BEHOLD!: Oddities, Curiosities and Undefinable Wonders wins Bram Stoker Award!

So excited to announce that BEHOLD!: Oddities, Curiosities and Undefinable Wonders (Crystal Lake Publishing) has won the Bram Stoker Award for Best Anthology. Doug Murano was an excellent editor, always a pleasure to work with him. My story “Hiraeth” was really out there, and Doug worked with me on it, and even accepted the EDGIER version, encouraging me to push it, and take chances with the narrative. It was also the last story in the anthology, which to me, is another honor.

Featuring Clive Barker, Neil Gaiman, Ramsey Campbell, Lisa Morton, Brian Kirk, Hal Bodner, Stephanie M. Wytovich, John Langan, Erinn L. Kemper, John F.D. Taff, Patrick Freivald, Lucy A. Snyder, Brian Hodge, Kristi DeMeester, Christopher Coake, Sarah Read and Richard Thomas. Foreword by Josh Malerman. Illustrations by Luke Spooner. Cover art by John Coulthart.

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Editing Services

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.

writingwithrichard@gmail.com

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 writingwithrichard@gmail.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.

TESTIMONIALS:

“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.”
—Brian J.

“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.”
—Max B.

“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.”
Bryan H.

“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.”
—Rebecca J.

“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.”
Nicholas M.

“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.”
—Isaiyan M.

“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.
—Brian C. 

“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.”
Ryan S.

“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.”
—Sarah R.

“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.”
—Nathan B.

“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.”
—Jason M.

“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.”
—Lisa M.

“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.”
—Matt G.

“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.”
—Dino P.

“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.”
—Matt P.

“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.”
—Terry R.

“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.”
—Chris I.

“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.”
—Bill J.

“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.”
—Jon T.

“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. ”
—Peter T.

“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.”
—Scott H.

“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.”
—Dona F.

“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.”
—Dan F.

“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.”
—Paula C.

“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.”
—David W.

“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.”
—Cory C.

“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.”
—Lisa B.

“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.”
—Mark M.

“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.”
—Jeremy B.

“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.”
—Rebecca A.

“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!”
—Kari K.

” 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 !”
—Jen J. 

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.

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.

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Blurbs are in for Staring Into the Abyss (Kraken Press) out in March.

Thank you so much to Lisa, Kealan, Damien, Max and Caren. These are five fantastic authors, and I’m honored to have their support for this collection.

“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