“They Call Me Mother”
Classic Monsters Unleashed brings back to life legends of horror such as Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster, and the Mummy. The anthology is the highest-funded horror fiction anthology in Kickstarter history.
My tale of monstrosity was inspired by recent events in Australian politics, and will feature alongside some of the biggest names in horror.
If you’d like to join the monster party, you can check out the Facebook page here.
“When the Girls Began to Fall”
“Her Gradual Hero”
“Guest of Honour”
“Mouth, and Feet, and Hands, and Eyes”
“What the Mirror Showed Me”
“Rondel for A”
“A Thing of Beauty: An Ekphrastic Acrostic”
“What You Cannot See”
Bent. Bowed. Unbroken
The willow is femininity, desire, death. Rebirth. With its ability to grow from a single broken branch, it is the living embodiment of immortality. It is the yin that wards off malevolent spirits. It is both revered and shunned.
In Tortured Willows, four Southeast Asian women writers of horror expand on the exploration of otherness begun with the Bram Stoker Award-winning anthology Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women.
Like the willow, women have bent and bowed under the expectations and duty heaped upon them. Like the willow, they endure and refuse to break.
With exquisite poetry, Christina Sng, Angela Yuriko Smith, Lee Murray, and Geneve Flynn invite you to sit beneath the tortured willow’s gravid branches and listen to the uneasy shiver of its leaves.
Published on National Dark Poetry Day, 7th October, 2021, by Yuriko Publishing.
Praise for Tortured Willows:
“As delicately woven as it is brutally vicious, Tortured Willows is a glimpse into the shadows of otherness and the sorrow of lost heritages that bends the spirit, but never breaks it.”—Jezzy Wolfe, author of Monstrum Poetica
“Tortured Willows brings together four remarkable voices writing speculative poetry today in the Asian diaspora.”—Bryan Thao Worra, former President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association
“Every visceral line takes readers down into dreamy darkness, where the depth holds ancient roots that grow beyond what one could ever see on the surface.”—Sara Tantlinger, Bram Stoker Award®-winning author of The Devil’s Dreamland: Poetry Inspired by H.H.Holmes
“This collection of poetry, without a doubt, will forever remain one of my all-time favorites. No matter how hard I pulled at the reins, I could not stop until every last poem was inside of me.”—Cindy O’Quinn, two-time Bram Stoker Award-nominated author of “Lydia” and “The Thing I Found Along a Dirt Patch Road”
“In Tortured Willows, the many veils of a woman’s heart are peeled back, revealing multi-layered petals of an aching beauty, rooted on a stem of vulnerable resistance.”—Jamal Hodge, director, writer, visionary
“You know you’re in for dark and deep poetic treats from these four super talents,all of them associated with the multiple award-winning collection, Black Cranes. Believe me, Tortured Willows is a keeper!”—Marge Simon, Bram Stoker and Lifetime Achievement Award-winner
“A haunting, harrowing exploration of obligation, expectation, and sacrifice, poetry as unquiet fury and a lens on both past and present. Told in four unique voices yet speaking for countless silent generations of Asian women, Tortured Willows grips you by the throat and screams into the night, demanding to be heard.”—Dan Rabarts, award-winning author of the Children of Bane series
“These poems reach deep into our primal response to fight, flee, or freeze in the face of an unending onslaught of a world trying to reshape us in their image. In the current climate of unquiet voices, Tortured Willows sweeps the reader up into a choir that will only grow louder.”—Piper Mejia, author of The Better Sister & Other Stories
“Personal journeys, reclaimed mythologies and fury permeate this collection by four authors.”—Kyla Lee Ward, Aurealis Award-winner
“Tortured Willows bleeds, sobs and howls with rage.”—Stephanie Ellis, writer and poet, co-author of Daughters of Darkness
“Thought-provoking, unapologetically brutal, and downright unsettling, Tortured Willows is a collection unlike any you’ve read before…and one you’re not likely to forget. Murray, Flynn, Smith and Sng have not just raised their voices, they’ve roared them into the pages, and the result is simply superb.”—Rebecca Fraser, award-winning author of Coralesque and Other Tales to Disturb and Distract
“the haunting imagery within the pages of Tortured Willows will grab hold of you and refuse to let go–an absolute must-read!”—doungjai gam, author of glass slipper dreams, shattered
“The four authors here are masters of dark fiction and have crafted some of the darkest, bleakest, most emotional poems I’ve ever read. Time and time again these poems created a look into certain situations that were so hard to read but so well written that it’ll leave you sobbing and struggling to move on to the next poem. But you’ll want to read the next one. And the next one. Just so, so good.”—Steve Stred, for Kendall Reviews
“Potent truths, rich details, and dynamic verse, these poems bloom with taut images that slice away preconceptions and deepen attention to appropriations of heritage and impositions of restricting expectations.”—E.F. Schraeder for Monster Librarian
“All in all, Tortured Willows: Bent, Bowed, Unbroken is a beautiful book. The poems here are by turns dark, harrowing, furious, and moving, but they also invoke women’s strength and resilience. There is horror here, yes, but also light and beauty.”—Vanessa Fogg, It’s a Jumble blogspot
”Tortured Willows: Bent, Bowed, Unbroken is an eye-opening, soul exposing journey, and a solid continuation of Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women. Both collections demonstrate that women will not go quietly into the night.”—Amanda Headlee for Epeolatry Book Review
“These words may forever be etched upon my soul.”—Reed Alexander for Nightmare Feed
“Willows, ghosts, and women rustling with the far east wind, telling stories, secrets and pains of spicy and distant places. The spirit of poetry in a Japanese print, a tea on the edge of Limbo. ”—Alessandro Manzetti, Two-time Bram Stoker Award-winning author
Epeolatry Book Review by Amanda Headlee on Horror Tree
Review by Reed Alexander on Nightmare Feed
Articles, Blogs, Podcasts
Geneve Flynn in a guest post on Join Me in the Madhouse by Stephanie Wytovich.
My horror story “Little Worm” is now up on PseudoPod. There are sound effects and everything! And the very naughty Malaysian swear word is pronounced perfectly.
Thank you so much, E R Zhang, for your pitch-perfect narration. And thank you to Alex Hofelich and all the folks at PseudoPod for creating this magic. If you like stories about creepy kids and the close, humid supernatural world of Malaysia, you can listen in here.
“A Pet is for Life” (reprint) and “Little Worm”
When award-winning author and editor Lee Murray and I met face-to-face at Genrecon in 2019, we began chatting about being the “black sheep” – Asian, horror writers, and female. We lamented the fact that there seemed to be very few places where we could see ourselves reflected in fiction. Lee turned to me with a wicked gleam in her eye and said, “You know, we should do an anthology of Asian female horror.”
Ten months later, and here is the anthology. It’s powerful and authentic and heartfelt. My two stories are nestled in amongst work by some of Southeast Asia’s most talented dark fiction writers.
“A Pet is for Life” examines the tendency to eroticise Asian women, and also to think of them as helpless creatures requiring rescuing. There are also rescue dogs. “Little Worm” explores the expectations laid at the feet of Asian mothers and daughters and what happens when dreams become monstrous.
You can read both stories, along with twelve other tales of unquiet women by following the link here.
The 2019-2020 Australian bushfire season devastated communities across the country and decimated bushland. Burning Love and Bleeding Hearts is a collection of dark Valentine-themed short stories created in support of victims of the bushfires. My eerie flash fiction “Seamless,” can be found amongst its pages. If you’d like to support this worthy cause and have a read, you can get a copy here.
I’m proud to say that I am officially on Stephen King’s brain. My short story “Catfish” is a wry little horror flash fiction, inspired by two of King’s own works: “Gramma” and Pet Sematary.
You can get a copy here from Unnerving Magazine if you’d like to see what I came up with.
“The Pontianak’s Doll”
Dolls. Shudder. Those glassy eyes. That wiry hair.
My short story “The Pontianak’s Doll” explores the legend of a Malaysian vampiric ghost and her search for what is lost. It has been republished in the Lost Souls Gothic Fantasy short story anthology.
The anthology is brought out by Flame Tree Publishing and features many new writers as well as classic masters of the Gothic tale such as M.R. James, Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft.
If you like the thought of small fingers of dread walking up your spine, you can get a copy here.
“The Zoo of All Things”
There was a guy at my local supermarket who never spoke a word. I always wondered what his story was but he and the supermarket are now long gone, so I never got to ask him.
“The Zoo of All Things” is how I imagined he would survive on his first day of work after a zombie apocalypse.
My short story features in the After the Rebirth anthology brought out by TANSTAAFL Press.
You can also get your hands on a copy here on Amazon.
My short story ‘The Fledgling” appeared on episode #329 of the Tales to Terrify podcast on the 18th of May, 2018. The story delves into a mother’s guilt and the alien landscape of religious education.
Chris is relieved when her daughter flourishes at her new school. Rebecca blooms, becoming the perfect student. Then the crows begin to arrive.
Check it out here.
Shades of Santa: Tales from the Bloody North Pole is a collection of thirty-seven dark flash fiction tales with all proceeds going to charity:water.
663 million people in the world today live without access to clean water. Charity:water is a non-profit organisation bringing clean, safe water to people in developing countries.
My story “Teatime” is the tale of the wicked Miss Maisy, her devoted manservant, Mr Poole and Juniper, Winter’s child. It appears in the section of the anthology on Snow People and I hope it stirs a shiver or two up your spine.
If you’re thirsty for some fabulous frosty fiction, check out the anthology on Amazon by clicking here.
“A Pet is For Life”
Asian urban legends give me the heebie-jeebies. There’s no redemption and no reasoning to how these vengeful ghosts operate.
“A Pet is For Life” is my take on the kuchisake-onna tale and features in Behind the Mask – Tales from the Id.
The anthology is brought out by Oz Horror Con and features works by authors such as Clive Barker and Ramsey Campbell, as well as many talented Australian authors..
Grab a copy here here and uncover some monsters.
500 words; a Christmas ghost story theme; a two week deadline. Simple, right? And a hell of a lot of fun.
My sick little flash fiction “Grandmother Rina” pits a venomous grandmother against a murderous Santa, and features in the Australian Horror Writers Association’s Christmas anthology alongside stories by talented writers such as Greg Chapman, Deborah Sheldon and Alan Baxter.
Check it out here on Amazon.com
“A Special Breed”
In 2016, the Vision Writers Group celebrated twenty years of speculative fiction by publishing Darkest Depths, an anthology of short stories that go dark and delve deep.
“A Special Breed” is my humble homage to “Some Children Wander by Mistake,” a short story written by John Connolly that remains one of my favourites to this day.
A dark circus, lost children and the legend of the Apis bull; what more could you wish for?