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.
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.
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.
If you ever wondered what goes on inside the mind of a writer, what drives us to do the things we do, what compels us to make the sacrifices we make, and to live lives of nonstop action and romance (in our imaginations), then check out this interview with me from the crew at Dark Quest Books, in which trade secrets are revealed, trusts are betrayed, and Bigfoot is captured and taught to play the piano (remember, imagination!), and also I talk about some other stuff, including my new novella, Three Chords of Chaos, and make a desperate plea to write a Godzilla story. (Wait, is that a run-on sentence? Where’s my editor…?)
UPDATE, 2/18/13: Deep Cuts editor E.S. Magill has posted a report about the Deep Cuts book signings in California on her blog.
Warning: cuts may be deeper than they appear. Nineteen short horror stories to give you shivers plus 60 recommendations for powerhouse tales written by women—those bloody stylings and chainsaw rhythms that have lain hidden like deadly gems among other great works.
“Deep Cuts smartly sidesteps the bloody ‘women in horror’ debate and puts its money where its mouth is. This fantastic collection, featuring both genders, pays tribute to the best dark tales told by women. A deeply cerebral experience that is at times honest and intimate, but always chilling.” —Mercedes M. Yardley, author of Beautiful Sorrows
Introduction by Lisa Morton
E.S. Magill on Nancy’s Holder’s “Crash Cart”
“Crash Cart” by Nancy Holder
“The Poison Eater” by Sandra Odell
“The Ditch” by Samael Gyre
“Practical Necromancy” by Sara Taylor
“Awaiting the Captain’s Ghost” by Michael Haynes
“Hollow Moments” by R.S. Belcher
“Mr. Casey is in the House” by Stephen Woodworth
Chris Marrs on Yvonne Navarro’s “Santa Alma”
“Santa Alma” by Yvonne Navarro
“Sanctity” by C.W. Smith
“Red is the Color of my True Love’s Blood” by Colleen Anderson
“Lost Daughters” by James Chambers
“Mules” by Ed Kurtz
Angel Leigh McCoy on Mehitobel Wilson’s “The Remains”
“The Remains” by Mehitobel Wilson
“Beavers” by Rachel Karyo
“Lucky Clover” by Kelly A. Harmon
“Pinprick” by Scathe meic Beorh
“Abby” by Patricia Lillie
“Clown Balloons” by Satyros Phil Brucato
“I am Victim” by Rob M. Miller
Cover art by Anja Millen.
I just got word from editor Danielle Ackley-McPhail that the anthology In An Iron Cage: The Magic of Steampunk has been named a finalist for the 2013 EPIC Award for Best Anthology. Congratulations to all my fellow contributors, to editors Danielle and Neal Levin, and also to editor Alma Alexander, whose anthology, River, published by Dark Quest Books, was also nomintated. My story in In An Iron Cage, “House of Automatons,” is my first published piece of steampunk fiction, although it’s not the first I’ve written. The first piece is due to be published sometime in the not terribly near but not too, too far future–more on that soon, I hope.
UPDATE: To celebrate the In An Iron Cage’s EPIC Award nomination, the editors and Dark Quest Books are sponsoring a giveaway of three copies of the anthology on Goodreads. The contest runs through November 27.
I’ll be attending the World Horror Con this weekend, March 29 through April 1 with a couple of events on my schedule.
Thursday, March 29, 9:00 P.M., Panel: Why We Love Lovecraft: His works are more popular now than ever. Come hear why we love the grandfather of horror! (Peter Cannon, Bobbie B. Wilcox, Eric Swedin, James Chambers, Ross E. Lockhart)
Friday, March 30, 4:00 P.M., Reading.
And I’ll be showing off copies of The Dead Bear Witness, hot of the presses from Dark Quest Books, as well as The Engines of Sacrifice, published by Dark Regions Press.
Here’s the list of panels and events I’ll be taking part in at Lunacon this weekend:
• Zombies Are the New Vampires, Sat 12:00 – 1:00, Westchester Ballroom A2
• What’s Hot – Graphic Novels, Sat 5:00 – 6:00, Westchester Ballroom A2
• Reading: James Chambers(M), Sat 6:30 – 7:00, Bartell
• What’s Hot – Webcomics, Sun 10:00 – 11:00, Westchester Ballroom A2
I’m excited to announce that my zombie novella, The Dead Bear Witness, is now available from Dullahan Press, an imprint of Dark Quest Books!
This is volume one of the four-volume Corpse Fauna series, which will complete a story cycle which I began writing in 1997. Although some of the Corpse Fauna stories were previously published, these new editions will present them in revised and greatly expanded versions with new stories to be published for the first time.
“The Dead Bear Witness” was the first to see print, in the 2004 anthology The Dead Walk published by Die Monster Die Books. It has been expanded to more than double its orignal length with a considerably richer story and deeper characterization. Also include in Volume One is the new story “Birch’s Refugees,” a 13,000-word piece that sheds new light one two of Corpse Fauna’s most important characters, Birch and the Red Man.
My intent with Corpse Fauna is to finally fulfill the potential I saw when I first wrote about Cornell and Della and a world where the dead come back to life.
A chronicle of survival in a world of the living dead. There is no Heaven or Hell; there is only blood and the dust of flesh.
True, it seems like zombie books (and movies, and television shows, and comics…) are a dime a dozen these days. But Corpse Fauna brings something unique to the genre in its characters, settings, social commentary, and the horrifying nature of its walking dead. A bullet to the head isn’t enough to stop the Corpse Fauna dead, and these corpses possess a strange and terrifying feature hinted at on the cover.
For more information, visit the Corpse Fauna page. In the coming weeks, I’ll be posting more about the series, including story excerpts and updates on the next volumes.
A pair of quick updates while I work on a couple of major announcements to come soon, including a new page to be added to this site and news of my most recent collaboration with Christopher Mills…
First up, Dark Regions Press, publisher of Resurrection House and The Engines of Sacrifice, has recently launched a revamped, redesigned website, complete with a new company logo. The new site looks great and is very easy to navigate. Drop by and check it out. Meanwhile, DRP is also running a free horror books raffle. Sign up for the DRP newsletter to enter.
Second, it’s that time of year again, the time for lunacy with the Lunarians at… Lunacon! Held once again the Escher Hilton (not it’s real name) in scenic Rye Brook, New York, Lunacon will take place on March 16-18. I’ll be attending and posting my programming schedule here as soon as I have it. Also in attendance will be my frequent partners in crime: Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Mike McPhail, Russ Colchamiro, and Patrick Thomas.
Philcon, which is having its 75th anniversary this year, is the annual convention hosted by the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society–although it’s held in Cherry Hill, NJ. I’ll be appearing there Saturday and Sunday to sign books, talk about writing, and generally hang out and have a good time. Stop by if you’re in the neighborhood. My tentative schedule of panels is listed here:
Sat 11:00 AM in Plaza III (Three) (1 hour)
CREATING YOUR COMIC
[Panelists: Robert Kauffmann (mod), Phil Kahn, Brian Koscienski, James Chambers]
You have an idea for a comic? Great, but now what? We’ll discuss online vs. print publishing, revenue sources, getting started, and keeping your comic going
2:00 PM in Plaza II (Two) (1 hour)
COMICS: THE ART OF SEQUENTIAL STORYTELLING
[Panelists: James Chambers (mod), Phil Kahn, Brian Koscienski, J. Andrew World, Ahlen Moin]
A discussion of how to use art and dialogue to tell your story, panel by panel
Sat 8:00 PM in
Crystal Ballroom Two (1 hour)
THE EVOLUTION OF DRACULA SINCE BRAM STOKER
[Panelists: Alison Campbell-Wise (mod), Carole Buggé, Jonathan Maberry, Stephanie Burke, James Chambers, Roman Ranieri]
You can’t keep a good vampire down for the count. He’s been staked, exposed to sunlight, drowned, dissolved, etc. countless times, but he’s still with us. He has, however, changed considerably over the years. Did you know that Bram Stoker’s creation actually appears in broad daylight at least twice, suffering no ill effects? That he begins as an old man who gets younger? That he has charnel breath? Let’s explore the ways this character has evolved, and the stages has gone through.
Sat 10:00 PM in Plaza III (Three) (1 hour)
WHAT MAKES H.P. LOVECRAFT UNSTOPPABLE? (826)
[Panelists: John Ashmead (mod), James Chambers, Chris Pisano, Darrell Schweitzer, Eric Avedissian, Roman Ranieri]
Great writers, we contend, are the ones the critics cannot stop. Major critics, notably Edmund Wilson, tried, but to no avail. Today Lovecraft is famous world-wide. Yet when he died in 1937, his only published book was a wretchedly amateur production which had barely sold a hundred copies. What made the difference? Was it all those role-playing games and plush Cthulhu toys? The movies? Or something inherent in the texts
If you haven’t checked out the Halloween Haunts event running this month on the Horror Writers Association Dark Whispers blog, hop over there fast before Halloween is over and all the good candy is gone! Some great posts are still to come, with more book giveaways and a B&N Nook loaded with free novels to be given away on Halloween. The entire month of posts, interviews, and excerpts are still available on the site. And if you missed my Halloween tale, The Dead Have the Best Candy, which kicked things off, you still find it here.
My friend and frequent editor, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, runs a nifty blog dedicated to providing advice, information, and insight for authors about the ins and outs of writing. It’s called The Literary Handyman. Occasionally she runs posts by guest bloggers, and this week, it’s my turn, writing about some things authors can do to make their life easier and be more successful with their writing by making their editor’s life easier. Read it here. Danielle has lots of other good articles archived, with new ones added regularly. Her blog is a great resource for writers.
Editors are like dragons.
They’re sometimes wise, often grumpy, and they covet gold in the form of good writing. They like to sleep a lot too, under mountains of manuscripts, but once you get them going, they’ll torch villages to make sure every last mixed metaphor, split infinitive, and threadbare cliche is scorched to ash. Therefore it strikes me as most appropriate that the editors of Dragon’s Lure have garnered a nomination for Best Anthology at the 2012 EPIC Awards. My story, “He Who Burns,” appears in the book, introducting Max Toth, forensic alchemist of New Alexandria. And here’s the official announcement:
Dark Quest Books and Editors Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Jennifer Ross, and Jeffrey Lyman are proud to announce that Dragon’s Lure has been selected as a finalist for the 2012 EPIC Award for Best Anthology. Dragon’s Lure is a multi-author anthology with contributions by: John Grant, Vonnie Winslow Crist, Patrick Thomas, James Chambers, Misty Massey, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Mike Penncavage, CE Murphy, Hildy Silverman, Bernie Mojzes, Randy Farran, CJ Henderson, Claire Stephens McMurray, Robert E. Waters, DC Wilson, Jean Marie Ward, Keith RA DeCandido, Anna Yardney, Jeffrey Lyman, James Daniel Ross, and David B. Coe.
For about the last two months, I’ve been working on a special project for the Horror Writers Association: HWA Halloween Haunts.
Thirty-one special blog posts for the thirty-one days of October. Horror writers blogging about Halloween and the HWA, about the nuts and bolts of writing, about their books and projects, all to celebrate Halloween and horror writing for the month of October. I’ve been working with a great group of writers–novelists, short fiction writers, poets, screenwriters, non-fiction writers–all of whom have generously donated their time, words, pictures, and in some cases books and e-books that we’ll be giving away throughout the month. It launches today on the HWA blog, Dark Whispers.
The first post is mine, The Dead Have the Best Candy, a true Halloween story.
With posts and interviews from people such as Bruce Boston, Ellen Datlow, Gabreille Faust, Don D’Auria, Nancy Holder, John Hornor Jacobs, Jonathan Maberry and Janice Bashman, Nick Mamatas, Lisa Morton, Weston Ochse, Norman Prentiss, Anne K. Schwader, Matthew Warner, and many others, Halloween Haunts will be the scariest thing going on the Web this Halloween. I encourage you to drop by, check it out, and enter for a giveaway.