The 15th issue of the AHWA’s magazine, Midnight Echo, edited by Lee Murray, is up for pre-order in e-book format on Amazon. It features a horde of Australasian authors. The print version is forthcoming, with an expected publication date of November 30, 2020. Follow AHWA on Facebook so that you can stay updated!

Midnight Echo Issue 15 features fiction and poetry by Martin Livings, Jay Caselberg, Deborah Sheldon, Anthony Ferguson, Melanie Harding-Shaw, David Schembri, Jason Franks, Rebecca Fraser, Nikky Lee, Tom Dullemond, Juleigh Howard-Hobson, Joanne Anderton and J.A. Haigh. The issue also includes the 2019 AHWA Short and Flash Fiction competition winning stories by Stuart Olver and Alissa Smith (that’s me!).

Make sure you check out my submission, “Little Spoon”. It’s a sweet little twisted tale that won the flash fiction category. You’ll find it nestled amongst the works by some brilliant writers! It’s a huge privilege to feature amongst this talent.

From guest editor, Lee Murray:

In the seminal novel that launched a genre, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley wrote, “There is something at work in my soul, which I do not understand.” With this single sentence, Shelley cuts at the reason that so many of us embrace dark fiction. Because when we read and write dark fiction and horror, we are seeking to expose the inexplicable, to explore and make sense of the fantastical and the macabre at work on our souls. In 2020, with humanity confronting challenges on a near-apocalyptic scale, there has been a lot to make sense of, and, it appears, a concurrent surge in our consumption of horror.

It was in this environment that the AHWA offered me the role of guest editor of the annual magazine Midnight Echo. This year’s issue, #15, would include a print digest version as well as the usual digital offerings. I didn’t hesitate. As a long-time member of the Australasian horror community, and a former vice-president, committee member, and mentor, not only did curating the magazine offer a way to pay it forward to a community that has been integral in growing my career, but there was clearly a huge demand for horror as a means of processing all that we were experiencing, both as creators as consumers.

The Australasian horror community responded with a deluge, including a significant number of submissions from my Kiwi compatriots. It was a privilege and a pleasure to read this quiver of dark stories, poems, and essays, from both emerging and established writers.

The submissions straddled every subgenre, from horror comedy to classic retellings and steampunk horror. There were quiet moments of unease, and stories that shocked with their brutality. Supernatural fantasies and real-life horrors. I sifted and sorted. With so many excellent entries, and a tight budget, something had to give; I would need to make some gnarly decisions, disappointing some colleagues and passing on some otherwise excellent pieces. But with an anthology, the whole should always be more than the sum of its parts, so I looked for works which not only resonated with strong themes and vibrant writing, but which would also sit well together. Representing a variety of styles, story structures, and settings. All seeking to expose those unspeakable things at work in our souls.

List of works in Midnight Echo Issue 15

And it is with those aspects in mind that I made the following selections:

  • “The Bone Fairy” by Martin Livings
  • “The Reaping” by Jay Caselberg
  • “Carbon Copy Consumables” by Deborah Sheldon
  • “Brumation” by Anthony Ferguson
  • “A Second Chance” by Melanie Harding-Shaw
  • “The Midnight Song”††† by Stuart Olver
  • “Little Spoon”†† by Alissa Smith
  • “My Claire” by David Schembri
  • “Tolerance to Iron” by Jason Franks
  • “Keep Walking” by Rebecca Fraser
  • “The Dead May Dance” by Nikky Lee
  • “Colony Collapse” by Tom Dullemond
  • “A Charm to Sicken” by Juleigh Howard-Hobson
  • “Hideous Armature” by Joanne Anderton
  • “Trace a Circle” by J.A. Haigh

††AHWA Flash Fiction Competition Winner 2019
†††AHWA Short Story Competition Winner 2019

And in a fitting farewell, this year’s gorgeous cover art is by our outgoing president, author-artist Greg Chapman, whose stunning design reflects the mood and the quality of the stories and poems contained in this volume.

I’d like to thank the AHWA for the opportunity to shape this year’s issue, and especially to my colleagues for trusting me with their dark delicacies. In my opinion, Midnight Echo #15 is set to be one of our best issues yet. As Alice Cooper put it: “Welcome to my nightmare; I think you’re going to like it.”

If you’re a fan of horror stories then make sure you order your copy here!