Posts Tagged ‘John Everson’

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.

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“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.

 

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.

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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

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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

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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.

Hi everyone,

It’s been a while since  I’ve had a chance to post. Work has been flat out, my beautiful wife is pregnant with twins that are due mid-June and I’ve been buried deep in the second round of edits for the Suspended in Dusk anthology.

Because of all these hectic goings-on, I’ve neglected to give you all a teaser about Suspended in Dusk, so here I am to remedy that.

Here is the (unordered) Table of Contents for the anthology; a fantastic list of authors and a fantastic line up of stories.

Alan Baxter – Shadows of the Lonely Dead
Angela Slatter – The Way of All Flesh
Anna Reith – Taming the Stars
Armand Rosamilia – At Dusk They Come
Benjamin Knox – The Keeper of Secrets
Brett Rex Bruton – Outside In
Chris Limb – Ministry of Outrage
Icy Sedgwick – A Woman of Disrepute
J C Michael – Reasons to Kill
John Everson – Spirits Having Flown (Reprint)
Karen Runge – Hope is Here
Ramsey Campbell – Digging Deep  (Reprint)
Rayne Hall – Burning (Reprint)
Sarah Read – Quarter Turn to Dawn
Shane McKenzie – Fit Camp (Reprint)
S. G. Larner – Shades of Memory 
Tom Dullemond – Would to God That We Were There
Toby Bennett – Maid of Bone
Wendy Hammer – Negatives 

Some of the names above are quite well known but there are also  a few fresh new voices in the mix. All of the stories are, in my opinion, of a fantastic standard. All of them, in some way or another, literally or metaphorically, deal with the title theme Suspended in Dusk, and do so in vastly different ways.   I’m honoured to be working with such a fantastic and august line-up of authors.

Simon.

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.