Posts Tagged ‘ Inkblots and Blood Spots ’

HALLOWEEN E-BOOK SALE

$1.99 Sale

For a limited time, Written Backwards is running a $1.99 / £1.99 eBook sale on three titles in the US and UK. Now through November 5th, you can get Yes Trespassingthe debut fiction collection by Erik T. Johnson, Qualia Nousa  dark fiction anthology featuring two Bram Stoker Award winning short stories, and Inkblots and Blood Spotsthe second fiction & poetry collection by Michael Bailey,  illustrated throughout by Daniele Serra. See below for direct links.

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Twenty-five, or maybe twenty-six or -seven or perhaps twenty-eight (let’s say it’s twenty-eight) individual works by Erik T. Johnson, some previously-published, some appearing in this book for the first time, stories like “The Leaf” and “Krug’s Pen,” “The Depopulation Syndrome,” “The Invention of the Mask” (which you can find on the front cover), “The Depopulation Syndrome” and the novella Scissors Seldom Come. Trespass. Read the horror, the wonder, the mindscrewing. This book will change you.

US: https://goo.gl/sedet4
UK: https://goo.gl/z1Xz1q

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A literary blend of science fiction and horror, Qualia Nous contains short stories, novelettes, and poetry from established authors and newcomers from around the world. Features Bram Stoker Award winning stories by Usman T. Malik and Rena Mason, as well as fiction by Stephen King, Emily B. Cataneo, Erinn L. Kemper, Patrick Freivald, William F. Nolan, John Everson, Elizabeth Massie, John R. Little, Richard Thomas, Gary A. Braunbeck, and many others. Recipient of the Benjamin Franklin Award.

* Please note that because of contractual obligations, the eBook edition of Qualia Nous does not contain “The Jaunt” by Stephen King.

US: https://goo.gl/LyMvww
UK: https://goo.gl/Pp1Q6N

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From the mind of award-winning author and editor Michael Bailey comes Inkblots and Blood Spots, a painfully beautiful collection of short stories and poetry that reaches deep into the imagination, breaking hearts and boundaries along the way. Features an introduction by Douglas E. Winter, and illustrations throughout by Daniele Serra.

US: https://goo.gl/1X7EBu
UK: https://goo.gl/fsaS1K

Each book is under two bucks, or free with Amazon Unlimited (or if you’ve previously purchased a trade paperback edition through Amazon).

WILL THERE BE A CHIRAL MAD 4?

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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.

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2014 BRAM STOKER AWARDS® PRELIMINARY BALLOT

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

1. Qualia Nous – Superior Achievement in an Anthology.

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

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

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

Qualia Nous

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

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

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

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

Inkblots and Blood Spots

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

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

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

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

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

Illustrations by Daniele Serra

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

A few more things to note:

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

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

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

Congratulations to everyone who made the preliminaries this year! And congratulations to those who did not make the list, but probably should have. 2014 was a great year for horror fiction. Whether or not you believe in the HWA’s means of compiling Bram Stoker Award recommendations, the preliminary ballot, or the final ballot, you cannot deny that 2014 was a great year for horror fiction. I see familiar names on the list this year, and names I don’t recognize, which is either a good thing, or a bad thing. Some I have published, some have published me, and some have shared the table of contents with yours truly in various anthologies or magazines over the years. And some, well, perhaps someday I can say I recognize those names as well.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good luck everyone!

INKBLOTS AND BLOOD SPOTS

Inkblots and Blood Spots

Inkblots and Blood Spots is finally here! Years after toying with this second collection of fiction and poetry, it has finally found a home with Villipede Publications, who have done a marvelous job orchestrating the complexity it takes putting a beautiful book like this together. Shawna L. Bernard, aka Sydney Leigh, edited the collection and went through hell and back again to bring you this book. And now the trade paperback is available at Amazon in the US and Amazon in the UK, and eventually through extended distribution channels.

From the back cover:

From the mind of award-winning author and editor Michael Bailey comes Inkblots and Blood Spots, a painfully beautiful collection of short stories and poetry that reaches deep into the imagination, breaking hearts and boundaries along the way…

In a lyrical and uninterrupted dance, Bailey entwines evocative literary short fiction with rhythmic poetry and comes full circle in one seamless collection. His stellar performance is accompanied by the stunning artwork of Daniele Serra, winner of the British Fantasy Award, and an Introduction by the legendary Douglas E. Winter.

Stories include the Bram Stoker nominated “Fireman / Primal Tongue,” which also received an Honorable Mention for Year’s Best Horror; “Dandelion Clocks,” a haunting, melodic tribute to the tragedy of 9/11; “I Wanted Black,” where a young boy’s birthday is anything but cause to celebrate; “Mum,” a tale of two sisters unfolding like the bandages on their mother’s badly burned body…

Take a surreal stroll through a carnival in “Underwater Ferris Wheel,” where the biggest attraction may be your last ride; witness a pregnant woman’s harrowing encounter with soul-stealing faerie in “Not the Child”; and find out why it gets cold in a little girl’s room at night when she sees “A Light in the Closet.

Danielle Serra provided the captivating cover, as well as provided half-page, full-page, and multi-page illustrations throughout for each of the stories. The book weighs a solid pound, runs 256 pages, and is chock full of surprises that will hopefully take your breath away in some way or another. These interesting thumbnails were stolen from the publisher’s website to give you an idea of what you can expect when cracking the spine.

Illustrations by Daniele Serra

The one and only Douglas E. Winter was kind enough to write the introduction, and there are some rather nice blurbs:

“Michael Bailey continues to amaze. He is on track to becoming his generation’s Ray Bradbury.” – F. Paul Wilson

“Vibrant, bold, and bursting with original concepts… a writer willing to bypass all the familiar territories and stake out a new narrative landscape all his own.” – Thomas F. Monteleone

“Haunting and poignant… filled with love and loss, the weight of these resolutions echoes out into the darkness with a heartbreaking permanence.” – Richard Thomas

“The stories and poems in Inkblots and Blood Spots bleed into our souls like knives and leave us breathless. Bailey is a fabulous writer, and these stories are his best. Go buy this book. Now. It has my highest recommendation.” – John R. Little

Inkblots and Blood Spots is a smart collection of stories that evoke real fear, because they’re grounded in emotional truth. Michael Bailey has that rare ability to terrify readers and break their hearts–often in the same paragraph.” – Norman Prentiss

“Most writers are either stylists or story-tellers. The stylists tend to be more common in literary fiction, the storytellers more common in genre work. Michael Bailey’s prose is highly accessible, but very precise… he’s a stylist, his prose very clean. Michael is indeed a very literate storyteller.” – Gene O’Neill

“Artfully executed. A unique and powerful contribution to speculative literature.” – Tim Deal

If you’re a fan of Goodreads to track your reading habits, there is a page setup for Inkblots and Blood Spots, which you can find here. And if you’re looking to see more, check out the latest blog by my editor, Shawna Bernard, at The Spider Box. I think she states it best:

“The work in Inkblots and Blood Spots has been carefully arranged so that it’s woven together with characters, settings, themes, rhythms, and voices that all connect and flow into the telling of one longer tale throughout.” – Shawna Barnard

The collection includes 15 previously published short stories, “Dandelion Clocks,” a new novelette, and a mix of 17 poems, some of which are previously published, and some that are new.

Dance with me.

Stories:

  • Hiatus
  • Bootstrap / The Binds of Lasolastica
  • A Light in the Closet
  • Mum
  • Skinny
  • Not the Child
  • Scrub
  • Eavesdropping
  • It Tears Away
  • The Dying Gaul
  • The Mascot
  • Coulrophobic
  • Underwater Ferris Wheel
  • I Wanted Black
  • Fireman / Primal Tongue
  • Dandelion Clocks

Poems:

  • Beneath Clouds
  • Alive
  • The Two of You
  • Bogey
  • Sticks and Bones
  • Void
  • Simon the Parasite
  • Ink
  • Listen To Me
  • All but the Things that Cannot be Torn
  • Twisted
  • Secret Smile
  • Open Auras
  • Though it Rains
  • Countdown to Null
  • Not Responding
  • Whisper Dance

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.