My debut short story collection, THE RED EMPIRE AND OTHER STORIES, comes out January 1, 2012, but you can reserve your copy now by pre-ordering it through Barnes & Noble. Here’s a shortcut to take you there.
This is a double first, actually. Not only is it my first ever short story collection, but it is also the first title from Redrum Horror, brainchild of Austin horror writer and editor, Ed Kurtz. Ed and I met at the 2010 World Horror Convention in Austin, and I was impressed immediately with his knowledge of horror and his humor. It appears both are paying dividends for Redrum Horror, as subsequent titles will include Gary Brandner’s demonic classic HELLBORN, Guy N. Smith’s rock-n-roll classic DEADBEAT, and Jeremy C. Shipp’s new anthology ATTIC CLOWNS. It appears my collection will be in some mighty good company.
THE RED EMPIRE AND OTHER STORIES will bring together some of my non-zombie horror and dark crime stories. Here’s a closer look at the table of contents:
THE RED EMPIRE – I originally released this story as a limited edition chapbook through Bad Moon Books. As a lifelong fan of ’50s creature feature films, I knew one day I would do my homage to those blobs, giant crabs and killer birds stories. Growing up in South Texas, I learned early to respect the fire ant. Get chewed up once by those little beasties and you’ll keep your distance ever after. It seemed like a natural fit then, to make a special batch of fire ants that were extra large and super intelligent…and then set them loose on a small Texas town. Let the havoc ensue…
BLEMISH – I love ghost stories, always have, always will. Nothing beats a great ghost story to give you the chills, and BLEMISH is perhaps the best ghost story I’ve ever written. For this one, I pulled from my experiences at Trinity University.
COLD CASE – In addition to writing full time, I’m also a San Antonio Police officer, and my Department has specific rules prohibiting employees from writing about cases in which they’ve taken part. However, there are things that come with working the job that stick with you, and stories that demand to be told. This 111 year old cold case is just such a story. Actually a non-fiction article on my attempts to discover what happened to SAPD Officer William M. Lacey, on November 28, 1900 – his first day on the job, and his last.
THE OLD MAN UNDER THE SEA – This story was written especially for this collection, and has two real starting points. The first is a rather curious bit of literary lore: namely, that both Louis L’Amour and Ernest Hemingway were amateur boxers. The second is the fact that I’ve always wanted to write a last man on earth story. This tale seemed like the perfect way to do both.
THE MILLSTONE – I love crime fiction. I don’t write a lot of it, but I do love it so. This nasty little trailer park drama is one of the best I’ve written.
EMPTY ROOM – Another ghost story, this one short and sweet. Those of you with kids, have you ever had one of those moments where you couldn’t, despite your best efforts, get your kids to stop crying? If so, you’ll feel right at home in this story. Just don’t stay too long.
BURNING FINGER MAN – This one came at me from left field. I was between projects and decided to explore the banality of the beat cop’s existence. What emerged was the story of a summerlong manhunt for a particularly nasty man.
EYES OPEN – The collection finishes off with another story original to this collection. I don’t do a lot of Lovecraftian horror, but I enjoy it when I do. This is one of my favorites in that vein.
THE RED EMPIRE AND OTHER STORIES is up for pre-order now, and if you hurry, you can even get it on sale!