Datlow's Best Horror of the Year 11

Some kind words about my co-written story, “Golden Sun.”

Darkling Tales

How on Earth did 10 years of Ellen Datlow’s “Best Horror of the Year” series go by? To be honest, a couple of those years probably passed while I was waiting for this WordPress page to load just now, but even so. Anyway, it’s been a few years since I got round to posting a review of one of these, and I’ve not got the time to catch up on that, so I will just say that the quality of this series has not declined over time and volumes 1 to 10 are all worth reading. But what of this eleventh anthology?

Things kick off with a name I hadn’t seen around for a while: Anne Billson, whose 1993 corporate vampire novel Suckers I enjoyed as a kid. ‘I Remember Nothing’ begins in classic “torture-porn” territory but Billson is somehow able to write about a very worn-out horror…

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10 Books Under 200 Pages You Should Read This Year Written by Women in Horror

Great list of authors and titles. Love Come Closer and The Bone Weaver’s Orchard.

Let's Get Galactic

Who else struggles with reading ’cause of the time it takes to get invested in & to complete a book? 🙋

Between work and life stuff, sometimes it can be difficult to dedicate the amount of time to reading that I feel the hobby truly deserves. This is where short fiction often comes in handy for me – short story collections, or novellas specifically!

I love bite-sized literature for its accessibility to the average, overworked, super busy adult. That isn’t to say I dislike longer works – I have a bunch of books lining my shelves that prove I love huge tomes just as much as the next bookworm – but these shorter stories are really great at getting me out of a reading slump, or even helping me hit a reading goal!

I put together a list of 10 that I’ve read written by ladies writing in the horror…

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“Ring of Fire” Makes Preliminary Bram Stoker Award Ballot!

 

I’m thrilled to announce my novelette, “Ring of Fire,” has made the preliminary ballot for the Bram Stoker Award in the Long Fiction category.

This was one of the most difficult stories I’ve ever written. I knew going in that pairing horror and lust was going to be difficult—not echoing Hellraiser, avoiding anything that came across as misogynistic, as I didn’t want to alienate the reader. I was inspired by Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer, as well as The Warren, by Brian Evenson, and a few movies at A24 I don’t want to mention, to avoid spoiling it. I also knew that I wanted the ending to be optimistic, but the entire epilogue was a surprise.

Here are a few kind words that reviewers had to say about the work:

“’Ring of Fire’ by Richard Thomas—which tackles ‘lust’—is by far my favorite story in this collection and, in my opinion, the most skillfully rendered. First of all, like all the other stories, Thomas doesn’t give us a clichéd horror story about someone’s sexual urges leading them to a grisly death. However, this is Richard Thomas we’re talking about. I knew he wouldn’t lean on cliches going in. Instead, he tackles the intersection of loneliness, guilt, shame, grief, the desire for companionship, and, yes—sexuality. But sexuality through the lens of longing for companionship, for physical comfort and belonging, for intimate connection. I’m not going to say anything else about this story, except that lots of folks claim to write “science fiction/horror” blends, but few get it right. Thomas gets it extremely right in this.”
Cemetery Dance

“‘Ring of Fire’ is undoubtedly the most ‘horror’ of all the stories in this anthology, an unsettling pot-boiler that seethes with atmosphere and dread. Following a lone researcher at a facility in some unknown snowy location, Richard Thomas is the master of withholding information and creating mystery. It is always as much about what we do not know than what we know; what he refuses to say, as what he says. Our narrator for this story is straight-up unreliable, and the world around them is unreliable too. As we progress, however, and notice these disturbing deja vu moments, these chimes of coincidence, we begin to piece together the deeper narrative of what is happening…Richard Thomas plays with us, and our expectations, capturing the kind of paranoia of Blade Runner and mixing it with the existential dread of 2001: A Space Odyssey. There are sci-fi elements here, but they are subtle; our narrator seems to barely grasp them, describing his processes and encounters with unease and uncertainty, the vocabulary of a man at his wit’s end. This story is about lust, yet Richard makes sex conspicuous by absence, all the while amping up the pressure-cooker of sexual tension until we are, like our protagonist isolated in a lone facility, about to implode.
STORGY

Wish me luck! Fingers crossed!

2019 Year in Review

 

2019 YEAR IN REVIEW:

  • “Golden Sun” (novelette) with Michael Wehunt, Damien Angelica Walters, and Kristi DeMeester in Best Horror of the Year, Volume Eleven (reprint)
  • “Undone” in Gorgon: Stories of Emergence (Pantheon Magazine)
  • “The Caged Bird Sings in a Darkness of Its Own Creation” in Shallow Creek (STORGY) currently recommended for a Bram Stoker Award
  • “Ring of Fire” (novelette) in The Seven Deadliest (Cutting Block Books) currently recommended for a Bram Stoker Award
  • “In the Shadows” in The Field Guide to Evil (MONDO / Alamo Drafthouse)
  • “The H Word: How The Witch and Get Out Helped Usher in the New Wave of Elevated Horror” Nightmare (non-fiction) currently recommended for a Bram Stoker Award
  • “Clown Face” in Grease Paint and 45s (Down & Out Books)
  • “Open Waters” in When the Clock Strikes 13 (In Your Face Books)
  • “Love Letters” in Shallow Waters: A Flash Fiction Anthology (Crystal Lake) (reprint)
  • Three flash fiction stories for Gotham Ghostwriters, on Twitter.

Not a bad year!

COMING IN 2020:

  • “Battle Not With Monsters” in Cemetery Dance
  • “Saudade” in PRISMS (PS Publishing)
  • “Kindred Spirits” TBA anthology (Lycan Valley Press Publications)
  • “How Not to Come Undone” XVIII (Underland Press) (reprint)
  • “Chrysalis” in Christmas Horror, Volume Three (Dark Regions Press) (reprint)
  • “Little Red Wagon” at Cossmass Infinities (reprint)
  • “In His House” in TBA anthology

The Best Horror of the Year: Volume Eleven

Some very kind words about BEST HORROR 11, including my co-written story, “Golden Sun.”

THE DES LEWIS GESTALT REAL-TIME REVIEWS — A golden sphere in fey balance between clarity and confusion

171D20AF-1E42-4578-B5B8-5CD949FD23C2

NIGHT SHADE BOOKS 2019

Edited by Ellen Datlow (my previous reviews of this editor: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/ellen-datlow/)

Stories by Anne Billson, Ralph Robert Moore, Ray Cluley, Michael Marshall Smith, Thomas Olde Heuvelt, Sam Hicks, Peter Sutton, Dale Bailey, Krist DeMeester, John Langan, Gemma Files, Eloise C. C. Shepherd, Amelia Mangan, Steve Toase, Bill Davidson, Damien Angelica Walters, Richard Thomas, Michael Wehunt, Thana Niveau, Laird Barron, Robert Shearman, Joe Hill, Adam-Troy Castro, Orrin Grey, Siobhan Carroll, Carly Holmes.

When I read this book, my thoughts will appear in the comment stream below…

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Storyville Studio is NOW LIVE!

My newly expanded teaching “empire” is now LIVE! Head on over to Storyville Studio to see what we’ve done, especially the reboot of Day of Reckoning (signing up now for 2020). Lots of classes, something for everyone. This is basically just a dedicated website for all of the previous classes I’ve taught, plus some new ventures:

  • Short Story Mechanics—still at LitReactor.com, the essentials of storytelling
  • Short Story Mechanics (At Your Own Pace)—a NEW version of this popular class at your own pace
  • Keep It Brief—still at LitReactor.com, a class on flash fiction
  • Contemporary Dark Fiction—still being taught online, sold out for Jan 2020, a few spots left for Sept 2020
  • Advanced Creative Writing Workshop—still being taught online, sold out for Jan and May 2020, a few spots left for Sept 2020
  • Novel in a Year—still being taught online, only one session for 2020, sold out
  • NEW: Day of Reckoning—one day, monthly, with seven teachers, a wide range of topics, as well as feedback, a great class
  • NEW: Guest Authors—a range of authors will be teaching stand-alone classes, monthly, as well

Feel free to share, retweet, invite your friends, etc. Thank you for the continued support. Means a lot.

PS: Look at the amazing authors that will be a part of Day of Reckoning—Carina Bissett, S. L. Coney, Brian Evenson, Brian Hodge, Sarah Gailey, Lindsay Hunter, Gabino Iglesias, John Langan, Livia Llewellyn, Jacklyn Dre Marceau, Sarah Read, Kelly Robson, Eden Royce, Karen Runge, Priya Sharma, Angela Slatter, Lucy A. Snyder, A.C. Wise, Mercedes M. Yardley, Richard Wood, Richard Thomas—Moderator.