Got Monsters? You need Bissette!

Start kids off right with A-Zombies!

What goes better with Halloween than monsters? Now your one-stop shopping spot for monsters galore is over at Stephen R. Bissette’s MYRANT, home of Taboo, Tyrant, Teen Angels & New Mutants, as well as the fabulous Vermont Monster Guide.  It’s not enough to just read about monsters. Grab this book, the family and a bag of marshmallows and go find your own. Get an original drawing from one of the renowned artists of Swamp Thing  or just browse the SpiderBaby Store. You’ll be glad you did!

Buy Original Art

a select few pieces left in the original on-site sketch store…

Weird Noir: Up a Dark Alley

Out soon from Fox Spirit Books!

What makes a body turn to crime? Or a writer turn to the darkside? To filch a little Shakespeare, some are born weird, some become weird and others have it thrust up on them. Here’s a few more of the Weird Noir folks telling us how they came to write the twisted little tales they wrote. Would-be writers take note, but you may discover that the peril of your soul is too much to risk for mere publication.

Or not —

Writers are a strange bunch anyway.



Why did I write Yao Jin?

(Or “A dakini dame walked into my office…”)

A dakini dame did walk into my office, metaphorically. She sat down, blue fur rippling like some midnight blanket, and glared at me with her three amber eyes. Write this, she commanded me, write about my truth. So, I chewed on my cigar and asked about the fees. A decent detective still needed to eat and pay the bills, right?

She only smiled, showing her sharp teeth. You will have peace for the next few weeks, she promised. And that promise was my payment.


Ninety-percent of the above is true. A dakini dame did walk into my mind and refused to go away. What is a dakini you might ask? A sky dancer, if you want to be poetic. A wrathful protector, if you want to talk about Tibetan Buddhism or – more in depth, the Bardo (or the Tibetan Book of the Dead).

The dakini came in and made herself comfortable in the office. That happened after I checked what weird noir is and got a better idea (or picture). Then the images started arriving like sleep-drunken passengers on a transit flight… and refused to budge.

No, I didn’t set fire to the rain. I sat down and wrote the hell out of it. It was fun. It was weird. It was weird fun. I really enjoyed writing the dark world of the dakini and her friend. I planned for noir and it went south to the land of the weird. Toss in the fact that I like reading about dark worlds (Warhammer 40k, anyone?)… and the story became … well, you need to read it to find out, yes?



PIs are overrated, or How I wrote “Charred Kraken with Plum Butter”

Private Investigators are overrated.

Well…not really. The trope populates much of classic and contemporary noir and the image of one is what drew me into Noir in the first place. So, in truth, the salty PI/Detective is one of my favorite characters.

Before happily stumbling into a call for Weird Noir via twitter (THANK YOU to whoever retweeted that link!), I had just finished reading What it Was by George Pelecanos (protagonist Derek Strange is a PI) and was in the midst of a paranormal noir anthology, Damnation and Dames (in which several stories begin with a blonde/red bombshell sashaying into a PI’s office.)

I instantly fell in love with the fantastic cover of Weird Noir by SL Johnson and editor K.A. Laity’s passion for the project. I had to submit. With the deadline looming, the only problem was I didn’t have a story that fit…oh, and my wife was due with our first child in just over a week!

The first draft of my submission for Weird Noir started just like the stories I’d been reading. A dark and shady character walks into Private Investigator Miles McGuthrie’s office and sits down. Miles drinks his scotch like water and takes it all in. Cue drama and weird mission! Ugh. It was nothing new. I don’t remember exactly where it was going, but it would not have been a fun tale to tell (or weird or different enough to set myself apart.) Thankfully my brain switched on and brought the axe down fast.

I challenged myself to let everything dump out on the page. I kept my protagonist, Miles McGuthrie, but everything else changed. Miles became the owner of McGuthrie’s Emporium and the setting moved from a real city to a much more weird and fantastical place. Thus, The Underbelly was born with sparkle fish, cricket jelly, moonslugs and of course, kraken.

The story was a blast to write and I see myself returning to explore more of The Underbelly…maybe more Miles and Frank!

What’s in the name you ask? Well, how would you like your kraken?

I’d prefer mine charred with plum butter.

Out of the Gutter 8 – SUBS OPEN!

Out of the Gutter 8 – SUBS OPEN!

Monday, October 22, 2012
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Brace yourselves! OUT OF THE GUTTER is back with Out of the Gutter 8: 21st Century Digital Love, featuring contest winners, essays, and new tales of wretchedness and woe alongside 2012’s very best from The Flash Fiction Offensive and the Bareknuckles Pulp Department!

Click the link above for full details.

Weird Noir: Tentacles Ho!

Out soon from Fox Spirit Books!

The days get colder, the nights get longer, and things seem to move in the shadows — which means it’s almost time for Weird Noir to be born! What sort of twisted individuals come up with tales to fit this mash-up of genres? I asked my writers to tell me a bit about the process of getting all weird about noir:

Chloë Yates

I knew I had to get it written, time was running out and the Prof waits for no man. Naturally slothful, I’d been putting it off, waiting for inspiration to strike. Inspiration is an unfeeling bitch alas and so I began hammering at the keys with nothing but the production of words, any words, as my goal. Midway through the first paragraph, Maxxie Vickers came along and kicked me in the nuts. She had a story to tell and she’d chosen me to tell it. Who was I to turn a good looking, if dentally challenged, dame down?

Richard Godwin

I set the ingredients in the pan. I raise the flame. You know, the texture of the meat that night was strangely familiar, reminiscent of a taste my memory had buried. But the corner of London I ended up in gave me this story, dark and lyrical, imbued with the Noir thrill of being touched a certain way as the moonlight shines on your skin.

As I hand you the menu I would like to say there are some unusual flavours on offer here, so set your palate to receive.”The notes are plaintive, haunting, as if she is singing of a time before her life was altered in some way.” Barbara Dauphin is a night club singer who plays Joe Billy Holiday at her flat. She wants to find her missing sister. She realises there is something unusual about Joe…

Jennifer Martin

When I heard the call, the call for submission, I jumped at the chance to have another of my stories published in an awesome anthology.

‘The Darkness Cult’ is a strange and twisted tale that first wormed its way into my head several years ago. I had toyed with the idea of making a novel from it, but alas, I hadn’t finished up that project. Although a complete work in and of itself, it could be expanded on at a later date.

I sat down after reading the call and just knew that this seedy underground story was just what Weird Noir was looking for. I had to flesh it out. Make it whole and ready for the world to read. I did just that. Like a madwoman, I sat for days at my computer and worked on the story with coffee flowing through my veins. When I finally turned it over to my editor for a read through, watching his reactions was reward in itself. He has never quite looked at me the same since reading that particular story…

More to come — we’ll understand the madness soon. See the full line up here.

You’re going to want this one!

Paul D. Brazill

bothbarrels_finalcover-1024x735Here’s the SP from SHOTGUN HONEY:

‘I hope you’ve been saving your pennies, because today is the day. Today Shotgun Honey Presents: Both Barrelslaunches officially! I say officially because some of you discovered that the trade paperback  has been available since the weekend, kicking our sales off to an early start.

Shotgun Honey Presents: Both Barrels features 29 tales of crime from 29 talented voices. Some who we’ve published and some who we had incriminating evidence on. Every story well worth the price of admission. We’ve got a little bit of everything with stories about abusive spouses, down on their luck gamblers, ill-fated drug deals and even some cyborg lesbian vampires thrown in for good measure.


And who brought you this range of stories?

  • Andrew Nette – King Tut’s Tomb
  • Cameron Ashley – The Blonde Chimera
  • Chris Holm – Not Forgotten
  • Dan O’Shea – Father’s Day
  • Frank…

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Over at Clarion

Clarion Blog

K. A. Laity: All-purpose writer, Fulbrighter, uberskiver, medievalist, flâneuse, techno-shamanka, Broad Universe social media maven, History Witch, Pirate Pub Captain currently anchored in Dundee, Scotland.

Agents, editors, far more successful writers all tell me the same thing: it helps to stick to one genre. People who like that genre and you will stick with you if you keep to that part of the playground. Although I tend to fit under the broad umbrella of “fantasy” in my work, I can’t say there’s a lot in common between my works.

My first novel was a fairy tale, set in an approximation of medieval Scandinavia. I’ve written a comic gothic novel and a slightly supernatural thriller, while my forthcoming novel is a science fiction/urban fantasy/shamanic journey/road trip/retelling of the descent of Inanna.

Yeah, my publisher went with “science fiction” for the label, but we added a catchy new tagline, ‘shamans vs aliens’.

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Interview with Danie Ware, Author of Ecko Rising

Today we’re happy to welcome Danie Ware to AK&AQ. Her new novel Ecko Rising has been receiving some enthusiastic press and she’s on a blog tour to promote her Titan Books title, so be sure to follow along.

Q: What do you write on? Computer, pad o’ paper, battered Underwood? Give us a vivid picture.

A: A slightly battered old MacBook white, and MSWord – no quirks to speak of. I carry a Moleskine in my bag, though I’m not sure why because I have Evernote on both iPhone and iPad. Sometimes I end up with flashes of inspiration and random notes that stray from one to the other and I have to sit down and collate them before I start writing properly.

Q: Do you listen to music while you write? Does it influence what you write?

A: I don’t – I like the quiet! I’ll use music to conjure a character, or a setting, or a mood, but once that frame of mind is in place, I need to hear myself think. I like to be alone, as well, because I still tend to read stuff aloud as I go along.

Q: Do you write in short bursts or carve out long periods of time to work? Is it a habit or a vice?

A: it’s a compulsion – I went a long time without writing/being able to write and I missed it! These days, I’m a working single parent and I simply write as and when I can, there’s no formal strategy, I don’t have that much control over my working day. If I’m really up against it, I prefer to get up at silly o’clock in the morning and write, rather than try and write in the evening after my son goes to bed!

Q: What writer would you most want to read your work? What would you want to hear them say?

A: I’m in the bizarre position of knowing many of the authors whose work I most respect – though my job, I’ve met most of them personally. With this goes the knowledge that they may well read my book at some point – and that’s quite a scary thing. As for what they’ll say, I hope they enjoy it – but any experienced and constructive feedback they choose to give me would be welcome.

Q: On the days where the writing doesn’t go so well, what other art or career do you fantasize about pursuing instead?

A: On days where the writing doesn’t go so well, I have a commute and job and a child and a mortgage and a fitness plan – the only thing I fantasise about is being able to go on vacation. No, I’m not joking!

Q: What do you read? What do you re-read?

A: I have re-read, again and again, Kurt Vonnegut’s ‘Galapagos’ Julian May’s ‘Saga of the Exiles’ and Stephen Donaldson’s Thomas Covenant series – though have more enjoyed the Mordant’s Need books as I’ve grown older. I went through a long period of not reading genre at all – read a lot of Palahniuk, books like Patrick Suskind’s ‘Perfume’ and Max Barry’s ‘Jennifer Government’. I’ve come back to genre recently with the discovery of audiobooks – to fit my reading in, I listen to new books on the train the work. Most recently, Lavie Tidhar’s ‘The Bookman’, Richard Morgan’s ‘Cold Commands’, China Mieville’s ‘Iron Council’, and Joe Abercrombie’s ‘First Law’ series – as well as some older SF classics, ‘The Death of Grass’ and ‘Stranger in a Strange Land’.

Q: Where did the idea for Ecko Rising come from? Do you have a surefire way of sparking inspiration?

A: I wish! The idea for this publication was born from the ‘what if’ fun-fic I wrote during my twenties – when I wrote endlessly and purely for the fun of it. In its new incarnation, it’s a distillation of all those old ideas, brought up to professional standard by a diligent and patient editor. Sparking ideas – no, not really. They can come from anywhere, at any time, brought by pictures or music or people or places, or just by waking up in the middle of the night. That’s why I keep the Moleskine!

Following a cynical anti-hero, Ware’s first novel is sardonic fantasy, a sharp new slant on the genre, scattered with a healthy dusting of sex, violence and sarcasm.

Ecko Rising has received glowing accolades from authors including, Adrian Tchaikovsky (Empire in Black and Gold), Mike Carey (X-Men, Lucifer), Lavie Tidhar, (Osama, The Bookman series), and Adam Nevill (Apartment 16).

If you love fantasy, classic or modern, or have a liking for twisted anti-heroes please check out the trailer and blog tour. Find Danie on Twitter or Facebook, too.

Call For Submissions – Near To The Knuckle Anthology

Darren & Craig say:

When we created Near2TheKnuckle it was our intention to provide an outlet for darker, grittier fiction. We were very clear that we didn’t want a restrained theme but more of a broad concept. We felt that to restrict ourselves would be stifling and would limit the appeal to our readers and to those wishing to submit.

The quality and breadth of the submissions in the last year has surpassed our wildest expectations. It’s been our pleasure to both, host and discover lots of new talent.
We have decided to take the site to the next level. We are now looking for submissions for our first kindle anthology. There are lots of people doing great work with charity anthologies; we applaud and support their work. Our goal is perhaps a little more selfish. Any funds raised will be put back into the website. We pay for the domain name and some of the themes. However, we’d also like to put some money towards creating a print anthology somewhere down the line. We’d like you to be a part of it. If you would like to contribute please submit to the usual submissions email on the site.

As usual please put your story in plain text in the body of the email. In order that we can distinguish between normal submissions and anthology submissions please entitle your email either SUBMISSION or ANTHOLOGY ENTRY. Submissions will be between 1000 and 3000 words. We will consider longer or shorter stories if they are outstanding. For anthology submissions you are not tied down to any theme or genre.

Each writer will have a short bio and an (optional) mug shot before their story, so please have a think about what you’d like to put in it. If you want to use that space to advertise your book, blog or website that’s fine by us. We may have space for a limited amount of pictures and/or artwork within the book so if you have something you’d like to include, and you own the rights to it, then please let us know. Tentative end date for submissions is 31st December 2012. It may be extended if necessary.

Get your submissions polished and sent!


From our friends at Fox Spirit Books, a new release out Monday and a flash fiction contest to go with it!

K. A. Laity

I’m pleased to present:

Nun & Dragon Press Release

I am delighted to announce that the long anticipated first volume in the ‘Bushy Tales’ anthology series ‘Tales of the Nun and Dragon’ will be available as an ebook via Amazon from Monday 10th September and Wizards Tower Press within a few days.


‘Tales of the Nun & Dragon’ features twenty three stories by a mixture of well-known and new authors who offer up a delightful blend of genres. There are zombie dragons, latex nuns, trips through time, nunsploitation and some unusual fantasy tales and fables. The book also features internal illustrations by artist Kieran Walsh.

The full line up of writers is available now at

There will be a very limited edition print run available later this year, prior to all the Fox Spirit books being made available as…

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Protectors: Charity Anthology

Protectors: Stories to Benefit PROTECT

41 stories.
One cause: PROTECT

From Thomas Pluck:
100% of proceeds go to PROTECT and the National Association to Protect Children – the army fighting what Andrew Vachss calls “the only holy war worthy of the name,” the protection of children.

We’ve rallied a platoon of crime, western, thriller, fantasy, noir, horror and transgressive authors to support PROTECT’s important work: lobbying for legislation that protects children from physical, sexual, and emotional abuse.

Powerful stories from George Pelecanos, Andrew Vachss, Joe R. Lansdale, Charles de Lint, Ken Bruen, Chet Williamson, James Reasoner, Charlie Stella, Michael A. Black, Wayne Dundee, Roxane Gay, Ray Banks, Tony Black, Les Edgerton and 16 more, with 100% of proceeds going to PROTECT.

PROTECTORS includes a foreword by rock critic Dave Marsh, and fiction by Patti Abbott, Ian Ayris, Ray Banks, Nigel Bird, Michael A. Black, Tony Black, R. Thomas Brown, Ken Bruen, Bill Cameron, Jen Conley, Charles de Lint, Wayne D. Dundee, Chad Eagleton, Les Edgerton, Andrew Fader, Matthew C. Funk, Roxane Gay, Edward A. Grainger, Glenn G. Gray, Jane Hammons, Amber Keller, Joe R. Lansdale, Frank Larnerd, Gary Lovisi, Mike Miner, Zak Mucha, Dan O’Shea, George Pelecanos, Thomas Pluck, Richard Prosch, Keith Rawson, James Reasoner, Todd Robinson, Johnny Shaw, Gerald So, Josh Stallings, Charlie Stella, Andrew Vachss, Steve Weddle, Dave White, and Chet Williamson.

Among PROTECT’s victories are the Protect Our Children Act of 2008, which mandated that the Justice Department change course and design a new national nerve center for law enforcement to wage a war on child exploitation, the Hero to Hero program, which employs disabled veterans in the battle against child abuse, and Alicia’s Law.

Join the fight, with 41 stories by top writers. Be a Protector!

41 stories. One cause: PROTECT

Amazon Kindle 
Amazon Kindle UK 
Barnes & Noble
Kobo (available soon)
Smashwords (all formats, and read the book in your web browser)
Apple iPad (coming soon)

Direct Purchase: (This generates the largest donation, and I email the book to you in Kindle, ePub and Adobe PDF format)
You can also get the original Lost Children anthology: