Rage Against the Night – An Anthology to Benefit Rocky Wood

Rage Against the Night – An Anthology to Benefit Rocky Wood

 

Under the onslaught of supernatural evil, the acts of good people can seem insignificant, but a courageous few stand apart. These brave men and women stand up to the darkness, stare it right in the eye, and give it the finger. These are the stories of those who rage against the night, stories of triumph, sacrifice, and bravery in the face of overwhelming evil.

 

Rocky Wood – Bram Stoker Award™-winning author, Stephen King scholar, and president of the Horror Writers Association – is one of the bravest men I know.  Diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, Rocky has nonetheless set out to redefine the Horror Writers Association as the inclusive voice of the horror community.  From his home inAustralia, Rocky travels the world, attending many conventions each year, in order to foster that sense of community among writers, publishers, agents and other industry professionals.

 

I call him the bravest man I know because he towers above the obstacles in his way, not only the ALS, which is a mountain of an obstacle in and of itself, but also the headstrong egos and maddening politics that always seem to plague groups of creative people.  He is a model of teamwork, relentless energy, and above all, vision.  In just a few short years he has created a legacy in the HWA that will define the organization for decades to come.  Positive change and a spirit of renewed enthusiasm follow him everywhere.  For all those reasons, I am in awe of him, and for all those reasons, I am honored to call him my friend.

 

So, imagine my surprise – and pleasure! – when Shane Jiraiya Cummings contacted me about donating a story for an anthology to help Rocky Wood with some of his medical expenses.  I couldn’t say yes fast enough!  “What’s the theme?” I asked.  “How soon do you need it?”

 

Shane’s idea was a collection of stories showcasing good triumphing over evil.  He said it was the perfect testament to Rocky, and I agreed on the spot.

 

The story I sent Shane was “The Gunner’s Love Song,” one of my earliest.  In it, a young man comes home toEast Texasshortly after World War II to find his cousin, who has a heavy speech impediment and a reputation for being a little slow, suddenly villainized by their town because of his romance with a woman rumored to be a werewolf.

 

Fans of Manly Wade Wellman will undoubtedly see my influences shining through in this story; and believe me, I had a hard time resisting the urge to go back through the tale and “clean it up a bit,” to sort of buff out the obvious Wellman touches.  But I resisted because “The Gunner’s Love Song” has something special to it.  It has a lot of Wellman, to be sure, but it has a lot of me, too.  In fact, it was the first time I remember feeling my own voice surging through in the fiction.  The story is genuine.  It’s a little raw, perhaps, but it’s me, and I see in this story the elements that would take hold and grow in my later fiction: themes like a sense of optimism that’s been tested and tempered by trial and the importance of good guardianship.

 

In short, the story worked for me, and when I sent it to Shane, he agreed.

 

Apparently he really agreed, for he chose it as the lead-off story in a collection that features an amazing roster of creative talent.  Check out this table of contents:

 

The Gunner’s Love Song—Joe McKinney

Keeping Watch—Nate Kenyon

Like Part of the Family—Jonathan Maberry

The Edge of Seventeen—Alexandra Sokoloff

The View from the Top—Bev Vincent

Afterward, There Will Be a Hallway—Gary A. Braunbeck

Following Marla—John R. Little

Magic Numbers—Gene O’Neill

Tail the Barney—Stephen M. Irwin

The Nightmare Dimension—David Conyers

Roadside Memorials—Joseph Nassise

Dat Tay Vao—F. Paul Wilson

Constitution—Scott Nicholson

Mr. Aickman’s Air Rifle—Peter Straub

Agatha’s Ghost—Ramsey Campbell

Blue Heeler—Weston Ochse

Sarah’s Visions—Chelsea Quinn Yarbro

More Than Words—David Niall Wilson

Chillers—Lisa Morton

Changed—Nancy Holder

Dead Air—Gary Kemble

Two Fish to Feed the Masses—Daniel G. Keohane

Fenstad’s End—Sarah Langan

Fair Extension—Stephen King

Rocky Wood, Skeleton Killer—Jeff Strand

 

You can pick up the print edition here (Amazon) and here (Barnes & Noble), the Kindle edition here, the Nook edition here, and the Smashwords edition here.

Enjoy!

And to you, Rocky – you’re the best, my friend!

Horror for Good: A Charitable Anthology

Horror For Good: A Charitable Anthology

Late last year I got a call from Boyd E. Harris at Cutting Block Press, asking if I’d be willing to contribute a story for an upcoming charitable anthology they were doing.  Now Boyd is a good friend of mine, and Cutting Block Press is one of the finest Indie publishers out there, so he pretty much had me at hello.  “Sounds great,” I said.  “What’s the charity?”

He explained that all revenues, less direct costs for production, marketing and distribution will be donated to amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research.

I was intrigued.  Won over is actually a better way to describe my reaction.  An anthology put together by one of my favorite publishers to benefit a great cause (you can learn more about amfAR here), it’s a win-win.

I agreed and sent him my story “Sky of Brass, Land of Iron.”  South Texas, where I make my home, is crowded with old Spanish ruins from the 1700s and early 1800s, theAlamobeing the most famous example.  I’ve always had a deep fascination with these ruins, and they’ve figured prominently in several of my stories.  But I’ve always suspected that there are ruins out there in the empty landscape ofSouth Texasthat haven’t been discovered.

Texas, with its vast, and sometimes inhospitable territory, was colonized slowly with lots of dead ends and false starts.  My story imagines one such dead end, and picks up the thread when two good friends fromSan Antoniouncover some old ruins on the land they are trying to develop.  What they find beneath the ruins of an abandoned church represents one of my rare forays into Lovecraftian horror.

Boyd then introduced me to three outstanding folks: Mark Scioneaux, Robert Shane Wilson and R.J. Cavender.  These gentlemen were the editors and visionaries behind the anthology, and unbeknownst to me, had managed to assemble an amazing list of contributors.  When I finally saw the table of contents, I was simply bowled over.  Check out this list of talent:

A Message from the HWA President ~ Rocky Wood 
The Journey of Horror For Good ~ Mark C. Scioneaux
Autumn as Metaphor ~ G.N. Braun
On a Dark October ~ Joe R. Lansdale
Mouth ~ Nate Southard 
Blood for the American People Reception ~ Ray Garton 
The Long Hunt ~ Ian Harding 
The Apocalypse Ain’t so Bad ~ Jeff Strand
The Gift ~ Monica O’Rourke
The Silent Ones ~ Taylor Grant 
Sky of Brass, Land of Iron ~ Joe McKinney
Consanguinity ~ Lorne Dixon 
Dead Letters ~ Ramsey Campbell 
The Monster in the Drawer ~ Wrath James White
Baptism ~ Tracie McBride 
Atlantis Purging ~ Boyd E. Harris
Returns ~ Jack Ketchum 
The Other Patrick ~ Brad C. Hodson 
A Question of Morality ~ Shaun Hutson
The Meat Man ~ Jonathan Templar
A Man in Shape Alone ~ Lee Thomas
Solution ~ Benjamin Kane Ethridge 
To and Fro ~ Richard Salter 
Please Don’t Hurt Me ~ F. Paul Wilson 
The Depravity of Inanimate Things ~ John F.D. Taff 
The Lift ~ G.R. Yeates 
The Eyes Have It ~ Rena Mason 
Road Flowers ~ Gary McMahon 
The Widows Laveau ~ Steven W. Booth & Norman L. Rubenstein 
This Thing That Clawed Itself Inside Me ~ John Mantooth 
Somewhere on Sebastian Street ~ Stephen Bacon 
June Decay ~ Danica Green 
Shiva, Open Your Eye ~ Laird Barron

 

I am incredibly excited about this project.  Pick up a copy of this book, please.  Not only is it a great collection of stories, but it’s for a good cause, a just cause, a necessary cause.

You can purchase the print edition here, and the Kindle version here

Hope you enjoy it!

JEFF STRAND TO EMCEE BRAM STOKER AWARDS™ BANQUET 2013

The following press release is from Rocky Wood, president of the Horror Writers Association:
 
The Horror Writers Association (HWA) is proud to announce Jeff Strand will emcee the 2013 Bram Stoker Awards Banquet and also act as Toastmaster at the World Horror Convention 2013. Both of these events are part of the Bram Stoker Awards Weekend, to be held in New Orleans from 13-16 June 2013. Check out part of Jeff’s last appearance at the Bram Stoker Awards Banquet in Salt Lake City 2012, here: http://tinyurl.com/85o5as6 (thanks to Scott Edelman).
Jeff has emceed four of the past five Bram Stoker Awards banquets (he couldn’t make it to Brighton, dammit!), and is thrilled to be back for a fifth time. His books include Pressure (which was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award but did not win), Dweller (which was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award but did not win), Gleefully Macabre Tales (which was nominated for but DID…not win), and also such non-Bram Stoker Award-nominated books as Wolf Hunt, Fangboy, Lost Homicidal Maniac (Answers to “Shirley”), and Benjamin’s Parasite. His latest novel, A Bad Day for Voodoo, will be out in June 2012. You can visit his Gleefully Macabre website at http://www.jeffstrand.com/.
HWA President Rocky Wood said, ‘Anyone who’s ever been to one of our Awards Banquets hosted by Jeff knows what a treat they are in for. Jeff is the funniest straight man I have ever seen, or heard from, or run screaming down a corridor from.’
The Bram Stoker Awards Weekend incorporating the World Horror Convention 2013 will be held at the Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans, Louisiana. The dedicated website is http://www.stokers2013.org/ . The Horror Writers Association (www.horror.org), the peak group for horror writers, is also hosting World Horror Convention as part of our regular Weekend. Further Guests will be announced as the year progresses, including those dedicated to the World Horror Convention component. The HWA is a worldwide organization promoting dark literature and its creators. Started in 1985, it has over 700 members writing professionally in fiction, nonfiction, videogames, film, poetry, comics, and other media.
 
World Horror Convention 2012: Jeff Strand’s Stoker Awards banquet opening monologue

http://www.youtube.com
The Horror Writers Association held its Stoker Awards banquet on Saturday, March 31, 2012 during the…
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