Much excitement in this corner of the Battland at the news that Mark Smith has chosen to spend the next 3 months under my tender tutelage as part of the Australian Horror Writer’s Association Mentorship scheme. From now until the end of August we’ll be working together to improve Mark’s writing, deepen his knowledge of the industry, and bring him up to date on all the decent gossip about who’s sleeping with whom, what it cost them, and how much ointment they have to buy as a result.

I’ll be reading a selection of Mark’s work, commenting upon it, and clueing him into the way I write and edit; as well as answering any questions he may have regarding the stories, the marketplace, or writing in general; I’ll also be on hand to provide advice and guidance and just generally being up at all hours of the day and night to respond to his bidding. I don’t do windows…

Mark’s crossed my path on a couple of occasions previously, including a review of Through Soft Air which he penned for the Australian Horror site Horrorscope, so I’m really looking forward to working closely with him and seeing where the next 13 weeks takes us. It should be a heck of a lot of fun. AHWA severed-head honcho Marty Young tells me that the association is keen to run the Mentorship scheme as an annual benefit for members, so if you haven’t considered joining, you can add it to your list of reasons to shell out the 25 clams and join up. (I am not a number, I am a free… oh, no, wait, here I am, member number 30)


Non-sleeping readers will remember that, recently, I promised a decko at Adam Duncan’s illustration for Father Muerte & The Joy of Warfare, my story in Aurealis Issue 37, out now buybuybuybuybuy, proclaiming it as a thing of great beauty and wondrousness.

Thanks to the fab and groovy Adam Browne, I was able to get in touch with Adam D, and thanks to his generosity and all round nice-guyness, I’m able to reproduce the illustration here for your viewing happiness.

As far as I’m concerned, this is how a story illustration should be: Adam’s image defines so many of the central ideas with the tale, and yet does so without giving anything away. It’s beautiful to look at, and once you’ve read the story, you can revisit it and gain a whole new level of resonance. I’m utterly taken with it, and can’t wait to see more of Adam’s work.

I’ve not found a website for Adam, but I have his name permanent-markered onto my mental drywall for use when I next have a chance to recommend an illustrator.


Skip on over to The Batthome. We’ve done the place up a bit, and added a new wing or two, includign a few snippets of upcomign work for your reading pleasure. I’ll be adding more bits and bobs in the coming weeks, and I’ll let you know when they arrive.


I’ve discovered something rather odd: I work better if I type onto a page with a border rather than a fully blank page. If I put a page border on before I start I work quicker, and longer, and the draft seems tighter.

That probably says something deeply disturbing about my psyche….


In response to a friend talking about how lame the new Special K adverts are (my workplace is just a hotbed of current events…), my idea for the perfect way to sell cereal to the target audience of 19-35 year old women–

“Your arse is huge. Special K will make it smaller.”

Feminists with knives to the left, advertising executives with money to the right…..


Connor is 2 and a half now, which means he’s old enough to be punished like the other kids, when he does something wrong. That means being sent to the ‘thinking corner’, where he stays until he’s ready to come out and say sorry. It worked for Lyn’s kids, and it works for Erin, and is a much better parenting tool than smacking, which is an act that distresses Lyn and I, as well as the kid being smacked.

Of course, the older kids had one less aspect of understanding to wrestle with compared to the C-train, to whit:

(Connor whacks his sister a good one upside the head, in full view of his Dad).

LEE: Naughty! Naughty boy! (Points to nearest corner) Corner!
CONNOR: (Hand on hip, big frown on face. Points to self) No! Me Connor!

Ah. Let me explain, son……