“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).


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.


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.




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:


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.


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.


Hope all is well with you all.


Echoes, poetry and vice

I really must blog more often.  You’d think someone as didactic as me would always have something to share with the world…

First up:  “An Endless Echo in Every Empty Space” will soon be appearing in Below the Stairs, the second anthology in Steve Dillon’s Things in the Well series that features classic tales by Clive Barker, Ramsey Campbell, H.P. Lovecraft et al as well as new material by a crack cast of international talents.  (For those keeping count at home, yes, that’s two for two so far.)  This brand new story was inspired by an expedition with my girlfriend Meg; driving around Port Pirie last Christmas Eve as twilight approached, we spotted a deserted house and decided to explore and photograph it.  The resulting tale dwells on the sadness inherent in such a decrepit abode, but despite that, I hope it will be enjoyed by those who read it; as Sally Sparrow says, sadness is “happy for deep people”.

2016-12-24 20.18.21

Pictured: the deepest place in town.

I’m also a contributor to Yesterday’s Tomorrow, an upcoming charitable anthology from the anti-bullying initiative Don’t Be HORROR-ble.  As someone who went through a bit of shit as a high-schooler and knows people who had it much worse, I’m happy to be on board for this one.

My performance at A Day of Clarity was well-received, and went rather smoothly considering I’d flown in from Brisbane that afternoon on two hours’ sleep and a hangover.  There’s a video compiled from the two sets that can be seen here, featuring my recital of “My No-Tell Motel Hell”.


And speaking of Brisbane, the icecocoon set went a little less perfectly than we’d hoped – and in front of less people – but the experience was quite enjoyable nonetheless… perhaps a little too much so, since we hit some bars with our Dyssidia homies after the show.  The end result:  I barely slept but still slept in, missed my flight, and had to navigate Brisbane with a bass guitar in a state of broke, half-pissed panic.  Ah, the Perils of Rock n’ Roll Decadence.  Stay in school, kids – not that it helped me much…


Pictured: Lachlan “This one time in Dubai…” Sheehan (sound tech), Brad “I’m in Spinal Tap” Roscow (guitar), Owen “What else could go wrong?” Gillett (vocals/guitar), Muggins “Me” McGee (bass/vocals). Not pictured: Brody Thomas “Beatie Smalls AKA The Notorious B.T.G.” Green (drums). Photo by MEW.

There are, as always, a few other things boiling away in the background, but we’ll get to those in due course.  Ciao for now, brown cows.

  • MRD

Would you like a kitchen sink with that?

Okay, first post in a while – boring and not-so-boring life stuff gets in the way.  There’s a bit to get through, so without further ado:

My story for The Refuge Collection, “The Heart of the Mission”, was shortlisted for a 2016 Australian Shadows Award!  It was a finalist for the Paul Haines Long Fiction Award, up against such luminaries as Kirstyn McDermott and Alan Baxter, but it was Dan Rabarts who took out the prize.  Still, I’m stoked to have made the shortlist!  The list of finalists and winners can be seen here.  “The Heart of the Mission” is also now available in physical, real-book form in The Refuge Collection: Hell to Others, which can be found in both paperback and hardcover here.

Also available now is my story “His Favourite Phantom”, as it would appear that Depraved Desires snuck out onto the shelves (virtual and otherwise) of the world recently.  You can grab a copy of said volume right here.

Keep an eye out for Between the Tracks: Tales from the Ghost Train, which will be hitting the bricks very shortly and features my story “The Deep Beneath” amongst works by some authors you may have heard of (Clive Barker, Ramsey Campbell, Christopher Golden, Alan Baxter et al).

I’ve just been announced as a Horror Novel/Novella judge for the 2017 Aurealis Awards, and this time I’m convening the panel!  Cripes!  Here’s the complete judge listing.

On Friday May 19, I’ll be performing at the Crowbar in Brisbane with icecocoon, supporting Caligula’s Horse along with fellow Adelaideans Dyssidia – in front of Devin Townsend and a whole raft of influential managers and other movers and shakers in the metal business.  No pressure, boys!  The next night I’ll be back in Adelaide to perform at A Day of Clarity 2017 as part of the Paroxysm Press spoken word showcase, to be held at the Crown & Anchor Hotel – a venue I remember fondly (if somewhat hazily) from many previous gigs with Blood Red Renaissance, icecocoon, and Priority Orange, plus the odd boozy night out with friends old and new.  Viva Clarity Records!


Clarity Records knows how to throw a party!

That about covers the interesting stuff for the moment…

Be well, do well, and so forth.

  • MRD

Trembling Trees, Trains, Garrulous Graves

One of my short, short stories (a drabble, actually) has turned up on The Horror Tree, a writer’s markets site, who are now running a short fiction section called Trembling with Fear.  You can read “Confectious” here.

I performed at a SA Writers Centre “Quick & Dirty” event last month; the theme was Death (my patch, natch, so I threw my hat in the ring) and the reading took place at the West Terrace Cemetery.  A beautiful place for some musings on mortality, with some talented fellow scribes on the bill.  I read an early chapter from a finished manuscript I’ve been keeping to myself until I feel it’s ready for the eyes of others, and it looked a little something like this:


Reading Chapter 2 (“From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea”) from MIDNIGHT IN THE CHAPEL OF LOVE, 16 February 2017. Photo by Red Wallflower Photography. x


One of the interesting things about this experience was that I learned the West Terrace Cemetery has its own branded, bottled water.  Amongst ourselves, we did wonder whence it came…

In other news, the Kickstarter for Between the Tracks, the upcoming anthology featuring my work alongside Barker, Campbell, Golden et al, is up here.  And there’s a neat cover image, too:


Tell me you don’t want a hardcover copy of this sitting on your shelf!

I was going to write a post for Women in Horror Month, giving props to some great artists who’ve enriched my life, but things got in the way… tomorrow is International Women’s Day, so perhaps I’ll be back very soon to do just that!  And do me a favour:  if you’re one of those people who drones on about the unfairness of preferential treatment for women, when they get the short end of the stick in every conceivable way, please screw your head on tighter and try again.

(Yes, I did see that of the authors listed on the cover above, only two are women.  Irony noted.)

Thank you for your time.  Be brilliant!


Cemetery Boy

Welcome to 2017!  Let’s hope it’s less of a garbage fire than last year – though I had a pretty good time of it, all things considered.

First of all, I’ve had a story accepted already!  “His Favourite Phantom” (or “His Favorite Phantom”, as it will end up) will appear in Depraved Desires from HellBound Books Publishing.  So we’re off to a good start!

Also, I’ve been confirmed as one of the writers appearing at an upcoming SA Writers Centre  event.  Quick & Dirty: Death will take place at the West Terrace Cemetery on February 16, and I’ll be reading a piece on the night.  The Facebook event page is here, and will be updated as the night draws nearer.

I had a lovely catch-up and chat with award-winning New Zealand author Lee Murray while she was in town; we’re both a part of the Refuge Collection, and will be aboard the upcoming Between The Tracks anthology, but this was the first time we’d met.  We talked non-stop writing for three hours and could easily have gone on for another three – hopefully this is just the first of many such verbose sessions!

And speaking of the Refuge Collection, my tale from that, “The Heart of the Mission”, will soon be available as an audio book read by Rhett Samuel Price!

Best wishes, until next time.  And remember, governments may mandate hatred, but we don’t have to play along with that shit.  Be smart, be loving, and be brave.  We’ll make it through, just as we always have.



Lee Murray and yours truly at the Publishers Hotel, January 2017. Photo by Dave Murray (unfortunately, not the one from Iron Maiden).


Hell’s Bells

As the festive thing creeps ever nearer, I bring terrible tidings… nah, not really.  There’s an ebook called Hell’s Bells out now from the Australian Horror Writers Association, featuring a number of flash fiction Xmas ghost stories… and yes, I’m in it, with a tale entitled “Christmas Presence”. (So obvious, but so right!)   You can download a cheap copy here, and see the cover below.

Why not bring back some old Christmas traditions, and gather ’round the fire to roast chestnuts and regale each other with some of these creepy tales?  (Never mind the fire or the chestnuts in the southern hemisphere, I guess, but otherwise – get on it!)

Back with well-wishes and whatnot soon.

Thank you.



Cover by Greg Chapman.

Barker, Campbell, Golden, Davis

Just a quick post to brag about my latest acceptance.  Check this out:


Pretty cool, huh?  Granted, the Barker and Campbell pieces are reprints – but the former is apparently a unique, annotated version of “The Midnight Meat Train”, so it’s definitely worth checking out.  And I will never get tired of seeing my name on a ToC with two names from my Big Five…*

(This is actually the third time my work has crossed paths with Ramsey’s.  We both have a story in Steve Dillon’s The Refuge Collection, albeit in different volumes, and we’re both set to appear in Semi-Colonic Irrigation.  Kinda makes me feel like I’m maybe just a little bit getting somewhere with this thing… just a little.)


*To clarify, my Big Five (and that’s probably the first time I’ve ever named them as such) are the five writers who most inspired me as a teenager, and whose works take up the most space on my bookshelves, and they are Stephen King, Richard Laymon, Clive Barker, Ramsey Campbell, and Peter Straub.


Black Armbands

My story “Maggots in the Eye of Love” was submitted to Hybrid Moments, a Misfits-themed anthology from Weirdpunk Books; it didn’t make it into that tome, but it has been printed in a bonus zine that went out with copies of the book for Kickstarter backers.  I don’t know if you’ll be able to get a copy of the zine with the book now, but you can get Hybrid Moments here.

I’ve been submitting A Banquet of Broken Hearts to more name publishers – fingers crossed!

Grey Matter Press is running a contest for flash fiction to add to the electronic version of their recent collection I Can Taste the Blood, and I threw my hat into the ring with a piece called “My No-Tell Motel Hell” – I think it came off pretty well for something I wrote in half an hour!  You can vote for the story by going here and scrolling through the comments until you find it, then leaving a reply to my post.  Public voting ends at midnight on 26/10 American CST, and after that, it’s on to the next phase – let’s see how that goes!

In icecocoon news, we played a warm-up show at Enigma Bar at the end of September, and then supported Queensryche on October 13.  The show went pretty well, all things considered – life has been full of ups and (mainly) downs for band members recently, but worst of all, our guitarist Brad lost his girlfriend Emma less than a week before the gig.  She was extremely supportive and had been looking forward to his first international support slot, and we dedicated our set to her.  Frankly, we’re still reeling from the news, and can only imagine the hell our friend is going through.  If anything good can come of this tragedy, it’s through the foundation that Brad has set up in her memory, and I would encourage you find out more about that here.

In other horrible news, my friend Kylie succumbed to cancer the same weekend we lost Emma.  I’ve known her for around sixteen years, and I’ve been good mates with her husband Daryll even longer, and again… words fail me, you know?  How can I even begin to understand that pain?  It’s a small consolation, but as with Emma, there may be some good to come of this for others in the same position – Kylie had recently been very visible as the face of the Go Gentle euthanasia bill here in Australia, and if you wish to support this campaign, you can do so here.

So yeah, it’s been a fucking harsh month.  Let’s move forward with the memory of our lost ones burning bright in our hearts.  They’ve shown us incredible strength in the face of adversity, and the least we can do is learn from their example.  Be well, people, and the very best to you all.


Live and looming through the smoke @ Enigma Bar, 30.9.16.  Photo by Red Wallflower Photography.  Thanks, babe. x

Live and looming through the smoke @ Enigma Bar, 30.9.16. Photo by Red Wallflower Photography. Thanks, babe. x