Archive for the ‘ Novellas ’ Category

ARTIFACTS

Artifacts - Cover

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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YES TRESPASSING – NOW AVAILABLE!

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Today is Yes Trespassing day! The debut fiction collection by Erik T. Johnson is officially released to the wild. While the collection will be launched by Written Backwards at StokerCon 2017 in Long Beach later this month, the book is now available to order in trade paperback at Amazon.com. Horror. Wonder. Mindscrewing. &c! 436 pages and 1.6 pounds of awesome.

Yes Trespassing collects twenty-five, or maybe twenty-six or -seven or perhaps twenty-eight (let’s say it’s twenty-eight) individual works by Erik T. Johnson, some previously-published, some appearing in this book for the first time, stories like “The Leaf” and “Krug’s Pen,” “The Depopulation Syndrome,” “The Invention of the Mask” (which you can find on the front cover), “The Depopulation Syndrome” and the novella Scissors Seldom Come. Trespass. Read the horror, the wonder, the mindscrewing. This book will change you.

“Erik T. Johnson is insanely gifted, and Yes Trespassing is proof. This collection rattles, roars and shrieks with cognitive dissonances, phosphorescent settings and darker-than-fuck themes. From the handwritten notes to the drawings, this was a unique experience. In some stories, what you except to be a straight narrative devolves into lunacy. Then, what you expect to be lunacy, turns out to be nothing of the sort. You just don’t know which road Johnson wants to take on. Consider that this eclectic collection’s greatest strength. This reader was fascinated by the unexpected journeys. You can’t get these stories out of your head.” – J. Daniel Stone, author of Blood Kiss and The Absence of Light.

“[You] will thrill to the many conceits contained herein, marvel at the anoxic heights and the plutopian depths, become slightly queasy at the monstrous malformations of reality and despair at a glimpse of universes less than a nudge removed from our own.” – John F.D. Taff, author of The End in All Beginnings.

THE FAR FUTURE – NOW AVAILABLE!

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The Cal Wild Chronicles is complete! This magnum opus by Gene O’Neill (illustrated throughout by Orion Zangara) concludes with The Far Future, the fourth and final book in the series. Science Fiction, Horror, Fantasy … Gene blends them all.

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Each book features a separate introduction: John R. Little for The Confessions of St. Zach (Volume #1), Lisa Morton for The Burden of Indigo (Volume #2), Meghan Arcuri for The Near Future (Volume #3), and Scott Edelman for The Far Future (Volume #4).

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Book #4 will make its official debut at StokerCon 2017 at the end of this month, and the entire series will be available so you can complete your set. And did I mention the entire set looks gorgeous on bookshelves with its 4-part spine image?

The Cal Wild Chronicles

This four book series was a joint effort by Written Backwards and Dark Regions Press. Look below for the cover images for each book in the series. Clicking each will bring you directly to their Amazon.com pages for purchasing so you can collect the whole set in affordable trade paperback.

THE CONFESSIONS OF ST. ZACHTHE BURDEN OF INDIGOTHE NEAR FUTURETHE FAR FUTURE