Posts Tagged ‘ Mort Castle ’

YOU, HUMAN – NOW AVAILABLE!

YOU, HUMAN

You, Human is finally here!

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? 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. Now available in trade paperback and eBook at darkregions.com, with a deluxe hardback available for pre-order (although as of writing this, there was only one remaining).

Click the cover to order online at Dark Regions Press, or you can order a copy at Amazon.com.

I Am the Doorway - Stephen King

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 three volumes of Chiral Mad (1, 2the 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).

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You, Human contains the following works of fiction, split into three sections (one for each of the three laws) by poetry. Here’s what the book has to offer:

  1. “In Accordance With the Laws” (poem) – Marge Simon
  2. “Robot” – Mort Castle
  3. “It Can Walk and Talk, and You’ll Never Have to Worry About Housework Again” – Dyer Wilk
  4. “Keepsakes” – Hal Bodner
  5. “Cosmic Fair” – Darren Speegle
  6. “Unity of Affect” – Jason V Brock
  7. “101 Things to Do Before You’re Downloaded” – Scott Edelman
  8. “The Star-Filled Sea is Smooth Tonight” – Thomas F. Monteleone
  9. “Hopium Den” – John Skipp
  10. “Less Than Human” (poem) – Marge Simon
  11. “Dog at the Look” – B.E. Scully
  12. “Executive Functions” – Lucy A. Snyder
  13. “Pink Crane Girls” – Autumn Christian
  14. “The Cause” – Laura Lee Bahr
  15. “Ditch Treasures” – Richard Chizmar
  16. “I Am the Doorway” – Stephen King
  17. “The Immigrants” – Erik T. Johnson
  18. “Key to the City” – Cody Goodfellow
  19. “Future Imperfect: Broken Laws” (poem) – Marge Simon
  20. “The Pretty Puppets” – Marc Levinthal
  21. “The Goldilocks Zone” – John R. Little
  22. “The Jupiter Drop” – Josh Malerman
  23. “The Universe is Dying” – Paul Michael Anderson
  24. “Fallen Faces by the Wayside” – Gary A. Braunbeck
  25. “What Goes Up Must Come Down” – Janet Harriett
  26. “Gumi-Bear” – Erinn L. Kemper
  27. “The Fourth Law” – Marge Simon

The images above are some of the 24 illustrations created by L.A. Spooner for the fiction in You, Human.  And below are a few of the 10 illustrations created by Orion Zangara for the poetry.

Fans of dark science fiction, fans of genre-bending horror, fans of all things weird… this is your anthology.

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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.

You, Human - 02

“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.

You, Human - 04

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

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?

CHIRAL MAD 2: CONTENTS, PART 1

CM2: TOC, PART 1

TABLE OF CONTENTS, PART 1

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

1. “TIGHT PARTNERS” by GENE O’NEILL

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

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

2. “THE CHUTE” by GARY McMAHON

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

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

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

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

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

4. “INTERFERENCE” by ANDREW HOOK

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

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

5. “THE WORD” by RAMSEY CAMPBELL

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

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

6. “THE COUNSELOR” by MORT CASTLE

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

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

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

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

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

8. “?” by JACK KETCHUM

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

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

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

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

THE LONELIEST PYLON

pylonA strange title for a blog, I know, but it sums up my stay in Maryland last weekend during the latest Borderlands Press Writers Boot Camp. Why the pylon? I woke up Friday morning in my hotel room after a long day of traveling, looked out the window, and noticed a lonely orange traffic pylon keeled over in the middle of an empty field blanketed in snow. My first thought: I’ve never written a story from the point of view of an orange traffic pylon. No joke. That was my first thought of the morning. Me and my roommate, Richard, then began brainstorming ‘what if’ story ideas. What if the pylon thought it was one of a kind? What if the pylon somehow made it to an Interstate repaving project, only to be placed alongside thousands of other identical pylons? Would it be happy? Sad? What if the pylon was sex-deprived? What would it feel if sandwiched between other pylons? What if the pylon didn’t have a hole? We created about 30 scenarios for this poor, lonely pylon stranded in the snow, which we then coined “The Loneliest Pylon.” That’s basically the mindset of sleep-deprived speculative fiction writers. We get weird. And those are some of the more tame scenarios…

Anyway, the boot camp. For the last few months, me and sixteen other writerly types edited and critiqued the short stories and novel chunks submitted. This was a lot of work, but an extremely healthy habit for fiction writers. Every writer should do this regularly. I tend to do it often (my fifth boot camp?) In the past, I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside Thomas F. Monteleone, F. Paul Wilson, Douglas E. Winter, John R. Douglas, Mort Castle, Elizabeth Massie, Gary A. Braunbeck, and David Morrell. This year, Tom, Paul and Doug took the lead, with Brian Keene visiting Saturday night to give us the dirty on writing full-time.

Let me state something incredibly important right now, before I recap the camp (and this has nothing to do with Brian’s incredible speech, if you’re wondering)… I don’t plan to write full-time. Ever? Probably not. Writing full-time, I’m guessing I could crank out a few books a year, maybe edit an anthology or two, publish a bunch of short fiction, but full-time? No. Why? I’m not that crazy. A little crazy, but not that crazy. But, I will never stop writing, or editing, or publishing, and that’s the point. I’ve got this writer sickness in me. It’s terminal. Writing is a sickness, a disease. I had to state that because I get asked this question often. In fact, I was asked this question today at work. “Why don’t you just write full-time?” Well, now you have your answer.

After dissecting these submissions to death at home, we then met in Maryland to dissect them even further, as a group. Tom focused on plot, Paul on dialogue/voice, and Doug on character/point-of-view. After much instruction Friday night (lasting until 2-ish in the morning), as well as receiving a writing assignment to turn in Sunday morning (I’ll get to that later), we met Saturday morning bright and early in smaller groups for round-robin critiques. My room was used for Tom’s plot discussions, which means I work-shopped with him first and was able to sleep in for an extra 5 minutes (sleep-deprivation is common at these things, so 5 minutes of extra rest is a blessing). Each story received 20-30 minutes of intense discussion, with each grunt and lastly the instructor taking a turn. Then we room-hopped. I spent time with Paul next, and after lunch, took a hefty beating by Doug (as expected). I think we finished the round-robin critiques sometime around 5, which brings me back to the assignment.

bootcamp1We were each handed a random sheet of paper with a news headline. By Sunday morning, we had to produce roughly 750-1,500 words about that headline. My headline read: MAN HIRES HIT-MAN TO KILL HIMSELF, CALLS IT OFF… TOO LATE? or something similar. You get the idea. Leading up to that point, I was hoping to write my assignment from an orange traffic pylon’s point of view… Well, I had to change gears a bit. A few of my returning boot camp writerly friends, Richard Payne, Tracie Orsi, and my HWA mentoree, Meghan Arcuri (pictured, left to right), sacrificed sitting down for a nice dinner to instead participate in a foursome writer orgy. It’s not what you think… okay, maybe it’s what you think. The four of us returned to one of the rooms and sat quietly, writing our stories. We tossed around ideas and random chaotic thoughts (many laughs), but, for the most part, we remained silent and worked on our stories. We each cranked out about 200-300 words. Brian Keene was up next, so we snagged some food and brought it with us.

I need to interrupt myself here to tell a quick story. I found out late Thursday night (midnight maybe), that I barely missed seeing a good friend of mine, Susan Scofield. If you haven’t seen her artwork, you are missing out. Quality stuff. Anyway, I knew she’s neighbors and good friends with Brian Keene, somewhere in Pennsylvania, but my knowledge of eastern U.S. geography sucks, so I didn’t realize how close she was to the hotel in which we were staying. Before falling asleep for the night, facebook told me she had just returned home from Maryland. She was literally (I don’t use that word often) down the street with some writerly friends I knew as well. I flew over 3,000 miles, and we missed each other by minutes, by miles! “Have Brian slap me for you when he gets here,” I told her, but that wasn’t enough.

So, Saturday rolls around and I’m in a room chatting with some of the instructors and a few newbie writers as we’re wrapping up when Brian barges in. “I have to tell you this amazing story!” he says, and everyone turns around. “I was just standing around and this BEAUTIFUL blonde woman comes up to me, and I’m thinkin’ alright… and she says to me, ‘Hey! Are you Brian Keene?’ I tell her, ‘Well, yeah, I’m Brian Keene,’ thinking this is kinda cool and all, and then she says, ‘You’re going to the Borderlands boot camp thing, right?’ I tell her yeah, wondering where this is going because I’m famous and all, and she says, ‘Do you know Michael Bailey? Can you give this to him?'” He then gets all pissy at this point like I stole his girl and acted out this big scene and it was rather awesome, and he hands me this note…

susan_note

Message received, Susan, but I love you anyway.

Where was I?

“On Writing Full-Time (circa 2013)” followed later that night. Click the link if you want to read Brian’s speech. It’s incredibly informative and provides much perspective on writing full-time. I’ve met Brian a few times in the past, and look up to him (he even had some nice things to say about me). Please, read the attached speech, and read his work. He stayed around late to answer hundreds of questions and to discuss writing in general with the instructors and boot camp grunts. I can’t quite remember the time, but 12:30-ish ticked by when we headed back upstairs to finish our assignments. The foursome writer orgy continued for the next few hours. It’s quite liberating, really. Richard and Tracie sat at the table while Meghan and I kicked back on the couch. I’ve never written fiction while seated next to someone before. It felt strange at first, but I’m incredibly comfortable and open around these amazing people. Combined, we probably produced close to 5,000 words (Tracie providing the most pages). Laughs interrupted keystrokes every so often, but the four of us cranked out quality fiction. I will need to do this more often. I left the room with a writer high, and stayed awake another hour to read.

Coffee was definitely our friend during the stay. Sunday morning, each of us staggered out of bed, somehow dressed and made ourselves presentable, hashed out some last-minute edits, printed, and then submitted our work. To be read aloud…

Norman Prentiss (another friend and an amazing writer), read some of the stories, along with Doug and Paul taking turns. Tom read only one story… mine, and he read it well. In fact, if you click the link below, a 3-page story called “Fine Print,” you can listen to Tom reading the madness I produced during my sleep-deprived stay in Maryland. And yes, the story involves an orange traffic pylon and garnered some laughs.

“Small Print” – Read by Thomas F. Monteleone.

That’s the boot camp in a nutshell. There’s much more to it than that, but it’s difficult to express what goes on at the boot camp in so many words. The most difficult part is saying goodbye. Luckily, most of us stay in contact. I’ve been to five of these things now, and try to stay in contact with fellow grunts over the years. I’ve made some great friends along the way. And I always leave feeling inspired to write, and to edit, and to re-write, and to re-edit. It is definitely a sickness, or a disease, but I’m glad to share this disease with so many fine individuals.

I leave you with one final photograph from the boot camp, with Tom and Doug on the left, Paul on the right, and some of the grunts sandwiched in between.

bootcamp2