Killer Creatures Down Under

My horror anthology, Killer Creatures Down Under: Horror Stories with Bite, was published by IFWG Publishing Australia on 15 May 2023.

Australia: the land where everything wants to kill you. A continent filled with some of the deadliest animals in the world. From creepy-crawlies to crocodiles, you’ll have plenty to fear in this anthology penned by Australian authors. Killer Creatures Down Under: Horror Stories with Bite offers disturbing tales that range from the action-packed and visceral, through the historical and futuristic, to the phantasmagorical and supernatural. Prepare to confront your animal phobias… And perhaps develop some new ones.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • Corvus – Keith Williams
  • Ixodes Holocyclus – Ben Matthews
  • Bait – Anthony Ferguson
  • Species Endangered (reprint) – Deborah Sheldon
  • The Warrigals – Steven Paulsen
  • Quoll Season – Helena O’Connor
  • Every Part of Her – Antoinette Rydyr
  • The Best Omelette in Australia – Fox Claret Hill
  • Twisted – Renee De Visser
  • A Park Apart – Charles Spiteri
  • The Seaside – Robert Mammone
  • Hell Gully – Pauline Yates
  • Myiasis – J.M. Merryt
  • No Frills Holiday – Geraldine Borella
  • Milk and Honey (reprint) – Jason Fischer
  • Nineteen Hours on Deep Creek Station – Tim Borella
  • Boyfriend Material – H.K. Stubbs
  • There Are Things on Me – Matt Tighe

WHERE TO BUY

Paperback: your favourite bookshop, Amazon US, Amazon AU, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, IPG Book Distributors

E-book: Amazon US, Amazon AU, Barnes & Noble, iBook

GINGER NUTS OF HORROR “BEHIND THE SCENES” SERIES

What inspires horror stories? Throughout April and May 2023, Ginger Nuts of Horror will publish a four-part “Behind the Scenes” series for Killer Creatures Down Under: Horror Stories with Bite, edited by yours truly. The series includes insightful and candid essays by all of the contributors.

  • PART ONE – editor Deborah Sheldon, Keith Williams, Ben Matthews, and Anthony Ferguson.
  • PART TWO – Steve Paulsen, Helena O’Connor, Antoinette Rydyr, and Fox Claret Hill.
  • PART THREE – Renee De Visser, Charles Spiteri, Robert Mammone, Paula Yates, and J.M. Merryt.

EXAMPLES OF READER REVIEWS

Jason Franks, 5/5 – Brilliant collection of short stories featuring Australian fauna spanning the breadth of the horror genre. Some stories are set it the here and now, while some are historical, supernatural, or even science fictional. All of them immaculately presented and razor sharp. This is one classy anthology.

Dave, 5/5 – I love a good horror anthology. Being able to dip in and out when I’m pressed for time is great. And it’s a real bonus when I find a collection with different styles and flavours of scary. I really enjoyed Killer Creatures Down Under: Horror Stories with Bite. Each tale had a unique perspective on Aussie critters, and why many of them are scary as hell (I didn’t realise how many creatures I wasn’t afraid of, but should be).

I liked the range of different stories, from supernatural ravens with long memories, as in Corvus, by Keith Williams, to the straight-up terrifying realism of Species Endangered, by Deborah Sheldon. There was mind-breaking horror, such as The Seaside, by Richard Mammone—ouchy instant regret, as in No Frills Holiday, by Geraldine Borella, and an alternate history of Australia in Milk and Honey, by Jason Fisher, which is totally foreign, but with creepily familiar echoes.

I mention these as some examples to describe the style of the anthology. Some stories resonated with me more than others, but there weren’t any I disliked. If you are into horror and want something with an Aussie flavour, I don’t see how you could find a better collection. I highly recommend checking this out.

Robyn O’Sullivan, 5/5 – ‘Killer Creatures Down Under: Horror Stories with Bite’ is an anthology of truly incredible stories that cover the whole spectrum of the horror genre. The brainchild of multi award-winning Australian author, Deborah Sheldon, who conceived, compiled and edited this volume, it will be released on 15 May by Australia’s IFWG Publishing. Add to this the Australian writers, the exclusive plot focus on Australian creatures, and the stories all located – you guessed it – Down Under, and you’ve got a book that’s one hundred percent ‘Made in Australia’. My advice? Grab it and read it, ASAP!

UNSETTLING READS REVIEW

I was delighted to receive an ARC of this Australian horror anthology. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Spawn: Weird Horror Tales About Pregnancy, Birth and Babies, which Sheldon also edited, so having a sneak preview was quite a treat! Sheldon’s short story “Species Endangered,” which is included in Killer Creatures Down Under, was the inspiration for the collection.

I got such a kick out of the Introduction. Deborah Sheldon explains her aversion to animals, and she explains her reasoning as to why they’re the perfect subject matter for a horror anthology. Drawing on the knowledge of her personal feelings while reading her story made it that much more suspenseful and thrilling.

As I was reading the collection, I recognized a few names from the Spawn anthology. It was a pleasant surprise to revisit those authors’ voices. I will admit, there were a couple of Australian things I had to look up! I wasn’t as familiar with a few of the animals and the fauna mentioned. It only made the stories that much more mysterious, intriguing, and terrifying!

Killer Creatures Down Under is so much more than creatures, though. The contributors did a great job giving readers complicated relationships as well as well-developed characters. When I finished the book, I noted to myself that I wished I could have had even more of these stories – especially when Matt Tighe’s terrifying short “There Are Things On Me” is what anchors the book! I do hope Sheldon will offer more Aussie horror collections in the future.

There is a lot of variety when it comes to the animals involved. I counted at least 21 different creatures throughout the book. There were a couple of stories with similar “monsters,” but the plots and characters were so different it didn’t matter. Readers will experience terror, suspense, thrills, and they’ll come face-to-face with some formidable monsters that inhabit Australia. I had high hopes before reading the book, and I was not disappointed.

As a creature feature girl, this book made me very happy. Truth be told, I might have enjoyed a little more gruesome content. Not to say that there isn’t some in the collection! A few of the stories did give me the visceral reactions I love. Two in particular had me scratching a little while I was reading them! Beware, some of the creatures in the anthology have a way of getting under your skin!

I believe anyone who enjoys a creature or monster tale will find this collection to be quite enjoyable. I’d like to share my favorites in the collection that got my heart racing a bit or made me think of them after I put the book down.

Over the years, I have found a love for Australian (& Australasian) horror stories and authors. I hope you will grab a copy of this book and join me as I devour as many stories as I can. In a country that claims at least 66 deadly species, how can you go wrong? These eighteen authors will introduce you to them and leave you ready for more.

My Top 9 Stories from Killer Creatures Down Under: Horror Stories With Bite (in order of appearance)
“Corvus” by Keith Williams – Fun story! I love the storytelling and the mystery. I enjoyed following this MC – & the author’s bio is fantastic!

“Ixodes Holocyclus” by Ben Matthews – Wow! Interesting story & great forensics scenes. Horrifying creature! It kept me engaged. I really enjoyed it.

“Bait” by Anthony Ferguson – Another great story! I love the way it led us the whole time and the “bait” was a variety of things.

“Species Endangered” by Deborah Sheldon – Great bits of suspense! I could feel the terror! I felt the fear of being hunted. The creature was scary, and she did a fantastic job bringing it to life on the page.

“Twisted” by Renee De Visser – Another that kept me in suspense the whole time! I felt the MC’s fear! Bold creature! Fun read!

“Myiasis” by J.M. Merryt – I needed this body horror story in my life. This one was nice and gross – loved it!

“No Frills Holiday” by Geraldine Borella – Nice suspense and dread and great character building. I was all in on this one! This author was in Spawn.

“Nineteen Hours on Deep Creek Station” by Tim Borella – Another story with loads of suspense and great relationship building.

“There are Things on Me” by Matt Tighe – I got excited when I saw this author’s name, because I loved his story so much in Spawn. I adored this story. Eerie, creepy, short, and sweet – and so compelling. This makes me want to hunt down more of his work.