Archive for the ‘ Short Fiction ’ Category

INKBLOTS AND BLOOD SPOTS

Inkblots and Blood Spots

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

From the back cover:

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

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

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

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

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

Illustrations by Daniele Serra

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dance with me.

Stories:

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

Poems:

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

2013 BRAM STOKER AWARDS® PRELIMINARY BALLOT

Zippered Flesh 2The Horror Writers Association recently announced the Preliminary Ballot for the 2013 Bram Stoker Awards®, and I am proud to announce my short story “Primal Tongue” made the list. This was once called “Fireman / Primal Tongue” but “Fireman” was cut from the title before publication. “Fireman” was once the title of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, so I guess it was meant to be. The story is an homage to Bradbury, and includes fragments of Fahrenheit 451 (used by permission), as the narrative explores the evolution/de-evolution of language, both written and spoken. This was by far the most difficult story I have ever written, mostly because it included passages in multiple languages: Danish, Portuguese, Spanish, French, Hindi, binary, and others.

“Primal Tongue” was published in Zippered Flesh 2 by Smart Rhino Publications. This is an excellent follow-up anthology to the first Zippered Flesh. I recommend snagging a copy of each. Good stuff here.

Horror Writers Association voting members may request a PDF or print copy of “Primal Tongue” for consideration by emailing written@nettirw.com. It is also available on the HWA message board along with the other titles on the preliminary list.

Congratulations to everyone who made the preliminaries this year! And congratulations to those who did not make the list, but probably should have. 2013 was a great year for horror fiction. Whether or not you believe in the HWA’s means of compiling Bram Stoker Award recommendations, the preliminary ballot, or the final ballot, you cannot deny that 2013 was a great year for horror fiction. I see familiar names on the list this year, and names I don’t recognize, which is either a good thing, or a bad thing. Some I have published, some have published me, and some have shared the table of contents with yours truly in various anthologies or magazines over the years. And some, well, perhaps someday I can say I recognize those names as well.

I won’t get into all the categories, but here are the ten considered this year for Superior Achievement in Short Fiction:

SHORT FICTION

“The Book With No Ends” – Colleen Anderson, Bibliotheca Fantastica
“Primal Tongue” – Michael Bailey, Zippered Flesh 2
“Flowers Blooming in the Season of Atrophy” Max Booth III, Chiral Mad 2
“Snapshot” – Patrick Freivald, Blood & Roses
“Night Train to Paris” – David Gerrold, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction
“The Hunger Artist” – Lisa Mannetti, Zippered Flesh 2
“Black Tea” – Samuel Marolla, Black Tea and Other Tales
“The Slipway Grey” – Helen Marshall, Chilling Tales
“The Geminis” – John Palisano, Chiral Mad 2
“Code 666” – Michael Reaves, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction

Chiral Mad 2Out of the top ten, two stories share a table of contents in Chiral Mad 2, and two share a table of contents in Zippered Flesh 2. Unfortunately, neither of those anthologies made the list this year for Superior Achievement in an Anthology. I’m not sure how that happened, given the high recommendation counts both anthologies received for their stories, but I’m guessing Chiral Mad 2 ran into some time constraint issues given the date it was released. November/December releases typically get shafted come Stoker season because decisions, for some reason, have to be made before books have time to be read. This year, Stoker recommendations had to be made by January 15th, not giving much time for readers to consider winter titles, especially longer works, such as anthologies, novels, and fiction collections. If I had any say, I would move the entire recommendation/nomination process later in the year, such as ending recommendations by the end of February. I see a similar issue with “Best of the Year” lists, which are typically posted early to mid-December… 

Anyway, it’s an honor to be listed alongside such talented individuals.

Straying from short fiction and HWA politics for a bit, it’s important to note that Gary Braunbeck’s story in Chiral Mad 2, a wonderful novelette called “The Great Pity,” also made the list for Superior Achievement in Long Fiction. This puts three titles from Chiral Mad 2, and a short story by its editor, yours truly (although not for the anthology, specifically), on the preliminary ballot this year. How epic is that? Stoked!

Find the complete list of preliminaries here:

2013 PRELIMINARY BRAM STOKER AWARDS® BALLOT

Many from Chiral Mad / Chiral Mad 2 are on the list this year in various categories: Gord Rollo  for Only the Thunder Knows (novel), Christian A. Larsen for Losing Touch (first novel), Gary Braunbeck for “The Great Pity” (long fiction), James Chambers for “Three Chords of Chaos” (long fiction), Eric J. Guignard for “Baggage of Eternal Night” (long fiction) and After Death… (anthology), Dustin LaValley for “The Deceived” (long fiction), Max Booth III for “Flowers Blooming in the Season of Atrophy” (short fiction) and They Might Be Demons (fiction collection), John Palisano for “The Geminis” (short fiction), Gene O’Neill for Dance of the Blue Lady (fiction collection), and a book about Ramsey Campbell called Ramsey Campbell: Critical Essays on the Modern Master of Horror (non-fiction)

Good luck everyone!

2012 BRAM STOKER AWARDS® PRELIMINARY BALLOT

Zippered FleshThe Horror Writers Association recently announced the Preliminary Ballot for the 2012 Bram Stoker Awards®, and I am proud to announce my short story “Bootstrap / The Binds of Lasolastica” made the list. “Bootstrap” was published in Zippered Flesh: Tales of Body Enhancements Gone Bad! by Smart Rhino Publications. This is an excellent anthology. I recommend snagging a copy.

Horror Writers Association members may request a PDF or print copy for consideration by emailing written@nettirw.com.

Congratulations to everyone who made the preliminaries this year! I see many familiar names. Some I have published, some have published me, and some have shared the table of contents with yours truly in various anthologies or magazines over the years.

SHORT FICTION

“Bootstrap / The Binds of Lasolastica” – Michael Bailey
“Surrounded by the Mutant Rain Forest” – Bruce Boston
“The Journal of USS Indianapolis Survivor: Stefanos “Stevie” Georgiou – Kevin James Breaux
“A Catechism for Aspiring Amnesiacs” – Nicole Cushing
“The Cancer Catechism” – Jay Lake
“Bury My Heart at Marvin Gardens” – Joe McKinney
“Righteous” – Weston Ochse
“Available Light” – John Palisano
“Magdala Amygdala” – Lucy Snyder

It’s an honor to be listed alongside such talented individuals. I believe at least three of these writers are from California!

Find the complete list of preliminaries here:

2012 PRELIMINARY BRAM STOKER AWARDS® BALLOT

Bram Stoker AwardMany from the Chiral Mad lineup are on the list this year, including John Palisano for his short story “Available Light,” Jeff Strand for his young adult novel A Bad Day for Voodoo (Sourcebooks), Gene O’Neill for his long fiction “The Blue Heron” (Dark Regions Press), Jack Ketchum for his long fiction “I’m Not Sam” (Sinister Grin Press), and Eric J. Guignard for his anthology Dark Tales of Lost Civilizations (Dark Moon Books).

Good luck everyone!