This fall, Written Backwards will release its first fiction collection: Bones Are Made to Be Broken, by Paul Michael Anderson. Here’s why…
A while back, Anderson, a regular to Written Backwards anthologies, responded to a mock book cover created by artist/author extraordinaire Pat R. Steiner (who sometimes creates book covers just for fun, and has a short story called “Kilroy Wasn’t There” in Qualia Nous). Steiner created a mock book cover with a title of Bones Are Made to Be Broken, Stories by Paul Michael Anderson, featuring an image of a woman falling against a wall of water.
I responded with “I’d publish that,” because, well, I have enjoyed every story I’ve read by Paul Michael Anderson. In fact, I’ve published three of his stories to date. His work appears in Qualia Nous, Chiral Mad 3, and the upcoming You, Human I’m putting together for Dark Regions Press later this year. Anderson’s overly-long titles include “In the Nothing-Space, I Am What You Made Me,” and “The Agonizing Guilt of Relief (Last Days of a Ready-Made Victim)” and a not-so-long “The Universe is Dying.” His stories are dark, emotional, highly-literary (in my opinion), and incredibly enjoyable.
A few private messages and emails went back and forth between us, and we somehow found ourselves talking ideas for such a book collection, which had to be called Bones Are Made to Be Broken. “Feel like writing a longer piece to be included in the collection?” I asked. Apparently Anderson already had a story in mind, a novella that needed to be written called, aptly, “Bones Are Made to Be Broken.”
While discussing the book deal with Anderson, I simultaneously discussed cover ideas with Pat R. Steiner (who was more than happy to create more book cover concepts, a few dozen if I remember correctly). While I loved the original mock cover that sparked all this magic to happen, I was looking for a cover that spoke more of the stories to be included in the collection. Bridges often appear in the stories, so a bridge had to be in there somewhere; water had to be in there as well; and a woman. I’m not sure why, but I wanted a mostly black-and-white cover with some red in the text and a delicate feel to match the delicate stories within. After much fun, we created the following, currently used with the Advanced Reading Copies:
As you can see, Pat R. Steiner did a tremendous job capturing the essence of Bones Are Made to Be Broken. Now, here’s something else that happened… because strange things happen sometimes when strange people with strange ideas toss those strange ideas back and forth… the magic happens.
While Qualia Nous was in full swing, Steiner (again, just for fun), created illustrations for each of the stories for the that anthology, which he later put together as a hardbound book called Qualia Nous Illustrated. I have a copy of that beautiful work on my shelves. So, I sent Pat an email out of the blue: “Remember what you did with Qualia Nous? Want to do something similar for Bones Are Made to Be Broken?” More ideas, tossed back and forth. He immediately started with the illustrations, and within a matter of weeks, a simple idea turned into some incredible illustrations for each story in Anderson’s collection. Steiner’s unique style matched the book perfectly. Here are a few:
Did I mention this book is going to be absolutely gorgeous? Over 440 pages of fiction, 14 illustrations, blurbs by people I can’t yet talk about, an introduction by someone I can’t yet talk about… Okay, I can share a few:
“What a pleasure to read these fresh and darksome tales! Anderson’s style is tensely exciting. His are stories never quite what you think they are going to be about and his endings resonate with fear. He gives us new horizons in horror that are futuristic and psychical. It’s hard to pick a favorite, but “Baby Grows a Conscience” is simply brilliant! You’ll have to read them all. This collection is a treasure for any horror or dark sf fan’s library.” – Marge Simon, Bram Stoker Award winner, Vectors: A Week in the Death of a Planet.
“Paul Michael Anderson writes like no other writer in dark fiction. His premises, plots, and story structure are unique. Every story in Bones Are Made to Be Broken follows this pattern, and are intriguing and very good. Simply, he writes a Paul Michael Anderson story – the highest compliment any serious writer can hope to achieve. Highly recommended.” – Gene O’Neill, The Cal Wild Chronicles
Later this fall, the combined efforts of Written Backwards and Dark Regions Press will release Paul Michael Anderson’s Bones Are Made to Be Broken in trade paperback and eBook, which will feature the illustrations by Steiner in black-and-white. Full-color illustrations of each are also prepared for the deluxe signed edition to be released at a later date.
Bones Are Made to Be Broken will include the following:
- Crawling Back to You
- Survivor’s Debt
- Baby Grows a Conscience
- A Nice Town with Very Clean Streets
- The Doorway Man
- Love Song for the Rejected
- Surviving the River Styx
- The Agonizing Guilt of Relief (Last Days of a Ready-Made Victim)
- The Universe is Dying
- Reflecting the Heart’s Desire
- To Touch the Dead
- In the Nothing-Space, I Am What You Made Me
- All That You Leave Behind
- Bones Are Made to Be Broken (title novella).
On August 23rd, Dark Regions Press will begin a multi-book campaign, which will include You, Human (the first science fiction anthology I’m editing for DRP, which is fully illustrated by L.A. Spooner and Orion Zangara and includes an introduction on humanism by New York Times Bestselling Author F. Paul Wilson), Other Music by Marc Levinthal (the first science fiction novel I’m editing for DRP, which features an introduction by John Skipp), and a few other books in the works by Dark Regions Press, such as Return of the Old Ones, Children of Gla’aki, The Eighth (the debut novel by Stephanie M. Wytovich), and this wonderful book, Bones Are Made to Be Broken by Paul Michael Anderson.
Information on this multi-book campaign can be found here!