Archive for the ‘ Poetry ’ Category

WiHM (WOMEN IN HORROR MONTH)

February is home to a few important things worth celebrating: Black History Month, my birthday (I turn 39 this year, in case you were wondering), and Women in Horror Month. WiHM for short. February is a strange month, no doubt. Sometimes it has 29 days, and sometimes 28. The word is even difficult to say: Feb-ru-ary (not like brewery, despite how some pronounce it) and it’s often misspelled with a third ‘r,’ making it sound more like library than the month it’s supposed to be. (And please note that library only has two r’s despite most mispronouncing it li-bary with only one). Where was I going with all this? Oh, yeah. Women in Horror Month!

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WiHM is no way implies that you should only read works by female writers in the month of February. That’s just stupid. You should be reading female writers as often as you can, horror or not. But this month, February, is an internationally-recognized time to celebrate women in horror, so that’s what we’re going to do, and I’m going to point out a few female writers that deserve more attention. These women are not arranged in any particular order; they are arranged chaotically, in fact, because that’s how my mind works. Some of these names you may recognize, some you may not; either way, you should be reading what these women are writing, and so I’m going to share a few places to perhaps start.

Emily B. Cataneo – She popped into my head first for three reasons: 1) Dallas Mayr (Jack Ketchum) originally ousted her as a writer to watch and he’s been on my mind lately; 2) She’s a brilliant new writer with indescribable prose; and 3) I published one of her first short stories (if not her very first) called “A Guide to Etiquette and Comportment for the Sisters of Henley House” for Chiral Mad 2Dallas asked if I’d be willing to give her a try, Emily sent me the story, and the rest is history. Since then, I’ve published “The Rondelium Girl of Rue Marseilles” for Qualia Nous, “The Black Crow of Boddinstraße” for Chiral Mad 3, and will be publishing her again in the forthcoming Chiral Mad 4, a short story called “In Her Flightless Wings, a Fire,” co-written with Gwendolyn Kiste. Where else can you find her work? Buy her debut fiction collection, Speaking to Skull Kings and Other Stories, which made the Bram Stoker Awards preliminary ballot. It’s incredible.

Gwendolyn Kiste – This is how my mind works. I think of one writer and it leads to another. I’d never heard of Gwendolyn prior to reading the collaborative “In her Flightless Wings, a Fire,” but quickly remedied that by reading And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe (which it does). This fiction collection shows her range with storytelling, and  rightfully made the Bram Stoker Awards preliminary ballot this year. I also look forward to picking up her recently released novel Pretty Marys All in a Row

Notice all these hyperlinks? I’ve made it easy for you to click these titles and add them to your Amazon carts. You can thank me later, and your wallet can hate me later.

Damien Angelica Walters – If you haven’t read Damien, you should fix that. I’ve had the pleasure of publishing some of her short fiction, namely “The Whipping Girls” in Chiral Mad 3, “Filigree, Minotaur, Cyanide, Bloom” in Adam’s Ladder, and will be proudly publishing her again in Chiral Mad 4 with a novelette called “Golden Sun,” which she co-wrote with Richard Thomas, Kristi DeMeester & Michael Wehunt (can you imagine collaborating with 3 other writers?). She also provided the introduction to Paul Michael Anderson’s debut fiction collection, Bones Are Made to Be BrokenBut Damien didn’t seek me out, I sought her. This was after reading her novel Paper Tigers. Check out her new fiction collection, Cry Your Way Home.

Roberta Lannes – The female writers I’ve listed so far have incredibly powerful voices, which of course makes me think of Roberta Lannes. Gene O’Neill is responsible for pointing me in her direction. “She doesn’t flinch,” he said, which, if you know Gene, is perhaps one of the greatest compliments he could possibly give to a writer. And she later provided a short story called “The Raven in a Dove’s Nest” for The Library of the Dead, and later “Painting the Burning Fence” for Adam’s LadderI’m still discovering Roberta Lannes, but you should know that what I’ve read so far of her stuff is some of the strongest writing I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. She doesn’t flinch. Ever.

Lisa Morton – Most horror aficionados know her as the President of the Horror Writers Association. She’s also probably one of the most recognizable names on this list (both her fiction and nonfiction), so I’m not going to go into too much detail. Writing about Gene and about Adam’s Ladder lead my brain here, since her story “Eyes of the Beholders” appears in that anthology (the first time I’ve published her work, believe it or not), and she provided the introduction for Gene O’Neill’s re-release of The Burden of Indigo. I’ve read her fiction for years, but I’m just now getting around to her nonfiction. So where should you start? I’d recommend Ghosts: A Haunted History, or The Samhanach and Other Halloween Treats. Especially if you love Halloween. Lisa’s a big fan of that holiday. Or simply Google- or Amazon-search her by name. She’s in just about every horror anthology out there, and rightfully so.

Rena Mason – The Horror Writers Association led me here, to Rena’s name. She’s been volunteering at the HWA for years, and over the years we’ve become good friends. But her writing is kind of spectacular as well. I highly recommend her debut novel The Evolutionist, which won the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a First Novel. And her short fiction can be found in a few anthologies I’ve edited: “Ruminations” in Qualia Nous (which I rejected for Chiral Mad 2 for consistency, but later specifically requested for Qualia Nous;  a good decision, ultimately, since she ended up winning the Stoker that year for short fiction), as well as “Jaded Winds” for The Library of the Dead, and most recently “I Will Be the Making of You” for Adam’s LadderCan you tell I’m a fan of her work? You should be too.

Hopefully, by this point, you’re not too taken aback by me mentioning a bunch of short fiction published in anthologies I’ve edited. That’s not the point. I’d like to think that I have good taste in female writers, and so I keep publishing them as I find them. Once you find something good, you tend to stick with it, right? There’s a reason these names keep popping up in my anthologies. They are all incredible writers, which leads me to …

Mercedes M. Yardley – I first met Mercedes at KillerCon in Las Vegas, around the time I first met Dallas Mayr and Gene O’Neill. I tried on a pair of her high heels, because we happen to share shoe sizes, and we accompanied Mason Ian Bundschuh’s ukulele renditions of Nine Inch Nails and, well, I should be mentioning her writing. Anyway, she took home the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in Long Fiction a few years ago for her story Little Dead Red. She also has a wonderful novel out called Pretty Little Dead Girls that you should add to your cart if you haven’t already. Unfortunately, I’ve only published one of her short stories, “The Dead Collection” in Chiral Mad 3. Yes, Mercedes likes the word “Dead,” and loves writing dark little things about death. Her most recent short story, “Loving You Darkly” is currently on the Bram Stoker Awards preliminary ballot.

Okay, time to talk about some women I haven’t published. Agreed?

Sarah Pinborough – You probably know this name by now. If you don’t, there’s something missing from your library. Sarah’s been doing this for a while, and she’s damn good at it. One of my favorite novels last year was one of hers, called Behind Her Eyes, which is phenomenal. If you’re a fan of Gillian Flynn or J. Lincoln Fenn (don’t worry, I’ll get to them very soon), Sarah Pinborough is right up your alley. She’s written many books, such as The Language of Dying and a few fiction collections. Look her up, and start reading everything she’s given us so far.

Gillian Flynn – You probably know her; if not by name, by book title, or perhaps by movie title. She’s perhaps most well-known for her novel Gone Girl (which was made into a decent movie with Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, and Tyler Perry, and the score composed by none other than Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross of Nine Inch Nails (See how my mind works? I’m already back to NIN)). Anyway, before that, Gillian was responsible for two books I love dearly: Sharp Objects, and Dark Places. Give those two books your time, and then read Gone Girl if you haven’t, or if you’ve only seen the movie. If you like those, you’ll probably like Damien Angelica Walter’s previously mentioned Paper Tigers.

J. Lincoln Fenn – What can I say about J. Lincoln Fenn? Well, if there’s a female version of Chuck Palahniuk out there (in terms of clean, quick prose), she’s it. I first learned of her work from the Bram Stoker Award novel jury. This was one of the books / authors I’d never heard of who submitted work for consideration. The book was Dead Souls, an incredibly well-written sophomore novel from a newish writer. Each word in that book packs a punch, not a single word wasted. Both Jack Ketchum and Chuck Palahniuk come to mind when I think of her self-editing pen. So, of course, I sought out more of her work and found Poe, which I also enjoyed. So much, in fact, that I reached out to J. Lincoln Fenn (I quickly learned this was a pen name), and I now have a short story of hers for a future anthology I’m putting together.

Tlotlo Tsamaase – You’ve probably never heard of her … yet, but Tlotlo is a writer from Botswana. I first discovered her while reading submissions for Dark Regions Press. I fell in love with a manuscript she’d submitted for consideration and desperately wanted to publish it. But she was seeking agents around that time, and so of course I wanted her represented instead of her book going to small press (I’m crazy, right?). I even created a book cover that will never be used. Anyway, I saw her incredible potential, in other words. I’m not sure what the current status is on that novel (I’m avoiding mentioning the title only for this very reason, or in case it changes), but I’m hoping we’ll see Tlotlo Tsamaase in print soon, anywhere and everywhere books are sold. So, where can you find her? Try her website for now. I reached out to her for a short story for the same anthology mentioned above (with new work by Fenn and perhaps others on this list).

Linda D. Addison – Okay, I have a confession. Until only a few years ago, I was under the impression that Linda was a poet. Well, she is a poet, but I thought she was only a poet. I know, kinda dumb on my part, but I have to say this: Linda’s poetry is so incredibly important to the horror genre (or any genre, for that matter), that perhaps this overshadowed her fiction writing talents, at least from my perspective. She’s also a brilliant editor and public reader. And I know she’s probably reading this, so I have another confession to make. Until only a few years ago, I was also under the impression that we were around the same age (her looking younger than me, of course). Not until I was in a hotel room with Brian Keene (who also thought she was much younger), Dallas Mayr (who is infinite), Linda Addison (the poet and writer), and a few others, did I learn that she’s in fact old enough to be my mother (my young mother and, of course, another part of me wishes she was my mother). Linda’s incredible. She’s also receiving the Horror Writers Association’s coveted Lifetime Achievement Award this year, which is well-deserved. Her anthology, Sycorax’s Daughters is a good place to start to see her mad editing skills, and it’s currently on the preliminary ballot for the Stoker. I’d point you to some of her fiction, but I’m not there yet. I’m still learning what she’s done outside of poetry (forgive me).

Stephanie M. Wytovich – While we’re on this poetry kick, I can’t help but mention a few poetry collections by Stephanie M. Wytovich (who is also a fiction writer, which I already knew because I did some preliminary work on her first novel, The Eighth (although she is probably just learning this because I sometimes work behind-the-scenes)). The book was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a First Novel, although that year she instead won a Stoker for her poetry collection, BrothelI was fortunate enough to get some of her poetry for  Chiral Mad 3She’s on the Bram Stoker Award preliminary ballot again this year with her new poetry collection, Sheet Music to my Acoustic Nightmare, and a Guest of Honor at next year’s StokerCon event in Michigan. She’s good people.

Lisa Mannetti – You’ll always see Lisa’s name pop up around award season, whether it’s the Bram Stoker Awards or the Shirley Jackson Awards. There’s a reason for that. She can write. My only regret is that I have never published one of her stories. I hope to someday fix that. And if she’s reading this … well, Lisa, let’s make that happen sooner rather than latter. So what of hers do I recommend? How about the Bram Stoker and Shirley Jackson Award-nominated novella The Box Jumper? That’s where I’d start, anyway. Or perhaps The Gentling Box, which took home one of those awesome statues a few years ago. Or simply search her name at Amazon and you’ll get a boatload of anthologies containing her work.

How about some up-and-comers:

B.E. Scully – Along with Roberta Lannes, Bobbi Scully (aka B.E. Scully) has that same “no flinch” vibe with her writing that Gene O’Neill is so often talking about. In fact, Gene first introduced me to this wonderful writer, and now we’re close friends. “She doesn’t mess around,” he’d said, and he was right. Along with her involvement with Firbolg Publishing, Bobbi has been cranking out some incredible fiction. I know this, because I’ve placed some of her work in my anthologies. Look for her story “The Mythic Hero Most Likely to Squeeze a Stone” in Adam’s Ladder, “Dog at the Look” in You, Human, and a new short story in that same forthcoming anthology I’m editing that includes work by J. Lincoln Fenn and Tlotlo Tsamaase.

Erinn L. Kemper – Ah, one of my only beta readers. I don’t typically let anyone other than my wife read work before it’s published, but there are/were a few. Dallas Mayr was one of them. Gene O’Neill and Darren Speegle sometimes get the opportunity. And then there’s Erinn. For some reason she (and Meghan Arcuri, below) sometimes offers to read my ugly stuff before I can make it less ugly, and for some reason I let her. Why? Because she’s good. Very good. So good, in fact, that she and F. Paul Wilson have a collaborative novella appearing in the forthcoming Chiral Mad 4. Yes, F. Paul Wilson. And I know of some other incredible veterans with their eyes on her as well. If Paul thinks she’s good, and I think she’s good, she must be something brilliant, no? I’m desperately waiting on her first novel, but in the meantime, you can find her short fiction all over the place. I place her work whenever and wherever I can. She’s in just about every anthology I’ve ever worked on, and I’m constantly recommending her work to other editors.

Meghan Arcuri – We’ve gone through a few Borderlands Press boot camps together, and over the years we’ve become close friends. I was also her mentor in the Horror Writers Association (for as long as they’d let me; apparently there are time-limits), and even placed her first professional sale, a story called “Inevitable” in the first volume of Chiral MadI guess you could say that it was inevitable all this happened, because Meghan is going places. Her story “Watch Me” then appeared in Chiral Mad 3, and it was then I realized Meghan was trying to tell me something with her titles. Watch me, she was saying, as if she knew she was making a name for herself one story at a time. She doesn’t have a story appearing in the forthcoming Chiral Mad 4 (nor did she have one in Chiral Mad 2), but she’s odd, I guess, and will most likely appear in Chiral Mad 5 (because the number is odd, get it?) if such a thing happens, and her story will probably be titled something like, “See, I Told You!”

There are many women writing in the horror genre that deserve attention during Women in Horror Month (and every other month, for that matter), and I wish I had time to include every single one, and with recommendations and links. And there are many others involved in various book-related things composing their own lists of women in horror you should be reading. My advice? Start taking names. Start reading. Let’s celebrate!

Here are a few bonus names (some you may already know, some you may not) in no particular order): Jessica May Lin, Laura Lee Bahr, Yvonne Navarro, Mary SanGiovanni, Autumn Christian, Sarah Langan, Seanan McGuire, Caitlín R. Kiernan, Lucy A. Snyder, Rachel Autumn Deering, Kaaron Warren, Elizabeth Hand, Tananarive Due, Helen Marshall, Chesya Burke, Lucy Taylor, Kelli Owen, Elizabeth Massie, Chris Marrs, Amber Fallon …

I could go on and on, and wish I could write about every single one, but, you know, reality.

YOU, HUMAN – NOW AVAILABLE!

YOU, HUMAN

You, Human is finally here!

What does it mean to be alive? What does it mean to be real? What does it mean to exist? And most importantly, what does it mean to be human? Twenty-four mind-bending works by some of the best in the business explore humanism through science fiction’s various sub-genres, split into three sections by poetic law. Now available in trade paperback and eBook at darkregions.com, with a deluxe hardback available for pre-order (although as of writing this, there was only one remaining).

Click the cover to order online at Dark Regions Press, or you can order a copy at Amazon.com.

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Bram Stoker Award winning editor Michael Bailey brings sci-fi back to Dark Regions Press with heart in this genre-bending anthology of dark science fiction and poetry. With fiction illustrated beautifully throughout by world-renowned artist L.A. Spooner, with poetry and spot illustrations supplied by the always-impressive Orion Zangara, and with an incredible introduction on humanism by New York Times bestselling author F. Paul Wilson (Panacea, the Repairman Jack series), Asimov’s three laws of robotics are re-evaluated and revised to help define humanity.

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“I think we can all agree that consciousness, self-awareness, and sentience – the capacity for subjective feelings and perceptions – are indispensable to humanness. The comingling and interaction of all three lead to sapience – the capacity to act with reason and judgment. Apes and dolphins are considered sentient, but not sapient.  Sapience builds civilizations.” – from Wilson’s introduction to You, Human.

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Dark Regions Press makes a return to dark science fiction in this latest of illustrated anthologies by Michael Bailey, the person behind Pellucid Lunacy, the first three volumes of Chiral Mad (1, 2the Benjamin Franklin Award winning Qualia Nous, the Bram Stoker Award winning The Library of the Dead, and most recently, Chiral Mad 3, which was illustrated throughout by legendary artist Glenn Chadbourne and which featured an introduction by Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club, Lullaby, Choke).

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You, Human contains the following works of fiction, split into three sections (one for each of the three laws) by poetry. Here’s what the book has to offer:

  1. “In Accordance With the Laws” (poem) – Marge Simon
  2. “Robot” – Mort Castle
  3. “It Can Walk and Talk, and You’ll Never Have to Worry About Housework Again” – Dyer Wilk
  4. “Keepsakes” – Hal Bodner
  5. “Cosmic Fair” – Darren Speegle
  6. “Unity of Affect” – Jason V Brock
  7. “101 Things to Do Before You’re Downloaded” – Scott Edelman
  8. “The Star-Filled Sea is Smooth Tonight” – Thomas F. Monteleone
  9. “Hopium Den” – John Skipp
  10. “Less Than Human” (poem) – Marge Simon
  11. “Dog at the Look” – B.E. Scully
  12. “Executive Functions” – Lucy A. Snyder
  13. “Pink Crane Girls” – Autumn Christian
  14. “The Cause” – Laura Lee Bahr
  15. “Ditch Treasures” – Richard Chizmar
  16. “I Am the Doorway” – Stephen King
  17. “The Immigrants” – Erik T. Johnson
  18. “Key to the City” – Cody Goodfellow
  19. “Future Imperfect: Broken Laws” (poem) – Marge Simon
  20. “The Pretty Puppets” – Marc Levinthal
  21. “The Goldilocks Zone” – John R. Little
  22. “The Jupiter Drop” – Josh Malerman
  23. “The Universe is Dying” – Paul Michael Anderson
  24. “Fallen Faces by the Wayside” – Gary A. Braunbeck
  25. “What Goes Up Must Come Down” – Janet Harriett
  26. “Gumi-Bear” – Erinn L. Kemper
  27. “The Fourth Law” – Marge Simon

The images above are some of the 24 illustrations created by L.A. Spooner for the fiction in You, Human.  And below are a few of the 10 illustrations created by Orion Zangara for the poetry.

Fans of dark science fiction, fans of genre-bending horror, fans of all things weird… this is your anthology.

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WILL THERE BE A CHIRAL MAD 4?

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I have been thinking about CHIRAL MAD 4 for quite some time, and have decided that if CHIRAL MAD 4 were to happen, the entire book would spawn from the number 4 … because it’s the 4th volume in a series that may either end at 4, or continue onward indefinitely. But, in order to understand where this fourth volume would be coming from, you have to wade through some history on the series, and some other Written Backwards projects, because it’s all connected in one way or another …

cm_accoladesThe first Chiral Mad (yes, you can click that link to directly buy a copy from Amazon, or the book cover to the left) was a charity anthology. Not a single author was offered payment, other than a contributor copy. Everyone involved donated their work to help create a rather awesome anthology that ended up raising over $6,000 for various Down syndrome charities, the biggest chunk of that being a $3,000 donation to the Down Syndrome Information Alliance. Thomas F. Monteleone wrote an awesome introduction, various stories made various best-of lists, such as Gary McMahon’s “Some Pictures in an Album,” and so on. Lots of famous names, lots of new names now becoming more famous. The book was well-received critically, won some awards, and, well, sparked a series of anthologies.

CHIRAL MAD 2 - COVERChiral Mad 2 quickly followed (yes, feel free to click that link or the book image to purchase), but something new happened with this anthology. Knowing how well the first volume did monetarily, this second volume allowed Written Backwards (a newish small publisher at the time) to pay writers for their work at professional rates ($0.05 per word at the time). That doesn’t seem like a lot of money, but multiply $0.05 by 120,000 words, and you get $6,000, which was paid to the contributors, upfront, out of pocket. Long story short, the anthology did about as well as the first volume (broke about even, and also helped spark further sales of the first Chiral Mad), won some awards, and even won Gary A. Braunbeck one of his twenty-thousand Bram Stoker Awards for his long fiction piece, “The Great Pity.” John Palisano was also nominated for his short story “The Geminis.” The book did well, in terms of an anthology, which means it basically broke even and eventually the $6,000 was recuperated, and everything over that amount also went (and still goes) to charity. Anthologies are expensive, so remember that the next time you hound small publishers for “what’s next, what’s next, when can I submit to the next one” and so on.

Qualia NousChiral Mad 2 had an open call for submissions, and over 550 submissions were received, along with the 20 stories from invited writers. Now, 570 submissions may not sound like a lot, but multiply 570 by the average 5850 words (I did the math), and you get 3,217,500 words, which is approximately 50 or more novel-length works to sort through to find the perfect table of contents. Many rejections were sent, which is never fun. But, having so many submissions resulted in a great number of fiction stories that were a little too sci-fi for CHIRAL MAD, which sparked an entirely new idea: a science fiction anthology, Qualia Nous. How did this anthology do? Well, it was much longer, contributors were paid professional rates, and was much more expensive ($7,500 or so) to put together. It did well, critically, won the Benjamin Franklin Award, was nominated for the Bram Stoker Award, resulted in two stories winning the Bram Stoker Award for short fiction (Usman T. Malik and Rena Mason), as well as a Nebula nomination for Malik, and an award for the single poem in the anthology by Marge Simon. And some other awards. The CHIRAL MAD anthologies went on hiatus for a while to promote Qualia Nous. The book has made back about 1/2 of what it cost to put together, despite how well it’s done critically. That’s anthologies for you: everyone wants to be in one; no one wants to buy one.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00094]And then an idea for a new ALLEVON series of illustrated books popped into mind (the word “novella” backward), and thus a new series of physically smaller, illustrated trade paperback books began, starting with a novella called At the Lazy K by Gene O’Neill (feel free to purchase that one, too), which was illustrated throughout by L.A. Spooner. Later this year (next month perhaps), the second book in the ALLEVON series will be published, a collection by Scott Edelman called Liars, Fakers, and the Dead Who Eat Them, which is set of zombie novelettes: “Only Humans Lie” and “Faking It Until Forever Comes,” which features a cover and interior illustrations by Daniele Serra. This series will continue through the Written Backwards imprint, as there are already 4 or 5 future volumes already set in motion.

ENSŌSo, here I am, getting distracted by new projects, talking with Dark Regions Press about a possible merger, taking on project after project after project, and then I decide to write a children’s book called Enso to take my mind out of horror and sci-fi for a while (it’s a dark, dark place; a place I nearly left completely). I wanted to write something my kids (okay, not my kids, but my wife’s kids) could read, something other parent’s kids could read, something dark, but less dark. The book was illustrated beautifully by L.A. Spooner, who also illustrated At the Lazy K . I decided to do a signed/limited print run for these, so only 100 were ever made. I still have a dozen or so if you want a copy, but they are mostly gone. I tend to give these out to families with small children. It’s basically four children’s fables about the circle of life, but with my nonlinear spin.

Inkblots and Blood SpotsI keep telling myself that someday I’ll return to my own writing. I have two published novels under my name: Palindrome Hannahand Phoenix Rose, as well as two short story and poetry collections, Scales and Petals, (you can find all of these on the tabs at the top of the main www.nettirw.com page), and most recently Inkblots and Blood Spots (pictured), which hold some of my best work (and yes, you can purchase a copy if you want to make me happy). I don’t write a lot (maybe two or three stories per year on a good year), but people seem to like my writing when I decide to use my brain to craft something of my own, books that are mine. Inkblots was illustrated throughout by Daniele Serra, featured an introduction by Douglas E. Winter, and had some nice blurbs by some pretty awesome individuals. Villipede Publications did a great job putting this together. When I get around to it, I’ll finish novel #3, Psychotropic Dragon (which I’ve been working on for over 10 years), as well as a new mainstream novel I’ve started called Seen in Distant Stars. Other than that, I’m only writing short fiction when invited into certain anthologies, and only by certain people. I just don’t have the time otherwise …

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00009]And then The Library of the Dead fell into my lap. This project was originally conceived by Gene O’Neill and Gord Rollo. I was brought on as a co-editor, and then the publisher asked if I’d be the sole editor, and then later asked if I’d take on the project entirely, which of course I did. So, I put everything I had into this thing. I visited the real library of the dead, a place called Chapel of the Chimes in Oakland, California, took a photo-shoot of the place (see that awesome cover?), forked out just about all the money I had left in my bank account, worked with some amazing contributors, worked with GAK, who illustrated the entire book based on my photography, included some of that photography throughout the book, wrote a tie-in piece called “The Librarian” to guide the reader through the labyrinth … and then something terrible happened. J.F. Gonzalez died, one of the book’s contributors, and so we dedicated the book to him, added additional artwork, and an afterword by Mary SanGiovanni. The anthology won the Bram Stoker Award, and a few others. I’m damn proud of this book, and damn proud of everyone who helped bring this book together. It’s recouped about half of what it cost to build, but I think it’s worth it. Dark Regions Press has recently re-released the book in trade paperback, with a limited deluxe hardbound (illustrations in color) in the works, which sold out basically over night.

CHIRAL MAD 3 - DRP EditionThen came Chiral Mad 3, which was the first book released by Written Backwards as an imprint of Dark Regions Press. Yes, we joined forces, and it was a wonderful collaboration (I’ll get back to collaborations later …) And yes, please click the link and purchase a copy to support us. You will not be disappointed. I pulled every string I could find for this book, and it stands as the most expensive book I have ever made to date, by far. Like, lots of money. I used all my super powers to make this one happen. The entire anthology is illustrated by the legendary Glenn Chadbourne, features an introduction by the one and only Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club), with stories by some of the best in the business, including Jack Ketchum, Stephen King, and, as with all my anthologies, it’s filled with a diverse group of both established, semi-established, and never-before-established writers. But I had to do something different with this book. Yes, there are 45 illustrations. Yes, these books keep getting bigger and bigger. But this time around, I needed more poetry. Lots of poetry. The book is structured chirally, story-poem-story-poem-story, all the way through. It’s a beautiful book. And I keep telling myself, as I do with all of these books, that there’s nothing I can improve upon. Nothing I can do differ–wait …

full coverYou, Human. That’s right, as part of Dark Regions Press’ return to science fiction, I’ve taken on two additional projects. One of these is Other Music, the debut novel by Marc Levinthal, which features an introduction by John Skipp and will be released sometime in August. The other is You, Human, the first science fiction anthology by Dark Regions Press in who knows how long. I pulled out all the tricks for this one as well, playing off Asimov’s I, Robot, but with a human twist, and three new Laws of Humanity. In fact, the anthology features an introduction on humanism by F. Paul Wilson, as well as dark science fiction and poetry by some of the best in the business. This will be released either late this summer or early this fall by Dark Regions Press.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00074]And I can’t forget Paul Michael Anderson’s first fiction collection, a beautiful book called Bones Are Made to be Broken, which will be released in trade paperback, ebook, and signed limited/deluxe hardback this fall by Dark Regions Press. I’ve published Paul in nearly every one of my anthologies, because he’s that damn good. And now all of his best short fiction (as well as a new novella written specifically for this book) come together in Bones Are Made to Be Broken. You do not want to miss this collection. As always, I am putting everything I have behind this book, because the spine of this book is made to be broken, by you, reading every story over and over again.

The Cal Wild ChroniclesAnd of course there’s the 4-book magnum opus by the legendary, genre-bending master of fantasy, horror, and science fiction. The Cal Wild Chronicles is a 4-book series of trade paperbacks I’m putting together for the one and only Gene O’Neill, which includes The Confessions of St. Zach (with an introduction by John R. Little), The Burden of Indigo (with an introduction by Lisa Morton), The Near Future (with an introduction by Meghan Arcuri), and The Far Future (with an introduction by Scott Edelman). Each book is beautifully illustrated by Orion Zangara, and each book, when put together completes the wonderful puzzle that is Cal Wild. In fact, when you put the spines together, they create the Rainbow Man from the series, and when you place either the fronts or backs of these books side-by-side-by-side-by-side, you complete yet another puzzle. Later this year, Dark Regions Press will publish the entire series within a single volume, which you can pre-order at darkregions.com.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00094]And before we get to Chiral Mad 4, I should mention the anthology that started it all, Pellucid Lunacy. This was the first anthology ever published by Written Backwards, and the cover featured a painting of the arachnid/human skeleton from my dreams that originally spawned the idea for the novel Psychotropic Dragon. Well, enough time has gone by, that the series deserves a reboot. So, as soon as thing slow down a bit (if they ever do), we will re-release this title through the Written Backwards imprint of Dark Regions Press to give this thing more legs. The cover will be getting a reboot as well, as you can tell from this new cover.

But what about Chiral Mad 4. Everyone wants there to be a Chiral Mad 4!

So here’s the deal. The entire writing community has been at war with one another for far too long. Finger-pointing, harassment, racism, bigotry, accusations (both false and allegedly true), people talking about people killing people, politicking, all that social justice bulls**t that seems to be tearing this writing community apart one writer at a time, senseless/endless arguing, blocking, unfriending, blah blah blah … It’s a mess. So here’s what we do … This is how we can (strike that), this is how you can make Chiral Mad 4 happen:

If, and this is a big if, you want CHIRAL MAD to continue, this is how it’s going to happen for a fourth volume. This is not a call for submissions at this time. This is simply an idea. This has the potential of either ending something that was once great (in a big fiery ball of flame), or continuing the evolution of something much greater.

You have to collaborate. You have to work together.

These would be the rules for Chiral Mad 4 (if the anthology were to happen):

  1. Each work has to be a collaboration by more than one individual.
  2. More than two collaborators may be part of the same collaboration (3 or 4 authors writing a story, for example, or more than 2 collaborators working on the same graphic/comic piece)
  3. The more unique the collaboration, the better. (Have someone in mind you’ve always wanted to work with but were too afraid to ask, then that’s most likely the person with whom you should collaborate)
  4. Unique collaborations will go to the top of the reading pile.
  5. Diverse collaborations will go to the top of the top of the reading pile.
  6. No pseudonyms (unless you publish under that pseudonym regularly), and no collaborating with your own pseudonym.
  7. Absolutely no gratuitous sex, violence, abuse, rape …
  8. Play nice.

This is what will be ultimately accepted for Chiral Mad 4 (if the anthology were to happen):

  1. 4 collaborative novellas (15,000 – 20,000 words)
  2. 4 collaborative novelettes (8,000 – 10,000 words)
  3. 4 collaborative short stories (3,000 – 5,000 words)
  4. 4 collaborative short stories adapted to graphic/comic format (1,000-1,500 words, 10-12 pages max)

That’s 16 projects total, and yes, that’s a hefty word count when you add the numbers. This could turn into a part 1 / part 2, depending on word count. There will most likely be a Kickstarter or Indigogo campaign to help fund this project if there is enough demand, and payment would be made close to publication date, most likely late 2017, because:

Payment would be as follows (if the anthology were to happen):

  1. novellas – $0.05 per word, $1,000 max (split between collaborators)
  2. novelettes – $0.05 per word, $500 max (split between collaborators)
  3. short stories – $0.05 per word, $250 max (split between collaborators)
  4. graphic/comic stories – $50 per page, $500 max (split between collaborators)

Play nice.

Collaborate.

Make something beautiful.

Email cm4@nettirw.com for more information, questions about collaborations, etc.

And if you want to keep seeing volumes of CHIRAL MAD year after year, please purchase a copy of volumes 1, 2, and 3. Tell our friends. Tell your family. Help spread the word about these anthologies (as well as other Written Backwards / Dark Regions Press anthologies), because that’s how we stay in business and keep producing such fine books.

Coming soon, a collaboration with L.A. Spooner to adapt my short story “Plasty” from Scales and Petals.

CM4 - teaser

YOU, HUMAN

front cover - DRP teaser

What does it mean to be alive? What does it mean to be real? What does it mean to exist? And most importantly, what does it mean to be human? You, Human, Michael Bailey’s first science fiction anthology for Dark Regions Press, will tackle those heavy questions. Twenty-four mind-bending works by some of the best in the business explore humanism through science fiction’s various sub-genres, split into three sections by poetic law.

The Three Laws of Humanity:

  1. A human being may not injure another human being or, through inaction, allow another human being to come to harm.
  2. A human being must obey the orders given it by other human beings except where such orders would conflict with the first law.
  3. A human being must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the first or second laws.

You, Human - 01

Bram Stoker Award winning editor Michael Bailey brings sci-fi back to Dark Regions Press with heart in this genre-bending anthology of dark science fiction and poetry. With fiction illustrated beautifully throughout by world-renowned artist L.A. Spooner, with poetry and spot illustrations supplied by the always-impressive Orion Zangara, and with an incredible introduction on humanism by New York Times bestselling author F. Paul Wilson (Panacea, the Repairman Jack series), Asimov’s three laws of robotics are re-evaluated and revised to help define humanity.

You, Human - 02

“I think we can all agree that consciousness, self-awareness, and sentience – the capacity for subjective feelings and perceptions – are indispensable to humanness. The comingling and interaction of all three lead to sapience – the capacity to act with reason and judgment. Apes and dolphins are considered sentient, but not sapient.  Sapience builds civilizations.” – from Wilson’s introduction to You, Human.

You, Human - 04

Dark Regions Press makes a return to dark science fiction in this latest of illustrated anthologies by Michael Bailey, the person behind Pellucid Lunacy, the first two volumes of Chiral Mad (1, 2), the Benjamin Franklin Award winning Qualia Nous, the Bram Stoker Award winning The Library of the Dead, and most recently Chiral Mad 3, which was illustrated throughout by legendary artist Glenn Chadbourne and which featured an introduction by Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club, Lullaby, Choke, et al).

You, Human - 03

You, Human will contain the following works of fiction, which will be split into three sections (one for each of the three laws) by poetry. In no particular order:

  1. “I Am the Doorway” – Stephen King
  2. “Robot” – Mort Castle
  3. “101 Things to Do Before You’re Downloaded” – Scott Edelman
  4. “Cosmic Fair” – Darren Speegle
  5. “The Star-Filled Sea is Smooth Tonight” – Thomas F. Monteleone
  6. “Executive Functions” – Lucy A. Snyder
  7. “Hopium Den” – John Skipp
  8. “Dog at the Look” – B.E. Scully
  9. “Ditch Treasures” – Richard Chizmar
  10. “The Pretty Puppets” – Marc Levinthal
  11. “Pink Crane Girls” – Autumn Christian
  12. “The Cause” – Laura Lee Bahr
  13. “Keepsakes” – Hal Bodner
  14. “The Goldilocks Zone” – John R. Little
  15. “The Jupiter Drop” – Josh Malerman
  16. “Key to the City” – Cody Goodfellow
  17. “The Universe is Dying” – Paul Michael Anderson
  18. “Fallen Faces by the Wayside” – Gary A. Braunbeck
  19. “It Can Walk and Talk” – Dyer Wilk
  20. “What Goes Up Must Come Down” – Janet Harriett
  21. “The Immigrants” – Erik T. Johnson
  22. “Gumi-Bear” – Erinn L. Kemper
  23. “Unity of Affect” – Jason V Brock
  24. “The Fourth Law” – Marge Simon

Poetry will include the following, by Marge Simon:

  1. “In Accordance With the Laws”
  2. “Less Than Human”
  3. “Future Imperfect: Broken Laws”

Coming this fall from Dark Regions Press

You, Human - 04

CHIRAL MAD 3 – NOW AVAILABLE!

CHIRAL MAD 3 cover

The highly-anticipated third volume in the award-winning and critically-acclaimed Chiral Mad series of psychological horror is now available! This marks the first anthology by Written Backwards as an imprint of Dark Regions Press.

Click the book cover above to order Chiral Mad 3 directly from Dark Regions Press in trade paperback, eBook, or to pre-order one of the 26 deluxe hardcover editions signed by everyone but King (these will go incredibly fast, so if you’re even thinking about ordering a copy, you should probably just order one). We may release this incredible book in hardback later down the road, but if you’re a collector, the signed/lettered deluxe edition will sell out quickly, so act fast.

You can also order a copy of the trade paperback or Ebook editions on Amazon.comChiral Mad 3 will also appear in various bookstores and libraries throughout the world, and wholesale pricing will be made available to retailers in Ingram Catalog (ipage). Email written@nettirw.com for more information.

CHIRAL MAD 3 illustrations

This stunningly beautiful book is illustrated throughout by legendary artist Glenn Chadbourne (45 images), with 400 pages of fiction and symmetrically placed poetry (see full table of contents below), and features a special introduction by Chuck Palahniuk, author of Fight Club and the Bram Stoker Award nominated Beautiful YouYes, this anthology is insane.

Introduction: Observations on Horror Burnout – Chuck Palahniuk

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

CHIRAL MAD 3 illustrations

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

Grab a copy today!

[ artwork by Glenn Chadbourne ]

CHIRAL MAD 3 cover

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…

CHIRAL MAD 3 – POETRY

Chiral Mad 3

THE SUBMISSION WINDOW FOR POETRY IS NOW CLOSED.

Thank you to those who submitted poetry for the Chiral Mad 3 consideration. After receiving a little over 300 submissions, the anthology is now filled. Please note that a few websites and newsletters were erroneously reporting a March 31st end-date for poetry submissions, which was never the case; as mentioned below, this project considered poetry submissions until filled. Final acceptance/rejection emails will be sent out soon. See below for the original information re: poetry…

Chiral Mad 3 is developing.

Although the third in the series is not scheduled for publication until first quarter of 2016, the anthology is already in the works and promises to be nothing but stellar. Personal invitations for contributing fiction are going out now, and will most likely fill half the anthology; the other half will most likely come from open submissions later this year. More information coming soon.

There are a few things that will differentiate Chiral Mad 3 from past volumes:

1) The anthology will contain 20 stories (no more / no less), and anywhere from 10 and 20 poems to fit symmetrically around the fiction. Written Backwards is looking for two poems from each poetry contributor, so if you’re considering submitting a poem, consider submitting two.

2) The anthology will be fully-illustrated. Glenn Chadbourne is invited to take on this task, as he is familiar working with much of the invited talent. Yes, this project will rock your socks off!

Feel free to submit poetry now by sending your work to cm3@nettirw.com. Payment will be $1 per line, up to 50 lines per poem. Poetry submissions will be open until filled.

Please do not submit fiction until the open submission window is announced later this year. Written Backwards will be looking for dark / psychological fiction between 1,500 and 7,500 words and will pay pro-rates up to 5,000 words; no science fiction, fantasy, excessive violence, gore, sex, or discrimination of any kind, unless used tastefully and for a greater purpose.

Get chiral.