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.

2014 BRAM STOKER AWARDS® PRELIMINARY BALLOT

The Horror Writers Association recently announced the Preliminary Ballot for the 2014 Bram Stoker Awards®, and I am proud to announce I have a few things that made the list this year. My story  “Fireman / Primal Tongue” made the final ballot last year for Superior Achievement in Short Fiction, so I’m hoping this year to have all three of my works published last year make the final cut in their respective categories. If you are a voting member of the Horror Writers Association, you can email written@nettirw.com to request either a digital copy or a trade paperback of the following:

1. Qualia Nous – Superior Achievement in an Anthology.

Along with the latest Written Backwards release making the ballot this year, two stories from the anthology are on the list for Superior Achievement in Short Fiction, including “The Vaporization Enthalpy of a Peculiar Pakistani Family” by Usman T. Malik (which is making some noise in the science fiction world as well), and “Ruminations” by Rena Mason. All 30 involved with this anthology are responsible, so thank you for your words. Qualia Nous is a literary blend of science fiction and horror, and people seem to dig it.

  1. Stephen King – The Jaunt (novelette)
  2. Usman T. Malik – The Vaporization Enthalpy of a Peculiar Pakistani Family *
  3. Gene O’Neill – The Shaking Man
  4. Ashlee Scheuerman – Dyscrasia
  5. Emily B. Cataneo – The Rondelium Girl of Rue Marseilles
  6. Erik T. Johnson – The Angel Chaser
  7. Ian Shoebridge – Psychic Shock
  8. D.J. Cockburn – Peppermint Tea in Electronic Limbo
  9. John R. Little – Second Chance
  10. Jon Michael Kelley – The Effigies of Tamber Square
  11. Lori Michelle – Shades of Naught
  12. James Chambers – The Price of Faces
  13. Jason V Brock – Simulacrum (novelette)
  14. Marge Simon – Shutdown / Tomorrow’s Femme (poems)
  15. Peter Hagelslag – Lead me to Multiplicity
  16. Christian A. Larsen – Cataldo’s Copy
  17. Max Booth III – The Neighborhood has a Barbeque
  18. Richard Thomas – The Jenny Store
  19. Erinn L. Kemper – Night Guard
  20. William F. Nolan – A New Man
  21. John Everson – Voyeur
  22. Pat R. Steiner – Kilroy Wasn’t There
  23. Paul Anderson – In the Nothing-Space, I Am What You Made Me
  24. Lucy A. Snyder – Dura Mater
  25. Rena Mason – Ruminations *
  26. Thomas F. Monteleone – Good and Faithful Servant
  27. Patrick Freivald – Twelve Kilos
  28. Mason Ian Bundschuh – Breathe You in Me
  29. Elizabeth Massie – 18P37-C, After Andrea Was Arrested
  30. Gary A. Braunbeck – No Fixed Address (novelette)

I hope to see Qualia Nous on the final ballot alongside those I admire in the world of anthologies: Ellen Datlow (Fearful Symmetries), Chuck Palahniuk / Richard Thomas (Burnt Tongues), and Jason V Brock (A Dark Phantastique). Not to single anyone out in the anthology category, but those three anthologies are incredible! I hope to see each of you on the final ballot this year so we can take a “final ballot selfie” holding each of these anthologies together at the Bram Stoker Awards ceremony in Florida.

Qualia Nous

2. Inkblots and Blood Spots – Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection

Villipede Publications took on this project, which was released November 2014, and have produced something stellar. My editor, Shawna Bernard, aka. Sydney Leigh (to be published in the upcoming Written Backwards anthology The Library of the Dead), and who is also on the preliminary ballot this year for her excellent short story “Baby’s Breath,” worked her tail off to make this second collection of short fiction and poetry a work of art. Bringing on Daniele Serra to create the cover and fully-illustrate the book was ingenious (he is also on the preliminary ballot for his graphic novel with Joe R. Lansdale called I Tell You It’s Love). I cannot begin to explain how well his art meshes and brings life to my work (see images below).

A special note of thanks to Syd the Kid and Villipede Publications for making me look good. They did a great job weaving short fiction with poetry around stunning illustrations. Plus, they convinced me to include a new novelette I was working on called “Dandelion Clocks,” a tribute story to 9/11, which has somehow made it on the preliminary ballot for long fiction.

This category has some incredible competition, so I hope to make the cut. Of the fiction collections I’ve read this year, I can say that John Little’s Little by Little, Stephen Graham Jones’ After the People Lights Have Gone Off, Lucy Snyder’s Soft Apocalypses, and John F.D. Taff’s The End in all the Beginnings… well, damn, those are all great collections, and I hope Inkblots and Blood Spots is there alongside you on the final ballot.

Inkblots and Blood Spots

3. “Dandelion Clocks” – Superior Achievement in Long Fiction

What more can I say about “Dandelion Clocks” other than I feel it’s the best thing I’ve written to date. It’s my take on 9/11, about 8,400 words long, bounces around in nonlinear fashion through time from the point-of-view of a traumatized young woman, and I hope it makes the final ballot… and wins. I’m not sure I can write much better than this.

The long fiction category, like each year, is probably my favorite. I’ve watched Gary A. Braunbeck win this thing (what… 4 or 5 times now? I think he has either 8 or 9 Stokers to his name), and was at the Bram Stoker Award ceremony last May in Portland, Oregon to celebrate Gary taking home the Stoker for “The Great Pity” in Written Backward’s Chiral Mad 2 (even got to hold Gary’s envelope, thanks to F. Paul Wilson sitting next to me… who made the announcement), so to have a chance at taking home the same award for “Dandelion Clocks” would be a dream. Like I said, this is probably my favorite category. I love long fiction, and plan to publish 2 or 3 illustrated novellas next year, all from names mentioned previously on this page.

But, there’s some awesome competition. Along with rooting for “Dandelion Clocks,” I’m also rooting for “Ridin the Dawg” by Gene O’Neill, “Fishing for Dinosaurs” by Joe R. Lansdale, “Lost and Found” by Joe McKinney, “The Long Long Breakdown” by John F.D. Taff, “Ceremony of Flies” by Kate Jonez, and “Dreams of a Little Suicide” by Eric J. Guignard. All good stuff!

* If your name is not mentioned on any of the 3 lists above, it simply means I haven’t yet read your work)

Illustrations by Daniele Serra

Horror Writers Association voting members may request a PDF or print copy of Qualia Nous (anthology), and/or Inkblots and Blood Spots (fiction collection), and/or “Dandelion Clocks” (long fiction) for consideration by emailing written@nettirw.com. It is also available on the HWA message board.

A few more things to note:

Many Qualia Nous contributors (listed in bold above) are on the preliminary ballot this year in one way or another, so a special congratulations is in order for their work outside of Written Backwards. Marge Simon (with Mary Turzillo) is up for her latest poetry collection Sweet Poison, Patrick Freivald for both his novel Jade Sky and short story “Trigger Warning,” Gene O’Neill for his long fiction piece called “Ridin the Dawg,” John R. Little for his fiction collection Little by Little, Lucy A. Snyder for both her fiction collection Soft Apocalypses and nonfiction book Shooting Yourself in the Head For Fun and Profit: A Writer’s Survival Guide, Richard Thomas (with Chuck Palahniuk) for their anthology Burnt Tongues, and Jason V Brock for both his anthology A Dark Phantastique and nonfiction book Disorders of Magnitude. And, of course, Usman T. Malik and Rena Mason, previously mentioned, for their short stories in Qualia Nous.

Other past/future Written Backwards contributors are on the preliminary ballot as well, including Eric J. Guignard for his long fiction piece “Dreams of a Little Suicide” and John Palisano for his short story “Splinterette.”

Last year, Chiral Mad 2 did not make the final ballot, but “The Geminis” by John Palisano made the final ballot for Superior Achievement in Short Fiction, as well as “The Great Pity” by Gary A. Braunbeck, which took home the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in Long Fiction. Perhaps 2014 will be a good year as well!

Congratulations to everyone who made the preliminaries this year! And congratulations to those who did not make the list, but probably should have. 2014 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 2014 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.

Here’s the complete list, as plagiarized from the Horror Writers Association page:

Superior Achievement in a Novel
Tim Burke – The Flesh Sutra (NobleFusion Press)
Adam Christopher – The Burning Dark (Tor Books)
Michaelbrent Collings – This Darkness Light (self-published)
Lawrence C. Connolly – Vortex (Fantasist Enterprises)
Craig DiLouie – Suffer the Children (Gallery Books of Simon & Schuster)
Patrick Freivald – Jade Sky (JournalStone)
Chuck Palahniuk – Beautiful You (Jonathan Cape, Vintage/Penguin Random House UK)
Christopher Rice – The Vines (47North)
Brett J. Talley – The Reborn (JournalStone)
Steve Rasnic Tem – Blood Kin (Solaris Books)

Superior Achievement in a First Novel
Maria Alexander – Mr. Wicker (Raw Dog Screaming Press)
J.D. Barker – Forsaken (Hampton Creek Press)
Janice Gable Bashman – Predator (Month9Books)
David Cronenberg – Consumed (Scribner)
Michael Knost – Return of the Mothman (Woodland Press)
Daniel Levine – Hyde (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Josh Malerman – Bird Box (Harper Collins)
Whitney Miller – The Violet Hour (Flux)
Chantal Noordeloos – Angel Manor (Horrific Tales Publishing)
C.J. Waller – Predator X (Severed Press)

Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel
Ari Berk – Lych Way (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
Jake Bible – Intentional Haunting (Permuted Press)
Ilsa J. Bick – White Space (Egmont)
John Dixon – Phoenix Island (Simon & Schuster/Gallery Books)
Kami Garcia – Unmarked (The Legion Series Book 2) (Little Brown Books for Young Readers)
S.E. Green – Killer Instinct (Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse)
Tonya Hurley – Passionaries (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Micol Ostow – Amity (Egmont)
Peter Adam Salomon – All Those Broken Angels (Flux)
Sam Swanson and Araminta Star Matthews – Horror High School: Return of the Loving Dead (Curiosity Quills Press)
Johnny Worthen – Eleanor: Book 1 (The Unseen) (Jolly Fish Press)

Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel
Charles Burns – Sugar Skull
Emily Carroll – Through the Woods
Victor Gischler – Kiss Me Satan
Joe Hill – Locke and Key, Vol. 6
Joe R. Lansdale and Daniele Serra – I Tell You It’s Love (Short, Scary Tales Publications)
Jonathan Maberry – Bad Blood (Dark Horse Books)
Paul Tobin – The Witcher

Superior Achievement in Long Fiction
Michael Bailey – Dandelion Clocks (Inkblots and Blood Spots) (Villipede Publications)
Taylor Grant – The Infected (Cemetery Dance #71) (Cemetery Dance)
Eric J. Guignard – Dreams of a Little Suicide (Hell Comes To Hollywood II: Twenty-Two More Tales Of Tinseltown Terror (Volume 2)) (Big Time Books)
Kate Jonez – Ceremony of Flies (DarkFuse)
Joe R. Lansdale – Fishing for Dinosaurs (Limbus, Inc., Book II) (JournalStone)
Jonathan Maberry – Three Guys Walk Into a Bar (Limbus, Inc., Book II) (JournalStone)
Joe McKinney – Lost and Found (Limbus, Inc., Book II) (JournalStone)
Gene O’Neill – Ridin the Dawg (Mia Moja) (Thunderstorm Books)
John F.D. Taff – The Long Long Breakdown (The End in all Beginnings) (Grey Matter Press)
Gregor Xane – The Riggle Twins (Bad Apples) (Corpus Press)

Superior Achievement in Short Fiction
Dale Bailey – Sleep Paralysis (Nightmare Magazine, April 2014) (Nightmare)
Hal Bodner – Hot Tub (Hell Comes to Hollywood II) (Big Time Books)
Patrick Freivald – Trigger Warning (Demonic Visions Book 4) (Chris Robertson)
* Sydney Leigh – Baby’s Breath (Bugs: Tales That Slither, Creep, and Crawl) (Great Old Ones Publishing)
Usman T. Malik – The Vaporization Enthalpy of a Peculiar Pakistani Family (Qualia Nous) (Written Backwards)
Alessandro Manzetti – Nature’s Oddities (The Shaman: And Other Shadows) (self-published)
Rena Mason – Ruminations (Qualia Nous) (Written Backwards)
John Palisano – Splinterette (Widowmakers: A Benefit Anthology of Dark Fiction)
Sayuri Ueda – The Street of Fruiting Bodies (Phantasm Japan) (Haikasoru, an imprint of VIZ Media, LLC)
Genevieve Valentine – A Dweller in Amenty (Nightmare Magazine, March 2014) (Nightmare)
Damien Angelica Walters – The Floating Girls: A Documentary (Jamais Vu, Issue Three) (Post Mortem Press)

Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection
Michael Bailey – Inkblots and Blood Spots (Villipede Publications)
Stephen Graham Jones – After the People Lights Have Gone Off (Dark House Press)
John R. Little – Little by Little (Bad Moon Books)
Helen Marshall – Gifts for the One Who Comes After (ChiZine Publications)
David Sakmyster – Escape Plans (Wordfire Press)
Terrence Scott – The Madeleine Wheel: Playing with Spiders (Amazon)
Lucy Snyder – Soft Apocalypses (Raw Dog Screaming Press)
Robin Spriggs – The Untold Tales of Ozman Droom (Anomalous Books)
John F.D. Taff – The End In All Beginnings (Grey Matter Press)
Alexander Zelenyj – Songs for the Lost (Eibonvale Press)

Superior Achievement in an Anthology
John Joseph Adams and Hugh Howey – The End Is Nigh (Broad Reach Publishing)
Michael Bailey – Qualia Nous (Written Backwards)
Jason Brock – A Darke Phantastique (Cycatrix Press)
Ellen Datlow – Fearful Symmetries (ChiZine Publications)
Kate Jonez – Halloween Tales (Omnium Gatherum)
Eric Miller – Hell Comes to Hollywood II (Big Time Books)
Chuck Palahniuk, Richard Thomas, and Dennis Widmyer – Burnt Tongues (Medallion Press)
Brian M. Sammons – The Dark Rites of Cthulhu (April Moon Books)
Brett J. Talley – Limbus, Inc., Book II (JournalStone)
Terry M. West – Journals of Horror: Found Fiction (Pleasant Storm Entertainment)

Superior Achievement in a Screenplay
Scott M. Gimple – The Walking Dead: The Grove, episode 4:14 (AMC)
James Hawes – Penny Dreadful: Possession (Desert Wolf Productions/Neal Street Productions)
Jennifer Kent – The Babadook (Causeway Films)
Alex Kurtzman and Mark Goffman – Sleepy Hollow: “Bad Blood” (Sketch Films/K/O Paper Products/20th Century Fox Television)
John Logan – Penny Dreadful: Séance (Desert Wolf Productions/Neal Street Productions)
Greg Mclean and Aaron Sterns – Wolf Creek 2 (Emu Creek Pictures)
Stephen Moffat – Doctor Who: Listen (British Broadcasting Corporation)
Cameron Porsendah – Helix: Pilot (Tall Ship Productions/Kaji Productions/Muse Entertainment/Lynda Obst Productions/in association with Sony Pictures Television)
Jack Thomas Smith –Infliction (Fox Trail Productions)
James Wong – American Horror Story: Coven: “The Magical Delights of Stevie Nicks” (FX Network)

Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction
Massimo Berruti, S.T. Joshi, and Sam Gafford – William Hope Hodgson: Voices from the Borderland (Hippocampus Press)
Jason V. Brock – Disorders of Magnitude (Rowman & Littlefield)
Hayley Campbell – The Art of Neil Gaiman (HarperCollins Publishers)
S.T. Joshi – Lovecraft and A World in Transition (Hippocampus Press)
Leslie S. Klinger – The New Annotated H.P. Lovecraft (Liveright Publishing Corp., a division of W.W. Norton & Co.)
Joe Mynhardt and Emma Audsley – Horror 101: The Way Forward (Crystal Lake Publishing)
Robert Damon Schneck – Mrs. Wakeman vs. the Antichrist (Tarcher/Penguin)
Lucy Snyder – Shooting Yourself in the Head For Fun and Profit: A Writer’s Survival Guide (Post Mortem Press)
Tom Weaver, David Schecter, and Steve Kronenberg – The Creature Chronicles: Exploring the Black Lagoon Trilogy (McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers)

Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection
Robert Payne Cabeen – Fearworms: Selected Poems (Fanboy Comics)
G.O. Clark – Gravedigger’s Dance (Dark Renaissance Books)
David E. Cowen – The Madness of Empty Spaces (Weasel Press)
Corrinne De Winter and Alessandro Manzetti – Venus Intervention (Kipple Officina Libraria)
Wade German – Dreams from the Black Nebula (Hippocampus Press)
Tom Piccirilli – Forgiving Judas (Crossroad Press)
Michelle Scalise – The Manufacturer of Sorrow (Eldritch Press)
Marge Simon and Mary Turzillo – Sweet Poison (Dark Renaissance Books)
Tiffany Tang – Creepy Little Death Poems (Dreality Press)
Stephanie Wytovich – Mourning Jewelry (Raw Dog Screaming Press)

Good luck everyone!

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

ALLEVON #1

Allevon Logo

ALLEVON

Starting in 2015, Written Backwards will take a break from anthologies to introduce ALLEVON, a new series of original novellas. These will be stunning trade paperbacks (5″ x 8″ smaller format) with a matte finish, a cover price of $10, and will offer something unique to writers: 1) a $500 advance, 2) 50% royalties, 3) 25 contributor copies, and 4) the opportunity to purchase copies at 50% discount. I challenge other publishers to offer similar perks. It’s time to push for quality long fiction, and time to rock the publishing world.

The first in the series will be At the Lazy K by Gene O’Neill. The story takes place near Calistoga, California on an old Mexican land grant, spanning from cattle ranch to upscale bawdy house to a modern yet haunted rehabilitation center. This unique, literary mix of western and modern storytelling is Gene O’Neill at his finest, and the perfect match for Written Backwards.

AT THE LAZY K

AT THE LAZY K

The ALLEVON series is invite only at this time; however, if you have a novella in the 20-40,000 word range that fits the Written Backwards mold, feel free to send a query to allevon@nettirw.com. In typical Written Backwards fashion, you are more than welcome to invite yourself.

More information soon…

lazyK_peek

QUALIA NOW!

Qualia Nous Cover

Available now on Amazon.com

It may have been “leaked” a few days ago that Qualia Nous was made available at Amazon.com in the U.S. a bit earlier than originally anticipated (by two weeks). After Stephen King became involved, and after tracking down one of the authors working on offshore oil rigs in Russia (or something to that effect), as well as finalizing proofs for each of the 30 contributions (short stories, novelettes, a few poems; 120,000 words and 448 pages) the publishing date for this book was pushed from mid-Summer to late-Summer, then to late-August/early-September (technically late-Summer). Also during this time, Written Backwards took over an anthology project called The Library of the Dead, so time management has evolved into “tricky.” Qualia Nous is here, now, with an “official” release date of August 31st, 2014, in all its badassery. This thing is beautiful. 1.7 pounds of science fiction / horror awesome.

Yes, I leaked that information (as I am wont to do) and thus started what has made Written Backwards so much fun (and perhaps prosperous) over the years: the viral marketing component. Minutes after I ordered a large quantity of contributor, review, and “for consideration” copies from the printer, emails and instant messages lit up my phone.  The initial seed to this virality was a simple Facebook/Twitter post that read: “Take advantage! Share! Re-post! Blog! Viralize! (contributor copies will be going out soon) A more official announcement will be made soon, but for now… early bird gets the book worm.” That  was it…

Quickly thereafter, Qualia Nous contributors took over, announcing early availability on blogs and social media outlets. And then my phone exponentially lit up as that news was shared, re-shared, tweeted, re-tweeted, blogged, and re-shared some more. So, thank you, contributors, for following the Written Backwards marketing strategy of (perhaps stolen from Nine Inch Nails when they first transitioned from “traditional” to “indie”) going viral. Over a hundred copies sold overnight before this “official” press release, with 100 more already spoken for, and I haven’t even checked my email in the last few days.

I guess you could call this the “official” press release. So buy it! Read it! Explore and follow on blogs (blog.nettirw.com), on Facebook (facebook.com/nettirw), on Twitter (twitter.com/nettirw), or wherever else you find information about Qualia Nous and other Written Backwards projects. Share your experience with others, write reviews, take pictures of you holding the book in strange places, or do whatever you want with the book… Whatever you do, keep spreading the word! Let’s crank this thing above the current #130,296 rank in Amazon Books. Most importantly, if you buy from Amazon, and enjoy the Qualia Nous experience, please leave a review. Blog about it, post about it. Share your favorite stories with others. Pass this thing around… Did I mention reviews?

Feel free to share this blog, or post it wherever.

But most of all, enjoy this anthology! The amount of talent involved with this project is stellar. There is something for everyone in this tome. As the back cover states, this is “A literary blend of science fiction and horror.” It is truly something special.

One last thing: the first person to correctly translate the binary hidden within the book will receive something special. I’m not sure what that something special is just yet, but perhaps an entire Written Backwards collection, or an early peak (ARC) of the next Written Backwards project (a novella by someone incredible).

(the following is plagiarized from other related blogs):

Checked Amazon one last time before posting this… seems we’ve jumped to #82,104. #82,103, here we come!

QUALIA NOUS

Written Backwards presents Qualia Nous, a blend of science fiction and horror. With luck, this anthology will see print late August 2014 / early September 2014. Originally slated at 20 stories, this book has become somewhat of a monster: 454 pages (a palindrome), 120,021 or so words, 25 short stories, 2 poems, and 4 novelettes. The trade paperback will have a matte finish and a cover price of $20.

Qualia Nous

After an introduction by Michael Bailey (simply titled “0-1”) about the binary world of 0’s and 1’s, the infinite space between 0 and 1, the complexity of these two numbers, and perhaps a bit about life and death and the digital yet volatile past we will leave behind (what could turn out to be the ultimate science fiction nightmare), the book breaks into two parts: Qualia, and Nous, with a split table of contents. What does it all mean? Let’s break it down…

 

Qualia Definition

Qualia, or part one of this anthology, will introduce (and in a few cases re-introduce):

00. The Jaunt – Stephen King [ novelette ]
01. The Vaporization Enthalpy of a Peculiar Pakistani Family – Usman T. Malik
02. The Shaking Man – Gene O’Neill
03. Dyscrasia – Ashlee Scheuerman
04. The Rondelium Girl of Rue Marseilles – Emily B. Cataneo
05. The Angel Chaser – Erik T. Johnson
06. Psychic Shock – Ian Shoebridge
07. Peppermint Tea in Electronic Limbo – D.J. Cockburn
08. Second Chance – John R. Little
09. The Effigies of Tamber Square – Jon Michael Kelley
10. Shades of Naught – Lori Michelle
11. The Price of Faces – James Chambers
12. Simulacrum – Jason V Brock [ novelette ]
13. Shutdown – Marge Simon  [ poem ]
14. Lead Me To Multiplicity – Peter Hagelslag [ novelette ]

 

Nous Definition

Nous, or part two of the anthology, then follows:

15. Cataldo’s Copy – Christian A. Larsen
16. The Neighborhood Has a Barbecue – Max Booth III
17. Tomorrow’s Femme – Marge Simon [ poem ]
18. The Jenny Store – Richard Thomas
19. Night Guard – Erinn L. Kemper
20. A New Man – William F. Nolan
21. Voyeur – John Everson
22. Kilroy Wasn’t There – Pat R. Steiner
23. In the Nothing-Space, I Am What You Made Me – Paul Anderson
24. Dura Mater – Lucy A. Snyder
25. Ruminations – Rena Mason
26. Good and Faithful Servant – Thomas F. Monteleone
27. Twelve Kilos – Patrick Freivald
28. Breathe You In Me – Mason Ian Bundschuh
29. 18P37-C, After Andrea Was Arrested – Elizabeth Massie
30. No fixed Address – Gary A. Braunbeck  [ novelette ]

Qualia Nous  is packed with talent from writers across the world: the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, and the Russian Federation. Contributors include multi- Bram Stoker Award winning authors you recognize, and a few whose names you will soon recognize. More information soon!

THE LIBRARY OF THE DEAD

What is The Library of the Dead? It’s the next anthology by Written Backwards.

Imagine a cathedral-like building set on the west coast of California, where the rich and famous have been buried for generations, as well as the surrounding area’s infamous citizens. Imagine walking into the building, expecting a church, but instead you find yourself within a maze of corridors and small, oddly shaped rooms. In each of these rooms are rows upon rows of golden books, filling shelves from floor to ceiling. And it takes your breath away. A secret library.

The Library of the DeadBut this isn’t a library at all (well, it is, of sorts, just not like any you have ever seen), and the countless golden volumes within are not even books, but funeral urns filled with the ashes of the dead. Side-by-side they wait to be opened, like hardcover novels. On the spines of these “books” are names of the deceased and dates they’d lived carved in intricate script.

You find yourself lost in this labyrinth. You walk the endless rows and read the names. You could easily reach up and slide a “book” from its shelf to take a closer look, but perhaps something keeps you from doing such a thing. These are the dead, and you must respect them. The names on these books are people you have admired over the years, names like Brian Keene, and Gene O’Neill, and wait… some of these names you may not recognize, but should. There are countless golden books/urns, but perhaps you only have time to pull down a dozen to see what they hold… or perhaps a few more.

Somewhere roaming the quiet hallways in this glorious building, this Library of the Dead, is a librarian. He waits until dark to show you around, to perhaps pull down a few of these “books,” to read to you the stories of the lives and deaths of those he watches over.

Coming this fall.

WRITTEN BACKWARDS AWARDS® / DRAWA (2014)

Written Backwards Awards

Written Backwards Awards

Also known as the DRAWA, the Written Backwards Awards® celebrates the recognition of a literary marvel. The prestigious award is not determined by jury, not by recommendation counts of any kind, and not by a jury/rec superpac, but is decided upon by Written Backwards and its staff… meaning one person, Michael Bailey. He determines whether a literary work is DRAWA eligible by reading or looking at various readable or lookable things throughout the year, whether it be a short story, novelette, novella, novel, screenplay (which we all know is just watching a movie), soundtrack, grocery list, magazine, website article, literary journal, pretty picture/artwork, or whatever else he sees fit, mentally scores this work on a scale of suck to badass, and from that point creates a preliminary ballot in his head from which to randomly choose ballotees. From this “preliminary” ballot, he then carefully and skillfully and adverbly removes “preliminary” altogether, thus creating what is known as the Written Backwards Awards® final ballot, which may or may not have to include works from the previous year. DRAWA winners are determined from this mental list, if remembered, depending on eligibility.

There is no hindrance on publication date, as long as the publication date does not surpass the year in which an award is planned for issue. For example, if Stephen Hill publishes an award-winning masterpiece in December 2014, he is not eligible for a 2013 award because, well, his work is from the future, and future literary works are prohibited, as mentioned somewhere in the figurative small-print. Awards can go to the dead, although they cannot be accepted in person.

Please note that all writers whose work appeared or will soon appear in Written Backwards anthologies are not only eligible for a DRAWA, but automatic recipients of the Written Backwards Awards®. This currently includes the following anthologies: Pellucid Lunacy (2010), Chiral Mad (2012), Chiral Mad 2 (2013), the upcoming Pellucid Lunacy 2 (TBD), and the upcoming Qualia Nous (TBD). If your work appeared or will soon appear in the aforementioned anthologies, you are hereby or soonby an alumni recipient of the Written Backwards Awards® for the given year of publication. See anthology table of contents page for a full list of alumni recipients.

So, without further ado, in this first annual event, Written Backwards is proud to introduce the first winners of the Written Backwards Awards®, also known as the DRAWA (name not yet a registered trademark). The following works were admired greatly, and can forever be considered literary marvels from this point onward.

Gary A. Braunbeck – Rose of Sharon (fiction collection)

David Morrell – Murder as a Fine Art (historical novel)

Christian A. LarsenLosing Touch (first novel)

Neil GaimanThe Ocean at the End of the Lane (fantasy novel)

John Boden – Dominoes (kids book, sort of…)

Joe HillNOS4A2 (horror novel)

Stephen KingDr. Sleep (horror novel)

Wes Anderson – The Grand Budapest Hotel (screenplay)

David Petersen – Mouse Guard, all volumes (graphic novel)

Special Written Backwards Awards® may be given out each year to those making a noticeable difference in the writing community. This year, Written Backwards proudly presents the DRAWA Presence, Inspiration, and Voice. (See how that works? AWARD is spelled backwards, with the subject of the award after… so, this would actually be a Presence Award, Inspiration Award, and a Voice Award… clever, right?)

Anyway, the DRAWA Presence recognizes an individual completely dedicated to the craft, with strong viral marketing / social networking skills, and a blog people actually follow; this person must regularly crank out quality work and have a recognizable ‘presence’ in their field of work; this is the top dog, the lifetime achiever, the… well, you get the idea. The DRAWA Inspiration recognizes an individual somewhat new to the craft, someone with emerging talent, a strong, literary powerhouse waiting to erupt; this is the person to watch closely. Lastly, the DRAWA Voice recognizes an individual  with a fresh, unique literary voice, someone who quite clearly knows all the rules, and is very good at breaking them; this person has their own genre of awesomeness, in other words. Who are these people?

DRAWA Presence – Brian Keene

DRAWA Inspiration – Usman T. Malik

DRAWA Voice – Erik T. Johnson

 

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!

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