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.