Posts Tagged ‘Grey Matter Press’

A few loose ends as the year winds down.  Proof sheets went back Friday to Editor Kara Landhuis for MEET CUTE (see December 11, November 26, 23), the illustrated anthology of eccentric meetings scheduled for early 20splatter217.  My part in this, “Butterfly,” is a rather gentle tale as stories by me go and will be, I understand, illustrated by Marge Simon.

Then later in the evening Grey Matter Press weighed in with an announcement that their nouveau splatterpunk anthology SPLATTERLANDS:  REAWAKENING THE SPLATTERPUNK REVOLUTION (cf. October 22 2015, et al.) can now be obtained free by both new and old e-readers with Kindle Unlimited.  My tale in this one is the far less gentle “The Artist,” for more on which, and the book in general, one may press here.

It’s a contest put on by Grey Matter Press, publishers of SPLATTERLANDS and others (cf. September 11 2015, et al.), to select a small number of flash fiction pieces to play with the big boys (“five disturbing visions from five diverse authors that include Josh Malerman, John F.D. Taff, Erik T. Johnson, J. Daniel Stone, and Joe Schwartz”) in a new anthology I CAN TASTE THE BLOOD.  The prizes include publication, a copy, and a modest gift card and entries must be published in advance for the judges and others — readers who can vote for their favorites too.  The stories vampiress_by_laravilya-d4r2gwfmust be inspired by the “bloody” title, be 500-700 words in length, and, the month almost over, thought I “why not?”

So think of it as a pre-Halloween lagniappe, free stories for all!  Mine is about, natch, sweet lesbian vampire love (so why not?) in a 698-word bare bones version of a longer tale originally published in MON COEUR MORT (Post Mortem Press, July 2011*), “A Cup Full of Tears.”  But here’s the thing, for “A Cup Full of Tears” to be published in the anthology too, it must be voted on by those who read it.  A jury of sorts will look at these too, but when the smoke clears, by noon I believe on Halloween Day (the voting itself ends at 12:01 a.m. October 26), it is those with the most votes that get to move on.  Voting consists of clicking a button to the right that follows each story, and leaving a comment — hopefully positive.  Also, up until October 21, you can enter your own mini-story as well if you desire.

So to vote — or just read — one must press here.  You will see the rules, the details of the contest, but then you must scroll down.  Down and down, passing stories and comments, until you reach the sixth (6th) story.  My name will be above it in blue, then the title in all caps, “A CUP FULL OF TEARS.”  And should the spirit so move, the vote button is at its bottom right, labeled “Reply.”

(Or if, by now, even the idea of elections has you down, just read and enjoy.)
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*See also July 28, 14, June 17 2011, below.

A quick note to mention that my guest blog, “To PEDS and Beyond:  Community and the Writer,” is now live on AReCafe (cf. September 29) and can be seen by pressing here.  This was originally published in an earlier version on the Open Book Society in 2012 (see November 28 of that year) on how a writer’s contacts — sales, meeting editors, etc. — forge bonds pedsbetween him or her and a wider community which, in turn, can lead to more opportunities.  The example here is the novelette PEDS, published as a stand-alone ebook by Untreed Reads Publishing, and how it led from and to other Untreed Reads sales* while other, similar associations led to the publication of the poetry book VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE), as well as my Stoker® nominated third fiction collection THE TEARS OF ISIS.  Direct links are also provided to OmniLit’s pages on PEDS and the Untreed Reads anthology YEARS END:  14 TALES OF HOLIDAY HORROR with my lead story “Appointment in Time,” from which other titles may be linked to too.

In other news, Grey Matter Press has announced a $10 per paperback sale for Halloween, covering all titles in their current catalog.  “This year’s Halloween Fear-ganza . . . includes horror, science fiction and speculative fiction from some of the most acclaimed voices in our genres, as well as the freshest faces to have arrived on the scene.  Every Grey Matter Press volume containing exceptional dread-filled work from award-winning authors and bestsellers Jonathan Maberry, Ray Garton, William Meikle, Stephen Graham Jones, JG Faherty, Tim Waggoner and many more are all included.”  My own pup in this frightpack is the story “The Artist,” about a butcher who sculpts in meat for banquets and other special occasions, in the 2013 anthology SPLATTERLANDS (cf. February 1, January 28 2015; October 14 2014,  et al.), for more on which one may press here.  Or for info on the sale in general (which, if you scroll down, also mentions SPLATTERLANDS with a link), press here.

Note though that the sale is only good at Grey Matter Press’s own store and is only for a limited time.  And while the precise cutoff date doesn’t seem to be mentioned, my guess is it would be a good idea to take advantage by Halloween.
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*The first of those from an original contact through the Short Mystery Fiction Society, which also, years later, led me to the movie/horror anthology REEL DARK and publication there of my story “Marcie and Her Sisters,” for which see May 19, et al.

Another day, another deal.  This one’s from publisher Grey Matter Press and is good for 40 percent off — that’s forty percent — all paperback titles through this Friday, September 11th in exchange for keying in the discount code 2NDANNIVERSARY when checking out.  The occasion, as the announcement put it:  “Two years ago today, in 2013, Grey Matter Press released its first volume of dark fiction, DARK VISIONS:  A Collection of Modern Horror — Volume One. That volume went on to be nominated for the prestigious Bram Stoker Award® for Superior Achievement in an Anthology only five months later.  . . .  And today, in celebration of our five year anniversary, fiction fans can fill their Labor Day Weekend with dark thoughts while saving 40% off the trade paperback cover price of not only our first Stoker-facebook_cover_GuyFawkes40nominated volume [but] any other volume in the Grey Matter Press catalogue of exceptional fiction.”   But it’s for one week only, starting Saturday September 5 and ending Friday September 11, so now’s the time to decide, and buy.

My romp in this roundup is a single story in a single volume, SPLATTERLANDS (see, e.g., February 1, January 28 2015; August 27 2014; November 22 2013), which, to quote the publisher’s blurb, “reawakens and reimagines the hypertensive writing style and controversial themes indicative of the original Splatterpunk movement.  Containing the work of some of the freshest voices of our modern time, it is an anthology of deeply intelligent short stories whose extreme themes and graphic depictions of violence and terror are intended to have a lasting effect for years to come.”  So get a literary history lesson as well as a great read!  My own tale is one of working-class aspirations and love betrayed titled “The Artist,” or, as reviewer L.D. Johnson of SPLATTER CAFÉ put it early this year, “[t]his brilliantly written tale is about a man who loves his art and his wife, but his wife, unable to comprehend the beauty of art starts to drift away and into another man’s arms.  A sculptor of meats, Vince creates these wonderful meat sculptures for dinner parties and banquets.  Dorr’s elegant writing of this twisted tale settles deeply into my psyche.  He turns the act of revenge into a work of art with Vince’s final masterpiece.  It will be his greatest creation ever!”

And hence, somewhat of the theme as well of my own Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing collection THE TEARS OF ISIS, of art and destruction, for which see two posts below, September 4, for its own Labor Day discount of 20 percent — but only through the holiday itself.  (So okay, I’m pimping, but if I don’t who will?)  Or for SPLATTERLANDS and other Grey Matter Press titles for the whole week, and at 40 percent off, press here.

“Art: that which is raised to more than ordinary importance; that which, even if temporary, is forever after etched in the collective being of man.” ~James S. Dorr

The next story is “THE ARTIST ” by James S. Dorr.  This brilliantly written tale is about a man who loves his art and his wife, but his wife, unable to comprehend the beauty of art starts to drift away and into another man’s arms. . . .  (SPLATTER CAFÉ)

Editor (with Sharon Lawson) Anthony Rivera has posted a second review of the 2013 anthology SPLATTERLANDS (cf. January 28, et al.) in the last five days, noting of this one from SPLATTER CAFÉ, “[w]e freely admit that the work in SPLATTERLANDS is not for everyone, but it is for those who appreciate their horror extreme yet still intelligent and with (*gasp*) a PLOT!  (And if that type of horror isn’t for you, we have plenty more volumes that are.) Apparently, this is exactly the type of horror that Splatter Cafe is looking for.  😉

“Splatter Cafe:  ‘[Splatterpunk], the beast of revolutionary horror, has definitely been reawakened and it’s ready to ravage your psyche long after the last words have been consumed.  [The] Bram Stoker Award-nominated editors at Grey Matter Press have created something special with this 52581dff3b861f4b7da08878773490b3anthology.  SPLATTERLANDS: REAWAKENING THE SPLATTERPUNK REVOLUTION is 13 deliciously horrific stories of serial murder, vengeance, religious fanaticism, sexual assault and so much more.  SPLATTERLANDS will tear into your flesh, shredding chunks of your own morality, leaving you bloodied, violated and dismembered.’

“Splatter Cafe pays special tribute to illustrator Luke Spooner of Carrion House and authors Jack Maddox, Christine Morgan, Ray Garton, James Dorr, and J Michael Major. . . .”

And so, for a Super Sunday brag (to be read as one will) I’ve already quoted above part of what SPLATTER CAFÉ reviewer L. D. Johnson says about . . . moi.  And there is a bit more, as well as a lot of perceptive words about SPLATTERLANDS and publisher Grey Matter Press in general, which all can be found here.

I read this review at the public library less than an hour before 2015’s second Bloomington Writers Guild sponsored First Sunday Prose Reading at Boxcar Books, just a block east.  The featured readers for February were Stephanie Haines who read humorous essays from a newspaper column she writes on topics such as dating at 40, ice cream, cheapskates, and Jane Austen, followed by Communications and Culture PhD student Eric Zobel who, with the assistance of three other readers, presented “Adventures in Indifference,” described as “a prose piece for multiple voices.”

This was also the second in which a few open mike readers were allowed more time than the “standard” three to five minutes (cf. last month, January 5).  I took advantage by reading a personal favorite of mine, “Casket Girls,” originally published in DAILY SCIENCE FICTION last April.  If interested, those who haven’t read it (or wish a refresher) can go to the DAILY SF site and enter “Dorr” in the search box on the right for it and, at present, three more stories (with a fifth, “Dead Lines,” to come, probably this spring) that I’ve had there.

Word came today that a new review of SPLATTERLANDS (see October 14 2014, et al.) by Matthew Andrew has been posted on Amazon.  Or, as Editor Anthony Rivera put it, “A full 67 weeks after its release (that’s almost 16 months!), the Grey Matter Press anthology SPLATTERLANDS splatterlands2_smallhas been an almost 60-week bestseller, today remains in the Top 10% of all Kindle sales at Amazon and is still receiving 5-Star reviews from readers.  We never imagined this little-book-that-could with its selection of very nasty short horror stories with a point, would’ve been this successful. With an overall Amazon Rating of 4.6 out of 5.0, SPLATTERLANDS yesterday was called:

“’A Home Run of Splatterpunk’
5.0 out of 5.0 Stars”

The interesting thing, it occurred to me, is my story in this one is called “The Artist” and, while it didn’t make the contents of my collection — cited for its own new review just two posts down, January  25 — THE TEARS OF ISIS for various reasons (or really just one, it didn’t fit in with the specific multiple-story arcs that began to emerge as I was planning the contents out), it is an illustration of TEARS’s overall theme, the relationship between beauty and art vs. death and destruction.  None of which, really, may mean all that much other than that particular theme may run through even more of my work than that cited — or may be so common a theme as to be trite.  That’s for readers and critics to discuss.  Or, more mundanely, maybe it’s just an excuse to suggest readers buy both books.

Be that all as it may, readers can find the new SPLATTERLANDS review by pressing here (and, as for THE TEARS OF ISIS, just scroll Blight-Digest-Cover-187x300down to January 25 and press the link there).

In other news, relatively new magazine (their first issue was October 2014) BLIGHT DIGEST’s Managing Editor/Publisher Ron Earl Phillips emailed an acceptance of my story “Strawberry Fields,” originally published in Winter 2007-08 in BLACK INK HORROR.  To quote their guidelines from last fall, what they seek are “[w]ell written stories that play out the human experience against unimaginable and terrifying odds.  Dark fiction that’s defined more by the story than the splatter.  We are open to supernatural, psychological, and physical fear.”

“Strawberry Fields,” about a house with a . . . well . . . unfortunate back yard, probably actually may contain a blood-drop or two of splatter — so I play both ends of the game, eh? — but tastefully muted.  In any event, it is tentatively slated for issue 3 or 4 (issue 2 is just finishing up production, according to Phillips), for June or October of this year.

We writers gotta support one another, yes?  So just for a quick note, kudos to Paula D. Ashe who in a blog entry on October 11 cites having three stories . . . well let’s let her say it in her own words.  But the thing is, she mentions a few of her fellow writers as well, including moi. . . .

“Anyway, I’m having a good writing year so far. I’m hesitant to say that because despite my humanism I can’t help but feel a little superstitious about the creation, reception, and publication of my work.  I don’t want to jinx anything.  However, three of my stories were published in JWK FICTION BEST OF HORROR 2013; ‘Because You Watched’, ‘Bereft’, and ‘The Mother of All Monsters’.  It’s a huge honor to be recognized in any ‘best of’ collection, but particularly this one since many of the writers included are personal friends and favorite writers; Chantal Noordeloos, Lily Childs, James Ward Kirk, KZ Morano, Roger Cowin, and James S. Dorr.”

For the record, my ghost in the guesthouse is “The Sidewalk,” published last year as a reprint in GRAVE ROBBERS (see below August 14 and 6, June 24) and originally appearing in TERMINAL FRIGHT in Fall 1996, while more on JWK’s BEST OF HORROR, including the stories we all have there, can be found here.  And to see Paula’s blog entry in its entirety, including a HALLOWEEN BONUS portrait of Vincent Price, be sure to press here.

Speaking of Halloween, another sale has been announced beginning now through October 31 — except this one’s a birthday sale as well.  A year ago (more or less) Grey Matter Psplatterlands2_smallress unveiled its splatterpunk revival anthology SPLATTERLANDS, not to mention (ahem!) with my original story “The Artist” in it (cf. November 22 and 13, October 22 2013, et many al. — How many?  Try putting “Splatterlands” in the search box at upper right).  Editor Anthony  Rivera explains:

“Grey Matter Press is celebrating a birthday.  A very, very BRASH, BLASPHEMOUS and BLOODY birthday.  SPLATTERLANDS is one year old!  (And already talking! )

”To honor the arrival of this little red-splattered bundle on our doorstep one year ago, the Grey Matter Press anthology of extreme horror with a point is ON SALE FOR $1.99, joining the Amazon Kindle Halloween Sale thru 10/31/14.  SPLATTERLANDS: REAWAKENING THE SPLATTERPUNK REVOLUTION includes disturbing short stories by Ray Garton, Michael Laimo, Gregory Norris, James Dorr, J Michael Major, A.a. Garrison, Christine Morgan, Chad Stroup, Allen Griffin, Michele Garber, Eric Del Carlo, Jack Maddox and Paul Collrin.  With equally disturbing illustrations by Luke Spooner and Carrion House.”

Tempted?  Press here.

“There are countless mediums for an artist to choose to ply their trade.  Some artists, like Vince, are drawn to the unusual. . .  Vince creates his masterpieces from slabs of raw meat, carefully selecting just the right cuts from the deli where he works.”  So begins the blurb on the Grey Matter Press website concerning my story in SPLATTERLANDS (cf. August 18, June 9, et al.).

But that’s not all.  There are, of course, other stories in the anthology too, including their own blurbs, plus links enough to continue to Amazon to buy your own copy.  But one other thing I’ve only lately discovered on the Grey Matter site, there are previews as well giving samples of  several of the stories.

And, yes, one of them is of my tale, “The Artist.”  To see it, press here.

Today’s email brings an announcement from Anthony Rivera, via Facebook, of a new review on Amazon of the Grey Matter Press anthology SPLATTERLANDS:  REAWAKENING THE SPLATTERPUNK REVOLUTION (cf. June 19, et al.).  Under the rubric “Not for the Faint of Heart,” the August 14 review by Josh Wiles can be found by pressing here.  To quote briefly from it:  “As with any anthology, you get great stories, good stories, so-so stories and stories that don’t appeal to you at all.  This is true for this anthology as well.  Although it has a significantly higher proportion of great stories than is typical for most anthologies.”  Moreover, as Editor Rivera points out, “[t]he reviewer singles out the stories by J Michael Major, Jack Maddox, Michael Laimo, Ray Garton, Paul Collrin, Allen Griffin, James Dorr and Eric Del Carlo.”  My story cited is called “The Artist” and is a sort of working-class noir tale of a fancy butcher who sculpts centerpieces for banquets and the like out of meat.

So there’s good and bad but, once again to quote the reviewer, “This was definitely one of the best anthologies I’ve ever read.”

Then oddly,  just after that review there’s one from late June by Alan Wilson titled “A Lucky-Dip Experience:  Like Most Anthologies” that only gives the anthology three stars (11 of 15 reviews are five-star).  However Wilson sets his bar high, noting that “[t]o be excellent, in my opinion, a horror story has to be memorable.  A yarn that clicks a gear in your head in such a way that you never forget it because your world-view has been shifted.”  And given that standard, he still cites six stories by brief description as “real gems which did just that for me,” one of which is my “The Artist”  (or again quoting Wilson, parenthetically, “sell your veal shares now!”).

For Amazon’s overview of SPLATTERLANDS including ordering (as well as the reviews again, though not necessarily with the most recent first), one also can press here.

The buzz is out, that Dave Gammon’s review of SPLATTERLANDS (see April 14 this year; December 4, November 22 2013, et al.) on HORRORNEWS.NET gives, if not a literally blow by blow, a story by story précis of its contents.  But that isn’t all.  Following that rundown Dave adds his own comments, exploring the subgenre as regards SPLATTERLANDS in some splatterlands2_smalldepth (including, to be sure, the warning: it’s “not for the faint of heart”), concluding that not only is the book a, um, bloody good collection of horror, the stories in general display a conciseness combined with power that shows off short fiction at its best.  SPLATTERLANDS, it should be added, is edited by Anthony Rivera and Sharon Lawson.

I recommend the review, especially for those who might look down at horror as “all blood and guts” — horror in general isn’t, of course, but Dave Gammon’s review does discuss that relatively small part that is in sufficient detail to allow one to know what (if that’s one’s bent) to avoid and why.  My part in this, incidentally, is a piece I think of myself as “working class noir,” ultimately a fairly quiet domestic tale titled “The Artist.”

But don’t take it from me.  For this and more, one need but press here.

 




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