Wednesday, September 12, 2018

IT'S ALIVE!!!

The Nightscape Press Webstore is finally up! All of our current paperback books are available. Titles from authors like Stephen Graham Jones, Lisa Mannetti, Tim Waggoner, Amelia Mangan, Rick Hautala, Rena Mason, and more. 

However, all of our current eBooks will take longer as they are tied up with Kindle Unlimited exclusivity. But in late November that will end and they will go up in the eBook section of the store. Meanwhile, you can now pre-order the eBook editions of both ASHES AND ENTROPY and Jon Padgett's THE BROKER OF NIGHTMARES over there directly from us. 

Speaking of pre-order, ASHES AND ENTROPY is now available for Kindle pre-order on Amazon! If you don't already know the details of this book, it's an anthology of cosmic horror and noir/neo-noir edited by Robert S. Wilson. It will include new stories by Laird Barron, Damien Angelica Walters, John Langan, Kristi DeMeester, Jon Padgett, Nadia Bulkin, Jayaprakash Satyamurthy, Lucy A. Snyder, Tim Waggoner, Jessica McHugh, Paul Michael Anderson, Fiona Maeve Geist, Max Booth III, Lynne Jamneck, Greg Sisco, Lisa Mannetti, Nate Southard, Erinn L. Kemper, Matthew M. Bartlett, Autumn Christian, and more. The book is beautifully illustrated by Luke Spooner of Carrion House Illustration and the release date is set for December 11th of this year.

Meanwhile, our very first Charitable Chapbook, Jon Padgett's THE BROKER OF NIGHTMARES, is over halfway sold out with only 44 copies remaining, so, if you haven't already, now's the time to grab one up before they're gone. One third of all proceeds from the sale of this fantastic novelette will go to the ACLU. As soon as these sell out, we'll be sending a nice big payment of $1,000 their way and nothing could make us happier right now as publishers. 

We'll be unleashing more Charitable Chapbooks as time goes on, and our charity novel line of books is currently open for submissions as well, so we hope to have charitable novels for sale starting sometime in 2019. We're also currently open to submissions to writers from underrepresented demographics for two slots in ASHES AND ENTROPY. So, if that applies to you, be sure to get a story submitted before the end of September!

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Ashes and Entropy: A Trade Paperback Trifecta!

Here they are, all three covers for ASHES AND ENTROPY! Each cover image links to the corresponding pre-order link of the anthology for that edition. These covers were selected from our cover contest and were chosen based on a number of criteria including aesthetics, textual design, and how accurately they depicted the book they would be used for. Included with each of these are mock-up full spreads to give an idea of what the full book will look like. They do not however, include the final TOC as that is still yet to be updated due to our current open submissions call for writers from underrepresented demographics.

First we have our contest winner and retail cover created by Pat R. Steiner:




And now for Alternate Dimentions #1 and #2:

Our first runner up was C.V. Hunt with this stunning gem:




And Don Noble brings us our second runner up, a gritty and more psychedelic take on the anthology. 




More about this bleak and dazzling upcoming anthology:

Stand on the precipice and prepare to dive down through the event horizon into the bleak and mind-shattering void of both the cosmos and of humanity.

Nightscape Press is proud to present ASHES AND ENTROPY edited by Robert S. Wilson, an anthology of cosmic horror and noir/neo-noir. ASHES AND ENTROPY includes brand new stories by Laird Barron, Damien Angelica Walters, John Langan, Kristi DeMeester, Jon Padgett, Nadia Bulkin, Jayaprakash Satyamurthy, Lucy A. Snyder, Tim Waggoner, Jessica McHugh, Paul Michael Anderson, Max Booth III, Lynne Jamneck, Greg Sisco, Lisa Mannetti, Nate Southard, Erinn L. Kemper, Matthew M. Bartlett, Autumn Christian, and more. Each volume of this anthology is beautifully illustrated by Luke Spooner and available in black and white or color trade paperback editions. 

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Behold: The Main Cover for ASHES AND ENTROPY!

Today we unveil the main cover for ASHES AND ENTROPY that will be available via retailers. This was the winner of our cover art contest held last month. You can pre-order this edition here or by clicking on the cover artwork. Tomorrow we will unveil the Alternate Dimension #1 trade paperback edition including the first runner up cover chosen from our contest. Both Alternate Dimension options will be exclusively available on our website in color trade paperback only.

ASHES AND ENTROPY will release on December 11th, 2018 and will include stories from Laird Barron, Damien Angelica Walters, John Langan, Kristi DeMeester, Jon Padgett, Nadia Bulkin, Jayaprakash Satyamurthy, Lucy A. Snyder, Tim Waggoner, Jessica McHugh, Paul Michael Anderson, Max Booth III, Lynne Jamneck, Greg Sisco, Lisa Mannetti, Nate Southard, Erinn L. Kemper, Matthew M. Bartlett, Autumn Christian, and more. 


And speaking of "and more" the book is currently open for two slots to writers from underrepresented demographics such as women, LGBTQ persons, persons of color, disabled persons, and any other underrepresented group not mentioned here. You can find more about that on our submissions page!


Friday, August 3, 2018

Ashes and Entropy Story Spotlight: Ain't Much Pride by Nate Southard

Time for another ASHES AND ENTROPY Story Spotlight! Today's beacon of anti-hope shines on Nate Southard's "Ain't Much Pride." "Ain't Much Pride" is a nautical tale of a mob henchman and his boss and cohorts hiding out at sea from "the feds." But something unfathomable lurks beneath the water waiting for them and, like our anti-hero, it's hungry for more than just fish.

Nate Southard is the author of Bad Dogs, Porcelain, Will the Sun Ever Come Out Again?, Red Sky, Lights Out, and Just Like Hell.  When he isn’t writing scary stories, he’s probably cooking.  Usually Thai food or fried chicken.  He loves fried chicken.

Nate lives in Austin, Texas with his girlfriend, a dog, and two cats.  The cats are total assholes.

www.natesouthard.com

I've loved Nate's work ever since I first read his submission "Mouth" for Horror for Good back in 2011. He continues to write phenomenal raw and emotional pieces of brutal fiction and he was an obvious choice when I set out to make a list of authors to solicit for this collection. And unsurprisingly, he brought that same sense of brutal originality to ASHES AND ENTROPY with this story. So without further ado, here is the opening to "Ain't Much Pride":


Used to be, I loved fish. Tuna, swordfish, red snapper, striped bass—found me a chef who knew how to cook it, and I’d belly up. I’m not talking about deep frying catfish or beer-battered cod, either. Any goon can do that. Cooking a real piece of fish; that takes skill. Try to say I’m wrong, you get cuffed behind the ear. Hard.
Now? Man, I hate fish. The look, the smell, the taste. Jesus Christ. Makes me sick just to think about it. Seven months hiding out in international waters will do that to you, though. Don’t matter if you’re on a luxury yacht or not. No steak or pork or chicken on this floating tomb. Just fish. We eat what we got; we get more. It’s like the circle of life, except with a skeleton crew, couple of girls, a looming drug trafficking charge, and so much sea food it’ll grow you gills.
#
Boss Wilburn sits in one of the yacht’s bigger rooms—I know crap about boats, but my guess is it’s a ballroom…maybe a dining room—in one of his better suits. Months without a dry cleaner have left it smudged with salt air, but he still suits up every Thursday. Says it’s important to keep things formal. He insists on formality while doing lines off Betty Numero Uno, whose name is Cynthia.
I stand in the corner, hands folded in front of my crotch like I need to piss. The 9mm is hard against my ribs, but I’m used to it.
Gregory reads him one of the latest encrypted emails. Wilburn receives one a week, no more, and he’s powerful enough to afford keeping a lawyer like Gregory on board to explain all of them. Back when boredom hadn’t chained him to a gold straw, he’d insisted this would keep us all safe and secure. I want a steak so bad I’ve been considering a Facebook account so I can display our location, maybe tag the Feds. Pretty sure they don’t serve fish in prison.
“Okay, yeah, sure,” Wilburn says. “Skip the pretty words and tell me what it means.”
“It means the Feds aren’t tossing the investigation,” Gregory says. “Another month, maybe, but for right now we’re staying put.”
“Fine with me. Ain’t it fine with you, Cindy?”
Cynthia giggles, her stomach spasming, and Wilburn holds up both hands. “Hold still, dammit! I got two lines left.”
“Sorry, Baby.” Her red hair lies in a perfect fan on the mahogany tabletop.
“It’s good, Sugar. We all so good.”
The lines disappear, and I dream of fried chicken.


Thursday, August 2, 2018

Ashes and Entropy Story Spotlight: The Kind Detective by Lucy A. Snyder

Week two of our ASHES AND ENTROPY Story Spotlight series kicks off with a truly weird/cosmic horror tale from the amazing Lucy A. Snyder. This is definitely another story that hovers within the inner circle of my original vision for this anthology. A truly weird cosmic horror noir with a brilliant aesthetic and an ending that will almost certainly take you by complete surprise. Lucy's latest collection Garden of Eldritch Delights is available in trade paperback for pre-order now on Amazon. I would advise you go shell out some cash for this one!

Lucy A. Snyder is a five-time Bram Stoker Award-winning author. She wrote the novels Spellbent, Shotgun Sorceress, and Switchblade Goddess, the nonfiction book Shooting Yourself in the Head for Fun and Profit: A Writer’s Survival Guide, and the collections While the Black Stars Burn, Soft Apocalypses, Orchid Carousals, Sparks and Shadows, Chimeric Machines, and Installing Linux on a Dead Badger. Her writing has been translated into French, Russian, Italian, Czech, and Japanese editions and has appeared in publications such as Apex Magazine, Nightmare Magazine, Pseudopod, Strange Horizons, Weird Tales, Scary Out There, Seize the Night, and Best Horror of the Year. She lives in Columbus, Ohio and is faculty in Seton Hill University’s MFA program in Writing Popular Fiction. You can learn more about her at www.lucysnyder.com and you can follow her on Twitter at @LucyASnyder.

The Kind Detective is a gritty Lovecraftian tale with a protagonist who is unstoppably kind at his very core, but the case he finds himself smack in the middle of just might pull him up from his roots. Here is the opening scene:


One Sunday at exactly 4pm, Detective Craig McGill was nursing an Irish coffee and poring over the cold-case murder photos spread across his cigarette-pocked kitchen table. His eyes ached. There had to be some small but crucial details he missed the first twenty times he studied these black-and-white snapshots of death and misery. He was certain, sure as a priest about the truth of a loving God, that if he just looked at things the right way, he’d solve these grisly puzzles. Justice would be served. And if a horror could be met with no meaningful justice, at least grieving families could finally gain some closure.
            A loud bang! made him reflexively dive to the worn yellow linoleum floor. His ears popped as if he were on a jet that had taken a sudden 20,000-foot plunge. Vertigo surged bile into his throat as he rolled sideways to draw the .38 revolver he kept in a holster bolted beneath the table.
            He crouched in the shadow of the table, waiting for another bang! None came. It hadn’t been gunfire. Too loud, too low. But it had come from the street in front of his house. Maybe closer. A bomb? His mind flashed on the pressure cooker IEDs the narc squad had recovered from a backwoods meth lab. Who would have tossed a bomb into his yard?  The local Klan, angry that he’d sent one of their boys to Angola for murder? Gangbangers? A random lunatic?
            After a ten count, he crouch-ran to the living room window and peeked through mini-blinds. The only thing that registered at first was that something was terribly wrong with his yard. But for a couple of seconds his brain rejected the missives from his eyes because what he beheld was an impossibility.
            The massive pecan tree that shaded the front yard of the shotgun bungalow since his grandfather built it in 1930 was gone. Not exploded, not burned down – gone. It had a canopy as wide as the house and a trunk he couldn’t get his arms around and there wasn’t a stick or leaf left of it. Not even the main roots remained. A wide, perfectly hemispherical scoop of dirt and concrete sidewalk was gone, too. McGill was relieved that the water and gas mains hadn’t been broken.
            Nobody was visible on his street except for his catty-corner neighbor, Mrs. Fontenot. He gave her all his pecans every fall, and the pies she made from them were one of the purest joys in his life. Before he tasted one, he’d scoffed at people who declared that this or that food was a religious experience. Mrs. Fontenot made him a believer. His first bite made him declare that she should be a pastry chef, and she laughed and replied that it would be the ruination of a fine hobby.
            Mrs. Fontenot was dressed in her gardening hat and matching lavender gloves and rubber boots and sat beside a scooped crater in her front yard. Her magnolia was gone. She was hunched over, listing to the side in the way that people do when they are in profound shock.
            McGill shoved his pistol in the back waistband of his cargo pants and hurried out to see if she needed help. The heavy smells of tree root sap and fresh overturned soil were thick in the humid air. He glanced down at his missing tree’s crater as he hurried past it. The remaining roots were cleanly severed at the margin of the hemisphere. What kind of machine could have done such a thing? And why?
            “Miz Fontenot, are you okay?” he called as he scanned the street for strange vehicles. His snap judgement that this was the work of criminals he’d crossed seemed ridiculous now. Someone who could take a pair of big old trees like this could have taken his whole house with him inside it. But someone did do this strange, powerful thing, so maybe the perpetrator was watching? The hand of God hadn’t just scooped out their trees. The universe didn’t work that way. Did it?
            Mrs. Fontenot made no reply to his call, did not move, so he ran over and knelt beside her.
            “Miz Fontenot?” He gently touched her shoulder. “Are you okay?”
            She slowly turned to face him. Her dark face was wet with tears, and her brown eyes stared wide. He’d once seen that same expression on a small boy who’d watched his father cut up his mother with a hatchet.
            “Oh … Detective. So fine of you to visit.” Her voice was as flat as a salt marsh.
            “Did you see what happened?”
            “I saw … I saw ….”
            She started to weep. Deep, wracking, soul-wrenching sobs. People her age who got this upset sometimes had heart attacks or strokes. McGill wondered if he should call for a squad, but he wasn’t sure if she had health insurance. If she didn’t, the ambulance and ER bills might break her. She didn’t seem to be in immediate danger. Maybe she just needed a chance to rest and gather herself.
            “Can you stand up? Let’s get you inside. I’ll make you some tea.”
            He gently helped her up and escorted her back into her house. She stopped crying, but her whole body shook as if she were walking through snow. Shock, definitely. He got her settled in her easy chair, pulled off her boots, and tucked a crocheted afghan over her legs so she’d stay warm.
            “Thank you, Detective. You’re a kind man. Don’t let nothing tell you otherwise.”
            McGill smiled at her and went into her kitchen to put the kettle on.
            When he returned with a steaming mug of chamomile tea, Mrs. Fontenot was dead.
            The purely practical part of McGill’s mind told him that a squad wouldn’t have arrived in time to save her. They just wouldn’t bust the speed limit for a black lady with vague symptoms, not even if a white off-duty cop was calling on her behalf. And that renewed realization – the system he served was horribly flawed – made the mess of sadness, anger and guilt stewing in his skull almost boil over.
            He hadn’t shed a single tear at any of the terrible murder scenes he’d investigated. Nobody wanted an emotional cop. It was not professional, it was not manly, and he would not weep now for this sweet old lady slumped in her favorite chair, even if nobody could possibly see him.
            He would not cry. He would do his job: find out who did this to her. This wasn’t technically murder, but he was sure to his core that whoever took her tree, took her life just the same. He would work this like any other case, and he would solve it, and there would be justice.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Cover Contest for Ashes and Entropy!

Back in June when we launched our new website, one of the things we discussed was the upcoming cover contest for ASHES AND ENTROPY. Well, with the Kickstarter just two days away now, it's time to unveil the guidelines for that contest. (Note: the following guidelines also appear on our submissions page.)

During the month of August 2018, we will be open to submission for the ASHES AND ENTROPY Cover Art Contest! ASHES AND ENTROPY is an anthology of cosmic horror, noir, and neo-noir including new stories by Laird Barron, Damien Angelica Walters, John Langan, Kristi DeMeester, Jon Padgett, and many more. 

The winner of this contest will receive payment of $500 for the use of their submitted artwork as the cover for various editions of ASHES AND ENTROPY. If the Kickstarter is funded, the winning artist will also receive a bonus of $500! 

Please send all cover art submissions and/or queries to ashesandentropyartcontest@gmail.com There are few aesthetic guidelines for this contest. Use the title of the anthology, with the anthology's genres in mind, to spark your own creative ideas for this cover. 

Please create only the front cover for now, if you're piece is chosen, when the book's interior is finalized, we will have you create the rest of the cover spread to its exact spine width. The front cover dimensions are 6 X 9 (with bleed. Here are some more detailed info for specifications) and we will prefer 600DPI for the final version but a clear more web-friendly size will be fine for submitting. Thank you and good luck!

***Clarification*** The full title of the anthology is ASHES AND ENTROPY. I decided to ditch the subtitle for those who have been following the book's progress since the beginning. Please include "edited by Robert S. Wilson" as well. 

So that's pretty much it. Artists, get your creative, gritty, dark, cosmic-noir cap on and sharpen your art tools (you know, just the ones that actually need sharpening) and get to work!

***Update!*** We have decided to allow up to three art submissions per artist! 

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Ashes and Entropy Story Spotlight: I Can Give You Life by Paul Michael Anderson

Today we continue our story spotlight on the extraordinary tales that grace the interior pages of our upcoming anthology ASHES AND ENTROPY with a feature of the very first story I accepted for the book, Paul Michael Anderson's "I Can Give You Life." Here's some more about Paul:

Paul Michael Anderson is the author of Bones Are Made to be Broken (Written Backwards), which Jack Ketchum called “a dark carnival of rigorous intelligence and compassion, the title novella alone of which is well worth the price of admission” and Fangoria said, “With BONES ARE MADE TO BE BROKEN, Anderson announces himself as a major talent in the dark fiction realm, capable of fashioning imaginative, bold visions.”

Anderson’s stories, articles, reviews, interviews, and introductions have appeared in numerous anthologies, magazines, and websites. He teaches in northern Virginia, where he lives with his wife and daughter. You can find Paul on Twitter under the inspired handle of @p_m_anderson, or at his website paulmichaelanderson.wordpress.com.

Paul's story is the longest tale accepted thus far weighing in at a whopping 17,000 words (Paul calls that a short story. Ha!). This bleak and unsettling tale of a rookie Virginia state trooper investigating a strange mysterious highway accident really sits at the deep core of what I originally envisioned for this anthology. And while that vision has expanded drastically, this piece sits grim and lovely at the center of that expansion as a fulcrum tying together the other themes and extrapolations in an original and gritty entanglement of noir and weird cosmic folk horror. Here is the opening scene:


Charlie was a rookie, so he puked, but he was still a Virginia State Trooper, so he made sure to do it in the woods to the side of the highway, as far from the crime scene as possible.

(how do you know it's a crime scene?)

(what else could it be?)

Wiping his mouth, he stomped back to the road, trying not to trip over an errant tree root. His stomach sloshed with his footfalls, although he couldn't for the life of him imagine what could still be in there. The tree line was a few yards away, the shadows in the ditch beside 526 eastbound deepened by the twisting red and blue lights—

(wait)

Why were there blue lights?

(blue lights are county aren't they this is highway)

He clambered up the ditch with as much dignity as he could manage, stumbling and scraping his left hand against the rocks puncturing the topsoil, wincing at the wire-thin pain.  Clips of voices drifted over, resembling beat poetry.

"Getting bad...run the plates...got an idea...exits already closed from Linden to 81...getting worse, is what it is...shouldn'ta run out like that...like that fucking matters..."

The patrol cars—both State Police and Anbeten County—were parked willy-nilly across the closed lanes, framing the configuration of metal and glass in the center of the lane that might've once been a Ford Galaxie station wagon—the extended back was still in approximate shape—but wasn't any longer. The entire frontend had been flattened to the shattered windshield and what remained of the passengers resembled ground chuck, pressed into the vinyl seats.

(how? how does that happen? how is this a crime scene? what does that?)

He approached the officers, grouped by grey gray or tan uniforms. Most looked up, their faces tight and gazes unreadable; men of varying ages, hair colors, and complexions but sharing enough similar traits—the wideness between the eyes, the thin lips—to mark them as local. He was the only Trooper in Area 13 who hadn't been born in either Anbeten, Frederick, or Warren County.

"Trooper," one of the county boys said, nodding his head slightly.

"Brooks," Harrigan, Area 13's Master Trooper, said, his bushy salt-and-pepper eyebrows drawn together. He didn't look up and his eyes were distant, as if he was trying to figure out a difficult math problem. The other troopers stood behind him, all Trooper IIs; Charlie was the only probie. "You and Trooper Caldwell are going to Schlossen. That's where the folks—"

"Temoin family," a trooper behind him said. He was slightly pudgier than the others, his lank blond hair longer.

Harrigan nodded. "Thank you, Caldwell. That's where they called this in from. They're staying at the Cool Harbor Motel. Go there to get their statement."

He looked up and studied Charlie. His eyes were sharper, but his eyebrows were still bunched. "I'm under no illusions that you expected this on your third day in Area 13 and this is a delicate matter—" The tip of his tongue darted out, wetted his lips. "—and the academy didn't train you for it. Caldwell is lead. Understood?"

Charlie nodded. "Yes, sir."

"Dick and his boys are going to handle this." Harrigan inclined his head to the man who'd addressed him. Dick planted his thumbs in his Sam Browne belt. There were fewer county boys than State Troopers, but they seemed to set their feet more firmly, take up more space on the road.

Charlie's eyes cut back to his superior. "Sir?" 

"They'll maintain the road closure until public works has cleaned the mess," Harrigan said. He gestured at a tight clutch of VDOT workers, their orange jumpsuits giving them away, on the far side of the accident. They crowded behind a wiry bald man, his head thrust forward like a strutting cock. His hollowed eye sockets resembled a skull.

Questions piled up in Charlie's head, the questions anyone new would ask and feel stupid for doing so because the answers must be obvious, but he looked away and said, "Yes, sir."

Harrigan lifted his chin. "All right, gentlemen. We all know our jobs."

The two groups dispersed—the Troopers to their Fords, while the county boys spread around their sheriff.

(welcome to the illustrious life of a virginia state trooper charlie brooks!)

And then, a softer voice, a voice he knew but refused to acknowledge:

(isn't this what you wanted?)

Caldwell said, "C'mon, probie," and started for a patrol car, the blue detailing made black in the emergency lights.

Charlie followed. The other officers glanced at him as they walked around the incident—the strange knot of VDOT workers openly gaped at him—but Charlie resisted hunching his shoulders. He was a Virginia State Trooper now; he had his certificate—even if the ink hadn't fully dried yet—and his assignment to prove it.

But he still felt their eyes on him

(outsider-outsider-outsider-outsider)

and he hunched his shoulders, anyway.

You can read this story in its entirety in ASHES AND ENTROPY when it is released into the wild in December or sooner by getting the extremely limited single story chapbook of "I Can Give You Life" through our Kickstarter campaign launching on August 1st! Keep an eye out for more story spotlights and other upcoming news about ASHES AND ENTROPY here on the Nightscape Press webpage!