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.

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!

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.

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.

Dorian Gray, Best New Horror, & Black Static

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Now available for pre-order from Swan River Press and due out next month is the anthology The Scarlet Soul: Stories for Dorian Gray, which includes my story “Every Exquisite Thing” and nine other stories by terrific writers. Edited by Mark Valentine, this is another gorgeous production from Swan River Press that you won’t want to miss.

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Also available for pre-order: Best New Horror #28, edited by Stephen Jones, from PS Publishing. This includes my story “Who Is This Who Is Coming?” from my short story collection You’ll Know When You Get There. You can get the trade paperback or the signed limited edition of Best New Horror, which has a fine lineup as always. And you can still get a copy of You’ll Know When You Get There from Swan River Press while they last.

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Finally, there’s a new Black Static out; I have an ongoing column here, and for this issue I wrote about ghosts. There’s also a regular column by Ralph Robert Moore, fiction reviews by Peter Tennant and film reviews by Gary Couzens, and the usual lineup of fine fiction, this time from Ruth EJ Booth, Ralph Robert Moore, Georgina Bruce, Andrew Humphrey, Carly Holmes, and Mel Kassel, all beautifully illustrated by Vince Haig, George C. Cotronis, and Joachim Luetke. If you subscribe, you get the first issue free.

Black Static. Bleak Days.

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cover art by Joachim Luetke

The new issue of Black Static is out, and in my bimonthly column, I talk about the intersection of politics and art:

What, then, are we to do, those of us who look at the world around us and see a narrowing, a meanness, a falling back to fight old battles we thought were won? And how can stories about monsters help anyone in times like these?

The magazine has the usual mix of terrific fiction, art, reviews, interviews, and commentary and includes the debut of Ralph Robert Moore as my fellow columnist. You can get this issue free if you subscribe now.

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I can scarcely believe what a different world we are living in, and what a bleak one we are on the brink of, compared to my last post on this blog. You’ll be hearing from me more here than usual in the weeks and months ahead, because I have a lot to say and a lot to process and I have to believe that words can save us, or I’ll give in to despair.

Nolite te bastardes carborundorum.

Resist. Dissent. Make art.

That’s all I got.

Black Static #36

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Black Static #36 is out! In addition to my column, “Blood Pudding,” there are stories by Jacob A. Boyd, Stephen Bacon, Tim Waggoner, Christopher Fowler, V.H. Leslie, and Ray Cluley plus Stephen Volk‘s regular column “Coffinmaker Blues,” reviews by Tony Lee and Peter Tennant, an interview with the incomparable Nina Allan and the usual assortment of exceptional artwork.

Black Static is one of the premiere print magazines of the horror field, so if you love horror fiction and want to keep up with some of the best short fiction work being done in the genre, I highly recommend a subscription. You can also get it on Kindle in the US and in the UK.

Oh, and if you can’t get enough of my writing, you can still buy my book.

two announcements

The Moon Will Look Strange final

1. Above is the final cover for my forthcoming short story collection which, if you missed my earlier announcement, will be published by Karōshi Books later this year. To say I am delighted with the introduction by Steve Rasnic Tem would be a huge understatement.

2. From May, I’ll be the newest columnist for the British horror magazine Black Static, joining regulars Stephen Volk and Christopher Fowler. I’m thrilled about this as Andy Cox bought my first stories for its earlier incarnation, The Third Alternative (and the title story from the collection above appeared in there as well). Having an editor or two who believes in you in those early days is, well, pretty much what keeps you going.