‘Mayhem: Selected Stories’ by Deborah Sheldeon is now available!

Deborah Sheldon’s latest collection, ‘Mayhem: Selected Stories’ has just been published on Friday the 13th February 2015, by Satalyte Publishing.

A farmer is confronted by two desperadoes;
A tourist does her terrible best to evade a tracker and his dog;
A teenager discards his civilised mask inside a lonely roadhouse.

SheldonThis collection of 28 short stories propels the reader through a kaleidoscope of Australian lowlife. In a range of styles, from dirty realism to noir, Deborah Sheldon pens the kind of fiction that is tough enough to shock, yet tender enough to hurt. An exploration of what it means to be human in the face of brutality, Mayhem: Selected Stories, is perfect reading for pulp novices and crime aficionados alike.

Praise for Deborah Sheldon:

“[This is] short fiction told masterfully. Sheldon’s stories have that rare ability to speak volumes between each word. There are pieces of life’s puzzles the reader must complete, wonderfully unsettling strips of humanity that linger in the mind long after closing the book.” – Craig Bezant, Dark Prints Press

“Deborah Sheldon explores the rich vein of violence that runs through Australian society… The merely disconcerting and the deadly are juxtaposed and those who don’t know the difference, pay the price.” – Antonia Hildebrand, Polestar Writers’ Journal

“Sheldon specialises in the little moments that reveal the chaos and terror beneath.” – Elizabeth Rutherford-Johnson, The Short Review (UK)

A bit about the book, in Deborah’s words… 

Mayhem: selected stories comprises 28 of my crime and dark-themed short stories. Most were originally published by magazines such as Island, Crime Factory, [untitled], Tincture Journal, and Shotgun Honey. Every story nagged at me to be written. A line of dialogue, an opening sentence, a plot point, a thematic arc – something in each piece compelled me to work on it. Personally, I love the short story form. I buy and devour plenty of short story collections every year; my bookshelves are laden with them.

My favourite character is always the protagonist of the story I’m currently writing. By that rationale, I have 28 favourite characters in ‘Mayhem: Selected Stories’. My job was to tell each of their stories as honestly as possible.

Mayhem: selected stories is now available direct from the publishers, Satalyte Publishing (soon available everywhere).

Peripheral Visions ghost story collection by Robert Hood

Robert Hood‘s complete collection of ghost stories will be released in April 2015 by IFWG Publishing Australia, in paperback and ebook formats. It will also be available in hardcover, and most notably, IFWG Publishing Australia will produce 200 limited edition copies, signed by Robert Hood. The cover and internal artwork is created by the very talented, industry-respected artist, Nick Stathopoulos.

Robert Hood is a highly respected, award-winning author, considered by many to be one of Australia’s grand masters of horror and weird fiction. Though over his 40-year career (to date) he has published speculative fiction of all kinds, he has notably produced 43 short stories that feature ghosts, hauntings and spectral horrors. These memorable tales display his ability to make the fantastic real, to embrace weirdness, and create human characters whose inner and outer lives, haunted by mortality, are laid bare and revealed to be our own worst nightmares. Ranging from melancholy reflections on life and death, through disquieting tales of dark humour and vengeance, to chilling visions of ghostly apocalypse, Hood’s stories are sure to draw you into a terrifying world that in the end is revealed to be irrefutably our own.

Peripheral Visions is a one-of-a-kind reference collection that includes all of Hood’s 43 ghost stories to date, three of them especially written for this volume.

“Rob Hood is Australia’s master of dark fantasy, seducing the reader with stories that are lavishly grim and rife with a quirky, unpredictable inventiveness.” (Sean Williams)

“Rob Hood is so good at what he does, he’ll have you believing in ghosts by the end of the first story in this brilliant collection.” (Kaaron Warren)

Peripheral Visions is a large volume of work, with a word count over 220k. In trade paperback format it will be published in two volumes, spaced over a month. Here is the appearance of the two covers, when laid side-by-side.

Rob's cover LeftRob's cover right

A single volume hardcover edition will also be published, with internal illustrations by Nick Stathopoulos. The exciting part of this publishing effort is a signed, limited hardcover edition, which can be pre-ordered now. There are only 200 limited edition copies available (numbered), each of which includes a Nick Stathopoulos-designed signature page, and a bonus ‘chap-ebook’ containing several zombie stories, titled Haunted Flesh: Stories of the Living Dead. These editions will disappear quickly, so we recommend interested readers pre-order now. IFWG Publishing Australia will not be repeating this offer.

The offer:

  • Hardcover Book: 6.14″ x 9.21″ (156mm x 234mm), creme paper, plain cloth binding with spine imprint, and matt cover sleeve.
  • 43 stories: a mix of short stories, novelettes and a novella. Over 220k words of fiction, spanning the period 1986 to present. Three stories, including the novella, are new, published for the first time here.
  • The book will also contain extensive notes on all stories, and a table that registers the complete publishing history of each story, including all reprints, and any awards or short listing for awards.
  • An introduction by World Fantasy Awards winner, Danel Olson.
  • The book is divided into six categories of ghost stories:
    • Haunted Places
    • Haunted Families
    • Haunted Minds
    • Haunted Youth
    • Haunted Vengeance
    • Haunted Realities
  • Each category of the book will include an illustration by Nick Stathopoulos, as well as a frontispiece.
  • Each book will have a signature page (also illustrated/designed by Nick Stathopoulos), signed by Robert Hood, and numbered from 1 to 200. The sequence number provided will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. There will never be any other signed limited editions produced for sale, beyond this 200.
  • Each purchaser will also get, as an added bonus, a chap-ebook titled Haunted Flesh: Stories of the Living Dead, containing several zombie stories, totalling to approximately 20k in word count.

Orders:

For Australian shipping addresses, the price is AU$75.00 (including shipping).
For Other countries shipping addresses, the price is US$85.00 (including shipping).

From Out of the Dark now available

New_From_Out_Of_The_DarkEditor: Robert N Stephenson
Publisher: Altair Australia Publishing
Published: 9 January 2015
290 pages
Available in two formats: print and ebook (free)

From Out of the Dark is a SF/H anthology set in the gap between galaxies, in the immense darkness of space with all the frightening aspects and contemplation billions of light years of unseeable entities can bring.

A collection of 10 short stories by 10 unique writers, including Tony Shillitoe, Gene Stewart and Gregory L. Norris. Some stories travel the same road, some not so close, some are classic space opera and some are strangely different. But these are not just first encounters. This is not horror added the SF or SF added to horror by slight of hand. These are journeys into places we cannot and will never imagine outside of telescopes and maths.

Edited by Robert N Stephenson (Altair Australia Publishing), an award winning author of novels and non fiction/fiction collections, with over 100 short stories published across the world. As an editor, Robert has edited over 30 full length novels, as well as Altair Magazine for 3 years, and other anthologies in SF and Horror.

Suspended in Dusk – edited by Simon Dewar

Dusk - New CoverSuspended in Dusk
Edited by Simon Dewar

Books of the Dead Press (http://www.booksofthedeadpress.com/)

E-book: ISBN 978-1-3117783-8-3

Suspended in Dusk is the latest anthology from Books of the Dead Press, and the first for Australian editor Simon Dewar. Featuring 19 tales from a mix of new and established authors, and an Introduction from Bram Stoker Award winning Jack Ketchum, Suspended in Dusk hits its mark more often than not.

It’s always nice to have a note or introduction from the editor at the beginning of an anthology; a place where they lay out their thoughts and goals, their targets. Simon Dewar does this quite well. He tells us that the stories are all about change, and the time between those changes, much as dusk is “the time between the light and the dark”. Some of these changes are metaphorical, while others take the theme more literally.

To the stories! I might not mention all of them, only the ones that really stood out for me. This isn’t to say there are any bad stories in the anthology; that certainly is not the case. Any reader of horror will find plenty here to enjoy, and those tales that weren’t quite for me might be exactly what another reader is looking for.

First up is “Shadows of the Lonely Dead” by Alan Baxter. A beautifully written and emotional tale about a hospice worker with a gift for easing the suffering of the elderly as they slip into death, and the greater ramifications that has on her life outside the hospice.

Anna Reith’s “Taming the Stars” takes us to the dark and gritty side of Paris, with a story of a drug deal that goes horribly (and gruesomely) wrong.

“At Dusk They Come” by Armand Rosamilia invites us to a small town at sundown for a well written take on the old tale of ‘doing deals’ with the nefarious.

Rayne Hall brings us “Burning”, a Southern Gothic flavoured tale with a conspicuous absence of the supernatural, but all the more horrifying for it. As in real life, “Burning” shows us that people — especially those isolated by the ignorance of their own world views — are much worse than any monsters we can imagine.

Chris Limb’s “Ministry of Outrage” reveals the truth behind corporate and governmental conspiracies in a tale that is all too scary for its plausibility.

S.G.Larner give us “Shades of Memory”, wherein religion reigns in post-apocalyptic Queensland and the locals of a small town, who want no part of it, have some ghostly superstitions of their own.

“Outside In”, a strange Quantumpunk-Noir by Brett Rex Bruton, is one of the most interesting pieces in the anthology. The story begins: “I swing my feet from beneath the warmth of the covers and down on the cold, hard copy of the opening paragraph.” I stared at that — “hard copy of the opening paragraph” — and wondered if it was some kind of strange typo, an editor comment inserted by accident. But no, it isn’t! It is slips like this, in the walls of reality between story and reader, that really made this story stand out for me. Very original.

“Would To God That We Were There” is the creepy science fiction story I’ve been trying to write for years. I even have 10yr old opening paragraphs that are near identical. I never knew where to take the idea, but it seems that Tom Dullemond did, and he does a wonderful job of it.

The anthology finishes on a high-note too, with Angela Slatter’s “The Way Of All Flesh”. I love a post-apocalyptic story that doesn’t focus on the actual apocalypse, but instead on the people who are trying to get on with their lives. “The Way Of All Flesh” accomplishes this brilliantly, subtly, and in the end, very disturbingly. It’s a fitting end to a collection of so many fine stories.

As I said earlier, I haven’t mentioned every story; only those that really shined for me. A few of the other stories just weren’t too my taste, or I found personally a little predictable. Be that as it may, there isn’t a badly written story here. In every case the prose is well constructed and, in a few stories, quite beautiful.

Overall, Suspended In Dusk is a very good collection. I think there’s something for everyone’s taste — vampires, werewolves, ghosts, zombies and plenty of nefarious humans — and I’m sure others will find things in certain stories that I didn’t. And the mix of authors, old and new, means you’re certain to be introduced to someone you’ve never heard of before: which I think is the most exciting part about reading any horror anthology.

 

‘Last Year, When We Were Young’ by Andrew J McKiernan – review by Greg Chapman

DISCLAIMER: Thirteen O’Clock is managed by Alan Baxter, Felicity Dowker and Andrew McKiernan as Contributing Editors. While the Contributing Editors’ roles at Thirteen O’Clock are editorial and critique, all three are primarily writers. It is inevitable that their own work will form part of the Australian and international dark fiction publications which are Thirteen O’Clock’s focus, and as such it is also inevitable that their work will be reviewed at Thirteen O’Clock (to prohibit this would not only be unfortunate for Baxter, Dowker, and McKiernan themselves, but for their hardworking editors and publishers).

Thirteen O’Clock will always have a third party contributor review the Contributing Editors’ work. Such reviews will be unedited (aside from standard corrections to typos and grammar), posted in full (be they negative or positive), and will always be accompanied by full disclosure of Baxter, Dowker, and McKiernan’s place at Thirteen O’Clock. At no point will Baxter, Dowker or McKiernan review their own work.

Last Year, When We Were Young - coverLast Year, When We Were Young
by Andrew J McKiernan

Satalyte Publishing (www.satalyte.com.au)

Paperback: ISBN 978-0-9925095-2-1
E-book: ISBN 978-0-9925095-3-8

Review by Greg Chapman

Andrew J. McKiernan’s collection, Last Year When We Were Young, is proof yet again of the incredible writing talent that can be found in Australia and further still, proof that horror can have a meaningful voice that goes well beyond blood and gore.

Whether it is a story about a secretary taking phone messages from the dead, a group of clowns trying to avoid forced conscription in a travelling circus, or astronauts encountering cosmic monsters in the depths of space, the impossible in McKiernan’s stories never fails to engage because the stories always orbit characters that are quantifiably human.

McKiernan’s deft hand with prose is also addictive, with each turn of phrase sweeping the reader away from reality. Although many of his supernatural tales exude mysterious atmosphere, demonic forces or faith, I think the stories where the uncanny takes a back seat are where he really shines. Here the horror is less inexplicable, but no less haunting. The tales, White Lines, White Crosses, The Memory of Water, Calliope: A Steam Romance, and the title story being prime examples.

Overall, the collection is engrossing, every story leaving the reader with sensations of loss, hope, melancholy, repulsion and joy. It’s not often that a writer can convey such a broad section of emotions, but this is what makes collections so worthwhile – and enjoyable.

I recall reading one of Andrew’s Facebook posts some time ago about how he was finding it a real challenge to select the stories for Last Year, When We Were Young, but I can safely say that he and Satalyte Publishing have put together a wonderful treasury of fiction that is well worth any reader’s time, horror fan or no.

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Last-Year-When-Were-Young/dp/0992509521/
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22523234-last-year-when-we-were-young

Review by Greg Chapman (http://www.darkscrybe.blogspot.com/)