Mark Matthews's Blog

April 18, 2017

Garden of Fiends: Tales of Addiction Horror
IS ALIVE!!$4.99 for Kindle$12.99 for paperback (buy the paperback, and you can get the kindle version for only .99 cents more) Check it out on amazon here. 
"There's something here to scare anyone and everyone. Garden of Fiends pushes all the wrong buttons in all the right ways!"
-Jonathan Maberry, New York Times best-selling author of Dogs of War and Mars One

"Garden of Fiends is scary in the realest of ways. What fertile ground for horror; stories that already, by nature, take place in the Twilight Zone; where lies and shady acts are the rule; where men and women step out of one world and into another; a place where addiction is king. John FD Taff's 'Last Call' is worth the price of admission alone."
-Josh Malerman, Bram Stoker nominated author of Bird Box
"A brilliant and original concept, Garden of Fiends captures the struggles of addiction and the horrors they inflict on those affected by it. Yes, it is dark and visceral, but with moments of hope throughout that make this a memorable collection of stories."
-The Horror Bookshelf

"Garden of Fiends brings us face-to-face with the demons driving us to dependence. Raw, brutal and insightful, Garden of Fiends is an important work."
-Lee Murray, author of Into the Mist

"An unflinching and intense look at addiction and its consequences, from some of the best horror writers in the business."
-Char's Horror Corner

"An incredibly fascinating and at times grim read. These are dark tales set against a backdrop of fear, addiction and self-loathing where families are ripped apart and relationships are left in tatters. Some of these stories will infect your conscious, burying themselves deep inside of your mind, leaving you scarred and itching to read more."
-Adrian Shotbolt, The Grim Reader

"Every offering drips with truth, blending tales of horror and addiction into an emotionally draining, yet essential experience."
-Ben Walker, UK Horror Scene
3 likes ·   •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on April 18, 2017 10:05 • 12 views

March 14, 2017

It’s MARCH MADNESS. Time to fill out your bracket. And by bracket I mean, “Garden of Fiends” brackets, of course. Here's how you play: Match the authors from the Table of Contents with their story’s first sentence and email to Get the most correct and you'll have a paperback delivered to your U.S. doorstep. (see below if you're not from the U.S.)

 If there’s a tie, first one to submit will win the paperback, rest will win a voucher to download Garden of Fiends: Tales of Addiction Horror for FREE the day it is released. In fact, if you're one of the first 10 who submit, regardless of your bracket, you'll win an amazon voucher for a FREE kindle download to your email on release day. Contest closes after 50 entries.

Below is the list of authors on the table of contents, as well as a list of the first sentences of all the stories.

Just match the author number with the corresponding sentence letter. (For example, one entry might be 1.B  2.F  3.A  4.G  5.C  6.H  7.D  8.E )
Enjoy! Email your answers to:

Author Number: 1. Kealan Patrick Burke

2. Jessica McHugh

3. Max Booth III

4. Johann Thorsson

5. John FD Taff

6. Glen Krisch

7. Mark Matthews

8. Jack Ketchum

First Sentence Letter

A. Ted was so nervous about that evening's AA meeting that he'd gone out and had a drink or two.
B. The best way to take atlys is to inject it straight into the testicles.
C. Julia tried it for the first time in a party uptown, a party she only went to because her friend, that friend, the one who knows all the cool people, convinced her to come. 
D. Jeremy watched the blood flow out of him, helpless and terrified.

E. "I'm here.”
F. I wake up drowning in a puddle, my lungs filled with rainwater.

G. “Stop listening right now if you don’t want to hear the truth.”

H. Exhausted after hitching for hundreds of miles, Maggie had finally hopped on a Greyhound in Wichita to take her the rest of the way to her long lost father.

**Email your answers to Most correct answers wins a paperback, ten more prizes of a voucher for a FREE Kindle download.(if you're outside of the U.S., you can win but must pay paperback shipping. Sorry.)(if you are in possession of an advance review copy, you're not eligible.)

1 like ·   •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on March 14, 2017 06:37 • 11 views

February 24, 2017

GARDEN OF FIENDS:  TALES OF ADDICTION HORROR   Available for Presale on Amazon
So excited to announce that The Presale has begun! Get your copy at a discount.  But who wants to wait for release day? Not me, and not you. 
So Check this promo out:
The first 25 readers who send a receipt confirming a pre-sale purchase of GARDEN OF FIENDS to will win the kindle book of their choosing written by any author on the GARDEN OF FIENDS table of contents. Yep, don't wait for April, read from the table of contents TODAY.

Lemme break this down:

1. Purchase Garden of Fiends on Amazon presale (currently at a discounted price.)

2. Choose from one the books listed below written by authors appearing on the table of contents

3. Email your Garden of Fiends' purchase receipt along with your choice of one of the books below to and...

Bamn! If you’re one of the first 25 you’ll receive an amazon voucher right back for a free kindle download of your chosen book.

 (And, pssst... if you're not one of the first 25 who email, I can still promise something extra.)

Here are your choices: 

Jack Ketchum 
The Girl Next Door
Off Season
Peaceable Kingdom
The Woman

Kealan Patrick Burke
Sour Candy
Secret Faces
The Turtle Boy

Jessica McHugh
The Train Derails in Boston
The Green Kangaroos
Rabbits in the Garden

John FD Taff
The Desolated Orchard
I Can Taste the Blood
The End in All Beginnings

Max Booth III
How to Successfully Kidnap Strangers
Lost Signals
American Nightmare

Johann Thorrsson
Not Your Average Monster: Volume 2

Glen Krisch
Where Darkness Dwells
The Hollowed Land
The Nightmare Within

Mark Matthews
All Smoke Rises
Lilly's Tale: The Milk-Blood Trilogy
On the Lips of Children

 (Don't see a book by one of these authors on the list? please inquire within)
2 likes ·   •  2 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on February 24, 2017 08:01 • 17 views

February 2, 2017

It was a dark, scary night, and I needed to poop in the backyard.

3 likes ·   •  2 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on February 02, 2017 07:46 • 41 views

January 20, 2017

ALL SMOKE RISES made the Preliminary Ballot for the 2016 Bram Stoker Awards in the long fiction category. I'm incredible honored and thrilled, especially for the book to be alongside such writers as Josh Malerman and Nicole Cushing.

Humongous thanks and appreciation to everyone who gave ALL SMOKE RISES a slice of their precious time: either through creating it, reading it, reviewing it, or recommending it. (This means you: Kealan Patrick Burke, Julie Hutchings, and Andi Rawson) Feels like a peak, (for me, at least) and I can see for miles and miles. I'm just gonna sit here with my lunch and be content. No need to move on, not yet at least. Been a long trek.

The final list will be narrowed down to five, and then the final awards will be handed out at this year’s StokerCon (April 27-30 in Long Beach, California).

Here's the full list: Superior Achievement in a NovelFenn, J. Lincoln – Dead Souls (Gallery Books)Hand, Elizabeth – Hard Light: A Cass Neary Crime Novel (Minotaur Books)Heuvelt, Thomas Olde – Hex (Tor Books)Jones, Stephen Graham – Mongrels (William Morrow)Langan, John – The Fisherman (Word Horde)Lombardi, Nicola – The Tank (Dunwich Edizioni)MacLeod, Bracken – Stranded: A Novel (Tor Books)Murray, Lee – Into the Mist (Cohesion Press)Prentiss, Norman– Odd Adventures with your Other Father (Kindle Press)Snyman, Monique – Muti Nation (Omnium Gatherum Media)Tremblay, Paul – Disappearance at Devil’s Rock (William Morrow)
Superior Achievement in a First NovelBarnett, Barbara – The Apothecary’s Curse (Pyr Books)Chapman, Greg – Hollow House (Omnium Gatherum Media)Deady, Tom – Haven (Cemetery Dance Publications)Franks, Matthew – The Monster Underneath (Samhain Publishing, Ltd.)Garza, Michelle and Lason, Melissa – Mayan Blue (Sinister Grin Press)Gorman, William – Blackwater Val (Crystal Lake Publishing)Kilgore, Kari – Until Death (Spiral Publishing)Labat, L.M. – The Sanguinarian ID (Night to Dawn Magazine & Books LLC)Lewis, Beth – The Wolf Road (Crown Publishing)Murphy, Jason – The Black Goat Motorcycle Club (Sinister Grin Press)Woodrow, Jonathan – Wasteland Gods (Horrific Tales Publishing)Wytovich, Stephanie – The Eighth (Dark Regions Press)
Superior Achievement in a Young Adult NovelAlexander, Maria – Snowed (Raw Dog Screaming Press)Brozek, Jennifer – Last Days of Salton Academy (Ragnarok Publishing)Cosimano, Elle – Holding Smoke (Hyperion-Disney)Ford, Michael Thomas – Lily (Lethe Press)Kelley, Michael Brent – Keep Away From Psycho Joe (Omnium Gatherum Media)Roberts, Jeyn – When They Fade (Knopf Books for Young Readers)Sirowy, Alexandra – The Telling (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)Varley, Dax – Sinful: A Bleed Novel (Garden Gate Press)
Superior Achievement in a Graphic NovelBunn, Cullen – Blood Feud (Oni Press)Chambers, James – Kolchak the Night Stalker: The Forgotten Lore of Edgar Allan Poe(Moonstone)de Campi, Alex – No Mercy, Vol. 2 (Image Comics)Miller, Mark Alan and Lansdale, Joe R. – The Steam Man (Dark Horse Books)Moore, Alan – Providence, Act 1 (Avatar Press)Quach, Ashley P – Weirdy (Sassquach Comics)Kirkman, Robert – Outcast, Vol 3 This Little Light(Image Comics)
Superior Achievement in Long FictionAnderson, Paul Michael – Bones Are Made to be Broken (Bones Are Made to be Broken) (Written Backwards)Boden, John – Jedi Summer with the Magnetic Kid (Post Mortem Press)Cushing, Aric – Vampire Boy (Grand & Archer)Cushing, Nicole – The Sadist’s Bible (01Publishing)Drinkwater, Karl – Harvest Festival (Organic Apocalypse)Edelman, Scott – That Perilous Stuff (Chiral Mad 3) (Written Backwards)LaValle, Victor – The Ballad of Black Tom (, Josh – The Jupiter Drop (You, Human) (Written Backwards)Matthews, Mark – All Smoke Rises: Milk-Blood Redux (Wicked Run Press)Shane, Simmons – Raw (Silent Screams: An Anthology of Socially Conscious Dark Fiction) (Serpent & Dove Speculative Fiction)Waggoner, Tim – The Winter Box (Darkfuse)
Superior Achievement in Short FictionBailey, Michael – “Time is a Face on the Water” (Borderlands 6) (Borderlands Press)Bodner, Hal – “A Rift in Reflection” (Chiral Mad 3) (Written Backwards)Golden, Christopher – “The Bad Hour” (What the #@&% is That?) (Saga Press)Hanson, Michael H. – “Conqueror Worms” (Dark Corners) (Iron Clad Press)Hucklebridge, Dane – “Ortolan (F(r)iction #5” (Tethered by Letters)Kiste, Gwendolyn – “Reasons I Hate My Big Sister” (Nightscript Volume 2) (Chthonic Matter)Mannetti, Lisa – “Arbeit Macht Frei” (Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories) (Crystal Lake Publishing)Manzetti, Alessandro – “Long Hair’s Inferno” (The Monster, the Bad, and the Ugly) (Kipple Officina Libraria)Oates, Joyce Carol – “The Crawl Space” (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine Volume #2016/Issue#8) (Dell Magazines)Smith, John Claude – “The Wounded Table” (The Wrath of Concrete and Steel) (Dunhams Manor Press)Yap, Isabel – “Only Unclench Your Hand” (What the #@&% is That?) (Saga Press)
Superior Achievement in a Fiction CollectionBarron, Laird – Swift to Chase (JournalStone)Braum, Daniel – The Night Marchers and Other Strange Tales (Grey Matter Press)Chizmar, Richard – A Long December (Subterranean Press)Gavin, Richard – Sylvan Dread: Tales of Pastoral Darkness (Three Hands Press)Oates, Joyce Carol – The Doll-Master and Other Tales of Terror (Mysterious Press)O’Neill, Gene – Lethal Birds (Omnium Gatherum Media)Schaller, Eric – Meet Me in the Middle of the Air (Undertow Publications)Schwaeble, Hank – American Nocturne (Cohesion Press)Sutton, Pete – A Tiding of Magpies (Kensington Gore Publishing)Wehunt, Michael – Greener Pastures (Shock Totem Publications)
Superior Achievement in a ScreenplayAlvarez, Fede and Sayagues, Rodo – DON’T BREATHE (Ghost House Pictures, Good Universe)Campbell, Josh, Chazelle, Damien, and Stuecken, Matthew – 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE (Paramount Pictures)Catlin, Sam, Rogen, Seth, and Goldberg, Evan – PREACHER: PILOT (Episode1:0) (AMC)Duffer, Matt and Duffer, Ross – STRANGER THINGS: THE VANISHING OF WILL BYERS (Episode 01: Chapter One) (21 Laps Entertainment, Monkey Massacre)Duffer, Matt and Duffer, Ross – STRANGER THINGS: THE UPSIDE DOWN (Episode 01: Chapter Eight) (21 Laps Entertainment, Monkey Massacre)Eggers, Robert – THE VVITCH (Parts and Labor, RT Features, Rooks Nest Entertainment, Code Red Productions, Scythia Films, Maiden Voyage Pictures, Mott Street Pictures, Pulse Films, and Very Special Projects)Gimple, Scott M. – THE WALKING DEAD: THE DAY WILL COME WHEN YOU WON’T BE (Episode 07:01) (AMC)Hayes, Carey, Hayes, Chad, Wan, James and Johnson, David – THE CONJURING 2 (New Line Cinema)Logan, John – PENNY DREADFUL: A BLADE OF GRASS (Episode 03:04) Showtime Presents in association with SKY, Desert Wolf Productions, Neal Street Productions)Nichols, Jeff – MIDNIGHT SPECIAL (Warner Bros.)
Superior Achievement in an AnthologyBailey, Michael – Chiral Mad 3 (Written Backwards)Bennett, T.C. and Carbone, Tracy L. – Cemetery Riots (Awol From Elysium Press)Dabrowski, Lisa – Horror from the Inside Out (Whorror House)Johnson, Eugene and Day, Charles – Drive-In Creature Feature (Evil Jester Press)Kahle, Pete – Not Your Average Monster, Vol. 2: A Menagerie of Vile Beasts (Bloodshot Books)Manzetti, Alessandro – The Beauty of Death (Independent Legions Publishing)Manzetti, Alessandro and di Orazio, Paolo – The Monster, the Bad and the Ugly (Kipple Officina Libraria)Monteleone, Thomas F. and Monteleone, Oliva F. – Borderlands 6 (Samhain Publishing, Ltd.)Mosiman, Billie Sue – Fright Mare-Women Write Horror (DM Publishing)Murano, Doug and Ward, D. Alexander – Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories (Crystal Lake Publishing)Rivera, Anthony and Lawson, Sharon – Peel Back the Skin (Grey Matter Press)
Superior Achievement in Non-FictionBraudy, Leo. – Haunted: On Ghosts, Witches, Vampires, Zombies and Other Monsters of the Natural and Supernatural (Yale University Press)Franklin, Ruth – Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life (Liveright Publishing Corporation)Ocker, J.W. – A Season with the Witch (Countryman Press)Olson, Danel P. – Guillermo del Toro’s “The Devil’s Backbone” and “Pan’s Labyrinth”: Studies in the Horror Film(Centipede Press)Poole, W. Scott – In the Mountains of Madness: The Life, Death and Extraordinary Afterlife of H. P. Lovecraft(Soft Skull Press)Skal, David J. – Something in the Blood: The Untold Story of Bram Stoker, the Man Who WroteDracula (Liveright Publishing Corporation)Tibbetts, John – The Gothic Worlds of Peter Straub (McFarland)Towlson, Jon – The Turn to Gruesomeness in American Horror Films, 1931-1936 (McFarland)
Superior Achievement in a Poetry CollectionBetts, Matt – Underwater Fistfight (Raw Dog Screaming Press)Boston, Bruce and Manzetti, Alessandro – Sacrificial Nights (Kipple Officina Libraria)Collings, Michael R. – Corona Obscura: Poems Dark and Elemental (self-published)Cowen, David E. – The Seven Yards of Sorrow (Weasel Press)DiLouie, Craig and Moon, Jonathan – Children of God: Poems, Dreams, and Nightmares from the Family of God Cult (ZING Communications, Inc., Jonathan Moon.)Gailey, Jeannine Hall – Field Guide to the End of the World: Poems (Moon City Press)Lepovetsky, Lisa – Voices from Empty Rooms (Alban Lake)Lopez III, Aurelio Rico – Two Drinks Away from Chaos (Azoth Khem Publishing)Simon, Marge. – Small Spirits (Midnight Town Media)Wytovich, Stephanie M. – Brothel (Raw Dog Screaming Press)
3 likes ·   •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on January 20, 2017 08:35 • 41 views

January 4, 2017

The deadline to submit to GARDEN OF FIENDS: TALES OF ADDICTION HORROR is now in the past and there is much work ahead.  I've been reading submissions first thing out of bed, and reading submissions until I go to bed at night. Many of them I will read twice, and some will be read by at least two others who are also doing read throughs. Then there will be decisions to make. I want a diverse table of contents, with a variety of tones, and something that will keep the readers turning pages. 

Wicked Run Press will never be a traditional small publisher, only a small, personal company I will use for dream projects, but I am trying to 'do it right' and measure each step along the way. 

The nature of the guidelines required writers to put forth a ton of effort. The word count was longer than most anthologies, the topic required research, and it took a lot of hours writers could have spent doing otherwise. I certainly know how this goes, and with that in mind, I feel I owe each person who submitted a timely response. It will not be easy, and I want to feel confident in the final decisions.

If you are reading this and submitted, please know that I appreciate it and will do my best to get a response by early February.   I also want to thank the team of folks I have been leaning on for guidance and support. I would never have gone into this alone.

3 likes ·   •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on January 04, 2017 04:52 • 22 views

December 20, 2016

10 Horror Novels Released in 2016 That Will Stock With You In 2017

ALL SMOKE RISES made the list! Here's what they had to say:Whoa!! Talk about a powerful read, Mark Matthews has given us a horror story steeped in reality. We all have heard the horrors of addiction and perhaps some of us have even dealt with such a curse, but to have it thrown in our face so brutally such as Mark has done is really terrifying. Mark knows of what he writes about, he has worked in the mental health and substance abuse field for over 20 years and so he is able to relay emotions so heart wrenchingly real.

One of my favorite reads of 2016, Of Foster Homes and Flies, by Chad Lutzke also made the list: paula-list-4This is a wonderfully told story of growing up, facing one’s fears, and taking that first step into adulthood. Its dark subject matter is balanced with the authenticity of Denny’s character. You want everything to go in his favor, you want him to come out stronger for his actions, you can’t help but cheer him on!  Like a story plucked from Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine, it is one that will be remembered long after you’re done reading.
1 like ·   •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on December 20, 2016 19:54 • 34 views

December 5, 2016

My dog, seen here writing himself into my next novella, which is to appear in Garden of Fiends: Tales of Addiction Horror, coming in spring of 2017.

5 likes ·   •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on December 05, 2016 05:49 • 35 views

November 15, 2016

*MILK-BLOOD and ALL SMOKE RISES all started with this cute little piece of Flash Fiction*
 10 am, Day After Christmas 
Puddles of mud.

After she confessed her eyes became puddles of mud, like tears had fallen upon dirty eye sockets and left a muddy mess.

“Okay, yes, it was Puckett. We had sex,” she squeaked. “Three times only. I didn’t mean to. Will you still take care of us?”

Latrice only confessed because she was caught. The paternity test showed a 99 percent chance that Zach wasn’t the father. She held the child of Puckett in her womb.

“Will you take care of us?” she asked again. It wasn’t a question. She was giving him a challenge. He took care of what he loved. His mother had been his to tend to for years, and they both got by with the help of some pills. He would take care of her until one of them died, because that’s what he did. But Latrice with another man’s child inside of her?

“I will take care of things,” he answered, but he didn’t say the rest that he wanted to, which was, “Because the day I fucked you I caught an infection and now I have it for life.”

“What about Puckett? Will you do him like you usually do?”

“Yes, I will.”
He had to. Because now Puckett has the infection too, and he was sure to come around running his mouth about being the father of Latrice’s child.
Puckett spent three more days alive before Zach found him. Suffocation by choking had always been his choice when he wanted others to think for a moment about whose hands were killing them. His hands came alive with power when wrapped around someone’s throat. Like squeezing a loaf of soft bread he could squeeze necks, but when his hands were around Puckett’s bulging windpipe, he eased up. He wanted to hear him talk. He wanted a confession. When one didn’t come and Puckett played stupid, he squeezed until he saw a shade of blue in Puckett’s face and his body danced on the edge of death. Then he relaxed his fingers and let him gasp for air and come back to life. Dipping him in, and pulling him out. He could have done it all day, and nearly did, until the shade of blue seemed to burst and no more air was needed.

Later, Puckett would swim deep. The Detroit River doesn’t give up its dead easy, and it was a better option than his burn and bury method. Last time he burned something was when he fire-bombed the house across the street with a Molotov cocktail made of vodka (100 proof). The whole block around Brentwood was rained on with ashes and soot of the boy who died that night. Latrice loved it when she could get into his head and make him kill, except for this time when a boy had died. But now she was giving birth to a new child, a baby girl, to replace him on this street. Spirit in, spirit out.

Labor pains doubled her over in pain a month before her due date, and Zach drove her to the hospital at 4:30 am on a Tuesday. The delivery room was lit like a spaceship and reminded Zach of his trip to Vegas. No windows, no escape, and you won’t leave without being changed. He couldn’t tell if it was day or night as the hours passed. He slipped out more than once to chew on his own supply of Percocets or Vicodins or Xanax, and came back feeling cleansed each time.

What he saw was a foreign liquid flowing from between Latrice’s propped up legs. It smelled of something spoiled being cooked, something ominous—bigger than her, bigger than this hospital could handle. Latrice went inward into silent agony at times, at other times yelled not with words but noises. She dripped sweat, spasmed, and when the head crowned, Zach felt both nauseous bile and warm shivers of hope.

There was a one percent chance that the baby girl would have his ebony flesh. The miracle waited in his chest, thumping, wanting to explode. But on first sight the thump died. She did not. In fact, the baby’s flesh was a veiny blue color and so pale it was nearly see-through.

A heart condition kept the child in intensive care for days, in an incubator, looking like a blue frog ready to be dissected. Zach peeked in at her and tried to make eye contact, did make eye contact. This infant seemed to be his very own heart beating in front of him, shriveled and alien, with doctors prodding it to keep it alive.

“She’s going to die,” Latrice repeated again and again. “I can’t take this, I can’t see her. You do it, you stay here.”

He did, and he slept in the hospital on plastic pillows while Latrice went home to watch over his mother who lived with them on 618 Brentwood Drive.

His lone finger in the sterile glove touched the infant girl’s forehead. Where’s my mother? She asked him with tiny motions of her incubated arms.
Soon. Soon you will see her. I am here. This is how it is.
Days later, talking hospital heads gave him instructions and medicine and appointment reminders, and he brought the child home to Latrice. Life had grown stronger in the nameless infant, but she was still barely bigger than the palm of his hand. At home the child shrieked and wailed as if it hurt just to be alive.

“This is not how it’s supposed to be,” Latrice said, watching Zach holding the wailing child at 3:36 am in the rocker on a Tuesday.

“This is how it’s going to be.”

He slept with the 10 day old baby flesh on his own. The skin was so thin you could see her insides, like it wasn’t fully done growing and she was thrown into the world before her time. Their bodies warmed each other and he rocked her on his chest until 4:25 am. She fell asleep against the beat of his heart.

On her mother’s chest, she refused to take the breast and would not sup at the nipple introduced to her mouth. Latrice seemed as scared of the child as the child was of it.

Medications the baby did take. Zach injected them into an IV port in her neck. Warnings from doctors rang in his ears. Too large of an injection could lead to asphyxiation. Failure to administer would do the same. She was already like so many who lived on this street and needed a daily drug to face each day.

Latrice curled up into a ball much of the time. Her hair, unwashed for days, became stringy as a broom. Pill bottles with the prescription labels rubbed off sat on the counter. Oxys or Xanax or both.

The infant tears came at night—sometimes for hours, non-stop. When they got too much and it seemed the child herself might shatter, the parents would wrap themselves in jackets against the cold and take dark trips to the hospital, only to be sent back home again. Sleeplessness weighed them down like soaking wet clothes. “This isn’t how it’s supposed to be,” she said.
“This is how it is,” he answered.
“No. No. You can take care of this. Take care of her like you do. Make it like it was before. She’s not meant to be alive.” Her eyes filled with tears once again. They pleaded to him. The infection bubbled in his veins.

Killing again would be easy.

He walked around the house, pacing, gaining energy with each stride, summoning up the courage to do the deed. This one needed to be fast and clean, unlike Puckett.

When he held the pillow over her face, he smothered her with his whole body weight to make it quick, but it may not have been needed. Things were fragile already, and they were just tiny breaths to take away this time.

The body fit easily into his trunk, the night air cold around him. The car seats were frigid leather. Soon the car would heat up, and things would be better. He whispered middle of the night words to his passenger in the back seat.
“We’re taking mommy to her grave. Then we’ll be home, and I will give you a name, and I will take care of you as long as I live.”
My infection is gone, he thought, as he drove with the body ready to burn and bury.

*He names her "LILLY" MILK-BLOOD on Amazon
*Read about the Life and Times of LILLY in MILK-BLOOD and ALL SMOKE RISES
3 likes ·   •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on November 15, 2016 07:29 • 29 views

November 1, 2016

The submission period for GARDEN OF FIENDS: TALES OF ADDICTION HORROR is two months old, with two months to go.

Here's an update and primer.

GARDEN OF FIENDS will be an anthology of addiction-themed horror. The focus will be longer, novella length works, four to five pieces (one being my own), with four or five short stories sandwiched in between. Nothing is off limits, as long as it includes a portrayal of the darkness of addiction, with some compassion for the plight of the addict. Payment is $500 via paypal for 16k to 25k (or more) word length stories, and contributor copies. Want an example: Think Stephen King's Grey Matter.

The open call for submissions is for the longer pieces only, as the short stories have already been chosen. To date, authors Glen Kirsch, Jack Ketchum, and Jóhann Thorsson will be featured. A couple other incredible writers to be announced soon after they sign their names in blood.

I realize the word count is more than usual, and that this means more investment in time and energy. Novella length works are the focus for a few reasons. They allow for deeper exploration of plot and character, whereas twenty short stories are so would lend to repitition of content considering the theme. Novellas allow the reader to get sucked in a bit deeper, but not stuck so long that they can't soon get to their huge pile of "to be read" books all of us have.

There has been huge interest in the project, which to me speaks to what potential this topic has. Horror fiction and addiction are a perfect fit.  The blog post announcing the anthology has had 7,000 hits, and I have received many submissions. No selection decisions will be made until the end of the submission period, which is January 1st, 2017. (so take your time and write something kick-ass, since I know folks are working on something now)

Also, despite the high number of inquiries and submissions to date, most of them won't even be considered. Why? Well, what I have learned is, most writers don't bother to read or follow the guidelines, so most of these submission were not even close to what I'm looking for.  For example: I have received novels about the sex slave trade. I have also received essays and inquiries trying to win the 'contest.' I have received countless random short stories with nothing to do with addiction  (it seems authors machine gun fire old stories, bamn bamn bamn, at any open call.).

There has also been a huge outpouring from recovering addicts hoping to write memoirs, which has certainly been touching. I have written many back, encouraging them to 'write from the wound' but that it is fiction I am looking for, not memory, and that the horror part is important.  Part of the reason for the multitude of misguided submissions, I believe,  is due to the many writer websites who love to broadcast opportunities for writers but mislead or bury the submission guidelines.

So incredibly excited for this project! I am hoping the thrill of reading it will provide a high like none other. 

*Here the link to the original call for a submission, and  a summary of the guidelines*

Pay Rates and Structure: $500 will be paid via paypal for your story. Contributor copies will be shipped to your doorstep. Options to buy further paperbacks will be provided at a discount. Movie rights will be retained by the author, but the publisher will obtain audio rights. The contract term is 4 years at which point all rights revert back to the author.
Submission guidelines: Submit to WickedRunPress@gmail.com16k to 25k words.
Multiple submissions okay, simultaneous admissions okay but make it clear you’ve submitted elsewhere.  Submissions should be polished and not need major editing. Standard 12 point, single space, Times New Roman. Nothing fancy. Prefer Word format. 
Please put Garden of Fiends Submission, Name of story, authors last name, and word count in the subject line.  Include a short description or teaser in the body of the email, as well as author bio, publishing history, and any links of interest.
Confirmation of receipt of your submission within 72 hours of submission. 
Time frames: Announcement: August 1st.Submissions accepted: September 1st to January 1st, 2017 Notice of acceptance and contracts sent: by February 1st, 2017 
Inquiries, questions; contact:
**based on submissions, the structure of the anthology is subject to change, but final terms provided in the contract**
 •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on November 01, 2016 05:49 • 13 views