Preliminary Ballot for the 2019 Bram Stoker Awards®

Congratulations to all who made the Preliminaries! I’m proud to have so many personal friends on this list. —AYS

The Horror Writers Association (HWA) is pleased to release the Preliminary Ballot for the 2019 Bram Stoker Awards®. The HWA (see is the premier writersorganization in the horror and dark fiction genre, with over 1,600 members. We have presented the Bram Stoker Awards®in various categories since 1987 (see

Works on this ballot are not referred to as “nominees” or “finalists”. Only works appearing on the Final Ballot may be referred to as “nominated works” and their authors as “finalists”.

The HWA Board of Trustees and the Bram Stoker Awards®Committee congratulate all those appearing on the Preliminary Ballot. Notes about the voting process will appear after the ballot listing.

2019 Bram Stoker Awards® Preliminary Ballot

Superior Achievement in a Novel

Goingback, Owl – Coyote Rage (Independent Legions Publishing)

Goodfellow, Cody – Unamerica (King Shot Press)

Lawson, Curtis M. – Black Heart Boys’ Choir (Wyrd Horror)

Little, John R. – The Murder of Jesus Christ (Bad Moon Books)

Malerman, Josh – Inspection (Del Rey)

Miskowski, S.P. – The Worst is Yet to Come (TrepidatioPublishing)

Moore, Michael J –  Highway Twenty (Hellbound BooksPublishing LLC)

Murray, Lee – Into the Ashes (Severed Press)

Nevill, Adam L.G. – The Reddening (Ritual Limited)

Taff, John F.D. – The Fearing (Grey Matter Press)

Wendig, Chuck – Wanderers (Del Rey)


Superior Achievement in a First Novel

Amor, Gemma – Dear Laura (Independently Published)

Cull, Andrew – Remains (IFWG Publishing International)

Day, Nicholas – Grind Your Bones to Dust (Excession Press)

Guignard, Eric J. – Doorways to the Deadeye (JournalStone)

Hopstaken, Steven and Prusi, Melissa – Stoker’s Wilde (Flame Tree Press)

Lane, Michelle Renee – Invisible Chains (Haverhill HousePublishing)

Luff, Cody T – Ration (Apex Book Company)

Moulton, Rachel Eve – Tinfoil Butterfly (MCD x FSG Originals)

Read, Sarah – The Bone Weaver’s Orchard (TrepidatioPublishing)

Starling, Caitlin – The Luminous Dead (Harper Voyager)


Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel

Bérubé, Amelinda – Here There Are Monsters (Sourcebooks Fire)

Dávila Cardinal, Ann – Five Midnights (Tor Teen)

Ernshaw, Shea – Winterwood (Simon Pulse)

Faring, Sara – The Tenth Girl (Imprint)

Gardner, Liana – Speak No Evil (Vesuvian Books)

Kurtagich, Dawn – Teeth in the Mist (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)

Marshall, Kate Alice – Rules for Vanishing (Viking Books for Young Readers)

Nzondi – Oware Mosaic (Omnium Gatherum)

Salomon, Peter Adam – Eight Minutes, Thirty-Two Seconds(PseudoPsalms Press)

West, Jacqueline – Last Things (Greenwillow Books)


Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel

Bunn, Cullen – Bone Parish Vol. 2 (BOOM! Studios)

Bunn, Cullen – Bone Parish Vol. 3 (BOOM! Studios)

Cates, Donny – Redneck Volume 3Longhorns (Image Comics)

Gaiman, Neil – Neil Gaiman’s Snow, Glass, Apples (Dark Horse Books)

Guillory, Rob – Rob Guillory’s Farmhand Volume 1: Reap What Was Sown (Image Comics)

Lemire, Jeff – Gideon Falls Book 2: Original Sins (Image Comics)

Lemire, Jeff – Gideon Falls Volume 3Stations of the Cross(Image Comics)

Liu, Marjorie – Monstress Volume 4: The Chosen (Image Comics)

Manzetti, Alessandro – Calcutta Horror (Independent Legions Publishing)

Tanabe, Gou – H.P. Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness Volume 1 (Dark Horse Manga)


Superior Achievement in Long Fiction

Breukelaar, J.S. – Like Ripples on a Blank Shore (Collision: Stories) (Meerkat Press, LLC)

Cluley, Ray – Adrenaline Junkies (The Porcupine Boy and Other Anthological Oddities) (Crossroad Press)

Jones, Pam – Ivy Day (Spaceboy Books LLC)

LaValle, Victor – Up from Slavery (Weird Tales Magazine #363)(Weird Tales Inc.)

Manzetti, Alessandro – The Keeper of Chernobyl (Omnium Gatherum)

Serafini, Matt – Rites of Extinction (Grindhouse Press)

Smith, Farah Rose – Anonyma (Ulthar Press)

Taborska, Anna – The Cat Sitter (Shadowcats) (Black Shuck Books)

Tantlinger, Sara – To Be Devoured (Unnerving)

Thomas, Richard – Ring of Fire (The Seven Deadliest) (Cutting Block Books)

Warren, Kaaron – Into Bones Like Oil (Meerkat Shorts)


Superior Achievement in Short Fiction

Chapman, Greg – “The Book of Last Words” (This Sublime Darkness and Other Dark Stories) (Things in the Well Publishing)

Kiste, Gwendolyn – “The Eight People Who Murdered Me (Excerpt from Lucy Westenra’s Diary)” (Nightmare MagazineNov. 2019, Issue 86)

Landry, Jess – “Bury Me in Tar and Twine” (Tales of the LostVolume 1: We All Lose Something!) (Things in the Well Publishing)

Little, John R. – “Anniversary” (Dark Tides: A Charity Horror Anthology) (Gestalt Media)

MacKenzie, Brooke – “The Elevator Game” (Who Knocks? Magazine Issue #2)

O’Quinn, Cindy – “Lydia” (The Twisted Book of Shadows) (Twisted Publishing)

Serna-Grey, Ben – “Where Gods Dance” (Apex Magazine Issue #118)

Waggoner, Tim – “A Touch of Madness” (The Pulp Horror Book of Phobias) (LVP Publications)

Westlake, Jack – “Glass Eyes in Porcelain Faces” (Black Static Issue #70) (TTS Press)

White, Gordon B. – “Birds of Passage” (Twice-Told: A Collection of Doubles) (Chthonic Matter)


Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection

Chambers, James – On the Night Border (Raw Dog Screaming Press)

Chiang, Ted – Exhalation: Stories (Knopf)

Evenson, Brian – Song for the Unraveling of the World (Coffee House Press)

Hodson, Brad C. – Where Carrion Gods Dance (Washington Park Press)

Howard, Kat – A Cathedral of Myth and Bone: Stories(Gallery/Saga Press)

Johnson, L.S. – Rare Birds: Stories (Traversing Z Press)

Jonez, Kate – Lady Bits (Trepidatio Publishing)

Langan, John – Sefira and Other Betrayals (Hippocampus Press)

Read, Sarah – Out of Water (Trepidatio Publishing)

Tremblay, Paul – Growing Things and Other Stories (William Morrow)


Superior Achievement in a Screenplay

Aster, Ari – Midsommar (B-Reel Films, Square Peg)

Busick, Guy and Murphy, Ryan – Ready or Not (Mythology Entertainment)

Duffer Brothers, The – Stranger Things (Season 3, Chapter Eight: The Battle of Starcourt) (Netflix)

Eggers, Robert and Eggers, Max – The Lighthouse (A24, New Regency Pictures, RT Features)

Flanagan, Mike – Doctor Sleep (Warner Bros., Intrepid Pictures/Vertigo Entertainment)

Gilroy, Dan – Velvet Buzzsaw (Netflix)

Hageman, Dan and Hageman, Kevin – Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (1212 Entertainment, CBS Films, DDY, Entertainment One, Rolling Hills Productions, Sean Daniel Company, Starlight International Media)

López, Issa – Tigers Are Not Afraid (Filmadora Nacional, Peligrosa)

Peele, Jordan – Us (Monkeypaw Productions, Perfect World Pictures, Dentsu, Fuji Television Network, Universal Pictures)

Sutherland, Teresa – The Wind (Soapbox Films, Divide/Conquer, Mind Hive Films)


Superior Achievement in an Anthology

Beltran, Patrick and Ward, D. Alexander – The Seven Deadliest (Cutting Block Books)

Brhel, John and Sullivan, Joe – Other Voices, Other Tombs (Independently Published)

Brozek, Jennifer – A Secret Guide to Fighting Elder Gods (Pulse Publishing)

Cade, Octavia – Sharp & Sugar Tooth: Women Up to No Good (Upper Rubber Boot Books)

Datlow, Ellen – Echoes (Gallery/Saga Press)

Golden, Christopher and Moore, James A. – The Twisted Book of Shadows (Twisted Publishing)

Guignard, Eric J. – Pop the Clutch: Thrilling Tales of Rockabilly, Monsters, and Hot Rod Horror (Dark Moon Books)

Johnson, Eugene and Dillon, Steve – Tales of the Lost Volume 1: We All Lose Something! (Things in the Well Publishing)

Schweitzer, Darrell – Mountains of Madness Revealed (PS Publishing)

Wilson, Robert S. – Nox Pareidolia (Nightscape Press)


Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction

Beal, Eleanor and Greenaway, Jonathan – Horror and Religion: New Literary Approaches to Theology, Race, and Sexuality(University of Wales Press)

Earle, Harriet E.H. – Gender, Sexuality, and Queerness in American Horror Story: Critical Essays (McFarland)

Eighteen-Bisang, Robert and Miller, Elizabeth – Drafts of Dracula (Tellwell Talent)

Grafius, Brandon R. – Reading the Bible with Horror(Lexington Books/Fortress Academic)

Heller-Nicholas, Alexandra – Masks in Horror Cinema: Eyes Without Faces (University of Wales Press)

Kachuba, John B. – Shapeshifters: A History (Reaktion Books)

Kröger, Lisa and Anderson, Melanie R. – Monster, She Wrote: The Women Who Pioneered Horror and Speculative Fiction(Quirk Books)

Stobbart, Dawn – Videogames and Horror: From Amnesia to Zombies, Run! (University of Wales Press)

Tibbetts, John C. – The Furies of Marjorie Bowen (McFarland)

Volk, Stephen – Coffinmaker’s Blues: Collected Writings on Terror (PS Publishing)


Superior Achievement in Short Non-Fiction

Clasen, Mathias – Evolution, Cognition, and Horror: A Précis of Why Horror Seduces (Journal of Cognitive Historiography Vol 4, No 2)

Hurley, Gavin F. – Between Hell and Earth: Rhetorical Appropriation of Religious Space within Hellraiser (The Spaces and Places of Horror, Vernon Press)

Kiste, Gwendolyn – Magic, Madness, and Women Who Creep: The Power of Individuality in the Work of Charlotte Perkins Gilman (Vastarien: A Literary Journal Vol. 2, Issue 1)

Liaguno, Vince A. – Slasher Films Made Me Gay: The Queer Appeal and Subtext of the Genre (LGBTQ+ Horror Month: 9/1/2019, Ginger Nuts of Horror)

Mann, Craig Ian – The Beast Without: The Cinematic Werewolf as a (Counter)Cultural Metaphor (Horror Studies Journal Volume 10.1)

Renner, Karen J. – The Evil Aging Women of American Horror Story (Elder Horror: Essays on Film’s Frightening Images of Aging, McFarland)

Robinson, Kelly – Film’s First Lycanthrope: 1913’s The Werewolf (Scary Monsters Magazine #114)

Waggoner, Tim – Riding Out the Storms (Writing in the Dark)

Weich, Valerie E. – Lord Byron’s Whipping Boy: Dr. John William Polidori and the 200th Anniversary of The Vampyre(Famous Monsters of Filmland, Issue #291)

Worth, Aaron – From the Books of Wandering: Fin-De-Siècle Poetics of a Supernatural Figure (The Times Literary Supplement)


Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection

Addison, Linda D. and Manzetti, Alessandro – The Place of Broken Things (Crystal Lake Publishing)

Cade, Octavia – Mary Shelley Makes a Monster (Aqueduct Press)

Coffman, Frank – The Coven’s Hornbook & Other Poems (Bold Venture Press)

Crum, Amanda – Tall Grass (Independently Published)

Davitt, Deborah L. – The Gates of Never (Finishing Line Press)

Lynch, Donna – Choking Back the Devil (Raw Dog Screaming Press)

Mitchell, Zoe – Hag (Indigo Dreams Publishing)

Scalise, Michelle – Dragonfly and Other Songs of Mourning(LVP Publications)

Simon, Marge and Dietrich, Bryan D. – The Demeter Diaries(Independent Legions Publishing)

Ward, Kyla Lee – The Macabre Modern and Other Morbidities(P’rea Press)

Wytovich, Stephanie M. – The Apocalyptic Mannequin (Raw Dog Screaming Press)

Posted in #amreading, #AMWRITING, #KCLocal, #MakeItLocal, #Poetry, #ReadLocal | Leave a comment

Happy Birthday to the Real Edgar Allan Poe

Happy Birthday Edgar Allan Poe! If he were still alive, today he would be 211 years old… and probably a vampire or similar undead creature. Since Google has once again overlooked this important day, I’ll just celebrate it here.

It’s a common misconception that Poe was a haunted madman that drank himself to death. This is untrue, and the result of an insidious smear campaign created by Rufus Wilmot Griswold, a rival of Poe’s.

His purpose was to discredit Poe and further his own career. It didn’t work so well—raise your hand if you’ve ever read anything by Rufus Wilmot Griswold?

Under the pseudonym “Ludwig,” Griswold published an obituary on Oct. 9th, in the New York Tribune. In it, he presented Poe as he represented Poe as a crazy writer that wandered the streets in drunken delirium. Griswold claimed Poe was quick tempered, arrogant and dismissive of his fellow man.

To the contrary, Edgar Allan Poe wasn’t much of a drinker, despite popular portrayals of him as an absinthe sipping, self-destructive soul haunted by his inner vision. At the time of his death he was a member of the Sons of Temperance, a brotherhood of men who promoted the temperance movement.

Poe’s drinking buddy, Thomas Mayne Reid, even attested to his lack of alcoholism. He admitted that the two engaged in drinking “frolics” but testified that Poe “never went beyond the innocent mirth in which we all indulge… While acknowledging this as one of Poe’s failings, I can speak truly of its not being habitual.”

For his birthday, Alan Beck created this beautiful painting of Poe for this quarter’s S&T.

Much of what the public believes of Poe’s death is attributed to that one, false obituary. Griswold was known for attacking Poe’s character, even while he was still alive. Much of that obituary was copied, almost verbatim, from from that of the fictitious Francis Vivian in The Caxtons by Edward Bulwer-Lytton.

Griswold had much to gain from portraying Poe as a dark genius. He claimed that Poe had asked him to be his literary executor. It is unclear whether Poe actually appointed him or whether Griswold became executor through a trick or a mistake by Poe’s aunt and mother-in-law, Maria. In 1850 he presented a collection of Poe’s work that included a biographical article titled “Memoir of the Author” in which Poe was depicted as a depraved, drunk, drug-addled madman.

Much of it was a lie and denounced by those who had known Poe, including Sarah Helen Whitman, Charles Frederick Briggs, and George Rex Graham. Sadly, Griswold’s account became popular because it was the only full biography available and was widely reprinted. Because of his dark writing, many readers assumed the man himself was haunted as much as his fictional characters. 

Poe died at the Washington College Hospital in Baltimore. He was 40 years old. The mystery of his death remains. Everything from alcoholism, rabies and even political cooping has been blamed.

All medical records and documents, including Poe’s death certificate, have been lost, if they ever existed. Dr. John Joseph Moran, Poe’s attending physician, denied Poe any visitors and confined him to a room with barred windows reserved for unruly drunks. Later, he repeatedly contradicted himself in his recounts of Poe’s last days.

To honor Edgar Allan Poe for his birthday, here’s a peek at the man behind the misrepresentation. He had a dark vision, a reflection of the pain he saw in the world around him, but he was not doomed to be a self-destructive. His writing was therapeutic and entertaining. It was Griswold’s jealousy and financial gain that has created that falsehood.

Posted in #amreading, #AMWRITING, #KCLocal, #MakeItLocal, #Poetry, #ReadLocal, #SpaceandTimeMagazine | 4 Comments

Playing in the Slush Piles of 2019

Tolstoy kept his butt in the seat and his pen producing.

Time for an accounting of last year’s submissions!

Prior to 2019 I don’t think I’d ever submitted to much of anywhere. Because I started off self publishing from the beginning (and newspapers) I never explored that part of writing… the inevitable slush pile and rejection letters.

I lucked out because one of the first things I submitted awhile back was my short story “Vanilla Rice” to  the Where the Stars Rise: Asian Science Fiction and Fantasy back in 2016. It was accepted and I started writing Bitter Suites based on that world so I didn’t submit anything else until 2019.

In late 2018 I realized I was creating a stagnant bubble for myself. I had a tiny pool of fans that responded well to my self published work, but it was the same people over and over. I was absolutely grateful for this, but I was mummifying my career and sealing it in a tomb before it got to live a little. So my New Year’s goal last year was to hit the slush piles and see if I couldn’t spread some ink.

So how did I do? I’m happy with the results. Despite running into some issues in the last quarter of the year that had me treading water just stay afloat, I managed to submit 92 short stories or poems. I had 74 items accepted, 18 of which I received payment for. One submission is still outstanding with no decision made on it yet.

My goal was to find new readers, and that has definitely been accomplished. My circle of readers has at least tripled. Here’s what I learned about submitting work this last year:

Franklin knew how to rock ‘boring.’

Proper formatting is a must. Most publishers want to see your work submitted in Shunn Manuscript format. Many will delete your work, unread, if it’s not submitted properly. (Read more: Do NOT Sun Shunn).

Careful record keeping is important. I kept a spreadsheet where I pasted all the information for each submission, including a link where I could check back for updates. I had another folder where I dropped links I wanted to submit to, organized by date due. At a glance I could see how long something has been in limbo, if payment was received, and when/where it was published.

Rejections are not reflections of me or my work. As long as I have turned in a well written, properly edited and formatted piece—my best work—I have nothing to be ashamed of. A rejection happens for a number of reasons… too many similar pieces, bigger names submitting, the publication (common) simply ran out of room. Often there are 12 open slots, and 500+ submissions. (Read Rejections are Not Reflections)

Submit some work for free. I often hear writers urge each other not to give work away for free. I agree that we all deserved to be compensated based on the quality of our work, but compensation is not always monetary. Publicity, promotion, advertising… these things have more value than actual payment sometimes. Considering that a full page ad in a popular publication can run from $100-500, I am quite happy to contribute a free little story or poem in exchange for the publicity. Giving free work is like giving away a sample and works great for finding new readers. Plus, there is nothing like your name in print to boost your morale, paid or unpaid.

Keep up on your social media. I have fallen short on this in the latter half of 2019, but I’m getting back into the swing of it. Years ago I had the pleasure of meeting Alan Ritchson* at an interview. He opened my eyes to the value of social media. He said, anymore, a bigger social media following is the deciding factor to get an acting job, and I apply it to writing as well. Agents, directors and the like will check social media accounts for how much influence a person has. He or she with the most likes wins.

Is it fair? It doesn’t matter. It’s a fact. Take care to build and protect your social media… and use it. I neglected to announce a few publications that accepted me towards the crazy part of the year. Not only did I do myself a disservice, I did one to them as well.

Flaubert saved his energy for art.

While I would love to think my words fall from my lips like golden dew drops, I know a large part of my success goes to boring details like the ability to follow guidelines, keep records and give things away sometimes.  Being a pleasant person to work with (even when I don’t want to be) is another important factor.

My goal for this year is much the same. More submissions, I’d like more to be paid submissions and I’d like to get a book or two published as well. To this end, I already have some nice, mundane files set up in my Google Drive and a fresh now spreadsheet waiting for some orderly, yawn worthy record keeping.

Be settled in your life and as ordinary as the bourgeois, in order to be fierce and original in your works, to quote Gustave Flaubert. Here’s to more successful submissions for us all in 2020.

*Alan Michael Ritchson (born November 28, 1984) is an American actor, model, and singer. He is known for his modeling career as well as his portrayals of the superhero Aquaman on The CW‘s Smallville and Thad Castle on Spike TV‘s Blue Mountain State. Ritchson also starred as Gloss in 2013’s The Hunger Games: Catching FireRaphael in 2014’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot, and its sequel, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, and Adam in 2016’s Lazer Team. Since 2018, he has portrayed Hank Hall / Hawk on the series Titans.
Posted in #amreading, #AMWRITING, #KCLocal, #MakeItLocal, #Poetry, #ReadLocal, #Submit | Leave a comment

Review: Screams Before Dawn by Heinrich von Wolfcastle

Screams Before Dawn is a book after my own heart… possibly with a butcher knife. A collection of short stories by Heinrich von Wolfcastle (see interview), his writing style is vivid, visceral and entertaining. Dark humor hides in unexpected word play. More than once I was shocked out of the story by my own laughter.

But don’t be misled. This book is pure horror. In “She Said Her Name Was Spookie” the prose reads like poetry up to the bitter sweet end. “Things in the Attic” was another treasure with interesting twists. Morbid and lovely, “Marvin’s Tavern” was another of my favorites with an unexpected twist.

Probably one of my favorites was “Employee Assistance Program” due to Wolfcastle’s deft handling of humor. An ironic example of how we become products of society, I was in complete empathy with the voice behind the first person narrative. I think everyone has experienced a ‘Mary Anne’ in the office at some point. If only…

It was the ending to “Bird’s the Word” that prompted my first unexpected laugh and won my appreciation. I was deep in the graphic details, balanced between disgust and fright, when the joke dropped. Like a cherry bomb, it appeared out of nowhere and shocked. I stopped and read the line again, probably twice, before I chuckled out loud.

Some of the finest work I’ve seen from a first book, Screams Before Dawn is definitely worth the read. I look forward to good things from this author. You can find Screams on Amazon in Kindle and paperback.

Posted in #amreading, #ReadLocal, #Reviews | Leave a comment

Exploring Heinrich von Wolfcastle

Have you met Heinrich von Wolfcastle? You’d remember him if you did. Relatively new to the horror writer scene, his work is drenched in thrills, acidic humor and blood—among other things. He also happens to be my ‘mentee’ from the Horror Writer Association’s mentor program. I’ll be reviewing his first book, Screams Before Dawn tomorrow, but first get to know the… man… behind the mayhem. 

AYS—You published your first book, Screams Before Dawn, last September. What made you step forward with this book of lovely monstrosities?

  • Heinrich von Wolfcastle—Screams Before Dawn was a labor of love, and it was birthed in a familiar tradition of horror–by bursting through my chest cavity and scurrying after anyone in proximity. Thankfully, though, no one else was harmed in the delivery. But once I wiped away the blood and guts of it all, I was excited to see what was there.

Horror is a beautifully perverse form of social commentary, and if I had to dissect what I found in my collection, I would say it is a culmination of… a lot of true stories.

I came across Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried as compulsory reading in high school (one of very few credits to give there), and it was my introduction to the concept of “story-truth” versus “happening-truth.” The unmitigated truth cannot be shared in a mere recalling of events. To really convey an experience, there needs to be symbolism, allegory, allusion. And horror is the only metaphor for me.

I was writing before then. I’ve been writing since then. Throughout it all, I’ve been a large consumer of all things horror. At some point, I just felt gross about it–like I was taking too many trips to the buffet line without contributing something in return. So, I followed that feeling through midnight writing sessions until this strange concoction of words and ideas gestated in the form of a book, sprouted black wings, and took flight.

AYS—You mentioned midnight writing sessions, can you tell us a bit more about your writing process?

Heinrich von Wolfcastle—I am a creature of many habits, and I adhere to many rituals. I’ve found I can only write if there are no scheduled interruptions. To try to add something to a story for an hour or two does not work for me, and I don’t even bother with the effort anymore. The greatest lesson I’ve learned along the way is to accept my writing process for what it is rather than to force it to be something different. Writing happens when the environment is conducive for it. Thus, if I’m feeling called for it, I will sit at my writing desk in the late evening with a cup of something hot to drink and wait. Sometimes I get a paragraph–sometimes pages–and sometimes only a series of words or ideas. But I’ve learned that no matter what, if there’s something to be written, it only shows its face in the dark.

AYS—Describe your muse. Is she a beautiful succubus that teases the words from you or is she a hag that whips you relentlessly until you produce?

Heinrich von Wolfcastle—My muse cares for only one thing, and that’s that I write from a felt sense of a very specific kind of nameless feeling. Maybe you’ve felt it before too. It’s that quieted lull that sets in on a long drive when you’re equally distant from everything on the horizon, just as far from home as you are from where you’re headed.

All I know is that she shows up late on a Saturday night with pizza and horror movie reruns on TV, when you know that the next day isn’t out to hurt you. I can get lost in the strangeness of those late nights–the way they drag on in the best way possible, and it becomes difficult to know when one day begins and the other ends. If I can rebel against the coming tide of another day, divide those moments in two and then halve them again, there’s a timelessness there–a sweet space of comfort. That feeling, for me, drives the writing. If anyone reads Screams or anything else I’ve written and tastes the flavor of that, then she is pleased.

AYS—You collect toys. This seems too innocent to be sinister. Please tell us about this collection.

Heinrich von Wolfcastle—My first love before horror was a love of toys–Ghostbusters, Ninja Turtles, G.I. Joes, you name it. I still have most of what I grew up with and that likely could have been the end of the story. And then I stumbled across Todd McFarlane’s Movie Maniacs toy line in the late 1990’s. Specifically, they were Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, and Leatherface. I bought them with money I didn’t have and was confronted with a question about why I purchased something that I was too old to play with and wasn’t really designed to be played with anyway. I couldn’t answer it, but I couldn’t take my eyes off of them either.

I tore the three figures open from their boxes and placed them above my desk and started writing stories about them–not stories about the characters, but stories about who I imagined the three figures were if I had never heard of their respective franchises. Soon, I was buying every McFarlane figure I could find. And not long after, the 3 ¾ inch G.I. Joe line was brought back to life and I was nostalgically buying them too.

I agree with a sentiment shared amongst collectors: it’s easy for someone who loves a sport to celebrate that love by talking about it or playing it. But for someone who loves a (horror) movie, it’s hard to capture that affection; it’s hard to play it. The play is in the chasing and finding of small trophies in the likeness of your love. And a figure is not just a figure. It encompasses a world of context and history with it too. In each packaged and unpackaged character is a connection to people and places long past. In that way, my collection is an eclectic assortment of things I love or once loved–small portals to worn memories.

…and I do play with them.

AYS—You are a recent member of the Horror Writer’s Association. As a self-proclaimed recluse, do you feel the camaraderie of other writers has helped or hindered you? Does ink run thicker than blood and water?

Heinrich von Wolfcastle—Writers are a strange animal, and they’re usually the unsocialized kind. It can be difficult to differentiate a smile from someone revealing their teeth at you. But there is a camaraderie in meeting someone who knows the secret handshake, someone who can share their map of the layout ahead or give a knowing glance that they understand the lunacy of it all.

There is no bus for writers to board and no train to any shared destination. I think we’re all collectively working on our own to figure out this confounding thing that drives us–this strange quandary of writing for ourselves and also putting that writing out in the world for others to see. It’s a demented kind of thing to say, I write for me and am therefore my own critic, but to also follow that with a whispered, I hope you like what I write.

Let’s get large picture about it: we all live and die alone, but it’s nice when we can set that aside for a moment and talk about something else–like a story–isn’t it? (I am fun to bring to parties).

AYS—As an author, what advice would you give those hopeful to tread the lonely path of words?

Heinrich von Wolfcastle—My advice is to explore what your process is before you decide what to make it, and allow your enthusiasm to be your compass to see if you have it right. As for the writing itself, you just have to do it. Don’t stop and look back. Don’t reflect on it. Don’t judge it. Just write like a vamp fleeing a sunrise. There will be plenty of time to go back and pick up the bodies later. And most of all, if there’s any part of it you like, notice it. Celebrate it.

Also, everybody who reads anything you write will have an opinion. When they voice that opinion as feedback, they’re right from their perspective. But also allow yourself to have the final say–the privilege to discard what doesn’t fit for you. If something in that feedback resonates, follow that and see where it takes you.  

AYS—If we find ourselves unable—or unwilling—to travel to the Carpathian Mountains, where else can we find you?

Heinrich von Wolfcastle—Ugh, you mean I have to leave the house? I hate when that happens. You might find yourself bumping shoulders with me at a few concerts or toy conventions around the Chicagoland area. I do hope to start touring some local conventions with a booth where I can sign your book, take a picture, share a scream–whatever suits you.

I don’t have any formal dates set for 2020 yet, but you can always keep up with any plans that unfold here:

Posted in #amreading, #AMWRITING, #PeopleCollection, #ReadLocal, #Reviews | 1 Comment

S&T #133 and #134 Audio Issue Available

Myself, Ryan Aussie Smith and Linda D. Addison—three voices you can hear in the audio issues.

For those who like to listen, the audio issues of Space and Time are now available almost everywhere for $4.99. Audible is currently in the approval process and will soon be added to the list of 42 apps that currently carry our issues.* You can have a listen for free on Google Play here.

When we first decided to try and publish an audio version of each magazine, we had no idea how far down the rabbit hole we were heading. What started as a simple idea has lead to classes, hundreds of dollars of professional recording equipment and two different recording studio builds. We are finishing the second, bigger studio now.

Read by co-publisher of S&T (and husband) Ryan Aussie Smith lends his native Australian voice and a deep passion to the work. The audio productions have become his babies. You can also hear a little from Linda D. Addison and myself as we read our columns.

Expect further audio issues to be released halfway between our quarterly print issues. If you liked a particular story, poem or column, watch the author’s social media. To show appreciation for the creatives that lend us their work, we are sending their clips back to them to use however they like. Many of them are sharing them on their sites.

Up next will be #135, the issue currently for sale on shelves. That should be ready mid-February. Let us know what you think—it’s been a steep learning curve to accomplish this and we welcome all feedback. Space and Time can now be enjoyed in yet another way.

*It does not escape us that this is also the meaning of life, an answer that has raised more questions. Following logic, perhaps the answer to the new question is Space and Time and that was what Deep Thought meant all along. It’s just taken us 7.5 million years to figure this out.

Posted in #amreading, #AMWRITING, #KCLocal, #MakeItLocal, #Poetry, #ReadLocal, #SpaceandTimeMagazine | 2 Comments

2019 | The Year of Growing Pains

On this day last year we officially took over Space and Time magazine. It has been a wild, wild ride. We’ve had successes and stresses in equal amount. Many of the successes have caused the stresses, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. Growth is always accompanied by growing pains—and change. Here are a few of those changes…

When we took over the magazine it was in the beginning stages of closing so there were few active subscribers. We had to decide between raising prices to cover costs or keep them the same to welcome back former subscribers. We decided to keep the prices the same and absorb the deficit. There are only a few subscribers, we reasoned. We can cover a few bucks per issue. 

Preparing for a car trip for back issues…

Shortly after we made that decision, the postal rates went up—something we had forgotten to factor in. By September’s issue our subscriber base had at least quadrupled and the “few bucks” per issue we were covering quadrupled with it. Around the same time co-publisher and husband Ryan moved to part-time work so he could have more time to produce the audio versions of each issue as well as help with the other editions.

All good things, but we started feeling the pinch by fall. September’s issue also forced us to switch to a more expensive printer. They aren’t much higher—and worth every penny—but that still adds up to more pennies. On top of that, USPS is preparing to raise rates again in January 2020.

Prepare to throw the rotten fruit, but we have to raise prices. The digital rates will stay the same, since there is no extra costs associated with that, but the print cost will go up to $10 per issue. A subscription will bring the per issue price down to $9.50 an issue. Not a huge savings, but it’s the best we can do. The price increase covers shipping, art, poetry, stories, and printing. Originally we were paying for the content out of our own pockets as well.

This does NOT affect current subscriptions, both domestic and international. We will continue to fulfill those subscriptions at the original rates for the foreseeable future. Many of those subscriptions are set to auto-renew, and they will auto renew at the original subscription price unless you cancel it.

Don’t drop that rotten tomato quite yet… there’s more. We’ve decided to cut out a few things. The first to get the ax will be the MOBI and EPUBs. S&T has become a very visual, graphic rich publication. Many of the poems rely on creative formatting to add to their impact. This simply can’t be expressed in a MOBI or EPUB format. In short, I love reading books in those formats, but it doesn’t do justice for the magazine. It will still be available digitally, just as an exact copy of the print version (except sometimes with bonus content).

And, if you haven’t exhausted your supply of objects to toss, here’s something else. We need to return to digital subscriptions only for international subscribers… but keep reading for the work around. When we took over there was only digital subscriptions but we have so many international friends and family we wanted to try mailing print overseas. Sending a magazine overseas ranges between $5-15 for shipping alone, depending on destination. But to the work around…

Amazon is available in most countries now so we will publish each issue of the magazine in a print-on-demand format and make it available internationally. It will be the same content as the domestic print version. This will also give us a few other benefits:

  • We can reduce our back issue stock since issues will already be available on Amazon.
  • We can possibly offer currently unavailable vintage issues POD on Amazon.
  • We will be able to offer the audio issues on Audible.

I think that’s all the bad news for now. Before you grab your torch and pitchforks, here’s some good stuff…

Exquisite corpses are monthly and each quarter one will be chosen to run in the magazine. Those of you familiar with my personal blog are also familiar with the exquisite corpses. The first one went up today (I’ve been holding it since fall) and above the graphic image there is a link to “Vote on the Best Corpse of the Quarter.” Now you can vote on the last one (In Flammation), the current corpse (The Ties That Blind Us) and whatever we come up with in February. The corpse with the most votes will appear in the magazine. Visit that page here.

Second, the audio versions are something new for us and the learning curve has been steep. So far we’ve produced issues #133 and #134 and are currently producing #135. Since we knew of no magazines currently producing audio issues, we’ve been trying to slog through uncharted territory.

I’m happy to announce that by the end of January both currently produced issues should be available across all platforms, including Audible… and for $4.99. Watch for #135 to be released mid February. We are in the process of building a sound proof recording booth to streamline the recording process further.

That’s the big announcements (for now). 2019 saw explosive growth and expansion we didn’t expect. There have been times, especially in the latter half of the year, where we felt like we were hanging on for life. What we expected to be a peaceful ‘side gig’ quickly grew to have a life of its own. Have we been stressed? Of course. Have we regretted any of it? Absolutely not.

Gordon Linzner

Space and Time magazine truly is its own, sentient entity. It may not have been an easy year, but it has been amazing. The next year will see a lot of fine tuning and polishing as we prepare for another decade. Bottom line, we love where we are and what we do. We have to make adjustments so that we can continue doing this, and we hope the massive support we’ve been given will continue.

I don’t think the teenage version of Gordon Linzner could have foreseen the impact his little mimeographed fan-zine would have on the lives of so many creatives. We are privileged to be a part of it. As always, thank you—readers and contributors—for your support. Now… on to the next decade!

Posted in #amreading, #AMWRITING, #KCLocal, #MakeItLocal, #SpaceandTimeMagazine | 1 Comment

Happy Solstice! Unboxing #135

This year’s last issue of Space and Time magazine is ready to be sent out into the world. I know I say this about every issue, but this is my favorite issue to date. Issue #135 is brimming with brilliance.

Every story, poem, illustration and feature is gorgeous. So much hard work went into this from the readers, the editing team… everyone involved with S&T has put soul equity into this.

Since our first issue (#133) we have had an unboxing tradition. We bring the first box of magazines to a coffee shop and open it there for the first time on video so we can share the experience. Then we give that first copy to whatever barista happens to be working to say thank you for keeping us caffeinated. Tip these people well… they keep us all going.

Today was no different. We took our heavy box to Novella’s Bistro located inside the Mid-Continent Public Library – North Independence Branch. Owner Jeff Wilson got the first copy.

We’ve got some announcements we’re drafting up for the new year. The past twelve months were wonderful, but 2020 is going to be even better. Watch for a peek into what’s ahead for Space and Time very soon. Until then, go grab your digital or print copy at and enjoy seeing it for the first time with us here…


Posted in #amreading, #AMWRITING, #KCLocal, #MakeItLocal, #Poetry, #ReadLocal, #Reviews, #SpaceandTimeMagazine | 1 Comment

From the Heart of Madness: John Baltisberger

Angela—You’ve recently published The Configuration Discordant with Things in the Well. Such an interesting name… what does it mean to you and what inspired this collection? (find it on Amazon here)

John B.—The collection focuses on various poetic forms, exploring all the rules we’ve sort of agreed upon over the last few centuries. While I was trying to choose a name, I wanted to focus on the idea that what I was playing with was form and configuration. That is the gimmick of the collection, almost every poem is a different form of poem.

But within each section there are different themes, different pieces of flash fiction all pointing towards a common goal of fear and discomfort. In the end I wanted a title that played with juxtaposition. That hinted at the tight rules I played with, and the discordant and jumbled mess I organized with it.

Angela—Tell me about yourself as a writer. Do you consider yourself a poet, proser or a blend of the two?

John B.—I’m a blend, absolutely, I spend the most time writing prose, but I write far more poems than I do stories. That’s partially because I love writing flash. A self contained story in as few words as possible is a challenge that I find intoxicating. There’s a book called Sharp Teeth I mention it in the afterword of the Configuration Discordant. Where the author tells an entire novel about werewolves in verse. And I love it, I’ve become fairly obsessed with the idea of creating that sort of novel, so…I suppose stay ready for that.

John Baltisberger

Angela—If you could be any monster, what would it be and why?

John B.—This is hard for me, I have a podcast called Wandering Monster, where we talk about our favorite monsters every single week. Is it too on brand to say Godzilla’s nemesis Biollante? For those of you who don’t know Biollante is a rose bush who has been injected with Godzilla DNA and possessed by a ghost. And it fights Godzilla. But Biollante is definitely a protector of mankind. Powerful, feral, but also plant and a guardian of this earth.

Angela—Imposter Syndrome really stood out for me. I think all of us have entertained dark fantasies like that. What’s the story behind the poem?

John B.—Well, I had just read an interview with a self proclaimed sociopath, and I had been reading up on serial killers. My mentor Devorah Winegarten (z”l) once told me that a good poem surprises you. She normally used it for the positive, a twist that would make you laugh or leave you hopeful. But as a horror writer, I can’t do that, I want people to identify with a poem at first, and then be left cold and uncertain either about their safety or even their own identity. Is one of your friends and impostor? Are you?

Angela— We may never know 😈 but back to the interview… What kind of horror do you prefer? Are you a slasher fan or more of a psychological thriller man?

John B.—I am very well known for being a kaiju fanatic. I love giant monsters. But I also adore slashers, and smart horror. When I say smart, I mean I want to be guessing the entire time what’s really going on. Gore and violence can be fun, but in the end their sort of substance-less to me.

However, what I write is very much geared towards action and things happening, I don’t tend to live in my character’s heads too closely.

Angela—Describe your perfect day writing… where would you be, who with and what would you create?

John B.—I would be alone in a place without wifi, with my music library and headphones. Probably a cafe so I can eat and drink. I distract easily so I need to limit that. But I am currently working on several Jewish horror pieces, Jewish Horror Poetry, Jewish Urban Horror and Jewish Kaiju Horror.

Angela—This far in your career, what do you wish you’d done differently?

John B.—I wish I had started sooner. I also want to tell people a very simple piece of advice. Just do the thing, dither about waiting to do research of sketching it out. The more time you spend not writing the more time you aren’t being a writer.

Angela—What are you working on next and where can we find you and your work?

John B.—So, you can join our patreon at, you can catch me on my podcasts Wandering Monster or Madness Heart Radio, or you can also find my books on Amazon. Thank you!

Posted in #amreading, #AMWRITING, #KCLocal, #MakeItLocal, #PeopleCollection, #Poetry, #ReadLocal | Leave a comment

Space and Time Adds Editor

There will be an additional editor coming to Space and Time magazine—Luiz Peters will be coming to the team to curate submissions in original Spanish, Portuguese, French and Italian. He will then translate the accepted poem or prose to English. 

Submissions for issue #136 (Spring) will open up December 19 and for the first time in S&T history we will be accepting work in foreign languages. Luiz will have a separate tab for foreign language submissions and will be a fourth editor to the already fantastic team of Poetry Editor Linda D. Addison, Fiction Editor Gerard Houarner and Art Editor Diane Weinstein.

As a welcome and introduction, Luiz has been added to the poetry line up of the next issue of S&T to be available December 21. His poem, Reticence | Reticências, will be presented in English and his native language of Portuguese. I’m excited for this addition to S&T which will open the magazine to a new pantheon of writers.

Luiz Peters, Foreign Submissions Editor

About Luiz Peters, Foreign Submissions Editor:

Luiz Peters has been translating and editing for websites, universities, customer support services and the like for over four years. Currently he works as an editor and translator for a major UK corporation when he is not reading and writing speculative fiction and poetry. Always fascinated by stories, Luiz began writing to escape a dark time in his life. He found that by writing better futures for his characters he helped improve his own.

He believes in sharing that freedom with others as the Foreign Submissions Editor at Space and Time. By building bridges of words, he hopes to connect our fragmented stories into one global narrative we share. Thanks to Luiz as an addition to the team, we can now accept poetry and fiction submissions in five languages: Spanish, English, Portuguese, French and Italian.

Visit Space and Time magazine here.

Posted in #amreading, #AMWRITING, #KCLocal, #MakeItLocal, #Poetry, #ReadLocal, #SpaceandTimeMagazine, #Submit | Leave a comment