Short Fiction

10 Days of Halloween Specials – Day 7: SNAFU

I’ve got more of an opportunity for you this morning than an out-and-out special, but I still think you’ll appreciate this one and hope you join in!  Doing so gets you access to a never-before-published Templar Chronicles story that won’t be available anywhere else for at least another year and probably longer…

I’ve just come aboard a fabulous military horror anthology project called SNAFU (military slang for Situation Normal – All F*cked Up) being put out by Austrailian publisher, Cohesion Press.  The project is being partially funded by an Indiegogo campaign which gives supporters the chance to get in on the ground floor and get some cool bonuses (including a very special hardcover limited edition of the book.)

I’ll be joining several other terrific authors who have already been invited into the project including bestsellers Jonathan Maberry (author of the Joe Ledger series), Weston Ochse (author of the Seal Team 666 series), James Moore (author of the Serenity Falls series and the Seven Forges fantasy epic) and Greg Beick (author of the Alex Hunter series.)

Here’s the skinny:

SNAFU cover art

Read some of the biggest names in the business in an anthology
of original military horror

Time travel, bioweapons unleashed, mutations, ancient species unearthed in lost caverns deep within the earth… and the soldiers who fight them

When the going gets tough, the tough fight to the death in SNAFU.


- James A Moore (a Jonathan Crowley story)
- Greig Beck (a brand new novella – ‘The Fossil’ – read synopsis HERE)
- Weston Ochse (bestselling author of Seal Team 666 and Age of Blood)
- Jonathan Maberry (a Joe Ledger tale)
- Joseph Nassise (bestselling author of the Templar Chronicles and the Great Undead War series)

- And others…


Buy it now or miss out on the limited edition version of what will be the BEST military horror anthology of 2014.

What You Get

This is an opportunity to pre-order and receive a special limited edition of SNAFU.

There are some great bonuses available for pre-orders ONLY. 

  • Be one of the first to read this selection of tales
  • Unique cover art for pre-orders
  • Free worldwide postage for print editions
  • Each print edition limited to the number of orders. If we get 103 orders for the paperback, there will only be 103 paperbacks with that cover design, and so on
  • We are limiting the paperback special editions to 350
  • We are limiting the hardcover signed limited special editions to 250
  • We are limiting the hand-bound lettered editions to 26
  • All hardcovers will be signed by all contributors

Pre-order ebook editions will be sent out the same time as reviewer copies


Other Ways You Can Help

If you can’t contribute financially, that’s fine. 
If you want to help, then spread the word.
Tell your friends; share on Facebook or Twitter, use the Indiegogo share tools, just get the word out.

Indiegogo campaign link –

10 Days of Halloween Specials – Day Four: Shades of Reality for free

Day Four of our Halloween Specials and today I’ve got a cool little treat for you – the ebook version of SHADES OF REALITY for free!

Shades of Reality - High ResolutionSHADES is a collection of horror and dark fantasy short stories written during the first decade of my career as a writer.  It includes a wide variety of tales, such as:

Carrion Man - When the circus comes to town and children begin to disappear, the police turn to Grayson Shaw, a man whose affinity for the living is surpassed only by his affinity for the dead.

Becoming Michael – Sometimes it not whether you win or lose that matters, but what side you chose when its time to play the game.

Down Among the Bosnian Dead - In the killing fields and mass graves of Bosnia, Sgt, Michael Raines discovers that sometimes dead don’t rest as quietly as we might like them to.

Roadside Memorials - Driver Martin Jones discovers that there’s more to those impromptu roadside memorials than he ever imagined.

Siren Call - From the depths of an alien ocean comes a call of haunting beauty and terrible consequence.

Money Well Earned – A killer for hire who has had his fair share of unique assignments finds himself confronted with his strangest yet.

In the Eye of the Beholder – They say that art is in the eye of the beholder, but painter Kensington Wales takes that saying a bit more literally than most.

The Urge – How far would you go to put a terrible injustice to rights?

Saintkiller - The sudden appearance of stigmata on the hands of Detective Michael Stone causes him to question both his faith and his purpose, especially when each episode is accompanied by the death of an innocent


TO GET YOUR FREE COPY in epub or mobi ebook format, all you need to do is Email Me and tell me what format you’d like it in.  Simple as that.


Coming Soon – The Hungry Dark (A Templar Chronicles Mission)

Oh, by the way…a new Templar story will be out very soon, set between the first and second books in the Templar Chronicles urban fantasy series and featuring the original Echo Team – Cade, Duncan, Riley, and Olsen.  Are you ready for The Hungry Dark?

The Hungry Dark - A Templar Chronicles Mission

Call for Submissions – Midian Unmade: Tales of Clive Barker’s Nightbreed (Updated 10-1-13)

UPDATE 10/1/13 : SUBMISSIONS ARE NOW CLOSED.  Anything received via general submission at this point will be returned unread. 


Stoker Award-winning anthologist Del Howison (Dark Delicacies 1-3, The Book of Lists: Horror) and internationally bestselling urban fantasy author Joseph Nassise (Eyes To See, By the Blood of Heroes) have joined forces with horror Grand Master Clive Barker to bring you back to the city of Midian and the creatures of the darkness known as the Nightbreed!

Tor Books will be publishing MIDIAN UNMADE: TALES OF CLIVE BARKER’S NIGHTBREED in simultaneous hardcover and trade paperback editions in the fall of 2014 and we’re looking for original horror and dark fantasy stories that fit the guidelines below.



We’ve all felt it at one time or another – that sense of unbelonging, of being isolated, possibly even shunned because of our differences; not for anything that we’ve done but for simply being who we are.  We’ve all felt it – in childhood and adolescence, certainly, but even as adults as well, when the winds of change blow through our lives and we discover that those things we thought immutable are, in reality, anything but.

When this happens we all become like changeling children, at odds with those around us as well as with ourselves, looking to distant horizons for fresh comprehension of our purpose, sometimes even of our very nature.

The fiction of the fantastic literally overflows with metaphors for times like these, though none more so than the Nightbreed, those freaks and grotesques and shapeshifters extraordinaire that inhabit the hidden necropolis of Midian and make it their own in the pages of Clive Barker’s CABAL.   The Nightbreed are a colony of survivors, the last remnants of the once great tribes of the moon, and in their alienation they find a sense of togetherness, of belonging that often seems more human than those who bear that name.

Until the coming of Boone, that is, and the destruction of their hidden sanctuary, when they become outcasts once again.

MIDIAN UNMADE: TALES OF CLIVE BARKER’S NIGHTBREED picks up where CABAL left off, chronicling the lives of the ‘Breed as they disperse into the world after the fall of Midian.  We’re looking for stories of struggle and despair, of hope and sanctification, as the former inhabitants of Midian try to adapt to the world from which they retreated years before.  A world that does not want them.  A world that will hound them, hunt them, simply for the crime of being different.

Writers have Clive’s permission to use the existing members of the Breed that appear in the novella Cabal, in the film Nightbreed, and in the companion volume, The Nightbreed Chronicles, published by Titan Books.  Writers also have the option of creating their own unique and fantastical creatures that fit the Nightbreed mold.

We’re seeking original horror and dark fantasy stories.  We pay five cents per word up to 5,000 words, with 30% paid on acceptance and the remainder to be paid after the complete manuscript has been accepted by the publisher. (Please note that this is work for hire project as Clive owns the world in which the project is set. Writers may use their stories in this anthology and have permission to use them in collections of their own works or in annual best-of anthologies, but they may not write and submit additional stories featuring the characters they create for this project to publishing projects elsewhere.)

Story submissions should be sent to either Joe Nassise ( or Del Howison (, using the subject line MIDIAN STORY ENCLOSED.  If the subject line is not used, we cannot guarantee receipt of the story, as we will both be using email filters to isolate all Midian submissions from our regular mail.  Stories should be submitted before September 30th, 2013.

Questions can be directed to either of the email addresses above. 

We look forward to hearing from you!



  • Standard manuscript format in doc or rtf, please. 
  • Graphic violence, sex, or both are fine IF they are necessary for the story.  Put them in simply to be gratuitous because this is a horror anthology and you’ll get bounced pretty quickly.
  • We will be sending out all acceptance and rejection notices after October 1st, so please don’t submit today and expect to hear back from us tomorrow.  Take your time, write the best story you can, and then submit.  You have nothing to gain by hurrying.


  • We are only accepting one story per writer.  We will consider only the first story you send; all others will be circular filed unread.  (Yes, we are keeping track of hundreds of writers to make sure there are no duplicate submissions)
  • As noted, we will pay up to 5,000 words.  We have room for some longer stories, but ask for a hard limit to any  story of 7,500 words unless previously approved by Del and I. (In other words, extremely long stories are reserved for those invited guests who are part of the project.)


THE SHARP END now available

Next Tuesday HarperCollins will publish BY THE BLOOD OF HEROES, the first book in my new zombie steampunk alternate history series known as The Great Undead War.

Here, for the first time, is the story behind the story. Follow the hero of The Great Undead War series, Captain Michael “Madman” Burke, leader of Burke’s Marauders, in the early days of the war, when the Germans are just beginning their field tests of a new weapon.

A weapon that will eventually come to change the face of the war itself. A weapon that will resurrect the bodies of the dead, both friend and foe alike, and turn them into flesh-hungry monsters. A weapon that will come to be known as corpse gas.

* The Sharp End – a prequel story introducing the characters and events of the Great Undead War series

* A Timeline of the Great Undead War, identifying major events and military battles

* The first two chapters of BY THE BLOOD OF HEROES, the first book in the Great Undead War series

Enlist in the war effort!  Get yours today for just a $1.99 at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

(Cover art by Brad Cooper)

Orbit’s New Digital Short Fiction Program

Update 11:15 PST: Tim Holman, Publisher of Orbit, responds to questions similar to those I proposed on a post at John Scalzi’s blog, Whatever. I’ve copied his answers at the bottom of this post for those following along here.

Yesterday Orbit, the science fiction and fantasy imprint of Hachette Book Group, announced a digital short short fiction program for their authors that would begin later this year.  To quote from the press release

Orbit (US) has offered to publish digital editions of all original short fiction written by its authors. The digital editions will be distributed widely through major retail channels, for reading on a variety of devices. Authors will be paid a royalty for each story sold, rather than the flat fee more common in the short story market.

Tim Holman, Orbit VP & Publisher, said: “We know that writing short fiction is important for many of our authors. By offering to publish their short fiction – and to publish it quickly – we will be providing a new way for them to connect with readers. The initial response from our authors has been great, and we are looking forward to launching the first stories later this year.”

I’m a big fan of Orbit.  They publish some of my favorite writers – Lilith Saintcrow, Mike Carey, Kate Griffin, Charlie Huston – and always produce first rate books.  But I have to say that I can’t sing the program’s praises yet.

Don’t get me wrong – I think it is terrific that they’re trying to find new ways to put writers and readers together and that they’re using a digital medium to do it.   But the announcement left a lot of unanswered questions rolling around in my head and I guess I’m a bit too jaded to believe that the answers to those questions will end up falling on the writer’s side of the equation.

For  starters, the press release states that authors will be paid a royalty for each story sold, rather than the flat fee that is the current norm in the short fiction arena.  In other words, the writers will be providing content without being paid for it – the promise of potential payment is not fair exchange for the work involved in writing the story.  Yes, long term the writer might make more from a royalty based approach, but at the same time there should be some payment for the time and effort spent in producing the story.  If Orbit were to offer some kind of advance on that royalty, I would feel much better about their proposed approach.

And speaking of royalties, how much will it be?  75%?  50%?  25%?  How will it compare to the royalty percentages offered by other digital retailers, such as Will it be paid on a monthly, quarterly or semi-annual basis?

For that matter, what kind of support will the authors participating in the program receive from Orbit?  Will the stories go through some editorial process?  Will Orbit accept all stories offered by its writers or will there be some kind of selection process in place to assure the quality of the content being offered to consumers?

As you can see, a lot of questions still need to be answered.  Since I’m not an Orbit author (though I’d like to be!) it doesn’t impact me directly today, but it has the potential to do so in the future as more publishers follow suit and create such programs.  Getting the details right from the beginning will help prevent precedents from being set, precedents that are not mutually beneficial to both the author and the publisher.

So, kudos to Orbit for stepping out and trying something new, but there is still a long way to go in ironing out some of the details it seems.  I’ll reserve my judgment (and hopeful praise) until more information comes to light.

Tim Holman’s response:

The program is likely to be royalty-only. This might not be attractive to some, but I believe it may well be beneficial to authors. Again, perhaps not all authors, but that’s what can happen in a marketplace. I like the principle of creating a direct relationship between the popularity of a story and the revenues received by author and publisher. I also like the idea of giving readers the opportunity to pay for short fiction if they are prepared to do so, and think that doing so adds an interesting dimension to the short fiction market.

Orbit will be handling editorial and marketing for the stories. We like to work with our authors on some aspects of marketing, but there will be no onus on any author to provide any service related to this publishing program.

DRM-free is unlikely.

Matters relating to royalty rates and accounting, and the grant of rights, have been outlined to our authors and their agents, but before we make any final decisions we are giving ourselves the opportunity to process feedback from them. If this publishing venture doesn’t make good sense to enough of our authors, it won’t make good publishing sense for us.

It wasn’t asked, but I can also say that we’re expecting individual stories to be priced at $1.99.

Tim Holman

Inhuman #4 now available

A couple of years ago I sold a story to Inhuman Magazine, run by horror artist and all-around-good-guy Allen Koszowski (otherwise known as Allen K.) The previous issues I’d seen of the magazine were nice and slick and I was very pleased with the sale. Then Allen got sick for a while, my own career took off a bit, and I forgot all about the sale.

Until today, that is! Word is out that the latest issue of Inhuman will be available at the Killercon convention in Las Vegas next weekend. You can also order it direct from Allen’s website for $6.95 plus $2 S/H via media mail. So who’s in this one, besides me, that is?

INHUMAN – Issue #4 is now available for purchase and should arrive in a week or so!

Featuring ‘When the Monsters Get You’ by Bev Vincent where he tracks down the monsters of Stephen King. Also included:

New Terrors:

* The Pornography of Puppets – Chad Hensley and W.H. Pugmire
* Meat Wagon – Justin Gustainis
* Becoming Michael – Joseph Nassise
* Nada Nother Night – Lois H. Gresh
* Two by Boston – Bruce Boston
* I Known Why the Waters of the Sea Taste of Salt – Steven Vernon
* Der Fleisbrünnen – Mark McLaughlin
* The Days After the World Went Away – Mary SanGiovanni
* Will O’ the Wailing Wind – Darren Speegle
* Day of the Dead – Kiel Stuart
* The Eater of Hours – Darrell Schweitzer
* Snapshots From a Feast – Matt Cardin
* Xan-ti-maca: The Pit of Hell – C.J. Henderson and R.Allen Leider
* Castle Hybrid – Robert Swartwood
* Shapes in the Illusive Night – Stephen Mark Rainey

Vintage Horrors:

* Chompers – Joe R. Lansdale
* Ants – Chet Williamson
* The Day the Monsters Broke Loose – Robert Silverberg


* From the Vault – Editorial by Allen K
* When the Monsters Get You – Essay by Bev Vincent
* John Pelan’s Things From the Vault – Interview by John Pelan

That Cleansing Fire – Part Three now up

Just a quick note this morning to say that part three of “That Cleansing Fire” is now up at the Templar Chronicles Official Website.

Short Story Sale

Word came this week that my story “On This Day of Reckoning” was accepted for publication in the HOLY HORRORS anthology, edited by Matt Cardin and T.M. Wright.

This was a story that I started at the Borderlands Press Writing Bootcamp back in January when we were given an assignment to write the opening of something new. At the time, I had no idea where I was going with it, but something about it seemed to work and so when the anthology call came up I thought I’d dust it off . This is actually the second sale I’ve made from an assignment we did at the camp – the other one turned into the sale of a new novel called EYES TO SEE to Droemer-Knaur in Germany.

I don’t have any idea who else is involved with the project, but word is that a full table of contents will be available sometime soon. I’ll be sure to post the whole thing here when it is.