Launch Day! Eldritch & Ether

Eldritch & Ether (Poetry Book 1) by Black Hare Press is a collection of beautiful horror and speculative fiction featuring a stellar lineup of authors, and includes three poems from me.


Featured Authors:

Ed Ahern
Olivia Arieti
Karen Bayly
E. Mery Blake
H.M. Bowles
Maggie D. Brace
Simon Clarke
Vonnie Winslow Crist
Dawn DeBraal
D.J. Elton
Ximena Escobar
Clint Foster
Robyn Fraser
Gabby Gilliam
John Grey
Dee Grimes
Avery Hunter
Justin Hunter
Sarah Jane Justice
Nerisha Kemraj
Rick Kennett
Ngo Binh Anh Khoa
Shawn M. Klimek
Steven Lord
John C. Mannone
Brian Maycock
Dale Parnell
S. Jade Path
Leanbh Pearson
Anthony Regolino
Brian Rosenberger
N.E. Rule
Claire Shaw
Dorian J. Sinnott
Steven Streeter
Nike Sulway
Jay Sykes
Bernardo Villela
D.W. Vogel
R.K. Wilbur
Brianna Witte
Pauline Yates

Stay connected:

30 stories in 30 days with @Writers_Vic #WVFlashFic22

Photo by Maria Ovchinnikova on

During April, Writers Victoria runs a fun micro-fiction competition. Each day, they release a word prompt, and writers are asked to write a story up to 30 words incorporating the prompt. They choose a daily winner, then an overall winner at the end of the month who receive a free Writers Victoria workshop of their choice.

The event is run over Twitter using the relevant hashtags, and each year has an overall theme. Previous themes were: 2019: ‘Grit’; 2020: ‘Focus’; 2021: ‘Unfold’. And this year, the theme for 2022 was ‘Glimmer’.

I’ve participated in the last two years and love the daily challenge. Last year I created 30 different stories over 30 days, and while it was fun, it was also the most exhausting month of writing I’ve ever experienced. You can read about that experience HERE.

This year, I placed no expectations on myself and joined in the fun with the intent to have a go, be creative, and see where the prompts took me. What I didn’t expect was the ‘unexpected’ arrival of two characters with a story to tell. They took over after Day 3, and my challenge changed from creating individual stories to writing one large story, with the added pressure of fitting in the daily word prompt, incorporating the earlier stories, and ending the story before I ran out of days. I don’t know how I pulled it all together but below is one story told in 30-word segments, with the daily word prompt attached. I hope you enjoy it.

Day 1: Hint

A hint of red on the moon; the only evidence blood was spilled tonight. I wish I could erase the memories, too, but they linger—my lover in another’s arms.

Day 2: Pyrite

Glittering gold flecks on the river bed inspire visions of buying a dream beach house until the tour guide announces, “It’s pyrite. Not worth a dime.”

Day 3: Glow

The glow from his cigarette reveals a handsome face as he considers my midnight proposal. Finally, he nods. “Next time we meet—and we will meet—you’ll be a widow.”

Day 4: Fortune

We meet again at midnight.

“Is it done?”

“It’ll cost you more for that answer.”

“Are you a fortune hunter, Mr. Jones?”

“It’s not money that interests me, Mrs. Marks.”

Day 5: Idol

I slap him, hard. “Your compliance did not make you my idol, Mr. Jones.”

Unflinching, he lights a cigarette and blows perfect smoke rings.

“I beg to differ, Mrs. Marks.”

Day 6: Intermittent

I hurry home, emotions conflicted from Mr. Jones’ proposal. Is he another problem that needs fixing? Distracted, I don’t see the intermittent blue and red light until the siren sounds. 

Day 7: Bright

I stand with the officer beneath a bright streetlight and explain my reason for speeding.

“My husband is missing. I’m frantic.”

“Last sighting?”

“Yesterday. He was meeting a man.”

Day 8: Moon

Constable Peters files the missing person report.

“Your husband purchased a yacht?”

“The Suzannah.” Named after his mistress. Not that she’ll ever board it.

I smile, recalling the crimson moon.

Day 9: Perceive

“The yacht was purchased after a recent windfall?”

“Gold. The tour guide said it was pyrite. Fools.”

“You don’t sound pleased, Mrs. Marks?”

“Do I perceive an accusation, Constable Peters?”

Day 10: Twinkle

“Gold doesn’t make my eyes twinkle, Constable Peters. I’m wealthy in my own right.”

“Would that explain your sizeable life insurance?”

“What insurance?”

“A million-dollar payout should you die.”

Day 11: Sequin

I recall the sequin caught on my husband’s jacket, the clue to his infidelity. If he planned my death because I discovered his affair, I need to confirm he’s dead.

Day 12: Shimmer

Constable Peters offers an escort home. Needing to see Mr. Jones, I decline. As I speed along the empty streets, an unfamiliar car follows, its headlights making the mist shimmer.

Day 13: Altar

The strange car continues past when I pull into my driveway, but lyrics from an Alter Boys song drift from the house. I didn’t leave the radio on. Someone’s inside.

Day 14: Horizon

Nothing’s disturbed except the box containing my gold nuggets—empty, meaning my husband’s still alive. I can’t let him sail off into the horizon with my share of our windfall.

Day 15: Subdued

A floorboard creaks. Turning, I face a gun.

“Thank goodness,” I say, feigning relief. “I was so worried about you.”

Mr. Marks smirks. “Don’t pretend to be the subdued wife.”

Day 16: Oasis

Sadness strikes. “Why? I was your oasis.”

“You dried up years ago, darling. Now, hand over your gold.”

Mr. Jones appears behind him. “She can’t give what she doesn’t have.”

Day 17: Dapple

A dapple of light falls across Mr. Jones as he strolls into the room, highlighting his handsome features.

My husband glowers. “You were meant to kill her, not rob her.”

Day 18: Faint

Heart pounding, I stare at Mr. Jones.

“What are the odds I hired the same hit-man as my husband?” I ask, feeling faint.

“Short, Mrs. Marks,” he says. “Very short.”

Day 19: Blink

“I thought you weren’t a fortune hunter, Mr. Jones.”

“No one blinks twice at ten percent of a million dollars.”

He turns up the radio’s volume, then produces a gun.

Day 20: Waver

“Don’t kill her here, you fool,” my husband growls.

Mr. Jones smirks. “I don’t leave a mess.”

He aims the gun, no waver in his hand.

Music muffles the gunshot.

Day 21: Gold

My husband staggers. A red patch blooms on his chest.

“You traitorous gold-digger,” he splutters.

“It’s not gold I’m after, Mr. Marks.”

Slumping, my husband aims his gun and fires.

Day 22: Scintillate

I jump in front of Mr. Jones, taking the bullet meant for him. Not my most scintillating decision, but he stole my gold. Or was it my heart?

Day 23: Hope

Mr. Jones cradles me, one hand pressed against the bullet wound.

I smile ruefully. “I’d always hoped to die in a man’s arms.”

“Only one will die today,” he says.

Day 24: Inkling

I wake to a bandaged, throbbing shoulder, an empty house, and no inkling of what Mr. Jones did with my husband. Hearing a car, I peek outside. It’s Constable Peters.

Day 25: Sparkle

Constable Peter’s badge sparkles in the sunlight, filling me with dread.

“Did you find my husband?” I ask.

“Your husband’s dead. High-speed car crash. I’m sorry, his body was incinerated.”

 Day 26: Neon

Neon lights cast a golden hue over the yacht, but my future is dull. It appears Mr. Jones has fled with my gold, playing me as easily as my husband.

Day 27: Soft

A soft touch on my shoulder lifts my melancholy. Turning, my world brightens.

 “Just one question,” Mr. Jones says, returning my gold. “Did you jump for money, or for love?”

Day 28: Flash

Love or money? Easiest question ever. I toss the bag into the harbor—a gold flash in the dark water then that future is gone.

“There’s your answer, Mr. Jones.”

Day 29: Eye

Mr. Jones pulls me into his arms. “Should we sail into the sunset?”

“I’ll never board that yacht.”

He looks me in the eye. “Then I’ll never leave the shore.”

Day 30: Glimmer

She watches the love-struck couple from a distance, a murderous glimmer in her eye.

“You should’ve confirmed I was dead, Mrs. Marks,” Suzannah says. “Now it’s your turn to die.”


The End.

Or is it?

Dark Drabble Roundup

I had lots of fun writing drabbles last month and my effort has been rewarded with not one, but two new publications with Black Hare Press.

My first accepted drabble was for the Dark Moments Monthly Challenge: Theme – Zippers.

My story, Dressed To Kill, is online now.


My second accepted drabble was for another story about zips (and it reveals my wicked sense of humor.)

My story, Pinch, is also online at Black Hare Press Patreon.


New Dark Fiction

Photo by James Lee on

I love a dark drabble so could not resist the call from two publishers for themed submissions. Both my offerings were accepted for publication and are now available to read.

The first story is “A Pact with the Devil” and is published by Black Ink Fiction for their April theme, ‘Renewal’. You can read the story HERE.

My second story is “Petals Don’t Lie’, a creepy drabble published by Horror Tree/Trembling with Fear. You can read this story HERE.

Looking ahead, I have more stories coming out with Black Hare Press, including dark speculative poetry in the soon-to-released ‘Eldritch and Ether’ (Poetry Book 1). Pre-orders are available HERE.

New Anthology Release: Punk -Cyber / Bio / Diesel / Steam Punk

The latest anthology from Black Hare Press has been released today and if you like steampunk, cyberpunk, biopunk, dieselpunk, then this book is for you. It contains 57 mind-bending tales of terror from 27 authors, including four stories from me. Purchase details are here:

Punk: Cyber/Bio/Diesel/Steam Punk Tiny Tales (Tiny Tales of Terror Book 1)

2021 Australian Shadows Awards Finalists Announced

The Australian Shadows Awards are annual literary awards presented by the Australian Horror Writers Association (AHWA) to celebrate the best in horror and dark fiction published by an Australian/New Zealand/Oceania resident within the calendar year. Entries are judged on their overall effect within the horror genre based on the author’s skill, delivery, and lasting resonance.

Shortlists for categories including Non-Fiction, Poetry, Graphic novel, Edited Works, Collected Works, Long Fiction, Short Fiction and Novel, are determined by a panel of judges, and the shortlisted nominees are announced prior to the official category winner’s announcement a few weeks later.

This year, I had the honour of participating on the judging panel as convenor for the Poetry category. This category attracted many entries and the high quality of all work submitted showcased the talent lurking in our Australasian writers. It was a pleasure working with my fellow judges as we read and rated each poem, and we certainly had our work cut out for us when it came to deciding the shortlist. On behalf of the poetry judges, I’d like to commend all the authors for their submissions and congratulate those who made our shortlist. These poems stood out for excellence in writing, originality, and execution.

I’ve also had the honour of being a finalist in the Short Fiction category with my entry, The Best Medicine. I am so proud of this story. It’s having a wonderful journey through the literary world, starting with winning the 2020 AHWA Short Story competition, then published in Midnight Echo #16, translated for The Bar Immediately After, Mondi Incantati series with RiLL, Italy, and now a finalist in the Australian Shadows Awards Short Fiction category. Where will it take me next? Only the future knows.

For now, please congratulate this year’s Australian Shadow Awards finalists:


Vampire Poetry by Kyla Lee Ward (Hippocampus Press)

I’m Looking Right At You, HP Lovecraft by Jack Dann (IFWG)

The Curious Reclassification of Peter Benchley’s Jaws by Kris Ashton (Aurealis Magazine)

Capturing Ghosts on the Page by Kaaron Warren (Brain Jar Press)

Murder Down Under by Anthony Ferguson (Exposit Books)


“When The Girls Began To Fall” by Geneve Flynn (Tortured Willows: Bent. Bowed. Unbroken. Yuriko Publishing LLC)

“Sonnet for a Scarecrow” by Rebecca Fraser (Curioser Magazine, issue 1)

“Cheongsam” by Lee Murray (Tortured Willows: Bent. Bowed. Unbroken. Yuriko Publishing LLC)

“Guest of Honour” by Geneve Flynn (Tortured Willows: Bent. Bowed. Unbroken. Yuriko Publishing LLC)

“Snip” by P.S. Cottier (Midnight Echo 16, AHWA)

“Exquisite” by Lee Murray (Tortured Willows: Bent. Bowed. Unbroken. Yuriko Publishing LLC)


Frankie’s Drive-In Ozploitation Double Feature by Aaron Harvie (Badharvie)

Goetia by Robert Buratti (Sub Rosa Publishing)

The Mycelium Complex, Issue 2 by Daniel Reed (Nautilus Illustrations)


SNAFU: Holy War, edited by Amanda J Spedding and Geoff Brown (Cohesion Press)

Midnight Echo #16, edited by Tim Hawken (AHWA)

Spawn: Weird Horror Tales About Pregnancy, Birth and Babies, edited by Deborah Sheldon (IFWG Publishing Australia)


The Tallow-Wife and Other Tales by Angela Slatter (Tartarus Press)

Tool Tales by Karron Warren (IFWG Publishing, Australia)

Seeds by Tabatha Wood (Wild Wood Books)

Inanimates by Joanne Anderton (Brain Jar Press)

Danged Black Thing by Eugen Bacon (Transit Lounge Publishing)


“Bad Apple” by Louise Pieper (Good Southern Witches, Curious Blue Press)

“A Good Big Brother” by Matt Tighe (Spawn: Weird Horror Tales About Pregnancy, Birth and Babies, IFWG Publishing Australia)

“Tagged” by Chuck McKenzie (Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine)

“The Best Medicine” by Pauline Yates (Midnight Echo 16, AHWA)

“The Steering Wheel Club” by Kaaron Warren (Giving the Devil His Due, Running Wild Press)


Ariadne, I Love You by J Ashley-Smith (Meerkat Press)

“The Waiting Room” by Matthew Davis (It Calls from the Doors, Eerie River Publishing)

Cryptid Killers by Alister Hodge (Severed Press)

“The Little One” by Rebecca Fraser (Coralesque and Other Tales to Disturb and Distract, IFWG Publishing)

Dirty Heads by Aaron Dries (Black T-Shirt Books)


Butcherbird by Cassie Hart

An Ill Wind by Martin Livings

The Girls Left Behind by J.P. Townley

Papa Lucy and the Boneman  by Jason Fischer

The Airways by Jennifer Mills

Merfolk by Jeremy Bates

New Story Release: The Dig Tree

Photo by Button Pusher on

13th February 1861: “If I turn my face to the east, I can taste the salt in the sea breeze. However, a murky swampland filled with twisted mangroves blocks our path to the ocean. Had Burke heeded my warning about the extreme weather in this country, we would not be caught in monsoonal rains that threaten to drown us. Father, I am losing faith in my leader. I am losing faith in this expedition. I fear Burke’s ignorance of the perils in this land will see my death before I see your face again —”

The Dig Tree by Pauline Yates

My latest short story, The Dig Tree, is available to read at The Casket of Fictional Delights. It’s also available in podcast and narrated by Jonathan Alley.

The Dig Tree is based on the true story of Robert Burke and William Wills, who together with John King and Charles Gray became the first Europeans to travel the length of Australia from South to North. Combined with diary entries written by Will to his father, the story concerns their struggle to survive Australia’s harsh outback during the final days of their ill-fated journey.

To Read/Listen to The Dig Tree CLICK HERE

Want to read more? The Casket of Fictional Delights is home to many fabulous short stories, flash fiction and podcasts. Check out what they have on offer in their Stories and Podcasts sections.

I hope you enjoy the story and thanks for stopping by.

Twice the Pleasure

Photo by Rodrigo Souza on

My love affair with drabbles continues with my latest acceptance to Black Hare Press Dark Moments Monthly challenge. The theme for February was Lovers and the story had to be exactly 100 words (not including the title). I love creating titles and they can be used to squeeze in some extra words to expand the story. Only twelve drabbles are chosen for publication each month and below are links to my latest successful entries.

Twice the Pleasure – Dark Moments – Lovers – to read CLICK HERE

The January theme was Circus and the link to my entry is here:

The Greatest Show on Earth – Dark Moments – Circus – to read CLICK HERE

Want to read more?

For dark drabble lovers, check out Year Three: Dark Moments and Patreon. Recently published by Black Hare Press, this anthology is a culmination of all the Dark Moments drabbles published during 2021, including selected Patreon drabbles. To Buy CLICK HERE

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoyed the reads.

Photo by Black Hare Press

The Happiness Man

Photo by Aidan Roof on

My latest short story, The Happiness Man, has just been released with Tales to Terrify, a weekly short horror fiction podcast. The story is about love, death, and an ethereal entity that feeds on happiness, and was released to coincide with Women in Horror Month with guest host Meredith Morgenstern, and narrated by Seth Williams.

You can listen to the podcast HERE

I hope you enjoy and thanks for stopping by.

‘The Best Medicine’ Author Interview with Caterina Franciosi, “Il Salotto Letterario”, Italy

D’Aguilar Range, Queensland, Australia

I had the honour of being interviewed by Caterina Franciosi, “Il Salotto Letterario”, Italy, about my story The Best Medicine. Before we jump to the interview, here’s some background information:

The Story

The Best Medicine is a horror short story about a wife caring for her acquired brain-injured husband on a remote property in the Australian bush. Written from the wife’s perspective, it explores her grief and anger at their situation and what she does to survive a relationship that is spiraling out of control.

The Best Medicine was the short story category winner in the 2020 AHWA Short Story and Flash Fiction contest and was published in Midnight Echo #16 in 2021.

AHWA partners with RiLL, Italy, and shares winning stories, and The Best Medicine was chosen for translation in the Mondi Incantati series, The Bar Immediately After, also published in 2021.

The Best Medicine has also been selected for the 2022 Bram Stoker Awards Preliminary Ballot for Superior Work in Short Fiction.

The Interviewer

Caterina Franciosi was born in 1990 in a small town on the Adriatic sea coast in Italy. She attended Classical High School and then the faculty of Foreign Languages ​​and Cultures at the University of Urbino. In 2018 she opened her l it-blog  “Il Salotto Letterario”, dedicated to interviews and book reviews. She collaborates with several publishing houses, websites, Facebook groups, and magazines, including the cultural association Italian Sword & Sorcery in the short story section and the magazine Life Factory Magazine in the review and interview section. She published short stories in various anthologies. For the digital publishing house Delos Digital she published: “The rain remembers – La pioggia ricorda” (2020), “Terra nova” (2020), “The empty coat – Il cappotto vuoto” (2021), “Shadow of a prince – L’ombra di un principe” (2021), “Project Mathilda – Progetto Mathilda”(2021),“Crooked pumpkin, empty pumpkin– Zucca storta, zucca vuota”(2021), “The boarding school– Il collegio”(2021). For the publishing house Milena Edizioni  she wrote  “Ballo in Maschera – The Masquerade Ball” (2021). For Plesio Editore, she participated in the fantasy Japanese anthology “Ramen Fantasy” (2021).

Her thoughts about The Best Medicine:

What I liked best about “The Best Medicine” has been its visual and emotional power: claustrophobic atmospheres, unique protagonists, a neverending sense of mystery and a series of unexpected events make this short story unforgettable. It made me shiver from the beginning to the end for the complexity of its themes and for the sense of sacrifice and guilt which permeate every word.  

The Interview:

It was a pleasure chatting with Caterina about the story behind The Best Medicine, and a little about me. The full interview can be found here, easily translated into English using google translate:

The Best Medicine’ Author Interview with Caterina Franciosi, “Il Salotto Letterario”, Italy

D’Aguilar Range, Queensland, Australia

Further reading:

About AHWA:

About Midnight Echo #16:

About RiLL:

About Mondi Incantati series:

About The Bar Immediately After:

About Author Interview with RiLL for The Bar Immediately After:

About 2022 Bram Stoker Awards Preliminary Ballot:

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