Black Dogs, Black Tales: Where the Dogs Don’t Die

Tails that wag and tales that tell of vampire dogs, undead dogs, and canine superheroes. Some save our souls and protect the world while the others try to crush us. These spine-tingling tales aren’t shaggy dog stories. Against all odds, the dogs survive.

An international community of writers, poets, and artists came together to bring their best dark fiction to this anthology, where there is only one rule: “The dogs don’t die.”

Front cover featuring art by François Vaillancourt

All proceeds in support of the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand.

Featuring stories and poems by:

Kaaron Warren | Dan Rabarts | Alan Baxter | Matthew R. Davis | Dion Winton-Polak | J.C.Hart | Octavia Cade | Hari Navarro | Melanie Harding-Shaw | P.J. Blakey-Novis | Tabatha Wood | E.E. King | Steve Dillon | Ian J. Middleton | John Linwood Grant | Galina Trefil | Martine Poels | L.L. Asher | Justin Guleserian

With cover art by François Vaillancourt and Foreword by multiple award-winning author Alan Baxter

Amazon link:

Praise for ‘Black Dogs, Black Tales’ –

“In Black Dogs, Black Tales, Wood and Hart unleash seventeen dark stories, some old favourites, many original, all forcing us to stare into the maw of the wolf. Yet these stories have a unique magic; they show us how to quiet the hounds, how to tame the demons that dog and torment our tired souls. They are lullabies to be howled into the night.”

Lee Murray, multiple award-winning author of ‘Into the Ashes.’

The anthology was shortlisted for an Australian Shadows Award, 2021, for Best Edited Work

Black Dogs, Black Tales is a charity anthology from Things In The Well released in May 2020 which supports the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand. The creator and editor, Tabatha Wood, explains the background and inspiration for the collection and what she hopes it will achieve.

We would love for you to help us spread the word about this anthology. You are free to share any images and content from this page on your blogs or social media, or contact Tabatha for a Press Pack.

Who are you?

My name is Tabatha Wood and I am a teacher, writer and artist living in Wellington, New Zealand. I emigrated here with my family in 2017 from the U.K. where I’d worked as an English and Drama teacher and a college library manager, as well as writing books for education.

What do you do now?

I’m always busy writing, teaching, painting and creating. I write a mix of things, from dark, speculative fiction to uplifting poetry, and I write about all aspects of my life on my blog. Last year I ran workshops for women under the name of ‘Well-Written’. The classes used writing and creativity as tools to heal and empower. At the moment, I teach from home and write whenever I can, and I’m always keen to find new ways to challenge myself, and by extension, to help others. 

What is Black Dogs, Black Tales?

The idea for Black Dogs, Black Tales came from a random Twitter conversation where I mentioned that I wanted to read some dog-themed horror where the dog doesn’t die. I approached Steve Dillon from ‘Things In The Well’ with the idea for a charity anthology, to raise money for the Mental Health Foundation in New Zealand. Many people refer to depression as their “black dog,” but it is in their darkest days that they often turn to their furry friends to help them through. 

Steve thought it was a brilliant idea and together we worked out the parameters for the open call-out. Writers are often wary when asked to contribute their time and talent to new anthologies, even those set up to support a charitable cause, but I think this project appealed to a lot of different people on many different levels. I worked with co-editor, Cassie Hart, and an exceptional team of ten writers and reviewers who helped with the selection and editing process. Together we went through over one hundred and fifty submissions. Ultimately, we chose seventeen of the strongest stories, plus three poems and some original artwork. 

Why can’t the dog die? 

Quite a few people have asked me why the dog must survive, especially when considering the depression metaphor. For me, having lived for a long time with my own “black dog”, I realised that finding ways to tame and manage it were always more successful than trying to beat it. The black dog doesn’t always have to be a giant, slavering hound hiding underneath your bed. It can be a tiny, teacup dog, obedient and well-controlled. 

Why this charity?

The Mental Health Foundation says one in six New Zealanders will be diagnosed with a mental health condition at some point in their lives. The number of those who experience suicide increase every year. The MHF is diverse and expansive. They run campaigns and offer services that cover all aspects of mental wellbeing. They take a holistic approach to mental health, promoting what they know makes and keeps people mentally well. They also provide free information and training and advocate for policies and services that support all people with experience of mental illness.

Mental health issues are something that I am very passionate about. I started ‘Well-Written’ in 2017 to bring people together in a safe space to write for wellness and positive emotional health. We shared ideas, encouraged creativity, and inspired ourselves and others. In 2018 I lost a close friend to suicide. Having a safe space to write honestly and openly about my feelings was cathartic, and crucial to my mental wellbeing. 

What do you hope to achieve?

I felt very strongly that I wanted to do something which would not only raise money and bring awareness to mental health issues but which would also challenge the stigma that surrounds talking about them. I hoped that by engaging writers to think about writing these types of stories, they could also be open about their own “black dogs”.

Black Dogs, Black Tales brings together a varied collection of canine tales, from a diverse selection of writers. Some are frightening and intense, others are hopeful and inspiring. The anthology is a captivating collection of dark fiction that supports a worthwhile cause. And in every story, you can be sure the dog won’t die.

Further reading:

Black Dogs, Black Tales – Contact Information


Steve Dillon Things In The Well 


Tabatha Wood 

Cassie Hart 


Miranda Crites

Melanie Harding-Shaw 

Penny Jones 

A.S. MacKenzie 

Aiden Merchant

Jessey Mills

Ankh Spice 

J.A. Sullivan 

Ben Walker