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

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!

“The Vestige” in NOWHEREVILLE

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The anthology Nowhereville: Weird is Other People is now available to order, containing my story “The Vestige,” a strange tale of a man searching for his cousin in an Eastern European city.  Here’s the full table of contents:

Walk Softly, Softly – Nuzo Onoh

Y – Maura McHugh

Night Doctors – P. Djèli Clark

The Chemical Bride – Evan J. Peterson

Patio Wing Monsters – S.P. Miskowski

Underglaze – Craig Laurance Gidney

The Vestige – Lynda E. Rucker

The Cure – Tariro Ndoro

Kleinsche Fläsche of Four-Dimensional Resonance – D.A. Xiaolin Spires

Nolens Volens – Mike Allen

Vertices – Jeffrey Thomas

Like Fleas on a Tired Dog’s Back – Erica L. Satifka

Urb Civ – Kathe Koja

Over/Under – Leah Bobet

A Name for Every Home – Ramsey Campbell

Tends to Zero – Wole Talabi

My Lying-Down Smiley Face – Stephen Graham Jones

Luriberg-That-Was – R.L. Lemberg

The Sister City – Cody Goodfellow

 

 

 

“Every Exquisite Thing” reprinted at The Dark and other news

My story “Every Exquisite Thing,” which originally appeared in The Scarlet Soul: Stories for Dorian Gray, is available to read for free online at The Dark. The Scarlet Soul was edited by Mark Valentine (a very talented writer in his own right) and published by Swan River Press, but it sold out pretty much immediately on publication, so until now, this has been a rather hard-to-find story of mine!

Also, in July, a new story by me, “The Sideways Lady,” appeared in an anthology for “kids of all ages,” as they used to say (do they still say that?), Terrifying Tales to Tell at Night. That link goes to Amazon but of course if you ordered the book through your friendly neighborhood brick and mortar independent bookstore, all the better. Edited by Stephen Jones and spookily illustrated by Randy Broecker, the book is mostly reprints of short tales by great writers (Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Michael Marshall Smith among others) suitable for kids–Lisa Morton has the other original story in it besides me. I’m particularly chuffed to be in an anthology alongside the legendary Manly Wade Wellman for what I believe is the first time.

I feel like there has probably been other news worth sharing in the past almost-seven months since I last posted anything here, but in the spirit of onwards and upwards, let’s just move along. I’ve got a few things coming out in the months ahead and am working on some other exciting things, so watch this space.

The Moon Will Look Strange: Deluxe Limited Hardcover

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I’m delighted to announce that the very fine Undertow Publications is releasing a gorgeous limited edition reprint of my first short story collection, The Moon Will Look Strange. There will only be 100 copies. You can take a look at the specifications and preorder here. The amazing Vince Haig is responsible for the beautiful design.

I’m particularly pleased to be first in a line of “Contemporary Classics” released by  Undertow that will include Joel Lane’s The Lost District. I’ve written here before about what an influence and inspiration Joel was for me.

In other news, I am on the jury this year for the Shirley Jackson Awards, which means that outside of the usual work-sleep-eat survival stuff, my life is mainly consumed by reading like a maniac. This is a huge honor and also provides the opportunity to read a lot of really amazing fiction and is also a lot of work! Unless I have any more publication news to share, I’m unlikely to resurface again here until after the nominations are announced in late spring, but I’ve got quite a few projects going on and a lot to say, so I’ll be back when I can. In the meantime, you can always find me on Twitter and Facebook (though I post less on Facebook and am also really bad about keeping up with friend requests unless we’ve met, so . . . )

And of course, the paperback and ebook version of The Moon Will Look Strange is still available at all the Amazons. There are also copies of my second collection, You’ll Know When You Get There, available from Swan River Press.

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.

Darker Companions, a Ramsey Campbell tribute anthology

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Darker Companions, a Ramsey Campbell tribute anthology, is out now from PS Publishing, with cover art by the great JK Potter.

Here’s the glorious lineup:

  • Introduction: Hymns from the Church in High Street by Scott David Aniolowski 
  • Holoow by Michael Wehunt 
  • The Long Fade into Evening by Steve Rasnic Tem 
  • Asking Price by S.P. Miskowski 
  • Author! Author?  by John Llewellyn Probert 
  • Meriwether by Michael Griffin 
  • The Entertainment Arrives by Alison Littlewood 
  • Premeditation by Marc Laidlaw 
  • A Perfect Replica by Damien Angelica Walters 
  • There, There by Gary McMahon 
  • We Pass from View by Matthew M. Bartlett 
  • Meeting the Master by Gary Fry 
  • Saints in Gold by Kristi DeMeester 
  • This Last Night in Sodom by Cody Goodfellow 
  • The Whither by Kaaron Warren 
  • Uncanny Valley by Jeffrey Thomas 
  • The Dublin Horror by Lynda E. Rucker 
  • The Sixth Floor by Thana Niveau 
  • The Carcass of the Lion by Christopher Slatsky 
  • The Granfalloon by Orrin Grey 
  • Little Black Lamb by Adam L G Nevill

When Joe Pulver first asked me to contribute to a Ramsey Campbell tribute anthology he would be editing with Scott Aniolowski, my reply was something like Try and stop me! Ramsey Campbell has been one of the most significant influences from the horror genre on my own writing, and I was thrilled at the opportunity to honor him in this way.

I first read Ramsey Campbell as a teenager—a copy of The Face That Must Die, the Scream Press edition with the JK Potter photographs and the harrowing essay by Ramsey about his childhood somehow made its way into our house in rural Georgia. (I have no idea how. Perhaps through some demonology on the part of Ramsey himself.) That was quite an introduction to his work. To be honest, at the time, I wasn’t sure what I thought about it. I’d never encountered anything like it. But a couple of years later, I’d started reading his stories in Year’s Best anthologies and picked up The Hungry Moon, a tale of ancient pagan evil and modern fundamentalism in a small English village, at my university library. I loved it.

Not long after that, I went to Ireland for a few months on a student work visa. I waited tables in a pub in Dublin, a dreadful yuppie establishment that used to be on Wicklow Street, thankfully now long gone and forgotten, and drank a lot of Guinness. I was pretty broke, and books were expensive in Ireland even then, so I relied on charity shops and my two flatmates to keep me in a steady supply of reading material. At one Oxfam shop near where I lived in Rathmines, Ramsey Campbell paperbacks started turning up, one or two a week. It became a kind of ritual, stopping in to see if whoever seemed to be working their way through Ramsey’s bibliography and then passing them more or less directly on to me had left me another. It was during this time that I fell well and truly in love with his work, his allusive and often intricate style, his descriptions of a world in which realities shifted in front of characters’ eyes, and his themes, including those of alienation and the oppressive nature of organized religion–two that I borrowed for my own story in this anthology. I remember how sad I was when I’d read all the novels he’d written up to that point, and there were no more new books coming in.

It was with all this in mind that I set out to write “The Dublin Horror.” I wanted my main character to be a 1980s teen goth girl—perhaps not so different from Amy of Ramsey’s 1998 novel Nazareth Hill, one of my favorites by him. I wanted her to discover a writer in the same way I’d fallen in love with Ramsey’s books, and as I once owned a copy of his Night of the Claw written as Jay Ramsey, in a moment of cheekiness I gave the writer the first name of Jay. After that it got cheekier—I won’t spoil my own story, but suffice it to say any resemblance to Ramsey Campbell, the writer and the person I have come to know a little over the years, ends there.

At its core, though, I wanted to tell a story that evoked the same sense of disorientation and isolation that so many of Ramsey’s stories have done for me. I set out to write something that felt, to me at least, Campbellesque, as filtered through my own style and preoccupations. I’m just so pleased to have had the opportunity to contribute to this anthology and to pay my respects to a writer who has meant so much to me—not just as a writer, but as a reader. Like many of my colleagues, I wouldn’t be here in quite the same way without him.