Last year, fellow Louisville author L. Andrew Cooper asked if I'd be interested in co-editing an anthology of stories that focused on cinema, but with a twist. While the focus was geared toward horror, all genres were welcome.
The result is Reel Dark: Twisted Projections on the Flickering Page. Not only does it include stories and poetry from Bram Stoker Award finalists, but also new and emerging authors. Here's the blurb:
THE CUTTING ROOM FLOOR CUTS BACK
Welcome to a macabre cinema for the imagination, to screenings of twisted tales projected not on a movie screen but on the page.
In Reel Dark you'll find stories and poems by authors ranging from new voices to bestsellers to Bram Stoker Award finalists. From the battle for recognition between a child actress and a vengeful, long-forgotten film star in "Whatever Happened to Peggy...Who?" to a madman controlling a student à la The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari in "Caligarisme," to a hapless Dreamist, whose talent propels him into a nightmare of jealousy and revenge in "The Dreamist," the authors have created worlds filled with madness, twisted desires, and broken dreams.
The genres inside include suspense, horror, science fiction, and fantasy. You'll meet a lone deputy whose pursuit of justice harkens back to the wild West (complete with a gunfight), a director who literally puts himself into his film, a young woman haunted by a mysterious stranger who warns her of her impending demise, and an aging actress who may have been a little too good at playing her roles.
In a world where the lines between reality and fantasy blur, where film frames flicker at 24 frames per second, we catch a glimpse of strangers' dreams and nightmares. As David Lynch puts it, "This whole world is wild at heart and weird on top."
As Karen Head writes in her poem responding to Lynch, "In the movies / everything is illusion." But in a world with cameras everywhere, how do you know whether you're in a movie?
My story "Rival" was influenced by Jayne Mansfield, Sunset Boulevard and, apparently, film noir, which I love, but never imagined I could write. I'm fascinated by the Hollywood of yesterday, from silent films to the 1940s.
This is the sixth anthology I'm published in, and the first I've helped edit. Thanks to Andrew for believing in me and for giving me a chance to read some wonderfully talented authors.