The Endless Pilgrimage to Acceptance

Acceptance updates:

“Waylay and Warp” has been selected for Tiny Tales Vol. 1: Curses & Cauldrons, from Blood Song Books.

“Under the Bridge Downtown” will appear on The Horror Tree website shortly.

“Steadfast Shadowsong” has been accepted for Dig Two Graves, from Death’s Head Press.

Breach #10, featuring my story “Pilgrimage”, is out now and can be acquired here.  As the blurb notes, my tale was inspired by the legendary Lemmy Kilmister.  Watching the live stream of his funeral was a moving experience, and though I’m not much of a Motörhead fan, I very much respected his huge heart and felt compelled to pay tribute to the man.  It took a couple of years, but here it is.

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In even better news, my story “Andromeda Ascends” (from Beneath the Waves: Tales from the Deep) has been shortlisted for the Best Horror Novella category in the 2018 Aurealis Awards!  I’m up there alongside fellow Beneather Chris Mason, plus genre stalwarts Kirstyn McDermott and Kaaron Warren and more besides – so not much pressure, then, I’m only up against the best!

And yes, there’s still an announcement to come shortly… stay tuned…

M

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It’s 2019: Where are the Blade Runners we were promised?

Welcome to 2019!  I was going to post this in early January, but life got in the way – I’ve been packing, cleaning, moving and unpacking, for starters.  I’m now living in the house where I was lodging nine years ago, when I notched up my first professional publications, and where I have worked on a number of demos, EPs and albums with Blood Red Renaissance and icecocoon – so in a way, it feels like I’ve come full circle.

Transcendence, a new anthology of stories based around dreams, hallucinations and the like from Transmundane Press, is out now!  You can get a copy here.  You can also read my guest post for their blog here, and check out their interview with me here.

As well as publishing “Pilgrimage” this month, Breach Magazine will have an interview with me up soon – I’ll share the link when it’s posted.

I decided to take some time off of professional reading after judging for the Aurealis Awards two years running, but that didn’t last long – now I’ve been tapped for the 2018 Australian Shadows Awards.  I’ll be judging in the Novel category, so at least there won’t be a conflict of interest this year, as I didn’t publish any books in 2018.  However, I’ll be making an announcement very soon…

I messed around with a number of year’s best lists for this post, extensively detailing my favourite novels, films, albums, TV shows etc, but it felt kind of dorky and pointless – just kind of nerding off into the void, so to speak.  So maybe I’ll keep it succinct, to give you a fleeting taste of what I liked best in 2018.

NOVELS:  We Sold Our Souls (Grady Hendrix), Halcyon (Rio Youers), Blood Standard (Laird Barron), Unbury Carol (Josh Malerman), Space Opera (Catherynne M. Valente), The Outsider (Stephen King), The Cabin at the End of the World (Paul Tremblay), Cross Her Heart (Sarah Pinborough)

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NOVELLAS:  Shiloh (Philip Fracassi), Overnight (Philip Fracassi), The Atrocities (Jeremy C. Shipp)

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ANTHOLOGIES:  Beneath the Waves:  Tales from the Deep (ed. Steve Dillon), Flight or Fright (ed. Stephen King & Bev Vincent), Petrified Punks (ed. Claire Fitzpatrick)

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FILMS:  Suspiria, Hereditary, Paddington 2, The Endless, Avengers: Infinity War

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TV:  The Haunting of Hill House, Doctor Who – Series 11, Inside No. 9 – Series 4

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ALBUMS:  Eat the Elephant (A Perfect Circle), Dirty Computer (Janelle Monáe), Suspiria – Soundtrack (Thom Yorke), Islands (Ash), Bad Witch (Nine Inch Nails), Simulation Theory (Muse), Rainier Fog (Alice in Chains), Kamikaze (Eminem), Dark All Day (Gunship), I Loved You at Your Darkest (Behemoth)

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There, that wasn’t so bad, was it?  Which is more than can be said for 2018 in general, I’m afraid.  It was an excruciating year for me, and the pain I’ve caused and suffered still lingers.  But there were positives, and there will be more this year.  Keep looking forward.  We’ll get there.

MxRxDx

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Trickster’s Treats #2, featuring three stories by me (one being a collaboration with editor Steve Dillon) is available now, with proceeds benefiting women’s shelters, and you can find it here.

Trembling with Fear:  Year 1 is a collection of flash fiction and drabbles that were published on The Horror Tree’s website during 2017, featuring my ultra-short story “Confectious”, and it’s now available here.

Transcendence will be available soon from Transmundane Press.  I’ll have an interview and a guest blog post up on their website soon, but for now, you can check out a trippy little video of me reading an excerpt from my story “Everything is Red in This World”.  It was shot by Meg and edited by me, and you can watch it here.

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Still from video excerpt of “Everything is Red in This World”, shot by Meg Wright, edited by yours truly.

Breach #10, an upcoming issue of Breach Magazine due to be published in January 2019, will feature my short story “Pilgrimage”.

Mad Scientist Journal CCI:  Autumn 2018 is out now, featuring my story “The Girl Who Killed Gods”.  You can grab the book here or read my story online here.

It’s not been a particularly spooky day so far, but I’m listening to a couple of great new horror movie soundtracks (Suspiria by Thom Yorke and Halloween by John Carpenter et al), and tonight I’m going out to the Capri to catch a double bill of Shaun of the Dead and Dawn of the Dead.  Hell, yes.

Happy Halloween!

MRD

Triple Tricks n’ Treats

Okay, so first of all:  I have not one, not two, but three flash fiction pieces appearing in the upcoming Trickster’s Treats #2 this Halloween.  “Please Stay” is a brand new story; “Say Uncle” is an idea I first came up with when I was fifteen and finally wrote twenty years later, eventually tweaking it for this book; and “Thumbs up for Bob’s Apples” is the newest piece, wherein I took a story by Steve Dillon and rewrote it from scratch, incorporating some of his ideas and adding some of my own.  All proceeds will be donated to the Women’s Community Shelter, including most or all of the writers’ payments.

I mentioned last time that a major publisher requested the full manuscript of my most recent novel.  The editor got back to me after a few weeks with a rejection email… but it was a long email, and a reluctant rejection!  She read the MS twice and gave it careful consideration, listing a number of things she really liked about it, and ended by stating that I was an excellent author from whom she’d like to hear again.  So as rejections go, it was quite a positive one!  SO CLOSE!  But hey… since then, I’ve had another publisher ask to see the entire MS, so we’ll see how that pans out…

Something I forgot to mention last time was The Hyperdrive Anthology.  In late April, Dr. Amelia Walker got a few people together in Gawler to create a book in 90 minutes.  I signed up thinking it was to be a fiction exercise, but as it turned out, we created a series of concrete poems using Dada-esque principles.  If you’re interested in that sort of thing, you can grab a copy here.

Meg and I drove to Port Broughton to shoot the cover for my brother’s second album, which will be out in late September.  The sleeve I designed has more of a concept going on this time – you’ll have to buy a copy to find out what that is, but here’s the cover to pique your interest:

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By Red Wallflower Photography (of course), from an idea by Muggins McGee.

And meanwhile, icecocoon slogs away at the last of the drum editing before setting up to record guitars for our next record, Gardens of Dust.  And I’ve been working on demos (recording some parts at my brother’s house, even) for my own album, the concept of which has expanded from “I should smash out a quick acoustic EP because it’s been a while” to “bloody hell, this is a full-blown album that would require a ten-piece band to recreate it live”.  Typical me.

Until next time…

M

Transcending the Petrification Continuum

Hello, and welcome to another belated edition of… this blog!

First up, and most exciting:  a major publisher has asked to see the full manuscript of my latest novel, based on their reading of the first chapter and synopsis!  Another publisher’s also asked to read a novella manuscript based on a synopsis and character breakdown!  Neither may pan out, of course, but it’s an encouraging sign nonetheless.

Petrified Punks, an anthology of flash fiction about punk/new wave/goth/’80s music from Oscillate Wildly Press that features my story “Colours That Flicker in Water”, is out now, and you can get a copy here.  No longer coming soon, unfortunately, is the Semi-Colonic Irrigation charity anthology featuring “The Only Tale”, but that story will soon be popping up again elsewhere.  Back to the positive side of things, and “Everything is Red in This World” will be appearing in Transmundane Press’s Transcendent anthology soon – here’s the cover:

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Last month I attended my first proper fiction convention, Continuum 14, in Melbourne.  I finally got to meet a number of writers and editors in person, including lovely folks like Steve Dillon, Claire Fitzpatrick, J.S. Breukelaar and Kirstyn McDermott, as well as a whole bunch of other delightful peeps.  I enjoyed the experience and am looking forward to doing it again next year, hopefully with some panel appearances thrown in and some solo work to promote.  I didn’t win the Shadows Award for which I was shortlisted, but that’s two years running I’ve been nominated for that particular honour – so surely it’s only a matter of time…

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The mask I wore to Saturday night’s Maskobolo at Continuum, which went quite well with my snazzy purple suit.

My partner and I are shooting the sleeve for my brother’s second album next weekend, which will involve a day trip to Port Broughton and ought to be a blast.  (She’s the one doing the shooting, of course – I’m just the ideas and basic Photoshop assembly guy – and you can and totally should see more of her work on Facebook or Instagram.)  I’ve been planning a new record myself, since it’s been so bloody long since I put out anything of my own, and I’ll keep you posted when that becomes more than a pipe dream!  In the meantime, I’ve been sitting in on drum editing sessions for the next icecocoon album.

Be well.  Look after each other.  Don’t be dishonest or fearful or selfish.  Trust me, it’s no good for anyone.

MRD

Shadows, Colours, Everything & Time

Hello once again.

First up:  “This Impossible Gift” has been shortlisted for the Paul Haines Award for Long Fiction in the 2018 Australian Shadows Awards!  I made this shortlist last year with “The Heart of the Mission”, so let’s hope it’s an annual thing!  I’ll be attending the awards ceremony at Continuum this weekend, which will be a first and, I imagine, quite a lot of fun!  Fingers crossed for the win – although, as I’m up against Angela Slatter and Kaaron Warren, they’ll need to be crossed pretty damn hard!

Next:  “Colours that Flicker in Water” will be appearing in Petrified Punks, an anthology of punk/new wave/no wave/goth etc. flash fiction from nifty Australian crew Oscillate Wildly Press.

And:  “Everything is Red in this World” has just been accepted for the Transmundane Press anthology Dreams, Nightmares, Visions and Hallucinations.

Also:  Beneath the Waves:  Tales from the Deep is available now, featuring my story “Andromeda Ascends”, along with a great accompanying illustration by Will Jacques.

In other, non-writing news, I put together the album sleeve for my brother Ethan’s first record, Time is My Worst Enemy.  I came up with some visual concepts and travelled to Port Pirie to do the shoot with my partner Meg, who loved snooping around in the railway carriage graveyard outside of town.  I’m quite proud of the work she’s done and the way the sleeve turned out, and also of Ethan’s debut opus – I’m inspired to get to work on another record myself now!  Here’s the Bandcamp link, and here’s the cover:

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My little brother’s first album – #2 coming soon! Album sleeve by MRD, photography by Meg Wright/Red Wallflower Photography.

Cheers.  See you soon.

M

In which we contemplate the duration of infinity.

And once again, we rejoin our feckless hero after a too-long period of silence…

My story “Andromeda Ascends” will appear in the fourth Things in the Well book, Beneath the Waves:  Tales from the Deep, available in April.  That’s four out of four so far – and this time I’ll be sharing the pages with H.P. Lovecraft and Brian Lumley!  This tale came together at the last minute, which may account for some of its feverish nature; also, I wrote the second draft as I curled up crippled on my couch with a sprained back, two sprained wrists and a bashed knee.  Fun times!

Speaking of Things in the Well, the third book – Behind the Mask:  Tales from the Id – is available now, and you can find it here.  It features “The Bloody Rag”, and once again I’m sharing a table of contents with Clive Barker and Ramsey Campbell, amongst other notables.

I performed in three spoken word shows with Paroxysm Press during the Adelaide Fringe Festival; I’ve always wanted to be in a Fringe show, so there’s another box thoroughly ticked.  All the gigs were rambunctious, freewheeling and diverse as all get out.  I had a blast!  More, please.

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Wording @ Broadcast Bar, 25.2.18. Phone snap by Meggins McGee.

The new icecocoon album (I say new, but I won’t mention just how long the damn thing’s been in gestation), entitled How Long is Forever…?, has finally been released.  Due to the nature of the recording sessions, I only played bass on two tracks, although I did put the album sleeve together and edit the video for “The Great Aerial Ocean”.  You can watch the clip here and wrap your ears around the whole record here.  Apparently we’ll be continuing the recording of the next album very soon, and in the meantime, I’ll be flexing my visual-artist muscles by doing the sleeve for my brother Ethan’s upcoming CD, Time is My Worst Enemy.

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Painting by Elena Maslarova, who also played guitar for the band in an earlier and largely female incarnation.

On a more personal note, I’ve now moved into a house with my girlfriend and our cat.  So long Ghastly Manor, and hello la Casa del M!

Oh, and I don’t want to say too much just yet, but there’s been an expression of interest from a small publisher in a collection of my short stories.  More news as that develops…

Thanks for your time and patience,

MRDx

“It’s the end… but the moment has been prepared for.”

Well, hello there, and welcome to the end of the year.

A couple of new stories snuck out around Christmas time, like lumps of blackest coal that have been gift-wrapped and left under the tree in the dark, empty hours before dawn.  “This Impossible Gift” appeared in Midnight Echo #12, which is available for Kindle here, and I wrote a new flash piece entitled “Of Coldest Coal” in about two hours to meet a deadline, which can be found in Shades of Santa:  Tales from the Bloody North Pole (order a copy here).

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Otherwise, it’s been an indulgent period – I finally have some time off work, and so far I’ve been working diligently at my goal of alternating relaxation and utter sloth with full-tilt reading and writing while I have the extra hours.

Now, some 2017 writing stats for you:

24 submissions (no simultaneous subs) – I’ve reached 24 before, but my record is 28.

10 acceptances – for only the second time, this number outweighs the next…

9 rejections – …because subjectivity ensures that this will never cease to be a thing.

8 stories published – and so far, I have 2 confirmed for publication in 2018.

It’s been a funny old year, as is usually the case.  My girlfriend Meg and I began to wrap this one up much the way we did with 2016 – by finding a deserted ruin of a house and exploring it.  I got a good story out of the process last time, but I don’t want to repeat myself, so the art that comes from this last exploration will likely be photographic only.

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Exploring more ruins, 30.12.17. Photo by me. (Hers are much better.)

 

Anyway, all the best to you and yours – may 2018 shine brighter (or more darkly, if that’s your thing) than any year so far.  Thanks for all and any time and attention you might have sent my way.

Cheers,

MRD

Girls, Gifts, Rags, Echoes… and that sock still isn’t dry.

Well, now that you’re here, let’s get into it:

“The Girl Who Killed Gods” will appear in/on Mad Scientist Journal in late 2018.  I did harbour some reservations about the title being a little too on-trend and patronising, but it was the only one that felt right.  This story’s more light-hearted and soft-SF than usual – the kid’s got range!  (Ahem.)

“The Bloody Rag” has been accepted for publication in Behind the Mask:  Tales from the Id, due early next year.  Never mind range, this one goes back to dark, grim and creepy.  If I may quote the editor, Steve Dillon, after his first read of it:  “Bloody hell, mate.  This is special.”  (Ahem, again.)

Below the Stairs:  Tales from the Cellar, featuring “An Endless Echo in Every Empty Space”, is available now and you can find it hereMidnight Echo #12, featuring “This Impossible Gift”, will be out in a couple of weeks, and oh, boy – how’s this for a sweet cover:

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That’d be the work of Greg Chapman, unless I’m mistaken. But like THAT would ever happen. (Ahem, thrice.)

Reading continues apace for the Aurealis Awards, with a new wrinkle this year:  twice now, I’ve had to strike stories from consideration in the Horror Novella category… because they were written by me!  Talk about a conflict of interest.

I’ve been editing a film clip for icecocoon’s “The Great Aerial Ocean”, which will be out later this month to promote the belated release of How Long is Forever…?  We shot it in the old Queens Theatre, and it’s come up quite a treat.

And finally…

“I had a recurring dream, once.”  Rest in peace, Sean Hughes.

MRD

Impossible Gifts & Other Treats

Hello again!

More good news:  my story “This Impossible Gift” will appear in #12 of Midnight Echo, the magazine of the Australasian Horror Writers Association.  This is a fairly prestigious publication, one that’s fallen quiet of late but is now reasserting its rightful position, and I’m stoked to have earned a spot.  The acceptance email from Shane Jairaya Cummings, a notable name in the Australian horror field, was glowingly effusive and absolutely made my day.  I’m very happy that this particular story has found a good home – the only other time I submitted it was for a Spectral Press Christmas anthology, and though it didn’t quite scrape in, editor Simon Marshall-Jones called it “the most heartbreaking yet hopeful thing I’ve read in a long time” and was planning to publish it in a later collection.  This never eventuated, but all’s well that ends well…

Available to order now is Trickster’s Treats #1, a new Halloween magazine put together by Steve Dillon via Things in the Well.  I’m represented by two brand new flash fiction pieces (exactly 666 words apiece) called “Hackles” and “Catching Flies”.  You can grab a copy here.

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Hope all is well with you all.

MRD