Archive for the ‘ Editing ’ Category

CHIRAL MAD 3 IN TRADE PAPERBACK and SIGNED/LIMITED HARDBACK!

Chiral Mad 3

With the recent announcement that Written Backwards is now an imprint of Dark Regions Press, many exciting things are emerging, such as signed / limited hardback editions of past, present and future Written Backwards titles. The first will be the highly-anticipated Chiral Mad 3, which you can pre-order now by clicking the image above. This will take you to the Dark Regions Press Ever-Expanding Grab Bag #2 campaign, where you can reserve your copy (only 200 will be made), and snag everything the ever-expanding grab bag has to offer while you’re at it. The more people contribute, the more will be included as perks.

Campaign-exclusive trade paperback editions of Chiral Mad 3 are also available for pre-order now for only $20! If you’re been waiting for this anthology, which is illustrated throughout by Glenn Chadbourne (with 45 images), now is the best time to snag a copy… and perhaps a few other goodies from this plethora of wondrous books recently announced by the epicness that is Dark Regions Press and Written Backwards. Here’s a peek at the Table of Contents:

Fiction:
01. The Poetry of Life – Richard Chizmar
02. The Last Rung on the Ladder – Stephen King
03. A Rift in Reflection – Hal Bodner
04. Windows, Mirrors, Doors – Jason V Brock
05. Prayer – Mort Castle
06. The Agonizing Guilt of Relief (Last Days of a Ready-Made Victim) – Paul Michael Anderson
07. The Black Crow of Boddinstraße – Emily B. Cataneo
08. A Flash of Red – Erinn L. Kemper
09. Red Runner vs. The Surgeon, Issue 18 – Jessica May Lin
10. The Dead Collection – Mercedes M. Yardley
11. Watch Me – Meghan Arcuri
12. The Bigger Bedroom – Josh Malerman
13. That Perilous Stuff – Scott Edelman
14. Know Your Code – Ramsey Campbell
15. 3-Dot People – Gene O’Neill
16. Silver Thread, Hammer Ring – Gary A. Braunbeck
17. Those Who Watch From on High – Eric J. Guignard
18. Blood Dust – Max Booth III
19. The Offering on the Hill – Richard Thomas
20. The Whipping Girls – Damien Angelica Walters
21. Seconds – Jack Ketchum

Poetry:
01. Fair – P. Gardner Goldsmith
02. Fail-Safe – Jonathan Balog
03. Folie à Deux – Sydney Leigh
04. Reflecting on Reflections – Bruce Boston
05. Mirror Image – Marge Simon
06. Black River #1 – Elizabeth Massie
07. Prescience – Rose Blackthorn
08. The Speed of Sound – Ciarán Parkes
09. Welcome Home, Darling – Stephanie M. Wytovich
10. Whisper #1 (A Warning) – Erik T. Johnson
11. Whisper #2 (A Prophecy) – Erik T. Johnson
12. Put Me to Dream -Stephanie M. Wytovich
13. Recognizing Trees – Ciarán Parkes
14. Arbitration – Rose Blackthorn
15. Black River #2 – Elizabeth Massie
16. Reflections Through the Raven’s Eye – Marge Simon
17. Beyond Symmetry – Bruce Boston
18. Folie à Plusieurs – Sydney Leigh
19. Insomnia in Reverse – Jonathan Balog
20. Promise – P. Gardner Goldsmith

Yeah, it’s going to rock.

The Library of the Dead

Also available, as an addition to this campaign, is the signed / limited hardback of The Library of the Dead, illustrated in color by GAK. Scroll down toward the end of the campaign page for more information on how to reserve your copy. Similar to the other Written Backwards signed limited hardback editions, only 200 will be made. This anthology of entirely new fiction includes collaborative work by Mary SanGiovanni and Brian Keene, Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon, and stories by Gary A. Braunbeck, Weston Ochse, Yvonne Navarro, Gene O’Neill, Erinn L. Kemper, Chris Marrs, Michael McBride, Lucy A. Snyder, Kealan Patrick Burke, Sydney Leigh, Rena Mason, and starts off with an introduction/novelette by Norman Partridge. The stories within are interconnected by a piece called “The Librarian” by editor Michael Bailey.

There are many other incredible books available in this campaign, including the first volume of Christmas Horror, edited by Chris Morey, which includes stories by John Skipp, Joe R. Landsdale, Jeff Strand, J.F. Gonzalez, Cody Goodfellow, and more.

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And what are these other two books?

Marc Levinthal’s debut novel, Other Music, is the first science fiction novel we will be releasing through Dark Regions Sci-Fi, a project I am proud to be working on as our first book in the newly revamped science fiction line at Dark Regions Press. This incredible novel features an introduction by John Skipp. The other is Stephanie M. Wytovich’s debut novel, The Eighth. Both of these incredible books are available in this campaign in both trade paperback and signed / limited hardback. The trade paperbacks are $20 each, and the hardbacks for a little more. Each will be beautiful, so you will definitely want to get your mittens on these.

Check out the campaign. Contribute. Take home some awesome books in the process. As of this evening, the campaign has reached initial funding, which means digital copies of Chiral Mad 3 will be going into the ever-expanding grab bag. The first stretch goal was also reached, which means a digital copy of Other Music will also be going in the bag. And the second stretch goal is nearly upon us, which means a digital copy of The Eighth will go in… and there are many more stretch goals in the works…

What are you waiting for?

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).

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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!

POSITIVE +

The world is negative. Admit it. I’ve slowly learned this through life, which is why I radiate positivity. I don’t try to be positive, it just happens. I am a positively charged being. If you’re close, you can feel it flowing off me like some kind of magnetic field, and if you are feeling negative, my superpower will draw you in and wrap around you like a blanket and keep you warm. I will make the hairs on arms stand on end. I will make you smile. And if you don’t, there’s something seriously wrong with you.

I guess that’s why I originally chose to write psychological horror. My work typically highlights beautiful things hidden in the darkest of places. If you’ve read Palindrome Hannah or Phoenix Rose, or any of my short fiction or poetry in Scales and Petals, you know what I’m talking about. Since I first started writing horror (sometime in 1999), and then publishing (2001), my work progressively darkened.

Palindrome Hannah, the debut novel, questioned coincidence and dealt with subjects such as suicide, multiple personalities / possession, domestic violence, child abuse, poverty, mental instability, bullying, and other horrible things. Dark, horrid puzzle pieces that hopefully formed something more beautiful.

Phoenix Rose, the follow-up novel, questioned reality and dealt with sad subjects like family loss, childhood trauma, mental disorders, and the unforgiving balance of life and death, while also focusing on spirituality, hope, sacrifice, and rising from one’s ashes.

While writing those two novels, I published Scales and Petals, a collection of short stories and poems. While a few of the works are on the lighter side of the dark, the rest dive into some rather horrid places. And it only gets darker from there.

Psychotropic Dragon, what I’m currently calling my last horror novel, is ultimately a love story. It is also the darkest, most difficult thing I have ever written. It has taken me over ten years (12?) to get this thing on paper. I kept putting the project on hold because I just didn’t want to finish the damn thing. I’d revisit the novel over the years, writing in bursts of 5,000 to 10,000 word chunks, and then the manuscript would sit for a while. Over a year, at one point. Finally, I gave myself a goal and cranked out the last 15,000 words over the course of a few weeks. Such an exhaustive process. And now it sits again, unfinished, waiting to be edited and rewritten, and edited some more. A few pre-readers are taking a shot at it, but there’s still work to be done. What’s it about? Psychotropic drugs, hallucinations, sex (the good and the absolute worst), child abuse, sexual abuse, dissociative identity disorders, the great eclose of the human condition, and other “real” things. Sick stuff. Some sick, beautiful stuff. It’s a love story, right? Right…

Anyway, there’s even more dark stuff in the works with Inkblots and Blood Spots, what I’m calling my last horror collection. This book contains the short stories and poems written between Phoenix Rose and Psychotropic Dragon. Dark, dark stuff. Dark, but transitional. After closing both of these future books, however, you will realize why these may be my last two “horror” projects. I hope you understand. Truth be told, only a tenth of what I read would be considered horror, and my writing style appears to be going down that path as well.

What about the anthologies?

DSIAPellucid Lunacy was my first editing project, a collection of psychological horror that raised a little over $2,000 for Breast Cancer and Down Syndrome research (donations split down the center), and was a recipient of the International Book Awards and winner of the USA Book News “Best Book” Awards.

The second anthology, Chiral Mad, also psychological horror, fared much better in terms of funds raised for charity. The Chiral Mad tally currently stands at $4,260, with all proceeds going to the Down Syndrome Information Alliance. That is positively amazing. Recently, the DSIA sent a thank you letter for their first check of $3,000. To date, Chiral Mad has received rave reviews and is the recipient of the following:

– Shortlisted for the Grand Prize of an unmentionable award, to be announced May 6th, 2013!
– London Book Festival winner for Anthologies/Collections
– This is Horror Awards, Anthology of the Year runner-up
– USA Book News “Best Book” Awards (Fiction: Anthologies), Finalist
– USA Book News “Best Book” Awards (Best Cover Design: Fiction), Finalist
– Halloween Book Fest Awards, Honorable Mention
– A few more surprises are in store soon…

While I may be cutting back on my own horror fiction (perhaps cutting it out completely), I will continue to edit and publish charity anthologies. That is a certainty. Will they all be psychological horror? Perhaps not, but perhaps yes. Perhaps most certainly yes. If I’m invited to write for a specific horror-themed anthology, I will consider it, but I don’t see myself writing horror anytime soon. What I write will probably have dark elements, but will not be straight up horror. My latest 5 or 6 published stories are borderline horror anyway, so I’ve already started down a more positive path with my writing. “Primal Tongue,” “Bootstrap” and “Hiatus” are examples of this.

Before I forget, I need to mention that Surviving the End (in which my story “Hiatus” appears), edited by Craig Bezant, recently won the Australian Shadow Award for edited publication. This is sort of the equivalent of the Bram Stoker Awards for Australia. Awesome news. “Birthday Suit,” a short story by Martin Livings, also in Surviving the End, won for short fiction.

Anyway, what shall I write? Am I retiring from writing horror altogether? I’m not sure. I’m leaning toward young adult fiction, or even a younger audience. Maybe both. Maybe more than both. Kids are reading, but I look on the shelves under “Young Adult” and I see crap. Vampires, Sex, Werewolves, Sex, Zombies, Sex… it’s too much. Kids need to read something more realistic, something positive. If I go down this route, there will be dark elements in my fiction, but my work will be overall positive, because that’s what the world needs.

Positivity rocks.

THE LONELIEST PYLON

pylonA strange title for a blog, I know, but it sums up my stay in Maryland last weekend during the latest Borderlands Press Writers Boot Camp. Why the pylon? I woke up Friday morning in my hotel room after a long day of traveling, looked out the window, and noticed a lonely orange traffic pylon keeled over in the middle of an empty field blanketed in snow. My first thought: I’ve never written a story from the point of view of an orange traffic pylon. No joke. That was my first thought of the morning. Me and my roommate, Richard, then began brainstorming ‘what if’ story ideas. What if the pylon thought it was one of a kind? What if the pylon somehow made it to an Interstate repaving project, only to be placed alongside thousands of other identical pylons? Would it be happy? Sad? What if the pylon was sex-deprived? What would it feel if sandwiched between other pylons? What if the pylon didn’t have a hole? We created about 30 scenarios for this poor, lonely pylon stranded in the snow, which we then coined “The Loneliest Pylon.” That’s basically the mindset of sleep-deprived speculative fiction writers. We get weird. And those are some of the more tame scenarios…

Anyway, the boot camp. For the last few months, me and sixteen other writerly types edited and critiqued the short stories and novel chunks submitted. This was a lot of work, but an extremely healthy habit for fiction writers. Every writer should do this regularly. I tend to do it often (my fifth boot camp?) In the past, I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside Thomas F. Monteleone, F. Paul Wilson, Douglas E. Winter, John R. Douglas, Mort Castle, Elizabeth Massie, Gary A. Braunbeck, and David Morrell. This year, Tom, Paul and Doug took the lead, with Brian Keene visiting Saturday night to give us the dirty on writing full-time.

Let me state something incredibly important right now, before I recap the camp (and this has nothing to do with Brian’s incredible speech, if you’re wondering)… I don’t plan to write full-time. Ever? Probably not. Writing full-time, I’m guessing I could crank out a few books a year, maybe edit an anthology or two, publish a bunch of short fiction, but full-time? No. Why? I’m not that crazy. A little crazy, but not that crazy. But, I will never stop writing, or editing, or publishing, and that’s the point. I’ve got this writer sickness in me. It’s terminal. Writing is a sickness, a disease. I had to state that because I get asked this question often. In fact, I was asked this question today at work. “Why don’t you just write full-time?” Well, now you have your answer.

After dissecting these submissions to death at home, we then met in Maryland to dissect them even further, as a group. Tom focused on plot, Paul on dialogue/voice, and Doug on character/point-of-view. After much instruction Friday night (lasting until 2-ish in the morning), as well as receiving a writing assignment to turn in Sunday morning (I’ll get to that later), we met Saturday morning bright and early in smaller groups for round-robin critiques. My room was used for Tom’s plot discussions, which means I work-shopped with him first and was able to sleep in for an extra 5 minutes (sleep-deprivation is common at these things, so 5 minutes of extra rest is a blessing). Each story received 20-30 minutes of intense discussion, with each grunt and lastly the instructor taking a turn. Then we room-hopped. I spent time with Paul next, and after lunch, took a hefty beating by Doug (as expected). I think we finished the round-robin critiques sometime around 5, which brings me back to the assignment.

bootcamp1We were each handed a random sheet of paper with a news headline. By Sunday morning, we had to produce roughly 750-1,500 words about that headline. My headline read: MAN HIRES HIT-MAN TO KILL HIMSELF, CALLS IT OFF… TOO LATE? or something similar. You get the idea. Leading up to that point, I was hoping to write my assignment from an orange traffic pylon’s point of view… Well, I had to change gears a bit. A few of my returning boot camp writerly friends, Richard Payne, Tracie Orsi, and my HWA mentoree, Meghan Arcuri (pictured, left to right), sacrificed sitting down for a nice dinner to instead participate in a foursome writer orgy. It’s not what you think… okay, maybe it’s what you think. The four of us returned to one of the rooms and sat quietly, writing our stories. We tossed around ideas and random chaotic thoughts (many laughs), but, for the most part, we remained silent and worked on our stories. We each cranked out about 200-300 words. Brian Keene was up next, so we snagged some food and brought it with us.

I need to interrupt myself here to tell a quick story. I found out late Thursday night (midnight maybe), that I barely missed seeing a good friend of mine, Susan Scofield. If you haven’t seen her artwork, you are missing out. Quality stuff. Anyway, I knew she’s neighbors and good friends with Brian Keene, somewhere in Pennsylvania, but my knowledge of eastern U.S. geography sucks, so I didn’t realize how close she was to the hotel in which we were staying. Before falling asleep for the night, facebook told me she had just returned home from Maryland. She was literally (I don’t use that word often) down the street with some writerly friends I knew as well. I flew over 3,000 miles, and we missed each other by minutes, by miles! “Have Brian slap me for you when he gets here,” I told her, but that wasn’t enough.

So, Saturday rolls around and I’m in a room chatting with some of the instructors and a few newbie writers as we’re wrapping up when Brian barges in. “I have to tell you this amazing story!” he says, and everyone turns around. “I was just standing around and this BEAUTIFUL blonde woman comes up to me, and I’m thinkin’ alright… and she says to me, ‘Hey! Are you Brian Keene?’ I tell her, ‘Well, yeah, I’m Brian Keene,’ thinking this is kinda cool and all, and then she says, ‘You’re going to the Borderlands boot camp thing, right?’ I tell her yeah, wondering where this is going because I’m famous and all, and she says, ‘Do you know Michael Bailey? Can you give this to him?'” He then gets all pissy at this point like I stole his girl and acted out this big scene and it was rather awesome, and he hands me this note…

susan_note

Message received, Susan, but I love you anyway.

Where was I?

“On Writing Full-Time (circa 2013)” followed later that night. Click the link if you want to read Brian’s speech. It’s incredibly informative and provides much perspective on writing full-time. I’ve met Brian a few times in the past, and look up to him (he even had some nice things to say about me). Please, read the attached speech, and read his work. He stayed around late to answer hundreds of questions and to discuss writing in general with the instructors and boot camp grunts. I can’t quite remember the time, but 12:30-ish ticked by when we headed back upstairs to finish our assignments. The foursome writer orgy continued for the next few hours. It’s quite liberating, really. Richard and Tracie sat at the table while Meghan and I kicked back on the couch. I’ve never written fiction while seated next to someone before. It felt strange at first, but I’m incredibly comfortable and open around these amazing people. Combined, we probably produced close to 5,000 words (Tracie providing the most pages). Laughs interrupted keystrokes every so often, but the four of us cranked out quality fiction. I will need to do this more often. I left the room with a writer high, and stayed awake another hour to read.

Coffee was definitely our friend during the stay. Sunday morning, each of us staggered out of bed, somehow dressed and made ourselves presentable, hashed out some last-minute edits, printed, and then submitted our work. To be read aloud…

Norman Prentiss (another friend and an amazing writer), read some of the stories, along with Doug and Paul taking turns. Tom read only one story… mine, and he read it well. In fact, if you click the link below, a 3-page story called “Fine Print,” you can listen to Tom reading the madness I produced during my sleep-deprived stay in Maryland. And yes, the story involves an orange traffic pylon and garnered some laughs.

“Small Print” – Read by Thomas F. Monteleone.

That’s the boot camp in a nutshell. There’s much more to it than that, but it’s difficult to express what goes on at the boot camp in so many words. The most difficult part is saying goodbye. Luckily, most of us stay in contact. I’ve been to five of these things now, and try to stay in contact with fellow grunts over the years. I’ve made some great friends along the way. And I always leave feeling inspired to write, and to edit, and to re-write, and to re-edit. It is definitely a sickness, or a disease, but I’m glad to share this disease with so many fine individuals.

I leave you with one final photograph from the boot camp, with Tom and Doug on the left, Paul on the right, and some of the grunts sandwiched in between.

bootcamp2

THE NEXT BIG THING

I was invited by both Erik T. Johnson and P. Gardner Goldsmith to participate in what is becoming a viral blog-eruption of talent. It is an honor to be thought of as “the next big thing” by such magnificent authors. You can find Erik’s blog at eriktjohnson.net/blog.html, and Gardner’s at gardnergoldsmith.com. I likewise consider each of these gentlemen “the next big thing” in speculative fiction, and I urge you to online-stalk each, regularly follow their blogs, and seek out their published works. I have had the opportunity of publishing short stories by both of these fine talents. Gardner’s “Sigil” and Erik’s “The Apologies” appear in my most recent psychological horror anthology, Chiral Mad, and Erik’s “The Inconsolable Key Company ” appeared in my first anthology, Pellucid Lunacy. Read the linked blogs!

Now, on to the questions:

1. What is the working title of your next book?

I am currently working on novel number three, Psychotropic Dragon.

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

Nearly twelve years ago, I dreamt about a girl with a tribal tattoo inked on her midsection. She was kneeling on the ground, naked, poised with her back arched and her arms held like a dragon unfolding its wings (attached pic). Without seeing the tattoo up close, I knew what it depicted. I awoke with that image burned into my mind. I somehow knew her as a troubled teen named Julie who took a psychotropic/hallucinogenic drug in the form of eye drops (even though none of this transpired in the dream). I rarely remember dreams, but this one stuck. This strange character has haunted me ever since. She wants to live on the page, and I haven’t let her. She showed some skin in my first novel, Palindrome Hannah, and she made an appearance or two in the follow-up, Phoenix Rose, and in a few of my short stories, but until now, I was afraid of giving her story life. Psychotropic Dragon is that story.

3. What genre does your book fall under?

Horror. This one is a nonlinear psychological mind trip.

4. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

The closest I’ve seen to a Julie lookalike would have to be Keira Knightly. The first time I saw Domino, I thought the main character looked familiar. There’s a drug dealer named Chase who could be played easily by a witty Woody Harrison or Kevin Spacey. Julie’s mother could be Carrie-Anne Moss, and her father by anyone who can pull off sinister. Julie’s friend Frankie could be played by Kandyse McClure.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Enhanced by a psychotropic drug taken through the eyes, a troubled youth unravels her dark fantastic past to shed light on an ameliorate reality.

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I will soon be looking for representation.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

The first “written” version of this story made it to paper in late 2009, and I’ve been editing and revising as I go along. I’m hoping to have a completed manuscript by early 2013. It typically takes me four years per novel, so I’m still on track.

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

None that I can think of, which is sort of the point. I’ve been called the David Mitchell of horror, but that’s only because his work is extremely nonlinear like mine. The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum comes to mind because of the brutality and pacing.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Julie. It’s her story. I’m the vessel.

10. What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

Readers of my first two novels will recognize some of the characters that weave in and out of this novel, including Aeron Stevenson from Palindrome Hannah, who has a big role in Psychotropic Dragon, as well as Hannah, Julie’s daughter. Horror greats such as Thomas F. Monteleone, F. Paul Wilson, Douglas E. Winter and John Skipp have all helped in this novel’s early development.

Who do I consider “the next big thing?”

There are many names to consider. If I had my choice, I’d write a paragraph about all thirty who deserve such recognition, but I can only choose three, so here they are, in no particular order:

Christian A. Larsen. I discovered Chris after he submitted his story “Mirror Moments” to the Chiral Mad anthology not long ago. After falling in love with his story and its delicate prose, I searched his name online and found his exlibrislarsen.com website, where he blogs regularly (side note: a similar thing happened after discovering Erik T. Johnson for the first time, who signed me up for “The Next Best Thing”). I am proud to be in the same table of contents as Chris in the forthcoming Zippered Flesh 2, where his story “The Little Things” will appear alongside Kealan Patrick Burke, W.D. Gagliani, Jezzy Wolfe, and yours truly. I am eager to read his story “The Talent’s in the Bones” in The Ghost is the Machine, where he rightfully belongs with authors such as Joe Hill, Eric J. Guignard and Jonathan Templar, as well as his story “724” in For When the Veil Drops. I look forward to hunting down Mr. Larsen’s other work. He is that good. And I look forward to publishing more of his stories in the future. How good is Christian A. Larsen? Jack Ketchum recently tweeted a line from Mr. Larsen’s “Mirror Moments”:  Kids see things differently; that’s why they make such great victims.” Larsen conveys powerful prose with minimal words.

R.B. Payne. I met Richard a long time ago at one of the Borderlands Press boot camps, where we battled with red pens and bled over pages until we realized we weren’t only fighting on the same side, but sparring, making each other better. And then we kept battling throughout the weekend, and again at another boot camp a few years later. Only recently have I really dug into his work as a fan, seeking out his publications. I must say, I have enjoyed every word. Lovecraft-inspired The Shadow of the Unknown is the first anthology to publish Richard alongside yours truly, and his story “The Laramie Tunnel” is one to remember. I personally invited Mr. Payne to Chiral Mad and was sent a story called “Cubicle Farm,” one of my quickest decisions. A third of the way through the initial read, a voice in my head was saying, “Yes, I like where this one’s going because I don’t know where it’s going. This one is definitely in the anthology.” To date, there are three official reviews of the anthology; two of these have mentioned “Cubicle Farm” as one of the standouts. Look forward to Payne.

Meghan Arcuri. What can I say about Meghan Arcuri? The palindrome ‘wow’ comes to mind. Meghan and I have met twice in person: first at Borderlands, and second at AnthoCon 2012, where she participated in the official release of Chiral Mad. She read part of her story “Inevitable” and held everyone on the edge of their seats. She then shared that “Inevitable” was her first publication, and that it was her first reading. (side note: this is also her first horror story). This floored everyone. Over the conference weekend, many notable authors approached asking, “Where did you find her? She’s incredible!” and publishers asking “Do you think she’d send something to me?” She amazed Gary A. Braunbeck with her reading, as well as Charles Day. Both mentioned to me how much they enjoyed her story. Meghan is an amazing new talent and my final author to consider as “The Next Big Thing”. I am glad to have met her and we’ve shared many hours together discussing the art of writing. R.B. Payne is to blame for our relationship, and I thank him wholeheartedly. He sent an email prior to submitting his story, a warning of sorts, letting me know Meghan would be sending me something: “She’s heading someplace serious as soon as she gets more writing chops. Anyway, just sayin’”

So, those are my three. Follow the links and seek them out. You will not be disappointed.