Best Horror of the Year 6

I’m very thrilled to announce that my story Apports, which was published in Black Static last year, has been selected by Ellen Datlow for Best Horror of the Year 6. It’s a tale I’m very proud of, and was my second appearance in the UK’s premier horror magazine, edited by Andy Cox. Starting out under the title ‘The Allure of Oblivion’, its new name seemed to reflect a leaner, less-pretentious vibe, and I’m delighted it has found a platform to reach a wider audience. Here is the table of contents for Best Horror of the Year 6 -

Apports by Stephen Bacon (Black Static #36)
Mr. Splitfoot by Dale Bailey (Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells)
The Good Husband by Nathan Ballingrud (North American Lake Monsters)
The Tiger by Nina Allan (Terror Tales of London)
The House on Cobb Street by Linda E. Rucker (Nightmare #9 June)
The Soul in the Bell Jar by KJ Kabza (F&SF November/Dec)
Call Out by Stephen Toase (Innsmouth Magazine #12)
That Tiny Flutter of the Heart I Used to Call Love by Robert Shearman (Psycho-Mania)
Bones of Crow by Ray Cluley (Black Static #37)
Introduction to the Body in Fairy Tales by Jeannine Hall Gailey (Phantom Drift #3)
The Fox by Conrad Williams (This is Horror chapbook)
The Tin House by Simon Clark (Shadow Masters)
Stemming the Tide by Simon Strantzas (Dead North)
The Anatomist’s Mnemonic  by Priya Sharma (Black Static #32)
The Monster Makers by Steve Rasnic Tem (Black Static #35)
The Only Ending We Have by Kim Newman (Psycho-Mania)
The Dog’s Paw by Derek Künsken (Chilling Tales: In Words, Alas, Drown I)
Fine in the Fire by Lee Thomas (Like Light For Flies)
Majorlena by Jane Jakeman (Supernatural Tales 24)
The Withering  by Tim Casson (Black Static 32)
Down to a Sunless Sea  by Neil Gaiman (The Guardian.com)
Jaws of Saturn by Laird Barron (The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All)
Halfway Home by Linda Nagata (Nightmare #12)
The Same Deep Waters as You by Brian Hodge (Weirder Shadows Over Innsmouth)

So as you can see, it promises to be a great book. I’m very excited to be sharing pages with so many fantastic writers. I’ll post more when I get the details, but the expected publication date is around June.

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New Stories

Just thought I’d throw a little note up to say that January seems to be progressing in a nice manner. I’ve recently had three stories accepted for forthcoming anthologies – all due out later this year, all of which I was invited to submit to. This type of thing usually adds an extra element of pressure because as well as agreeing to find the time to write the stories, I also feel obligated not to let down the respective editors; I’d hate to send something to them only for the story to be passed up as being not right for the book (that has happened before in the past). But I’m pleased to report that in this instance all 3 tales have managed to make the cut. More information as soon as I can announce it.

Now my short story commitments have been fulfilled, it allows me time to focus on my novella (provisionally called Laudanum Nights), which I hope to have finished sometime this Spring.

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Ill at Ease 2

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It’s finally here! After a very prolonged road to publication, ILL AT EASE 2 is finally released to the world. Here is the table of contents -

Double Helix by Stephen Bacon
The Shuttle by Shaun Hamilton
Masks by Robert Mammone
One Bad Turn by Val Walmsley…
The Bureau of Lost Children by Mark West
Paradise Lost by Sheri White
There Shall We Ever Be by Neil Williams

The book is available from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com and is available in paperbook and Kindle versions.

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Crimewave 12 – Hurts

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CRIMEWAVE 12: HURTS will be shipping in early November by TTA Press. Featuring original crime short stories and novellas by Christopher Priest, Melanie Tem, Stephen Volk, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, James Cooper, Tim Lees, Danny Rhodes, Joel Lane, Janice Law, Steven J. Dines, Antony Mann, Stephen Bacon, Simon Avery, and Ray Cluley.
Available from the TTA website. Coming soon to Kindle and Amazon.

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Honourable Mentions…and some kind words about Peel Back the Sky

Ellen Datlow has published her gargantuan list of honourable mentions for stories that were published in 2012. I was pleased to see that 4 of mine were on the list – CUCKOO SPIT (from Black Static), SOMEWHERE ON SEBASTIAN STREET (from Horror For Good), GIRL AFRAID (from Peel Back the Sky) and DADDY GIGGLES (also from Peel Back the Sky). Obviously, NONE SO BLIND was also selected for inclusion in the book so it marks 5 of my short stories to be honoured – a highpoint in my writing so far. Last year I had 2 stories on the list, and 4 the previous year.

Ellen also had some nice things to say about my debut collection in her summation to Best Horror of the Year 5 – “Peel Back the Sky by Stephen Bacon (Gray Friar Press) is this promising new-comer’s first collection and features fifteen stories reprinted from mostly small press magazines and websites and six originals. He’s a writer to keep an eye on.

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Anatomy of Death

Anatomy of Death

In my haste to catch up on the last 3 months’ news, I forgot to mention that a superb mini anthology was released, one in which I contribute a tale. ANATOMY OF DEATH, brilliantly edited by Mark West was published by Hersham Horror Books, featuring 5 short stories harking back to the 70s/80s horror and sleaze boom in cinema and publishing. The other 4 contributors are superb writers, and I’m honoured to share space with them – Mark West, Stephen Volk, John Llewellyn Probert and Johnny Mains. The reviews so far have been very encouraging so I hope you’ll consider picking up a copy.

Amazon UK – print and Kindle

Amazon US – print and Kindle

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Black Static

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I haven’t updated this site in over 3 months. That was very remiss of me, but it wasnt because I haven’t been busy. I have been busy. So this is a quick update of where things stand.

Firstly, it was great to hear from editor Andy Cox recently, who told me that my short story, APPORTS, would be published in (probably) the September issue of Black Static magazine. This is my second appearance in the fantastic British publication, and the first since it changed format to a smaller size. Needless to say I’m looking forward to it immensely. The tale is an extremely dark ghost story.

Secondly, I heard recently from Ellen Datlow, who advised me that The Best Horror of the Year 5 – in which my story NONE SO BLIND will be reprinted – has had its publication date pushed back to September. This is due to the takeover of Night Shade Books. Whilst its delay has been frustrating, at one point there seemed a very real possibility that, unless the new contracts could be agreed, the series would be cancelled. So I’m glad to see it has all been resolved and things should continue.

Thirdly, my latest story, RAPID EYE MOVEMENT, is due to be published in Joe Mynhardt’s Crystal Lake Publishing anthology, Fear the Reaper. There are some great writers involved in this project, too. I’ll post more information a little closer to the time.

Fourthly, I need to say that I’ve seen the artwork that is due to grace the cover of Crimewave 12, out soon from TTA Press. It’s a superb piece of work. My story, WHAT GRIEF CAN DO, will be published in it, alongside many wonderful award-winning writers (and many of my literary heroes).

Fifthly (is there even such a word?) my story DOUBLE HELIX will appear in the Ill at Ease 2 anthology, due out on 1st August. Published by Penman Press it will sit alongside stories from six other great writers - Shaun Hamilton, Robert Mammone, Val Walmsley, Mark West, Sheri White, and Neil Williams. Neil has done the stunning artwork. I’ll post a link as soon as I have it.

And finally I can report on something that I’m working on currently. It’s a novella that I long ago promised to write for Hersham Horror Books. The boss, Peter Mark May, has been unbelievably patient so far, and I finally feel confident enough to speak about it. So far it has the working title, LAUDANUM NIGHTS, and it’s  shaping up to be a crime/dark fantasy crossover set in a pseudo-Victorian city involving a kidnapped child, dolls that move by their own accord, and a mysterious fiend that never ages. More information once it develops.

I’ve also received invitations to contribute to several anthologies, all of which are due out next year. The temptation to try for these slots is too strong, so I’m working like crazy to make sure I give those submissions my best shot, as all three books are ones which I’d give my left eye to appear in. Again, more information as soon as I can talk about it. Still no news on when my story, THE CAMBION, will be appearing in Cemetery Dance, although they seem to be back on schedule so I expect it to be sometime next year.

And as a footnote I should add that my collection, PEEL BACK THE SKY, has got me nominated for Best Newcomer in the forthcoming British Fantasy Society Awards. Whilst I’m deeply honoured to be nominated, once you see the finalists you’ll see why I’m not holding my breath -

Alison Moore, for The Lighthouse (Salt Publishing)
Anne Lyle, for The Alchemist of Souls (Angry Robot)
E.C. Myers, for Fair Coin (Pyr)
Helen Marshall, for Hair Side, Flesh Side (ChiZine Publications)
Kim Curran, for Shift (Strange Chemistry)
Lou Morgan, for Blood and Feathers (Solaris)
Molly Tanzer, for A Pretty Mouth (Lazy Fascist Press)
Saladin Ahmed, for Throne of the Crescent Moon (Gollancz)
Stephen Bacon, for Peel Back the Sky (Gray Friar Press)
Stephen Blackmoore, for City of the Lost (Daw Books)

Like I say, what an honour – and I’m thrilled to be even mentioned in such company – but I won’t be holding my breath. Still, I feel it’s a great achievement. I’m very happy with the direction my writing is going and - after all is said and done - that is the only thing that matters.

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Cemetery Dance

cemetery dance 68Just a quick note to report that a new 5,000 word short story of mine, THE CAMBION, has been accepted for publication in Cemetery Dance magazine. I’ve long been an admirer of this fantastic genre publication, so it feels like a minor acheivement to be appearing within its pages. They closed to submissions for several years to clear the backlogged stories, so my tale might not appear for quite a while. More info as I get it.

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For the Night is Dark

For the Night is Dark

FOR THE NIGHT IS DARK edited by Ross Warren has now been released by Crystal Lake Publishing. Featuring 20 original stories from some of the best new writers in the genre (and me), it comes complete with a gorgeous Ben Baldwin artwork. Here is the table of contents -

His Own Personal Golgotha – G. N. Braun
21 Brooklands: Next to Old Western, Opposite the Burnt Out Red Lion – Carole Johnstone
The River – Armand Rosamilia
God May Pity All Weak Hearts – Daniel I. Russell
… Darker with the Day – Scott Nicholson
In the Darkest Room in the Darkest House on the Darkest Part of the Street – Gary McMahon
Till Death – Joe Mynhardt
On a Midnight Black Chessie – Kevin Lucia
Father Figure – Tracie McBride
Room to Thrive – Stephen Bacon
Hungry is the Dark – Benedict J. Jones
Eternal Darkness – Blaze McRob
This Darkness . . . – John Claude Smith
Lost and Found – Tonia Brown
Mr Stix – Mark West
A Snitch in Time – Robert W. Walker
Shade – Jeremy C. Shipp
How the Dark Bleeds – Jasper Bark
Don’t Let the Dark Stop You Shining – William Meikle
Where the Dark is Deepest – Ray Cluley

The cost is £4.11 for the Kindle edition and that version is available through Amazon here

and the print version is £9.50 and that version is available from Amazon here.

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Forthcoming…

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Just a quick note to update you on a couple of story appearances that are due out in the next few months.

Firstly, I’ll have a story in Ill at Ease 2. It’s an anthology of original stories featuring the 7 writers listed on the cover – Shaun Hamilton, Robert Mammone, Val Walmsley, Sheri White, Mark West, Neil Williams and me. Neil also created the superb artwork you see above. My tale, Double Helix, deals with regret, recrimination and terminal illness. Despite that, I think it’s one of the most optimistic stories I’ve ever written.

Secondly is an appearance in the anthology For the Night Is Dark, edited by Ross Warren and published by Crystal Lake Publishing. My story is called Room to Thrive and is about a group of lads who explore the flat of a recently-dead tenant.

And, thirdly, my story Pseudonym will make its appearance in the Pentanth (an anthology featuring 5 different writers) called Anatomy of Death - in 5 sleazy pieces edited by Mark West and published by Hersham Horror Books. The other contributors are Stephen Volk, John Llewellyn Probert, Johnny Mains and Mark West, so I’m in some fine company. Pseudonym is about an aging pulp writer from the 70s and 80s who has since fallen on hard times; the narrator visits his Suffolk home to conduct an interview and investigate something dark from the writer’s past, but ends up unleashing a powerful supernatural force instead.

More info as I get it.

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