The Abandonment of Grace reviewed in Black Static #61

I recently received a detailed review of The Abandonment of Grace and Everything After from Peter Tennant in Black Static #61 (the UK’s premier dark fiction magazine). Peter reviews each of the stories, but his favourites included:

The title story ‘The Abandonment of Grace and Everything After’ has about it something of the film Prophecy as a demon and a fallen angel confront each other and discuss the End of Days. It’s an intriguing piece, Cummings giving an original spin to such matters as the Fall and the coming of the apocalypse, in a story where sparkling dialogue vies for attention with moments of visceral horror.

and…

‘Dark Heart Alley (An Urban Fable)’ contains a powerful evocation of a blighted urban landscape, one in which a remorseless killer stalks his victims, inflicting horrible death. Cummings extrapolates the slasher trope into stranger territory, taking it to a place where creatures from other dimensions fight for a foothold in our world and the desuetude on every side is symptomatic of some spiritual/metaphysical decline. Beautifully written and with striking imagery, engaging characters and novel concepts, this story is one of the highlights of the collection, giving us an original and striking monster and offering food for thought along with the expected thrills and chills.

Do you have your copy of this masterpiece collection, which includes the very best of my short fiction?

Pick it up for a bargain on Amazon

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Midnight Echo issue #12 stories selected

The reading period for Midnight Echo issue #12 has closed and all acceptances and rejections have now been sent. My co-editor Anthony Ferguson and I had a great selection of stories to choose from, and issue 12 is shaping up nicely. The future for horror fiction in Australia and New Zealand is looking bright!

Thank you to everyone who submitted, and please load up another great story for our next reading period in a few months. Midnight Echo can only thrive if we can publish the best available work, so keep on writing!

The full table of contents will be released in the coming weeks.

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Co-edit an issue of Midnight Echo with me!

Are you an aspiring editor? Would you like to guide the next generation of Australian and New Zealand horror writers? If so, I invite you to co-edit an issue of Midnight Echo magazine with me!

This rare and valuable opportunity comes as part of the AHWA mentor program. The program closes tomorrow, so you still have a window of time to get your application in.

My advice: be honest and earnest. Say upfront what editing an issue of Midnight Echo will mean to you, how it will help your career, and what aspirations you hope to achieve through editing a magazine issue.

It’s a competitive process, so give it your all!

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The resurrection of Midnight Echo

Dead of Night

Dead of Night: The Best of ME

It’s official (well, at least Facebook official). I’m the new Executive Editor of Midnight Echo, the magazine of the Australasian* Horror Writers Association.

The last issue of Midnight Echo magazine was published in 2015. This was followed up in 2016 by Dead of Night, an anthology I proudly edited on behalf of the AHWA, which collected the best fiction of the magazine’s eight-year run. I was honoured to win the Australian Shadows Award for Best Edited Publication for my efforts. It’s a solid anthology, and I’d thoroughly recommend checking it out if you have an interest in Australian horror (or great horror in general).

So why did I jump back in after years of doing my thing quietly on the sidelines?

Well, my history with the Australasian Horror Writers Association goes back to the AHWA’s beginnings. I’m member #10, and I served as Vice President, Australian Shadows Awards Director (and before that, a judge for two years), and a mentor. I edited Dead of Night, of course, but also I co-edited Midnight Echo #2 with Angela Challis, and my story “Graveyard Orbit” was published in issue #6.

Midnight Echo is a great magazine, and for years, it’s been a reliable lifeline for emerging Australian horror writers to get their work published. I have a genuine interest in seeing Midnight Echo and the AHWA succeed, particularly as the organisation has been in decline for a few years (or at least relatively quiet). Someone needed to put their hand up, and that someone was me.

I have a vision for the resurrected Midnight Echo. The guidelines will be posted on the AHWA website soon, so I don’t want to speak out of turn before AHWA makes the announcement. What I can say is that I will be resetting the magazine back to its roots. I want to support emerging local writers and work to develop local editor talent, too. When the guidelines are published, I’ll expand on my vision here.

If you have thoughts on the resurrection and future direction of Midnight Echo, I’d happily hear them. Post a comment here or on Facebook, or contact me directly.

Finally, if you want to have more of a taste of Midnight Echo than Dead of Night can provide, AHWA has a special 10-issue bundle on sale.


* AHWA recently changed ‘Australian’ to ‘Australasian’ to better reflect its membership base, which included many writers from New Zealand and elsewhere in the region.

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Merry Christmas – free ebooks for everyone!

Happy Cthulhu Christmas!

Happy Cthulhu Christmas!

Ho ho ho! Merry Christmas!

To celebrate this year, most of my ebooks are FREE for Christmas on Amazon.

If you’ve scored yourself a Kindle for Christmas, fill your stocking with my major works, including The Abandonment of Grace and Everything After, The Apocrypha Sequence Master Collection, Shards, and the bestselling anthology Rage Against the Night!

Grab ’em now – the promo ends in a few days!

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Creative non-fiction: Ghosts of Australia’s Past

Monte Cristo homestead, Junee. Credit: Wiki Commons

Monte Cristo homestead, Junee. Credit: Wiki Commons

I’ve just concluded the first year of my Master’s of Creative Writing course, and I’m having a great time. I’ll post more about that soon, but one of the things that’s come out of the course is new work!

One of my units was Creative Non-Fiction, which has opened a world of new possibilities. I’ve written a couple of creative non-fiction essays so far, and I reckon I’ll return to the form in the future. I like the personal nature of the genre, which means the stories can be emotionally powerful.

I’ve published my first creative non-fiction essay today on this site. It’s an exploration of Australian haunted houses, tied to a recent trip to “Australia’s most haunted house” – Monte Cristo in Junee, NSW.

Pop on over there and enjoy the read.

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Time to get Schwifty

I don’t tend to talk politics, so my views on the US presidential election would probably surprise people. Trump was elected on a wave of anger, and I share a lot of that anger. I think I’ll expand on my thoughts in a serious, detailed essay soon, but in the meantime, I feel it’s important to take a step back from the political divide and get Schwifty!

Enjoy this Rick and Morty Schwifty remix…

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Dead of Night

Dead of Night

Dead of Night

It’s been a busy year, so I’ve been quiet online since my flurry of posts about The Abandonment of Grace and Everything After. I’m deep into my Master of Creative Writing at Macquarie University (with a view to an eventual PhD) and novel writing, but I’ve snuck in a couple of short stories in between.

The big news is that I’ve been working with the Australian Horror Writers Association selecting the stories for Dead of Night: The Best of Midnight Echo.

The anthology has been a labour of love, and it is expected to be released before the end of the year (I have a few more manuscript changes to make before that happens). The cover, if you were wondering, is by Australian artist (and writer) and AHWA stalwart Greg Chapman, and it suitably captures the vibe!

I’ll post an update when Dead of Night is available. Trust me, it’ll be worth the read!

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An Australian Shadows Award and Everything After

I’m stoked to discover my collection, The Abandonment of Grace and Everything After, is a finalist for the Australian Shadows Award (Australia’s top honour for horror fiction). The full list of finalists is on the AHWA site. Congratulations to all!

The book has been going great guns: it was recently a finalist for Australia’s major SF awards, the Aurealis Awards, and made the longlist/preliminary ballot for the world’s major horror prize, the Bram Stoker Awards.

I think that effort deserves another rendition of the One-Punch Man theme! Hero! Killshot!

Speaking of Australian Shadows, pictured below (the haughty demonic statue, towering over my other trophies) is my recently-received Australian Shadows Award from last year. Thanks AHWA for such an awesome trophy! I hope to win more in the years to come and give the big some company. 😉Shane's awards

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So close

The Abandonment of Grace ebookThe finalists for the Bram Stoker Awards were announced the other day, and my collection, The Abandonment of Grace and Everything After, missed the cut. I’m disappointed, of course, but I’m proud to have been listed on the preliminary ballot (and for my book to have been included on that ballot by the jury).

However, I’ve been blessed with successes, too, and it can be all too easy to forget that fact when disappointed by an individual result. So I won’t! Instead, I’m thankful to the people who have read and enjoyed my book – now I just have to convince more people to read and review it! 🙂

Congratulations to all the Stoker finalists! May your work inspire dread in others!

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Revenge of the Ninja!

I like to write action-oriented Japanese fantasy, so I watch (in the name of research) lots of videos of battles, duels, and various shenanigans.

In doing so, I came across this super-awesome clip from a movie I thought was one of the best movies I’d ever seen back in the 1980s. It doesn’t age well, but that doesn’t matter! This is the ninjutsu I was taught in the 90s. 😉

Make no mistake. Sho Kosugi is everything! *smoke bomb* *disappears*

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