Midnight Echo

The Magazine of the Australasian Horror Writers Association.


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.
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.”

LeeLee Murray is a multi-award-winning writer and editor of science fiction, fantasy, and horror (Sir Julius Vogel, Australian Shadows) and a three-time Bram Stoker Award® nominee. Her works include the Taine McKenna military thrillers (Severed Press), and supernatural crime-noir series The Path of Ra, co-written with Dan Rabarts (Raw Dog Screaming Press), as well as several books for children. She is proud to have edited thirteen speculative works, including award-winning titles Baby Teeth: Bite Sized Tales of Terror and At the Edge (with Dan Rabarts), Te Kōrero Ahi Kā (with Grace Bridges and Aaron Compton) and Hellhole: An Anthology of Subterranean Terror (Adrenaline Press). She is the co-founder of Young New Zealand Writers, an organisation providing development and publishing opportunities for New Zealand school students, co-founder of the Wright-Murray Residency for Speculative Fiction Writers, and HWA Mentor of the Year for 2019. In February 2020, Lee was made an Honorary Literary Fellow in the New Zealand Society of Authors Waitangi Day Honours. Lee lives over the hill from Hobbiton in New Zealand’s sunny Bay of Plenty where she dreams up stories from her office overlooking a cow paddock. Read more at www.leemurray.info

MIDNIGHT ECHO 15 will be published in digital format and digest paperback on November 30th 2020.


Submission Guidelines 


Midnight Echo is the magazine of the Australasian Horror Writers Association. We seek original, previously unpublished horror fiction and non-fiction on horror-related subjects. As the AHWA’s goal is to support the genre in Australasia, we only accept unsolicited submissions from writers in (or originally from) Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and the Pacific Islands.

Fiction and Poetry: We accept all types of horror. Your story or poem should unnerve, disturb, or inspire fear. We encourage you to be courageous with your subject matter, but above all else, tell an entertaining story that will linger with our readers. Local stories with distinctly Aussie, Kiwi, or Pacific settings, characters, dilemmas, monsters, or themes are especially welcome. Please read issues of the magazine to get a feel for what we like to publish.

We pay AU$0.04/word for fiction (that’s 4 Australian cents per word). Word limit: 5,000 words firm.

We pay AU$20 per poem. Limit up to 20 lines.

Non-Fiction: We welcome articles, creative non-fiction, and interviews on horror-related subjects. Non-fiction that has an Australasian focus (such as an interview with a local author or article about a local book or film) is preferred, but we welcome a broad range of horror-related submissions. Please read issues of the magazine to get a feel for what we like to publish.

We pay AU$30 per non-fiction article up to 5,000 words.

Note about pay rates: While AHWA would like to pay writers more for their work, the organization is run by volunteers and has limited funds. Our goal is to develop emerging Australasian writers and give them experience working with editors, which we hope is a value above and beyond what we’re able to pay for their work. However, through more writers becoming AHWA members and more readers purchasing copies of Midnight Echo or the Dead of Night anthology, AHWA can strengthen its financial position and increase its rates.

Internal Art: We always include 2-3 pieces of black and white horror artwork in Midnight Echo. We are looking for art that is dark, sinister, or scary.

We pay AU$50 per piece for internal art.


Editor Lee Murray at australasianhorror@gmail.com and be sure to put:

“Midnight Echo submission – [your name] – [your story title]”

in the subject line. Please attach only .doc, .docx, or .rtf files. All others will be deleted unread. As we only accept unsolicited submissions from writers in (or originally from) Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and the Pacific Islands, please be sure to include this information in your cover letter!

Good luck!