“From Within” a 2016 Notable Story at storySouth Million Writers Awards

fromwithin

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!

Cover Reveal for Tribulations

Tribulations

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
Fireflies (art)
Chrysalis
Love Letters
Vision Quest
Surrender
The Wastelands (art)
Misty
The Handyman
Bringing in the Sheaves
Divining
The Culling
Flowers for Jessica (art)
Wicker Park Pause
On a Bent Nail Head
Dance, Darling
The Fix-It Man
Gandaberunda (art)
Shackled to the Shadows
Playing with Fire
Little Red Wagon
Asking for Forgiveness
Balance Sheet
White Picket Fences (art)
Chasing Ghosts
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.”
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

Midwestern Gothic #9 is out, with my story “Garage Sales”

Midwestern Gothic #9 is NOW OUT, and it includes my story “Garage Sales.” I wrote this story as part of my thesis at Murray State University. At one point, I took a paragraph from the middle of the story, and pulled it to the front, and that’s where this story came from. The FIRST version, was published as “Tinkering With the Moon” in Gargoyle. As for this story, I didn’t realize that everyone writes a garage sale or yard sale story at some point in their life. That whole Raymond Carver “Why Don’t You Dance” moment. My story involved a newly divorced mother and her son, and what happens when they bond over the garage sales that litter their suburban neighborhood. Yes, there is a giant plastic lobster. Yes, they fill their living room with sand. Why not pick up MWG9 and see what else happens!

My story “The Wastelands” is out in the anthology, Into the Darkness (Necro Publications)

I’m thrilled to announce that my story “The Wastelands” is now out in the Necro Publications anthology, Into the Darkness. My story is about a man who loses his family, a golem he befriends, and the lengths he goes to in order to get his wife and children back. Sure, there’s a succubus in it, why not. Out now in paperback and eBook.

Curbside Splendor #3 is available for order now, out soon, with my story “Divining”!

Look, I made the cover! Looks like Chicago’s own Curbside Splendor #3 is now up for ordering. My story “Divining” is in here. It involves tarot cards and bad women. I’ve been trying to get more involved with local artists, and this is one place I wanted to publish. Thanks, Victor David Giron for the support. Out soon.

My story “Dyer” is now live up at Beat to a Pulp

Several years ago, in the middle of my MFA program, I decided to experiment with form. I’d just seen the movie Rashomon by Akira Kurosawa, and thought to myself that you could write one hell of a good story if you told four perspectives on a lost evening out in the Indiana dunes. “Dyer” is the result. Special thanks for David Cranmer and Beat to a Pulp for taking this story. I’m honored to be up on the site and in such good company, alongside authors like David James Keaton, Frank Bill, Matthew C. Funk, Cameron Ashley, Hilary Davidson, Chris F. Holm, Dave Zeltserman, and John Hornor Jacobs.

My story “Kiss Off” is now live at Emprise Review.

My story “Kiss Off” is now live at Emprise Review.

How do these things happen, I often wonder. Maybe I was issued a challenge, maybe I was just listening to Pandora one day and an old Violent Femmes song came on and I thought “Damn, this is a good song.” As I nodded my head and started to recite the lyrics, these classic alternative indie lyrics from many years ago, I also thought, “This would make a good story.” Here are the original lyrics, in their entirety with the part that I stole from in bold:

I need someone a person to talk to
Someone who’d care to love
Could it be you could it be you
Situation gets rough then I start to panic
It’s not enough it’s just a habit
Hey kid you’re sick well darling this is it
You can all just kiss off into the air
Behind my back I can see them stare
They’ll hurt me bad but I won’t mind
They’ll hurt me bad they do it all the time
Yeah yeah they do it all the time
Yeah yeah they do it all the time
Yeah yeah they do it all the time
Yeah yeah they do it all the time
I hope you know this will go down
On your permanent record
Oh yeah well don’t get so distressed
Did I happen to mention that I’m impressed
I take one one one cause you left me and
Two two two for my family and
3 3 3 for my heartache and
4 4 4 for my headaches and
5 5 5 for my lonely and
6 6 6 for my sorrow and
7 7 for no tomorrow and
8 8 I forget what 8 was for and
9 9 9 for a lost god and
10 10 10 10 for everything everything everything everything
You can all just kiss off into the air
Behind my back I can see them stare
They’ll hurt me bad but I won’t mind
They’ll hurt me bad they do it all the time
Yeah yeah,yeah they do it all the time
Yeah yeah,yeah they do it all the time
Do it all the time
Do it all the time
Do it all the time time time
Yeah yeah they do it all the time

This whole song resonates with me, it always has. It’s a story of angst, of the world not being fair, of the bullshit and violence and randomness that not only shadows our youth, but the adult world as well. The opening lines of this song, they haunt me to this day. “I need someone, a person to talk to, someone who’d care to love. Could it be you?” Isn’t that what we all say, we all want? Sure it is.

So, I took the ten parts and tried to imagine a scene where a man who is falling apart, he says these things to himself, he is talking to himself. He’s talking to the world. He has talked himself into ending it all, but maybe, at the end of it, when the lights are fading and he feels that maybe there is something left to cling to, he tries to change his situation. He won’t be the victim yet once again. But, as it often is in life, maybe it’s too late. I hope you enjoy “Kiss Off.”

Thank you, Amber Sparks for always supporting my work and for taking this story at Emprise Review. If you didn’t know it, I’ll tell you now that not only is Amber a great editor, but one hell of an author as well. Also, thanks to Patrick McAllaster for his excellent editing too, he caught some things that got by me.

There is more excellent fiction in this issue by Amye Archer, Joe Kapitan, Jon Morgan Davies, Marko Fong, Steven R. Gowin, Todd McKie, Brian Mihok, Garrett Socol, and Angela Woodward. Check it out when you get a second.