Honored to announce that Exigencies has been nominated for a Shirley Jackson Award. This is the first Dark House Press anthology of entirely new fiction, so it means a lot. ALSO, Letitia Trent has been nominated for her story, “Wilderness,” which kicks off this book. (That excellent story was also selected for Best Horror of the Year, Volume Eight.) Congratulations to all of the authors in this anthology, as well as all of the other nominees. Very exciting. Honored.
I’m thrilled to announce that The Lineup: 20 Provocative Women Writers is finally out, TODAY! Three years in the making, I’m honored to have been a part of this. Not only did Diane Goettel do an excellent job overseeing this project that I pitched to her what seems like a million years ago, but we got a wonderful photo from Jennifer Moore for the cover, and a fantastic foreword from Alissa Nutting. The stories, do I have to even talk about the stories? When I think of literary fiction, these are the women that I think about, and not only are these stories thoughtful, lyrical, and packed with power, but they step into the darkness, where they take on provocative material in a variety of ways. Who is in this collection? Let me tell you:
Laura Benedict, Paula Bomer, Karen Brown, Shannon Cain, Kim Chinquee, Monica Drake, Kathy Fish, Amina Gautier, Tina May Hall, Nancy Hightower, Jessica Hollander, Holly Goddard Jones, Stacey Levine, Kelly Luce, Nina McConigley, Janet Mitchell, Ethel Rohan, Karin Tidbeck, Damien Angelica Walters, and Claire Vaye Watkins.
And how about these blurbs:
“These are stories that live on the edge of the cliff. They’re wild and unpredictable and important and wonderfully unsettling. Somewhere in this volume, you’ll find your new favorite voice.”—Rebecca Makkai
“The Lineup is full of ferocious, dark, and brilliant voices. The book as chorus both troubles and dazzles, as all great fiction does.”—Lauren Groff
“The writers that make up The Lineup are more than just provocative. With its anorexic ragamuffins and organ-thieving medical students, its doomed shot-girls and exterminator-besotted housewives, this anthology will pry your eyes open wide and weeping with gratitude to the spectacle of lives being lived under transcendent duress. By turns searing, heartrending, hilarious, grim, profoundly tender and indelibly macabre.”—Adrian Van Young
Edited by Richard Thomas, Foreword by Chuck Wendig, cover art by Daniele Serra, and interior illustrations by Luke Spooner. Includes “Wilderness” by Letitia Trent, “Monster Season” by Joshua Blair,“Cat Calls” by Rebecca Jones-Howe, “Ceremony of the White Dog” by Kevin Catalano, “The Armadillo” by Heather Foster, “The Last Manuscript” by Usman T. Malik, “Single Lens Reflection” by Jason Metz, “The Mother” by Nathan Beauchamp, “Everything in Its Place” by Adam Peterson, “When We Taste of Death” by Damien Angelica Walters, “Figure Eight” by Brendan Detzner, “My Mother’s Condition” by Faith Gardner, “Fragile Magic” by Alex Kane, “The Eye Liars” by Sarah Read, “Searching for Gloria” by W. P. Johnson, “And All Night Long We Have Not Stirred” by Barbara Duffey, “A Dull Boy” by David James Keaton, “Brujeria for Beginners” by Marytza Rubio, “Heirloom” by Kenneth Cain, “The Owl and the Cigarette” by Amanda Gowin, “Desert Ghosts” by Mark Jaskowski and “Blood Price” by Axel Taiari.
Exigencies has been a real pleasure to put together. When we opened the door for submissions, I didn’t know what to expect, but I can honestly say that 800 stories later, these are the best neo-noir submissions that I got, and each of these authors is amazing, unique, and going to blow up soon (if they haven’t already, like Usman winning the Bram Stoker Award for his short story recently, and other authors getting book deals, like Letitia at ChiZine, etc.). These stories cover a wide range of neo-noir—leaning toward the horrific, the fantastic, and everything in-between. Pick up your copy today. Here’s a snippet from Chuck Wendig’s brilliant foreword:
“Certainly the world we live in is a dank, fucked-up circus. Watching the news for 45 seconds will crush the spirit of even the most stalwart viewer in ways the stories you’ll find in this anthology never would or could. (Because at least the stories in this anthology possess beauty, too. They are told with great care, the narrative given shape and grace, the darkness given form and face and motive. The news is just noise; the stories here are all signal.) Maybe reading these stories helps us give context to the news we see during the 24-hour cycle. Not just a litany of horrific events, but characters and stories—a sense not only of what, but of who and why.”
“From the shadows that dwell in some of the most creative, and gifted minds around, emerges a collection of short stories that will skulk across the footplate of literature for many years to come. Exigencies is the cloak thrown over the world, to show us that in darkness we can still find beauty, and will forever serve as a keepsake to great writing.”
—CRAIG WALLWORK, author of The Sound of Loneliness
“Ah, do you feel it? That’s the spectrum of neo-noir passing over you. It’s wide, wider than you are It’s tall, taller than you are. And it’s got colors we haven’t exactly named yet. Its source is a book, the book you hold in your hands. Exigencies has it all. Some of it’s cold, some of it’s funny. Some of it’s strange, a lot of it’s possible. We’ve all heard of the type of man who ‘can get you things.’ Richard Thomas can get you things. And his specialty is short, scary stories. Just like the addict in the alley searches for voices he can trust, I listen when Richard Thomas says it’s a good story. ‘Here,’ he says, ‘you’re going to like this one…’ And I listen.”
—JOSH MALERMAN, author of the Bram Stoker-nominated Bird Box
“These pages house some of the most exciting writers you’ve never heard of—yet. They make the mundane terrifying, the poignant macabre, the violent touching. The only thing you won’t find is the expected, because these stories will move the ground beneath your feet. Brace yourself.”
—NIK KORPON, author of Stay God
I’ve been working with a number of authors for the past couple of years now. If you need help with a short story or novel, everything from big picture edits (what’s working and what isn’t, why doesn’t this have the impact I want, conflict, plot, setting, etc.) to up close edits (typos, grammar, tense, dialogue, etc.) I’m now taking on new clients.
What kind of work am I doing? Here are some details:
1. OVERVIEW: I can read a story or novel, give you general feedback on what’s working and what isn’t, and suggest some markets. $4/page (double-spaced)
2. FULL EDIT: I can read a story or novel, give you feedback on big picture edits (developmental editing) and do a line-by-line edit (copy editing) editing for grammar, typos, tense, etc., and then suggest some markets. $8/page (double-spaced)
My rates are very reasonable, I think. I see other editors charging $100-150+ an hour. If you’re serious about working with me, send me a note to email@example.com, and we can talk about a plan that make sense for you. I do not take on all clients or all projects. If you are a part of LitReactor, The Cult, The Velvet, or know me on Facebook and/or Twitter, let me know that, unless it’s obvious, and we talk all the time.
“Richard was a joy to work with. He had an uncanny ability to tune into exactly what I was going for and provide perfect insights to get my story to the next level. His attention to detail and overall feel for story structure was incredibly impressive. Richard’s edits were instrumental in making my novel publishable. He is an absolute wizard and I can’t recommend his services enough.”
“Richard Thomas is a scientist. He will take your work and examine it under his microscope until he’s studied every little detail. He will dissect your manuscript and make it bleed. Affordable and fast paced, I was impressed with the massive amount of care shown on the edits of my book. Not only did he perform a massive copy edit, but he also analyzed each individual chapter and told me what worked—and more importantly, what didn’t. Richard is exactly what an editor should be.”
“Richard has a keen eye for the little details that make a story work as well as for the bigger picture that brings together the plot. His professional demeanor and kind manner make working with him a real pleasure. He catches the things that most writers miss—and that’s a real gift.”
“Richard Thomas is not only a fine editor, but he’s an avid reader. He doesn’t just edit. He invests time in your story, in your characters, and in the fictional world you’ve created. This is what I find to be his greatest strength. His goal is to understand and care about your story as much as you do, and he’ll offer helpful suggestions on how to better reach your intended audience. He doesn’t force you to share his opinion, but I’ve never not heeded his advice.”
“I have contracted Richard to edit several short stories, and have found that his ability as an editor is a direct reflection of his resume as a writer—impressive to say the very least. I have found his editing to be of tremendous value, and would recommend his services to any emerging writer.”
“After looking for a decent editor, a writer friend referred me to Richard. I’m so happy that he did. Not only did Richard tear through my manuscript with a fine tooth comb, he also offered suggestions on what was needed to improve my writing. He also provided several markets to submit my polished piece to. Not only is he affordable, he’s a damn good writer. If you’re looking for an editor who won’t hold back and sugar coat your mistakes, Richard is your man.”
“Richard’s keen eye for detail goes above and beyond fixing punctuation and grammatical errors. He gets to know the work and has an innate feel for the flow, timing, and flavor of the book he is working on. He identifies small elements in a work that the writer may not even notice and makes spot on suggestions for ways to expand those elements in a way that adds dimension and color to a story. The best thing I can say about his editing is that my work has focus-grouped dramatically better after he has worked on it than before (and his edits happened AFTER the publisher’s editor had worked on it). At this point I would never send work out without having Richard edit it first.
“Go ahead and write the best damn story you can. Edit tirelessly for weeks on end. Have your writer friends critique it and their writer friends, too. Then go back and write that perfect final draft. But I bet that even after all that, give it to Richard Thomas and he’ll still find redundancies, misplaced modifiers, dangling participles, plot holes—you name it. What I’m saying is if you want to sharpen that latest draft, Richard is your man.”
“Richard has a gift for taking something good and making it better. He’ll find the little things that don’t catch your eye because you’re looking for big problems and expose their unfinished edges, guiding you in how to polish each element. Send him your finished work and he’ll show you how it’s actually two or three drafts away from being really done. People call him a story surgeon, but he’s more like a gem-cutter. Your story may be pretty, but he’ll show you some new angles, cut a new edge, shine it up and set it nicely.”
“The expertise and insight Richard brings as an editor is formidable. He helped me take three struggling stories from merely adequate to excellent. His feedback is spot-on. If you want to become a better writer, take a story through several rounds of revision with Richard. You won’t be disappointed with the results.”
“Let’s face it, editing is a daunting task. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Richard in the context of a class he taught at LitReactor.com and having him edit my work. He’s given me a structure and process to approach my manuscripts, hacking off hunks in some places, neatly trimming in others. He’s returned my work with meticulous notes, encouragement, and considerations to get to the true heart of my story, coaxing out every ounce of soul. If you’re holding on to a good story and feel the need for professional help to make it great, look no further.”
“I took an online class with Richard Thomas in hopes of preparing a story to submit for publication. I was looking for fine-tooth comb edit on the sentence level. Richard offered that and more. He took an interest in my characters and suggested ways to flesh them out. He showed me the weak spots, and pointed out the grand spots. Richard is at once honest and motivational, real and encouraging. He is a joy to work with. Best of all, my writing is better for the experience. I hope to work with him in days to come.”
“Having read Richard’s work, it was a no-brainer to send my piece over to him when the opportunity came up. My story needed help, and Richard showed me what worked and more importantly, what didn’t. But he didn’t stop there. He gave me suggestions on how to fix the issues and what might work, as well as let me know what I did well. Essentially, he helped give me the tools to take it to the next level. If you’re serious about taking your writing to the next level, definitely see Richard.”
“After achieving what I thought was a solid draft of a story, and after having it work-shopped by several people, I still felt something was missing. Richard Thomas not only unearthed those little morsels that I’d stepped over repeatedly, but his edits also shed a light on certain weaknesses which allowed me to trim the fat and tighten up my tale—to turn it into something I’m now extra proud to send out to the world. I can’t recommend enough his seasoned and discerning eye.”
“Submitting work to Richard is submitting to the story. That’s his primary concern, and it should be yours too. He will identify its strengths and weaknesses, what’s working and what isn’t, and he will guide you in the right direction by way of a clear and thorough explanation. I will definitely be asking for Richard’s help again.”
“Richard does a wonderful job of finding what’s most special in the work and then measures every other element in the story against that high standard. It’s simultaneously humbling and inspiring because he holds you accountable to being consistently as good as you’ve shown you can be. That’s the kind of pushing we could all use as creative people.”
“If you are looking for an editor, Richard Thomas is the man for the job. I found his detailed insight to be eye opening—not only for the story he critiqued, but also my writing in general. I especially appreciated him taking the additional time to give insight on how to better develop a story by approaching from a different angle, developing an aspect of a character or specific elements of the plot and more. Surpassed my every expectation.”
“Richard critiques your work with the eye of a reader but the voice of an editor. He’s the kind of person that devours books and when he reads your story he approaches it as a reader would, noting the inconsistencies and flaws in your work without over-analyzing the context of what you’re trying to do because in the end, what we try to do as writers is inconsequential. What matters if how we’re perceived by your average person, by editors, by fans of the written word who won’t necessarily care about metaphors and other literary slight of hand. More importantly, Richard is able to communicate these flaws with the kind of language writers are familiar with, suggesting possible changes without writing the story for you. While he doesn’t critique in the context of what we’re attempting to do in a story, he acknowledges and understands an author’s intentions, and will always give advice with that in mind. As a horror writer, Richard approached my own story in the context of horror and suggested changes as to how I could best edit the story in order to make it a better horror story. And for this, I was very grateful to have his input.”
“What separates a good fiction editor from a great one? The great ones possess the restraint to edit the language and structure of a story without attempting to augment or water down the truth its writer is trying to present. Richard Thomas exercised this restraint with my work, and I’ve benefited greatly from his fine ear as well as his knowledge of the writing industry.”
“Richard Thomas is a brilliant editor who is also an amazing writer. Not only will he make your work shine, but he’ll help you grow as a writer. His questions and suggestions are immensely helpful, and the grammatical flourish with which he untangles sentence structure is worthy of a linguistic artist. He points out discrepancies, highlights plot points that could use clarification, and acts as an adviser going to war with you. A literary battle. Thrust into the trenches of story pages, he bayonets problems away one knife thrust at a time, but he does it with a whole lot of elan. ”
“Richard cares about the stories he edits and cares about making you a better writer. He’ll help you find solutions to your story’s issues and point to where the story’s strengths lie. He is a great editor, coach, and mentor. Bottom line: If you want to be a better writer, work with Richard Thomas.”
“It’s an honor to be a Richard Thomas client. Richard’s edits and critiques of my work are as eagerly awaited as the responses to my submissions to publishers, if not more so. I tend to make the same grammatical and punctuation errors repeatedly, so a quick review of a prior Richard edit of my work, when I think I’m through with a piece, just makes good sense. Richard’s comments on the stories themselves and my writing style and ability are always delivered quickly. Richard can’t help but bring a spark of his own magic into the work through the power of his critiques. By defining my style and pointing out the best parts of my writing he has also bolstered my confidence. Thank you, Richard.”
“Richard Thomas is equal parts lit doctor—pointing out the weak lungs, obesity issues, or high cholesterol of your story—and personal story trainer—offering a plan for fixing those problems while providing the motivation you need to get it done. If you consider your body of work as the living, breathing thing it is, one that needs to be nurtured and grown with care, then you’d be making a mistake not soliciting Richard’s help. He knows how to make weak stories good, good stories great, and great stories perfect. He sees exactly what you’re not seeing: the very best version of your story and how to get there. And it’s a wonder he still finds the time to write great stories of his own with the abundant amount of intricate feedback he provides on even the shortest stories.”
“Editors are gemstones and I wouldn’t dream of sending my work out without a round by a good one. I am a returning client of Richard’s because he has high skills for content and structural editing of fiction, and he is a solid reader and writes fiction. Three stars right there. His insights about characterization, plotting, and identifying the weaknesses/conflicts in a story are better than most other editors I’ve worked with. Even though I am a copy editor and proofreader by trade, I cannot always see the faults in my own creative writing. As a bonus, Richard knows the fiction markets and is willing to share that perspective; that is a plus that I rarely see in other editors. So yep, this guy is a 5-star editor.”
“Richard provides comprehensive edits while keeping the author’s overall vision of the work in mind. When pointing out problems, he doesn’t degrade or condescend. He strives to help you learn so that you can improve your process going forward and get back to the thrill of writing.”
“A story I was very proud of had received numerous high tier rejections and close calls, but was missing the mark somewhere. I believed in the story, but knew I needed some help to get it to where it needed to be. Richard’s expert edits and notes helped me to see the little details and big elements that were holding it back. I’m extremely proud of the story, and overjoyed with the care that Richard showed it in his edits. If you’ve got a story that could use some fine tuning, you can’t go wrong putting it in Richard’s hands.”
“Richard has a rare talent. I don’t know how he does it, but he finds the ‘true heart’ of the story, points out what works and what doesn’t, and then helps you discover what you can do to make it better. His editing service is very much a short story boot camp. Yeah, you’ll get the kinks out of your current story, but you’ll be a stronger writer in the long run. Bottom line, he’ll invest himself in your story and apply his expertise as if it was his own. I wish I’d found him sooner.”
“I approached Richard Thomas to be my editor for many reasons. I was publishing my novel on my own, and wanted someone with credentials and respect in the industry. As a fan of his writing, I knew he had talent. His stories have an incredible economy of words, with vivid descriptions shaved down to the bone and a plot that is lean and direct, and I wanted that for my own work. As an editor, Richard was very accessible. He worked with me on character development and pointed out things I would never have realized, and listened to special concerns I had. Before, during, and after the editing process, he engaged in dialogue and suggestions rather than micromanaging the novel. The result was a great collaboration and a final piece that is uniquely my own, but would have been a much lesser piece had I not used his services. You won’t find an editor of his respect and quality at the same price.”
“Richard Thomas knows his stuff, from big-picture plot and characterization to all of the little grammatical details that can easily get overlooked. In a nutshell, he gets what makes a good story, has a great eye for detail, and isn’t afraid to give you his opinion—all of which makes him a great editor. I will keep using his services as long as he offers them, and I have no reservations whatsoever recommending him to novice and experienced writers alike.”
“Richard’s comments were timely, encouraging, and right on point. If there is something about your story that just doesn’t feel right, Richard will ferret it out and help get you back on track.”
“Grammar and plot issues should be easy work for any editor worth his or her salt. Richard does a wonderful job with those technical details. What truly sets his work apart are questions and ideas that give you an entirely new way to look at your own story. We get so deeply into our work sometimes—having a keen and compassionate new set of eyes is invaluable. Richard’s insights not only make the individual story far better, they also send my mind off in exciting new creative directions. Add that to fast, dependable turnaround and reasonable rates, and I couldn’t be happier!”
” I asked Richard to take a little sandpaper to my story and work up some grit. He certainly delivered, and my story is all the better for it !”
SHORT STORIES I’VE EDITED HAVE BEEN SOLD TO: Juked, PANK, Interzone, Another Chicago Magzine, Daily Science Fiction, Carve, Thuglit, Pseudopod, Shotgun Honey, Weirdbook, Bizarro Central, Spark, Blight Digest, Red Fez, Sheepshead Review, Dark Moon Digest, Deimos, Crime Factory, Bete Noire, Molotov Cocktail, Literati Magazine, and the following anthologies— Exigencies (Dark House Press), Behold: Oddities Curiosities and Undefinable Wonders (Crystal Lake Publishing), Not Your Average Monster (Bloodshot Books), Nightscript, Simple Things (Lycan Valley Press), The Best Asian Short Stories (Kitaab), and American Nightmare (Kraken Press).
NOVELS, COLLECTIONS AND NOVELLAS I’VE EDITED HAVE BEEN SOLD TO: Angry Robot Books, Crystal Lake Publishing, One Eye Press, Post Mortem Press, Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing, Kraken Press, Montag Press, and Perfect Edge Books.
LISTS, NOMINATIONS AND AWARDS: Projects I’ve edited have won the This is Horror award for Best Anthology and Best Short Story Collection; I’ve received several Bram Stoker Award and Shirley Jackson Award nominations; received Nebula preliminary nominations; been long-listed for The Folio Prize; and been on the Publisher’s Weekly “Best Science Fiction Books of the Summer” list. A student was also the winner of the Writers of the Future contest (3rd Quarter, 2016) AND the Grand Prize, for a story he started, and edited, in one of my classes. Stories written and/or edited in my classes, and privately with me, have received numerous Pushcart Prize nominations, and been included in the Best Horror of the Year anthology.
WRITING PROGRAMS / MFAS: One of my clients got into the Spaulding, Stone Coast, and University of California-Riverside MFA programs based on stories that we worked on together (chose UCR). A second student also got into UC-Riverside. Another author got into Columbia University, The Writer’s Foundry at St. Joseph’s College and The University of Baltimore (chose Foundry). A third student just got into the Emerson College Master of Fine Arts in Popular Fiction Writing program, with a full ride—the prestigious Emerson Community Scholarship. This student hired me to edit work privately and took several of my classes as well. Two other students got into Clarion, class of 2018.
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.
I’m posting this for Paul. I am the co-editor and designer. I’m really proud of the overall vision, look and quality of work in this debut issue.
Fiction by Steve Almond, Craig Wallwork, Nik Korpon, Catherine J. Gardner, Caleb J. Ross, Rhian Waller, Deborah Walker, Christopher Kugler, Colin McKay Miller, and the first installment of a Sideshow Fables serial by Nicholas Merlin Karpuk.
I’m a big fan of Steve Almond, and we’re thrilled to have him in our first issue. You may recognize the names of Craig, Nik, Caleb and Colin as writers that have published in Colored Chalk before, some in my issues. All are fantastic writers, and I’ve published alongside many of them. In fact, Craig and Caleb are going to be in the Gold Dust Anthology coming out at the end of the year. The Great Karpuk is another writer whose work I’ve gotten to know, and I’ve become a real fan of his work as well. The other writers are all new to me, but their contributions are just as strong.
I am excited to announce that Sideshow Fables #1 is now available for sale at http://www.sideshowfables.com. Visit the Sideshow Fables ‘Store’ to view buying options.
The print edition of Sideshow Fables will be available to ship in a week or so. We are accepting pre-orders at this time, so if you purchase the print magazine through the website, your order will be shipped as soon as we have the copies in hand. When you purchase a print copy, you will also receive a free copy of the E-book version of Sideshow Fables in PDF format. You will receive a separate email that will give you a link to download the PDF.
You will also see that we have the E-book version of Sideshow Fables #1 for sale that is available immediately for only $3.00. After you complete your checkout with PayPal, you will be given a link to download the file.
Thanks for your continued interest and support of Sideshow Fables. When you purchase a copy of Sideshow Fables in any format, you are supporting the Sideshow Fables team, the writers of the stories, and literature as a form of entertainment.
Let us know what you think of Issue #1 by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On behalf of everyone here at Sideshow Fables, thanks so much!