Archive for the ‘ Illustrations ’ Category

WHAT IS CAL WILD?

The Cal Wild Chronicles

What is Cal Wild?

(either read this, or click any of the images throughout this post to go directly to the campaign, but I recommend reading this first, and then visiting the campaign)

Cal Wild is California, years from now, nearly destroyed by civilization, with not much left but desolation and a few glimpses of humanity… and some hope. If this were television, Cal Wild would stretch a seven- or eight-season series on HBO, or perhaps Netflix, and you would fall in love with each of Gene’s characters to no end. Perhaps someday this series will get to that, but it all starts with these books, which will hopefully paint a world for you in more colors and more depth than can ever be adapted to screen.

Over the last 30 years, Gene O’Neill has created this colorful world, and now he’s ready to share it with you in this collection of illustrated trade paperback books. GAK will be illustrating each book in this series, and is currently at work building a four-part panoramic front cover that will span across each of the books if placed one next to the other, and when flipped over, will create a four-part panoramic back cover! How awesome is that? If you’ve had a chance to at least flip through the latest Written Backwards anthology, The Library of the Dead, you realize what you’re in for with GAK illustrating all four books of The Cal Wild Chronicles.

The Confessions of St. Zach

The Confessions of St. Zach starts the series, introducing the crimson man, named such after he is dyed a dark crimson red for his crimes, That is what we do with our criminals in Cal Wild. He is one of the Dyed People, or DP’s, each whose body is completely stained (for life) the color fitting the crime. During his survival, he runs across a green woman, and others that are dyed various colors spanning the spectrum. Red, orange, yellow, green, blue… what does it all mean? The trade paperback for this book is scheduled for late fall / early winter 2015.

2. The Burden of Indigo

Then comes The Burden of Indigo, the second in this series, and perhaps one of Gene’s most beloved novels about a man dyed for the ultimate sex crime. “The Burden of Indigo” is one of (if not the) first short story published by Gene, expanded as a novel, and follows an indigo man who thinks his colors are slowly fading. The trade paperback for this book is scheduled for late winter / early spring 2016. This book will make you weep.

3. The Near Future

Late spring / early summer 2016 will bring the third in this series, The Near Future, a fitting title, since the book will be published in the near future, and you will have it in your un-dyed hands sooner than you think. But… you can look forward to a novella included in this book that offers a love scene between a scarlet man and a light blue woman, among other things.

4. The Far Future

Last in this series of four books isThe Far Future, which is scheduled for a late summer / early fall 2016 release. This fourth book should wrap up this colorful world in a nice little package, and will include an original short novella called “The Dark Green Woman.” When you get to the end of this book, you will realize what an amazing journey Gene O’Neill has taken you through, and will want to pick up the first book and start all over again.

So, there you have it. Four books by Gene O’Neill to paint his imagined Cal Wild, each completely illustrated by GAK, and released each quarter from the end of 2015 to the second half of 2016. Consider this your subscription service to Gene’s O’Neill. Help with this campaign, and you can get a new book by Gene delivered to you each quarter, and perhaps some other fun swag (and books!) depending on how much you contribute, and how far these stretch goals… stretch.

Why a campaign? Well, this is the first time Written Backwards has ever taken on such a large project as this (4 illustrated books, all at once, along with other projects in the works), and doing such takes an amount of resources that would otherwise not be there, and, as many writers out there are aware by now, Written Backwards pays its contributors what they should be properly paid. This will see to that.

If you want to test out the waters, or are limited by the amount of dough in your wallet, I recommend pre-ordering the first illustrated book in the series, The Confessions of St. Zach, or perhaps starting with one of my favorites, The Burden of Indigo. This will only cost you $25, will help this campaign immensely, and if stretch goals are met, you will take home not only 1 of these fine books, but a copy of Gene’s latest illustrated novella, At the Lazy K, along with your choice of any book from the Written Backwards library. So, 3 books for $25, and free shipping (in the US)! Can’t really beat that. But yes, you can…

For a $100, you help this campaign even more, and get a copy of all four illustrated books, including The Confessions of St. Zach, The Burden of IndigoThe Near Future, and The Far Future, which you can arrange side-by-side to create either a four-part panoramic image spanning the four front covers, or you can flip the books over and arrange them side-by-side to create a four-part panoramic image spanning the four back covers. Plus you get a copy of his illustrated novella At the Lazy K, which has a tie-in character to these books, along with not 1 book of your choice from the Written Backwards library, but 3! So, 8 books for $100, and free shipping (in the US). I’d say you can’t really beat that, but, well…

A few other perks include Gene O’Neill writing you into one of his stories, or perhaps a print of any of GAK’s creations from this entire Cal Wild series, along with those 8 books (including shipping in the US), for not that much more of a donation to this worthy cause. Yet, there are even better deals if you’ve got the dough to spare…

For $250, you can be an official Cal Wild sponsor, getting you all the perks mentioned above, plus recognition and cross-promotion up the wazoo until the end of this four book series.

For $500, you can be an official Written Backwards sponsor, getting all that previously mentioned stuff, plus recognition and cross-promotion up the wazoo until the end of 2017, along with copies of any or ALL (yes, all) Written Backwards titles, including future releases to the end of 2017. So, 11 potential books to-date, plus however many are published over the next two years (probably 4, or maybe more depending on how many novellas are released), plus a few best friends for life, and some (I’m going to mention it again because I’ll stick to it) seriously crazy cross-promotion. I’m looking for authors and editors and publishers to fill these sponsor roles. You will get your money’s worth, no doubt.

Anyway, if you haven’t yet had the chance to visit the campaign, feel free to do so now, although you may just want to scroll down a bit through these stretch goal images… and then click on any to visit the campaign.

If you can’t meet the $25 minimum for books, any amount you can provide to this campaign will help. But look at all this cool stuff you can get!

One final question, which is usually a staple question with publishing campaigns: Where will all the money go? The answer should always be: The the writers, and illustrators, and well, the bare amount necessary to bring these books to life. Feed the creators of this world. Help bring Cal Wild to life!

Cal Wild stretch goal #1 Cal Wild stretch goal #2 Cal Wild stretch goal #3 Cal Wild stretch goal #4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

AT THE LAZY K – ALLEVON #1

At the Lazy K, now available at Amazon.com

At the Lazy K, now available at Amazon.com

4-001At the Lazy K, the latest novella by Gene O’Neill, is now available at Amazon.com (click the image above for a direct link to purchase). With interior illustrations throughout by L.A. Spooner (some of which are sprinkled throughout this post), and an introduction by Bram Stoker Award winning author Rena Mason, this smaller, matte-finished book fits nicely in the hands and digs instantly into your heart. This is Gene O’Neill at his finest.

Gene O’Neill is a multi-award winning author of science fiction, fantasy, and horror, with over 150 works published, including stories filling the pages of Twilight Zone MagazineCemetery Dance Magazine, and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Gene is not a stranger to Written Backwards; his fiction has appeared in nearly every anthology, including Chiral Mad, Chiral Mad 2, the Bram Stoker Award nominated Qualia Nous, and most recently The Library of the Dead, an anthology he and Gord Rollo first conceived. His short story “3-Dot People” will also be included in Chiral Mad 3. And look soon for his Cal Wild series, a colorful collection some are calling his magnum opus, which includes The Confessions of St. ZachThe Burden of IndigoThe Near Future, and The Far Future.

5-001This is the first of the ALLEVON series of illustrated novellas by Written Backwardsand Gene is the perfect way to start this ambitious new line of books. How many novellas released each year by Written Backwards is yet-to-be-determined, but each new release will be carefully and beautifully crafted, such as this one, and each will be authored by different writers of various genres, and each will be illustrated by different artists.

What can you expect with At the Lazy K?

Once a brothel, and later turned into a rehabilitation center, a place called The Lazy K survives a century-spanning curse following the wrongful hanging of an innocent man on the branches of an old California oak. This haunting novella by legend Gene O’Neill is part western, part ghost story, part drug-rehabilitation, and is a literary, multi-genre exploration into the rich cultural history of northern California.
1-003Tracy L. Carbone says it best in her Amazon review: “I bought this book as soon as it was released. When it was delivered, my first reaction was that it was a beautiful book. With its matte cover and internal illustrations by L. A. Spooner, its cream pages and professional layout that are standard of Written Backwards, I hoped sincerely that the prose would match. I have known of Gene ONeill for many years but had never read his work. Long story short, it was terrific. In line with the quality of the publisher’s other works. So much in commercial fiction these days is based on shock value and gore and pushing boundaries. This refreshing tale was more literary and in the vein of old fashioned horror. The reader is given a solid background from which to understand the curse in the book, as well as brief but all encompassing backgrounds of the main characters. I found myself easily envisioning the surroundings the author craftfully painted of the various eras and locations. Well done! I will have to track down more of O’Neill’s books.”

At the Lazy K was recently released at Anthocon in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where Gene served as a Guest of Honor, along with Thomas F. Monteleone, Christopher Golden, Holly Newstein, James A. Moore, artist Guest of Honor Susan Scofield, and surprise guests F. Paul Wilson, Gord Rollo, and gak, who illustrated The Library of the Dead.

Pick up a copy of At the Lazy K by clicking here, or follow the link for a peek inside.

 

CHIRAL MAD 3 – UPDATE #2

Chiral Mad 3

All poetry has been selected for Chiral Mad 3. It’s been a fun ride! As previously announced, there will be 20 poems from 10 different poetry contributors (2 from each) to be symmetrically placed around the fiction. The first half of the accepted poems (and their creators) were previously announced, and now we have the second half, which are listed in bold:

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

Illustration for Brock

Illustration for Brock

Unannounced until now, Glenn Chadbourne has agreed to provide illustrations around some the poetry; this is in addition to his illustrations for each of the 20 stories, some of which can be found scattered around this page. Glenn is cranking out some outstanding work, and at a remarkable pace. This guy is a machine! But, I’ll let his work speak for itself…

4 more stories have been accepted as well, bringing the count to 8. Fiction submissions are not yet open, and are currently by invite only. If the window opens, it will be brief, and most likely sometime around summer… if at all. I wish I could open the submission window completely for all to participate, but it is just not possible at this time. 12 spots remain to be filled, and there are more surprises.

Illustration for Thomas

Illustration for Thomas

The next set of accepted contributors includes Stephen King, whose story “The Jaunt” previously appeared in the Benjamin Franklin Award winning Qualia Nous, and is now in production to be made into a film as one of King’s “Dollar Babies.” His novel Revival was recently released in mass market paperback, and his novel Finders Keepers, the follow-up to his Edgar Award winning novel Mr. Mercedes, and the second book in this trilogy, is scheduled for release in hardcover June 2nd.

The list of acceptances has also expanded to include new fiction by Richard Thomas, whose stories “The Jenny Store” and “Playing with Fire” previously appeared in Qualia Nous and Chiral Mad 2, respectively, as well as new fiction by Mercedes M. Yardley (a newcomer to Written Backwards, but no stranger), and new fiction by Jason V Brock, whose novelette “Simulacrum” previously appeared in Qualia Nous. Richard, Mercedes, and Jason are outstanding writers, so if you haven’t yet had the chance to read their work, don’t wait for Chiral Mad 3, seek out their work now. It’s great having familiar names return to Written Backwards, but it’s just as great having new names as well. And if some of these names seem new to you, well, get to it. Here’s where the anthology stands in terms of fiction, with the latest acceptances in bold (in no particular order):

01. Gene O’Neill: “3-Dot People”
02. Ramsey Campbell: “Know Your Code”
03. Jessica May Lin: “Red Runner vs. The Surgeon, Issue 18”
04: Paul Michael Anderson: “The Agonizing Guilt of Relief (Last Days of a Ready-Made Victim)”
05: Stephen King: “The Last Rung on the Ladder”
06: Richard Thomas: “The Offering on the Hill”
07: Jason V Brock: “Windows, Mirrors, Doors”
08: Mercedes M. Yardley: “The Dead Collection”

That’s it for now. More surprises are on the way…

Illustration for Anderson

Illustration for Anderson

 

Illustration for Yardley

Illustration for Yardley

CHIRAL MAD 3 – UPDATE #1

Chiral Mad 3

After receiving over 300 poems for Chiral Mad 3, the submission window for poetry is now officially closed. The anthology will include 20 poems from 10 different poetry contributors (2 from each) to be symmetrically placed around the fiction. The first half of the accepted poems (and their creators) will be announced… right now, listed below  (in no particular order):

01. Elizabeth Massie: “Black River #1” and “Black River #2”
02. Marge Simon: “Mirror Image” and “Reflections through the Raven’s Eye”
03. Stephanie M. Wytovich: “Put Me to Dream” and “Welcome Home, Darling”
04. Bruce Boston: “Beyond Symmetry” and “Reflecting on Reflections”
05. Erik T. Johnson: “Whisper #1 (A Warning)” and “Whisper #2 (A Prophecy)”

Illustration for Lin

Illustration for Lin

The poetry received for this project has been astounding, to say the least. There are currently 20 contributors (40 poems) on the short list, and a few invited guests who should be sending in their work for consideration relatively soon. Hopefully, sometime within the next few weeks, the five remaining poetry contributors (and final 10 poems) will be decided, and announced in the next Chiral Mad 3 update. Fiction submissions are not open at this time (currently invite only until further notice); however, if you are a previous contributor to any Written Backwards project, feel free to query; if you received an email stating that your submission to a previous project is still in consideration for this or for any other Written Backwards project, feel free to send an email for a status update.

Illustration for O'Neill

Illustration for O’Neill

Chiral Mad 3 will include 20 stories, each illustrated by Glenn Chadbourne (some of his work for this project is sprinkled throughout), known for his black and white illustrations.

The first two accepted stories are new works by Ramsey Campbell, whose story “The Word” was reprinted in Chiral Mad 2, and Gene O’Neill, who will have appeared in all three Chiral Mad volumes once this one is complete, and whose novella At the Lazy K will be released later this year by Written Backwards, the first of the ALLEVON series of novellas. Gene also has a story called “Broken Lady” in the forthcoming The Library of the Dead, a project he and Gord Rollo imagined and brought to Written Backwards.

Illustration for ?

Illustration for ?

For Chiral Mad 3, the list of accepted fiction has expanded to include a short story by Jessica May Lin, and a novelette by Paul Michael Anderson, who recently helped proofread The Library of the Dead, and has a story in Qualia Nous called “In the Nothing-Space, I Am What You Made Me.” Paul seems to have a record selling me stories with long titles (see below). And, as a side note, I asked to read this story after hearing about it on social media, and later received the story in an email from Paul with a subject line of “That realistic horror story that is SO not CM3.” Well, he was wrong. Jessica, on the other hand, is new to Written Backwards, thanks to a referral and some kind words by Jack Ketchum (who, like Gene, may also appear in all three volumes of Chiral Mad).

Anyway, here’s where the anthology stands in terms of fiction (in no particular order):

01. Gene O’Neill: “3-Dot People”
02. Ramsey Campbell: “Know Your Code”
03. Jessica May Lin: “Red Runner vs. The Surgeon, Issue 18”
04: Paul Michael Anderson: “The Agonizing Guilt of Relief (Last Days of a Ready-Made Victim)”

Stay tuned…

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!

INKBLOTS AND BLOOD SPOTS

Inkblots and Blood Spots

Inkblots and Blood Spots is finally here! Years after toying with this second collection of fiction and poetry, it has finally found a home with Villipede Publications, who have done a marvelous job orchestrating the complexity it takes putting a beautiful book like this together. Shawna L. Bernard, aka Sydney Leigh, edited the collection and went through hell and back again to bring you this book. And now the trade paperback is available at Amazon in the US and Amazon in the UK, and eventually through extended distribution channels.

From the back cover:

From the mind of award-winning author and editor Michael Bailey comes Inkblots and Blood Spots, a painfully beautiful collection of short stories and poetry that reaches deep into the imagination, breaking hearts and boundaries along the way…

In a lyrical and uninterrupted dance, Bailey entwines evocative literary short fiction with rhythmic poetry and comes full circle in one seamless collection. His stellar performance is accompanied by the stunning artwork of Daniele Serra, winner of the British Fantasy Award, and an Introduction by the legendary Douglas E. Winter.

Stories include the Bram Stoker nominated “Fireman / Primal Tongue,” which also received an Honorable Mention for Year’s Best Horror; “Dandelion Clocks,” a haunting, melodic tribute to the tragedy of 9/11; “I Wanted Black,” where a young boy’s birthday is anything but cause to celebrate; “Mum,” a tale of two sisters unfolding like the bandages on their mother’s badly burned body…

Take a surreal stroll through a carnival in “Underwater Ferris Wheel,” where the biggest attraction may be your last ride; witness a pregnant woman’s harrowing encounter with soul-stealing faerie in “Not the Child”; and find out why it gets cold in a little girl’s room at night when she sees “A Light in the Closet.

Danielle Serra provided the captivating cover, as well as provided half-page, full-page, and multi-page illustrations throughout for each of the stories. The book weighs a solid pound, runs 256 pages, and is chock full of surprises that will hopefully take your breath away in some way or another. These interesting thumbnails were stolen from the publisher’s website to give you an idea of what you can expect when cracking the spine.

Illustrations by Daniele Serra

The one and only Douglas E. Winter was kind enough to write the introduction, and there are some rather nice blurbs:

“Michael Bailey continues to amaze. He is on track to becoming his generation’s Ray Bradbury.” – F. Paul Wilson

“Vibrant, bold, and bursting with original concepts… a writer willing to bypass all the familiar territories and stake out a new narrative landscape all his own.” – Thomas F. Monteleone

“Haunting and poignant… filled with love and loss, the weight of these resolutions echoes out into the darkness with a heartbreaking permanence.” – Richard Thomas

“The stories and poems in Inkblots and Blood Spots bleed into our souls like knives and leave us breathless. Bailey is a fabulous writer, and these stories are his best. Go buy this book. Now. It has my highest recommendation.” – John R. Little

Inkblots and Blood Spots is a smart collection of stories that evoke real fear, because they’re grounded in emotional truth. Michael Bailey has that rare ability to terrify readers and break their hearts–often in the same paragraph.” – Norman Prentiss

“Most writers are either stylists or story-tellers. The stylists tend to be more common in literary fiction, the storytellers more common in genre work. Michael Bailey’s prose is highly accessible, but very precise… he’s a stylist, his prose very clean. Michael is indeed a very literate storyteller.” – Gene O’Neill

“Artfully executed. A unique and powerful contribution to speculative literature.” – Tim Deal

If you’re a fan of Goodreads to track your reading habits, there is a page setup for Inkblots and Blood Spots, which you can find here. And if you’re looking to see more, check out the latest blog by my editor, Shawna Bernard, at The Spider Box. I think she states it best:

“The work in Inkblots and Blood Spots has been carefully arranged so that it’s woven together with characters, settings, themes, rhythms, and voices that all connect and flow into the telling of one longer tale throughout.” – Shawna Barnard

The collection includes 15 previously published short stories, “Dandelion Clocks,” a new novelette, and a mix of 17 poems, some of which are previously published, and some that are new.

Dance with me.

Stories:

  • Hiatus
  • Bootstrap / The Binds of Lasolastica
  • A Light in the Closet
  • Mum
  • Skinny
  • Not the Child
  • Scrub
  • Eavesdropping
  • It Tears Away
  • The Dying Gaul
  • The Mascot
  • Coulrophobic
  • Underwater Ferris Wheel
  • I Wanted Black
  • Fireman / Primal Tongue
  • Dandelion Clocks

Poems:

  • Beneath Clouds
  • Alive
  • The Two of You
  • Bogey
  • Sticks and Bones
  • Void
  • Simon the Parasite
  • Ink
  • Listen To Me
  • All but the Things that Cannot be Torn
  • Twisted
  • Secret Smile
  • Open Auras
  • Though it Rains
  • Countdown to Null
  • Not Responding
  • Whisper Dance