Posts Tagged ‘ Chiral Mad ’

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 2

CHIRAL MAD 2

VIRAL INVITATION

Written Backwards is accepting submissions for Chiral Mad 2, an anthology of psychological horror. While the first two anthologies by Written Backwards were open to submissions following initial invites, Chiral Mad 2 is by viral invitation only.

What does that mean? Well, if you can read this, you are invited. It’s that simple. You know someone or heard about this incredible opportunity by someone, or read a thread on Facebook, or twatted a tweet on Twitter, or found out somehow on one of the other social media outlets, or you possibly know a highly-respected acquaintance of yours truly, and here you are. Personal email invitations were sent to a select few prior to this page going live, like before, but you are now reading this, and this will soon go viral, so, well, you are invited to submit a story.

Who’s the editor? This anthology will be edited by Michael Bailey, creator of the Chiral Mad and Pellucid Lunacy anthologies, and author of Palindrome Hannah, Phoenix Rose, and the upcoming Psychotropic Dragon. He has a few collections as well (Scales and Petals and the upcoming Inkblots and Blood Spots), and has appeared in some other books and magazines. You may have heard of him, maybe not. What really matters is this next book.

Why should you submit? To date, Chiral Mad and Pellucid Lunacy have raised over $6,500 for Downs syndrome charities, with a majority of that donated to the Down Syndrome Information Alliance (DSIA). That’s why. Well, that’s the main reason. There are other reasons: both have received nothing but positive reviews, critical praise, and some awards. Pellucid Lunacy, during its run, won the International Book Award and the USA News “Best Book” Award. Chiral Mad, still alive and making headlines, has received the following accolades: 2013 International Book Award winner for fiction anthologies, London Book Festival winner for anthologies / collections, shortlisted for the Eric Hoffer Award Grand Prize, This is Horror “Anthology of the Year” runner-up, shortlisted for the Foreword Reviews Book of the Year, finalist for the Indie Book Awards, finalist for the USA News “Best Book” Awards for both anthologies and cover design, and an honorable mention at the 2012 Halloween Book Festival.

Here’s how the first book turned out:

CHIRAL MAD

Introduction by Thomas F. Monteleone

01.  White Pills – Ian Shoebridge
02.  Lost in a Field of Paper Flowers – Gord Rollo
03.  The Perfection of Symmetry – Andrew Hook
04.  Some Pictures in an Album – Gary McMahon
05.  Five Adjectives – Monica J. O’Rourke
06.  Enchanted Combustion – Amanda Ottino
07.  There are Embers – Chris Hertz
08.  Brighter Her Aura Grows – David Hearn
09.  Underwater – Barry Jay Kaplan
10.  Experiments in an Isolation Tank – Eric J. Guignard
11.  Need – Gary A. Braunbeck
12.  Not the Child – Julie Stipes
13.  The White Quetzal – Gene O’Neill
14.  Mirror Moments – Christian A. Larsen
15.  Alderway – Patrick O’Neill
16.  Sigil – P. Gardner Goldsmith
17.  The Persistence of Vision – Jon Michael Kelley
18.  The Bad Season – A.A. Garrison
19.  Storm of Lightning – Aaron J. French
20.  Inevitable – Meghan Arcuri
21.  Send Your End – Patrick Lacey
22.  Cubicle Farm – R.B. Payne
23.  A Flawed Fantasy – Jeff Strand
24.  The Apologies – Erik T. Johnson
25.  The Shoe Tree – Pat R. Steiner
26.  Gaia Ungaia – John Palisano
27.  Amid the Walking Wounded – Jack Ketchum
28.  Underwater Ferris Wheel – Michael Bailey

Interested? Good.

What’s acceptable? Fiction that disturbs the nonlinear fabric(s) of reality. Mindbenders in the range of 1,000 to 5,000 words that could not only be classified as horror, but as psychological horror with chirality as its backbone (please query for anything longer than 5K, but if your story pushes over 5K a bit, no worries). This anthology suits stories that push the limits of the human condition. The keyword being ‘human.’ Strong character development is a must, and all stories must have some element of chirality, whether it is in character reflection, physical and/or mental symmetry, structure, or any other way you can manage.

What’s the payment? For the first time ever, Written Backwards is paying pro rates. $0.05 US per word, up to 5,000 words, or $250 US max. If your story is a reprint and you were not personally invited to submit a reprint, please query first, but note that payment will be at $0.025 US per word.

What happened to charity? The previous two anthologies were successful enough to warrant pro payment for Chiral Mad 2. Writers should get paid for writing. As for the charity, please note that this is a non-profit anthology. All profit from this anthology, after publication cost and paying writers for their stories, will go directly to Downs syndrome charities, just like the previous two anthologies. All profit will be donated.

Here’s what is needed. Send your work via e-mail as an attached .docx, .doc or .rtf. How you format the story is not an issue. You are a professional. What’s really important is story. Send one to cm2@nettirw.com with a brief introductory message if you feel one is necessary. If you have references, or referrals, use them. Nothing too wordy. Use “Chiral Mad – Submission Title” as your subject line and don’t forget the attachment. We’ve all done it…

And in case you thought all of that was too much to read and scrolled to the end to get to the good stuff (or maybe you simply need a recap), here you go:

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

Deadline: November-ish, 2013, or until filled.

Release: Scheduled for a winter 2013 publication (or early spring 2014, depending on how this thing takes off). If there’s any indication from the first Chiral Mad, the book will fill up fast and publication will begin sooner than originally anticipated.

Format: Trade paperback.

Word count: 1,000 – 5,000 words (longer work may be considered, but please query first).

Payment: $0.05 US per word, up to 5,000 words (upon acceptance) and one contributor copy (upon publication). All profit from this anthology will be donated to support Downs syndrome by Written Backwards. Copies will be available for cost as long as you donate profit received to a charity organization of your choice.

Reprints: $0.025 US per word, by invitation only, or if queried first and accepted.

Rights: one-time anthology rights for publication in the English language within the United States of America, with no publication elsewhere for 12 months, upon which time rights revert back to the author.

More information on chirality can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chiral, or feel free to pick up a copy of Chiral Mad.

POSITIVE +

The world is negative. Admit it. I’ve slowly learned this through life, which is why I radiate positivity. I don’t try to be positive, it just happens. I am a positively charged being. If you’re close, you can feel it flowing off me like some kind of magnetic field, and if you are feeling negative, my superpower will draw you in and wrap around you like a blanket and keep you warm. I will make the hairs on arms stand on end. I will make you smile. And if you don’t, there’s something seriously wrong with you.

I guess that’s why I originally chose to write psychological horror. My work typically highlights beautiful things hidden in the darkest of places. If you’ve read Palindrome Hannah or Phoenix Rose, or any of my short fiction or poetry in Scales and Petals, you know what I’m talking about. Since I first started writing horror (sometime in 1999), and then publishing (2001), my work progressively darkened.

Palindrome Hannah, the debut novel, questioned coincidence and dealt with subjects such as suicide, multiple personalities / possession, domestic violence, child abuse, poverty, mental instability, bullying, and other horrible things. Dark, horrid puzzle pieces that hopefully formed something more beautiful.

Phoenix Rose, the follow-up novel, questioned reality and dealt with sad subjects like family loss, childhood trauma, mental disorders, and the unforgiving balance of life and death, while also focusing on spirituality, hope, sacrifice, and rising from one’s ashes.

While writing those two novels, I published Scales and Petals, a collection of short stories and poems. While a few of the works are on the lighter side of the dark, the rest dive into some rather horrid places. And it only gets darker from there.

Psychotropic Dragon, what I’m currently calling my last horror novel, is ultimately a love story. It is also the darkest, most difficult thing I have ever written. It has taken me over ten years (12?) to get this thing on paper. I kept putting the project on hold because I just didn’t want to finish the damn thing. I’d revisit the novel over the years, writing in bursts of 5,000 to 10,000 word chunks, and then the manuscript would sit for a while. Over a year, at one point. Finally, I gave myself a goal and cranked out the last 15,000 words over the course of a few weeks. Such an exhaustive process. And now it sits again, unfinished, waiting to be edited and rewritten, and edited some more. A few pre-readers are taking a shot at it, but there’s still work to be done. What’s it about? Psychotropic drugs, hallucinations, sex (the good and the absolute worst), child abuse, sexual abuse, dissociative identity disorders, the great eclose of the human condition, and other “real” things. Sick stuff. Some sick, beautiful stuff. It’s a love story, right? Right…

Anyway, there’s even more dark stuff in the works with Inkblots and Blood Spots, what I’m calling my last horror collection. This book contains the short stories and poems written between Phoenix Rose and Psychotropic Dragon. Dark, dark stuff. Dark, but transitional. After closing both of these future books, however, you will realize why these may be my last two “horror” projects. I hope you understand. Truth be told, only a tenth of what I read would be considered horror, and my writing style appears to be going down that path as well.

What about the anthologies?

DSIAPellucid Lunacy was my first editing project, a collection of psychological horror that raised a little over $2,000 for Breast Cancer and Down Syndrome research (donations split down the center), and was a recipient of the International Book Awards and winner of the USA Book News “Best Book” Awards.

The second anthology, Chiral Mad, also psychological horror, fared much better in terms of funds raised for charity. The Chiral Mad tally currently stands at $4,260, with all proceeds going to the Down Syndrome Information Alliance. That is positively amazing. Recently, the DSIA sent a thank you letter for their first check of $3,000. To date, Chiral Mad has received rave reviews and is the recipient of the following:

– Shortlisted for the Grand Prize of an unmentionable award, to be announced May 6th, 2013!
– London Book Festival winner for Anthologies/Collections
– This is Horror Awards, Anthology of the Year runner-up
– USA Book News “Best Book” Awards (Fiction: Anthologies), Finalist
– USA Book News “Best Book” Awards (Best Cover Design: Fiction), Finalist
– Halloween Book Fest Awards, Honorable Mention
– A few more surprises are in store soon…

While I may be cutting back on my own horror fiction (perhaps cutting it out completely), I will continue to edit and publish charity anthologies. That is a certainty. Will they all be psychological horror? Perhaps not, but perhaps yes. Perhaps most certainly yes. If I’m invited to write for a specific horror-themed anthology, I will consider it, but I don’t see myself writing horror anytime soon. What I write will probably have dark elements, but will not be straight up horror. My latest 5 or 6 published stories are borderline horror anyway, so I’ve already started down a more positive path with my writing. “Primal Tongue,” “Bootstrap” and “Hiatus” are examples of this.

Before I forget, I need to mention that Surviving the End (in which my story “Hiatus” appears), edited by Craig Bezant, recently won the Australian Shadow Award for edited publication. This is sort of the equivalent of the Bram Stoker Awards for Australia. Awesome news. “Birthday Suit,” a short story by Martin Livings, also in Surviving the End, won for short fiction.

Anyway, what shall I write? Am I retiring from writing horror altogether? I’m not sure. I’m leaning toward young adult fiction, or even a younger audience. Maybe both. Maybe more than both. Kids are reading, but I look on the shelves under “Young Adult” and I see crap. Vampires, Sex, Werewolves, Sex, Zombies, Sex… it’s too much. Kids need to read something more realistic, something positive. If I go down this route, there will be dark elements in my fiction, but my work will be overall positive, because that’s what the world needs.

Positivity rocks.

VIRAL MAD – PART 2

[ click to start voting ]

Chiral Mad is nominated for “Anthology of the Year” by This is Horror, alongside a list of splendid anthologies. Click the image above to see nominees for all categories in the This is Horror Awards 2012. The voting is simple. Email awards@thisishorror.co.uk with a subject line of ‘Awards 2012 Votes’. Write the category and your first and second choice for each award (or only one). I can only hope you vote for Chiral Mad, but it’s up to you. Below are the five nominees for anthologies, so you can get an idea of what the book is up against. Some fine company. Voting ends January 4th.

1. Chiral Mad, edited by Michael Bailey
2. Terror Tales of the Cotswolds, edited by Paul Finch
3. The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories, edited by Ann and Jeff Vandemeer
4. The Best Horror of the Year Volume 4, edited by Ellen Datlow
5. The Mammoth Book of Body Horror, edited by Paul Kane and Marie O’Regan

I am more than honored to see Chiral Mad on the shortlist for this award, especially since This is Horror is based in the United Kingdom, which means the anthology is making its way around the globe. In fact, this blog for has already reached nine countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, India, Finland, South Africa, Switzerland, and Netherlands (WordPress has some nice built-in analytics).

The London Book Festival has just named Chiral Mad as the Winner of their Compilations/Anthologies category!

London Book Festival 2012[ click for results ]

Chiral Mad was also recently recognized as an Award-finalist for the 2012 USA Best Book Awards in multiple categories (Best Cover Design: Fiction, and Fiction: Anthologies). Click the award logo for a full list of winners and finalists.

The 2012 Halloween Book Fest Awards, held in Hollywood, California, also recognized Chiral Mad as an Honorable Mention earlier this year.

Bram Stoker Awards, you say? Why not? According to the official recommendation list, Chiral Mad has been recommended for the award by multiple parties, as well as three of the individual stories: Inevitable” by Meghan Arcuri, “Experiments in an Isolation Tank” by Eric J. Guignard, and “Some Pictures in an Album” by Gary McMahon.

The latest review of the anthology comes from the San Francisco Book Review: “Chiral Mad positively affects the world before negatively affecting your psyche.” The review specifically mentions “Need” by Gary Braunbeck, “Brighter Her Aura Grows” by David Hearn, and “Underwater Ferris Wheel” by yours truly. Read why San Francisco Book Review calls the anthology “the perfect book for fans of psychological horror, people who like to be truly bothered rather than splashed with blood and gore” in their four star review.

I would also like to thank Jack Ketchum for his continued efforts to promote this book. He has tweeted about the anthology on five separate occasions, and each time it has directly impacted sales. He has quoted lines from three Chiral Mad stories: “Mirror Moments” by Christian A.Larsen, “The Apologies” by Erik T. Johnson, and “There are Embers” by Chris Hertz, and has sent the following messages to his thousands of followers: “Want a copy of CHIRAL MAD? Check http://bit.ly/Tapp4o  for details. Did I mention all proceeds go to Down Syndrome charities?” and “Friday reads: CHIRAL MAD, solid antho edited by Michael Bailey. All proceeds go to Down syndrome charities — and I’m happy to be in it…” Jack Ketchum, you are incredible.

Last but not least, the money. I will post the amount on a separate line for impact…

$3,000 and counting.

Good work, everyone. Continue spreading the virus that is Chiral Mad. Many more reviews are one the way…

VIRAL MAD – PART 1

As I mentioned in my previous blog post, viral marketing has played a major role in the success of Chiral Mad thus far. So, to keep the virus spreading, I’ve collected a plethora of information about the anthology here, including some awards, reviews, and other promotion. Read and spread. That’s how it works.

First, the awards. Chiral Mad was recently listed as an Award finalist for the 2012 USA Best Book Awards by USA Book News, and in two separate categories: Anthologies: Fiction, and Best Cover Design: Fiction. It was also a finalist for the 2012 Halloween Book Fest Awards earlier this year.

Second, the official reviews. There will be a lot of reviews coming in for this anthology in the near future (and I’ve been asked three times this week for additional review copies… one in Italy, even), so I thought I’d collect them in various blogs as they arrive to keeps things simple for those that are interested and want to follow along. For those that choose to skim, I’ve created some review cliff notes below, although I’d recommend reading the reviews in their entirety.

Horror World review of Chiral Mad
“Get this book… as win/win as it gets.”
“Little slices of life as seen through a gaze set firmly askew.”

This is a great review of Chiral Mad by Horror World, and I couldn’t be happier. I am also noted as a recognizable name alongside Jack Ketchum, Gary Braunbeck, Gene O’Neill, Gary McMahon, Gord Rollo, and Jeff Strand, which is quite the honor. While I don’t quite agree I should be placed on the same virtual pedestal/ bookshelf as these amazing authors, it’s already been said and can’t be taken back! The review mentions Jack Ketchum’s “Amid the Walking Wounded,” (‘delivers the goods’), R.B. Payne’s “Cubicle Farm,” (‘hell of office drudgery examined with wonderful results’), Gary A. Braunbeck’s “Need,” (Braubeck never disappoints… weird and dark and downright depressing’), Gary McMahon’s “Some Pictures in an Album” (‘a reason to be frightened… plenty of paranoia’), and A.A. Garrison’s “The Bad Season” (‘a glimpse of a mad man’s mind’).

Hellnotes review of Chiral Mad
“Every contribution is well written and literate, most are highly compelling, and each is constructed with an entire test tube full of asymmetric molecules.”

Hellnotes offers another good review of Chiral Mad and I love the blurb. The review mentions R.B. Payne’s “Cubicle Farm,” Monica J. O’Rourke’s “Five Adjectives” (‘deceptively simple’), Gary McMahon’s “Some Pictures in an Album” (‘the ultimate tale of paranoid creepiness’), Gord Rollo’s “Lost in a Field of Paper Flowers” (‘punch-in-the-gut’), and Jeff Strand’s “A Flawed Fantasy” (‘quality snuff literature’). This review is kind of a mixed bag of tidbits, but it’s a good one.

Kirkus review of Chiral Mad
“A glimpse into the lives of people entering or already inhabiting the soul of darkness.”
“A compilation of entertaining, if often disturbing, stories.”
“Skillfully mixed and matched.”

Another good review (if you go by the blurbs above), provided by Kirkus Reviews, mentioning the many topics of horror and madness captured in the anthology: Monica J. O’Rourke’s “Five Adjectives” (‘things that can trigger madness’), Ian Shoebridge’s “White Pills” (‘tenuous perception of reality’), Meghan Arcuri’s “Inevitable” (‘sense of desperation’), Gord Rollo’s “Lost in a Field of Paper Flowers” (‘memories and the damage they can cause’), Chris Hertz’s “There are Embers” (‘sudden emergence of repressed memories’), Michael Bailey’s (yours truly) “Underwater Ferris Wheel (‘casually chilling’), Jeff Strand’s “A Flawed Fantasy” (‘gritty’), and Julie Stipes’ “Not the Child” (‘dreamlike’).

Third, fan reviews. Sometimes the best reviews are those by readers, so I’ve included reviews by both Goodreads and Amazon. If you’ve read Chiral Mad, I highly suggest that you write a review, even if it’s only a few words of positivity/negativity. Writers love reviews of all kinds. The more the merrier.

Goodreads reviews of Chiral Mad
“I’m not sure I’ve read another anthology that was as pleasingly edited as this one by Michael Bailey. It is chiral, by definition… There are thirty great reasons to buy this anthology. Twenty eight of them are the stories it contains, the twenty-ninth is the editing, and the thirtieth is because you need to be looking out for your fellow travelers on this planet.”

Amazon.com reviews of Chiral Mad
“A success story in the anthology department!”
“A perfect book for cuddling up with on a cold fall night. Each story is unique, spooky and thought provoking.”

There are currently two five-star reviews on Amazon. They specifically mention Gord Rollo’s “Lost in a Field of Paper Flowers,” Chris Hertz’s “There are Embers,” Gary Braubeck’s “Need,” Patrick O’Neill’s “Alderway,” P. Gardner Goldsmith’s “Sigil,” Jon Michael Kelley’s “The Persistence of Vision,” and Pat R. Steiner’s “The Shoe Tree.”

Fourth on the viral agenda are the various bloggings and tweetings, and facebookings:

Jack Ketchum has helped the virus spread by Tweeting a quote from the book (‘Kids see things differently; that’s why they make such great victims’ – Christian A. Larsen, “Mirror Moments”) and commenting on the book, calling it “a solid antho.” (thanks Jack!)

Speaking of Christian A. Larsen, he has been regularly blogging about Chiral Mad as well, which you can follow by clicking on his name. Not to mention some of the other contributors of Chiral Mad: John Palisano on his website and Erik T. Johnson at Yes Trespassing, Pat R. Steiner, A.A. Garrison at Synchroshock, Eric J. Guignard, Andrew Hook at Nitrospective, and the one and only P. Gardner Goldsmith.

Chiral Mad was recently featured on Darkeva’s Dark Delights Friday Fright Feature, mentioned as a well put together anthology for a worthy cause, with book information and a link to the book trailer.

If you are blogging about Chiral Mad without my knowledge and helping to spread the infection, I sincerely thank you, and I hope you reach out to me to let me know so I can mention it in VIRAL MAD – PART 2.

I think that’s it for now…

CHIRAL GLAD

CHIRAL MAD - COVER

Chiral Mad, the second psychological horror anthology by Written Backwards, has been out for just over a month now. Official publication date: 10/11/12. Unofficially, it was released at the second annual AnthoCon (hosted by The Four Horsemen) in New Hampshire exactly two weeks ago: 11/10/12, so it’s really only a few weeks old. We had a launch of the book with readings and signings by Gary A. Braunbeck, P. Gardner Goldsmith, Meghan Arcuri, Jon Michael Kelley, Patrick Lacey, and yours truly. To celebrate, 50 copies of the book were donated (purchased beforehand by a generous third-party, a $600 donation) and handed out via swag bags to the first 50 to register at the event. Nearly all of the copies I brought with me sold out, and there seemed to be a lot of buzz over the charity (Down syndrome), the cover, and the fine contributors of this project.

Gary A. Braunbeck gives quite the performance with his readings (I’ve had the opportunity to hear him read four times in my life), and likewise gave an emotional reading from his story “Need.” I had someone after the launch comment, “Man, that guy gives a performance…” Meghan Arcuri held listeners at the edge of their seats with her reading of “Inevitable” and shocked everyone in the room afterward by admitting it was her first publication, and her first reading experience. P. Gardner Goldsmith, as always, gave a memorable reading of his story “Sigil.” I would hire this guy to be the voice behind any of my works (audiobooks someday). In fact, since I’m not a fan of reading my work aloud, Gardner ‘volunteered’ to read my short story “Plasty” at a separate reading event, and had the crowd both laughing and holding back the bile in their throats with his audible charisma. Patrick Lacey was in attendance at the book launch as well and remarked that his story “Send Your End” was his first publication, which resulted in a round of applause. From reading his story, one would guess Patrick to be a veteran of the craft. We were limited by an hour for this reading/signing event, so a few of the authors, like Jon Michael Kelley, volunteered to instead discuss an important object in his story “The Persistence of Vision,” captivating the audience with his description of thaumatropes. Many authors approached me at the event and asked if they could submit something for the next project.

“How did you gather all of this talent?” I was asked regularly at the convention. “How did you get [fill in any of the following here: Jack Ketchum, Gary Braunbeck, Gary McMahon, Gord Rollo, Gene O’Neill, Jeff Strand] and all of these other awesome people into one anthology?” The answer I gave was simple, but longwinded: “These are all great people, in- and outside of publishing. Every one of them. I sought out 1/2; the other 1/2 came to me. I mentioned that all proceeds (every cent) from the anthology would go to Down syndrome charities, and gave a challenge of interpreting chirality, and they came to me.”

A month earlier, at KillerCon in Las Vegas, I was able to meet with seven of the Chiral Mad contributors, including Jack Ketchum, Gene O’Neill, P. Gardner Goldsmith, Eric J. Guignard, Monica J. O’Rourke, John Palisano, and Aaron J. French. There was a lot of early buzz for the project at this event as well, and we took some photos, signed a few things, and had a wonderful time. All great people, as I mentioned before. Not only do these individuals have immense pools of literary talent trapped in their minds that somehow find way onto paper, they are some of the finest examples of humanity.

Viral marketing is what really made this project take off. Social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter and various blogs by contributors spread word of this anthology like the overused analogy of online wildfire. Creating a teaser book trailer (and later an official version) helped as well. The few days following the book trailer launch resulted in a couple hundred additional submissions. If you’re wondering, over 400 short stories were submitted to Chiral Mad. 28 made it into the book. 1/2 of the 28 were personally invited and submitted something extraordinary; the other 1/2 sought me out and submitted something incredible. All 28 authors tackled chirality differently, and all 28 created amazing stories.

So, where are we at after just over a month, or two ‘unofficial’ weeks? Let’s just say that the first charity anthology released by Written Backwards, Pellucid Lunacy, has raised a little over $2,300 to date. We’ve met that mark with Chiral Mad already, which is something incredible.

How do we keep the ball rolling and raise even more money/awareness for Down syndrome? Viral marketing. Word of mouth. Reviews (they are starting to surface). Social networking. Sharing. Blogging. Giving copies as gifts. Donating copies to libraries. Let’s spread some Chiral Mad.