Wednesday, 23 December 2015

2015: The Year of Darkness and Lighthouses

The year is drawing to a close, and I'm certainly looking forward to a holiday from the day job as an English teacher. Perhaps, just perhaps, I'll even have an hour or two to get some writing done before the clocks herald the midnight hour on the 31st of December. Please join me as I look back on what I accomplished in 2015.

Australian Horror Writers' Association

This year, as vice-president of the AHWA, I wanted to carry out a project that would become part of the association's history. That vague idea soon grew clearer and I decided it was time for the AHWA to publish its first anthology of horror stories written by members. With an enthusiastic nod from my fellow committee members, In Sunshine Bright and Darkness Deep: An Anthology of Australian Horror was published in the lead-up to Halloween. It is now available for purchase in print or as an ebook.

I was also pleased, as the AHWA's competitions coordinator, to have organised the Flash Fiction and Short Story Competition, which was won by J. Ashley-Smith (short story) and Zoe Downing (flash fiction). Their winning entries will be published in the next issue of Midnight Echo, the magazine of the AHWA. The guidelines for the 2016 competition are available now and entries can be submitted as of the 1st of January.

Black Beacon Books

In 2013, I founded Black Beacon Books, one of just a handful of Australian small press publishers dedicated to horror, suspense, and mystery short fiction and novellas, and the only one currently active in Brisbane. This year, we published our second anthology, Lighthouses: An Anthology of Dark Tales, which features tales set in and around lighthouses by authors from around the world - but predominantly Australian. It was no mean feat publishing two anthologies in one year and making sure that both were of the highest quality in terms of content and design... but it happened!


Needless to say, with so much editing and marketing taking up what little free time I had, this year wasn't my most productive when it came to penning my own tales. All the same, I did manage to work on several short stories this year, and two of them have found homes. They are both strange and disturbing, and that's all I'll say...

The Crows of Eildon Hill


Next Year

Can this momentum be kept up? Well, probably not, to be frank. That said, one of my resolutions is to find more time to work on my own writing, and I'm intent on making the AHWA Flash Fiction and Short Story Competition even more successful than it was this year. What about another anthology? Well, you've probably worked out that I'm hooked, so yeah, you can expect submissions guidelines to be announced early next year for the next Black Beacon Books anthology. After all, there is a wealth Australian writing talent out there but a lack of psychological horror and suspense markets these days.

So, stay tuned for 2016! 

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