I mentioned a few posts back that I had my first story commission recently, when editor Eric Guignard approached me about his forthcoming Dark Tales of Lost Civilisations anthology. In that post, I also kind of hinted at the fact that, almost straight away afterwards, I was approached by another editor with a whole 'nother request for my work. Then I left the whole thing hanging on bit of an artificial cliffhanger, maybe striving for a sense of tension that wasn't entirely there or just bemusedly trying to draw a lengthy post to some sort of close. Who can say?
Well ... me, obviously. The truth is, I was being deliberately vague because, although said publisher had asked me for a contribution, they hadn't actually seen what I'd come up with. And it was entirely possible that I'd send them my story and they'd never, ever, ever be in touch again, perhaps blocking my e-mail address just to be on the safe side. Or else write back blaming me for the break-up of their marriage. Or reveal that the whole thing had been some vicious and spectacularly mistimed April Fools joke.
In a pleasantly surprising fashion, none of those things have happened. So here, belatedly, are the details I held back (or didn't know because they were about to happen in the future) in that last post.
Almost literally straight after me and Eric hashed out the last details for The Door Beyond the Water, and just after Eric let me know that the collection had been picked up by indie horror press Dark Moon Books, I got another e-mail - this one from Stan Swanson, editor and publisher at Dark Moon. Coincidence? Whatever the opposite is of a coincidence? I have no idea. All I know is, Stan was writing to know if I might be interested in putting forward a story for Dark Moon's forthcoming Slices of Flesh anthology.
You just know that's not going to be a compilation of soul-searching romantic novellas, don't you? And that's probably a good thing, because I have absolutely none of those lying around. (Well, okay, one. But I'm saving that for the day Mills and Boon come knocking.) No, what Stan was after was horror flash fiction.
Only, it was a little more interesting than that. First of all, Stan happened to mention in that initial e-mail is that he'd already picked up a bunch of very big names. I'm not sure how many of these are meant to be public knowledge yet, so I'll hold fire on the full compendium of famousness - but even at that early point, some true celebrities of horror had thrown their hats in with Stan. Reason being? Well, aside from the fact that horror flash fiction is a basically good thing, it probably has a lot to do with the fact that all proceeds from Slices of Flesh will be going to charity - with, the last I heard, the main beneficiary being the Literary Project of America.
But there's one more thing. And it's a thing that would have sold me on the project all by itself. The cover artist for this prospective anthology? It's Mike Mignola. Now, normally when I namecheck someone, I'd give a bit of a bio for those who've somehow missed their work. But honestly, if you don't know who Mike Mignola is then you just plain should. Click on the link. Seriously. I'm not even asking here.
Oh, and my story? It's the (maybe a bit too) provocatively named Wetback. It has zombies. If you've been following my work even slightly over the last few years, you've probably noticed I have a soft spot for writing the walking dead. I think this one's a little different though, what with the zombie being the main protagonist and all. Not a new idea I know, but I'm still hoping this is a take that hasn't exactly been seen before.
And it's going to be behind a Mike Mignola cover.