Archive for the ‘Submissions and Projects’ Category

Hey folks,

Just dropping by to mention that the Morbid Metamorphosis anthology from Lycan Valley Press is now available on Amazon and Smashwords.

The anthology features 22 stories from some fantastic authors, including my story “Little Spark of Madness”.  My story  was inspired by the late Robin Williams. It explores the idea of “the creative spark” that drives us: do we just discover it? Is it given to us or bequeathed to us? And what happens when/if we lose it?

See below for cover, table of contents and links to buy it.

Mobridmeta

Table of Contents:

  1. Become Him by Greg Chapman
  2. Joey’s Grove by Roy C. Booth & R. Thomas Riley
  3. The Skelly Effect by Terri Delcampo
  4. Keep the Change by David Gammon
  5. …And Thou! by Nancy Kilpatrick
  6. Crowded by Rod Marsden
  7. You Are What You Eat by Jo-Anne Russell
  8. Spirit Walk on Sour Ground by MJ Preseton
  9. The Lake by Stacey Turner
  10. The Death Vaccination by Tina Piney
  11. The Moonlight Killer by Suzanne Robb
  12. Pickin’ to Beat the Devil by Franklin E. Wales
  13. The Catamount by Donna Marie West
  14. Vile Deeds by Suzie Lockhart
  15. The Corkscrew and the Void by Cameron Trost
  16. Paper Trail by Daniel I. Russell
  17. Little spark of Madness by Simon Dewar
  18. Under the Weight of Souls by Amanda J. Spedding
  19. Danger’s Balls by Ken MacGregor
  20. Ezzie Does It by Erin Shaw
  21. Febrile by Gregory L. Norris
  22. Hyde and Seek by Nickolas Furr

Go here to buy:

Morbid Metamorphpsis – Amazon Ebook Edition

Morbid Metamoprhisis – Print Edition (Amazon)

Morbid Metamorphosis – Smashwords Ebook Edition

I am very pleased to say I’ve sold my story “Music Box” to the forthcoming Creepy Campfire Quarterly  Issue #6 from EMP Publishing. The anthology is edited by Jennifer Word and issue #6 is due April 2017.

CCQ _1-Front_Cover-jpeg (1).jpg

A new market, CCQ seems to be doing some interesting things, and they seem quite open minded about the kind of horror they enjoy and accept, which provides some opportunity for writers of more ‘extreme’ fiction.  I approve!

My story “Music Box” features naughty kids,  misunderstood teachers, Indian Mynah birds, heavy metal music, and Mariah Carey.

And I promise you, it’s true.

 

Straight out, this has to be one of the best anthology ideas and the funniest submission call ever.  Proceeds to go to charity but still pays authors 10c/word.  Fiction, Non-fiction, Poetry, etc up to 5000 words relating to depression, suicide etc.  Edited by Linda Nagle.

http://liberatetutemet.com/2016/02/22/open-call-for-subs-semi-colonic-irrigation-an-anthology/

image.jpg

 

Now that Suspended in Dusk has been in the wild for a while, reviews are starting to roll in!
Up on Amazon.com are 12 reviews, 9 of which are 5 Star, 3 of which are 4 star.
I’m super excited that the stories I chose and loved so dearly are being well received by Readers.

You can check out the reviews here: http://www.amazon.com/Suspended-In-Dusk-Ramsey-Campbell-ebook/product-reviews/B00NIE6E2S/

Forgive me for shameless preening, but I’m dying to share my favourite of them here with you:

They’ve been saying for over forty years that horror’s dead. I bet they’ve (‘they’ being either blocked horror writers or the reader equivalent of Mary Whitehouse) been saying that ever since the genre erupted nearly two centuries ago in the Gothic imagination of a precocious seventeen year old Englishwoman. Though to be accurate, horror fiction has existed since anxious humans first learned how to communicate.

I love it when the naysayers are proved wrong. Simon Dewar’s new anthology, Suspended in Dusk, is a celebration not only of the far-reaching range of horror, but of its world-wide appeal. As an editor Mr. Dewar possesses the catholic tastes of the much-missed Karl Edward Wagner, who loved Jamesian ghost stories as much as he did vampires, werewolves (both had to have some original twist), and modern body horror. Quiet co-exists with graphic, urban with rural, ghosts with splatter. Dewar also possesses a keen eye for quality.

Nineteen stories for £2.58 is a pretty fine deal, too. Though not every theme is to my taste, there isn’t a duff piece in the lot; if you’re a zombie fan this book will put you in dead heaven. I really enjoyed Jack Ketchum’s entertaining introduction which is also a bit of a horror history lesson. All the stories are beautifully written but my favourites included, in no particular order, Alan Baxter’s tender and furious elegy; Karen Runge’s creepy do-gooders; Sarah Read’s awful sun-drenched paradise with its neat end flip; Tom Dullemond’s space oddity, the kind of story that lends itself to repeated readings; and a study in terror from the magnificent Ramsey Campbell, who, after over four decades in the business, still packs a powerful punch.

Despite being American-born, I get tired of horror fiction being Americentric, as so much of the really disturbing stuff doesn’t come from American pens. I’m thrilled to see great horror literature emerging from a variety of countries, as I am to see an anthology that boasts, for a change, a list of names that are new to me. Long may these trends flourish – it can only be good for both writers and readers. I look forward to seeing the future offerings of this very talented editor.

This is the kind of glowing endorsement that I never even dreamed of receiving for my first anthology.

If you haven’t checked out Suspended in Dusk, give it a try. You won’t regret it.

S.

I’m very excited by the review of the Suspended in Dusk anthology that just went live over at The Horror Bookshelf blog, run by Rich Duncan. (See here)

Rich concludes the review with the following:

I loved Suspended In Dusk because while some of the authors that appear in the anthology are familiar to me, I was also treated to some new writers who I had never heard before. I think there is no better feeling than discovering new authors that capture everything you love in a story and Dewar’s stellar anthology offers up plenty of those opportunities to horror fans. This is Dewar’s first entry into the anthology world and I think he nailed it. He brought together an impressive cast of authors and crafted one hell of an anthology despite numerous setbacks along the path to publication. I will definitely be looking forward to Dewar’s work in the future, both as an editor and an author. I highly recommend picking up Suspended In Dusk and giving it a read!

Rating: 4.5/5

This is exciting stuff and a great vindication for myself and the authors who put a lot of hard work into crafting their fantastic stories.

Hi everyone,

Super stoked that The Sea is now available from Dark Continents publishing. I’m humbled to have my story “The Wire Bird” feature alongside so many excellent writers.

Here is the cover and table of contents

Thesea_

Alex Hughes, Amy Lee Burgess, Andrea Jones, Anna Reith, Barry King, Benjamin Knox, Camille Griep, Diane Awerbuck, Donn Webb, J.C. Piech, Martin Rose, Patrick O’Neill, Rob Porteous, S.A Partridge, Simon Dewar, Steve Jones, Toby Bennett, Wayne Goodchild

To my great delight, the fantastic Anna Reith, Benjamin Knox, and Toby Bennett have also sold stories to my Suspended in Dusk anthology to be released by Books of the Dead Press

I hope you take the time to check out this fantastic themed anthology and please drop by to tell me what you thought of The Wire Bird. It’s definitely one of my favourite stories I’ve written to date.

You can find it in electronic form here:

The Sea will be released in print in coming weeks.

Thanks

Simon

“Horror is many things to many people.” – Scott Nicholson

It’s no secret, I love the Horror genre and its many sub-genres.   I’ve naturally gravitated towards writing horror even though I really only started reading it in earnest in my mid-twenties. I’ve enjoyed immensely the insane roller coaster ride I’ve taken through novels by the like of Stephen King, Jack Ketchum, Algernon Blackwood, Edgar Allan Poe, Brian Keene and others; and shorter works by the likes of Angela Slatter, HP Lovecraft, Ramsey Campbell, to name just a few.

For me there’s something particularly gratifying about horror fiction because – whether we know it or not – it speaks to us on multiple levels.  Like any fiction it is a form of entertainment, however unlike all fiction it is particularly good at certain things:

1. In a way that no other genre does, with the probable exception of Romance, it speaks to us on a primal level, exciting physiological responses (racing pulses, dread, sweaty palms, actual terror; fear and confusion) within us.

2. It relates to us by use of cautionary tales, ones that we can understand through our own human experience: don’t go into the tall grass, don’t walk in the woods alone at night, don’t pull over and pick up the hitch-hiker,  — If you do this, bad shit can/will happen.

3. Often, it delivers poignant social criticisms or criticisms of human traits or qualities.  Behind the cannibalism and the severed-penis necklaces, stories like Jack Ketchum’s Offspring or Richard Laymon’s “The Woods Are Dark” examine how different people and societies respond to violent and horrific situations and the decent into barbarism.  The zombie sub-genre and novels like Stephen King’s ”The Stand” offer social criticisms or commentary around issues such as consumerism, reliance on technology, greed and selfishness vs. altruism and selflessness, the ethics of medical experimentation/weapons research etc.

As the years have gone by, a lot of the common horror plot devices or creatures etc have evolved into well-worn tropes.  Obvious examples of these are ghosts, zombies, vampires and serial killers, cannibals, etc.  The thing that really annoys me is that editors, publishers and markets these days have really fallen into the trap of viewing and defining horror fiction or the horror genre as being these tropes.   So much so that if you don’t include one of these tropes or a subtle spin on one of these tropes within your fiction, it isn’t actually considered to be horror.

From the Horror Writer’s Association website:

So why, you might ask, is horror so generally frowned upon by the literary establishment?

The answer to that question lies in the nature of the publishing industry. Back in the seventies, an unknown writer burst onto the scene with a novel called Carrie. The work went on to be made into a wildly successful film, and a new genre was born. The author I’m referring to is, of course, Stephen King. King set the stage for what horror was to become in the eighties and early nineties.

Almost overnight, King’s brand of fiction became a multi-million dollar industry. Publishers saw the dollar signs looming before them and charged full speed ahead, making horror into a product. They gave it a specific identity, a specific formula. Writers then popped out of the woodwork, eager to embrace and attempt to duplicate the stunning success of Mr. King.

It was at this point that horror literature lost its identity.

I disagree with this proscriptive attitude that Horror fiction is or should be defined by certain formula, mythology or repetitive plot devices.  I honestly feel that you could write a story in a contemporary setting with no serial killers, or supernatural or paranormal elements and it could still be horrific. It could still create those tell-tale horrific physiological reactions in the reader, all the while telling a cautionary tale or providing a social criticism or commentary.

I recently wrote a story that about a teenage boy who, in attempting to overcome bullying and self-doubt in the wake of a horrific bicycle crash, braves the same hill on a bicycle that put him in hospital.  The story is well written and gets the reader’s blood pumping. It acts as cautionary tale and a social criticism of sorts. It features graphic descriptions of traumatic and bloody bicycle crash. It has been critiqued by a multi-award winning professional horror writer who encouraged me to submit it widely for publication.

The upshot is, I can’t actually sell the thing though because it just isn’t what horror markets are looking for.  It doesn’t have any ghosts/vampires/demons/zombies/hillbilly rapists/vagina dentata/serial killers/supernatural or paranormal elements.  As a result, I’ve submitted it to literary fiction magazines and currently have it “In Progress” with several.  The additional irony and kick-in-the-teeth being that none of the professional horror magazines accept simultaneous submissions so I have to wait 30-60 days for each of them to reject it, yet all the literary mags allow simultaneous submissions so I now have the story out to about 12 or so literary mags.

The horror identity crisis does not stop here, however.

The great irony is that while we have the editors of our current horror publications and presses viewing horror fiction through the prison of well-established tropes, we have another myopic form of censorship occurring more widely through the literary world, in respect to horror writing.

The following is tale comes from the horror author Scott Nicholson, and his description of the day he realised he was the Last American Horror Writer.

“Showing up early for a recent signing, I had time to browse the store a little bit, checking out the competition, wading past the pirate and Da Vinci material to reach the fiction section. I looked for the titles of my friends, who are also horror writers. Miraculously, practically overnight, the spines of their books had been changed to read simply “Fiction.”

I was all alone, and that was scarier than any ghost or monster I had ever penned. I’m not vain enough to believe I had suddenly become the standard bearer for a fading genre. No, what had changed was the publishing industry perception of the label. The publishers’ sales teams believe horror doesn’t sell, so they convey this lack of enthusiasm to the bookstores. The bookstore owners don’t order it, and because readers don’t see it on the shelves, they believe horror must no longer be readable.”

So the horror writer exists in a state of literary limbo.  Our work is defined by editors as horror or not based upon a myopic prism of tropes and pre-requisites; and yet (in its longer forms) is defined or referred to by publishers and bookstores as ‘fiction’ because horror does not, apparently, sell – or is so low a form of literature as to not even warrant its own bookshelf.

So what is the solution to the great Horror Identity Crisis?

I’m not really a solutions kinda guy. I never have been. I roll with the punches and I’m not exactly prolific enough or of a stature that anyone of any note will listen anyway – but I do think that certain things should happen:

  1. Horror writers should have their work labelled as such (at least assuming they wish it to be so).  Publishers need to get over the fear of Horror and understand its great value as literature and what it can offer as unique vehicles for story-telling, conveying emotion or social criticism etc.  They also need to realise that it really has great potential for sales (historically proven) and great opportunities for movie adaptations (also historically proven) and additional revenue streams if appropriately marketed etc.  The  belief that “Horror is dead” is just a self-fulfilling prophecy.
  2. Editors, publishers, writers and readers need to realise that Horror, really is, many things to many people; and, at the heart of it, (even though I’m using the capital ‘H’ here) it really is an emotion and not just a genre. Horror (and horror) is not defined by supernatural or paranormal elements – even though they can be plot devices that generate it.
  3. People generally, need to approach literature with an open mind because they never really know the true value of a story until they’ve read it, nor do they know its sales potential or its historic lasting power until they’ve published it – and even then, initial sales are a poor indicator.  If you look at Tolkien or HP Lovecraft, they’re both much bigger now than ever they were during their own lifetimes.

I’ll leave you with the words of the Douglas E. Winter; anthologist and biographer of Clive Barker and Stephen King.

“Horror is not a genre, like the mystery or science fiction or the western. It is not a kind of fiction meant to be confined to the ghetto of a special shelf in the ghetto of libraries or a bookstore … horror is an emotion.” — Douglas E. Winter in the introduction to Prime Evil (New York: New American Library, 1988)

Would love to hear your thoughts on Horror (and horror) and the great Horror Identity Crisis! Please share this post, if possible, so it can get wide distribution. Would love to get a conversation started.

S.

References:

  1. http://www.horror.org/horror-is.htm
  2. http://www.hauntedcomputer.com/scottst53.htm

This previous month I had short stories rejected from the Fearful Symmetries anthology and the COFFEE anthology.

These were my first two rejections ever! I’m kinda proud.   I think in the near future I’ll have racked up a lot more and I will find the novelty has worn off, but for now I’m just glad my stories are out hitting markets and someone (anyone!) is reading my work.

This month I hope to submit to one anthology and, perhaps a magazine. Setting my eyes on Aurealis magazine, if I can get my story The House of Waite rejigged and polished.

Currently working on a story that I’m tentatively calling “What Jessica’s mother knew”. I think it will be a good fit for a coming anthology, so I hope to submit to that as well.

Wish me luck!

What are you working on at the moment? Have you had any successes? Let me know so I can check them out.