Lots happening down under in the horror scene, lots of goodies to help those make-believe nightmares grow and to help us cope better with real-life ones.

From the AHWA comes the great news that submissions to their Mentor Program are now open, and will close at midnight on Friday 12 June 2020. Full details on how to apply, plus an outline of the program, can be found on their website.

This year’s mentors in prose and screenwriting include Alan Baxter, Heidi Lee Douglas, Paul Mannering, Megan Riakos, Deborah Sheldon, and Kaaron Warren.

This is a great program, one I had a hand in developing over a decade ago, and it’s bloody fantastic to see it still running. It’s a wonderful opportunity to work with some of the best in Australia, and to give your writing a massive boost.

As the AHWA website says, “The program provides the opportunity to work closely with our highly qualified mentors on an approved project. Successful applicants will be matched for a three-month period of one-on-one development and guidance to develop and progress their accepted work. Applicants must be an existing AHWA Member or become one before applying for the program.”

Also, the AHWA was proud to recently announce the finalists in the 2019 Australian Shadows Awards. I won’t list all the finalists here as it’s a long list, but go check it out and hunt down some real quality Aussie horror fiction.

In other news, Eugen Bacon reflects on some of her favourite black speculative fiction in a wonderful essay called Becoming Visible: The Rise of Black Speculative Fiction.

“As an African Australian who’s grappled with matters of identity, writing black speculative fiction is like coming out of the closet. It’s a recognition that I’m Australian and African, and it’s okay—the two are not mutually exclusive.”

Read the essay at: https://vector-bsfa.com/2020/05/11/becoming-visible-the-rise-of-black-speculative-fiction/

Some cool new releases worth your time and money include:

The Attic Tragedy by J. Ashley-Smith (Meerkat Press) – available for pre-order from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or direct from the Meerkat Press store.

“A gorgeous, melancholy coming-of-age novella about girlhood and ghosts. … This eerie, ethereal tale marks Ashley-Smith as a writer to watch.” – Publishers Weekly

The Attic Tragedy

Dark Harvest by Cat Sparks (Newcon Press) – available from 2 July 2020. Pre-order now from: https://www.amazon.com.au/Dark-Harvest-Cat-Sparks/dp/1912950677/.

‘Multiple award-winning author Cat Sparks writes science fiction with a distinctly Australian flavour – stories steeped in the desperate anarchy of Mad Max futures, redolent with scorching sun and the harshness of desert sands, but her narratives reach deeper than that.’

The Stone Wētā by Octavia Cade (Paper Road Press) – available from: https://paperroadpress.co.nz/the-stone-weta/.

With governments denying climate science, scientists are forced to traffic data to ensure the preservation of research that could in turn preserve the world. From Antarctica, to the Chihuahuan Desert, to the International Space Station, a fragile network forms. A web of knowledge. Secret. But not secret enough.

Black Dogs, Black Tales – Where the Dogs Don’t Die: a charity anthology for the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand, edited by Tabatha Wood and Cassie Hart (Things In The Well) – available now from Amazon.

The anthology includes 17 stories by a diverse selection of authors from NZ, Australia, the UK and America plus poems and artwork too. From the Foreword by Alan Baxter:

“As the stories in this book point out, dogs are the best, and we should all try to be a little bit more like them. Except the butt-sniffing. We don’t need that. Unless it’s your personal kink, in which case, enjoy! Meanwhile, read this book, be transported by the dark tales, and enriched by the wagging tails. And remember, you are awesome.”

And finally, for some fun, go check out Nocturnal Transmissions, a fortnightly podcast featuring inspired performances of dark tales, both old and new, by professional voice artist Kristin Holland. Nocturnal Transmissions also have a Facebook page, so you can keep up to date by following them there.

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