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.

  Cheers.

Ben

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.