PRISMS and BLACK STATIC

I’m delighted to be able to announce that the anthology Prisms, edited by Darren Speegle and Michael Bailey, is now available for pre-order from PS Publishing. This anthology got pushed back a few years, so my story “Encore For an Empty Sky”–a rare jaunt by me into science fiction–has been waiting for a while to see the light of day. That fine cover is by British Fantasy Award-winning artist Ben Baldwin.

As you can see, the lineup is wonderful:

  • WE COME IN THREES – B.E. Scully 
  • ENCORE FOR AN EMPTY SKY – Lynda Rucker
  • THE GIRL WITH BLACK FINGERS – Roberta Lannes
  • THE SHIMMERING WALL – Brian Evenson
  • IN THIS, THERE IS NO STING – Kristi DeMeester
  • THE BIRTH OF VENUS – Ian Watson
  • FIFTY SUPER-SAD MAD DOG SUI-HOMICIDAL SELF-SIBS, ALL IN A LEAKY TIN CAN HEAD – Paul Di Filippo
  • RIVERGRACE – E. Catherine Tobler
  • SAUDADE – Richard Thomas
  • THERE IS NOTHING LOST – Erinn L Kemper
  • THIS HEIGHT AND FIERY SPEED – A.C. Wise
  • THE MOTEL BUSINESS – Michael Marshall Smith
  • EVERYTHING BEAUTIFUL IS ALSO A LIE – Damien Angelica Walters
  • THE GEARBOX – Paul Meloy
  • DISTRICT TO CERVIX: THE TIME BEFORE WE WERE BORN – Tlotlo Tsamaase
  • HERE TODAY AND GONE TOMORROW – Chaz Brenchley
  • THE SECRETS OF MY PRISON HOUSE – J. Lincoln Fenn
  • A LUTA CONTINUA – Nadia Bulkin
  • I SHALL BUT LOVE THEE BETTER – Scott Edelman

In other news, that stalwart of British horror, Black Static, is coming to an end. My last column, “Notes From the Borderland,” was in the November/December issue, and editor Andy Cox will be switching to a digest format for a little while as he winds everything down. Black Static, its forerunner The Third Alternative, and TTA Press mean more to me than I can really properly say here. Andy plucked me out of the slush and published my first story after I’d spent years beating my head against a solid wall of rejection. He bought six of my first eight published stories. If you like my writing–well, if not for Andy Cox, you probably wouldn’t be reading it. So pop over to the page and pick up a copy of Black Static while you still can. In the meantime, I suppose I will have to find another outlet for my blatherings on all things horror and then some.

Crooked Houses: Second Printing

Last year, one of my favorite presses for weird and strange literature, Egaeus Press, published a book of haunted house stories, Crooked Houses, that included my story “Miasmata.” But the print run sold out within a week, so if you didn’t act fast, it was gone! Now I’m happy to be able to announce that there is a second printing and you can order now–but act fast again, because with just 250 copies, this one will go fast too!

Crooked Houses includes stories by Steve Duffy, Helen Grant, Mark Valentine, Reggie Oliver, David Surface, Richard Gavin, Rebecca Lloyd, Carly Holmes and many others:

YOUR HOUSE, ANY HOUSE. THAT HOUSE. — Rebecca Kuder
THE SULLIED PANE — Richard Gavin
THE SHEPHERD’S HOUSE — Colin Insole
THE WEST WINDOW — Helen Grant
THE PSYCHOMANTEUM — Steve Duffy
THE CRUMBLIES — Reggie Oliver
THE DEVIL WILL BE AT THE DOOR — David Surface
THE HOUSE OF THE MERE — John Gale
FAIREST OF THEM ALL — Albert Power
MIASMATA — Lynda E. Rucker
THE READERS OF THE SANDS — Mark Valentine
DOLL’S HOUSE — Carly Holmes
AT LOTHESLEY, MONTGOMERYSHIRE, 1910 — James Doig
IN CROMER ROAD — Rebecca Lloyd
HOUSE OF SAND — Katherine Haynes
MYTHOLOGY — Jane Jakeman
THE PINER HOUSE — Timothy Granville

Black Static #77 is out

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The new Black Static is out! Issue #77 contains my column “Notes From the Borderland,” this time focusing on Christmas ghost stories.

There is fiction by Philip Fracassi, Steve Rasnic Tem, Françoise Harvey, David Martin, Shannon K. Gaerity, and Eric Schaller. Cover art is Ben Baldwin; Joachim Luetke also illustrates a story. Other columns are by Ralph Robert Moore, Gary Couzens and David Surface and there are a whole load of book reviews by various reviewers as well.

As ever, if you like dark fiction, you should purchase the issue or subscribe. Black Static continues to be not just as absolute stalwart of the small press but a real haven for the literary dark story that just doesn’t quite fit anywhere else. Long may it last!

British Fantasy Award nomination

I am surprised and pleased to announce that I have been nominated for a British Fantasy Award in the nonfiction category for the column I write for Black Static, “Notes from the Borderland.” This is only the second award nomination for my writing I’ve ever received–in 2016 I was nominated for and won the 2015 Shirley Jackson Award for Best Short Story with “The Dying Season“–so as you can imagine, this is very exciting for me!

The full short list is available here, and it’s wonderful to see so many friends nominated in various categories (including my fellow former Black Static columnist Stephen Volk for his collection of columns). I’m so grateful to the members of the British Fantasy Society for the nomination. Thanks, people who nominated me, and congratulations to my fellow nominees!

My weird dark shadow and a new short story

A couple of weeks ago, I participated in an author’s panel on Zoom moderated by Kate Jonez of the publishing company Omnium Gatherum. Unlike many people, I have been slow to warm up to Zoom in These Pandemic Times, but I really enjoyed chatting with my fellow authors Simon Bestwick, Tom Johnstone, and Mark Kirkbride. I am a weird dark shadow because of (redacted for boring) issues getting up and running and didn’t set my lighting properly! The panel was partly to celebrate the release of novellas by Johnstone and Kirkbride, Star Spangled Knuckle Duster and The Plot Against Heaven respectively, but our conversation was wide-ranging. I actually found it a bit difficult to do a panel without an audience–there’s no sense of whether you’re going on too short or too long, whether or not you’re engaging people!

All of us on the panel are Omnium Gatherum alumni in one way or another. A few years ago, Omnium Gatherum published Simon Bestwick’s novella Angels of the Silences (see my blurb at the link!) and a story by me, “The Receiver of Tales,” appeared in the Omnium Gatherum anthology Little Visible Delight in 2013 (later reprinted in my short story collection You’ll Know When You Get There).

Sisterhood Twitter

Speaking of short stories, my story “The Anchoress” will appear in a forthcoming anthology from Chaosium, Sisterhood: Dark Tales and Secret Mysteries. This features an exciting lineup that includes Alison Littlewood, Lisa Morton, Kaaron Warren, S.P. Miskowski, Livia Llewellyn, Nadia Bulkin, Gemma Files, Damien Angelica Walters and many more.

Black Static #76 out now

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Just a quick note to say that Black Static #76, the September/October issue, is out now, and includes my column “Notes From the Borderland.” It’s a bit of an odd one as I wrote it in the late spring for the summer issue but that issue got pushed ahead and it is very much about where the world was at the time it was written. I could have done something different for this issue or revised it, but, well, I rather liked it. However, I shall be back on track seasonally speaking with the next issue!

This one also contains fiction from Rhonda Pressley Veit, Lucie McKnight Hardy (whose much-anticipated-by-me book Water Shall Refuse Them is teetering near the top of my to-read pile) (yes I know it came out a year ago, it’s a big pile), Abi Hynes, Tim Cooke, and Stephen Hargadon along with reviews by Gary Couzens, Ralph Robert Moore’s column, and many book reviews. The fabulous cover art is by Richard Wagner, and illustrations inside the magazine are by Wagner, Ben Baldwin, and Vincent Sammy.

Subscribe to Black Static if you love dark fiction! And if that’s not your thing, check out the science fiction in Interzone or the crime fiction in Crimewave.

CROOKED HOUSES featured in RUE MORGUE magazine

I’m delighted to report that the Sept/Oct edition of the magazine Rue Morgue (on newsstands September 1) features an article on the anthology Crooked Houses by Dejan Ognjanovic. It’s a terrific little piece that includes remarks from editor Mark Beech and writer Reggie Oliver as well as writer Steve Duffy and me talking about the origins of our stories. Subscribe or buy a copy and support the existence of the all-too-rare print horror journal! (Or, you can get a digital edition if you prefer.)

Crooked Houses has, alas, sold out quickly! However, the editor has said there may be a reprint if interest is shown. So if you missed picking up your copy and have taken to rending your garments and gnashing your teeth as a result of your tardiness, drop a line to egaeuspress@gmail.com and let them know.

CROOKED HOUSES is available for pre-order!

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Hey! I mentioned a few posts ago that Egaeus Press would be publishing another of their beautiful books, Crooked Houses, this one containing my story “Miasmata.” Now, the book is available for pre-order, to be released later this month.

We were asked to contribute stories to this book about hauntings, but not the kind that could be neatly explained. Instead, we were encouraged to consider more ancient terrors, the stuff of folklore and legend, the inexplicable. As Egaeus Press puts it “Though many of the stories presented are set in the modern world, the forces which pervade are primeval, unquantifiable; the stuff of folk-tales, family curses and collective nightmares.”

Only 325 copies are to be printed. Egaeus makes books that are genuine works of art, and they are often snapped up in pre-orders before the release date, so if you’re wavering, I encourage you to get your order in now!

Crooked Houses is edited by Mark Beech, and here’s the rest of the lineup that I’m very proud to be included in:

YOUR HOUSE, ANY HOUSE. THAT HOUSE. — Rebecca Kuder
THE SULLIED PANE — Richard Gavin
THE SHEPHERD’S HOUSE — Colin Insole
THE WEST WINDOW — Helen Grant
THE PSYCHOMANTEUM — Steve Duffy
THE CRUMBLIES — Reggie Oliver
THE DEVIL WILL BE AT THE DOOR — David Surface
THE HOUSE OF THE MERE — John Gale
FAIREST OF THEM ALL — Albert Power
MIASMATA — Lynda E. Rucker
THE READERS OF THE SANDS — Mark Valentine
DOLL’S HOUSE — Carly Holmes
AT LOTHESLEY, MONTGOMERYSHIRE, 1910 — James Doig
IN CROMER ROAD — Rebecca Lloyd
HOUSE OF SAND — Katherine Haynes
MYTHOLOGY — Jane Jakeman
THE PINER HOUSE — Timothy Granville

a pandemic update

Spring cleaning (can we call it that if it’s already June?) Shocking, the layer of dust that’s grown around here after just a few months away. Let us briefly acknowledge that the world has been on fire lately and that this is one of several reasons for my lengthy absence from this space. On the plus side, expect to see me around here a lot more.

Stories are still being told! In April, PS Publishing released Apostles of the Weird, edited by S.T. Joshi, which includes my story “This Hollow Thing.” Here’s the entire lineup.

  • Death in All Its Ripeness by Mark Samuels
  • Introduction by S. T.  Joshi
  • Sebillia by John Shirley
  • Come Closer by Gemma Files
  • Widow’s Walk by Jonathan Thomas
  • The Walls Are Trembling by Steve Rasnic Tem
  • Trogs by Nancy Kilpatrick
  • The Zanies of Sorrow by W. H. Pugmire
  • This Hollow Thing by Lynda E. Rucker
  • The Outer Boundary by Michael Washburn
  • Black Museums by Jason V Brock
  • The Legend of the One-Armed Brakeman by Michael Aronovitz
  • Lisa’s Pieces by Clint Smith
  • Everything Is Good in the Forest by George Edwards Murray
  • Three Knocks on a Forsaken Door by Richard Gavin
  • The Thief of Dreams by Darrell Schweitzer
  • Axolotl House by Cody Goodfellow
  • Night Time in the Karoo by Lynne Jamneck
  • Porson’s Piece by Reggie Oliver
  • Cave Canem by Stephen Woodworth

Announced and due to be released later in the summer is Crooked Houses edited by Mark Beach at Egaeus Press.  This includes my story “Miasmata” along with stories by Helen Grant, Reggie Oliver, Steve Duffy, Mark Valentine, Rebecca Lloyd, Carly Holmes, John Gale, Richard Gavin, Rebecca Kuder, Albert Power, James Doig, Katherine Haynes, Colin Insole, David Surface, Jane Jakeman and Timothy Granville. A haunted house anthology, but one that looks back beyond the cozy ghost story to stranger, more atavistic hauntings.

Prisms

The image you see above is the cover art for Prisms by the excellent Ben Baldwin, a science fiction anthology edited by Michael Bailey and Darren Speegle that includes my story “Encore for an Empty Sky.” This will be available for pre-order from PS Publishing shortly. Here’s the full lineup:

“We Come in Threes” by B.E. Scully
“Encore for an Empty Sky” by Lynda E. Rucker
“The Girl with Black Fingers” by Roberta Lannes
“The Shimmering Wall” by Brian Evenson
“In This, There Is No Sting” by Kristi DeMeester
“The Birth of Venus” by Ian Watson
“Fifty Super-Sad Mad Dog Sui-Homicidal Self-Sibs, All in a Leaky Tin Can Head” by Paul Di Filippo
“Rivergrace” by E. Catherine Tobler
“Saudade” by Richard Thomas
“There Is Nothing Lost” by Erinn Kemper
“This Height and Fiery Speed” by A.C. Wise
“The Motel Business” by Michael Marshall Smith
“Everything Beautiful Is Also a Lie” by Damien Angelica Walters
“The Gearbox” by Paul Meloy
“District to Cervix: The Time Before We Were Born” by Tlotlo Tsamaase
“Here Today and Gone Tomorrow” by Chaz Brenchley
“The Secrets of My Prison House by J Lincoln Fenn
“A Luta Continua” by Nadia Bulkin”
“I Shall but Love Thee Better” by Scott Edelman

Also, I was interviewed in Phantasmagoria Magazine! You can pick up a copy on Amazon.

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Here’s a fun little project I had the opportunity to take part in a couple of months ago along with some friends to promote the new book of another friend, Rob Shearman. Rob is a terrific writer and a lovely guy, and in April, PS Publishing released a three-volume set of 101 short stories by him with illustrations by the ridiculously multi-talented Reggie Oliver (actor, writer, artist). Jim McLeod, the mad Scotsman behind the site Ginger Nuts of Horror, conspired to have dozens of us write short review of one or two stories each from the book, and you can check them out here (I’m in part four).

I was also honored to write an introduction to David Surface‘s debut short story collection, Terrible Things, out now from Black Shuck Books. If you subscribe to Black Static (and if you love horror fiction, you should) you may know David from his “One Good Story” column that he writes there, or you might recognize him from appearances in various anthologies.Terrible Things is a terrific debut, and you should check it out.

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Last but by no means least, fans of British horror cinema (or critic David Thomson’s Suspects) might want to check out England’s Screaming by Sean Hogan, a book with the conceit that a link runs through the characters and happenings in British horror films to a diabolical end. Part short story collection, part film criticism, part secret “history” of post-war Britain, England’s Screaming is a vicious romp even if you don’t know all the films (I didn’t). For a taste of the madness, you can read a bonus vignette at Sean’s blog here and the book’s introduction by writer, critic and actor Jonathan Rigby here. There’s also a novella-length sequel, Three Mothers, One Father, that tackles Eurohorror, and you can pick it up over at Black Shuck Books. You can also check out some additional terrific book recommendations from Sean at Kendall Reviews (which is partnered with PS to offer 10% off England’s Screaming for June), an interview and a review of England’s Screaming at Diabolique, and an interview at the Britflicks podcast.

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Wherever you are in this absolutely mad world we have found ourselves in, truly through the looking glass, I hope you and your loved ones are safe and well and have found some wonderful stories as a temporary respite.

“So Much Wine” in SUPERNATURAL TALES #42

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I was remiss in announcing my last publication of 2019, the Christmas ghost story “So Much Wine” in the excellent and underrated publication Supernatural Tales, which has published several of my stories. Get a hard copy or a copy for your Kindle here.

There are three other Christmas ghost stories inside–by Steve Duffy, Helen Grant, and Mark Valentine–as well as some non-seasonal fiction. The full table of contents:

‘The God of Storage Options’ by Steve Duffy

‘Flame Mahogany’ by Jane Jakeman

‘So Much Wine’ by Lynda E. Rucker

‘That’s What Friends Are For’ by Patricia Lillie

‘Cold as Night’ by Sam Dawson

‘The Seventh Card’ by Mark Valentine

‘Mrs Velderkaust’s Lease’ by Helen Grant

About 2019 itself, the less said, the better–2020 has been off to an unpleasantly hectic start, but I’m finally getting a small chance to catch my breath. I’m hoping for a better year and that I’ll be able to finish some long-languishing projects and bring you a lot of new stories!