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.