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About Robert Ford
Robert Ford has written the novels Burner, and The Compound. He also has a collection of his short fiction The God Beneath my Garden, and a novella collection, Inner Demons.
He collaborated, with John Boden, on the novellas Rattlesnake Kisses, Cattywampus, and Black Salve, in the Knucklebucket Thang series.
With author Matt Hayward, Robert co-wrote the novel A Penny for Your Thoughts.
Robert lives in Central Pennsylvania, and is usually hard at work on at least two projects at a time. You can find out more about his upcoming releases at www.robertfordauthor.com
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Shallow Waters—where nothing stays buried.
With twenty-two dark tales diving beneath the surface of loss, love, and life.
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, where patrons read daily entries and vote for the winner. What you’ll find in these Shallow Waters anthologies include 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 one includes horror, thrillers, suspense, and stories of love lost, death, 2nd chances, the monsters within, and the beauty beneath it all.
Introduction by Joe Mynhardt
“Closure on a Bed of Nails” by Chad Lutzke
“Fast Car” by Tracy Fahey
“Tears of Buddy” by Patrick R. McDonough
“Puzzle Pieces” by Armand Rosamilia
“Pretty Like Butterflies” by Tim Waggoner
“S1:E7” by Robert Ford
“Pain is Your Teacher” by Michael Harris Cohen
“Memory Lane” by Red Lagoe
“The Silence of the Sirens” by Loren Rhoads
“It’s Me Not You” by Jonathan Winn
“Sisters of Loss” by Mark Allan Gunnells
“Talisman” by Jezzy Wolfe
“The Melting of Your Gods” by Mercedes M. Yardley
“Charms” by Dino Parenti
“Not Your Average Monster” by Kenneth W. Cain
“Where the Children Run in Darkness” by Guy Medley
“Tunnels” by Tom Over (winner)
“The Truth about Dani” by Joe Mercer
“Baby Savannah” by M.J. Sydney
“Rats Scratched in the Linen Cupboard” by Dani Brown
“Raining” by John Boden
“The Death Experience” by L.A. Story
In this volume…
- Taunted by a cactus, a man copes with grief after the loss of his wife.
- Alondra DeCourval visits Franz Kafka’s grave to think about death.
- A lovestruck woman strives to connect with a man she’s convinced is The One.
- The perfect funeral for a child—all according to a Mother’s well-crafted plan. The exception is one small, unexpected development no one could have ever prepared for.
- A short meditation on the haunting nature of love and loss, and the aftermath of both.
- Victor’s sanity has been threaded together by the memory of his daughter’s voice, until now, when her laughter falls silent.
- An adrenaline junkie believes he can take on the ultimate challenge—coming back from the dead.
- Sisters share everything. The good...and the bad.
- Sometimes being a hoarder is dangerous...
- In our ever-changing world, what we view as a monster is constantly evolving…but at what cost?
- Buddy's heart aches for his family’s arrival.
- Bright colors may be beautiful, but sometimes they can be dangerous.
- Sometimes the darkness we harbor within is best left behind closed doors.
- Rats scratch in the children's ward.
- A surprise wedding present from daughter to father, built over a lifetime, reveals his true nature to all his guests.
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
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
17 horror Stories. One legendary music venue.
We all know the old cliché: Sex, drugs and rock and roll. Now, add demons, other dimensions, monsters, revenge, human sacrifice, and a dash of the truly inexplicable. This is the story of the (fictional) San Francisco music venue, The Shantyman.
In Welcome to the Show, seventeen of today's hottest writers of horror and dark fiction come together in devilish harmony to trace The Shantyman's history from its disturbing birth through its apocalyptic encore.
Featuring stories by Brian Keene, John Skipp, Mary SanGiovanni, Robert Ford, Max Booth III, Glenn Rolfe, Matt Hayward, Bryan Smith, Matt Serafini, Kelli Owen, Jonathan Janz, Patrick Lacey, Adam Cesare, Alan M Clark, Somer Canon, Rachel Autumn Deering and Jeff Strand.
Compiled by Matt Hayward. Edited by Doug Murano.
Bring your curiosity, but leave your inhibitions at the door. The show is about to begin…
- Alan M Clark – What Sort of Rube
- Jonathan Janz – Night and Day and in Between
- John Skipp – In the Winter of No Love
- Patrick Lacey – Wolf with Diamond Eyes
- Bryan Smith – Pilgrimage
- Rachel Autumn Deering – A Tongue like Fire
- Glenn Rolfe – Master of Beyond
- Matt Hayward – Dark Stage
- Kelli Owen – Open Mic Night
- Matt Serafini – Beat on the Past
- Max Booth III – True Starmen
- Somer Canon – Just to be Seen
- Jeff Strand – Parody
- Robert Ford – Ascending
- Adam Cesare – The Southern Thing
- Brian Keene – Running Free
- Mary SanGiovanni – We Sang in Darkness
Proudly represented by Crystal Lake Publishing—Tales from the Darkest Depths.
Interview with compiler Matt Hayward:
What makes this horror anthology so special?
A: The book is as much an anthology as it is a collaborative novel. Each story explores the history of the Shantyman, a haunted music venue located in San Francisco with a long and bloody past. With the likes of John Skipp, Brian Keene, and Rachel Autumn Deering involved, we not only see the venue change throughout the decades, but also from changing perspectives, everything from psychological horror to extreme horror, and even a splash of comedy.
Q: Tell us more about the venue and the history of the building?
The Shantyman's history is the product of author/illustrator Alan M Clark. Alan usually tackles historical horror, and I wouldn't have chosen anyone else to take on the task. What Alan delivered was a seven-thousand-word horror juggernaut set in San Francisco’s gold rush era, involving a traveling singer who gets shanghaied. I won't ruin any surprises, but there are cannibals. Alan sets the gruesome scene from which every other story stems.
Q: What made you think of this theme for the anthology?
A: About a year ago, I attended a comedy show at a famous music venue here in Dublin. The main room was seated, and the audience rather docile.
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.
Dallas is a man seasoned by both time and circumstance—a fellow you hire to get certain things done. The kind of man you definitely don’t want to cross.
The Kid is his protégé—his younger shadow with more quirks than Dewey’s System has decimals. He’s loyal as a hound and just as likely to bite.
After being hired for a seemingly easy job, Dallas and the Kid find themselves on a wild ride. Every stop they make introduces lies, violence and memories best left buried. When the control Dallas holds so near and dear starts to squirm free, things get ugly. The routine becomes anything but, and revenge is a bloody dish best served with a .45 pistol.
After a junkie walks into his pawn shop with a mummified head, Samson is thrown into a downward spiral through the streets of Philadelphia, getting more blood on his hands wherever he goes.
In 24 hours, Samson learns how deep betrayal can run, how strong the bonds of love are, and that winning can sometimes require sacrificing everything—including himself.
Angela Pritchett, Apple Ardent Scott, Bruce Boston, Bryce Hughes, Cameron Suey, Carson Buckingham, Chantal Noordeloos, Chantel Delulio, Cynthia Ray, Dane Hatchell, Darryl Dawson, David Bernstein, David Greske, Die Booth, Edd Vick, G.N. Braun, Guy Anthony De Marco, James Roy Daley, James S. Dorr, Jamie Lackey, Jeff Heimbuch, Jeremy C. Shipp, Jessica McHugh, Johannes Pinter, Kallirroe Agelopoulou, Kathryn Ptacek, Keith Armstrong, Kenneth W. Cain, Kevin David Anderson, Kevin Lucia, Mandy DeGeit, Mark C. Scioneaux, Mary Pletsch, Matthew Wilson, Max Booth III, Meriah L. Crawford, Michael H. Antonio, Michele Mixell, Randolph Andrews, Rebecca L. Brown, Richard Farren Barber, Robert Ford, Robert Smales, Robin Devereaux-Nelson, Sandy Shelonchik, Sheri White, Stephanie Jessop, Tina Rath, Tracy L. Carbone, Wesley Southard, William Gracey, William Meikle, William Whorton
It’s terrifying how quickly everything can be taken away from you. Iris learns this agonizing lesson in the blink of an eye. Her future dreams. Her past life. Everything gone in a storm of pain.But this pain is only the beginning.
Audrey had the perfect life. Great husband, beautiful daughter, lots of money. Except her husbandisn’t the man she thought he was. Her dead husband’s burner phone was bad. The Polaroids were worse. But the secrets she uncovers next set her entire world on fire.
Two women’s lives intersect because of one man’s actions. The transformation is pristine,and beautiful, and filled with pain. Sometimes the scars are on the inside.