Posts Tagged ‘ Emily B. Cataneo ’

WiHM (WOMEN IN HORROR MONTH)

February is home to a few important things worth celebrating: Black History Month, my birthday (I turn 39 this year, in case you were wondering), and Women in Horror Month. WiHM for short. February is a strange month, no doubt. Sometimes it has 29 days, and sometimes 28. The word is even difficult to say: Feb-ru-ary (not like brewery, despite how some pronounce it) and it’s often misspelled with a third ‘r,’ making it sound more like library than the month it’s supposed to be. (And please note that library only has two r’s despite most mispronouncing it li-bary with only one). Where was I going with all this? Oh, yeah. Women in Horror Month!

WiHM9-GrrrlLogoTall-BR-M

WiHM is no way implies that you should only read works by female writers in the month of February. That’s just stupid. You should be reading female writers as often as you can, horror or not. But this month, February, is an internationally-recognized time to celebrate women in horror, so that’s what we’re going to do, and I’m going to point out a few female writers that deserve more attention. These women are not arranged in any particular order; they are arranged chaotically, in fact, because that’s how my mind works. Some of these names you may recognize, some you may not; either way, you should be reading what these women are writing, and so I’m going to share a few places to perhaps start.

Emily B. Cataneo – She popped into my head first for three reasons: 1) Dallas Mayr (Jack Ketchum) originally ousted her as a writer to watch and he’s been on my mind lately; 2) She’s a brilliant new writer with indescribable prose; and 3) I published one of her first short stories (if not her very first) called “A Guide to Etiquette and Comportment for the Sisters of Henley House” for Chiral Mad 2Dallas asked if I’d be willing to give her a try, Emily sent me the story, and the rest is history. Since then, I’ve published “The Rondelium Girl of Rue Marseilles” for Qualia Nous, “The Black Crow of Boddinstraße” for Chiral Mad 3, and will be publishing her again in the forthcoming Chiral Mad 4, a short story called “In Her Flightless Wings, a Fire,” co-written with Gwendolyn Kiste. Where else can you find her work? Buy her debut fiction collection, Speaking to Skull Kings and Other Stories, which made the Bram Stoker Awards preliminary ballot. It’s incredible.

Gwendolyn Kiste – This is how my mind works. I think of one writer and it leads to another. I’d never heard of Gwendolyn prior to reading the collaborative “In her Flightless Wings, a Fire,” but quickly remedied that by reading And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe (which it does). This fiction collection shows her range with storytelling, and  rightfully made the Bram Stoker Awards preliminary ballot this year. I also look forward to picking up her recently released novel Pretty Marys All in a Row

Notice all these hyperlinks? I’ve made it easy for you to click these titles and add them to your Amazon carts. You can thank me later, and your wallet can hate me later.

Damien Angelica Walters – If you haven’t read Damien, you should fix that. I’ve had the pleasure of publishing some of her short fiction, namely “The Whipping Girls” in Chiral Mad 3, “Filigree, Minotaur, Cyanide, Bloom” in Adam’s Ladder, and will be proudly publishing her again in Chiral Mad 4 with a novelette called “Golden Sun,” which she co-wrote with Richard Thomas, Kristi DeMeester & Michael Wehunt (can you imagine collaborating with 3 other writers?). She also provided the introduction to Paul Michael Anderson’s debut fiction collection, Bones Are Made to Be BrokenBut Damien didn’t seek me out, I sought her. This was after reading her novel Paper Tigers. Check out her new fiction collection, Cry Your Way Home.

Roberta Lannes – The female writers I’ve listed so far have incredibly powerful voices, which of course makes me think of Roberta Lannes. Gene O’Neill is responsible for pointing me in her direction. “She doesn’t flinch,” he said, which, if you know Gene, is perhaps one of the greatest compliments he could possibly give to a writer. And she later provided a short story called “The Raven in a Dove’s Nest” for The Library of the Dead, and later “Painting the Burning Fence” for Adam’s LadderI’m still discovering Roberta Lannes, but you should know that what I’ve read so far of her stuff is some of the strongest writing I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. She doesn’t flinch. Ever.

Lisa Morton – Most horror aficionados know her as the President of the Horror Writers Association. She’s also probably one of the most recognizable names on this list (both her fiction and nonfiction), so I’m not going to go into too much detail. Writing about Gene and about Adam’s Ladder lead my brain here, since her story “Eyes of the Beholders” appears in that anthology (the first time I’ve published her work, believe it or not), and she provided the introduction for Gene O’Neill’s re-release of The Burden of Indigo. I’ve read her fiction for years, but I’m just now getting around to her nonfiction. So where should you start? I’d recommend Ghosts: A Haunted History, or The Samhanach and Other Halloween Treats. Especially if you love Halloween. Lisa’s a big fan of that holiday. Or simply Google- or Amazon-search her by name. She’s in just about every horror anthology out there, and rightfully so.

Rena Mason – The Horror Writers Association led me here, to Rena’s name. She’s been volunteering at the HWA for years, and over the years we’ve become good friends. But her writing is kind of spectacular as well. I highly recommend her debut novel The Evolutionist, which won the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a First Novel. And her short fiction can be found in a few anthologies I’ve edited: “Ruminations” in Qualia Nous (which I rejected for Chiral Mad 2 for consistency, but later specifically requested for Qualia Nous;  a good decision, ultimately, since she ended up winning the Stoker that year for short fiction), as well as “Jaded Winds” for The Library of the Dead, and most recently “I Will Be the Making of You” for Adam’s LadderCan you tell I’m a fan of her work? You should be too.

Hopefully, by this point, you’re not too taken aback by me mentioning a bunch of short fiction published in anthologies I’ve edited. That’s not the point. I’d like to think that I have good taste in female writers, and so I keep publishing them as I find them. Once you find something good, you tend to stick with it, right? There’s a reason these names keep popping up in my anthologies. They are all incredible writers, which leads me to …

Mercedes M. Yardley – I first met Mercedes at KillerCon in Las Vegas, around the time I first met Dallas Mayr and Gene O’Neill. I tried on a pair of her high heels, because we happen to share shoe sizes, and we accompanied Mason Ian Bundschuh’s ukulele renditions of Nine Inch Nails and, well, I should be mentioning her writing. Anyway, she took home the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in Long Fiction a few years ago for her story Little Dead Red. She also has a wonderful novel out called Pretty Little Dead Girls that you should add to your cart if you haven’t already. Unfortunately, I’ve only published one of her short stories, “The Dead Collection” in Chiral Mad 3. Yes, Mercedes likes the word “Dead,” and loves writing dark little things about death. Her most recent short story, “Loving You Darkly” is currently on the Bram Stoker Awards preliminary ballot.

Okay, time to talk about some women I haven’t published. Agreed?

Sarah Pinborough – You probably know this name by now. If you don’t, there’s something missing from your library. Sarah’s been doing this for a while, and she’s damn good at it. One of my favorite novels last year was one of hers, called Behind Her Eyes, which is phenomenal. If you’re a fan of Gillian Flynn or J. Lincoln Fenn (don’t worry, I’ll get to them very soon), Sarah Pinborough is right up your alley. She’s written many books, such as The Language of Dying and a few fiction collections. Look her up, and start reading everything she’s given us so far.

Gillian Flynn – You probably know her; if not by name, by book title, or perhaps by movie title. She’s perhaps most well-known for her novel Gone Girl (which was made into a decent movie with Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, and Tyler Perry, and the score composed by none other than Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross of Nine Inch Nails (See how my mind works? I’m already back to NIN)). Anyway, before that, Gillian was responsible for two books I love dearly: Sharp Objects, and Dark Places. Give those two books your time, and then read Gone Girl if you haven’t, or if you’ve only seen the movie. If you like those, you’ll probably like Damien Angelica Walter’s previously mentioned Paper Tigers.

J. Lincoln Fenn – What can I say about J. Lincoln Fenn? Well, if there’s a female version of Chuck Palahniuk out there (in terms of clean, quick prose), she’s it. I first learned of her work from the Bram Stoker Award novel jury. This was one of the books / authors I’d never heard of who submitted work for consideration. The book was Dead Souls, an incredibly well-written sophomore novel from a newish writer. Each word in that book packs a punch, not a single word wasted. Both Jack Ketchum and Chuck Palahniuk come to mind when I think of her self-editing pen. So, of course, I sought out more of her work and found Poe, which I also enjoyed. So much, in fact, that I reached out to J. Lincoln Fenn (I quickly learned this was a pen name), and I now have a short story of hers for a future anthology I’m putting together.

Tlotlo Tsamaase – You’ve probably never heard of her … yet, but Tlotlo is a writer from Botswana. I first discovered her while reading submissions for Dark Regions Press. I fell in love with a manuscript she’d submitted for consideration and desperately wanted to publish it. But she was seeking agents around that time, and so of course I wanted her represented instead of her book going to small press (I’m crazy, right?). I even created a book cover that will never be used. Anyway, I saw her incredible potential, in other words. I’m not sure what the current status is on that novel (I’m avoiding mentioning the title only for this very reason, or in case it changes), but I’m hoping we’ll see Tlotlo Tsamaase in print soon, anywhere and everywhere books are sold. So, where can you find her? Try her website for now. I reached out to her for a short story for the same anthology mentioned above (with new work by Fenn and perhaps others on this list).

Linda D. Addison – Okay, I have a confession. Until only a few years ago, I was under the impression that Linda was a poet. Well, she is a poet, but I thought she was only a poet. I know, kinda dumb on my part, but I have to say this: Linda’s poetry is so incredibly important to the horror genre (or any genre, for that matter), that perhaps this overshadowed her fiction writing talents, at least from my perspective. She’s also a brilliant editor and public reader. And I know she’s probably reading this, so I have another confession to make. Until only a few years ago, I was also under the impression that we were around the same age (her looking younger than me, of course). Not until I was in a hotel room with Brian Keene (who also thought she was much younger), Dallas Mayr (who is infinite), Linda Addison (the poet and writer), and a few others, did I learn that she’s in fact old enough to be my mother (my young mother and, of course, another part of me wishes she was my mother). Linda’s incredible. She’s also receiving the Horror Writers Association’s coveted Lifetime Achievement Award this year, which is well-deserved. Her anthology, Sycorax’s Daughters is a good place to start to see her mad editing skills, and it’s currently on the preliminary ballot for the Stoker. I’d point you to some of her fiction, but I’m not there yet. I’m still learning what she’s done outside of poetry (forgive me).

Stephanie M. Wytovich – While we’re on this poetry kick, I can’t help but mention a few poetry collections by Stephanie M. Wytovich (who is also a fiction writer, which I already knew because I did some preliminary work on her first novel, The Eighth (although she is probably just learning this because I sometimes work behind-the-scenes)). The book was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a First Novel, although that year she instead won a Stoker for her poetry collection, BrothelI was fortunate enough to get some of her poetry for  Chiral Mad 3She’s on the Bram Stoker Award preliminary ballot again this year with her new poetry collection, Sheet Music to my Acoustic Nightmare, and a Guest of Honor at next year’s StokerCon event in Michigan. She’s good people.

Lisa Mannetti – You’ll always see Lisa’s name pop up around award season, whether it’s the Bram Stoker Awards or the Shirley Jackson Awards. There’s a reason for that. She can write. My only regret is that I have never published one of her stories. I hope to someday fix that. And if she’s reading this … well, Lisa, let’s make that happen sooner rather than latter. So what of hers do I recommend? How about the Bram Stoker and Shirley Jackson Award-nominated novella The Box Jumper? That’s where I’d start, anyway. Or perhaps The Gentling Box, which took home one of those awesome statues a few years ago. Or simply search her name at Amazon and you’ll get a boatload of anthologies containing her work.

How about some up-and-comers:

B.E. Scully – Along with Roberta Lannes, Bobbi Scully (aka B.E. Scully) has that same “no flinch” vibe with her writing that Gene O’Neill is so often talking about. In fact, Gene first introduced me to this wonderful writer, and now we’re close friends. “She doesn’t mess around,” he’d said, and he was right. Along with her involvement with Firbolg Publishing, Bobbi has been cranking out some incredible fiction. I know this, because I’ve placed some of her work in my anthologies. Look for her story “The Mythic Hero Most Likely to Squeeze a Stone” in Adam’s Ladder, “Dog at the Look” in You, Human, and a new short story in that same forthcoming anthology I’m editing that includes work by J. Lincoln Fenn and Tlotlo Tsamaase.

Erinn L. Kemper – Ah, one of my only beta readers. I don’t typically let anyone other than my wife read work before it’s published, but there are/were a few. Dallas Mayr was one of them. Gene O’Neill and Darren Speegle sometimes get the opportunity. And then there’s Erinn. For some reason she (and Meghan Arcuri, below) sometimes offers to read my ugly stuff before I can make it less ugly, and for some reason I let her. Why? Because she’s good. Very good. So good, in fact, that she and F. Paul Wilson have a collaborative novella appearing in the forthcoming Chiral Mad 4. Yes, F. Paul Wilson. And I know of some other incredible veterans with their eyes on her as well. If Paul thinks she’s good, and I think she’s good, she must be something brilliant, no? I’m desperately waiting on her first novel, but in the meantime, you can find her short fiction all over the place. I place her work whenever and wherever I can. She’s in just about every anthology I’ve ever worked on, and I’m constantly recommending her work to other editors.

Meghan Arcuri – We’ve gone through a few Borderlands Press boot camps together, and over the years we’ve become close friends. I was also her mentor in the Horror Writers Association (for as long as they’d let me; apparently there are time-limits), and even placed her first professional sale, a story called “Inevitable” in the first volume of Chiral MadI guess you could say that it was inevitable all this happened, because Meghan is going places. Her story “Watch Me” then appeared in Chiral Mad 3, and it was then I realized Meghan was trying to tell me something with her titles. Watch me, she was saying, as if she knew she was making a name for herself one story at a time. She doesn’t have a story appearing in the forthcoming Chiral Mad 4 (nor did she have one in Chiral Mad 2), but she’s odd, I guess, and will most likely appear in Chiral Mad 5 (because the number is odd, get it?) if such a thing happens, and her story will probably be titled something like, “See, I Told You!”

There are many women writing in the horror genre that deserve attention during Women in Horror Month (and every other month, for that matter), and I wish I had time to include every single one, and with recommendations and links. And there are many others involved in various book-related things composing their own lists of women in horror you should be reading. My advice? Start taking names. Start reading. Let’s celebrate!

Here are a few bonus names (some you may already know, some you may not) in no particular order): Jessica May Lin, Laura Lee Bahr, Yvonne Navarro, Mary SanGiovanni, Autumn Christian, Sarah Langan, Seanan McGuire, Caitlín R. Kiernan, Lucy A. Snyder, Rachel Autumn Deering, Kaaron Warren, Elizabeth Hand, Tananarive Due, Helen Marshall, Chesya Burke, Lucy Taylor, Kelli Owen, Elizabeth Massie, Chris Marrs, Amber Fallon …

I could go on and on, and wish I could write about every single one, but, you know, reality.

CHIRAL MAD 3 – NOW AVAILABLE!

CHIRAL MAD 3 cover

The highly-anticipated third volume in the award-winning and critically-acclaimed Chiral Mad series of psychological horror is now available! This marks the first anthology by Written Backwards as an imprint of Dark Regions Press.

Click the book cover above to order Chiral Mad 3 directly from Dark Regions Press in trade paperback, eBook, or to pre-order one of the 26 deluxe hardcover editions signed by everyone but King (these will go incredibly fast, so if you’re even thinking about ordering a copy, you should probably just order one). We may release this incredible book in hardback later down the road, but if you’re a collector, the signed/lettered deluxe edition will sell out quickly, so act fast.

You can also order a copy of the trade paperback or Ebook editions on Amazon.comChiral Mad 3 will also appear in various bookstores and libraries throughout the world, and wholesale pricing will be made available to retailers in Ingram Catalog (ipage). Email written@nettirw.com for more information.

CHIRAL MAD 3 illustrations

This stunningly beautiful book is illustrated throughout by legendary artist Glenn Chadbourne (45 images), with 400 pages of fiction and symmetrically placed poetry (see full table of contents below), and features a special introduction by Chuck Palahniuk, author of Fight Club and the Bram Stoker Award nominated Beautiful YouYes, this anthology is insane.

Introduction: Observations on Horror Burnout – Chuck Palahniuk

Fiction:
01. The Poetry of Life – Richard Chizmar
02. The Last Rung on the Ladder – Stephen King
03. A Rift in Reflection – Hal Bodner
04. Windows, Mirrors, Doors – Jason V Brock
05. Prayer – Mort Castle
06. The Agonizing Guilt of Relief (Last Days of a Ready-Made Victim) – Paul Michael Anderson
07. The Black Crow of Boddinstraße – Emily B. Cataneo
08. A Flash of Red – Erinn L. Kemper
09. Red Runner vs. The Surgeon, Issue 18 – Jessica May Lin
10. The Dead Collection – Mercedes M. Yardley
11. Watch Me – Meghan Arcuri
12. The Bigger Bedroom – Josh Malerman
13. That Perilous Stuff – Scott Edelman
14. Know Your Code – Ramsey Campbell
15. 3-Dot People – Gene O’Neill
16. Silver Thread, Hammer Ring – Gary A. Braunbeck
17. Those Who Watch From on High – Eric J. Guignard
18. Blood Dust – Max Booth III
19. The Offering on the Hill – Richard Thomas
20. The Whipping Girls – Damien Angelica Walters
21. Seconds – Jack Ketchum

CHIRAL MAD 3 illustrations

Poetry:
01. Fair – P. Gardner Goldsmith
02. Fail-Safe – Jonathan Balog
03. Folie à Deux – Sydney Leigh
04. Reflecting on Reflections – Bruce Boston
05. Mirror Image – Marge Simon
06. Black River #1 – Elizabeth Massie
07. Prescience – Rose Blackthorn
08. The Speed of Sound – Ciarán Parkes
09. Welcome Home, Darling – Stephanie M. Wytovich
10. Whisper #1 (A Warning) – Erik T. Johnson
11. Whisper #2 (A Prophecy) – Erik T. Johnson
12. Put Me to Dream – Stephanie M. Wytovich
13. Recognizing Trees – Ciarán Parkes
14. Arbitration – Rose Blackthorn
15. Black River #2 – Elizabeth Massie
16. Reflections Through the Raven’s Eye – Marge Simon
17. Beyond Symmetry – Bruce Boston
18. Folie à Plusieurs – Sydney Leigh
19. Insomnia in Reverse – Jonathan Balog
20. Promise – P. Gardner Goldsmith

Grab a copy today!

[ artwork by Glenn Chadbourne ]

CHIRAL MAD 3 cover

WRITTEN BACKWARDS AWARDS ® / DRAWA

Written Backwards Awards

Also known as the DRAWA, the Written Backwards Awards ® celebrates the recognition of literary marvels. For those unfamiliar with this somewhat-annual tradition of virtual award-giving, here are the details (most plagiarized from the previous award year):

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

There is no hindrance on publication date, as long as the publication date does not surpass the year in which an award is planned for issue. For example, if Joe King publishes an award-winning masterpiece in March 2016, he is not eligible for a 2015 award because, well, his work is from the future, and future literary works are prohibited, as mentioned somewhere in the figurative small-print. Awards can go to the dead, although they cannot be accepted in person.

Please note that all writers whose work appeared or will soon appear in Written Backwards anthologies are not only eligible for a DRAWA, but automatic recipients of the Written Backwards Awards ®. This includes the following anthologies not covered previously: Qualia Nous, The Library of the Dead, as well as the upcoming Chiral Mad 3 and You, Human. If your work appeared or will soon appear in the aforementioned anthologies, you are hereby or soonby an alumni recipient of the Written Backwards Awards ® for the given year of publication. See anthology table of contents page for a full list of alumni recipients.

So, without further ado, Written Backwards is proud to introduce the the latest winners of the Written Backwards Awards ®, also known as the DRAWA (name not yet a registered trademark). The following works were admired greatly since the last award season, and can forever be considered literary marvels from this point onward. If you haven’t read these books, do so now. I’ll even supply a direct link where you can buy these books, as well as a few kind words about each…

Slade HouseSlade HouseThere’s a reason writers such as Joe Hill, Dean Koontz, Anthony Doerr and Gillian Flynn blurbed this novel; while Cloud Atlas had its share of fictional history, science fiction, and even horror, Slade House is Mitchell’s first take on straight-up horror. Some are describing this book as our generation’s The Turn of the Screw. I read a lot of both published and unpublished dark fiction, and this is one of the finest, most well-structured short horror novels I’ve read in the last ten years. The book is a work of art, inside and out. I adore this book completely.

The Bone ClocksThe Bone Clocks
Just before so beautifully tackling the horror genre, Mitchell beautifully tackled the science fiction genre with The Bone Clocks, a novel composed of six interconnecting novella-length works. “Tackled science fiction” is not strong enough. “Crushed it” may fit better. In fact, he won the World Fantasy Award and was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize for this novel. And he should have won the Nebula, in my opinion. Again, one of the finest, most beautifully-constructed science fiction novels I’ve read in the last ten years.

The Reason I JumpThe Reason I Jump – Jon Stewart probably says it best: “One of the most remarkable books I’ve ever read. It’s truly moving, eye-opening, incredibly vivid.” And I agree 100%. This is a translation (by both David Mitchell and his wife) of a memoir by thirteen-year-old Naoki Higashida, a boy living with autism. If you want to understand autism, this is the book to read. As Stewart said, “eye-opening.” This should be required reading in schools. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve loaned this book for someone else to read.

David MitchellSlade HouseThe Bone Clocks, and The Reason I Jump (yes, two novels and a nonfiction book from a single author made the list this year). I fell in love with Mitchell’s first novel, Ghostwritten, and then Number9Dream, and then Black Swan Green, followed by Cloud Atlas, which was adapted to the screen by the Wachowski’s, and although I haven’t read The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, I highly enjoyed the audio book. In writing these books, which all connect in subtle ways, Mitchell has quickly become my favorite contemporary writer, hands-down. His latest three books are probably some of the most important books written in the last however-many years, and are some of the most literary/accessible works I’ve had the pleasure of reading (and re-reading, since I will be revisiting each of these books in the future). It’s probably safe to say that David Mitchell is the most important writer working today.

IQ84

IQ84 by Haruki Murakami caught my eye as I was perusing a bookstore in some airport a few years ago, mostly because of its size. This book could be a… well, a bookend, or a doorstop. It’s 1,184 pages, to be exact, which works well with the title. I’ve read this book in print, as well as listened to the audio book, and it’s a trip, a long trip, but one worth the journey. Part fantasy, part science fiction. My only regret is that I’m sure it’s lost some of its beauty in translation. If you’ve got some time to kill, kill it with this book.

Beautiful You

So Fifty Shades of Grey happened not long enough ago… Now imagine that book as not one of the worst things ever written, and imagine something better, so much, much better, written with… what’s the word… English, and then add a splash of end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it horror, and let it come from the mind of Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club, Choke, Survivor), and you have Beautiful You (novel), probably the strangest book to win a DRAWA. Nominated last year for the Bram Stoker Award, this is… well, interesting. I guess I should let the Amazon book description do its thing: “when Penny discovers she is a test subject for a line of female sex toys so effective that women by the millions are lining up outside the stores to buy it on opening day, she understands the gravity the situation. A billion husbands are about to be replaced.” Yep. It’s like that.

Lisey's StorySince we’re on the subject of love (sort of), Stephen King wrote Lisey’s Story (novel) over ten years ago, and it’s good enough to make it on my list this year, mostly because I want people to give it a shot. I’ve read it three times now. Some people love it; others hate it. My opinion? This is Stephen King’s best novel (yeah, I said it, so what?). Even Stephen King thinks it’s his best work. It’s sort of a ghost story about the secret language of love… of all things. I’m guessing you’ve never read it. If not, read it. Now. It was up for the World Fantasy Award, as well as the Bram Stoker Award for long fiction back when the original “Lisey and the Madman” was published a few years prior to the novel.

Bird Box

Birdbox (novel) by Josh Malerman is the first book in a long while that kept me riveted, to say the least, and the book refused to be put down for a break, and every time I did (sometimes I had to), it left me wondering “what’s next?” and wanting to finish the rest of it. I’d think about it all day, wanting to get home to read more. Why? A woman and two four-year-old children float down a river, blindfolded, with someone or something out there making noises, perhaps following them. Malerman’s debut novel deserved the Stoker for first novel, in my opinion (although there was some fierce competition), and I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.

The MartianWhether you loved it or hated it (seems to be a toss-up, either one or the other, and never anywhere in the middle), The Martian (novel) by Andy Weir made the cut for this year’s DRAWA. As of writing this, I haven’t seen the movie (although I’ve heard it’s Ridley Scott’s best thing since Alien and Blade Runner), but the book held me. I read this thing in three sittings. Plus, I love science, and this book was full of nerdy sciency stuff. If I were stranded on Mars, this would probably be close to my memoir. I guess you could say I liked it…

Burnt Tongues

I read a lot of short fiction for my anthologies (millions and millions and millions of words each year) so it’s a nice surprise to find a gem of an anthology from talented peers, such as Burnt Tongues (anthology), edited by Richard Thomas and Chuck Palahniuk. Although I’ve never heard of a single name in this book (other than its creators), this is a great collection of short fiction by some writers that should probably be a little more well-known (so give them a shot!), and an anthology deserving of the recognition its received. Kudos to Richard Thomas for putting together such a fine looking book, and to Chuck.

Head full of ghostsI wouldn’t be surprised if Paul Tremblay’s A Head Full of Ghosts (novel) takes home the Bram Stoker Award this time around. It’s a fine novel, one that gave Stephen King a scare, no less. I’d never heard of Paul Tremblay until this book was mentioned on Brian Keene’s podcast, The Horror Show with Brian Keene. Brian had enough kind things to say about this book that I gave it a read. And, well, it’s incredible. Slade House will probably be overlooked for the Stoker, so A Head Full of Ghosts would probably be my next vote.

Where We Live and DieSince I mentioned Brian Keene, and I’m sure he probably wouldn’t mind a nod, Where We Live and Die (nonfiction) made the cut this year. Brian Keene. Nonfiction. Enough said, right? This is how I like my nonfiction! Many know Brian’s work because of The Rising and The City of the Dead, or his novel about giant earthworms (all great books, by the way), but I discovered Brian by accident by reading a lesser-known novel of his called Terminal, which would make my list of all-time favorite books, if I were to make such a list. Jeff Strand‘s Pressure would probably make that list as well, which I’d consider his best book… But enough about fiction. Read this nonfiction.

The Art of Horrible PeopleThe last DRAWA this year goes to John Skipp for The Art of Horrible People (fiction collection). “Savor this book. Savor this writer.” Josh Malerman rightfully states this in his introduction. The Art of Horrible People collects Skipp’s fiction in a way I’ve never experienced before in a fiction collection, offering a reflection of our sick selves in the process, a look at just horrible we’ve become, and how beautiful that can be. Skipp is perhaps the living example that the phrase “there are no original ideas” is a load of crap. Skipp can crank out originality like it’s-not-going-out-of-style.

You have 12 new books to read (or perhaps re-read if you’ve read them already). Buy yourself something nice this holiday season. Like 12 books. And then read one each month for the next 12 months.

That’s it for this year, except…

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

Anyway, the DRAWA Presence recognizes an individual completely dedicated to the craft, someone who’s been around awhile and knows what they’re doing, and is not afraid to share that knowledge for the greater good. The DRAWA Inspiration recognizes an individual somewhat new to the craft, someone with emerging talent, a strong, literary powerhouse waiting to erupt; this is the person to watch closely. Lastly, the DRAWA Voice recognizes an individual  with a fresh, unique literary voice, someone who quite clearly knows all the rules, and is very good at breaking them; this person has their own genre of awesomeness, in other words. Who are these people?

DRAWA Presence – Mort Castle is a teacher, a counselor, a man willing to mold the future of all things literary. He is an inspiration, and he inspires.

DRAWA Inspiration – Emily B. Cataneo was first introduced to me by Jack Ketchum a few years ago when I was on the hunt for short fiction. Emily likes to send me stories with incredibly long titles, such as “A Guide to Etiquette and Comportment for the Sisters of Henley House” and “The Rondelium Girl of Rue Marseilles.” I have now published three of her stories, and all three of them are golden. Keep an eye out. Her words are beautiful.

DRAWA Voice – Paul Michael Anderson also likes to send me stories with incredibly long titles, such as “The Agonizing Guilt of Relief (Last Days of a Ready-Made Victim)” and “In the Nothing-Space, I Am What You Made Me.” And I publish every single one of them, because they are incredible.

And in case you missed last year’s Written Backwards Awards ®: http://wp.me/p2gHzu-9W 

CHIRAL MAD 3 IN TRADE PAPERBACK and SIGNED/LIMITED HARDBACK!

Chiral Mad 3

With the recent announcement that Written Backwards is now an imprint of Dark Regions Press, many exciting things are emerging, such as signed / limited hardback editions of past, present and future Written Backwards titles. The first will be the highly-anticipated Chiral Mad 3, which you can pre-order now by clicking the image above. This will take you to the Dark Regions Press Ever-Expanding Grab Bag #2 campaign, where you can reserve your copy (only 200 will be made), and snag everything the ever-expanding grab bag has to offer while you’re at it. The more people contribute, the more will be included as perks.

Campaign-exclusive trade paperback editions of Chiral Mad 3 are also available for pre-order now for only $20! If you’re been waiting for this anthology, which is illustrated throughout by Glenn Chadbourne (with 45 images), now is the best time to snag a copy… and perhaps a few other goodies from this plethora of wondrous books recently announced by the epicness that is Dark Regions Press and Written Backwards. Here’s a peek at the Table of Contents:

Fiction:
01. The Poetry of Life – Richard Chizmar
02. The Last Rung on the Ladder – Stephen King
03. A Rift in Reflection – Hal Bodner
04. Windows, Mirrors, Doors – Jason V Brock
05. Prayer – Mort Castle
06. The Agonizing Guilt of Relief (Last Days of a Ready-Made Victim) – Paul Michael Anderson
07. The Black Crow of Boddinstraße – Emily B. Cataneo
08. A Flash of Red – Erinn L. Kemper
09. Red Runner vs. The Surgeon, Issue 18 – Jessica May Lin
10. The Dead Collection – Mercedes M. Yardley
11. Watch Me – Meghan Arcuri
12. The Bigger Bedroom – Josh Malerman
13. That Perilous Stuff – Scott Edelman
14. Know Your Code – Ramsey Campbell
15. 3-Dot People – Gene O’Neill
16. Silver Thread, Hammer Ring – Gary A. Braunbeck
17. Those Who Watch From on High – Eric J. Guignard
18. Blood Dust – Max Booth III
19. The Offering on the Hill – Richard Thomas
20. The Whipping Girls – Damien Angelica Walters
21. Seconds – Jack Ketchum

Poetry:
01. Fair – P. Gardner Goldsmith
02. Fail-Safe – Jonathan Balog
03. Folie à Deux – Sydney Leigh
04. Reflecting on Reflections – Bruce Boston
05. Mirror Image – Marge Simon
06. Black River #1 – Elizabeth Massie
07. Prescience – Rose Blackthorn
08. The Speed of Sound – Ciarán Parkes
09. Welcome Home, Darling – Stephanie M. Wytovich
10. Whisper #1 (A Warning) – Erik T. Johnson
11. Whisper #2 (A Prophecy) – Erik T. Johnson
12. Put Me to Dream -Stephanie M. Wytovich
13. Recognizing Trees – Ciarán Parkes
14. Arbitration – Rose Blackthorn
15. Black River #2 – Elizabeth Massie
16. Reflections Through the Raven’s Eye – Marge Simon
17. Beyond Symmetry – Bruce Boston
18. Folie à Plusieurs – Sydney Leigh
19. Insomnia in Reverse – Jonathan Balog
20. Promise – P. Gardner Goldsmith

Yeah, it’s going to rock.

The Library of the Dead

Also available, as an addition to this campaign, is the signed / limited hardback of The Library of the Dead, illustrated in color by GAK. Scroll down toward the end of the campaign page for more information on how to reserve your copy. Similar to the other Written Backwards signed limited hardback editions, only 200 will be made. This anthology of entirely new fiction includes collaborative work by Mary SanGiovanni and Brian Keene, Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon, and stories by Gary A. Braunbeck, Weston Ochse, Yvonne Navarro, Gene O’Neill, Erinn L. Kemper, Chris Marrs, Michael McBride, Lucy A. Snyder, Kealan Patrick Burke, Sydney Leigh, Rena Mason, and starts off with an introduction/novelette by Norman Partridge. The stories within are interconnected by a piece called “The Librarian” by editor Michael Bailey.

There are many other incredible books available in this campaign, including the first volume of Christmas Horror, edited by Chris Morey, which includes stories by John Skipp, Joe R. Landsdale, Jeff Strand, J.F. Gonzalez, Cody Goodfellow, and more.

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And what are these other two books?

Marc Levinthal’s debut novel, Other Music, is the first science fiction novel we will be releasing through Dark Regions Sci-Fi, a project I am proud to be working on as our first book in the newly revamped science fiction line at Dark Regions Press. This incredible novel features an introduction by John Skipp. The other is Stephanie M. Wytovich’s debut novel, The Eighth. Both of these incredible books are available in this campaign in both trade paperback and signed / limited hardback. The trade paperbacks are $20 each, and the hardbacks for a little more. Each will be beautiful, so you will definitely want to get your mittens on these.

Check out the campaign. Contribute. Take home some awesome books in the process. As of this evening, the campaign has reached initial funding, which means digital copies of Chiral Mad 3 will be going into the ever-expanding grab bag. The first stretch goal was also reached, which means a digital copy of Other Music will also be going in the bag. And the second stretch goal is nearly upon us, which means a digital copy of The Eighth will go in… and there are many more stretch goals in the works…

What are you waiting for?

QUALIA NOW!

Qualia Nous Cover

Available now on Amazon.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(the following is plagiarized from other related blogs):

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

QUALIA NOUS

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

Qualia Nous

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

 

Qualia Definition

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

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

 

Nous Definition

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

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

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

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…