear in Macabre: A Journey Through Australian Horror in late 2010. He’s also settling down to complete his first novel – a dark satire on the insidious effect the Self Help industry has had on publishing and world religion.

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Deborah Biancotti can take pride that she’s earned a nomination in two catagories this year, adding a Short Fiction nod to her Long Fiction nomination for her collection Book of Endings.

Six Suicides is a six-part mini story suite written with the idea that how we live is how we die. And how we live is through our relationships (or, in the story’s parlance, our connections), which we pretty much almost always screw up. Cheery, aren’t I?

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Jason Fischer is based in Adelaide, South Australia. He attended Clarion South in 2007, was shortlisted in the 2009 Ditmar Awards for Best New Talent, and is a recent Winner of the Writers of the Future contest. He has stories in Dreaming Again, Apex, Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, and Aurealis Magazine. His new zombie-apocalypse novella After the World: Gravesend can now be purchased in Australian newsagents and online. He maintains a blog at Live Journal

My short-listed story for this year’s Shadows Award (Busking – Midnight Echo #3) was also the winner of the 2009 AHWA Short Story Competition. It is based very loosely on actual buskers who frequent Adelaide’s Rundle Mall, albeit catapulted into an apocalyptic situation, forced to continue performing in the face of certain death…

Following the original AHWA prize, several Adelaide buskers found themselves mysteriously donated to by a grateful local author.

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Felicity Dowker is an Australian author of dark fiction.  Felicity has won the Ditmar and Chronos Awards for her writing, and been shortlisted for the Aurealis and Australian Shadows awards.  In between juggling writing, a full-time job in the finance sector, a husband, and two young children, Felicity also reviews for the Specusphere, works as part of the Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine Publishing Cooperative, and is a committee member of the Australian Horror Writers Association.  Felicity is currently working on a number of short story projects as well as her first novel.  Felicity is also permanently on the brink of exhaustion and complete nervous breakdown…

The Emancipated Dance is a story I’m especially fond of. It’s quite different to my usual style – if, in fact, I even have a usual style (I feel a bit wanky and presumptuous claiming that I do, at this embarrassingly early stage in my fledgeling writing career). The piece is heavy on the imagery and a little abstract, and it’s proudly and provocatively feminist. It came to me when I was pondering masks in relation to another project I was involved with at the time. I really wanted to draw on my feminism and in so doing create something meaningful that I could be passionate about, so I related the masks theme back to the place of women in contemporary society – in a global sense, because there is patriarchy and oppression of women everywhere – and then I got down and dirty with my bad ol’ horror self and covered the ideas I was playing with in blood. And that wasn’t hard to do. Every struggle for basic human rights and freedom from oppression is already bathed in blood, after all.

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Best of luck to all of the nominees as the hours tick down to today’s announcement.

is an author and illustrator living and working on the Central Coast of New South Wales. He has been writing and drawing since a very young age, mainly due to him being athletically incompetent at just about any sport he attempts but quite adept at twirling a pencil between his fingers (that isn’t a sport, is it?). He has variously been; a retailer, a musician, a storeman, a purchasing/logistic manager, a fast-food delivery driver, a bookseller, a trainee paper salesman, a web developer, an occultist and a graphic designer.

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 Magazine, the Black Box e-anthology, CSFG’s Masques anthology and In Bad Dreams 2: Where Death Stalks.

The Message is a story of broken marriages, lost childhood, and the subtle art of taking phone messages. The inspiration for the tale came from a news report following the Indonesian Tsunami of 2004 about a pay-phone in a small general store that began ringing night and day with messages from those who’d drowned in the tsunami to be passed on to their loved ones. The Message has been shortlisted for an Aurealis Award and now an Australian Shadows Award.

Andrew is currently writing more short stories set in the Clowntown universe first hinted at in Calliope: A Steam Romance and The Dumbshow, with All the Clowns in Clowntown slated to appear in Macabre: A Journey Through Australian Horror in late 2010. He’s also settling down to complete his first novel – a dark satire on the insidious effect the Self Help industry has had on publishing and world religion.

The Shadows move closer…

Posted in Awards Announcements on April 3, 2010 by ahwasinisterreads

Where do you read your horror? On the train with a carriage full of witness to you macabre inclinations? At home in bed with the blankets handy if it gets to be too much?

Do you tell your friends when a book scares you?

Do you ever tell the writer?

Why not? Scared they know something about you that you don’t until they serve your darkest fears on a platter?

Our relationship with those that go out of their way to scare us is unconventional to say the least. What is it about a horror story that stirs our curiosity? Is it because we get to read it with the light on and dispell the shadows before the creatures can fill them? Or is it the opportunity to let our guard down for a little while and be afraid; one of the few emotions we go out of our way to avoid on a daily basis. The writers you are about to meet have taken the train with you, you’ve taken them to bed with nothing more than a lamp, a blanket and old PJ’s to protect you, and they were with you when you closed your eyes and nightmares were born – and you liked it.

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Australian Shadows Award Nominations for Edited Publication

Amanda Pillar and Jennifer Brozek believe that some folks like to sit down and discuss world domination. Then there are people like them, who plan the destruction of the world’s population – when they’re not writing, that is.

Amanda (or ‘Bones’), the Aussie-half of the Grants Pass editorial team, is a writer, editor and bearer of 101 Useless Facts while her co-conspirator Jennifer, is based in the US of A and is a freelance author, editor and slush pile expert.

Jennifer doesn’t understand the meaning of ‘down time’ and is constantly at keyboard and producing an astounding amount of quality work. Her latest fiction projects, Close Encounters of the Urban Kind and In a Gilded Light are due for publication in April and June 2010 respectively. She is also the editor of two new anthologies due for publication later this year, and has contributed to many RPG books. In a change of heart, she is also working on the non-fiction The Little Finance Book That Could, in an attempt to help folks, rather than plot their downfall.

Amanda, the Bearer of Useless Facts, divides her time between her day job (where she has discussed the murder of her boss with said boss), Masters Degree, editorial work and her writing. Sometimes, she is even allowed outside the house to visit friends. Lately, she has been working on Scenes for the Second Storey with the very lucky (or unlucky, depending on your perspective), Pete Kempshall and is annoying folks into buying The Phantom Queen Awakes, her latest co-edited anthology, published on Valentine’s Day.

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Stephen Clark‘s anthology of Christmas themed stories taken from the Australian perspective of our festive summer – quite different from those living elsewhere who regard Christmas as being synonymous with snow landscapes of sleighs and reindeer.

It had always been my intention to do a project exclusively for Australian writers and this was it! I wanted the reader (where ever they may be) to experience the season’s heat our land can mercilessly dish out. I wanted the reader to think twice about accepting the concept of an overweight stranger walking around their house in the middle of the night on an annual basis. Upon reading the anthology I wanted the reader to then wake from a nightmare where a very seductive blonde was asking, ‘Where the bloody hell are ya?’ while she picked at her leg with the point of a very large knife. I wanted…and I’m very happy with the results.

I’m proud of all the stories that were included, along with the exceptional artwork, and was pleased to see positive international reviews.

There’s another Festive Fear in the works (Global Edition) due out Dec ’10, but Stephen would love to see a strong Australian contribution. Submission deadline is June 30th if any writers are interested – check out the details at Tasmaniac Publications.

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Best of luck in the lead up to the announcement! Until then, we’ll see you on the train.