Posts Tagged ‘Books of the Dead Press’

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.

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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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SiD 2 Title2

I am pleased to announce, Books of the Dead Press is opening 2 spots for stories in the Suspended in Dusk 2 anthology in an open submission.

Writing Prompts/Examples: 
If you’re curious about what might be suitable I recommend checking out Suspended in Dusk, which is currently only 99 cents on Amazon.  Here.
Show me something that plays on the theme of light/dark (Wendy Hammer did this in the original Suspended in Dusk with her story Negatives) , or don’t… show me a person, people, society on the edge of the proverbial abyss (Chris Limb did this with Ministry of Outrage). Show me a story of someone on the grey fringes of normal society (Karen Runge, Hope is Here!). Show me a person, or people undergoing some kind of change,.. willing or otherwise. Knowing or otherwise (Shane Mckenzie, Fit Camp). Show me something that is brought into the light, but everyone would’ve been safer if it had been left alone where it was (Benjamin Knox, Keeper of Secrets).
Submission Guidelines:
1. Try and scare me or creep me out.  Or show me something dark and pretty.  No subject off limits although try and make sex and violence relevant to the plot and characters.  If you’re going with a common trope, put a fresh spin on it.
2. Submit all stories to simon.dewar83@gmail.com  with the following in the subject line   Suspended in Dusk 2 – <Author Name> –  <Story Name>
3. Submission deadline 29 Feb 2016
4. Word count – 3000 – 7500 words.
5. 12 pt Times New Roman. Standard manuscript format.
6. Italicise your italics, don’t underline.
7.  No Pictures within your manuscript.
8.  Please ensure you’re able to use track changes.
9. No simultaneous submission to other markets.
10.  No Multiple submissions. Send your best story.
Author compensation:
$25USD plus print and ebook copy.
ETA of Publication:
Estimated mid-2016

SiD 2 Title2

Hi Everyone,

To celebrate the release of Suspended in Dusk 2 next year, Books of the Dead Press have decided to give a free ebook copy of Suspended in Dusk 2 – upon the day of release – to anyone who writes an Amazon.com review of Suspended in Dusk between now 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.

You can find it here on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Suspended-In-Dusk-Ramsey-Campbell-ebook/dp/B00NIE6E2S

Thanks – and feel free to share,

Simon Dewar

www.booksofthedeadpress.com 

 

 

 

SiD 2 Title2

Dusk:  a time between times; on the edge between the light and the dark. A time of change.

I’m incredibly pleased to announce that I’ll be teaming up with Books of the Dead Press once again, and editing a sequel to the 2014 anthology of horror and dark fiction, Suspended in Dusk.

To be released mid-2016, Suspended in Dusk 2 will be another quality collection of fiction from some of the best current authors of short dark fiction, featuring stories from:   Stephen Graham Jones, Damien Angelica Walters, Alan Baxter, Karen Runge, Benjamin Knox, and many more. More exciting names and news will be revealed in coming weeks.  I’m very pleased that, once again, “Suspended in Dusk” will collect a range of voices from new and established talented female and male writers of the dark, bizarre, and terrifying.

Suspended in Dusk 2 will be introduced by the amazingly talented Angela Slatter. Angela Slatter is a British Fantasy Award winning and World Fantasy Award nominated author of several collections of short stories, including The Bitterwood Bible, and Sourdough and Other Stories.  Her novella Of Sorrow and Such was recently released by Tor, October 13 2015.  www.angelaslatter.com

In addition to fantastic fiction, horror author and artist, Aaron Dries, will be creating illustrations of a number of the collected stories to be included in the paperback edition of Suspended in Dusk 2.  Aaron is a masterful horror artist and his terrifying illustrations are highly sought after.  I encourage you to check out both Aaron’s dark artwork, and his fiction.  www.aarondries.com

 

Simon Dewar

http://www.BooksoftheDeadPress.com

 

Suspended in Dusk has been released on Amazon.  Link: myBook.to/Dusk 

Epub and print versions are to follow shortly. I’ll post again once they’ve been released.

——

“Disquieting and at times terrifying, SUSPENDED IN DUSK shows that horror can, and should, have substance.” ~ Kaaron Warren, Shirley Jackson Award winner, and author of Slights, Mystification, Walking the Tree.

“SUSPENDED IN DUSK offers a delicious assortment of chills, frights, shocks and very dark delights!” ~ Jonathan Maberry, Bram Stoker Award winner and New York Times bestselling author of Fall of Night and V-Wars

Suspended In Dusk NEW

Dusk: A time between times.

A whore hides something monstrous and finds something special.
A homeless man discovers the razor blade inside the apple.
Unlikely love is found in the strangest of places.
Secrets and dreams are kept… forever.

Or was it all just a trick of the light?

Suspended in Dusk brings together 19 stories by some of the finest minds in Dark Fiction:

Ramsey Campbell, John Everson, Rayne Hall, Shane McKenzie, Angela Slatter, Alan Baxter, S.G Larner, Wendy Hammer, Sarah Read, Karen Runge, Toby Bennett, Benjamin Knox, Brett Rex Bruton, Icy Sedgwick, Tom Dullemond, Armand Rosamilia, Chris Limb, Anna Reith, J.C. Michael.

Introduction by Bram Stoker Award Winner and World Horror Convention Grand Master, Jack Ketchum.

 

Led to the Slaughter is a werewolf tale by Duncan McGeary, published by Books of the Dead Press in early 2014.  This was the first novel I’d read by Duncan and I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I thorougly enjoyed it.  The story is a spin on the historical events surrounding the Donner Party and the claims of cannibalism which surrounded their ill-fated expedition to California in the mid-19th century.

The Reed family seeks to travel west across the country on the Oregon Trail so  that the father, John Reed, can start a new job in California and the family can make a new life.  They join a caravan party lead by Jacob and George Donner, who are, unbeknownst to all, werewolves on the way to a clan meeting to decide the the dwindling clans among the realms of men.  The tale is one of a harrowing and oppressive journey for caravans through inhospitable lands. Before they reach their final destination, many die of exposure, famine or violence. You really get a sense of what it may have been like to be one of those colonial settlers forging a path out West.  I suspect a lot of time and effort went into researching this novel and it’s really paid off.  Hat’s off to Duncan.

The story is, mostly, told from the perspective of Virginia Reed, by way of her diary.  Diary entries of others, including John Reed and Charles Stanton, flesh out the story and give a great picture of the over all group and the adversities they’re going through and how they’re coping with the arduous journey and their various confrontations with the Donner Party werewolves.

Virginia Reed is a fantastic character.  A young teenage girl with real hopes and fears, she stoically faces a host of challenges at every step. The girl is stubborn as a mule and a real fighter, yet finds love and romance along the way and manages to put some of the men back in their places. She’s a fantastic character with a strong and endearing voice. You can’t help but like her and she’s a pretty badass girl.  If you like strong female characters, Virginia Reed is your girl.

I found the overall style of writing to suit the time period of the story.  Character’s voices seemed consistent and consistent with the time period as well. This really helped paint a

While there are certainly plenty of action scenes and violence in the book, its  not over the top or too graphic, and combined with the strong focus on Virginia Reed as one of the main protagonists, I get the feeling that this actually a Young Adult horror novel.  Or at least, many teens would probably really enjoy this novel, as much as us adults!

My only regret is that I didn’t have the time to read this story in one hit and had to spread it over a few weeks, due to new family additions and my editing commitments.

Duncan Mcgeary is a solid author, who shows a real knack for weaving not only weaving a dark tale but weaving for us real people and real events.  I can’t wait to sink my teeth into his Vampire Evolution trilogy, also recently released by Books of the Dead.

You can find Led to the Slaughter on Amazon. It’s available in ebook and paperback:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IJQR190/ref=rdr_kindle_ext_tmb

 

As I send the Suspended in Dusk anthology off to James Roy Daley at Books of the Dead Press for publication, I think now is probably the right time to look back on the experience and see what lessons I learned. So I guess this post is as much for my benefit as it is for all you guys and gals.   I think, ultimatley, these piece of advice are values based and really translate to anything in life.. or at least to writing and publishing generally. Editing a short story anthology was a truly educational experience for me and here is what I learnt.

 

1.  Aim High

aim high2

When I started this project, originally with my dear friend Nerine Dorman, I thought I’d see whether I could get a favourite author of  Nerine’s (Angela Slatter) to submit a reprint story.  I contacted Angela and told her about the project, told her how we’re great fans of her work. I then told her that it wasn’t a pro-paying market and that I understand if she’s not interested but I was wondering if she’d contribute a reprint. Well guess what? Angela offered to submit a BRAND NEW STORY.  A brand new story from a British Fantasy Award winning author… in my anthology? No way?? YES WAY! ❤

This then lead me to think … “Well.. if I asked Angela nicely and she said yes.. what happens if I ask one of the other great authors I admire? The worst they can do is say no, right?”  Wrong. The worst they can do is actually not even respond, which I did learn. But that’s cool. Some didn’t respond, some responded and said no for various reasons. And you know what..? Some said YES. Specfically… British Fantasy Award and Bram Stoker award winner Ramsey Campbell. Bram Stoker Award winner John Everson.  Super disturbo writer, Shane McKenzie.   Editor extraordinary and self-publishing powerhouse, Rayne Hall.

What a coup!!  And how did I achieve it all?  Aim high. Hell, go for the freaking throat, man. Just don’t sell yourself short or be all half-assed about it.

 2. Connect. Network. Reach out.

download

I call this anthology a triumph of networking. Both classic and in the modern social media sense. The majority of the writers that I invited to this anthology were via Twitter. Twitter is an awesome place to meet other people and writers in particular. Don’t ask me why but they love Twitter.

In addition to Twitter, as discussed, I reached out to well known writers via email. For the most part it was via the contact section of their websites. Sometimes I even emailed their webmaster and nicely asked if they’d forward on a message to the writer. They did.  This is how I met some writers who contributed stories and how I reached Jonathan Maberry who read and endorsed the anthology with kind words.

I also sent out a call through my local writing group, Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild, and to the Litreactor community and some of my writing friends I’d made during classes on the site.  I was also able to approach one a writer who teaches at Litreactor through the site’s admin team and was able to ask them about writing an introduction to the anthology.  Month’s later, they had a read of the final product and agreed and wrote a fantastic introduction. (can’t say yet who it is, but I’m super thrilled by this).

What was my secret?  Read on, dear reader. It’s covered in the next point.

 

3. Be Gracious, and don’t be an ass!

Teach-good-manners-to-kids

One of the best piece of advice I’ve received.. succinct, to the point, and utterly true… was from Angela Slatter:   Don’t be an ass. Whether it’s in life or in the publishing business, everyone appreciates basic courtesy and basic manners.  If you’re going to approach someone and ask for something (especially an established or professional writer) … it’s you who is asking them. It’s you who wants something. They don’t owe you any favours. Hell, they probably don’t even know you.  Be nice. Ask politely. Be friendly.  Good manners don’t cost you a cent, sprinkle that shit around liberally.   Don’t just ask nicely, thank people for their time. Everyone lives a hard life. Everyone has jobs and kids and obligations. These people are taking time out of their lives to work with you on your project.  Nobody owes you anything. Be gracious. Say thanks.

4. Do your best work

work

without wanting to sound too preachy or pompous:  Always do your best.  When I started the project I felt like I was a little in over my head. So what did I do?  I started the editing rounds  and focused on what I knew I was good at or what I was most confident in. As I progressed, I polished up on my grammar, the elements of style (I even read The Elements of Style!), and tried to really hone my critical analysis skills and my understanding of story mechanics etc.  In the subsequent rounds, I implemented this new knowledge and allowed myself a little more latitude to request developmental edits or to query writers on matters of style . Boy did it pay off.  I’m a much better editor now. I’m much more confident with grammar. I’m much more confident and excited about editing my own fiction now. And I’m much more confident that I understand what makes a good story and my ability to assess that.

Moral of the story? Do your best. By really working your hardest and pushing the boundaries, you hone your existing skills and you open yourself up to new abilities and new vistas of awesomeness. Just do it.

4. Roll with the punches

boxing_punch

 

When I started the Suspended in Dusk project, I originally intended to co-edit it with Nerine Dorman, who is one of the editors at Dark Continents Publishing.  Nerine and Dark Continents were sadly unable to continue with the project and it all looked like it was done and dusted.  By this point, however, I had already taken submissions from around 60 authors and was in the process of shortlisting and finalising the Table of Contents.  I won’t lie.. this was crushing for me. Projects not going ahead are relatively common in the publishing industry.. but I felt like I’d come so far. Not only was I heavily emotionally invested in the project, I didn’t want to let all the authors down. Nor did I want the embarassment of going back to many of the well known industry veterans and saying “hey, sorry, shows off!”.

So what did I do? I pitched it to another publisher. And when they had a long look at it and decided to pass, what did I do?  I pitched it to another bloody publisher.

The end result? Suspended in Dusk found itself a worthy home at Books of the Dead Press, a respected North American small press.

I can’t even begin to describe how satisfying and rewarding it is to have perseverance like that pay off.  This is how PhD grads and olympic athletes and novelists must feel.

Wow. Just wow.

5. Persevere

Stair-Climbing

There will be times that you look at your writing or the book your editing and think:  “When will this end?” or “I’ll never finish this.”  or “I can’t even focus my eyes anymore.. I’m blind! I”M BLIND!”

Ignore this.  Take a break. Rest your eyes. Focus on your own writing for a while. Watch some TV or kick back with a friend. Get a friend to proof what you’ve done to prove you’re not going mad.

Do all of these things, but don’t give up.   One of the great truths in life is this:  After every hardship, there is ease.   This truth is constant, no matter how morbid you want to get with it.

Eventually, things get better.  You wake up more rested and the blurry words are clear.  You have another read of the story and you capture the filter words you missed the first time.  You get through the first round of edits and the second round is comparatively easy because you’ve torched all the really horrible grammar and its a pretty solid set of stories now.

You push, you keep on at it, you sink your teeth into the jugular for one last dogged shake.  And in the end you know what?  You’re done. It’s finished. Book complete. You win.

6.  PARTY

party

Congratulations!  You just finished writing your novel. You just finished editing your novel. You just finished editing your anthology or painting that piece of art you’v been toying with. Hell, maybe you finished cleaning your room and your mum is finally off your back.  ENJOY IT.  Celebrate. Read a book. Smoke a hookah pipe. Go out for a few drinks or paint the town red.  You earned it.  You’ve beaten the boss at the end. Achievement unlocked.

Just don’t forget points 1-5

 

 

S.

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to post, largely because I’ve been so busy!

I’ve been sweating on this new project of mine, an anthology of horror and dark fiction, titled Suspended in Dusk.  Over the last few months I’ve collected 19 short stories which I feel are a broad representation of some of the established and new talent within the horror/dark/weird genres. I am also very pleased that over one-third (42% unless I screwed the maths) of the table of contents are women who, frankly, scare the crap out of me every bit as much as their male counterparts (probably more!).

This anthology has been picked up by Books of the Dead press, run by James Roy Daley.  James has previously published fantastic and award-winning authors such as  Jonathan Maberry (multi-Bram Stoker winner), NYT Best Seller Tim Lebbon, and so many more.

BotD - logo

Full table of contents to come in coming days, but to whet your appetite, Suspended in Dusk will feature stories from the likes of Ramsey Campbell (Bram Stoker and British Fantasy award winner), Angela Slatter (British Fantasy Award Winner, Aurealis Award winner), John Everson (Bram Stoker Award winner) and many of the established and emerging masters of the dark and horrific.

Stay tuned for more info in coming days. Time permitting, in the lead-up to publication I’ll be going through the process of interviewing all the authors collected in the anthology, here on my blog.