Denver Horror Collective, a group of horror writers and artists, has raised $1,150 through its Indiegogo fundraiser to purchase stories from twenty-seven Colorado authors to publish in Terror at 5280’, a local horror fiction anthology due out this fall.
The twenty-one dark tales chosen for the print and e-book anthology (and six more in The Epitaph newsletter and on DenverHorror.com) are set around the greater Denver metroplex and Front Range Rocky Mountain communities. Some stories are based on local folklore and urban legends, while others touch on social and environmental themes relevant to the area, such as gentrification, substance abuse, and zombie deer (aka chronic wasting disease).
All stories are penned by Colorado authors, including: Bram Stoker Award® winning horror master Stephen Graham Jones, USA Today and #1 Denver Post bestselling thriller author Carter Wilson, various Denver Horror Collective members, and other Colorado-based horror fiction writers including Carina Bissett, Lindsay King-Miller, and Joy Yehle, with a foreword by Horror Writers Association President John Palisano.
“Terror in El Pueblo” is the second of several Colorado-based short stories written by local authors we’ll be publishing on the Denver Horror Collective website and in The Epitaph newsletter, as a lead-up to the fall release of Terror at 5280′, our local horror fiction anthology.
Luke had done a lot of diving. The Stachybotrys chartarum in his brain, on the other hand, had not. Stachy enveloped the boy’s visual cortex and gazed out over the scene.
Down below and out around them were fake rocks that descended into a deep pool of water colored blueish green by the lights within. A waterfall cascaded over the rocks, pumped continuously through a series of tubes that Stachy had inhabited himself. Or themselves, as it were. The mold reproduced asexually, sporing and growing in the damp places of the world.
Stachy looked out beyond the pool through the boy’s eyes. Other humans sat, eating what looked to be food made of grains and dairy. They could sense the boy’s disgust and disdain as he looked out over the crowd. El Pueblo no joke-o, Luke thought. How can they eat that?
The mold didn’t get the joke. It dug through the boy’s memories trying to extract meaning. They boy had been a competitive diver at school. An impressive athletic specimen. He’d been scouted and hired by this restaurant to perform cliff diving for the diners. El Pueblo Loco.
The crazy town, the mold thought.
But the mold had witnessed a genocide of its own kind. As it tried to spread through the damp and inviting environment of aging and leaky pumps and cracked concrete pools, the humans had ruthlessly retaliated. Chemical warfare. Poisons. Destruction.
Here at Denver Horror Collective—our frighteningly talented group of horror writers and artists in and around the Mile High City—we believe in the motto: write locally, scare globally.
Which is why we’re all shivers to announce our Indiegogo fundraiser for Terror at 5280’, our horror fiction anthology due out this fall, with stories set around the greater Denver metroplex and Front Range Rocky Mountain communities, all penned by Colorado authors!
What authors, you may ask? Well, how about:
Bram Stoker Award-winning horror master, Stephen Graham Jones
USA Today and #1 Denver Post bestselling thriller author Carter Wilson
Hex Publishers owner, editor, and author Josh Viola
Foreword by John Palisano, author and President of Horror Writers Association
Various Denver Horror Collective members
Other Colorado-based horror fiction writers
The print and e-book anthology will run about 250 pages and include roughly 20 stories (the editorial team has already made its selections and is currently editing). Some tales are based on local folklore and urban legends, while others touch on social and environmental themes relevant to the area, such as gentrification, substance abuse and…zombie deer.
As with everything at Denver Horror Collective, Terror at 5280’ is a group effort. So, if you love horror fiction, indie publishing, and/or local arts, will you make a contribution to our Indiegogo fundraiser today!
In “Dark Wisdom,” we seek writing and/or publishing advice from the horror fiction masters making up Denver Horror Collective’s Advisory Council.
For this installment, we grill Dean Wyant, co-founder and acquisitions editor at Hex Publishers.
What’s the future of small press publishers?
DEAN WYANT: May I have an easier question, please? How I wish I had a crystal ball for this one. There are some things I do understand as far as current publishing goes which I think will continue to influence small publishers as the book business progresses.
Large publishers want that next Harry Potter, Longmire mystery series or a guaranteed big selling author such as Stephen King. Quantity is equally as important, if not more so, than quality. Anyone who has attempted to break into the world of big time publishing knows how challenging it can be. You need an agent–good luck with that–and you need to have a manuscript that will sell. If you’re lucky enough to get published and it doesn’t sell well, you’re dumped. Ouch.
“First Breath” is the first of several Colorado-based short stories written by local authors we’ll be publishing on the Denver Horror Collective website and in The Epitaph newsletter, as a lead-up to the fall release of Terror at 5280′, our local horror fiction anthology.
[Author’s note: The setting of ‘First Breath’ is loosely based on the cafe and bar Loaded Joes in Avon, a favorite place to write (and sing karaoke) when I’m in the neighborhood.]
Photo: Lisa Young
It was time I went in search of myself. Everyone has to do it once in their lives. Each of my parents had, years before, and now I felt the pull that said it was my turn. Time to make my own pilgrimage.
They saw me off, standing in front of the house and watching me drift down the road. “Remember what we taught you,” my mother said. “One foot in front of the other. You’ll do fine.”
“Hurry home as soon as you can,” said my father, a wry smile hiding the sadness of parting. “You’ll want to be here when the baby arrives.”
I could only nod, looking first from face to face then down at the place where my unborn sibling waited to be breathed into life. I wanted to take their hands. I wanted to hold them and never let go.
But I couldn’t touch them. I could not even speak. Not yet.
1. Name one horror author you admire and explain how they helped you become a better writer.
I have wanted to become an author since I was eight years old, and that desire is credited entirely to R. L. Stine. I hated reading as a kid until my father convinced me that I just needed to find a genre I was interested in and “forced” me to read my first Goosebumps book. Needless to say it worked, and I soon had a collection of Goosebumps and Fear Street books.
2. What author did you dislike at first but grew into?
Shakespeare. I hated reading Shakespeare in high school, but then found that I actually loved it in college. It goes to show that a teacher can make or break a subject by the way that they teach it.
3. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot?
My familiar is a bull snake named Bacchus. I adore snakes and I love that they have such a varied symbolic representation. Snakes appear in almost every branch of mythology. Sometimes they represent evil beings, or tricksters, and to some they are temple guardians. I choose snakes because their symbolic meaning is as varied as the different stories I try to tell. Snakes also appear in many of my stories.