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Cover Reveal/Preorder Tales from a Talking Board

Today we reveal the cover to our newest anthology (out October 24), Tales from a Talking Board, in conjunction with this profile on Word Horde and publisher/editor Ross E. Lockhart in the Petaluma Argus-Courier. Check ’em out and order your copy today!

Tales from a Talking Board edited by Ross E. Lockhart

Can we speak with the spirits of the dead? Is it possible to know the future? Are our dreams harbingers of things to come? Do auspicious omens and cautionary portents effect our lives?

Edited by Ross E. Lockhart, Tales from a Talking Board examines these questions–and more–with tales of auguries, divination, and fortune telling, through devices like Ouija boards, tarot cards, and stranger things.

So dim the lights, place your hands upon the planchette, and ask the spirits to guide you as we present fourteen stories of the strange and supernatural by Matthew M. Bartlett, Nadia Bulkin, Nathan Carson, Kristi DeMeester, Orrin Grey, Scott R. Jones, David James Keaton, Anya Martin, J. M. McDermott, S. P. Miskowski, Amber-Rose Reed, Tiffany Scandal, David Templeton, and Wendy N. Wagner.

Edited by Ross E. Lockhart
Cover Design by Yves Tourigny

Order your copy today!

Now Available: An Augmented Fourth, by Tony McMillen

Tony McMillen’s An Augmented Fourth dropped on Tuesday, so if you’re looking to rock ‘n’ roll all night long this weekend, we’ve got you covered. Here are just a few of the reviews An Augmented Fourth has received so far:

Fantasy Literature‘s Marion Deeds says, “Tony McMillen’s An Augmented Fourth (2017) is heavy metal rock and roll horror at its wailing-guitar best. Set in 1980, the point of transition from heavy metal to punk, An Augmented Fourth blends inter-dimensional eldritch horror, David-Cronenberg-movie grotesquerie, and psychedelia in a thrash-metal twenty-minute-guitar-solo of a story.”

LitReactor‘s Gabino Iglesias says, “This is a wildly entertaining novel that is both a hilarious deconstruction and a tender love letter to rock and roll. McMillen has a knack for dialogue and that helps the action and the story move forward at breackneck speed. […] If you think you’d dig watching a psychedelia-infused version of The Thing while blasting awesome tunes and having a great acid trip, then you need to pick this one up.”

An Augmented Fourth by Tony McMillen

“It would take a real virtuoso to properly blend The Thing, The Mist, Black Sabbath, and Bowie into one rollicking, comical cosmic horror tribute to early metal and the dark beyond. Lucky for us, Tony McMillen has the chops to make this mutant beast fly on blessed black wings. An Augmented Fourth is a strange, sludgy, progged-out blast!” –Jeremy Robert Johnson, author of Skullcrack City and Entropy in Bloom

Ask for An Augmented Fourth wherever better books are sold.

Cover Reveal! Preorder She Said Destroy, by Nadia Bulkin

She Said Destroy by Nadia Bulkin

Coming August 20, 2017

Word Horde presents the debut collection from critically-acclaimed Weird Fiction author Nadia Bulkin. Dreamlike, poignant, and unabashedly socio-political, She Said Destroy includes three stories nominated for the Shirley Jackson Award, four included in Year’s Best anthologies, and one original tale. Plus, an introduction by Paul Tremblay.

“Weird fiction has been stuck in the era of new-fangled radio sets and fifteen-cent pulp magazines for ninety years. Finally, Nadia Bulkin has come to drag us kicking and screaming into the horrors of The Endless Now with a collection of hip, ultracontemporary, politically astute, and chilling stories.” –Nick Mamatas, author of I Am Providence and The Last Weekend

“Bulkin delivers a dose of delicious darkness with her debut collection.” –World Fantasy Award-winning editor Silvia Moreno-Garcia

“An expert balance of the fantastic and horrific, She Said Destroy is a prime example of how modern fabulism continues to reinvigorate and reinvent all modes of speculative fiction. This book is inventive, insightful, and inspiring, not to mention unnerving. The stories inside deftly blend the horrors of the cosmic with those of the personal, evoking awe both terrifying and sublime. Nadia Bulkin’s writing is beautiful, exciting, and a stellar contribution to the field of fantastic literature.” –Simon Strantzas, author of Burnt Black Suns

Cover Art by Kathrin Longhurst
Cover Design by Scott R Jones

Preorder She Said Destroy today!

Watch the Trailer for Tony McMillen’s An Augmented Fourth

Are you ready to rock? Good. The trailer for Tony McMillen’s An Augmented Fourth just dropped.

Codger Burton, bassist and lyricist for Frivolous Black, the heaviest heavy metal band to ever come out of the UK, awakens to find his hotel snowed in, his band mates evacuated, and monsters roaming the hotel. Looks like Codger picked the wrong week to quit using cocaine. From the twisted mind of Tony McMillen comes the hilarious rock and roll horror novel An Augmented Fourth, a novel of The Lord of Low End.

Preorder your copy today!

“An arcane cosmic horror descends on the day of a heavy metal musician whose own music might just have been the dagger that sliced open the veil between the worlds. Tony McMillen’s novel is love letter pastiche to the occult mythos of rock by way of a mystically-tuned hotel, tentacled horrors, and inter-band relationships, as well as the real-life toll of a debauched life. McMillen’s love of music and occulture is infectious. An Augmented Fourth has me wanting to search for hidden clues on my old album covers all over again.” –Peter Bebergal, author of Season of the Witch: How the Occult Saved Rock and Roll

“Tony McMillen’s rock and roll fantasy is a fucking blast. This thinly veiled misadventure combines proto-metal lore with Lovecraftian tradition to birth a heavy hybrid written at maximum volume. Behind the music, in a world much like our own, the devil’s chord, church bells, rain, thunder, and weed all coalesce around a hilarious narrative that takes Frivolous Black bassist Codger Burton through withdrawals, cosmic tribulations, metamorphosis, Brummie banter, and world-shaking epiphanies. Tune in, turn on, rock out.” –Nathan Carson, author of Starr Creek

“Since Nefarious Twit, Tony McMillen has become one of the most unique writers I’ve read. Over the past weekend I had the great pleasure of cracking his forthcoming, An Augmented Fourth–it’s metal to the balls The Thing meets Black Sabbath riffing Thunderhorse cranked to 11. You guys are in for a treat come June.” –Chris Irvin, author of Ragged and Federales

“It would take a real virtuoso to properly blend The Thing, The Mist, Black Sabbath, and Bowie into one rollicking, comical cosmic horror tribute to early metal and the dark beyond. Lucky for us, Tony McMillen has the chops to make this mutant beast fly on blessed black wings. An Augmented Fourth is a strange, sludgy, progged-out blast!” –Jeremy Robert Johnson, author of Skullcrack City and Entropy in Bloom

“A ferocious and funny read, full of foot-chases, body horrors, and the requisite screeching monster immolation or two, even some fun wish-fulfillment for connoisseurs of heavy-metal cover art as one of the band’s mystery models literally jumps off one of their albums and into the action. […] To put it all in clearer terms for easier shelving at the video store, think This Is Spinal Tap meets The Thing meets From Beyond. Actually, there wasn’t a shelf for the new genre he’s conjured up here, but there should have been. In the meantime, I’ll be over there waiting for the soundtrack LP so I can scratch it up playing backwards messages.” –David James Keaton, author of The Last Projector

Preorder your copy today!

Eternal Frankenstein Ebook Now Just $6.99

During a haunted summer 201 years ago, author Mary Shelley was inspired–in a waking dream–to write Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, a novel of galvanism, philosophy, and the re-animated dead that would change literature forever, giving birth to what we now call science fiction. As Mary Shelley later wrote, “I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life, and stir with an uneasy, half vital motion. Frightful must it be; for supremely frightful would be the effect of any human endeavour to mock the stupendous mechanism of the Creator of the world.”

In celebration of this momentous dream, we have reduced the ebook price for our anthology Eternal Frankenstein, a tribute to Mary Shelley, her Monster, and their entwined legacy, to just $6.99. Eternal Frankenstein features sixteen resurrecting tales of terror and wonder by Siobhan Carroll, Nathan Carson, Autumn Christian, Rios de la Luz, Kristi DeMeester, G. D. Falksen, Orrin Grey, Michael Griffin, Scott R. Jones, Anya Martin, Edward Morris, Amber-Rose Reed, Betty Rocksteady, Tiffany Scandal, David Templeton, and Damien Angelica Walters.

Order Eternal Frankenstein for your Kindle, Kobo, or Nook, or purchase it in your choice of formats from Weightless Books today!

Cover by Matthew Revert.

Preorder An Augmented Fourth, by Tony McMillen

Are you ready to rock? We’ve got just the right book for you. Dropping June 27, and available to preorder now is Tony McMillen’s novel An Augmented Fourth, which has been called “This Is Spinal Tap meets The Thing meets From Beyond.” We know you’re going to dig it.

An Augmented Fourth by Tony McMillen

Codger Burton, bassist and lyricist for Frivolous Black, the heaviest heavy metal band to ever come out of the UK, awakens to find his hotel snowed in, his band mates evacuated, and monsters roaming the hotel. Looks like Codger picked the wrong week to quit using cocaine. From the twisted mind of Tony McMillen comes the hilarious rock and roll horror novel An Augmented Fourth, a novel of The Lord of Low End.

“It would take a real virtuoso to properly blend The Thing, The Mist, Black Sabbath, and Bowie into one rollicking, comical cosmic horror tribute to early metal and the dark beyond. Lucky for us, Tony McMillen has the chops to make this mutant beast fly on blessed black wings. An Augmented Fourth is a strange, sludgy, progged-out blast!” –Jeremy Robert Johnson, author of Skullcrack City and Entropy in Bloom

Cover art by Alan M. Clark.

Kristi DeMeester’s Beneath Now Available / John Langan’s The Fisherman Wins the Stoker

Happy Book Birthday to Kristi DeMeester, whose debut novel Beneath hits the streets today. If your Walpurgisnacht weekend reading includes Beneath, please help us spread the word by posting a photo on your social media feed, and posting a review at Goodreads and/or Amazon once you’ve finished the book. Here’s just a bit of the critical acclaim Beneath has received so far:

“This novel is going to propel DeMeester onto that list of authors you’ll want to follow.” —John Boden, Ginger Nuts of Horror

“…one of the most upsetting and horrifying tomes of dark fiction in recent memory.” —This Is Horror

Beneath by Kristi DeMeester

“…genuinely shudderworthy […], and the sweaty, gritty Appalachian setting is full of religious fervor and salacious secrets…” —Publishers Weekly

Order your copy of Beneath from Word Horde today, or ask for it by name wherever better books are sold.

And congratulations to John Langan, whose novel The Fisherman took the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a Novel at last night’s StokerCon awards ceremony. It was an amazing pack of nominees this year, and an incredible honor just to see The Fisherman nominated. Thank you to everyone who recommended the book. Thank you to everyone who voted.

The Fisherman by John Langan

An Interview with Kristi DeMeester, author of BENEATH

Kristi DeMeester’s debut novel, Beneath, writhes its way to the surface at the end of this month, so our intrepid Sean M. Thompson set out to ask Kristi a few questions in this exclusive Word Horde interview…

How do you think growing up in the South has influenced your work?

Everything runs a bit slower, a bit hotter and more confused in this Southern humidity. That oppressiveness leaked into my fiction. It was around me in the stories my aunt told me about alligators that rose up from the South Georgia swamps to chomp off the meaty legs of small children. Jesus is pervasive in the South, and my childhood was “Christ-haunted.” The devil and evil were real, tangible things during those tender, formative years. It seems like a natural progression to have had both a fascination and aversion to the darker things that lurk in the world and then have that become such an integral part of my writing.

What are the themes you think you come back to the most in your work? Why do you think certain themes resonate with you?

I consistently come back to the relationships between mother and daughters. The idea that it can be predatory. I constantly come back to the idea that loss is something that cannot be explained or healed fully. Here lately, I’ve been writing more and more about things that scare me in real life and that is completely wrapped up in the nonsensical nature of loss.

Do you have any writing rituals you stick to?

Minimum of 500 words per day. Every day. No matter what. Lull or Cities Last Broadcast on repeat.

How do you manage your time between being a mother, working, and writing?

People ask me this a lot, and the honest answer has nothing to do with time management or finding any kind of time I can, but everything to do with how I let things slip through the cracks. My kid probably watches too much television while I’m writing. My house is nowhere near as clean as it could be. I should probably grade essays faster. I forget things a lot. But it’s a weird balance that works for me. I also took a lot of pressure off of myself this year by lowering my daily word count from 1,000 words to only 500.

Is there anything you’d love to write you haven’t done yet?

I’d love to do something more literary, but I cannot bring myself to carve the spooky out of my writing.

Beneath by Kristi DeMeester

How do you feel about snakes?

Terrified of them. TERRIFIED.

Would you say writing a novel takes a lot of faith?

100%. There’s so much time in sitting with that stack of words alone. So much time to self-doubt and wonder if the whole thing isn’t working. It’s one thing to scrap a 5,000 short story. It’s another to have the sudden realization that 50,000 aren’t working. It takes a lot of faith in your belief that you can come to the page, every day, and do the work. It takes a lot of faith to know that’s enough.

Do you like to outline, make it up as you go, or a bit of both?

I don’t usually outline, and the time I tried, the novel died after 7,000 words. I like it best when I can discover as I go, but that also leads to a lot of staring at walls and wishing I was a trust fund baby.

What writers lately have really inspired you? What writers over your life have had the most impact on your work?

Writers lately include Helen Marshall, Kelly Link, Livia Llewellyn, Amelia Gray, Damien Angelica Walters, Lysley Tenorio, Stephen Graham Jones, Paul Tremblay, Joyce Carol Oates, Michael Wehunt, Ramsey Campbell. This list is longer, but I’ll stop there because there are only so many pages in the world.

Over my life is a much more eclectic list. C.S. Lewis, Beverly Cleary, Frances Hodgson Burnett, L.M. Montgomery, R.L. Stine, Stephen King, Shirley Jackson, Christopher Pike, Anne Rice, John Irving, Pat Conroy, William Faulkner, Flannery O’Connor, Eudora Welty, Vladimir Nabokov, Edgar Allan Poe, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Zora Neale Hurston, Emily and Charlotte Bronte, Ray Bradbury.

What’s your favorite swear?

It’s a tie between the old standard “fuck” and “goddammit.”

What’s the hardest part about being a commercial artist?

As in creating content for sale? The constant worry and anxiety that people are going to hate everything I do. The fear of being called a fraud or a hack. You know. The typical.

Do you think being completely complacent is the death knell of progression in art?

I think being uncomfortable or at least uneasy with your work is what keeps you moving forward. It’s like a musician who puts out album after album of songs that sound exactly the same. Eventually, people stop paying attention. It’s the same for fiction.

KRISTI DeMEESTER writes pretty, spooky things in Atlanta, Georgia. Her work has appeared in publications such as Black Static, Apex Magazine, The Dark, and several others. Her work has been reprinted in Year’s Best Weird Fiction Volumes 1 and 3. Her debut short fiction collection, Everything That’s Underneath, is forthcoming this year from Apex Publications. In her spare time, she alternates between telling people how to pronounce her last name and how to spell her first. Beneath is her first novel.

Preorder Beneath today!

Wiking Wednesday with Christine Morgan

Christine Morgan’s Viking-themed collection The Raven’s Table is out now and getting rave reviews. Publishers Weekly calls it “an excellent read for those who enjoy myths and legends of all kinds.” GreyDogTales says “The Raven’s Table is a must-have for anyone with an interest in stories based on Nordic mythology and lore.” Which got us thinking about the collection’s ties to the legends and history that inspired its stories. The stuff that goes deeper than D’Aulaires’ Book of Norse Myths and Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology. So we asked Christine to tell us about the influences behind her stories. Here’s what she had to say…

Bernard Cornwell’s Saxon series

A chance find at the library first got me going on these books. I’d taken to checking out audio books on CD for my work commute, usually a half-hour each way at that point, and for longer drives. I spotted The Pale Horseman (which turned out to be the second in the series) and thought I’d give it a try.

And, wow. Never looked back. The combination of fantastic story and an amazing reader just took me away. One line in a fight scene, one phrase about “the sucking backwash of the blood-touched water” … yeah. I will never forget. The way it was written, the way it was read, bam. I got goosebumps just listening to it. I knew then, that was what I wanted to do.

Bernard Cornwell was familiar to me because of the Sharpe’s books, of course, but I’d never gotten into them all that much (though, cinematically, they do mark one of the rare occasions where Sean Bean’s character gets to survive). I’ve since given various of his other titles a try as well, the Arthurian and Grail Quest ones, and they’re all right, but it’s the Saxon stuff all the way for me.

They’re now billed on his official site as The Last Kingdom series, no doubt to coincide with the BBC television adaptation (very much recommended; some changes from the books but it has the right look, the right feel, handles the political and religious complexities well, and the guy who portrays Alfred in particular does an incredible job)

http://www.bernardcornwell.net/

Nancy Marie Brown

I don’t remember exactly how I discovered her work. Social media, maybe. Or a link here, a link there. However it happened, I’m just so glad it did! She does fantastic non-fiction digging into the history behind the history, presenting it in a very personable, readable way.

Song of the Vikings: Snorri and the Making of Norse Myths looks at the life of Snorri Sturlson, who collected and compiled most of the sagas we still know today. Kind of like the Brothers Grimm of Viking stories. We also get in-depth looks at medieval Iceland, its society and laws, the heart and hardiness of the entire culture.

The Far Traveler: Voyages of a Viking Woman shows the feminine perspective and how those early ladies were just as tough in their way, if not tougher, than the menfolk. Gudrid not only left home to cross an unknown sea to homestead in a new world, she did so while having a baby along the way.

Ivory Vikings: The Mystery of the Most Famous Chessmen in the World and the Woman Who Made Them … I realized I’d had on my gift/wish list but hadn’t gotten, so just ordered it as a birthday present for myself. Those little carved game pieces, for hneftafl or just tafl, are right up there with dragonships and hammer amulets as iconic Viking images. Looking forward to learning more about them!

In addition to these excellent books, Nancy Brown does about the coolest field trip in the whole world … every year, she leads an Icelandic excursion where people ride on those shaggy little horses and see the rugged countryside the way Vikings did. Some day, despite me being a terrible miserable whinerbaby of a camper who can’t rough it worth beans, this is something I’d still love to do.

http://nancymariebrown.blogspot.com/

Professor Michael D.C. Drout

Oh, here we go again, Christine gushes and fangirls over Professor Drout … but, can you blame me? He’s THE go-to guy for Old and Middle English, Anglo-Saxon, Tolkien, Chaucer, King Alfred, Beowulf, medieval history and literature, language and rhetoric, and of course Vikings!

This time, though, I’ll limit myself to two of the more pertinent Modern Scholar courses:

The Anglo-Saxon World — you’ll never forget the timeline again with his handy MCGVR mnemonic! And his enthusiasm *almost* makes me forgive that 2007 Beowulf film. Almost.

The Norsemen: Vikings and their Culture — raiders, or traders? How about both? Their ships, their weapons and technology, mythology, adventure, society and spirit!

http://michaeldrout.com/

The Viking Answer Lady

One of the sites I keep bookmarked, and my first stop when I’m browsing for character name ideas or looking for info on Viking fashion, food, and daily life.

http://www.vikinganswerlady.com/

GURPS Vikings

Maybe it’s weird that my gaming shelf doubles as an ever-ready reference section, but it does, and various sourcebooks for GURPS from Steve Jackson Games make up the most of it.

I started gaming when I was fourteen, and what I find most useful about books like this is, well, most of the same kind of stuff you’re looking for in story writing is the kind of stuff you need to run a decent campaign.

You need details on everyday life, on money and food and clothing and weapons. You need history and religion, beliefs about magic. You need stuff on medicine and treatment of injuries. You need maps, timelines, names. Conveniently organized, laid out with tables and sidebars and interesting factoids is also a plus.

And hey, game books do that. I’ve found the GURPS crew to be overall very good at presenting useful information and overviews, giving a good sense of the era or location.

http://www.sjgames.com/gurps/books/Vikings/

Get in touch with your inner Viking. Order Christine Morgan’s The Raven’s Table today!

(And a big shout-out to our Viking models, Mara and Stone!)