Hit the Ground

The Turn to Ash, Vol. 3 submission window is now closed. Thanks to all who subbed. I will do my best to respond to all submissions by the 14th of March. If it looks like I’m not going to make that deadline, I’ll post an update here with a new estimate. There were 246 submissions this time, which is a lot, but not quite the deluge I got with Vol. 1. I am thankful for that. I hope to have a cover reveal and a TOC in a little over a month.

Past that, stay tuned to this spot for some exciting news about free monthly fiction and a subscription service for a bi-annual limited edition print collection of those stories and more. A bit further out, look for news regarding a SUPER SECRET™ novella that’s in the works and a slightly-less SUPER SECRET™ anthology project, both currently planned for release in 2018.




$3 from all orders will go to the ACLU until further notice.

Hey, there. Until it no longer seems necessary, I’ll be contributing a portion of each sale from turntoash.storenvy.com to the ACLU. $3 for each order. After I announced that I realized that the minimum donation is $5, so I’ll donate $6 for every two orders. If it’s been a couple of days and I’m stuck on an odd number of orders, I’ll round up to $5 on one. Please tell me in the order notes under what name you would like your portion of the donation made. I’ll send you an email receipt when the deed is done.

three cheers, one kiss, and a punch


Well, it’s that time of year. That’s right; it’s time for us to pay the annual hosting fee for our website. What a great and totally unrelated time for a sale in the Turn to Ash store! Now through Friday night, you can get both volumes of Turn to Ash for only $14 plus shipping. That’s less than $20 total. That’s 25 stories, 5 non-fiction columns, 2 interviews, and more than a handful of artwork for precious little dough. If you’ve got one issue and need the other, they are also available individually for $7 plus shipping.

Click HERE or on the picture above to be magically transported to the store.

Turn to Ash is open to submissions until March 7th, 2017

Turn to Ash is once again open to submissions. This submissions window will be open from now until March 7th, 2017. Vol. 3 be a general horror fiction issue with no theme. Vol. 3 will be released in Spring 2017. Original fiction is preferred, but reprints will be considered, particularly if they are out of print and hard to find. No minimum word count. A flexible 7.5K word max.  Pay is 1 cent a word, with no payment less than $35 USD. We are seeking 6 months print and digital exclusive rights, with non-exclusive rights after that. Please no simultaneous submissions or multiple submissions. If you have a story rejected within the submission window, you may submit another if you’d like. I’ve already bought two stories for this issue, and I’m only looking to get 6-8 more.

Submissions should be sent to turntoashsubmissions AT gmail.com – pardon the weird formatting there, I’m trying to keep the robots at bay. If you’re unfamiliar, just replace the “AT” with an “@” and you’re good to go. Please put “VOL3” and the title of your story in the subject. I’m not too picky, but I prefer something close to the Shunn Manuscript Format, and I’d prefer to get .doc or .rtf files. They are the easiest for me to load up and read on the go. All submissions can be addressed to “Ben”, “Benjamin”, “Editor”, or “hey, you”. You will get an e-mail confirmation that your story was received with 48 hours or so of your submission. Feel free to query on the third day if you haven’t gotten that confirmation e-mail. I will try to accept or reject within three weeks of submission, but depending on the volume of submissions, that may become impossible. At the latest, I’ll have made all those decisions by March 14th, 2017.

So what are we looking for? Horror fiction. What kind? I’ll quote a snippet of the call for submissions for the first volume…

“I cast a pretty wide net on what I consider horror. Two of the most horrifying books I’ve ever read are Every Man Dies Alone and Knockemstiff. My favorite stories that are firmly in the genre tend to be quiet horror and capital “W” Weird, but I also enjoy splatterpunk and lots of stuff in between.”

Vague enough for ya? If you’d like a better idea of what we do, the first two volumes of Turn to Ash are available through our store and through Amazon.

I’ve got a good stable of folks writing non-fiction for the zine, but if you’ve got an article or an interview you’d like to pitch, I’m all ears. No visual artwork submissions, please, I’m going to invite an artist or three that I’ve already made contact with for the art for this issue.

As always, and I wish this could go without saying, but current events tell me otherwise – I want to hear from and promote voices from all walks of life from all over the world. Diversity is important to me. Furthermore, while I consider no topic or kind of character in a story to be off-limits, if you cross over into the territory where you are clearly preaching some kind of racist/misogynistic/homophobic/transphobic/hateful garbage, kindly fuck off. I’ve got no time or patience for that shit. Sorry for the harsh language. Incidentally, harsh language is totally acceptable in your submission.

If you have any questions, feel free to comment here or reach out to me at the e-mail address above.



A little update on Vol. 2 production and submissions for Vol. 3

Howdy! I just wanted to let everyone know that Turn to Ash Vol. 2: Open Lines is nearly complete. I’m just waiting on a couple of author bios and making a couple of small layout tweaks, and then it will be done. I’m not sure exactly how bad the holidays are going to screw up the wait/delivery times at the printer, but all the pre-orders should be shipping either in the last couple of days of December or the first couple of days of January. There’s still time to put in a pre-order and get a personalized letter of termination from the bigwigs at WORN and some other goodies, so ACT NOW.

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about submissions, so I updated the submissions page on the site. I’ll also paste that information below…

Turn to Ash is closed to submissions right now. We are busy finishing up Vol. 2, and will be open for submissions to Vol. 3 from mid-January to the end of February, 2017. This will be a general horror fiction volume with no theme. Vol. 3 will be released in early Spring 2017. Original fiction is preferred, but reprints will be considered, particularly if they are out of print and hard to find. No minimum word count. A flexible 7.5K word max.  Pay will be 1 cent a word, with no payment less than $35 USD. 6 months print and digital exclusive rights, non-exclusive rights after that. Please no simultaneous submissions or multiple submissions.

More detailed guidelines will be posted when we are open to subs. Please do not send anything right now. We’re too busy, and we’ll probably lose it. An email account will be set up for submissions to Vol. 3, and that address will be given out when subs are open. Please don’t send any submissions to the general Turn to Ash email address. Any unsolicited subs sent there will be deleted unread.



there ain’t any charm in our little farm right in the middle of the swamp














Let’s talk about “window areas.”

It’s an idea conceived by the late, great John A. Keel to describe the liminal spaces that connect parts of the Super Spectrum that are otherwise utterly separate. It’s an expansion on the idea of the “Super-Sargasso Sea” put forth by Charles Fort, father of the examination of the weird – the “damned,” he called it – in the real world. It’s a similar notion to how our world connects to the world of the sídhe – the mound elves – of Irish and Scottish mythology, and the basis for the Samhain festival. If you’re into the many-worlds interpretation of reality or brane cosmology, window areas are the spots where infinite soap bubble universes intersect and bleed into one another. It’s also the basically the same phenomena as the “thinnies” in Stephen King’s fiction.

It’s a concept I’m certain Jonathan Raab is familiar with. Practitioners of the weird dabble in this concept fairly often; one foundational element, or at least recurrent trope, of the weird is that something is wrong on or hitherto unknown with the world we know, and suddenly the character(s) in a story are presented with some situation that gives them a glimpse of the “real” world around them. Madness often ensues. If you’re reading this, I probably didn’t need to tell you that. You’ve read it a few dozen times. Please don’t read that as disdain for the trope; it’s a very good one – one I love, and one that can be approached and reconfigured in almost as many ways there are worlds out there. That’s not what I want to talk about in regard to Jonathan’s work, though.

 I’m more concerned with the meta-fictional window areas that Jonathan Raab is creating. Someone (probably Keel again, but my memory is failing me), when regarding the investigation of Forteana, said something along the lines of, “When you go out looking for these kinds of phenomena, eventually they start looking back.” Raab’s Cecil Kotto is certainly suffering the effects of this. The phenomena has been tailing his ass for quite some time. Introduced in The Hillbilly Moonshine Massacre, Sheriff Kotto began his High-Strange Gonzo adventures in New York State. However, in Raab’s newest, The Lesser Swamp Gods of Little Dixie, Kotto passes through a window into the world of Mer Whinery’s Little Dixie, a dark and terrifying corner of southern Oklahoma that exists in some horrible, infinitesimal soap bubble floating around the multiverse.

Cecil will also be beamed across the Super Spectrum, live, via telephone, into our own Turn to Ash, Vol. 2: Open Lines to offer a little sage wisdom to Chuck Leek on a rather rough night manning the phones at work. Hell, Chuck’s bestselling book even makes a small cameo in The Lesser Swamp Gods of Little Dixie. Jonathan has, in one month of releases, managed to open windows connecting the worlds of Sheriff Cecil Kotto, Mer Whinery’s Little Dixie, and the already shared-world of Chuck Leek’s Orion, Ohio. That’s a lot of cosmic soap bubbles rubbing up against one another in a short period of time.

I highly recommend clicking all the above links and picking up copies of The Hillbilly Moonshine Massacre, The Little Dixie Horror Show, Volume 1, The Lesser Swamp Gods of Little Dixie, and Turn to Ash, Vol. 2: Open Lines so you can get the full width and breadth of the worlds Jonathan is working in and travelling through.

To help ease the financial burden of that journey, when you pre-order Turn to Ash, Vol. 2: Open Lines (shipping later this month) or the bundle containing it and Vol. 1, use the code WATCHTHESWAMPS to get free domestic shipping.