Moody Gothic, Strange Tales and Splatstick Comedy

Only a couple of months into the new year but I’ve already placed stories with three new anthologies this year, all of which I’m especially excited about:

American-Gothic-Short-Stories.0First up is American Gothic from Flame Tree Publishing. This is going to be a gorgeous 480 page deluxe hardcover with classic gothic stories from Ambrose Bierce, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Washington Irving, Shirley Jackson, H.P. Lovecraft, Herman Melville, Flannery O’Connor, Edgar Allan Poe and many more, along with contemporary stories from modern masters like Ramsey Campbell. This is going to be something you will definitely want on your bookshelf. It will also include a reprint of my short story “Viola’s Second Husband,” which originally appeared in the anthology The New Gothic.

Next up is Nightscript 5 from C.M. Muller, the latest in this ongoing series of strange tales in the tradition of Robert Aickman, Dennis Etchison and Arthur Machen. If you have not yet read any of the previous books, I highly recommend them. This will include an original short story from me called “The Orchard.”

Finally, we have an as yet untitled comedy/horror anthology from Bad Dream Entertainment. I can’t tell you much about this one yet, other than that it will included an outrageous piece of splatstick comedy from me called “The Night Stockers,” about a group of incompetent drug store employees fighting off an alien virus on the night of the store’s big stockroom inspection.


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Coming Soon: Twice Upon an Apocalypse!

Twice Upon An Apocalypse advert 1

At long last Twice Upon an Apocalypse is almost out! Major kudos to editors Rachel Kenley and Scott T. Goudsward for sticking with it, and to Joe Mynhardt at Crystal Lake Publishing for bringing it into the world.

Checking out the amazing writers you can look forward to:

Introduction by Gary Braunbeck

“The Pied Piper of Providence” by William Meikle

“The Three Billy Goats Sothoth” by Peter N. Dudar

“Little Maiden of the Sea” by David Bernard

“The Great Old One and the Beanstalk” by Armand Rosamilia

“In the Shade of the Juniper Tree” by J .P. Hutsell

“The Horror at Hatchet Point” by Zach Shephard

“The Most Incredible Thing” by Bracken MacLeod

“Let Me Come In!” by Simon Yee

“The Fishman and His Wife” by Inanna Arthen

“Little Match Mi-Go” by Michael Kamp

“Follow the Yellow Glyph Road” by Scott T. Goudsward

“Gumdrop Apocalypse” by Pete Rawlik

“Curiosity” by Winifred Burniston

“The Ice Queen” by Mae Epson

“Once Upon a Dream” by Matthew Baugh

“Cinderella and Her Outer Godfather” by C.T. Phipps

“Donkeyskin” by KH Vaughan

“Sweet Dreams in the Witch-House” by Sean Logan

“Fee Fi Old One” by Thom Brannan

“The King on the Golden Mountain” by Morgan Sylvia

“The Legend of Creepy Hollow” by Don D’Ammassa​

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Best Horror of the Year honorable mention and a note about persistence

BHOYEvery year I look forward to picking up latest copy of The Best Horror of the Year from Night Shade Books and editor Ellen Datlow, so I’m very pleased that one my stories made the honorable mention list again this year. The story is “The Tagalong” which appeared in the always excellent journal Supernatural Tales. The story has a long history that provides, for me at least, a useful lesson.

A while back I entered “The Tagalong” in a contest where everyone who enters has to read everyone else’s story, then pick their three favorites and maybe a few honorable mentions. Points were awarded for first, second and third place and the stories with the most votes won. The year I entered there were fifty participants.

A few interesting observations from the outcome of the voting:

  • No one story appealed to everyone, or even a majority. As I recall, the winner was picked by ten to fifteen of the fifty people.
  • Nearly every story got at least one vote or honorable mention.

This is as vivid an example as I’ve ever seen of just how subjective fiction can be. When I read the stories, three stood out as clearly the best and surely everyone else would see it the same, right? Not even close.

In the case of “The Tagalong,” it didn’t receive any honorable mentions. It didn’t receive any third place votes. It didn’t receive any second place votes. But six people said it was the best of all fifty stories. What this told me was that the story was not going to appeal to most readers. That didn’t surprise me; it has a lot of ambiguity and unexplained weirdness that would probably be frustrating to some. But it also told me that the people who did like it might like it a lot. My goal after that was to get it into the hands of those people.product_thumbnail

I started sending the story out, and getting rejections. And more rejections. And more, and more. Normally if a story doesn’t connect I’ll eventually give up and retire it. But because of the lessons I learned from the contest I kept at it. In total, “The Tagalong” was rejected 45 times over several years. But in the end it found a terrific home in a journal I regularly read.

I’m going to try to apply this lesson with my other work going forward. I’m going to try to remember that a rejection, or 45 rejections, isn’t empirical evidence that a story is completely devoid of merit. Maybe I just haven’t gotten it into the right hands yet.

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Interview for The 2nd Spectral Book of Horror Stories

LoganPhoto-300x240The brilliant writer Angela Slatter has posted a brief interview with me in advance of the upcoming anthology The 2nd Spectral Book of Horror Stories. You can find interviews with the other contributors as well, including Tim Lebbon, Simon Bestwick, Robert Shearman, Simon Kurt Unsworth, Stephen Volk, Nicholas Royle, and many more of my favorite writers (yes, I’m in very good company with this one).

See the full TOC and preorder your copy here:


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Dark Visions Giveaway

Just a quick note to say that if haven’t yet picked up a copy of the Dark Visions Volume 1 anthology, the good folks over at Danse Macabre are giving away a few, so head on over and try your luck.


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It’s official! Dark Visions nominated for Bram Stoker Award

ImageDark Visions: A Collection of Modern Horror Volume One–of which I am a contributor along with such amazing writers as Jonathan Maberry, Ray Garton and David A. Riley–is on the final ballot for the Horror Writers Association’s Bram Stoker Award.

The winners of the 27th annual Bram Stoker Awards with be announced on May 10th.

If you haven’t had a chance to check out Dark Visions, be sure to pick up a copy.

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The New Gothic: Don’t Embrace the Darkness. Fear it.


ImageI just received my contributor copy of The New Gothic from Stone Skin Press and it looks gorgeous. I really like the theme of this one–contemporary stories based on the Gothic tradition–and I’m looking forward to seeing how the other writers interpreted it. I’m expecting dark and sinister rather than sensitive and brooding (check out the tagline). I’m especially looking forward to reading the Ramsey Campbell story. Of course. I mean, how often does that guy disappoint?

Copies are available now, so go ahead and pick one up.

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Penumbra Winter issue


I’m very pleased to have a story in the Winter issue of the pro speculative fiction e-zine Penumbra. Here’s the full line up:

Granny’s Time by Gary Cuba
Sometimes it takes more than modern technology to survive the harshest Winters

In the Gray Light of Dawn by Scott Brendel
Sometimes the greater clarity comes just after Winter’s storm is done.

Preacher Man by Kate Hall
On the unforgiving streets of Chicago, Winter speaks with the Devil’s voice.

Dog Days by Michael Mina
Winter makes escape from anywhere difficult, especially when ordered to do so by Death.

Contrafactum by Sean Logan
A rare recording of a lost masterpiece ushers in Winter’s grip, not only upon the listener’s soul, but the world in which he lives.

And be sure to read the engaging editorial from Celina Summers, which features some interesting discussion of my story and Thomas Tallis’s masterpiece “Spem In Alium”.

Also keep an eye on the Penumbra blog, where I’ll have a guest post on writers’ block and writerly advice.

Pick up your copy of the Penumbra Winter issue here.

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Dark Visions on Stoker short list!

ImageDark Visions Volume 1 from the fine folks at Grey Matter Press has made the preliminary ballot for the Bram Stoker Award from Horror Writers Association. This anthology contains my noir horror story “Raining Stones,” along with stories from such excellent writers as Ray Garton, Jonathan Maberry, David A. Riley and more.

Here’s the full list, which will be narrowed down to the final nominees on February 23.

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Eulogies II Now Free on Kindle!

The anthology Eulogies II: Tales from the Cellar is now free for Kindle, but only through Jan 4–so act fast! This is a great opportunity to get some great stories from some fantastic authors. And if you do pick up a copy, be sure the review it on Amazon.

From the Eulogies II Facebook page:

From December 31st through January 4th Eulogies II will be free for the Kindle. Additionally, if you purchase the physical copy, the Kindle version is also free.

If you just want a physical copy of the book, we’re discounting it 20% and you can purchase it at this link: use promotional code: HQBEKX43.

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