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

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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

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”.

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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”.

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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…

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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!

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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:

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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:

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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!

MRD x

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.

M

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