Tag Archives: comic

It’s a Win!

Two days on from the Australian Shadows Awards, I’m still riding the high of the win. Yep, that’s right, The Road to Golgotha, won the inaugural award for ‘written works in a graphic novel/comic’. Excuse me while I Snoopy dance. (Look away now if you’d like to keep your food down…)

The ‘Shadows’ are the premier horror awards put together by the Australian Horror Writers Association. Judged by those who know and are passionate about the genre makes a win even more sweet – getting the nod from those within the industry, within the genre you love, that your work is top notch.

The Road to Golgotha

The Road to Golgotha is two stories within the one tome: His Own Personal Golgotha penned by GN Braun, and my story The Road. So I get to share this win with my mate Geoff. Not only that, I had the pleasure of telling him we’d won (he was making coffee at the time; can’t fault him that), and then a good five minutes convincing him it was true.

This is my second Australian Shadows Award win, having won for the short story category in 2011. What makes this win so amazing is the amount of work and effort that went into writing the comic. It was a totally new medium for me and Geoff, a damn steep learning curve, and I’m not ashamed to say it almost broke me. But… challenge accepted. I was determined to write the best damn comic I could, to take the reader to a very dark place and stride along with Riley as she owned every decision she made for what she wanted. To be rewarded with the Shadows Award… yeah, that’s pretty damn sweet.

And the cherry on the icing of an amazingly cool cake was the words from the judges:

“The Road to Golgotha provides an immediate escape into visual horror with the first turn of the page. Like a modern-day Dante’s Inferno, here we have two tales of two very distinct, yet similarly tortured characters on quests through unknown regions of the human soul. Expertly illustrated by Monty Borror, The Road to Golgotha is a gorgeous comic that left the judges spellbound and wanting more.”

road page 28    Golgotha

And the judges were on-point giving Monty Borror the kudos he deserves. ‘Expertly illustrated’ is right – Monty brought Geoff and my visions of the comic to extraordinary life, often seeing more in our scripts than we did. I can’t thank him enough for making Riley and her road and monsters exquisitely horrifying. (I’ll be scattering pages from the comics through this post, beware!)

This was also the first win of the night for Cohesion Press, with The Road to Golgotha being the inaugural imprint of Cohesion Comics. There were more to come. Next up was Alan Baxter’s In Vaulted Halls Entombed, which won the Paul Haine’s Award for long fiction. Alan’s story appeared in SNAFU: Survival of the Fittest, put out through Cohesion. This is a brilliant story, and deserved of the win.

The last in Cohesion’s trifecta was in the edited works category, with Blurring the Line (edited by Marty Young), taking out the win. This anthology is a superb showcase of horror that blurs the lines between what’s real and what’s not. And in the words of the judges: “There are some exceptional tales in this collection, gripping, compelling and haunting stories, the kind that stay with you for a good while afterwards.”

The wonderful thing about Aussie (and Kiwi) horror is that you’re bound to know pretty much all those in the industry down under. So I was chuffed to pieces that the short story category win went to amazing writer and my mentor, Kaaron Warren. If you haven’t read her work, you should. You really should.

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The collected works category was taken out by one of my favourite people in the world, Robert Hood. His gargantuan tome, Peripheral Visions (an 800-page collection of ghost stories and amazing artwork), showcases not only his remarkable work over decades in the genre, but Australian horror at its best.

So two days on, I really am still riding the high of winning the award, and being among some of the best writers in horror today. Huzzah! So if you’re looking for a horror graphic novel that pushes you past the comfortable, and takes you on a wild ride of monsters and oh-so terrible places, then The Road to Golgotha is just what you’re looking for. Trust me, I know the writers.

road page 28

Check out the list of winners below, and if you haven’t read their work, get thee to a bookstore! Or e-store! Or library!

Best Written Works in a Comic/Graphic Novel: The Road to Golgotha – GN Braun & Amanda J Spedding (Cohesion Comics)

Best Edited Works: Blurring the Line – Marty Young, ed. (Cohesion Press)

Paul Haines Award for Long Fiction: In Vaulted Halls Entombed – Alan Baxter (SNAFU: Survival of the Fittest, Cohesion Press)

Best Collected Works: Peripheral Visions: The Collected Ghost Stories – Robert Hood (IFWG Publishing)

Best Short Story: Mine Intercom – Kaaron Warren (Review of Australian Fiction)

Best Novel: The Catacombs – Jeremy Bates

Rocky Wood Award for Non-Fiction and Criticism: The Literary Gothic by Marija Elektra Ridriguez

Oh, and the trophy we’ll be getting? Yeah, it rocks!


All of the Yays!

Finalists for the Australian Shadows Awards for horror fiction were announced today, and I’m absolutely chuffed that the comic, The Road to Golgotha, has made the shortlist in the Comic/Graphic Novel category. Woo and hoo! Huzzah! Woot!

The Road to Golgotha

The brilliant thing about this nod is that as The Road to Golgotha is effectively two stories (His Own Personal Golgotha and The Road) within the one tome, I get to share this nomination with GN Braun, who was with me every step of the way as I strove to get the script just right. A huge shout-out has to go to our artist, Monty Borror, whose horrifically beautiful illustrations brought the comics to life.

road page 19 a    road page 28

The incarnation from published short story to comic, The Road was two years in the making, and this nod is the icing on a very cool cake that involved the launch at Melbourne ComicCon last year (you can read an awesome review of it here). As my first foray into comics, I can’t tell you how damn awesome the validation is – you always want your babies to do well. It kicks that writerimposteritis in the guts, too.

But it doesn’t stop there. On the editing side, Alan Baxter’s In Vaulted Halls Entombed, from SNAFU: Survival of the Fittest, is a finalist in the Paul Haines Award for Long Fiction category. From the moment I read this story, I loved it. So seeing it nominated as well, is a huge buzz.

There are so many amazing writers nominated this year, a lot of whom are close friends, so this has been an amazing day of congratulating peeps I couldn’t be happier for, and being super-chuffed to have the comic given the nod.

So, if you’re looking for some amazing Aussie writers to read, the finalists of the Australian Shadows Award is a great place to start.  Congratulations to all the finalists!

The Paul Haines Award for Long Fiction

In Vaulted Halls Entombed – Alan Baxter

The Haunting of Gillespie House – Darcy Coates

Night Shift – Dirk Flinthart

The Whimper – Robert Hood

Edited Works

Bloodlines – Amanda Pillar

Lighthouses – Cameron Trost

Midnight Echo 11 – Kaaron Warren

Blurring the Line – Marty Young

Collected Works

The Abandonment of Grace and Everything After – Shane Jiraiya Cummings

Peripheral Visions: The Collected Ghost Stories – Robert Hood

Cherry Crow Children – Deborah Kalin

Short Fiction

The Bone Maiden – Greg Chapman

Eight Seconds – Pandora Hope

El Caballo Muerte – Martin Livings

Perfect Little Stitches – Deborah Sheldon

Mine Intercom – Kaaron Warren

Comics/Graphic Novels

The Road to Golgotha – GN Braun and Amanda J Spedding

Troll – Michael Michalandos

The Monster – Ben Rosenthal

Undad – Shane W Smith

The Rocky Wood Award for Non-fiction and Criticism

Winner to be announced


The Catacombs – Jeremy Bates

The Haunting of Blackwood House – Darcy Coates

The Transgressions Cycle: The Mothers – Mike Jones

The Transgressions Cycle: The Reparation – Mike Jones

The Big Smoke – Jason Nahrung


Watch this space…

Festivus Book Pimping – The Road to Golgotha

Well this is the last of the Festivus Book Pimping, and I didn’t get to anywhere near as many books and authors as I’d have liked, but that just means I’ll have to continue the book pimping sans Festivus. So, to finish this series, I’ll be pimping myself… well my comic, which means I’m also pimping GN Braun and Monty Borror. Pimpity-pimp-pimp-pimp!

In June of this year, The Road to Golgotha was launched at Melbourne ComicCon through Cohesion Comics – the inaugural comic for the press’ new imprint. Here you get two horror stories – that’s right TWO, within the one beautifully-designed, 78-page book.

The Road to Golgotha

The first, His Own Personal Golgotha, is penned by GN Braun; the second is mine – The Road. And it’s all magically brought to life on the pages by the uber-talented artist, Monty Borror – the man is a genius at interpretation; his art, magnificent.

I flew down to Melbourne for the launch with my daughter, and we had an absolute blast. Meeting with old friends and making many others, we were surrounded by the Geekdom that makes us all happy. To top it off, it was the launch of the comic. Something GN, Monty and I had put our hearts and souls into.

Here’s a little something about the stories within:

His Own Personal Golgotha by GN Braun follows the awakening of ‘the man’ into a nightmarish world of cemeteries and bones. To achieve anything, he must find out where and who he is.”

This is a search for redemption through horror-filled pages again brought to wicked life by Monty Borror. It’s a visually stunning piece that doesn’t pull any punches. It’s kick-arse. 


“The Road by Amanda J Spedding shows us the changes wrought in Riley as she casts off her civilized veneer to allow the goddess within to emerge fully into her birthright.”

This is a story of gods and monsters, of self-discovery and a battle for identity for the heroine. It’s hard and it’s bloody and she unapologetically owns every bit of it.

road page 29

As you can see by the panels here, the art is superb, and Monty has captured the stories perfectly. The man also so very kindly sent over two original panels of artwork for me (the above is one), and they are just gorgeous! And look stunning on my wall.

So with that, it’s Festivus Bookus Pimpus Endus. Let it go, it’s after 1am here and I still haven’t packed for my trip away tomorrow…today…  later… sometime…

Anywho, if you’re looking for some rollickingly good horror, and some kick-arse art, the get onto The Road to Golgotha. Self-pimping aside, it’s a damn fine read.

Recommended for anyone who loves horror, and the art of the comic/graphic novel.

Note: this comic comes with a, ‘Explicit Content’ warning (which is cool in and of itself). So really not recommended for anyone under 18… or you’ll have some ‘splaining to do Lucy!

pg24 cut 3

Festivus Endus!

Deadlines vs Goals vs Real-life

Deadline: (n) the time by which something must be finished or submitted; the latest time for finishing something.

Goal: (n) the result of achievement toward which effort is directed; aim; end.

Real-life: (interjection) the little demon that laughs maniacally at the deadlines and goals you set.

Deadlines. I work to them all the time. Sometimes I impose them on authors, sometimes authors impose them on me, and other times it is publishers dropping those deadlines – all of which is good. Deadlines give us that extra kick up the bum to get shit done, especially if those deadlines are given by others.

I work well to external deadlines – my business and reputation depend on it. And I love my work, so while sometimes it can be stressful when I have a lot of different projects on my plate, I tend to thrive under the pressure.

Goals. I set myself two (which stepped to three) this year with regard to writing and reading – two things I don’t get anywhere near enough time to do as I’d like. I’d finished the first draft of my novel in February this year as part of my Black Friday Wager; of which there’s about 10-15% I’ll keep, build upon. It set my characters and their motivations firmly in my mind, and levered the world in greater detail, but man did it need a serious rewrite… or greater focus.

So that was one goal met, which transitioned to my next goal: the second draft of the novel, which was to be completed by November 13, 2015 (yes, a Black Friday Wager). I did not meet this goal. Oh, I started and restarted and restarted the novel eleventy-hundred times, but could not get the starting point right.


Work and real-life had a part to play in me not meeting this goal. I’m not just a writer and editor; I’m a mother, wife, sister, daughter, aunt, friend, keeper of pets. I have bills to pay, groceries to buy, meals to cook, and a seemingly interminable amount of clothes to wash. I have homework to help with (you suck, high school math!), the kids’ sporting events (and training) to cheer at, and all the while remember that I must leave the house wearing pants.  I don’t begrudge any of that – it’s my life and I wouldn’t change it (okay, maybe the bit about wearing pants in the outside world, but… oh the joys of working from home!).

Often, something’s gotta give, and that something tends to be writing time (made easier, of course, when you’re sitting on your eleventy-hundred-and-first draft of draft two of your novel).  I did write three short stories this year, all of which made short-listings but no actual publication. But that’s okay – stories were written, and they’ll be tweaked and sent back out in the world. It’s the creating that’s the goal; publication is that cherry atop a cake. And one of the big cherries this year was the publication of my comic, The Road to Golgotha, launched at Melbourne ComicCon, so not a bad year on the publishing front at all.

The Road to Golgotha

What I didn’t skimp on this year (as I had done previous years), was reading time. As an editor, I do a lot of reading, and by the end of the day, my eyes can sometimes be pretty shot. So reading for pleasure doesn’t feel like pleasure at all. Last year, I read 14 books – not too many when you’re looking at just the number, but at least one a month, isn’t bad considering. This year, I set myself a goal of 20 books. I hit that goal last week with Greig Beck’s The Dark Lands (The Valkeryn Chronicles #2), which was brilliant, and one of those stories you wish didn’t have an end (review to come).

I surpassed that goal last night, finishing book two in a James A Moore trilogy. Yes, there were times I read into the wee hours of the morn, sacrificing sleep (and the next day’s sanity) to read just one more chapter…okay, just one more chapter…one more… but that’s more testament to the book(s) I was reading than my quest to meet my goal. I’ve chosen well the books I’ve read this year, and the authors who’ve penned them.

So I met two of my three goals, and yes, there was some angst and frustration around not meeting the goal of the second draft, but not anywhere near as much I’d have doled out a couple of years back. You see, I’ve learned to be kinder to myself, to understand that sometimes life has different ideas to the ones you set yourself, and that’s okay too. With age comes wisdom perhaps.

My life is good. No, actually, my life is great. I have an amazing family, two of the coolest kids on the planet, a kick-arse job, and the want and desire to wreak havoc in created worlds. And I get to read with impunity.

The point of this post (yes, there is one, you miscreants!), is that no matter the personal goals and/or deadlines you set, don’t beat yourself up if you don’t meet them – real-life always has your back.

Deadline: a date for things that may or may not get done (depending on who sets said deadline), but hey, we’re all huma– ooh, look, a kitty! 

Goal: something you wish to achieve but doesn’t hold your self-worth if not met  (may also be cake).

Real-life: fucking awesome.


ComicCon, I will be in you…

Tomorrow morning (waaay early), my daughter and I will be dragging our tired selves onto a plane for our trip to Melbourne for ComicCon. It’s a big deal, a very big deal. This is where the two-in-one comic ‘The Road to Golgotha’ will be launched through Cohesion Press. My story ‘The Road’, takes up 47 pages of horror-filled beauty, and while it’s uber-exciting, I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet (hell, I still haven’t started packing).

The Road to Golgotha

It’s been quite a long road (yeah, I see that pun) to get to this point; the script was written about two years ago, taken from a short story I’d had published in Midnight Echo #9. This was the first comic script I’d written, and truth be told, it almost broke me. Comic writing and story writing are two completely different beasts, and it took me a while to wrap my head around the ‘stillness’ of a comic. A panel is a snapshot, a moment frozen in time – a character isn’t ‘running’ they are ‘mid-step’; they aren’t ‘raising their hand’, it’s either up or down.

A true collaboration it is, and the gods stepped in and sent extraordinarily talented artist Monty Borror my way. It’s his art that brings my story to life, his skill and mastery of the medium that took my words and ideas and made them visually real, visually stunning. I sometimes wonder if he’s a sorcerer.

So 47 glorious pages later, Monty had finished the art, the lettering had been done, and it was off to the printers in time for launch at Melbourne ComicCon. ‘The Road’ is a story of gods and monsters, of self-discovery and a battle for identity for the heroine. It’s hard and it’s bloody and she unapologetically owns it.


The other story, by GN Braun is ‘His Own Personal Golgotha’ – a search for redemption through horror-filled pages again brought to wicked life by Monty Borror. It’s a visually stunning piece that doesn’t pull any punches. It’s kick-arse.

I also get to share this experience ­– my first ever launch – with my daughter, and that’s pretty damn special. She’s just as excited as I am, despite the fact she isn’t allowed to read the comic as it comes with a ‘R’ rating, but she’s very much looking forward to wearing an exhibitor pass and exploring ComicCon.

So if you’re in Melbourne over the weekend, come say hello and take a look at the comic – we’ll even sign it for you! For anyone who can’t make it, the comic will be available on Amazon next week, in either black and white or spectacular colour.

road page 9

Now, I’d better go pack, I have to be up in five hours.