I won the 2015 Paul Haines Award for Long Fiction

snafunotwonojosephI’m still in mild shock, but absolutely chuffed. The Australian Shadows Awards winners were announced last night and I won the Paul Haines Award For Long Fiction for my novella, “In Vaulted Halls Entombed”, which was published in the SNAFU: Survival of the Fittest anthology, published by Cohesion Press.

Holy shit! To be nominated for these awards was awesome. To be nominated in the one named after my buddy, Paul Haines, was especially cool. To win it is more special than I can really convey. I wish Paul was still around to celebrate with me, but in the circumstances this is about as sweet as it gets. And huge thanks to Geoff Brown at Cohesion Press for publishing this story.

Here’s the official announcement from the awards ceremony:

Our next award is the Paul Haines Award for Long Fiction (novella). The award is named in memory of one of the association’s most generous, talented and respected author’s Paul Haines. If you’ve never read his work, go do so now (well, after the awards) and if you’ve got a glass nearby raise one with us now.

This year’s winning entry really embodies the soul, energy and nightmare inducing imagery that would have come straight from the mind of Mr Haines. We believe he would have approved.

And the winner is…

In Vaulted Halls Entombed – Alan Baxter

“In Vaulted Halls Entombed seamlessly blends modern military action tropes with classic Lovecraftian cosmic horror to create a fresh, compelling and genuinely frightening story. Baxter uses the subterranean setting to devastating effect, creating a powerful sense of claustrophobia and exquisitely mounting tension.”

That’s so cool I can hardly believe.

Here’s the full list of winners and nominees:

WINNER: The Catacombs – Jeremy Bates
The Haunting of Blackwood House – Darcy Coates
The Transgressions Cycle: The Mothers – Mike Jones
The Transgressions Cycle: The Reparation – Mike Jones and Leonie Jones
The Big Smoke – Jason Nahrung

Comics/Graphic Novels:
WINNER: The Road to Golgotha – G.N. Braun & Amanda J Spedding
Troll – Michael Michalandos
The Monster – Ben Rosenthal
Undad – Shane W. Smith

The Paul Haines Award for Long Fiction:
WINNER: In Vaulted Halls Entombed – Alan Baxter
The Haunting of Gillespie House – Darcy Coates
Night Shift – Dirk Flinthart
The Whimper – Robert Hood

Edited Works:
Bloodlines – Amanda Pillar
Lighthouses – Cameron Trost
Midnight Echo 11 – Kaaron Warren
WINNER: Blurring the Line – Marty Young

Collected Works:
The Abandonment of Grace and Everything After – Shane Jiraiya Cummings
WINNER: Peripheral Visions: The Collected Ghost Stories – Rob Hood
Cherry Crow Children – Deborah Kalin

Short Fiction:
The Bone Maiden – Greg Chapman
Eight Seconds – Pandora Hope
El Caballo Muerte – Martin Livings
Perfect Little Stitches – Deborah Sheldon
WINNER: Mine Intercom – Kaaron Warren

Rocky Wood Award for non-fiction and criticism:

The Literary Gothic by Marija Elektra Rodriguez

Congratulations to all the winners and nominees, and huge thanks to the AHWA and for hard work of all the judges.

And if you haven’t read any of the winning publications, I suggest you rectify that ASAP! Apart from my own story, everything listed above is well worth your time and money.


Beechworth Asylum Writers’ Retreat

IMG_0207I just spent three days, and two nights, in a haunted abandoned asylum. It was fantastic fun!

Geoff and Dawn run Asylum Ghost Tours from the amazing Bijou Theatre at Beechworth Asylum in country Victoria. They also organise writing retreats there where a bunch of writers sleep in the big theatre hall and a professional author guest gets their own room at the end of the theatre, and everyone does loads of writing. Over the course of the weekend, the guest author runs workshops for the others. Geoff kindly invited me along as the guest and I happily accepted. 0I did a couple of workshops which the writers seemed to really enjoy, and I got a chunk of my own writing done too.

Not only do Geoff and Dawn throw a fantastic, fully catered retreat, but they combine it with their main business of ghost tours. So all the retreatists (totally a word, shut up) also get to go on tours and paranormal investigations in the middle of the night through the broken down old Asylum.

The tours were brilliant – the guides are superb (we had Laura for the ghost tour one night and Craig for the paranormal investigation the next night). Walking through these old buildings in the dark, torchlight dancing nervously off the walls, being told stories of the horrible atrocities that befell so many poor psychiatric patients is both heartbreaking and proper creepy. A really unique experience that I highly recommend. Did you just hear that..? *stares into the darkness*


Strange stuff goes on at night in Beechworth Asylum. If you get a chance to go along, do it. Take advantage of the tours and see (and feel) something very different. Believer or skeptic, it’s great fun. And when the writing retreat comes around, jump on that too. I can’t think of many places that got my creative juices flowing and my story brain in gear quite like this place! Here’s the link to all the info you need about Beechworth on their Facebook page.

And here’s a link to a set of photos I took over the long weekend (on my Facebook page). This link will work whether you have Facebook or not and there’s a bunch of descriptions with the photos to give you a better insight into the place.


Primordial sells to Cohesion Press

A little bit of awesome news to share with you all today. Primordial, a giant monster thriller co-authored with my podcast buddy, David Wood, will be published in early 2017 by Cohesion Press as part of their new Natural Selection line. It’s exciting stuff. After Dave and I wrote the horror novella, Dark Rite, together, we knew that we could work well as a team, so we decided to take on a full novel project. Primordial is the result and I’m so happy it’s sold to Cohesion Press.

If that name is familiar, it should be! They’re a small press making great waves lately and they’ve published me a couple of times before, with stories in their anthologies Blurring The Line and SNAFU: Survival of the Fittest. I’ve also got another story with them soon, coming out in their next SNAFU anthology, Future Warfare.

Here’s a little blurb for Primordial about it to whet your appetite:

Sometimes, the legends are true.

When eccentric billionaire, Ellis Holloway, hires marine biologist Sam Aston to investigate the legend of a monster in a remote Finnish lake, Aston envisions an easy paycheck and a chance to clear his gambling debts. But he gets much more. Something terrible lives beneath the dark waters of Lake Kaarme… and it’s hungry. As the death toll mounts, Aston faces superstitious locals, a power-hungry police chief, and a benefactor’s descent into madness as he races to find the legendary beast of the lake in PRIMORDIAL.

So we have nefarious Australian marine biologists, lunatic American billionaires, a mysterious lake in Finland, myths of a giant monster, missing people, blood, suspense, even frickin’ Nazis, dude! It’s a great book with loads of action, so I hope you’ll pick up a copy when it comes out. I’ll be sure to keep you informed of progress as things move along. Now please excuse me while I happy dance.


New Alex Caine Series covers revealed!

This is so very exciting! The entire Alex Caine Series will finally be available in print everywhere in Australia and New Zealand in July. All three books will land in bookstores and you can at last get the whole set in paperback. And they’ve got these amazing new covers. The ebooks are out now, so get on board at your favourite ebook retailer if you can’t wait for the paperbacks. Check them out:

postcards copy

These covers are so much better, really conveying the dark thriller style of the books. What do you think of them? I can’t wait to see them actually for real, all papery and solid and in my greedy little hands! In the meantime, we can enjoy the dark awesomeness of these new covers. Magic, monsters, mayhem and martial arts, coming your way in just a few short months. Tell your friends!

And for the rest of the world, you’ll remember a little while ago I revealed in the international cover for Bound: Alex Caine #1, which will be available in the US, UK, Canada, etc. Well, that should drop in December this year, with Obsidian and Abduction hopefully not too far behind. Sorry you have to wait a bit longer, but it’ll be worth it!


Nominated for a Ditmar Award!

I’m very behind on blogging about stuff, but that’s because Chinese New Year has been kicking my arse. But I’m finally back at my desk and catching up, and I’m very happy to report that my story from The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction last year, “The Chart of the Vagrant Mariner”, has been nominated for a Ditmar Award in the Best Short Story category. What a treat! If you’re a member (full or supporting) of this year’s Contact in Brisbane, or you were a member (full or supporting) of Swancon 40 last year, then you’re eligible to vote in the Ditmar Awards. Of course, I’d love your vote if you think my story is worthy. This is my fifth Ditmar nomination, but I’ve yet to land the shiny, so it would be cool to make that final hurdle. To ease your voting, I’ve made the story available to read here:

“The Chart of the Vagrant Mariner” (6,500 words), from The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Jan/Feb 2015 issue. Click here (or Right Click and Save As) for a PDF: http://bit.ly/1JUyVCY

And of course, if you’re eligible to vote, please please please get involved and do so. The more people voting, the better the awards are.

Congratulations to all the nominees! You can find them here: http://bit.ly/214KiR1

And as I write this, the Aurealis Award finalists have also just been announced. Congratulations to everyone listed there too! You can find that set of shortlists here: http://bit.ly/1PPztge

Isn’t award season an exciting time!