My new Storyville column is now up, and in this column, I dissect one of my favorite bits of short fiction, “Maker of Flight.” Why do I love this story? Partly because it has a sweetness at its center—it’s one of the few stories of mine I can actually read to my children. Every once in awhile they’ll quote the last line, “I wonder if the sky is still blue?” back to me and it just melts my heart. I also love it because it was the winner of the 2009 “Enter the world of Filaria” contest over at ChiZine. The contest asked you to write a flash story (under 1,000 words) that was based in the world of one of their titles, Filaria, by Brent Hayward. It’s a fantastic book, and I really enjoyed this challenge. I hope you get something out of the dissection. And pick up some ChiZine titles, they do great work over there. I also loved In the Mean Time by Paul Tremblay and Sarah Court by Craig Davidson.
My story “Ten Steps” is now up at ChiZine (Chiaroscuro) as part of their major new relaunch. I wrote this at the Jack Ketchum intensive at The Cult. So many other great voices here, in the previous, and coming weeks, I can’t possibly list them all but let me shout out at least a few names that I’ve seen up already, or have novels published at ChiZine, or may be part of this launch in the upcoming weeks.
First, I won a contest here at ChiZine back in 2009, the “Enter the World of Filaria” contest with my story “Maker of Flight”. It was quite an honor. My story was selected by the author of Filaria, Brent Hayward, and the Stoker winning man that runs ChiZine, Brett Alexander Savory.
I’ve been a long time fan of Paul Tremblay who has In the Mean Time at ChiZine, as well as Craig Davidson, who has Sarah Court there as well (I reviewed both of these at The Nervous Breakdown, too). These guys are two of my favorite authors there. I’d expect them to have a story up here as a part of this. Also, in the past couple of weeks, we’ve had stories by Stewart O’Nan, Tom Piccirilli, and Neil Gaiman.
So head over and check out my story, but also stay awhile, peep the other stories, and pick up a book or two. Exceptional artwork by Erik Mohr as well. I’ve never read a bad book from ChiZine. Donate some $$$ if you have it, every dollar helps. These are some of the good guys, putting out excellent work, supporting unknown authors like myself, and really on the cutting edge of literary dark fiction.
This is a Table of Contents for all of my current, LIVE fiction that is available online for FREE. Below are each of the stories, a brief synopsis, and a link to the site that hosts them. They are in reverse chronological order.
What do all of these stories have in common? I tend to write about the darker aspects of life, and am fascinated by what happens when things fall apart, how we handle life when it throws us a curve ball, the dysfunction in everyday life, how we rebel against the rules of society, and what goes on in the middle of the night.
Last Updated: July 12, 2021
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
“In His House”
SYNOPSIS: This Lovecraftian, epistolary second-person story is part of my Storyville column. I dissect it—talking about the craft, process, hooks, conflicts, tension, symbolism, and more.
IN HIS HOUSE
“How Not to Come Undone”
THE WRITING DISORDER
SYNOPSIS: A pair of twins balance each other out, but that’s not always a good thing. In this dark magical realism we see how far family will go to save each other.
HOW NOT TO COME UNDONE
SYNOPSIS: When a violent car accident takes his family, one man starts having visions.
SYNOPSIS: In a slave state, how do you protect your son? What if he doesn’t need protecting? Long-listed for Best Horror of the Year.
“Little Red Wagon”
THE WRITING DISORDER
SYNOPSIS: What would you do to keep the human race alive? And what does being human really mean?
LITTLE RED WAGON
“Moving Heavy Objects”
SYNOPSIS: A son tries to forgive his father for being so distant.
MOVING HEAVY OBJECTS
“Asking for Forgiveness”
SYNOPSIS: When the land yields nothing but abomination, how does family change, how do we survive? Long-listed for Best Horror of the Year.
ASKING FOR FORGIVENESS
SYNOPSIS: What happens when evil finds a young boy, an ancient creature, the signs all ignored?
“Tinkering With the Moon”
SYNOPSIS: When a little boy misses his father, he’d do anything to reunite with him.
TINKERING WITH THE MOON
“Bury Me Deep”
THE BIG ADIOS
SYNOPSIS: Out in the wild west, there lurk shadows and dark deeds, all done under the blazing sun for God and all to witness.
BURY ME DEEP
SYNOPSIS: The things we do for love are often very destructive.
“Flowers for Jessica”
SYNOPSIS: How far would you go to bring your loved one back from the dead?
FLOWERS FOR JESSICA
“The Fix-It Man”
BLACK HEART MAGAZINE
SYNOPSIS: When a man falls apart, disconnects from his wife and son, what gesture can he make as he disintegrates?
THE FIX-IT MAN
SYNOPSIS: Charlotte needs to escape sometimes.
[Sixth place winner of the Zouch Lit Bits Fiction contest]
“Jimmy Five Ways”
SYNOPSIS: A wife, a son, a mistress, a partner and a man named Jimmy—five ways.
JIMMY FIVE WAYS
[One of the five winners of the Punchnel’s Hard-Boiled Down Noir Fiction contest]
“Twenty Reasons to Stay and One to Leave”
SYNOPSIS: When something tragic happens, do you stay or do you leave? Sometimes you stay for a long time, only to realize that leaving would be less cruel. Nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
TWENTY REASONS TO LEAVE AND ONE TO STAY
SYNOPSIS: In real life, there are paths to take, sometimes you have a choice, some times you do not. In this adult “choose-your-own” ending adventure it’s up to you whether or not to be parnoid or to trust, to be innocent, or just a fool.
(A number of other stores are no longer available as the websites and publications have since gone under. I have removed them from this list as they have disappeared. Gone are: Opium Magazine, Colored Chalk, Cause & Effect, Nefarious Muse, ChiZine’s Chiaroscuro, Cherry Bleeds, Troubadour 21, Carbon-Based Lifeform Blues, Leodegraunce, Metazen, Emprise Review, Conjectural Figments, Beat the Dust, Thickjam, Circa, The Dying Goose, Parable Press, Revolt Daily, Penumbra, Word Riot, etc. RIP. )
From the editor of ChiZine Publications, Brett Alexander Savory, via their Facebook update:
ENTER THE WORLD OF FILARIA CONTEST RESULTS
The winning entries for the Enter the World of Filaria Contest
have been posted at the site. Richard Thomas’s “Maker of Flight”,
a disquieting tale of what might be happening behind a closed door on the top level of the structure, won first place.
Brent also had some nice things to say to me about it:
“That was a really nice piece you wrote, and in my head now it’s somehow forever tangled up in Filaria.”
I thought that was the ultimate compliment
Well, the story is now live. Hope you dig it, I really had fun with it. I’ve had some fantastic conversations with the author Brent Hayward, saying that this story will now be a part of the world he created, which is really just the nicest thing I could hear about this short. Brett Alexander Savory at ChiZine has also been very supportive and great to work with.
It is finally, public. I am the winner of the 2009 “Enter the World of Filaria” contest by ChiZine Publications. This is the first time I’ve ever won anything writing related. I get published online and $250 bucks! WOW! My first paycheck as a writer. The story, “Maker of Flight” will be posted April 1st.