John Joseph Adams Announces Nightmare Magazine Kickstarter

I just learned that John Joseph Adams, one of the best editors working in genre fiction today, is starting a new horror magazine called Nightmare.  That in and of itself would be wonderful news, but he’s doing it in conjunction with Creeping Hemlock Press, which is owned and operated by RJ and Julia Sevin, the husband and wife team who published my zombie novella THE CROSSING and who will be publishing my collected zombie stories, DATING IN DEAD WORLD, later this year.  For me, this is the perfect storm of editorial smarts and publishing savvy, and I’m thrilled to support them in their kickstarter campaign to get the magazine off the ground.

There are far too few professional horror magazines out there these days, and this promises to be one of the best ever.  The Nightmare Magazine kickstarter pitch is below.  Please take a look, and if you to see some quality horror fiction in the next few years, I hope you’ll help out too.

About the Kickstarter

Nightmare Magazine is a monthly magazine of horror and dark fantasy short fiction which  will be published both online and in ebook format. This Kickstarter is  intended to help fund the first issue and to get the magazine off the  ground.

Not familiar with Kickstarter? Essentially, you pledge any amount to support a project, and then choose one of the rewards in the right  column. You only get charged if the project reaches its fundraising  goal. Here’s the FAQ page.

About Nightmare

In Nightmare‘s pages, you will find all kinds of  horror fiction, from zombie stories and haunted house tales, to visceral psychological horror. No subject is  off-limits, and we will be encouraging our writers to take chances with  their  fiction and push the envelope.

Edited by bestselling anthologist John Joseph Adams, every month Nightmare will bring you a mix of originals and reprints, and featuring a variety of  authors—from the bestsellers and award-winners you already know to the  best new voices you haven’t heard of yet. When you read Nightmare, it is our hope that you’ll see where horror comes from, where it is now, and where it’s going.

Nightmarewill also include nonfiction, fiction  podcasts, and Q&As with our authors that go  behind-the-scenes of their stories. Our planned publication schedule  each month will include two pieces of original fiction and two fiction  reprints,  along with a feature interview and an artist gallery showcasing our  cover artist. We will publish ebook issues on the first of every month,  which will be available for sale in ePub format via our website and also available in other formats such as Kindle and Nook. We will also offer  subscriptions to our ebook edition in a variety of formats. Each issue’s contents will be serialized on our website  throughout the month, with new features publishing on the first four  Wednesdays of every month.

About Issue #1

As described above Nightmare will typically feature two original stories and two reprints in every issue. For our debut issue, however, we will be bringing you four all-new, never before published horror stories. Issue #1 will feature stories by the following authors:

Laird Barron is the author of several books, including the short story collections The Imago Sequence and Occultation, and the novel The Croning. His work has appeared in many magazines and anthologies, including The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Inferno, Lovecraft Unbound, Sci Fiction, Supernatural Noir, The Book of Cthluhu, Creatures, The Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror, and Best Horror of the Year. He is a three-time winner of the Shirley Jackson Award, and a  three-time finalist for the Stoker Award. His work has also been  nominated for the Crawford, World Fantasy, International Horror Guild,  and Locus awards.

Sarah Langan is the author of the novels The Keeper and The Missing, and her most recent novel, Audrey’s Door, won the 2009 Stoker for best  novel. Her short fiction has appeared in the magazines Cemetery Dance,  Phantom, and Chiaroscuro, and in the anthologies Brave New Worlds, Darkness on the Edge, and Unspeakable Horror. She is currently working on a post-apocalyptic  young adult series called Kids and two adult novels: Empty Houses, which was inspired by The Twilight Zone, and My Father’s Ghost, which was  inspired by Hamlet. Her work has been translated into ten languages and  optioned by the Weinstein Company for film. It has also garnered three  Bram Stoker Awards, an American Library Association Award, two Dark  Scribe Awards, a New York Times Book Review editor’s pick, and a Publishers Weekly favorite book of the year selection.

Jonathan Maberry is a NY Times bestselling author, multiple Bram Stoker Award winner, and Marvel Comics writer.  He’s the author of many novels including Assassin’s Code, Flesh & Bone Dead of Night, Patient Zero and Rot& Ruin; and the editor of V-Wars: A Chronicle of the Vampire Wars.  His nonfiction books on topics ranging from martial arts to zombie pop-culture. Since 1978 he has sold more than 1200 magazine feature articles, 3000 columns, two plays, greeting cards, song lyrics, poetry, and textbooks. Jonathan continues to teach the celebrated Experimental Writing for Teens class, which he created. He founded the Writers Coffeehouse and co-founded The Liars Club; and is a frequent speaker at schools and libraries, as well as a keynote speaker and guest of honor at major writers and genre conferences.

Genevieve Valentine is the author of the novel, Mechanique: a Tale of the Circus Tresaulti. Her short fiction has appeared in or is forthcoming from magazines such as Lightspeed, Fantasy Magazine, Clarkesworld, Strange Horizons, and Escape Pod, and in many anthologies, including Armored, Under the Moons of Mars, Running with the Pack, The Living Dead 2, The Way of the Wizard, Federations, Teeth, and The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination, among others. Her writing has been nominated for the World Fantasy Award, the Nebula Award, and the Shirley Jackson Award.

A Commitment to Diversity

We believe that the horror/fantasy community’s diversity is its greatest strength, and we wish that  viewpoint to be reflected in our story content and our submission  queues. Accordingly, we will welcome and encourage submissions from writers both experienced and new, as well as from writers of every race, religion, nationality, gender, and  sexual orientation.

A Note to Writers

If the Kickstarter  is funded, we will open to submissions shortly afterward. Please do not  submit or query before the Kickstarter concludes.

About the Publishers

Nightmare will be a joint venture between John Joseph Adams (who is also editing the magazine) and Creeping Hemlock Press.

About John Joseph Adams: John Joseph Adams—called “the reigning king of the anthology world” by  Barnes & Noble—is the bestselling editor of many anthologies,  such as Armored, Under the Moons of Mars: New Adventures on Barsoom, Brave New  Worlds, Wastelands, The Living Dead, The Living Dead 2, By Blood We  Live, Federations, The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, and The Way of the Wizard. Forthcoming work includes Other Worlds Than These (July 2012), Epic (November 2012), The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination (January 2013), and Robot Uprisings (2013). He is a four-time finalist for the Hugo Award and a  three-time finalist for the World Fantasy Award. He is also the editor  and publisher of Lightspeed Magazine, and is the co-host of Wired’s The Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast. Learn more at www.johnjosephadams.com.

About Creeping Hemlock Press: Creeping Hemlock Press was founded in Gretna, Louisiana by the  husband-and-wife creative duo R.J. and Julia Sevin (seh-VAN). As  sometime writers, oftentime readers, they found themselves frustrated  with the scarcity of generous-paying, atmospheric and bizarre short  story anthologies. They took matters into their own hands in late 2004  when they began to accept submissions for their own anthology. Many  months, one baby, two hurricanes, and one soggy home later, Corpse Blossoms was born to critical success and a nomination for the Horror Writers  Association’s Bram Stoker award. As their post-Katrina wanderings  carried them to Texas and back, the Sevins published many fine editions  from such authors at Tom Piccirilli, Adam-Troy Castro, Tim Lebbon, and  Lawrence Block. In 2011, they unveiled Print Is Dead, an imprint devoted to zombie fiction and endorsed by none other than George A. Romero.  After nearly a decade in the business, they’re just getting started.  Learn more at www.creepinghemlock.com.

About the Funding

All of the money raised by this project will go into issue #1 and otherwise launching Nightmare Magazine. This includes webhosting, web design, paying authors professional rates for their work (at least 5 cents per word), and promotion. Anything raised above and beyond our stated goal will go toward the production of future issues of Nightmare.

About the Reward Tiers

We’ve priced our reward tiers so that if you contribute to our Kickstarter,  you’re basically placing a pre-order. When we launch, individual issues  will cost $3, and a one-year subscription will cost $25, and so on. Assuming the Kickstarter is funded, we will launch the magazine on October 1, 2012, and rewards will be delivered at that time.

Pledge $3 or more

You receive a ebook copy of the first issue of NIGHTMARE in ePub or  Mobi format, compatible with all major eBook readers (Kindle, iBooks,  Sony, Nook).

Pledge $25 or more

You receive a one-year ebook subscription to NIGHTMARE in ePub or Mobi format.

Pledge $50 or more

You receive a two-year ebook subscription to NIGHTMARE in ePub or Mobi format.

Pledge $75 or more

You receive a three-year ebook subscription to NIGHTMARE in ePub or Mobi format.

Pledge $100 or more

You receive a one-year ebook subscription to NIGHTMARE in ePub or  Mobi format. You also receive a special, limited edition print version  of  issue #1, which will be printed only once as a reward for  Kickstarter backers. Note: If you reside outside the United States,  please pledge an additional $15 for this reward to cover added shipping  costs.

Pledge $500 or more

You receive a two-year ebook subscription to NIGHTMARE in ePub or  Mobi format. You also receive a special, limited edition print version  of issue #1, which will be printed only once as a reward for Kickstarter backers, SIGNED by all of the contributors. Note: If you reside outside the United States, please pledge an additional $15 for this reward to  cover added shipping costs.

Pledge $500 or more

You receive a LIFETIME ebook subscription to NIGHTMARE in ePub or  Mobi format (i.e., the subscription will last as long as either you or  NIGHTMARE does!).

Pledge $500 or more

You receive a two-year ebook subscription to NIGHTMARE in ePub or  Mobi format. You also receive a LIFETIME subscription to Creeping  Hemlock/Print is Dead trade paperbacks (i.e., you will receive a copy of every new book Creeping Hemlock/Print is Dead releases in trade  paperback), and a copy of every in-print title from Creeping Hemlock  Press. (For a list of in-print titles: http://www.creepinghemlock.com/toptier.html.)

Pledge $1,000 or more

You receive a LIFETIME subscription NIGHTMARE in ePub or Mobi format, plus a LIFETIME subscription to Creeping Hemlock/Print is Dead trade  paperbacks (i.e., you will receive a copy of every new book Creeping  Hemlock/Print is Dead releases in trade paperback), and a copy of every  in-print title from Creeping Hemlock Press. (For a list of in-print  titles: http://www.creepinghemlock.com/toptier.html.)

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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!

My Favorite Reads of 2010

This was one of the best years for books in a long time. There were no huge standouts, like Cormac McCarthy’s 2006 novel The Road, or Dan Simmons’ 2008 novel The Terror, but even still, of the 108 books I read this year, a surprisingly large number were of outstanding quality…so much so that winnowing this list down to just ten required a lot of purely subjective hair-splitting.

My list is made up entirely of books released during 2010. That meant that some of the 108 books I read this year weren’t eligible, even if they would have otherwise earned a spot here. Jeffrey Eugenides’ serio-comic epic novel Middlesex and John M. Barry’s haunting history of the 1927 Mississippi flood, Rising Tide, are just two examples of books not included for that reason. But beyond date of release, I was fairly open-ended on format, length and genre. Novellas released as a single work, such as Norman Prentiss’ Invisible Fences and Brian James Freeman’s The Painted Darkness got equal consideration with huge epic-sized novels, multi-author anthologies, short story collections, histories and biographies. Some of the books on this list I read in PDF as advance reader’s copies, or listened to on CD, or enjoyed as just plain old dead tree editions, and in most cases I explain that in each entry.

So, here they are, in no certain order…my favorite reads for 2010. Enjoy the list!

Horns by Joe Hill

Both a very funny book and at the same time a well-crafted one, Horns is far better than Hill’s first novel, Heart-Shaped Box. Heart-Shaped Box was a good book, mind you, and his debut collection, Twentieth Century Ghosts, was a great book, but Horns is a cut above either of those. Part Kafka, part Kurt Cobain, part Gallagher, Joe Hill is rapidly becoming one of America’s best novelists, and Horns will show you why. I listened to this one on CD, which helped the humor a lot, I think.

The Caretaker of Lorne Field by Dave Zeltserman

Like Horns, an extremely funny book. Zeltserman has made a name for himself as a writer of intense psychologically-driven crime fiction, making this rural horror story a bit of a departure…but I’m so glad he made it. I hadn’t gone twenty pages into this book before I knew it was going to make this list. Good old fashioned hardcover for this one, and worth every penny.

Pariah by Bob Fingerman

Zombies are big business, so it takes a lot of talent to rise above the crowd. Between James Roy Daley’s Best New Zombie Tales #1 and 2, Peter Clines’ Ex-Heroes, John Ajvide Lindqvist’s Handling the Undead, Ben Tripp’s Rise Again, Greg Lamberson’s Desperate Souls, Patrick D’Orazio’s Comes the Dark, Craig DiLouie’s Tooth and Nail, Stephen Jones’ The Mammoth Book of Zombie Apocalypse, Chris Golden’s The New Dead and John Joseph Adams’ The Living Dead 2, 2010 brought out some of the best zombie stuff I’ve ever read. So the competition was extra tough. But my favorite zombie release of the year was Bob Fingerman’s novel Pariah. In addition to being a great zombie book, it was also a beautiful meditation on isolation and the stark, horrifying beauty of post-apocalyptic landscapes. Another good old fashioned dead tree read here, which helped a lot. I generally listen to audio books while driving to and from work, which makes it impossible to give a narrative your full and undivided attention. Inevitably, the idiot cutting you off is going to usurp some of your mental energy, regardless of how good the book is. Bob Fingerman’s description of his characters’ complex emotional states is so finely developed though it really merits the extra attention you have to give a printed book. Listening on CD would have frustrated me here.

Mr. Shivers by Robert Jackson Bennett

Mr. Shivers is one of three debut novels on this year’s list. I was on a panel with the author at ArmadilloCon in Austin earlier this year, and I was so impressed with his comments on researching that I stopped off at the Barnes & Noble on the way home and bought his book. His story of hobos looking for revenge during the Great Depression was a delicious mix of Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath and Stephen King’s first Gunslinger novel. I flew through the mass market paperback in a single afternoon, and I can’t wait for his next novel, The Company Man.

Invisible Fences by Norman Prentiss

Besides being a genuinely classy guy, Norman Prentiss can write horror stories of such subtlety that you will find yourself going over the work three and four times just to see how he managed to do so much with so few words. He’s made a name for himself as a short story writer whose work more closely resembles the fiction found in the New Yorker than in the bulk of horror’s blood-soaked anthologies, but with his debut novel, Invisible Fences, Prentiss has written a short, but moving story that, to be honest, transcends any sort of attempt to pigeonhole it in a genre. I read this one in a limited edition trade paperback, and getting your own copy may prove difficult. Just don’t come looking for mine. You’ll have to pry it from my cold, dead hands.

In the Mean Time by Paul Tremblay

This was a great year for single author short story collections. I loved Michael Louis Calvillo’s Blood and Gristle, Jeremy Shipp’s Fungus of the Heart, John Little’s Little Things, Laird Barron’s Occultation, Scott Edelman’s What Will Come After, Harry Shannon’s A Host of Shadows and Lisa Mannetti’s Deathwatch, but Tremblay’s In the Mean Time just left me breathless. Calvillo’s work had more energy than Tremblay’s. Shannon’s collection had far better action and variety. Edelman’s had zombies. Mannetti’s had beautifully handled historical fiction. Each of those collections did something better than Tremblay did in his book, but the overall feel of In the Mean Time sold me on this work. It reminded me of a Pink Floyd album, the way it just fit together. I read this one as an ebook and found his apocalyptic visions to be so gut-wrenching that at times I had to go hug my kids just to remind myself that things were going to be okay. A tough read, but ultimately, one you’ll be glad you made.

Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War by Karl Marlantes

This is one of three non-horror books to make this year’s list. Marlantes’ debut was thirty years in the making, but it was worth the wait. I listened to this book on CD, and was simply blown away. I have a feeling Matterhorn will go up on the shelf next to O’Brien’s The Things They Carried as one of the best war novels ever written. Just be prepared for a very gritty, true to life description of war and all its horrors.

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

Like Bob Fingerman, I found out about Brenna Yovanoff through the table of contents of John Joseph Adams’ The Living Dead 2. Jonathan Maberry’s Rot and Ruin would have made this a good year for YA all by itself, but Yovanoff’s modern day tale of changelings told the age old teenage drama of fitting in with such originality and beauty that The Replacement transcended its YA field. Perhaps even more impressive is that this is a debut novel. There were some great debuts this year, such as Benjamin Kane Ethridge’s Black and Orange, Lisa Morton’s Castle of Los Angeles, Gregory Hall’s At the End of Church Street, and Lucy Snyder’s Spellbent, but Yovanoff’s book connected with me personally because I have two daughters about to enter that age where they will be trying to define their place in this world. Your mileage may differ, but this one is still highly recommended for anybody in the middle teens and older.

Murder City: Ciudad Juarez and the Global Economy’s New Killing Fields by Charles Bowdon

I’ve been reading an awful lot about the Texas-Mexico border recently as research for an upcoming novel, and Bowdon’s book is one of the best on the subject. He doesn’t go into a great deal of depth about the political reasons behind Mexico’s drug war, but focuses instead on the personal stories of those caught up in the violence and tragedy that defines life in today’s Northern Mexico. After reading this book, I suspect that you, like me, will be furious with the U.S. government and the American media for directing so much attention on the other side of the globe, while one of the most immediate and verifiable threats to U.S. security is at a full boil right next door.

Selected Stories by William Trevor

William Trevor’s stories have been growing discernibly darker in tone over the years, and this volume, which brings together the Irish author’s last four short story collections, goes a long ways toward demonstrating that trend. But Trevor is also capable of writing intensely funny stuff, and you can still find that trademark humor here. William Trevor may very well be the best writer in English working today. His stories, which are always so full of sharp insights into love and ambition and power of major events, such as weddings or the end of an affair, to change many lives, never disappoint. This list isn’t in any sort of order, but if it was, this book would own the top rung. Well worth investing in the hardcover.

And finally, because I’m such a fan of Spinal Tap, I’m turning this list up to eleven and giving you one that almost made it.

Room: A Novel by Emma Donoghue

Remember Plato’s Parable of the Cave? In the story, Socrates (pronounced So-Crates, according to Bill and Ted) relates the tale of a group of people who spend their entire lives chained to posts, facing a blank wall. There is a fire behind them that projects shadows on the wall. Because these people lack any other frame of reference, the shadows become their entire world, and their only idea of reality. If you’re familiar with the story, you must have wondered what would happen if those people suddenly got loose and joined the rest of us. Imagine the horror of that much reality crashing in on their minds at once. Well, Emma Donoghue did just that. She tells her story from the point of view of five year old Jack, who lives with his Ma in a single room, with the routine broken only by nighttime visits from a man named Old Nick. The prose is tricky, as it is meant to be that of a five year old, but nonetheless effective, and very frightening.

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