Book 16 The Forest Is Hungry Christopher Stanley

The Forest is Hungry is a novelette I wrote about a year ago for an anthology that never happened. It’s always sad when anthologies get cancelled, and this one, which was about nature taking revenge on mankind, was cancelled for political reasons. I felt demoralised at the time but, with hindsight, it was definitely for the best.

When Weirdbook opened up for submissions last year, I hunted around for something to send in and rediscovered The Forest was Hungry. It was rejected, but Doug (the editor), really liked it – apart from one, minor plot point. He suggested I make the amendments and submit the story again when Weirdbook next opens up for submissions – and that was my plan – but then a new opportunity came along.

Demain Publishing, based in Cannes, France, is a relatively new initiative, set up by author, editor and award-winning script-writer, Dean M. Drinkel. Dean’s intention is to select and publish 6 novelettes a month as standalone e-books, with hard copies following at some point in the future.

Once I’d addressed the plot point flagged by Doug, I sent the story off to Dean and the story was accepted a little over two hours later.

So…The Forest is Hungry will be the first of my stories to be published as a standalone, with my name on the cover. And that feels pretty huge. It’ll be #16 in the Short Sharp Shocks! series from Demain Publishing, and I’d like to say a massive thank you to Dean for championing my story. I’ll post a link here when it’s available.

And now I need to write something new for Weirdbook..

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Rats

It hasn’t been a good year. During the first half of January, I received a rejection every other day. By the middle of February, I’d received something like eighteen rejections in a row. And then this happened.

For the third year running, I have a story in Aphotic Realm, in their upcoming ‘Fangs’ issue, and I couldn’t be happier. I mean, just look at that cover!

To be fair, I had several stories that were contenders for an issue called ‘Fangs’ but the one I chose to submit is the one, arguably, that has the least bite.

Two Weeks to Wolf is inspired by a true story, based in Montana, that found its way into the UK press last summer. It was such an intriguing set-up, I couldn’t help but think about the many ways the story might end, and this is what I ended up with. It was enormous fun to write.

Aphotic Realm is a print and online magazine, which publishes “short stories of any genre as long as they are dark, sinister, or eerie in tone.” The magazine seems to have gone from strength to strength since Waternish Boy appeared in issue #1 and a lot of that is down to the editors, who are fantastic.

Two Weeks to Wolf was published in Fangs: Aphotic Realm #6 on 16 March 2019.

Exquisite Aberrations

I started taking writing seriously when I was made redundant several years ago. One of the first things I did was sign up to an online writing course, which I completed during my final weeks in the job. As part of the course, we were required to write a short story in weekly chunks. I didn’t have a story idea at the time but we were told this didn’t matter. Just start writing…and then keep adding to it. So I did.

The finished story was a clumsy, Gothic ghost story, called The Coastguard’s Cottage, set on the Isle of Wight.  Some of the writing was pretty tense but the story was poorly realised and the ending didn’t really work. I revisited the story a few times in the years that followed but couldn’t find a way to inject it with the magic needed to hold it all together.

Then I saw the submission call from FunDead Publications, for “traditional literary gothic stories with a non-traditional spin”. By non-traditional spin, they meant non-traditional main characters. I went back to The Coastguard’s Cottage with this in mind and came up with something quite different, and much more satisfying.

Gods of the Southern Horizon was accepted for publication in summer 2018, on the same day Unnerving Magazine accepted ‘Another Side of Gustav Holst.’ Six months later, also on the same day, I received emails from both sharing the front covers – and they’re amazing. The question remains: will they be published on the same day? Only time will tell…

FunDead Publications “is located in Salem, Massachusetts, a city which has provided endless inspiration to writers of every genre for hundreds of years. With a love for horror, gothic fiction, and all things macabre, FunDead brings a little joy to those who prefer the dark side.”

Gods of the Southern Horizon will be published in the Exquisite Aberrations anthology by FunDead Publications in spring 2019. I’ll post a link here as soon as it is available.

I’m not going to say too much about this one. Sack of Souls was first published by The Molotov Cocktail back in December 2016 and it’s one of my favourite stories. When Grinning Skull Press announced they were still looking for extra stories for the latest Deathlehem anthology, I got in touch and mentioned it was available. They were open to reprints but Sack of Souls was below their required word count. They asked me to send it over anyway.

So I did. And they accepted it.

Deathlehem

I’m really pleased the O Unholy Night in Deathlehem is going to contain two of my Christmas stories, as well as stories by friends of mine. I can’t wait to get stuck in.

Sack of Souls will be published in O Unholy Night in Deathlehem before Christmas. I’ll post a link here when it’s available.

*Previously published.

Deathlehem-1The Coal Shed is a story I’ve had kicking around since last Christmas. I wrote and submitted it to an anthology that never happened. While there are a lot of calls for Christmas horror stories, they’re also quite seasonal. Hence the wait.

I love Christmas and I have fond memories of getting up early to write this story, which I started immediately after I’d finished writing Crying the Neck. The opening pages, describing an old lady meandering into the fictional town of Lee Sodbury, were actually taken from an alternative opening to the only book I’ve ever finished writing (Memories of Ghosts). The book will never see the light of day but I’m glad I found a way to share this character and a little of her adventures. She’s someone I might come back to.

O Unholy Night in Deathlehem is the latest in the series of Deathlehem charity anthologies from Grinning Skull Press. Grinning Skull Press is ‘a new voice in the world of Horror Fiction.’ Their mission is to ‘bring you the very best the genre has to offer.’ I shall be sending more stories their way in the near future.

The Coal Shed will be published in O Unholy Night in Deathlehem before Christmas. I’ll post a link here when it’s available.

Dq0gWM-WoAAur2kWe were on holiday in France when the results of The Molotov Cocktail’s Flash Monster contest were announced. Flash Monster is their flagship contest, the one they come back to every year, and in the past I’ve managed three rejections and a close but no cigar – so my expectations this time around were measured.

I remember scrolling through the results and finding one of my three entries in the close but no cigars. I genuinely thought that was it for me. And then I got to tenth place, ninth place, eighth…and nothing. Not until I reached the top three and…there I was, in second place, with my story, The Lamppost Huggers!

The kids got a bonus trip to Raptor Park for this one.

Years ago, in my previous job, I used to traipse up to the high street in all weathers to catch the bus into work. The Lamppost Huggers was one of those ideas I woke up with – I don’t know where it came from – but the setting and the main character’s daily commute were very familiar to me.

I read all of the top ten entries on the ferry home and they were all superb – so many ideas, so much imagination. My heartfelt thanks to Josh Goller and Mary Lenoir Bond for running these competitions and publishing one of the best lit zines around.

MLB2.1

The Molotov Cocktail publishes “volatile flash fiction, the kind of prose you cook up in a bathtub and handle with rubber gloves.” And as I’ve said many times before, I’m a huge fan.

The Lamppost Huggers was published in the Halloween 2018 Flash Monster issue of The Molotov Cocktail, and will appear in the fifth winners anthology in around a year’s time.

PS (15 Jan 2019) Just found out that The Molotov Cocktail has nominated The Lamppost Huggers for Best Small Fictions!

The Arcanist Ghost StoriesAs much as I love horror stories, I love ghost stories even more. The Gothic mansion, the whispers in empty rooms, the lingering dead – what’s not to like? I’ve written several ghost stories over the past few years but this is only the second one I’ve had published. I’m not sure why the others have struggled to find homes, maybe it’s because the genre is so old it’s hard to create something that feels new. Blame MR James.

I really enjoyed reading The Arcanist’s ‘Year One’ anthology, so when they announced a ghost story competition, I knew I was going to have to commit some serious time and energy to it. I submitted three stories in the end. Boîte Fantôme was the first one I wrote and the last one I submitted, and I was over the moon when it won the competition.

The Arcanist is an online literary magazine, focusing on “genre-based flash fiction.” From the Wild West to deepest space, from gay ghosts to wheelchair-bound paranormal investigators, the Ghost Stories collection is impressive for its diversity. It’s perfect for a chilly, autumn evening. My only wish is that it was longer!

Boîte Fantôme was published by The Arcanist in the Ghost Stories anthology on 1 October 2018. It was also published online on 26 October 2018 and you can read it here.

Ghost Box

While you’re here, why not sign up to receive the latest stories from The Arcanist – delivered straight to your inbox every week for free! I know I have.

PS Boîte Fantôme has also been nominated for a BIFFY. That’s two now…