TABLE OF CONTENTS, PART 3
The submission window for Chiral Mad 2 is closed. It closed November 3rd, 11:59pm (your timezone, not mine), in fact. Hours ago, depending on when and where you’re reading this blog. Last-minute stories have flooded in, and are still flooding in (somehow not smacking against the closed window), which means response time may be affected. I hope to have a final table of contents posted by next weekend, but with AnthoCon that same weekend, final TOC announcements may not be announced until the weekend of November 16th-17th.
Submission word count is reaching four million. Rejection letters are somewhere in the 450-500 range (haven’t counted lately). 21 stories have been accepted thus far, with more on the way. Total story count will be 28, perhaps fewer. It all depends on the stories and how nicely they flow together. The maybe pile is currently standing at 4 stories, but I have a little over 50 unread manuscripts and a few invited authors whose deadlines I’ve extended, so that pile will grow.
The last post hinted at future anthologies. Following Chiral Mad 2, Written Backwards will be hard at work on a follow-up anthology to Pellucid Lunacy, appropriately titled Pellucid Lunacy 2 (no cover artwork yet, sorry). This will be an invite-only anthology, but rules are often meant to be broken. The previously hinted-at sci-fi/horror anthology now has a title, Qualia Nous, as well as a cover (pictured). What does Qualia Nous mean? A future blog post will shed some light. So far, the reactions for an all sci-fi anthology are astounding, so it’s going to happen. Also on the radar is an international horror anthology, with 20 stories from authors of 20 various countries. This will be a combined invite / submissions anthology.
The last two posts have covered fifteen acceptances for Chiral Mad 2. Below you will find information on the next six (after a quick recap, and in no particular order):
1. “TIGHT PARTNERS” by GENE O’NEILL
2. “THE CHUTE” by GARY McMAHON
3. “WELCOME HOME, ALL YOU UNINVITED” by ERIK T. JOHNSON
4. “INTERFERENCE” by ANDREW HOOK
5. “THE WORD” by RAMSEY CAMPBELL
6. “THE COUNSELOR” by MORT CASTLE
7. “ORANGE IS FOR ANGUISH, BLUE FOR INSANITY” by DAVID MORRELL
8. “THE RIGHT THING” by JACK KETCHUM
9. “FLOWERS BLOOMING IN THE SEASON OF ATROPHY” by MAX BOOTH III
10. “ANOTHER MAN’S BONES” by MASON IAN BUNDSCHUH
11. “WHITECHAPEL” by P. GARDNER GOLDSMITH
12. “PLAYING WITH FIRE” by RICHARD THOMAS
13. “A GUIDE TO ETIQUETTE AND COMPORTMENT FOR THE SISTERS OF HENLEY HOUSE” by EMILY CATANEO
14. “EMPATHY” by JOHN SKIPP
15. “MNEMONICIDE” by JAMES CHAMBERS
16. “PASSING AFFLICTION” by PATRICK O’NEILL
Patrick O’Neill previously appeared in the first volume of Chiral Mad with a short story called “Alderway.” For Chiral Mad 2, he returns with “Passing Affliction,” an equally moving piece of fiction. This is a story about a foster carer providing for a neglected child, and it pulls you in from the first few words and keeps you until the end, never letting go. “The condition is commonplace amongst children who have suffered trauma and neglect, as you well know. And in a way it makes perfect sense. When all else descends into chaos and uncertainty, the establishment of an unwavering routine creates a climate of security; something at least in a world of disorder that is predictable and comforting; an invisible shroud of harmony that, although requiring continual lacing to prevent rips from appearing, fashions a sense of safety.” His words carry emotion and power.
17. “PICTURE-IN-PICTURE” by DUSTIN LaVALLEY
This is an excellent story about a man recalling his past while the past relives itself beside him. “Picture-in-Picture” is the second story considered for Chiral Mad 2. His first submission, “White (In the House of Change)” nearly made the cut and was held onto for a long time (3 months?). If there are any publishers reading this post, “White” is a story you will want to publish. I had a hard time letting it go. So much, in fact, that I practically begged Dustin for another submission. He sent me two, and I knew the first (“Picture-in-Picture”) was the right fit after only a few sentences.
Here’s where you can read some of his other brilliant work: Odds and Ends: An Assortment of Sorts, which Thomas Ligotti calls “Extraordinary. Hauntingly poignant,”Spinner, which Dread Central calls LaValley “not just a writer but an artist,” and Lowlife Underdogs.
18. “WHEN I WAS” by THOMAS F. MONTELEONE
Tom is a four-time winner of the Horror Writers Association Bram Stoker Award. What more can I say about Tom that you haven’t heard before, or haven’t heard me say before? I can’t think of anything new / clever, so I’ll plagiarize myself from an earlier Facebook post regarding his new story, “When I Was”: “When I was… 27, I became serious about my writing and took a chance by going to the Borderlands Press boot camp. Tom took me under his wing, and has mentored me over the years to help morph me into the writer/editor/publisher I am today. Three novels, two short story collections, 30 or so published works of fiction, a bunch of awards and whatnot, and a boatload of edited anthologies later… Well, this book [ Chiral Mad ] would not exist without Tom. When I was… 34 (today), I published Thomas F. Monteleone.”
Tom wrote the introduction to the first Chiral Mad: “Fun with Your New Asymmetric Head” and enjoyed the book enough to want to write something new for the second volume. Where to start with Tom’s work… You can’t go wrong with his Borderlands series: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 (they are hard to find because they are some of the most sought after anthologies in the market), or his Stoker winning The Blood of the Lamb (now available on Kindle), or some of his nonfiction with M.A.F.I.A. (The Mothers and Fathers Italian or, if you’re thinking about writing a novel, his best-selling The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Writing a Novel. He also publishes some amazing books at Borderlands Press.
19. “DEAR BOY” by JOHN BIGGS
A heartrending story about a boy with toy, “Dear Boy” will make you think twice, or perhaps thrice, about the action figure your son carries around with him wherever he goes. “I try to tell them, ‘That’s how Davy talks,’ but the words twist around my tongue and come out backwards.” This story will move you one way or another.
I would go into more detail about John, but Regina Williams, Editor/Publisher of The Storyteller Magazine and Mockingbird Lane Press states it best: “John Biggs is an award-winning author and it’s plain to see why. Larger than life characters draw the reader in just as his prose brings the story to life. John’s unique take on everyday events will stay in the reader’s mind for a very long time.”
20. “SCAVENGING” by KEVIN LUCIA
“I collect things I need.” So states Kevin Lucia’s “Scavenging.” Well, for this collection of stories, Kevin Lucia is the needed thing. And you need to read him. You’ve probably seen his name popping up in places. That’s because he’s going places. He’s a teacher. He’s a writer. He’s the future of speculative fiction. He’s also a past grunt from the Borderlands Press Boot Camp, where I was first introduced to his work. You’re probably realizing this “Borderlands Press Boot Camp” thing, like Kevin, keeps popping up, sounding familiar. That’s because Tom Monteleone and company have a good thing going with this program. They have been shaping the writers of tomorrow, which is today, such as fellow Chiral Mad alumni John Palisano, P. Gardner Goldsmith, Meghan Arcuri, R.B. Payne and many others. Anyway, back to Kevin.
While this is Kevin’s first pro-rate short story, his work has appeared in Shroud Magazine, Cutting Block Press, Horror Library, and many others. His long fiction includes the fourth book in the Hiram Grange series by Shroud Publishing, and his most recent fiction collection, Things Slip Through, which Mass Movement Magazine calls “a collection that’s as disturbing as it is captivating” was recently released.
21. “THE GEMINIS” by JOHN PALISANO
“The Geminis” is John’s second work to appear in the Chiral Mad series. His story “Gaia Ungaia” appeared in the first volume. I always look forward to reading this guy’s fiction, to see what kind of poetic / musical prose he brings to the genre. When you read his words, they are not simply sentences strung together; they are symphonic / harmonic, and lyrically-wonderful literary compositions.
John and I first met at the Borderlands Press Boot Camp many years ago. I still remember his story (the only one I remember from that year). It was called “The Tennatrick,” which can now be found in the Midnight Walk anthology. He’s created book trailers for Lisa Morton (Castle of Los Angeles), Gary Braunbeck (Far Dark Fields), which won the Black Quill Award, and yours truly (Palindrome Hannah). His first novel, Nerves, is an amazing piece of work.
Twenty-one stories so far in this impressive Table of Contents. How many more? Probably seven, maybe fewer. Look for more announcements soon on the various social media outlets.
The next installment, CHIRAL MAD 2: CONTENTS, PART 4, will include the remaining (7?) to appear in the table of contents.