Sinister Reads – September 2013

Sinister Reads

The AHWA Creative Retreat has arrived.  Stay tune for a follow up and run-down of all the creative creepiness in the next issue of SR.

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Sinister Happenings


THIS WEEKEND!  AHWA Creative Retreat – October 11-13, 2013

It is almost upon us!  The Australian Horror Writers Association run three-day/two-night stays at haunted locations for writers, editors, artists, photographers, film makers and any other creative-type people. For all those coming to Maydays Hills Asylum this weekend, it is sure to be a spooky and creative weekend.  You will have the days to create and the nights to investigate how to be scared stiff.

Upcoming Event:

Mayday Hills Asylum Creative Retreat

Beechworth’s Mayday Hills Asylum was one of the largest institutions in Victoria. Opened in 1867 (the same year as Aradale), this building also housed thousands of people described as ‘lunatics’, ‘idiots’ and ‘imbeciles’. Closing in 1995 after 128 years of operation, this site is considered one of the most haunted locations in Australia. At its height, Mayday Hills consisted of 67 buildings and was home to over 1200 patients and 500 staff.

As you spend three days and two nights in the facility, you will be able to explore the cold and deserted buildings of what was once a notorious and feared institution in Victoria . Spend the days writing, drawing, filming or photographing the beautiful architecture, and spend the nights scared stiff in the haunted buildings.

Keep an eye on the AHWA website and Facebook page for last minute details and future events.


Sinister Reminders


AHWA Members Critique Groups

Don’t forget about out short story critique group and the writer’s workshop that is open to all members of the AHWA.  That’s right – novels, novellas, short stories – all are invited to participate.  Membership to both groups is open to members of the AHWA by invitation only.


This month we welcome US horror author Ronald Malfi to the Writer’s Workshop. I’ve only recently discovered Ron’s work – and I’m so glad I did. He has a way of writing memorable characters that really get inside your head – and won’t leave – (almost King’ish) and some really fresh ideas on fairly established ‘horror’ themes (check out The Narrows for a unique and fascinating take on the well- worn Vampire subject).

Whilst Ronald is a little busy at the moment promoting his latest release- CRADLE LAKE – and hasn’t got the time to spare to take on a hands on role – he has agreed to respond to a hard-nosed, probing interview from ‘yours truly’ – AND – I have THREE – yes THREE free e-book downloads of CRADLE LAKE to give away to our members.

– Judith Thomas

To read the Ronald Malfi interview and/or go into the draw to win one of three copies of CRADLE LAKE, please join the Writer’s Workshop.

If you are interested in taking part in either of these two groups, you need to join the AHWA today, and check out all the other exciting opportunities, you as an author, are currently missing out on.  There are tips on writing, how to get published, competitions, group forums and so much more.

Check out the Australian Horror Writer’s Association web-site today and become a member.


The Australia Shadow Awards – 2014 Submissions Open!

The Australian Shadows are the annual literary awards presented by the AHWA and judged on the overall effect – the skill, delivery, and lasting resonance – of horror fiction written or edited by an Australian.

Winners of the Awards receive a hand crafted trophy from the masters of the horror special effects industry, Nightshade FX.

The awards are open to submission of any horror fiction published (or anthologies edited) by an Australian/New Zealand/Oceania resident or citizen in the 2013 calendar year—submissions until February 28th 2014.

Past winners of the Shadows include a who’s who of Australian Horror Writers; Lee Battersby, Terry Dowling, Paul Haines, Brett McBean, Kirstyn McDermott, Bob Franklin, Kaaron Waaren, Will Elliott, Deborah Biancotti, Amanda Spedding.

From 2011, the award has five categories: NovelLong Fiction (novellas and novelettes); Short Fiction (short stories); Collection (single author collections); and Edited Publication (anthologies and magazine issues).

Shortlists for each category will be determined by a panel of judges . The shortlisted finalists are announced in March/April every year.

Read the Award Entry Guidelines to find out how to enter works for consideration.

Follow regular updates on the Australian Shadows Awards Facebook page.


Sinister Reads


809 Jacob Street Cover - front_large

809 Jacob Street

Marty Young

Illustrator: David Schembri

Publisher:  Black Beacon Books

ISBN no.: 978-0-9923211-0-9

RRP:  $9.99 print; $2.99 eBook

Release date:  31 October 2013

Available from Black Beacon Books and Amazon.

Book Launch: GenreCon 2013, Brisbane

Fourteen year old Byron James wishes he’d never been dragged to Parkton.

It’s a crazy sideshow of a town in the middle of damn nowhere, and he’s stranded there. To make matters worse, his two new friends – his only friends – turn out to be class rejects with an unhealthy interest in monsters. They want to discover the truth to the infamous monster house at number 809 Jacob Street.

Joey Blue is an old bluesman who fell into his songs and couldn’t find his way out again. Now he’s a Gutterbreed, one of the slinking shifting shadows haunting the town’s alleys. When an old dead friend comes begging for help, Joey’s world is torn apart. He is forced to stare down the man he has become in order to rescue the man he once was – and there is only one place he can do that.

The house on Jacob Street calls to them all, but what will they find when they open its door?


“Marty Young’s 809 Jacob Street dragged me through the gutter, and had me enthralled with every page. The story explores so thoroughly a nightmare of tortured emotions and madness that it’s hard to believe it isn’t autobiographical. The characters, especially Joey Blue, are that convincing. This is a writer cutting his own way through horror, and I can’t wait to see where his journey takes him. I, for one, will be watching from here on out, because he made me a fan with this book.” – Joe McKinney, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Flesh Eaters and Dead City.

“By effectively blurring the line between the inner and outer worlds of its characters, 809 Jacob Street gives new life to the standard haunted house story. A dark and powerful tale of small-town paranoia, communal and personal terror, and the reality of monsters. Young has produced a refreshingly hypnotic tale that blends Monster Squad and the small-town coming-of-age themes of Stephen King to his own dark and surreal ends.” – Robert Hood – author of Immaterial and Fragments of a Broken Land: Valarl Undead.



The Last Night of October

Greg Chapman 

Illustrator: Luke Spooner (cover) and Greg Chapman (interior illustrations)

Publisher:  Bad Moon Books

RRP: $15.95USD

Release date: 31 October, 2013

Available here for pre-order.

Seventy-year-old Gerald Forsyth dreads Halloween.

Every year, on October 31st, a lone child has knocked on his door – a nightmarish reminder of a tragedy from Gerald’s past.

As each Halloween came and went, Gerald has been able to keep his door locked and the monstrous memory at bay, but the ravages of emphysema have left him a disgruntled and feeble-minded old man.

When a new hospice nurse named Kelli arrives unexpectedly to replace his regular nurse on Halloween night, Gerald is caught unawares and before he can warn her, Kelli is inviting the threat into his home. The horrors that unfold will be no trick and the only treat the child will accept is the old man’s soul.

Before the night ends, Gerald will have no choice but to bring his dark secret into the light.

Read Reviews here.



Midnight Echo Issue 9

EDITOR – Geoff Brown aka GN Braun

Illustrator: Mel Gannon (cover/internal), Greg Chapman (internal)

Publisher: Australian Horror Writers Association

RRP: $12.50 print/$2.99 Kindle, ePub, PDF

Release date: 31 May

Available here.

** Midnight Echo Issue 10 to schedule released is November 30. Pre-order here.


Sinister Slices


The Lucky Mouth

by Gerry Huntman

Published in BLEED anthology by Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing

** BLEED is a charity anthology where the profits will go to help children who have cancer. Proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to The National Children’s Cancer Society –


The Shoe Shine

by Robert Datson

Published in SQ Mag Edition 10


1 800 New Man

by Robert Datson

Published in Voluted Tales


The Frequency of Death

by Marty Young

Published in Fear the Reaper (anthology) by Crystal Lake Publishing


Here’s One I Prepared Earlier

by Steven Gepp

Published in Long Pig (Static Movement)


Love Of His Life

by Steven Gepp

Published in Under the Knife (Cruentus Libri)


One Less

by Steven Gepp

Published in Use Enough Gun (Emby Press)


With Paper Armour and Wooden Sword

by Tracie McBride

Published in Bleed anthology


Sinister Superstars


Second Prize in the Long Form division of the Science Fiction Poetry Association Poetry Contest 2013

** As judged by Jane Yolen.

Hungry as Living Sorrow

by Jenny Blackford

Read it here.


Nominated for The 2013 Rhysling Anthology, of the Science Fiction Poetry Association for Long Poem category:

Lubrication in “Avatars of Wizardry”

by Kyla Lee Ward

Avaialble here


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