Monday, April 25, 2016

Dark Chapter Press Unlimited presents the A-Z Horror Anthology

A little over a year ago Stuart Keane with Dark Chapter Press gathered up a bunch of us authors, twenty-six to be exact, and assigned us each a letter of the alphabet. These authors were to write a horror story based upon the letter they were assigned. Here is their page on this project.

I am also in this A-Z Horror Anthology.

I remember thinking:

"I sure hope they don't assign me X because that one would be hard to come up with a title that isn't  either cliche or boring (for me) compared to all the other letters."

Of course, I therefore drew the letter, X!

X I tell you! In the end I actually came up with two stories. Not that I meant to or wanted to, but I'll explain in a moment.

Oh. Brief side note, director Kelly Hughes whom I've been working with on a couple of film projects is releasing a few episodes of a feature we completed, The Mephisto Box (here's the YouTube Channel). We had so much fun filming this and it was a lot of work. It's a 1970s style horror film.

Update 29 April 2016 - Kelly has now released the first four episodes. I have cameos in ep. 2 as an addict in an NA meeting bent over, face hidden and a street preacher. Interesting to note that the death scene at about four minutes in is reminiscent of the Rosebud chapter in my book Death of heaven which came out originally in 2012 and that chapter was actually written decades ago.

Now. Of the authors involved, Lily is one of them with whom I'm acquainted. She drew... W.

I had tried to get friend and author, Kurt Giambastiani in on it too (I'd love to have seen him do horror), but sadly (for us all) I had mentioned it to him too late to acquire his own letter.

These stories have a word count limitation. Obviously. They are after all, short stories.

I had come up with an interesting concept based on Xibalba, the Mayan Hell. From that I researched and wrote a story titled, "Xibalba Unleashed", a great big, epic, claustrophobic little story. A serial killer origin story. I really liked it. My editor really liked it. There was only one problem. When I went to submit it to Dark Chapter, I discovered a terminal mistake.

I had been about halfway through writing it when I dumped my Harley Davidson. I hit a pothole and then immediately another which brought me down on the dirt road. I was only about a hundred yards from my house on our county dirt road which at the time had massive pot holes all over it. I was going slow, being (perhaps too) careful, when it happened. In fact I was only going about five miles per hour.

Two days on the couch (no hospital just pain), $3,000 (and a month later) and I got my bike back. It took a couple of weeks of healing up before I got back to finishing the story.

That was when I reexamined the rules prior to submitting it and found I had gone over the word count by nearly 2,000 words! I was crushed. I had put a lot into that story and really liked it. I had to research ancient Mayan culture and mythology. I had to examine maps and learn about actual caves that supposedly led to the Mayan Hell. Fascinating stuff, really. All wasted.

There was no avoiding it. If I wanted to be in the anthology (and I did), I would have to cut pages and ruin a very well crafted tale. But I couldn't bring myself to do it. So I would have to come up with another "X" story. And so I did.

And so I came up with, X The Unknown which will be in the anthology.

I hadn't wanted to come up with any of the titles people kept suggesting. All the obvious ones, all the clichés. I hadn't wanted even to use the title, X The Unknown but finally it clicked with me and after all, I did have to come up with something.

The story I came up with is about a local Seattle area FBI agent and a very messed up serial killer. I have met a few local Seattle FBI agents through the course of my work with cybersecurity issues over the years and was part of an international group of a group bringing together police, security and computer experts in order to enhance our national security and business security and all levels of police.

The successful design of the group was to familiarize and knock down the walls of distrust between private, public and policing agencies in both directions. Our group set up the first ever Seattle Police Department cybersecurity team. Through that group I also met various and now famous national security experts such as Richard Clarke, and others as well as Secret Service Agents and many others from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to Australian police..

The story was written, edited and submitted. I liked it, again, my editor liked it. Trust me, she doesn't like everything I write. I had struck gold twice in a row.

It will take a while for all these single story releases to get all the way down to the letter X up on Amazon. So in the meantime may I suggest you check out our first story in this series as well as all the rest as they come out every other week or so?

From Dark Chapter Press Unlimited and Shaun Hupp:

Anniversary Dinner by Shaun Hupp.
"Jim and Kristen are happily married. On the eve of their anniversary, Jim plans a special dinner for the couple, pulling out all the stops to ensure the evening is as romantic as possible. All is going well, until they have an unexpected visitor…"

After Shaun's story you can check out each letter story as they come online. Next up on April 29, 2016 is the letter, "B". In this case it is Matt Hickman's, "Brazen".

Brazen by Matt Hickman
"Karen works the pole in an exclusive strip joint, where a VIP area like no other satisfies the needs of the most discerning of customers. Noticing a client fixed on her performance, she joins him in one of the private rooms, where depraved needs are met and forbidden desires made real."

A fun something to look forward to kind of thing, don't you think?

Honestly, this should be quite entertaining and all you may very well have to do to share in this dark and interesting affair click on it (see customer's note below).

Won't you join us to explore the shadowy side of the alphabet?

After all, twenty six of us are waiting for you the dark.

Next up....

Caravan - May 4, 2016
Downward Spiral - June 6, 2016
Exposed - July 13, 2016
Frailty - September 20, 2016
Glovebox - February 21, 2017
Hard Man - March 10, 2017 by Jack Rollins
Imprisoned - September 6, 2017 by Alice J. Black
Judicator - September 17, 2017 by Justin Hunter
Kiss of Quicksilver - October 4, 2017 by Donna Fox
Love Letters - October 11, 2017 by Roma Gray
X The Unknown - by JZ Murdock

Dark Chapter Press A-Z Anthology

CUSTOMER'S NOTE: Recommended for Kindle Unlimited users it is a single, short story. Dark Chapter Press Unlimited titles are intended for Amazon Kindle Unlimited customers, who can download these short, creepy single stories as part of their subscription at no extra cost.

Final UPDATE 6/27/2018: Today the authors were all notified this project is now dead. They have released myself and all authors involved with the A-Z Anthology project. I will be seeking another location for my X The Unknown story. I am sad this won't see print in this anthology, but that's how it goes. I wish Dark Chapter Press well. They've had some hard times, I can only hope they get things back on track and can move on into the future. Best of luck guys!

#shortstory #horror #ebook #kindle