We’re just getting started.

Early in 2015, we released High Strange Horror, hsh_cover06which continues to be our best online-selling title. It’s an anthology featuring authors that took on the subjects of cryptoterrestrials, aliens, men in black, UFOs, and government conspiracies. I’m very proud of the work, and consider it our flagship release of 2015. While Spooklights was our first release back in 2014, I believe we upped our professional and editorial chops with this book.

 

The Shot

Writer-editor Doctor Gaines‘ first long-form release, The Shot, is a dystopian, madcap science fiction adventure a la I Am Legend and Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

 

 

 

Devils Engine Cover

The Devil’s Engine by Robert Stava is a fun YA horror yarn about secret Nazi technology, the occult, and three teenagers unlucky enough to activate a semi-sentient, bloodthirsty locomotive. It’s a fun, short little ride, perfect for the young (and young at heart) horror fan.

 

 

I was honored that The War Writers’ Campaign published my debut Flight of the Blue Falcon Covernovel Flight of the Blue Falcon. It’s not horror or weird – but it’s a deeply personal book about the Afghanistan War, based on my time serving with the U.S. Army. If you have any interest in what the Long War was (is) like for so many servicemen and women, please consider picking up a copy. All proceeds benefit the Campaign, which is a nonprofit dedicated to publishing veteran literature and war writing. Communication is the best form of therapy, and writing this novel helped me exorcise more than a few ghosts of my own.

Just before Halloween, Literati Press Comics & Novels released my second thumbnailnovel, The Hillbilly Moonshine Massacre. This is a horror-science-fiction-conspiracy-theory-pulp adventure tale about a war veteran who returns home to find his rural ski town community grappling with UFOs, police brutality, and an outbreak of violence triggered by psychotropic moonshine. Of course, not everything is as it seems, and only the paranoid part-time county sheriff (who happens to be the host of a late night call-in paranormal talk show) knows what’s really going on. It’s X-Files meets Trailer Park Boys; Ghostbusters on magic mushrooms and cheap local beer. It’s a book I had a blast writing, and if secret societies, local crime, and alien abductions are your thing, I think you’ll love it, too.

We also significantly expanded the blog’s content and review catalog. While we can’t review everything that comes out in the horror and weird fields, we covered a lot. My favorite books of the year, in no particular order:

Scott R. Jones edited an incredible RESONATOR_cover_ebook-e1421651477512collection of stories centered on the resonator device from H.P. Lovecraft’s classic tale “From Beyond.” I loved this book from beginning to end.

 

 

Alectryomancer and Other Weird Tales by Christopher AlectryomancerSlatsky was one of the best single-author collections I read. I love conspiracy theories and alternative history, but Slatsky’s knowledge and use of the esoteric  in horror settings puts me to shame. I can’t wait to see more from him.

 

Orrin Grey’s end of year collection PaintedMonsters_cover_001_FC_small-663x1024Painted Monsters blew me away. There was not a single story in here that didn’t keep my attention. No other writer does such a great job of translating the cinematic weird to the page, marrying an obvious love for horror film with literary talent.

As for 2016, we’re staying busy. We’ll continue to do interviews with authors and reviews of horror and weird fiction and film. We have at least three releases slated for the year, including two novellas from first-time authors, and a short story collection from a very prominent new voice in the weird.

Stay tuned, and stay spooky.

-Jonathan

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News and Notes from Leeds

by Matthew M. Bartlett

I recently referred to my blog as “oft-neglected.” It’s terrible and it’s true. But here I am. It’s been a while since I’ve updated, so let me fill you in on what I’m working on.

First and foremost (though I’m not going chronologically – you see, this is WHY I gatewaysneglect my blog) is “Creeping Waves,” the follow-up to “Gateways to Abomination.” This book will consist of short pieces I left out of Gateways (they were written within the same time period), stories that have appeared in anthologies over the past 7 months, and a substantial amount of brand new work.

During the next several weeks, I will be wrapping up two or three of those new pieces, including a story tentatively titled “The Egg,” a five or six-part story entitled “Vernon Golden,” which is a framing piece that will give the book something like a narrative structure, and a few others. Perhaps an additional “Uncle Red Reads To-Day’s News” installment, too. Muzzleland Press will be publishing this follow-up, and it will be a considerably longer book. It will also likely include a significant visual component. If you liked “Gateways,” I think you’ll like it. If you didn’t like “Gateways,” (I know you’re out there) you might like this, as there are longer, more traditional stories within. Either way, the publisher and I are having a good time hashing out the details. I think the result will be a hell of a book.

Life is busy right now, so these stories are coming a paragraph at a time. I don’t yet have an ETA for this. One thing I keep thinking about:  blurbs. I’ve never sought blurbs before, nor had a publisher do so on my behalf. I suppose it’s time to start thinking about it.

Second: I’ve put out an illustrated chapbook entitled “The Witch-Cult in Western witchcultMassachusetts.” Alex Fienemann did the lovely illustrations. It’s a curious little volume of fictional biographies.

Third: Soon Dim Shores, Sam Cowan’s new publishing venture, will be putting out a chapbook of my story “Rangel.” Rangel Bantam is a young woman mentioned in “Gateways” and elaborated upon, just slightly, in “Anne Gare’s Rare Book and Ephemera Catalogue.” The latter, by the way, I may have unnumbered and unsigned copies of to sell at Necronomicon this August. Stay tuned to find out who will be illustrating and doing the cover for “Rangel.” Dim Shores has started out strong with Jeffrey Thomas’s exquisite “Ghosts in Amber.” I’m looking forward to seeing what they do in the future.

Fourth: Next year, around June, will bring a limited edition hardcover from Jordan Krall’s highly regarded Dunham’s Manor Press. As soon as I wrap up work on “Creeping Waves,” I’ll work on this. It’s about half written now, and is darker, more bleak. I’m extremely excited about it.
Well, in fact, I’m extremely excited about all three publishers I’ll be working with over the next several months. I’m nearing a full year since the release of “Gateways to Abomination.” That little self-published book changed my life.

The one thing I haven’t done lately is submitted anything to any anthologies. All the stories I had out were either picked up or declined. I hope to start again soon with new stories, when time allows.

RESONATOR_cover_ebook-e1421651477512What else? I went to Anthocon and was on a self-publishing panel moderated by Hal Bodner, along with Jeff O’Brien and E.J. Stevens. It was my first time at Anthocon and my first time being on a panel. It was well-attended and interesting. Had it gone on another hour, I wouldn’t have minded. I also saw excellent readings, sold a few books, bought a bunch of books, and got a print of the artwork for “Wicked Tales” signed by the artist. I met a lot of great people, but didn’t spend nearly enough time hanging out with them. Next year I’ll stay in the hotel.

hsh_cover06For the record, a list of available anthologies that include my work:

Resonator: New Lovecraftian Tales From Beyond.” (“Machine Will Start When You Are Start”)

High Strange Horror” (“Night Dog”)

“Xnoybis #1” (“Carnomancer, or The Meat Manager’s Prerogative”) – sold out, I think, but Dave Felton will have copies for sale at Necronomicon.

Wicked Tales” (“Master of Worms”)

Siren’s Call – A Scream in the Night” (“Following You Home”) – free to read on the site

Dark Lane Quarterly Anthology Vol. 1” (“Great Uncle Eltweed” from “Gateways to Abomination”)

Faed” (“Pharaoh” from “Gateways to Abomination”)

More news soon, more details, more updates. Thank you for reading.

This post also appears on Bartlett’s blog, found here.

Book Review: Resonator – New Lovecraftian Tales From Beyond

Edited by Scott R. Jones; Published by Martian Migraine Press

Available for pre-order now

“From Beyond” is a Lovecraft story that, while lacking the elegance and polish of some of his other works, is effective precisely because it presses the right buttons in very few words. It’s profoundly Lovecraftian in the hidden-world-higher-dark-power aspect. Human beings stumble blindly through magic and forbidden science to open up a dangerous and increasingly hostile new world that is always just out of sight. It’s only a few pages long, with most of the terrors generated by the reader’s mind. Lovecraft supplies us with just enough details to stoke the fires of imagination.

The film From Beyond, conversely, shows quite a bit—and liberally dumps buckets of slime and blood everywhere—while also under-explaining the true nature of the creepy-crawlies that float, bite, suck, consume, and ultimately corrupt and metamorphize the humans who come in contact with the infamous Resonator. Or, is it the bodies of that characters themselves that cause the corruption? Does the pineal gland, once stimulated, assume a life of its own, pushing the characters into new states of abominable evolution?

Martian Migraine Press has assembled an all-star team of horror writers who tackle these themes. In Resonator -New Lovecraftian Tales From Beyond, these writers pick up where Lovecraft and Gordon left off, tracking the fate of the Tillinghast family and the Resonator technology through a variety of weird and slimy tales of lurid erotica, old-fashioned splatterpunk, and paranoid science fiction-horror.

RESONATOR_cover_ebook-e1421651477512

I feared that the collection would at one point run out of steam—after all, how many different ways can you rebuild and re-frame a concept like the Resonator technology? The writers of this collection—expertly assembled by Scott R. Jones—managed to write stories with common themes and gross-outs, but that stand on their own in setting, characterization, and creativity. None of these stories feel like repeats or filler; each new story has a fresh and viscous take on the terrors that lurk in the branes beyond and within the human heart.

While there are reasons to like every story in this collection, I have a few personal favorites.

“IPO” by Darrin Brightman explores the Post-9/11 commercialization of the Resonator technology. Brightman’s social critique is so on-the-nose it’s easy to miss: the very machines meant to protect us make us see monsters, everywhere.

“Film Maudit” by Christopher Slatsky explores one of my favorite horror tropes: that of a forbidden film and/or a haunted movie theater (see Mer Whinery’s “The Projectionist” in our upcoming High Strange Horror release). A gorehound who has seen it all attends a special screening of a supposedly lost art house/snuff film, with the experience enhanced by the RestoRed Oscillator, an almost-forgotten spookshow gimmick that thrills the audience in new and horrifying ways.

“Bug Zapper” by Richard Lee Byers follows a scientist and a team of Army Rangers—wearing armor and popping pills to keep them motivated—as they try to destroy a special tower the government built to keep the invisible monsters away. Turns out, we are far more connected to that invisible ecosystem than even Tillinghast could have imagined, and mucking around in t-space wasn’t the best idea after all.

“Parasitosis” by Lyndsey Holder is about a man with unexplained psychological issues—including the ability to see emotions and psychological states—exploring the meaning of memory and current experiential reality, one moment at a time. This story is disorienting as it is frightening.

“The Wizard of OK” by Scott Nicolay shows us an Aleister Crowley devotee as he uses an unspeakable mix of technology and blood sorcery to explore space and time, at the expense of one very lost and damaged woman and her son. There’s a demon-thing-god-worm-creature that defies the imagination, with a psychic and physical presence that preys upon our unsympathetic characters, resonating with both physical and emotional fear.

“The Divide” by Damir Salkovic is the soul-scarring final piece. It’s more of a science fiction sequel to the original story, with a near-utopian future consisting of a wealthy elite seeking greater and greater thrills and experiences that lead them all the way to the center of creation. There they encounter a fate—and a truth—far worse than they could possibly have imagined.

There’s plenty more to like. This is a creative exploration of form and content around the shared conceit of technology/sorcery and third-eye truth. In case you missed the original story, it’s included at the beginning of the collection, so don’t worry about being lost in the shuffle. Each author takes those primordial ideas and conjures up terrors both immediate and existential. In Resonator, merely getting eaten alive by unseen monsters from outside time and space is the least of your concerns, and one of the more noble fates the hapless characters end up suffering.

This book comes with my strongest recommendation for fans of both science fiction-horror and body-horror.

5/5 Resonance Waves

Matthew M. Bartlett, author of Gateways to Abomination, to join Muzzleland Press

Muzzleland Press is proud to announce that we will be publishing the new short fiction collection from independent horror author Matthew M. Bartlett.

Gateways to Abomination, Bartlett’s first collection, was an underground hit, generating praise from The Arkham Digest, PlayWithDeath.com, and many others for its disturbing and original take on occult horror. Bartlett’s grotesque, vivid style makes his work stand out as a unique contribution to the current Weird Renaissance.

Bartlett has also published stories in Faed published by A Murder of Storytellers, in Resonator: New Lovecraftian Tales From Beyond published by Martian Migraine Press, and in High Strange Horror published by Muzzleland Press. His next release will be The Witch-Cult in Western Massachusetts, an illustrated chapbook.

Muzzleland Press will publish the as-yet untitled follow up to Gateways to Abomination, a short fiction collection featuring his infamous cult and radio broadcasts, grotesque bio-horrors, and new dark and disturbing settings and characters. Accompanying the book will be a small series of short horror films set in Bartlett’s twisted universe.

The book is tentatively scheduled for late 2015 or early 2016.

For updates on Bartlett’s writing, check his blog at www.mathewmbartlett.com.