Archive for the ‘Projects’ Category

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

 

SiD 2 Title2

Hi folks,

To celebrate the impending release of Suspended in Dusk 2, Books of the Dead Press have decided to give a free ebook copy of Suspended in Dusk 2 – upon release – to anyone who writes an Amazon.com review of Suspended in Dusk between October 29 2015 and the time of the SiD 2 release.  All readers need to do is email Books of the Dead Press (besthorror@gmail.com) and let us know which review is yours.

Suspended in Dusk 2 is in final stages of editing and should be released in the next couple of months.

You can find it here on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Suspended-Dusk-Ramsey-Campbell/dp/1927112443/

Thanks – and feel free to share,

Simon Dewar

www.booksofthedeadpress.com 

BotD - logo

good times

The last couple of weeks have been interesting with all the goings-on regarding RJ Cavender, PS Gifford, HWA and the traumatic podcast by Brian Keene with guest Kelly Laymon, and posts by authors such as Tim Waggoner, and author/editor Michael Bailey.

I’ve checked out on all of that, seriously struggling to give a fuck about any of it beyond a generalised and helpless kind of sadness and concern for Kelly Laymon and the other affected victims of sexual assault and fraud.  Whether people are being nice or naughty, treating each other well or poorly, whether they’re having fun or not, whether they’re being successful or failing… It’s freaking great to not know about it, and more importantly to not give a fuck about it either.

monkees

A corollary of that is, I’m taking a well-deserved break from social media.

man

I’m not quite The Man who Walked Away from Facebook (no one has stolen my horse yet!!), however stepping off the merry-go-round has allowed me to become far more productive.  I’m aware of some things that are going on in the horror/writing world and am maintaining some level of contact with some people. If you feel you need to speak to me, email me.

Note: I have no updates on the RJ Cavender scandal.  No further news from Indiegogo than that they’re investigating whether the campaigns. RJ Cavender’s Indiegogo campaign site are still live. I have received no word from Stanley Hotel or Winchester mystery house and no response to the long emails I sent both.  Well, I threw that shit at the wall and it seems like nothing has actually stuck, so I’ve turned my attention to other things which are more interesting and better for my mental health.

In the last week:

  1. I’ve sent edits to 3 authors for Suspended in Dusk 2.  I have a small number of edits left before proof reading begins and I finally compile the final manuscript and send it to Books of the Dead Press.
  2. I have sent three lots of edits, and 1 manuscript assessment and suggested markets for story submission, to people who bought edits out of the StokerCon or Bust fundraising campaign for Marni Molina.  Marni is probably at Las Vegas or landing there now, ready to enjoy a weekend away, maybe learn some things, catch up with old friends, network with new ones.
  3. I have written several thousand words of an essay on nailing the start of a new short story.  The essay will be published in the next few weeks and will include quotes from some fantastic authors and editors and my own general spin on things.
  4. I have received my royalty statements letting me know that I’m still selling roughly 750 (mostly ebook) copies of Suspended in Dusk a quarter.  This is encouraging because, I’m quite proud of that book; there’s lots of great stories in there; I’m very happy that some of the less established authors are getting “exposure” (heh.) to a wide reading audience via my book—one that was released in 2014! (Note: The publisher did also pay them money.)
  5. I feel like I’ve levelled up a bit with my editing or have certainly attained a greater amount of confidence, especially in asking authors to make changes that I feel are necessary for a story. Ultimately, this is good for both me and the authors.

I’m super pleased with this new direction and I’m happy that Suspended in Dusk 2 is moving more swiftly towards its final published state.

Good times, great (lack of social media) company.

SiD 2 Title2

Hi everyone,

I’ve been waiting for a while release the table of contents for Suspended in Dusk 2 but all the contracts are in and my hands have been unshackled.  There were a couple of changes to the line up. Unfortunately, Mercedes Yardley and Nikki Guerlain wont be joining us due to other commitments. I do very much hope to work with them both soon on future projects.  As sad as that is, there are some fantastic new additions to the line up whose work I am thrilled to be including in the anthology.

So, without further ado, and in no particular order,…

Suspended in Dusk 2 – Table of Contents

  1. Introduction by Angela Slatter
  2. Deadman’s Road by Joe R. Lansdale
  3. The Mournful Cry of Owls by Christopher Golden
  4. The Immortal Dead by JC Michael
  5. That Damned Cat by Nerine Dorman
  6. Another World by Ramsey Campbell
  7. Angeline by Karen Runge
  8. Mother of Shadows by Benjamin Knox
  9. Love is a Cavity I Can’t Stop Touching by Stephen Graham Jones
  10. Crying Demon by Alan Baxter
  11. The Sundowners by Damien Angelica Walters
  12. Still Life with Natalie by Sarah Read
  13. Riptide by Dan Rabarts
  14. Dealing in Shadows by Annie Neugebauer
  15. There’s no light between floors by Paul Tremblay

Editing continues apace and I’m looking forward to receiving some cover art soon, which I’ll no doubt share in due course!

This book features a few Easter eggs for readers too:

Mother of Shadows by Benjamin Knox is a continuation of the story from the original Suspended in Dusk anthology, A Keeper of Secrets. Ben and I worked hard to ensure it reads very fine as its own standalone tale, but readers of the first anthology should be enjoy the continuation of this story.

In what is becoming a Suspended in Dusk tradition, I’ve included a story which is dark yet also quite humorous, Nerine Dorman’s That Damned Cat.

Lastly,  there are several fantastic art pieces by the incredibly talented artist Aaron Dries,  which will appear exclusively in the paperback version of the anthology.

I am very happy with how this book is shaping up and I know there will be something for all horror readers and readers of dark fiction within these pages.

 

Simon Dewar

 

 

 

SiD 2 Title2

I’m very pleased to announce that Dan Rabarts and Annie Neugebauer Tilton will be joining the TOC for Suspended in Dusk 2 with their stories, Riptide and Dealing in Shadows, respectively. Both their stories are gut wrenching and stood out from a crowd of over 200  submissions. Proud and excited to be working with them!!

More news coming shortly with the finalised TOC.

Stay tuned! 🙂

 

 

 

diversity

About a week ago there was a massive blowup on Facebook regarding diversity within a anthology Table of Contents (ToC). Someone posted the signing sheet for the Borderlands 6 anthology and a lady asked Thomas F. Monteleone, the anthology editor, why there was so few women in the ToC.  Tom responded in a very defensive and extremely rude way, which lead to calls from some for readers to boycott the anthology, and multiple discussions on various peoples’ walls about inclusion and diversity within genre fiction, with a special focus on how editors decide on the Table of Contents for their anthology.

Catherine M. Grant wrote a great piece on the incident on her Tumblr here:
http://catmgrant.tumblr.com/post/140484977019/the-sausage-fest 

Personally, I’m not sure I agree with any call to boycott the anthology… There are a lot of lovely and talented writers who would be affected, including women, and including several who are not established writers and are trying to get their fiction out there to readers.  That being said, I’m sure an argument would, or could, be made that a few privileged people taking a hit for the point of bringing down elitist/racist/sexist editors and making a stand for diversity and inclusion is a small price to pay.  Maybe that’s a good argument, I don’t know. I can certainly understand someone feeling that way; I can emapthise.

Interestingly enough another anthology ToC released recently, Nightscript Vol. 2, escaped comment regarding inclusion and diversity. By my reckoning of the Nightscript ToC, there are 21 stories 2 of which are by People of Colour and 4 of which are by women (only one more lady than Borderlands 6). I suspect the reason this has escaped comment is two-fold, 1. no one has actually raised issue with it (is it a problematic TOC, particularly in light of BL6? Genuine question.)  and 2. CM Muller hasn’t come out and made a number of crass and rude comments and been quite offensive in the process.  Now, for CM Muller’s sake, please don’t start a giant internet pile-on. I don’t know the details behind nightscript… maybe it was blind read and open submission only. Maybe only 20% of the submissions were women and 10% by people of colour. Maybe it was advertised in 50 different places online and the call went loud and wide. Don’t know, and ultimately that’s not really the point or my intention here at all. I’m merely pointing out that, in the grand scheme of things, Borderlands 6 isn’t necessarily uniquely homogeneous.. for whatever reason, it’s in line with a lot of other TOCs out there.

Regardless of all this, this made me think about my own current anthology project and what I’ve done, or haven’t done as far as diversity and inclusion goes. Have I done enough? Could I do more? Does it even matter?

I’ll start with that last question.  I’m somewhat mixed ancestory (a few non-Anglo/Celtic ancestors in the family tree above) although the vast lion’s share of my genetic make up is Anglo-Saxon/Celtic stock, including parents and grandparents on both sides. My surname is Scottish, placing me as a member of Clan Dewar. If I look in the mirror, my skin is white. English was my first language and I was raised with all the privileges a white person enjoys in Australia. My wife, ethnically Lebanese Arab, is a Muslim; our children, three beautiful girls, are People of Colour. I am also Muslim. I speak Lebanese Arabic  [understand a lot more than I can speak] and can read fusha Arabic. I’ve had people tell me to “go back to where I came from” and call me a terrorist for no reason. We’ve had pigs heads thrown in our local mosque and had our place of worship trashed… so if I’m not a Person of Colour (I don’t consider myself to be one, although I don’t really identify as being ‘white’ either) , I’m probably a little more tuned in to their struggles (I hope).   So, you can see why—for me at least—diversity and inclusion are important. My entire existence revolves around diversity and inclusion. I’m not just making lip service when I say that a writer’s race, colour, creed or orientation is not a determining factor in whether or not I dislike or reject their work.

Does race, colour, creed, orientation etc. play a part in me liking or accepting an authors work?  In my opinion (and I think in the opinion of some fantastic editors, such as Ellen Datlow, Jeff Vandermeer and Silvia Moreno-Garcia), the onus is on me as an editor to cast a wide net and draw in different people when I put forward invitations for a project. As Silvia Moreno-Garcia recently said (paraphrased, because I’m too lazy to look up her actual Facebook comment) “If it’s not the job of an Editor to choose the authors, what the fuck is their job??”.  And she’s right. Sitting back and claiming  “Oh but these are just the people that submitted to me” when you haven’t widely publicised the call, you haven’t given any indication or impression that you want to read anything but white male authors, and most of your anthology has been collected via invitation anyway…. that’s lazy and pathetic. And it’s not gonna get you the mystical ‘best story’ because the best fiction isn’t just, per defaltam, by white males.  I’m still learning but, moving forward, I’m determined not to be that editor.

With the original Suspended in Dusk anthology, 43% of the authors were women. I had authors from 4 different continents. I had authors who were married or single. I had authors who were mums or dads, and authors who  were not. I had multiple language speakers, English as a Second Language speakers. I had people who were primary carers for aged or infirm loved ones. I was pretty happy with that book. Upon reflection though, everyone in that book was white.  Even the writers from Africa were white, for God’s sake.

With Suspended in Dusk 2, I decided that I could once again make an anthology which had a very strong showing of fantastic fiction from women. I was confident I could do it—Women are among the best, if not the best, dark fiction and horror writers. Truth be told, I didn’t actually consider much beyond that,  including race, ability, religion, sexual orientation, when seeking out authors to contribute to the anthology. Slowly however, I found some diversity creeping in spite of my laxity. One of my favourite authors who I invited, has Native American heritage. The artist who came on board to do the internal illustrations is gay, a second African author that was not in the previous anthology (although she too is white! But it’s not up to me to judge someone’s African-ness) threw in her story.  This combined with the strong inclusion of women authors, I felt, was at least step in the right direction. I’m learning and I feel I’m asking the right questions at least, and so I hope that I can get an even better mix happening in future projects.

One thing I’ve done with Suspended in Dusk 2 is invite a few of the authors (both men and women) who had stories in book one to submit a story to the second anthology.  My reasoning here was because I like their voice, they were good to work with and they’re not established authors. I felt (feel? I still feel that way, but the die is cast now, rightly or wrongly) that I would be able to help them develop their skills through my editing process.   I sought to balance this out, particularly because I’m also cognisant that I don’t know all the writers out there,  by having a couple of open submission spots that would allow me to be exposed to authors I didn’t know or hadn’t thought of, and to provide members of wider community with an opportunity to be a part of the anthology.

In hindsight, I’d probably do a number of things differently:

  1. Read more widely to get a handle on who is who and who is writing what, and thus expose myself to work by authors of different backgrounds.
  2. Explicitly state in the submission guidelines that I’m open to stories from people of diverse backgrounds. (Anecdotally this gives some people courage to submit their story.)
  3. With Suspended in Dusk 2, I advertised on twitter, Facebook, The (Submission) Grinder, Absolute Write Forums and Litreactor.com forums.  Next time around I will consider what other methods of advertising my submission call might reach more diverse groups.
  4. To capitalise on points 1 and 2, include more open submission spots.
  5. Think more open mindedly about authors from different backgrounds who could write the kind of fiction that I think would address my anthology theme and aesthetic, when deciding who I send my invites out to.

I don’t know who is the gold standard in this regard, although some of the editors I mentioned earlier do a very admirable job. They’re certainly amongst those who I look up to and hope to imitate. I don’t know when an editor is doing “enough”. I do see encouraging signs though.

One of the projects that sprung up recently is Richard ThomasGamut Magazine.  The Gamut Magazine kickstarter raked in over $55000USD and is a fully funded project launching soon. One of the best things about Gamut  (aside from the fact that they’ll be paying their staff and paying contributing authors 10c a word!) is that they look like they’re going to be a really inclusive market. They’ve got a great mix of men and women on the staff, 60% of the contributors they have lined up to launch the magazine are women. They’re open to fiction of most genres and they’re specifically open to fiction from people of all backgrounds. One might argue, they’re after fiction from the whole gamut of folks out there (badoomtish!).  I put some of my own dollars down on this project and gave up 5 copies of Suspended in Dusk for Richard to use  as incentives for backers and I can’t wait for this project to take flight.

Oh, also check out the POC Destroy Horror anthology. Silvia Moreno-Garcia will be editing it and it’s opening up for submissions soon. I think the book will be fantastic and I’ll be making sure I grab a copy.

 

 

 

SiD 2 Title2

Hi Everyone,

I’m here to drip feed you some exciting news regarding Suspended in Dusk 2 (forthcoming from Books of the Dead Press, mid 2016).  The open submission period for 2 spots in the table of contents closes tomorrow and so I’ve yet to choose those particular stories, but I can confirm the following authors will feature stories in Suspended in Dusk 2:

Benjamin Knox,
Stephen Graham Jones
Damien Angelica Walters
Paul Tremblay 
Karen Runge
Alan Baxter
Mercedes Murdock Yardley
JC Michael
Nerine Dorman
Sarah Read
Nikki Guerlain
Ramsey Campbell 

Much to my delight, the anthology will be introduced by the British Fantasy Award and World Fantasy Award winning author, Angela Slatter.

In addition, the paperback edition of Suspended in Dusk 2 will feature 5 interior illustrations by the seriously talented artist of the macabre, Aaron Dries.  I’ve just received Aaron’s illustration of Stephen Graham Jones’ story in my inbox and I’m really blown away.  If all goes to plan I’ll share one of the images on my blog before the book goes to print so you can get a peek at what’s in store.

Final announcement regarding the stories chosen from the open submission will be made by the end of March 2016. In addition, any other tricks I have up my sleeve will be announced at the same time.

S.

SiD 2 Title2

This is your friendly public service advisory that you only have 7 days left to turn in your submissions for Suspended in Dusk 2.   7 days!  Get out the WD-40 and shine those bad boys, ASAP!

Please share.

S.

I was alerted to another review of Suspended in Dusk that I thought I’d share.  It’s very exciting and humbling to know the books is out there, still being enjoyed by readers.  Also check out the Parlor of Horror Blog. It has a lot of fiction and movie reviews that are worth a look.

Suspended in Dusk adheres to a general theme. Dusk can be foreboding, the onset of night. It can mean the end of an era or a life. As expressed in the introduction by Jack Ketchum, it can also be a time of transition. Here we find a collection of high quality horror tales to thrill and chill the discerning horror reader. In Shadows of the Lonely Dead by Alan Baxter we find a benefit for an old age home nurse who has witnessed too much death. Next is the small town horror that emerges from the forest, looking for human sacrifices in, At Dusk They Come by Armand Rosamillia.

A Woman of Disrepute by Icy Sedgwick is written in old style gothic, which is a style I enjoy reading. The Ministry of Outrage is an intelligent socio-political commentary that oozes unfathomable truths about the human race and our penchant for violence. Extra kudos to Chris Limb for this offering.

Reasons to Kill by J. C. Michael is one of my fave stories in the book. It pulls you in and keeps twisting, wringing the tension tighter and tighter. It is a fantastic story of zombie infection and vampire lore that feels organically original. Ramsey Campbell contributes to the anthology with a frightening variation on a buried alive story called, Digging Deep. Reading it imparts the feeling of claustrophobia and the desperation in the man’s pleas for help are unnerving.

There are many other great stories to read here, each with their own unique style and tone. Hats off to editor, Simon Dewar, for choosing tales that are top notch horror entertainment and delivering one of the best horror fiction anthologies I’ve read in some time.

https://parlorofhorror.wordpress.com/2015/11/11/suspended-in-dusk-book-review/