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.

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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 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).

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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

KNOW A NOMINEE

Prior to the Bram Stoker Awards ® this year, volunteers within the Horror Writers Association began a series of interviews called “Know a Nominee,” in which final ballot nominees of the various award categories were asked a series of questions to provide readers insights and information about the nominees and their work. Some of these interviews were posted on the official Horror Writers Association’s Facebook page (I’m not sure if any made it onto the HWA website or newsletter, as they have in the past) and for a while it was going well. This is typically a great series of interviews. Unfortunately, because this is a volunteer-run organization, life sometimes gets in the way for volunteers, and well-loved projects, like this one, get pushed to the back burner, forgotten like a pot of previously-boiled hot dogs found floating in cold water the next morning. My own interview was for The Library of the Dead, which was nominated (and eventually won) for Superior Achievement in an Anthology.

As it turns out, a handful of interviews took place this year (some posted, most not), and sometime between pre- and post-Stoker season this interview project sort of disappeared into the ether. A handful of interviewees (like me) were left scratching our heads, wondering if the interviews were ever going to be published as the first StokerCon drew near. And then that date flew by, and a few others, and then a dozen more. What happened to the interviews? Upon asking about this very question within the organization, this prompted more confusion among members: “I was never interviewed…” and “What happened with the Know a Nominee interviews?” and “Interviews?” and my own question of “Since the Know a Nominee interviews sort of fizzled out, can we post our interviews elsewhere so they don’t go wasted?” (or something like that). Apparently, not all nominees this year were interviewed, which is too bad… This is a fun part of the award season, where you really “get to know” the nominees in the various categories (hence the name). For me, this interview series is an opportunity to get to know those outside the con scene (which is where we really get to know each other).

Know a Nominee was left abandoned mid-stride this year because of understandable, unforeseen happenstances in the lives of organization volunteers (it happens), yet here we are now, well past StokerCon and the Bram Stoker Awards ®, and there are interviews waiting to be exposed. There are shriveled hot dogs floating in cold water at the back of the stove, and they either need to be reheated and finally served, stored for later consumption, or thrown out.

After reaching out to the Horror Writers Association, those interviewed (and still stuck in interview limbo) were told we could use these Know a Nominee interviews elsewhere on the interwebs, if we so pleased. Three options: throw it out, store for later, or reheat and serve now. Interviews take time away from other projects we could be working on, so why let them go to waste? Why not put them out there? Who cares if it’s still hot or not, luke-warm, cold… Okay, yeah, interviews are best served hot, but so what. Most of the forgotten interviews run between 1,000 and 2,000 words (I have only asked four others, so you will have to deal with that estimate); mine runs about 1,600. So, without further ado, here is my reheated, barely palpable Know a Nominee interview, which was conducted by Brock Cooper, a member of the Horror Writers Association.


Please describe the genesis for the idea that eventually became the work for which you’ve been nominated. What attracted you most to the project?

The Library of the Dead was conceived by the collaborative minds of a gruesome twosome: Gene O’Neill and Gord Rollo. They happened upon Chapel of the Chimes, a crematory and columbarium in Oakland, next to the beautiful Mountain View Cemetery. It’s a massive labyrinthine building, and within its walls are the ashes of over a hundred thousand of California’s dead, most of which are contained within incendiary urns on shelves reaching from floor to ceiling, three stories high. But these are not ordinary urns. Most are brass, or golden, and they are shaped like books, and because of the building’s unique interior design, most of the rooms (and their libraries) are lit naturally by the sun through stained glass, some entire rooms glowing gold. It’s a wonderful place, and I highly recommend putting it on your list to see if you’re in the California Bay Area. There are gardens inside, and fountains, and other treasures, but the books make this place unique. What if each “book” not only held the ashes of the dead, but their stories as well? What happens when opened? What if there’s a ghostly librarian who wanders the halls at night, a caretaker of sorts? That’s the premise of the anthology Gene and Gord wanted to make. Somehow it landed in my lap. And somehow I was convinced to write “The Librarian,” the intertwining story linking the tales together. And now I’m proud to see a book about this library of the dead nominated for the Bram Stoker Award ® for anthologies, along with the story/introduction by Norman Partridge called “Special Collections,” which is up for long fiction.

What was the most challenging part of bringing the concept to fruition? The most rewarding aspect of the process? 

Each story in the anthology is something unique, written by different writers with entirely different voices, and some collaborative, such as Mary SanGiovanni and Brian Keene’s “The Last Thing’s to Go,” or “Fault Lines” by Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon. Different ashes. Different stories. Each golden book within the library had to contain a different story that needed opening, with characters ultimately finding their way back to the library, and that was the only common ground when I first started this book. Bringing the stories together into something cohesive required stylistic illustrations (which were created to perfection by the wonderful GAK) to help fuel the reader’s imagination, and photography of the real library of the dead in California, as well as “The Librarian” piece to help tie the stories together, which is its own story within the anthology. As you move through the book, this second-person narrative guides you along, your own personal librarian pulling golden books from shelves and opening them for you as you are guided from room to room, exploring the ‘tales the ashes tell’ (which happens to be the final story by Gary A. Braunbeck), until you realize you’re not only lost within the labyrinth of golden books, but becoming part of the library itself. The anthology contains black and white photography I took of Chapel of the Chimes, and 17 original illustrations by GAK (all inspired by the photography; if you look closely, you’ll see some of it captured within the art). All of these things had to be fused together seamlessly to make The Library of the Dead, which turned out to be quite a beautiful golden book. The most rewarding aspect of this process? Well, the book can be read like a novel, with each unique story serving as a different chapter of something larger. Something difficult that happened along the way was the loss of J.F. Gonzalez, to whom the book is dedicated. One of his final stories is in this book, called “It’s Getting Closer,” and GAK created a special illustration for him at the end of the book.

What do you think good horror/dark literature should achieve? How do you feel the work for which you’ve been nominated fits into or helps give shape to that ideal?

All good literature, dark or not, should move the reader emotionally. Good literature should fling one’s emotional state around until left exhausted. Without emotion, we are nothing. Horror, when done well, evokes fear, dread, uneasiness, terror, anxiety, all sorts of things … And when done well, the reader shouldn’t even notice it’s happening to them until it’s too late, until they set the book down, perhaps swearing a single word under their breath. All they know is that the pages kept flipping by as they got battered and got lost in the story (or stories), which is the whole point of a book. Good literature should spark memories: loss, pain, hope, failure, redemption, sacrifice, and I could go on for pages and pages about everything a book should do to its reader, but I won’t. What I think makes The Library of the Dead work so well is that it makes the reader part the book itself, pulls them along from tale to tale, and I think that’s why so many people have reacted positively. Some readers skip around anthologies, looking for familiar names or whatnot, reading those stories first before reading others, and some jump from story to story in no particular order. If you do that with The Library of the Dead, you are missing out. The book is designed to be read from cover to cover, first page to last page. The book is a journey, and the reader is part of the journey. They should be pulled inside this golden book and trapped inside with its ashes.

I’m curious about your writing and/or editing process. Is there a certain setting or set of circumstances that help to move things along? If you find yourself getting stuck, where and why?

Both my writing and editing processes are chaotic and should not be studied. My work is sporadically prolific, and periodically dormant. It’s probably unhealthy. If I find myself stuck, it means I’m not doing something right and should either do something else, or start over. Sometimes listening to music helps motivate the creative process.

As you probably know, many of our readers are writers and/or editors. What is the most valuable piece of advice you can share?

Create the most beautiful thing you can possibly create. It’s as simple as that. When you die, what do you want to leave in your wake? What do you want to be remembered for creating, a half-assed story everyone’s read before, a half-assed book no one remembers, or something completely original, something that cannot be easily forgotten?

If you’re attending WHC this year, what are you most looking forward to at this year’s event? If not attending, what do you think is the significance of recognitions like the Bram Stoker Awards?

I’m not sure I’ll make WHC this year [note: I ultimately did, and was able to spend some time holding the ashes of the great Richard Laymon], but I plan to attend StokerCon. I look forward to hanging out with those I’ve connected with over the years. I’m planning a signing event for The Library of the Dead, as well as the launching the next anthology, Chiral Mad 3. About half of the contributors in those anthologies will be attending StokerCon. Should be fun.

What scares you most? Why? How (if at all) does that figure into your work or the projects you’re attracted to? 

Memory loss scares me more than anything. Alzheimer’s. Much of my work (both my own fiction/poetry, and those I publish) is considered psychological horror. Losing one’s mind, one’s thoughts, one’s memories of who and what made them what they are … that is the most terrifying thing I can think of happening to a person, and I constantly wonder if it will happen to me. I guess that’s why I put a lot of myself in my writing. Every story I publish, whether mine or another’s, holds a different part of me, something that moved me emotionally, something I’ve pondered, a thought, a feeling, an instance. If I someday lose those memories that made me, I hope I’ll at least be able to read about those parts of me, whether I know it’s me or not.

What are you reading for pleasure lately? Can you point us to new authors or works we ought to know about? 

I don’t have as much time to read for pleasure as I’d like, so I guess I’m picky, a bit eclectic since most of what I read is unpublished. Read my anthologies and you’ll see a trend of new, emerging talent. Among the staples everyone should be reading, such as Ketchum, Braunbeck, Castle, Morrell, O’Neill and Edelman, look for work by those who have recently knocked my socks off with their writing: Josh Malerman, Emily B. Cataneo, Paul Michael Anderson, Erik T. Johnson, Damien Angelica Walters, Erinn L. Kemper, Meghan Arcuri, Mercedes M. Yardley (notice the amount of female voices in this list), Stephanie M. Wytovich, Autumn Christian, Laura Lee Bahr, Jon Michael Kelley, Christian A. Larsen, Usman T. Malik. How many names do you want? How about some voices I’ve recently discovered that have been around for a while, but I find quite remarkable: Jason V Brock, Hal Bodner, Darren Speegle, Lucy A. Snyder, Richard Chizmar, Michael McBride … I could seriously go on for a while. A full list of who you should be reading can be found in the anthologies I publish through Written Backwards and Dark Regions Press: all three Chiral Mad volumes, The Library of the Dead, Qualia Nous, the upcoming You, Human

Thank you in advance for your time and participation. 

 

BRAM STOKER AWARDS ® – THE LIBRARY OF THE DEAD

THE LIBRARY OF THE DEAD - DRP Edition* UPDATE: pre-order for the deluxe signed/limited edition of The Library of the Dead sold out within the first 24 hours, but the trade paperback is still on sale for 33% off at Dark Regions Press.

The Library of the Dead took home the Bram Stoker Award ® for Superior Achievement in an Anthology at the inaugural StokerCon in Las Vegas, NV, hosted by the Horror Writers Association.

I’m still in shock, and at a loss for words, so I’ll keep this short. StokerCon was quite an event, with a book-signing/release for both Chiral Mad 3 (which sold out!) and The Library of the Dead  (which moved quite a lot of copies). Many contributors from both anthologies were available and signed copies like mad. We filled out a bunch of  tip/signature sheets for the future deluxe limited editions coming soon from Written Backwards / Dark Regions Press, including Chiral Mad 3, The Library of the Dead, You Human (the first science fiction anthology in a long time from DRP), The Cal Wild Chronicles (Gene O’Neill), and Other Music (Marc Levinthal). The best way I can describe this mass-signing chaos is through pictures, which you can find at the end of this post.

CHIRAL MAD 3 - DRP Edition

A few copies of the deluxe signed/limited hardbound edition of Chiral Mad 3 remain, which can be pre-ordered by clicking the cover image above; this will be signed by everyone involved, except for King. Chuck Palahniuk, Glenn Chadbourne, and all other contributors will be signing these books, so you will want to pick up a copy. The trade paperback is available for purchase now if you don’t want to wait that long.

As for the conference, I served on only one panel this year alongside fellow anthologists Ellen Datlow, Thomas F. Monteleone, and Stephen Jones, attended a few readings, and kicked back to enjoy the company of longtime friends alongside my better half, Kelly Rumble (who for some reason thinks we’re getting married in a few weeks). Some of the highlights of this ultra-packed weekend include hanging out (lunches and drinks and aftermath shenanigans of celebratory Irish Car Bombs) with mentors Tom Monteleone and F. Paul Wilson (who Kelly Laymon calls ‘Pauly’), my own past HWA mentoree, Meghan Arcuri (an excellent writer), and one of the best damn female voices writing today, Erinn Kemper. And who can forget the wonderful Jack Ketchum, who I was able to dine/drink with on two occasions over the last few weeks (thanks to the World Horror Convention two weeks prior). And of course Gene O’Neill, who is always a treat, meeting Scott Edelman for the first time (after publishing a few of his works), as well as hanging with Hal Bodner, Jason V Brock, Stephanie Wytovich, Weston Ochse, Yvonne Navarro, Mercedes Yardley, Marge Simon, Lucy Snyder, Eric Guignard, Rena Mason, and I’m sure I’m missing a few names here, but basically a who’s-who of Written Backwards titles. The most horrific part of weekend was standing in front of a room packed full of my peers to accept not only one Bram Stoker Award ® for The Library of the Dead, but a second statue on behalf of Mort Castle, Sam Weller, Chris Ryall, and Carlos Guzman for Shadow Show: Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury, which won for Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel. So many great memories… One of the most bizarre, perhaps, was accepting both awards on behalf of Brian Keene, who could not be there (an inside joke).

13179348_10206412283767871_5977074888684614861_nTo help celebrate the Stoker, Dark Regions Press is offering 30% off the trade paperback edition of The Library of the Dead, as well as on pre-orders for the deluxe signed/limited hardbound edition to be released later this year (limited to 26 lettered A-Z). Click the book either above or below, or click here, and enter BRAMSTOKERAWARD as your coupon code when checking out for a 30% discount. If you prefer Amazon, or you run into any problems, you can find it here.

Anyway, the chaos I promised…

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THE LIBRARY OF THE DEAD - DRP Edition

 

 

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

THE CONFESSIONS OF ST. ZACH

The first book in The Cal Wild Chronicles by Gene O’Neill, THE CONFESSIONS OF ST. ZACH, is now available in trade paperback and eBook. This is the first book released by Written Backwards as an imprint of Dark Regions Press. Click the cover below to take you to the DRP ordering page. You can also order a copy on Amazon.com.

THE CONFESSIONS OF ST. ZACH

The book is illustrated throughout by Orion Zangara, and contains an introduction by John R. Little. All four books will act as puzzle pieces to Gene O’Neill’s magnum opus, with the front covers, back covers, as well as the spines, completing larger images when placed together. Here’s a synopsis of book #1:

A post-apocalyptic vision of California comes to life in the first book of The Cal Wild Chronicles, a series of novels by Gene O’Neill that span horror, science fiction, and fantasy. Over the last 30 years, Gene has explored this colorful world called Cal Wild through award-winning short fiction, long fiction, and novels, and now his magnum opus is collected within four volumes, and illustrated throughout by Orion Zangara. It all starts with this recently expanded version of the Bram Stoker Award nominated novella, THE CONFESSIONS OF ST. ZACH, where the accused are judged and permanently dyed for their crimes. DP’s, or Dyed People, roam Cal Wild, and every day they are faced with prejudice and brutality while they try to survive a new non-colored world. A crimson man, a lime green woman, the rightfully and wrongfully accused, some dyed amber, some dyed indigo… ST. ZACH will take you from the beginning of the end, and lead you to THE BURDEN OF INDIGO, the story that started it all.

Check out some of the amazing illustrations by Orion Zangara below, and make sure to start your collection by purchasing the first book in this amazing series by clicking on the cover above.

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WHAT IS ENSŌ?

100 70 remaining!

Reserve a copy by emailing enso@nettirw.com. Price will be $10 (shipping included).

ENSŌ

ENSŌ is a dark children’s book by yours truly, illustrated throughout by Luke Spooner, and consists of four intertwined fables involving a pair of curious caterpillars, a protective black widow spider, honey bees, a monarch, a ditsy bird, a deaths-head moth, a lost fox, and a brave field mouse, as well as a few other creatures.

The entire book is structured in typical nonlinear Bailey form, and provides a unique take on the circle of life. The book is aimed at children between the ages of 5 and 12, but with its multi-level story-line, the book can be enjoyed by all, over and over again. Get a copy for your kids and read it aloud to/with them. Don’t have kids? I’m sure you know a few…

ENSŌ will be in print soon as a signed and numbered limited edition trade paperback, with only 100 copies available, 10 of which will be offered to Gamut Magazine campaign backers within the next few days. If you want to reserve one of these 100 copies, I urge you to visit and back the Kickstarter page for Gamut Magazine. This will reserve a copy for you, and you will support a fine project by Richard Thomas.

In the meantime, check out some of these wonderful illustrations by Luke Spooner:

caterpillars

The Death Moth - Monarch

The Caterpillars and the Bridge - Sparrow

The death moth

The Fox and the Field Mouse - Fox Cub

The Scarlet Hourglass - Field Mouse

The scarlet hourglass base

2015 BRAM STOKER AWARDS® PRELIMINARY BALLOT

The Horror Writers Association recently announced the Preliminary Ballot for the 2015 Bram Stoker Awards®, and I am proud to announce that I have a few things that made the list this year, and have a bunch of friends whose work made the list as well.

The Library of the DeadThe Library of the Dead, by Written Backwards (now an imprint of Dark Regions Press), made the preliminary ballot this year. Many fingers are crossed that it finds its way onto the final ballot. Qualia Nous was officially nominated last year for Superior Achievement in an Anthology (although it bowed to Ellen Datlow’s Beyond Symmetry), and two short stories from the anthology took home statues for Superior Achievement in Short Fiction (Usman T. Malik’s “The Vaporization Enthalpy of a Peculiar Pakistani Family” and Rena Mason’s “Ruminations”).

Norman Partridge’s “Special Collections” from The Library of the Dead made the preliminary ballot as well for Superior Achievement in Long Fiction. His introduction/story starts off the anthology, and apparently impressed the HWA’s long fiction jury.

Below is the complete table of contents for The Library of the Dead, which is illustrated throughout by GAK, and concludes with a tribute/dedication to J.F. Gonzalez by Mary SanGiovanni. I’m a bit bummed not to see some of the short fiction on the preliminary ballot, but seeing Norman’s introduction/story on the ballot brought a smile. The other stories within received over 40 recommendations collectively, which is saying something…

  • Norman Partridge – “Special Collections” (long fiction)
  • Yvonne Navarro – “Those Who Shall Never Be Named”
  • Mary SanGiovanni & Brian Keene – “The Last Things to Go”
  • Roberta Lannes – “A Raven in the Dove’s Nest”
  • Kealan Patrick Burke – “I’m Not There”
  • Chris Marrs – “A Chimera’s Tale”
  • J.F. Gonzalez – “I’m Getting Closer”
  • Weston Ochse – “Reliving Through Better Chemistry”
  • Lucy A. Snyder – “Cthylla”
  • Christopher Golden & Tim Lebbon – “Fault Lines” (long fiction)
  • Rena Mason – “Jaded Winds”
  • Michael McBride – “Tears of the Dragon”
  • Erinn L. Kemper – “Phantom on the Ice”
  • Sydney Leigh – “Night Soliloquy”
  • Gene O’Neill – “Broken Lady”
  • Gary A. Braunbeck – “Tales the Ashes Tell”

At the Lazy KAlso making the preliminary ballot in the long fiction category is the first book in the Allevon series of illustrated novellas by Written Backwards: At the Lazy K by Gene O’Neill. This small book, illustrated by L.A. Spooner and introduced by Rena Mason, is causing quite the buzz, which means the Allevon series will continue. More news on the next title soon. I would also like to note that along with At the Lazy K making the preliminary ballot, and Gene having a story in The Library of the Dead (an idea conceived by the awesome duo that is Gene O’Neill and Gord Rollo), Gene O’Neill is on the preliminary ballot for Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection for the wonderful The Hitchhiking Effect by Dark Renaissance Books, as well as for Superior Achievement in Short Fiction for his recently released chapbook for his story “The Algernon Effect.”

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. The Library of the Dead – Superior Achievement in an Anthology.

2. At the Lazy K by Gene O’Neill – Superior Achievement in Long Fiction

3. “Special Collections” by Norman Partridge – Superior Achievement in Long Fiction

I hope to see The Library of the Dead on the final ballot alongside those I admire in the world of anthologies: Ellen Datlow (The Doll Collection), Christopher Golden (Seize the Night, which has an incredible long fiction piece called “Paper Cuts” by Gary A. Braunbeck, which also made the preliminary ballot for long fiction), Stephen Jones (Horrorology), Jonathan Maberry (X-Files: Trust No One), and Richard Thomas (Exigencies). See below for the complete list.

The long fiction category is always one of my favorites. Along with rooting for Gene O’Neill for At the Lazy K, the long fiction category this year includes Norman Partridge’s “Special Collections” from The Library of the Dead… as well as an incredible story by Scott Edelman called “Becoming Invisible, Becoming Seen” and Gary A. Braunbeck’s “Paper Cuts” and Mercedes M. Yardley’s “Little Dead Red” and other fine stories.

I’m also excited to see that Shadow Show: Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury made the preliminary ballot for Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel, which Mort kindly gave me a copy of when I made a surprise visit in Chicago last October.

Who else am I going to name-drop here? Let’s see: how about Clive Barker, whose novel The Scarlet Gospels made the list, or Patrick Freivald for his novel Black Tide, or Paul Tremblay’s A Head Full of Ghosts. There’s also John Palisano’s “Happy Joe’s Rest Stop” and Damien Angelica Walters’ “Sing Me Your Scars” for short fiction. And of course fiction collections, another favorite category: along with The Hitchhiking Effect by Gene O’Neill, we have Gary A. Braunbeck’s Halfway Down the Stairs, which I’ll be reading later this week, and Lucy A. Snyder’s While the Black Stars Burn, which I’ll also be reading later this week. And of course some wonderful poetry from Bruce Boston’s Resonance Dark and Light, and Marge Simon’s Naughty Ladies, and Stephanie M. Wytovich’s An Exorcism of Angels. So much to read… so much to read…

As previously mentioned, Horror Writers Association voting members may request a PDF or print copy of The Library of the Dead (anthology), and/or At the Lazy K by Gene O’Neill (long fiction), and/or “Special Collections” by Norman Partridge (long fiction) for consideration by emailing written@nettirw.com. They will also be made available on the HWA message board.

Congratulations to everyone who made the preliminaries this year! And congratulations to those who did not make the list, but probably should have. 2015 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 is the complete list of the categories in which I have a part this year (plagiarized from the Horror Writers Association page):

Superior Achievement in an Anthology:

Michael Bailey – The Library of the Dead (Written Backwards)
Ellen Datlow – The Doll Collection: Seventeen Brand-New Tales of Dolls (Tor Books)
Shannon Delany and Judith Graves – Beware the Little White Rabbit (Leap Books, LLC)
Christopher Golden – Seize the Night (Gallery Books)
Stephen Jones – Horrorology (Quercus Publishing)
Nancy Kilpatrick and Caro Soles – nEvermore! (Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing)
Jonathan Maberry – X-Files: Trust No One (IDW Publishing)
Eric Miller – 18 Wheels of Horror (Big Time Books)
Doug Murano and D. Alexander Ward – Shadows Over Main Street (Hazardous Press)
Joseph Nassise and Del Howison – Midian Unmade (Tor Books)
Jeani Rector – Shrieks and Shivers from the Horror Zine (Post Mortem Press)
Richard Thomas – Exigencies (Dark House Press)

Superior Achievement in Long Fiction:

Gary A. Braunbeck – Paper Cuts (Seize the Night) (Gallery Books)
Ben Eads – Cracked Sky (Omnium Gatherum)
Scott Edelman – Becoming Invisible, Becoming Seen (Dark Discoveries #30)
Jeff Gunhus – The Torment of Rachel Ames (Seven Guns Press)
Lisa Mannetti – The Box Jumper (Smart Rhino Publications)
Seanan McGuire – Resistance (The End Has Come) (Broad Reach Publishing)
Gene O’Neill – At the Lazy K (Written Backwards)
Jason Parent – Dia de los Muertos (Bad Apples 2) (Corpus Press)
Norman Partridge – Special Collections (The Library of the Dead) (Written Backwards)
Mercedes M. Yardley – Little Dead Red (Grimm Mistresses) (Ragnarok Publications)

For a complete list of of the 2015 Bram Stoker Awards® Preliminary Ballot, you can visit the official release here: horror.org/9296-2/ 

Good luck, everyone!