Help Me Pay Tribute to a Modern Master

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One of the biggest and bestest things to happen to me last year was having the chance to contribute my story “Husks” to Silent Motorist Media‘s Mannequin: Tales of Wood Made Flesh, which then went onto be named “Best Multi-Author Anthology” of 2019 by my beloved Rue Morgue Magazine.

So naturally, when the editor and publisher of that book, Justin Burnett, asked me if I’d like to contribute to his latest project, I had to say yes. Good thing, too, because considering that said project is a literary tribute to Matthew M. Bartlett, if I wasn’t invited, you can bet your ass I’d have done my damnedest to weasel my way onto that TOC.

Bartlett is quite simply one of the very best, most twisted, and most surreal practitioners of the arcane and macabre working today. I’m hardly alone in naming him a personal favorite contemporary author. What’s more, Bartlett is also an incredibly friendly, down-to-earth, stand-up guy who I’ve had the good fortune of hanging out with a handful of times at NecronomiCon Providence and StokerCon. No living creator deserves to be celebrated more than Matthew Bartlett. There may be many who deserve it just as much, but none who deserve it more.

Titled Hymns of Abomination: Secret Songs of Leeds, this upcoming anthology features brand new works by myself, Nathan Ballingrud, John Langan, Brian Evenson, Gemma Files, S.P. Miskowski, B.R. Yeager, Jonathan Raab, Tom Breen, Joseph Pastula, Joanna Parypinski, Farah Rose Smith, Scott R Jones, Betty Rocksteady, Christine Morgan, Kristine Ong Muslim, Christopher Slatsky, Donyae Coles, S.L. Edwards, John Linwood Grant, Robert S. Wilson, Jon Padgett, Sean M. Thompson, and Brian O’Connell.

Hymns of Abomination is currently being crowdfunding on Kickstarter, and to give you an idea of just how psyched this project has got people, it smashed its initial funding goal within 24 hours of the campaign going live. Every penny donated from here on out will go towards making the anthology even better through a number of tantalizing stretch goals.

Contribute today to pre-order a copy for yourself. In doing so, you’ll be helping to pay tribute to a truly one-of-a-kind creator.

Surprise! I’ve Got a New Story on the Way

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Who doesn’t love a surprise? Whether it’s a surgically enhanced stripper popping out of a giant cake, a spring-loaded toy snake popping out of a can of mixed nuts, or an acid-blooded extraterrestrial death-beast popping out of your chest, a good surprise is sure to liven up any party, occult ritual, or bris!

And, of course, the best surprises are the ones that involve me get paid fat stacks of cash… er, I mean… me having the honor and privilege of contributing to an exciting new publishing project.

In all seriousness, it really is an honor and a privilege to contribute to an exciting new publishing project. The project in question? A Walk in a Darker Wood, an all-new anthology of original folk-horror stories, poems, and illustrations by…

  • Chelsea Arrington
  • Hayley Arrington
  • Adam Bolivar
  • Phil Breach
  • Scott J. Couturier
  • Ashley Dioses
  •  S. L. Edwards
  • Maxwell I. Gold
  • John Linwood Grant
  • Jill Hand
  • John H. Howard
  • Shayne K. Keen
  • David Myers
  •  K. A. Opperman
  • Duane Pesice
  • Rachel E. Robinson
  •  A. P. Sessler
  • Russell Smeaton
  • Sarah Walker 
  • Gordon B. White
  • Can Wiggins
  • Ivan Zoric
  • Rebecca Allred

But, as Ron Popeil would say, that’s not all! Remember that surprise I mentioned earlier? Well, here it is: as of today, the extraordinary David Barker and the very ordinary William Tea (that’s me!) have been added to A Walk in a Darker Wood‘s line-up as surprise bonus contributors. Gosh, I’ve never been a surprise before (unless you count the tragic morning when my parents realized that getting sloshed on Jim Beam in the back of an Oldsmobile was maybe not such a great idea after all).

Like all the cool kids are doing these days, A Walk in a Darker Wood is currently being crowdfunded via Kickstarter, so if you’d like to get in on the ground floor and help this funky folk-horror dream become a funky folk-horror reality, zoom on over there and reserve your copy now!

Soggy Greetings from the Residents of Innsmouth

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I love getting stuff in the mail, don’t you?

Even better is getting stuff in the mail that I had a hand in creating!

The postman’s latest delivery was a doozy: Residents of Innsmouth, a new art book by Russell Smeaton, AKA Tikirussy. Inspired by H.P. Lovecraft’s classic tale “The Shadow Over Innsmouth,” this book presents a series of portraits depicting the upstanding citizens of New England’s most secretive fishing village in all their scaly, scabrous glory.

Accompanying each illustration is a short biographical story, poem, or profile penned by a different author. Some are serious. Some are funny. Some are visceral. Some are contemplative. All are great.

Being that Lovecraft is my favorite writer and “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” is one of my favorite stories of his, it should go without saying that I’m very happy to have gotten to be one of the contributing authors. I wrote three pieces offering glimpses into the lives of three of Smeaton’s most colorful Innsmouthers: 1. Jumbo Lump, the Gilman House chef who’d practically kill to cook something other than seafood, 2. Sturgeon the Surgeon, a self-taught doctor struggling to treat a population whose anatomy is constantly changing, and 3. Walter E. Grave, a ruthless gangster with a penchant for leaving those who cross him “swimming with the fishes.”

Other contributors include John Linwood Grant, Sarah Walker, Shayne Keen, K.A. Opperman, Ashley Dioses, Alan Sessler, Phil Breach, Jill Hand, and John Paul Fitch.

Below, I’ve included a pint-sized peek at some of Russell Smeaton’s character designs (sorry, but if you want to see them in full you’ll have to buy the book). Originally funded through Kickstarter, the initial printing of Residents of Innsmouth has already sold out and is now in the hands of the backers. Don’t start scouring eBay for secondhand copies just yet, though! Anyone who missed out can order a new print-on-demand copy of Residents of Innsmouth by contacting Smeaton himself via his Facebook page at facebook.com/Tikirussy.

Until next time, happy sailing!

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In Stefan’s House: A Weird Fiction Tribute to Stefan Grabinski is Here!

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This one has been in the works for a while! Now available from Dunhams Manor Press, In Stefan’s House: A Weird Fiction Tribute to Stefan Grabinski is one of the most personally signficiant anthologies I’ve ever been involved with. Why? Because of the man who inspired it.

Stefan Grabinski has often been called “the Polish Poe” and “the Polish Lovecraft,” and while those comparisons properly evoke the enormity of his talents and the level of renown he should have had, they don’t really do justice to how unique his work really was. Grabinski’s “psychofantasy” or “metafantasy” stories (as he liked to call them) were informed by his lifelong interest in mysticism, demonology, and the occult, as well as by his dueling emotions of awe and anxiety towards industrialization (manifested most notably in the author’s many depictions of thunderous, fuming, untamable steam engines). These are stories that are both folkloric and psychological, obsessive and inquisitive, erotic and surreal.

And yet, within his lifetime Grabinski achieved only modest success in his native Poland, and not much at all outside of it. He was summarily forgotten, for the most part, following his death in 1936. I can’t say I remember how I first heard about him, but I’m thankful that I did. He’s become one of my all-time favorite writers, easily among my top five. In recent years, there’s been a small but noticeable upswing in Grabinski appreciation. Though he remains somewhat obscure, his work has come to mean a lot to me over the years, so it’s energizing for me to see him slowly but surely receiving the acclaim he is long overdue.

It’s even more energizing to think I might get to play some small part in that process.

In Stefan’s House has been a labor of love a long time in the making. My story, “The Witch Engine,” is an attempt is to look at some of Grabinski’s major recurring themes through the lens of my own experiences as a child of the modern age. To Grabinski, locomotives were the vessels of the future. To me, they are relics of the past. With “The Witch Engine” I wanted to explore the tension that lies between those two perspectives. I hope I managed to do the idea at least a small measure of justice.

My fellow contributors for this anthology include such humblingly talented individuals as Brian Evenson, Steve Ransic Tem, Michael Faun, Christian Wiessner, C.M. Muller, and more. To preview the entire contributor list, and to buy yourself a copy, go to the Dunhams Manor Press webstore. Paperback editions are just $15. If you’re looking for something a bit fancier, though, a very limited edition hardcover version will soon be available for $45, featuring new cover art and original interior illustrations by artist Mutartis Boswell. Down below you’ll see a jaw-droppingly gorgeous piece that accompanies my story. If you want to see the rest, buy the book!

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A Cordial Invitation to The Phantasmagorical Promenade

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Well, this is a pleasant surprise! An anthology I contributed to which I thought had been delayed is now available!

The Phantasmagorical Promenade, from Planet X Publications, is a tribute to the classic ghost story and its many variations. From Victorian gothics and M.R. Jamesian chillers to surrealist weird tales and ambiguous psychological thrillers, The Phantasmagorical Promenade explores what it means to be haunted in every sense of the word.

My story, “Social Medium,” is an updated riff on an old urban legend. It’s about a young woman who sends a message to the social media profile of a deceased peer… and gets a response. (Cue spoopy music.)

The Phantasmagorical Promenade is now available in both paperbook and ebook. Full TOC below:

Table of Contents:

Ashley Dioses – Behind Dead Eyes, part one
John Paul Fitch – Ray
Jill Hand – Not a Ghost
Matthew St. Cyr – All Through the House
Roger Taylor – Chatterbox Chatterbox, We All Fall Down
Sarah Walker – Be Careful What You Wish For
Rob Martin – We’re All Haunted Houses
Zoltán Komor – The Ghost Molester
Justin Burnett – The Slave House
Can Wiggins – Haint
John Claude Smith – You Cannot Live Here Forever
Alessandra Bava – Star-Child
S.L. Edwards – Aurora
Sean M. Thompson – Avaunt
S.E. Casey – Gods Rushing Madly
James Fallweather – The Philip Experiment
Philip Fracassi – The Taker
Debra Robinson – G Is For Ghost Fever
Alan Sessler – A Bitter Pill
Mer Whinery – The Children of the Crow Hollow Skillet
Scott J. Couturier – Ten Cents a Bottle
Manuel Paul Arenas – Night Hag
Russell Smeaton – Purpose
Frank Coffman – The Forsaken
Farah Rose Smith – An Account Above Burnside Park
E.O. Daniels – War Over Walter
Duane Pesice – Ghost Tracks
Levi Dunn – Something Wicked in the Hills
William Tea – Social Medium
K.A. Opperman – A Ghostly Lily
Ashley Dioses – Behind Dead Eyes, part two