“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!

The Seven Deadliest RELEASES TODAY!

Out today! Pick up your copy now. Reviews have been great. And I think my novelette, “Ring of Fire” is one of the best stories I’ve ever written. Edited by Patrick Beltran and D. Alexander Ward, with an introduction by Mercedes M. Yardley.

Throughout history, there have been certain moral evils so entangling, so alluring, that they routinely give birth to countless other evils in the hearts of human beings. From antiquity, these “capital vices” have been known as the seven deadly sins.

Now, from the editors who brought you Cutting Block Single Slices and Shadows Over Main Street, comes an all-new novella anthology featuring seven dark fiction authors at the top of their games, each writing passionately about one of The Seven Deadliest sins. Inside these pages:

  • John C. Foster spins “Gilda,” a yarn about Avarice;
  • Bracken MacLeod takes us on the road to Wrath with “A Short Madness”;
  • Kasey Lansdale’s “Cap Diamant” teaches us the steep cost of Pride;
  • Brian Kirk lays bare the Jealousy hidden beneath affluence in “Chisel and Stone”;
  • Rena Mason reveals a new and terrifying guise of Sloth in “Clevengers of the Carrion Sea”;
  • Richard Thomas examines Lust in his dystopian “Ring of Fire”; and
  • John F.D. Taff feeds us the darker aspects of Gluttony in “All You Care to Eat.”

These dark tales from a cabal of highly regarded and award-winning authors hold nothing back, so turn the pages and feast your eyes. The Seven Deadliest sins await you.

REVIEWS FOR RING OF FIRE

Ink Heist: “There are two things in this overview of his story “Ring of Fire” that should make you sit up and take notice. One of them is making a reader like a bad person, and the other is magical realism. As to the first, he’s a fucking master of it. His protagonist in Disintegration was a very bad man who commits some heinous and horrific acts throughout the book, yet all the same, I loved the hell out of him. I think that was because of Richard’s authorial voice and his alacrity with backstory, but I don’t know. Read it and see for yourself. And when I think of magical realism and the movement we call neo-noir, his is a name that pops instantly, unbidden, into my mind. The man has a marvelous eye for curating such material and a fucking exemplary ability to write it. So yes. If you aren’t yet excited about Richard’s inclusion in a book about the Seven Deadly Sins, get that way. When Mr. Thomas is in the mix, it’s always a good indicator that you’re in for one hell of an unexpected venture of discovery.”

Mother of Horror, Sadie Hartmann: “Lust was the next sin represented in the story, RING OF FIRE by Richard Thomas. I very much enjoyed how the author chose to unpack this story’s secrets slowly and methodically. It was fun for the reader to guess at what was going on and to have some theories as to who the protagonist was in the context of the world at large as well as his object of lust, Rebecca. I admit, my theory was correct. I loved the ending/epilogue of this one—great dystopian/sci-fi story that reminded me of a Black Mirror episode.”

AE Siraki: “Richard Thomas deals with Lust in “Ring of Fire,” in which the protagonist is obsessed with a woman, Rebecca. It’s a very trippy story and at first I thought that one or both of the characters were [redacted] meant to look like [redacted], but let’s just say things took a turn in a much more Alien-like direction and that fans of sci-fi horror will really get a kick out of this one. Thomas explains in his afterword that he wanted to do something different with his pairing of lust and horror, and rest assured, he has pulled that off.”

MORE TO COME.

Cover Reveal for The Seven Deadliest Anthology

Here is the cover reveal for The Seven Deadliest, edited by Patrick Beltran and D. Alexander Ward, for Cutting Block Books. It features seven novelettes from an amazing group of authors—John F.D. Taff, Bracken MacLeod, Rena Mason, Brian Kirk, Kasey Lansdale, John Foster, and myself.

Yes, of course I GOT LUST! It’s titled “Ring of Fire” and was inspired by projects like Moon, Brian Evenson’s The Warren, Annihilation, and others.

It also has an amazing introduction by Mercedes Yardley, who said it is, “The most compelling exploration of [the seven deadly sins] that I’ve ever read.” And cover art by Francois Vaillancourt.

It’s out May 7th and I think this is some of my best work to date. You’re going to want to pick this up for sure.

Lost Highways Anthology is Now Out! With My Story, “Requital.”

Brand new anthology out today! Very excited to be a part of this book, so many talented authors and friends in here. My story, “Requital” is inspired by the David Lynch film, Lost Highway, and it also (hopefully) taps into the idea of justice, karma, death, and purgatory. Hope you enjoy my work, and the entire collection. From Crystal Lake Publishing:

It’s dangerous out there…on the road.

The highways, byways and backroads of America are teeming day and night with regular folks. Moms and dads making long commutes. Teenagers headed to the beach. Bands on their way to the next gig. Truckers pulling long hauls. Families driving cross country to visit their kin.

But there are others, too. The desperate and the lost. The cruel and the criminal.

Theirs is a world of roadside honky-tonks, truck stops, motels, and the empty miles between destinations. The unseen spaces.

And there are even stranger things. Places that aren’t on any map. Wayfaring terrors and haunted legends about which seasoned and road-weary travelers only whisper.

But those are just stories. Aren’t they?

Find out for yourself as you get behind the wheel with some of today’s finest authors of the dark and horrific as they bring you these harrowing tales from the road.

Tales that could only be spawned by the endless miles of America’s lost highways.

So go ahead and hop in. Let’s take a ride.

Lineup:
• Introduction by Brian Keene
• doungjai gam & Ed Kurtz — “Crossroads of Opportunity”
• Matt Hayward — “Where the Wild Winds Blow”
• Joe R. Lansdale — “Not from Detroit”
• Kristi DeMeester — “A Life That is Not Mine”
• Robert Ford — “Mr. Hugsy”
• Lisa Kröger — “Swamp Dog”
• Orrin Grey — “No Exit”
• Michael Bailey — “The Long White Line”
• Kelli Owen — “Jim’s Meats”
• Bracken MacLeod — “Back Seat”
• Jess Landry — “The Heart Stops at the End of Laurel Lane”
• Jonathan Janz — “Titan, Tyger”
• Nick Kolakowski — “Your Pound of Flesh”
• Richard Thomas — “Requital”
• Damien Angelica Walters — “That Pilgrims’ Hands Do Touch”
• Cullen Bunn — “Outrunning the End”
• Christopher Buehlman — “Motel Nine”
• Rachel Autumn Deering — “Dew Upon the Wing”
• Josh Malerman — “Room 4 at the Haymaker”
• Rio Youers — “The Widow”

Proudly represented by Crystal Lake Publishing—Tales from the Darkest Depths.

Amazon: http://getbook.at/LostHighways
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40609864-lost-highways
Shirt: https://bit.ly/2NnKVFw

Two Honorable Mentions for Best Horror of the Year

Thrilled that my stories, “Repent” (in Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories) and “The Offering on the Hill” (in Chiral Mad 3) were both honorable mentions / long-listed for Best Horror of the Year. Both anthologies were also nominated for the Bram Stoker Award. Wow, what an honor, thrilled. Thank you Michael Bailey, Doug Murano, and D Alexander Ward for the continued support, faith, and guidance. Onward and upward!

Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories is OUT!

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Last year I only wrote four short stories, one of which, “Repent,” made it into this amazing anthology, Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories, edited by Doug Murano and D. Alexander Ward. This is the second anthology I’ve been in with these guys, the first being Shadows Over Main Street. Oh yeah, Clive Barker and Neil Gaiman? Nice.

I’m fascinated by the idea of beautiful horror, the intersection between hope and terror, between vengeance and redemption, between action and consequence. I think this is some of my best work to date, and I hope you’ll pick up a copy. “Repent” is about a father who has done some pretty dark things in his past, and the chance he has to do something right, to protect his son.  Here’s more about the book:

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. Awe meets ache. Terror becomes transcendence. Regret gives way to rebirth. Fifteen short stories and one poem span nearly every twisted corner of the horror and dark fiction genres: A woman experiences an emotional reckoning inside a haunted house. A father sees his daughter rescued after a cold case is solved, only to learn the tragic limits of his love. A man awakens a vengeful spirit and learns the terrible price of settling scores. A boy comes of age into awareness of a secret universe of Lovecraftian scale. A young woman confronts the deathly price of existence inside a German concentration camp during the Holocaust. And much, much more… 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. With a foreword from Cemetery Dance magazine founder Richard Chizmar.

ENJOY!

Interior art reveal for my story, “Repent” in Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories

Repent

Interior art reveal: Artist Luke Spooner deftly captures the creeping dread and inevitable doom that propel my short story, “Repent.” Luke always manages to find the tension and heart of my work, thrilled that he once again is attached to my writing. He’s amazing, and will be a huge part of Gamut, too.

Description: Awe and ache. Terror and transcendence. Regret and rebirth. Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories is out in June! Featuring an all-star lineup including Ramsey Campbell, Clive Barker, Neil Gaiman, Paul Tremblay, John F.D. Taff, Lisa Mannetti, Damien Angelica Walters, Christopher Coake, Josh Malerman, Mercedes M. Yardley, Brian Kirk, Amanda Gowin, Richard Thomas, Maria Alexander, Stephanie M. Wytovich and Kevin Lucia. With a foreword by Cemetery Dance magazine founder Richard Chizmar.

“Repent” accepted for Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories anthology

Gutted

(Cover art by Caitlin Hackett )

Thrilled to announce my 6,000-word story, “Repent” has just been accepted for Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories, alongside Neil Gaiman! Did you read that there—Neil Gaiman! Wow. I mean, I’ve published alongside Stephen King four times now (Shivers VI, Cemetery Dance #72, and Chiral Mad 2 & 3) but this is the first time with Neil. I’m a big fan of his work, loved American Gods and Anansi Boys, as well as Neverwhere, Coraline, and of course The Sandman series.

Edited by Doug Murano and D. Alexander Ward (who also edited Shadows Over Main Street, which included my story, “White Picket Fences”) this anthology also includes fiction from Amanda Gowin, Brian Kirk, and John F.D. Taff. More names and stories TBD/TBA, but I’m really excited to see who else joins us.

Out with Crystal Lake Publishing in 2016. I’m a big fan of CLP, and I’ll have an announcement about another project I’m doing with them in 2016, but I did publish a story with them in the Fear the Reaper anthology and some non-fiction in the Horror 101: The Way Forward anthology as well. Joe Myndhardt is doing great things over there.

More news to come!