Hi Everyone,

The Suspended in Dusk 2 anthology was picked up by a new publisher, Grey Matter Press.   As with part 1 of the series, Suspended in Dusk 2 is anthology of horror and dark fiction that continues examines themes of change and the moments between the light and the dark.

I’m very thrilled to announce that January 2018 will see the publication of Suspended in Dusk 2.

Just check out this sexy terrifying cover, created by the incredibly talented Dean Samed:

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The book features and fantastic introduction from British Fantasy Award and World Fantasy award winning author Angela Slatter, in addition to 17 stories from some of the best horror and dark fiction writers today.

Table of Contents:

Introduction – Angela Slatter
Love is a Cavity I Can’t Stop Touching – Stephen Graham Jones
The Sundowners – Damien Angelica Walters
Crying Demon – Alan Baxter
Still Life with Natalie – Sarah Read
That Damned Cat – Nerine Dorman
The Immortal Dead – JC Michael
Mother of Shadows – Benjamin Knox
There’s No Light Between Floors – Paul Tremblay
Another World – Ramsey Campbell
The Mournful Cry of Owls – Christopher Golden
Riptide – Dan Rabarts
Dealing in Shadows – Annie Neugebauer
Angeline – Karen Runge
The Hopeless People in the Uninhabitable Places – Letitia Trent
Wants and Needs – Paul Michael Anderson
An Elegy to Childhood Monsters – Gwendolyn Kiste
Lying in the Sun on a Fairytale Day – Bracken MacLeod

I know Grey Matter Press and myself are really looking forward to getting this fantastic book into the hands of readers in a few months time! Stay tuned!

 

 

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Double Barrell Horror Vol2

There is currently a Good Reads giveaway running for the Double Barrel Horror Vol. 2 anthology!  Double Barrel Horror Vol. 2 is a fantastic anthology featuring two stories each by 6 writers: John Boden, Simon Dewar, Patrick Freivald, Chad Lutzke, Karen Runge and M.B. Vujacic.

Like the dual blasts from a sawed-off shotgun, these twelve stories pack a brain shredding wallop that kept me turning pages as fast as my fingers could tap the screen. Pint Bottle Press has outdone themselves with this second volume of twisted tales from six of horror’s most talented storytellers.”Shane D. Keene, ‘Shotgun Logic’ and ‘HellNotes’

Head to the Link below (or click the cover above) and enter to win one of two copies of the anthology!

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/254032-double-barrel-horror-volume-2

My tale “Everything is Squamous” will be featured in the forthcoming Midnight Echo Magazine #12. Edited by Shane Jiraiya Cummings and Anthony Ferguson.  Midnight Echo is returning from a hiatus (yay), and I’m really chuffed to have a story in a magazine that has featured the very best Australian horror writers – Alan Baxter, Kaaron Warren , Jason Nahrung, Jason Fischer,  Joanne Anderton, Amanda J Spedding, Felicity Dowker and others- and other fantastic writers such as Jack Ketchum and Lucky McKee, Jonathan Maberry, James A Moore, Kristin Dearborn, and more.

Inspired by the theme song from the Lego Movie and online debate over HPL’s racism and his legacy, this story is about a young African American man and the horrific nightmare his life becomes when he literally bumps into Howard Philips Lovecraft on the streets of Red Hook. (I think I’d just finished reading Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff around that time too and was feeling a little bold. p.s buy that book!)

Truth be told, I’m really nervous about the publication of this story. Its the first time I’ve ever written a POC as a protagonist and I hope I didn’t screw the pooch. Secondly, Some beta-readers loved the story, including one editor friend who said she’d publish it if I submitted it to her. Several other beta readers were actually offended by it and felt that I went too far in presenting a caricature of a virulently racist Lovecraft as the story’s antagonist (which was kinda the point, given he presented racist caricatures of people in his own writings and correspondence).

Either way, if it raises some hackles or gives some readers enjoyment, I’d say it’s a win. Art’s meant to make you think and feel something, after all.  I suspect there’ll have never been a story quite like this published before.

https://australianhorror.com/midnight-echo-magazine/

I’m incredibly please to announce my Australian creature feature story “Above the Peppermint Trail” has been sold to Fox Spirit Books for their forthcoming anthology, Pacific Monsters.

The Fox Spirit Books of Monsters series, include several other anthologies already: African Monsters, European Monsters and Asian Monsters.  They’ve included stories from some of the best in speculative fiction, including:  Ken Liu, Nnedi Okorafor, Adrian Tchiakovski, Aliette De Boddard, Nerine Dorman, Sarah Lotz, Xia Jia, Usman Tanvir Malik, Isabel Yap, Eve Shi, and Jonathan Grimwood, to name a few.

The anthologies are coffee table style books which include a ton of fantastic artwork by a number of authors.

Check out this panorama of the three previous FS Book of Monsters anthology covers by the fantastic Daniele Serra:

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Fox Spirit have just released the Table of Contents for the anthology:

  • Tina Makereti: ‘Monster’
  • AJ Fitzwater: ‘From the Womb of the Land, Our Bones Entwined’
  • Rue Karney: ‘The Hand Walker’
  • Michael Grey: ‘Grind’
  • Octavia Cade and Dave Johnson (art) : ‘Dinornis’
  • Raymond Gates: ‘The Legend of Georgie’
  • Jeremy Szal: ‘The Weight of Silence’
  • Simon Dewar: ‘Above the Peppermint Trail’
  • Iona Winter: ‘Ink’
  • Bryan Kamaoli Kuwada: ‘All My Relations’
  • Tihema Baker: ‘Children of the Mist’
  • Kirstie Olley: ‘Mudgerwokee’
  • Michael Lujan Bevacqua and Dave Johnson (art) : ‘I Sindålu’
  • AC Buchanan: ‘Into the Sickly Light’

The book will have illustrations by Laya Rose, Lahela Schoessler, Kieran Walsh and Eugene Smith.

Check out othe Fox Spirit titles on their website:

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Pleased to announce I have a  release by Pint Bottle Press as part of their Double Barrel Horror line up.  The chapbook contains my stories ‘Black Rock Boys‘ and ‘The Perfect Figure-Eight‘.  It’s available on Amazon. I love the camp-as-fuck pulpy clip art-style cover!

Black Rock Boys is a bit of weird-maybe-cosmic-horror story about a boy who finds help when he’s on the run from his girlfriends vengeful brother.

The Perfect Figure-Eight is literary-horror-but-maybe-also-magic-realism, about teen love, and racing, and the cycle of pain and violence that swathes through our lives and off into the lives of others.

Very much enjoying what Pint Bottle Press is doing. Like a novella, the chapbook format gives readers an introduction to an author without them having to commit to a full novel. And a 99c, you cant go wrong.

These stories will also be collected in the forthcoming paperback anthology edited by Matthew Weber, Double Barrel Horror Vol. 2, also from Pint Bottle Press. They’ll feature alongside double shots of horror and dark fiction from the likes of John Boden, Patrick Freivald, Chad Lutzke, Karen Runge and M.B. Vujacic

 

 

Hi Everybody!

I’m editing a novel Fall to Rise for Dark Recesses Press, by an author called Lucas Pederson. DRP intends to release the guys book at the Scares That Care Weekend,July 21-23, 2017 DOUBLETREE BY HILTON WILLIAMSBURG, VA . That, in and of itself isnt really unusual, however, for Lucas it’s a bit personal.

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Lucas Pederson

Lucas’ mother has developed Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis which is this incurable neurological disease which in the end stops your breathing and kills you. So going to Scares That Care Weekend would be a really big deal for him.

Lucas mum

Lucas’ mum

Lucas has created a gofundme campaign to raise some money to assist Lucas to attend his own book launch, but also to put some funds towards supporting his mother’s medical bills and, with luck, the Scares that Care charity.  Click the go fund me logo below to go to Lucas’ campaign page and please consider donating to support Lucas and his mum.

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Scares That Care is a fully above board 501(C)3 registered charity, and I encourage you to find out more about them by clicking this banner:

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Please Share and Reblog this to spread the word!

Thanks,

Simon Dewar

 

Hacked

Posted: March 3, 2017 in Uncategorized

Dear all,

I have reason to suspect that  I have recently been hacked.  I’ve taken necessary steps to secure my computer and accounts. If you get any strange messages or emails, let me know please.

Simon

drp

Dark Recesses Press

Hi everyone,

I’m pleased to announce my new role as Executive Editor for Dark Recesses Press, owned and run by publisher Bailey Hunter.

DRP has brought me on board to help with a little bit of everything, and I’m looking forward to the challenge.  There are some upcoming projects at DRP that I’m very excited about, and which I plan to be up to my elbows in.  Keep your eyes peeled for forthcoming DRP news!

http://darkrecessespress.com/2017/02/welcome_simon_dewar/

Thanks,

Simon

 

I just sent this to Books of the Dead Press via email and will be sending it to their last-known mailing address via registered mail.  I have also decided to post this here to ensure that the message is recieved.

—–

Dear Roy,

I’m writing to you to express my sheer frustration and bewilderment at the lack of communication over the last few months.  I’ve tried contacting you several times and have not received any response to my attempts at contact since October 1.

 I signed Suspended in Dusk 2 with you on September 12, 2015.  On July 4, I gave you a fully-edited, triple proofread manuscript of an anthology featuring stories from some of the best names in the business.  You told me that the book would be released “in a couple of months”.  On October 1 2016, you told me the book would not be released until Q1 2017. The author contracts have now expired  and publication of Suspended in Dusk 2 with Books of the Dead is no longer feasible.  The headlining authors such as Stephen Graham Jones and Damien Angelica Walters have resold their work elsewhere and they would not re-sign with Books of the Dead Press given a year has gone by and the anthology was never published. This hasn’t just tarnished your reputation, it has tarnished my reputation and credibility as a professional editor to some of the best names in the horror fiction business.  I have already emailed you about this, and it is coming up to 3 months since your last email to me.
To make matters worse, your website has disappeared too and I’ve been fielding emails from the writers published by BOTD who are trying to work out if BOTD even exists anymore and what is happening with their books which they’re not getting royalties for  but which are still being sold on Amazon etc.  

In addition to the failure of Suspended in Dusk 2, each royalty payment I’ve received from Books of the Dead for Suspended in Dusk has been progressively closer to the “no later than 160 days from the end of the period” stipulated in my contract.  It has now been 168 days since the end of Q2 and I still have not received payment, as per the aforementioned paragraph of the contract.

I have lost faith in Books of the Dead Press to adhere to and fulfil the contract for Suspended in Dusk 1 and the contract for Suspended in Dusk 2 has been made completely redundant by the lack of communication and action from yourself which has resulted in the lapse of all the author contracts and the sale of their fiction to other markets. The virtual disappearance of your presence in social media, the disappearance of your website and the disappearance of royalty payments within the contractually agreed time period leaves me no choice as to my actions. I regret to say that I am—without delay and on the basis of there being no “notice of default and right to cure” clause in the contract requiring me to grant you time to correct this—reclaiming my rights to both Suspended in Dusk 1 and 2.  I will be requesting that Amazon remove Suspended in Dusk from their site and I will send you this as a letter via registered mail to the one address that ANY of the books of the dead authors have for you:

 

Books of the Dead

c/o James Roy Daley

742 Pascoe Crt.,

Oshawa, On,

Canada, L1K 1S9

 

I will also put the contents of this letter of this letter on my blog, in the hope that you have received this message. 

I don’t know why you’ve disappeared. Maybe you’ve had some life or health problem that you needed to take care of. It happens to all of us and I genuinely hope you’re well—but I can’t do business with you and I need to take my work to someone who is visible, communicative, is paying as per my contract and who actually has their hand on the tiller.

Sorry it had to be this way,

 

Simon Dewar

 

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I’m walking to work, freezing my ass off in the morning chill, flicking through Facebook on my phone and thinking “Why horror?”. Ahead of me, pedestrians gather at the crossing—pre-morning-coffee men standing sullen in their suits and long trench coats; Women, slightly more composed in their lacquered nails and corporate war paint, leather knee-high boots and long, quilted coats.

This is not exactly unusual; I examine the “Why Horror” question on a semi-regular basis, despite thinking I have my answers down. This morning is a little different, however. I don’t pull out the usual trite “We read/write horror because it helps us to deal with the horrors of the real world” bollocks, which, although true enough, seems played out and tired. I don’t roll with the “We just like to scare ourselves. Us human beings get a real kick out of it” business, despite rightly enjoying the cheap thrill of controlled frisson as much as (or more than) the next person. It’s the loss of warmth in my phone hand as the circa 0-degree Celsius weather saps what little warmth is left from my poorly-circulated arthritic claw that causes my epiphany.

Horror fiction is not only about loss; ultimately, it’s about love.

Whut? I know, I know—allow me to join my nonsense-dots for you.

Let’s assume literature (or all art really), is—on some level—an attempt by humankind to explain, rationalise or comment on the world around us, or to an attempt to evoke or recreate emotion. We see this struggle for realisation and understanding it in the basic mythologies and creation myths. We see it in religious texts. We see it in the the works of philosophers and the socio-political commentary of books like 1984, Animal Farm, and Catch 22. We see it manifest in the commentary (feminist literary criticism, formalism, moral criticism, etc) and analysis of literature (What did the author mean when they said such and such? And even the legacy authors has left the world today…see: Lovecraft, Shakespeare, Rumi, et al). We see our emotions evoked via rousing tales of comedy, valour, drama, terror and love. Through this w of this we, as readers, come to know ourselves, our fellow humans and the world around us.

To be honest, on this frigid morning, hundreds of bleak Soviet-seeming metres away from my heated office, I’m a pretty selfish guy. I couldn’t care less how literature has performed that function historically, or how it does it today. Remember—It’s Monday morning, pre-9am. I’m pre-coffee, and I’m freezing my balls off in the fog by the traffic lights; this is all about me, mate. So “how does literature ‘do it’ for me?” I wonder as my bony blue-ing claw clamps rheumatically around my Motorola.

While there’s no hard and fast rules in the world of writing (indeed, perhaps the very best literature smashes, or at least subverts, the rules), it’s always seemed to me that certain genres of literature seemed to be purpose-built for certain things. Where literary fiction might be best suited to answering (or at least asking) timeless questions of life, and the human condition—science fiction seems geared to dealing with issues of morality, ethics surrounding societies and their development and implementation of technologies. And how it may all fit together (or fall apart!) sometime into the future. Fantasy, on the other hand, gives us the ‘Hero’s Journey’, riffs on good versus evil, allows us to imagine changing of the world for the better, and perhaps even allows us to indulge our complex modern thinking in a simple pre-modern setting (credit to Nick Mamatas for that last poignant observation). These are all important genres that often ask important questions or deal with important issues. Exciting and fun genres, even. But there’s something about them that, to me personally, seems so separate from my condition. At a basic level, something about them fails to speak to me-as-human-being, in a particularly profound way.

It’s 2016. Maybe it’s the Prozac. Maybe it’s because I deal with complex technology all day in my day job and secretly harbour an Anarcho-Luddite fantasy of the nuclear bombs going off and a return to much simpler times. Maybe it’s because I’m locked into the same 24/7 news cycle hamster wheel we all are and am heartily repulsed and disillusioned by all aspects of the greater human condition. Maybe it’s simply because I’m older now and have slipped so far into nihilistic cynicism that I can’t appreciate the wide-eyed wonder of fantasy anymore, and disbelieve in the possibility of individuals creating profound change. Frankly, as often as I do, I don’t really connect with this subject matter and find the themes tedious. I don’t care to ask l questions about the fundamental truths of the human condition. I couldn’t care less about the imaginings of future technology and how it may impact society. Who cares if the hero has a journey, or if he even arrives at his destination? Most of the time, I just want to feel something. Anything.

Back at the pedestrian crossing, the little green man signal springs to life. There is a brief moment where there my fellow pedestrians remain frozen in hesitation, not trusting their eyes that it’s truly safe to step onto the asphalt. I shove the icicle on the end of my arm into my coat pocket. I don’t need the phone anymore, I have the bit in my teeth. I’m onto something here. I step onto the road.

Jack Ketchum once related that a fan thought his writing was really all about loss. Having read most of Jack’s work, I think that reader was right. Having said that, I’d go a step further and say it’s not only true of Jack’s work, it’s true of all horror fiction. So how have I made that leap? Well, to understand that we need to discuss fear. After all, horror fiction is that which deals with the emotion fear in its various forms.

Fear (and its most extreme form, terror) is the oldest emotion. With fear comes that animalistic fight-or-flight defence mechanism, an aspect of our existence that’s survived countless aeons, the selection and mutations of evolution, and man’s descent from the canopies and ascent into consciousness. As the oldest emotion (and probably most important, I think), we as humans are ruled by it. It’s central to our existence and who we are. It governs all our most important decisions and actions. And fear? Fear thrives on loss. I’d go so far as to say that if you think about it the right way,  almost everything we fear is actually a fear of losing something.

Let’s take your employment, as a case study and we’ll ‘what if’ it to the nth degree. None of us want to lose our job, even the mere thought of it causes most of us anxiety or true panic. What happens if you lose your job? In the worst case scenario, you lose your financial stability. You lose your ability to buy food. You lose your ability to pay your rent or mortgage. You lose your ability to provide for your dependents. You might lose your spouse and your kids. You lose your ability to sustain your hygiene and health. Hells bells, my pulse quickens a little just entertaining the thought of any of that stuff.

Now let me refer you back to that initial bizarre comment about horror being somehow about love. If we fear to lose something—if the thought of its loss or its destruction, is so horrifying to us— it’s usually because we actually love that thing. We love the challenge and the reward of gainful employment. We love the stability and security it brings. We love full bellies and the warmth and comfort clothes over our back and a roof over our head. We love our spouses and children and our ability to provide for them. We love our vitality, good health and happiness. This is all as true for me in 2016 as it would’ve been for a me in 3000BC. Or 10,000BC.

At this point, I’m halfway across that road, breath steaming in the morning air. I’m beginning to feel some tingles of life in my phone hand again, but you heard me say ‘Horror is Love’ and I can hear y’all revving your engines, ready to run me over, little green man be damned!

Upon reflection, this might just be the truest, most-distilled reason why I read and write horror fiction. By the mere virtue of what it is, it’s just so damn emotionally honest. It’s the literature of love and loss. It speaks to me, like no other fiction does, on a truly animalistic level and in a wholly intuitive way that I don’t need to overly rationalise. My inner fucking caveman understands what’s going on here! Don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate and enjoy the over-arching tale the author is telling, even the cautionary tale or social criticism they’re exploring—but beyond and deeper than that, on a fundamentally primordial level, as a motherfucking biological being, I can relate to horror fiction. No other genre gives me this visceral response, which harkens back to my most basic involuntary reptilian psychological and physiological functions. No other form of literature seems such an honest expression of what it means to be human or to be alive. No other genre understands me as a biological being that is trying to survive this inexorable series of harrowing moments between birth and death. I’m not even joking when I say—truly understanding fear, understanding horror, is in my (all of ours, really) DNA.

The little green man becomes a little red man as I step onto the kerb. The sullen men and well-manicured and composed women hurry away to their workplaces like good corporate denizens, anticipatory frowns creasing their brows. I smile because I understand now, and I appreciate the honesty.

Love and loss—that’s horror.

That’s life.