Midnight Echo Issue 11 now available

What’s that rap-tap-tapping on your chamber door? It’s not some mocking raven – it’s the seriously unsettling Midnight Echo 11.

Edited by Kaaron Warren, Issue 11 is dedicated to all things sinister. With fiction by Deborah Sheldon, Jarod K Anderson, and Marija Elektra Rodriguez, poetry by PS Cottier and Michael Tugendhat, an exclusive interview with Wolf Creek 2 screenwriter Aaron Sterns, and the winning AHWA Short Story and Flash Fiction Competition stories, you know you’re in for a disturbing ride.

Midnight Echo 11 is available in pdf, epub and mobi. Get all three versions for AU$2.99 when you buy through MidnightEchoMagazine.com

Midnight Echo Issue 11

SQ Mag seeking submissions

SQ Mag is looking for submissions for their ‘Australiana’ themed 14th edition.

“In 2013 SQ Mag had a special edition on women writers in speculative fiction. This was amazingly successful and we have decided to run each year’s 1 May edition as a themed collection. We do not feel confined to any particular style or form of collection, and they can range from ‘higher’ themes such as women in writing, to downright straightforward entertainment and wimsy. The submissions pipe for Edition 14 is now open and the theme is ‘Australiana’.”

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[‘Australiana’ means that the story must be in an Australian setting, or the major protagonist/s are Australian, or in some other, meaningful way be associated with Australia.]

The full submission guidelines can be found here.

SQ Mag is an international speculative fiction ezine that comes out bi-monthly (watch out for new editions on the 1st of January, March, May, July, September, and November each year). In addition to this, they also release an annual anthology called Star Quake, which captures the best stories published the previous year.

SQ Mag strives to present the highest standard fantasy, horror, and science fiction, and they publish around five pieces of fiction each edition. They are also committed to publishing at least one of each genre, and a high percentage of ‘new, upcoming’ authors, in each issue.

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The ezine has, in its short life, already climbed from ‘for the love’ to a ‘token’ market for unsolicited manuscripts. To raise the bar, and to aid new writers, SQ Mag periodically solicits better established writers, and they have been very successful in this field: Jay Lake, Cat Rambo, Cat Sparks, Gary McMahon, Daniel I Russell, Tonia Brown – and they have some greats coming up: Kaaron Warren, Jeremy C Shipp, Alan Baxter, and Sean Williams.

SQ Mag is an international ezine with a love of the English language and the nuances of different idioms. They publish stories in the nationality of English they receive manuscripts – if a story is written in UK English, they publish in UK English. There will be a small tag next to each author citation with the flag of the English form. It does not necessarily represent the nationality of the author.

SQ Mag is an Australian Company published by IFWG Publishing Australia, and is licensed to use the IFWG Publishing and IFWG Publishing Australia imprints (these publishers also release children’s and adult speculative fiction).

Please note that SQ Mag is a free magazine. It works on the business model of gaining revenue from donations, advertising, and merchandising (including the Star Quake anthologies). This is a tough model, and SQ Mag encourages readers who enjoy SQ Mag to consider donating to the worth of the reading experience.

[With thanks to Gerry Huntman]

Midnight Echo update

Midnight Echo magazine has posted an update on what’s been happening in the Goblin offices lately in an effort to allay fears the magazine will be folding, and to clarify why the release of Issue 11 was postponed.

“As many of you have already heard, the AHWA Committee has made the difficult decision to defer the release of Midnight Echo 11. This has been done so that the Committee can evaluate the magazine’s current structure, and determine the best way for it to continue into the future.”

The full statement is available on the Midnight Echo website. Unfortunately, no time frame has been given for any decisions to be made, so we continue to sit, and wait, and wonder what shape the magazine will take in the future.

In the meantime, we can at least look forward to the imminent release of Issue 10. Edited by Craig Bezant and with a ghost story theme, with fiction by Gary A. Braunbeck, Martin Livings, Alan Baxter, and more, Issue 10 will be out on November the 30th. It looks like another solid issue, too. Pre-orders for the print edition can be made via the website.

Don’t Let Us Lose Another Bookshop

Some grim news came out today regarding Notions Unlimited Bookshop, one of Australia’s favourite bookstores. Owner-operator, all round good guy, and king of all that’s spec-fic, Chuck McKenzie, announced that the bookshop is in very real danger of closing by Christmas or soon after, due to the ever rising costs of running a business.

The following is taken directly from the Notions Unlimited Bookshop‘s website:

Since the day we opened our doors, just 20 months ago, the staff and management of Notions Unlimited Bookshop have worked hard to create something more than just a specialist bookstore, and we feel genuinely proud of much that we’ve achieved during that time, such as:

# Continuing to offer a great range of publications, including the best of Australian small-press, rare and hard-to-get titles, genre classics, and latest new releases.

# Building and maintaining a reputation for friendly and knowledgeable service.

# Keeping our prices reasonable – no mean task in these days of Internet shopping and global economic downturn.

# Becoming accepted as part of the local community, plus creating an ever-growing community of our own, bringing together fans of SF, fantasy, horror, graphic novels, gaming, manga, esoteric interests and more – something we’re especially proud of, and that we hope to continue doing for a long time to come.

In order for us to reach that last goal, however, we really do need the assistance of our customers, general supporters, and Facebook subscribers at this time.

Currently, Notions Unlimited Bookshop is looking at the very real possibility of closure – if not by Christmas, then perhaps just afterwards – with the chief cause being the ever-rising cost of running the business. It’s not definite at this point, but the writing is on the wall, and this appeal is an attempt to reverse matters before it’s too late.

Our aim, therefore, is not just to increase our daily sales, but to substantially increase the number of potential customers. Previously, we have tried to boost customer numbers through signage, social media and print advertising – yet almost 80% of our customers tell us they discovered us through referral from friends, family or colleagues.

So this is exactly what we’re asking our friends and customers to do for us now – refer us!

In a nutshell, while we’d love you to pop into our shop over the next few weeks and purchase a book (or two) to help keep us afloat, what we really want you to do is tell other people about us. Jump on Twitter and Facebook, tell your friends, family, workmates, and anybody else you know who loves SF, fantasy, horror, graphic novels, manga, media tie-ins, gaming, esoteric subjects, and other such related genres, to come and check us out in person (and then tell all of their peeps!). We’re not looking for handouts – just introductions to potential customers who may help to keep us in business. And do be sure to mention to everyone you refer us to that this is all in aid of keeping Notions Unlimited Bookshop operating.

Finally, I just want to make it absolutely clear that this is a genuine appeal, not some fake ‘going out of business’ sale or marketing trick. If things don’t improve markedly for us over the next month, we will almost certainly be forced to close our doors forever. No business owner ever wants to admit that a business is failing, but there comes a time when that owner has to either quietly slide towards the inevitable, or step into the spotlight and ask for assistance. So, if you feel you can assist, and will do so, you will have the absolute gratitude of myself and my staff – as well as, hopefully, a future in which we may continue to provide you with the range, service and community you deserve.

In the meantime, a massive and heartfelt ‘thank-you’ to all of our customers, regular and casual, who have supported us already since we opened. We couldn’t have survived thus far without you.

With Thanks,

Chuck McKenzie (Chief Zombologist)
Notions Unlimited Bookshop
facebook.com/pages/Notions-Unlimited-Bookshop/
@notionsun
info@notionsunlimitedbookshop.com

Bookshops are an endangered entity in this day and age, and whenever one closes its doors for good, we are all a little poorer for it. Don’t let this happen to Notions Unlimited Bookshop. Please help in any way you can.

Meanwhile, Down in Australia…

As we circle our wagons and prepare for an assault on the news coverage of the Aussie horror genre industry, below is a quick update of all that’s been happening here over the past month or so. Sure, it’s a long post, but that only means there’s been a lot going on that hasn’t been covered. So, to ensure this doesn’t happen again, SEND US YOUR DEAD – er, NEWS! We want to hear from you if you have some news to share, or if you’ve heard of a horror-related opportunity or event.

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The Australian Horror Writers Association had their AGM on October 6, and welcomed in a new committee lead by new president Mark Smith-Briggs. They’ve kicked off their reign in a controversial way by placing their showcase magazine, Midnight Echo, on hold while they review its future. However, they have clearly stated that ME is not being shut down, only postponed. Look out for big things from the committee in the coming months.

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More on the AHWA: in October, the AHWA published the Australian Horror Writers Sampler 2013 (Kindle edition only), which provides a taste of the works of seven Australian horror/dark fiction writers (Shane Jiraiya Cummings, David Conyers, David Kernot, Troy Barnes, Matthew Tait, Kim Faulks, and Jay Caselberg), with the talented Greg Chapman designing the cover. The sampler also contains links to the various author’s works, plus interviews and further information on the work. It’s available from Amazon for $0.99.

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Greg Chapman released the novella, ‘The Last Night of October,’ a refreshing Halloween tale published by Bad Moon Books, on October 31, featuring illustrations by the author himself and an introduction by the Queen of Halloween, Lisa Morton. The novella is picking up great reviews and is well worth a read. It’s available as a trade paperback from Bad Moon Books for $15.95 and in digital copy from Amazon for $2.99.

“A soon to be classic of Halloween literature that further cements Greg’s place as one of the greats working in dark literature today (…) Greg has delivered a story that you will want to read again and again as you get ready for our favorite time of the year. Nothing gets me in the mood for the Halloween season more than a good Halloween story, this isn’t a good Halloween story, this is a great Halloween story” –Peter Schowtzer, Literary Mayhem

THE LAST NIGHT OF OCTOBER

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Marty Young’s debut novel, 809 Jacob Street, was also published on October 31 by Black Beacon Books. The monster house calls to them all, but what will they find when they open it’s door?

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

809 Jacob Street is available in paperback from Black Beacon Books for $18.95 (includes worldwide postage), and in digital format from Amazon for $3.99. There’s also a gritty blues song performed by David Schembri to go with it.

809 Jacob Street

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Former AHWA President and author of Hammered, Geoff Brown, has started a new publishing venture called Cohesion Press. Their first publication was an ebook reprint collection by the brilliant Kaaron Warren, called ‘The Gate Theory.’ Cohesion is also working on ‘SNAFU: An Anthology of Military Horror’ featuring five of the big names of the genre: Jonathan Maberry, Weston Ochse, James A Moore, Greig Beck, and Joseph Nassise. Apart from these solicited authors, they are open to submissions for the anthology. See the website for more details. Cohesion is accepting pre-orders for the book too, with special limited editions of all formats available.

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Furthermore, Cohesion has also just announced its next title, the novella ‘Ronnie and Rita,’ by Deborah Sheldon. The title will be available soon in all eBook formats.

“Sheldon perfectly portrays the resignation to mediocrity that permeates many of the working/middle class neighbourhoods … and the desperate things they’ll sometimes do to break away.” Addam Duke, Crime Factory Magazine

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David Conyers co-edited (with Brian M. Sammons) the mass market anthology ‘Undead and Unbound: Unexpected Tales from Beyond the Grave’ (Chaosium Inc.) back in August. The anthology features stories by Cody Goodfellow, Gary McMahon, William Mieke, our own David Schembri, and more.

‘Undead & Unbound celebrates those who have returned from the grave — in all their glory and in whatever form they take. You will find the famous blood-drinkers and flesh eaters here, but also ghosts, patched-together reanimates, fiends of myth and folklore, and some not-so-easily-identifiable creatures from beyond the grave.’

The anthology is available from Chaosium Inc. for $17.95 and from Amazon.

Undead & Unbound

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The Canberra Times newspaper published an article in time for Halloween listing ‘ten books guaranteed to scare you witless’. The list, which was compiled with input from Australian horror writers, was dominated by Stephen King (The Shining, It, Pet Sematary, and Salem’s Lot), along with a number of classics (Dracula, The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, Frankenstein, The Exorcist, and The Turn of the Screw), and the mind-bending House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski.

Also mentioned in the article were a number of books by AHWA members, including The Pilo Family Circus by Will Elliott, The Dead Path by Stephen M. Irwin, and Living with the Dead by Martin Livings.

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ScaryMinds is back up and running again on a new server after a long hiatus. ‘ScaryMinds is dedicated to exploring home brewed movies and literature from Australia and New Zealand. If you like movies such as Australia or The Year My Voice Broke then you are at the wrong site. If you dig Mad Max, Undead, or Wolf Creek then dive on in like a wild thing. Don’t believe us? Check back regularly as we continue our mission of digging under every rock to discover what’s happening, whose doing what, and what the state of play is in horrorland Down Under.’

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Continuing his brilliant work on exposing long lost and forgotten Australian colonial horror/gothic fiction, James Doig will be releasing the neglected Aussie horror classic, Twisted Clay, written by Frank Walford (first published in 1933). The UK author/editor/publisher, Johnny Mains is bringing it under his Noose & Gibbet imprint, complete with a restoration of the original cover. Twisted Clay is about a teenage, lesbian Jill-the-Ripper. Look for this in late 2013/early 2014, and in the meantime, you can read about this book here, or check out what Doig has to say about it here (spoiler alert!).

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Matthew Tait’s short story collection ‘Ghosts In A Desert World’ has been released for the first time in paperback. Under the auspices of HodgePodge Press, this second edition is revised and expanded, and also includes a previously unpublished novelette called ‘Mutability of the Flesh.’ It is available from Amazon in both print and digital formats.

“The depth is there, the atmosphere is there, making this one of the best examples of this genre I’ve had the pleasure to read. This collection not only shows that the writer has the chops to go places, but that he should be there already.” Daniel I Russell, author of Shadow Award nominated CRITIQUE

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Award-winning NZ writer Paul Mannering has released a revised edition of his novel, Tankbread, through Permuted Press. Tankbread is available from Amazon in print and digital formats.

“Paul Mannering’s TANKBREAD is a guts and glory joyride into very dark territory. Very nasty and lots of fun!” Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author of DEAD OF NIGHT and DUST & DECAY

Mannering also recently won 1st and 3rd place in SpecFicNZ’s 2013 Halloween drabble writing competition.

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Alan Baxter has just signed a three book deal with HarperVoyager for a new urban grim dark series, to be published between July and December next year. Keep an eye out for more details as this will be a series well worth reading.

Baxter’s new weird western ghost story has also just been published in the Halloween issue of Beneath Ceaseless Skies magazine #133.

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Jason Fischer‘s zombie/post-apocalypse based collection called ‘Everything is a Graveyard’ will be published through Ticonderoga Publications on November 11, 2013. Pre-orders can be made here.

“He flicked the coin onto the table and it spun lazily, resting on tails. An eagle, squatting on a cactus, snake held aloft in its beak. Cinco pesos, the worn script read . . . ” Within these covers, you will find murderous dropbears, zombie kangaroos and undead camels. Poignant endings to the world mash-up with muscle car battles, featuring feral killers that make Mad Max look like the Disney channel. Everything is a Graveyard delves into the fantastic, the horrifying, the sad and the just plain weird.

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Jason’s also had some deep thoughts about zombies, the Apollonian-Dionysian dichotomy, and how Romero’s “Land of the Dead” finally makes sense to him.

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Australia’s own Halloween expert, Gillian Polack, was interviewed on the history of Halloween on ABC Sydney (by Dominic Knight). The interview fittingly ran on October 31, but unfortunately isn’t available online. If we find a podcast of the interview, we’ll post it.

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Australian writer/director Stuart Simpson has entered his 3 minute short film called M is for Mutant! into the ABC of Death 2; The Search for the 26th Director competition. The short is available online. Voting ends on November the 14th, with the top 12 entries announced on the 15th.

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Do you run/own a horror-related business based in Australia? If so, let us know and we’ll post in on Horror Net Australia, your one stop online Yellow Pages of all that’s horribly good! It’s THE place to go to be seen.

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And finally, don’t forget to check out Sinister Reads to see all the latest releases by members of the AHWA. It’s the place to go to find your next book.

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Have we missed anything? More than likely. If so, let us know.