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.


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!


Obligatory Ditmar and Stoker Awards eligibility post.

It’s award season again and when this time of year comes around there’s always varying degrees of discomfort in how we make our eligible work known without acting like car salesmen or insecure hermits. And everything in between. However, I’ve long since come to be comfortable with the idea that writers should make clear what their eligible work is and where to find it. I wish more writers would do it in order for me to not forget good stuff I’ve seen, or for me to find good stuff I may have missed. And I always encourage more people to get involved so the awards are a better reflection of fandom, as they should be. The juried awards look after themselves, but the fan awards need loads of participation. So get on board.

The Stokers can only be recommended by HWA members and they know who they are, so anyone reading this with the ability to get involved there can skip straight down to the stories I’ve listed. Stoker Awards rules and etiquette can be found here: http://www.horror.org/awards/stokers.htm

The Ditmars can be nominated by “natural persons active in fandom”. That means we can’t just get all our family and friends to nominate, as the committee will check who’s nominating. But if you are a fan, you can use the online form to nominate and to give a referee for you eligibility to nominate. If you’re a blogger, a convention attendee, an avid reader, active in any way in fandom, you qualify. The nomination form is here and all the relevant details are on it. So if you’re allowed to, please get involved. There’s a massive (though not exhaustive) list of eligible work here. I have two things that I think are my strongest works of 2015, and that I’d like to see attract more attention. They’re listed below and I’ve made a PDF of each available for you to read and consider. If you think they’re worthy of your nomination, I thank you in advance.

In the Best Short Story Category, I think my best this year was “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 of that story: http://bit.ly/1JUyVCY

In the Best Novelette/Novella Category, I have one eligible work: “In Vaulted Halls Entombed” (9,100 words), from the SNAFU: Survival of the Fittest anthology, from Cohesion Press. Click or Right Click here for a PDF of that one: http://bit.ly/1MQalTL
And whether you think them award-worthy or not, if you read them, thanks! I hope you enjoy them.
Now other writers need to post their eligible work. And they need to nominate their favourites. And all the fans need to get nominating. Use the links above and GO!

Fablecroft’s Focus 2014: highlights of Australian short fiction

fablecroftFablecroft Publishing have released the ToC for their Focus 2014: highlights of Australian short fiction and I’m very happy to say that my story, “Shadows of the Lonely Dead” from the Suspended In Dusk anthology, is getting another outing, and in excellent company.

This is the third in Fabelcroft’s Focus series, which each year collect an elite selection of work which has received acclaim via national and international Awards shortlisting. My story won the 2014 Australian Shadows Award for Best Short Story. So you know that every yarn in this book will be great. In fact, I’ve read most of them and I know they’re great!

Here’s the contents:

St Dymphna’s School for Poison Girls by Angela Slatter
Wine, Women and Stars by Thoraiya Dyer
Vanilla by Dirk Flinthart
The Legend Trap by Sean Williams
The Seventh Relic by Cat Sparks
Death’s Door Café by Kaaron Warren
The Ghost of Hephaestus by Charlotte Nash
The Executioner Goes Home by Deborah Biancotti
Signature by Faith Mudge
Cookie Cutter Superhero by Tansy Rayner Roberts
Shadows of the Lonely Dead by Alan Baxter

Focus 2014 will be available in September in all e-book formats.


I won an Australian Shadows Award!

This year has been very kind to me with award nominations. Bound was a finalist in the Ditmar Award for Best Novel, The Darkness in Clara was a finalist in the Ditmar Award for Best Novelette or Novella and Obsidian was a finalist for the very prestigious Aurealis Award for Best Horror Novel. I didn’t win any of those, but it is genuinely awesome to have been shortlisted. And then the Australian Shadows Awards shortlists were announced and I saw both Mephisto and Shadows of the Lonely Dead shortlisted for the Best Short Story Award. And then last night I won the award, for Shadows of the Lonely Dead. I’m still Snoopy dancing, it’s such an honour!

The Australian Shadows Awards are annual literary awards established by the Australian Horror Writers Association (AHWA) in 2005 to honour the best published works of horror fiction written or edited by an Australian/New Zealand/Oceania resident in the previous calendar year. Here are all the 2014 Shadows Awards winners, along with the judges comments:


Last Year When We Were Young by Andrew McKiernan

A Masterful collection of supernatural horror and dark fantasy. The horror tales are disturbingly close to home, with vivid characters and a distinctly Australian tone. The atmospheric tales of fantasy take you to terrible other worlds.


SQ Mag #14 edited by Sophie Yorkston

Sophie Yorkston’s edited work showcases some of the best dark writing coming out of Australia today. Many of the stories are powerful and haunting, all of them are original. SQ #14 gives us a collection that is unified by its Australian voices and at the same time wonderfully diverse. It’s threaded with nonfiction pieces that have a firm grip on the pulse of Australian genre writing.


Shadows of the Lonely Dead by Alan Baxter

A nicely developed story with lots of (dark) emotional depth, and with a message that does not leave us untouched.


Wolf Creek Origins by Aaron Sterns and Greg McLean

As the character of Dean Winchester said in the hit series Supernatural, “at least ghosts had rules, but people were just plain crazy”. In Wolf Creek Origin, the horror lies in the depths of depravity of Mick’s mind. The murderous streak in Mick emerged early in life with the murder of his sister, and takes the form of a ‘dark passenger’ much in the vein of Dexter Morgan from the TV series Dexter. A prequel to the two popular movies, this book excels in its gory detail and does not hesitate to even mention bestiality. A superb novel that would make an excellent movie, I had John Jarrett in mind’s eye as I read this book.


Dreams of Destruction by Shane Jiraiya Cummings

In what was a relatively small and even field, this was a rollicking romp with Australiana written all over it.

So there you have it – I’m a Shadows Award winner! All the previous shortlists and winners can be found on this Wikipedia page. Congratulations to all the winners and nominees, and Woohoo!