Archive for the ‘ Novellas ’ Category

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

THE NEAR FUTURE – AVAILABLE NOW!

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Gene O’Neill covers an immense spectrum of color in a post-apocalyptic vision of California in The Near Future, the third book in The Cal Wild Chronicles. Book 3 is illustrated throughout by the wonderful Orion Zangara (illustrator for the entire series), and features an introduction by rising star Meghan Arcuri, whose short fiction can be found in various publications, including the first and third volumes of Chiral Mad.

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A meta-novel of sorts, part three of The Cal Wild Chronicles collects some of Gene’s most memorable fiction, cohesively connecting stories such as “The Armless Conductor,” which was published over thirty years ago in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, to Doc Good’s Travelling Show, a Bram Stoker Award nominated novella, and “Coyote Gambit.”
Tying these stories together are completely new chapters of Cal Wild, such as a new short story, “Return of the Ice Man,” as well as a new novelette, Mohave Transfer, and a new novella, The Scarlet Man, in which the lives of colorful DP’s, or Dyed People, cross paths as they try to survive a world left in ruin.
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Gene O’Neill masterfully blends decades of literary creation in this penultimate book of a genre-building series that may one day be called his magnum opus of his speculative work. Horror, fantasy, and science fiction collide with unforgiving, unflinching abandon as The Near Future of Cal Wild draws closer to The Far Future.
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So pick up a copy of The Near Future to help complete your set. If you need to catch up, feel free to order a copy of the first book in the series, The Confessions of St. Zach, or the second, The Burden of Indigo, and stay tuned for the final book in this epic series, The Far Future … in the not so distant future.

CHIRAL MAD 4 – OPEN FOR SUBMISSIONS UNTIL 05/31/17

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 blend genres, stories that experiment with structure, and most importantly, stories that are not dependent upon common tropes.


CHIRAL MAD 4

Chiral Mad 4 is officially open for submissions! The anthology is scheduled for publication in the first or second quarter of 2018 by Written Backwards, an imprint of Dark Regions Press, to be co-edited by Bram Stoker Award winning editor Michael Bailey and multi Bram Stoker Award winning (and ever-so-talented) Lucy A. Snyder. Much like Chiral Mad 3 and The Library of the Dead, this latest installment will be published in trade paperback, eBook, and hardback editions.

Unlike past Written Backwards projects, this fourth volume in the critically-acclaimed series of anthologies will be a completely collaborative effort of originality, collecting 4 short stories, 4 novelettes, 4 novellas, and 4 graphic adaptations (to celebrate this 4th book), all co-authored and/or co-created. And the anthology itself will also be co-edited!

The goal of Chiral Mad 4 is to help bring our creative community together, to make us stronger, to strengthen relationships already in place, and to help create new relationships entirely. It’s time for all of us to play nice, to get along, and to do what we do best: create somethings out of nothings… and we’re going to create these beautiful somethings together. Have a specific writer/artist you’ve always admired? Well, now’s your chance. Reach out. Ask! That’s all it takes to get started. Find a partner, or two, or three, and start collaborating! The more unique the collaboration, the better the chances you have of making it into Chiral Mad 4. The more diverse the collaborations, the better the chances you have of making it into Chiral Mad 4. Now, here’s the hard part: knowing whether or not someone is already collaborating… Email CM4@nettirw.com if you have any questions or concerns about this, or to simply email your submission.

While half the anthology will be filled with commissioned works (the book is nearly half-filled already, with a few of the early acceptances announced below), the rest of the anthology is open for submissions for a short period of time. The submission window for non-commissioned contributors closes May 31st, 2017. So get to it! This is a very short window of opportunity.

Acceptances for non-commissioned work will not be announced until after June 30th, 2017, so we ask that we hold onto your work exclusively until then, as each submission will be carefully considered and agreed upon by both editors of this anthology. No simultaneous submissions, please.

What are we looking for?

  • 4 short stories (5,000 words max)
  • 4 novelettes (10,000 words max)
  • 4 novellas (20,000 words max)
  • 4 graphic adaptations (1,500 words max, or 10 pages)

Payment will be $.06 per word, capped at the max word counts listed above, split evenly between contributors. Two contributors writing a 5,000-word short story, for example, would split $300, or $150 each. Contributors writing a 10,000-word novelette would evenly split $600. Contributors writing a 20,000-word novella would evenly split $1,200. Graphic adaptations will be determined by the publisher/creators prior to acceptance; these are unique collaborations and payments for such are not as simple to calculate. In fact, 3 of the 4 slots for graphic adaptations are already filled, so please query CM4@nettirw.com before submitting. And, as always, contributor copies of each edition are part of the deal. Written Backwards has worked with many illustrators and artists in the past, so if you have a script but not an illustrator/artist lined-up, please let us know and we can arrange one for your story if we fall in love with your script.

CHIRAL MAD 4 - Graphic Adapations

That said, the first acceptances for Chiral Mad 4 include the following:

  • Elizabeth Massie & Marge Simon have joined forces with a new short story called “The Substance of Belief” or “At the Crest of the Mountain.”
  • Glenn Chadbourne and Jack Ketchum have been commissioned to adapt “Firedance.”
  • James Chambers, Jason Whitley, and Christopher Mills have collaborated on “The Ghost of the Bayout Piténn,” a sample of which is pictured above.

Other commissioned works include a novelette co-authored by a foursome of writers, and even a collaboration between a contemporary writer and a writer no longer with us.

So, hopefully all of this gets you excited, gets you eager to reach out to others in our creative community. Chiral Mad 4 is the most ambitious project ever imagined by Written Backwards. Please, be a part of it. Send your work to CM4@nettirw.com.

4 short stories / 4 novelettes / 4 novellas / 4 graphic adaptations

4 short stories / 4 novelettes / 4 novellas / 4 graphic adaptations

 

THE CAL WILD CHRONICLES

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All four books Gene O’Neill’s The Cal Wild Chronicles will be available soon in trade paperback from Written Backwards! The series that started with The Confessions of St. Zach (March 2016), and The Burden of Indigo (June 2016), continues with The Near Future (available January 2017), and lastly The Far Future (available March 2017). Need to catch up before the next two books are released? Simply click the links above, the book covers below, or search for their titles at either amazon.com or darkregions.com.

The series is illustrated throughout by Orion Zangara, with introductions by John R. Little (book #1), Lisa Morton (book #2), Meghan Arcuri (book #3), and Scott Edelman (book #4), collecting over thirty years of genre-bending fiction.

The four-book series cohesively connects past and present literary works by Mr. O’Neill in a fluid blend of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. With The Cal Wild Chronicles, Gene has created a world in which DP’s (or Dyed People), permanently dyed for their crimes (reds for violent crimes, blues for sex crime, greens for money crimes, and many more), do what they must in order to survive a post-apocalyptic vision of California, or “Cal Wild.”

All four front covers of this special collection symbolically fit together to represent California tilted on its side and void of color; the back covers combine to reveal a more colorful but upturned version of California with blending/smoking swirls of color, like the characters found within the series; and the spine creates a Rainbow Man, or sorts, one who holds a special place in Cal Wild.

THE CONFESSIONS OF ST. ZACH

“Gene transports his readers, taking them inside his imagination and not letting them escape until he is ready to let them go. Anyone who likes Bradbury (and really, is there anybody who doesn’t) will feel right at home in Gene’s world.” – John R. Little

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THE BURDEN OF INDIGO

“Even in a place reduced to little more than ash and dust, even when we are always pursued and nearly consumed by our own tension, we will still find moments of pleasure, of amusement, of wonder.” – Lisa Morton

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THE NEAR FUTURE

“Gene paints a picture of a post-apocalyptic world so complete, so compelling, it nestles into your subconscious and lives there for a while. He creates a world at once frightening and fascinating, desolate and colorful, but, above all, utterly believable.” – Meghan Arcuri

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THE FAR FUTURE

“Gene has always tried to speak truth for those who have no voice, and nowhere is that more present than in the stories contained in The Cal Wild Chronicles” – Scott Edelman

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Look for both The Near Future and The Far Future in trade paperback very soon, and collect the whole set so your bookshelves can adorn some awesome spine artwork!

The Cal Wild Chronicles