There are dimensions beyond that which is known to man. They are realms as vast as space and older than time itself. In these realms are beings beyond light and shadow, beyond good and evil, and there lie harbingers of the end of the human age.
The stars are right.
This is the epoch of terror & devastation. It is an age which is…Within Stranger Aeons.
Tell us about your experience working on Within Stranger Aeons. What was it like coordinating all of those different authors? Was it your first anthology? What surprises did you encounter?
Within Stranger Aeons sprung from my desire to make my mark on the extensive Lovecraft Mythos, one of my literary loves from the my teenage years. Bringing together so many authors from around the globe was a bit of a challenge but far from insurmountable. Everyone has their own style and presentation, which is part of what gives an anthology its particular flavor. As this was the first anytholgy I helmed it did make things a bit… well, challenging. One of the biggest issues at first was regarding manuscripts from UK authors as they layout a story different than we do in the US, namely they don’t commonly use indentations at the beginning of paragraphes. This initially affected the way I read their stories. There were a couple stories that needed extensive edits before they were suitable for the book.
Tell us about your open anthologies? Where did you get the idea for them?
The three anthologies I currently have open for submissions are all three quite different. Within Strange Aeons was such a great addition that I decided that a second collection of the best Mythos stories people could offer was needed. The premise for this new volume, Visit Shadowy Innsmouth: Vacations in Lovecraft Country, is one of the premise of local tourism boards in the varied towns and boroughs afflicted with the eldritch terrors of the Great Old Ones and their minions on occasion need an influx of outsiders. What better way than to make your ‘quaint village filled with charm and history’ seem appealing to those looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of big city life?
“Come visit shadowy Innsmouth, Massachussets! Take in the historic architecture of our quaint town, especially the original Esoteric Order of Dagon temple! The cool salt air will have a transformative effect on your dry, scaly skin! Go diving at Devil’s Reef and see the wonders sunken there! Innsmouth is calling to you!”
The second anthology, United Stakes of America, is the counterpoint to the trend of modern vampire stories. Gone are the Eurotrash, the seductive vixen and the sparkly teens. Rather than focusing on the seductive nature of the supernatural or the sexual implications of vampirism, this collection of horror stories will feature the Hunters that stalk down the creatures of the night and slay them. I’m not necessarily looking for retellings of Abraham Van Helsing, Buffy Summers or Anita Blake. I am looking for new takes on the classic story of normal people fighting back against the walking hunger called Vampire. It can be tales of companies specializing in the eradication of the bloodsuckers or the victim rising up to stake her attackers. There have been authors who have covered this territory such as Larry Correia with his Monster Hunter Intl series or John Steakley’s Vampire$, the inspiration for John Carpenter’s film starring James Woods. These have been much rarer than the stories celebrating the romantic aspects. Let’s make them a little less rare, as opposed to my steak.
The third book is entitled For We Are Many: Tales of Possession and Exorcism. For this book, I am seeking horror stories featuring demonic possession and/or exorcism. I’m not looking for retellings of The Exorcist, The Exorcism of Emily Rose or Paranormal Activity. I want new takes on the millennia-old story of the loss of control to otherworldly entities and the necessity of their removal. Many lists of the scariest films in the history of horror list The Exorcist at the top of the list. It has rarely had another film come close to its success. With this book, I am trying to recreate that phenominon without the limitations of what can be created on film.
Do you prefer anthology work or writing novels?
To be bluntly honest, I prefer writing novels of short stories because I can be a bit long-winded. While I look up to the generation of splatterpunks that arose in the Nineties such as Clive Barker, John Skipp & Craig Spector, Joe Lansdale and the like, I was apparently inspired from an early age by the descriptive nature of Stephen King. While I won’t spend three pages describing a door, I do feel that the more vividly the reader can imagine the scene, the more believable it is. I have been told that my stories read like watching a movie, which I do take as a compliment. I truly feel that the key to that is the level of detail I impart into the scene and characters.
Short stories simply don’t allow me that privilege.
Tell us about some of your short stories? Is it easier to work on a short story or anthology?
I’ve written quite a few short stories including stories set in South Florida where I currently live about a retirement community of trolls and a Great Old One in the Everglades. I have written stories set in rural Ohio, Washington DC and Chicago, all areas I have experience with. The Ohio stories focus around a Korean War vet with a burden he carried back from the war and a manipulative psychistrist, molding his wards in his own image. The Chicago story invovled a murdered heavy metal fan returning from the grave for revenge. DC was the locale for both of my novels but I do have a short story coming soon based in the vibrant hard core punk scene the city has to offer. I also have a pair of stories circulating around out there, with plans to continue them, focusing on a serial killer in New York City called the Eastside Ripper. His first story, Out of Darkness Comes Life from Rejected for Content 1, was originally written as a story for an antholgy based around Clive Barker’s Nightbreed universe. When it didn’t make the cut, I simply went through the manuscript and scoured all of Mr. Barker’s intellectual property from the text, relocated the story from Canada to NYC, and reinvented the psychopathic protagonist of Thomas Butcher from the ghost of Phillip Decker. I have other stories all around the world, and sometimes beyond, in the case of The Cruelty of Children from Rejected for Content 4: Highway to Hell.
Why do you think it is important to write short stories for exposure only anthologies?
While there are many who will rail against the FTL, or For The Love, anthologies, they do serve a purpose. There is an abundance of asipring writers out there, many with true talent that perhaps needs a bit of polishing. The FTL anthologies help get these new voices out there into the world. While, as many have said, exposure doesn’t pay the bills, neither does having your stories rejected from the inclusive club of the paying anthologies, the same ones that may have taken a chance on new writers at one point but now seem to pull from the same stable of writers. Yes, I would love for every one of my short stories to be able to be published in a paying publication, I don’t expect that to happen. By participating in these anthologies, it also helped prove and polish my writing ability and allow my novels to be published, novels for which I do in fact receive royalties. I tell myself that perhaps the right person will pick up one of my books and see what I saw when I was writing it and take my up to the big leagues, but for now, writing is a hobby that costs much less than many out there. I am truly doing it for the love of writing, to let the voices in my head out there in the world.
Michael Fisher, Fish to his friends and family, has worn many hats in his long life. He’s done a little of everything, including US Navy Hospital Corpsman, club DJ, security specialist, psychiatric technician, painter, and currently, father, Mason, author and tattooer, not necessarily in that order. He has a love of ugly Hawaian shirts. He also bears a passing resemblance to Walter Sobchak in The Big Lebowski.
His work includes the collaborative novel Feral Hearts, his first novel DC’s Dead, and short stories in Midnight Remains, Rejected for Content: Splattergore, Rejected for Content 2: Aberrant Menagerie, Floppy Shoes Apocalypse, TrollKind: Under the Bridge, Urban Legends: Emergence of Fear, FVM: The Deadliest of the Species, Doorway to Death as well as many other upcoming anthologies. Within Stranger Aeons is the first anthology on which he has taken lead.
Michael is an award-winning author, artist and editor with J. Ellington Ashton Press. Awards include Honorable Mention for Short Story of the Year 2013 for the Return of the Devil Fly in Midnight Remains, as well as Top Ten Artist and Top Ten Editor from Critters Workshop Annual Preditors & Editors 2014 Awards and Top Ten Author, Artist, Editor, Book Cover, Nonfiction Article and Short Story from Critters Workshop Annual Preditors & Editors 2015 Awards. He also placed in the Top Ten Author, Artist, Editor, Book Cover, Mystery Novel from Critters Workshop Annual Preditors & Editors 2016 Awards. DC’s Dead was awarded J. Ellington Ashton Press’ Editor’s Choice Award for Novel in 2015, while It Always Bites You in the End was runner up for J. Ellington Ashton Press’ Editor’s Choice Award for Novel and Within Stranger Aeons was runner up for Anthology of the Year in 2016.
Michael is the art director at J. Ellington Ashton Press and designs book covers under the name Meister Arthur Dunkel. He is also a member of the Horror Writers Association.
My Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/author/michaelfishfisher
My personal writing page: epicfishtales.com
My author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MichaelFisherAuthor/
My cover design Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MArtDunkel
Within Stranger Aeons/Visit Shadowy Innsmouth: https://www.facebook.com/WithinStrangerAeons
United Stakes of America: https://www.facebook.com/United-Stakes-of-America-1262838780393393
For We Are Many: https://www.facebook.com/ForWeAreManyAntho