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.

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New interview and more

First! Brian Lillie asked me lots of great questions for his blog 31 Hath October.  Check out my answers (well, plus his questions) here!

Next! I wrote a chapter on “Finding Your Voice” in Writers on Writing, vol. 4, edited by Joe Mynhardt over at Crystal Lake Publishing. It’s an ebook available on Amazon and is out now.

And! If you are looking for some great horror stories to read, Adam Nevill offers up a list over at The Quietus, including my story “The Dying Season” from Aickman’s Heirs and lots of other great stuff.

Ten Tall Tales

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(and ten limericks, courtesy of Ramsey Campbell)

It is the tenth anniversary of NewCon Press, which is a very fine small press indeed run by Ian Whates. In celebration, NewCon has been releasing a series of publications including this one–in which we were asked to write a story of dark fantasy or horror that incorporated something about the number ten. Just look at that terrific lineup! My story, “One Little Mouth to Kiss You Goodnight” is in there along with ten other excellent writers (nine stories plus ten limericks from Mr. Campbell). It will be launched at the British Fantasy Convention (with wine!), but if you can’t attend, fear not. It’s also available for pre-order at the NewCon Press website.

New collection: You’ll Know When You Get There

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I am delighted to announce that my second short story collection, You’ll Know When You Get There, is now available for pre-order from Swan River Press. This is a limited edition of only 400, so buy early and often before they are all gone!

I was fortunate enough to get a lovely introduction from Lisa Tuttle, a writer whose own stories have been very influential for me, and the cover art is by Savannah artist Tobia Makover–I love Tobia’s haunting photographs, go check them out for yourself!

I’ve also been interviewed about the book by the very fine writer (and fellow Shirley Jackson Award winner for 2015) Steve Duffy. You can read that over at the Swan River Press site as well.

The book will be officially launched in August at the Dublin Ghost Story Festival, where I will be a guest along with a whole slew of luminaries.

 

Something Remains: A tribute to Joel Lane

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Last year, Peter Coleborn of the award-winning Alchemy Press contacted me about a project he was working on with Pauline E. Dungate that I couldn’t possibly have said no to: an anthology based on some of the unfinished work of the British writer Joel Lane. After Joel’s untimely death in 2013, his loved ones found that he had left a lot of fragments behind. Those of us working on the project were sent scans of the manuscript fragments to choose from, and I selected a fragment called “The Other Side.” What I had to work with were two handwritten pages, one partly notes and prose and the second all prose based on the notes of the previous. I used Joel’s second page of prose almost exactly as it appeared and built my own Lane-esque story around it.

It was an enormous honor to work on this and also an extremely moving experience. I had selected the fragment that spoke to me the most personally, and worked hard to get into a mindset that would produce a story that was truly a collaboration between Joel and me. As someone who had only a passing acquaintance with Joel personally (but who has loved his work since the 1990s), it was surprising how close I felt to him over the course of writing the story. I do not literally believe that I was visited by some spirit in the process of writing it, but I absolutely felt his presence and influence throughout. I was happy with the result–not something that I always feel on completing a story–and I hope Joel would be as well. Above all, I hope his friends and those who admired his work think I have done a decent job in acting as his collaborator.

Something Remains will launch at the British Fantasy Convention in September, and copies will be available there and through Alchemy Press. No one is making any money from this effort; all proceeds will be donated to Diabetes UK in memory of Joel.

I’m sharing the table of contents with a number of talented writers, many of them close friends of Joel’s:

  • Foreword by Peter Coleborn
  • Introduction by Pauline E. Dungate
  • Not Dispossessed:  A Few Words on Joel Lane’s Early Published Works by David A. Sutton (Essay)
  • Joel by Chris Morgan (Verse)
  • Everybody Hates a Tourist by Tim Lebbon
  • The Missing by John Llewellyn Probert
  • Charmed Life by Simon Avery
  • Antithesis by Alison Littlewood
  • Dark Furnaces by Chris Morgan
  • The Inner Ear by Marion Pitman (Verse)
  • Broken Eye by Gary Mcmahon
  • Stained Glass by John Grant
  • Threadbare by Jan Edwards
  • The Dark above the Fair by Terry Grimwood
  • Grey Children by David A. Sutton
  • The Twin by James Brogden
  • Lost by Pauline Morgan (Verse)
  • Through the Floor [1] by Gary Couzens
  • Through the Floor [2] by Stephen Bacon
  • Bad Faith by Thana Niveau
  • Window Shopping by David Mathew
  • Clan Festor by Liam Garriock
  • Sweet Sixteen by Adam Millard
  • Buried Stars by Simon Macculloch
  • And Ashes in Her Hair by Simon Bestwick
  • The Pleasure Garden by Rosanne Rabinowitz
  • Joel Lane, Poet by Chris Morgan (Essay)
  • The Reach of Children by Mike Chinn
  • The Men Cast by Shadows by Mat Joiner
  • The Winter Garden by Pauline E. Dungate
  • Natural History by Allen Ashley
  • The Second Death by Ian Hunter
  • The Bright Exit by Sarah Doyle (Verse)
  • Blanche by Andrew Hook
  • The Body Static by Tom Johnstone
  • You Give Me Fever by Paul Edwards
  • The Other Side by Lynda E. Rucker
  • Of Loss and of Life: Joel Lane’s Essays on the Fantastic by Mark Valentine (Essay)
  • Shadows by Joe X Young
  • I Need Somewhere to Hide by Steven Savile
  • Coming to Life by John Howard
  • The Enemy Within by Steve Rasnic Tem
  • Afterword: The Whole of Joel by Ramsey Campbell (Essay)

Best Horror of the Year

I’m pleased to announce that my story “The House on Cobb Street,” which originally appeared over at Nightmare Magazine, will receive its first print publication in volume 6 of Ellen Datlow’s Best Horror of the Year. I am particularly delighted by this news because it marks the first time I’ve sold a story to Ellen Datlow, who of course is one of the top short fiction editors in the field. Here’s the rest of the terrific lineup:

Apports by Stephen Bacon Black Static #36
Mr. Splitfoot by Dale Bailey Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells
The Good Husband by Nathan Ballingrud North American Lake Monsters
The Tiger by Nina Allan Terror Tales of London
The House on Cobb Street by Lynda E. Rucker Nightmare #9 June
The Soul in the Bell Jar by KJ Kabza F&SF November/Dec
Call Out by Stephen Toase Innsmouth Magazine #12
That Tiny Flutter of the Heart I Used to Call Love by Robert Shearman Psycho-Mania
Bones of Crow by Ray Cluley Black Static #37
Introduction to the Body in Fairy Tales by Jeannine Hall Gailey Phantom Drift #3
The Fox by Conrad Williams This is Horror chapbook
The Tin House by Simon Clark Shadow Masters
Stemming the Tide by Simon Strantzas Dead North
The Anatomist’s Mnemonic by Priya Sharma Black Static #32.
The Monster Makers by Steve Rasnic Tem Black Static #35
The Only Ending We Have by Kim Newman Psycho-Mania
The Dog’s Paw by Derek Künsken Chilling Tales: In Words, Alas, Drown I
Fine in the Fire by Lee Thomas Like Light For Flies
Majorlena by Jane Jakeman Supernatural Tales 24
The Withering by Tim Casson Black Static 32
Down to a Sunless Sea by Neil Gaiman The Guardian.com
Jaws of Saturn by Laird Barron The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All
Halfway Home by Linda Nagata Nightmare #12
The Same Deep Waters as You by Brian Hodge Weirder Shadows Over Innsmouth

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.