I Blurbed a Book

I was fortunate enough to receive an advance copy of Remains to be Told: Dark Tales of Aotearoa, edited by Lee Murray and published by Clan Destine Press and given the opportunity to write a review.

I’ve put the whole review below, but the publishers have also used an exerpt in the opening pages, along with blurbs from Richard Thomas, Eric J. Guignard and Christa Carmen. All high praise and all quite right – it’s a remarkable collection.


Remains To Be Told

Dark Tales of Aotearoa

Edited by Lee Murray

Review by Sean Monaghan

It’s always a treat to dip into a collection of short stories by different authors. The eclectic mix of styles and voices creates a wonderful smorgasbord of flavours and feelings. There are stories you will love and stories that will leave you perplexed, stories that are heartwarming and stories that are challenging, stories that are straightforward and predictable until the last moment and stories that seem to come from the strangest of places, make a brief visit to startled readers and depart back to their odd origins.

This anthology has all of this, with the remarkable addition of a deep Aotearoa/New Zealand feel, and another layer in that the stories are startlingly prickly and uncanny horror tales. The title gives that away, of course, but what one forgets, in the midst of New Zealand fiction and, in particular, New Zealand speculative fiction, is that we can be a little bit nice.

Sure our fiction is filled with family drama and challenging situations, but often we skate over the surface and miss plunging into the very visceral mire these stories present.

It’s an eclectic mix and I’d like to avoid singling out any particular stories–my favourites would quite possibly be different to yours anyway (which is one of the delightful aspects of multi-author collections). What I will mention is something that the stories have in common; these are stories of the land, about the history and the geography of our odd nation. These are stories that invoke our remarkable blending of cultures.

Colonization and decolonization stand side by side. The intertwining of Māori myth and oral history with the day to day practicalities of raising families in this twenty-first century capitalist world is one of the key threads that unify these stories as they bob and weave around social commentary, entertainment and pointed, bald and wry–even witty–observations.

A supremely readable collection that deserves high recognition and a wide readership.

I’ve written numerous book reviews over the years, for newspapers, and that’s always been fun. With changing times, there are fewer newspaper review slots around, so it’s nice to have the opportunity again. Even cooler to have an exerpt included


The volume contains stories by Kathryn Burnett, Helena Claudia, Gina Cole, William Cook, Debbie Cowens, Neil Gaiman, Del Gibson, Jacqui Greaves, Denver Grenell, Tim Jones, Nikky Lee, Paul Mannering, Owen Marshall, Tracie McBride, Kirsten McKenzie, Celine Murray, Lee Murray, Dan Rabarts, Bryce Stevens, and Marty Young.

The Room – new supernatural thriller coming next year

Once Rotations is published, I’ll be focusing attention on my next novel. The Room is a full-length novel that grew from a flash fiction story – Don’t Sleep Downstairs, originally published at Flashes in the Dark.

This is the rough cover. I’ll do a little tinkering, but this is pretty close to what I’ll be running with. It should be out early 2012 – depending on when Rotations makes it to the shelves.

Stone Goddess in The Best of Lame Goat Press

Christopher Jacobsmeyer, editor of Lame Goat Press, compiled this collection from the five volumes Horror Through the Ages, Kings of the Realm: A Dragon Anthology, Diamonds in the Rough, The Next Time and Howl: Tales of the Feral and Infernal, the first five anthologies published late last year and early this year – some of these are now out of print. “Thirty stories from the anthologies, including one brand new one. Revisit the history of LGP in all its glory.”
My story, and one of my personal favourites, “Stone Goddess” is included in the anthology. This is the second ‘reprint’ of the story – it was also read by Barry J. Northern as a podcast at Cast Macabre.
The anthology is available from Amazon here

Lame Goat Press has had a busy and fraught year, and appears to no longer be active. Fortunately many of its volumes are still available – and this book makes for a great sampler.

Two new stories in the world, then three

A good day for publishing today:

My 5000 word Science Fiction story “To a Pile of Ashes” has come out in the October issue of Infinite Windows. This is another xenoarchaeology themed story, though probably pretty stand alone, unlike the world of “Skinny Joe” (also on Infinite Windows earlier this year) which I will want to visit again.

My 1200 word entry in the Flashes In The Dark summer chiller contest “Breathe In” has been published in Flashes in the Dark. This is more of a suspense thriller than anything supernatural. Along the lines of the much shorter “Eddie’s on Fire” which came out on MicroHorror a few months back.

Also in the good news for today, my story “The Stone Goddess” has been accepted for the print anthology Horror Through the Ages. More details to come.