Attention, Public Transport Users!

Please, for the love of all that you hold dear and sacred, please, please, please, refrain from brushing your hair and clipping or filing your nails on public transport.

It.  Is.  Disgusting. multimaster tool

If I am sitting near you and you whip out a brush or comb and have at yourself, you immediately shower me with your head detritus, including but not limited to strands of your hair and flaky dead pieces of your scalp.  This may come as a great shock to you, but I don't enjoy this experience.  It makes me vomit in my mouth and leads me to homicidal thoughts.

Similarly, if I am sitting anywhere in your general vicinity and you produce a nail clipper or nail file and commence making parts of your nails disappear, guess what? Those disappearing parts go somewhere - yes, that's right, all over me! Your impromptu manicure causes great chunks of severed fingernail to fly madly about, hitting all in their path, and a thick cloud of filed nail dust to descend like the poisonous gas it is.

Next you'll be crapping on the seat and flinging that at my head.

There's this thing in your house (presumably) called a bathroom.  Use that to conduct matters of personal hygiene in, and spare your fellow travellers on the number 57 West Maribyrnong tram* the most basic of common courtesies in so doing.

In all seriousness, I am repeatedly driven to energetically wonder...what the fuck is wrong with you?

* not my actual tram line...perhaps I don't even catch a tram... I'm not telling you sears credit card
either way, in case you try to travel with me whilst pooing on my head.

AHWA News Digest

AHWA NEWS DIGEST [02.01.10-17.01.10]

The following digest of recent horror news is compiled from pieces published to HorrorScope and the Australian Horror Writers' Association website.

Popcorn Taxi presents The Wolfman
Popcorn Taxi is proud to present a very special screening of The Wolfman, an exciting resurrection of a cinematic horror icon. Featuring the talents of Benicio del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt and our own Hugo Weaving – The Wolfman is an exciting and gothic horror/thriller that takes state-of-the-art special effects and make-up techniques from legendary effects guru Rick Baker alongside our very own Oscar nominated creature and make-up effects maestro David Elsey – who will also be taking part in a live Q&A after the film.

Theatre Of Blood Season One Finale!
If you were thinking of catching Season I of The Theatre of Blood, better clear the night of Friday the 22nd, and get along to the Newtown Theatre. Better yet, book your tickets now!

Terra Incognita Podcast 015
Terra Incognita SF podcast #015 is now available for streaming and download at, or on itunes! This episode features Marianne De Pierres reading In The Bookshadow and  Keith Stevenson reviewing Greig Beck's Beneath The Dark Ice.

Australian Studies in Weird Fiction seek review material
Australian Studies in Weird Fiction (Equilibrium Books) is now publishing reviews. The bi-annual critical journal devoted to Australian horror, Gothic and dark fantasy writing, are seeking review copies of locally-published or written works; horror short story collections, and novels by Australian writers. Review copies may be sent in book form, or as PDF. Click through for contact details.

Tasmaniac Publications to publish Tom Piccirilli's The Last Deep Breath
Set for an August release and now up for pre-order is Tom Piccirilli's THE LAST DEEP BREATH, his second 'noirella' with Tasmaniac Publications that will blow you away! Click through for the thrilling blurb and cover sneak-peak!

The 2009 Genre Bookselling Year in Review
From the blog of Horrorscope reviewer Chuck McKenzie, offering an Australian bookseller's perspective on the year that was; includes lists of bestselling genre series, individual titles, media tie-ins, and Australian authors. Venture yonder to ponder those market trends! 

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.

"Overdue" Pregnant NSW Woman Visited by Police for Missing Induction Appointment

Read about it here.

Basically, a woman who the Hospital has decided is 12 days "overdue" to pop her baby out chose not to attend an induction appointment made for her by the Hospital (because she didn't want to be induced, as she saw no medical reason to do so - regular testing and the Hospital themselves had repeatedly shown her that she and her baby were doing just fine) and so the Hospital sent the police to her door.

The police

Because a pregnant woman made the foolish error of believing she had any right to bodily integrity and choice about the safety of her and her unborn child.

I'm not at all surprised, because I personally know of other homebirthing women who have had the exact same thing happen to them.  (And then they got a DOCS visit after the baby was safely born, just to put the icing on the cake.)  And I myself have experienced the bullying-to-induce that goes on every day in Hospitals around Australia (which, for me, culminated in a sneering, lying, domineering female Obstetrician shoving her hand inside me and ramming her fingers into my cervix, causing great pain and bleeding, just so I'd be a good girl and birth on her timetable.  I, too, had an unwanted induction appointment foisted on me for the following day, but luckily, my body "behaved" itself and spat my baby out before the appointment).  But my disgust and outrage never lessens.

The Hospital is now trying to spin their shock and awe tactics as "concern for the woman's welfare" because she didn't show for her (unwanted) induction appointment.  I'm just wondering if they normally send police to, say, chemotherapy patients who don't show up for an appointment? Or perhaps for someone due for a bloodtest who doesn't show? Or even someone due for an operation who doesn't show up? No.  Of course they don't.  They might make a phone call querying where the no-show individual was, and they may even follow that up with another phone call, and maybe even another, and then perhaps a letter.  But the police? Oh, no.  That's reserved for silly little women with buns in the oven.  Human incubators who can't be trusted to make their own choices and who need a jolly good scare to keep them in line.

The woman in question went on to birth her healthy baby safely at home with the care of her midwives.  Good for her.

Fuck you, Bathurst Hospital, you repulsive ignorant pathetic little bullies.


Nominations for the Chronos Awards close today. Have you made your picks yet? If not, more info here.

I haven't been blogging much, I know.  Haven't really been doing much of anything in particular lately. There have been health issues, work issues, writing issues, me get the idea.  2009 was a year I was happy to kick the rear end of as it skulked off into the distance.

Still, there were positives. I don't want to do a formal year-that-was type post, but some highlights for me were my communications with Clive Barker and subsequently moderating an AHWA Halloween chat at which Clive was the special guest, winning the Ditmar for Best New Talent, being nominated for an Aurealis Award, attending Conflux, starting my novel (which has ground to a halt at 25,000 words, but I plan on completing it by mid this year), working hard at improving my writing, continuing to score some more story sales I'm proud of, and, just as importantly, some personal rejections I'm proud of too. The speed of my writing has reduced dramatically, but I think (I hope) that the quality has increased significantly. I have also narrowed down the markets I'm targeting to almost exclusively pro, with a few semi pro mixed in, and subsequently my acceptance ratio has reduced noticeably too - but the personal rejections and "you were very close, please send more"s keep getting better, so I figure I'm onto something that might eventually prove good, regardless.

My goal for this year?


Just write.

I'm going to leave it at that.

Couple of sales recently: Bread and Circuses to Ticonderoga's Scary Kisses paranormal romance anthology, and Charlie to Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine. I've got a bunch of reviews to write for the next issue of the Specusphere, and I really need to get my butt into gear with ASIM #44, which I'm editing, and which will feature a kick arse cover by Marc McBride, not to mention the fabulous stories hiding behind aforementioned cover.  It's going to be a busy few months.

This is also the year I turn 30, and stereotypically, I've had a wee personal crisis and made some big decisions about my life, which I can't reveal yet because you just never know who reads your blog.  On that annoying note, I promise to reveal the Big Decisions eventually.

Well, that breaketh the blogging drought, anyway.  It's nice to be back.

2009 Chronos Award Nominations Now Open

Nominations for the 2009 Chronos Awards are now open. The Chronos Awards recognise Victorian writers and fans, with the awards to be presented at Continuum 6: Future Tense. Full details of categories and how to nominate can be found here and/or here. Anyone can nominate, you don't have to be a Victorian writer or fan yourself to do so.

I'm eligible for nomination as follows:-

Best Short Fiction

Recruitment (Malpractice anthology, Stygian Publications, 2009)
Ill Conceived (The Black Garden anthology, Corpulent Insanity Press, 2009)
Phantasy Moste Grotesk (limited edition standalone chapbook, Corpulent Insanity Press, 2009)
Dirty Paper Wings (Borderlands #11, Borderlands Publications Inc, 2009)
The Emancipated Dance (Midnight Echo #2, AHWA, 2009)
Jesse's Gift (Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #40, ASIM Publishing Co-Op, 2009)
The Knotting (Leaves of Blood anthology, Altair Australia Books, 2009)
Celebrity Skin (Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #42, 2009)
The Bearded Ones (Festive Fear anthology, Tasmaniac Publications, 2009)

Best Fan Writer

For my reviews on the Specusphere, of which I've had twenty or so published this year - here's one of my reviews from the current issue

There's also a category for Best Achievement, and I'm unclear as to what exactly qualifies for that one...I wonder if the Clive Barker chat I organised and ran for the AHWA counts? Probably not. But it was cool, huh?

If you haven't read any of my above works and would like to (and of course, you shouldn't nominate anything you haven't actually read!), contact me.

Good luck, fellow Victorian writers and fans!

Aurealis Awards Accomodation?

I didn't expect to attend the Aurealis Awards ceremony, but for obvious reasons, I'm now seriously considering it.

On top of last minute flights (which seem readily available, although I'm kicking myself for not being psychic and therefore not being able to book them earlier), I need to figure out possible accomodation. I'd only be staying the one night (Saturday 23rd Jan) and want something cheap but cockroachless and within reasonable distance of the Awards venue if at all possible ("reasonable distance" doesn't have to be walking distance, but preferably with the applicable cab fare coming in under $10,000).

I don't know the first thing about Brisbane or the AA's venue,!

Aurealis Awards 2009 Finalists

...have been posted here, and keen observers will note that my short story Jesse's Gift from Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #40 has been shortlisted in the Best Horror Short Story category. Ahem. W00t. If we were placing bets on the outcome of that category, my money would be firmly on [info]paulhaines for the already notorious and disgustingly brilliant Wives from the X6 novellanthology, but we're not betting, so I'll hang onto my cash and just be smug when I'm proved right. Except no doubt you agree with me. So let's be smug together.

Congratulations to all the finalists! And thank you to the judges who have read entries until their brains dripped from their nostrils.

Thank You, People of Melbourne. Seriously.

So yesterday morning was interesting, in an I'd-rather-slide-naked-down-a-razorblade-into-a-vat-of-sulphuric-acid-than-go-through-that-again kinda way.

I woke up feeling nauseous (no, I am not pregnant; yes, I am sure). It was weird and unpleasant but I figured it would pass. It didn't. It got steadily worse in queasy waves as I went through my morning routine. By the time I boarded the tram for work, it was pretty bad, but I still held high hopes it would all just go away. Then, when I was around three tramstops away from my workplace, it really kicked in. In a split second, I was drenched with sweat, my head was spinning, and I needed to throw up, immediately. I struggled through a thick crowd of blank-faced unmoving people, and made it to the bottom step of the tram before...fainting. I fell unconscious from the bottom step of the tram to the concrete at the tramstop. I was only out for a couple of seconds, and when I came to, I still couldn't control my body (I'd landed - hard - on my butt and then collapsed onto my back). I lay on the concrete flopping around like a fish out of water, disorientated and in pain, moaning, and everyone just stared at me.

A tram full of people, and d'you think even one of them reached out for me as I fell off the tram? Nope. Did any of them disembark to check if I was alright? Nuh-uh. Did even one person so much as ask "are you ok"? You guessed it - no. They. Just. Stared. I'd understand if I was a dubious looking individual, but honestly, I look about as harmless as one person can. I was in my work clothes, clearly headed for a day at the office, and I was clearly ill, not drunk or high or crazy.

Then the tram pulled away, and, as the commuters aboard it craned their necks to stare at me some more, and as the passing motorists did the same, and as scores of people walked past me, I vomited over and over again whilst still grovelling and moaning on the concrete of the tram stop in the middle of a busy road.

Eventually it was all over and I struggled to my feet and staggered the remaining couple of blocks to my workplace. (It was gastro - again. My family has had a bad run with that lately.)

What is wrong with people?! If I'd seen something like that happening to someone, I'd at least go over to them and ask if they were alright. If someone passed out getting off the tram and I was near them, I would automatically, as a freaking reflex action, reach out for them, grab them, try to save them from their fall. And then I wouldn't just stand on the tram gawking at them, I'd disembark (there will always be another tram coming by in a few minutes, it's not going to destroy my day to take that long to check on the wellbeing of another human being) and try to help them.

But noooooo. The good people of Melbourne just gawked and moved on, leaving me to die, for all they knew.

So thank you, fellow Melbournites. You suck. The worst thing about that hideous experience was not the illness itself, it was the sheer soul destroying humiliation and the total coldness of humanity. Like Ralph in Lord of the Flies, I weep for the blackness of man's heart.

AHWA Announces Halloween Chat with Clive Barker!

The AHWA is delighted to announce a special members-only Halloween chat with one of the greatest imaginers of our time, the legendary Clive Barker!

Date: Saturday, 31st October (Halloween)

Time: Noon to 1pm (AEST)

Venue: AHWA Member’s Chat Room

Clive is the author of The Books of Blood, The Hellbound Heart, the Books of the Art, Imajica, the Abarat Quintet, and Mister B Gone, amongst many others. Clive has written, directed, and produced numerous movies including Hellraiser, Nightbreed, Candyman, and Midnight Meat Train. Clive is an accomplished visual artist, known for his spectacular paintings and photography. Not restricted to any one medium, Clive has also turned his formidable talent toward comic books and computer games. To explore Clive’s work and philosophy, please visit his official site Revelations.

If you are a member and you wish to participate, please RSVP to

Members can join in the chat simply by logging into the members area of the AHWA site and from there accessing the member chatroom. (Please note that the chatroom is currently being upgraded, so don't panic if you see odd things there within the next day or so. Everything will be up and running shortly. We recommend that all members planning to take part familiarise themselves with the chatroom before the actual event.)  The chat will be moderated to ensure it runs as smoothly as possible, and every effort will be made to ensure as many members as possible get their chance to ask Clive a question.

If you're not yet an AHWA member, but don't want to miss out on this once in a lifetime event, please visit the Membership section of the AHWA site.

Queries can be directed to the AHWA chatroom (felicitydowker at hotmail dot com).

Come and chat with Clive...if you dare.

Huge News - Ramsey Campbell to Judge 'Nameless' Competition!!!

Whoa. I'm judging a competition with R-R-Ramsey C-Campbell. *gulp*

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:

• A manuscript version of the story signed by as many of the writers involved as can be tracked down.
• A copy of The Australian Writer's Marketplace 2009/2010.
• A copy of The Year's Best Fantasy & Horror 19th annual collection (edited by Datlow, Link & Grant.)
• Free 1-year membership, or 12-month renewal, to the Australian Horror Writers Association.
• Books: Signed limited editions – Dark Harvest by Norman Partridge; Wild Things by Douglas Clegg; Prodigal Blues by Gary A. Braunbeck.
• A boost to any personal horror library – Development Hell by Mick Garris; Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill; Infected by Scott Sigler; The Nature of Balance by Tim Lebbon; The Dark Descent edited by David G. Hartwell; a pre-loved copy of The Books of Blood (vols 1-3) from Marty Young's own collection.
• A first edition of The Last Days of Kali Yuga, Paul Haines' forthcoming collection of stories; published to impeccable standards by Brimstone Press, and slated for release in December 2009.

The six best endings will be featured at HorrorScope - The Australian Dark Fiction Weblog.

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.

That's a massive prize pool of cash, books and kudos, the chance to help the very worthy and wonderful Paul Haines, and the chance to have your work judged by Ramsey Campbell.

Have you entered yet?

If not, are you nuts?

Go to it!