Well, here’s some great news. My story, “From Within” was just named a 2016 Notable Story by storySouth, as part of the Million Writers Award. In great company. This story was originally published in Slave Stories: Scenes from the Slave State (Omnium Gatherum) edited by Chris Kelso, and reprinted at Cease, Cows. Thanks, H.L. Nelson and Kate Jonez for the support. (It was also long-listed for Best Horror of the Year, edited by Ellen Datlow.) Nice way to end the year!
Had to take a moment to share a new review of The Soul Standard (Dzanc Books) which is officially out on July 26th. Not only does This is Horror love the entire novel, but they had some kind words about my novella, Golden Geese. Order you copy today!
Check this out:
“The Soul Standard is unlike anything else you’re likely to read this year, or this decade. Think Sin City meets Blade Runner meets David Lynch and you’ll begin to have an inkling of what’s in store for you, but only a very small one. These four brilliant authors have brought their collective genius together to paint this unflinchingly violent, oppressively bleak city with the adroitness of world class painters, drawing vivid images on your imagination in varying shades of gray and frequent splashes of red. Dzanc Books has a reputation for only publishing the very highest quality fiction and The Soul Standard does nothing to tarnish that rep.”
And for Golden Geese:
“The shining star in a collection comprised of shining stars, [Golden Geese] introduces us to a sick man trying to come to some kind of terms with the sins he’s committed. The story is dark, bloody, surreal, and heartbreaking and not one that you’ll soon forget. Thomas’ creative genius lies partly in his ability to build incredibly emotional, beautifully broken characters that you find yourself committed to, living with them for the duration of the story and deeply caring about their fates.”
I mean, it doesn’t get much better than that, right?
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.
Cover reveal today for my third short story collection, Tribulations. Art by Ben Baldwin—don’t you love it? So much texture and emotion. Creepy, too. This will be out in April with Crystal Lake Publishing. See below for the full table of contents:
Introduction: Stephen Graham Jones
The Wastelands (art)
Bringing in the Sheaves
Flowers for Jessica (art)
Wicker Park Pause
On a Bent Nail Head
The Fix-It Man
Shackled to the Shadows
Playing with Fire
Little Red Wagon
Asking for Forgiveness
White Picket Fences (art)
The Offering on the Hill
EARLY PRAISE FOR TRIBULATIONS:
“The stories Richard Thomas tells are dark rooms. Sometimes they are filled with terrors—ghosts and jealousies and strange beasts. Sometimes they are empty. And this might be the most terrifying thing of all. At times sharp and biting and other times dreamy and lyrical, Thomas is a powerful writer and Tribulations is a stellar collection.”
—Kristi DeMeester, author of Split Tongues
“Tribulations is a dark fiction collection for all readers. No matter your preference: this book ducks, dives, and bounces between genres like an Olympic skier taking on a hillside of slalom. Rarely is reading a collection straight-through as eclectic (or purely enjoyable) an experience. If you’re not already a fan of Thomas: prepare to be.”
—Adam Cesare, author of Tribesmen and Zero Lives Remaining
“…one of the most productive and unique writers on the hardboiled and horror short story markets…Tribulations contains some of his best work…the end result is richer and more visceral than anything he’s ever done before.”
—Dead End Follies
“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.”
“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”
“Richard Thomas does this thing where he introduces us to his friends, folks just like you or me, good, hard-working, honest folks. People we can relate to on many levels. And then, for whatever reason, he drops them right into the middle of hell. Maybe he just enjoys making them suffer. Maybe he knows that we enjoy watching. Whatever the case, with Tribulations he has let us get a little closer, made the glass between us and the suffering a little thinner, and reminded us that we just might be next in line.”
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.
I can’t remember the last time I read such a compelling work of fiction. I’ve been a long time fan of Matt Bell, but Cataclysm Baby (Mudluscious Press) may be some of his best work to date. Maybe it’s the fact that these stories were scattered far and wide across the literary landscape, and now that they are all contained in this one collection, they are larger than the sum of its parts. All I can say is that these depictions of life in the post-apocalypse are dark, touching, and haunting. Do yourself a favor and pick this up today. Read the full review at The Nervous Breakdown for all of the details.
In addition, Matt is one of the nicest guys out there in the literary world, doing great work at Dzanc Books, one of my favorite independent presses, one of the best, as well as running The Collagist. So, some extra reasons to support his writing.
If you’re a fan of Charles Bukowski (and who isn’t) then you’ll probably like this seedy, depressing and ultimately touching and redeeming novel, Damascus (Two Dollar Radio), by Joshua Mohr. I had the pleasure of reading with Josh a few months ago in Chicago as part of The Nervous Breakdown reading series run by Gina Frangello. In addition to Josh and myself, we were lucky to have Kate Zambreno (Green Girl) as well. Josh is almost the exact opposite of his writing—kind, soft spoken, and generous, even when tatted up and reading dark passages from his novel. He has several other titles with TDR as well, so be sure to check out his other work too.
My review of Kio Stark’s disorienting and lush novella Follow Me Down is now live at The Nervous Breakdown. I really enjoyed her voice, the heavy setting, the cast of characters that are paraded across the page, haunting the dirty sidewalks of NYC. I fell into this story right away, and man did I follow it all the way down. Read the full review, but this one is definitely worth picking up. I just reviewed Zazen by Vanessa Veselka, another Red Lemonade title. Those guys, backed by the genius and vision of Richard Nash, are really taking off. Keep an eye on this press and these authors.
Cover Art: David Bodensteiner