Good morning, Fiends!
By the end of this week, CGP will have published its third full-length anthology of horror and dark fiction, Stories We Tell After Midnight, Volume 2. The twenty-four stories in this anthology invite the reader into a world where a grandmother never stops telling her stories, where the winter ice and snow of a Leningrad under siege reveal the depths of human desperation, and where a grandfather follows the voice of his dead grandson into the Whisper Woods.
The anthology launches Thursday, October 1, and will be available via print and ebook from Amazon. Kindle Unlimited subscribers will be able to read it for free. In addition to author interviews and some other fun things, we will be having a launch party with a panel watch party and general hangout this Saturday, hosted by Con-Tinual: The Con That Never Ends.
As I do all those pre-publication things: schedule the interviews, ensure the final proof has been approved, freak out and drink a lot of coffee, my social media has been showing me “memories” of where I was this time last year, prepping to release our first anthology, Stories We Tell After Midnight. At that time, it was just “SWTAM”; I wasn’t thinking much about what was coming next, although that quickly changed as I decided to go for broke and open a submissions call right when I was trying to launch. (Terrible, terrible idea. Never doing that again.)
So why did I decide to get into the fun-filled shenanigans of horror publishing? It was the fortuitous coming together of three factors. First, I’d known I wanted to try my hand at editing/publishing for a while. I’d indie published my own work, but I really enjoyed working on the Writerpunk charity anthologies, and I wanted to get the experience of shepherding a project from the start of the submission process to launch to maintaining interest afterwards. Second, my sister, Thea, had been sending me stories of hers to read and edit. She had been a member of our writing group in North Carolina, and now that she was living and working overseas, had joined a writing group there and was steadily working on a slowly expanding (very slowly) collection of short horror and dark folktale pieces. Late in 2018, she sent me a short, disturbing, creepy little tale about a little boy who went to bed without saying his prayers…
So there I was, with the desire to head up an anthology project and a writer who kept writing these terrific pieces and ignoring my urging to send them to a market, any market, to start on the submission process. Here’s where the third factor came in–a lifetime of reading and enjoying horror literature, in particular, short fiction. From Suzy McKee’s “Boobs,” to Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery,” to HP Lovecraft’s collection The Dunwich Horror and Other Tales, to Ray Bradbury’s The October People and Something Wicked This Way Comes, and even to cheesy, falling apart paperbacks like The Haunted Planet, there was something so fascinating and disturbing about the genre. Growing up, my parents didn’t let us watch scary, intense films, but the images in those books were as vivid as if I were living in the world of Poe’s “The Masque of the Red Death,” which gave me nightmares for a week. Love that story.
All of these factors came together in a decision to publish a collection of my sister’s stories and launch it in October 2019. Around about May, I realized that I wasn’t going to get much more than the one story, so I decided to reach out to my writing network. One thing led to the anthology, SWTAM, and then to another, Coppice & Brake, and now we are getting ready to bring to bear all the lessons learned through the past year and publish a sequel of horror and dark fiction and stories to tell after the clock strikes twelve, and the house is still and quiet and dark.
And now it’s time to get going. These promotions aren’t going to set themselves up! (Although if they do, it’s more proof that all my technology is haunted…) For those who have pre-ordered a copy of Stories We Tell After Midnight 2 — thank you so much! And for those planning to purchase a copy, thanks as well! I hope you enjoy the read. And, once you are finished, please think about leaving us a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads. Reviews make our cold, dark little heart so happy. Wait, “our”? Oops… I mean, my heart. Mine. All mine, muahahahahaaa!!