Archive for the ‘ Novellas ’ Category

CHIRAL MAD 4: An Anthology of Collaborations is now available!

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Today is the official release date of Chiral Mad 4: An Anthology of Collaborations, now available around the world in hardcover, trade paperback, and eBook. This is perhaps the most ambitious project ever imagined by Written Backwards. The entire book is one giant collaboration: co-editing by Michael Bailey & Lucy A. Snyder, a co-introduction by Gary A. Braunbeck & Janet Harriet, and 16 original works by 36 different contributors, all collaborations. 424 pages!

20,000-word novellas by Bracken MacLeod & Paul Michael Anderson, F. Paul Wilson & Erinn L. Kemper, Emily B. Cataneo & Gwendolyn Kiste, Sarah Monette & Elizabeth Bear.

10,000-word novelettes by Chesya Burke & LH Moore, P. Gardner Goldsmith & Valerie Marcley, Kristopher Triana & Chad Stroup, and a four-way collaboration by Kristi DeMeester, Richard Thomas, Damien Angelica Walters & Michael Wehunt.

5,000-word short stories by Elizabeth Massie & Marge Simon, Maurice Broaddus & Anthony R. Cardno, Erik T. Johnson & J Daniel Stone, Seanan McGuire & Jennifer Brozek.

And 52 pages of graphic adaptions, including drool-enticing work by Daniele Serra & Brian Keene, Orion Zangara, Glen Krisch & Matt Stockwell, James Chambers, Jason Whitley & Christopher Mills, and a bitter-sweet first and final collaboration of “Firedance” between longtime friends Glenn Chadbourne & Jack Ketchum that spans over 26 pages.

Now available around the world:

US: https://goo.gl/KAw84x
UK: https://goo.gl/dT2tgH
CAN: https://goo.gl/4uznY9
IT: https://goo.gl/hGFfmA
AUS: https://goo.gl/DcwgWm
JP: https://goo.gl/wtzK25
DE: https://goo.gl/gnauxY

Need to catch up on past volumes? Chiral MadChiral Mad 2, and Chiral Mad 3 are also available. Simply click the images below to get started.

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Chiral Mad 3, an anthology of psychological horror nominated for the Bram Stoker Award in Superior Achievement in an Anthology, is available in trade paperback for $14.95, or eBook for $6.95. Fiction/poetry; 361 pages; 9×6 format; illustrations by Glenn Chadbourne; introduction by Chuck Palahniuk.

The third act in the critically-acclaimed series contains 45 illustrations by Glenn Chadbourne, over 20 stories by the likes of Stephen King, Jack Ketchum, Ramsey Campbell, Gary A. Braunbeck, Mort Castle, Josh Malerman, Scott Edelman, Richard Thomas, Richard Chizmar and Gene O’Neill, and with 20 intertwined poems by the likes of Elizabeth Massie, Marge Simon, Bruce Boston, Erik T. Johnson, Stephanie M. Wytovich.

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Chiral Mad 2 is available in trade paperback for $14.95, or eBook for $6.95. Fiction; 424 pages; 9×6 format.

An anthology of psychological horror containing twenty-eight short stories by established authors and newcomers from around the world. Featuring the imaginations of David Morrell, Mort Castle, P. Gardner Goldsmith, Ramsey Campbell, Jack Ketchum, Ann K. Boyer, John Skipp, Gary McMahon, Lucy A. Snyder, Thomas F. Monteleone, and many others, with an intro and outro by Michael Bailey. Also features the Bram Stoker Award winning novelette by Gary A. Braunbeck.

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Chiral Mad is available in trade paperback for $14.95, or eBook for $6.95. Fiction; 374 pages; 9×6 format.

An anthology of psychological horror containing twenty-eight short stories by established authors and newcomers from around the world. Featuring the imaginations of Gord Rollo, Monica J. O’Rourke, Jon Michael Kelly, Meghan Arcuri, Christian A. Larsen, Jeff Strand, Gary McMahon, John Palisano, Jack Ketchum, and many others, with an introduction by Thomas F. Monteleone.

CHIRAL M4D!

The fourth volume in the critically-acclaimed and ever-evolving Chiral Mad Series is finally here, and quite different than its predecessors. Available now!

$34.95 / hardback
$19.95 / trade paperback
$9.95 / eBook

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Chiral Mad 4: An Anthology of Collaborations includes 4 novella, 4 novelettes, 4 short stories, and 4 graphic adaptations. 424 pages! But here’s the catch: Every single story in this anthology is a collaboration. Bram Stoker Award winners Michael Bailey and Lucy A. Snyder even co-edited the anthology to bring you an incredibly diverse and entirely collaborative dark fiction experience, including a co-introduction by Gary A. Braunbeck and Janet Harriett, and a few other surprises.

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The original Chiral Mad was meant to be an only child, and featured mostly short fiction, a few novelettes, and an introduction by Thomas F. Monteleone. The book was a charity project, and raised over $5,000 for Down syndrome awareness ($3,000 of that going to the Down Syndrome Information Alliance). But soon after publication, there was already high demand for a Chiral Mad 2. The second volume contained a few novellas, and an introduction by the book itself. And then Gary A. Braunbeck went and won himself a Bram Stoker Award for his long fiction piece “The Great Pity,” sparking even higher demand for a Chiral Mad 3. Always evolving, the third volume included poetry, illustrations throughout by Glenn Chadbourne, and an introduction by Chuck Palahniuk. And for the first time, the series was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in an Anthology, with Scott Edelman’s “That Perilous Stuff” nominated for Long Fiction, and Hal Bodner’s “A Rift in Reflection” nominated for Short Fiction, thus sparking an insane amount of demand for a Chiral Mad 4.

And so again, the series evolved.

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The idea for collaborations originated during a bad time for both the horror and science fiction writing communities. Everyone pointing fingers, not really getting along. Everyone seemingly mad at each other and unfriending each other and taking jabs whenever possible. Chiral Mad, perhaps it could help bring people together …

Chiral Mad 4, you want it to happen? Then fucking start holding hands and start singing “Kumbaya” and get along already. Something like that. And since the series is one to ever-evolve, more insane ideas took shape. Why not make the entire anthology a collaborative effort? Why not havea co-editor? And since it’s #4 in the series, why not have 4 different forms of storytelling, with 4 collaborations of each? Why not include graphic adaptations this time, along with novellas, novelettes, and short stories? Why not have a co-introduction? Every single part of the book collaborative … why not?

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The book, it’s huge in both scope and in physical form. 52 pages of graphic adaptations. Something like 120,000 words of new fiction. It’s a tome. So, what can you expect with the fourth (and perhaps final) volume of Chiral Mad? A little bigger price tag, unfortunately: $19.95 for the trade paperback, $9.95 for the eBook, and at some point there will be a hardback edition available for $29.95. It’s worth it. That much is promised. The full insanity? Here’s the final Table of Contents:

“Somewhere Between the Mundane and the Miraculous” (introduction) – Gary A. Braunbeck & Janet Harriett

[ part one ]

“How We Broke” – Bracken MacLeod & Paul Michael Anderson
“Fade to Null” – Brian Keene & Daniele Serra
“Asperitas” – Kristopher Triana & Chad Stroup
“Home and Hope Both Sound a Little Bit Like ‘Hunger'” – Seanan McGuire & Jennifer Brozek
“Golden Sun” – Richard Thomas, Kristi DeMeester, Damien Angelica Walters & Michael Wehunt
“The Substance of Belief” – Elizabeth Massie & Marge Simon
“The Ghost of the Bayou Piténn” – James Chambers, Jason Whitley & Christopher Mills
“The Long and the Short of It” – Erinn L. Kemper & F. Paul Wilson

[ part two ]

“The Wreck of the Charles Dexter Ward” – Sarah Monette & Elizabeth Bear
“Sudden Sanctuary” – Glen Krisch, Orion Zangara & Matt Stockwell
“Peregrination” – Chesya Burke & LH Moore
“Ghost Drawl” – Erik T. Johnson & J. Daniel Stone
“Detritus Girl” – P. Gardner Goldsmith & Valerie Marcley
“Wolf at the Door” – Anthony R. Cardno & Maurice Broaddus
“Firedance” – Jack Ketchum & Glenn Chadbourne
“In Her Flightless Wings, a Fire” – Emily B. Cataneo & Gwendolyn Kiste

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Quite the line-up, no? And, as you can see from the above image, Chiral Mad 4 includes a final collaboration with long-time friend Dallas Mayr / Jack Ketchum. The adaptation of “Firedance” is worth the price of admission alone, and runs 26 pages. Dallas, Glenn and yours truly worked our fingers to the bones to bring you something special, something to remember him by.

So, once again, crack the spine, dig your claws deep into these pages, sit back, and enjoy a new kind of chirality.

ARTIFACTS

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Come meet Eru, the two-trunked telepathic elephant!

Yes, Darren Speegle’s second novel, Artifacts, is now available. This is science-fantasy at its greatest, and the third book in the Allevon series of original illustrated trade paperbacks by Written Backwards. The book features black and white illustrations throughout by L.A. Spooner (see below for color variants) and an introduction by Gene O’Neill. Currently available on Amazon at the following links for easy finding, or simply search “Artifacts” and/or “Darren Speegle.”

In a far future Europe, following a four-thousand-year Dark Age, of which man retains little record or memory, a scroll is found in a train car deep within the snow and ice of Scandinavia, buried since the cataclysmic end of the First Age. The document, which contains a cryptic message meant for the world before it died, finds its way into the hands of Rein, an outpost bar hand who journeys across the continent seeking the relic’s translation.

US: https://goo.gl/1PKeVM

UK: https://goo.gl/pKZhjo

IT: https://goo.gl/TGBxMQ

Canada: https://goo.gl/qHRpki

 

Artifacts is only available in trade paperback; 290 pages; 8×5 format; priced reasonably at $10.95, or similar, depending on your currency.

BONES ARE MADE TO BE (RE-)BROKEN

UPDATE:

Bones Are Made to Be Broken is now available in trade paperback for only $14.95, and eBook for only $6.95! Hint: click either “trade paperback” or “eBook” for links to each. Over 120,000 words. Kind of a great deal.

Get ready to break some bones on July 24th, 2018, or re-break them if you’ve broken them already. Either way, mark your calendars for the re-release of Paul Michael Anderson’s debut fiction collection, Bones Are Made to Be Broken!

Some history: A few years ago, I had the pleasure of working on this collection in terms of editing and interior design. This project started out as a joke in that Pat R. Steiner produced a mock cover for a nonexistent Paul Michael Anderson collection and I commented on social media with “I’d publish that!” Well, that book eventually happened under an imprint from another publisher. It looked something like this:

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I now have the pleasure of reintroducing this book for its second printing, this time directly through Written Backwards. Paul has a thing with bridges, you see, and so the image below is my preferred vision for the cover, which also includes some incredible blurbs and review snippets, which we’ll get to shortly.

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What’s new? Well, the first thing is the price. We were able to reformat the book in a way that allows for a $14.95 price tag. This new version comes in at 426 pages, so that’s quite a steal! All the original stories are included, as well as artwork by Pat R. Steiner, a foreword by Damien Angelica Walters (author of Cry Your Way Home, Paper Tigers), yet this new version includes a few surprises : Story Notes (previously only included in the deluxe hardback), an updated acknowledgments, and a new afterword by Bracken MacLeod (author of Come to Dust, 13 Views of the Suicide Woods, and Stranded). This thing is packed with awesome content.

What do other writers think about Bones Are Made to Be Broken? How about some blurbs, for starters:

“A dark carnival of rigorous intelligence and compassion” – Jack Ketchum

“Moody, compelling, and drowning in wonder” – Erinn L. Kemper

“A treasure for any horror or dark SF fan’s library” – Marge Simon

“A deftly told, beautifully written collection of horror and humanity” – Mercedes M. Yardley

Challenges the mind and punches the gut” – Craig DeLouie

“Stories that creep inside and make a nest of your innards” – Kristi DeMeester

“Intense and emotionally crippling” – Stephanie M. Wytovich

“A truly superb collection of deeply unnerving short stories” – Jonathan Maberry

Yes, Bones Are Made to Be Broken is quite the collection, which includes fourteen short stories, one of which is a novelette and another the title novella (well worth the admission on its own, or so I’m told). But don’t take it from me, reviewers seem to like the collection as well. Here’s what a few of them have to say:

“Endlessly stunning, supremely disquieting” – Fangoria

“An outstanding collection” – Gingernuts of Horror

“A striking horror experience” – Splatterpunk

“Full of character-driven, emotionally-charged stories” – This is Horror

“Stories with depth, heart and soul” – The Grim Reader

“Hands down the best book I’ve read all year” – Horrortalk

“Riveting” – Litreactor

“An absolute must-read collection” – Unnerving Magazine.

So, mark your calendars. We’re going to reintroduce the world to Bones Are Made to Be Broken in trade paperback on July 24th, 2018, with a digital edition forthcoming.

YEAR OF THE DRAKEIN

Year of the Dragon will not return until 2024, but next year, 2018, will hopefully be the year I unleash Drakein upon the world, a project I’ve been working on for over ten years. Drakein-5 is a hallucinatory street drug taken in the form of eye drops, and the fuel behind Psychotropic Dragon, the composite novel / meta-novel I’m co-writing with _________________ (name withheld).

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Basically, it’s a novelette wrapped around a novella wrapped around a short novel, illustrated throughout by the likes of Daniele Serra, Glenn Chadbourne, L.A. Spooner, and Ty Schuerman. This book is going to be completely insane. One of the darkest projects I’ve ever attempted. Currently there are over 50 illustrations: some full-page, some half-page, some swimming on and off the page.

The novelette is 10,000 words, the novella will be 20,000, and the short novel portion is around 45,000. Here’s a snip-it from the novel:

 

She remembered holding the syringe that first time, hands trembling. Such a small thing—a third the size of your typical medicinal syringe, the needle a quarter-inch long. Smaller than a cigarette. “Looks like water,” she had said to Chase. The clear liquid inside appeared iridescent under direct sunlight, as if having an oily consistency. She heard it turned bluish-green under black lights. “What happens if I take more than two drops?” Chase had looked away, then, smiling out of the corner of his mouth. “It’s like any drug. Affects each differently. Two drops, no more. It’ll last a couple hours max, and then it’s back to earth. After you level, you can take more.

 

What’s a composite novel? “A composite novel is a literary work composed of shorter texts that—though individually complete and autonomous—are interrelated in a coherent whole according to one or more organizing principles.”

Who is my collaborator? Well, that has to be kept a secret for now, but know that it is someone well-loved in the writing community. Perhaps someone you might not expect.

Some of you have been waiting a long time for this book, so I’m going into overdrive to finally make it happen. Here’s a snip-it of the novelette, in case you can’t wait that long.

 

Somnambulism. That’s what my psychiatrist calls it. Differentiating between dream state and reality is often difficult, which is probably part of the reason for the sleep deprivation. A fear of falling asleep. What if I don’t wake up? What if I can’t wake up? What if the reality I think I know is the dream, or vice versa?

What can you expect out of this book? Expect the unexpected. Expect to be knocked completely out of your socks. Expect to become part of the book, hallucinating from your own dose of Drakein. This book is a trip.

Psychotropic Dragon is a unique collaboration. Along with the writing, this strange book has had many assists along the way. Jack Ketchum, John Skipp, Gary A Braunbeck, Douglas E. Winter, Thomas F. Monteleone, F. Paul Wilson … all have helped this book become something special.

That’s all I can reveal for now, along with Ketchum’s full blurb:

 

Psychotropic Dragon is addictive, scary, and at times, mind-blowing. But it’s the human element that keeps you turning the pages, the wounds to the psyche which we recognize immediately. The human element … and a fierce narrative style. – Jack Ketchum

GOBLIN – A REVIEW OF JOSH MALERMAN’S LATEST CREATION

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Josh Malerman is the author of the novels Birdbox (nominated for both the Shirley Jackson Award and Bram Stoker Award®) and Black Mad Wheel, and his most recent book from Earthling Publications is a fragmented novel called Goblin. I was fortunate enough to receive an Advance Uncorrected Proof to read and review.

Why am I reviewing this? Well, Josh is an all around nice guy, and he happens to write incredible fiction. I adored his debut novel, Bird Box, and highly enjoyed the next, Black Mad Wheel (although I love the Brazilian title Red Piano (Piano Vermelho) perhaps more than I should). I have also had the opportunity of publishing a few of his shorter works, including “The Bigger Bedroom” in Chiral Mad 3, and his Stoker-nominated dark sci-fi novelette “The Jupiter Drop” in You, Human. And later this year, Dark Regions Press will be publishing Bird Box Special Editionwhich I had the pleasure of designing inside and out, and which contains a new tie-in novelette called “Bobby Knocks” (pre-order for the deluxe hardback edition has since sold out, but copies of the 500 signed / numbered edition are still available).

Bird Box Special Edition - Cover

Also, I am a big fan of fragmented novels, or meta-novels (all four of my own novels, published and yet-to-be-published, are in this strange format), so of course I took an interest in Goblin, “a novel in six novellas.”

The first page of the Advanced Uncorrected Proof, as well as the back cover, totes heavy praise for Malerman’s latest: “Goblin is a mesmerizing, terrifying tight-rope walk” from Clive Barker; “Malerman has created a Derry for a new generation” from Sarah Pinborough; “Goblin is another triumph from Josh Malerman” from Christopher Golden; and many others. So what kind of blurb would I give? How about this, something longer and encompassing his other works:

“Josh Malerman’s Bird Box is a mastery of fear, capable of holding breaths hostage until the very end, while Red Piano (yes, I’d use that title) reveals he’s not yet done holding our throats. He is a writer capable of forcing us to turn the page, turn the page, turn the page. Goblin is Malerman having absolute fun with his literary hand, an apology of sorts, to all of us, really, Josh saying “Here, have something  lighthearted to read for once, but while you’re at it, I’m going to keep you captive in this devilish little town I’ve created.” Stephen King gave us the end of his Castle Rock with Needful Things, and now Josh Malerman gives us his Goblin, yet it feels like a new beginning of this crazy town.”

So what is Goblin? At first I thought the book might be about goblins, something tongue-in-cheek, something not-so-Malerman, yet I was quickly pleased to discover Goblin is the name of a small town in which all six of the linked / intertwining novellas take place. In Goblin it rains, unrelentingly, and surrounding the town are the terrible North Woods, as green as the book’s cover, and living within the town limits is a great jelly bean assortment of odd characters.

A Man in Slices starts things off, about a young man in a love so deep he sends body parts through the mail to his girlfriend. This is followed by Kamp, a ghost story, of sorts, the title of which is the main character, who lives in a hollowed-out skeleton of an apartment and sleeps on a Plexiglas bed in fear of nightly visitations. Happy Birthday, Hunter! centers around a meat-themed birthday party for a man addicted to big-game hunting, with all the town invited, and his fascination to take down the endangered Great Owl of the North Woods. In Presto, a young boy learns real magic from a magician calling himself the Roman Emperor. The penultimate story, A Mix-up at the Zoo, is perhaps my favorite of the six, in which parallel stories about Dirk Rogers, who works at both the Goblin Slaughterhouse and the Goblin Zoo, clash during his emotional breakdown caused by working such odd jobs. Finally, The Hedges, probably my second favorite tale, is about Goblin’s biggest tourist attraction, a seemingly never-ending hedge maze crafted by a man’s struggling with loss. Each of these stories mesh, and are a hoot (I couldn’t help myself, since the Great Owl plays a big part in all of this).

Some of the most brilliant novels are titled after main characters, and Goblin is no different. The most addictive character, perhaps, is Goblin itself … a fun little town.

Goblin is available for pre-order from Earthling Publications (October 2017), and features beautiful cover artwork (pictured above) by Allison Laakko, an introduction by James A. Moore, and interior artwork by Glenn Chadbourne. You can find the pre-order page by clicking any of the Goblin links on this site, or by clicking on that glorious cover.

If you are a fan of Josh Malerman, you will want a copy of this book.

CHIRAL MAD 4 – SUBMISSIONS CLOSE 05/31/17

Not much time remains to turn in your collaborative short stories, novelettes, novellas, or graphic adaptations. Please email submissions to cm4@nettirw.com.

WRITTEN BACKWARDS

Updated (01/23/17):

Lucy A. Snyder has been chosen to co-edit Chiral Mad 4!

More than twenty requests were received over the last few days to co-edit the anthology (from writers and editors around the world), and after careful consideration, series creator/editor Michael Bailey has chosen to work with Lucy to bring you something entirely new with Chiral Mad 4, an entirely-collaborative anthology.

While previous volumes of Chiral Mad focused more on psychological horror, with most stories having some sort of chiral aspect in plot or character development or structure, Chiral Mad 4 will be open to just about anything, as long as the story has some sort of dark or speculative element. The only required chirality is with the collaboration itself … multiple minds working as one, in other words, to create something entirely new. We want this anthology to be as diverse as humanly possible, and will be looking for stories that bend and…

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