New stories in print and a new review!

Hey everybody, M. here,

January has been sort of a blur over here. I ended up doing the first real traveling I’ve undertaken since the pandemic and have continued to try to wrestle myself out of the doldrums of distraction and get back onto an appreciable reading and movie viewing schedule, lest my mind begin to sputter and run out of gas. And that automotive metaphor is as good a segue as any to the first of a few announcements I’ve got lined up today:

The Road Trip God anthology, now available in print
First off I’m happy to share the news that right on schedule, The Road Trip God, which is the first themed anthology from new indie-horror publisher PsychoToxin Press, is out now and available in print. This one contains my flash-horror story Leap of Faith alongside 10 other stories of dark deities out on the road, delivered at a breakneck pace.

I am finding it hard to discuss what the story is about without running the risk of dropping spoilers, as can be the case with a story that clocks in around 1,000 words. Suffice it to say that I meant to make it a tense one. If this story leaves you reaching for a phantom grab handle or slamming your foot down on an invisible brake, then I’ve done my job.

Pick one up today right here and while you’re at you can check out everything else PsychoToxin has been up to lately, they’ve really gotten things off the ground fast for having just launched last year.

Pre-order Lovecraftiana: The Magazine of Eldritch Horror Candlemas 2023 Issue
It’s the one you’ve been waiting for! The official date has nearly arrived for the release of the Candlemas 2023 issue of Lovecraftiana: The Magazine of Eldritch Horror, and as I have mentioned once or twice or a couple more times than that, this issue contains my novelette The Study of Worms, a story steeped in the Lovecraft Mythos, and packed full of weird science, weird gods, weird adventure, plus a bunch of other good stuff, like generational dysfunction and blood by the five-gallon glass carboy.

As you can see from that image right there, the cover looks completely amazing, and this issue is celebrating a full century since the 1923 launch of the original Weird Tales. I am certainly neither the first nor the thousandth person to observe that what that pulp mag started a century ago really has made horror what it is today as a genre. And I don’t mean just Cthulhu Mythos stuff, but a big chunk of the other horror that has appeared on the page and in the theater since then. So it’s a centennial I’m quite excited to have my work included in.

Pre-order your copy today in either print or e-book and get ready! More on what you can expect from the story coming very, very soon.

Startling Stories 2021 reviewed in SFcrowsnest (alongside the other Startling Stories #1s)
I got a pleasant surprise the other day when I saw Mike Chinn share a link over on Facebook from SFcrowsnest containing an in-depth review of not just the 2021 issue of Startling Stories, but the other two inaugural editions of the publication — the 1939 original published by Ned PinesBetter Publishing and edited by Mort Weisinger, and the 2006 relaunch from Ron Hanna and Wild Cat Books.

Reviewer Dave Brzeski had some very nice things to say about a number of the stories in the 2021 issue, including my story Payload, Check out the full review here.

And if you haven’t picked either of them up yet, you can still get both the first issue of the new Startling and the 2022 issue. The latter contains my upbeat, off-planet sci-fi detective adventure story Pharmakon, Pharmakon, which is accompanied by an amazing illustration from the legendary Vincent Di Fate (links to get both issues here).

More to come soon, take care everyone!

New story acceptance and some other New Year news!

Hey everybody, M. here,

Happy New Year! I’ve had a few cool developments pop up over the past few weeks so I’ll jump right into it:

“The Tears of Blood” to appear in Die By The Sword
Excited to say that I signed a new contract and my sword & sorcery story “The Tears of Blood” will be appearing in the upcoming Die By The Sword anthology from DMR Books. The book is slated to hit the shelves in May. Much more to say about this one soon!

Road Trip God Trailer on YouTube
I posted this a while back on Facebook, but in case you missed it — the psychos over at PsychoToxin Press put together this insane trailer for their Road Trip God anthology, which will feature my flash horror story “Leap of Faith.” Take a look:

As mentioned in the video, that anthology should be out near the end of the month, so get ready!

Picture of all my 2022 releases
Here’s another one that I posted on Facebook a bit ago — as you can see, it’s a collage I put together of the magazines and anthologies containing all of the stories I had come out over the year.

One of the many things I have learned over the past few years of getting my fiction published is that it is really difficult to set up a picture like that and get everything into it that you want. So I figured since I put so much effort into taking it, I should also let the whole non-Facebook internet out there see it.

And those publications should all still be available, so pick them up online or ask your local weird bookseller to get them in for you if you’re interested. And you can of course scroll back further down on this blog for more in-depth information on each one of them.

Alright, time for me to go get my weekend started. I should have another announcement coming up soon, just waiting to get some i’s dotted and t’s crossed on before I say anything about it.

Take care everyone!

Strange Aeon 2022: Hopeful Monsters pics, new anthology acceptance, and more

Hey everybody, M. here,

I’ve been way busier than I had expected to be over the past couple of weeks so I’m just now getting around to doing a proper update. I’ve had a couple of cool things going on recently that I’ve mentioned over on Facebook but have yet to share here. So here we go:

Strange Aeon 2022: Hopeful Monster contributor copy pictures
A few days ago I received my contributor copy of Strange Aeon 2022: Hopeful Monsters containing my story SONG TO… and I’m excited to have this one in my hand, it’s an excellent looking volume as you can see below (and my relatively limited camera skills do not entirely do it justice — it looks really, really cool).

There are also some very kind words from the editor as an afterword to the story, which was an excellent surprise. As the afterword mentions, the story is much more of a sci-fi/horror dystopia than the stories that it appears alongside, and so I consider it a very big honor to still be included in the anthology despite my story being slightly different than what the editor had envisioned for the book.

You can grab a copy of this one here and check it out if you’re so inclined. I’ve described SONG TO… as a story about what happens when things are finally looking up and the world ends five minutes later, among other things. While it’s not exactly happy, I think it is hopeful, with both the horror and the hope in this one happening on a rather grand scale. I do some stylistic and conceptual stuff in the story that you might enjoy as well, but above all I just hope you dig it. And of course if you purchase the anthology you can also check out all the other stories from an impressive list of authors from all over the world. I’m about to get going reading the whole thing myself.

New story slated for PsychoToxin’s Road Trip God anthology
Last month I received an acceptance from a new indie publisher called PsychoToxin Press. The press really seems to have hit the ground running with a new magazine and a new e-publication, not to mention all sorts of video and audio content coming out across all sorts of platforms.

I’m very excited to be appearing in their first themed anthology, Road Trip God, with a piece of flash fiction about the final moments of a road trip gone awry called LEAP OF FAITH. Hope this one keeps readers on the edge of their seats!

Pick up a copy of 2022’s Startling Stories if you have not!
Just thought I’d throw it in there that the current issue of Startling Stories is still out there for all to enjoy, featuring my story PHARMAKON, PHARMAKON.

I’m making my way through reading the issue right now and am really digging Mike Chinn‘s short novel The Color of Nothing. It’s a perfectly paced, thrill-a-minute space opera brimming with alien bio-technology, covert political intrigue between intergalactic overlords, risky adventures by scrappy space pirates, resurgent ancient evils, Van Vogtian identity bending, arsenals of devastating high-tech weaponry, and a bunch of other good stuff.

Chinn has pointed out that the story recalls his days working on sci-fi adventure comic Starblazer — a comic which I am almost certain I remember seeing mentioned somewhere when I was a kid, presumably in Comic Shop News or something along those lines, though I don’t know if Starblazer actually got distribution in the States or to what extent. So I don’t think I ever read an issue of Starblazer, but I certainly would have loved it if it was like this; I am finding the story to be evocative of a particular vibe of classic science fiction adventure while still being very much its own thing.

So if you have yet to pick up a copy, check it out! And since there’s so much excellent original art to be found alongside the stories in this one, I thought I’d include a better picture of the illustration for my story by Vincent Di Fate than I did in my last post.

Time for me to go drink another cup of coffee and get myself moving. Take care everyone!

New story out in Strange Aeon: Hopeful Monsters anthology! Plus pics of Startling Stories 2022!

Hey everybody, M. here,

Hope everyone had a solid Halloween! Like many I’m sure, I was out and about more this Spooky Season than I have been for the past couple, though I flaked on doing a costume and, back in my apartment, my horror movie marathon was not quite long enough to be properly considered a marathon. That said, I at least got started on Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities. I am still making my way through it and I’m really enjoying it. I’m a huge fan of the Masters of Horror series, so I get excited about anthology shows that let auteur horror directors do their thing, especially when they’re adapting from short stories. More about that at some point in the future maybe, but suffice it to say for now that del Toro walking out in a Hitchcock-style suit and doing an introduction before every episode is my kind of stuff. Anyway, on to the latest news:

Strange Aeon 2022: Hopeful Monsters out now!
Strange Aeon: Hopeful MonstersAs I’ve mentioned elsewhere on the internet over the past few days, I’m happy to share that the Strange Aeon 2022 anthology is now available in print and e-book. This one is the third anthology in the yearly series, subtitled Hopeful Monsters. It contains my short horror/science fiction story SONG TO…

The anthology features a lineup of authors from around the world and I’m really excited to be appearing in it. I might have more to say about the story later but for now just dig that cover image right there and pick up a copy.


Startling Stories 2022 contributor copy has arrived!
My contributor copy of the 2022 edition of Startling Stories arrived in the mail the other day, containing my story of adventure, danger, and deduction on the weird magnetic planet Rygiat, PHARMAKON, PHARMAKON.

I have to say I was completely blown away to actually see the illustration for the story (by award-winning artist Vincent Di Fate, in the style of the late, great original pulp artist Virgil Finlay) there in black-and-white. You can only see part of it in the picture as I am not very good at taking pictures, but this one is a full-page illustration and looks amazing (you can view the entire image here). And besides the one for my story, there are a ton of other awesome original illustrations to be found therein, including art by Bob Eggleton and Alan Kozlowski.

But the incredible art is just the beginning! The issue really is packed with so much cool stuff that I’m having trouble figuring out what to highlight; you’ve got a new short story from cyberpunk progenitor, musician, The Crow co-screenwriter, and sometimes Blue Öyster Cult lyricist John Shirley not to mention an exclusive interview with him conducted by Darrell Schweitzer. You’ve got a bunch of other brand spankin’ new sci-fi adventures. You’ve got a hard- if not impossible-to-find comic from the original pulp era. You’ve even got a reprint of a classic Feghoot! So grab yourself a copy if you haven’t already and get startled!

It seemed appropriate to picture this issue next to the 2021 issue of Startling — the first relaunch issue — which contains my twisty, turny, virusy, tech-catastrophe-y, German grammar lesson-ey perception bender PAYLOAD, a story that could not be more different in tone from PHARMAKON, PHARMAKON I don’t think, but that is well worth giving a spin if you haven’t read it — it even made the Tangent Online 2021 Recommended Reading List (as did my story BIRTH from Weirdbook #44.)

Anyway that should get us all up to date on what I had going on in late October. Take care everyone!


Some pictures of some of my recent stories in print

Hey everybody, M. here,

I have had a few stories come out over the past few months, and it just struck me that I have not yet posted pictures on this blog of the physical copies. I should have a contributor copy of the new Startling Stories on the way soon, which contains my most recent story PHARMAKON, PHARMAKON, and I’ll share some pictures of that one when it lands. But before that, here are some pics of the publications containing my other most recent work to come out in print (or get reprinted):

First off, here is Professor Feiff’s Compleat Pocket Guide for the Intergalactic Traveller on the Move, which contains my story A DAZZLING WORLD.

The story is one which, as I mentioned over on Facebook a while back could probably be considered a “green goo” story, albeit one that depicts an infinitely more multi-colored apocalypse than what the moniker green goo conjures (or, for that matter, “gray goo,” the theoretical nanotech problem from which the term green goo is derived).

And did I mention that the central xenobiological conceit in this story is an insect that maybe, maybe has never before appeared as the foundation of a sci-fi horror story before? Though don’t get me wrong, I am very hesitant about actually claiming to be the “first” of anything in fiction at this point in human history.

Anyway, going any deeper into what exactly is going on in A DAZZLING WORLD would amount to dropping significant spoilers, so if you want to see what ostensibly non-scary insect I wrote a scary story about, pick up a copy of the anthology and dig into it.

I’ve been making my way through reading this one myself, and I am finding that it contains a fun and wildly varied array of stories about equally varied flora and fauna, alien and otherwise. At the end of each story, you’re already wondering what the next weird animal, plant, or combination of the two is going to be, and it keeps it moving.

Second, here’s a picture of the hardcover edition of Lovecraftiana: The Magazine of Eldrich Horror Omnibus #5, which came out in July. As you can see it’s a titanic tome, so big that it makes the first three volumes of Edward Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire look almost modest by comparison. It contains four 2020-2021 issues of the magazine, and thus contains a reprint of my story AFTER THE AFTER PARTY, which originally appeared in the 2021 Candlemas 2021 edition.

I gotta say this big volume looks nice as hell on the shelf, it’s pretty austere looking even on top of the stone-serious looking HPL there on the cover. And the inside layout is really nicely done as well.

So grab yourself a copy if you happened to miss the Candlemas 2021 issue, or even if you didn’t (I have heard people talking about actually collecting the big volumes because they look so substantial on the shelf).

And as I have mentioned here and elsewhere, I am slated to have two stories appear in Lovecraftiana next year; first up will be my Lovecraft Mythos story THE STUDY OF WORMS early in 2023, which is brimming with weird science, occult ritual, thrilling adventure, and blood. Then later in the year, my eschatological romantic dramedy SOMETHING MISSING will hit the shelves. That one takes place mostly in a suburban mom-and-pop restaurant and has a lot of stuff about metaphysics and hermeneutics in it. So get ready.

More on both of those and more coming soon, take care everyone!

SOMETHING MISSING on the way in Lovecraftiana in 2023

Hey everybody, M. here,

If you’ve been following my announcements here you might already know by now that early next year, my story THE STUDY OF WORMS will be appearing in the Candlemas issue of Lovecraftiana: The Magazine of Eldritch Horror. I am happy to say that I just signed a contract and now have another story slated to appear in Lovecraftiana later in the year. My story SOMETHING MISSING has been accepted for publication in the Lammas Eve issue, which should be out in the summer of 2023. I’m calling that story an “eschatological romantic dramedy.” More on what that entails later! And of course, if you want more of my Mythos mayhem while you’re waiting for these next two, don’t forget that you can still pick up my madcap Lovecraftian rom-com AFTER THE AFTER PARTY in the Lovecraftiana Omnibus #5.

INCREDIBLE art for PHARMAKON, PHARMAKON in the 2022 issue of Startling Stories

For those who have not yet seen it, I wanted to share this absolutely AMAZING illustration by award-winning artist Vincent Di Fate for my story in the new issue of Startling Stories. As you can see, it’s done in the style of the great Virgil Finlay, one of the most esteemed illustrators of the original pulp era. So if you want to see what this intense man-vs-monster showdown is all about, snag yourself a copy of the magazine in print or e-book format and give this one a read.

Art from the 2022 issue of Startling Stories, for the story “Pharmakon, Pharmakon” by M. Stern. Illustration by Vincent Di Fate.

And along with my off-planet adventure starring an offbeat investigator, PHARMAKON, PHARMAKON, you’ll find a mindblowing lineup of other brand new, pulse-pounding science fiction from John Shirley, Mike Chinn, Adrian Cole, and many more, not to mention more amazing original art, exclusive interviews, and some unearthed gems from the original pulp era. So grab yourself a copy today! Get into it! get startled!

Startling Stories #35 out now!

Hey everybody, M. here,

The 2022 issue of Startling Stories has arrived on planet Earth! I’m truly thrilled to be returning to the pages of Startling with my story PHARMAKON, PHARMAKON, about an off-beat, off-planet investigator tasked with tracking down the source of a bizarre mind-warping, space-bending malady that could endanger all human life on planet Rygiat, where magnetism flows like the wind.

It’s a fun story, chock full of the following: Action! Deduction! Aliens! Adventure! Weird machines! Good vibes! And as you can see from the BONKERS AMAZING cover below, you can expect plenty of other top-notch sci-fi scorchers in this issue as well:

I should have some more updates about this issue forthcoming, but don’t wait for me — grab a copy and get into it!

(And if you’re looking for something on the darker side after PHARMAKON, PHARMAKON’s dose of optimism, don’t forget to check out my tale of obsession, aesthetics, and buckets of bugs, A DAZZLING WORLD, in JayHenge Publishing‘s new xenobiology anthology, and my madcap Lovecraftian rom-com AFTER THE AFTER PARTY, recently reprinted in the Lovecraftiana Omnibus #5).

More to come soon, take care everybody!

Some thoughts on the possible impending release of a new Boogeyman movie

It’s been a minute since I’ve written anything about horror movies but this all struck me as worth delving into this morning (I’ll also be sharing it over on Facebook). Maybe this means Halloween is officially on the way. Anyway.

The Boogeyman/The Devonsville Terror Double Feature DVD

The other day I happened to see an interview with the late Ulli Lommel on a documentary I was watching and it got me poking around online, and I’m seeing some reports that Boogeyman: Reincarnation is set for a 2022 release. I’d really like to see this happen and I am wondering if the release date is legit. The original Boogeyman was Lommel’s contribution to the early-’80s slasher boom and made the Video Nasties list at that time. It was out of print and hard to find for a long time and I ended up finally getting a DVD copy and seeing it about eight years ago. While it tends to get dismissed as an also-ran, I think it’s got more going on than it gets credit for. Lommel brings to the supernatural slasher a surrealist’s preoccupation with mirrors, very specific Freudianisms that seem to show up all over the place in Lommel’s horror movies, and some other stuff that lends an idiosyncratic, auteur-esque vibe to the flick, albeit a slight one. I don’t know if I would say this all necessarily sets the movie above a lot of the other mid-rung body count flicks of the era so much as it sets it apart from them, and it does make it worth a watch or two.

A few years ago when I heard news that Lommel was going to be directing a new episode in the franchise, it struck me as a fascinating prospect. It’s nice to see old creative works have their internal mythology actually extended by the creators, as an alternative to the reboot-mania that was sweeping horror a while back, and I especially like the idea of something as under-the-radar and low budget as Boogeyman getting a new chapter added to it (while in 2016, when news originally broke about Boogeyman: Reincarnation, was a little early for this type of thing, we are starting to see more such labors of love actually get wrapped nowadays — the upcoming Mutilator 2 being a prime example). Thematically, it also struck me that Boogeyman had a particularly apt conceit for the era in which it was to be revived. There is an aspect of “virality” to how the violent supernatural force spreads itself around in the original movie. I cannot imagine that contemporary resonance was lost on the director.

Sadly, Lommel died during the filming of Boogeyman: Reincarnation, which from what I understand may have also been planned as a multi-part anthology show (and again, given how the murderous force “jumps,” I think that could have made a uniquely good fit). I assumed that meant it was going to be a shelved project, which struck me at the time as really unfortunate. While I guess in his later years Lommel was directing no-budget direct-to-DVD movies that weren’t particularly well received (or from what I understand, particularly watchable, I haven’t seen them so I can’t say) between the thriving indie horror festival circuit of the immediate pre-pandemic world and the explosion of streaming content happening alongside it, it seemed like the perfect time and environment for a bit of a Lommel rediscovery, if not an outright Lommelpalooza.

That last phrase, by the way, is one I came up with during my last planned run at doing a series of Halloween horror movie reviews which did not materialize. Early in the pandemic I picked up the Vinegar Syndrome Blu-Ray of Lommel’s Olivia AKA Prozzie, which got me thinking about his work again. I like artists who “bridge” scenes in a particular way (those who have seen Olivia may appreciate an unavoidable bad pun there) and Lommel certainly did that. He was all over the place — getting his start appearing in the early films of Rainer Werner Fassbinder in Germany, hanging out with the Warhol set in NYC in the mid-’70s and then taking the plunge into genre filmmaking (at one point even finding his way to Wisconsin to make movies in Bill Rebane territory). Not a career path you hear about every day and one I might write more about if I do continue writing about horror movies in any capacity.

At any rate, you may hear more news and thoughts about Boogeyman: Reincarnation here if, indeed, it is on the way in the near future and the tentative release date I’ve seen is not merely a well-propagated glitch.


P.S., since this is my author blog and all, I should mention that you can read my new science fiction/horror story A DAZZLING WORLD in the just-released xenobiology anthology from JayHenge Publishing, and pick up my irreverent Lovecraftian rom-com AFTER THE AFTER PARTY reprinted in the Lovecraftiana: Magazine of Eldritch Horror Omnibus Edition #5. Both available at those links in any format you could hope for (besides maybe a scroll). Get into ’em!

A DAZZLING WORLD now out in Professor Feiff’s Compleat Pocket Guide to Xenobiology…

Hey everybody, M. here,

Happy to say that my new story A DAZZLING WORLD is now available in the new anthology from JayHenge Publishing, Professor Feiff’s Compleat Pocket Guide to Xenobiology for the Galactic Traveller on the Move. You can see the cover of the anthology below. Good stuff!

What can you expect from this archaically-titled tome? My story is a work of grim if colorful sci-fi horror about an insect not generally regarded as scary, and about the spirit of the Age of Reason giving birth to its obsessive obverse — I think? Check it out and judge for yourself!

And you can also dig the work of a wide array of other contemporary authors exploring weird flora and weird fauna from this planet and beyond — I haven’t checked out any of the other stories yet but I can only imagine there are some wild ones.

As I mentioned before, I am super excited to be appearing in a JayHenge anthology for the first time — I strongly encourage you to pick this one up right here, in whatever format you so desire and see what it’s all about.

Spent the wee hours of the morning wrestling with WordPress to make this post happen and now it’s time to get my day started. More news should be on the way soon, take care everyone!