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!

BOOKED Podcast Interview about The Soul Standard

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I finally had a moment to sit down with Robb and Livius to discuss The Soul Standard (Dzanc Books), my latest project, a novel-in-novellas, written with Nik Korpon, Axel Taiari, and Caleb Ross. We talk about how the book came to be, my novella, Golden Geese, how the stories linked up and our process for that overlap, and much more. Stop by and give it a listen. Axel Taiari shares this episode with me, to give us his stories.

To hear Nik and Caleb talk about their stories and process, GO HERE.

To hear the original review by BOOKED, GO HERE.

This is Horror also put up an excellent review, read that HERE, and here’s a quick excerpt:

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.”

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.

Excellent Review of THE SOUL STANDARD at This is Horror

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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?

The Soul Standard is a TOP TEN pick for July at Chicago Review of Books!

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Chicago Review of Books has The Soul Standard as one of the TEN BEST SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY NOVELS TO READ THIS JULY. How exciting. In great company, too.
Forget the flippant summer beach read. Ring in the dog days with these 10 science fiction, fantasy, and speculative novels picked as July’s best by the Chicago Review of Books. From dark, masterfully constructed plots to stories that probe the human condition, the following books will keep you perplexed—and bewildered—until the leaves begin to change.
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.

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Booked Podcast Reviews THE SOUL STANDARD

BookedTSS

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.

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Gamut Magazine: What’s This Website All About?

Gamut Idea-001(Art by Luke Spooner)

“Now that short fiction has become as standardized as the SATs and Common Core—all in order to ‘judge’ and ‘rank’ writers—I’m excited to see what Richard Thomas brings to the game. Gamut will be the new magazine not written for the little old lady in Dubuque.”
—Chuck Palahniuk, author of Fight Club

Gamut will be cool, and it will be out there, right on the edges of fiction. I can’t wait.”
—Irvine Welsh, author of Trainspotting

“As publishing venues grow ever more polarized—niche market over here,
stadium rock over there—the need for passionate, thoughtful, unafraid publishing
space is crucial. Enter Gamut.”
—Marcus Sakey, author of Brilliance

“I beg to differ with Mr. Palahniuk: There’s a fabulous indie bookstore in Dubuque, and little old ladies have been known to write some astonishing speculative fiction. Some of it might even end up in this magazine, which promises to bring together the fresh and the dark and the extraordinary. Look for great, weird things from [Gamut].”
—Rebecca Makkai, author of The Hundred-Year House

“A killer lineup of creators.”
—Rose O’Keefe, Publisher, Eraserhead Press

“The heavyweight talent behind Gamut is a promise of great things to come.”
—K. Allen Wood, Publisher, Shock Totem Publications

“It doesn’t matter if a writer has a big name, a pen name, or no name, if they’re writing excellent and edgy fiction, Richard Thomas has probably read their work. But Richard’s a busy guy—seriously, read his bio—and doesn’t have time to meet for coffee or martinis or bowling anytime someone wants to talk about what they should be reading next. Thankfully, now there is Gamut, which is sure to become an index of some of the best fiction writers working today.”
—Diane Goettel, Executive Editor, Black Lawrence Press

GAMUT (Updated 1/29/2016)

So what’s all of this talk about Gamut? For a long time I’ve wanted to start a magazine. I crunched the numbers for years, but in the end couldn’t make it work. Why? PRINT COSTS. So, over the past year I’ve been looking at it again, and decided the way to go would be to Kickstart it, and have it exist online. I hope to do the Kickstarter in February of 2016, and launch the website on 1/1/2017, if we are successful. For the past several months I’ve been getting things lined up—authors, website, costs, content, the Kickstarter page, etc. We will offer subscriptions via the special Kickstarter for $25-30, with the regular annual price being $50-60. That’s only $5 a month, at the most expensive price point. (Gamut just means a wide range, and it’s usually applied to emotions, but here, it refers to fiction, and more specifically, dark fiction.)

CONTENT

It will include mostly fiction (some original, some reprints) but also columns, non-fiction, art, and maybe even a serial memoir or novella. I have a word count per month in mind, based on my budget, and I’m looking to release new content several times a week. I will start off by publishing work via solicitations and will then open it up to submissions. We will pay 10 cents per word for original fiction, and 3 cents per word for reprints.

GENRES

Well, if you’ve read any of the anthologies I’ve edited (The New Black, Burnt Tongues, The Lineup: 20 Provocative Women Writers, or Exigencies) then you know what my aesthetic is, for sure. Also, you can see the work (and authors) I’ve published at Dark House Press. And of course, my own writing (and YES, I will be publishing some of my own work at Gamut as well, new and reprint). So I’m open to fantasy, science fiction, horror, neo-noir, crime, magical realism, transgressive, Southern gothic, and literary—anything done with innovation, heart and emotion. Everything I enjoy reading and writing typically leans toward the dark side, but I have been known to embrace lighter work, and humor, now and then. It just has to MOVE me. And I like to be surprised.

AUTHORS

To date, here are the people that have given me a verbal commitment to publish original and/or reprint fiction at Gamut: Stephen Graham Jones, Laird Barron, Brian Evenson, Usman T. Malik, Matt Bell, Damien Angelica Walters, Letitia Trent, Mercedes M. Yardley, Alyssa Wong, Benjamin Percy, Lindsay Hunter, Axel Taiari, Amanda Gowin, Laura Benedict, Nathan Ballingrud, Dino Parenti, Ted E. Grau, Rebecca Jones-Howe, Sarah Read, Paula Bomer, Kelly Luce, Livia Llewellyn, Josh Malerman, Carmen Machado, Peter Tieryas, Kevin Catalano, Paul Tremblay, John Langan, Nina McConigley, Nik Korpon, Craig Wallwork, Steve Himmer, Antonia Crane, Steve Rasnic Tem, Kristi DeMeester, Tara Ison, David James Keaton, Cassandra Khaw, Nikki Guerlain, Lucy A. Snyder, JS Breukelaar, Helen Marshall, Amelia Gray, H. L. Nelson, Craig Davidson, Jacklyn Dre Marceau, and Lincoln Michel. Poets will include Jeffrey Skinner, Nickole Brown, Cate Marvin, Paul Guest, Blas Falconer, Carrie Jerrell, Gary Jackson, Erica Dawson, Laura Van Prooyen, Simone Muench, Charles Jensen, Ace Boggess, and Jeannine Hall Gailey.

ART

I’ve asked the following artists to be a part of Gamut: Luke Spooner, George C. Cotronis, Daniele Serra, and Bob Crum, as well as photographer Jennifer Moore.

COLUMNISTS

As of right now, I’m excited to have non-fiction, reviews and commentary from Keith Rawson, Max Booth, and RK Arceneaux.

POETRY

Even though poetry is not my strength, I want there to be a place for it at Gamut, so I’m putting Heather Foster (one of my favorite poets) in charge. She’ll be assisted by Whittney Jones.

STAFF

Speaking of which, Dino Parenti, Mercedes M. Yardley, and Casey Frechette are going to be my fiction editors, and first readers. They all understand my aesthetic and are excellent writers as well. They’re really going to help shape the voice and look of Gamut.

IN CONCLUSION

I’m sure this doesn’t answer all of your questions, some things are still being ironed out, but I’m very excited to see if we can make this work. I love Tor, as well as Nightmare, Shimmer, Apex, Clarkesworld, Black Static, Shock Totem, Cemetery Dance and so many other publications. I hope that Gamut can become a part of the landscape and continue to provide opportunities for authors to share their work, get paid a decent rate, and maybe even get discovered. There is no shortage of talent out there, I can tell you that much. Thanks for reading, and wish us luck! I hope you’ll be a part of this.

Exigencies, which I edited for Dark House Press, is out NOW!

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Exigencies_Heirloom_KWC

Edited by Richard Thomas, Foreword by Chuck Wendig, cover art by Daniele Serra, and interior illustrations by Luke Spooner. Includes “Wilderness” by Letitia Trent, “Monster Season” by Joshua Blair,“Cat Calls” by Rebecca Jones-Howe, “Ceremony of the White Dog” by Kevin Catalano, “The Armadillo” by Heather Foster, “The Last Manuscript” by Usman T. Malik, “Single Lens Reflection” by Jason Metz, “The Mother” by Nathan Beauchamp, “Everything in Its Place” by Adam Peterson, “When We Taste of Death” by Damien Angelica Walters, “Figure Eight” by Brendan Detzner, “My Mother’s Condition” by Faith Gardner, “Fragile Magic” by Alex Kane, “The Eye Liars” by Sarah Read, “Searching for Gloria” by W. P. Johnson, “And All Night Long We Have Not Stirred” by Barbara Duffey, “A Dull Boy” by David James Keaton, “Brujeria for Beginners” by Marytza Rubio, “Heirloom” by Kenneth Cain, “The Owl and the Cigarette” by Amanda Gowin, “Desert Ghosts” by Mark Jaskowski and “Blood Price” by Axel Taiari.

Exigencies has been a real pleasure to put together. When we opened the door for submissions, I didn’t know what to expect, but I can honestly say that 800 stories later, these are the best neo-noir submissions that I got, and each of these authors is amazing, unique, and going to blow up soon (if they haven’t already, like Usman winning the Bram Stoker Award for his short story recently, and other authors getting book deals, like Letitia at ChiZine, etc.). These stories cover a wide range of neo-noir—leaning toward the horrific, the fantastic, and everything in-between. Pick up your copy today. Here’s a snippet from Chuck Wendig’s brilliant foreword:

“Certainly the world we live in is a dank, fucked-up circus. Watching the news for 45 seconds will crush the spirit of even the most stalwart viewer in ways the stories you’ll find in this anthology never would or could. (Because at least the stories in this anthology possess beauty, too. They are told with great care, the narrative given shape and grace, the darkness given form and face and motive. The news is just noise; the stories here are all signal.) Maybe reading these stories helps us give context to the news we see during the 24-hour cycle. Not just a litany of horrific events, but characters and stories—a sense not only of what, but of who and why.”

BLURBS:

“From the shadows that dwell in some of the most creative, and gifted minds around, emerges a collection of short stories that will skulk across the footplate of literature for many years to come. Exigencies is the cloak thrown over the world, to show us that in darkness we can still find beauty, and will forever serve as a keepsake to great writing.”
—CRAIG WALLWORK, author of The Sound of Loneliness

“Ah, do you feel it? That’s the spectrum of neo-noir passing over you. It’s wide, wider than you are It’s tall, taller than you are. And it’s got colors we haven’t exactly named yet. Its source is a book, the book you hold in your hands. Exigencies has it all. Some of it’s cold, some of it’s funny. Some of it’s strange, a lot of it’s possible. We’ve all heard of the type of man who ‘can get you things.’ Richard Thomas can get you things. And his specialty is short, scary stories. Just like the addict in the alley searches for voices he can trust, I listen when Richard Thomas says it’s a good story. ‘Here,’ he says, ‘you’re going to like this one…’ And I listen.”
—JOSH MALERMAN, author of the Bram Stoker-nominated Bird Box

“These pages house some of the most exciting writers you’ve never heard of—yet. They make the mundane terrifying, the poignant macabre, the violent touching. The only thing you won’t find is the expected, because these stories will move the ground beneath your feet. Brace yourself.”
—NIK KORPON, author of Stay God