Good Things Come to Those Who Keep Going

The last time I made a blog post was at the start of May, and I will be the first to admit it wasn’t an entirely “good” post. I was feeling glum and overworked and struggling to find ways to prioritise my time. I had even decided I was going to take a step back from writing.

Two weeks later I was stunned to discover that I had been shortlisted in two categories for the Australian Horror Writer’s Association, Australian Shadows awards. The nominations were for three pieces of work in Edited Work and Nonfiction.

This was especially surprising for me as I almost didn’t bother submitting anything until some friends gave me a bit of a poke. I remember the afternoon when I was trying to get everything together to send and it felt like technology was against me and everything kept going wrong. I almost gave up when a file got deleted accidently, believing it was a sign that my work was rubbish anyway. I’m so very glad I persisted.

After what seemed like a solid six months of rejections, I sold a shape-shifter themed, gothic horror poem “The Forgotten Ones” to Brigids Gate Press for their WERE TALES anthology in mid-April, and at the start of June my weird, grief-soaked body-horror poem “Her” was accepted by Black Spot Books for their UNDER HER SKIN anthology. I am also extremely pleased to announce that Snow-Capped Press have accepted a piece of flash fiction and two of my poems for their upcoming anthology.

However, I have saved the very best news for last…

I am absolutely delighted and more than a little stunned to reveal that my “period piece” essay An Exploration of Menstruation in Horror and Dark Fiction, first published in February 2020 at The Horror Tree for Women in Horror Month, has won an Australian Shadows Award in their nonfiction category.

And as I joked on Twitter the next day, you only have to win once to legitimately call yourself an “award-winning writer” forever. So I guess I’d better get used to calling myself that! 😉

All these things have given me the nudge I needed to believe in myself again and it I seems that winding down and alleviating some of the pressures I’d put on myself was exactly what was necessary to regain some headspace. And of course, that means I’ve actually returned to writing and I’ve been enjoying it.

If this has taught me anything it’s that progress, no matter how slow-going it may seem, is still progress. I’m just out here shovelling sand to make sand castles but every single word I write is one more than I didn’t write yesterday and small steps can yield giant results. 

Rest if you must, but don’t quit.

Awards Eligibility Post — Published Works 2020

I thought it was time to pull together my awards eligibility post for 2020. This also serves as a nice round up of things I achieved throughout this incredibly strange and surprising year.

Most of these are eligible for any horror and speculative fiction awards including the New Zealand Sir Julius Vogel Awards, and the Australian Shadows Awards, and possibly anything with a queer, own-voices rep.

Thank you for reading. ?

My first published nonfiction article of 2020 was with Ginger Nuts of Horror @GNutsofHorror where I talk about the Horror of Humanity and mental health in darker fiction.

My second published nonfiction article was with The Horror Tree @HorrorTree for Women in Horror Month (Feb 2020) and was An Exploration of Menstruation in Horror and Dark Fiction

Also for Women in Horror Month, ‘Who Is Ellen Ripley?’ was first published by Ginger Nuts of Horror (Feb 2020) and reprinted as the lead story in the DIGITAL DEAD magazine (April 2020)

‘Fake Meat’ from my SJV-shortlisted collection DARK WINDS OVER WELLINGTON was reprinted in INFECTED, TALES TO READ AT HOME another charity anthology also published by Things In The Well (April 2020).

I co-edited BLACK DOGS, BLACK TALES with @JCHart in May 2020. This was a charity anthology published by @ThingsInTheWell with all proceeds going to the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand.

Front cover featuring art by François Vaillancourt

My story ‘Night Wolves’ is included in BLACK DOGS, BLACK TALES and is a quiet, revenge horror with a grieving sister and mysterious black dog. ? ?

‘An Ocean of Stars’ was featured on the HUTT RADIO in June 2020 and is a very short SpecFic/fantasy piece written as a tie in to DARK WINDS OVER WELLINGTON.

Also in June I wrote ‘Becoming,’ an original story for @DivinationBlog to celebrate Pride in Horror. This is a weird, queer, own-voices, coming of age story.

[Pride In Horror Month] – Becoming: A Short Story — Divination Hollow Reviews

Another one for Pride in Horror Month and Divination Hollow was a nonfiction piece ‘Queer Vampires in Modern Cinema.’

[Pride In Horror Month] – Queer Vampires in Modern Cinema — Divination Hollow Reviews

ALL THE LAIRD’S MEN is a novelette set in a dystopian, future Scotland. It’s a creature-feature, military horror/dark speculative fiction story, and is the first of a trilogy. (August 2020)

Another short story, this time in two parts for Divination Hollows is a queer, girl-gang, part revenge horror/part weird fiction featuring an all-female trio with unusual abilities.

Nightwatchers: Part One; A Short Story by Tabatha Wood — Divination Hollow Reviews

‘Long Drop’ is a New Zealand-focused short horror/weird fantasy story featured in the antipodean anthology OUTBACK HORRORS DOWN UNDER from Things In The Well (September 2020)

Outback Horrors Down Under

Finally, although it doesn’t come out until February 2021, I am also including my story ‘Little Teeth’ from @ScifiandScary charity anthology TWISTED ANATOMY