Random Ruminations

Posted: December 2, 2016 in Uncategorized

Random Ruminations

I rarely talk of, or dwell or concentrate on negative aspects in the writing world. Mainly because there are too many good things going on or I’m too damn busy with myriad projects at any given time. And for the most part, these more unpleasant happenings and occurrences don’t impact on me, have zero effect on my writing or output, book sales or what have you, but I have seen how they impact on friends and create unnecessary ripples and tensions where none should be.

The horror scene is one that is absolutely packed with brilliant people, stellar writers, supportive souls, wonderful fans and folks who will go the extra mile to lend a helping hand to all kinds, be they new writers looking for assistance, people needing some attention drawn to various projects, publishers needing a replacement to jump in on and help out with a suddenly vacant spot for something or other, others just needing general advice on all manner of miscellaneous matters.

One only needs to check out the level of excellence assembled in two very recently released horror anthologies (I’m going to be posting another post after this which will focus solely on these two books) and the people that got themselves involved in these works to realise how wonderful the vast majority of folks in the horror scene are. Because the proceeds of sales from both of these books goes directly to charity and all writers going into these projects were completely aware of this, and dove headlong into them wholeheartedly and gave their all to their stories to create top shelf products that any horror fanatic would be crazy not to get hold of.

I’m proud to be a part of both of these books, but what’s more is, I’m proud to be a part of the horror community. I love it, I love the vast majority of folk in it and I love to be involved in it, in many capacities.

Unfortunately, like most scenes, it isn’t without its pitfalls, negative things and all round general fuckery. (Shit, I come from the metal scenes and sometimes one could hold up a mirror to one scene and see the reflection of the other in it. Fuckery abounds in both).

In the grand scheme of things, it’s a small percentage of bad apples (for lack of a better word), but often that’s still too many. I’m talking sniping, Chinese Whispers, outright lies and slander, petty vendettas, biting the hand that feeds, talking utter rubbish about other writers or publishers, using people for own personal gains, all sorts of bizarre agendas,stepping on anybody possible in a bid to climb to the top and then pretending it was done alone, riding coat-tails, cashing in on the success of others, a lack of any gratitude in various respects, shit I could probably fill a Plebs-sized book with some of the things I’ve heard and/or been witness to. And I hear a lot, so just as in the metal scene, I know what’s going on. Now, I mostly couldn’t give a fuck about this; I observe, I see what’s what and I know who will either come crashing down or find themselves boxed in without any real other avenues out, but as I mentioned, some of this fuckery has either impacted on friends or associates of mine, or been detrimental in some way. Ultimately, regardless who it impacts on, it’s not cool.

You might be a brand new fledgling writer looking to get yourself out there, looking to get known or acknowledged. Don’t bite the hands of anybody if they’ve been extended to help you in any capacity.

You might have parted ways with a publisher for one reason or another. Unless that’s some serious shit going on which probably should end up in court, or there’s some major fucking money issues, don’t badmouth them to all and sundry.

You might be an established writer who had plenty of assistance, tips, help and pointers to get you headed on the right direction. You might suddenly blow up and become an overnight success, or some such shit. You might be the next big thing. Don’t forget where you came from. Because even if you do, all those you stepped on, on the way up, sure as hell won’t forget.

You might be too easily swayed by others’ opinions. Fuck that. Form your own opinion.

Be careful about what bridges you burn. Some of those motherfuckers aren’t going to be rebuilt. The old once bitten twice shy adage works well here. People don’t like to be associated with somebody who has proved untrustworthy or too eager to shoot off their mouth half-cocked.

You might have issues with others in your community, well, that’s always going to happen, whatever the community. Either sort it out, or just move along. Agree to disagree. Some folks will never see eye to eye, and who cares to? Not everybody can be friends, not everybody will be friends, but there is an ability for most adults with a capacity for lateral thinking to be able to coexist. If there’s an issue, you can address it or you can choose to get on with life without making it the focus of your existence. Dredging up shit and beating it like a red-headed stepchild is tedious, counter-productive and a waste of time for everybody that gets dragged into it, directly or otherwise. Any of the random shit I’ve had the misfortune of somehow being indirectly involved with is precisely this, though it doesn’t hinder my writing or other work at all. It’s just like that fucking mosquito that keeps buzzing around your head when you’re trying to sleep. You’ll fall asleep eventually, but not before you wish you could splatter that motherfucker against the wall.

Most of all of this bullshit is white noise to me and I treat it as such, but since not all people would feel that way, I wouldn’t suggest they try to tune it out. There’s some pretty insidious stuff that goes on at times, some bollocks and slanderous rubbish that spins completely out of control, some of it impossible to ignore. After all, even white noise can get pretty fucking aggravating when it’s incessant.

Can’t we all just get along, you say? Nah, fuck that too. There are people who I would intentionally choose not to get along with, because they’ve revealed their penchant for inane fuckery, and agendas both hidden and not so hidden which detract from writing and serve no benefit, or in any way aid the overall community. So, no I’d never suggest we all try and get along, because that is an impossible scenario with too many different personalities that are bound to clash under any given circumstances. All I would suggest is if you are in it to write, then write. If you’re in it for any other reason, fuck off out of here.

If I’ve said this once, I’ve said it a million times and I suspect I’ve got at least another million times to say it. I write because I love to write. Point blank. Simple. I make money out of what I write, but that’s a bonus added to the love of writing. It’s always cool seeing people appreciate and dig the stories I write, and knowing they have similar tastes to me because I’m writing the tales that I love to read.

I submit to paying markets, I submit to non-paying markets, I write for charity, I write books because I have thousands of stories in me I want to tell. Bottom line. I didn’t walk into this expecting I’d sell my first story for a bajillion dollars and swan out of it rich. If you’re in it for that purpose, then probably best to fuck off out of it right now too (I think I’m horribly mangling a similar statement made by Jack Ketchum in that regard). In fact I didn’t even start with stories, I started off with a novel, and even then I didn’t go into it thinking it was a money making enterprise. I subbed it because it was a book I loved writing and I wanted to share the story with others, and that’s still a prime factor in writing stories today. I love telling stories and if I’m getting paid for some of them, sweet. If I’m subbing them to help out others, then I’m supremely cool with that too. I’ve no problem building up a great resume of writing publications and credits, and if there’s no money in some of them, so be it. So many people out there are staunchly against non-paying markets, and that’s all well and good, each to their own. At some stage in a writer’s career, they’ll be able to consider that and pick and choose, and be a little more selective, but coming straight out of the gate and thinking you’re going to crack the moneypot from the word go is hilarious. I’ve explored this whole scenario in another post, so I’m not going to rehash it again, but there are two schools of thought on the whole paying, non-paying market thing and that’s up to each person to decide where they sit with it. It’s pretty damn simple to me, that shit’s all about balance. Again, not everybody is likely to be on the same page with that, but anyway…

I’m going to keep on writing, keep on paying homage to the folks who inspire me, keep on supporting the horror community and those in it. I’m going to continue to sub to paying markets, to non-paying markets. I’m going to keep writing for charity, I’m going to keep assisting those who need or want it. I’m going to keep handing out pointers, tips, advice, what-have-you. I’m going to keep scouting fine extreme horror talent for WetWorks, I’m going to continue writing big-ass books. I’m going to keep on slinging bloody ink and scribbling horrific tales. I’m going to keep doing what the fuck I love to do.

And since black metal is perfect for drowning out white noise, I reckon I’ll put some of that on too.

 

2016 J. Ellington Ashton Awards/Awards in General and how the right kind of attention could benefit you

Around this time every year it seems I write a post regarding awards, so while this one essentially won’t be any different, it will address a couple of things other than mentioning specific awards.

In any case, J. Ellington Ashton Press recently held their annual awards and it was great to see a whole bunch of well-deserving authors, staff, artists and books receive acknowledgement for their assorted achievements throughout the year. My brothers in metal or splatterpunk or WetWorks, extreme inkslinging, whathaveyou, Toneye Eyenot, John Ledger, Michael Fish Fisher won some truly deserved awards as did many others who have gone above and beyond in 2016. As for me, I snagged this little beauty hereaoty2016

In addition to that Rejected For Content was runner up for Anthology of the Year. This would be for RFC4: Highway to Hell I would assume since Volume 3: Vicious Vengeance came out in October last year. Not too bad considering Highway to Hell has only been out a few months.

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I’m pretty sure I say this with each post as well, but I’m going to say it again anyway. I don’t write for awards. If you do write to win awards or that happens to be your motivation for writing, shit, get out of the game now.

I write because I love to write. I love to tell stories, I love to create the kinds of things I personally love to read; I have a restless, twisted imagination full of things that need to be spilled onto the page. I just love writing and that’s why I do it. If people happen to dig the freakish horror tales that make their way out of my head and splatter blood all over the pages, then that is awesome. If those same things garner the sort of attention that results in awards or other forms of acknowledgement, appreciation etc. etc. then that’s pretty cool too. It’s always great to be acknowledged by peers, fans, readers, the general public and so forth, but it will never be (and should never be) the principal motivation to write.

And as for winning awards, well I sure as hell can’t tell anybody how to win them. Because I don’t know. I can’t tell you how to win awards and nor can I tell you how to be the best author or anything like that. But I can tell you how to increase your visibility (so if garnering awards of any variety is one of your motivations, maybe your chances will also increase, hell, who knows) and try and maintain a profile.

Write. Keep writing. Keep releasing things. Be prolific. Don’t rest on your laurels.You can’t expect to maintain a high profile if you write one book, sit back and wait for the world to discover it (sure, there might be exceptions to this, but I can’t think of any right now). Let folks know about it, make people aware you have something out there they should be reading. Don’t assume people are just going to stumble across it without having a few pointers in the right direction. Interact with readers, other authors, potential readers, fans you might already have. Know your fanbase. Increase your fanbase (easier said than done I know, but it can be done). Be approachable. Be supportive of others. Writing isn’t a competition; there’s a fuckload of us out there and it makes more sense to support those fellow creatives than trying and wage war with them. Folks don’t always remember who is there sharing their shit or whatnot, but they sure as hell remember who did some underhanded shit or who tried to make enemies of them or just did some all round general fuckery in the name of climbing up that ladder a little higher. Sure, not everybody is going to get along, there will be those who like to step on others or use others to give them a leg up and then promptly forget who helped them out in the beginning, but again, it’s always a better option to take the higher ground there. Don’t involve yourself in drama. Fuck that shit. Of course, some of it is unavoidable, but for the most part it is. Stay away from it. Nobody wants to be remembered as that writer always getting embroiled in some kind of happy horseshit. Save that for writing. Wasting time on vitriolic rants, vendettas, targeting others or whatever is the in thing regarding drama these days is productive writing time wasted.

Promote yourself. Market your works. Identify your target market and ensure you’re directing the right information to them. No good pitching to folks who won’t have a bar of what it is you’re writing; try and win over a new fanbase or broaden into different areas after you have an established one. Keep potential readers and current fans updated on your releases, upcoming projects, current projects and plans. That again is easier said than done, and there’s often a fine line to tread between promoting and spamming or overkill, but that’s for each to find their own balance.

Create a brand for yourself. Build up a resume of work. Submit to markets. Hell, submit to anthologies and markets that don’t pay shit. I do and I’ll continue to do so, namely because there are so many great projects out there I want to write for, regardless of whether there’s any money in it. If you’ve got grand designs on subbing to the same places over and over because they pay top dollar and you keep getting rejected, might be time to expand horizons a little. There’s no creating a brand for yourself if you’re not getting anything accepted anywhere. That doesn’t mean write and sub for everything under the sun of course. Be choosy, but be a little smart about it. And when you do get rejected-it happens to all of us-be gracious about it. Don’t go on a tirade, don’t assume you know better than whoever knocked you back, they have their reasons. Editors always remember those who can’t take rejection graciously.

Bottom line. Don’t be a prick, asshole, bitch, cunt, whatever. It’s easy enough to achieve, unless of course that’s ones natural persona. In which case, consider your career longevity to not be overly long. Once more, probably exceptions to the rule, but I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest folks didn’t always get where they got by being any of the above to others, particularly on a constant basis.

Be gracious, accepting, supportive, approachable, proactive, creative and keep on writing. And don’t write for awards. If you do do enough to earn them the way they should be earned, they will come.

I’ve got a novel to write before this month is out, so rather than ramble on any more here, best I get to doing that.

Roadie Notes

Jim is an incredibly talented man and one that I’m very proud to call my friend.  He has written many great books and if you haven’t read one go get one right now….go on! His writing will absolutely blow your mind. He is a devoted family man who loves his wife and children with all his heart. I have many good friends that attribute their writing and where it is today because of him and his help. That says a lot about him. He is never one to shy away from a challenge or the task at hand and will keep you on the edge of your seat reading his stories. Please welcome my friend Jim to Roadie Notes………

1. How old were you when you first wrote your first story?

Extremely young. I started reading early and not long after that I was writing my own stories. I was…

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RIDERS (PLEBS 2)

It’s been a long time coming (two and a half years to be precise), but the follow up book to my debut novel, 2014’s Plebs, is just about here. And it’s not just one book, but two. Two fucking Plebs sequels? Technically one, but more on that momentarily…

Formatting is all done, full cover wraps are in the works, a handful of ARCs have been sent out to hopefully generate a review or two to coincide (or near enough) with the release of the books. I’m guessing near enough is probably going to be closer to the mark, since these monsters will be out and unleashed sooner rather than later, and unless one reads remarkably speedily like I do, ARC folks won’t be done reading.

Most people who have followed various interviews and whatnot over the last few years will know that while Plebs was my first published book, it wasn’t the first I ever wrote and more to the point, it wasn’t even originally intended to be a novel. It started off its existence as a short story idea with fundamentally the same premise as the novel ended up with, albeit finishing much sooner, with much less happening than what eventuated.

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I’ve mentioned once or twice that the more I wrote, the more I wanted to, the more involved I became with the characters. More ideas, plotlines, characters and horrendous things that could be done kept cropping up, demanding to be included, so the original Plebs morphed into what should have been a novella at most, into a six hundred page entity, or a motherfucking big bloody snowball of ultraviolence and splatterpunk fun.

Which leads me to Riders AKA Plebs 2. Why is it two books? Quite simply, because it turned out fucking enormous, to the point where it dwarfed the original book and releasing it as one opus just isn’t feasible. Even after extensive cuts, trims and so forth, the beast was still too big to realistically make it one book, so what you will soon be seeing appear are two separate books, released simultaneously. Riders (Plebs 2-Book One) and Riders (Plebs 2-Book Two). Two different covers, two separate books. However, it is all part of one big story, so I’ll stress right here and now, don’t get to the end of Book One and scream what the fuck? This is no way to end this shit! Book Two exists and will be out at the same time as Book One, so there will be no sitting around waiting a few months or what have you to find out what the hell happens.

I love the covers of both of these; they rank among some of my favourite of my books and books I’ve had stories in along the way. Both of them I had the main images picked out for, for quite some time, since both fit the tone of each book perfectly and I couldn’t be happier with how they look. The font is one of those that appeals to some and not so much to others, but in the grand scheme of things and keeping the series uniform, I wanted it to be the same as Plebs itself. Any future Plebs related books will follow the same blueprint.

Plebs 2 Riders Book 1

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These books have been completed for a little while now, at least in terms of being written and probably would have been released a little earlier than now, but various upheavals of all sorts threw up obstacles to keep that from happening. Now though, there will be no stopping them.

Fans of Plebs or anybody who has read it, may know what to expect, then again they may not. In any case, if you’re looking for some extreme ultraviolence, bloody brutality, explicit sex, an undercurrent of heavy metal and a plethora of feral freaks, lethal women, villainous characters and maybe a familiar face or two, then you’re in the wrong place. Nah, just fucking around. You’re in exactly the right spot with Riders. Folks who haven’t yet ventured into the world of the Plebs, see above. And maybe snag a copy of Plebs and read that before delving into these two.

Get ready for it.

Double the mayhem. Double the Plebs. The Riders are coming.

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REJECTED FOR CONTENT 4: HIGHWAY TO HELL

Between writing, editing, all the usual day to day shit I do, running WetWorks and maintaining a presence across a variety of platforms, it would be fair to say this poor old WordPress site has been immensely neglected. In fact, this will be the first post of the year for the abandoned fucker. Last time I was around here making any mention of anything, it was knocking up the extensive playlist for Undead Fleshcrave: The Zombie Trigger (which came out in January of this year by the way. If you haven’t read it yet, grab a copy, slap some corpse paint and spiked gauntlets on, crank the volume to maximum and dive in).

In some of the time elapsed between then and now I was immersed in the process of putting together the fourth volume of the extremely well received (I’d say bestselling, but I’m opposed to being one of those knobs) Rejected For Content series. This time around, we’re riding the Highway To Hell.

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This beast came out just under a month ago and like all of the series so far has lodged its gruesome carcass in the top 100 and is remaining there, maintaining the notion that folks simply love extremes and just can’t get enough. Which is excellent, because let me assure you, there’s no end in sight for this series, though there may be a couple of other projects I have in mind which are related to the whole concept. I’ll definitely be keeping people posted, but anything like that will come after Rejected For Content 5 has been released. Speaking of which, an open call for submissions for that very creature will be happening quite shortly, so all interested parties would be best advised to keep their eyes peeled for that one.

In the meantime, swing around and get your mitts on the latest installment of the grisly, the gory, the explicit, the shit that other publishers are liable to reject on the grounds of content. Featuring some usual suspects, some completely new faces, some up and comers and a couple of scribes who have had the unique ability to pop up in each volume of the series so far.

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Rejected For Content 4: Highway to Hell.

Some roads lead to fame and fortune. Some roads lead to safety and sanctuary. Some roads lead to misery and suffering. Some roads lead nowhere. And some roads lead straight to hell.

Come along for the ride if you dare, as Rejected for Content 4 takes you down roads with only one true destination awaiting at the end. Ride actual roads with damaged, deranged souls, and travel along the highways of the mind where psychosis, darkness, and the depths of brutality and perversion dwell.

These stories have all been rejected for content: these stories will all take you on the highway to hell. It’s a long way down.

Featuring K. Trap Jones, Eric LaRocca, Essel Pratt, T.S. Woolard, Amanda M. Lyons, Brian Glossup, Kindra Sowder, John Ledger, Jonathan Edward Ondrashek, James Longmore, S. A. Mckernan, David Owain Hughes, Rebecca Kolodziej, Michael Fisher, Rebecca Pate, Peter Oliver Wonder, Josh Davis, Roma Gray, Lyndon D. Johnson, G. Zimmerman, Mark Woods, William Bradley, Jay Helmstutler, and Toneye Eyenot.

Warning: Strong violence, explicit sex, coarse language, blood, and gore.

http://smarturl.it/Rejected4

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UNDEAD FLESHCRAVE: THE ZOMBIE TRIGGER ULTIMATE PLAYLIST

UNDEAD FLESHCRAVE_ THE ZOMBIE TRIGGER

As the time edges closer to the eventual release of Undead Fleshcrave: The Zombie Trigger, set to explode in a welter of blood and mayhem, driven by a barrage of blastbeats and monstrous guitar, I figured just for the hell of it, I would throw together an ultimate playlist for the book.

I’ve made mention a couple of times before that yes, as the name suggests, this beast is indeed, a zombie book, a foray into realms of the undead, but that isn’t the be-all and end-all with it. It is a road trip book, a story revolving around friendships and relationships, and the degradation of both, a survival tale, a horror story, and coursing throughout the entire opus is the relentless pulse of heavy metal, more specifically extreme metal. The story focuses on a group of metal fans (who are primarily fanatics of the black metal subgenre) venturing out to attend a much touted performance in their home town by a death metal supergroup going by the moniker Undead Fleshcrave. Needless to say, this is the catalyst for things unraveling in a horrendous manner and a great night out goes to hell in a handbasket pretty promptly.

Outstanding artist Stephen Cooney has been working on cover art for the book (many folk have probably already seen this floating around Facebook, but I’ll include it in here as well) and has managed to capture a perfect snapshot of a pivotal moment in Undead Fleshcrave with sublime work.

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In any case, as the tale is set in metal scenes, contains a high proportion of metalhead characters and is prolifically bolstered by metal music right throughout, the idea to compile an ultimate playlist was something I always thought would be pretty cool. So, with that said, here it is.

Each of the songs included below are either derived from tracks, bands, albums which spring up or are referenced over the duration of the story (and this is the vast majority of them) or are songs which are most fitting to slot right in among the others.

There are three focal (and fictional) towns during which most events occur during Undead Fleshcrave, so I’ve split this playlist into three separate sections to represent the happenings, references and things for each town.

This is just a bit of fun, but when the book is released, it might also be a cool reference point, so when that happens-still hoping to have it out before the year is over-feel free to come back and peruse the playlist. You’ll catch a lot of references, names and so forth that probably won’t make too much sense to folks right now, metal aficionado or otherwise.

It isn’t just a metal book, or a zombie book, or a horror book, it is all of the above and an assortment of other things. I can’t wait for it to be unleashed. Anyway, enough chatter. Here’s the playlist.
ARMADA
1. Armada-Keep of Kalessin
2. Winds of Creation-Decapitation
3. Meat Hook Sodomy-Cannibal Corpse
4. Slowly We Rot-Obituary
5. Slaves and Masters-Monstrosity
6. Unholy Ultraviolent Domination-Burial Hordes
7. Impending Dread-Autopsy
8. Pit of Zombies-Cannibal Corpse
9. Vortex of Confusion-Enthroned
10. Triumph of Death-Hellhammer
11. We Have Risen-Demonic Christ
12. Zombie Ritual-Death
13. Funeral Fog-Mayhem
14. Devour the Damned-Devourment
15. Silence Calls the Storm-Quo Vadis
16. Malevolent Invocation-Vital Remains
17. Night’s Blood-Dissection
18. Collision and Collapse-Fission
19. Meatgrinder-Eaten Alive
20. Dead By Dawn-Deicide
21. Screaming For Vengeance-Judas Priest
22. Revelations in Darkness-Immanifest
23. The Origin of Disiease-Aborted
24. Global Collapse-Kadavar
25. Dead World-Archeon

NOUMENA
1. Sleep–Noumena
2. To Cold Void Desolation–Neptune Towers
3. Mother North-Satyricon
4. Blizzard Beasts-Immortal
5. Freezing Moon-Mayhem
6. Under A Funeral Moon-Darkthrone
7. Dreaming in Red-Dismember
8. Seven Churches-Possessed
9. Chainsaw Dismemberment-Mortician
10. Revenge of the Zombie-Six Feet Under
11. Among the Living Dead-Iced Earth
12. Abominations-Morbid Angel
13. A World of Bones-Carpathian Forest
14. The Armageddon Anthem-Zonaria
15. Shotgun Facelift-Carnal Decay
16. Fucked With a Knife-Cannibal Corpse
17. Enslaved and Condemned-Old Man’s Child
18. Beyond Cops-Waking the Cadaver
19. Ghoul-Tsjuder
20. Season of the Dead-Necrophagia
21. To Kill Without Emotion-December Wolves
22. Conjuring the Dead-Belphegor
23. Supposed To Rot-Entombed
24. Trap Them And Kill Them-Impetigo
25. Welcome To the Graveyard-Feral

BLACKWATER PARK
1. Kathaarian Life Code-Darkthrone
2. Smell the Witch-Mortiis
3. Biblebasher-Deicide
4. Soulside Journey-Darkthrone
5. The Endurance-Deeds of Flesh
6. You Put A Hex On Me-Mortiis
7. Into the Infinity of Thoughts-Emperor
8. Blackwater Park-Opeth
9. Morphing into Primal-In Flames
10. The Sentencing-Estuary of Calamity
11. Scum-Napalm Death
12. Doomed To Walk the Earth As Slaves To the Living Dead-Carpathian Forest
13. Christraping Black Metal-Marduk
14. Transilvanian Hunger-Darkthrone
15. Nemesis Divina–Satyricon
16 Unholy Massacre-Incantation
17. Extremely Rotten Flesh-Grave
18. Sculptor of Flesh-1349
19. Collection of Souls-Master
20. Pile of Skulls–Running Wild
21. Ride The Lightning-Metallica
22. The Great Bludgeoning-Hatesphere
23. Unleashing the Bloodthirsty-Cannibal Corpse
24. Vendetta Assassin-Dodheimsgard
25. Welcome To Hell-Venom

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REJECTED FOR CONTENT 3: VICIOUS VENGEANCE

The third installment of the Rejected For Content anthology series from JEA’s WetWorks imprint is out, released into society in all its gruesome glory.

The grotesque. The grisly. The extreme. The erotic. Punishing. Poignant. Vicious. Vengeful. Rejected. For Content.

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Comprised of twenty three pieces Rejected For Content 3: Vicious Vengeance is the longest of the series so far and marks the second time I have taken the reins as editor. Unlike the first two volumes I don’t have a story in this collective, instead I’m just the man helming it. Like the predecessors, this book features a wide array of talented authors, ranging from the well established to some unknown and upcoming faces, which is one of the hallmarks of RFC. There are names folks will be very familiar with, there are names that folks will be hearing much more of in the future. Among this sanguinary sprawl of provoking prose and poetry are a few scribes who have the distinction of featuring in all three volumes of the series thus far, which is rather cool. New faces are constantly being attracted to the whole concept which is a wonderful thing; it sees the tendrils of RFC spread further and wider, but it is also great to have top notch work still being submitted by folks who have pretty much become synonymous with the series.

The subtitle of the opus, ‘Vicious Vengeance’, as I make mention of in the foreword wasn’t one that I had in mind prior to starting the submissions, reading, cutting down process, but as I did go through the myriad stories that were submitted, there was a high percentage of them which revolved in one way or another around revenge. Consequently, they assisted in throwing a suitable moniker up. Naturally, it isn’t all of the stories which are steeped in bloody vengeance and ruthless revenge, but the large proportion of them meant the book essentially dubbed itself.

Nor are all the stories and works brutal, violent, overtly sexual or the types of things one might expect to have been originally ‘rejected for content’. No, there is poignancy here, touching moments, things which are far more subtle than affronting and shocking (though rest assured, that’s here in spades too), cutting insights on society, people’s behaviours, intentions, psyches and mental states. These stories involve human souls laid bare, skin peeled right back to reveal the often hideously ugly interior and on the surface some might shock, but they will all make you think, mull over and contemplate. They all have their reasons to be rejected on the grounds of content for other publishers who might be prone to shy away from this deliberate ugliness, sordidness, offensive or abrasive, but at WetWorks these tales of terror are embraced with open arms.

For those who are thinking, fuck, RFC2 wasn’t released that long ago, that WetWorks is fucking cranking out this series, I’ll gibber on about that a little. I had folks clamouring for another RFC and stories ready to roll, so after number 2 had been out for a while I opened up a submissions call for part 3 with a strict deadline to be adhered to. The response was excellent, to the extent where I ended up with some great stories that unfortunately couldn’t make the cut, based on size restraints, so technically if those same writers wish to have involvement with the next installment of a series that keeps growing, it’s well on the way already.

In any case, the speed with which RFC3 came together can be attributed to all the contributors involved. Without their prompt responses to contracts, issues, actions and all the things involved in the compiling and creation of the anthology, it wouldn’t have run nearly as smoothly or efficiently, so the group of extreme inkslingers who have work in Vicious Vengeance are definitely responsible for it being an extremely positive experience, alongside those staff members with the unenviable jobs of formatting and proof copies.

If you’re already familiar with Splattergore and Aberrant Menagerie, then it’s time for you to become immersed in Vicious Vengeance. If you aren’t and you think you have the constitution and fortitude for what lurks within the pages of all three volumes, then throw yourself into them. You might not be the same afterwards, so approach with caution.

One final note before I drop off the link so you are able to go and check out the new Rejected For Content release.

Rejected For Content 4 will certainly be happening. As I mentioned above, I already have a host of worthy stories and at some stage I will be opening up another submissions call to round up a host more. This won’t be happening until next year at this stage; I’m pretty much steering clear of all anthologies-either running or submitting to-for the remainder of 2015 so I can concentrate on my own writing. That has been the plan for some time and aside from RFC4, I imagine it is going to be the plan for 2016 as well, so there will be less short stories in different books from me and more short stories written to include in future collections from me. But, I’m diverging away from the original point…

I’ll let potential submitters, or folks who might be wanting to pen something suitable for Rejected For Content 4, this opus already has a subtitle, as created by the man who is responsible for the cover art of all the books in the series so far. This is ‘Highway To Hell’, so bear that title in mind. While RFC as a series is open theme and will continue to remain open theme for the foreseeable future, I will be specifically seeking a few works which in some way address or involve that subtitle, so start getting those freakish ideas churning and see if you can end up on the Rejected For Content Highway To Hell.

In the meantime, be sure to snare a copy of Vicious Vengeance from the link below (or Barnes & Noble, Book Depository etc, all those places when it becomes available there).

http://smarturl.it/Rejected3

From the shocking to the surreal, the poignant to the repugnant, the erotic to the extreme, Rejected For Content 3 delves into the darkest corners of human hearts and minds. The stories contained within have been rejected from other presses on the grounds of content; tales to shock and frighten, unnerve and disgust, with many disturbed souls driven by vicious vengeance. Featuring Toneye Eyenot, K. Trap Jones, Essel Pratt, Dani Brown, AJ Waters, Lisa Dabrowski, Matthew Weber, Andrew Bell, Jay Helmstutler, Edward Kenyon, Matthew Cash, Victoria Vassilious, Ian McClellan, Ash Hartwell, Stephen Kozeniewski, Roy C. Booth, Axel Kohagen, Brent Lorentson, Gregg Zimmerman, Michelle Garza, Melissa Lason, Catfish McDaris and Amanda M. Lyons.

rfc3 cover