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
As 2018 lets loose its death rattle, I’ve compiled a brief list of what I’ve accomplished on the publishing front. A quiet year, and a rough one at that: on the job front, on the writing front, politically, economically, etc., etc. Hopefully this decline will level out soon. No stories due out before the end of the year, and only a handful of publications over the last 10-months.
“Affirmation of the Spirit: Consciousness, Transformation, and the Fourth World in Film” appeared in issue #1 of Vastarien.
My flash piece “They Delight in Extinction” took root in Forbidden Futures #2.
“Alectryomancer” was translated into German for NightTrain: Next Weird.
A brief essay titled “The Numinous in God, Nature, and Horror” was posted at The Plutonian.
No author events or conventions in 2018, which is to say, I continue to avoid them. I’ve never done a podcast, so this year was true to that pattern. No interviews this year either.
I think that’s it.
Just a quick update on this essay. I doubt many are that interested in the references and whatnot, and hopefully the essay reads fine without them. I realized the references and bibliography were missing and/or formatted improperly, so I thought it best to provide them for the sake of completeness.
Here is the corrected information:
Almond, Phillip C. Mystical Experience and Religious Doctrine: An Investigation of the Study of Mysticism in World Religions. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton, 2014.
Benson, R.H. The Necromancers. London: Hutchinson & Co., 1909.
Bering, J. M., & Bjorklund, D. F. “The natural emergence of reasoning about the afterlife as a developmental regularity.” Developmental Psychology, 2004:40.
Keltner, Dacher and Haidt, Jonathan. “Approaching awe, a moral spiritual, and aesthetic emotion.” Cognition and Emotion, 17, no. 2, (2003).
Gatta, John. Making Nature Sacred: Literature, Religion, and Environment in America from the Puritans to the Present. Oxford University Press, 2004.
Kelemen, D., & DiYanni, C. “Intuitions about origins: purpose and intelligence in children’s reasoning about nature.” Journal of Cognition and Development,6, (2005).
Otto, Rudolph. The Idea of the Holy: An Inquiry into the Non-Rational Factor in the Idea of the Divine and its Relation to the Rational. Translated by John W. Harvey. Oxford University Press, 1958.
Soyinka, Wole. Myth, Literature and the African World. Cambridge University Press, 2000.
Uhlman, Eric Luis, Poehlman, Andrew, and Bargh, John A. “Implicit Theism.” In Handbook of Motivation and Cognition Across Cultures, edited by Richard Sorrentino, Susumu Yamaguchi, Cambridge: Academic Press, 2008.
 Wole Soyinka, Myth, Literature and the African World, (Cambridge University Press. 2000), 155.
 Rudolph Otto, The Idea of the Holy: An Inquiry into the Non-Rational Factor in the Idea of the Divine and its Relation to the Rational, trans. John W. Harvey (Oxford University Press. 1958), 19.
 Phillip C. Almond, Mystical Experience and Religious Doctrine: An Investigation of the Study of Mysticism in World Religions, (Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton, 2014) 113.
 Dacher Keltner and Jonathan Haidt, “Approaching awe, a moral spiritual, and aesthetic emotion,” Cognition and Emotion, 17, no. 2, (2003), 303.
 R.H. Benson, The Necromancers, (London: Hutchinson & Co., 1909), 305.
 John Gatta, Making Nature Sacred: Literature, Religion, and Environment in America from the Puritans to the Present(Oxford University Press, 2004), 78.
 Ibid., 129.
 J.M.Bering & D.F. Bjorklund, “The natural emergence of reasoning about the afterlife as a developmental regularity,” Developmental Psychology40, (2004), 217–233.
 D. Kelemen, & C. DiYanni, “Intuitions about origins: purpose and intelligence in children’s reasoning about nature,” Journal of Cognition and Development, 6, (2005),3–31.
 Eric Luis Uhlman, Andrew Poehlman, and John A. Bargh, “Implicit Theism.” In Handbook of Motivation and Cognition Across Cultures, ed. by Richard Sorrentino, Susumu Yamaguchi (Cambridge: Academic Press, 2008), 72.
Guest post at Scott Dwyer’s The Plutonian:
Exuberant congratulations to Michael Kelly for his Shirley Jackson award! It’s truly a fantastic anthology, and I’m elated to have been a small part of it with my story “Engines of the Ocean”.
I cannot emphasize how eye-opening Adam Golaski’s work was for me. I wouldn’t dream of comparing my writing to his, but I felt a kind of symmetry on my first reading “The Animator’s House”. It felt as if I’d stumbled across a writer far more skilled than I, but was interested in following non-traditional paths of storytelling as well.
And what can I say about Clint Smith? His stories are time and again the superior entries in many an anthology, and I read him with an equal mixture of awe and despair on realizing I’m just a pleb watching someone consistently hit their mark. I’m eagerly awaiting his sophomore collection due to be released next year.
In upcoming months, a conversation will be available between Adam Golaski and I—an exercise (which has been structured as an interview) that began in the autumn of 2017, one in which I was reluctant to conclude late last winter (the publication venue will be announced in due time).
About a year ago, Scott Dwyer (steadfast champion of the horror genre and editorial superintendent of the “nightmarish and…nebulous” site The Plutonian) had achieved breathing perverse life into his publicational labor of love, Phantasm/Chimera: An Anthology of Strange and Troubling Dreams, for which he had a specific vision, fulfilling a specific vision for creating a project with a singular roster of writers.
In addition to writers, Dwyer’s “cast” included writers who I’d previously established contact via reader-writer interactions on social media, namely Jon Padgett, John Claude Smith, Matt Bartlett, and Chris Slatsky. Still, there were others whose…
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This site expires on the 4th of August, and I see little reason to delay the inevitable. I post infrequently, and only started the blog 3-years ago in hopes it would help with the writing endeavor. Suffice it to say I don’t think this has been the case. I figure it’s best to wrap things up as I have nothing forthcoming on the publishing front. What I’ve written is out there. I will of course change my mind and continue if something comes along soon, or I might start a new blog if things pick up in the future. But for the time being I can no longer justify wasting even the modest $20 annual fee to keep this thing open.
On a more positive note, I cannot offer enough thanks to those who took the time to swing by here to read an entry or two over the last 3-years. Your kindness, generosity, and thoughtful messages have been a source of inspiration to me.
Thank you all, and all the best to everyone.
Vastarien: A Literary Journal was released back in March and has garnered positive responses and reviews in the following weeks. Congratulations to Jon Padgett and Matt Cardin for their combined effort and talent in bringing this Ligottian tome to life, and for forging ahead with future issues to broaden the journal’s horizons and voices. Though my story “Affirmation of the Spirit: Consciousness, Transformation, and the Fourth World in Film” hasn’t attracted much attention (and even less acclaim) compared to the other pieces, it was a pleasure to have been involved despite my story’s reception.
I hope the pretentious pseudo-academic title doesn’t scare potential readers away! Despite it falling into the hybrid category, “Affirmation of the Spirit” is a work of fiction. It is not a reprint, Cinemassacre magazine never existed, and while the references and quotes are real, any and all concepts related to any film “fourth world” are purely my creation. “Affirmation'” is a spiritually connected to my stories “Film Maudit” and “Making Snakes” (specifically the Powdery Man’s presence), and was intended to expound on the role of film in Weird-horror fiction—at least as it’s portrayed in my stories.
While literary geniuses like Gemma Files and Ramsey Campbell have contributed some of the most powerful stories concerning film and horror, my hope was that my humble contribution could be used as a template to tell similar stories, to explore similar themes on the role of film in altering storytelling, consciousnesses, and reality. That was the intent anyway.
We’ll see what happens next, if anything.
Chthonic: Weird Tales of Inner Earth is now available. Scott R. Jones always does a magnificent job in corralling a stampede of unruly stories into anthologies with a variety of voices. And Jones is not only a fantastic writer, he’s also a pleasure to work with.
Denizens of dank cenotes, the motto “Non gratum anus rodentum” engraved on a Zippo lighter hinting at ominous stirrings underfoot, and strange childhood memories on an isolated farm feature in my story “Tellurian Facade”. If that’s your thing, it might be of interest. Regardless, this is only my second reprint (the first was in another Martian Migraine Press publication), so I’m thrilled to have been included with some authors who have been a tremendous inspiration to me, as well as more recent ones I’m always interested in checking out. It’s pretty much a guarantee you’ll find much to your liking here.
TOC is as follows:
H. P. Lovecraft
The Rats in the Walls
John Linwood Grant
Where All Is Night, and Starless
A Song for Granite Khronos
Nivel del Mar
S. L. Edwards
Volver Al Monte
The Dragons Beneath
Tending the Core
The End of a Summer’s Day
Some Corner of a Dorset Field That Is Forever Arabia