Perfect Little Stitches and other stories

perfect little stitches - final cover

WINNER of the Australian Shadows Award “Best Collected Work 2017”.

Long-listed for the 2017 Bram Stoker Award “Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection”.

One of Aurealis Magazine’s Top Picks of 2017.

aurealis-awards-finalist-high-res

Nominated for the Aurealis Award “Best Collection 2017”.

A collection of twenty-one dark fantasy and horror stories. Mysterious. Creepy. Disturbing. A funeral director, who steals body parts for cash, takes delivery of an unusual corpse. The crew of a nineteenth-century fishing boat encounters an unknown but irresistible danger. A dog-sledder on a secret mission in Antarctica fights for his life against the monsters that have fuelled his every nightmare since the Vietnam war. And much more…

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BRAM STOKER AWARD 2017 BALLOT NOMINATION

I’m absolutely thrilled that my horror collection, Perfect Little Stitches and Other Stories (IFWG Publishing Australia), made it into the preliminary “Bram Stoker Award” 2017 ballot for Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection. While I didn’t make the shortlist, just to be mentioned on the same page as industry heavyweights like Joe Hill is a tremendous honour.
For the full list of the Bram Stoker 2017 Preliminary Ballot, please click here.

AUREALIS #106: REVIEW

Grave robbers, changelings, mermaids, and ghosts are just some of the characters Deborah Sheldon introduces to us in her latest release, Perfect Little Stitches and Other Stories.

From the traditional sirens to the prehistoric cassowary, harpies to were-cow, Sheldon produces what may be the most disturbed showcase of monsters you will ever meet. A roll call of the gothic and macabre to unsettle.

Each story is lovingly conceived and well-executed, a nightmare wrapped in prose. Most surprising is the length. A majority of the stories read only a few pages in length, but the tension is relentless in the best possible way. Taut and tightly paced, this is a finely crafted collection, with each story challenging reader expectations and comfort levels.

Best in the series may be the opening story, “Perfect Little Stitches”, but Sheldon immediately challenges that with the subtle and surprising “When This You See, Think of Me”. The collection is so solid that there isn’t one single story that shines above the rest.

Sheldon has an uncanny gift for unnerving imagery and story. Her characters are well drawn and sympathetic, which makes their demise and survival all the more compelling. Definitely a collection not to be missed.  – Aimee Lindorff, November 2017.

AUREALIS REVIEWER’S PICKS OF 2017, AUREALIS #106

This may be one of my most, and least, favourite collections. Short gothic horror stories filled with monsters, old and new, that leave you perpetually unnerved. It’s not a collection to be read in one sitting, but, like cockroach things from outer space, you can’t help but devour it. – Aimee Lindorff.

THE HORROR TREE REVIEW

This collection of dark fantasy and horror stories, 21 in all, is from the imagination of Australian writer Deborah Sheldon. The book comes with an impressive pedigree -Long-listed for the 2017 Bram Stoker Award- “Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection”. One of Aurealis Magazine’s Top Picks of 2017. Nominated for the Aurealis Award “Best Collection 2017”.

It lives up to all this promise and delivers with a kick. The collection is peopled with the weird, macabre, ghostly and the alien. The titles of each short story are brilliant and clever. A shout out too for the cleverly designed cover art.

Each story creates a micro world of strangeness filled with strongly written characters and relentless tension; there are no weak links in this collection.

We meet harpies/mermaids (not the pretty cute sort)/ aliens in the attic/ the undead/a were cow masquerading as a sundowner/a killer prehistoric bird and grave robbers. Just your usual Friday night crowd down the pub. Yes, if you drink in Hell’s Grave.

In the opening story which provides the title for the collection, a funeral director who has a financially lucrative but unethical sideline, gets his comeuppance in a horrifying fashion.

In one of my personal favourites, written in a visual almost filmic fashion, ‘Species Endangered’, a day at the beach for a couple becomes a fight to survive when they’re attacked by a blast from the prehistoric past.

‘Nocturnal Fury’ evokes the legend of the Old Hag who visits at night to feed on your life force, but she’s imaginary isn’t she? The doctor is on the case so all will be fine.

Sheldon plays with our expectations, keeps us off kilter, making the normal situations of everyday life, topple into the bizarre and dangerous. We are watching through distorted mirrors and playing with shadows. Sheldon is very good at packing in a great deal of detail and terror into a few pages never outstaying her welcome.

This collection should be on every horror reader’s list for 2018. – Alyson Faye

BOOKWORMS CORNER BLOG SPOT REVIEW

This collection of bite sized horrors has bite!

Each story is very different and very frightening. I can honestly say that there was not one that I disliked. I don’t have a favourite but I genuinely enjoyed (felt creeped out) by every one of them. From space to sea, complete fantasy, to tales with their roots based in myth and legend each story is completely unique and really cleverly written.
Like all the talented horror authors Deborah Sheldon knows to leave us with the fear of the unknown. Cleverly crafted and well researched, the stories have a sense of possibility at times.

This is a book that should not be passed by any lover of the horror genre.

EXAMPLES OF READER REVIEWS:

Anne McCluskey 5/5 stars (Facebook/Amazon)I love it! Every story is unique & exciting. It’s a treasure trove. Marvellous book! Excellent stories beautifully crafted.

Matt Bird 5/5 stars (Goodreads)Perfect Little Stitches and other stories is an eclectic mix of horror and dark fantasy tales. You know you’re in good hands from the offset. Sheldon is a writer who knows what she’s doing in this collection of superbly characterised, entertaining, solidly written tales. Some stories are tongue in cheek, while others chill and linger. However, among this collection of twenty-one stories you’ll find something to satiate most horror and dark fantasy tastes. There are hints of Bloch and Bradbury in this excellent anthology, and Sheldon skilfully explores folklore, superstitions, old wives’ tales, and urban myths, weaving them into stories you won’t easily forget. I enjoyed all the tales in this anthology, although the standout stories for me, in no particular order, were: What the Sea Wants, Species Endangered, Angel Hair, A Haunting in Suburbia, Stagecoach from Castlemaine. Although my particular favourite was Will o’ the Wisp . Here Sheldon finds a perfect balance between folklore, superstition, paranoia, fear and psychology, and actual horror. It’s reminiscent of Edith Wharton’s Bewitched and is equally as haunting. However, how the events in Will o’ the Wisp are to be interpreted, you’ll have to read it and decide for yourself.

Louise Zedda-Sampson 5/5 stars (Goodreads): I really enjoyed this book. The stories were all different and the collection was put together well. As I was coming to the end, expecting to finish quietly with a few more horrific reads, the last few stories upped the pace rather than tapered it down. They left me wondering about the characters, filled will ‘eww’s and ‘I wonder’s and left me hungry for more.

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