2016 Bram Stoker Awards Finalists

The final ballot for the 2016 Bram Stoker Awards has been released, and I’m pleased to see that BORDERLANDS 6 is among the contenders for Superior Achievement in an Anthology.  Winners will be announced in April at the second annual StokerCon.

Here’s a full list of this year’s nominees. Congratulations to everyone on the ballot, and best of luck!

Superior Achievement in a Novel

Hand, Elizabeth – Hard Light: A Cass Neary Crime Novel (Minotaur Books)
Jones, Stephen Graham – Mongrels (William Morrow)
Langan, John – The Fisherman (Word Horde)
MacLeod, Bracken – Stranded: A Novel (Tor Books)
Tremblay, Paul – Disappearance at Devil’s Rock (William Morrow)

Superior Achievement in a First Novel

Barnett, Barbara – The Apothecary’s Curse (Pyr Books)
Chapman, Greg – Hollow House (Omnium Gatherum Media)
Deady, Tom – Haven (Cemetery Dance Publications)
Garza, Michelle and Lason, Melissa – Mayan Blue (Sinister Grin Press)
Wytovich, Stephanie – The Eighth (Dark Regions Press)

Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel

Alexander, Maria – Snowed (Raw Dog Screaming Press)
Brozek, Jennifer – Last Days of Salton Academy (Ragnarok Publishing)
Cosimano, Elle – Holding Smoke (Hyperion-Disney)
Roberts, Jeyn – When They Fade (Knopf Books for Young Readers)
Sirowy, Alexandra – The Telling (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)

Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel

Bunn, Cullen – Blood Feud (Oni Press)
Chambers, James – Kolchak the Night Stalker: The Forgotten Lore of Edgar Allan Poe (Moonstone)
de Campi, Alex – No Mercy, Vol. 2 (Image Comics)
Kirkman, Robert – Outcast by Kirkman&Azaceta, Vol 3 This Little Light (Image Comics)
Miller, Mark Alan and Lansdale, Joe R. –The Steam Man (Dark Horse Books)
Moore, Alan – Providence, Act 1 (Avatar Press)

Superior Achievement in Long Fiction

Cushing, Nicole – The Sadist’s Bible (01Publishing)
Edelman, Scott – That Perilous Stuff (Chiral Mad 3) (Written Backwards)
LaValle, Victor – The Ballad of Black Tom (Tor.com)
Malerman, Josh – The Jupiter Drop (You, Human) (Dark Regions Press)
Waggoner, Tim – The Winter Box (DarkFuse)

Superior Achievement in Short Fiction

Bailey, Michael – Time is a Face on the Water (Borderlands 6) (Borderlands Press)
Bodner, Hal – A Rift in Reflection (Chiral Mad 3) (Written Backwards)
Golden, Christopher – The Bad Hour (What the #@&% is That?) (Saga Press)
Mannetti, Lisa – ArbeitMacht Frei(Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories) (Crystal Lake Publishing)
Oates, Joyce Carol – The Crawl Space (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine Volume #2016/Issue#8) (Dell Magazines)

Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection

Barron, Laird – Swift to Chase (JournalStone)
Chizmar, Richard – A Long December (Subterranean Press)
Oates, Joyce Carol – The Doll-Master and Other Tales of Terror (Mysterious Press)
O’Neill, Gene – Lethal Birds (Omnium Gatherum Media)
Schwaeble, Hank – American Nocturne (Cohesion Press)

Superior Achievement in a Screenplay

Campbell, Josh, Chazelle, Damien, and Stuecken, Matthew – 10 Cloverfield Lane (Paramount Pictures)
Duffer, Matt and Duffer, Ross – Stranger Things: The Vanishing of Will Byers (Episode 01: Chapter One) (21 Laps Entertainment, Monkey Massacre)
Duffer, Matt and Duffer, Ross – Stranger Things: The Upside Down (Episode 01: Chapter Eight) (21 Laps Entertainment, Monkey Massacre)
Eggers, Robert – The VVitch (Parts and Labor, RT Features, Rooks Nest Entertainment, Code Red Productions, Scythia Films, Maiden Voyage Pictures, Mott Street Pictures, Pulse Films, and Very Special Projects)
Logan, John – Penny Dreadful: A Blade of Grass (Episode 03:04) Showtime Presents in association with SKY, Desert Wolf Productions, Neal Street Productions)

Superior Achievement in an Anthology

Bailey, Michael – Chiral Mad 3 (Written Backwards)
Manzetti, Alessandro – The Beauty of Death (Independent Legions Publishing)
Monteleone, Thomas F. and Monteleone, Oliva F. – Borderlands 6 (Samhain Publishing, Ltd.)
Mosiman, Billie Sue – Fright Mare-Women Write Horror (DM Publishing)
Murano, Doug and Ward, D. Alexander – Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories (Crystal Lake Publishing)

Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction

Braudy, Leo – Haunted: On Ghosts, Witches, Vampires, Zombies and Other Monsters of the Natural and Supernatural(Yale University Press)
Franklin, Ruth – Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life (Liveright Publishing Corporation)
Olson, Danel P. – Guillermo del Toro’s “The Devil’s Backbone” and “Pan’s Labyrinth”: Studies in the Horror Film (Centipede Press)
Poole, W. Scott – In the Mountains of Madness: The Life, Death and Extraordinary Afterlife of H. P. Lovecraft (Soft Skull Press)
Skal, David J. – Something in the Blood: The Untold Story of Bram Stoker, the Man Who Wrote
Dracula (Liveright Publishing Corporation)
Tibbetts, John – The Gothic Worlds of Peter Straub (McFarland)

Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection

Boston, Bruce and Manzetti, Alessandro – Sacrificial Nights (KippleOfficinaLibraria)
Collings, Michael R. – Corona Obscura: Poems Dark and Elemental (self-published)
Gailey, Jeannine Hall – Field Guide to the End of the World: Poems (Moon City Press)
Simon, Marge – Small Spirits (Midnight Town Media)
Wytovich, Stephanie M. – Brothel (Raw Dog Screaming Press)

Publication Announcement: When Dark-Eyed Ophelia Sings

I’m pleased to announce that my story “When Dark-Eyed Ophelia Sings” will be included in Nightscript III, edited by C.M. Muller. If you missed them, Volumes I and II are currently on sale (I also have a story in Volume II). The full TOC and cover for Volume III are below. Nightscript III will be available for purchase October 1, 2017.


***

 

“The Flower Unfolds” — Simon Strantzas
“Downward” — Amar Benchikhanightscript-3-half-cover
“What Little Boys Are Made Of” — Malcolm Devlin
“Grizzly” — M.K. Anderson
“Might Be Mordiford” — Charles Wilkinson
“Palankar” — Daniel Braum
“The Gestures Remain” — Christi Nogle
“House of Abjection” — David Peak
“The Undertow, and They That Dwell Therein” — Clint Smith
“A Place With Trees” — Rowley Amato
“The Familiar” — Cory Cone
“Liquid Air” — Inna Effress
“The Beasts Are Sleep” — Adam Golaski
“The Witch House” — Jessica Phelps
“On the Edge of Utterance” — Stephen J. Clark
“Homeward Bound Now, Paulino” — Armel Dagorn
“The Affair” — James Everington
“When Dark-Eyed Ophelia Sings” — Rebecca J. Allred
“We, the Rescued” — John Howard
“Twenty Miles and Running” — Christian Riley
“Something You Leave Behind” — David Surface
“Young Bride” — Julia Rust
“The Other Side of the Hill” — M.R. Cosby

Release Day: Nightscript II

It’s October—the greatest month of the year!—and I’m pleased to announce on this chilly, fall morning that NIGHTSCRIPT II is now available to order. 

Table of Contents:

“The Carnival Arrives in Darkness” — Michael GriffinNS2 Cover
“In the Dark, Quiet Places” — Kristi DeMeester
“Phantom Airfields” — Christopher Slatsky
“En Plein Air” — J.T. Glover
“The Inveterate Establishment of Daddano & Co.” — Eric J. Guignard
“White Elephants” — Malcolm Devlin
“Reasons I Hate My Big Sister” — Gwendolyn Kiste
“Nearness” — Ralph Robert Moore
“This Lonely Hecatomb” — Christopher Ropes
“Apartment B” — Steve Rasnic Tem
“Understairs” — Jason A. Wyckoff
“As Summer’s Mask Slips” — Gordon White
“And Elm Do Hate” — Nina Shepardson
“A Silence of Starlings” — Kurt Fawver
“Aycayia” — Rowley Amato
“The White Kisses” — Charles Wilkinson
“Down by the River” — H.V. Chao
“Arena” — Daniel Mills
“From the Fertile Dark” — Rebecca J. Allred
“No Abiding Place on Earth” — Matthew M. Bartlett
“Pause for Laughter” — José Cruz

Publication Announcement: From the Fertile Dark

I’m pleased to announce that my story, From the Fertile Dark, will appear in the forthcoming anthology NIGHTSCRIPT II, edited by C.M. Muller. I can’t begin to express how blown away and honored I am to find myself alongside some of the the other writers who are appearing in this volume. I will post a complete list of authors and stories once the final ToC is announced.

If you haven’t read the first volume of this yearly anthology, you can pick up a copy here.

 

nightscript-2

NEW SECTIONS OPEN for October local and videoconference workshops!

I’ve been part of this workshop since June, and have found it incredibly helpful both as a driving force to keep myself producing new material and as a means to make that new material better once it’s written. There are a number of sessions open to accommodate almost any schedule, so if you’ve been thinking about joining a writers workshop, I’d highly recommend checking this out.

Cheers!

Short Story Mechanics with Richard Thomas: Day 2

Narrative hooks—those first few words that sink into your reader’s flesh and drag them through the depths of your story only to leave them gasping onshore when they reach its end. You do want your readers to follow the story all the way to the end, don’t you? Of course you do! So make sure those hooks are good and sharp; and if you’re writing horror (like me) throw in a couple of rusty barbs for good measure.

rust2

This was the lesson for Day 2. Our assignment was to come up with five hooks, four of which could be only one sentence long. I don’t know about you, but I tend to write short sentences, so trying to include all the information necessary to craft a good hook in just one was a challenge for me. I think I succeeded to some degree, but it was Richard’s opinion that they all lacked a little something. I’ll probably visit and revisit these hooks a number of times over the next however long it takes me to get each of the stories written, and hopefully by the time you see them in print, they will be sharper and rustier than ever leaving you with a bloody hole in your lip and a smile on your face.

Here’s what I came up with:

1:  Audrey first noticed the spider when it was still only 105* inside the sauna; the spider was tiny, only the size of a pencil eraser, but the dread it inspired was large enough to crush a Greyhound.

2:  As frigid rain cut and shaped frozen heaps of road-stained snow into twin rows of sculptures that lined both sides of the two-lane highway like an army of malformed sentinels, Lyska—wearing nothing but a skimpy, black and white French maid costume and a pair of stripy pink knee-socks—gripped a World War II era gas mask in one hand while using the other to lift her skirt’s hem just a bit higher.

3:  It was date night again; Lester caressed cracked leather and inhaled the ghosts of a million dead cigarettes as he counted hash marks on the dash—one for every romantic evening that had culminated in sweet satisfaction.

4:  To a casual observer, the jagged split in the floor of the abandoned mortuary’s basement was nothing more than a sign of entropy slowly reducing the loathsome edifice—and, perhaps more importantly, the shadows of past deeds still clinging to memory within its halls—to dust; to Sean, that crooked concrete smile was his own personal ATM.

5:  The waiting room smells like a department store perfume counter. Heavy particles of floral vapor orbit each of the eight or ten women—some still with hair, others wearing designer hats or kerchiefs—as they sit reading magazines, sipping ginger ale plucked from my snack cart, and pretend they aren’t dying. Each woman waits patiently, wrapped in a cocoon of aerosolized denial designed to mask the scent of her own decay. It is as if by dousing themselves in expensive, migraine-inducing fragrances these women think they might confuse Death, throwing him off track, as if by buying PETA-friendly cosmetics and perfumes they are actually buying themselves extra time.