So, I finally got the call. I made the big leagues! Mourning Goats has been doing interviews with some of the most compelling, visionary, and talented authors out there—so many of my idols, mentors and peers. I’m thrilled that I got to sit down with the smelly beast and answer some of the most thoughtful and challenging questions of my career. They obviously did their homework. I join the ranks of Stephen Graham Jones, Monica Drake, Craig Clevenger, Paul Tremblay, Chelsea Cain, Donald Ray Pollock, Lidia Yuknavitch, Joe Lansdale, Nik Korpon, Rob Roberge, Megan Abbott, Brian Evenson, Holly Goddard Jones, Paula Bomer, Cheryl Strayed, Shya Scanlon, Craig Wallwork, and so many others.
My essay “Ten Essential Neo-Noir Authors” is up at Flavorwire in case you missed it. What exactly is “neo-noir” and who are the voices you absolutely have to know? Click on through and read up. Maybe you’ll recognize the names and maybe you won’t, but these are some of the most powerful authors writing and publishing today, and some of my favorite voices as well. They’ll all been major influences on my own writing, and I encourage you to pick up their work ASAP.
I have two new stories hitting the streets today. First is my parallel father/son story “Bloodline” which features rabbits having the same problems that us humans do. It’s kind of my contemporary take on Watership Down. That story is in Daddy Cool, edited by the talented Ben Tanzer, and published by Artistically Declined Press. Second, is my literary holiday story, “Chrysalis” in Arcadia Magazine #6. It’s a lighter story about winter, loss, caterpillars, and what a father will do to protect his family. I hope you enjoy them both. Support small, independent presses and journals and pick up a copy of each today!
I’m thrilled to announce that I am the new Editor-in-Chief at Dark House Press, an imprint of Curbside Splendor. I’ll be working closely with Victor David Giron, Ben Tanzer, and Jacob S. Knabb to publish neo-noir, speculative, literary fiction. Here’s what they had to say today:
We’re happy to announce that award winning author Richard Thomas (Transubstantiate, Staring in the Abyss, Herniated Roots) will be Editor-in-Chief of our new speculative fiction, neo-noir imprint Dark House Press. DHP’s first book will be The New Black, an anthology featuring the best of ‘new noir’, edited by Richard, coming out Spring 2014. DHP will then publish the first in a three part sci-fi trilogy Joshua City in October 2014. There will be a few more 2014 projects TBD. Visit the DHP page to keep up to date on its progress, submission process, and more. More soon.
I’m excited to announce that my second short story collection, Staring Into the Abyss (Kraken Press) is now OUT! It’s a collection of 20 neo-noir stories that lean towards horror, and some of my best work to date, I think. It has some of my favorite stories: “Stillness” which was in Shivers VI (Cemetery Dance) with Stephen King and Peter Straub, “Twenty Reasons to Stay and One to Leave” which was nominated for a Pushcart Prize over at Metazen, “Maker of Flight” which won a contest at ChiZine, and “Victimized” one of my longest stories ever. What are people saying? Here are some blurbs and reviews to help you figure out if this is a collection that you’d enjoy. Thanks for the support!
“The stories in STARING INTO THE ABYSS are little literary predators that are smart, savage, and stealthy, with a lethal pounce at the end. Readers who enjoy finely-crafted and genuinely disturbing dark fiction will love Richard Thomas’s outstanding collection.”
—Lisa Morton, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Monsters in L.A.
“STARING INTO THE ABYSS by Richard Thomas is an outstanding book, a grim tapestry of broken lives and shattered dreams, of dark fantasies and dark reflections. It’s one of the better single-author collections I’ve had the pleasure to read in recent years, and as such, gets my highest recommendation. It’s also a fine testament to a talent I suspect we are going to be hearing a lot more from, and soon.”
—Kealan Patrick Burke, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of The Turtle Boy, and Kin
“With STARING INTO THE ABYSS, Richard Thomas takes you on a ride into a world of darkness and despair, punches you in the gut, and leaves you breathless. You’ll hug your psyche a little tighter after reading.”—Damien Walters Grintalis, author of Ink
“STARING INTO THE ABYSS is gritty and ugly, seductive and sexy. Inside these filthy walls you will find everything you’ve ever feared you’d become; thugs, drunks, cons, prostitutes, murderers. Think of these pages as a mirror of what anyone–even you–can become, after just a few critical mistakes in life. Richard Thomas has proven time and again that he is one of the rising stars in the neo-noir culture. With this collection, he proves he has mastered it.”
—Max Booth III, author of True Stories Told By a Liar and Black Cadillacs
“NO ONE DOES IT like Richard Thomas. Dark and disturbing, his unique blend of horror and noir digs its way into your psyche and leaves you begging for more.”
–C. W. LaSart, author of Ad Nauseam
“Richard Thomas may well be the best author that you haven’t heard of yet…The longest story in the collection [‘Victimized’] is…one of the best short stories that I’ve ever read. This kind of transgressive fiction is absolutely my favorite style of writing, leaning close enough towards horror to satisfy all of my darker urges.”
—P.M. Buchan, Starburst Magazine
“I am pleased to say that STARING INTO THE ABYSS may have changed my attitude toward the short story format, it’s that good…There was an almost poetic quality to the writing…it is truly aptly-titled in the respect that these stories come across as describing the human-condition at its worst and best.”
—Nick Tab, Robot-Zombie Reviews
“Richard Thomas is a workhorse who is no stranger to dark fiction. But with his newest anthology of short fiction…[he] cranks the intensity up a notch while simultaneously turning the dimmer switch all the way down…Richard Thomas presents his gritty vision of despair at an unflinching, rapid-fire pace.”
—Sean Leonard, Horror News
“This collection examines darker elements of the human condition with a mixture of wit and unflinching brutality…There are some great stories here, ranging from subtle humor to rushes of adrenaline. ‘Underground Wonder Bound’ had me practically euphoric with its pitch-perfect ending. ‘Victimized’ had me on the edge of my seat, completely wrapped up in the story and oblivious to the world around me.”
—The Indiscriminate Critic
“[STARING INTO THE ABYSS] epitomizes what I love about Richard’s writing—the rich and vibrant worlds he creates using an economy of words…I can guarantee you that with [his] skill in creating visceral landscapes, believable characters, and tense plots across a range of genres, there’s something in [this collection] for everyone.”
—Jessica Meddows, Parable Press
“STARING INTO THE ABYSS is a very well-written mix of nitty-gritty short stories, each conveying a different message and emotion. Some of them lift up the spirit, others narrate about the dark visages in the human psyche, all of them haunting and insightful… All in all, I highly recommend this book for people who love short stories, be it horror, humor or just a really compelling story.”
—Dia Pelaez, Book Junkie Joint
“Richard Thomas has given us a collection of gut-wrenching tales about love, hatred, discovery, loss, pain, and elation…If you enjoy short stories with bite, and aren’t intimidated by plots that might disturb the peaceful fabric of your psyche, then read this book.
—Missy Jane, Dark Media Online
“Richard has done it again, and this time he’s given the reader a glimpse into what the abyss really is: a world of heartbreak, death, suicide, lust, sex, fighting… pulling bits and pieces from the science fiction and horror genres with hints of Bukowski and Palahniuk sprinkled in for good measure.”
—Joseph Lambach, The Dying Goose
“The writing itself was very well done. It was descriptive and to the point, fluid and stylistic at points, and quite effective…If these are the type of stories you’re into then I can say with some level of certainty that you will enjoy it. It’s deep and thought provoking and most of all dark.”
—Scatty, The Big Nerd of Three
“I really enjoy Thomas’s writing…some of the stories were really intriguing and I thought they were brilliant…I will try to look out for more of his works.”
—Hecate, The Middle Nerd
“The writing…flows, it is descriptive, and it sucks you in. What I like too is that each story was told with a slightly different style or tone, so I never felt as though I was reading the same narrator twice. There were some that had wonderful twists…I enjoyed each and every story…I would recommend this collection of short stories…I’ll have a second helping.”
—Isis, The Small Nerd
We can finally announce the full table of contents for Burnt Tongues (Medallion Press) a collection of transgressive short stories edited by Chuck Palahniuk, Dennis Widmyer and myself. Out in 2014.
Introduction by Chuck Palahniuk
Live This Down by Neil Krolicki
Charlie by Chris Lewis Carter
Paper by Gayle Towell
Mating Calls by Tony Liebhard
Melody by Michael De Vito, Jr.
F For Fake by Tyler Jones
Mind and Soldier by Phil Jourdan
Ingredients by Richard Lemmer
The Line Forms on the Right by Amanda Gowin
A Vodka Kind of Girl by Matt Egan
Gasoline by Fred Venturini
Dietary by Brandon Tietz
Invisible Graffiti by Adam Skorupskas
Bike by Bryan Howie
Heavier Petting by Brien Piechos
Engines, O-Rings, and Astronauts by Jason M. Fylan
Lemming by Terence James Eeles
The Routine by Keith Buie
Survived by Gus Moreno
Zombie Whorehouse by Daniel W. Broallt
Burnt Tongues, a collection of transgressive short stories, has been years in the making. Back when I was just a reader, plowing through 100+ stories a month for over a year, I wondered if it would ever happen. I have to give thanks to the hard work of Chuck Palahniuk, Dennis Widmyer, and so many other people. I was thrilled to be asked to jump in and help with this anthology—to edit it, get it all polished up, and send it out to a handful of presses that I love, all of whom expressed a ton of interest. In the end, with several offers on the table, we went with Medallion because they were the most excited, offered the best deal for our authors, and are looking to make this a success in the U.S. and around the world. I love the work that Medallion is doing, and everyone over there has been generous, kind and supportive. (Thanks, Emily!) Onward and upward. Full TOC to come. This releases in August of 2014. See the press release for more information.