Damn, but whilst I’ve been off lounging about the beach crapping about with artists, but people have only gone and bought stories and the like from her Lusciousness and myself.

Where, I hallucinate you asking? Funny you should bring it up….

This friendly little fellow is the cover to Midnight Echo 7, unfortunately harmless. He’s the official magazine of the Australian Horror Writer’s Association, and undoubtedly the nastiest little read you’ll read this year, at least until issue 8 comes out. It contains my short story Ghosts of You, which is quite unpleasant, and I say that with all the love in my heart. 

Purchase ye here.

Next to him… the nasty Year’s Best Australian Fantasy & Horror 2011. His tiny fangs cause creeping ulcerations of the skin, and his pages contain Europe After the Rain, a story originally published in Fablecroft Publishing’s After The Rain anthology and which I thought had disappeared with a dull whoomph of disinterest, so I’m pleased to see it up and about and being appreciated. 

YBAFH11 can be found at Ticonderoga Publications.

And coming soon… my prize, ASIM 56. Isn’t she lovely? And so deadly. Her pages contain twice as many Battersbys as that of other magazines. You see, her contents include The Blind Pig, that is to say a modern fable of the depression by my beautiful wife Luscious as well as my own Comfort Ghost, and eventually… oh sod it, i can’t keep that up.

Everyone knows ASIM is a ripper of a magazine. Their website is here, and I’ll let you know when the issue is due to come out. The Blind Pig is the best short Lyn has ever written, and if you know Lyn’s writing, you’ll know what that means: you want a copy of this magazine, and you want it ASAP.

And if that isn’t enough to make you wonder at just how many people you can fool all of the time, be sure to check out Bete Noire in July, where my poem Three Messages will appear. 


That’s right, after all the chatter and begging you to be patient, the vulture has landed!

12 stories, 3 poems, artwork by 8 talented artists, an interview with Charlaine Harris (author of the Sookie Stackhouse novels), and featuring the creepiest cover known to mankind courtesy of the outstandingly talented Perth artist Justin Randall.

Costing only $3.50 for a shiny pdf and only $10 if you want us to murder some flora on your behalf. It is, in my humble and entirely non-biased opinion, the single greatest collection of dark fiction in the history of mankind.

Look at those names: Jenny Blackford, Geoff Maloney, LL Hannett, Jason Crowe, Clarion South alumni and rising stars Dan Braum & Christopher Green…. Don’t you just feel your nipples hardening? Don’t you just want to reach for your mother’s credit card and sneak off to the AHWA shop while she lies comatose in front of Wife Swap clutching a half-empty bottle of cooking sherry?

You’ve really got no excuse have you?

There’s an interview with Horrorscope here if you’d like to know more about the hand inside the puppet behind the mind behind the issue, and I’ll even give you a taste of my editorial if it’ll help persuade you. Here, look:

As I reach the halfway point of my life I have seen monks immolate themselves to protest foreign wars; passenger aircraft driven into buildings; subway air-conditioning used as a tool of religious terrorism. My mother lived through the euphemistically named “Irish Troubles”: even after a decade of living in Australia she was afraid of being in a crowded cafe with a discarded backpack. She was born during The War. Which War? The one big enough and wide-ranging enough that we simply call it “The War”. Atomic science followed. It didn’t give us Godzilla, but Russian orphans with missing limbs and swollen jaws, acromegalic and cancer-shriven. Serial killers are celebrities: we watch movies about Gacy, Bundy, Zodiac, see Jack Unterweger live on television. Serial killers as legend—Hannibal the hero, jaded Jigsaw, delightfully ditzy Dexter. It puts the cream on its hands. It pays to watch vicariously.
What was once feared is risible.


I was nervous during the ceremony. Although I fumbled with the ring at one point, I managaed not to drop it, and my nervousness was accepted as part of the standard jitters. During the photographs I was ushered to the side as Alice and her bridesmaids took centre stage and hammed it up for the photographer, flouncing around in their silk dresses and looking, I thought, a little tarty. Feeling spare, I moved away and leant against the trunk of a weeping willow. From this aspect, I had an even better view of Charles than I had before. His body, still caught by the snag, bobbed gently up and down with the flow of the current. I admired the neat cut across his throat and the way his body had been sliced open to allow his intestines to swim free in the murky water of the Murray.

— Sleeping Dogs by Geoffrey Maloney and Andrew Baker


Apologies for missing Wednesday– things and stuff and junk arose, which I’ll mention in the next post or two (it’s dead exciting). Until then, enjoy:

The problem with poison is that it can grow stale. The first one hundred times, you know, it was interesting. Then you start recycling. You start tasting the same poisons you’ve already had. You start having de ja vu.

“I’ve died this way before,” you think. And you have. That’s the problem. There are only so many poisons in the world, and so many ways to take them.

So you start to combine them. Mix hemlock and cypripedium. The first is cold, you remember, and the second burns. You combine the two, hoping for something crazy, something that will take your head clean off, separate your teeth from your jaw. All that happens, instead, is a mild burn. The fire from before, that first fire, it’s absent. All that’s left is something lame, something unoriginal, something worse than pure.

— Poison or the Knife by BL Hobson


Under a streetlight, no sudden moves. Looking like a lost motorist. Give directions, he thought, like a good girl. Don’t be scared, he said to himself.

She walked back and leaned over to peer into the window. Even with the streetlight, he flicked on the dome. The girl was a good yard onto the sidewalk, not getting within reach of the window. Not yet.

“Excuse me, ma’am,” he started. She smiled at that. Good.

God. He swallowed. Braces.

— Carnal Knowledge, by Don Norum


“This very day they descend on Paris.” The Monk stabbed a finger westward and heads swung around to follow his gesture. Odile shrank back against the wall. “Swathed in their black finery, borne on the backs of Catholic servants!” Pain flared in Odile’s head, the sickle-thorn burying deep.

“These crimes, this effrontery, can not–must not!–go unchallenged!” One of the strangers, a red-capped young man, leaned in to his neighbour. His neighbour nodded vigorously.

“The Calvinists and Lutherans have no desire to simply go their own mistaken way in peace.” The Monk’s face twisted into a snarl, baring yellowed teeth, and the thorn dug deeper with each word. “They would see us crushed in their wake, rent and devoured and shat upon the earth!”

— The Hand of God, by Jason Crowe


What did she think she was doing? She looked at her babies, snoring in their bassinets, and nearly abandoned her plan. They might not mind if we stay, she reasoned, as she got up to tuck blankets around their shoulders. They’ll never know what we’ve lost.

A few bars of ‘Happy Birthday’ drifted in from the other room; her mother warming up for later.

Theresa ran her tongue around the thick scars inside her mouth, then clenched her teeth. “Mum?”Her voice was too quiet. She inhaled, exhaled slowly, tried again. “Mum?”

“What?” came Evelyn’s voice, echoing from the kitchen.

“I forgot to get candles for the cake. Can you run out and get some? I’m going to give the kids a feed before everyone gets here– and we can’t have the party without candles.”

— Tiny Drops, by LL Hannett


The usher guided a replacement couple into the newly vacant seats a row ahead of Max and his date.

Max’s date gripped his thigh, fingernails like talons. “Run,” she hissed at the new couple, but they were already concentrating on the movie. An usher swooped in at the end of the aisle and squeezed perfume into the air.

“Just inhale,” Max said. “It helps.”

His hand clamped around his date’s arm. She winced in his grip, refusing to inhale the cinnamon haze that drifted onto them. “No, no, no.”

She tried to stand. Max gripped her head, made her look at the freshly-vacated seat by his side. She stopped struggling, eyes wide and tired.

–The Movie, by Graham Fielding


For your delectation, and to provide a trail of poisonous little breadcrumbs leading towards the candy house with the smiling little old lady that is Midnight Echo #4, my authors and I have decided to give you a little snippet of each of their works in the lead-up to the release of the issue.

First up, an aperitif: something elegant, graceful, with just a hint of blood in the aftertaste–

Cromwell laughed and clapped him on the back. “Beautiful, graceful, intelligent enough to make pleasant conversation, she represents all that is good about England.”

“She lives in America,” Father Ignatius pointed out.

Cromwell flapped his words away with a small wave of his hand. “A small colony in Virginia struggling to do nothing more than survive on corn and tobacco. One season in my court and she won’t think twice about what she’s left behind. Did you see the wolf?”

“Not really. It was too dark.” He felt her presence, though, even in the safety of the palace.

“I’ve housed it on the lower floor. The lady insisted, saying if her companion was to spend its nights outside with the common animals, then that’s where she’d stay too. I’ve heard it’s a large beast, so large it makes our forest wolves seem like puppies in comparison.”

“It howled once, at the beginning of our journey. The sound put me in mind of those banshees the Irish are always going on about.”

“Terrifying,” Cromwell said.


— Cromwell’s Beast, by Steven J Stegbar.


The decisions have been made. The editing has been carried out. The human cattle have been coralled. Finally, finally, I can announce the line-up for Midnight Echo #4, and oooh, there’s some creepy and disturbing little monkeys crawling amongst the ruins of this one. This April, you will be reading the following stories:

  • Cromwell’s Beast— Steven J. Stegbar
  • Carnal Knowledge— Don Norum
  • The Moon & The Mesa— Dan Braum
  • Sleeping Dogs— Geoffrey Maloney & Andrew Baker
  • The Hand of God— Jason Crowe
  • Where We Go To Be Made Lighter— Chris Green
  • Tiny Drops— LL Hannett
  • Little Boy Lost— Patty Jansen
  • In The Walls— Philip Roberts
  • Visiting— Richard Barber
  • The Movie— Graham Fielding
  • Poison Or The Knife— BL Hobson

As well as the following poems:

  • Rabbit— Holly Day
  • Mirror— Jenny Blackford
  • The Fat Aftermath— Jude Aqulinia

Midnight Echo #4 will be available in April. Go here for purchasing options.



Well, (claps hands) that’s that.

All the submissions have been read, all the rejections have been sent, and now that the dust has cleared, I’m left with the 12 stories and 3 poems that make up the contents of Midnight Echo #4. Assuming nothing falls over between now and April, it’ll be my delight to present you with stories from the likes of Aurealis Award winners Chris Green and Geoffrey Maloney and international man about town Dan Braum, as well as the first poem penned by the lovely Jenny Blackford in many a long year.

I’ve received well over 200 submissions from all corners of the globe (quite literally!), and it’s a good feeling to be able to look at the final list and be satisfied that the works I’ve chosen are an accurate reflection of my views towards the art of horror writing, as well as damn good pieces in their own right. Will you enjoy them? It is to be hoped. But for now, I can move on to the second-stage editorial work— writing the editorial, shaping and editing submissions, discussing art and contracts with the appropriate AHWA Kahunas— and start to mold the final shape of the issue.

Stay tuned, and as soon as I get the all-clear from Midnight Echo Big Banana Marty Young I’ll give you the final Table of Contents.


With the time-intensive scutwork of submissions editing out of the way, I can finally indulge myself once more with thoughts of my own work. The Battersby Art machine has been quiet of late, and there’s a lot of product to be fed into the business end. To whit:

  • 2 novels need editing: Napoleone’s Land and Corpse-Rat King
  • 3 stories are currently away in the world, and I have 2 more, The Possession of Mister Snopes and C to finish and send. The goal is to have completed and sent 15 by the end of the year, 12 from the partially completed work I have on hand, and 3 completely new pieces.
  • 3 poems: Hart Crane, Treading Water; Wish Fulfillment; and Like A Leaf Falling need final polishes and sending out
  • 3 cartoons are finished, I’ve 2 more that have been inked but not shaded, and I need at least 1 more completed after that to constitute a complete batch. The goal is to have 24 (or at least 4 batches) in circulation by the end of the year.
  • And I promised myself that I’d complete a new novel by the end of the year, so I really need to get started on that as well. Still, on this score at least, you may be pleased by the following…..


It began in a dream.

It has taken me a million years to leave my father’s embrace, and now I am falling. I am supposed to fall forever. I am never to touch the ground again.

Eight minutes after my fall commences, I start to burn.

Those are the opening words of the Father Muerte novel.


He likes his privacy, so at his request I don’t make mention of him too much on this blog, but I’m breaking that rule because Aiden turned 17 a couple of days ago, and you need to know just how proud I am of the young man he’s become.

I simply couldn’t wish for a more intelligent, funnier, more capable, caring (as anyone who’s seen him with Connor can testify) and just generally excellent Bonus Son, and I’m excited by the thought of what’s coming to him in the years ahead as he navigates his final year of high school and heads on to University and the world beyond.

As soon as he acknowledges that System of a Down suck the devil’s dangly bits he’ll be perfect…..


It’s been a good start to the year.

  • I’ve lost just over a kilogram in weight. I set myself a loss of 12 kilos for the year, so this represents a good beginning.
  • I’ve completed and submitted Plot or Pants?, an article on novel planning to WQ, the monthly magazine of the Queensland Writer’s Centre
  • I’ve line-edited the five stories currently in my ‘In Progress’ folder and submitted the first of them. My plan is to have all five out in the world by the end of next week. Not a big goal, perhaps, but I only saw print twice last year, while I was focussing on Corpse-Rat King, and that’s just not up to my usual standards.
  • I’m up to date with reading for Midnight Echo #4, and about to start filtering the stories I kept for a second stage of reading. If you were thinking of submitting but haven’t got around to it, might I suggest you do so soon? I’ve received 157 submission so far, of which 33 have made it to a second reading. Submissions close 31st of the month.
  • I’ve completed 2 cartoons of the 24 (minimum) that I plan to complete and submit.

Not bad so far. There’s a lot of year left, and some big goals to achieve (2 novels to edit and submit, ya know?). But I’m on the way…


The reading period for Midnight Echo Issue 4, edited by yours truly, has officially opened, and will be open until January 31st next year. (January 31st being well known to horror buffs as Mostly Hollow’s Eve, when all the witches of the world ride forth to get their hair done and have a pedicure).

Sub guidelines can be found here, but the cool bits can be summaried thus: 1c per word to 5000 words for fiction with a maximum payment of $50; we also take poetry, artwork AND serial art; and I get bored with Cthulhuain slavering tentacle monster stories 🙂

Midnight Echo is the magazine of the Australian Horror Writer’s Association, whose annual membership fee covers subscription to the magazine, so as well as getting paid you are guaranteed to be read by the entire membership of the AHWA, which (to the best of my knowledge) is certainly over a couple of hundred and may be as high as 4 or 5 billion, if you include intestinal parasites.

And if you don’t think being read by billions of intestinal parasites is cool, well……….. you’re probably *not* going to write what we’re looking for. If, however, the idea makes you wonder where they put the water cooler, it’s time to get writing 🙂


If you’ve not yet done so, you really should check out Midnight Echo, the magazine of h0rror fiction put out by the Australian Horror Writer’s Association, for no other reason than it’s put into print some damn fine and froody dark fiction in its two published issues so far.

As of September 1st, the submission period for issue 4 will commence, and said issue will be guest-edited by none other than your humble correspondent. Guidelines can be found here, but in general, I’ll be looking for stories under 5000 words that make me look up from the page and shiver. Keep in mind: I don’t scare easily, and stories of the creeping-tentacles-of-doom-doom-doom variety bore me shitless. If you want to know what really scares me, look in your mirror: see that thing looking back at you from behind your eyes that you’d swear doesn’t belong to you?

Send your submissions to


The AHWA is extremely proud to announce the publication of the inaugural issue of Midnight Echo: The Magazine of the Australian Horror Writers’ Association.

Midnight Echo Issue 1 showcases the talents of 16 fantastic Australian writers:

Stephen Dedman
George Ivanoff
Felicity Dowker
Brendan Duffy
Andrew Macrae
Stephen Studach
David Conyers
Natalie J.E. Potts
Matthew Chrulew
Marty Young
Rachel Holkner
Dave Hoskin
Alice Godwin
Paul Haines
Deborah Biancotti
Martin Livings

Plus a new short story from UK writer and World Fantasy nominee, Robert Shearman.

In addition, Midnight Echo Issue 1 features what we hope to be a long running series of interviews with new Australian horror writers. In the first of this “New Blood” series, Stephen Studach interviews Dave Hoskin.

Midnight Echo Issue 1 is available to purchase online from in two formats:
Electronic PDF Download (ISSN 1836-3873) Cover Price: US$3.50
Paperback Edition (ISSN 1836-3865) Cover Price: US$12.95 (plus shipping)

Volume 2 will be edited by Shane Jirayia Cummings and Angela Challis, the squishy grey brains behind Brimstone Press, so you know it’ll be darkly fascinating. And I’m slated to edit issue 4, so if you want to see what I come up with behind the camera (so to speak) for once, make sure you buy enough copies of the first 3 issues to ensure it stays alive that long!