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About Todd Keisling
TODD KEISLING is the Bram Stoker Award-nominated author of Devil’s Creek. His other works include The Final Reconciliation, Ugly Little Things: Collected Horrors, and The Monochrome Trilogy, among several shorter works. He lives somewhere in the wilds of Pennsylvania with his family where he is at work on his next novel.
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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 Wri
Robert W. Chambers’s classic work of weird fiction, The King in Yellow (1895), contained two stories that have exercised wide influence in the genre. “The Repairer of Reputations” introduced the world to The King in Yellow, a play in two acts, banned for its reputed power to drive mad anyone who reads its complete text. Another story, “The Yellow Sign,” used the experiences of an artist and his model to elaborate on the mythos of the Yellow King, the Yellow Sign, and their danger to all who encounter them. In those tales Chambers crafted fascinating glimpses of a cosmos populated by conspiracies, government-sanctioned suicide chambers, haunted artists, premonitions of death, unreliable narrators—and dark, enigmatic occurrences tainted by the alien world of Carcosa, where the King rules in his tattered yellow mantle. In Carcosa, black stars rise and Cassilda and Camilla speak and sing. In Carcosa, eyes peer from within pallid masks to gaze across Lake Hali at the setting of twin suns.
Or so the story goes. In truth, no one has ever seen the supposed Duncan Tape, presumably because it doesn't exist. It's a ghost story perpetuated on the forums and chat rooms of the internet, another handful of bytes scattered across the Information Superhighway at blistering 56K modem speeds.
For Robby and his friends, an urban legend is the last thing on their minds when a boring Friday night presents a chance to download porn. But the short clip they watch turns out to be something far more graphic and disturbing, and in the coming days, they'll learn even the most outlandish urban legends possess a shred of truth...
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
You might have clutched it in your church pew on Sunday mornings. You know the one?
With the pebbled black soft cover, the words HOLY BIBLE stamped in gold ink.
Perhaps it strengthened your faith, comforted you in dark times.
Multiple Bram Stoker Award-nominated John F.D. Taff has assembled a Last Supper of Dark Apostles to turn some of those "good book" parables on their heads--twisting Bible stories into sinister horror tales.
Blasphemous? Heretical? We sincerely hope so.
As you read on, remember one thing, though.
There’s no comfort to be found in The Bad Book.
No comfort at all.
Including stories by
...and many more...
Includes story illustrations by Giuseppe Balestra.
TAKE OFF YOUR MASK!
Thirty years ago, a progressive rock band called The Yellow Kings began recording what would become their first and final album. Titled “The Final Reconciliation,” the album was expected to usher in a new renaissance of heavy metal, but it was shelved following a tragic concert that left all but one dead.
The sole survivor of that horrific incident was the band’s lead guitarist, Aidan Cross, who’s kept silent about the circumstances leading up to that ill-fated performance—until now.
For the first time since the tragedy, Aidan has granted an exclusive interview to finally put rumors to rest and address a question that has haunted the music industry for decades: What happened to The Yellow Kings?
The answer will terrify you.
Inspired by The King in Yellow mythos first established by Robert W. Chambers, and reminiscent of cosmic horror by H. P. Lovecraft, Laird Barron, and John Langan, comes The Final Reconciliation—a chilling tale of regret, the occult, and heavy metal by Todd Keisling.
Proudly brought to you by Crystal Lake Publishing - Tales from the Darkest Depths
Interview with the author:
What makes this music-themed horror novella so special?
Todd Keisling: The story offers a different take on The King in Yellow by Robert W. Chambers. Tales of the “Yellow Mythos” usually involve the fictitious play in written form, but this novella approaches the concept from a musical angle instead. The imagery and mystery of Carcosa’s masquerade seemed like perfect fodder for a progressive metal album, and I sought to combine the two as best I could. The result is a cosmic horror story driven by the crunching riffs and machine gun beat of a progressive metal song.
Tell us more about your main character?
Todd Keisling: Aidan Cross is a scarred, broken man who is haunted by memories of a horrible tragedy that took the lives of his friends thirty years ago. Once the lead guitarist for The Yellow Kings, Aidan has spent the last decades of his life in relative obscurity, hiding from the public and rumors of what happened the night of the band’s final performance. He and his bandmates grew up together in a small Kentucky town. They were like brothers to him, and he blames himself for their deaths.
Why should readers give this cosmic horror book a try?
Todd Keisling: It’s a dark story with a lot of heart, dealing with themes of friendship, loss, and regret, set against the backdrop of an impossible place called Carcosa. I think the book offers a unique approach to the genre, associating the mythology of The King in Yellow with music rather than the written word. It’s also the darkest thing I’ve ever written. So far, anyway.
The Final Reconciliation eBook categories:
- Horror novella
- Disturbing Suspense thrillers
- Occult Horror
- Emotional thriller
- US Horror Fiction
- Dark Fantasy Horror
- Occult Spiritualism unexplained
This is Writers On Writing – An Author’s Guide, where your favorite authors share their secrets in the ultimate guide to becoming – and being – an author.
In this first volume you’ll find in-depth essays from authors such as Jack Ketchum, Brian Hodge, Mercedes M. Yardley, Tim Waggoner, Jasper Bark, Kevin Lucia, Monique Snyman, Todd Keisling, and Dave-Brendon de Burgh. Edited by the Bram Stoker Award-winning Joe Mynhardt:
- “The Infrastructure of the Gods: 11 Signposts for Going all the Way” by Brian Hodge
- “The Writer’s Purgatory: Between Finishing the First Draft and Submitting the Manuscript” by Monique Snyman
- “Why Rejection is Still Important” by Kevin Lucia
- “Real Writers Steal Time” by Mercedes M. Yardley
- “What Right Do I Have to Write” by Jasper Bark
- “Go Pace Yourself” by Jack Ketchum
- “A Little Infusion of Magic” by Dave-Brendon de Burgh
- “Never Look Away: Confronting Your Fears in Fiction” by Todd Keisling
- “Once More With Feeling” by Tim Waggoner
Writers On Writing give young authors the guidance they need, but has advice for all authors, from the interested newbie to the seasoned veteran (sounds delicious, right?).
Are you ready to be an author?
Proudly brought to you by Crystal Lake Publishing - Tales from The Darkest Depths
Interview with the Authors:
So what makes Writers on Writing so special?
Todd Keisling: Writers On Writing is unique in that it provides a collection of essays from both newcomers and established professionals, providing a wide range of perspectives on the art and craft of writing.
Tell us more about you essay in Writers on Writing.
Todd Keisling: My essay “Never Look Away: Confront Your Fears in Fiction” is an anecdotal look at an important lesson I learned early on in my writing career: That you shouldn’t look away from your subject matter, no matter how disturbing it is to you. Looking away does a disservice to your story, and by proxy, your reader.
Why should authors read Writers on Writing?
Jack Ketchum: It's rich in the variety of subjects discussed, written by people who know whereof they speak.
Todd Keisling: There are decades of experience contained within the book’s pages, covering multiple genres. I can’t think of a more diverse collection for the established—or aspiring—writing professional.
Do you have other non-fiction books authors should try out?
Jack Ketchum: Stephen King's ON WRITING and DANSE MACABRE. William Goldman's ADVENTURES IN THE SCREEN TRADE. Syd Field's SCREENPLAY.
Todd Keisling: A few come to mind: Stephen King’s On Writing, Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird, and Ariel Gore’s How to Become a Famous Writer Before You’re Dead.
1. A thing with the potential to kill men.
2. A dead branch caught precariously high in a tree which may fall on a person below.
3. A dark fiction anthology of prodigious size; large enough to use as a doorstop... or crush a man's skull.
A few months ago one of our own, James Newman, was severely injured in a freak accident. He's known universally in the horror fiction community as a truly great guy, and, when the news broke of the incident there was no shortage of people who wanted to help. Inside the pages of this collection, you will find tales that are lighthearted mixed in with stories that will fuel your nightmares, each one with the potential to be a WIDOWMAKER.
The following 47 fellow authors and poets have contributed their words to this benefit anthology and 100% of the proceeds will go to help the Newman family. Enjoy this massive collection and thank you for your aid.
Charles R Rutledge
Gary A. Braunbeck
James A. Moore
Mark Allan Gunnells
Mary Genevieve Fortier
Mercedes Murdock Yardley
Michelle Garza & Melissa Lason
Shawna L. Bernard
Tracy L. Carbone
Usman Tanveer Malik
Crystal Lake Publishing proudly presents the Bram Stoker Award-nominated Arterial Bloom, an artful juxtaposition of the magnificence and macabre that exist within mankind. Each tale in this collection is resplendent with beauty, teeth, and heart.
Edited by the Bram Stoker Award-winning writer Mercedes M. Yardley, Arterial Bloom is a literary experience featuring 16 stories from some of the most compelling dark authors writing today.
With a foreword by HWA Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient Linda D. Addison, you are invited to step inside and let the grim flowers wind themselves comfortably around your bones.
The line-up includes:
The Stone Door by Jimmy Bernard
Dog (Does Not) Eat Dog by Grant Longstaff
Kudzu Stories by Linda J. Marshall
Dead Letters by Christopher Barzak
The Darker Side of Grief by Naching T. Kassa
Welcome to My Autumn by Daniel Crow
Still Life by Kelli Owen
Three Masks by Armand Rosamilia
Doodlebug by John Boden
Happy Pills by Todd Keisling
What Remained of Her by Jennifer Loring
Blue Was Her Favorite Color by Dino Parenti
In the Loop by Ken Liu
The Making of Mary by Steven Pirie
Mouths Filled with Sea Water by Jonathan Cosgrove
Rotten by Carina Bissett
Proudly represented by Crystal Lake Publishing—Tales from the Darkest Depths.
Interview with the editor:
Mercedes, this is your debut as an anthology editor. Can you tell us how you went about choosing the Dark Fiction stories included in Arterial Bloom?
MMY: Yes, absolutely! Crystal Lake Publishing put out a call for short horror stories. My job was to ensure authors heard about the call. I basically beat down doors trying to spread the word, making sure that people realized it was an open, inclusive anthology and I was interested in stories of all types. Several hundred stories rolled in. It was a massive undertaking, but by reading open submissions instead of invitation-only stories, I was able to come across several authors who were new to me. This collection is full of award-winning, well-known authors as well as fresh voices. It’s a beautiful mix and I’m very proud of it.
This was an unthemed horror anthology, which means that you weren’t particularly looking for any specific themes. But did you find that a certain theme emerged?
MMY: Oh, yes. The Arterial Bloom anthology is all about monsters. Some monsters are literal. Some are human. But every story shows the juxtaposition of the ugliness and the beauty of humanity and the way we deal with things. It’s an emotional anthology. We deal with horror, grief, trauma, love, and healing. It’s gut-wrenching. It’s visceral and quite lovely, in a way.
How did you come up with the title?
MMY: The anthology itself is gutting and gorgeous. I was trying to find a title that played with that hardness and softness. My friends from The Geeky Writers and I went into our chat and brainstormed titles. Different words, different phrases. We just put them together in combinations until we came up with Arterial Bloom. It was the perfect title. It has that primitive, animal feel as well as being artistic. In my mind’s eye, I could see arterial spray, which is graphic and horrifying, painting exquisite flowers on a white wall. It’s like when a cat bites you and then licks the wound.