Midnight Echo Announces Issue 8 Submission Guidelines – News

Midnight Echo Magazine has announced its editors and submission details for Issue 8. The issue is to be edited by Amanda J Spedding, Mark Farrugia, and Marty Young, is open to submissions from March 1 to June 30, 2012.

From the website:

The theme of Midnight Echo Issue 8 is knock our socks off with a damn good horror story! What do we mean by that? Well, we’re looking for stories that we might have trouble digesting. Stories that leave us feeling scared and excited about what’s in store… Scare us, shock us, freak us out, get up-close and personal with your imagination and startle us with the end result. We’re open to everything, but only the best will survive.

Marty: “I want people to really stretch their imaginations. Take us into space, into hell, or into beyond—and leave us there if you need to, but don’t take us into wacky, weird, gonzo style stories. If you need to be explicit to do this, then fine, but there’s nothing wrong with the old quiet school of horror, where what you don’t see is what does the damage.”

Mark: “I want to publish stories that challenge the way I think about traditional values—faith, love, desire, religion—stories that blur the line between right and wrong, fantasy and fact. Stories intertwined with emotion. Content is not an issue with me but the more adult the theme, the better the writing has to be. Don’t be frightened to sub the ol’ tropes (vampire, zombie, werewolf) but make it something special.  Surprise me. Shock me. Entertain. I am not adverse to poetry but it has to engage me in some way, the things I have highlighted above would be a good place for poets to start.”

Amanda:”Scare us. I’m looking for character-driven stories that push the limits of horror versus hope—I want to see the internal and external battle between predator and prey. Delve into the darkness of the mind, or the formless abyss where monsters live and inflict your worst, but make it war. I’m after content and combat in context, though, so any splatter-porn should be backed up by a damn fine story.”

New Horror Fiction Podcast – Tales to Terrify

New horror fiction podcast Tales to Terrify debuted in January 2012, and already boasts seven issues and some impressive talent, such as Joe R Lansdale, Mike Allen, Gary McMahon, and John Everson.

Tales to Terrify is the brainchild of Tony Smith, Hugo award winner for his well known science fiction podcast Star Ship Sofa which has podcast stories from authors such as Gene Wolf, Pat Cadigan, and Michael Moorcock.

The latest episode of this exciting new horror podcast was released on February 25th and can be found here.

Enjoy, darklings. We know we will.

Submission Call – Best Australian Writing 2011

Black Inc. is pleased to announce Sonya Hartnett will edit The Best Australian Stories 2012, Ramona Koval will edit The Best Australian Essays 2012, and John Tranter will edit The Best Australian Poems 2012.

Submissions for the Best Australian Stories, Essays and Poems are now open.

The Best Australian Stories 2012 The deadline for submissions is 1 August 2012, but early submission would be appreciated. Please send one story – recent work only, published or unpublished – to Sonya Hartnett at the address below. Previously published work must have been published after 1 August 2011.

Sonya Hartnett c/- Black Inc. 37 – 39 Langridge St Collingwood VIC 3066

The Best Australian Essays 2012 The deadline for submissions is 1 August 2012, but early submission would be appreciated. Please send one essay – recent work only, published or unpublished – to Ramona Koval at the address below. Previously published work must have been published after 1 August 2011.

Ramona Koval c/- Black Inc. 37 – 39 Langridge St Collingwood VIC 3066

The Best Australian Poems 2012 The deadline for submissions is 1 August 2012, but early submission would be appreciated. Please send up to three poems – recent work only, published or unpublished – to John Tranter at the address below. Previously published work must have been published after 1 August 2011.

John Tranter c/- Black Inc. 37 – 39 Langridge St Collingwood VIC 3066

Word count: There is no official minimum or maximum length for stories, essays or poems, but please keep in mind that space limitations make very long pieces harder to accept. Please consult previous years’ collections to get a sense of the usual upper and lower limits.

Formatting: There are no particular requirements when it comes to formatting. If in doubt, double-spaced, single-sided, stapled and Times New Roman are safe bets. There is no official entry form. Please include your name and contact details, preferably an email address as well as a postal address, with your submission. Please also include the name and contact details, preferably an email address as well as a postal address, of your literary agent if applicable.

Owing to the number of submissions received, submissions cannot be returned and the editors are unable to comment on individual submissions.

The editors’ selections will be announced on the website in October 2012.

Questions regarding submissions can be directed to submissions@blackincbooks.com (Please note, submissions are NOT accepted via email, unless you are living overseas or travelling for an extended period.)

Thirteen O’Clock wants YOUR input

Thirteen O’Clock is brand new and we’ve barely started. While we plan to bring you as much news and as many reviews of dark and weird fiction as possible, we want this to be a community site. We want your input. If you have some news, send it in. If you want to review something, write that review and send it in. We can’t promise to use everything, but we’ll try to. Our full Contributor policy is here and our Contact details are here.

Come on, lovers of the dark – get involved!


Welcome to Thirteen O’Clock

Australian writers and critics Alan Baxter, Felicity Dowker and Andrew McKiernan are delighted to officially announce the launch of their new weblog: Thirteen O’Clock – Australian Dark Fiction News and Reviews.

From the About Us page:

Thirteen O’Clock is a weblog dedicated to sharing horror and dark fiction news and reviews. The site has an Australian bent, but we also enjoy and discuss work from around the world. Whether you get your kicks from short stories, magazines, poetry, novels, movies, games, or anything else – if it’s dark and weird, you’ll find it at Thirteen O’Clock.

“As a writer of dark fiction, I’m aware of the value of sites which get the word about our work out to the greater community,” says Baxter. “And as a reader, I want to help publicise the work of others. You can never have too many venues to provide news and reviews relevant to fans of dark fiction, so I’m really happy to be a part of this venture.”

Dowker adds: “We’re very excited about this project, and we’ve worked hard to make it happen. We really hope genre enthusiasts will warm to the site, and that we’ll attract some great contributors to join our team. We aim to give back to the local scene and to become the premier Australian source for dark fiction news and reviews.”

“Having been one of the founding reviewers for HorrorScope, I’ve always seen its untimely demise as leaving an enormous hole in the Australian dark fiction landscape,” McKiernan says. “Thirteen O’Clock aims to help fill that hole. Dark and weird fiction in Australia has never been better, and I’m very excited to be part of a project that hopes to bring those works and their authors to a wider readership.”

For additional information, to submit review material, or to become a contributor, contact Alan Baxter, Felicity Dowker, or Andrew McKiernan on editors[at]thirteenoclock.com.au or visit the Contact Us page.

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Stoker Awards nominations announced

Each year, the Horror Writers Association presents the Bram Stoker Awards™ for Superior Achievement in the field of horror writing, named in honor of Bram Stoker, author of the seminal horror work Dracula. Since 1987, the approximately 700 members of the HWA have recommended, nominated and voted on the greatest works of horror and dark fantasy of the previous calendar year, making the Bram Stoker Awards™ the most prestigious award in the field of horror literature. For the first time in 2011, half the nominees were chosen by juries.

The awards are presented in eleven categories: Novel, First Novel, Young Adult Novel, Graphic Novel, Long Fiction, Short Fiction, Screenplay, Fiction Collection, Anthology, Non-fiction, and Poetry Collection. The organization’s Active and Lifetime members will select the winners from this list of nominees; and the Awards will be presented at a gala banquet on Saturday evening, March 31, at the World Horror Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah.

This year’s nominees are:


A Matrix Of Angels by Christopher Conlon (Creative Guy Publishing)
Cosmic Forces by Greg Lamberson (Medallion Press)
Floating Staircase by Ronald Malfi (Medallion Press / Thunderstorm Books)
Flesh Eaters by Joe McKinney (Pinnacle Books)
Not Fade Away by Gene O’Neill (Bad Moon Books)
The German by Lee Thomas (Lethe Press)


Isis Unbound by Allyson Bird (Dark Regions Press)
Southern Gods by John Hornor Jacobs (Night Shade Books)
The Lamplighters by Frazer Lee (Samhain Horror)
The Panama Laugh by Thomas Roche (Night Shade Books)
That Which Should Not Be by Brett J. Talley (JournalStone)


Ghosts of Coronado Bay, A Maya Blair Mystery by J. G. Faherty (JournalStone)
The Screaming Season by Nancy Holder (Razorbill)
Rotters by Daniel Kraus (Delacorte Books for Young Readers)
Dust and Decay by Jonathan Maberry (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (Candlewick / Walker)
This Dark Endeavor: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein by Kenneth Oppel (Simon & Schuster / David Fickling Books)


Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol (First Second)
Locke & Key Volume 4 by Joe Hill (IDW Publishing)
Green River Killer by Jeff Jensen (Dark Horse)
Marvel Universe vs. Wolverine by Jonathan Maberry (Marvel)
Baltimore Volume I: The Plague Ships by Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden (Dark Horse)
Neonomicon by Alan Moore (Avatar Press)


7 Brains by Michael Louis Calvillo (Burning Effigy Press)
Roots and All by Brian Hodge (A Book of Horrors)
The Colliers’ Venus (1893) by Caitlin R. Kiernan (Naked City: New Tales of Urban Fantasy)
Ursa Major by John R. Little (Bad Moon Books)
Rusting Chickens by Gene O’Neill (Dark Regions Press)
The Ballad of Ballard and Sandrine by Peter Straub (Conjunctions: 56)


Her Husband’s Hands by Adam-Troy Castro (Lightspeed Magazine, October 2011)
Herman Wouk Is Still Alive by Stephen King (The Atlantic Magazine, May 2011)
Hypergraphia by Ken Lillie-Paetz (The Uninvited #1)
Graffiti Sonata by Gene O’Neill (Dark Discoveries #18)
Home by George Saunders (The New Yorker Magazine, June 13, 2011)
All You Can Do Is Breathe by Kaaron Warren (Blood and Other Cravings)


True Blood, episode #44: “Spellbound” by Alan Ball (HBO)
The Walking Dead, episode #13: “Pretty Much Dead Already” by Scott M. Gimple (AMC)
The Walking Dead, episode #9: “Save the Last One” by Scott M. Gimple (AMC)
Priest by Cory Goodman (Screen Gems)
The Adjustment Bureau by George Nolfi (Universal Pictures)
American Horror Story, episode #12: “Afterbirth” by Jessica Sharzer (20th Century Fox Television)


Voices: Tales of Horror by Lawrence C. Connolly (Fantasist Enterprises)
Red Gloves by Christopher Fowler (PS Publishing)
Two Worlds and In Between: The Best of Caitlin R. Kiernan (Volume One) by Caitlin R. Kiernan (Subterranean)
Monsters of L.A. by Lisa Morton (Bad Moon Books)
The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares by Joyce Carol Oates (Mysterious Press)
Multiplex Fandango by Weston Ochse (Dark Regions Press)


NEHW Presents: Epitaphs edited by Tracy L. Carbone (Shroud Publishing)
Ghosts By Gaslight edited by Jack Dann and Nick Gevers (Harper Voyager)
Blood And Other Cravings edited by Ellen Datlow (Tor Books)
Supernatural Noir edited by Ellen Datlow (Dark Horse)
Tattered Souls 2 edited by Frank J. Hutton (Cutting Block Press)
Demons: Encounters with the Devil and his Minions, Fallen Angels and the Possessed edited by John Skipp (Black Dog and Leventhal)


Halloween Nation: Behind the Scenes of America’s Fright Night by Lesley Pratt Bannatyne (Pelican Publishing)
Reflections in a Glass Darkly: Essays on J. Sheridan Le Fanu edited by Gary William Crawford, Jim Rockhill and Brian J. Showers (Hippocampus Press)
Starve Better by Nick Mamatas (Apex Publications)
Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Zombies by Matt Mogk (Gallery Books)
The Gothic Imagination by John C. Tibbetts (Palgrave Macmillan)
Stephen King: A Literary Companion by Rocky Wood (McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers)


How to Recognize a Demon Has Become Your Friend by Linda Addison (Necon Ebooks)
At Louche Ends: Poetry for the Decadent, the Damned & the Absinthe-Minded by Maria Alexander (Burning Effigy Press)
Surrealities by Bruce Boston (Dark Regions Press)
Shroud of Night by G. O. Clark (Dark Regions Press)
The Mad Hattery by Marge Simon (Elektrik Milk Bath Press)
Unearthly Delights by Marge Simon (Sam’s Dot)

(From http://www.stokers2012.org/)

The Courier’s New Bicycle by Kim Westwood – review

Kim Westwood is a writer with a rare, light touch. The Courier’s New Bicycle is her second novel. I haven’t read her first, The Daughters of Moab, so this is my first foray into Westwood’s long fiction, though I have enjoyed her short stories in the past.

This book is a dark story of gender transgressive, Salibury Forth, and his/her life as a courier of contraband hormones in a dystopian near-future Melbourne. A pandemic has cause widespread decay among society due to its effect of making a large proportion of the population sterile. The governing authorities are religious zealots and the world is not a very pleasant place any more.

It’s a noir-ish whodunnit, with people double-crossing other people, trouble on the streets, and Salisbury trying to sort it all out. Salisbury is also an activist, working with a clandestine group to free animals from the cruelty of factory hormone farming. So Westwood tackles big issues here – gender, religious oppression, cruel farming practices, activism. It would be easy for the book to become a diatribe, a lecture, but it doesn’t.

I have to admit that at first I thought the book wasn’t going to work for me. But I soon locked into Westwood’s light, lyrical style and it all started to gel. She deals with very heavy subjects with a nuanced touch and lets characters speak for themselves. The mystery is convoluted and, at times, a bit opaque, but gripping nonetheless. The world she creates is very well realised, and not a place I would ever want to live. This story turned out to be transportive.

One of things I enjoyed the most is Salisbury’s connection with her bicycle in a world where petrol engines are virtually extinct, and the freedom that bicycle gives to Salisbury, who is otherwise very trapped by her world, her sexuality, her relationships and everything else (I’m saying “her” for ease of writing – you can read the book and decide for yourself!) I’m a keen motorcyclist and I understand the freedom of the open road. Westwood’s descriptions of Salisbury’s body and bike working as one are brilliant.

The story is tightly plotted and the world immersive. I read this book over a weekend and thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s not action-packed and in your face science fiction. In fact, in the Acknowledgments, Westwood says:

This story pays homage the many groups that work against the cruelty of the bile and factory farming industries, including those tireless champions of the animals, the Voiceless team, and Animals Asia. This story is also for gender explorers everywhere: not fantasy. Not science fiction.

The Courier’s New Bicycle is a tremendous achievement.

(This is a cross-post from Alan Baxter’s website, The Word.)