I am extremely pleased to announce that two of my favorite authors of horror and suspense, Fran Friel and John R. Little, have been nominated for the prestigious Black Quill, awarded annually by Dark Scribe Magazine for excellence in dark genre fiction. The award catagories include best novel, small press publication, collection, short story, non-fiction work, short fiction magazine, and book trailer.
Here are how Fran's and John's nominations stand:
Fran Friel's Mama's Boy & Other Dark Tales for Best Dark Fiction Collection (anthology or single author collection). Fran's collection of dark short stories, novellas, poetry, and flash fiction, published by Apex Publications, completely knocked the wind out of me with it's freshness, well-honed prose, dark humor, and downright nastiness. It is an all-encompassing collection unlike any I've ever read before. Besides new and previously published fiction, it includes the Stoker nominated novella Mama's Boy. I'm still convinced that this sweet and gentle woman has an evil writing twin that she keeps chained to a typewriter in a crumbling castle tower. Absolutely first-rate entertainment, word for word, with enough humor and horror to keep the reader wondering what to expect next.
John R. Little's Miranda for Best Small Press Chill (novel or novella by a small press publisher). When I read John's The Memory Tree, I thought that it was one of the best pieces of fiction (horror or otherwise) that I had read in the past several decades. His novella, Miranda, published by Bad Moon Books, came within a hair's-breath of topping it. John's heart-wrenching story of a man who lives his life backward, from death to birth, and the only woman who can understand his dilemma and offer him love and companionship, was one of the most interesting and involving pieces of time-slip fiction I have ever read. With an incredible backwards text design by Cesar Pugh and stellar artwork by Alan M. Clark, this chapbook is much more than it appears to be... it is truly a literary event to be savored and enjoyed.
But please don't take my word for it. I urge all of you to find out for yourselves. If you haven't already read these two wonderful volumes of dark fiction, you may order them directly from the publishers at http://www.apexbookcompany.com/ and http://www.badmoonbooks.com/, or from the Horror Mall at http://www.horror-mall.com/ . After you have read these two incredible publications, you may cast your votes on the Dark Scribe website at http://www.darkscribemagazine.com/ . To vote you must first register. After that quick and painless process, you may access the reader's Black Quill ballot and make your selections. Voting closes at midnight EST on Sunday, January 25th, 2008.
And, while you're at it, remember... it's the holiday season. Why not order two or three copies of each for Christmas gifts? I can think of no better gift for the reader of dark fiction than to find Mama's Boy & Other Dark Tales and Miranda in their fireplace stocking.
Again, a hearty congratulations to Fran and John for their individual nominations and much luck to them during the final count. To be included with the other nominees -- the cream of the crop as far as dark genre fiction is concerned -- is surely an award in itself. Good job, guys, and keep up the great work!