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.

Cheers!

Ben

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

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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.

Turn to Ash, Vol. 2: Open Lines is now open to preorders.

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Preorders are now live for Turn to Ash, Vol. 2: Open Lines. The book will ship in December. The first 50 Preorders will receive a personalized letter of termination from WORN 1600 AM, printed on WORN letterhead, and signed by [REDACTED] from Malthus Media Division, Malthus International.

Click HERE to order.

The book will be available worldwide via Amazon in December, and due to popular demand, there will be a Kindle edition that will be available shortly thereafter.

Charles “Chuck” Leek has hosted The Late-Night Leak – radio’s late-night home for high strangeness – on WORN 1600 AM since late 2000. However, nothing in those 15+ years could have possibly prepared him for what he and his colleagues would encounter on what should’ve been another routine night of … OPEN LINES!

Jonathan Raab and 11 more authors weave together tales of weirdness inside a unique framing device – Chuck’s paranormal radio call-in show. Peppered throughout Jonathan’s “Cold Call” are the following stories, written as callers to The Late-Night Leak:

The Sun Screams in Retrograde – Rebecca Allred
OGRE – Joseph Bouthiette Jr
All that Moves Us – Evan Dicken
The White Factory – Kurt Fawver
A Room with Two Views – Joanna Michal Hoyt
When the Trees Sing – S. L. Edwards
Rails – Thomas Mavroudis
Lullabies from the Formicary – Betty Rocksteady
Midnight in the Desert – Joseph Pastula
The Merger – A.P. Sessler
Death Run – Martin Rose

This issue also features radio and conspiracy themed non-fiction from Jose Cruz, James Newman, and John Delaughter, plus Gordon White’s interview with Matthew M. Bartlett.

Some notes from a carnival barker’s third cousin

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I wanted to take a moment to talk about a few things that have crossed my virtual desk recently from some of the contributors to Turn to Ash, Vol. 1.

First up is Beneath the Remains by Terence Hannum. Terence sent me a copy of his novella a few months ago, and I’ve been meaning to say something about it here for a while, but the hours have a way of peeling away in days, then weeks, at a time before you know it. I finally got a chance to read it a month or so ago, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Hannum has created an enthralling hesher noir set against the backdrop of a decaying early 90’s Florida. It’s grime and bad times all the way down; not exactly a feel-good book, but Hannum’s prose makes the gutters glitter.

Spencer and I lay on the dirty lanai loungers, all the other patio furniture or detritus in whatever state we had found it we tossed into the deep algae green of the uncleaned pool. We had pulled the remaining two loungers next to a small low fire pit area where Spencer had lit a blaze even though the heat of the evening was suffocating. We didn’t care.

I laid back and watched the shadows dance across the stained walls of the house, playing with the thick film on the chair and rolling it between my paint stained fingers. Spencer had stolen a machete and cut into the screen to the lanai. Over the course of the evening we had spray-painted a magnificent tapestry of pentagrams and entire voids of solid black on the once pale stucco walls. Entire sliding glass doors were now translucent chasms of dripping midnight grime whose enamel surfaces gleamed in the pyre. Staring back at us.

Beneath the Remains is available HERE from  Anathemata Editions.

Up next is the phonetically similar, Anathema: Spec from the Margins. Anathema is new, soon-to-launch publication from co-editors-in-chief,  Andrew Wilmot and Michael Matheson. From the Indiegogo campaign:

Anathema: Spec from the Margins, a tri-annual speculative fiction magazine of work by queer POC. We want you to help us make Anathema a podium on which the voices we least hear from can stand and hold nothing back.

It sounds very promising, and there are some really cool rewards offered at various tiers on the campaign page. If you’re strapped for cash, you can get a whole year’s subscription for $10 CAD, which is less than $8 USD right now. The campaign will be running for the next month. Check it out HERE.

And lastly, but certainly not leastly, is Blood Kiss from J. Daniel Stone. I have not had a chance to check this one out yet, but I hope to get my mitts on it very soon. Of Particular to interest of fans of J.’s story in Turn to Ash, Blood Kiss tells another tale featuring Dorian and Tyria, the characters from “What Makes a Shadow.”

To macabre painter Dorian Wilde, art is a weapon. Dissatisfied with life and where it is leading him, he looks to himself and to his partner, Leland, for answers that cannot be.

Tyria Vane is a spoken word poet who has never felt part of any clique or crowd. She is haunted by dreams of an abusive childhood that she can only make sense of through words, and with the help of her lover, Adelaide.

An unexpected introduction sparks new promise in Dorian’s creative heart, in Tyria’s poetic soul, and they begin to understand that only together are they able to satiate their weird lusts and personal tortures. Is art love or is love art? Set between the shadows of Manhattan and Brooklyn, what could have been a masterpiece in paint and prose might end up being the worst thing that anyone can imagine.

Is art love or is love art? Set between the shadows of Manhattan and Brooklyn, what could have been a masterpiece in paint and prose might end up begin the worst thing that anyone can imagine.

Blood Kiss is available from Villipede Publications. Amazon link is right HERE.

You can, of course, pick up a copy of Turn to Ash, Vol. 1 – which features stories from Terence, Andrew, and J. – HERE or HERE.

I’d also like to thank the fine folks over at Miskatonic Musings for the surprise shout-out at the end of the latest episode, Pumpkinhead: Turnt. It’s an honor to be mentioned in a Pumpkinhead episode, even if it’s one covering the awful 4th and 5th entries in the franchise. And Charles managed to pronounce my name correctly, which is no small feat unto itself. You should already be listening to Miskatonic Musings, but in case you aren’t, HERE’S a link to the latest episode.

Vol. 2 pre-orders, Vol. 3 submissions, Vol. 1 sale ending.

Happy Halloween, weirdos!

We’ve been hard at work finishing the edits and layout for Turn to Ash, Vol. 2: Open Lines over the last few weeks, and I’m happy to announce that it will be available for pre-order one week from today. Orders for Vol. 2 will ship in the last week of November or the first week of December. It will become available via Amazon at that time, as well. Watch this space next Monday for the pre-order link.

The cover below is not quite final, but it’s getting there. The “contactee sketch” on the front is by Bo Davis. Chuck’s image is by Julian Dassai.

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I was planning on opening up submissions for Vol. 3 in November, but I don’t want to give short shrift to the prepping and promotion of Vol. 2, so I’m going to hold off on opening subs up for Vol. 3 until December. Start sharpening your pencils. It will be another general horror issue, in the vein of Vol. 1. I’ve already bought a couple of stories for it, but I am looking for up to 8 more. It will likely release in March or April, 2017.

Turn to Ash, Vol. 1 is still on sale for $9 over at Amazon, so if you haven’t picked up a copy yet, now is the time! The sale is supposed to end today, but sometimes it takes a couple of days for the price to update, so act quickly!