Tuesday, September 25, 2018

People Are Strange When You’re a Stranger

So, it’s been a very, very long time since I’ve posted here. I could offer a plethora of excuses but won’t bother…
                It’s been almost a year since my younger brother died and the crevasse that’s opened up in my soul has let loose a Pandora’s box of memories, feelings, emotions and assorted psychological tidbits. A storm of nostalgia rages in me, memories good and bad from a time gone by and gravely missed. Friends of yore, abandoned pursuits, a first love -- ghosts of the past, all made worse by the agoraphobia I’ve suffered with for the past few years.
                Agoraphobia is a sneaky bastard, that voice from the shadows whispering dire warnings. Panic when the phone rings, or worse, the doorbell. Looking out on a world you cannot venture into. Trashcan at the curb for days because you can’t go back out to retrieve it, then finally getting the nerve in the small hours so as not to be seen by anyone. Living like a ghost; only venturing “into public” online where anonymity is the norm and firewalls keep people out.

                Then there are all the excuses for skipping getting together with people. Ironically, and cruelly, what happens ultimately is that once you finally have worked up the courage to go, invitations stop coming because you’ve blown off so many things and people don’t understand the reasons, thinking you are just blowing them off, and just adding to feelings of abandonment and isolation. So then there are fewer reasons to try to go out, making it easier to just stay inside where it feels safe.
                But things slowly improve; there are a few “safe spaces” I feel able to go to and be almost comfortable,  and on some days I can actually conquer the whispers and venture out for short periods. The phone ringing has become more bothersome than scary, although I did disconnect the doorbell so it couldn’t ring. Maybe I’ll hook it back up. And I’ve been trying to reconnect with old friends, which has had mixed success… people move on with their lives, I guess, so I shouldn’t take it personally if attempts fail. But small steps. It’s the best I can do.
                Why share such intimate pain? Why not? I’m not ashamed, and maybe it will help others to understand. A lot is said about depression but when it comes to social anxiety and agoraphobia you don’t hear much.
                So… that all being said, there is writing getting done; one of the pluses of being a virtual shut-in is spending the bulk of the day at my desk! Everything is still too new to go into details, but I’m working on a big, major project for Call of Cthulhu, and with luck, I’ll have not one but two new fiction anthologies to announce soon, plus the long-lingering Gaslight Ghouls is with a publisher and just waiting to be produced. Of the two forthcoming projects, one will be a Mythos-related anthology and the other based on a favorite classic horror story. It’s always good to be able to put my editor’s cap on, and the writing, well, that goes without saying… I’ve also discovered the art of cartography over the past few years and have been working on that.

                That’s it in a nutshell, I suppose, the good, the bad and the ugly. Until next time (hopefully before 5 years’ time!),

Enjoy the silence…          

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Policy of Truth

It has been a very long time since last I shared my whispers, and I have been remiss in my duties as a blogger, but then I never promised regular or frequent posts. I have the best intentions, but don’t frankly think I have enough interesting things to say to post regularly. I have come to a point in my life and career as an editor and author (such as it is) that I despise the puffy-puffy egoed, backslapping sycophantic circle-jerking throngs of “authors” (or perhaps I should say “writers,” as not all of them have talent enough to be called authors) who haunt the interwebs congratulating and singing the praises of each other and making self-serving blogs touting their own alleged talent. “If you LIKE my Facebook author page I’ll LIKE yours.”  “If you rate my book 5 stars I’ll rate yours 5 stars.” I’ve seen these posts. It sickens me. This whole self-publishing e-pub business is a blight upon true publishing and has glutted the market with sub-literate vomitous crap. I’m both embarrassed and ashamed for those “authors,” and want nothing less than to be in any way associated with them.

So, I’ll blog when I have something of interest to share, but never to just blow my own horn and stroke my own ego. I am also going to be more careful about stroking the egos of others, as I have inadvertently helped to create monsters by doing so and don’t want to have to carry such a heavy burden on my conscience.

Now that I’ve set such a cheery tone, let me get to the meat of this post; to report the passing of an old editor, mentor and friend of mine, Mr. Lynn Willis, formerly of Chaosium Inc. I had the pleasure of working for and with Lynn for many years, and while he could be difficult at times, he was a damn fine editor from whom I learned a great deal. Lynn was exceptionally intelligent to the point of sometimes coming across as obtuse to many of us. His train of thought was sometimes hard to follow, and comments sometimes seemed to come out of left field. But in the end Lynn was just about always right, and his editorial direction and kneading made my work better. Ultimately -- and possibly through osmosis -- I became a better writer because of Lynn.

Lynn was not one for conventions and appearances, preferring to stay at the offices in Oakland and let the others go out and interact with the public. He did attend NecronomiCon, but that was a much smaller and more literate convention. Lynn and I had conversed for years via mail (back in the days before electronic mail) and by phone, but I still didn’t know exactly what to expect of him when we finally met in person, and I was rather apprehensive for some reason. We met for the first time when I visited the Chaosium offices around 1990. I found him witty and understatedly funny and instantly took a liking to him. There was a heretofore unexpected warmth and charm to the man. When we met up again some years later in New England at one of the NecronomiCons I once again enjoyed Lynn’s company and wit, and the stories he shared over a meal in the hotel restaurant. 

I continued to work with Lynn for several years, and he helped bring several of my writing and editorial projects to fruition.  The longer we worked together the less I noticed his overt editorial touch, so I knew that I had developed some skill in this whole writing thing. 

Sadly, Lynn took ill and quietly retired; it was eventually announced in 2008 that he was suffering with Parkinson’s disease. I sent Lynn a few more e-mails after that but never heard back from him. I’m not even sure he got them, although I would like to think he did as they were sincere and well-wishing. I kept up with his condition through cryptic comments from the folks still at Chaosium, and thought of him often. On January 18th of this year Lynn Willis succumbed to his illness and age. The news left me heartbroken. Lynn had been one of the most influential people in my life. He had taught me so much about my beloved craft; he had been a superlative editor and mentor. He had also been my friend. I have missed him for a long time, and now he’s gone. I hope he is at peace now and that the world remembers his invaluable contribution to the industry and just the person he was. 


As for me, I’m mostly “between projects.” As I’ve mentioned often, I am a very slow writer with very limited output. I have ideas a’plenty, but getting them out of my head and onto the keyboard seems usually to elude me. So I miss a lot of books that I’m invited into because my muse is so fragile and fickle.  There are a few ideas percolating in the back of my head and maybe one day – maybe even one day soon – I’ll announce a new antho and start reading submissions. Until then I’ll just occupy myself reading from my ever-growing library and continue to contemplate writing.
On the “mundane” side of my life, I’m happy to report that after a long and bleak period of joblessness I have found my dream job as the Executive Chef at a Chinese and Indian restaurant. I am currently researching and trying out recipes (we open in the spring). Never did I think that my Certification in Gourmet Chinese Cooking would be put to any use! And I’m learning to speak Chinese, as well – something I’ve always wanted to do. It’s like a dream come true. It’s nice to get paid to do something I love, and fulfill a long-held desire (although learning Chinese is a daunting task which I’m still trying to overcome!).

So, until next time from the House of Secrets,

Enjoy the silence

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Face of the Beast

So after much, much, MUCH reading, I have finally chosen the table of contents for my forthcoming werewolf anthology, THE MARK OF THE BEAST. This was a rather daunting task as I received over 250 submissions. When I’d finished my original read-through I had 80 stories and poems pulled out of the pile for final consideration. Then I had the excruciatingly difficult chore of pruning my selections down to the final 29. Sadly, I had to leave out some really excellent work from both new names and established authors (including a number of old friends). There was a novelette that I really loved that in the end got left on the proverbial cutting room floor because of its size. A number of longer short stories sadly suffered the same fate. With the sheer tonnage of contributions vying for a spot, size DID end up mattering in the end; if it were a choice between a really good 9,000+ word story and three equally good 2-3k worders, the little guys frequently won out. But the final mix is good, with poetry and short-short flash fiction all the way up to a short novella, and everything in between. And about a third of the authors are women – something you don’t see too often. Genre-wise, I have everything from fairy tales to cyberpunk to historic to gothic horror. I'm thrilled to have poems from a couple of my favorite poets, and stories from a some of my all-time favorite scribes; and there's some amazing stuff from a whole bunch of folks who were wholly unknown to me, and that was a real treat. It’s a lovely thing, my hairy howling horror! I will pet him, and feed him, and call him George!

Something remarkable I noticed in the glut of submissions which I received was that there really weren’t many downright bad pieces. Sure, there were a few stinkers, but for the most part the submissions were competently written, and a great many of them were damn good. Many of the initial rejections were based on theme or originality – some I just didn’t like. They may have been well-crafted, but something about them just didn’t tickle my fancy. As unbiased and open minded as every editor tries to be, one’s personal preferences can’t help but creep in. Probably the biggest strike against a lot of the work that was outright rejected was the author not following my formatting instructions. Once the floodgates opened and material started to pour in, improperly formatted stuff just got passed over without a look – I just didn’t have the time to pick through things to correct formatting or ask the author to do so. I stated my formatting requirements loud and clear, even highlighting them in red in the prospectus. If the author wasn’t diligent enough to send me material as I asked for it then how serious could I really take them?

Anywho… it’s all over and done now. For good, bad, or otherwise I’ve made my choices and I’m sticking by them. There’s some awesome stuff here, and I hope readers will agree. And so, without further ado, I give you the table of contents for THE MARK OF THE BEAST (in no particular order yet):

The Wolves Outside the Cage by Abraham Kawa
Thirteen  by Alyne de Winter
The Hunting of Philip Ackroyd by Josh Reynolds
Adjustment by Paul L. Bates
Against a Sea of Brilliant White by Michael Matheson
Arcadia by Donald Jacob Uitvlugt
Best Left Buried by Evan Dicken
WolfGang  by Glynn Barrass
Happy? by Daryl Wayne
Hellhound by Aurelio Rico Lopez III
Her Mother’s Fur by Rebecca L. Brown
Into the Moonlight by Donald R. Burleson
Last Night... by Eric J. Guignard
At Long Last by Mollie L. Burleson
Lucy Still Eats Meat by Michael Penkas
Malediction of the Moon by T. Fox Dunham
Moonburn by Robert M. Price
Werewolf Root Canal by Lois Gresh
Over Exposure by Jonathan Templar
Teenage Werewolf by Catharine Clark-Sayles
The Shrieking Shack by Richard L. Tierney
Wolf by Ernest Walwyn
The Better to Type With, My Dear by Megan Engelhardt
The Blood of the Moon by Caitlin Walsh
The Bone Cruncher by Karen Gillard
The Clothes Maketh by Juliet Boyd
The Vestals by Ann K. Schwader
The Wolfgirl in the Cupboard by Gitte Christensen
Mr. Lupus by T.E. Grau 

And so until next time from the House of Secrets,
Unpleasant Dreams!

Saturday, February 18, 2012



ON WRITING: As I’ve often explained, I’m not a prolific writer. I have to really work at it. Oh, sometimes it just flows, but more often than not I have to really nurse it along. Part of my problem is the self-editing I do as I write, changing words and phrasing as I go, over and over and over again. While the end results is always for the better, it eats up a lot of time and concentration as I hunt and peck at words, trying to find just the right one. I should probably just go through, write a quick first draft without stopping to edit, and then go back and give it a good reworking. But that’s just not the way I work. I know some authors actually HAND write their first drafts and then go back and type everything in! God bless them! Besides the fact that I probably wouldn’t have a clue as to what my scribbling SAID by the time I was done, I would probably never actually FINISH anything that way. I have a hard enough time bringing a story to full fruition as it is – just peek inside my IN PROGRESS file on my PC and you’ll see loads of stories in various stages – some dating back to the 1980’s. Eh, I’ll get to them eventually!

I am in awe of writers who know their entire story at the jump – beginning, middle and end. I usually get a neat little idea and have to work back and forward from that point. I don’t outline, although I make lots of notes on character names, bits of cool dialogue, scenes, background info, etc. My biggest ordeal is bringing a story to a good, logical conclusion. It has to make sense to me – to feel “true” -- and as I create in the horror/weird/dark genre(s) things don’t always MAKE sense.  We (purveyors of the weird) expect our audience to have a healthy suspension of belief, but you can’t push that one TOO far. If it sounds dumb, contrived or over the top it probably is (and who the hell thought twinkling vampires would be cool, by the way?!). That’s one of the reasons I’ve never been a fan of science fiction – if it’s too far out there or removed from truth and reality I just can’t BELIEVE it enough to get into the story. I guess that’s why horror resonates with me so deeply – there is always some shadow of truth in every iconic horror situation.

In any event, I am now sitting on two more incomplete, unsold stories. I was working on something for a Cyberpunk Cthulhu Mythos anthology and just could not make it work. I had what I thought was a really cool idea, but again, I think it was the sci fi elements of the genre that I just couldn’t get my head around enough to make it work. The other was a neat little character sketch I wanted to submit to an upcoming anthology with a fungus theme. That one I’m sure I’ll finish and think I have a new market for it already, so I just have to get cracking. And in the meantime, there are two new additions to my IN PROGRESS file – a Steampunk Cthulhu Mythos story and one for consideration in a forthcoming S.T. Joshi anthology. Again, I just have to get tucked in and finish the damn things!

ON EDITING: Meanwhile, I’m busy reading for my next anthology – a werewolf book entitled MARK OF THE BEAST. I never go too public with my call for submissions, but somehow this one got leaked to a site that directs prospective authors to markets. Wow! I’m getting buried in submissions. Unfortunately most of them are just not very good. That isn’t to say that I haven’t gotten some good stuff – I have. I’ve gotten a couple REALLY good pieces, but the majority have been poor to mediocre. I understand that every writer has to start somewhere, so I’m trying to be patient and supportive, but I have a few words of advice for aspiring authors:

1.      Spell check! EVERY word processing program has a spell checker. Use it. I can overlook an occasional typo but some are just ridiculous.  PLEASE know the difference between “to”, “too” and “two” and “there” and “their”, and know the proper uses thereof! That’s BASIC English, and if you can’t handle that you have no business writing.

2.      Punctuation, people! There are more punctuation marks than commas, so branch out a little and mix it up. A high school English teacher once told me I was “comma happy”, so I understand whereof I speak. Semicolons can be your friends. And watch the exclamation points – I also tend to use WAY too many of them (well, in my e-mails and blogs – I almost NEVER use them in fiction). Using !!! too much makes you sound like a simpleton who is surprised by EVERYTHING!

3.      Character names: don’t use similar names for different characters – it gets confusing. And PLEASE, for the love of god, don’t overuse names with the “Sam did this,” “Sam said,” “Sam went here,” “Sam thought,” “Sam was,” “Sam said,” “Sam said,” “Sam said again”, etc. Use descriptives to signify Sam as well as just his name. Mix it up. I’ve gotten a LOT of submissions that fall prey to this one and I want to scream after reading the same name over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over…. Well, you get it.

4.      And finally, PLEASE follow the editor’s guidelines for submissions. I have VERY CLEARLY stated the format in which I want to see submissions, and still I get a LOT that do not follow my instructions. So I have decided (and have posted) that from now on if I get a submission that is not formatted as I requested I am going to just immediately reject it. I’m sorry, and I may be missing out on some good work, but if you don’t have enough respect to follow my simple submission instructions then you must not be truly serious about it.

So, all that said, I’ve been busy wading through a lot of werewolf stories. So far I have about a dozen in my YES file, a dozen in my MAYBE file, and I’ve rejected* DOZENS and as of today still have a dozen to read through. And my deadline is not for many weeks yet, so at this rate I expect I’ll get in another 40 submissions or more. It’s exciting to find new voices and annoying to read dreck, but I understand you can’t have one without the other. But I wholly understand why most editors have closed anthologies and read on an invite-only basis. 

(*And let me say that every story I’ve so far rejected hasn’t been bad – some just weren’t original enough or just didn’t catch my attention or fit my vision of the project for one reason or another.)

And therein lies the double-edged sword of writing and editing: the perceived cliquiness of it. When I started out writing I was pissed about the number of projects that were invite-only. But as I’ve honed my craft, made a quasi-name for myself and done editing of my own anthologies by reading slush piles, I UNDERSTAND. Most editors are very busy people who also write, and I can tell you from firsthand experience that reading submissions cuts into a lot of writing time if you are going to give each submissions a fair read. Therefore, most editors have a stable of authors they work with whom they know are good, reliable and easy to work with. I have my own list that I always send out to first before making any kind of open call. It’s just the way the industry is. So how do you break into these cliques? Just persevere. And be GOOD at your craft. You only get one chance to make a first impression (a sad but very true old saying), so if the first story an editor reads by you is amateurish or crap they will likely not even bother with your stuff in the future. But making a name for yourself in small press and on-line markets can go a long way in getting the attention of editors. Some of our greatest authors – and a couple of my personal favorites – started in the small press way back in the mists of time in the 1980’s (before the interwebs) and today have near-mythic reputations.

ON SELLING: And finally, I’ve recently placed a couple more stories. My “Mother Blood” will be appearing in the forthcoming UNDEAD & UNBOUND anthology. If the title didn’t say it loudly enough, U&U is a collection of stories about walking dead of various persuasions. It’s got a really fun cover, and [SPOILER] my undead menace is one of the ones that graces the cover. Fun.

The other sale I’m really proud to announce is a weird little dark fairy tale thing I co-wrote with my pal, the sickeningly-talented T.E. Grau, called “Ignis Fatuus.” This one is a part of the fabulous Lois Gresh-edited DARK FUSIONS anthology which is to be published in a wonderfully signed hardcover edition by PS Publishing next winter. This story was a blast to write. I am amazed still how well my work meshes with Teds – you really can’t tell who wrote what. It was a fantastic partnership forged in the cauldron of weird things and magical notions. 

From Lois' blog (http://loisgresh.blogspot.com/2012/02/dark-fusions-where-monsters-lurk.html):


In no particular order, these are the contributors to DARK FUSIONS: WHERE MONSTERS LURK.

Cody Goodfellow
Nicholas Kaufmann
Mark McLaughlin
Darrell Schweitzer
Robert M. Price
Ann Schwader
Lynn Spitz
James Alan Gardner
Michael Marano
Lisa Morton
Nick Cato
John Haefele
Christopher Fulbright
David Sakmyster
Yvonne Navarro
Nancy Kilpatrick
Scott David Aniolowski & T.E. Grau
Norman Prentiss

We have a great lineup and some terrific stories in this anthology.

Abundant thanks to Weird Fiction Master ST Joshi and Fantastic Publisher Pete Crowther!


“Ignis Fatuus” was actually earmarked for another anthology but I sold it to Lois when she wanted to buy my “Letters to Santa” story for DARK FUSIONS. Unfortunately, I had already placed "Letters to Santa" in HORROR FOR THE HOLIDAYS. So it worked out well, and she got a really cool little thing. Ted and I are presently working on something ELSE for that other anthology. Interestingly enough, I’ve since had ANOTHER request to publish “Letters to Santa” by another pair of editors! Guess this one is going to have a life of its own. But I’m doing something new for them – I just hope they like it as much as they liked “Letters."

So, the last year has been pretty good – I’ve sold four stories, have another two (at least) with homes to go to, and am in the process of editing my SECOND anthology in twelve months. Now if I could only WRITE a bit quicker, I’d be all set….

Until next time from the House of Secrets,

Meet me tonight in dreamland
Meet me tonight in dreamland
Where the things I want will come true
For in dreamland they always do
So meet me tonight in dreamland
Meet me on the path of green
Where nightmares disappear in dreams
Sleeping as one
Flowered river carries us down
To dreamland

Saturday, December 24, 2011


Today is Christmas Eve and the mid-way point of Hanukkah, and the New Year looms. So I wanted to take a moment to ruminate on the holidays and to offer some thoughts and a message.
I celebrate the holiday in pretty typical fashion, with family, Christmas cookies, and gifts under the tree. I make it a point to enjoy Dickens’ classic “A Christmas Carol” every year, in either written or movie form. I overindulge in shopping and snacking on holiday treats, as most of the world does. And I stop to remember Christmases of old (well, of my own old, anyway). Memories of beloved grandparents no longer with me, and a father who has passed on some ten years ago. Memories of favorite gifts – both given and received. Memories of working the busy season alongside friends and coworkers, providing good food and cheer to those who hired us to provide them a holiday party. Memories of snow and of favorite holiday decorations. Memories of the smells of the holidays: seasonal treats baking, turkey roasting, the heady scent of pine boughs and the mustiness of ornaments retrieved from storage. 

I stopped decorating my own home many years ago, as being alone it seemed so much work just for me. But I still enjoy putting up the tree with my mother at her house, and going through all of our yearly traditions of decorating and baking. In my childhood we spent Christmas Eve at my mother’s parent’s home, exchanging gifts with them and the extended family and feasting on holiday snacks and then lasagna late in the evening after gifts were open. Christmas morning was Christmas at home with mom and dad and my brother, and then the afternoon and evening was spent at my father’s parent’s home, opening gifts from them and having the traditional turkey dinner. My parents divorced and my paternal grandparents moved to Florida when I was in grade school, so the family schedule changed, and Christmas Eve was split between my dad’s house and then the maternal grandparents’, and Christmas day was spent wholly at home. Today the grandparents and dad are all gone, so the holidays are much smaller and quieter: I spend Christmas Eve with mom, preparing for Christmas dinner and eating Chinese food, and then my brother and his family come the next morning for Christmas breakfast and to exchange gifts before heading to his wife’s family’s celebration. Mom and I spend the rest of Christmas day together, have a quiet dinner and watching a movie. While I miss those who have gone – especially this time of the year – and the shrinking of the holiday celebrations, I truly love the time and traditions we share.

I know that I often present myself as a gloomy, unhappy soul, especially here and elsewhere on-line, but truly I am not. Those who truly know me know that I'm warm and loving, gregarious, very funny with a quick wit and sharp tongue, and loyal to a fault. I am blessed with a good life, a beautiful home, and a small but loyal and loving band of friends and family. This past year has been trying on the job front, and it has beaten me down a number of times, but I manage to pick myself up and be happy that I have the people and things I have in my life, and that I have been able to make it through, despite the lack of employment and financial squeeze. Somehow or other all of the bills still get paid, there’s food in the kitchen and gas in my car, so I guess I’m okay. Certainly I hope that the new year brings a resolution to this employment problem, and I’m remaining hopeful that something good is headed my way.

So, in uncharacteristically mushiness, I’d like to wish the very, very best to everyone at this joyous season, and for the coming year. And some special thanks and cyberhugs go to an assortment of folks, in no particular order: my brother and his wife and daughter, Amanda – my little bird who has somehow grown into a young college woman (when the hell did THAT happen?)! My mom who is my strength and support and my anchor. My best and oldest pal, Kevin, who is like a brother. My other two Brothers of Darkness, Fred and Gary (Gary we missed you this year at the Gathering Darkness). My friends and students of the word, Tom and Oscar over at Miskatonic River Press. My dearest friend, my angel of light, Terri whom I owe a bunch of lunches! My friend and writing partner, Ted, whose thoughts and style mesh so well with mine that I think we share a brain! Dr. D. who keeps me grounded and moving in the right direction. Cognac and Holly, my feline companions and “children”. The B-52s, my all-time favorite band, who I was delighted to see live this summer (just blocks from my house!) and who I was thrilled to correspond with throughout the autumn! And to anyone I overlooked, my sincerest apologies.

As we move into the New Year I wish incalculable good wishes and prosperity for everyone, myself included (come on, good job, come on!!!). I face 2012 with a schedule full of stories promised to various editors and markets and numerous publications forthcoming. I’m helping an up-and-coming author assemble his first fiction collection, and am thrilled to be in on the ground floor of what I know is going to be a NAME in the industry. I have projects in the works for at least one publisher, with feelers and queries out for others. And I’m actually waiting to hear on a couple possible employment opportunities. So I think the coming year is going to be good, and that certain unfortunate aspects of 2011 are going to soon turn around.  So I raise a glass to bid farewell to 2011 and anxiously await all the good things coming in 2012. Happy Holidays!

Until next time from the House of Secrets,
And to all a good night…. 

 (Well, I had to include SOMETHING creepy! Happy Holidays!)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Werewolves of London (and Other Places, Too!)


I've just sold a new anthology pitch, and here's the prospectus to get a jump-start on. Gentlemen (and ladies), start your enzymes!

New Legends of the Werewolf
Edited by Scott David Aniolowski

Author and Editor Scott David Aniolowski is now accepting submissions for MARK OF THE BEAST; New Legends of the Werewolf, an anthology of werewolf tales to be published in late 2012 by Chaosium, Inc.

Werewolves have recently become very big in pop culture, thanks to the popularity of certain young adult novels and their movie adaptations. Unfortunately, our lycanthropic friends are now being portrayed as pouty, angsty, shirtless hunky teens, instead of savage, bestial figures from folklore and nightmares. It is my goal to assemble stories that put the horror back into the werewolf.

There are countless variations on the werewolf legend from around the world and throughout history. The more common causes for lycanthropy include being bitten by a wolf or werewolf, cursed by a Gypsy or witch, a family curse, donning an enchanted pelt, imbibing potions or poisons, selling your soul to the devil, falling from religious grace, etc. Some werewolves change from human to giant wolf – some to hybrid wolf-men. And the infliction strikes at various times, depending upon the legend: during a full moon, while under great emotional stress, when the pelt is worn or potion drank – or even at will – etc. Some werewolves are aware of their condition and remember everything when they change – others have no knowledge whatsoever, or experience memories as “nightmares”. Some are solitary – others live in packs. Silver kills some werewolves but not all. Clinical Lycanthropy is a real mental disorder wherein the sufferer believes he or she is a werewolf. And so on….

I want authors to explore different legends and aspects of the werewolf stories, and just about any genre is acceptable (Gothic horror, quiet horror, sci-fi, cyberpunk, splatter, psychological, Victorian London, the old west, folklore/urban legend, etc. -- NO HUMOR -- SERIOUS HORROR STORIES ONLY!) as long as the underlying theme is HORROR! Pop culture has turned the werewolf into dreamy poster boys and romance novel figures (don’t believe me? Browse Amazon.com and see for yourself how many werewolf romance novels there are!). I want to give the werewolf his balls back! I want to make him a figure of terror and nightmares again.   

HERE'S THE IMPORTANT PART: Send submissions in MS Word doc. or rtf. files. Basic formatting: single spaced, aligned left, no tabs (a space between paragraphs ONLY), no page numbering, no headers or footers, etc. Considering short-shorts/flash fiction up to 8,000ish words. Poetry is okay, as well. Reprints will be considered only if they have previously appeared in very limited run publications (indicate previous publication along with date and approximate circulation). Payment is 3 cents a word for new works (possibly less for reprints), and 3 contributor copies of the published book. Publication will be in trade paperback format with an estimated release of late 2012. Deadline for submissions is May 1, 2012. DO NOT SEND ME RUN-OF-THE-MILL, STANDARD OR TYPICAL WEREWOLF STORIES. I WANT TO SEE SOMETHING NEW AND FRESH AND EXCITING!

Until next time from the House of Secrets,

Good Writing!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Happily, I can announce that two of my stories have found homes in forthcoming anthologies. I’m also working on three more stories, am finishing up an RPG book, have successfully pitched a collection by an up-and-coming author, and am about to pitch another anthology. I have three or four outstanding invites to contribute to forthcoming books, and am hoping to submit to them all. Fingers crossed, all around! Seems like it’s a good time for my writing. Don’t know whether the stars are right or I’m just spending more time working at it (likely a combination of both), but things are going really well. As I’ve mentioned before, writing does not come easily to me, and when it does come it comes in streaks, so I take full advantage when its running hot. I really enjoy it and just wish it were lucrative enough to support me, as the depressing and soul-crushing search for “real” employment continues to plod along fruitlessly.

So here are the contents of the two latest books to use my stories:


A HORROR ROSH CHODESH                                                                                                                 “The Tomb of Oscar Wilde” by W.H. Pugmire 

HORRORS OF VALENTINE’S DAY                                                                                                        “Love and Darkness” by Oscar  Rios                                                                                                          “Be Mine” by Brian Sammons

A HORROR OF PASSOVER                            
“Cthulhu Mhy’os” by Lois H. Gresh 

HORRORS OF EASTER                     
“And the Angels Sing” by Cody Goodfellow                                                                                             “The Last Communion of Allyn Hill” by Pete Rawlik                                                                               “Mrs. Spriggs’ Easter Attire” by Joseph S. Pulver Sr. and Tara VanFlower                                               “Season of Sacrifice and Resurrection” by Adrian Tchaikovsky        

A HORROR OF MOTHER’S DAY                                                                                            “Mother’s Night” by Ann K. Schwader 

HORRORS OF THE FOURTH OF JULY                                                                                                  “Free Fireworks” by T.E. Grau                                                                                                                    “Doc Corman’s Haunted Palace One Fourth of July” by Don Webb 

A HORROR OF VJ DAY                                                                                                                         “Translator” by James Robert Smith 

HORRORS OF HALLOWEEN                                                                                                “Hallowe’en in a Suburb” by H.P. Lovecraft                                                                                              “The Hindmarsh Abomination” – or – “Moonday” by Will Murray                                                          “The Trick” by Ramsey Campbell

A HORROR OF THE DAY OF THE DEAD                                                                                         “El Dia De Los Muertos” by Kevin Ross 

A HORROR OF GUY FAWKES NIGHT                                                                                     “Treason and Plot” by William Meikle 

A HORROR OF REMEMBERANCE DAY                                                                                               “The Dreaming Dead” by Joshua Reynolds 

A HORROR OF THANKSGIVING                                                                                                           “EntrĂ©e” by Donald R. Burleson 

HORRORS OF YULE                                                                                                                  “Keeping Festival” by Mollie Burleson                                                                                                      “Wassail” by Tom Lynch 

HORRORS OF CHRISTMAS                                                                                                                    “Krampusnacht” by Joshua Reynolds                                                                                                         "Christmas Eves of Aunt Elise: A Tale of Possession in Old Grosse Pointe” by Thomas Ligotti              “Letters to Santa” by Scott David Aniolowski                                                                                            “Keeping Christmas” by Michael G. Szymanski                                                                                        “The Nativity of the Avatar” by Robert M. Price

This one should be out by the end of this year.
And then there’s:

UNDEAD & UNBOUND                                                                                                                   William Meikle "Descanse En Paz"                                                                                                            Gary McMahon "Dead Baby Keychain Blues"                                                                                           Cody Goodfellow "Blind Item"                                                                                                                   Mercedes Murdock Yardley "A Personal Apocalypse"                                                                               Damien Walters Grintalis "When Dark Things Sleep"                                                                                John Goodrich "In the House of a Million Years"                                                                                       C.J. Henderson "Undead Night of the Undeadest Undead"                                                                        David Dunwoody "Incarnate"                                                                                                                      Tom Lynch "The Wreckers"                                                                                                                        David Schembri "The Unforgiving Court"                                                                                                  Robert M. Price "I am Legion"                                                                                                                    Robert Neilson "Marionettes"                                                                                                                      Pete Rawlik "North of the Arctic Circle"                                                                                                    Brian M. Sammons & David Conyers “Romero 2.0”                                                                                 Gustavo Bondoni “Thunder in Old Kilpatrick”                                                                                           Scott David Aniolowski “Mother Blood”                                                                                                   Glynn Owen Barrass “Phallus Incarnate”                                                                                                   Oscar Rios “Scavengers”                                                                                                                             Mark Allan Gunnells “The Unexpected"                   

Which is supposed to be out in the first part of 2012. The idea of Undead & Unbound was stories that used the undead in some different way. I don’t know as mine is necessarily different or “unbound” beyond that it uses a very obscure member of the walking dead, and there is a sort of “surprise” ending. But the editors liked it enough to choose to include it, so they must have thought it fit. As I’ve not read any of the rest of these stories, I’m really looking forward to seeing the published book.
Next are stories for a cyberpunk book, a western horror book and a Thomas Ligotti tribute. Neither the cyberpunk nor western themes are my typical gigs, and I have very little interest in either genre, so this is going to be a challenge for me. But I have solid ideas for both, and am particularly excited about my cyberpunk idea. I have an amazingly talented co-writer for the Ligotti tale, and it’s a sort of dark, twisted fairy tale sort of thing. THAT one is going to be a blast.

So, I guess I better get back to work on some of these unfinished projects – they aren’t going to write themselves. 

Until next time from the House of Secrets,

Somebody's crying now
His head is full of pain
Take him to the building
where they're playing the perfect game
Perfect game
Perfect game
He's standing at the window
to watch the falling rain
No matter how he sees it
the view remains the same
Perfect game
Perfect game
They don't know what to call him
He doesn't have a name
But they still know how to force him
to keep playing the perfect game
A set of perfect criminals
is hard to criticize
When your watching the perfect crime
through a pair of perfect eyes
Perfect eyes
Perfect eyes
When everybody else is simply wondering why we came
Maybe it's because we're all playing the perfect game
Perfect game
Perfect game
They don't know what to call us
Because we don't have a name
But they still know how to force us
to keep playing the perfect game
So if you want to find out why you call someone insane
Just sit inside the building where they're playing the perfect game