Wow, what a fantastic article by Greg Levin about neo-noir authors. HONORED to be on this list alongside so many talented writers that have influenced my work in so MANY ways, especially Craig Clevenger, Sara Gran, WCB, Lindsay Hunter, Laird Barron, Craig Davidson, Holly Goddard Jones, Benjamin Percy and Brian Evenson.
So, wow, this is a dream come true. For the past eleven years, one of my white whales, those elusive goals, has been to make it into The Best Horror of the Year, and it’s finally happened. (I’ve been long-listed seven times.) I’ll be in Volume Eleven, out in September of this year. It’s for a shared narrative that I wrote with Kristi DeMeester, Damien Angelica Walters, and Michael Wehunt, entitled “Golden Sun.” This novelette, which was in Chiral Mad 4 (edited by Michael Bailey and Lucy A. Snyder, and published by Written Backwards) was quite a challenge. We talked about how we should not only link our stories, but do something fresh and different. I mentioned the idea of us writing a “Rashomon” (based on the 1950 movie directed by Akira Kurosawa)—four perspectives on a singular event, each with their own truth on what happened. We each got a member of a family—mother, father, daughter, and son. The missing piece was the daughter in the middle—literally missing. We talked about setting—forests, houses, asylums—this was about chirality after all, but pushed hard to set it somewhere that wasn’t expected—the beach, in the daytime. It was not easy, but I knew that by working with three very talented authors, three of my favorite writers working today, we had a chance to do something special. So to see the recognition from Ellen Datlow, for us to make it into this anthology—well, it’s thrilling, an honor.
Full TOC below:
- I Remember Nothing by Anne Billson
- Monkeys on the Beach by Ralph Robert Moore
- Painted Wolves by Ray Cluley
- Shit Happens by Michael Marshall Smith
- You Know How the Story Goes by Thomas Olde Heuvelt
- Back Along the Old Track by Sam Hicks
- Masks by Peter Sutton
- The Donner Party by Dale Bailey
- Milkteeth by Kristi DeMeester
- Haak by John Langan
- Thin Cold Hands by Gemma Files
- A Tiny Mirror by Eloise C. C. Shepherd
- I Love You Mary-Grace by Amelia Mangan
- The Jaws of Ouroboros by Steve Toase
- A Brief Moment of Rage by Bill Davidson
- Golden Sun by Kristi DeMeester, Richard Thomas, Damien Angelica Walters, and Michael Wehunt
- White Mare by Thana Niveau
- Girls Without Their Faces On by Laird Barron
- Thumbsucker by Robert Shearman
- You Are Released by Joe Hill
- Red Rain by Adam-Troy Castro
- Split Chain Stitch by Steve Toase
- No Exit by Orrin Grey
- Haunt by Siobhan Carroll
- Sleep by Carly Holmes
Big news! Thrilled to announce that my short story, “Battle Not with Monsters” has been accepted by Cemetery Dance magazine, and will be out with them in 2018. This will be my second story in the magazine (I was in Issue #72 alongside Stephen King last year), my third with them in general (“Stillness” in Shivers VI my first), and fourth acceptance overall (my collection Tribulations was released in eBook with CD last year). Huge fan of the work they’re doing, and it’s an honor to publish with them again. Thank you Richard Chizmar, Blu Gilliand, Norman Prentiss, and Brian Freeman for your continued support. Means a lot.
My very first signature sheet! In great company here—Chiral Mad 3. With Paul Michael Anderson, Mort Castle, Jack Ketchum, Meghan Arcuri, Emily B. Cataneo, Jessica May Lin, Hal Bodner, Richard Chizmar, Josh Malerman, Max Booth III, Scott Edelman, Gene O’Neill, Gary A. Braunbeck, Eric J. Guignard, Jason V. Brock, Erinn L. Kemper, Damien Angelica Walters, Ramsey Campbell, and Mercedes M. Yardley. Wow. One hell of a TOC.
I just wanted to let you all know that effective immediately I have resigned as Editor-in-Chief of Dark House Press. I’m grateful to the opportunities that Victor gave me, and the support I got from Naomi, Catherine, Alban, and Jacob, but it’s time for me to move on. I was honored to work on so many excellent books. Each one of those books was an education, and an inspiration. I learned a lot. It’s very tough to run a micro-press, and it doesn’t take much to sink it. DHP will be dormant, but alive, for the immediate future. Scratch will be the last book I put out. I will be focusing on Gamut, my teaching, and my OWN writing! I wrote two stories last year, and four the year before—and I need to change that, be more productive. I also owe my agent a new book. It’s tentatively titled Fathom (dual meaning—depth of water and understanding). Thank you all for your support. Onward and upward.
So, I had quite a few things come out this year, and they are all eligible for award consideration. Cat Rambo was encouraging authors to do this, so here I go! (HWA for sure, as well as SFWA, etc.) The short stories were for pro pay, so those markets are definitely eligible. If you are a member of HWA, SFWA or any other organization that nominates for awards and you would like a PDF of any of this work, let me know, at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
NOVEL: Breaker (Random House Alibi)
Description: Living alone in the dusty apartment where he grew up, Ray Nelson is a mystery to his neighbors and an unbeatable foe to the brutal men he fights in the ring for money. But a life defined by sinister secrets doesn’t stop Ray from trying to do the right thing for his dangerously high-flying sister. Or for Natalie, the young girl living next door. As a sadistic murderer’s ominous white van trolls for young victims throughout the Windy City, Ray is determined to protect Natalie from both predators and a bleak future. When she sees a bruised and beaten Ray return from late-night fights, Natalie spots a kindred spirit. Still, she cannot imagine the darkness just beneath, or what’s hidden in the rooms he calls home. Now, as the horrors of his own past creep back to life with a twisted vengeance, Ray may not even be able to save himself.
Blurbs: “Richard Thomas’s Breaker is a modern noir fever dream: brutal, lyrical, evocative. But it also exhibits surprising tenderness—its shattered characters find strength in one another, and beauty in the pattern of the cracks.”—Chris Holm, author of The Killing Kind / “Gritty, raw, powerful, visceral—that’s all you need to know about Richard Thomas’s novel Breaker. It’s a ‘gotta read this’ book.”—Les Edgerton, author of The Genuine, Imitation, Plastic Kidnapping / “One of the most terrifying, harrowing stories you’ll read all year . . . With a solid mix of heartbreak and action, along with some plot-defying acrobatics not seen on the page too often, Breaker delivers the goods on all fronts.”—This Is Horror
SHORT STORY COLLECTION: Tribulations (Cemetery Dance / Crystal Lake)
Description: In the third short story collection by Richard Thomas, Tribulations, the stories cover a wide range of dark fiction—from fantasy, science fiction and horror, to magical realism, neo-noir, and transgressive fiction. The common thread that weaves these tragic tales together is suffering and sorrow, and the ways we emerge from such heartbreak stronger, more appreciative of what we have left—a spark of hope enough to guide us though the valley of death. Fireflies and wolves, ghosts and golems, tentacled beasts and demonic spirits–these psychological thrillers will hypnotize you as they slide the blade between your ribs, up close and personal, whispering in your ear as you gasp and pull them closer. Tribulations includes 25 short stories–including two that were long-listed for Best Horror of the Year. There are also five original full-page illustrations by Luke Spooner.
Reviews: “Tribulations shows that Richard Thomas not only knows his craft, but excels in it. Readers owe Richard Thomas a letter to thank him for sharing his brilliant work, and Richard Thomas owes readers a letter to apologize for giving them more reasons to never turn off the light”—Cultured Vultures. / “At his best Thomas writes like his life depends on it, while his restraint and careful use of language ensure that these stories hit in all the right places. Whether it’s with a dash of stream-of-consciousness here, a bit of prose poem there, or a starkly minimalist passage, these stories speak to the things that haunt the darkest corners of the mind.”—Hellnotes / “Richard Thomas is on the cutting edge of neo-noir fiction and I dare anyone to say different. Tribulations is his best yet: elegantly twisted, superbly creepy, and dripping darkness. This is required reading for anyone into the shadow side of literature.”—Dread Central
ANTHOLOGY / NOVELLA: The Soul Standard (Dzanc Books) / Golden Geese
Description: Across four different districts of a city that has torn itself to shreds, four different interweaving tales (each written by a different author) play out. In “Four Corners,” a morally dubious banker must keep his employer happy at any cost. The next story, “Punhos Sagrados,” concerns a boxer who finds himself torn between honor and the woman he loves. “Golden Geese” follows a hardened criminal with a terrifying condition who must come to terms with the life he’s led. Finally, “Jamais Vu” provides a stunning denouement as a man searches endlessly for his missing daughter, a task which is complicated by a peculiar condition: his inability to recognize faces. Told in rugged, bare-knuckled prose, The Soul Standard is a nonstop thrill-ride down the darkened avenues and through the shadowed alleys of a nightmare town. MY NOVELLA “Golden Geese” is about a man living in the outskirts, trying to forget the dark deeds he has done, as the consequences of his actions close in around him, one final act of redemption his only way to survive.
SHORT FICTION: “Repent” in Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories (Crystal Lake) / “The Offering on the Hill” in Chiral Mad 3 (Dark Regions Press)
Gutted Description: From Bram Stoker Award-nominated publisher, Crystal Lake Publishing, and the editing duo who brought you the best-selling and critically acclaimed small-town Lovecraftian horror anthology Shadows Over Main Street, comes Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories–a disturbing journey into the beauty that rests inside the very heart of darkness. Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories features the most celebrated voices in dark fiction, as well as a number of exciting new talents: Clive Barker, Neil Gaiman, Ramsey Campbell, Paul Tremblay, John F.D. Taff, Lisa Mannetti, Damien Angelica Walters, Josh Malerman, Christopher Coake, Mercedes M. Yardley, Brian Kirk, Stephanie M. Wytovich, Amanda Gowin, Richard Thomas, Maria Alexander and Kevin Lucia. Edited by Doug Murano and D. Alexander Ward. MY STORY “Repent” is about a father, a bad man, and what he is willing to do in order to redeem himself and save his son.
Chiral Mad 3 Description: The third act in the critically-acclaimed series by Written Backwards, is a symmetrically-structured anthology of psychological horror by Bram Stoker Award nominated editor Michael Bailey, whose previous anthologies include The Library of the Dead, Qualia Nous and Pellucid Lunacy. The anthology contains 45 illustrations by Glenn Chadbourne, over 20 stories by the likes of Stephen King, Jack Ketchum, Ramsey Campbell, Gary A. Braunbeck, Mort Castle, Josh Malerman, Scott Edelman, Richard Thomas, Richard Chizmar and Gene O’Neill, and with 20 intertwined poems by the likes of Elizabeth Massie, Marge Simon, Bruce Boston, Erik T. Johnson, Stephanie M. Wytovich, and also includes an introduction by the extraordinary Chuck Palahniuk. MY STORY “The Offering on the Hill” is a bit of a Dark Tower homage, about a man wandering in a post-apocalyptic setting trying to find his wife and daughter.
Forget the flippant summer beach read. Ring in the dog days with these 10 science fiction, fantasy, and speculative novels picked as July’s best by the Chicago Review of Books. From dark, masterfully constructed plots to stories that probe the human condition, the following books will keep you perplexed—and bewildered—until the leaves begin to change.
Told in rugged, bare-knuckled prose, The Soul Standard is a nonstop thrill-ride down the darkened avenues and through the shadowed alleys of a nightmare town.
Excited to get one of the first early reviews of The Soul Standard (Dzanc Books) a novel-in-novellas that I wrote with Axel Taiari, Nik Korpon, and Caleb Ross over at Booked Podcast. This has been a long time coming—so thrilled that Dzanc Books believed in this project and that it’ll be out soon. It’s Sin City meets Raging Bull with a hint of The Machinist.
FULL DESCRIPTION: Across four different districts of a city that has torn itself to shreds, four different interweaving tales (each written by a different author) play out. In”Four Corners,” a morally dubious banker must keep his employer happy at any cost. The next story, “Punhos Sagrados,” concerns a boxer who finds himself torn between honor and the woman he loves. “Golden Geese”follows a hardened criminal with a terrifying condition who must come to terms with the life he’s led. Finally, “Jamais Vu” provides a stunning denouement as a man searches endless for his missing daughter, a task which is complicated by a peculiar condition: his inability to recognize faces. Told in rugged, bare-knuckled prose, The Soul Standard is a nonstop thrill-ride down the darkened avenues and through the shadowed alleys of a nightmare town.
Exciting cover reveal for The Soul Standard (Dzanc Books) out this July. Written by myself, Nik Korpon, Axel Taiari, and Caleb Ross. It’s four linked novellas over four seasons in four different parts of the City by four different authors! Kind of a Sin City vibe. Thrilled to be working with Guy Intoci and Dan Wickett, two of my heroes.
DESCRIPTION: The economy has fallen, and flesh is worth more than dollars. Across four different districts of the City, a desperate banker must keep his employer happy at any cost, a boxer must choose between honor and the woman he loves, a criminal must atone for his past, and a man with a terrifying condition searches desperately for his missing daughter.