Editor / Mentor / Tutor / Lecturer

Midnight Echo is the magazine of the Australasian Horror Writers Association. I’m honoured to be guest editor of issue 14, due for release December 2019. From the AHWA website: “Midnight Echo 14 is upon us and the AHWA is proud to announce that Deb Sheldon is onboard to guest edit this representative of all things good about Australasian horror writing. Deb’s themed issued of Things Are Not As They Seem will open to submissions from July 30 to August 31 and she is seeking only the best for this edition of Midnight Echo.” Submission information can be found here.

The Australasian Horror Writers Association Mentorship Program 2019 opens for applications on June 10. The program provides the opportunity to work closely with highly qualified mentors on an approved project. Successful applicants will be matched for a three-month period of one-on-one development and guidance. This year’s mentors are Alan Baxter, Paul Mannering, Robert N. Stephenson, Kaaron Warren, and myself. Applications close June 24 at midnight.

In 2018, the Australasian Horror Writers Association invited applications from AHWA members for its 2018 Mentorship Program. Mentorships were available with award-winning writers Alan Baxter, Kaaron Warren, Paul Mannering and myself. We worked work one-on-one with successful mentees to offer advice and guidance on a selected work. Run over a three-month period from August to December 2018, successful mentees received 10–15 hours of mentoring. I mentored Natalie Satakovski and we focused on the techniques of writing short fiction.

On Saturday July 21st 2018, I was a guest speaker/tutor at the inaugural Fernglen Writers’ Retreat Weekend, organised by writer and editor Louise Zedda-Sampson.

In 2017, the Australasian Horror Writers Association assembled a team of award-winning and award-nominated industry professionals in the fields to help emerging writers better their craft through the AHWA Mentor Program. The program matches new writers with established writers for a three-month period of intense development. The mentors are myself, Kaaron Warren, Lee Murray, Alan Baxter, Shane Jiraiya Cummings, Greg Chapman, and Charles Lovecraft. My mentee, editor and emerging writer, Geneve Flynn, writes about the experience of being a mentee. Her testimonial for the AHWA: “The AHWA writing mentorship with Deborah Sheldon has been an invaluable experience. In ten years of studying writing and editing craft, I don’t think I’ve improved as swiftly or as markedly as during those four months of intensive learning. Deb helped me to see the gaps as well as the strengths in my writing and has helped me to approach my process from different angles, reviving my enthusiasm and confidence in becoming the writer I always dreamt I would be. Deb was an utter delight to work with, bringing humour, years of experience and a no-nonsense work ethic to this crazy profession. I highly recommend applying for an AHWA mentorship to any writer looking to raise their writing to the next level.”

I ran my creative writing workshops for beginners at North Ringwood Community House throughout 2011 and 2012. A recommendation from a student: ‘Over a number of years, I have attended classes and writing groups that have just not “done it” for me. Deborah Sheldon’s classes certainly have. Inspirational, highly informative, humorous, invigorating and professional in the highest extreme. Thank you Deb.’ – Beverley P., Wantirna.

I ran monthly writing classes at Orana Neighbourhood House in Wantirna South and North Ringwood Community House throughout 2010. A quote from one of the (anonymous) feedback forms: ‘Love love love this class. Very educational, informative, interesting, inspiring. Highlight of my month!’

In 1998, I was guest speaker at an RMIT screenwriting class. Also in 1998, I was a delegate at the ASDA/AWG seminar weekend, speaking on ‘SomaZone’.


The Australasian Horror Writers Association (AHWA) Flash Fiction & Short Story Competition was open to submissions until May 31, 2017. I was honoured to be one of the judges. My fellow judges are the very talented writers Maree Kimberley and Glenn H. Mitchell.

Non-fiction pieces

The Victorian Writer magazine is a valuable resource for Writers Victoria members and aspiring writers across Australia. The October/November issue 2017 included my feature article, “How to spot a bad editor”.

The Pilot 2018 Diary For Writers features advice from Island, Griffith Review, Poetry New Zealand, Lip, Rabbit, and Brief PLUS writing tips, prompts and encouragement from some of Australia and New Zealand’s authors, poets, playwrights, journalists and critics, including Garry Disher, Alan Baxter, Jane Turner Goldsmith, me, and many more.

My article, ‘The How-To of Health Writing’, is published in the November 2015 issue of ‘The Victorian Writer’ magazine: https://writersvictoria.org.au/resources/the-victorian-writer

My brief take on crime-noir fiction is published by Alfie Dog Bites UK in May 2013: http://alfiedog.com/writers-on-writing-deborah-sheldon-noir-fiction/

My ‘reflections’ piece on the process behind my short story ‘Basket trap’ is published on the Page Seventeen website, November 2011.

My personal essay ‘What I learnt on the way to my latest book contract’ is published in the March 2010 issue of Positive Words magazine.


Over the 32 years of my career, I’ve had many gigs that I haven’t described in detail such as annual reports, general editing, script editing, consultancy. In most cases, these gigs are health-related. For example:

In 1995, I wrote the teacher notes for “Women of the Philippines”, part of Video Education Australasia’s “Half the sky: women around the world” video series. http://hip.jcu.edu.au/ipac20/ipac.jsp?session=1241N51599H89.942199&profile=st&uri=full%3D3100001~!243993~!0&booklistformat=#focus

I have done editing work for various health organisations such as Alzheimer’s Australia.

In 2010, I wrote medical copy for Assess Now, a program for the US education market. My pieces, including information on muscles and the skeletal system, were designed to help teachers test the literacy of primary school students.

Book reviewer

My friend Gillian Kendall edited a collection of travel essays called ‘Something to declare: good lesbian travel writing’, which was released late 2009. I wrote a review of her book for The New Book Review website, published January 2010. http://thenewbookreview.blogspot.com/2010/01/why-not-travel-stories-with-lesbian.html

Film scriptwriter

In April 2009, my short film script ‘Man with a suitcase’ (based on my short story of the same name) is listed on the Australian Short Films web site. http://www.australianshortfilms.com/Man-With-A-Suitcase.html


In 1998, I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts, Multidisciplinary, from Victoria College (now known as Deakin University), Toorak campus, Melbourne. I achieved consistent high distinctions throughout the three-year course.

  • Majors: scriptwriting & journalism
  • Minors: literature & philosophy
  • Electives: fiction writing, psychology & editing

Further education: 1996 Producer & production management course, Open Channel, Melbourne.