Publication Date:  January 14, 2019 Links:  Amazon   |  Goodreads T hose who bear marks on their skin are doomed to a life of slavery. Lexi...

Publication Date: January 14, 2019
Links: Amazon Goodreads

Those who bear marks on their skin are doomed to a life of slavery. Lexil has seven.

Sold into servitude, Lexil must deal with brutal punishments, back-breaking labor, and the loss of every freedom. When a young child she has befriended faces a horrible fate, Lexil must intervene to protect her, no matter what the risk.

With the help of a boy named Finn, the trio flee into the Wastelands. There, they must evade those who hunt them while trying to survive a barren landscape. Lexil must face challenges she's never imagined existed, all while learning what it means to truly be reborn.

The Red Queen meets The Hunger Games in this stunning new release. Buy REBORN now to find out if being branded a reborn is a myth, a curse... or a destiny.

Read Now

How Dark Can YA Get?
by Jenna Greene

                The idea that teens can’t handle deep and dark themes in literature is a pretty obsolete notion. It isn’t just the Internet that has exposed adolescents to the trials and tribulations of the world. Children live; therefore, they are exposed to poverty, abuse, strife, inequity, and prejudice. They might not experience it all themselves, but they can see it. They know about it. The eyes and ears of the young are far keener than anyone might expect.

                So why would we put it in literature as well? Why would we write about slavery, intolerance, or racism instead of more cheerful topics? Won’t this just remind the readers of the injustices in the world and how there is so much darkness surrounding them?

                Yes. But it’s also a way to show characters experiencing unfortunate events … and surviving. Even thriving. YA books can show protagonists enduring and overcoming. Not only that, but having an impact on the world they live in, changing it for the better. What could be a more positive, uplifting thought than that? Isn’t that why the original fairy tales were created? To show horrific circumstances and people overcoming them. Facing adversity and overcoming the odds.

                That’s really the power of all literature. Sure, not every book will tackle issues at extreme depth and emotion, but every story has a conflict of some sort. A struggle. And even those that don’t end happily, still end. That is a resolution, of sort, which the reader must sort through internally. And, whether they know it or not, that emotional turmoil will stay with them and, to a degree, help them as they continue with their life.

                And who needs these tools better than children?

                I can’t think of anyone.

                Sure, the images have to be presented in an age-appropriate manner. Some action must take place ‘off-stage’ or be inferred to, rather than seen. But the base conflicts can be present. And, yes, adolescents can handle it. 

About the Author

Jenna Greene is the author of the acclaimed Young Adult Fantasy series, Imagine! She is a middle school teacher, dragonboat coach, enthusiastic dancer, and semi-professional napper. She lives in Lethbridge, Alberta with her husband (Scott), daughter (Olivia), and dog (Thor, dog of thunder).

Website | Twitter

Publication date: October 12th 2020 Links:  Amazon  |  Goodreads F rom the multi-award-winning author of Everyday Enchantments: Musings on O...

Publication date: October 12th 2020
Links: Amazon Goodreads

From the multi-award-winning author of Everyday Enchantments: Musings on Ordinary Magic & Daily Conjurings comes a cozy Gothic short story about searching for soul, meaning, love in a world that's forgotten the power of everyday conjuring. 

 Looking for love can be deadly… You know how it goes. You go out, hoping to meet someone. You wade through your fair share of brainless automatons, lifeless bodies, and ravenous undead good at passing as human. 

The more you go out, the less hope you feel and the colder your body gets. But you keep at it. All you need is one beating heart to match your own before yours stops pumping altogether. How hard can it be to find one living, breathing human in a city full of bodies? 


It’s hungry business. 

CW: Assault.


At just 17 pages, Hungry Business is a poignant tale of one woman's search to find love in a dead world. Our protagonist is lonely. Why else would she continue to date when those dates make her feel cold. Vowing to never date again and swearing it's not worth the risk but loneliness and desperation drive her back out again nights later. Through it all, she wonders about the cat in the apartment across the way and the person who is still human enough to own it, as all the cats left the dead parts of the city during the initial rage of the virus. 

Drawing parallels between the pitfalls of dating and dating in the zombie apocalypse, this short story packs a big world into a few pages. The dating scene is a cold enough place to be even when the body sitting across the table from you isn't slowly rotting from the inside out. Of course, the dates she encounters try to put on their best impressions—covering the evidence of their afflictions with dress and carefully applied makeup. It's not enough to hide the hungriness inside them as they ache for the life they no longer have.

This is obviously horror, populated as it is with the undead, though "Cozy gothic" are two words not often seen together. The pervasiveness of the narrator's constant fear of being overcome by rot, along with the pensive mood of the piece heightens the isolation that she feels even when with others. 

Eventually, she realizes that the inside of her bright, cheery apartment and the view of the cat in the window fills her heart and brings her comfort the way the dates couldn't. It's a strange contrast between the cold, gray world outside and the cozy blankets, warm baths, and hot tea she comforts herself with indoors to keep ahold of her humanity. Through it all, the orange tabby cat is in the window across the way as a beacon of hope that there is another beating heart out there. Isn't that what we all search for in this big cold world?

Publication date: February 2nd 2021 Links: Amazon | Goodreads T he time has come for Kai and her friends to make a final stand, and as the ...

Publication date: February 2nd 2021

The time has come for Kai and her friends to make a final stand, and as the war begins, everyone must choose a side. But with the lines between good and evil more blurred than ever, Kai has to stick with her convictions and follow her heart. Kai’s first priority is to free Finn from the clutches of Tessa Raven, who has become no better than the evil she once fought against.

As Kai reluctantly turns against the people she once considered her closest friends, she becomes entangled in a struggle with a mysterious new power that threatens to destroy what is left of Finn and change everything she thought she knew about the planet.

Meanwhile, Charlie and Aric remain behind and help Raven breach the underground world of the Science Council. All bets are off as they prepare to cross every line and burn every bridge in an attempt to claim the world that has abused them for too long.


Too many missing coefficients.

Raven ran her ungloved hand over the smooth, cool metal of the missile. She needed it to shatter the barrier—opening the way down so that she could destroy the Science Council. She knew enough about terminal ballistics to be able to calculate its exact impact on the crystal tube that led to the Science Council’s underground lair when it struck. The only problem was that the makeup of the tube was so unique…

“It’s a thing of beauty, Raven,” Sayers commented. He stared at her hungrily from his spot amongst her people, seeking approval.

“Yes, it is,” she offered, and he smiled.

“The only problem is, because the substance we’re striking has never been studied, there’s no way to tell if it will work without testing it. Our likelihood for success is still low.” She glanced around the interior of the Dome of Artifacts, taking in the relics from the original Earth with an appreciative eye. “And I’m not willing to risk destroying all of these artifacts by blowing up the whole place when the chance of it failing to destroy the tube is unacceptably high.”

Her soldiers stood around her, silent, waiting for her suggestions. She’d been trying to puzzle this out for three weeks, and the answer was painfully obvious: a last straw plan. And yet, she hesitated, because there was a small part of her that wanted to try every other possible scenario before resorting to what she knew would work, even though she knew that wasn’t logical.

Damn my weakness.

“We’ll need something softer,” she said at last. “Something that will turn to mush on impact rather than ricocheting off the crystal and taking out this whole place. Also, we’ll need something much bigger… heavier.” She scrutinized the crystal tube housing of the elevator platform that had, thus far, been impossible to penetrate.

“Would you like us to try crafting a hollow missile that’s twice this size?” asked Larson. “We’d have to melt this down first.” He gestured toward the missile they’d taken three weeks to craft and painstakingly calibrated.


The time to divulge her last straw plan was now. She knew a missile wouldn’t work. A rain of bullets wouldn’t work. But she happened to have a special tool—a former friend who could run at the speed of a bullet and who was close to two hundred pounds.

A human body hitting the tube at that speed would spread adequate weight over a large enough surface area to crack open the entryway to the Science Council’s underground world like an egg. Also, a body would explode upon impact, resulting in a mostly liquid byproduct, causing minimal damage to the artifacts.

Finn’s sacrifice would save the planet.

About the Author

Tracy Auerbach is an author of science fiction and fantasy for teens and adults. As an avid reader with a vivid imagination, she chose to study film, English, and education, and went on to teach and write STEM curriculum for the New York Department of Education. This helped to polish her writing skills and ignite her passion for science fiction and fantasy. 

Her first scholarly article, published in Language Magazine, was about the value of active, creative learning in science.

On the fiction side, Tracy’s work has been featured in the online literary journal Micro-horror, The Writing Disorder fiction anthology, and the “(Dis)ability” short story anthology, in addition to her novels.

When she is not teaching or writing, Tracy is usually reading or spending time with her family. She lives in New York with her husband and sons.

Publication date: February 11th 2021 Links:  Amazon  |  Goodreads T he first season of Sole Survivor has aired, a traumatized December Foss...

Publication date: February 11th 2021

The first season of Sole Survivor has aired, a traumatized December Foss is trying desperately to escape her fifteen minutes of fame, and everyone thinks the drop bears are dead. Everyone that is except The Ark: a radical group of eco-terrorists with an axe to grind, and Joseph Steinberg, who still has plenty of them in reserve.

When the Ark release the drop bears from captivity, all hell breaks loose and December must face them again. This time, though, they’re on her turf. This time, it’s personal!

Book 23 in the Rewind-
 series: imagine your local movie rental store back in the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s, remember all those fantastic covers. Remember taking those movies home and watching in awe as the stories unfolded in nasty rainbows of gore, remember the atmosphere and textures. Remember the blood.

Before I begin here, I want to make sure I thank Valerie at Cats Luv Coffee for giving me the chance to share a blog post on her site. Of course, if you don’t know anything about me, you might be wondering why she’s gone and done that. The simple answer is she’s awesome, and she’s helping me promote my new book, Sole Survivor 2: Drop Bears on the Loose.

We’ll talk more about that in a moment, but if I sum it up by telling you it’s a killer koala creature feature (again, more on that in a second), it’ll help this post make a whole bunch of sense. Basically, I’m going to share some of my favourite creature features here with you today.

In coming up with this list, there were a few rules I had to set myself. I didn’t want to feature the 
same creatures more than once. Seeing as I love crocodile movies, that would rule out a whole bunch of films about everyone’s favourite man-eating reptiles from the Mesozoic. I also didn’t want to worry about the laws of physics or reality and limit myself to real creatures you might encounter. The ‘koalas’ in the Sole Survivor books are actually drop bears, and even then, they’re twisted away from what the general public might see as a drop bear here in Australia. You can find out about the ‘real’ ones here.

The other thing I tried to keep in mind was that I had to have seen it recently enough to actually remember it. I remember loving movies like Congo and The Ghost and the Darkness when I was a kid, but I really can’t remember them well enough to talk about them although I should probably revisit them soon. Oh, and finally, they needed to be horror, whether loosely or firmly. So, as brilliant as I think Life of Pi is, I couldn’t include it.

Without further waffling, let’s have a look at what we’ve got here.

Night of the Lepus:

Some people talk about movies like Friday the 13 th and Nightmare on Elm Street being the ones they were exposed to at far too young an age. For me, it was this one. Flicking through channels, I saw giant bunny rabbits storming a ranch, and I immediately knew what I wanted to watch. Next minute, there were flashes of blood and close-ups of gore-laden rodent teeth everywhere. Years later, I saw gifs of these same scenes on the internet and, when I investigated, I knew I had to revisit. Funnily enough, this is a movie that still holds up today. Its environmental themes and focus on human relationships goes really well with the incredibly fun scenes of mayhem it includes. I won’t run through the plot for you, but when a little girl is given a pet rabbit that’s been injected with a birth-control serum, it escapes and all hell breaks loose. The rabbits grow to massive sizes and eat everything in their path, including the residents of the local community. As I said, it’s a tonne of fun and it’s surprisingly touching. 


The only real way to describe this one is as an Australian cult classic. Even as I type, I’ve just discovered it will be screened in a local cinema next Friday night! Here in Australia, giant boars are a pretty well-known part of the folklore. We all know they’re vicious and they can properly gut you, but on reflection, this movie may have a lot to do with that. Just like the more recent Boar, it features a giant pig that’s terrorising the local community. The plot is a little too crazy to explain in detail, so I’ll put it simply: Mad Max-style human villains, a giant baby-eating razorback boar, a father hell-bent on revenge and as much carnage as you care to partake in, this one’s loads of fun. I first became aware of it when I was at University, and now that I know it’s going to be at the cinema next week, I’m going to try to convince the wife that we need to see it again!


It’s not easy to pick a crocodile (or alligator) movie as a favourite. I love the genre, and when you consider the creatures don’t even need to be exaggerated to create real scares, they make brilliant horror movies. So, although I enjoyed Crawl, I could easily have slotted Black Water or another older Aussie creature-feature Dark Age in here, but Rogue is the one I’ve gone for. It uses the familiar trope of the US journalist coming to Australia to taste the local colour, but for this guy, the boat ride through Kakadu doesn’t end well. Halfway through the ride, a giant crocodile tips the tour-boat and leaves our cast of characters stranded on an island in the middle of a tidal flat. Needless to say, there’s blood, there’s carnage, there’s suspense, and there’s an American to save the day. Sort of. Mostly, though, there’s a humongous crocodile that generates real tension and will have you on the edge of your seat. Recommended.


I didn’t mention this before, but I needed a Nicolas Cage movie in here. And, you know what, this one’s more of an action movie, but that doesn’t matter, it’s still loads of B-Grade fun. Cage, playing big-game hunter Frank Walsh, has captured a rare white jaguar in the Brazilian rainforest, and he’s trying to get it back to the States where he can sell it to a zoo. To do that, he boards a container ship with the creature. Unfortunately, US Marshals are also on the ship, and they’ve got cargo of their own, a highly trained assassin. Naturally, the jaguar is let loose (as is every other dangerous creature on the ship) and chaos ensues. It’s a pretty straight-forward romp, and it’s not in danger of being remembered as a classic, but is loads of fun and the jaguar causes more than its share of bloodshed.


I revisited this one recently with the family, and it’s easily the most well-known film on this list. Objectively, it’s the best film on this list too. As you’re probably aware, it’s tonnes of fun. When extremely venomous Venezuelan spiders find themselves let loose in a small Californian town, they immediately set to work killing the locals. There’s a whole bunch of context to the plot, but the long and short of it is that Jeff Daniels’ character Dr. Ross Jennings suspects spiders are to blame, and once they have their proof, he needs to stop them. John Goodman is brilliant as the pest control guy in this one, and the whole thing is incredibly entertaining. 

So there you have it: five animal-inspired creature features that are great fun. And that brings me to my new book, Sole Survivor 2: Drop Bears on the Loose.

If you’re like me and you love a good old-fashioned bit of creature carnage, you’ll probably dig the killer koalas in this one. Mutated and bloodthirsty, they’re let loose on the mainland, and as always, the result is chaos. It’s loaded with huge kills, tonnes of action and loads of fun.

If you’ve enjoyed this article, my newest Australian creature feature, Sole Survivor II: Drop Bears on the Loose comes out on February 11. The sequel to Sole Survivor (go figure), it features an army of killer koalas and a desperate fight to survive their onslaught. They’re both part of Unnerving’s Rewind or Die line.

You can pick them up from the links below.
Sole Survivor
Sole Survivor II: Drop Bears on the Loose

I’m also down to my last five paperbacks. If you’d like me to sign one and put it in the post, they’re only $15 US plus postage. DM me on Twitter or email me through my website to make it happen.

Zachary Ashford earned his writing chops as a journalist covering heavy metal bands for street press magazines and as a copywriter for a rock n roll radio station. Since those days, he’s done plenty, including operating as a freelance copywriter and editor. Nowadays, he writes fiction and teaches English and Literature in a high school.

You can find some of his nonfiction writing at Nerdbastards and Ozzy Man Reviews (under the name Chuck Steinway).

His fiction has featured in:
Dark Moon Digest 32/33
Kyanite Press Halloween Edition

Thanks so much for being a guest today, Zachary!

Be sure to check out his Sole Survivor and Sole Survivor II: Drop Bears on the Loose.  You can read my review of Sole Survivor here!

An uninhabited island… Several hundred hidden cameras… Ten contestants who think they’re stranded… One man employed to thin their numbers…

One predatory species determined to feed…

For the contestants of television’s latest prime-time reality show, the plane crash is a mere inconvenience on their way to fame and fortune. Unfortunately, there’s no rescue coming. Instead, the producers have other ideas, like watching them find the island’s killer creatures for themselves…

Like watching them die.

Tune in and discover who will be the Sole Survivor!

Book 6 in the Rewind-or-Die series: imagine your local movie rental store back in the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s, remember all those fantastic covers. Remember taking those movies home and watching in awe as the stories unfolded in nasty rainbows of gore, remember the atmosphere and textures. Remember the blood.

Publication date: January 25, 2021 Links:  Amazon  |  Goodreads B lair Graves’ father went missing seven years ago. The legal death of he...

Publication date: January 25, 2021

Blair Graves’ father went missing seven years ago.

The legal death of her paranormal radio host father tilts her world sideways on its axis. When no will can be found, Blair is forced to adapt to a quickly shifting reality. One in which she’s forced to sell her family home.

When a historical fixer-upper catches her eye, she goes all in, hoping to escape her father’s legacy and the long shadow cast by his very public disappearance.

But when the house starts presenting more problems than just the creaks and groans associated with old age, Blair starts questioning what she knows about life, death, and what comes after.

When the very arrogant and handsome Cash Kelly–a ghost-hunting expert–offers his help, Blair is sure he’s the same kind of attention-seeking, conspiracy-promoting, dollar-chasing content creator hack as her father.

As she begins to question his motivations for helping her, the haunting escalates to a dangerous point, forcing Blair to confront the reality of the world her father believed in.

And what it means to be his daughter.

The X-Files meets Supernatural in this urban fantasy series about the strength of a father-daughter bond and how, sometimes, truth really is stranger than fiction.

Read Now

She leads us past the other living room and down the hallway. Another room is nestled off to the side.
“The conservatory, or sunroom,” Diana says, ushering us inside.
Glass walls and a glass ceiling incase the room.
“One of Mr. Solomon’s favorite rooms, I’m told,” Diana says.
“Tell me more about him,” I prod her as we make our way out of the room and upstairs.The second floor hosts all the bedrooms and two of the bathrooms. She shows me each in turn as she chronicles the life of
the former homeowner.
“Oh, there’s not much to tell,” she says. “His wife had a stroke when she was quite young. Died tragically by drowning in the pool one evening during a party. Mr. Solomon was so grief-stricken that he lost his senses, I’m told. He married one of the housekeepers.”
“That’s horrible,” I tell her.
“Oh, quite. He also lost a son that night. The boy was but a toddler. It’s thought that he jumped into the pool after his
mother in an attempt to save her. Unfortunately, they both perished. I can’t imagine what that was like for Mr. Solomon.”
“Jesus,” I whisper.
And I thought my old house was marked by tragedy.
“Indeed,” Diana confirms, almost like she’s reading my mind.
She goes on.
“The Solomons sold the house and moved away in the early part of the twentieth century. It belonged to the family who made it a funeral home after that. But when none of Mr. Horn’s boys wanted to take up the mortuary arts, the Horn family sold it as well.”
There’s a mural in the master bathroom and I stop to stare at it when we arrive.
“That was painted for the original Mrs. Solomon,” Diana says. The mural features a nude man and woman standing on either side of a mountain. Above them, a heavenly being seems to be watching over them. They both cast their eyes upward.
Roses line the outside edges. “It’s the sixth card of the tarot: the Lovers.”
“Did Mrs. Solomon enjoy tarot?” I ask.
“Oh, she enjoyed a number things she probably shouldn’t have,” Diana assures me. “All of that was quite popular at the time.” She begins to make her way back to the second story landing. I cast a glance back at the mural. Faded and peeling, it’s still beautiful. It could easily be restored.
“She was known for her wild parties. I imagine tarot and the like played a role at times.”
We head up to the third floor.
“This space was mainly used as storage by the Horn family,” Diana says. The giant attic-like room hosts a number of objects, all covered in yellowing white sheets. A musty smell accompanies it. I feel an itch in my nose and promptly sneeze.
“There’s also a basement,” Diana says. “I should note that it was used by the Horns for embalming,” she says hesitantly. I imagine this is the sort of information that served as a deal breaker for other prospective buyers.
There’s a bit of comfort in knowing that the saddest things to ever happen in this house had nothing to do with me, Blake, or my father.
It’s a strange perspective, but I welcome it.
We head back downstairs to the first floor.
“I imagine you have a husband with whom you might discuss the purchase,” Diana says.
“No,” I say. “It’s just me.”
“No children?” she asks with an arched eyebrow.
“None of those either.”
“No husband and no children,” she clucks. “Smart girl.”
Diana winks at me.
I take in the house one more time before we step outside.
As Diana turns to head to her car after giving me her card I call out to her.
“Diana,” I say. “Wait.”
She raises her eyebrows and looks as if she might want to ask me why I’ve stalled her in getting back to the office.
I inhale deeply, look back at the house once more, and I leap.
“I’ll take it.”

Marnie Vinge is a novelist and storyteller as well as the creator of the podcast, Eerie Okie.

She first started writing at the ripe age of 7, creating a science fiction horror story about a monster that lived in seaweed off the coast of Corpus Christi. Since then, she's stretched her wings by writing urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and horror.

To check out Eerie Okie, search your favorite podcast platform. If you're an Oklahoma ghoul who loves the morbid and macabre, it's the podcast for you.

Follow the author on Facebook

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Publication date: April 15th 2021 Links:  Amazon  |  Goodreads A  surfer who becomes horrifyingly one with the sea.  A new mother’s devas...

Publication date: April 15th 2021

surfer who becomes horrifyingly one with the sea. A new mother’s devastating search for belonging. A stone gargoyle with a violent history. A fisher boy who discovers the real cost of forbidden love. A farmer whose delight at drought-breaking rain quickly turns to terror. A hedonistic rock star who manifests double trouble. A young girl’s chilling sacrifice for justice. A dirty ex-cop with a dirtier secret. An unscrupulous mayor’s solution to rid her city of the homeless…

These are just some of the characters you’ll meet in this collection of dark offerings. From the harsh terrain of the Outback, to the depths of the Pacific Ocean, the wilds of Tasmania, dystopian futures, enchanted lands, and the familiarity of suburbia, Coralesque and Other Tales to Disturb and Distract takes readers on a journey into unsettling, unforgiving, and unforgettable territory. 


Rebecca Fraser is an award-nominated Australian author who writes genre-mashing fiction for both children and adults. Her short stories, flash fiction, and poetry has appeared in numerous anthologies, magazines, and journals. Her first novel Curtis Creed and the Lore of the Ocean was released in 2018, and her collection Coralesque and Other Tales to Disturb and Distract is due for release in 2021, both through IFWG Publishing Australia.

Rebecca holds a MA in Creative Writing, and a Certificate of Publishing (Copy Editing & Proofreading). To provide her muse with life’s essentials Rebecca copywrites and edits in a freelance capacity and operates StoryCraft Creative Writing Workshops for aspiring authors of every age and ability…however her true passion is storytelling.

Say G’day at or Twitter and Instagram @becksmuse

What does a horror fan love more than finding a chilling new release?  Here is my roundup of the month of love's anticipated horror rele...

What does a horror fan love more than finding a chilling new release? 

Here is my roundup of the month of love's anticipated horror releases!

(If you plan on purchasing any of the books on this page, it would be awesome if you’d use the affiliate links. This helps to support the blog and doesn’t cost you a thing. Thanks!)

Today's Author Spotlight is horror author Matthew R. Davis! Read on for the full interview. Publication date: February 29th 2021 Links...

Today's Author Spotlight is horror author Matthew R. Davis!
Read on for the full interview.

Publication date: February 29th 2021
Links: Amazon 


Jonny Trotter has spent the last fifteen years running from tragic memories of the country town where he grew up-but the black envelopes pushed under his door won't let him forget, and now that his father has died, he can run no more.


Returning to Waterwich for the funeral and wake with his partner Sloane, Jonny must confront old resentments, his estranged best friends Brendan and Coralie, a strange, veiled woman the locals call the White Widow...and the mystery surrounding the fate of his first lover, Jessica Grzelak.


A morbid and reckless city girl banished to the country to live with her aunt, Jessica loved to push the limits and explore the shadows-and no one has seen her since the night of her high school formal, the night she and Jonny went looking for the Chapel.


Rumoured to be found in the woods outside Waterwich, mentioned in playground rhymes about local lovebirds Billy and Poppy and their killing spree in 1964, the Chapel is said to be an ancient, sacred place that can only be entered by lovers-a test that can only be passed if their bond is pure and true.


Before he can move on to a future with Sloane, Jonny must first face the terrible truth of his past-and if he can't bring it out into the light at last, it might just pull him and everything he loves down into the dark, forever.

What's your latest release? 

MIDNIGHT IN THE CHAPEL OF LOVE, my first novel, published by JournalStone.

Can you start out by telling us a little about your latest work? 

I often describe it as a contemporary rural gothic mystery horror, which is a bit of a mouthful but covers most of the bases! The basic synopsis sounds fairly straightforward, even hackneyed - man returns to the country town he's been avoiding for years and must face up to his tragic past - but there's a lot more going on in this story, both above and below the surface. There's a cave out in the woods called the Chapel where lovers may test the strength and purity of their bond, which provides the narrative with a centre as well as a shot of cosmic awe. And it's a very Australian story, which may be of interest to international readers not used to such things. No spoilers, but I'll tell you this up front: there are no kangaroos.

Where did you get the inspiration to write this story?

A drive between town and city, a Something for Kate song called "The Fireball at the End of Everything", my own conflicted feelings about the place where I grew up, the mysterious and ineffable atmosphere of PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK, the mistakes I'd made in relationships and the ones I was yet to make...

When you developed the characters, did you already know who they were before you began writing or did they develop organically?

The characters grew along with the story and changed to suit the narrative. For example, the main character's partner was initially a blonde white woman called Stephanie - a tip of the hat to Something for Kate and their bassist Stephanie Ashworth - but she didn't feel like an actual person so much as a conscious reference. I felt my way around in the darkness until I hit upon elements that I felt worked for the story: her name became Sloane, which felt right; she became a Chinese-Australian woman with a Polish-descended father, which fits neatly with some of the book's themes; she became an acquisitions manager for a local press, which allowed her an avid reader's perspective on the plot - she pushes Jonny to get closure on fifteen years of mystery and pain because she knows nothing else makes narrative sense! That last was something that found its way into the work as I wrote it, along with a number of other little details that add up to make Sloane Nowak a person I feel I really know and admire. Jonny Trotter, on the other hand, felt more like a cypher when I began writing as he didn't seem to have many distinctive characteristics, but he filled out and grew more real as I lived through him. I guess that makes sense as I have an intuitive understanding of the male experience, and indeed, the novel is in some ways an examination of Australian masculinity - the good, the bad, and the toxic. I find that interesting as I generally prefer to write female characters, and though there are strong and well-observed women at the heart of this tale, it is very much the story of a man.

What was more important to you when you were writing: character development or plot?

Character focus is very important to me when writing a novel, and on that level, my work carries the same weight as literary fiction - but I'm often disappointed by lit-fic's apparent disdain for solid, interesting plots. I try to ensure that my plots are watertight before I sit down to write the manuscript, that they start, continue, and end somewhere meaningful. And while I have a good idea of the characters when I begin writing, they accrue layers and details as I go that make them feel more real. So both elements are paramount to me.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned (about your story, about yourself, etc.) while writing?

I think the most interesting thing I learned came after. I put all this effort into writing a man whose insecurity and dishonesty damages his relationships and has far-reaching consequences... and then, without understanding it, I went and became that man myself. That particular irony was hard to swallow.

What books or authors influenced your own writing?

There are so many! I am the net result of all my reading, so hopefully the influence of thousands of other authors, filtered through my own perspective and experience, becomes something entirely unique. That said, it's impossible to ignore the influence of Stephen King and Ramsey Campbell, though I sometimes spot lines or techniques that remind me of other favourites.

What attracted you to the genre you write in?

If we narrow my genre down to just horror, which is at the heart of everything I do: I think that horror, despite its outlandish trappings, trades in truths other genres won't touch - not just in spite of its irrationality, but BECAUSE of it. I believe that good, thoughtful horror comes closest to depicting and examining the many-faceted, complicated, and confusing nature of humanity. Also, I like blood, boobs, and spooky shit.

What are you currently reading?

I just finished AMERICAN HIPPO by Sarah Gailey and I've started THE ONLY GOOD INDIANS by Stephen Graham Jones. I'm also working my way through the MONSTRESS graphic novels by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda.

A lot of authors have a soundtrack while writing. Are there are songs you had on repeat?

I don't write to music these days - too distracting - but I always, ALWAYS have songs looping in my head, and the ones playing as I wrote this novel were dictated by the chapter titles, which took their names from songs by acts mentioned in the story. I appended a playlist to the back of the book so readers can check out the songs and artists in question - The Cure and Joy Division, Deftones and Silverchair, Chelsea Wolfe and Diamanda Galas... Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Godflesh, Something for Kate. And there are plenty of artists namechecked in the book who don't get chapter titles, because music is how I relate to people and the world - it moves through literally everything I do.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

"Keep going, kid. You're on the right track."

What are a couple of your favorite movies to kick back with to relax?

I've been leaning hard on RICK AND MORTY lately to unwind, and DOCTOR WHO is always close to my heart. I don't like to rewatch movies too much in case the shine wears off, but the Cornetto Trilogy - SHAUN OF THE DEAD, HOT FUZZ, and THE WORLD'S END - is something that repays repeat watches and is endlessly amusing whilst still delivering genuine pathos and great writing.

Do you have a WIP? If so, can you tell us anything about it?

At the risk of jinxing myself, I'm preparing to write a creepy, heartfelt novel manuscript about derelict places, those who explore them, and the people who fall through the cracks. I've spent a lot of time wandering through abandoned ruins with my favourite photographer, and it's all going to pay off in grand style once I unpick the plot knots holding me back from starting on this one...

Are you on social media and can your readers interact with you? What are your links?

My modest but informative blog is at and you can find me on Facebook. I don't have the time, inclination, or talent at creating pithy bites of information to bother with other social media right now!

I’m an author and musician (plus sometime editor, visual artist, scriptwriter, composer, and all-round Renaissance man) based in Adelaide, South Australia.

I write dark fiction, horror for the most part, though I take an eclectic angle to all things. My approach to writing is character-focused, broad-minded, and averse to standard tropes. I cut my fangs on authors such as Stephen King, Clive Barker, Ramsey Campbell, Peter Straub, Richard Laymon, Anne Rice, Dan Simmons, Tanith Lee and Poppy Z. Brite, and these days I’m also drawn to folks like Alan Moore, Laird Barron, Caitlín R. Kiernan, Neil Gaiman, Margaret Atwood, Karl Edward Wagner, Joe Hill, China Miéville, Tom Piccirilli, Venero Armanno, Kaaron Warren, Joel Lane, Dennis Lehane, Livia Llewellyn, and Angela Slatter (to name just a few). So if you’re looking for a list of influences, there’s a place to start.

I’ve had around sixty short stories and poems published around the world thus far. The first story I recall writing came at the age of seven, a three-line opus about decapitating an invading horde of giant chickens; at thirteen, I won an all-ages writing contest and had my entry, a vaguely blasphemous sci-fi potboiler called 1″Time and the Bible”, published in Port Pirie newspaper The Recorder. I’ve always written, but for many years it came second to trying to establish a career in music; I didn’t begin submitting my work for publication until 2010, which is also when my first story appeared in print — the fittingly titled “Debutante”.

I won two categories in the 2019 Australian Shadows Awards: Best Short Story (“Steadfast Shadowsong”) and the Paul Haines Award for Long Fiction (“Supermassive Black Mass”). My work has been shortlisted two other times for the Paul Haines Award (“The Heart of the Mission”, 2016; “This Impossible Gift”, 2017), twice for Best Novella in the Aurealis Awards (“Andromeda Ascends”, 2018; “Supermassive Black Mass”, 2019), and once for Best Horror Short Story in the Aurealis Awards (“Pilgrimage”, 2019). I also served as a reader and judge for the Horror Novels and Novellas categories of the 2016 and 2017 Aurealis Awards — acting as Panel Convenor the second year — a Novels judge for the 2018 and 2019 Australian Shadows Awards, and an Edited Works judge for the 2019 Shadows.

My first collection of short stories, If Only Tonight We Could Sleep, was released by Things in the Well on January 31, 2020. My first novel, Midnight in the Chapel of Love, will be released by JournalStone Publishing on January 29, 2021.

I’ve performed spoken word shows with punk poets Paroxysm Press, including three Adelaide Fringe gigs, and with the SA Writers Centre — the latter in the West Terrace Cemetery. I attended MAPS Film School in 2010 and since then I have been sporadically involved in short films and live videos as a scriptwriter, director, editor, producer, composer, grip, and (gasp!) actor. My most recent film work has been as an extra in a number of club scenes for Dick Dale’s forthcoming splatterpunk feature Ribspreader.

I play bass and other instruments, sing, write songs, edit videos, create album sleeves, and do all sorts of other things in the progressive/alternative rock/metal bands Blood Red Renaissance (on hiatus since 2013) and icecocoon. I’ve so far played on seven albums, three EPs, and seven singles. I’ve gigged extensively with numerous bands and one-offs, including two interstate tours with BRR and one with Priority Orange.

I currently live in Somerton Park.

Matthew, thank you so much for being a guest on Cats Luv Coffee Book Reviews!

Bring on the cakes, balloons, cakes, gifts, cakes, and…well…cakes. It’s time for Grier’s baby shower! Grier is ready to smile for the camer...

Bring on the cakes, balloons, cakes, gifts, cakes, and…well…cakes. It’s time for Grier’s baby shower!

Grier is ready to smile for the cameras, rip open the presents, and finally taste that lemon chiffon cake, but it’s just not meant to be. The Grande Dame is MIA, which turns the big event into an even bigger search party. And that delicious cake? It’s going right back in the fridge.

While Grier doesn’t have the best relationship with her mother-in-law, she’s determined her child will grow up with one living grandparent or else. Even if it means wiggling into maternity jeans, putting on actual shoes, and waddling over to Lawson Manor to investigate the potential kidnapping.

Just as the investigation turns a corner, Grier pays the price for her stress. The baby wants out ahead of schedule, and it has a unique way of making its desires known. Unique and terrifying. Now the race is on to find the Grande Dame before the baby makes his or her first appearance.

What do you get when you cross a goddess-touched necromancer with an Eidolon?

Linus and Grier are about to find out firsthand. Now they just have to survive parenthood.