Tag Archives: tales of jack the ripper

Orrin Grey’s Guignol & Other Sardonic Tales cover reveal, An Anniversary Coupon, Scratch & Dent Sale, and Amber Fallon’s Fright Into Flight shipping soon!

Lots of news to unpack this morning, but let’s start with the biggest monster in the room: Orrin Grey’s Guignol & Other Sardonic Tales. Dropping October 2, in plenty of time for Halloween, Orrin Grey’s new collection has been called “a veritable smorgasbord of horrific thrills and chills” and “a must-read for hardcore fans of horror” (Publishers Weekly). Let’s take a look…

Guignol & Other Sardonic Tales by Orrin Grey

“Enter this freakishly inventive cabinet of curiosities if you will, every story providing a redly drippy skull-window straight into the id-vortex of a modern horror master–gape in awe, laugh out loud, feel your mental mouth start to water.” –Gemma Files, from the introduction

Orrin Grey has a knack for cruel stories.

Contes Cruel, to be exact.

Sardonic Tales like the fourteen collected here, ready to wrench the reader’s emotions, tantalize, and terrify. Drawing inspiration from the likes of Roger Corman, Robert E. Howard, H.P. Lovecraft, the Theatre de Grand Guignol, Universal’s monster movies, Hammer horror, kaiju flicks, and more, all while creating something unique, intoxicating, and, yes, cruel.

Guignol & Other Sardonic Tales has something for everyone… even the most jaded readers.

Order your copy of Guignol & Other Sardonic Tales today!

Cover art by everyone’s favorite art creep, Nick “The Hat” Gucker.

We’re coming up on the fifth anniversary of our first book, Tales of Jack the Ripper, so here’s a special offer: the Jack Pack. Add Tales of Jack the Ripper & Alan M. Clark’s A Brutal Chill in August to your cart, get them both for $25 with coupon code jackpack. Ends 8/31/18!

We received a few returns last week, and Elinor says it’s better to sell them than to count them, so we’ve added a few things to our Scratch & Dent Sale page. Take a look and save a few bucks!

Finally, Amber Fallon’s anthology Fright Into Flight will be shipping very soon, but there’s still time to place your preorder. Publishers Weekly says, “Fallon has collected some true gems that will be perfect for fans of horror stories centered on female power and dangerous women.” And, with this lineup, you know you’re in for something awesome: Damien Angelica Walters, Izzy Lee, Letitia Trent, Christine Morgan, Desirina Boskovich, Nancy Baker, Kathryn Ptacek, Nancy Kilpatrick, Shannon Lawrence, Gemma Files, Leza Cantoral, Martel Sardina, Allyson Bird, Rebecca Gomez Farrell, Pamela Jeffs, and Nadia Bulkin. Order your copy of Fright Into Flight today!

Sing “The Soul of You,” a Jack the Ripper-themed contest

Today marks 129 years since Jack the Ripper began his deadly spree. To mark the occasion, we’re giving three lucky winners two free books: 1) a copy of Alan M. Clark’s novel A Brutal Chill in August, which tells the story of Polly Nichols, Jack the Ripper’s first victim, and 2) A copy of the anthology Tales of Jack the Ripper, which includes stories by Laird Barron, Ramsey Campbell, Joe R. Lansdale, E. Catherine Tobler, and Mercedes M. Yardley, among others.

The catch? To win, you have to post a video of you singing “The Soul of You,” the Bonehill Ghost’s song from A Brutal Chill in August, and tag Word Horde in your post. A link to the original music video is below. Contest ends November 9, 2017.

We’re looking forward to hearing you sing. And to giving you cool books.

Now Available for Preorder: Alan M. Clark’s A Brutal Chill in August

We all know about Jack the Ripper, the serial murderer who terrorized Whitechapel and confounded police in 1888, but how much do we really know about his victims?

Pursued by one demon into the clutches of another, the ordinary life of Mary Ann “Polly” Nichols is made extraordinary by horrible, inhuman circumstance. Jack the Ripper’s first victim comes to life in this sensitive and intimate fictionalized portrait, from humble beginnings, to building a family with an abusive husband, her escape into poverty and the workhouse, alcoholism, and finally abandoned on the streets of London where the Whitechapel Murderer found her.

With A Brutal Chill in August, Alan M. Clark gives readers an uncompromising and terrifying look at the nearly forgotten human story behind one of the most sensational crimes in history. This is horror that happened.

A Brutal Chill in August by Alan M. Clark

Watch the book trailer for A Brutal Chill in August, featuring the song “The Soul of You,” as sung by the Bonehill Ghost in the novel.

Preorder A Brutal Chill in August today!

Pub Date: August 30, 2016

Readers will also enjoy Alan M. Clark’s collaboration with Gary A. Braunbeck, “A Host of Shadows,” which appears in the Word Horde anthology, Tales of Jack the Ripper.

Beginning July 4, 2016, Alan M. Clark will be liveblogging Jack London’s The People of the Abyss, a piece of investigative journalism in which the author wrote of his experience living in the guise of an impoverished person in the East End of the city of London in 1902, fourteen years after Jack the Ripper terrorized the area. We’d like to encourage readers to track down a copy of The People of the Abyss and join us for the read-along.

An Interview with E. Catherine Tobler

Sean recently chatted with E. Catherine Tobler, author of the wildly entertaining Folley & Mallory Adventures as well as a number of our favorite short stories. Here’s what transpired.

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

I’m not certain what true purpose genre has beyond acting as a guideline for the reader, maybe–though the more I read, the less I’m convinced of “genre,” as bits of one tend to end up in another, and work out perfectly fine. As a writer, the same is true for me; why not use whatever you like in whatever “genre” they think you’re writing?

Tales of Jack the Ripper edited by Ross E. Lockhart

Your story from Tales of Jack the Ripper, what was the genesis of it?

“Once, November,” came pretty easy, because I wanted to take a route I didn’t think anyone else would. I suspected authors would write about the Ripper–and rightly so–but I wanted to explore his victims–who they were even after their violent deaths; I hope I’ve done them justice in some small way.

Do you find that you work quickly, slowly, or a little of both?

It depends entirely on what I’m working on; writers are surely some of the finest procrastinators on the planet. A good work ethic is important to me–maybe it’s doubly important when you’re your own boss. No one is looking over your shoulder, so if you don’t get the work done, the work doesn’t get done. And I can’t stand that. So we get it done–usually ahead of schedule.

Giallo Fantastique edited by Ross E. Lockhart

What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever read?

Lately, the daily news. In terms of fiction, I think my answer will change depending on when I’m asked. Presently, I’d say “The Yellow Wallpaper,” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood. Both contain a horror that is timeless–and possibly not much different from the daily news these days…

What’s the longest you’ve ever edited a piece for?

Sometimes, stories don’t come so easily. I had an idea for one that actually took me eleven years to get right–so that’s probably the longest. It wasn’t that I actively edited or pursued it during those years, however. I wrote the draft, and knew it wasn’t right, but the idea of it still wouldn’t leave me alone. So every now and then we’d talk over coffee and see if we learned anything new about each other. Eventually, we came to terms and it sold to a pro market.

What did you enjoy about working with Ross as an editor?

I’ve worked with Ross on two projects now, Tales of Jack the Ripper, and Giallo Fantastique. Both times he was very welcoming and open to whatever this writer wanted to do. Also, his beer reviews and hair are complete perks.


Got anything to plug?

The Honey Mummy, the third book in the Folley & Mallory Adventures, is out now, with the fourth volume out this coming fall. My circus novel, The Kraken Sea, is out this June from Apex Book Company. Short fiction is soon to appear again in both Interzone and Clarkesworld.

An Interview with Mercedes M. Yardley

To kick off Women in Horror Month (which we’re totally using as an excuse to talk about a number of the awesome authors we work with… not that we need an excuse), Sean talks with Mercedes M. Yardley, an author who appeared in the Word Horde anthology Tales of Jack the Ripper. In addition to being the author of Pretty Little Dead Girls: A Novel of Murder and Whimsy and Nameless, her novella Little Dead Red currently appears on the 2015 Bram Stoker Awards Preliminary Ballot (you’re definitely going to want to read this one). Take it away, Sean and Mercedes…

What do you feel the purpose of genre is in fiction?

MMY: Genre is about marketing, straight-up. It tells the bookstore which shelf to place the book on. It gives the reader a good idea where to start looking for something that will interest them. I think it has very little to do with a good story. Most stories are more than one genre. I have a book that is a serial killer thriller romance with heavy horror and surrealism. I usually just say it’s a fairytale with a high body count, because it’s simpler. Genre is a categorizing tool to help organization.

Tales of Jack the Ripper edited by Ross E. Lockhart

You have a story in Tales of Jack the Ripper, “A Pretty for Polly.” What inspired you to write the story, and what was it like working with Ross as an editor?

MMY: I was over the moon when I was invited to that anthology. Jack the Ripper is my jam. I challenged myself to see if I could make Saucy Jack, who is arguably the most heinous and notorious killer of all time, come off as sympathetic. How do you do that without neutering the legend? I did my best and I’m pleased with the result. It’s a dark little thing.

Ross is a very cool editor. Professional, yet laid-back. He has a strong reputation for quality work and deservedly so. I’d work with him again in a heartbeat.

You seem to enjoy whimsy? Is that a fair assessment?

MMY: Absolutely. I call my work “whimsical horror.” I think it’s apt. Pretty, quirky, whimsical things are what make the world go round.

Does your environment alter the settings in your stories?

MMY: It really does alter my settings. I grew up in the desert, so I write quite a bit about that. But my heart is in the Pacific Northwest, so that’s the setting of at least two of my books. I find that if it’s raining outside, I’ll write about rain. If it’s windy, I’ll write about that. It helps to have whatever is influencing my day show up in my work because it gives the stories diversity. It isn’t always daytime, it isn’t always sunny, etc.

Do you write in the morning, at night, or neither?

MMY: Ideally I’m a night writer. That’s when I’m naturally most creative. But unfortunately, that’s also when I’m the most exhausted and I want to kick back and veg. It’s a struggle for me to be disciplined enough to turn off Grimm and work on a book. But ultimately, that’s when my best writing is done.


What inspires you?

MMY: I’m inspired by beauty. I’m also inspired by ugliness and rot. It’s amazing how closely beauty and horror are intertwined. Strength and suffering. I’m inspired by finding the gems in ordinary, everyday things. It adds sparkle to the mundane.


MMY: Thanks for having me! It was a pleasure.

An interview with Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Our intrepid reporter, Sean M. Thompson, recently sat down with one of our favorite authors and editors, Silvia Moreno-Garcia of Innsmouth Free Press, to talk about her latest anthology, the all-women Lovecraftian anthology, She Walks in Shadows (which we at Word Horde are big fans of). Here’s their conversation…

In your own words, why do you think it’s important for there to be weird fiction (or really any type of genre) collections featuring work exclusively by women?

In the horror genre, and that includes Weird fiction, women don’t seem to get much attention. Whenever there are lists of Top Ten Horror Writers people remember to include folks like King, Lovecraft, yet even figures as crucial as Jackson can slip through the cracks and be ignored. Some anthologies routinely used to include only all men in their TOCs, I’m thinking of several Lovecraftian books which did this not even five years ago. So, there’s a complex problem. Yes, there are less women horror writers than men. But the ones we have can have a hard time drawing attention. And how do we get more women interested in the genre? In creating and consuming and being part of it, that’s not an easy thing to do but part of it must be visibility. Anthologies can help highlight the work of women which we don’t see, but I should say it’s not the only way this should be done, nor is it an instant solution to get more women interested in the field.


What prompted you to start the process of creating She Walks in Shadows? Was the turn around faster or slower than other editing work you’ve had?

There was a Facebook discussion where someone asked “Do girls just not like to play with squids?” By squids the person meant Lovecraftian stories, there was the assumption there are no women writing it because it doesn’t interest them. There was a long discussion about this on several spaces. At some point someone said women were incapable of writing Lovecraftiana and at another point someone said if you want something different, why don’t you do it yourself. So we did. Of course then some people got mad that we actually were action-oriented and not just talk, but that’s another story.

You have a story in Word Horde’s Tales of Jack the Ripper. Does the Ripper case interest you? Are there any other murder cases that you find yourself terrified by/ intrigued by?

The Ripper is one of the cases I find more dull, in comparison to others because it’s not as bizarre as some other stuff I’ve read. I’m interested in crime, not just murder, and I’ve read a lot of nota roja, yellow journalism, and crime books. I’m curious about people and I like knowing about the investigators, the criminal, the victim. There was a case in Mexico City in the 50s which I find quite interesting and apparently I’m not the only one since they made it into a play and a movie. Basically this guy had a whole family, six kids and a wife, and he kept them locked inside his home all the time. They never went out. They made a living by making rat poison and the father went selling it door to door. And you think for sure they’re going to murder him with rat poison! But they don’t. A daughter throws a scrap of paper onto the street and eventually the cops come and take the guy to prison. But the things that gets me, the thing I go over and over again in my head, is the mother. After the guy goes to jail she says she still loves him and wants him back.

It’s just strange, the bizarre shit that can be going on behind a perfectly normal looking house.

What kind of music did you listen to today?

Today? 80s music. I had “Mad World” playing.

How goes your dissertation?

Half there. I need to re-write a portion of it but getting there.

Do you think there are certain place which contain some type of power we can’t explain? You hear people talk about, say, The Bermuda Triangle, and no one can quite pin down why so many ships disappear in that area?

I don’t believe in ghosts or monsters or demons. But my great-grandmother was superstitious and I grew up with that, so it’s hard to scrub it off even when you are an adult. I also lived for a bit in Massachusetts and you’re from there so you know what it’s like. A lot of old houses and this kind of sad, depressing feeling in certain spots. There’s a lot of history in certain places, in New England, in Mexico, in Europe of course. And it feels different than the ‘new’ cities like Vancouver where everything is glass, it’s clean, and there’s an optimism which seems to flow from this youth. That said there was a place in Vancouver my husband and I found creepy. We would walk by a building which had been a hospital and was abandoned and we both swore the building was staring at us. It would follow you. And it looked angry. They turned it into condos and it looks very fine now, nothing like it did before, but I don’t think I’d live there. It’s not scientific at all but that building was a nasty building.

Growing up, were there any creepy areas around Mexico City you thought might contain some type of unexplainable forces?

There are a lot of creepy places but I was never afraid of ghosts or the supernatural in Mexico City. My fears were very concrete and very real. Would I get mugged, for example. As a child there used to be some weird knocking in my home. Knocking on the walls. It was made of brick, so it wasn’t like in the US or Canada where you can safely assume the wood is contracting, the floorboards are making noises, it was this knocking that happened when I saw in one room. I’m sure there is a natural explanation but when it bothered me a lot I would yell. I would say “Shut up! Stop!” I figured if it was a ghost it was motherfucking rude ghost and it deserved to be told off. And the noise did subside after I yelled. But I was never afraid. The ‘real’ world was a lot more scary.

Do you have any writing rituals? Molly Tanzer has some very specific ones…

No. I write late at night because it’s the only spare time I have.

What do you feel the role of genre is in regards to fiction?

Does it have to have one? You use whatever tools do the job. Sometimes its genre, sometimes its lit.

Order She Walks in Shadows from Innsmouth Free Press. Order Tales of Jack the Ripper from Word Horde. Silvia’s debut novel, Signal to Noise, is available from Solaris. To learn more about Silvia Moreno Garcia and her awesome projects, visit her website.

Garrett Cook reads “Hello, Handsome” from Giallo Fantastique

Today is September 30, the 127th anniversary of one of the most brutal and audacious crimes in history, the Jack the Ripper murders known as the Double Event. The first Word Horde anthology, Tales of Jack the Ripper, explored this terrible crime in horrific detail, contemplating in multiple stories just what it is that drives someone to murder. Is it something within? Or is it something else entirely?

And so, as summer turns to fall and Halloween approaches, we thought we’d share a tale of murder and mayhem with you all. One that confronts that question head-on. With gloves off. Or on, as the case may be. Here is Garrett Cook’s “Hello, Handsome,” from Giallo Fantastique. Read live, with musical accompaniment by Erin Jane Laroue. Turn down the lights, sit back, and get ready for terror.

Photo by Nick Giampetro

Photo of Garrett Cook and Erin Jane Laroue courtesy of Nick Giampetro. Recorded live at The Hour that Stretches at the Jade Lounge, Portland, OR. Special thanks to Edward Morris.

Giallo Fantastique edited by Ross E. Lockhart

Click here to listen.

For the Word Horde!, by Sean M. Thompson


Word Horde

Thousands of them, warriors covered in the blood of fallen subjects, their axes stained crimson from predicates who never knew it was to be their end.

“Sean, this is not just any group of warriors you’re teaming up with, this is the Word Horde!”

Their swords are terrible in the light of a scalding sun, gleaming with the ferocity of verbs, nouns, and adjectives ready for a fight. I too am ready to do battle; to sacrifice my body, (mostly my fingers and hands) to the cause.

“I will join the Word Horde!” I scream, and the din around me is terrifying, but it certainly gets my adrenaline pumping.

The drums thunder with the promise of hand-to-hand combat, page after page of it.

We charge, individuals made strong by a common goal. To whoop these readers upside the head, and go in for the kill. To shake those in search of literary entertainment to the core. None of them have any idea what’s in store, but oh let me tell you, we got a fever inside us. Inside of me, my ancestors are high off wode, and the thrill of Valhalla, cheering in unison.

Lightning cracks the sky, scorching the horizon, and a storm begins in an instant. I grit my teeth, get ready for it. The smile on my face would set a clunky paragraph to crying.
Rain soaks the land, and a qualifier falls beside me: I grab his mace. A terrible spiked metal ball attached to a wooden handle: I slam it into the spine of an adverb as it advances upon me, shrieking onomatopoeic obscenities.

“Great job Sean, I like what you’re doing here!” Ross says, and he’s in a terrifyingly scant amount of armor, his hair underneath a horned helmet.

“I didn’t see you, brother,” I say, knocking a weak noun off of its feet, ducking as one of my Horde looses an arrow, which slams home into the heart of a particularly poor word choice.

“I’ve been here since the beginning!” Ross shouts, and the slash of his mighty golden editor’s sword is a thing to behold.

A beast of war barks by my feet. I see it’s none other than Elinor Phantom, the terrifying battle hound out for blood with our Word Horde. May the gods help whoever crosses her path of vicious bloodthirsty hunger.

“How many words did you want me to kill?” I shout over to he of the Locked Heart, and he shouts back “as many as seems appropriate,” before he slices another poor word choice down the middle with his powerful blade.

“FOR THE WORD HORDE!” I scream, and lose myself in the chaos of battle, a berserker in a frenzy.

This battle is just beginning, friends. We need warriors to join up with the Word Horde. Can we count you among our number? Do you long to slay boring sentences in the moonlight? Do you worship the Gods of Story, and plot, and Character? Understand, once you join, you must dedicate your energy to the Word Horde. The only way out of this is in a hole in the dirt.

Our Word Horde has anthologies like Cthulhu Fhtagn!, Giallo Fantastique, the Shirley Jackson Award-nominated The Children of Old Leech, and Tales of Jack the Ripper. Our Word Horde has novels, like Mr. Suicide by Shirley Jackson Award-nominated author Nicole Cushing, Vermilion by British Fantasy Award nominee Molly Tanzer, and We Leave Together by J. M. McDermott.

“Tell them about the upcoming warriors joining up with the Word Horde!” Elinor growls at me.

“I didn’t know you could talk!” I shout back, breaking a lazy sentence’s neck with my mace, my word killer.

“Shut up and tell them about the stuff on the way!” she barks out, and proceeds to rip the Achilles tendon of a sad antecedent.

“We have Orrin Grey’s new collection Painted Monsters & Other Strange Beasts coming in October!” I roar, and snap the forearm of a demonstrative pronoun with my bare hands. This pleases me.

“And ALSO?!” she bellows in a timbre I didn’t think such a small creature could emit.

“Oh, and Livia Llewellyn’s collection Furnace in 2016!”

Before I know it, the Word Horde is alone, our foes seem to have retreated, for the moment. Seeing their comrades rendered into so much spilled ink seems to have put the necessary fear into them they should have had from the start.

“Not bad for a first battle,” Ross says, and puts his hand on my shoulder.

“Do you always wear so little armor?” I ask he of the curly man-mane.

“What do you mean ‘so little’? This is a lot of armor for me. Normally I have on way less.”

The adrenaline of the battle having died down, I start to seriously question my decision to become social media manager for Word Horde.

“Come on, I’m gonna order a pizza,” Ross says.

And like that, I’m back on board!


–Sean M. Thompson
Social Media Manager

The Children of Old Leech: Afterword

Today brings the final installment in our series of excerpts from The Children of Old Leech. We hope you’ve enjoyed these excerpts as much as we’ve enjoyed bringing them to you, and we sincerely hope that we’ve persuaded you to pick up a copy of The Children of Old Leech for yourself. And while this round is over, we will be back with more samples of Word Horde books, photos, reviews, and previews, so we would encourage you to stay tuned. So with the melancholic sense of a journey’s impending conclusion, but no regrets, we bring you a look behind the curtain with co-editor/publisher Ross E. Lockhart’s “Afterword.”


One of my first gigs in this crazy business we call publishing was writing the flap copy for the hardcover edition of Laird Barron’s first collection, The Imago Sequence. As I recall, I got paid in books for this, which is fine because I’d likely have spent any monetary compensation on books anyhow.

The Imago Sequence blew me away. I was already fairly well versed in the weird tale, and in the typical tropes associated with Lovecraftian pastiche, but Barron’s approach did something unexpected with the form, fusing the strangeness of supernatural horror with the stark naturalism of Jack London (whose “To Build a Fire” Barron himself classifies as Cosmic Horror), daring to deliver something different, a high-stakes carnivorous cosmos populated with tough, rugged protagonists more accustomed to inhabiting hard-boiled tales of crime or espionage than Lovecraft’s prone-to-fainting academics. Through this (at the time) unlikely combination, Barron managed to, in the words Ezra Pound once pinched from a Chinese emperor’s bathtub, “make it new.”

One does not read a Laird Barron story so much as one experiences it in a visceral manner. A tale like “Shiva, Open Your Eye” strips away a reader’s reason, flaying him, leaving him floating in the primordial jelly, innocent of coherent thought. “Hallucigenia” is, quite literally, a kick in the head. The painstaking noirish layering to be found in “The Imago Sequence” culminates in a ghastly, shuddering reveal of staggering proportions. And it is that sense of culmination one finds echoing throughout Laird Barron’s work, binding the whole together into a Pacific Northwest Mythos reminiscent of, but cut from another cloth entirely from, Lovecraft’s witch-haunted New England.

A handful of one-off copywriting gigs led to greater opportunities, and soon, I found myself working full-time for the publisher of The Imago Sequence, which led to my meeting Laird in the flesh at the World Fantasy Convention in Saratoga, NY. I found we shared a kindred spirit… and a taste for rare spirits and supernatural tales. Upon my return, I worked on the trade paperback edition of The Imago Sequence, and on Laird’s next collection, Occultation, where I not only wrote the jacket copy, but laid out the book, coordinated the production team working on it, supervised copyedits, approved those edits with Laird, and corrected the book (as a nod to Robert Bloch, I suppose you could refer to me as “The Man Who Corrected Laird Barron.”).

Shortly after Occultation landed, my wife and I embarked on a road trip up the West Coast, a drive where the scenery—stark mountains, tall trees, steep costal drop-offs—constantly reminded me of one Laird Barron story or another. Our journey brought us to Olympia, where we met Laird for lunch, talked martial arts and American literature, and I snapped a few photographs of Laird playing with our little dog, Maddie.

Somewhere along the line, both The Imago Sequence and Occultation managed to win Laird his first and second Shirley Jackson Awards, and I began working with Laird as editor of his first novel, The Croning, which he sent to me in bits and pieces over the course of a tough year, building it like a wall, brick by brick and layer by layer. With The Croning, Laird metaphorically opened a vein and bled words onto the page, and while a casual reader might not spot the author’s open wounds, the emotional wallop delivered by the book more than assures you that those wounds are not only there, but that they are raw.

I published Laird’s novella “The Men from Porlock” in my first anthology, The Book of Cthulhu, and his “Hand of Glory” in my second, The Book of Cthulhu II. And over the course of 2012, I worked on Laird’s third collection, The Beautiful Thing that Awaits Us All, reading stories as Laird finished them and sent them along. One of my favorites in the collection, the wickedly sardonic “More Dark,” managed to get me in trouble when I read it on my phone during a baseball game, prompting my wife to elbow me as I laughed—then shivered—at a situation that rode the train from bad to weird to worse to a downright Barronic level of darkness. The Beautiful Thing that Awaits Us All was the final project I worked on for its publisher, which might bring us full circle, were it not for the fact that this circle, like the sigil marking Moderor de Caliginis, is an open—and hungry—curve.

In 2013, I started my own publishing company, Word Horde, launching the press with Tales of Jack the Ripper, an anthology that included Laird Barron’s tour-de-force “Termination Dust,” a fractured narrative not only providing the thrills and chills expected from Barron’s oeuvre, but marking a new venue for his brand of cosmicism, a strange, savage, and sanguine land that Laird knows quite well… Alaska.

Not long after the publication of Tales of Jack the Ripper, Justin Steele, who had reviewed The Book(s) of Cthulhu and Tales of Jack the Ripper at his weird fiction website, The Arkham Digest, approached me suggesting this anthology. I receive—and say no to—a lot of anthology pitches, many of which are suggested as possible co-editorial projects, but I found the idea of honoring Laird, an author whose work has influenced and intersected with much of my professional career, irresistible. I approached Laird, asking for permission to let other authors play in his sandbox, and to my delight, Laird said yes. For that, Justin and I owe Laird a lifetime of gratitude. We immediately set to building a roster of our favorite authors, authors who we felt shared Laird’s vision of a ravenous universe, and an understanding of that terrible, beautiful thing that awaits us all.

There are no accidents ’round here. The editors of, and the authors included in, this volume have been inspired and affected by Laird Barron’s carnivorous cosmos. We’ve all gazed at mysterious holes, wondering where they lead. We’ve all found ourselves in conversation with a stranger, staring at a scar and wondering if it is, instead, a seam. We’ve all heard the voices whispering in the night, praising Belphegor, and saying, “We, the Children of Old Leech, have always been here. And we love you.”

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: Just $2.99 for a limited time!

“It’s elementary, folks,” says Inspector Elinor. “Simple math. Two dollars and ninety-nine cents equals Tales of Jack the Ripper on your Kindle, smartphone, or tablet. So visit Amazon and download a copy of Tales of Jack the Ripper, edited by Ross E. Lockhart. Watson and I need the clues you will find in the ebook to track down Jack the Ripper and bring the cur to justice.”


Buy Tales of Jack the Ripper for your Kindle right here.