Over the last century, traditional publishing has brought us the most famous horror stories ever told. Big names such as Stephen King and Dean Koontz thrust horror’s tendrils into the minds of millions of Americans, popularizing the genre.
Fast forward to 2019, where small presses and indie publishing are now bringing us the lion’s share of horror fiction—including what I believe to be some of the best stuff ever written, in what many are calling a horror renaissance.
The reason is simple: Small presses have more freedom to publish unique and diverse voices, acquired tastes that might not appeal to a mainstream palate. While these conduits can sometimes be hit or miss, more often than not, they’re where you’ll find the most artful—and dangerous—writing out there. Giving free rein to authors is how a literary genre evolves.
Which is why I’m all shivers to announce that, this fall, Denver Horror Collective (of which I’m a founding member) will be publishing a horror fiction anthology of its own!
What do vampire bedbugs, desert parasites, and zombie deer have in common? They’ve all had starring roles in my horror fiction!
Though I rarely lack for dark inspiration, for years I’ve struggled to define the specific subgenre of horror in which I write. For a while I was calling it “microbial horror,” as a lot of my work focuses on viruses and bacteria, though not all.
For instance, the novel I’m currently pitching, Alpha Syndrome, has to do with deer ticks, but I’m sure as hell not calling my stuff “tick-lit.” And then I wrote “Handgina,” and while some tried to label it “body horror,” to me that brings up images of guts and gore, which I tend to shy away from (in my writing, my reading, and life in general).
Over time, I pondered my (world’s largest?) collection of “nature-based horror” books: dark, clever, and often absurd tomes about killer sea birds, deadly snails, and murderous bodies of standing water. But while many of my stories do take place in or involve nature, that didn’t quite feel right either.
by Stephen Gregory
St. Martin’s Press (1988)
WHEN IT COMES TO BIRDS
ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S GOT NOTHING
ON THE CORMORANT.
A buck doesn’t get you much these days. But here’s a short list of products you can purchase on Amazon for $0.99!
1) Pineapple Shaped Bottle Opener
2) Makeup Brush
3) Mini Funnel
4) 2-ounce Plastic Spray Bottle
5) Silicone Oil Brush
6) LED Elephant
7) Multifunction Garlic Tool
8) Cosmetic Sponge
9) Glue Stick
10) My short story “Handgina” about a bitter young man shocked to find a part of the female anatomy growing out of the palm of his hand!
Pick up “Handgina” (cover art by The Rïpröck) for $0.99 for your Kindle or gift it to a friend (or frenemy)!
Hammers On Bone
by Cassandra Khaw
A TOUGH CASE FOR A
LOVECRAFTIAN PRIVATE EYE;
NOT YOUR GRANDPA’S NOIR.
I was interviewed on the Jeamus After Midnight podcast with Jeamus Wilkes about folk horror, my dangerous and ill-advised pilgrimages to the desert, and whether it’s a good idea to have a big ego as a writer (I wonder why I was asked that question?).
Check it out and tell me what you think and be sure to subscribe to Jeamus After Midnight!
Download or stream here.
My latest short story, “Handgina,” is now available on the evil Amazon for a mere 99 cents (cover art by the RïpRöck)!
A bitter man reeling from a breakup is convinced women have it easy compared to men. When a part of the female anatomy starts growing out of the palm of his hand, he faces a series of ordeals that help him see things from a new perspective.
Read the story for $4 in issue #5 of The Rock N’ Roll Horror Zine!
Subscribe to Josh’s Worst Nightmare free monthly e-newsletter, where I–author Josh Schlossberg–survey the dark landscape of today’s horror fiction!
Inside each issue you’ll find my infamous Haiku Horror Reviews of the latest horror fiction, where to find my published works and media appearances, and the darkest of ramblings from my innermost psyche.
Read my flash fiction story, “Long Strange R.I.P.” in issue #5 of the Rock N’ Roll Horror Zine along with several other gnarly horror writers for a mere $4!
Here’s a teaser:
“Long time no see, Mr. Garcia.” Satan slouched on his throne of charred ribcages and femurs at the center of a vast dim obsidian hall. “Whatever can I do for you?”
The heavy-set, white-haired and bearded man—basically Santa Claus in glasses and a black T-shirt—stood with his feet planted wide on the ashy stone, sulfurous gases twining around his legs like friendly cats. “You know damn well why I’m here,” Jerry said.
“Written any new jingles?” Satan’s black lidless eyes oozed like tar as he scratched the mushroom head of the ghoul squatting to his side. “I still get a kick out of that one song. How does it go? ‘Set out running but I take my time, a friend of the devil is a friend of mine.’”
“It’s gotta stop.”
“Is my singing that bad?” Satan flashed hundreds of tiny, immaculate teeth and the thing beside him tittered. “I forgot to congratulate you on the Hall of Fame induction. Quite the honor.”
“Leave Vince alone.” Jerry stuck out a trembling pointer finger, the finger beside it absent.
“Ah, yes, how is Mr. Welnick? Still tickling the ivories to your satisfaction?”
Jerry shook his head, spraying droplets of sweat that evaporated in mid-air. “You can’t keep killing them.”