Thursday, December 10, 2009

AHWA NEWS DIGEST [01.11.09-10.12.09]

The following digest of recent horror news is compiled from pieces published to HorrorScope and the Australian Horror Writers' Association website.

Aurealis Awards finalists
The finalists for the 2009 Aurealis Awards have been announced! The Aurealis Awards celebrate the best of Australian science fiction, fantasy and horror publications. Winners will be announced at the Aurealis Awards ceremony at the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts in Brisbane on Saturday 23 January 2010. Click through to view the finalists!

'100 Lightnings' anthology seeks submissions
100 Lightnings is a new anthology edited by Stephen Studach, to be published by iconic cult publishers Paroxysm Press; this will be a one hundred work anthology, featuring some of the best new flash fiction from Australia and around the world. Please see the publisher website for MS format guidelines.

Your Big Break film competition
Screenwriters take note! Tourism New Zealand is offering aspiring filmmakers a once-in-a-lifetime chance to get their work in front of director, producer, and screenwriter Peter Jackson. The short film competition 100% Pure New Zealand Presents Your Big Break will give the top five entrants time working with the Academy Award-winning team responsible for the The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Click through for details.

Dymocks Southland Bestselling Horror Titles for November ‘09
Dymocks Southland is general bookshop in Cheltenham, Victoria, boasting a great range of speculative fiction. Click through for the Top 10 bestselling horror titles for November 2009.

Brimstone Press horror film special offer
Brimstone Press is running an amazing deal for lovers of horror. The next 15 Australian customers who order a Brimstone Press book through the publisher's website will receive FREE double passes to see two of the hottest horror films of the year: Paranormal Activity and Zombieland (value $64).

Australian Dark Fantasy & Horror Volume 4 available for pre-order
Angela Challis, editor of the Australian Dark Fantasy & Horror series of 'year's best' anthologies, has announced the line-up for Volume 4. Featured writers include Peter M. Ball, Lee Battersby, John Birmingham, Stephen Dedman, Paul Haines, Richard Harland, Robert Hood, Pete Kempshall, Kirstyn McDermott, Jason Nahrung, and Miranda Siemienowicz. Click through to preview the fabulous contents! ADFH Vol 4 will go on sale nationally in March 2010, but can be pre-ordered immediately from the Brimstone Press website.

Australian Shadows Award entry deadline reminder
The deadline for entering work into the Australian Shadows Award is drawing near (December 31). The Australian Shadows Award is coordinated by the Australian Horror Writers Association and is the peak award for horror fiction in Australia. Full details on the award can be found here.

Midnight Echo #3
Assembled by guest editor Stephen Studach and his talented crew, in these hallowed pages you will find a slew of stories, a devil's clawful of poetry, a clutch of dark and macabre art, and an exclusive interview by Lucy Sussex with Barbara Baynton - her first since her death in 1929! Obtain your copy at the Midnight Echo website. AHWA members receive a PDF version of the magazine free!

World Fantasy Award Winners 2009
The 2009 World Fantasy Awards were presented at the World Fantasy Convention held in San Jose, California in November. Two Australians were honoured with awards; Margo Lanagan in the category Best Novel (tied result), and Shaun Tan in the category of Best Artist.

Submitting News

If you have news about Australian and New Zealand Horror publishing and film, or news of professional development opportunities in the field, feel free to submit news to Talie Helene, AHWA News Editor. Just visit HorrorScope, and click on the convenient email link. (International news is not unwelcome, although relevance to Antipodean literary arts practitioners is strongly preferred.)

For information on the Australian Horror Writers' Association, visit

This AHWA NEWS DIGEST has been compiled, written, and republished in select Australian horror haunts by Talie Helene. Currently archived at the
AHWA MySpace page, and Southern Horror; hosted at the social networking sites Darklands and A Writer Goes On A Journey; and hosted by AHWA members Felicity Dowker, Brenton Tomlinson, Scott Wilson, and Jeff Ritchie (Scary Minds: Horror's Last Colonial Outpost).

If you would like to support the AHWA News effort by hosting a copy of the AHWA News Digest on your blog or website,
contact Talie to receive a fully formatted HTML edition of the digest by email.

Friday, October 30, 2009


The following digest of recent horror news is compiled from pieces published to HorrorScope and the Australian Horror Writers' Association website.

Australian Premiere of the Horror-Comedy Blockbuster Zombieland tonight!
This Halloween, October 31 at 7:00pm, A Night of Horror International Film Festival is proud to present the Australian premiere of ZOMBIELAND. The special screening is taking place as part of Fantastic Planet: Sydney Sci-Fi & Fantasy Film Festival, which is invading the screens of Dendy Newtown from October 30 to November 6.

HorrorScope Competitions for Saw VI and The Box closing today!
HorrorScope readers can enter the draw to win double passes to Saw VI and The Box . Closes October 31st! Get those entries in!

Rocky Wood peeks Under The Dome

HorrorScope is delighted to celebrate Halloween with a contribution from very special guest reviewer Rocky Wood, looking at the new Stephen King novel Under The Dome. Wood's review is one of only 200 pre-launch reviews worldwide, and the only such review from an Australian journalist. Melbourne based author Rocky Wood is a Bram Stoker nominated author of non-fiction, and an expert on the works of horror master Stephen King.

Within His Reach from Tasmaniac Publications

Tasmaniac Publications are proud to announce the forthcoming release of Within His Reach by Steve Gerlach!

ScaryMinds review milestone
ScaryMinds has reached the hundred review milestone! Top this off with two recent interviews with celebrated Australian Dark Genre Authors! Shane Jiraiya Cummings talks about writing in Western Australia and turning professional in The Sharp End of Horror, and Rocky Wood welcomes you to the Kingdom!

Eclecticism #10
The Eclecticism E-zine reaches double-digits! It’s a great read, so be sure to clear your schedule – you don’t need those after-work drinks! Download the free online magazine!

Theatre of Blood opening night a sold-out success!
Theatre of Blood is a late-night horror theatre in the tradition of the Grand Guignol. The first performance is already sold out, but tickets are still available for subsequent Friday nights, including a special show on Friday 13th of November... so get booking!

George Ivanoff at Dymocks Southland
Local genre author George Ivanoff will be appearing at Dymocks Southland on Saturday the 2nd November (11.30am), signing copies of his latest book, Gamers Quest.

Share your zombie experiences on ABC Pool
In conjunction with ABC News Online and the Brisbane Zombie Walk, ABC Pool has launched 'The Dead Walk!'. They would like to see your zombie-related photos, video, audio and flash fiction (500 words max). ABC News will also upload footage from Sunday's zombie walk, for you to mash up and remix. The best content will be incorporated into a zombie extravaganza on ABC News Online.

Terra Incognita 012

Terra Incognita Speculative Fiction Podcast #012 is now available for your listening pleasure at; also available on iTunes. This month, Miranda Simienowicz reads her story Aleph Mem Tav, and Keith Stevenson reviews Horn by Peter M Ball (Twelfth Planet Press).

Paul Haines - Slice Of Life
Paul Haines new book Slice Of Life is now available for sale direct from, as well as from the publisher The Mayne Press. Seventeen glistening stories from the decaying mind of the winner of the 2005 Ditmar for Best New Talent.

Severed Press's Zombie Zoology anthology open to submissions
Following the release of Dead Bait, Melbourne's independent horror publisher Severed Press has announced a new anthology, Zombie Zoology: A Natural History of Zombies, which is currently open to submissions. Full submission guidelines are here.

Writer's Digest Popular Fiction Awards
Compete and Win in All 5 Categories! Romance, Mystery/Crime Fiction, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Thriller/Suspense, Horror!

DigiSPAA Finalists announced
The Screen Producers Association of Australia (SPAA) has announced the finalists for the 2009 DigiSPAA Feature Film Competition; finalists include Australian horror film Family Demons, produced by Sue Brown.

Writers' Retreat in Leura
A speculative fiction writing retreat for 10 participants held at Leura House in the Blue Mountains, NSW. Tutors are Terry Dowling, Robert Hood and Cat Sparks.

Ramsey Campbell to judge the 'Nameless' competition

The AHWA and 'Nameless' competition director Stephen Studach are thrilled to announce that the ‘Nameless’ competition will be judged by multi-award winning master of dark fiction Ramsey Campbell. In honour of Mr. Campbell’s involvement, the competition’s deadline has been extended to the 13th of March, 2010. Read the story here. Come up with a conclusion and a title! Make your $10 donation and enter the competition here. Competition prizes include a $500 winner’s cheque, and a prize pool of horror goodies! All proceeds from this competition go to award-winning author Paul Haines, to assist Paul and the Haines family, while Paul undergoes treatment for cancer.

Dymocks Southland Bestselling Horror Titles for October ‘09
Dymocks Southland is a general bookshop in Cheltenham, Victoria, boasting an extensive range of genre stock. Click through for the top 10 bestselling horror titles. For the first time this year, Stephanie Meyer's 'Twilight' series did not make the Top 10! Has the bubble finally burst?

AHWA Critique Group produces 'horrifying' results
The AHWA Critique Group celebrates its first birthday in October, and it has had a productive 12 months. The AHWA is in the process of forming a second Critique Group, scheduled to commence in late October. Interested writers need to possess a valid AHWA membership, a desire to improve their writing, and a willingness to provide and accept honest feedback. Expressions of interest can be submitted to Mark Farrugia at

Dead Bait contents announced

The contents for the debut anthology from Melbourne-based publisher Severed Press, Dead Bait, has been announced. Dead Bait is edited by Romana Baotic & Gary Lucas. NZ writer Hayden Williams is amongst the contributing authors. Click through for all contributors.

Midnight Echo #3 is coming
Pre-order Midnight Echo #3 today: (in PDF or print format).

X6 – a novellanthology
Coeur de Lion Publishing is pleased to announce the October release of X6 – a novellanthology, edited by Keith Stevenson. A collection of all-new novellas from six of the most exciting speculative fiction authors working in Australia today – Margo Lanagan, Terry Dowling, Paul Haines, Cat Sparks, Trent Jamieson, and Louise Katz.

Blade Red Dark Pages Volume 1 open to submissions
Australian independent press Blade Red Press has opened to submissions for its first dark fiction anthology, Blade Red Dark Pages Volume 1. Submissions are open until November 30. Full submission guidelines are here.

A Writer Goes On A Journey competition
To celebrate a new-look site and three years online, A Writer Goes On A Journey have cracked open the champagne and are breaking out the prizes with a competition. If you're a writer, you can create a piece of flash fiction. You can also join in by writing reviews! Even if you just blog about the competition, you still can win prizes!

Submitting News

If you have news about Australian and New Zealand Horror publishing and film, or news of professional development opportunities in the field, feel free to submit news to Talie Helene, AHWA News Editor. Just visit HorrorScope, and click on the convenient email link. (International news is not unwelcome, although relevance to Antipodean literary arts practitioners is strongly preferred.)

For information on the Australian Horror Writers' Association, visit

This AHWA NEWS DIGEST has been compiled, written, and republished in select Australian horror haunts by Talie Helene. Currently archived at the
AHWA MySpace page, and Southern Horror; hosted at the social networking sites Darklands and A Writer Goes On A Journey; and hosted by AHWA members Felicity Dowker, Brenton Tomlinson, Scott Wilson, and Jeff Ritchie (Scary Minds: Horror's Last Colonial Outpost).

If you would like to support the AHWA News effort by hosting a copy of the AHWA News Digest on your blog or website,
contact Talie to receive a fully formatted HTML edition of the digest by email.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Paranormal Nightmare

Paranormal Nightmare
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 518

“That’s a dirty, rotten lie!” Petula screamed at her boyfriend, Edward.

“No, it’s true,” Edward said. “There are vampires at school. I don’t know how they can stand being out in the sunlight, but they can.”

“You’re such a homo,” Petula said. “Reading all of those paranormal-romance novels, like Twilight, Vampire Diaries and Sookie Stackhouse. It melted your sense of reality, dude.”

“Oh yeah, Vampire Diaries. That’s it. They must be wearing those special rings that allow them to go out in the sun.”

“I’m doubting if we can keep going out with your obsession with vampires, Ed.”

“But you’re a Goth,” Edward said. “I thought you were into the dark side, vampire and stuff like that?”

“I am,” Petula said. “But I’m not a fucking nut job. I know the difference between reality and fantasy. You seemed to have crossed that line.”

Petula stood up to leave his bedroom. He grabbed her arm.

“Wait,” he said. “Please don’t go. I know what’s real and what’s not. I was just joking man.”

“Yeh, right,” Petula said, shaking his hold from her arm.

Edward leapt to his feet and tackled her. Petula bumped her head on the dresser on the way down and past out.

“You’ll believe me soon,” Ed said as he dragged his girlfriend to the cellar.

He chained Petula against the concrete wall, next to his mother and father, who were still gagged and half drugged from the sleeping pills Ed put in their breakfast. Edward went back upstairs and phoned the vampires from school and sat patiently on the couch until there was a knock at the door half an hour later.

“Have you got them all?” the tall, pale teenager asked Edward.

“Yep, there are three of them,” Edward said. “That’s one for each of you.”

The three teenagers pushed past Edward and entered the house.

“I thought you had to be invited in?” Edward said.

The last teenager kicked the door shut, and then smacked Edward over the head with a sock filled with sand, knocking Ed out cold.

When Edward came to, he too, was chained to the wall in his basement.

“What are you doing?” he said to the three teenagers.

“You fucking freak,” the tallest teenager said. “We are sick of this hype about vampire and Goths. If we send out a message loud enough, maybe the paranormal romance fad will die, like you and your family.”

“What about Petula, she’s one of you. A Goth?”

“She was, until she brought you into the fold.”

The three Goths withdrew gloves with two thick needles attached and rammed them into Edward’s mother, father and girlfriend’s necks while he watched on helplessly.

“After you drink their blood, you will feel so remorseful that you will take your own life,” the Goth said.

“No I won’t!” Ed said.

“I think you will,” one of the other Goth’s said as they hung a noose from the rafters. “With a little help that is.”



By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 197

“You ain’t gonna believe what just happened to me,” Tara said.

“What?” Pete said. “What happened to you this time?”

Tara sat upright and opened her mouth. Black, liquid tentacles poured out, wrapping themselves around Pete’s head. They seeped into the pores of his skin and gripped on to his arteries, infiltrating his circulatory system in seconds. Pete did not have a chance to yell or move away before the process was over and the tentacles retracted back into Tara’s mouth.

Pete shook his head, oblivious to what had just happened.

“What were you saying?” Pete said.

“I didn’t say anything,” Tara said.

“I must be hearing things,” Pete said. “I could have sworn you were about to tell me something.”

Tara shook her head and shrugged her shoulders.

“Don’t think so?”

Pete shook his head, “Oh well.”

There was a knock at the door. Pete’s brother, Josh was at the door.

“Hey, bro,” Pete said. “You ain’t gonna believe what just happened to me.”



By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 266

“Shhh. I hear something,” Mandy said to her two daughters.

The six year old twins cowered behind Mandy in the large tent. Outside, the night was silent, apart from the screeching and howling that periodically shattered the silence, and their nerves.

“I want to go home, mommy,” one of the girls sobbed.

“Me too,” the other girl said.

“We will,” Mandy said. “Soon. We just have to wait for him, to pass. Then we can get to the car and drive home.”

“Why did he have to come early this year?” the girls said.

“I don’t know, girls. I don’t know.”

After twenty minutes lights began switching on in other tents at the campsite.

“Can we go now?” the girls said.

Mandy unzipped the tent and peeked outside. They had not heard any noise for awhile now, but she wanted to be sure he wasn’t tricking the campers. Amongst the carnage of torn and bloodied tents, Mandy was relieved to see that most of the campers seemed to have escaped his visit unharmed.

“Okay girls,” Mandy said. “Leave everything, we’ll just run to the car. We can come back during the day for everything. He never shows up in daylight.”

Mandy and her girls ran to the car and hoped in.

“Why did Santa turn so bad, mommy?” one of the girls said.

“Don’t say his name!” the other girl said.

Something heavy landed on the roof of the car.

“Ho, ho, haargghh!” he yelled.



By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 258

He made a sharp right turn on the jungle path, and there in front of him, standing on the road bedecked in jewellery was an absolutely elegant elephant. Doctor Franklin raised the camera hanging around his neck and focused on the magnificent creature. He took a photo.

“Look out!” cried one of the native trackers beside Franklin.

The flash from the camera startled the elephant and it charged towards the small expedition party of four, knocking over trees and bushes in a flurry of thick, muscular legs.

“Out of the way, Doctor,” the other tracker yelled, pushing the elderly philanthropist out of the path of the charging beast.

Blood splattered the Doctor as the tracker became a pile of flesh and bones beneath the elephant’s huge feet. It was then that Franklin noticed the elephant’s eyes were white and a two foot hole in the creature’s side exposed its rotting organs and flesh.

“Kimbundu!” the other tracker yelled, causing the other native to flee into the forest leaving the Doctor by himself.

Franklin hide behind a tree, but the elephant had already lost interest in him over the pile of fresh flesh it began devouring.

“What is Kimbundu?” the Doctor mumbled to himself, digging out his notebook and began flicking madly through the pages of handwritten notes.

“Uuuggh!” a groan came from behind Franklin.

He turned to face the noise, realising too late that Kimbundu meant zombie.



By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 235

“Wow, what a great breakfast buffet. Very impressive.”

“No, Viknahkran,” the hostess said. “They are the other guests at the hotel.”

The alien quivered and let out a screech. “What am I to eat if these humans are not my meal?”

The hostess took Viknahkran’s tentacle and led him to the buffet of sausages, eggs and other hot and cold food.

Viknahkran screeched again. “This is not good enough. Your Prime Minister assured me that I would be shown every possible hospitality. Withholding these humans from me could be seen as and act of hostility and possibly, war!”

The hostess said a few quiet words into her wrist communicator, and then put her sunglasses on.

“This won’t take a moment Viknahkran,” she said.

A green light flashed in the hotel restaurant and the guests ceased moving.
“You can take your pick from these humans, Viknahkran. But I must advise you that this is most unorthodox.”

Viknahkran slithered to an overweight, middle aged man near the ice-cream machine and licked his sweaty, bald head.

“I think you will find that this will be part of our peace treaty with your planet,” Viknahkran said. “We don’t need much food, but your species DNA, satisfies our dietary requirements, especially these ones filled with so much fatty tissue.”


Alien Appetite

Alien Appetite
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 457

“Set me up with a stiff drink, Vinnie. I feel like it’s going to be a big night.”

“How are you going to be paying me this time, Lou?” the bartender said.

“You know me, Vinnie,” the customer said. “If I’s ain’ got the money, I’ll find something you need. You can rely on me.”

Vinnie knew that he would end up with something worth less than the value of the amount Lou would drink, but there was just something about that smile that made Vinnie not seem to care.

“Okay, scotch on the rocks?”

“You’re a champ, Vinnie.”

Lou lit a cigarette, and then took a sip from his drink, while he scanned the bar. Transformer's was the most extravagant nightclub in Brisbane. Decorated with movie memorabilia and split into different themes across the huge venue. Lou’s favourite was the glassed in room decked out with airline chairs, even though it was a non-smoking area. The dance floor was situated under a floor to ceiling array of TV screens, always playing the latest and funkiest tunes on the charts.

The best thing about Transformer’s, was the clientele. Lou ended up with a beauty on each arm at the end of the night, every night.

“Hi there,” a husky voice said seductively.

Lou turned to face the woman, who was drop dead gorgeous and blonde. He was in the mood for something more exotic and spicy, maybe an Asian or Indian, so he flickered his eyes and turned her away.

“Sorry to bother you,” the blonde said, handing Lou two twenty dollar bills. “Please forgive me.”

“No problem at all,” Lou said, pocketing the cash and slapping her on the rump as she walked away.

He squashed his cigarette out and grooved over to the dance floor. The women began to gravitate towards him and gyrated their hips against him. Lou beckoned a woman who looked like Halle Berry over, then another with the same face as Angelina Jolie, the rest, he sent back to their partners.

He let the two beauties buy him, and themselves, drink for a few hours, then left the nightclub with them on each arm. They giggled and laughed in the cab and began kissing him, and each other, almost distracting the driver into an accident before arriving at Lou’s Mansion overlooking the Brisbane River at Hamilton. The building sat high on the hill, giving Lou ample space to build a maze of soundproof dungeons beneath his home.

The women followed him willingly, almost eagerly, to their respective cells, where they would remain until his appetite required their presence, and flesh.



By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 510

Ivan was sitting in tattered clothes, on a wooden box in the centre of the town. He was shaking a metal canteen cup, half full of change, hoping he wouldn’t be rousted by the locals and has to prove again that he was ‘On the Job’.

“Get a job you lazy bum,” one of the local hooligans yelled at him as he rode past on his scooter.

Ivan grunted half-heartedly and went back to his can rattling.

“Morning Ivan,” a petite young business woman said, tossing a couple of two dollar coins in Ivan’s cup.

Ivan smiled and tipped his hat.

“See you tomorrow,” she said, scampering off down the sidewalk to work.

A few other regulars tossed coins into the cup, and by the end of the day Ivan had collected over thirty dollars. Enough for a packet of smokes and a bottle of rum, Ivan thought. There may even be enough left over to buy something to eat, if he was lucky.

After the bustle of a busy day ended, Ivan packed up his few possessions and walked to the Botanical Gardens a few blocks away. He heard the gruff and aggressive voice of his master as he neared the bamboo cluster in the centre of the park.

“That is the last time you ever cheat me out of my money, scum!” the voice yelled at a cowering vagrant.

Ivan felt the sticky, wet splatter of blood hit his face. The vagrant screamed at the sight of his left hand lying on the ground, still holding the small leather pouch he used as a wallet.

“Get him out of here and to a hospital,” the master grunted. “Maybe he can earn more money for me begging with on one hand now.”

Two other homeless people stood in line in front of Ivan, waiting to hand over their takings to the master of the beggar’s guild. Ivan trembled slightly, fearing his turn.

“What have we here?” the master said, looking at the bag of money Ivan handed over. “Thirty dollars. Not as much as you are capable of collecting, is it?”

“No sir.”

“I will have to keep eighty percent today, I think.”

“Not fifty, master?”

“I don’t think I heard you right,” the master said. “It almost sounded like you were questioning my authority.”

“No sir, eighty is fine.”

The master tossed back the bag with ten dollars in it. Luckily for Ivan, neither of them could count.

Ivan bowed and quickly walked to the bottle shop to try his luck at pinching his booze now he couldn’t buy it. If he was lucky, he would get caught and end up in the watch house for the night, comfortable bed, decent meal and maybe even a shower. If he was unlucky, he’d get away with lifting the booze and the master would find out about it and expect a share and more if Ivan didn’t declare it.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

I am a Slush Reader for Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine

Just became an unpaid assistant editor type creature for Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine. They call us a Slush Reader and send us 3 or so stories per week to read and review. I've found it great practice for honing my proofreading skills and to get an idea how editors see the stories submitted to them.

Where have I been??

I looked at my blog today and realised that I haven't written a story in a month now. Uni has been crazy with a statistics unit this semester and I haven't had time for anything but study.

Now the semester, and exams, are over, I plan to get stuck into the writing again until the next semester, and last subject for my degree, yeh.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

AHWA NEWS DIGEST [01.09.09-15.09.09]

The following digest of recent horror news is compiled from pieces published to HorrorScope and the Australian Horror Writers' Association website.

Freecon 2009
Guest writers for the Sydney Freecon have been announced! Click through for program details. Sydney Freecon, Nov. 27 to 29, 2009.

Terra Incognita 011
Terra Incognita Speculative Fiction Podcast #011 is now available for your listening pleasure. In this episode Brendan Duffy reads his story Louder Echo, and Keith Stevenson reviews The Dead Path by Stephen M Irwin.

David Conyers Special Guest at GenCon Australia
Australian Horror Writers' Association member David Conyers will be a special guest at this year's GenCon Australia, held at the Brisbane Convention Centre 18-20 September 2009 in Queensland. Click through to view David's itinerary.

Gen Con 2009
Gen Con™ Australia is a consumer games and entertainment convention that showcases games for a broad audience of entertainment seekers. The event will be held 18th to 20th of September 2009 at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. Gen Con™ hosts the largest number of games tournaments and demonstrations ever seen in Australia.

Midnight Echo print copy pre-orders
The AHWA is now taking pre-orders for the print editions of Midnight Echo, the magazine of the Australian Horror Writers' Association. For Issue #3 onwards, print copies of Midnight Echo will be available directly from the AHWA at a substantially discounted rate to what is currently on offer at Lulu. Click through for more details.

Book trailers from i-Video
Western Australian video production company i-video has launched a new book trailer service for interested authors and publishers. Click through for more information.

Specusphere walks the Dead Path with Stephen M. Irwin
Astrid Cooper of the Australian SF e-zine The Specusphere has conducted an in-depth interview with Stephen M. Irwin about his debut horror novel The Dead Path.

Australian Reader Halloween Special intends to showcase Australian horror this Halloween. The zine's editor Phillip A. Ellis is looking for fiction and poetry up to 5,000 words. Stories must be emailed in the body of an email or as an attachment (no docx) before October 25. All types of horror will be considered. Click through for more information.

2009/2010 AHWA Committee
At the Australian Horror Writers Association AGM on September 9, a new, expanded Management Committee was elected. Click through to view the line-up of fantastic fiends!

Ned Kelly Awards Winners for 2009
The winners of Australia's premier crime writing awards, The Ned Kelly Awards, have been announced! Click through for the winners!

Theatre Of Blood
Theatre of Blood is a late-night horror theatre in the tradition of the Grand Guignol. Each Friday night at 11pm, in the foyer of the Newtown Theatre in Sydney, be thrilled with a one-hour program of three short plays. Every three months, there’s a brand new selection of plays to entertain, titillate and frighten you senseless…

Theatre Of Blood call for original plays
Theatre Of Blood have issued the following call for submissions of original short plays in the Grand Guignol style. Click through for guidelines.

Monsters and Bloodsuckers online content

Monsters and Bloodsuckers, part of the special Jennifer Byrne Presents series, is available for download as a Video Podcast, and a transcript is available online. Guest authors joining Byrn, are noted horror and occult writer Leigh Blackmore, children's book writer Catherine Jinks, novelist Tara Moss, and novelist Will Elliott.

New & Forthcoming Releases from Severed Press

Severed Press, an independent publisher based in Melbourne, have two titles just released - or about to be released! Tim Curran's Resurrection is available for pre-order. Just out from Severed Press - Dead America by Australian author Luke Keioskie.

LegumeMan Books open to submissions
The mysterious Brothers Gunther at Australian independent press LegumeMan Books have flung their doors open to submissions for three months, from now until December 1. Click through for guidelines.

Midnight Echo #4 reading period
Midnight Echo, the magazine of the Australian Horror Writers Association, has opened its reading period for Issue #4, which is edited by Australian Shadows Award-winning author Lee Battersby. Click through for more information.

Family Demons Takes Awards At Fright Night
Australian horror film Family Demons, directed by Ursula Dabrowsky, has won awards in the following categories at Fright Night Film Festival 2009. Click through for details.

Eneit Press To Launch Two New Books
Eneit Press would like to invite you to the launch of two new books: Life Through Cellophane by Gillian Polack, and In Bad Dreams Volume 2 edited by Sharyn Lilley. 4th October, at Conflux. Click through for RSVP details.

Eye Of Fire Issue #1
Brimstone Press has launched a new, free e-zine entitled Eye Of Fire. Issue #1 can be downloaded here. Subscribe to Eye Of Fire as a show of support while Black Magazine is being restructured. Angela Challis, Brimstone Press and Black Magazine Editor-in-Chief comments: "...With enough interest shown through free subscription to this e-zine ... Black (magazine) will be back!" Click through to subscribe.

Paul Haines' Slice Of Life
A man. A liver. A mind? Meet the mind of Paul Haines. Slice of Life contains seventeen glittering stories, dripping with twenty first century paranoia and anxiety - to be launched at Conflux 09, 29 August. Slice of Life is a fund-raising venture for the Paul Haines cancer fund. 100% of the cover price will help Paul Haines fight his cancer. Help give Paul Haines a slice of life. Click through to order.

Submitting News

If you have news about Australian and New Zealand Horror publishing and film, or news of professional development opportunities in the field, feel free to submit news to Talie Helene, AHWA News Editor. Just visit HorrorScope, and click on the convenient email link. (International news is not unwelcome, although relevance to Antipodean literary arts practitioners is strongly preferred.)

For information on the Australian Horror Writers' Association, visit

This AHWA NEWS DIGEST has been compiled, written, and republished in select Australian horror haunts by Talie Helene. Currently archived at the
AHWA MySpace page, and Southern Horror; hosted at the social networking sites Darklands and A Writer Goes On A Journey; and hosted by AHWA members Felicity Dowker, Brenton Tomlinson, Scott Wilson, and Jeff Ritchie (Scary Minds: Horror's Last Colonial Outpost).

If you would like to support the AHWA News effort by hosting a copy of the AHWA News Digest on your blog or website,
contact Talie to receive a fully formatted HTML edition of the digest by email.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Rights of the Undead

Rights of the Undead
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 193

“Don’t let anybody push you around. After all, you got rights, too. So stand up for yourself and fight back if you have to.”

The zombies milled around the lectern, listening to their self, elected leader groaning and grunting. None of them understood what he was saying, nor was what was coming out of his mouth anything like what he was trying to say.

A loud bang caused the group to turn and face the door to the hall. The police riot squad charged in and began bashing the zombies with batons and shooting them with tazers. The officers were careful to keep all beatings below the neck to not permanently damage any zombies.

“You don’t have to put up with this!” cried the leader. “You have rights!”

“Just look at old Senator Crandleford,” one of the officers said. “He’s still getting up on his soap box and making a noise.”

“Yeh,” said another officer. “Makes just as much sense now as he used to when he was alive.”


Setting 'Em Up

Setting ‘em Up
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 707

“Set me up with a stiff drink, Vinnie,” Irv said. “Maybe it will help me forget all that’s happened.”

Vinnie slid a shot glass of whiskey down the counter to the tired gunslinger. Irv grabbed the glass before it stopped and swigged it down in one gulp. Before he could ask, another appeared in front of him. This one, he sipped, savouring the malted barley. Irv took his tobacco pouch out and rolled a cigarette with the last of his leaf. At least he was in a semi-populated region and busy town, so it would not be a problem picking up some more tobacco in the morning.

“You catch those varmints, Irv?” Vinnie asked. “Bet they must have given you a run for your money this time?”

Irv knew he’d be able to rustle up some free tobacco and maybe even a shot or two from the bar tender in exchange for a good yarn. That would be a fair trade and tide Irv over until the morning. Vinnie must have read his mind; cause he slid is tobacco tin down the counter to Irv.

“Top up your pouch, friend,” Vinnie said. “Can’t have you running dry till the morning.”

Irv took a deep drag from his smoke and a sip from his drink.

“Wasn’t the easiest bounty to collect, but ain’ the hardest money I’ve ever earned either. It took me two weeks and across the Shady Plains to catch up to the Kelly Gang.”

“Shady Plains,” Vinnie said. “There still vampires haunting those parts?”

“Sure is, friend. Bloodsuckers living underground can trap you day or night. Many a pilgrim been sucked into the sinkholes they set up. Trapped until night when the vamps come out to collect their dinner.”

“That why you the only one game enough to cross the plains after the Kelley’s?”

“Or stupid enough. Takes at least three days to cross the Shady. That’s two nights too much for most folks, even the toughest bounty hunters. I staked four of those critters the first night, didn’t see any the second. I think the Gang was kept busy though. Found the headless corpse of two of the brothers when I past their camp the following day.”

“Must have been a few vamps to outwit those seven boys?”

“Looked like they took out a dozen of the night crawlers by the count of the staked bodies I found. Anyways, once I caught up with them, they were tired and worn down and didn’t put up much of a fight. After I took two of them down with my blasters, the other three just gave up. Guess they thought loosing half the gang was worth more than the princess they kidnapped.”

“Did you bring the heads of the four boys back for the bounty?”

“Na didn’t even bring the three live ones in. They’d been so traumatised by their run in with the vamps that it wasn’t worth it. Ain’t no way they’ll be troublin’ anyone anymore. Besides, the reward for bringing the princess back safe and sound was enough for the effort I put in.”

“Bet they wish they’d skirted round the plains now?”

“Or taken a speeder. I know there few and far between these days. It would have been quicker, but they’d have drawn more attention to themselves than they’d have liked.”

“Why don’t you use a hover cycle, Irv? Wouldn’t it be quicker to catch the outlaws that way?”

“I prefer the old ways, Vinnie. And the cost of running and maintaining those vehicles is outrageous. A good horse will give you the edge any day.”

“So when you going out on your next bounty hunt?”

Irv swigged the last of his whiskey and it as quickly replaced by another. He rolled another cigarette and lit it.

“I hear that the Miller Gang has robbed the Great Divide Monorail. The Rail Company is offering a big enough bounty to let me retire.”

Vinnie switched off the mp3 recorder under the counter. He hoped that Irv wouldn’t retire. Vinnie was making a killing writing novels based on Irv’s stories.


Bug and Bugger

Bug and Bugger
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 486

“Listen, damn it,” Jermaine said. “This is my gig. You do it my way or I swear to you I will crush you like a bug.”

“Very funny, bunny,” Melissa said. “How long have we been going out now...two months? Haven’t you learnt by now that that’s not how it works?”

Jermaine grabbed Melissa by the neck and shook her. She smiled at him, enraging him to grip harder until he could not feel his fingers any more.

“That’ll do,” Melissa said, pushing his hands away effortlessly. “Don’t you know you can’t hurt me?”

Jermaine looked down at his hands. They were around his own throat, chocking himself. He quickly released his grip and stumbled backwards, tripping over the coffee table and crashing to the ground.

“How did you do that?” he muttered, his voice croaky and harsh.

Melissa smiled and extended her hand to help him to his feet.

“I can’t tell you, my love.”

Jermaine coughed, his throat burning and swollen.

“You have to listen to me,” he said. “If we don’t follow my plan, the cops will catch us. I don’t know what power you have over me, or why I can’t get away from you, but you have to listen to me this time.”

Melissa nodded, sat down on the couch, and said, “Okay, humour me. What is your plan, darling?”

“I need to get a drink,” he said. “My throat is killing me.”

Jermaine did not intend to get a drink, at least not until he had taken care of this woman. He picked up a large serrated knife, and then walked back to the lounge room. He walked behind the couch, trying to keep out of her line of sight. Maybe he might be able to get her if she did not see him coming this time.

“Are you going to tell me now?” she said.

“I’m going to lay it all out on the table in a second. You’ll be surprised, I hope.”

He raised the knife above his head, ready to plunge it into Melissa’s skull. Jermaine had never let a woman have any control in any relationships before, and hated that this one seemed to be different. She was not even the best-looking girlfriend he had had, so he did not know what was so different about her.

“I’d be careful,” she said.

“That’s the plan.”

He swung his arm down.

Melissa shook her head.

The knife plunged into Jermaine’s stomach, penetrating into through his organs and stopping abruptly in his spine. He staggered backwards, his legs giving way.

“I told you to be careful,” she said.

“How...?” Jermaine mumbled as he passed out. Before his vision faded, he thought the room was empty. There was no woman in his apartment at all.


The Gutter and the Grave

The Gutter and the Grave
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 432

“Listen, please,” Gerard, said. “I’ve got this confession to make.”

“What?” Wendy said. “Now that I’ve lost at strip poker to you again, you want to confess something to me. It better not be what I think it is.”

“Yeh, Gerard,” Trudy said. “You always seem to win when we play this game during our lunch break. Not that I mind. I enjoy the thrill of it, and don’t even care that no guys work in this place.”

“I’m not really gay. I can’t stand it anymore, it’s driving me crazy...seeing you two naked every day and not being able to touch you.”

“Should we tell him?” Wendy said.

Trudy nodded, “Yes, it’s about time we fess up too.”

“What would you have to confess to?” Gerard said. “It was my suggestion we play strip poker during our lunch break. You both seemed reluctant at the start, but after a couple of weeks you both sprung a yes on me.”

“Can you ever remember getting dressed after our games?” Trudy said. “Or do you simply find yourself back behind your desk, tapping away at your keyboard?”

Gerard rubbed his chin. He’d never even thought about it before, but now he did, he couldn’t remember anything after winning the game each lunch break. The last thing he remembered was sitting across from the two naked women, and then he was back at work.

“We’ve been milking you for everything you’ve got,” Wendy said. “We drug you at the start of the game, extract as much blood, semen, any other fluids we can once you’ve passed out, which is right about when we’ve lost our clothes. That makes collecting the DNA much easier and cleaner.”

“What do you mean?” Gerard said.

Trudy and Wendy reached between their legs and began to pull their bodies apart from the crotch. Out of each woman crawled a slimy, bug like creature with a humanoid head. They slithered towards Gerard and began to devour him slowly. The drug they had used on him kept him conscious, but unable to move until his body went into shock and he passed out.

“We need to find some new human DNA,” Wendy said after she had slithered back into her human body.

“I’ve developed a taste for the flesh now,” Trudy said. “Don’t think I can nibble on the tid bits anymore. We’ll need to find a new body to feed on each time from now on I think.”


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Camel Toe and Moose Knuckle

Camel Toe and Moose Knuckle
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 370

“We’ve got a real problem here,” Camel Toe said to her best friend, Moose Knuckle. “But there has to be a way to solve it, and when we do, we’ll work on it.”
Moose Knuckle adjusted his bike shorts and smiled.

“I’ve got it,” he said. “We can lobby parliament tomorrow, get the legislation changed. The Baggies won’t stand a chance then.”

Camel Toe grinned. She knew that Moose Knuckle was right. With her father being the speaker in the Upper House, she knew that anything she wanted would be passed as an Act without any questions.

“I’ll email the notion to Daddy right away,” Camel Toe said. “He should still be having breakfast with his mistress at home. Mum doesn’t get up early anymore, so Daddy has to have a late breakfast now. He’ll get the message before he goes to work and Daddy always does what I ask right away.”

Moose Knuckle changed the channel on the television, stopping when he found a station with the news playing.

“Look at that,” he said. “Bunch of wankers in their baggy pants. Protesting the right to wear such ridiculous clothes in public. The sooner they outlaw those monstrosities, the better.”

Camel Toe sprayed on a red Lycra top, feeling exhilarated at the sense of nakedness to show off her curvaceous body to the world. The clothes dried instantly and she changed her mind about the style.

“Pass me the paisley aerosol, Hun,” she said to Moose Knuckle.

Moose Knuckle sorted through the small cans in the dresser until he found the one she was after. He picked it up, then handed her the can next to it, smiling.

“Very funny,” she said, putting on the new outfit that was not a paisley top, but a sensual black lace bra and crotchless pair of panties.

“Why would anyone want to wear those old style clothes when you can have such fun with this modern stuff?” Moose Knuckle said. He leaned over and kissed Camel Toe.

“Don’t worry,” she said. “After today, they won’t have a choice.”


Zombie Necktie

Zombie Necktie
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 514

Thaddeus, who was the boss, was dressed as if he was playing a role in a 1930 movie. Double-breasted striped suit, big brimmed Stetson and a huge stick pin in his necktie. When Carlos walked into the office and he said, “Good job, you done good. Now, goodbye, we don’t need you no more...”

He reached for his gun on the table, and cocked it. Carlos blanched and reached for his own pistol, tucked snugly under his left arm. Before Carlos could draw his Glock, Thaddeus shot him in the neck, killing him instantly.

“There you are,” Thaddeus said as Carlos opened his eyes. “I was wondering how long it would take you to reanimate. Most of your colleagues came round in only a matter of minutes. You seemed to fight it, taking almost an hour.”

Carlos slowly turned his head to follow Thaddeus’ voice. His vision was cloudy and slightly out of focus, but he definitely remembered the man sitting next to him. Carlos tried to sit up. Tight, leather harnesses prevented him from moving.

“Not yet, Carlos,” Thaddeus said. “I need to make sure the restraining collar works before you can go running around.”

Thaddeus took a small remote control out of his coat pocket, selected the right frequency, and pressed a button. Carlos felt a jolt of electricity run through his neck and he lost control of his muscles. He jerked and shook until his head collapsed back onto the cold, hard stainless steel bench. Carlos could not see anything, but his sense of smell seemed unaffected. The aroma of Thaddeus’ flesh wafted into Carlos’ nostrils, activating some feeding frenzy. He could not act on his instinct to feed and lay motionless, frustrated.

“Righto then,” Thaddeus said. “That seems to be working just fine."

Thaddeus released the bonds and allowed Carlos to slowly stand up. Carlos turned slowly to look at Thaddeus, then the doorway. Thaddeus nodded.

“That’s right,” Thaddeus said. “You can go and join your friends on the work floor again now.”

Carlos walked slowly to the door, his limbs still numb and tingling from the shock. Down the staircase, hundreds of zombies worked on a large array of machinery of all kinds and purposes. They looked up, not at Carlos, but at the scent of the living flesh of their master, Thaddeus.

“Go to that flashing red light,” Thaddeus said. “That will be your work station now.”
Carlos felt the urge to bite Thaddeus, he smelt so good. Thaddeus seemed to read his mind and held up the remote control, shaking his head at Carlos.

“I’d think twice about that, Carlos,” Thaddeus said. “After your collar has been activated three times, it detonates. You only have three chances in my workshop, and the first one is already gone.”

Carlos headed down the stairs. He thought Thaddeus was a bad boss when Carlos was alive. Now it seemed, things had taken a turn for the worse.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Junk Mail

Junk Mail
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 155

He booted up the computer and found a message that ordered him to go to a distant part of town. Failure to do so would impact negatively on his life and expectations.

“This must be some kind of joke,” Helmut said. “My spam filter should have stopped this crap coming through.

“Settle down, Helmy,” his wife, Annalise said. “What harm can it do?”

Helmut stamped his feet, not realising that their cat, Hemlock, was sleeping soundly next to his footrest. The cat sprang up in pain, swiping Helmut across the ankles.

“Ouch!” he shrieked, pushing back on his chair and tumbling to the ground. His neck snapped when he hit the ground awkwardly.

“I think I’ll send that message to your mother next,” Helmut heard his wife say as his life faded quickly from him.


Monday, August 17, 2009

Bullets to Spare

Bullets to Spare
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 357

“It was an accident, I swear to you. An accident. The damn guns went off by themselves, despite the fact that there were people in the room.”

“And you just happened to be the only person in that room that seemed to have escaped without a single injury. Most of the bodies had at least half a dozen gunshot wounds.”

“They were my friends. I was in as much a panic as the rest of the people in the room. I don’t know why I was spared?”

“And I suppose you don’t know how the paintball pellets happened to become solid bullets either?”

“How should I know? We were supposed to be spending the day at the Maleny Retreat as a bonding exercise for work. Paintball was organised by the boss, not me?”

“And the boss would be the poor soul with half a dozen holes in his head? It looks like a rainbow went psycho on his head.”

“I love my job and my work mates...”

“Loved, you mean.”

“I still love them. I wish they were still alive.”

The officer paced the interview room, scratching his head.

“Okay, you’re free to go, but don’t leave town. We’ll need to speak with you again soon.”

Charlie stood up and left the room, perspiration dripped from every pore in his body. Outside the station, his girlfriend waited, sitting on the bonnet of her Monaro. When she saw Charlie walking down the stairs she smiled. At the same time, gunshots rang out from the police station.

“What the...” Charlie said, diving for cover.

A police officer staggered out of the front door, blood dripping from the two gunshot wounds to her chest.

“The guns,” she said. “They all started going off...”

Charlie’s girlfriend smiled.

“Come on Charlie,” she said. “Now you don’t have to spend the weekend away, we can have a great weekend together.”


Snow Angels

Snow Angels
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 349

The snowstorm came suddenly. Blinding snow clogged the highways, slowed traffic, and created an unexpected hazard to everyone. There was something in the snow that had a terrible effect on most of the population in Mayneville; something nobody understood or could explain.

Ben narrowly avoided running into the Ute in front of him when the blizzard came over without warning. He was on his way home, driving along the Bruce Highway in peak hour traffic.

“You turkey!” he yelled when he swerved to avoid the Ute.

Ben noticed that the traffic had stopped on both sides of the highway. People were getting out of their cars, falling to the ground and making snow angels in the middle of the road.

“What the hell’s going on here?” he said.

He turned his Hoodoo Gurus cd off and flicked the radio on to see if he could catch the news, but no stations were broadcasting.

“Blizzard must be interfering with the reception,” he said.

Across the highway, an old biker leant over a teenager making a snow angel. He was yelling some choice words that Ben couldn’t quite hear, but assumed to be a barrage of F-bombs. After a minute, the teenager grabbed the biker by the head and tore half his face off with a savage bite.

“What the f...”

Ben looked around and saw dozens of snow angels attacking those unaffected by the unnatural blizzard. He shoved his car into four-wheel drive mode and sped off into the pine forest beside the highway, occasionally seeing a staggering snow angel from the forestry workers affected by the blizzard. The drive home took an extra hour, but at least half of that was through areas not affected by the snow. It seemed that the blizzard was only in a small radius from where he first saw it.

“You’re home just in time,” his wife said when he walked in the front door. “There’s a terrible snow storm headed this way.”


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Gilly and the Underground Groves

Gilly and the Underground Groves
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 442

Gilly played guitar in his band “The Underground Grooves”; it wasn’t really true to say he was in the band as he was living on a totally different plane to the rest of the world. He never turned up to rehearsals, yet he would come up with killer licks when it came time to record a new album, which is why Tendrix, Glapton and Von Helmet put up with his crazy, offbeat behaviour. They could rehearse for weeks, tell Gilly to come to the studio, and he’d lay down the track first go.

Tonight was different though. The Underground Grooves had an impromptu gig at the Palace. Many bands had played there before; some had even survived to become legends for centuries, before they were wiped from the public’s mind. They were nervous about the gig, knowing their lives depended upon their performance.

“Yeh, worries at all cats,” Gilly said when Glapton rang him. “Have you guys got any new tunes to play tonight? I mean, it’s a way out place to release some new material.”

Glapton and the guys had been working on new material for their tenth album, but Gilly hadn’t heard it and that made them extremely nervous, even knowing how gifted Gilly was.

“Sure, Gilly. But do you think tonight is really the right venue to be testing the waters? If we miss a single note, they’ll feed us to the Jaztox beast. That’s heavy shit man, while it digests you; the same acidic stomach juices keep you alive so you’re fresh for a hundred years.”

“Whooh, what a trip,” Gilly said. “That’s like immortality, dude. If you were like, ninety years old, you’d live to be almost two hundred.”

Glapton shook his head.

“Doesn’t the pain worry you? Who wants to be immortal if you are being eaten alive over a century?”

“Don’t stress, dude,” Gilly said. “I’ve got some killer riffs that will blow the Royals away.”

The band met at the Palace at exactly ten that evening and entered the Great Hall, as the previous band were tossed to the beast, instruments and all.

Gilly opened the gig with the most amazing lead anyone had ever heard. The Royals were so mesmerised they gave each member of the band a Knighthood and a grant for the expansion of the arts into the new millennium. Gilly was slightly upset that he didn’t get to live an extra decade, but the rest of the band were happy with what they received.


Cyberpunk Police Truck

Cyberpunk Police Truck
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 208

“Tonight’s the night we’ve got the truck boys,” Gestav said to the three new police recruits. “We’re going downtown to beat up some drunks, roundup the good whores and have a good old time.”

The three recruits looked at each other and then at the Sergeant.

“Are you serious?” Constable Prunes said.

Gestav quickly drew his Glock and pumped a round into Prunes forehead. Prunes fell backwards off his chair, cracking his skull on the desk behind him before hitting the cold, hard marble floor, spilling his brains everywhere.

“Anymore questions?” Gestav said, putting his pistol back in its holster.
The two remaining recruits shook their heads.

“Okay then, put Prunes in the Cryoplasmatank to fix up that nasty bump on his head.”
Gestav looked at his watch.

“We should have time for a few brews before Prunes is ready to come with us, so let chug-a-lug.”

He tossed two beer pellets to the recruits and swallowed three. The recruits reluctantly took the pills, watching the Sergeant cautiously for fifteen minutes before Prunes was healed and they were ready to start their first night patrol.


Pot of Cold

Pot of Cold
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 342

“If you follow these instructions, detail by detail, I guarantee you will find a pot, at the end of the rainbow.”

“I thought that once you caught a leprechaun, that was it, he had to give you the gold?”

“No, no, no,” the leprechaun said. “Everybody knows how much leprechaun’s drink. It’s not that hard to catch us outside the pub and night of the week. If that was it, we’d all be too bloody poor, wouldn’t we.”

Jimmy looked at the five-page list of instruction of how to find the end of the rainbow and the location of the pot of gold. He scratched his head and carelessly loosened the grip on the drunken leprechaun. The leprechaun wiggled from Jimmy’s grasp and staggered away.

“Hey, don’t you go anywhere until I’ve got your gold.”

Jimmy easily caught the leprechaun as he stumbled into the bushes on the side of the road.

“I can’t take you there,” the leprechaun said, burping into Jimmy’s face. “It’s a magical safeguard. A leprechaun’s pot of gold will not appear unless he or a person of his choice performs the rituals by himself.”

Jimmy shoved the leprechaun into his esky and began following the instructions on the pages. The writing was smudged and slurred as much as the leprechaun did in his drunken state. It took the remainder of the day to carry out the detailed instructions and reach the end of the rainbow.

“You little ripper,” Jimmy said, seeing the large, black pot filled with gold pieces.

It began to fade as Jimmy walked closer to it, finally disappearing when he reached where it should be. He opened the esky and found the leprechaun frozen to death with a scrunched up piece of paper in his hand.

“You fool,” the paper read. “It’s bloody freezing in here. The gold dies if the leprechaun dies. You have killed me and lost your fortune.”


It Always Ends with the Paperwork

It Always Ends with the Paperwork
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 362

“Hey Al, you better get here right away, this guy at the door says he’s the Sheriff, and he’s got a bunch of papers for you to sign"

Al put his Four-ex down on the coffee table and paused the footy match on the telly.

“That better not be on the woodwork, Al!” his wife yelled from the kitchen.
“No luv,” Al said, moving the can onto a coaster and wiping the wet ring from the polished wood.

Standing at the door with the Sheriff was Al’s teenage daughter; she battered her eyelids at the young hunky Officer as she brushed past him and hopped on her scooter.

“My family is just out of control, Jake,” Al said to the Sheriff. “I’m outnumbered, and outvoted by the girls now.”

The Sheriff smiled, he was shagging both Al’s wife and daughter and knew just how out of control his life was.

“You get that when you’re a busy business man and don’t have any son’s to mind the family when you’re at work.”

Al shrugged, “What have you got for me today?”

The Sheriff handed over a pile of papers relating to the dozen bodies Al had collected from the fire at the Chemical Warehouse the previous night. Al had not started the autopsies yet, and was planning to go into work after the game finished on Foxtel.

“You’re not going to let me have the morning off, are you?” Al said.

The Sheriff smiled, thinking about doing Al’s wife on Al’s Jason Recliner once he left to go to work.

“I think you’re really going to have to go to work now and help out your apprentice, Al.”

Al took the paperwork and grabbed his car keys.

“I’ll just let Rosie I’ll be back at five or so,” Al said.

“I’ll do that now, save you some time so you can get home sooner.”

The Sheriff watched Al drive off before heading into the kitchen to take care of Al’s wife, like a good friend would.


A Lazy Afternoon in the Burbs

A Lazy Afternoon in the Burbs
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 255

Ezra was relaxing on the hammock slung in the back-yard; enjoying the soft summer breezes he heard the unmistakable sound of an automatic weapon. Without thinking, he rolled off the hammock and hugged the ground for dear life just as the string of bullets ripped through the hammock above him.

“Sorry about that, Nevil,” his wife yelled from the clothes line. She pointed to the white picket fence behind him.

Nevil hadn’t noticed the two zombies trying to force their way into their yard.
“Thanks dear,” Nevil said. “If...”

Nevil’s wife dropped to the ground as he fired a couple of round from his shotgun in her direction. She rolled quickly, leaping to an offensive position and fired a couple of rounds in the direction of the ruckus.

“Did you leave the side gate open again?” she asked, standing up quickly.

“Sorry dear,” he said. “Must have been when I took the garbage out earlier.”

Nevil’s wife fired another round into the head of the twitching corpse on the ground near the open gate.

“Well you can bloody well clean up this time,” she said. “You know the rules, you let them in, you clean up the mess.”

Nevil grunted. So much for a nice relaxing afternoon, he thought to himself as he went to the shed to get the Zombie-Matic mulcher. I really didn’t feel like gardening today.


Stone Cold Crazy

Stone Cold Crazy
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 349

The cop pulled the speeding, weaving sports convertible over, and stood well behind the driver’s door as he said, “Listen, you were driving like a crazy, what the hell is going on?”

The driver stuck her head out the window, at least the cop thought it was the driver’s head, until he realised it wasn’t connected to a body. He reached for his sidearm.

“Step Out of the car!” he yelled.

The head retracted back inside the car and the door opened slowly. Blood dripped on the ground as the tall, naked woman stepped out of the car, holding her head in her hand.

“What seems to be the problem, Officer?” she said.

Carelessly, the officer stepped back and tripped over, landing flat on his back just as a semi trailer hurtled down the highway.

“Watch out!” the woman yelled.

It was too late. The truck ran over the officer, squashing his intestines out of his mouth and rectum and broke his back in five places.

The woman knelt down beside the corpse and ran her fingers through his hair gently. He coughed, spitting out his entrails to clear his throat.

“You’ll need a lift I think,” the woman said as the Officer tried to sit up. “I can only restore life; unfortunately I can’t heal your injuries.”

“What the...”

The Officer used his muscular arms to sit up; everything from the chest down was a bloody and useless mound of torn flesh. His spine snapped as he turned to face the headless woman.

“Here, let me help you,” she said and placed her head on the bonnet of her car. She grabbed the Officer under each arm and lifted him into her car.

“What about my junk?” The Officer cried.

“I’m afraid that half of your body seems to have stayed dead, Officer.”

The Officer looked in disbelief at his other half as the headless woman drove off down the highway.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Fingers in the Coffers

Fingers in the Coffers
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 226

“Mr. Panofsky,” the deacon said to one of the churchgoers, “I saw you today, bold as a thief take money out of the alms bag...instead of putting it in. What about that.”
The elderly gentleman looked at the deacon with a raised eyebrow.

“Don’t try and deny it now, Mr. Panofsky. I’m sure we could find a few witnesses to agree with me if you want to make this a public issue.”

Mr. Panofsky shook his head, “Look, I’m really sorry. Since Gertrude passed away, I haven’t been able to make ends meet on the single aged-pension. What with the funeral expenses and all. I just needed some bread for supper.”

The deacon put his arm around Mr. Panofsky’s shoulder and smiled.

“Let’s just put the money back, shall we. Then we’ll see what we can do about your diner.”

The deacon held out the collection bag and shook it in front of Mr. Panofsky, who took the coins from his pocket and put them in the velvet bag.


Mr. Panofsky looked down and thought he saw teeth at opening of the bag, almost smiling at him. Sitting on top of the coins in the bag were three of his fingers.



By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 231

Friendships are so intricate, so demanding. If you are not careful, they are apt to poke large holes in one’s psyche. Jude knew this to be true from personal experience and bore the scars to prove it. The last time she opened up and let someone in, she ended up getting hurt and it took her ages to get over it. This would be the last time that she would give in to her emotions and trust someone. She was sure of it.

“Okay,” she said to the tall and slender Elf with silver hair and lime green eyes. “You can come around this weekend, if you promise to show me how to make some of those Elvish broaches.”

The Elf smiled.

“You know that only Elves can give the broaches the magical properties though?”

“I do now,” said Jude. “After selling a bundle of them at the markets after that were nothing but shiny knick knacks and almost getting my head kicked in.”

“Not all Elves like Gnomes you know,” the Elf said.

“Yeh, but to play a joke like that is a bit low, even for an Elf.”

Jude did not see the two other Elves snickering in the bushes as she walked off with her new “friend.”


Sunday, August 2, 2009

AHWA NEWS DIGEST [02.07.09-02.08.09]

The following digest of recent horror news is compiled from pieces published to HorrorScope and the Australian Horror Writers' Association website.

Dymocks Southland Bestselling Horror Titles for July ‘09
Dymocks Southland is a general bookshop in Cheltenham, Victoria, boasting an extensive range of genre stock. Click through for the top 10 bestselling horror titles for July 2009.

Eclecticism Issue 9
Eclecticism E-zine are celebrating their 2nd Anniversary with the release of Issue #9! Come and join the festivities by downloading the free online magazine.

Nameless bounty
The ‘Nameless’ competition has been extended until the 1st of September 2009, and a $500 winner’s cheque has been added to sweeten the already tasty prize pool. Read the story here. Come up with a conclusion and a title. Make your $10 donation and enter the competition here. Click through for more details!

Scribe launches the CAL Scribe Fiction Prize
Scribe is delighted to announce the launch of the CAL Scribe Fiction Prize. The prize is open for an unpublished manuscript by any Australian writer over 35, who may or may not have been published before. The winner of the CAL Scribe Fiction Prize will be awarded a book contract from Scribe and a prize of $12,000.

The Best Horror of the Year, Volume One

Ellen Datlow has announced the contents of the forthcoming The Best Horror of the Year, Volume One, due out in October from Night Shade Books. The book features two Australian horror writers -

The Mother US edition
The US limited edition of Brett McBean's second novel The Mother is now up for pre-order from Thunderstorm Books. This is the uncut version, with two graphic scenes previously deemed too extreme, now restored back into the text.

First National Republican Short Story Competition
On 6 November 2009, it will be 10 years since the republican referendum was lost. To commemorate this event and to remind Australians of what they still don't have, the Australian Republican Movement is calling for speculative fiction short stories between 2000 and 4000 words that portray an Australian republican future in a positive light and demonstrate the absurdity of a hereditary monarch as the Australian Head of State in twenty-first century Australian society. Click through for more details.

'Family Demons' midnight screening
Ursula Dabrowsky, winner of the Best Australian Director award at the 2009 A Night of Horror International Film Festival for her eerie psychological feature film, Family Demons, is proud to be screening the film at the 2009 Melbourne Underground Film Festival. The event will be held on Saturday, 29 August 2009 at 11pm at the Embassy (formerly the Queensbridge Hotel), 1 Queensbridge St, South Melbourne.

Aeon Award 2009 2nd round shortlist
As recently announced on the Albedo One website, a number of stories have been added to the Aeon Award 2009 shortlist after the second round of consideration, which ran from April to the end of July. The competition directors would like to emphasize that the Aeon Award is still open for entries to the end of November '09. Click through for more details.

Quentin Tarantino & Popcorn Taxi present Dark Age
To celebrate the great Aussie genre films of the eighties, Inglourious Basterds director Quentin Tarantino presents his own personal 35mm print of Arch Nicholson's 1987 Ozploitation classic Dark Age for a phenomenal one-off Popcorn Taxi screening. Event Sold Out!

Award Winning Australian Writing 2009
The Australian Horror Writers Association (AHWA) congratulates Benjamin Hayes, winner of the AHWA Flash and Short Story Competition 2008 (Flash Fiction category), whose winning entry has been selected for inclusion in the 2009 edition of Award Winning Australian Writing, to be published by Melbourne Books. Other noteworthy Australian speculative authors to have work included are Cat Sparks and Simon Brown. The book launch will be held at this year's Melbourne Writers' Festival. 2:30pm, August 21, Festival Club, ACMI, Melbourne.

Terry Dowling Ticonderoga editions available for pre-order
The best work of Terry Dowling, Australia’s "master of fantasy", will be released in two volumes published by independent WA publisher Ticonderoga Publications. The two volumes, Basic Black: Tales of Appropriate Fear and Make Believe: A Terry Dowling Reader, collect thirty stories from Dowling’s almost 30-year career. These books are available for pre-order from Indie Books Online.

Damned By Dawn world premiere (FREE!)
Writer/director Brett Anstey invites horror affictionados to the world-premiere screening of his banshee/walking dead horror film, Damned By Dawn. The event is FREE - although management request RSVP by email to Wednesday August 12, 7:30pm, ACMI, Melbourne.

In The Dead Of Night
Australia’s first ‘choose your own adventure’ cabaret debuts in Melbourne… and it’s not for the faint of heart. After directing professional cabaret and theatre for nearly a decade, Play Right Theatre founder Kim Edwards has channelled her dark side and finally released a long-time pet project of her own on the stage. Edwards’ previous credits include children’s drama classes and Theatre In Education work, but it will be adults only when In The Dead Of Night: A Cult Show is let loose at The Butterfly Club in all its gothic, grotesque, and darkly funny glory.

2009 Chronos Award finalists
The Continuum Foundation has announced the ballot for the 2009 Chronos Awards, which honours the best works of science fiction, fantasy, and horror produced by Victorians in 2008 as recommended by Australian SF fans. The Chronos Award winners will be presented at Continuum 5. Click through for a list of nominees.

Submitting News

If you have news about Australian and New Zealand Horror publishing and film, or news of professional development opportunities in the field, feel free to submit news to Talie Helene, AHWA News Editor. Just visit HorrorScope, and click on the convenient email link. (International news is not unwelcome, although relevance to Antipodean literary arts practitioners is strongly preferred.)

For information on the Australian Horror Writers' Association, visit

This AHWA NEWS DIGEST has been compiled, written, and republished in select Australian horror haunts by Talie Helene. Currently archived at the
AHWA MySpace page, and Southern Horror; hosted at the social networking sites Darklands and A Writer Goes On A Journey; and hosted by AHWA members Felicity Dowker, Brenton Tomlinson, Scott Wilson, and Jeff Ritchie (Scary Minds: Horror's Last Colonial Outpost).

If you would like to support the AHWA News effort by hosting a copy of the AHWA News Digest on your blog or website,
contact Talie to receive a fully formatted HTML edition of the digest by email.