Fantastic Earth Destroyer Ultra Plus Written by Cameron Pierce, Illustrated by Jim Agpalza now available for Pre-Order

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An apocalyptic nightmare in the tradition of Uzumaki, The Epic of Gilgamesh, and Tetsuo: The Iron Man.
In the mining town of Itchy Zoo lives a boy with pumpkin flesh. His name is Tetsuo, and he’d like to tell you about the terrible things that brought ruin to his town. How he shot his brother, how the people of Itchy Zoo became puppets, how he fell in love for the first and last time, and how Satan watched it all go down.
Written by Wonderland Book Award-winning author Cameron Piece and fully illustrated by Jim Agpalza, Fantastic Earth Destroyer Ultra Plus is a bizarro epic that’s as beautiful as it is bleak.

The Slab City Event by Nate Southard now on sale! Not many left!

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The Slab City Riot was supposed to be a weekend of hot rods, choppers, and rock and roll, just a bunch of working stiffs cutting loose.  But then a horde of dead, hungry killers charges out of the desert, and The Slab City Riot becomes a slaughter.

Few survive the initial attack, and those who do find themselves stranded in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by death and chaos.  Misfits from all walks of life, these desperate survivors must fight back or die.

But the desert is a harsh place, and the dead don’t stop.

And Slab City is one hell of a town.

Fresh Meat Writing Contest—Judge Wrath James White’s Advice to Participants

The deadline to submit to the contest is Halloween, so those of you who are hopefully working on your submission, time is nearly up. A master of extreme horror, and one of our judges, Wrath James White has this advice for you.

 

A good horror novel, to me, possesses originality, emotional depth, and relentless, nail-biting intensity. I want to be terrified, on the edge of my seat, and to do that, a strong plot and good characterization is necessary. It is integral to a successful story. It doesn’t matter what you do to a character that I have no emotional investment in. Torturing and mutilating a two-dimensional caricature with no background or history, that we know or care little about, is not scary. In fact, it’s kind of boring. Why should I give a damn what happens to this character? You should answer that before you take a hacksaw to him or her. Because if you can make us love or hate that character, and then you hurt him or her, now we are emotionally invested. Now we are turning pages, eager to see what happens next. That’s an intense story and that’s the only type of story I care to read.

Now here’s my big pet-peeve… imitation. I don’t want to read a pale mimicry of any other novel, any other author, even if that author is you (or me for that matter). Have you ever read a story by an author and loved it then eagerly searched for everything else that author has written, only to find that everything else was a repetition of that first novel? Well, I hate that shit. But what I hate worse than that is reading a new author whose style reads like half a dozen other authors. Don’t imitate Stephen King or Clive Barker or Dean Koontz or even Ed Lee, Jack Ketchum, or Brian Keene. I’ve read them, and if I want to read them again, I will buy their books. Save the fan-fiction for your friends and family.
I don’t want to read a plot I’ve read a dozen times before either. I know that old axiom that there are no new plots, only reimaginings of the same six or seven plot lines. Bullshit. Your story can be as original as you are. Push yourself. Find what is unique about you and put that in your story. Write a redneck-cannibal-family-in-the-woods story and it probably won’t fly unless it’s damned near a masterpiece. Same goes for romantic, angst-ridden vampires, post-apocalyptic zombie stories, and haunted house or demonic possession yarns. If you have nothing new or revolutionary to bring to these well-worn tales, write something else.
Another non-starter for me is lethargic pacing. I love beautiful prose, but not if it slows down the story. When you are trying to keep the intensity high and keep the reader turning pages, that isn’t necessarily the time to show off your spelling bee vocabulary. If it doesn’t advance the plot, leave it out. If you spend three pages telling me every architectural detail, describing the flora and fauna at length, giving me a history lesson on the entire town, it damned sure better be relevant to the plot and not just something to fill out your word count. Even then, nothing pisses me off more than an info dump. Find a way to work it into the action.
Got it? Still ready for the challenge? Well, let’s see what you’ve got.

Sixty-Five Stirrup Iron Road—Now Available for Pre-Order

65coverwebBrian Keene, Edward Lee, Jack Ketchum, Bryan Smith, J.F. Gonzalez, Wrath James White, Nate Southard, Ryan Harding, and Shane McKenzie

All proceeds go to Tom Piccirilli and his family.

 

There is something wrong with Arrianne. Since she and her husband moved into their dream house, Arrianne has been overcome with the most perverse urges and desires. And then there are the dreams and the deviant and repulsive pornography that pops up on her computer screen, images of bestiality,  Roman showers, coprophillia, sadomasochism, and sex with the lowest dregs of society. Her husband, Chuck, thinks she’s losing her mind, but he loves her new ferocious sexual appetite too much to complain. But Arrianne knows, something isn’t right. This isn’t her. As she slowly uncovers the sordid history of Sixty-Five Stirrup Iron Road, murder, torture, suicide, and insanity, she begins to suspect a connection between her recent fits of psychotic nymphomania and the house’s violent past. When she acquires the diary of Lucy Pearson, one of the house’s original owners, she finally understands the extreme danger she and her husband are in.

 

From the demented imaginations of nine of horror fiction’s most extreme authors comes a novel that blurs the lines between the erotic and the horrific, the grotesque and the absurd, fiction and reality. And no one is safe, not even the authors themselves.

Pre-Orders will be open until the end of November. The only way to buy this book is by pre-ordering it.

Paperback coming from Deadite Press.

 

Fresh Meat Writing Contest—Judge Lee Thomas’s Advice to Participants

As we get closer and closer to the submission deadline, another of our Judges, Lee Thomas, has some advice for you writers looking to participate in the contest. Read up! The man knows what he’s talking about.

Give me a story that engages and surprises, and you’ll be way up on my goodie list. Now what do I mean by engages and surprises?

In his review of Hawthorne’s Twice Told Tales, Edgar Allan Poe wrote about the “unity of effect.” He noted that a skillful writer, “If wise… has not fashioned his thoughts to accommodate his incidents; but having conceived, with deliberate care, a certain unique or single effect to be wrought out, he then invents such incidents–he then combines such events as may best aid him in establishing this preconceived effect.”

Poe is not wrong. Listen to the Poe.

Though his observation was aimed at short stories, it can be applied to novels. So yeah,

I’d like to see writers produce tight, well-written stories that effectively blend character, plot, setting, and atmosphere to creep me out and drive ice picks into the back of my head. (Those would be the good ice picks, the ones that make my neck tingle and startle my brain into thinking, “Damn!”)  I would rather not read a collection of horrific scenes loosely held together by some convenient and rubbery mythology, enacted by flat, clichéd characters. (Those would be bad ice picks. Bad ice picks go through the eyes and they make holes in the happy places.)

It doesn’t matter if you’re weaving elegant prose or just nailing the details with a stripped down, raw, punk style. Either can be brilliant. Either can be tedious. When a story is truly effective the reader becomes immersed in the tale, they are engulfed by it, drowning in it, and they are more than happy to keep on sinking.

Even more importantly, I’m looking for work that is surprising. For clarification, this is different from work that is shocking or gross (though some of that is cool, too.) After years of attending Gross Out Contests and their grisly, oily, writhing offspring, I’m not going to be surprised by the disturbing things your characters choose to eat, defecate, or screw. I’m not saying to avoid the gross, but I am suggesting writers should not rely on simple shocks. Take me someplace I’ve never been before. Introduce me to a character I’ve never met before. Give me fresh eyes through which I can view a situation.

And finally, write what you love, regardless of how you think others will perceive it. Occasionally (okay, too often) a writer will figure she knows what editors or judges are looking for and she’s willing to adapt her work to get a leg up and maybe get published. The fact is, I may not love what another writer loves, but it’s a pretty good bet if the story lacks the highest level of passion, regardless of its technical merits, it’s not likely to buzz with enough energy to stand out. 

Best of luck with the contest, but regardless of the outcome, write yourself a story you’d love to read, one that you’re proud to share with the other dread-addled brains on the planet.

Looking forward to the fear,

Lee

The Slab City Event by Nate Southard—Now Open for Pre-Orders!

slabcity

The Slab City Riot was supposed to be a weekend of hot rods, choppers, and rock and roll, just a bunch of working stiffs cutting loose.  But then a horde of dead, hungry killers charges out of the desert, and The Slab City Riot becomes a slaughter.

Few survive the initial attack, and those who do find themselves stranded in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by death and chaos.  Misfits from all walks of life, these desperate survivors must fight back or die.

But the desert is a harsh place, and the dead don’t stop.

And Slab City is one hell of a town.

Fresh Meat Writing Contest—Judge Nate Southard’s Advice to Participants

As we get closer to closing submissions (October) the judges have all written a little something to let the authors know what kinds of things they’ll be looking for. This week, we’ve got Nate Southard, author of Down, The Slab City Event, Just Like Hell, and so many more.

Nate:

Horror is a lot of things.  Remember that.  Horror can be monster or man, the bizarre or the mundane.  Some of the best horror novels published in the last ten years have been marketed as crime novels.  Others have been marketed as science fiction.  In my opinion, the best horror on television isn’t Walking Dead or American Horror Story, it’s Breaking Bad and Mad Men.

Personally, what I look for in horror isn’t the monster or the serial killer.  It isn’t the action scenes or the jump scares (to whatever degree you can achieve those with prose).  I like my horror chock full of three important things: character, atmosphere, and language.

CHARACTER.  Do the people populating your novel have more differences than just their names?  What are their personalities?  How do they talk?  What are their goals and desires?  What do they love, and what do they hate?  In short, what makes them who they are?  By now, you’ve probably heard or read the phrase “Story comes out of character” at least once.  It’s true.  Without developed characters, a novel is nothing more than a series of stage directions for cardboard cutouts.  I can watch people move cardboard around a stage all day, but that doesn’t make it entertaining.  Give me some real characters with real motivations and a story that flows out of them.

ATMOSPHERE.  I want to feel every aspect of your story.  The best horror fiction creeps deep into your bones.  It makes you afraid of both shadows and brightly lit spaces.  When I read something, I want to have a very clear feel of your story’s world, of the light and dark and how it all works together.  Not every book has to be filled to the brim with action.  Something quiet and atmospheric can be just as unsettling.  Think of it as an extension of the “Horror is a lot of things” idea I floated at the top.

LANGUAGE.  Great prose crackles.  It doesn’t matter if it’s the short, sharp words of a noir story or the flowing, poetic lines of a gothic story.  When prose is really good, you feel it.  For a long time, there was a trend of very plain prose in horror.  Everything read like a movie out of the eighties.  While some of those stories were good, the majority of them were not, and they helped contribute to the horror crash of the nineties.  If you’re a writer, you should have a certain level of proficiency with language.  I want to see it.  Whether your prose is clipped and almost violent or something more baroque, I want to see that you have a firm command of language and how to use it.

So that’s what I’d like to see.  I’m looking forward to your entries.  Best of luck!

What Happens in the Darkness by Monica J. O’Rourke & Prey Drive by Wrath James White now available!

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Sinister Grin Press Presents: The Fresh Meat Writing Contest

We know how difficult it can be for new writers to break onto the scene. It seems that most presses are either closed for submissions or are invite only. It can get frustrating, we understand. Sinister Grin Press wants to give the new guys and gals a chance to get their foot in the door. Introducing the Fresh Meat Writing Contest! An elimination competition for fresh talent in horror fiction. We are looking for new novels. The winner will receive a contract for their book, along with an advance and royalties. But we’re not going to make it easy on you.

So who’s going to judge this thing?

Our panel of judges is:

Nate Southard

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Nate Southard’s books include Down, Lights Out, Scavengers, Red Sky, Just Like Hell, Something Went Wrong, Broken Skin, This Little Light of Mine, and He Stepped Through.  His short fiction has appeared in such venues as Cemetery Dance, Black Static, Thuglit, and Supernatural Noir.  His short fiction has received multiple honorable mentions for Ellen Datlow’s The Year’s Best Horror series.  A graduate of The University of Texas with a degree in Radio, Television, and Film, Nate lives in Austin, Texas.  You can learn more at natesouthard.com.

Lee Thomas

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Lee Thomas is the Bram Stoker Award and the Lambda Literary Award-winning author of THE GERMAN, THE DUST OF WONDERLAND, ASH STREET, and TORN. His most recent release is the short story collection LIKE LIGHT FOR FLIES. Lee currently lives in Austin, TX, where he’s working on his next novel.     

Wrath James White

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Wrath is the author of THE RESURRECTIONIST, SUCCULENT PREY, YACCUB’S CURSE, SACRIFICE, PURE HATE, and PREY DRIVE (Succulent Prey Part II). He is also the author of VORACIOUS, TO THE DEATH, SKINZZ, THE REAPER, LIKE PORNO FOR PSYCHOS, EVERYONE DIES FAMOUS IN A SMALL TOWN, THE BOOK OF A THOUSAND SINS, HIS PAIN and POPULATION ZERO. He is the co-author of TERATOLOGIST co-written with the king of extreme horror, Edward Lee, ORGY OF SOULS co-written with Maurice Broaddus,The KILLINGS and HERO co-written with J.F. Gonzalez, and POISONING EROS I and II co-written with Monica J. O’Rourke. His short stories have appeared in dozens of magazines and anthologies. In 2010 his poetry collection, VICIOUS ROMANTIC was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award. Wrath lives and works in Austin, Texas with his two daughters, Isis and Nala, his son Sultan and his  lovely wife, Christie White.

 

Each week, we will have a special guest judge join our panel. That guest judge will bring a special challenge for the remaining writers to complete for prizes or possible immunity. The guest judges are:

Thomas Tessier

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Thomas Tessier was born in Connecticut and educated there and at University College, Dublin.  He lived in Dublin and London for thirteen years, during which time three books of his poems were published and three of his plays were professionally staged.  For several years he wrote a monthly column on music for Vogue magazine (UK). His short stories have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies, including Borderlands, Cemetery Dance, Prime Evil, Dark Terrors, The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror and Best New Horror.  His first collection of short fiction, Ghost Music and Other Tales, received an International Horror Guild Award. He is the author of several novels of terror and suspense, including The Nightwalker, Phantom, Finishing Touches and Rapture, which was made into a movie starring Karen Allen and Michael Ontkean.  His novel Fog Heart received the International Horror Guild Award for Best Novel and was cited by Publishers Weekly as one of the best books of the year.  His latest novel, Wicked Things, was published in paperback by Leisure Books and in hardcover by Cemetery Dance Publications.  In 2013, his new collection of short fiction, Remorseless – Tales of Cruelty, was published by Sinister Grin Press. Thomas Tessier lives in Connecticut.  He is currently working on a new novel, as well as more short fiction.

J.F. Gonzalez

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J. F. Gonzalez is the author of over a dozen novels of horror and dark suspense including THEY, THE CORPORATION, BACK FROM THE DEAD, PRIMITIVE, SURVIVOR, and THE KILLINGS (with Wrath James White), as well as co-author of the CLICKERS series (with Mark Williams and Brian Keene respectively). More than 80 of his short stories and novellas have appeared in various magazines and anthologies and are collected in three volumes. The fourth, SCREAMING TO GET OUT, will see release in early 2014. Prior to his success as a writer of fiction, he was an editor – he co-edited the dark fiction magazines INIQUITIES and PHANTASM in the 1990′s, with a number of the stories he published going on to either win awards or be selected in various YEAR’S BEST compendiums. He tried the editing game again a decade ago with the anthology TOOTH AND CLAW, but that experience wasn’t very fun. He’s gotten over that, though, and would like to try it again if somebody would let him. More intel can be found at www.jfgonzalez.com

Michael Knost

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Michael Knost is a Bram Stoker Award-winning author, editor, and columnist of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and supernatural thrillers. He has written many books in various genres, helmed anthologies such as the Legends of the Mountain State series and co-edited Redneck Zombies from Outer Space with Jonathan Maberry. His Writers Workshop of Horror won the Black Quill and Bram Stoker Awards for superior achievement in nonfiction. He edited the critically acclaimed Writers Workshop of Science Fiction & Fantasy in early 2013—a writer’s guide with works by Neil Gaiman, Orson Scott Card, Ursula K. Le Guin, and many others. He has served as ghostwriter for several projects with the Discovery Channel and Lionsgate Media. He has several books in the process, including a Mothman novel. To find out more, visit www.MichaelKnost.com.

Mort Castle

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Mort Castle edited On Writing Horror and its earlier incarnation Writing Horror, both from Writer’s Digest Books. He has written novels, short stories, poems, articles, and comic books, with credits numbering well over 600. Recent works include the graphic format J.N. Williamson’s Illustrated Masques (IDW); Shadow Show: All New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury, co-edited with Sam Weller (William Morrow); and the forthcoming All American Horror of the 21st Century (Wicker Park Press). Castle was cited as one of “21 Leaders in the Arts for the 21st Century” by The Chicago Sun-Times Newspaper Group. He’s twice won Black Quill Awards, has been nominated four times for a Pushcart Prize, twice for an Excellence in Teaching Award, once for the International Horror Guild Award, and eight-and-a-half or nine times for the  Bram Stoker Award, depending on how you count,  His work has been translated into French, Spanish, Japanese, Italian, German, and Polish, Czech, Serbian, Russian, and Hebrew, and Newsweek magazine (Polish edition) cited the translations of his novel The Strangers and short-story collection Moon on the Water as “two of the best books published in Poland in 2008.”

 

We will choose 6 contestants. Each week, you will turn in 3 chapters of your novel in progress. The judges will critique those chapters, and you will use that information to assist you in writing the next 3 chapters that you will turn in the following week. Each week, one contestant will be eliminated. The judges will get a vote, but the public will be allowed to vote as well. All of your work will be posted online for others to see. The votes will be counted each week, and the author with the least amount of votes will be eliminated.

If you think you are up to the task…submissions are now open! Send the title of your book, a one-sentence logline, a synopsis (1-2 paragraphs), and the first three chapters of your novel to freshmeatcontest@gmail.com

Make sure your title, logline, and synopsis are good. The first week, one contestant will be eliminated based on that alone.

Submissions are open from now until Halloween. The contest will begin in November!

Get to it!

 

Remorseless by Thomas Tessier—Now Available!

The first short story collection in our Cut Corners line of limited edition hardcovers.

Monsters are real. They lurk in the darkest places of this world, waiting to devour you, ready to tear into you. But the scariest monsters are the ones within you, driving you mad, feasting on you from the inside. They will eat you until there is nothing left, until the monster is all that remains. Until there is only sadness and insanity. And cruelty.

Fifteen tales from the mind of horror master Thomas Tessier.

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