To be published by Written Backwards later this year, Qualia Nous will include my story, “The Price of Faces,” part of an incredible line-up of fiction from some of today’s best horror and sci-fi writers. This one will also feature “The Jaunt” by Stephen King, marking the first time I’ve shared a table of contents with the master of modern horror. A genuine thrill! Editor Michael Bailey continues his streak of producing high quality anthologies. More information soon about publication date, price, and so on, but for now prepare for fiction from Max Booth III, Gary Braunbeck, Jason V Brock, Patrick Freivald, Erinn Kemper, Usman T. Malik, Rena Mason, Lori Michelle, Thomas F. Monteleone, William F. Nolan, Gene O’Neil, Lucy Snyder, Richard Thomas, and many others.
Sam Tomaino has kindly reviewed Clockwork Chaos, edited by Neal Levin and Danielle Ackley-McPhail, over at SFRevu. It’s a nice, thorough, story-by-story review. About my tale, “Cat’s Cry in Pluto’s Kitchen,” he writes:
Morris Garvey, who made a fortune with his business, Steam Sweeps and Machinations Sundry, and Detective Daniel Matheson of the New Alexandria police force are trying to solve the crime of the theft of Brazilian virtuoso Felipe Sandeman’s violin in time for him to play it at the closing of the World Expo. The case gets stranger and stranger and involved the cult of Bast, the feline god of the Egyptians. We are led on a merry chase with lots of twists and turns in another great story in this book.
I’ve got one more Machinations Sundry story due for publication this year. I’m planning to write one more, and I suspect there’ll be another one after that. I do believe this Morris Garvey fellow, his home city of New Alexandria, and all his friends and enemies have become my new series.
Editor Michael Bailey created this awesome trailer for the anthology Chiral Mad 2 (now on sale!). Be warned! It may be encoded with a viral melody that will compel you to buy a copy of Chiral Mad 2, then buy others for every member in your family, and still others for all your friends, and others yet for your co-workers, and even a copy for that grumpy woman on line ahead of you at Starbuck’s every morning. Or, perhaps, not. But even if it was true, all proceeds from sales of the book go to benefit Down Syndrome charities, so it’s all good either way. And rumor has it that reading Chiral Mad 2 will make you immune to earworms while watching the video. For now, though, sit back, relax, and enjoy the chirality.
Back in the summer of 2011 I wrote a story called “The Flying Rock.” It’s one of my favorite things I’ve written.
It’s part pure fantasy, drawing on classic faerie lore and legend, on Ariel, the faerie queen of the winds, and her dark counterpart, the queen of storms. And it’s part portrait of a father struggling to help his children grow up while his family crumbles around him. And on a another level, it’s deeply personal story about the beauty of childhood and the price we all pay to grow up. I’ve been eager to see in print since I first sent it off to my editor almost three years ago.
Well, the wheels of publishing sometime move at a crawl, but move they do, and Bad-Ass Faeries: It’s Elemental, the fourth volume in the BAF series, will be published this May. I’m thrilled to be in another BAF book and grateful to my editors–Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Jeff Lyman, L. Jagi Lamplighter, and Lee C. Hillman–for keeping the series going and letting me be a regular part of it. Dark Quest Books will be launching it this in May, with a fantastic line-up of stories from many talented authors. I hope to have an excerpt from “The Flying Rock” to post soon. In the meantime, here’s the cover and the final table of contents.
Kimberley Long-Ewing — Spin, Weave, and Measure
Jagi Lamplighter — On Rocky Ground
Judi Fleming — Friends in Dark Places
James Chambers — The Flying Rock
Danny Birt — To Thy Sylph Be True
Danielle Ackley-McPhail — Ride Like the Wind
DL Thurston — The Face of the Serpent
James Daniel Ross — The Legend of Buck Cooper and the Child of Fire
James R. Stratton — Ties That Bind
Patrick Thomas — Looking a Gift Horse
NR Brown — Melia’s Best Wave
Bethany Herron — Fairyland Local 2413
Jody Lynn Nye — Fifteen Percent
Keith R. A. DeCandido — Undine the Boardwalk
Lee C. Hillman — Bad Blood
Seeing my story, “Mneomonicide,” published in Chiral Mad 2 among the work of so many other great and accomplished writers gives me a wonderful–and thrilling–feeling. Editor Michael Bailey has assembled an astounding collection of fantastic, short, psychological horror fiction here, with all profits from sales of the book to go directly to Down syndrome charities. I’m very pleased and proud to be part of this book. It’s a win-win-win for everyone involved–we writers get to be part of a beautiful anthology, you readers get to enjoy a feast of fine fiction, and together we all raise some money for a good cause. That’s the genius of Michael Bailey at work. I hope you’ll give Chiral Mad 2 your support. It’s now available on Amazon and would make a great gift for all your friends and loved ones who need a little good, dark fiction to take the edge off their holiday cheer.
In keeping with the theme of the anthology, all the stories involve an element of chirality–the property of asymmetry, which exists when an object does not match its mirror image. Human hands are one example. You can learn more at chirality.org. Each author wove this concept into their stories.
With an introduction by Michael Bailey, Chiral Mad 2 includes:
- Another Man’s Bones – Mason Ian Bundschuh
- Mnemonicide – James Chambers
- Flowers Blooming in the Season of Atrophy – Max Booth III
- The Counselor – Mort Castle
- Dear Boy – John Biggs
- Interference – Andrew Hook
- Picture-in-Picture – Dustin LaValley
- When I Was – Thomas F. Monteleone
- Tight Partners – Gene O’Neill
- Approaching Lavender – Lucy A. Snyder
- Orange is for Anguish, Blue for Insanity – David Morrell
- In the Eyes of the Beholder – Ann K. Boyer
- Empathy – John Skipp
- Versions – E. L. Kemper
- The Tended Field of Eido Yamata – Jon Michael Kelley
- Playing with Fire – Richard Thomas
- Indian Summer – Philip C. Perron
- Blood Women – Usman T. Malik
- Whitechapel – P. Gardner Goldsmith
- The Chute – Gary McMahon
- Scavenging – Kevin Lucia
- The Word – Ramsey Campbell
- Welcome Home, All You Uninvited – Erik T. Johnson
- The Geminis – John Palisano
- A Guide to Etiquette and Comportment for the Sisters of Henley House – Emily B. Cataneo
- The Right Thing – Jack Ketchum
- Passing Affliction – Patrick O’Neill
- The Great Pity – Gary A. Braunbeck
Dark Quest Books has published my steampunk tale, “A Cat’s Cry in Pluto’s Kitchen,” in A Clockwork Chaos, edited by Danielle Ackley-McPhail and Neal Levin, available in print and ebook. Although this is the second story of Morris Garvey and Machinations Sundry to be published, it’s actually the first one I wrote. Mystery and danger surround a stolen violin when the Cult of Bast returns to New Alexandria, and Morris Garvey must uncover the true motive behind the theft. The first published Machinations Sundry tale, “House of Automatons,” appeared in In an Iron Cage. The third Machinations Sundry story, “In Wolf’s Clothing,” is due out in 2014, details to come. A Clockwork Chaos include stories by Jeff Young, CJ Henderson, Patrick Thomas, Angel Leigh McCoy, James Daniel Ross, Gail Gray, N.R. Brown, and many other fine writers.
Catching up on some recent releases, my short story, “Father of War,” was published last month in Dogs of War, the sixth volume in the Defending the Future anthology series edited by Mike McPhail. This volume is dedicated to military working dogs, and my story, which features a team of cybernetically enhanced solider dogs, is a thematic sequel to and set in the same universe and conflict as “Mother of Peace,” my story in Defending the Future, Volume III, By Other Means. With the exception of DTF Volume IV, No Man’s Land, which spotlighted only women writers, my stories have appeared in every volume of DTF. The award-winning series is well worth a look if you like military science fiction.
“Cry Havoc, and let slip the dogs of war!”
They have fought for us for centuries, not because of the ideals of service to King and Country, but out of unwavering loyalty and devotion to their human Masters. The future, it would seem, is no better than the past, as some animals become expendable weapons, or augmented semi-machines, while others receive the honor and dignity of being treated as fellow soldiers.
In tribute, we bring you seventeen new stories of our animal comrades-in-arms.
Featuring: David Sherman, Bud Sparhawk, Brenda Cooper, James Chambers, Judi Fleming, CJ Henderson, Tony Ruggiero, Christopher M. Hiles, Janine K. Spendlove, Jeff Young, Patrick Thomas, Edward J. McFadden III, Vonnie Winslow Crist, Peter Prellwitz, Eric V. Hardenbrook, Robert E. Waters, and Danielle Ackley-McPhail.
Last month the Horror Writers Association newsletter published my interview with Emma Audsley as part of the Fresh Blood interview series, which spotlights new members. Emma Audsley is editor of The Horrifically Horrifying Blog and founder of Screaming Spires Publishing. I interviewed Emma via e-mail about her work as an author, editor, and joining the HWA for the following article, originally published in the HWA Newsletter, October 2013, Volume 23, Issue 159.
Emma Audsley traces her love of horror back to her childhood years, growing up in a Royal Air Force (RAF) camp until age six when she moved to Manchester. One constant in her life was her love of reading and especially of the horror genre. “Bram Stoker had lead onto Stephen King and just swept me away after that! I’d grown up writing little stories.”
The horror genre is the only genre that has kept her interest throughout her life. The genre attracts Emma because it allows her to “explore all of the central and essential aspects of life safely. This can offer you a deeper perspective upon those aspects that are usually a little tricky to explore head on; death, loss, threats to survival, insanity. You can oversee a character’s plight through the most terrible things that could ever possibly imagine and allow your brain to formulate ideas upon which they could fight back, or perish depending on how you want the ending to be!”
Her love of books and stories led her to study literature and psychology in college. Then, about seven years ago, she returned to the pursuit of writing and editing, reading the work of some of her author friends. After offering advice on their works in progress, she moved on to beta reading and critiquing their work. A course on editing and copy writing followed, and she continued reading for friends, or as Emma put it, “using them as guinea pigs…willing guinea pigs, don’t worry!”
Her first paid edit work came after she completed her course when she connected with David Youngvist of Dark Continents Press. Emma worked on Southern Fried Ghosts, David’s non-fiction collection of accounts of supposed actual hauntings in the American South, a region with a rich tradition of supernatural and ghostly folklore. In addition to editing, Emma contributed some research to the project.
“I love to help,” Emma says about editing. “I’m happy to go above and beyond my call to assist a writer when they’re doing it for the right reasons. It’s a scary thing, releasing your own work, especially if the writer is new to the field. When creativity is to flourish it needs all the essentials to grow, I just help with the watering and pruning… I try to close the gap between editors, agents, and mentors to offer all the support I can.”
After settling into freelance editing novels for a while, Emma decided to challenge herself yet again.
“I started The Horrifically Horrifying Horror Blog in October 2011, on Halloween just to be as corny as I could get!” Online at http://thehorrificallyhorrifyinghorrorblog.com/, The Horrifically Horrifying Horror Blog boasts the goal of “Inspiring Ghouls of the Fictional World of Horror Everywhere.” The blog features reviews of books and movies, author interviews, writing resources, articles on writing, picture prompts for writers, and several other features.
With the blog up and running, Emma took another big step, making the leap from editor to publisher when she founded Screaming Spires Publishing in the summer of 2012. “I’m currently editing our first anthology When Darkness Calls, a charity publication. It’s to benefit children with autism, something very close to my heart as my own two children are autistic.” Calling on the many friends she’d made through her editing work and The Horrifically Horrifying Blog, Emma found it easy to assemble her first anthology. “I had many friends who wanted to contribute. I’d asked some friends, such as Gary McMahon, Graham Masterton, Allison Littlewood, and Ramsey Campbell if they would consider contributing a short story of good old-fashioned horror…they all came through for me.”
Co-editor of the anthology, Mark Waddington, “started out the same way I did; editing for fun! Donnie Light offered his services as the formatter. As for the cover art and press logo Daniele Serra has been a lifesaver. I’ve always admired his work and when I’d asked for his help he had the initial cover ideas ready in an hour. Ellen Datlow has been a wealth of knowledge too. She’s a great friend and advisor.” With work moving ahead steadily, When Darkness Calls is scheduled for publication this December as Screaming Spire’s inaugural release.
Emma’s work on the anthology has coincided with a difficult time in her life, and she credits the friendship and support of those involved with the project as helping her through it. “I had to have an operation in a cancer unit in late October . I’d been told it was secondary skin cancer, a melanoma. Thankfully it wasn’t secondary. The surgeons got all of it. But there was a problem with the surgery and some nerves in my leg were severed accidentally. The anthology, my family, and my friends all came through for me, supporting me all the way through being in a wheelchair permanently.” Now starting physical therapy, Emma hopes to regain at least partial use of her leg. There are no guarantees of success, but so far she’s attended a couple of book launches walking with a knee brace and a walking stick.
Another personal challenge for her as an editor and publisher stems from a head injury she received during a physical attack back in 2000. “I developed epilepsy. It’s uncontrollable. My only hope of a more “normal” life will be CAN surgery. Obviously seizures take your consciousness away, and this does get in the way of my working life. But I work around it, over the years I’ve developed little tips and tricks in maintaining my health and well-being to the best of my abilities. That’s what you just have to do; adapt, adopt, and change anything you can. But it is possible to still do what you yearn to do, there’s nothing like a strong will to get you to where you need to be.”
Most recently, Emma has endorsed a book by Craig Saunders, The Walls of Madness, published by Crowded Quarantine.
Although Emma admits, “I never seem to finish my own fiction!” she has accomplished much in only a few years, overcoming major health issues to launch two publishing ventures and earn a reputation as an excellent editor. Her next big project on the horizon is a collaborative novel with some of her anthology contributors to be written in 2014.
Emma joined the HWA to become more active in the horror community. The HWA is “such a fantastic source of information and support for writers and professionals with everything to offer. From support and advice on every aspect of writing, to the overseeing of projects, and the awards ceremony is, of course, the highlight… I think it’s great to have such a strong association with so many other professionals involved making sure the pulse of the genre stays strong and steady.”
“I want to become more involved practically within the HWA, it’s vital to keep writers doing what they do best. What would we do without these fantastical worlds they create? Obviously I’d like to…further my skills and capabilities whilst being fully supported within the structure of the association, offer help to writers in need, and help the HWA go from strength to strength, become a part of the various programs on offer in support of professionals and those seeking to develop their own voice within the genre. Maybe join the board one day? <smiles cheekily>.”
Finally catching up on some photos from the 2013 Bram Stoker Award® Weekend/World Horror Con and came across this one snapped by my wife at the end of the Bram Stoker Awards Banquet. It was a tremendous honor to have received the Richard Laymon Award from the Horror Writers Association. As a mentor to young writers and as past president of the HWA, Richard Laymon accomplished a great deal for the horror community–and, of course, he authored many, many great horror novels and stories! He’s rightly considered a genre legend. Receiving an award named in his honor says much about the amazingly creative and supportive horror writing community. Details from the full announcement are still up on the HWA site. My thanks to Rocky Wood, HWA President, who selected me for the award. The Banquet, down in New Orleans, was a wonderful event. Full video is available for viewing on the HWA website.