Tag Archives: Joseph S. Pulver Sr.

An Interview with Anya Martin

Word Horde’s resident social media maniac, Sean M. Thompson, recently chatted with one of our favorite authors, Anya Martin, whose work has appeared in Giallo Fantastique and Cthulhu Fhtagn! Here’s what Anya had to say…

What do you think the role of genre is in fiction?

That’s a tough one in that like most writers I both hate being placed in a genre box, and yet I am a fierce defender of the claim that spec-lit in all its forms (SF/F/H, etc.) has every bit of legitimacy as literary fiction. I tend to prefer “mode” to “genre” and see the different forms of spec-lit as freeing me to approach realistic topics more, rather than less directly through a fantastic lens. For example in “The Prince of Lyghes,” my story in Cthulhu Fhtagn!, I consciously tackled the destructive impact of alcoholism on a relationship through the mode of Weird horror. The story begins monotonously because the daily life in such a relationship tends towards a constant, creeping dread, but the mode of the Weird allows me to push further into the emotional horror of that daily Hell by giving it a physical manifestation.

I’ll add that I never set out to be a Weird fiction writer per se, but since the recent ascent of the Weird, I have had an easier time selling my work. Before that, I was often told that it didn’t fit. It’d be nice to dream of a day when all books are shelved together and genres don’t matter, but genre classification is also a marketing reality that writers have to live with if they want to be published. Right now, I am fortunate in that editors and publishers seem to be more open to the type of whatever genre I write, whether Weird, horror, dark fantasy, or magic realism. I haven’t written a story I consider explicitly science fiction since “Courage of the Lion Tamer” (Daybreak, 2009), but I grew up loving science fiction and “Sensoria” in Giallo Fantastique actually started as a science fiction story. But that’s another story.

Cthulhu Fhtagn! edited by Ross E. Lockhart

Your story from Giallo Fantastique, “Sensoria,” contained a drug primarily taken at a rock and roll show. What kind of influence does music have on your writing, and have you been to a lot of concerts in your life?

I listen to music constantly, though I stick to instrumental when I am actually writing. A lot of experimental jazz, funk, Krautrock recently filling in gaps because I was such a punk rock girl. My punk/post-punk roots are still on my daily playlist–Patti Smith, the Velvet Underground, Lou Reed, John Cale, Bowie, Eno, Iggy, Ramones, Robyn Hitchcock, Pere Ubu, Wire, The Cramps, to name just a few. And yes, I have been to a fair amount of concerts from local bands to international acts, though not so many stadium-sized shows as I tend to prefer more obscure music. I was also a college radio DJ and music director. I named my show Dangerous Visions.

Music is more of a subliminal than a direct influence in most of my work, though my characters are often listening to music. However, as chance would have it through anthology invitations, I had two stories come out this year in which rock music was integral–”Sensoria” and “Resonator Superstar!” in Scott R. Jones’ Resonator anthology which explores a possible occult side to Andy Warhol’s Exploding Plastic Inevitable light/film shows accompanying early Velvet Underground gigs. The latter took a considerable amount of research and came out of attending a re-creation of that experience by a local avant garde film group in Atlanta. I actually wrote the first draft of what would become “Sensoria” around 1990, but its final form was heavily influenced by Goblin and Fabio Frizzi concerts–the latter in a London church on Halloween in 2014. So, OK, yes, my concert experiences, I guess, do bleed directly into my writing. I’m not working on any explicitly music scene stories right now, or wait, I just remembered the novel I am probably writing as my first might have something to do with a dead rock star.

Giallo Fantastique edited by Ross E. Lockhart

Do you have any writing rituals?

Well, as aforementioned, I do listen to music either before and/or while writing. Otherwise they fluctuate. In the winter, I’ll often drink green or camomile tea depending on whether I need a caffeine lift. I do coffee in the morning but that’s my nonfiction journalism day job time. For “Sensoria,” “Resonator Superstar!” and other stories that I need to tap into a more intense trance state especially as I get near the climax, I have drunk Kava. Some stories come together better in bed with my laptop with scented candles lit, and others sitting at my computer desk–I’m not sure why other than needing a change of scenery. I do usually prefer writing alone rather than in a public place like a coffee shop.

Would you ever eat a bug?

I have eaten bugs! Dried seasoned grasshoppers and still not sure whether those were caterpillars in the soup in China. Also more recently at a natural history museum insect-tasting event, but I can’t remember what kind of insects they were now.

Have you ever written a novel?

I have started novels but have not finished one yet. One in particular keeps knocking around in my brain. It seems manageable in length, I haven’t read anything else like it and fortunately the concept seems saleable. I hope to pick it up again sometime soon, but not until after a novella and I finish up at least three more short stories for anthology invitations.

How do you deal with fear of failure?

I just try not to think about it and keep working. Get the story done and move on to the next one. My brain may be a little too good at compartmentalizing, which is something I may tackle in a future story. On the other hand, right now I also try to keep my fiction goals modest. Get a few more stories completed and sold, see how my work is received, and then hopefully someone will want to collect them. And in due time, hopefully this winter, novel.

Would you consider yourself a fast writer, or a slow writer, in terms of your output.

Haha! Both. I tend to write very rapidly once a story gets going and have been known to complete a story in a day to a week. But I’ll start other stories and there could be long gaps of time as the parts come together in my head. “Resonator Superstar!” and “Old Tsah-Hov” in Cassilda’s Song (edited by Joe Pulver, Chaosium) were both written in two weeks or less, but “The Prince of Lyghes” evolved over three years and even when I thought it was done, I made more changes after a beta reader hit upon something simple and missing that should have been obvious to me.

Thanks for taking part. Anything to plug?

You’re welcome. I do have two more works slated to come out this year–making it a total of six in 2015. My short story, “A Girl in Her Dog,” will be in Issue #2 of Xynobis from Dunhams Manor Press. And Dunhams Manor is also publishing a one-act Weird play called “Passage to the Dreamtime” in its chapbook series. It’ll be the first time a work of fiction by me will be published in a freestanding format, i.e. not in an anthology or magazine, so I’m pretty excited.

The Children of Old Leech Nominated for the Shirley Jackson Award

It is with pleasure and gratitude that we announce the following: The Children of Old Leech: A Tribute to the Carnivorous Cosmos of Laird Barron has been nominated for the Shirley Jackson Award. Needless to say, we are over the moon.


It requires an army of people to put together an anthology like The Children of Old Leech, so a huge THANK YOU! goes out to the following: Co-editor Justin Steele; authors Allyson Bird, Jesse Bullington, Michael Cisco, Jesse James Douthit-Nicolay, Gemma Files, Richard Gavin, J. T. Glover, Cody Goodfellow, T.E. Grau, Orrin Grey, Michael Griffin, Stephen Graham Jones, John Langan, Daniel Mills, Scott Nicolay, Joseph S. Pulver, Sr., Molly Tanzer, Jeffrey Thomas, and Paul Tremblay; copyeditor Marty Halpern; hardcover artist/designer Matthew Revert; softcover artist Dalton Rose; softcover designer Scott R. Jones; and, of course, Laird Barron, for letting all of us play in his universe. Thanks also to all of you who purchased the book (and other Word Horde titles), and to all of the readers and reviewers who have taken the time to recommend the book to others. Thanks to the Shirley Jackson Awards Board of Directors and jurors. And thanks to everyone who shared a toast to Old Leech with us back when we launched the book. Cheers!


Read the full list of nominees here: http://www.shirleyjacksonawards.org/nominees/

The Children of Old Leech: Excerpt: “The Last Crossroads on a Calendar of Yesterdays,” by Joseph S. Pulver, Sr.

This week’s excerpt from The Children of Old Leech comes from a story about monsters–human and otherwise–and books of magic, and blood and ashes: Joseph S. Pulver’s “The Last Crossroads on a Calendar of Yesterdays.”

To and fro. Rocking. Slow.


Measured, not sluggish. Predator readying true for ignorant prey.


and back again. His grip not far from the shotgun.

The old man sipped his sweetened coffee from an old porcelain mug. From his hillside porch he stared into the night-darkened forest toward what was no longer the Hambly property. Old discomforts and slowmotion anger was a butchering quicksand that was bringing on tears. Kellerman put the filtered-tip cigarette to his lips and inhaled. Took the smoke deep. Held it. Exhaled. “Ruined, Zina… Bastards have ruined it.”

“—against the horde of insidious parasites.”

“You are the White… American… Dream. You are the defenders of White European culture and heritage. Your commitment and actions preserve what Our American Fathers—Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, and John Adams—shed blood to establish and protect… our Great White Nation. You are America’s true patriots.”

Pride-roasted cheers and a vigorous round of applause billow through the compound carved-out of the darksome forest of rugged pine.

“WAR DAY.” The voice of the Allfather or a blood-and-fire Jehovah at 110 decibels thunders from the loudspeakers and echoes in the hills. “Is a HOLY DAY!”

Another explosive burst of applause followed by a chain reaction of Nazi salutes expressing their pathological eagerness. Amens dash like snarls. Three semiautomatic handguns bark and send their payloads skyward. Two sisters, paleskinned twins married to paleskinned brothers, rise from their seats and begin singing a bastardization of “Onward, Christian Soldiers.” Their enflamed voices are joined by ten and ten and ten and ten. Fifty-strong becomes nearly one hundred.

Once Metzger disciple, before the riff became a chasm, Walter Warren smiles on the crowd. “In a week this compound, the new home of the White Liberation Alliance, will be completed. God is pleased with your work, brothers and sisters. God is pleased.”

Not enough miles away, or countries for that matter, Kellerman caught the amplified words. He’d heard the raised voices sing and the gunfire. Heard them last Saturday night, and too many times in the last months.


Zina sat up. Growled.

The old man shivered.

Zina stood, faced the black woods, offered the thunder her teeth and an unsheathed promise steeled with Till-Death-Do-Us-Part loyal.

Twenty years since he’d briefly lived in Olympia, in the distance below. Twenty years since he’d come west to these hills and hollows, hoping to find balm. There were small moments when he could pretend (if the sky was soft summer blue and the sun warm and the blooms gave off sweet scents) the beauty it held helped. Kellerman was an old man now, felt it when the cold ruled muscle and mind mercilessly, saw it sear the tired face the mirror slapped him with. The nightmares and wounds (still a bullet to heart and mind no prayer could moderate) of the small boy he’d been, the boy the Americans liberated from Buchenwald, now fully reawakened by the hate that had invaded his property, were, these last few months, as loud and haunting as the last breath of his cancer-ridden wife.

Kellerman’s right hand stroked Zina between her ears. “Yes, girl, I know.”

He stood and stubbed out his cigarette on the porch boards, picked up his mug, his shotgun, and turned to go inside. “Little good it will do, but we will try the Authorities again tomorrow, girl.”

Zina, ninety pounds of unwavering attentiveness, settled at the foot of his bed. His Mossberg rested against the nightstand. Kellerman’s hands were trembling fists as he fell asleep.

The Children of Old Leech: A Tribute to the Carnivorous Cosmos of Laird Barron may be ordered directly from Word Horde or wherever better books are sold. Ask for The Children of Old Leech and other Word Horde titles at your favorite bookseller.

Tales of Jack the Ripper: Reviews Round-up

Tales of Jack the Ripper has been pulling in some outstanding reviews. Not bad for a book that’s only officially been out for less than two weeks. Here are just a few of the reviews…


FEARnet.com‘s Blu Gilliand begins his review by asking the question, “is it okay to base a piece of entertainment on a real-life serial killer?” To find an answer, Blu takes an in-depth look at the anthology’s stories by Orrin Grey, Alan M. Clark & Gary A. Braunbeck, Joe R. Lansdale, Patrick Tumblety, and Walter Greatshell, then concludes, “What Lockhart has done with this anthology is to show that the Jack the Ripper story has grown far beyond who- or whatever murdered those women all those years ago. It’s become a myth, grounded in fact, and the reason it continues to hold power over us today is because we still don’t understand what happened, or why, and we likely never will. Stories like that are the stories that continue to frighten us, and until we can banish those shadows forever, there will always be writers wrestling with them on the printed page. Tales of Jack the Ripper manages to walk that fine line between entertainment and exploitation with real finesse. It’s a gripping group of stories about one of our most enduring mysteries, and well worth your time.” Read the full review at FEARnet.com.

At first concerned that he may not know enough about Jack to fully appreciate the anthology, SR Jones of Martian Migraine Press examines closely the tales by Ennis Drake, Pete Rawlik, Stanley C. Sargent, Ramsey Campbell, T.E. Grau, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Laird Barron, E. Catherine Tobler, Joe R. Lansdale, and Joseph S. Pulver, Sr. Admittedly thrown off by some of the anthology’s more experimental pieces, Jones awards Jack a five-star review, saying, “Editor Ross Lockhart (Book of Cthulhu and Book of Cthulhu 2, Chick Bassist) has done a stand-out job with Tales of Jack the Ripper. This one’s going out to certain names on my Christmas list, that’s for sure. You know the ones. With their ‘funny little games’. Recommended.” Read the full review at Martian Migraine Press.

Shock Totem‘s Mason Ian Bundschuh writes “There is a definite ‘weird tale’ edge to many of the stories (and poems) in the anthology, which in this reader’s opinion is a GREAT thing. It might even be expected from Lockhart, who also brought you The Book of Cthulhu and its follow-up, The Book of Cthulhu 2. This doesn’t mean you can pigeonhole Tales of Jack the Ripper.” Bundschuh singles out stories by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Ramsey Campbell, and Mercedes M. Yardley for their chilling excellence, concluding, “you need to get up off your lazy duff and buy this collection.” Read the full review at Shock Totem.

The Arkham Digest‘s Justin Steele ponders our societal fascination with serial killers and the Ripper’s legacy, finding insight in Orrin Grey’s tale “Ripperology.” Other stories considered and ruminated upon under Steele’s eye include those by Ramsey Campbell, Alan M. Clark & Gary A. Braunbeck, Joe R. Lansdale, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Ennis Drake, T.E. Grau, Ed Kurtz, Edward Morris, Joseph S. Pulver, Sr., Pete Rawlik, Stanley C. Sargent, Mercedes M. Yardley, and Laird Barron. Steele concludes, “Tales of Jack the Ripper marks a strong debut for Word Horde. Lockhart, in usual fashion, has managed to put together a strong, multifaceted anthology that explores the Ripper legend at length. If this book is indicative of what’s to be expected from his new press, than readers have much to look forward to.” Read the full review at The Arkham Digest.

Editor Ross E. Lockhart

The Arkham Digest have also just featured Steele’s interview with Tales of Jack the Ripper editor and Word Horde publisher/editor-in-chief Ross E. Lockhart. This interview includes not only insights into Lockhart’s aesthetic and goals in putting together Tales of Jack the Ripper, but a behind-the-scenes glimpse at Word Horde’s origins and future. Check out the full interview at The Arkham Digest.

This post is brought to you by Tales of Jack the Ripper, an anthology of seventeen stories and two poems examining the bloody legacy of the most famous serial murderer of all time. Ask for Tales of Jack the Ripper by name at a bookseller near you, or order the Saucy Jack Deluxe Pack from Word Horde.