Gus hits the shelves! Weirdbook #44 in my hands! New story on the way in Lovecraftiana: The Magazine of Eldritch Horror!

Hey everybody, M. here,

It’s been another couple of weeks over here at M. Stern Headquarters where the news is coming in faster than I can post it! Yowza! That could speak more to my blog updating pace than anything, but there have indeed been a few of pretty cool developments lately (most of which I have mentioned over on Facebook, where you should follow me if you’re digging what I’m writing!). Anyway here’s a quick run through:

“Gus” is now available in print and e-book
I’m happy to say that the Funny as a Heart Attack anthology, edited by Doug Draa — which contains my story “Gus” — is now available in print and e-book from Schlock! Publications. What is the story about?

Gus is the most famous clown in a clowntastic, clowntabulous world. He is a big deal. A legend, even. Something, though, has started to change — things feel like they are getting meaner, angrier, darker. And while he can’t quite put his finger on how, Gus is beginning to suspect that he might have something to do with the whole world’s decline and fall into madness.

If you like your cosmic horror with a hefty dose of madcap, slapstick comedy (and a bunch of other stuff I won’t spoiler you on), you’re not going to want to miss this one. Whether you love clowns or hate them or even if you are indifferent about them.

Also, though it’s a little difficult to capture with my limited photographic resources, the trade paperback format looks nice as hell if you want one of these in print. There is no particular reason that I can think of that I have this one sitting near the section of my book shelf for French literature in the picture. Though there are mentions of a few famous French clowns in the story here and there, so perhaps I made a subconscious connection of some sort. And I’m not 100 percent sure but I think Schlock! Publishing might be based in France. Synchronicity abounds! Speaking of which …

“The Study of Worms” coming in 2023 in Lovecraftiana
The other day I received an email from Schlock! Publications mastermind and Lord of Lovecraftian Letters Gavin Chappell, and I am happy to say that my new story “The Study of Worms” is slated to appear in Lovecraftiana: The Magazine of Eldritch Horror in early 2023.

More on what you can expect from that story to come in the future, but I should first note for those just swinging by that this will be my second story to appear in Lovecraftiana. The first — “After the After Party” — is still available in the Candlemas 2021 issue, if you want to check out that wild romp of a cosmic horror-comedy. “After Party” is quite a different animal from the thundering, lumbering, howling, hallucinogenic beast of a Cthulhu Mythos tale that is “Worms” — but it’s worth a read while you wait! Trust me, you’ll never listen to Mozart’s The Magic Flute the same way again after reading that one. Hit that link if it sounds like your thing, and if you have Kindle Unlimited — a service that I don’t even know what it is — you can snag that Candlemas issue for the low price of $0.00.

Contributor copy of Weirdbook #44 arrived in my mailbox
Last but certainly not least, my contributor copy of the hotly anticipated Weirdbook #44 — containing my story “Birth” — arrived in the mail the other day. It’s a damn nice looking volume, with a table of contents brimming with all different walks of weird fiction to inject into your brain by way of your eyes.

If you want to pick this puppy up, the physical version should be available wherever weirder books are sold — and that includes Bucket o’ Blood Books and Records, one of the coolest independent book and record stores on the planet. Just give them a holler on Facebook and let them know you want one and, you can get your weird on without donating too much of your hard-earned cash to Jeff Bezos’ next trip to outer space. If you want it on Kindle, I think the e-book version should be dropping at some point in the near future. I’ll let you know.

Anyway time for me to go write some words elsewhere so that I can read some other words after that. Take care everyone!
-M.

Funny as a Heart Attack anthology cover art is here!

Just a quick note — the cover design for Schlock! Publishing’s upcoming clown noir/horror anthology Funny as a Heart Attack is out now, and as you can see above they’re not clownin’ around with this one! Looks like these stories should give you a real jolt! (This cover image seems to have unleashed my inner-Crypt Keeper, too.)

As I mentioned in an earlier post, this anthology is edited by Doug Draa (Weirdbook, Startling Stories) and published by Gavin Chappel (Lovecraftiana: The Magazine of Eldritch Horror, Schlock! webzine) and will contain my story “Gus.” I guess you could say it’s a horror-comedy about how cruelty rears its head in the funniest places.

More news to come!
-M.

Strangely Funny VIII contributor copy! MUSIC inspired by an M. Stern story!

Hey everybody!

Took a minute to get this post together as I have been spending a great deal of time chasing my new Roomba around trying to keep it from destroying things, and I have been otherwise distracted. But as you can see from the picture I received my contributor copy of the Strangely Funny VIII anthology edited by Sarah E. Glenn the other day, containing my story “Parts” in all its weird, wacky glory — here’s a snippet:

What could possibly be tickling our hero’s nose and why? The answer to that question just might tickle YOUR nose — or your funny bone, or even another part of you where you’re ticklish I guess — but you have to read it to find out! So snag a copy of the anthology in print or e-book today and dig in.

Which brings me to a quite exciting and unexpected development. You may have wondered why my copy of Strangely Funny VIII pictured in this post is sitting next to a speaker.  Or maybe you didn’t wonder that at all, but I will tell you why — it is because there is now …

Music inspired by the story “Parts” by M. Stern
In a surprise so awesome that it knocked me on my ass, my incredibly talented buddy Rob (host of the Apocalypse Cinema podcast and member of prog rock band Hedghog and the Fox) enjoyed “Parts” so much when he read it that he composed an original piece of experimental electronic music inspired by the story’s cosmically-horrific culmination. So when you read the story, you absolutely need to check out the theme for the arrival of a certain alien demigod on his SoundCloud,

Now my Roomba is blinking its light at me and it seems angry, so I have to go figure out what it wants. Take care and happy Monday everyone. Oh right and don’t forget to follow me on Facebook for even more updates!
-M.

Weirdbook #44 is here — and another story is on the way!

Hey everybody, M. here,

It’s been a busy week over here at M. Stern Headquarters but in the midst of it all I got news that the long-awaited Weirdbook #44 is now available in paperback. This one contains my story “Birth” — a sort of epistemological escapade filled with international intrigue, arcane rituals, quantum Weirdbook Magazine #44indeterminacy, metaphysics, and online eating challenges. Get hip to it and get weird! You can grab a copy at Amazon, (I’ll get some other links up here in the near future for those who want to support a specific local indie bookstore or have a general Amazon allergy.)

But that’s not the only exciting news that hit my inbox this week…

New anthology story on the way!
I’m thrilled to say that I will have a story coming out in the upcoming clown-themed anthology from Schlock! Publications titled Funny As A Heart Attack. The story is called “Gus.” (That’s all I am saying about it at the moment, you’ll wrestle no spoilers from me this early.)

The anthology is being edited by Doug Draa (of Startling Stories and Weirdbook) and published by Gavin Chappel (of Lovecraftiana: The Magazine of Eldritch Horror and Schlock! webzine). I am truly excited about being part of the first collaboration between these two cornerstones of today’s weird fiction scene. Hopefully more to come on this soon!

Don’t forget to pick up Strangely Funny VIII!
Strangely Funny VIIIDo you like to laugh and scream and maybe even barf all at the same time? Then don’t forget to pick up the Strangely Funny VIII anthology which dropped last week and contains my weird cosmic body-horror comedy “Parts.” As I have said elsewhere, while the story does not really resemble Gogol’s “The Nose,” it does, like that Gogol classic, have a missing nose in it. Does that ever-so-slight spoiler pique your curiosity? Well things just get crazier from there.

So grab a copy in print or Kindle through that there link or — and I encourage you to do this — ask about it at any mom-and-pop bookstore where weirder books are sold and get hooked up through them.

Get on my email list and follow me on Facebook!
Whether you made it here because you dug one of my stories or showed up completely by accident, I encourage you to follow me on Facebook and also to sign up for my email list over there on the side of the screen. I want to be able to keep everyone hip to my latest authorial shenanigans even if social media collapses and we are left dependent on Stone Age technology like email to remain in contact.

Time to get back to the shit, hope everyone is staying as safe and sane as possible. Take care!
-M.

Full table of contents for Strangely Funny VIII

Hey everybody, M. here,

The table of contents for Strangely Funny VIII is now live online if you want to check out what you’re in for! Strangely Funny VIII

Looking at the titles of the stories therein, it would appear the football zombie on the cover is a visual rendering of something that goes down in a tale of gridiron gore told by R.C. Mulhare, whose work can be found all over the place throughout the contemporary Cthulhuverse (including in Weirdbook and Lovecraftiana: The Magazine of Eldritch Horror).

And it looks like I will be once again sharing a TOC with genre fiction powerhouse and the brains behind Atlantean Publishing, D.J. Tyrer, who had a piece in this year’s Startling Stories.

So dig that link and see which other horrorists and humorists you can look forward to making you laugh, scream, or do both at the same time in Strangely Funny VIII. Get ready!
-M.

Startling Stories reviews! Sign up for my e-mail list!

Hey everybody, M. here.

It has been a busy couple of weeks here over at M. Stern Headquarters so I have not had a ton of time, but I wanted to share some quick updates:

Reviews of “Payload” online at Tangent and SFRevu
“Payload” got a very thoughtful, in-depth and insightful write-up from Tara Grimravn over at Tangent Online in her full review of the new Startling Stories. Check it out! If you haven’t read the story yet, this review just might pique your interest. The story also received some kind words from Sam Tomaino at SFRevu, so dig that one too!

And if you have not gotten your hands on the new issue yet, you can order a print copy from indie retailers like Bucket O’ Blood Books and Records, from the new Startling Stories website run by publisher Wildside Press, or if you want an electronic version to magically appear on your Kindle you can buy the e-book at Amazon.

I personally am as print-centric a fiction reader as can be, so I firmly encourage you to pick up a physical copy to keep on your shelf and impress your friends and family. That said, the more I think about it, the more it strikes me that it would be a slightly different experience to read this story in particular on an e-reader. What do I mean by that? You’ll just have to buy it and see…

Sign up for my e-mail list!
One other little thing is that I installed a sign-up box for an e-mail list over there on the right hand side of the screen. Why? Well, because at the moment most of the way I have been getting word out about my stories is on Facebook, and it seems like the site keeps adding hurdles to make it more difficult to promote legitimate stuff (while at the same time doing apparently as much as they can to facilitate scams, bad vibes, and all sorts of other things that are driving humankind insane).

Don’t get me wrong, I would definitely still appreciate it if you follow me on Facebook to stay in the loop, but I have begun to imagine what a post-social media world might look like and it seems it would be good to still be able to get the word out if one or more of the social media channels we have become dependent on becomes terminally unfashionable or craps out entirely.

So if you’re at all interested in getting dispatches from the strange and fantastic world of M. Stern direct to your email, drop your email address right in that box. It might also inspire me to start doing movie reviews regularly like I always tell myself I am going to.

Just in the past couple of months I have found myself signing up for more genre authors’ e-newsletters like this and I have to say there is something pleasant about receiving that kind of content directly. Maybe it is because social media just shows me a constant stream of the same memes and people arguing with bots every day. Maybe it is because 99.5 percent of the email I receive is spam so it feels nice to get something I actually signed up for. Either way I have found it introduces a small glimmer of surprise happiness into my day.

Anyway time to get back to the shit, hopefully I will have more news coming soon. Stay safe everyone!
-M.

“Memories of Emma” OUT NOW (for subscribers) in Write Ahead/The Future Looms! … and some other stuff!

Hey everybody, M. here,

On the cellular level over here at M. Stern Headquarters I’ve spent the last few days generating fake spike proteins and doing my best to mount an impressively robust immune response to them, so this update took a little longer than anticipated. On the macro level, though, I’m happy to say that my new story “Memories of Emma” is out now in Vol. 14 of Write Ahead/The Future Looms, as you can see by my name on the absolutely stunning cover art included here.

This issue is only available to subscribers at the moment, so if you want to get a bi-monthly dose of wild, action-packed experimental cyberpunk stories delivered to your door and/or inbox, sign up and buckle in. I’ll pass along word when the standalone digital and physical editions are out as well.

Memories of M.: A podcast appearance on Simulation Nation!
In related news, Graham at the Simulation Nation live Virtual Reality talk show/podcast invited me on a few weeks ago to discuss getting started selling stories in the world of indie press genre fiction, my lifelong science fiction/horror fandom and my story “Head on the Door” among many, many other topics. It was an absolute blast. There were a few things that I wanted to mention that completely slipped my mind (like the extent to which I’ve been influenced by the 19th century Russian novel, for instance) since I am rather green at getting interviewed — but that’s all stuff for another podcast someday perhaps.

Anyway first and foremost I highly recommend you get hip to Simulation Nation. Graham hosts it as a live show in a VR environment called Altspace (though we had to move the conversation to good old-fashioned Zoom because of some technological limitations on my end). The show covers a fascinating range of contemporary emerging technological phenomena as well as classic films and other creative artifacts that deal with simulated realities, technological singularities, and all the other good stuff.

At one point in the conversation I discussed “Memories of Emma” as a possible quasi-sequel to “Head on the Door” which appeared in Write Ahead/The Future Looms late last year. What struck me after I finished the interview is that “Head on the Door” is sort of a funny story to have a sequel to. It is very much a standalone thing; it’s stylized in its own particular way, it’s about a very specific, discrete set of events, and most significantly, it focuses on the emotional lives of the characters rather than a great deal of what you might call world-building outside of the basic establishment of some near-future technological realities — and so to my mind doesn’t really feel like the sort of story that would kick off a shared MSterniverse. I think this might be one reason it is striking me as sort of a fun thing to try.

“Memories of Emma” does, in some ways, explore similar territory as “Head on the Door” insofar as it is a story about desire, confusion, and poetic sentiment, with everything rendered more complicated by technology that touches the brain. At the same time it’s more stylistically constrained and a little more obviously action-oriented. The more I think about it, the more it could set the stage for a series of emotionally intense “consciousness benders” that hit a happy medium between psychological realism and cyberpunk-ish thrills, for those who are into that sort of thing.

So I haven’t decided if it’s what I am doing yet, but there is at least one character in “Memories of Emma” that I’ve been considering going more into depth on. Which one? You’ll have to read it and guess…

New Startling Stories website has launched!
The one other big thing to happen in the last few weeks is the launch of a new Startling Stories website. I’ve been making my way through the first issue (featuring my story “Payload”) and while I’m only about halfway in, give or take a few stories that I jumped ahead to, I think Doug Draa‘s editorial instincts were really on point with the story selection. The magazine brings together a ton of different trends, styles, and tendencies out there in the science fiction world of the last few decades, all with the common denominator of catchy storytelling and memorable imagery. So I’m looking forward to seeing what sort of content Doug and the Wildside Press team have on the way for the website!

Anyway time to go get some reading done, hope everyone is holding up/holding it down alright out there!

Always Sternified; recently Modernafied,
-M.

My contributor copies of Startling Stories have arrived

Hey everybody, M. here,

My contributor copies of Startling Stories showed up in the mail the other day, so here’s a quick glimpse of what there is to dig inside:

Want to read more? Pick yourself up a copy and check it out! Not only is the magazine available on Amazon, but if you want to give your local indie bookstore some support (and you absolutely should!), Startling is now available through traditional book distributors — so ask your local bookstore owner about getting it in and they should be able to hook you up! Or you can grab one direct from the publisher, Wildside Press,

Hope everyone is still hanging in there and staying safe, take care!
-M.