The Soul Standard (Dzanc Books) is OUT TODAY!

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How many years has it been since we started this project? I think at least five, my section, Golden Geese, written at the Writers in the Heartland writing residency that I was awarded back in 2011. The Soul Standard (Dzanc Books) is a dark journey—four novellas written by four authors (myself, Nik Korpon, Caleb Ross and Axel Taiari) across for seasons in four different parts of The City. Think Sin City meets Memento. It was an honor to work on this with Nik, Caleb, and Axel—three very talented authors.

Here is what This is Horror had to say about it:

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.”

So if you enjoy my writing, and that of my esteemed peers (Nik is blowing up, with several books out, a new contract with Angry Robot books just announced and Axel Taiari one of the authors in the anthology I edited, Exigencies) then pick this up today.

Here’s the official 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.

Thanks for your continued support!

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

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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.

The eBook for Tribulations is now out with Cemetery Dance.

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Thrilled that I can finally announce the eBook of my third short story collection Tribulations is out now with Cemetery Dance Publications. Long time fan of CD, bought so many Stephen King titles from them over the years. I’ve previously published a short story, “Stillness” in Shivers VI (alongside Stephen King and Peter Straub) as well as “Chasing Ghosts” in Cemetery Dance #72 (also alongside Stephen King—it’s like the dude is stalking me).

Exigencies is Nominated for a Shirley Jackson Award!

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Honored to announce that Exigencies has been nominated for a Shirley Jackson Award. This is the first Dark House Press anthology of entirely new fiction, so it means a lot. ALSO, Letitia Trent has been nominated for her story, “Wilderness,” which kicks off this book. (That excellent story was also selected for Best Horror of the Year, Volume Eight.) Congratulations to all of the authors in this anthology, as well as all of the other nominees. Very exciting. Honored.

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Tribulations, My Third Collection, Is Out Today!

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Thrilled that Tribulations, my third short story collection is finally out. Special thanks to Joe Mynhardt and Crystal Lake Publishing for all of their support and hard work. Thank you Stephen Graham Jones for the wonderful introduction, and Kristi DeMeester and Adam Cesare for the excellent blurbs, as well as Ben Baldwin and Luke Spooner for the amazing art. Honored and thrilled.


From the Introduction by Stephen Graham Jones:

“A good collection of horror stories will, at two in the morning, direct your car more to Motel 6 than Super 8, say. Just because you want to be in a room where someone’s left the light on for you.

Tribulations does that for you, yes? Or, Richard Thomas is doing that for Motel 6.

Either way, it’s delivering the creepy visuals, the prose that worms into your head and crawls around on the backside of your skull.

And we ask for that, don’t we?

We stand at the register and we lay down our money, fully expecting to not be able to turn the lights off that night.

But that’s just what we expect from our horror. That’s the minimum horror has to do to satisfy.

A really good collection of horror stories, then—like this one you’re holding in your hands—it does that and it provides something else, something even creepier and crawlier, something wormier and altogether less comfortable. Something you wouldn’t necessarily ask for.


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

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“…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.”—Dread Central

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.

“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.”—Horrornews.net

“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

Top Ten Reasons to Back Gamut Magazine Now

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Top Ten Reasons to Back Gamut Magazine Now

ONE: We will pay ten cents a word

I think this is an important fact to mention right away. If you are an author, and you want to get paid TWICE the current professional rates, then support Gamut. Why wouldn’t you want to help make this happen? I hear people complain all the time that there aren’t enough paying markets, especially for dark fiction. This is your chance to put your money where your mouth is. It’s $30 for an annual subscription, which will stay that rate forever (as long as you renew) which is a steal for over 400,000 words. We also just added in eBooks, so you can go that route for $54, or get both for $60 (which is still only $5 a month).

TWO: We are inclusive, actively seeking diversity

First of all, we are supporting women, from the beginning with 60% of our authors being women. Beyond that, we are actively looking to include a wide range of perspectives. So whatever your sex, race, nationality, country of origin, religion, occupation, orientation, experience—we want you to be a part of Gamut. What matters most are the stories—neo-noir, speculative fiction with a literary bent. If you understand our aesthetic (which can be gleaned by reading my writing, the four anthologies I’ve edited, and the Dark House Press titles I’ve published) then we want your writing.

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(From left to right, top to bottom: Nickole Brown, Antonia Crane, Nina McConigley, Helen Marshall, Kristi DeMeester; Alyssa Wong, Livia Llewellyn, Damien Angelica Walters, Cassandra  Khaw, Carmen Machado; Erica Davis, Nikki Guerlain, Cate Marvin, Simone Meunch, Laura Benedict.)

THREE: We will open to blind submissions in 2016

So what does that mean exactly? It means we don’t know who wrote the story until we’ve said yes or no. We will certainly solicit some stories, so if you’re worried about us only publishing our friends, YES, we will publish some of our friends! What editor doesn’t solicit or publish authors they love, that move them—people they may actually know. BUT, I’ve only solicited 40 authors, so we have to accept AT LEAST 24 stories in 2016 for the 2017 year—12 new, and 12 reprints. My fiction editors will be my first readers, and then I will make the final decision on all submissions. It’s important to me to support new voices, diverse voices—and I’m counting on some of that coming in via submissions.

FOUR: A wide range of genres

We are not a horror publication. Or, I should say, we are not publishing ONLY horror. I want fantasy, science fiction, horror, crime, neo-noir, transgressive, magical realism, Southern gothic, weird, surreal, and literary fiction. We are looking for that sweet spot between genre and literary, between expectations and innovation. There is a lot of excellent genre-bending, hybrid fiction going on these days, and that’s what we’re looking for. We don’t want anything that is “classic,” so definitely avoid the same tropes, plots, stories, monsters, and clichés. We also are not fans of excessive graphic violence, rape, molestation, or any sort of bigotry. So, don’t feel if you aren’t a horror author that you can’t submit. I’d say several of our authors not only aren’t horror writers, but aren’t speculative, aren’t writing supernatural stories—for example, I believe that Tara Ison, Lindsay Hunter, Paula Bomer, and Nina McConigley are primarily edgy, literary realists.

FIVE: Pricing is currently 50% of what it will be

Right now, the main rewards are HALF of what they will be after the Kickstarter is over. And, those rates you can lock in right now, forever. As long as you renew, you can retain those rates. So, that’s $30 for website only, $54 for eBook only (monthly), and $60 for both. Those are great rates for 400,000+ words a year, original artwork with every story, and much more. Also, there WILL be a paywall. So, if you don’t subscribe, you won’t be able to read anything.

SIX: Lots of cool rewards at reduced prices

One of the most exciting aspects of this Kickstarter has been the generosity of authors, editors and publishers who have stepped up to donate books, editing services, and much more. It’s humbling, and means a lot to me. We started out with SEVEN rewards, but several sold out, so we added them back in. Some twice. And the rewards expanded as well. Last I checked we had 42 rewards, with 26 selling out. Stop by and see what we have! All of our rewards are also at 50% of MSRP.

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Subscriptions of course (329 sold so far) as well as postcards, coasters, editing packages for poets and authors, book formatting and layout, photo shoots, craft videos, classes, consultations, lots of books—and even a Tarot Card reading!

SEVEN: New artwork with every story

How cool is that? Not only will Luke Spooner be creating new illustrations for every story, but we’ll also work in spot art from George C. Cotronis, Daniele Serra, Bob Crum, and photographer Jennifer Moore! I’m a huge fan of all of them, so that adds a lot to the experience, in my opinion.

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EIGHT: Beyond fiction there will be columns, poetry, non-fiction, serializations, etc.

We are going to publish more than just fiction. We’ll have three columnists in Max Booth, RK Arceneaux, and Keith Rawson—to educate, and provide humor. We’ll be working with freelance journalists and essayists as well. We’ll also have poetry, which many fiction-based publications ignore. I’m working on doing a Flash Fiction Friday, as well, and even a Saturday Night Special serialization of something longer, to spice up your weekend.

NINE: Beyond writing, there will be other events and services

We’re also going to embrace other aspects of the arts. I’ve been talking to one of the coolest movie theaters in Chicago, The Music Box, about partnering with Gamut on some events and they’re already excited to do that. We talked about screening some cult classics and other dark hits, such as Blade Runner, Donnie Darko, and Mulholland Drive as well as an A24 retrospective (maybe a whole DAY) which may include such films as Enemy, Under the Skin, Ex Machina and even The Witch. We will be looking into other services at Gamut, which I can’t really get into now, and we’ll definitely have swag down the road a bit—hats, t-shirts, prints. But I mean, we have to establish ourselves first, right? What I’m trying to say is, if you aren’t a big reader, aren’t an author, we’re looking into ways to get you involved, to do things that will appeal to you as well.

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TEN: Be a patron of the arts, start something great

How often to you get to launch a publication? I’ve supported 19 Kickstarter events over the last couple of years—anthologies, journals, magazines, books, games, films, and comics—even post-apocalyptic mugs. It’s exciting! I want you to be a part of this inception, this birth, this creation. You can help shape it. I don’t know how successful this will be, but what if this was the next Tor, or Clarkesworld, or Tin House, or Rolling Stone? You could say, “I helped make this happen.” I don’t own much original art, but the paintings I do own, they mean a lot to me. I see the heart and soul that went into that work, and I was able, through my purchase, to support that vision, that artist. And to be honest, that feels pretty good. It is such a thrill to see students of mine land agents and book deals, to see my peers grow, and evolve, and succeed.

Let me tell you a little story.

When Letitia Trent sent me a story for Exigencies, I’d already publisher her book, Echo Lake. I loved it. But she had been primarily a poet—this was new to her. She hadn’t written that many stories. We talked about “Wilderness,” and the moment I started it, I knew it was something special. When I was done reading, I immediately sent her an email to tell her I wanted it. I was actually panicking, thinking another editor was going to snatch it up. She was relieved that I said yes. I guess the story had been bouncing around a bit and had already been rejected by several top magazines. I told her, “Letitia, those editors are mistaken. They are going to regret that they passed on this story. It’s exceptional.” I could tell she didn’t really believe me. That story was just selected for Best Horror of the Year, by Ellen Datlow. If anybody is a judge of greatness in horror, and dark fiction, it’s Ellen. Out of hundreds, thousands of stories, she deemed this one of the best. It was a validation that meant a lot to me, as the editor, and publisher, that my own vision was supported that way—and more importantly, it showed Letitia that she was doing something special, doing great work. Truly inspiring.

IN CONCLUSION

I’ve said this a few times, but I want to repeat it again here at the end. The opposite of love is not hate—it is indifference. If this kind of publication is important to you, if you write or read dark fiction, then please get involved. Donate and spread the word. The base subscription is only $30, just $2.50 a month. If I’ve ever done anything for you—blurbed your book, Tweeted about your success, shared an important Facebook announcement, bought your thing, given you advice privately, taught you in a class, or merely been your friend—jump in now, when I need your help the most.

Thanks,
Richard