Posts Tagged ‘ Chiral Mad 2 ’

WILL THERE BE A CHIRAL MAD 4?

CM4 - teaser

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You have to collaborate. You have to work together.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Play nice.

Collaborate.

Make something beautiful.

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

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

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

CM4 - teaser

THE LIBRARY OF THE DEAD / QUALIA NOUS / EVERYTHING ELSE

The Library of the Dead

The Library of the Dead was recently launched at the World Horror Convention in Atlanta, Georgia, where members of the Horror Writers Association, and many guests, were able to get a first look at this anthology at an hour-long Written Backwards event called “Readings and Shenanigans from The Library of the Dead and Qualia Nous.” Both anthologies were celebrated for their various awards and recognition, with both artwork and books on display (speaking of artwork, I hope to post a blog soon called “Illustrations for the Dead” to cover the beautiful artwork GAK has created for this project).

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Readings and Shenanigans for the Library of the Dead and Qualia Nous

The first half of the panel included an introduction of panelists, a short discussion covering the real library of the dead and the original conception of the anthology, how the project was acquired by Written Backwards, as well as a discussion about the photography and the artwork (by GAK) used throughout the anthology. Yvonne Navarro read from her story “Those Who Shall Never Be Named,” followed by Weston Ochse reading from his story “Living Through Better Chemistry.” 10 copies of The Library of the Dead were given out to audience members for asking questions about the anthology. Erinn L. Kemper, Chris Marrs, Rena Mason, and Lucy A. Snyder discussed their stories as well. John Everson and Sydney Leigh (Shawna Bernard) from The Library of the Dead were also in attendance.

The second half of the panel covered Qualia Nous, a literary blend of science fiction and horror. Qualia Nous was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in an Anthology, later to be given out by the Horror Writers Association at the Bram Stoker Award ceremony, although the prize eventually went to Ellen Datlow for her anthology Fearful Symmetries. Both Usman T. Malik and Rena Mason were recognized at this panel for their Bram Stoker Award nominations for Superior Achievement in Short Fiction from this anthology (Usman for his story “The Vaporization Enthalpy of a Peculiar Pakistani Family” and Rena for her story “Ruminations”) and both later took home the prize in a tie. Marge Simon was recognized for her Rhysling Award nomination for her poem “Shutdown,” and I’m happy to report that she also recently took home that prize, which was given out by the Science Fiction Poetry Association (SFPA). Qualis Nous also recently received The Benjamin Franklin Award for Science Fiction and Fantasy (I stopped in to the award ceremony in Austin, Texas a month prior to accept the award), along with being a finalist for the Indie Book Awards for anthologies, a silver medal finalist for the Independent Publisher Book Awards, and winning the International Book Award for science fiction (also a finalist for their anthologies category), and bronze medal winner of the Foreword Reviews’ Book of the Year Awards / INDIEFAB (also a finalist for both their science fiction and horror categories).

Qualia Nous

Readings and Shenanigans for the Library of the Dead and Qualia Nous

Readings and Shenanigans for the Library of the Dead and Qualia Nous

Anyway, at the Readings and Shenanigans event, Marge Simon read her two poems from the anthology: “Shutdown” and “Tomorrow’s Femme, followed by James Chambers reading part of his story “The Price of Faces,” which sparked curiosity in Josh Malerman (author of the stellar Bird Box), which later resulted in his involvement in the upcoming Chiral Mad 3, but much of that will be covered later. Usman T. Malik, Rena Mason, Erinn L. Kemper, Patrick Freivald, Lucy A. Snyder, Jason V Brock, and William F. Nolan also discussed their stories. 10 copies of Qualia Nous were also give away to audience members asking questions about the anthology, so in total 20 books were given away to happy panel attendees at this event.

Tom Monteleone captivating the Anthocon audience

Tom Monteleone captivating the Anthocon audience

Then came Anthocon, one of my favorite conventions, organized by the Four Horsemen in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. At Anthocon, Written Backwards held another one-hour release (and re-release) event, which proved to be just as successful. At the Lazy K, the first of the new Allevon series of illustrated novellas by Written Backwards (and the latest novella by Gene O’Neill), was first up, and Gene was on hand to discuss thoroughly, along with Rena Mason, who wrote the introduction. Instead of Q&A giveaways of books, we handled things differently. Leading up to the event, those who stopped by the Written Backwards vendor table received 5 raffle tickets for each book purchased (and received a copy of At the Lazy K for only $5 (including 5 more raffle tickets)) if purchasing any book offered at the table, which also included Gene O’Neill’s most recent collection, The Hitchhiking Effect. Throughout the hour, we raffled off a few books by Gene, a few books by GAK, along with some of his artwork, freebies from the Written Backwards table, and a few books offered by Chris Marrs. And we discussed more books this time around, including At the Lazy KThe Library of the DeadQualia Nous, and the three Chiral Mad volumes.

Anthocon panel

Anthocon panel and book release

In attendance at the Anthocon panel: Thomas F. Monteleone (who did an unforgettable reading of “When I Was” from Chiral Mad 2, and has a story in Qualia Nous), Gene O’Neill (who discussed At the Lazy K and has stories in just about every Written Backwards release), Christopher Golden (who co-wrote a story with Tim Lebbon for The Library of the Dead called “Faultlines”), James Chambers (who read from his story in Qualia Nous), Kevin Lucia (who also read from his story in Chiral Mad 2), Gardner Goldsmith and Sydney Leigh (who both read some of their poetry from the upcoming Chiral Mad 3 and have stories in the various Written Backwards anthologies), Chris Marrs (who read from her story “A Chimera’s Tale” in The Library of the Dead), Rena Mason (who recently won a Stoker for her work), Meghan Arcuri (from the original Chiral Mad, and one of my fellow Borderlands boot camp grunts from long ago… which made up half the panel, actually), and of course the wonderful GAK (who illustrated The Library of the Dead and will have his hands full in future Written Backwards projects). Gord Rollo was also in attendance. He and Gene O’Neill first conceived the project after visiting the real library of the dead, a place called Chapel of the Chimes in Oakland, California.

Both conventions were incredible, and both book releases/panels were highly successful. Although I took few books with me to the World Horror Convention, nearly every book sold out at AnthoCon, which was roughly 120 pounds or so of books.

What’s next? Promoting At the Lazy K and The Library of the Dead throughout the book award season. Speaking of which, if you are a member of the Horror Writers Association and would like a copy of either of these titles for Stoker recommendation/consideration, please let me know. Send an email to written@nettirw.com to request either a trade paperback of PDF of either or both titles.

Have you seen the official book trailer for The Library of the Dead? If not, take a gander:

What’s next after all that?

Chiral Mad 3.

CHIRAL MAD 3 – UPDATE #2

Chiral Mad 3

All poetry has been selected for Chiral Mad 3. It’s been a fun ride! As previously announced, there will be 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) were previously announced, and now we have the second half, which are listed in bold:

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)”
06. Ciarán Parkes: “The Speed of Sound” and “Recognizing Trees”
07. Jonathan Balog: “Insomnia in Reverse” and “Fail-safe”
08. P. Gardner Goldsmith: “Fair” and “Promise”
09. Rose Blackthorn: “Arbitration” and “Prescience”
10. Sydney Leigh: “Folie à Plusieurs” and “Folie à Deux”

Illustration for Brock

Illustration for Brock

Unannounced until now, Glenn Chadbourne has agreed to provide illustrations around some the poetry; this is in addition to his illustrations for each of the 20 stories, some of which can be found scattered around this page. Glenn is cranking out some outstanding work, and at a remarkable pace. This guy is a machine! But, I’ll let his work speak for itself…

4 more stories have been accepted as well, bringing the count to 8. Fiction submissions are not yet open, and are currently by invite only. If the window opens, it will be brief, and most likely sometime around summer… if at all. I wish I could open the submission window completely for all to participate, but it is just not possible at this time. 12 spots remain to be filled, and there are more surprises.

Illustration for Thomas

Illustration for Thomas

The next set of accepted contributors includes Stephen King, whose story “The Jaunt” previously appeared in the Benjamin Franklin Award winning Qualia Nous, and is now in production to be made into a film as one of King’s “Dollar Babies.” His novel Revival was recently released in mass market paperback, and his novel Finders Keepers, the follow-up to his Edgar Award winning novel Mr. Mercedes, and the second book in this trilogy, is scheduled for release in hardcover June 2nd.

The list of acceptances has also expanded to include new fiction by Richard Thomas, whose stories “The Jenny Store” and “Playing with Fire” previously appeared in Qualia Nous and Chiral Mad 2, respectively, as well as new fiction by Mercedes M. Yardley (a newcomer to Written Backwards, but no stranger), and new fiction by Jason V Brock, whose novelette “Simulacrum” previously appeared in Qualia Nous. Richard, Mercedes, and Jason are outstanding writers, so if you haven’t yet had the chance to read their work, don’t wait for Chiral Mad 3, seek out their work now. It’s great having familiar names return to Written Backwards, but it’s just as great having new names as well. And if some of these names seem new to you, well, get to it. Here’s where the anthology stands in terms of fiction, with the latest acceptances in bold (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)”
05: Stephen King: “The Last Rung on the Ladder”
06: Richard Thomas: “The Offering on the Hill”
07: Jason V Brock: “Windows, Mirrors, Doors”
08: Mercedes M. Yardley: “The Dead Collection”

That’s it for now. More surprises are on the way…

Illustration for Anderson

Illustration for Anderson

 

Illustration for Yardley

Illustration for Yardley

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!

CHIRAL MAD 2: CONTENTS, PART 3

TABLE OF CONTENTS, PART 3

The submission window for Chiral Mad 2 is closed. It closed November 3rd, 11:59pm (your timezone, not mine), in fact. Hours ago, depending on when and where you’re reading this blog. Last-minute stories have flooded in, and are still flooding in (somehow not smacking against the closed window), which means response time may be affected. I hope to have a final table of contents posted by next weekend, but with AnthoCon that same weekend, final TOC announcements may not be announced until the weekend of November 16th-17th.

Submission word count is reaching four million. Rejection letters are somewhere in the 450-500 range (haven’t counted lately). 21 stories have been accepted thus far, with more on the way. Total story count will be 28, perhaps fewer. It all depends on the stories and how nicely they flow together. The maybe pile is currently standing at 4 stories, but I have a little over 50 unread manuscripts and a few invited authors whose deadlines I’ve extended, so that pile will grow.

Qualia NousThe last post hinted at future anthologies. Following Chiral Mad 2, Written Backwards will be hard at work on a follow-up anthology to Pellucid Lunacy, appropriately titled Pellucid Lunacy 2 (no cover artwork yet, sorry)This will be an invite-only anthology, but rules are often meant to be broken. The previously hinted-at sci-fi/horror anthology now has a title, Qualia Nous, as well as a cover (pictured). What does Qualia Nous mean? A future blog post will shed some light. So far, the reactions for an all sci-fi anthology are astounding, so it’s going to happen. Also on the radar is an international horror anthology, with 20 stories from authors of 20 various countries. This will be a combined invite / submissions anthology.

The last two posts have covered fifteen acceptances for Chiral Mad 2. Below you will find information on the next six (after a quick recap, and in no particular order):

1. “TIGHT PARTNERS” by GENE O’NEILL
2. THE CHUTE” by GARY McMAHON
3. WELCOME HOME, ALL YOU UNINVITED” by ERIK T. JOHNSON
4. INTERFERENCE” by ANDREW HOOK
5. THE WORD” by RAMSEY CAMPBELL
6. THE COUNSELOR” by MORT CASTLE
7. ORANGE IS FOR ANGUISH, BLUE FOR INSANITY” by DAVID MORRELL
8. THE RIGHT THING” by JACK KETCHUM
9. FLOWERS BLOOMING IN THE SEASON OF ATROPHY” by MAX BOOTH III
10. “ANOTHER MAN’S BONES” by MASON IAN BUNDSCHUH
11. “WHITECHAPEL” by P. GARDNER GOLDSMITH
12. “PLAYING WITH FIRE” by RICHARD THOMAS
13. “A GUIDE TO ETIQUETTE AND COMPORTMENT FOR THE SISTERS OF HENLEY HOUSE” by EMILY CATANEO
14. “EMPATHY” by JOHN SKIPP
15. “MNEMONICIDE” by JAMES CHAMBERS

16. PASSING AFFLICTION” by PATRICK O’NEILL

Patrick O’Neill previously appeared in the first volume of Chiral Mad with a short story called “Alderway.” For Chiral Mad 2, he returns with “Passing Affliction,” an equally moving piece of fiction. This is a story about a foster carer providing for a neglected child, and it pulls you in from the first few words and keeps you until the end, never letting go. “The condition is commonplace amongst children who have suffered trauma and neglect, as you well know. And in a way it makes perfect sense. When all else descends into chaos and uncertainty, the establishment of an unwavering routine creates a climate of security; something at least in a world of disorder that is predictable and comforting; an invisible shroud of harmony that, although requiring continual lacing to prevent rips from appearing, fashions a sense of safety.” His words carry emotion and power.

17. “PICTURE-IN-PICTURE” by DUSTIN LaVALLEY

This is an excellent story about a man recalling his past while the past relives itself beside him. “Picture-in-Picture” is the second story considered for Chiral Mad 2. His first submission, “White (In the House of Change)” nearly made the cut and was held onto for a long time (3 months?). If there are any publishers reading this post, “White” is a story you will want to publish. I had a hard time letting it go. So much, in fact, that I practically begged Dustin for another submission. He sent me two, and I knew the first (“Picture-in-Picture”) was the right fit after only a few sentences.

Here’s where you can read some of his other brilliant work: Odds and Ends: An Assortment of Sorts, which Thomas Ligotti calls “Extraordinary. Hauntingly poignant,”Spinner, which Dread Central calls LaValley “not just a writer but an artist,” and Lowlife Underdogs.

18. “WHEN I WAS” by THOMAS F. MONTELEONE

Tom is a four-time winner of the Horror Writers Association Bram Stoker Award. What more can I say about Tom that you haven’t heard before, or haven’t heard me say before? I can’t think of anything new / clever, so I’ll plagiarize myself from an earlier Facebook post regarding his new story, “When I Was”: “When I was… 27, I became serious about my writing and took a chance by going to the Borderlands Press boot camp. Tom took me under his wing, and has mentored me over the years to help morph me into the writer/editor/publisher I am today. Three novels, two short story collections, 30 or so published works of fiction, a bunch of awards and whatnot, and a boatload of edited anthologies later… Well, this book [ Chiral Mad ] would not exist without Tom. When I was… 34 (today), I published Thomas F. Monteleone.”

Tom wrote the introduction to the first Chiral Mad: “Fun with Your New Asymmetric Head” and enjoyed the book enough to want to write something new for the second volume. Where to start with Tom’s work… You can’t go wrong with his Borderlands series: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 (they are hard to find because they are some of the most sought after anthologies in the market), or his Stoker winning The Blood of the Lamb (now available on Kindle), or some of his nonfiction with M.A.F.I.A. (The Mothers and Fathers Italian or, if you’re thinking about writing a novel, his best-selling The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Writing a Novel. He also publishes some amazing books at Borderlands Press.

19. “DEAR BOY” by JOHN BIGGS

A heartrending story about a boy with toy, “Dear Boy” will make you think twice, or perhaps thrice, about the action figure your son carries around with him wherever he goes.  “I try to tell them, ‘That’s how Davy talks,’ but the words twist around my tongue and come out backwards.” This story will move you one way or another.

I would go into more detail about John, but Regina Williams, Editor/Publisher of The Storyteller Magazine and Mockingbird Lane Press states it best: “John Biggs is an award-winning author and it’s plain to see why. Larger than life characters draw the reader in just as his prose brings the story to life. John’s unique take on everyday events will stay in the reader’s mind for a very long time.”

20. “SCAVENGING” by KEVIN LUCIA

“I collect things I need.” So states Kevin Lucia’s “Scavenging.” Well, for this collection of stories, Kevin Lucia is the needed thing. And you need to read him. You’ve probably seen his name popping up in places. That’s because he’s going places. He’s a teacher. He’s a writer. He’s the future of speculative fiction. He’s also a past grunt from the Borderlands Press Boot Campwhere I was first introduced to his work. You’re probably realizing this “Borderlands Press Boot Camp” thing, like Kevin, keeps popping up, sounding familiar. That’s because Tom Monteleone and company have a good thing going with this program. They have been shaping the writers of tomorrow, which is today, such as fellow Chiral Mad alumni John PalisanoP. Gardner Goldsmith, Meghan Arcuri, R.B. Payne and many others. Anyway, back to Kevin.

While this is Kevin’s first pro-rate short story, his work has appeared in Shroud MagazineCutting Block Press, Horror Library, and many others. His long fiction includes the fourth book in the Hiram Grange series by Shroud Publishing, and his most recent fiction collection, Things Slip Through, which Mass Movement Magazine calls “a collection that’s as disturbing as it is captivating” was recently released.

21. “THE GEMINIS” by JOHN PALISANO

“The Geminis” is John’s second work to appear in the Chiral Mad series. His story “Gaia Ungaia” appeared in the first volume. I always look forward to reading this guy’s fiction, to see what kind of poetic / musical prose he brings to the genre. When you read his words, they are not simply sentences strung together; they are symphonic / harmonic, and lyrically-wonderful literary compositions.

John and I first met at the Borderlands Press Boot Camp many years ago. I still remember his story (the only one I remember from that year). It was called “The Tennatrick,” which can now be found in the Midnight Walk anthology. He’s created book trailers for Lisa Morton (Castle of Los Angeles), Gary Braunbeck (Far Dark Fields), which won the Black Quill Award, and yours truly (Palindrome Hannah)His first novel, Nerves, is an amazing piece of work.

Twenty-one stories so far in this impressive Table of Contents. How many more? Probably seven, maybe fewer. Look for more announcements soon on the various social media outlets.

The next installment, CHIRAL MAD 2: CONTENTS, PART 4, will include the remaining (7?) to appear in the table of contents.

Stay tuned…

CHIRAL MAD 2: CONTENTS, PART 2

CM2: TOC, PART 1

TABLE OF CONTENTS, PART 2

Rumors have been floating around about the possibility of Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails appearing in Chiral Mad 2. Yes, having Trent in the Table of Contents was in the works (and it was damn close), but, on behalf of the publishers of each of the compositions on the chirality discussion table, his legal representation respectfully passed on this opportunity. After much discussion with lawyerly folks, and in turn with his various publishers, he will unfortunately not be a part of Chiral Mad 2; he will instead be apart. Perhaps volume 3?

The last blog post teased at a story from the “scariest guy in America,” Jack Ketchum. The anthology is now slated to start with a new short story by Jack called “The Right Thing,” which is short, powerful, and the proper way to start this book.

Submission word count is reaching three million. Hundreds of rejection letters (350+). Seven more acceptances. And the maybe pile is growing. There are enough brilliant stories collected thus far to fill three anthologies (I’m toying with starting Pellucid Lunacy 2 and an unnamed horror/sci-fi project), and they are coming in from all over the world.

Since the last post covered the previous seven acceptances, as well as the Jack Ketchum teaser, below you will find information on the next seven acceptances (after a quick recap, and in no particular order):

1. “TIGHT PARTNERS” by GENE O’NEILL
2. THE CHUTE” by GARY McMAHON
3. WELCOME HOME, ALL YOU UNINVITED” by ERIK T. JOHNSON
4. INTERFERENCE” by ANDREW HOOK
5. THE WORD” by RAMSEY CAMPBELL
6. THE COUNSELOR” by MORT CASTLE
7. ORANGE IS FOR ANGUISH, BLUE FOR INSANITY” by DAVID MORRELL
8. THE RIGHT THING” by JACK KETCHUM

9. FLOWERS BLOOMING IN THE SEASON OF ATROPHY” by MAX BOOTH III

School shootings are touchy subjects, but, when a story of such controversy is formed by beautiful words and pieced together masterfully by someone who really knows what he’s doing, like this Max Booth III character, it somehow works. “Flowers Blooming in the Season of Atrophy,” as the title hints, is a multi-POV work of art told through passion/suffering.

Max is the author liar of speculative fiction, so states his blog, and responsible for a few novels in the works: Toxicity (Post Mortem Press, March 2014), The Mind is a Razorblade (Kraken Press, September 2014), and The Catch-Lie People. If you’re like me and can’t wait, I recommend starting with his short fiction collection, True Stories Told by a Liar.

10. “ANOTHER MAN’S BONES” by MASON IAN BUNDSCHUH

This guy taught me three chords on the ukulele at the latest KillerCon in Las Vegas, and together we jammed. He can play a rather impressive rendition of Hurt by Nine Inch Nails, which you can check out here (with John Palisano from Chiral Mad fame playing the wall in lieu of drums, and Mercedes Yardley playing a red Solo cup filled with chocolate chips, and various others making noises). Before all that, however, he sent me a marvelous story about a man and his many reflections.

Find more of his short fiction in anthologies such as Whispers from the Abyss (forthcoming, 2013), Historical Lovecraft, Strange Tales of Horror, and The Immortal Art of the Deal. And hopefully look for musical recordings soon.

11. “WHITECHAPEL” by P. GARDNER GOLDSMITH

This story is Gard at his finest. I’ve known this guy for a few years now, and every time I read one of his stories, or hear him reading from one of his stories, I’m mesmerized. He has an unforgettable voice (literary and vocal) that moves the reader through “Whitechapel” until the breathless last page. P. Gardner Goldsmith’s “Sigil” appeared in the first Chiral Mad. This guy’s awesome. What more can be said?

Bite,” his novella from Pendragon Press, is now available. As Brian Keene states, and I tend to agree, “Gard Goldsmith’s prose is like the edge of a knife. Definitely a writer to watch!” I will be watching this guy for the rest of my life.

12. “PLAYING WITH FIRE” by RICHARD THOMAS

Richard Thomas sent three submissions for Chiral Mad 2 consideration, and all were wonderful. I’d publish every one of them. But I passed on all three. Why? Because anthologies are pieced together like jigsaw puzzles. Some pieces fit; some don’t. This is a great example for writers that not every story is the right for an anthology, although quite possibly brilliant, such as with Richard’s work. His persistence at wanting to be in this anthology led him to send a fourth story, “Playing with Fire,” and he nailed it. Just the right piece. No hammer necessary. As stated on his blog, “expect wolves, fireflies, waking up in a field, a lost love, a hut on a hill—you know, the usual.”

Richard is the author of the neo-noir thriller Transubstantiate (Otherworld Publications, 2010). His short fiction can be found in Shivers VI alongside Stephen King and Peter Straub, as well as Warmed and BoundChiZine and many other places. Seek him out. Perhaps someday he’ll connect me with Chuck Palahniuk, whose schedule was too busy this year for Chiral Mad 2 (another near miss).

13. “A GUIDE TO ETIQUETTE AND COMPORTMENT FOR THE SISTERS OF HENLEY HOUSE” by EMILY CATANEO

I received an email from Dallas Mayr, who more-often goes by the name Jack Ketchum. He simply questioned, “Are you open to contributions from good new writers?” My answer was, “Always.” The first Chiral Mad had four previously unpublished writers, such as Meghan Arcuri, Patrick Lacey, Amanda Ottino, and Julie Stipes. “I strictly judge contributions by their quality and look forward to discovering new voices,” I emailed back. “Do you have someone in mind?” He referred me to Emily Cataneo, who recently took the Odyssey Writing Workshop where Dallas was guest-lecturing. He remembered her story, “A Guide to Etiquette and Comportment for the Sisters of Henley House” and instantly thought of Chiral Mad. Well, the rest is history. New voices. I love finding them and introducing them to the world.

Outside of writing remarkable fiction, Emily has freelanced for Bay Windows, the Cambridge Chronicles, the Needham Times, the South End News, and has served as the staff reporter for Gatehouse Media’s Watertown TAB. 

14. “EMPATHY” by JOHN SKIPP

What can I say about yer pal, Skipp? (I’ve linked the Wikipedia page to his name above until johnskipp.com goes live). John is a splatterpunk horror and fantasy author, editor, songwriter, screenwriter, film director and film producer. He does it all. This guy helped me out with Psychotropic Dragon a while back when I hit some speed-bumps, and we’ve kept in contact since. When Chiral Mad 2 rolled around, he sent me “Empathy,” which is right up the chirality alley.

You may know him from his collaboration on Book of the Dead (featuring Stephen King, Robert R. McCammon and Ramsey Campbell), or perhaps from his Bram Stoker Award winning Demons: Encounters with the Devil and His Minions, Fallen Angels, and the Possessed for Superior Achievement in an Anthology, from which “Empathy” originates. Or perhaps you remember him from the Nightmare on Elm Street sequel he doesn’t like to talk about.

15. “MNEMONICIDE” by JAMES CHAMBERS

James Chambers blew me away with his submission for Chiral Mad 2. “Mnemonicide” is a word I couldn’t pronounce until I realized the first M was silent. A mnemonic is a learning technique that aids information retention, while -icide or -cide is the act of killing. And there you go… This guy knows what I like.

James and I first met at the Borderlands Press Boot Camp many, many years ago, and I’ve silently stalked him ever since. He most recently received the Richard Laymon Award from the Horror Writers Association for his dedication in helping the horror community. He has some books out as well: Corpse Fauna, a series of four novellas: The Dead Bear Witness, Tears of Blood, The Dead in Their Masses, and The Word of the Dead.

Fifteen beautiful stories so far in this incredible Table of Contents. How many more? Probably eleven, twelve, maybe thirteen. Look for more announcements soon (big, exciting announcements) on the various social media outlets.

Once another chunk of acceptances rolls around, I’ll post a TABLE OF CONTENTS, PART 3. Who knows, you may see something soon for Pellucid Lunacy 2, and that unnamed horror/sci-fi anthology.

Until then…

CHIRAL MAD 2: CONTENTS, PART 1

CM2: TOC, PART 1

TABLE OF CONTENTS, PART 1

Chiral Mad 2 is shaping nicely, one incredible story at a time. Acceptances have been announced / teased through Facebook and Twitter up to this point, but it’s probably best to summarize the book as it stands thus far (basically, modified plagiarism of the previous social media posts). After hundreds of rejected stories (250+  / a lot of them worth publishing) and a bunch of amazing stories that have progressed to the maybe pile (20 or so / pending how this anthology progresses and how such stories fit the mold), here’s the current line-up:

1. “TIGHT PARTNERS” by GENE O’NEILL

This new short story, in my opinion, is one of his best (Gord Rollo seems to agree); so good, in fact, that it bypassed the “maybe pile” completely. This guy has always astonished me with his fiction. He writes from the heart.

Gene appeared in the first Chiral Mad with his short story “The White Quetzal”. His collection, Taste of Tenderloin, won the Bram Stoker Award in 2010, and he was previously nominated for The Confessions of St. Zach (long fiction) and “Balance” (short fiction). His new collection, Dance of the Blue Lady, is coming soon from Bad Moon Books.

2. “THE CHUTE” by GARY McMAHON

This story will make you squirm with every page until you go mad. Gary’s “Some Pictures in an Album” appeared in the first volume, a story that is now reprinted in The Best Horror of the Year, Volume 5 (edited by Ellen Datlow)

Gary is the award-winning author of several novels, collections, and numerous short stories. Some of my favorites: Pretty Little Dead ThingsDead Bad Things, and The Concrete GroveWhy this guy doesn’t surpass Stephen King in terms of sales is beyond me. This guy’s work is incredible.

3. “WELCOME HOME, ALL YOU UNINVITED” by ERIK T. JOHNSON

If you’ve read Johnson, you know his literary work to be rather unique. Written Backwards first discovered Erik with his story “The Inconsolable Key Company” in Pellucid Lunacy, and then “The Apologies” in the first Chiral Mad.

Look for his slightly insane (aka genius) short fiction in anthologies such as Box of Delights, and Song Stories: Volume 1, among other places. He’s just freakin’ good. Plain and simple. Well, not really plain and not really simple. Seek him out wherever you can.

4. “INTERFERENCE” by ANDREW HOOK

This is a perfect story about a man with a chiral existence: MATT (even the letters in his name have symmetry). Speaking of symmetry and perfection, Andrew’s story “The Perfection of Symmetry” appeared in the first Chiral Mad.

Andrew is a writer of slipstream fiction, the genre that bends the others, and is published in over a hundred places. I recommend starting with his short fiction collections: Residue, Slow Motion Wars (co-written with Allen Ashley), and NitrospectiveGraham Joyce says “Andrew Hook is a wonderfully original writer.” And I agree.

5. “THE WORD” by RAMSEY CAMPBELL

This novelette is about the release of a new book as influential as the Bible or Koran. This will be one of the few reprints in the anthology. “The Word” first appeared in Revelations (edited by Douglas E. Winter) in 1997. It’s time to resurface this fine story.

I first met Ramsey at the 2013 World Horror Convention is New Orleans not long ago, but have read him my entire life. He has won basically every award you can think of (in multiples), including the World Fantasy Award, British Fantasy Award, Bram Stoker Award, the WHC Grand Master Award, the HWA Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Living Legend Award from the International Horror Guild. Oxford Companion to English Literature calls Ramsey “Britain’s most respected living horror writer.”

6. “THE COUNSELOR” by MORT CASTLE

This story pulls at the heartstrings. Mort means a lot to me, and I am honored to publish a story with such emotional impact. Along with mentoring me early on in my writing endeavors, Mort also helped me obtain rights to Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 for my short story “Primal Tongue” (which I have recently nicknamed “The Fireman”).

I was privileged to sit next to Mort at the 2012 Bram Stoker Awards ® ceremony and watch him win for his excellent anthology, Shadow Show: All New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury (with Sam Weller), and then for his fiction collection, New Moon on the Water. He even let me hold the statue for a moment.

7. “ORANGE IS FOR ANGUISH, BLUE FOR INSANITY” by DAVID MORRELL

This is one of my all-time favorites. This novelette first appeared in the masterpiece Prime Evil (another anthology by Douglas E. Winter) back in 1988, and is a perfect fit for Chiral Mad 2. Along with Thomas F. Monteleone, F. Paul Wilson, Douglas E. Winter, Mort Castle, Elizabeth Massie and Gary A. Braunbeck, David Morrell was one of my early writing mentors.

David is probably best known for creating the character John Rambo with First Blood, an excellent novel. He is a co-founder of the International Thriller Writers Association, but has also written horror. From what I’ve discovered, his writing is flawless. He’s an Edgar, Anthony, and Macavity nominee, as well as a three-time recipient of the Bram Stoker Award. Whether or not you’re a Rambo fan, pick up The Brotherhood of the Rose, or Creepers / Scavenger, or his latest epic masterpiece, Murder as a Fine Art.

8. “?” by JACK KETCHUM

“Who’s the scariest guy in America? Probably Jack Ketchum.” Stephen King once blurbed that about Jack Ketchum. I’ve met the guy in person (Ketchum, not King), he even sent a reprint for the first Chiral Mad, but I do not yet believe the words of Mr. King.  Jack is a sweetheart; although, his fiction will scare the living crap out of you. If crap lives, he will scare it out of you. Enough said. What is he submitting to Chiral Mad 2, you wonder? I’m wondering the same thing. I’m not really sure, but I do know this: it will be an original short story by “The Scariest Guy in America” and I can’t wait.

If you haven’t had the pleasure of reading Jack, I highly recommend starting with Red to ease you into his world, and then The Girl Next Door to ruin your world completely, and then I’m Not Sam (with Lucky McKee) to show you his true mad genius. He’s won all sorts of awards. And he rightfully deserves them.

So, now you have a taste of Chiral Mad 2. How’s that for an early line-up? Look for more announcements soon on the various social media outlets. Once another chunk of acceptances rolls around (thanks to the cutting block floor), I’ll post a TABLE OF CONTENTS, PART 2.

Until then, I will keep reading, looking for the next story to accept.