Archive for the ‘ Awards ’ Category

WRITTEN BACKWARDS AWARDS ® / DRAWA

Written Backwards Awards

Also known as the DRAWA, the Written Backwards Awards ® celebrates the recognition of literary marvels. For those unfamiliar with this somewhat-annual tradition of virtual award-giving, here are the details (most plagiarized from the previous award year):

The prestigious DRAWA / AWARD is not determined by jury, not by recommendation counts of any kind, and not by a jury/rec superpac, but is decided upon by Written Backwards and its staff… meaning one person, Michael Bailey. He determines whether a literary work is DRAWA eligible by reading or looking at various readable or lookable things throughout the year, whether it be a short story, novelette, novella, novel, screenplay (which we all know is just watching a movie), soundtrack, grocery list, magazine, website article, literary journal, pretty picture/artwork, or whatever else he sees fit, mentally scores this work on a scale of suck to badass, and from that point creates a preliminary ballot in his head from which to randomly choose ballotees. From this “preliminary” ballot, he then carefully and skillfully and adverbly removes “preliminary” altogether, thus creating what is known as the Written Backwards Awards® final ballot, which may or may not have to include works from the previous year. DRAWA winners are determined from this mental list, if remembered, depending on eligibility.

There is no hindrance on publication date, as long as the publication date does not surpass the year in which an award is planned for issue. For example, if Joe King publishes an award-winning masterpiece in March 2016, he is not eligible for a 2015 award because, well, his work is from the future, and future literary works are prohibited, as mentioned somewhere in the figurative small-print. Awards can go to the dead, although they cannot be accepted in person.

Please note that all writers whose work appeared or will soon appear in Written Backwards anthologies are not only eligible for a DRAWA, but automatic recipients of the Written Backwards Awards ®. This includes the following anthologies not covered previously: Qualia Nous, The Library of the Dead, as well as the upcoming Chiral Mad 3 and You, Human. If your work appeared or will soon appear in the aforementioned anthologies, you are hereby or soonby an alumni recipient of the Written Backwards Awards ® for the given year of publication. See anthology table of contents page for a full list of alumni recipients.

So, without further ado, Written Backwards is proud to introduce the the latest winners of the Written Backwards Awards ®, also known as the DRAWA (name not yet a registered trademark). The following works were admired greatly since the last award season, and can forever be considered literary marvels from this point onward. If you haven’t read these books, do so now. I’ll even supply a direct link where you can buy these books, as well as a few kind words about each…

Slade HouseSlade HouseThere’s a reason writers such as Joe Hill, Dean Koontz, Anthony Doerr and Gillian Flynn blurbed this novel; while Cloud Atlas had its share of fictional history, science fiction, and even horror, Slade House is Mitchell’s first take on straight-up horror. Some are describing this book as our generation’s The Turn of the Screw. I read a lot of both published and unpublished dark fiction, and this is one of the finest, most well-structured short horror novels I’ve read in the last ten years. The book is a work of art, inside and out. I adore this book completely.

The Bone ClocksThe Bone Clocks
Just before so beautifully tackling the horror genre, Mitchell beautifully tackled the science fiction genre with The Bone Clocks, a novel composed of six interconnecting novella-length works. “Tackled science fiction” is not strong enough. “Crushed it” may fit better. In fact, he won the World Fantasy Award and was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize for this novel. And he should have won the Nebula, in my opinion. Again, one of the finest, most beautifully-constructed science fiction novels I’ve read in the last ten years.

The Reason I JumpThe Reason I Jump – Jon Stewart probably says it best: “One of the most remarkable books I’ve ever read. It’s truly moving, eye-opening, incredibly vivid.” And I agree 100%. This is a translation (by both David Mitchell and his wife) of a memoir by thirteen-year-old Naoki Higashida, a boy living with autism. If you want to understand autism, this is the book to read. As Stewart said, “eye-opening.” This should be required reading in schools. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve loaned this book for someone else to read.

David MitchellSlade HouseThe Bone Clocks, and The Reason I Jump (yes, two novels and a nonfiction book from a single author made the list this year). I fell in love with Mitchell’s first novel, Ghostwritten, and then Number9Dream, and then Black Swan Green, followed by Cloud Atlas, which was adapted to the screen by the Wachowski’s, and although I haven’t read The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, I highly enjoyed the audio book. In writing these books, which all connect in subtle ways, Mitchell has quickly become my favorite contemporary writer, hands-down. His latest three books are probably some of the most important books written in the last however-many years, and are some of the most literary/accessible works I’ve had the pleasure of reading (and re-reading, since I will be revisiting each of these books in the future). It’s probably safe to say that David Mitchell is the most important writer working today.

IQ84

IQ84 by Haruki Murakami caught my eye as I was perusing a bookstore in some airport a few years ago, mostly because of its size. This book could be a… well, a bookend, or a doorstop. It’s 1,184 pages, to be exact, which works well with the title. I’ve read this book in print, as well as listened to the audio book, and it’s a trip, a long trip, but one worth the journey. Part fantasy, part science fiction. My only regret is that I’m sure it’s lost some of its beauty in translation. If you’ve got some time to kill, kill it with this book.

Beautiful You

So Fifty Shades of Grey happened not long enough ago… Now imagine that book as not one of the worst things ever written, and imagine something better, so much, much better, written with… what’s the word… English, and then add a splash of end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it horror, and let it come from the mind of Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club, Choke, Survivor), and you have Beautiful You (novel), probably the strangest book to win a DRAWA. Nominated last year for the Bram Stoker Award, this is… well, interesting. I guess I should let the Amazon book description do its thing: “when Penny discovers she is a test subject for a line of female sex toys so effective that women by the millions are lining up outside the stores to buy it on opening day, she understands the gravity the situation. A billion husbands are about to be replaced.” Yep. It’s like that.

Lisey's StorySince we’re on the subject of love (sort of), Stephen King wrote Lisey’s Story (novel) over ten years ago, and it’s good enough to make it on my list this year, mostly because I want people to give it a shot. I’ve read it three times now. Some people love it; others hate it. My opinion? This is Stephen King’s best novel (yeah, I said it, so what?). Even Stephen King thinks it’s his best work. It’s sort of a ghost story about the secret language of love… of all things. I’m guessing you’ve never read it. If not, read it. Now. It was up for the World Fantasy Award, as well as the Bram Stoker Award for long fiction back when the original “Lisey and the Madman” was published a few years prior to the novel.

Bird Box

Birdbox (novel) by Josh Malerman is the first book in a long while that kept me riveted, to say the least, and the book refused to be put down for a break, and every time I did (sometimes I had to), it left me wondering “what’s next?” and wanting to finish the rest of it. I’d think about it all day, wanting to get home to read more. Why? A woman and two four-year-old children float down a river, blindfolded, with someone or something out there making noises, perhaps following them. Malerman’s debut novel deserved the Stoker for first novel, in my opinion (although there was some fierce competition), and I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.

The MartianWhether you loved it or hated it (seems to be a toss-up, either one or the other, and never anywhere in the middle), The Martian (novel) by Andy Weir made the cut for this year’s DRAWA. As of writing this, I haven’t seen the movie (although I’ve heard it’s Ridley Scott’s best thing since Alien and Blade Runner), but the book held me. I read this thing in three sittings. Plus, I love science, and this book was full of nerdy sciency stuff. If I were stranded on Mars, this would probably be close to my memoir. I guess you could say I liked it…

Burnt Tongues

I read a lot of short fiction for my anthologies (millions and millions and millions of words each year) so it’s a nice surprise to find a gem of an anthology from talented peers, such as Burnt Tongues (anthology), edited by Richard Thomas and Chuck Palahniuk. Although I’ve never heard of a single name in this book (other than its creators), this is a great collection of short fiction by some writers that should probably be a little more well-known (so give them a shot!), and an anthology deserving of the recognition its received. Kudos to Richard Thomas for putting together such a fine looking book, and to Chuck.

Head full of ghostsI wouldn’t be surprised if Paul Tremblay’s A Head Full of Ghosts (novel) takes home the Bram Stoker Award this time around. It’s a fine novel, one that gave Stephen King a scare, no less. I’d never heard of Paul Tremblay until this book was mentioned on Brian Keene’s podcast, The Horror Show with Brian Keene. Brian had enough kind things to say about this book that I gave it a read. And, well, it’s incredible. Slade House will probably be overlooked for the Stoker, so A Head Full of Ghosts would probably be my next vote.

Where We Live and DieSince I mentioned Brian Keene, and I’m sure he probably wouldn’t mind a nod, Where We Live and Die (nonfiction) made the cut this year. Brian Keene. Nonfiction. Enough said, right? This is how I like my nonfiction! Many know Brian’s work because of The Rising and The City of the Dead, or his novel about giant earthworms (all great books, by the way), but I discovered Brian by accident by reading a lesser-known novel of his called Terminal, which would make my list of all-time favorite books, if I were to make such a list. Jeff Strand‘s Pressure would probably make that list as well, which I’d consider his best book… But enough about fiction. Read this nonfiction.

The Art of Horrible PeopleThe last DRAWA this year goes to John Skipp for The Art of Horrible People (fiction collection). “Savor this book. Savor this writer.” Josh Malerman rightfully states this in his introduction. The Art of Horrible People collects Skipp’s fiction in a way I’ve never experienced before in a fiction collection, offering a reflection of our sick selves in the process, a look at just horrible we’ve become, and how beautiful that can be. Skipp is perhaps the living example that the phrase “there are no original ideas” is a load of crap. Skipp can crank out originality like it’s-not-going-out-of-style.

You have 12 new books to read (or perhaps re-read if you’ve read them already). Buy yourself something nice this holiday season. Like 12 books. And then read one each month for the next 12 months.

That’s it for this year, except…

Last year there were some special Written Backwards Awards ® given to those making a noticeable difference in the writing community. This year, Written Backwards proudly presents the DRAWA Presence, Inspiration, and Voice. (See how that works? AWARD is spelled backwards, with the subject of the award after… so, this would actually be a Presence Award, Inspiration Award, and a Voice Award… clever, right?)

Anyway, the DRAWA Presence recognizes an individual completely dedicated to the craft, someone who’s been around awhile and knows what they’re doing, and is not afraid to share that knowledge for the greater good. The DRAWA Inspiration recognizes an individual somewhat new to the craft, someone with emerging talent, a strong, literary powerhouse waiting to erupt; this is the person to watch closely. Lastly, the DRAWA Voice recognizes an individual  with a fresh, unique literary voice, someone who quite clearly knows all the rules, and is very good at breaking them; this person has their own genre of awesomeness, in other words. Who are these people?

DRAWA Presence – Mort Castle is a teacher, a counselor, a man willing to mold the future of all things literary. He is an inspiration, and he inspires.

DRAWA Inspiration – Emily B. Cataneo was first introduced to me by Jack Ketchum a few years ago when I was on the hunt for short fiction. Emily likes to send me stories with incredibly long titles, such as “A Guide to Etiquette and Comportment for the Sisters of Henley House” and “The Rondelium Girl of Rue Marseilles.” I have now published three of her stories, and all three of them are golden. Keep an eye out. Her words are beautiful.

DRAWA Voice – Paul Michael Anderson also likes to send me stories with incredibly long titles, such as “The Agonizing Guilt of Relief (Last Days of a Ready-Made Victim)” and “In the Nothing-Space, I Am What You Made Me.” And I publish every single one of them, because they are incredible.

And in case you missed last year’s Written Backwards Awards ®: http://wp.me/p2gHzu-9W 

THE LIBRARY OF THE DEAD / QUALIA NOUS / EVERYTHING ELSE

The Library of the Dead

The Library of the Dead was recently launched at the World Horror Convention in Atlanta, Georgia, where members of the Horror Writers Association, and many guests, were able to get a first look at this anthology at an hour-long Written Backwards event called “Readings and Shenanigans from The Library of the Dead and Qualia Nous.” Both anthologies were celebrated for their various awards and recognition, with both artwork and books on display (speaking of artwork, I hope to post a blog soon called “Illustrations for the Dead” to cover the beautiful artwork GAK has created for this project).

11151008_10153271861933088_1886275636010913649_n

Readings and Shenanigans for the Library of the Dead and Qualia Nous

The first half of the panel included an introduction of panelists, a short discussion covering the real library of the dead and the original conception of the anthology, how the project was acquired by Written Backwards, as well as a discussion about the photography and the artwork (by GAK) used throughout the anthology. Yvonne Navarro read from her story “Those Who Shall Never Be Named,” followed by Weston Ochse reading from his story “Living Through Better Chemistry.” 10 copies of The Library of the Dead were given out to audience members for asking questions about the anthology. Erinn L. Kemper, Chris Marrs, Rena Mason, and Lucy A. Snyder discussed their stories as well. John Everson and Sydney Leigh (Shawna Bernard) from The Library of the Dead were also in attendance.

The second half of the panel covered Qualia Nous, a literary blend of science fiction and horror. Qualia Nous was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in an Anthology, later to be given out by the Horror Writers Association at the Bram Stoker Award ceremony, although the prize eventually went to Ellen Datlow for her anthology Fearful Symmetries. Both Usman T. Malik and Rena Mason were recognized at this panel for their Bram Stoker Award nominations for Superior Achievement in Short Fiction from this anthology (Usman for his story “The Vaporization Enthalpy of a Peculiar Pakistani Family” and Rena for her story “Ruminations”) and both later took home the prize in a tie. Marge Simon was recognized for her Rhysling Award nomination for her poem “Shutdown,” and I’m happy to report that she also recently took home that prize, which was given out by the Science Fiction Poetry Association (SFPA). Qualis Nous also recently received The Benjamin Franklin Award for Science Fiction and Fantasy (I stopped in to the award ceremony in Austin, Texas a month prior to accept the award), along with being a finalist for the Indie Book Awards for anthologies, a silver medal finalist for the Independent Publisher Book Awards, and winning the International Book Award for science fiction (also a finalist for their anthologies category), and bronze medal winner of the Foreword Reviews’ Book of the Year Awards / INDIEFAB (also a finalist for both their science fiction and horror categories).

Qualia Nous

Readings and Shenanigans for the Library of the Dead and Qualia Nous

Readings and Shenanigans for the Library of the Dead and Qualia Nous

Anyway, at the Readings and Shenanigans event, Marge Simon read her two poems from the anthology: “Shutdown” and “Tomorrow’s Femme, followed by James Chambers reading part of his story “The Price of Faces,” which sparked curiosity in Josh Malerman (author of the stellar Bird Box), which later resulted in his involvement in the upcoming Chiral Mad 3, but much of that will be covered later. Usman T. Malik, Rena Mason, Erinn L. Kemper, Patrick Freivald, Lucy A. Snyder, Jason V Brock, and William F. Nolan also discussed their stories. 10 copies of Qualia Nous were also give away to audience members asking questions about the anthology, so in total 20 books were given away to happy panel attendees at this event.

Tom Monteleone captivating the Anthocon audience

Tom Monteleone captivating the Anthocon audience

Then came Anthocon, one of my favorite conventions, organized by the Four Horsemen in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. At Anthocon, Written Backwards held another one-hour release (and re-release) event, which proved to be just as successful. At the Lazy K, the first of the new Allevon series of illustrated novellas by Written Backwards (and the latest novella by Gene O’Neill), was first up, and Gene was on hand to discuss thoroughly, along with Rena Mason, who wrote the introduction. Instead of Q&A giveaways of books, we handled things differently. Leading up to the event, those who stopped by the Written Backwards vendor table received 5 raffle tickets for each book purchased (and received a copy of At the Lazy K for only $5 (including 5 more raffle tickets)) if purchasing any book offered at the table, which also included Gene O’Neill’s most recent collection, The Hitchhiking Effect. Throughout the hour, we raffled off a few books by Gene, a few books by GAK, along with some of his artwork, freebies from the Written Backwards table, and a few books offered by Chris Marrs. And we discussed more books this time around, including At the Lazy KThe Library of the DeadQualia Nous, and the three Chiral Mad volumes.

Anthocon panel

Anthocon panel and book release

In attendance at the Anthocon panel: Thomas F. Monteleone (who did an unforgettable reading of “When I Was” from Chiral Mad 2, and has a story in Qualia Nous), Gene O’Neill (who discussed At the Lazy K and has stories in just about every Written Backwards release), Christopher Golden (who co-wrote a story with Tim Lebbon for The Library of the Dead called “Faultlines”), James Chambers (who read from his story in Qualia Nous), Kevin Lucia (who also read from his story in Chiral Mad 2), Gardner Goldsmith and Sydney Leigh (who both read some of their poetry from the upcoming Chiral Mad 3 and have stories in the various Written Backwards anthologies), Chris Marrs (who read from her story “A Chimera’s Tale” in The Library of the Dead), Rena Mason (who recently won a Stoker for her work), Meghan Arcuri (from the original Chiral Mad, and one of my fellow Borderlands boot camp grunts from long ago… which made up half the panel, actually), and of course the wonderful GAK (who illustrated The Library of the Dead and will have his hands full in future Written Backwards projects). Gord Rollo was also in attendance. He and Gene O’Neill first conceived the project after visiting the real library of the dead, a place called Chapel of the Chimes in Oakland, California.

Both conventions were incredible, and both book releases/panels were highly successful. Although I took few books with me to the World Horror Convention, nearly every book sold out at AnthoCon, which was roughly 120 pounds or so of books.

What’s next? Promoting At the Lazy K and The Library of the Dead throughout the book award season. Speaking of which, if you are a member of the Horror Writers Association and would like a copy of either of these titles for Stoker recommendation/consideration, please let me know. Send an email to written@nettirw.com to request either a trade paperback of PDF of either or both titles.

Have you seen the official book trailer for The Library of the Dead? If not, take a gander:

What’s next after all that?

Chiral Mad 3.

2014 BRAM STOKER AWARDS® PRELIMINARY BALLOT

The Horror Writers Association recently announced the Preliminary Ballot for the 2014 Bram Stoker Awards®, and I am proud to announce I have a few things that made the list this year. My story  “Fireman / Primal Tongue” made the final ballot last year for Superior Achievement in Short Fiction, so I’m hoping this year to have all three of my works published last year make the final cut in their respective categories. If you are a voting member of the Horror Writers Association, you can email written@nettirw.com to request either a digital copy or a trade paperback of the following:

1. Qualia Nous – Superior Achievement in an Anthology.

Along with the latest Written Backwards release making the ballot this year, two stories from the anthology are on the list for Superior Achievement in Short Fiction, including “The Vaporization Enthalpy of a Peculiar Pakistani Family” by Usman T. Malik (which is making some noise in the science fiction world as well), and “Ruminations” by Rena Mason. All 30 involved with this anthology are responsible, so thank you for your words. Qualia Nous is a literary blend of science fiction and horror, and people seem to dig it.

  1. Stephen King – The Jaunt (novelette)
  2. Usman T. Malik – The Vaporization Enthalpy of a Peculiar Pakistani Family *
  3. Gene O’Neill – The Shaking Man
  4. Ashlee Scheuerman – Dyscrasia
  5. Emily B. Cataneo – The Rondelium Girl of Rue Marseilles
  6. Erik T. Johnson – The Angel Chaser
  7. Ian Shoebridge – Psychic Shock
  8. D.J. Cockburn – Peppermint Tea in Electronic Limbo
  9. John R. Little – Second Chance
  10. Jon Michael Kelley – The Effigies of Tamber Square
  11. Lori Michelle – Shades of Naught
  12. James Chambers – The Price of Faces
  13. Jason V Brock – Simulacrum (novelette)
  14. Marge Simon – Shutdown / Tomorrow’s Femme (poems)
  15. Peter Hagelslag – Lead me to Multiplicity
  16. Christian A. Larsen – Cataldo’s Copy
  17. Max Booth III – The Neighborhood has a Barbeque
  18. Richard Thomas – The Jenny Store
  19. Erinn L. Kemper – Night Guard
  20. William F. Nolan – A New Man
  21. John Everson – Voyeur
  22. Pat R. Steiner – Kilroy Wasn’t There
  23. Paul Anderson – In the Nothing-Space, I Am What You Made Me
  24. Lucy A. Snyder – Dura Mater
  25. Rena Mason – Ruminations *
  26. Thomas F. Monteleone – Good and Faithful Servant
  27. Patrick Freivald – Twelve Kilos
  28. Mason Ian Bundschuh – Breathe You in Me
  29. Elizabeth Massie – 18P37-C, After Andrea Was Arrested
  30. Gary A. Braunbeck – No Fixed Address (novelette)

I hope to see Qualia Nous on the final ballot alongside those I admire in the world of anthologies: Ellen Datlow (Fearful Symmetries), Chuck Palahniuk / Richard Thomas (Burnt Tongues), and Jason V Brock (A Dark Phantastique). Not to single anyone out in the anthology category, but those three anthologies are incredible! I hope to see each of you on the final ballot this year so we can take a “final ballot selfie” holding each of these anthologies together at the Bram Stoker Awards ceremony in Florida.

Qualia Nous

2. Inkblots and Blood Spots – Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection

Villipede Publications took on this project, which was released November 2014, and have produced something stellar. My editor, Shawna Bernard, aka. Sydney Leigh (to be published in the upcoming Written Backwards anthology The Library of the Dead), and who is also on the preliminary ballot this year for her excellent short story “Baby’s Breath,” worked her tail off to make this second collection of short fiction and poetry a work of art. Bringing on Daniele Serra to create the cover and fully-illustrate the book was ingenious (he is also on the preliminary ballot for his graphic novel with Joe R. Lansdale called I Tell You It’s Love). I cannot begin to explain how well his art meshes and brings life to my work (see images below).

A special note of thanks to Syd the Kid and Villipede Publications for making me look good. They did a great job weaving short fiction with poetry around stunning illustrations. Plus, they convinced me to include a new novelette I was working on called “Dandelion Clocks,” a tribute story to 9/11, which has somehow made it on the preliminary ballot for long fiction.

This category has some incredible competition, so I hope to make the cut. Of the fiction collections I’ve read this year, I can say that John Little’s Little by Little, Stephen Graham Jones’ After the People Lights Have Gone Off, Lucy Snyder’s Soft Apocalypses, and John F.D. Taff’s The End in all the Beginnings… well, damn, those are all great collections, and I hope Inkblots and Blood Spots is there alongside you on the final ballot.

Inkblots and Blood Spots

3. “Dandelion Clocks” – Superior Achievement in Long Fiction

What more can I say about “Dandelion Clocks” other than I feel it’s the best thing I’ve written to date. It’s my take on 9/11, about 8,400 words long, bounces around in nonlinear fashion through time from the point-of-view of a traumatized young woman, and I hope it makes the final ballot… and wins. I’m not sure I can write much better than this.

The long fiction category, like each year, is probably my favorite. I’ve watched Gary A. Braunbeck win this thing (what… 4 or 5 times now? I think he has either 8 or 9 Stokers to his name), and was at the Bram Stoker Award ceremony last May in Portland, Oregon to celebrate Gary taking home the Stoker for “The Great Pity” in Written Backward’s Chiral Mad 2 (even got to hold Gary’s envelope, thanks to F. Paul Wilson sitting next to me… who made the announcement), so to have a chance at taking home the same award for “Dandelion Clocks” would be a dream. Like I said, this is probably my favorite category. I love long fiction, and plan to publish 2 or 3 illustrated novellas next year, all from names mentioned previously on this page.

But, there’s some awesome competition. Along with rooting for “Dandelion Clocks,” I’m also rooting for “Ridin the Dawg” by Gene O’Neill, “Fishing for Dinosaurs” by Joe R. Lansdale, “Lost and Found” by Joe McKinney, “The Long Long Breakdown” by John F.D. Taff, “Ceremony of Flies” by Kate Jonez, and “Dreams of a Little Suicide” by Eric J. Guignard. All good stuff!

* If your name is not mentioned on any of the 3 lists above, it simply means I haven’t yet read your work)

Illustrations by Daniele Serra

Horror Writers Association voting members may request a PDF or print copy of Qualia Nous (anthology), and/or Inkblots and Blood Spots (fiction collection), and/or “Dandelion Clocks” (long fiction) for consideration by emailing written@nettirw.com. It is also available on the HWA message board.

A few more things to note:

Many Qualia Nous contributors (listed in bold above) are on the preliminary ballot this year in one way or another, so a special congratulations is in order for their work outside of Written Backwards. Marge Simon (with Mary Turzillo) is up for her latest poetry collection Sweet Poison, Patrick Freivald for both his novel Jade Sky and short story “Trigger Warning,” Gene O’Neill for his long fiction piece called “Ridin the Dawg,” John R. Little for his fiction collection Little by Little, Lucy A. Snyder for both her fiction collection Soft Apocalypses and nonfiction book Shooting Yourself in the Head For Fun and Profit: A Writer’s Survival Guide, Richard Thomas (with Chuck Palahniuk) for their anthology Burnt Tongues, and Jason V Brock for both his anthology A Dark Phantastique and nonfiction book Disorders of Magnitude. And, of course, Usman T. Malik and Rena Mason, previously mentioned, for their short stories in Qualia Nous.

Other past/future Written Backwards contributors are on the preliminary ballot as well, including Eric J. Guignard for his long fiction piece “Dreams of a Little Suicide” and John Palisano for his short story “Splinterette.”

Last year, Chiral Mad 2 did not make the final ballot, but “The Geminis” by John Palisano made the final ballot for Superior Achievement in Short Fiction, as well as “The Great Pity” by Gary A. Braunbeck, which took home the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in Long Fiction. Perhaps 2014 will be a good year as well!

Congratulations to everyone who made the preliminaries this year! And congratulations to those who did not make the list, but probably should have. 2014 was a great year for horror fiction. Whether or not you believe in the HWA’s means of compiling Bram Stoker Award recommendations, the preliminary ballot, or the final ballot, you cannot deny that 2014 was a great year for horror fiction. I see familiar names on the list this year, and names I don’t recognize, which is either a good thing, or a bad thing. Some I have published, some have published me, and some have shared the table of contents with yours truly in various anthologies or magazines over the years. And some, well, perhaps someday I can say I recognize those names as well.

Here’s the complete list, as plagiarized from the Horror Writers Association page:

Superior Achievement in a Novel
Tim Burke – The Flesh Sutra (NobleFusion Press)
Adam Christopher – The Burning Dark (Tor Books)
Michaelbrent Collings – This Darkness Light (self-published)
Lawrence C. Connolly – Vortex (Fantasist Enterprises)
Craig DiLouie – Suffer the Children (Gallery Books of Simon & Schuster)
Patrick Freivald – Jade Sky (JournalStone)
Chuck Palahniuk – Beautiful You (Jonathan Cape, Vintage/Penguin Random House UK)
Christopher Rice – The Vines (47North)
Brett J. Talley – The Reborn (JournalStone)
Steve Rasnic Tem – Blood Kin (Solaris Books)

Superior Achievement in a First Novel
Maria Alexander – Mr. Wicker (Raw Dog Screaming Press)
J.D. Barker – Forsaken (Hampton Creek Press)
Janice Gable Bashman – Predator (Month9Books)
David Cronenberg – Consumed (Scribner)
Michael Knost – Return of the Mothman (Woodland Press)
Daniel Levine – Hyde (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Josh Malerman – Bird Box (Harper Collins)
Whitney Miller – The Violet Hour (Flux)
Chantal Noordeloos – Angel Manor (Horrific Tales Publishing)
C.J. Waller – Predator X (Severed Press)

Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel
Ari Berk – Lych Way (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
Jake Bible – Intentional Haunting (Permuted Press)
Ilsa J. Bick – White Space (Egmont)
John Dixon – Phoenix Island (Simon & Schuster/Gallery Books)
Kami Garcia – Unmarked (The Legion Series Book 2) (Little Brown Books for Young Readers)
S.E. Green – Killer Instinct (Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse)
Tonya Hurley – Passionaries (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Micol Ostow – Amity (Egmont)
Peter Adam Salomon – All Those Broken Angels (Flux)
Sam Swanson and Araminta Star Matthews – Horror High School: Return of the Loving Dead (Curiosity Quills Press)
Johnny Worthen – Eleanor: Book 1 (The Unseen) (Jolly Fish Press)

Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel
Charles Burns – Sugar Skull
Emily Carroll – Through the Woods
Victor Gischler – Kiss Me Satan
Joe Hill – Locke and Key, Vol. 6
Joe R. Lansdale and Daniele Serra – I Tell You It’s Love (Short, Scary Tales Publications)
Jonathan Maberry – Bad Blood (Dark Horse Books)
Paul Tobin – The Witcher

Superior Achievement in Long Fiction
Michael Bailey – Dandelion Clocks (Inkblots and Blood Spots) (Villipede Publications)
Taylor Grant – The Infected (Cemetery Dance #71) (Cemetery Dance)
Eric J. Guignard – Dreams of a Little Suicide (Hell Comes To Hollywood II: Twenty-Two More Tales Of Tinseltown Terror (Volume 2)) (Big Time Books)
Kate Jonez – Ceremony of Flies (DarkFuse)
Joe R. Lansdale – Fishing for Dinosaurs (Limbus, Inc., Book II) (JournalStone)
Jonathan Maberry – Three Guys Walk Into a Bar (Limbus, Inc., Book II) (JournalStone)
Joe McKinney – Lost and Found (Limbus, Inc., Book II) (JournalStone)
Gene O’Neill – Ridin the Dawg (Mia Moja) (Thunderstorm Books)
John F.D. Taff – The Long Long Breakdown (The End in all Beginnings) (Grey Matter Press)
Gregor Xane – The Riggle Twins (Bad Apples) (Corpus Press)

Superior Achievement in Short Fiction
Dale Bailey – Sleep Paralysis (Nightmare Magazine, April 2014) (Nightmare)
Hal Bodner – Hot Tub (Hell Comes to Hollywood II) (Big Time Books)
Patrick Freivald – Trigger Warning (Demonic Visions Book 4) (Chris Robertson)
* Sydney Leigh – Baby’s Breath (Bugs: Tales That Slither, Creep, and Crawl) (Great Old Ones Publishing)
Usman T. Malik – The Vaporization Enthalpy of a Peculiar Pakistani Family (Qualia Nous) (Written Backwards)
Alessandro Manzetti – Nature’s Oddities (The Shaman: And Other Shadows) (self-published)
Rena Mason – Ruminations (Qualia Nous) (Written Backwards)
John Palisano – Splinterette (Widowmakers: A Benefit Anthology of Dark Fiction)
Sayuri Ueda – The Street of Fruiting Bodies (Phantasm Japan) (Haikasoru, an imprint of VIZ Media, LLC)
Genevieve Valentine – A Dweller in Amenty (Nightmare Magazine, March 2014) (Nightmare)
Damien Angelica Walters – The Floating Girls: A Documentary (Jamais Vu, Issue Three) (Post Mortem Press)

Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection
Michael Bailey – Inkblots and Blood Spots (Villipede Publications)
Stephen Graham Jones – After the People Lights Have Gone Off (Dark House Press)
John R. Little – Little by Little (Bad Moon Books)
Helen Marshall – Gifts for the One Who Comes After (ChiZine Publications)
David Sakmyster – Escape Plans (Wordfire Press)
Terrence Scott – The Madeleine Wheel: Playing with Spiders (Amazon)
Lucy Snyder – Soft Apocalypses (Raw Dog Screaming Press)
Robin Spriggs – The Untold Tales of Ozman Droom (Anomalous Books)
John F.D. Taff – The End In All Beginnings (Grey Matter Press)
Alexander Zelenyj – Songs for the Lost (Eibonvale Press)

Superior Achievement in an Anthology
John Joseph Adams and Hugh Howey – The End Is Nigh (Broad Reach Publishing)
Michael Bailey – Qualia Nous (Written Backwards)
Jason Brock – A Darke Phantastique (Cycatrix Press)
Ellen Datlow – Fearful Symmetries (ChiZine Publications)
Kate Jonez – Halloween Tales (Omnium Gatherum)
Eric Miller – Hell Comes to Hollywood II (Big Time Books)
Chuck Palahniuk, Richard Thomas, and Dennis Widmyer – Burnt Tongues (Medallion Press)
Brian M. Sammons – The Dark Rites of Cthulhu (April Moon Books)
Brett J. Talley – Limbus, Inc., Book II (JournalStone)
Terry M. West – Journals of Horror: Found Fiction (Pleasant Storm Entertainment)

Superior Achievement in a Screenplay
Scott M. Gimple – The Walking Dead: The Grove, episode 4:14 (AMC)
James Hawes – Penny Dreadful: Possession (Desert Wolf Productions/Neal Street Productions)
Jennifer Kent – The Babadook (Causeway Films)
Alex Kurtzman and Mark Goffman – Sleepy Hollow: “Bad Blood” (Sketch Films/K/O Paper Products/20th Century Fox Television)
John Logan – Penny Dreadful: Séance (Desert Wolf Productions/Neal Street Productions)
Greg Mclean and Aaron Sterns – Wolf Creek 2 (Emu Creek Pictures)
Stephen Moffat – Doctor Who: Listen (British Broadcasting Corporation)
Cameron Porsendah – Helix: Pilot (Tall Ship Productions/Kaji Productions/Muse Entertainment/Lynda Obst Productions/in association with Sony Pictures Television)
Jack Thomas Smith –Infliction (Fox Trail Productions)
James Wong – American Horror Story: Coven: “The Magical Delights of Stevie Nicks” (FX Network)

Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction
Massimo Berruti, S.T. Joshi, and Sam Gafford – William Hope Hodgson: Voices from the Borderland (Hippocampus Press)
Jason V. Brock – Disorders of Magnitude (Rowman & Littlefield)
Hayley Campbell – The Art of Neil Gaiman (HarperCollins Publishers)
S.T. Joshi – Lovecraft and A World in Transition (Hippocampus Press)
Leslie S. Klinger – The New Annotated H.P. Lovecraft (Liveright Publishing Corp., a division of W.W. Norton & Co.)
Joe Mynhardt and Emma Audsley – Horror 101: The Way Forward (Crystal Lake Publishing)
Robert Damon Schneck – Mrs. Wakeman vs. the Antichrist (Tarcher/Penguin)
Lucy Snyder – Shooting Yourself in the Head For Fun and Profit: A Writer’s Survival Guide (Post Mortem Press)
Tom Weaver, David Schecter, and Steve Kronenberg – The Creature Chronicles: Exploring the Black Lagoon Trilogy (McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers)

Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection
Robert Payne Cabeen – Fearworms: Selected Poems (Fanboy Comics)
G.O. Clark – Gravedigger’s Dance (Dark Renaissance Books)
David E. Cowen – The Madness of Empty Spaces (Weasel Press)
Corrinne De Winter and Alessandro Manzetti – Venus Intervention (Kipple Officina Libraria)
Wade German – Dreams from the Black Nebula (Hippocampus Press)
Tom Piccirilli – Forgiving Judas (Crossroad Press)
Michelle Scalise – The Manufacturer of Sorrow (Eldritch Press)
Marge Simon and Mary Turzillo – Sweet Poison (Dark Renaissance Books)
Tiffany Tang – Creepy Little Death Poems (Dreality Press)
Stephanie Wytovich – Mourning Jewelry (Raw Dog Screaming Press)

Good luck everyone!

WRITTEN BACKWARDS AWARDS® / DRAWA (2014)

Written Backwards Awards

Written Backwards Awards

Also known as the DRAWA, the Written Backwards Awards® celebrates the recognition of a literary marvel. The prestigious award is not determined by jury, not by recommendation counts of any kind, and not by a jury/rec superpac, but is decided upon by Written Backwards and its staff… meaning one person, Michael Bailey. He determines whether a literary work is DRAWA eligible by reading or looking at various readable or lookable things throughout the year, whether it be a short story, novelette, novella, novel, screenplay (which we all know is just watching a movie), soundtrack, grocery list, magazine, website article, literary journal, pretty picture/artwork, or whatever else he sees fit, mentally scores this work on a scale of suck to badass, and from that point creates a preliminary ballot in his head from which to randomly choose ballotees. From this “preliminary” ballot, he then carefully and skillfully and adverbly removes “preliminary” altogether, thus creating what is known as the Written Backwards Awards® final ballot, which may or may not have to include works from the previous year. DRAWA winners are determined from this mental list, if remembered, depending on eligibility.

There is no hindrance on publication date, as long as the publication date does not surpass the year in which an award is planned for issue. For example, if Stephen Hill publishes an award-winning masterpiece in December 2014, he is not eligible for a 2013 award because, well, his work is from the future, and future literary works are prohibited, as mentioned somewhere in the figurative small-print. Awards can go to the dead, although they cannot be accepted in person.

Please note that all writers whose work appeared or will soon appear in Written Backwards anthologies are not only eligible for a DRAWA, but automatic recipients of the Written Backwards Awards®. This currently includes the following anthologies: Pellucid Lunacy (2010), Chiral Mad (2012), Chiral Mad 2 (2013), the upcoming Pellucid Lunacy 2 (TBD), and the upcoming Qualia Nous (TBD). If your work appeared or will soon appear in the aforementioned anthologies, you are hereby or soonby an alumni recipient of the Written Backwards Awards® for the given year of publication. See anthology table of contents page for a full list of alumni recipients.

So, without further ado, in this first annual event, Written Backwards is proud to introduce the first winners of the Written Backwards Awards®, also known as the DRAWA (name not yet a registered trademark). The following works were admired greatly, and can forever be considered literary marvels from this point onward.

Gary A. Braunbeck – Rose of Sharon (fiction collection)

David Morrell – Murder as a Fine Art (historical novel)

Christian A. LarsenLosing Touch (first novel)

Neil GaimanThe Ocean at the End of the Lane (fantasy novel)

John Boden – Dominoes (kids book, sort of…)

Joe HillNOS4A2 (horror novel)

Stephen KingDr. Sleep (horror novel)

Wes Anderson – The Grand Budapest Hotel (screenplay)

David Petersen – Mouse Guard, all volumes (graphic novel)

Special Written Backwards Awards® may be given out each year to those making a noticeable difference in the writing community. This year, Written Backwards proudly presents the DRAWA Presence, Inspiration, and Voice. (See how that works? AWARD is spelled backwards, with the subject of the award after… so, this would actually be a Presence Award, Inspiration Award, and a Voice Award… clever, right?)

Anyway, the DRAWA Presence recognizes an individual completely dedicated to the craft, with strong viral marketing / social networking skills, and a blog people actually follow; this person must regularly crank out quality work and have a recognizable ‘presence’ in their field of work; this is the top dog, the lifetime achiever, the… well, you get the idea. The DRAWA Inspiration recognizes an individual somewhat new to the craft, someone with emerging talent, a strong, literary powerhouse waiting to erupt; this is the person to watch closely. Lastly, the DRAWA Voice recognizes an individual  with a fresh, unique literary voice, someone who quite clearly knows all the rules, and is very good at breaking them; this person has their own genre of awesomeness, in other words. Who are these people?

DRAWA Presence – Brian Keene

DRAWA Inspiration – Usman T. Malik

DRAWA Voice – Erik T. Johnson

 

2013 BRAM STOKER AWARDS® PRELIMINARY BALLOT

Zippered Flesh 2The Horror Writers Association recently announced the Preliminary Ballot for the 2013 Bram Stoker Awards®, and I am proud to announce my short story “Primal Tongue” made the list. This was once called “Fireman / Primal Tongue” but “Fireman” was cut from the title before publication. “Fireman” was once the title of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, so I guess it was meant to be. The story is an homage to Bradbury, and includes fragments of Fahrenheit 451 (used by permission), as the narrative explores the evolution/de-evolution of language, both written and spoken. This was by far the most difficult story I have ever written, mostly because it included passages in multiple languages: Danish, Portuguese, Spanish, French, Hindi, binary, and others.

“Primal Tongue” was published in Zippered Flesh 2 by Smart Rhino Publications. This is an excellent follow-up anthology to the first Zippered Flesh. I recommend snagging a copy of each. Good stuff here.

Horror Writers Association voting members may request a PDF or print copy of “Primal Tongue” for consideration by emailing written@nettirw.com. It is also available on the HWA message board along with the other titles on the preliminary list.

Congratulations to everyone who made the preliminaries this year! And congratulations to those who did not make the list, but probably should have. 2013 was a great year for horror fiction. Whether or not you believe in the HWA’s means of compiling Bram Stoker Award recommendations, the preliminary ballot, or the final ballot, you cannot deny that 2013 was a great year for horror fiction. I see familiar names on the list this year, and names I don’t recognize, which is either a good thing, or a bad thing. Some I have published, some have published me, and some have shared the table of contents with yours truly in various anthologies or magazines over the years. And some, well, perhaps someday I can say I recognize those names as well.

I won’t get into all the categories, but here are the ten considered this year for Superior Achievement in Short Fiction:

SHORT FICTION

“The Book With No Ends” – Colleen Anderson, Bibliotheca Fantastica
“Primal Tongue” – Michael Bailey, Zippered Flesh 2
“Flowers Blooming in the Season of Atrophy” Max Booth III, Chiral Mad 2
“Snapshot” – Patrick Freivald, Blood & Roses
“Night Train to Paris” – David Gerrold, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction
“The Hunger Artist” – Lisa Mannetti, Zippered Flesh 2
“Black Tea” – Samuel Marolla, Black Tea and Other Tales
“The Slipway Grey” – Helen Marshall, Chilling Tales
“The Geminis” – John Palisano, Chiral Mad 2
“Code 666” – Michael Reaves, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction

Chiral Mad 2Out of the top ten, two stories share a table of contents in Chiral Mad 2, and two share a table of contents in Zippered Flesh 2. Unfortunately, neither of those anthologies made the list this year for Superior Achievement in an Anthology. I’m not sure how that happened, given the high recommendation counts both anthologies received for their stories, but I’m guessing Chiral Mad 2 ran into some time constraint issues given the date it was released. November/December releases typically get shafted come Stoker season because decisions, for some reason, have to be made before books have time to be read. This year, Stoker recommendations had to be made by January 15th, not giving much time for readers to consider winter titles, especially longer works, such as anthologies, novels, and fiction collections. If I had any say, I would move the entire recommendation/nomination process later in the year, such as ending recommendations by the end of February. I see a similar issue with “Best of the Year” lists, which are typically posted early to mid-December… 

Anyway, it’s an honor to be listed alongside such talented individuals.

Straying from short fiction and HWA politics for a bit, it’s important to note that Gary Braunbeck’s story in Chiral Mad 2, a wonderful novelette called “The Great Pity,” also made the list for Superior Achievement in Long Fiction. This puts three titles from Chiral Mad 2, and a short story by its editor, yours truly (although not for the anthology, specifically), on the preliminary ballot this year. How epic is that? Stoked!

Find the complete list of preliminaries here:

2013 PRELIMINARY BRAM STOKER AWARDS® BALLOT

Many from Chiral Mad / Chiral Mad 2 are on the list this year in various categories: Gord Rollo  for Only the Thunder Knows (novel), Christian A. Larsen for Losing Touch (first novel), Gary Braunbeck for “The Great Pity” (long fiction), James Chambers for “Three Chords of Chaos” (long fiction), Eric J. Guignard for “Baggage of Eternal Night” (long fiction) and After Death… (anthology), Dustin LaValley for “The Deceived” (long fiction), Max Booth III for “Flowers Blooming in the Season of Atrophy” (short fiction) and They Might Be Demons (fiction collection), John Palisano for “The Geminis” (short fiction), Gene O’Neill for Dance of the Blue Lady (fiction collection), and a book about Ramsey Campbell called Ramsey Campbell: Critical Essays on the Modern Master of Horror (non-fiction)

Good luck everyone!

2012 BRAM STOKER AWARDS® PRELIMINARY BALLOT

Zippered FleshThe Horror Writers Association recently announced the Preliminary Ballot for the 2012 Bram Stoker Awards®, and I am proud to announce my short story “Bootstrap / The Binds of Lasolastica” made the list. “Bootstrap” was published in Zippered Flesh: Tales of Body Enhancements Gone Bad! by Smart Rhino Publications. This is an excellent anthology. I recommend snagging a copy.

Horror Writers Association members may request a PDF or print copy for consideration by emailing written@nettirw.com.

Congratulations to everyone who made the preliminaries this year! I see many familiar names. Some I have published, some have published me, and some have shared the table of contents with yours truly in various anthologies or magazines over the years.

SHORT FICTION

“Bootstrap / The Binds of Lasolastica” – Michael Bailey
“Surrounded by the Mutant Rain Forest” – Bruce Boston
“The Journal of USS Indianapolis Survivor: Stefanos “Stevie” Georgiou – Kevin James Breaux
“A Catechism for Aspiring Amnesiacs” – Nicole Cushing
“The Cancer Catechism” – Jay Lake
“Bury My Heart at Marvin Gardens” – Joe McKinney
“Righteous” – Weston Ochse
“Available Light” – John Palisano
“Magdala Amygdala” – Lucy Snyder

It’s an honor to be listed alongside such talented individuals. I believe at least three of these writers are from California!

Find the complete list of preliminaries here:

2012 PRELIMINARY BRAM STOKER AWARDS® BALLOT

Bram Stoker AwardMany from the Chiral Mad lineup are on the list this year, including John Palisano for his short story “Available Light,” Jeff Strand for his young adult novel A Bad Day for Voodoo (Sourcebooks), Gene O’Neill for his long fiction “The Blue Heron” (Dark Regions Press), Jack Ketchum for his long fiction “I’m Not Sam” (Sinister Grin Press), and Eric J. Guignard for his anthology Dark Tales of Lost Civilizations (Dark Moon Books).

Good luck everyone!

VIRAL MAD – PART 2

[ click to start voting ]

Chiral Mad is nominated for “Anthology of the Year” by This is Horror, alongside a list of splendid anthologies. Click the image above to see nominees for all categories in the This is Horror Awards 2012. The voting is simple. Email awards@thisishorror.co.uk with a subject line of ‘Awards 2012 Votes’. Write the category and your first and second choice for each award (or only one). I can only hope you vote for Chiral Mad, but it’s up to you. Below are the five nominees for anthologies, so you can get an idea of what the book is up against. Some fine company. Voting ends January 4th.

1. Chiral Mad, edited by Michael Bailey
2. Terror Tales of the Cotswolds, edited by Paul Finch
3. The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories, edited by Ann and Jeff Vandemeer
4. The Best Horror of the Year Volume 4, edited by Ellen Datlow
5. The Mammoth Book of Body Horror, edited by Paul Kane and Marie O’Regan

I am more than honored to see Chiral Mad on the shortlist for this award, especially since This is Horror is based in the United Kingdom, which means the anthology is making its way around the globe. In fact, this blog for has already reached nine countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, India, Finland, South Africa, Switzerland, and Netherlands (WordPress has some nice built-in analytics).

The London Book Festival has just named Chiral Mad as the Winner of their Compilations/Anthologies category!

London Book Festival 2012[ click for results ]

Chiral Mad was also recently recognized as an Award-finalist for the 2012 USA Best Book Awards in multiple categories (Best Cover Design: Fiction, and Fiction: Anthologies). Click the award logo for a full list of winners and finalists.

The 2012 Halloween Book Fest Awards, held in Hollywood, California, also recognized Chiral Mad as an Honorable Mention earlier this year.

Bram Stoker Awards, you say? Why not? According to the official recommendation list, Chiral Mad has been recommended for the award by multiple parties, as well as three of the individual stories: Inevitable” by Meghan Arcuri, “Experiments in an Isolation Tank” by Eric J. Guignard, and “Some Pictures in an Album” by Gary McMahon.

The latest review of the anthology comes from the San Francisco Book Review: “Chiral Mad positively affects the world before negatively affecting your psyche.” The review specifically mentions “Need” by Gary Braunbeck, “Brighter Her Aura Grows” by David Hearn, and “Underwater Ferris Wheel” by yours truly. Read why San Francisco Book Review calls the anthology “the perfect book for fans of psychological horror, people who like to be truly bothered rather than splashed with blood and gore” in their four star review.

I would also like to thank Jack Ketchum for his continued efforts to promote this book. He has tweeted about the anthology on five separate occasions, and each time it has directly impacted sales. He has quoted lines from three Chiral Mad stories: “Mirror Moments” by Christian A.Larsen, “The Apologies” by Erik T. Johnson, and “There are Embers” by Chris Hertz, and has sent the following messages to his thousands of followers: “Want a copy of CHIRAL MAD? Check http://bit.ly/Tapp4o  for details. Did I mention all proceeds go to Down Syndrome charities?” and “Friday reads: CHIRAL MAD, solid antho edited by Michael Bailey. All proceeds go to Down syndrome charities — and I’m happy to be in it…” Jack Ketchum, you are incredible.

Last but not least, the money. I will post the amount on a separate line for impact…

$3,000 and counting.

Good work, everyone. Continue spreading the virus that is Chiral Mad. Many more reviews are one the way…