j. ashley-smith

dark fiction and other materials
Ariadne, I Love You - Out Now


JAS headshot

J. Ashley Smith is a British–Australian writer of dark fiction and co-host of the Let The Cat In Podcast.

J. was born in Cambridge, UK, and spent his childhood hiding with imaginary companions in the foundations of an Edwardian townhouse. He studied film and creative writing, then lost fifteen years to the British indie music scene, clothed in unfashionable sweaters, releasing unpopular records. He now lives with his wife and two sons in the suburbs of North Canberra, gathering moth dust, tormented by the desolation of telegraph wires.

J.’s stories have been shortlisted for multiple awards, winning both the Australian Shadows Award and Aurealis Award. His first book, The Attic Tragedy, won the Shirley Jackson Award. His short story collection, The Measure of Sorrow, is due for release in 2023 from Meerkat Press.

J. haunts the internet as @SpookTapes and can be contacted at spooktapes[at]gmail[dot]com.


Ariadne, I Love You cover

Nathan Ballingrud – “Intimate, whip-smart, and relentless.”

Simon Strantzas –“Deftly blurs the lines between real and nightmare.”

Lynda E. Rucker –“The kind of oblique, unsettling fiction I’m always looking for.”

J.S. Breukelaar – “A nuanced and numinous rock ’n’ roll Gothic.”

Angela Slatter – “A haunting tale of desire and madness and what might—or might not—be love.”

book page

The Attic Tragedy cover


Kaaron Warren – “A chilling, devastating story.” 

John Langan – “Fiction of the highest order.”

Sarah Read – “Full of heart and darkness.”

Brian Evenson – “A beautifully written book.”

book page


Book launch party!

Book launch party!

Ariadne, I Love You and The Attic Tragedy double book launch: In both 2020 and 2021, I released books into the wilderness of social distancing and lockdowns. Though we held some excellent online events to celebrate at the time, nothing compares to the vibe of a reading in a room full of people…

Ariadne, I Love You – audiobook

Ariadne, I Love You – audiobook

Huzzah! The top secret project is revealed!

I’m a great devourer of audiobooks, so loved every moment of making this. Thrilled it’s now out in the world.

If you like creepiness injected directly into your ears, then check out this audio extract.

Shirley Jackson Award winner!

Shirley Jackson Award winner!

Sooooo… aw jeez. I’ve been hiding out all day in a state of shock and bewilderment because The Attic Tragedy won a frickin’ Shirley Jackson Award!

Vol.1 Brooklyn – Guest Post

Vol.1 Brooklyn – Guest Post

Have you ever seen a ghost? Or heard one? Maybe not. But perhaps you’ve had some experience or other you couldn’t easily explain, some weird occurrence which you mull on even now. Did it happen the way you remember? Or did you imagine it? That ambiguity, unfocused and inconclusive, is the essence of what we think of as the supernatural.

Paul Semel interview

Paul Semel interview

Ariadne, I Love You – Blog Tour This interview with Paul Semel was a great opportunity to dig into what Ariadne, I Love You is all about. Music, ghosts, channeling the supernatural. Check it out.

StokerCon 2021

StokerCon 2021

I had a blast at StokerCon 2021, read a (freakishly beardless) extract from Ariadne, I Love You, and Kaaron Warren, Aaron Dries. and I launched the pilot of our new podcast, Let The Cat In. Check out the videos here.

let the cat in

J. Ashley-Smith, Kaaron Warren and Aaron Dries

Let The Cat In is the podcast in which three horror writers and their guests riff on objects, inspiration, and those ideas that scratch at the door, miaowing to be let in.

Canberra-based authors Kaaron Warren, Aaron Dries and J. Ashley-Smith have been meeting up to drink wine and talk shit for ages. At a book launch in 2020, they started a conversation about stories hidden in objects, which took on a life of its own. They recorded a panel for StokerCon 2021 – Let The Cat In: three authors drinking wine and talking shit about objects and whatnot. Attendees of the Con enjoyed it so much that Kaaron, Aaron and Joseph recorded a whole bunch more, opening the conversation out to some of their favourite writers, poets and artists; inviting these creative folks to share what’s inspiring them, and what they do when that cat is scratching at the door.

Season 1 guests include JS Breukelaar,  Isobelle Carmody, Brian Evenson, Kathe Koja, John Langan, Dan O’Malley, Garth Nix, Lynda E. Rucker, Melinda Smith, Paul Tremblay, Sean Williams and more!

Follow the show on:
Apple Podcasts  |  Spotify  |. Google Podcasts  | or your favourite podcast player