Posts Tagged ‘ L.A. Spooner ’

YEAR OF THE DRAKEIN

Year of the Dragon will not return until 2024, but next year, 2018, will hopefully be the year I unleash Drakein upon the world, a project I’ve been working on for over ten years. Drakein-5 is a hallucinatory street drug taken in the form of eye drops, and the fuel behind Psychotropic Dragon, the composite novel / meta-novel I’m co-writing with _________________ (name withheld).

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Basically, it’s a novelette wrapped around a novella wrapped around a short novel, illustrated throughout by the likes of Daniele Serra, Glenn Chadbourne, L.A. Spooner, and Ty Schuerman. This book is going to be completely insane. One of the darkest projects I’ve ever attempted. Currently there are over 50 illustrations: some full-page, some half-page, some swimming on and off the page.

The novelette is 10,000 words, the novella will be 20,000, and the short novel portion is around 45,000. Here’s a snip-it from the novel:

 

She remembered holding the syringe that first time, hands trembling. Such a small thing—a third the size of your typical medicinal syringe, the needle a quarter-inch long. Smaller than a cigarette. “Looks like water,” she had said to Chase. The clear liquid inside appeared iridescent under direct sunlight, as if having an oily consistency. She heard it turned bluish-green under black lights. “What happens if I take more than two drops?” Chase had looked away, then, smiling out of the corner of his mouth. “It’s like any drug. Affects each differently. Two drops, no more. It’ll last a couple hours max, and then it’s back to earth. After you level, you can take more.

 

What’s a composite novel? “A composite novel is a literary work composed of shorter texts that—though individually complete and autonomous—are interrelated in a coherent whole according to one or more organizing principles.”

Who is my collaborator? Well, that has to be kept a secret for now, but know that it is someone well-loved in the writing community. Perhaps someone you might not expect.

Some of you have been waiting a long time for this book, so I’m going into overdrive to finally make it happen. Here’s a snip-it of the novelette, in case you can’t wait that long.

 

Somnambulism. That’s what my psychiatrist calls it. Differentiating between dream state and reality is often difficult, which is probably part of the reason for the sleep deprivation. A fear of falling asleep. What if I don’t wake up? What if I can’t wake up? What if the reality I think I know is the dream, or vice versa?

What can you expect out of this book? Expect the unexpected. Expect to be knocked completely out of your socks. Expect to become part of the book, hallucinating from your own dose of Drakein. This book is a trip.

Psychotropic Dragon is a unique collaboration. Along with the writing, this strange book has had many assists along the way. Jack Ketchum, John Skipp, Gary A Braunbeck, Douglas E. Winter, Thomas F. Monteleone, F. Paul Wilson … all have helped this book become something special.

That’s all I can reveal for now, along with Ketchum’s full blurb:

 

Psychotropic Dragon is addictive, scary, and at times, mind-blowing. But it’s the human element that keeps you turning the pages, the wounds to the psyche which we recognize immediately. The human element … and a fierce narrative style. – Jack Ketchum

PLASTY

Collaborations have been on my mind lately, mostly because if Chiral Mad 4 and how I’ve envisioned that book as being structured (as a completely collaborative anthology). I recently reached out to artist L.A. Spooner, with whom I’ve worked with on You, HumanAt the Lazy K (a novella by Gene O’Neill), and Enso, a children’s book I wrote last year. I asked him, “Want to collaborate on adapting a short story of mine to help spark collaboration ideas for the next Written Backwards anthology?” We reviewed a few of my older stories from Scales and Petals, my first short story and poetry collection, and agreed that “Plasty” was the most ‘visual’ and would be quite fun to adapt.

So, I rewrote the original 1,500 word short story as a 10-page graphic/comic script (which for some reason grew to 1,600 words), sent the pages to Luke, and he immediately started working on the illustrations, both in black and white, and in full color. He even did the lettering. After some back-and-forth on our collaborative work, we agreed that black-and-white suited the story better, with some color added throughout for better flow, and to punch the reader in the face with some of the disgusting visuals. I have to admit, this story is kind of gross, but not really when you think about it… We even added an 11th page to help bring the story full circle, to visually represent the main character’s mental state as the story comes to a close.

So, here’s “Plasty” for you to enjoy, a collaborative effort between the multi-talented L.A. Spooner, and yours truly. We hope these pages inspire further collaborations between writers, artists, poets, etc. Work together, and have fun!

 

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YOU, HUMAN

front cover - DRP teaser

What does it mean to be alive? What does it mean to be real? What does it mean to exist? And most importantly, what does it mean to be human? You, Human, Michael Bailey’s first science fiction anthology for Dark Regions Press, will tackle those heavy questions. Twenty-four mind-bending works by some of the best in the business explore humanism through science fiction’s various sub-genres, split into three sections by poetic law.

The Three Laws of Humanity:

  1. A human being may not injure another human being or, through inaction, allow another human being to come to harm.
  2. A human being must obey the orders given it by other human beings except where such orders would conflict with the first law.
  3. A human being must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the first or second laws.

You, Human - 01

Bram Stoker Award winning editor Michael Bailey brings sci-fi back to Dark Regions Press with heart in this genre-bending anthology of dark science fiction and poetry. With fiction illustrated beautifully throughout by world-renowned artist L.A. Spooner, with poetry and spot illustrations supplied by the always-impressive Orion Zangara, and with an incredible introduction on humanism by New York Times bestselling author F. Paul Wilson (Panacea, the Repairman Jack series), Asimov’s three laws of robotics are re-evaluated and revised to help define humanity.

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“I think we can all agree that consciousness, self-awareness, and sentience – the capacity for subjective feelings and perceptions – are indispensable to humanness. The comingling and interaction of all three lead to sapience – the capacity to act with reason and judgment. Apes and dolphins are considered sentient, but not sapient.  Sapience builds civilizations.” – from Wilson’s introduction to You, Human.

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Dark Regions Press makes a return to dark science fiction in this latest of illustrated anthologies by Michael Bailey, the person behind Pellucid Lunacy, the first two volumes of Chiral Mad (1, 2), the Benjamin Franklin Award winning Qualia Nous, the Bram Stoker Award winning The Library of the Dead, and most recently Chiral Mad 3, which was illustrated throughout by legendary artist Glenn Chadbourne and which featured an introduction by Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club, Lullaby, Choke, et al).

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You, Human will contain the following works of fiction, which will be split into three sections (one for each of the three laws) by poetry. In no particular order:

  1. “I Am the Doorway” – Stephen King
  2. “Robot” – Mort Castle
  3. “101 Things to Do Before You’re Downloaded” – Scott Edelman
  4. “Cosmic Fair” – Darren Speegle
  5. “The Star-Filled Sea is Smooth Tonight” – Thomas F. Monteleone
  6. “Executive Functions” – Lucy A. Snyder
  7. “Hopium Den” – John Skipp
  8. “Dog at the Look” – B.E. Scully
  9. “Ditch Treasures” – Richard Chizmar
  10. “The Pretty Puppets” – Marc Levinthal
  11. “Pink Crane Girls” – Autumn Christian
  12. “The Cause” – Laura Lee Bahr
  13. “Keepsakes” – Hal Bodner
  14. “The Goldilocks Zone” – John R. Little
  15. “The Jupiter Drop” – Josh Malerman
  16. “Key to the City” – Cody Goodfellow
  17. “The Universe is Dying” – Paul Michael Anderson
  18. “Fallen Faces by the Wayside” – Gary A. Braunbeck
  19. “It Can Walk and Talk” – Dyer Wilk
  20. “What Goes Up Must Come Down” – Janet Harriett
  21. “The Immigrants” – Erik T. Johnson
  22. “Gumi-Bear” – Erinn L. Kemper
  23. “Unity of Affect” – Jason V Brock
  24. “The Fourth Law” – Marge Simon

Poetry will include the following, by Marge Simon:

  1. “In Accordance With the Laws”
  2. “Less Than Human”
  3. “Future Imperfect: Broken Laws”

Coming this fall from Dark Regions Press

You, Human - 04

WHAT IS ENSŌ?

100 70 remaining!

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

ENSŌ

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

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

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

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

caterpillars

The Death Moth - Monarch

The Caterpillars and the Bridge - Sparrow

The death moth

The Fox and the Field Mouse - Fox Cub

The Scarlet Hourglass - Field Mouse

The scarlet hourglass base

AT THE LAZY K – ALLEVON #1

At the Lazy K, now available at Amazon.com

At the Lazy K, now available at Amazon.com

4-001At the Lazy K, the latest novella by Gene O’Neill, is now available at Amazon.com (click the image above for a direct link to purchase). With interior illustrations throughout by L.A. Spooner (some of which are sprinkled throughout this post), and an introduction by Bram Stoker Award winning author Rena Mason, this smaller, matte-finished book fits nicely in the hands and digs instantly into your heart. This is Gene O’Neill at his finest.

Gene O’Neill is a multi-award winning author of science fiction, fantasy, and horror, with over 150 works published, including stories filling the pages of Twilight Zone MagazineCemetery Dance Magazine, and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Gene is not a stranger to Written Backwards; his fiction has appeared in nearly every anthology, including Chiral Mad, Chiral Mad 2, the Bram Stoker Award nominated Qualia Nous, and most recently The Library of the Dead, an anthology he and Gord Rollo first conceived. His short story “3-Dot People” will also be included in Chiral Mad 3. And look soon for his Cal Wild series, a colorful collection some are calling his magnum opus, which includes The Confessions of St. ZachThe Burden of IndigoThe Near Future, and The Far Future.

5-001This is the first of the ALLEVON series of illustrated novellas by Written Backwardsand Gene is the perfect way to start this ambitious new line of books. How many novellas released each year by Written Backwards is yet-to-be-determined, but each new release will be carefully and beautifully crafted, such as this one, and each will be authored by different writers of various genres, and each will be illustrated by different artists.

What can you expect with At the Lazy K?

Once a brothel, and later turned into a rehabilitation center, a place called The Lazy K survives a century-spanning curse following the wrongful hanging of an innocent man on the branches of an old California oak. This haunting novella by legend Gene O’Neill is part western, part ghost story, part drug-rehabilitation, and is a literary, multi-genre exploration into the rich cultural history of northern California.
1-003Tracy L. Carbone says it best in her Amazon review: “I bought this book as soon as it was released. When it was delivered, my first reaction was that it was a beautiful book. With its matte cover and internal illustrations by L. A. Spooner, its cream pages and professional layout that are standard of Written Backwards, I hoped sincerely that the prose would match. I have known of Gene ONeill for many years but had never read his work. Long story short, it was terrific. In line with the quality of the publisher’s other works. So much in commercial fiction these days is based on shock value and gore and pushing boundaries. This refreshing tale was more literary and in the vein of old fashioned horror. The reader is given a solid background from which to understand the curse in the book, as well as brief but all encompassing backgrounds of the main characters. I found myself easily envisioning the surroundings the author craftfully painted of the various eras and locations. Well done! I will have to track down more of O’Neill’s books.”

At the Lazy K was recently released at Anthocon in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where Gene served as a Guest of Honor, along with Thomas F. Monteleone, Christopher Golden, Holly Newstein, James A. Moore, artist Guest of Honor Susan Scofield, and surprise guests F. Paul Wilson, Gord Rollo, and gak, who illustrated The Library of the Dead.

Pick up a copy of At the Lazy K by clicking here, or follow the link for a peek inside.

 

ALLEVON #1

Allevon Logo

ALLEVON

Starting in 2015, Written Backwards will take a break from anthologies to introduce ALLEVON, a new series of original novellas. These will be stunning trade paperbacks (5″ x 8″ smaller format) with a matte finish, a cover price of $10, and will offer something unique to writers: 1) a $500 advance, 2) 50% royalties, 3) 25 contributor copies, and 4) the opportunity to purchase copies at 50% discount. I challenge other publishers to offer similar perks. It’s time to push for quality long fiction, and time to rock the publishing world.

The first in the series will be At the Lazy K by Gene O’Neill. The story takes place near Calistoga, California on an old Mexican land grant, spanning from cattle ranch to upscale bawdy house to a modern yet haunted rehabilitation center. This unique, literary mix of western and modern storytelling is Gene O’Neill at his finest, and the perfect match for Written Backwards.

AT THE LAZY K

AT THE LAZY K

The ALLEVON series is invite only at this time; however, if you have a novella in the 20-40,000 word range that fits the Written Backwards mold, feel free to send a query to allevon@nettirw.com. In typical Written Backwards fashion, you are more than welcome to invite yourself.

More information soon…

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