The Best Horror of the Year, Volume Eleven, edited by Ellen Datlow, is out today. LOVE that cover art. It includes work by Laird Barron, Joe Hill, John Langan, and Gemma Files, among others, as well as “Golden Sun,” a novelette I co-wrote with Kristi DeMeester, Michael Wehunt, and Damien Angelica Walters. Pick up your copy today!
So, wow, this is a dream come true. For the past eleven years, one of my white whales, those elusive goals, has been to make it into The Best Horror of the Year, and it’s finally happened. (I’ve been long-listed seven times.) I’ll be in Volume Eleven, out in September of this year. It’s for a shared narrative that I wrote with Kristi DeMeester, Damien Angelica Walters, and Michael Wehunt, entitled “Golden Sun.” This novelette, which was in Chiral Mad 4 (edited by Michael Bailey and Lucy A. Snyder, and published by Written Backwards) was quite a challenge. We talked about how we should not only link our stories, but do something fresh and different. I mentioned the idea of us writing a “Rashomon” (based on the 1950 movie directed by Akira Kurosawa)—four perspectives on a singular event, each with their own truth on what happened. We each got a member of a family—mother, father, daughter, and son. The missing piece was the daughter in the middle—literally missing. We talked about setting—forests, houses, asylums—this was about chirality after all, but pushed hard to set it somewhere that wasn’t expected—the beach, in the daytime. It was not easy, but I knew that by working with three very talented authors, three of my favorite writers working today, we had a chance to do something special. So to see the recognition from Ellen Datlow, for us to make it into this anthology—well, it’s thrilling, an honor.
Full TOC below:
- I Remember Nothing by Anne Billson
- Monkeys on the Beach by Ralph Robert Moore
- Painted Wolves by Ray Cluley
- Shit Happens by Michael Marshall Smith
- You Know How the Story Goes by Thomas Olde Heuvelt
- Back Along the Old Track by Sam Hicks
- Masks by Peter Sutton
- The Donner Party by Dale Bailey
- Milkteeth by Kristi DeMeester
- Haak by John Langan
- Thin Cold Hands by Gemma Files
- A Tiny Mirror by Eloise C. C. Shepherd
- I Love You Mary-Grace by Amelia Mangan
- The Jaws of Ouroboros by Steve Toase
- A Brief Moment of Rage by Bill Davidson
- Golden Sun by Kristi DeMeester, Richard Thomas, Damien Angelica Walters, and Michael Wehunt
- White Mare by Thana Niveau
- Girls Without Their Faces On by Laird Barron
- Thumbsucker by Robert Shearman
- You Are Released by Joe Hill
- Red Rain by Adam-Troy Castro
- Split Chain Stitch by Steve Toase
- No Exit by Orrin Grey
- Haunt by Siobhan Carroll
- Sleep by Carly Holmes
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.
• 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.
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.
I’m very excited to announce that BEHOLD! Oddities, Curiosities, and Undefinable Wonders (edited by Doug Murano, at Crystal Lake Publishing) is now out! My story, “Hiraeth” is in here, and I think this is really going to be one of the best anthologies put out this year. Doug has been doing excellent work. I turned in TWO versions of my story, and asked Doug which one he wanted (if he wanted EITHER one, LOL) stating that one was riskier, might be more divisive. That’s the version he took.
Who all is in here? Let me list these amazing authors: Clive Barker, Neil Gaiman, Ramsey Campbell, Lisa Morton, John Langan, Brian Kirk, Hal Bodner, Stephanie M. Wytovich, Erinn L. Kemper, John F.D. Taff, Patrick Freivald, Lucy A. Snyder, Brian Hodge, Kristi DeMeester, Christopher Coake, Sarah Read and Richard Thomas (me!). With a foreword by Josh Malerman.
And the reviews that are coming in are excellent, too, not just for the anthology, but also for my story, “Hiraeth” which closes out the book. Very exciting.
Want to hear more about my story? Check out this video:
Art reveal! Luke Spooner interprets my story “Hiraeth,” a tale about the wondrous power of the stories we tell ourselves. Love this interior art, such emotion and symbolism, which, when you read the story you’ll totally understand. Always a huge fan of Luke’s work.
Fun fact: The word “hiraeth” is defined as a yearning or nostalgia for a home to which we can never return…a home that, perhaps, never was.
Behold! Oddities, Curiosities and Undefinable Wonders publishes July 28 and features Clive Barker, Neil Gaiman, Ramsey Campbell, Lisa Morton, Brian Kirk, Hal Bodner, Stephanie M. Wytovich, John Langan, Erinn Kemper, John F.D. Taff, Patrick Freivald, Lucy A. Snyder, Brian Hodge, Kristi DeMeester, Christopher Coake, Sarah Read and me!. Foreword by Josh Malerman. Illustrations by Luke Spooner. Cover art by John Coulthart.
I’m thrilled to announce that I’ll be a part of Behold: Oddities, Curiosities, and Undefinable Wonders. My story “Hiraeth,” will be in this exciting anthology (I’ve seen the full TOC). It’s a story about pain, hope, suffering, and the stories we tell ourselves, the layers of reality that exist around us. Hope you dig it. I’ll be joining a growing table of contents that so far includes Clive Barker, Ramsey Campbell, Lucy A. Snyder, John F.D. Taff, Brian Kirk, Patrick Freivald, Kristi DeMeester and Erinn Kemper. Josh Malerman will write the foreword. More to come! Stoked. Thanks, Doug Murano and Joe Mynhardt for your continued support. Crystal Lake Publishing continues to do great work. (FYI: Hiraeth is defined as “a feeling of nostalgia or longing for a place you’ve never been, or which may never have existed.)
How exciting! Gamut is offering up our first class, Day of Reckoning. One intense day with eight talented authors and teachers, plus feedback on up to eight different stories. All for only $350. Click on over and check it out, the classes will be small, up to eight students. This should be a lot of fun. Honored to work with each and every one of these authors.
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.”
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.
(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.
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.
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.
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.
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.