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About Richard Thomas
(Art by Erik Wilson) Richard Thomas is the award-winning author of seven books: three novels—Disintegration and Breaker (Penguin Random House Alibi), as well as Transubstantiate (Otherworld Publications); three short story collections—Staring into the Abyss (Kraken Press), Herniated Roots (Snubnose Press), and Tribulations (Cemetery Dance); and one novella in The Soul Standard (Dzanc Books). With over 150 stories published, his credits include The Best Horror of the Year (Volume Eleven), Cemetery Dance (twice), Behold!: Oddities, Curiosities and Undefinable Wonders (Bram Stoker winner), PANK, storySouth, Gargoyle, Weird Fiction Review, Midwestern Gothic, Shallow Creek, The Seven Deadliest, Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories, Qualia Nous, Chiral Mad (numbers 2-4), PRISMS, Pantheon, and Shivers VI (with Stephen King and Peter Straub). He has won contests at ChiZine and One Buck Horror, has received five Pushcart Prize nominations, and has been long-listed for Best Horror of the Year six times. He was also the editor of four anthologies: The New Black and Exigencies (Dark House Press), The Lineup: 20 Provocative Women Writers (Black Lawrence Press) and Burnt Tongues (Medallion Press) with Chuck Palahniuk. He has been nominated for the Bram Stoker, Shirley Jackson, and Thriller awards. In his spare time he is a columnist at Lit Reactor. He was the Editor-in-Chief at Dark House Press and Gamut Magazine. His agent is Paula Munier at Talcott Notch. For more information visit www.whatdoesnotkillme.com.
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Encompassed in the pages of The Best Horror of the Year have been such illustrious writers as:
Kim Stanley Robinson
And many others
With each passing year, science, technology, and the march of time shine light into the craggy corners of the universe, making the fears of an earlier generation seem quaint. But this light creates its own shadows. The Best Horror of the Year chronicles these shifting shadows. It is a catalog of terror, fear, and unpleasantness as articulated by today’s most challenging and exciting writers.
Book one in Crystal Lake Publishing’s The Dream Weaver series...
Where Nightmares Come From focuses on the art of storytelling in the Horror genre, taking an idea from conception to reality—whether you prefer short stories, novels, films, or comics.
Featuring in-depth articles and interviews by Joe R. Lansdale (Hap & Leonard series), Clive Barker (Books of Blood), John Connolly (Charlie Parker series), Ramsey Campbell, Stephen King (IT), Christopher Golden (Ararat), Charlaine Harris (Midnight, Texas), Jonathan Maberry (Joe Ledger series), Kevin J. Anderson (Tales of Dune), Craig Engler (Z Nation), and many more.
The full non-fiction anthology lineup includes:
- Introduction by William F. Nolan
- IT’S THE STORY TELLER by Joe R. Lansdale
- A-Z OF HORROR of Clive Barker
- WHY HORROR? by Mark Alan Miller
- PIXELATED SHADOWS by Michael Paul Gonzalez
- LIKE CURSES by Ray Garton
- HOW TO GET YOUR SCARE ON by S.G. Browne
- STORYTELLING TECHNIQUES by Richard Thomas
- HORROR IS A STATE OF MIND by Tim Waggoner
- BRINGING AN IDEA TO LIFE by Mercedes M. Yardley
- THE PROCESS OF A TALE by Ramsey Campbell
- GREAT HORROR IS SOMETHING ALIEN by Michael Bailey
- A HORRIFICALLY HAPPY MEDIUM by Taylor Grant
- INTERVIEW WITH JOHN CONNOLLY by Marie O’Regan
- THE STORY OF A STORY by Mort Castle
- WRITING ROUNDTABLE INTERVIEW with Christopher Golden, Kevin J. Anderson, and Silvia Moreno-Garcia
- HOW I SPENT MY CHILDHOOD LOOKING FOR MONSTERS AND FOUND POETRY INSTEAD by Stephanie M. Wytovich
- BITS AND PIECES INTERVIEW WITH JONATHAN MABERRY by Eugene Johnson
- THE REEL CREEPS by Lisa Morton
- THE MONSTER SQUAD by Jess Landry
- WHAT SCARES YOU by Marv Wolfman
- PLAYING IN SOMEONE ELSE’S HAUNTED HOUSE by Elizabeth Massie
- CREATING MAGIC FROM A BLANK PIECE OF PAPER: Del Howison interviews Tom Holland, Amber Benson, Fred Dekker, and Kevin Tenney
- Z NATION: HOW SYFY’S HIT SHOW CAME TO LIFE by Craig Engler
- LIFE IMITATING ART IMITATING LIFE: FILM AND ITS INFLUENCE ON REALITY by Jason V Brock
- WHERE NIGHTMARES COME FROM by Paul Moore
- STEPHEN KING AND RICHARD CHIZMAR DISCUSS COLLABORATING by Bev Vincent
- CHARLAINE HARRIS DISCUSSES STORYTELLING by Eugene Johnson
- WHAT NOW? by John Palisano
This collection is perfect for…
- writers of all genres
- authors looking for motivation and/or inspiration
- authors seeking guidance
- struggling authors searching for career advice
- authors interested in improving their craft
- writers interested in comics
- authors looking into screenwriting and films
- horror fans in general
- those looking to better understand the different story formats
- authors planning on infiltrating a different field in horror writing
- artists trying to establish a name brand
- authors looking to get published
Bram Stoker Award-winner for Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction!
Nightmares come to life in this comprehensive how-to guide for new and established authors…
Book two in Crystal Lake Publishing’s The Dream Weaver series picks up where the Bram Stoker Award-nominated Where Nightmares Come From left off.
It’s Alive focuses on learning the craft in order to take your story from concept to completion.
With an introduction by Richard Chizmar and cover art by Luke Spooner. Featuring interior artwork from horror master Clive Barker!
Table of Contents:
- Introduction by Richard Chizmar
- Confessions of a Professional Day Dreamer by Jonathan Maberry
- What is Writing and Why Write Horror by John Skipp
- Tribal Layers by Gene O’Neill
- Bake That Cake: One Writer’s Method by Joe R. Lansdale and Kasey Lansdale
- Ah-Ha: Beginning to End with Chuck Palahniuk and Michael Bailey (Discussing the Spark of Creativity)
- They Grow in the Shadows: Exploring the Roots of a Horror Story by Todd Keisling
- Sell Your Script, Keep Your Soul and Beware of Sheep in Wolves' Clothing by Paul Moore
- The Cult of Constraint (or To Outline or Not) by Yvonne Navarro
- Zombies, Ghosts and Vampires─Oh My! by Kelli Owen
- The Many Faces of Horror: Craft Techniques by Richard Thomas
- Giving Meaning to the Macabre by Rachel Autumn Deering
- The Horror Writer’s Ultimate Toolbox by Tim Waggoner
- Sarah Pinborough Interview by Marie O’Regan
- Conveying Character by F. Paul Wilson
- Sympathetic Characters Taste Better: Creating Empathy in Horror Fiction by Brian Kirk
- Virtue & Villainy: The Importance of Character by Kealan Patrick Burke
- How to write Descriptions in a story by Mercedes Yardley
- “Don’t Look Now, There’s a Head in That Box!” She Ejaculated Loudly (or Creating Effective Dialogue in Horror Fiction) by Elizabeth Massie
- Point of View by Lisa Mannetti
- What Came First the Monster or the Plot? In Conversation with Stephen Graham Jones by Vince A. Liaguno
- Building Suspense by David Wellington
- Conveying Horror by Ramsey Campbell
- Unveiling Theme Through Plot: An Analysis of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Birthmark” by Stephanie M. Wytovich
- Interview with Clive Barker by Tim Chizmar
- World Building (Building a terrifying world) by Kevin J. Anderson
- Speak Up: The Writer’s Voice by Robert Ford
- Writing for a Better World by Christopher Golden
- Shaping the Ideas: Getting Things from Your Head to the Paper or on Screen. Interview with Steve Niles, Mick Garris, Heather Graham, Mark Savage, and Maria Alexander by Del Howison
- On Research by Bev Vincent
- Editing Through Fear: Cutting and Stitching Stories by Jessica Marie Baumgartner
- Leaping into the Abyss by Greg Chapman
- Edit Your Anthology in Your Basement for Fun and Profit! . . . or Not by Tom Monteleone
- When It’s Their World: Writing for the Themed Anthology by Lisa Morton
- Roundtable Interview by John Palisano
- The Tale of the Perfect Submissions by Jess Landry
- Turning the Next Page: Getting Started with the Business of Writing by James Chambe
There’s something fascinating about a book that was never written. It resists, for one, all the imperfections that inherently arise in language, all those insufficiently rendered thoughts and images that famously leave writers exasperated with their own work. Exasperated enough to inspire some, like Kafka, to advocate the wholesale burning of their oeuvre. Sometimes it’s worse. Imagine how many books out there never made it to print thanks to the gap between direct experience and these tiny scratches of ink we’re expected to render it by. A damned shame. One of the benefits of avoiding this insufficiency is that an unwritten book achieves exactly what it’s supposed to. Robert W. Chambers’ two-act play, “The King in Yellow,” drives its reader to madness. There’s no question of its power to do so. What horror writer wouldn’t want a taste of that? Luckily, the actual text is never allowed to interfere with Chambers’ unwritten masterpiece. That’s what makes it so fascinating—the burden of creation is thrown back into our own imaginations, letting us fill in the gaps with our own hidden madness. Barring the invention of some kind of live neuron mapping tech in the world of entertainment (you laugh, but just wait), nothing comes closer to a truly individualized media experience. No wonder writers as diverse and inventive as H.P. Lovecraft, Stanislaw Lem, and Jorge Luis Borges, to name a few better-known examples, are drawn to the unwritten manuscript. But that’s not entirely what this book is about. You’ll find more here than just the (un)written word in the classic sense—there’s musical scores, ancient glyphs, an autograph, and even an eBook. Worse, each extracts a terrible price from its reader. With the exception of Richard Thomas’ “In His House,” these stories aren’t additions to the lore of unwritten staples of horror and weird fiction. They are wholly fabricated media artifacts of each writer’s imagination, horrific in their nonexistence, dark heirs to the great and unreal Sutter Cane. We hope your imagination is a secure place since it’s there where the conjurations are soon to begin. We bid you luck on your descent into The Nightside Codex
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”
- 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.
Interview with the editor:
So what makes Lost Highways: Dark Fictions From the Road so special?
Lost Highways comes at the theme of road stories with the desire to push the boundaries of what that theme means. Because of that, it collects authors of diverse levels of experience and notoriety in the worlds of horror and dark fiction. This brings together voices like Joe R. Lansdale, Cullen Bunn, Josh Malerman, Damien Angelica Walters, Rio Youers, Bracken MacLeod, Rachel Autumn Deering, doungjai gam with Ed Kurtz, and Kristi DeMeester. All of these unique voices bring a fresh and often unexpected take on the theme.
What made you think of this theme for the anthology?
Road trips can be fun but they can also be long and boring. And while you can read a book to yourself to pass the time, it’s not a very social experience.
Liminal Spaces is a quiet horror anthology from Cemetery Gates Media featuring stories from well-known dark fiction writers such as: Joanna Koch, Jessica McHugh, Mark Allan Gunnells, Anthony J. Rapino, Gwendolyn Kiste, Michael Wehunt, Bob Ford, Kelli Owen, Richard Thomas, Todd Keisling, Chad Lutzke, Kristi DeMeester, Joshua Palmatier, and Norman Prentiss.
“The word ‘liminal’ comes from the Latin root limen. It means ‘threshold.’ A liminal space is a ‘crossing over’ space–a space where you have left something behind, yet you are not fully in something else. It’s a transition space.
“This is my favorite kind of horror and speculative fiction. Fiction which takes place in that ‘crossing over’ space. Stories about characters who have–wittingly or unwittingly–crossed a threshold. Those who have left something behind, yet are not quite somewhere or something else. They are in-between, and are neither one thing, nor another. Classic anthologies like Shadows, edited by Charles L. Grant epitomize these kinds of stories, as did Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone, the work of Charles Beaumont and T. M Wright, Joyce Carol Oates, Shirley Jackson, and the ‘strange stories’ of Robert Aickman.”
-Kevin Lucia, Editor
“The lessons and the antidotes and the essays that went into Consider This were originally written for The Cult website. The stories that went into Burnt Tongues were exercises based on those lessons. So if you like Consider This, please check out Burnt Tongues and see how those lessons were put into practice.”
Transgressive fiction authors write stories some are afraid to tell. Stories with taboo subjects, unique voices, shocking images—nothing safe or dry.
Burnt Tongues is a collection of transgressive stories selected by a rigorous nomination and vetting process and hand-selected by Chuck Palahniuk, bestselling author of Fight Club, as the best of The Cult workshop. These stories run the gamut from horrific and fantastic to humorous and touching, but each leaves a lasting impression. Some may say even a scar.
Each of the accomplished authors in this unique anthology chose a Springsteen title as a starting point, and in the criminally inclined spirit of the Boss, drove headlong to wherever that inspiration called. The destinations are as wildly diverse and far-reaching as the songs that influenced them. Some arrive at hope and redemption; others end up smoking in a ditch. One thing’s for sure: you sign up for this ride, and Trouble in the Heartland will transport you somewhere unforgettable.
A disturbing journey into the beauty that rests inside the very heart of darkness.
From the Bram Stoker Award-winning Crystal Lake Publishing and the editing duo who brought you the critically acclaimed small-town Lovecraftian horror anthology Shadows Over Main Street, comes Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories.
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.
Proudly brought to you by Crystal Lake Publishing – Tales from the Darkest Depths
Interview with the Authors:
So what makes Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories so special?
John F.D. Taff: Usually, horror stories tell us the dark side of dark stories, the bad stuff that happens during bad times. It's expected that there will be horrors in the kinds of stories horror generally tells. But Gutted explores the other side of things, the darkness that's there in moments you might not otherwise expect; those moments that touch our hearts or resonate more strongly with our other emotions. It's that beauty—that unexpected emotional resonance that can reside comfortably, side by side with fear, in a good horror story—that separates the stories in Gutted and makes them quite unique.
Tell us more about your story.
Ramsey Campbell: Occasionally I try to repay my debt to specific writers. Midnight Sun was my attempt to scale the awesome peak of Algernon Blackwood’s achievement, while The Darkest Part of the Woods clambered the Lovecraftian. “The Place of Revelation” goes for another giant of the field. If anybody guesses which one, I’ll count the tale some kind of a success. The naïve voice can be a highly effective way to tell a tale of terror, creating a tension between what’s told and how.
John F.D. Taff: My story is a distillation of my childhood. I grew up in the '70s, and I wanted to capture that time period as much as anything else. I also wanted to explore one moment during my childhood, when I got my first 10-speed bike—the freedom that bought a kid like me. It opened so many doors, the ability to go out on my own, far beyond my neighborhood. To explore the world, to discover new things.
***Winner of the 2017 Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in an Anthology***
Want to see something weird? Embrace the odd. Satisfy your curiosity. Surrender to wonder.
From Crystal Lake Publishing and the Bram Stoker Award-nominated co-editor of the smash hit Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories comes Behold! Oddities, Curiosities and Undefinable Wonders.
Sixteen stories and two poems take you into the spaces between the ordinary—and the imaginations of some of today's masters of dark and thrilling fiction.
- A travel writer learns the terrible secrets at a hotel that's not at all as it seems.
- A disfigured woman and her daughter explore methods of weaponizing beauty.
- An amateur beekeeper acquires an object that shows her the true
danger of the hive-mind.
- Drifters ride the rails seeking something wondrous that could change their fates forever.
- A strange creature that holds our very existence in its hands shapes the lives of two lovers to touching and devastating effect.
- A young man helps his grandfather—and something much more monstrous—atone for bargains made during wartime.
- And much, much more…
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. Brought to you by Bram Stoker Award-nominated editor Doug Murano and Crystal Lake Publishing. Tales from the Darkest Depths.
Interview with the editor:
What kinds of short stories will readers find in this anthology?
Doug Murano: I wanted this book to encompass a lot of the things I love about weird fiction, fantasy and horror—as well as give a tip of my cap to some of the things I loved growing up. So, it’s not exclusively a horror anthology, though you’ll find there’s plenty of darkness and dread throughout the book.
It was important to me that the stories throughout the anthology embraced and celebrated the odd—so you're not going to find stories of big-top exploitation or carnival freak shows here. The closest, perhaps, you'll find to this angle is in Lisa Morton's story—but that piece turns the freak-show trope on its head and aspires to something much more daring, interesting, and, ultimately, haunting.
Some tonal touch-points for much of the book are actually Jim Henson's work — like Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal — particularly in the Undefinable Wonders section. I also drew tonal influences from Guillermo del Toro’s filmography, especially his Spanish-language films like Pan’s Labyrinth and The Devil’s Backbone.
Shallow Waters—where nothing stays buried.
With 21 Dark Fiction & Horror tales diving beneath the surface of life, death, and the mystery that lies beneath.
Shallow Waters is the official monthly flash fiction challenge hosted by the award-winning Crystal Lake Publishing. Every month a new challenge is posted online, with authors submitting via email. The best submissions are then posted on Crystal Lake’s Patreon page (an exclusive behind the scenes community of readers and authors), where patrons read daily entries and vote for the winner. What you’ll find in these Shallow Waters anthologies include the winners as well as the most popular of our finalists. Stay tuned for more volumes in this series, or find Crystal Lake Publishing on Patreon to enter or vote on future challenges.
Volume four includes suspenseful stories of death, Halloween, twisted love, karma, and travel horror.
Introduction by Joe Mynhardt
“Turkish Delight On the Blue Line” by Shoshana Edwards
“VII” by Mark Allan Gunnells (winner)
“Unfinished Education” by Jonah Buck
“Odor Mortis” by Red Lagoe
“Hook-Hand Man’s Last Night on Lovers’ Lane” by Patrick Barb
“A Table Set for One” by Dani Brown (winner)
“Love Letters” by Richard Thomas
“Mixed Marriage” by David Bernard
“Starlight and Fairy Dust” by Chloé Harper Gold (winner)
“Meme” by Michael Patrick Hicks (winner)
“As the Crow Flies” by Kevin Lucia
“I Didn’t Know What Love Was” by Ben Lathrop
“The Talk” by Lori Michelle
“Devour” by Austin James
“Sanctuary” by David J. Rank
“That Which Makes Me Happiest” by L. F. Falconer
“Reversal of Fortune” by Sheri White
“Thelma Takes the Devil” by Linda J. Marshall (winner)
“In That Dress” by Anthony D Redden
“What You’d Do for Love” by Mark Allan Gunnells
“Sansara” by Oleg Hasanov
“Oppenheimer’s Door” by Alexander Zelenyj
In this volume…
- Russian horror comes out of the shadows
- A man, his dead wife, and a Great Emptiness…
- We often say we’d do anything for those we love...but do we mean it?
- As traffic to his killing grounds declines, a murderous figure from urban legend contemplates a change of scenery
- Come to the Crossroads. He’s waiting. So is she
- Friendships are fragile and rarely live up to expectation, as the kind elderly man with his lovely candies will soon learn
- Haunted by his daughter and promised a new one by his bride, Donnie can’t stop eating
- Some messes need to be left!
- A runaway witch won’t let her limited knowledge of hexes and spells deter her from her goals
- Karma’s a bitch when the latest internet craze leads to murder—or is it merely an elaborate hoax?
- What happens when desire becomes obsession?
- Meet-cute with a handsome single dad takes an unexpected turn
- They say love lost feels like death; love found can be so much worse