As the current administration continues to stamp its despotic bootprints across the world, I’ve only a handful of positives to remember from 2019. It has been a sparse year on the writing front, but I’m grateful for the following opportunities: many thanks to Justin A. Burnett for inviting me to write the introduction to his creepy anthology, Mannequin: Tales of Wood Made Flesh. More thanks to C.M. Muller who reprinted my story “Phantom Airfields” in issue #3 of his excellent dark science fiction publication, SYNTH. And a final thank you to Robert S. Wilson for including my story “The Figurine” in the charitable anthology Horror for RAICES.
Here’s hoping the opposition offers some respite in 2020 after the struggles of the last 3 years.
I don’t have any hard and fast rules for writing; I don’t pay attention to word counts, I write when I have time, and don’t stress over having not written anything for long periods. I also don’t often listen to music when writing, but will if I feel the need. No rules or regulations here. Having said that, I decided to write up a partial list of artists I listened to while working on the stories for The Immeasurable Corpse of Nature. Here’s a tiny sampling of songs that reflect the mood and tone I was aiming for in my collection.
My story “Justo’s Mummy Magic Capac Cuna Medicine Company” has been accepted for Duane Pesice’s anthology Weird Westerns. I wrote this one a few years ago for an anthology titled Monsters, Rebuilt. That volume was essentially an attempt to reinterpret classic horror monsters through a Weird fiction gaze, and the roster of authors was a veritable Who’s Who of contemporaries who’ve gone on to garner critical praise, awards, appearances in Best Ofs, and whatnot. Unfortunately, the Kickstarter for the book sank into the deep, dark depths of the Black Lagoon, and my tale being an odd horror Western had no home. So, drifter that it was, the story wandered the desert until Pesice’s intriguing Western themed project appeared on the horizon like the heat shimmer silhouette of A Story With No Name.
Mummies are better than werewolves, and I’ll fight anyone who disagrees, but boring, ol’ Egyptian mummies just don’t impress me. I’m more interested in Incan and Chinchorro mummies, and the profound religious and cultural practices surrounding their loved one’s preservation. Mexican, and Central and South American history offer varied cultures and such a wealth of stories to derive inspiration, I find myself repeatedly drawn to them.
So “Justo’s Mummy Magic Capac Cuna Medicine Company” is about mummies of course, as well as the United Fruit Company, American genocide in Guatemala, the loss of family, and the agony of nostalgia. It’s a bit of an outlier for me as it’s not as cosmic as some of my stories, and it’s also the first overtly “traditional” iconic horror monster I’ve written about. It’s also the first I can point to as being a tip o’ the Stetson to Joe Lansdale and Mary Hunter Austin. Hopefully, it’s still my voice here, and despite being a bit more mainstream (gasp!) than the bulk of my work, I feel it casts a hallucinatory, sad, and strange mood.
Test Patterns: Weird Westerns also includes stories by these folks:
Ashley Dioses – Strung by a Noose
(S. L.) Sam L Edwards – The Older Laws of John Armitage
(Scott J.) Scott Couturier – Buzzard-man
John Ghost – The Terror at Cleopatra Hill
Thomas Joyce – No God’s Country, No Man’s Land
Jill Hand – The Burning Women of Glory
GD Dearborn – Daltrey Returns
Dustin Chisam – Into the Emerald Frontier
Sarah Walker – The Foreigner
John Paul Fitch – Gut Shot
Erica Ruppert – Oh, Bury Me Not
Sean M. Thompson – Dark Sky Above
(Max D.) Max Stanton – The Transported Man
Alan Sessler – The Ogre West
Can Wiggins – Sweet Betsey from P.I.K.E.
Zoltan Komor – Planted Bullets and Coffin Whores
KA Opperman – Peyote Quickdraw
Duane Pesice – In the Name
Very pleased to announce that my macuahuitl and sorcery story “Fearful is the Ancient Evil of Their Faces” will appear in Cody Goodfellow and Joe Pulver’s anthology New Maps of Dream in early 2020. This volume will include such stellar authors as:
Damien Angelica Walters
Matthew M. Bartlett
Rios de la Luz
Scott R Jones
Lucy A. Snyder
The theater dims, a projector comes to life, the screen flickers with light. The film begins…
The Horror Tales podcast presentation of my story “Film Maudit” is up and running. The narration, performances, sound effects, and music are so professionally presented it elevates the story. I’m impressed and flattered by this treatment of my ode to cult lost films. Max Ablitzer and company did a fantastic job.
And the theme song that opens the episode, “A Pulse of Broken Lights,” can be heard in its entirety at the 41:25 mark. It’s an early 80s Peter Murphy/Joy Division-ish post-punk tune that perfectly captures the vibe of the video store Human Wreckage.
Great work! Thank you!
I’ve a story in the charity anthology 32 White Horses on a Vermilion Hill. Proceeds will go to help a friend in need of dental work (hence the title), since this country is so mired in capitalist greed even basic health care needs are unavailable for far too many. My contribution here is a trivial drop in the bucket, but I hope the collective might of the TOC will draw in the necessary funds to help out Christopher Ropes.
My story, “Project AZAZEL”, has nothing to do with teeth. It’s a tip of the hat to Chester Himes, Raymond Chandler, Donald Goines, and Charles Willeford—not to mention Los Angeles noir in all its seedy weirdness.
The story itself had a strange journey. About 5-years ago, it was emphatically rejected by a prominent Lovecraftian publication, only to be accepted for a Lovecraft-themed anthology edited by a couple of publishers/authors I have tremendous respect for. I don’t know the details, but the publishing company had some drama behind the scenes (unrelated to the two editors), and it took several years for the book to become a reality. In that time, I began to feel uncomfortable with the quality of my story . I liked the protagonists too much to leave it as is, and the emphasis on Lovecraft’s legacy no longer seemed a proper fit for me.
So I pulled the story.
In the following months I rewrote “Project AZAZEL” to better reflect the detective noir roots I was originally shooting for, as well as fine-tuning a few things that no longer appealed to me, but better reflected my current interests. I’d no idea where to sub’ it though—at 8,800 words it was too long for most publications, and the subject matter isn’t straight up horror, or even straight up detective fiction. But I was proud of this unplaceable tale; I even planned on revisiting the character’s world at some point. So when Duane Pesice proposed an open-themed anthology to help Ropes, well, I had the perfect submission in mind—an unpublishable story I yanked from a major anthology only to rewrite several times while increasingly becoming enamored with the whole thing. Now there’s nothing wrong with submitting a reprint, but I wanted to send a story that had never been seen before. I’m glad it has a home now.
I’ve no idea yet as to a release date, cover art, or other details, but here’s the massive TOC for volume 1 (there’s at least one more volume on the table):
1: Farah Rose Smith – Blue Broken Mind
2. Matthew St. Cyr – An Incident on a Cold Winter’s Afternoon
3. Douglas Draa – Fishing Boots
4. Frank. R. Coffman – Chindi/Night of the Skinwalker
5. Norbert Gora – How to live without meds?
6. Calvin Demmer – Nothing Else Matters
7. Jo-Anne Russell – The Denturist
8. Russell Smeaton – The Tooth
9. Paula Ashe – To Anne
10. James Fallweather – I Can’t See the Bottom
11. K. A. Opperman – Forbidden Knowledge
12. Bob Pastorella – Outlaws
13. Christopher Slatsky – Project AZAZEL
14. E. O. Daniels – Prototype
15. Maxwell Gold – Eton’s Last Will and Testament
16. T. M. Morgan – Hammer Dulcimer
17. Scott J. Couturier – Reflection in Blood
18. Shayne Keen – Four Ropes
19. Brian O’Connell – Vore
20. John Claude Smith – Hotel California is the Devil
21. Jill Hand – Spare Parts
22. John Boden – Salten
23. Matthew M. Bartlett – The Fever River
24. Brandon Barrows – Verdure
25. Sarah Walker – Ink
26. Robert S. Wilson – Twitching and Chirping
27. C. P. Dunphey – Denizens of Mortuun
28. John Linwood Grant – Hungery
29. Jeffrey Thomas – Chrysalises
30. S. L. Edwards – I Keep It in a Little Box
31. Jason A. Wyckoff – Trace of Presence
32. Donald Armfield – Thirty-Two