Tag Archives: Amanda C. Davis

Shock Totem #8.5—Now Available!

Shock Totem Publications is proud to announce that our second holiday issue is available for purchase!

Cover art by Mikio Murakami.

Love is in the air. Can you feel it? The most wonderful and diabolical emotion of them all, and we’re going to celebrate it. Ostensibly as a Valentine’s Day issue, but really…it’s all about love.

And horror, of course.

In this special edition of Shock Totem you will find “Clocks,” a beautifully tragic tale told by master storyteller Darrell Schweitzer. “Silence,” by Robert J. Duperre, is a gut-wrenching tale of love, war, and death. You won’t soon forget this one. In “Broken Beneath the Paperweight of Your Ghosts,” Damien Angelica Walters tells of a man and his tattered heart. Catherine Grant’s “Sauce” teaches us that sometimes things left behind are best left alone. Tim Waggoner examines the perfect lover in “The Man of Her Dreams.” “Hearts of Women, Hearts of Men,” by Zachary C. Parker, follows a battered woman struggling to free herself from an abusive relationship while a serial killer is on the loose. In total, nine tales await you…

Like our previous holiday issue (Christmas 2011), the fiction is paired with nonfiction, this time by Violet LeVoit, Jassen Bailey, Kristi Petersen Schoonover, C.W. LaSart, Bracken MacLeod, John Dixon, Brian Hodge, and more. True tales of first loves, failed relationships, misfortune, death, sex, and…meatloaf.

Love has its dark side, folks, and fittingly this issue has very sharp teeth.

Come see why Shock Totem is billed as “…one of the strongest horror fiction magazines on the market today” (Hellnotes).

Table of Contents:

* Clocks, by Darrell Schweitzer
* Lose and Learn, by Brian Hodge (Holiday Recollection)
* Hearts of Women, Hearts of Men, by Zachary C. Parker
* Unlearning to Lie, by Mason Bundschuh (Holiday Recollection)
* Sauce, by Catherine Grant
* Something to Chew On, by Kristi Petersen Schoonover (Holiday Recollection)
* Silence, by Robert J. Duperre
* Hanging Up the Gloves, by John Dixon (Holiday Recollection)
* Golden Years, by John Boden
* Akai, by Jassen Bailey (Holiday Recollection)
* She Cries, by K. Allen Wood
* The Same Deep Water As You, by Bracken MacLeod (Holiday Recollection)
* One Lucky Horror Nerd, by James Newman (Holiday Recollection)
* Omen, by Amanda C. Davis
* The Scariest Holiday, by C.W. LaSart (Holiday Recollection)
* Broken Beneath the Paperweight of Your Ghosts, by Damien Angelica Walters
* Everything’s Just Methadone and I Like It, by Violet LeVoit (Holiday Recollection)
* The Sickest Love is Denial, by Richard Thomas (Holiday Recollection)
* The Man of Her Dreams, by Tim Waggoner
* Howling Through the Keyhole (Author Notes)

Currently you can purchase the print edition through Amazon or our webstore. More online retailers will follow in the days and weeks to come. The digital edition can be purchased here.

Interested in our back catalog? All past issues are still available digitally and in print and can be ordered directly from us or through Amazon and other online retailers.

Please note that all of our releases (except Dominoes) are enrolled in Amazon’s MatchBook program, so everyone who purchases a print copy gets a Kindle copy for free.

As always, thank you for the support!

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Announcing the Shock Totem Holiday Series…

Shock Totem Publications is proud to announce a new holiday series of books.

Back in 2011 we released something a little different: Shock Totem: Holiday Tales of the Macabre and Twisted 2011. It featured fiction from Shock Totem Publications staff members as well as the wonderful and insanely prolific Kevin J. Anderson, all based on the end-of-the-year holiday season. It also included anecdotal nonfiction pieces from a wide variety of authors.


Our sharpest cover to date. Ba-doom tssh! I’ll be here all week, folks.

The release was a hit. It sold well and continues to do so. But it was only released as an e-book, and since then many of you have asked for a print version. That is finally coming in late November.

Looking beyond that, we have a Valentine’s Day issue planned for late January 2014 and a Halloween issue planned for October 2014.


This is a cover mock-up. Listed authors are subject to change.

As with the first holiday issue, these releases will feature fiction based on their specific holiday themes. Nonfiction will come from not only authors but the artists and publishers whose talent and contributions to this field are all too often overlooked.

Look for the print version of the debut holiday issue in late November (or download it now), followed by the Valentine’s Day issue in late January 2014 and the Halloween issue in October.

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Wolves and Witches: A Fairy Tale Collection

I’m a sucker for fairy tales. We all know that. But I’m not particularly impressed by the fiercely sanitized, Disney-esque fairytales of today. I like the original ones. Grimm and Anderson and fairly dripping with darkness. The wolf gets hacked open by an axe in order to release Grandma and Little Red Riding Hood. Blackbeard keeps all of his dead wives behind a special door. Cinderella’s sisters chop off pieces of their feet in order to fit into the glass/fur/metal slipper. This is the true essence of a fairytale.

So imagine my joy when I picked up Wolves and Witches: A Fairy Tale Collection, a wonderfully dark collection that eschews the frilly Princess fairy tales that I’ve come to expect. Amanda C. Davis, author of “Drift” from Shock Totem #3, and Megan Engelhardt have put together a book of appropriately whimsical and sorrowful fairy tales.

It’s a diverse collection, full of poems, different retold fairy tales, and the occasional story told in the second-person. Even two retellings of the same story, “Rumpelstiltskin,” had clever twists to them and ended up completely different from the original and from each other. One filled me with hope, and the other with delightful despair.

Many of the tales are written as if they were being told to the reader, and I found this to be very effective. The language is beautiful and simple. The writing is sometimes light and breathy, but often has a solid, almost grim cadence to it. This is something that I would definitely read aloud to somebody else.

My favorite of all was “A Letter Concerning Shoes,” which is written by a poor cobbler for one of the Twelve Dancing Princesses. Full of charm and melancholy we see her story from his point of view. There is a clever tie-in at the end that links this cobbler to other fairy tales.

Wolves and Witches was an absolutely delightful read, and I look forward to seeing other works from the authors.

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And the January Flash Fiction Contest Winner is…

J. Kyle Turner

J. Kyle won with his story “Xuan the Tiger.”

The prompt for this first contest of 2013 was based on this terribly tragic article, particularly this line: “She was dying a death that was meant for someone else.”

J. Kyle’s story won decisively, receiving nearly double the Second Place votes.

In Second Place was “Balladyna,” by Michael Wehunt, his fourth Top 3 finish. He’ll also be appearing in our soon-to-be-release sixth issue.

Rounding things out, in Third Place, was Amanda C. Davis’s “Omen.” Amanda is also no stranger to the winners circle; we’ve hosted sixteen contests thus far and Amanda has made the Top 3 seven times!

So a big congratulations to all!

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And the September Flash Fiction Contest Winner is…

Steven Bouchard

Steven won with his story “The Whole Tooth.”

The prompt for this contest was a photo taken outside the hotel this year’s Horrorfind convention was held at. A creepy little thing, indeed!

The contest was close this month. The top three were all within a point of each other, and we had a three-way tie for Second!

In addition to Steven’s winning tale, Megan Engelhardt (her fourth top-three finish), H.L. Fullerton (July’s winner), and Amanda C. Davis (her sixth time in the top three) all tied for Second Place, and Allison Dellinger took Third Place.

Steven’s story, plus this year’s four previous winning stories, will be judged by a neutral reader, someone who is not on the staff and has not participated in any contest, and the story he or she chooses will be published in issue #6!

So a big congratulations to all the winners throughout 2012!

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Horrorfind Weekend

This coming Friday through Sunday, John, Sarah and I will be down in Gettysburg, PA, for this year’s Horrorfind convention. Shock Totem #3 authors Amanda C. Davis and S. Clayton Rhodes will be in attendance, as well as James Newman, who will also be reading from The Wicked Friday evening.

We had hoped to have a bigger presence this year, possibly seeing some of our authors on panels and the Horror Writers guest list. Unfortunately, despite for three months calling the number on the website, leaving voicemails, and e-mailing the people in charge of organizing the event, we were never able to make it happen.

I got one reply out of at least a dozen e-mails sent, and that came on August 20, seventeen days after I sent the e-mail it was in response to (and months after I first contacted them).

“Unfortunately, our author guest list & reading schedule has already been finalized and we are not taking any additional requests for readings at this year’s event.”

According to the website, there are ten authors on the guest list, eight of which are Samhain Publishing authors. With absolutely no disrespect meant to those authors or the publisher, I find that to be rather unprofessional. Of course, that should come as no surprise to anyone who reads Brian Keene’s blog.

If this sounds like complaining, it’s not. It’s disappointment. Not only were we ignored by the organizers, but our authors were as well, and I know that stings them more than it does me.

That said, I’m glad to see the fantastic Damien Walters Grintalis on the guest list. She’ll be selling pre-release copies of her debut novel, Ink. Yeah! And Ronald Malfi, who is quickly becoming my favorite small-press author, will be on hand, so I’m looking forward to meeting him if possible, and maybe picking up some of his work I don’t own. Nick Cato will be there. Mangos! David G. Blake and his lovely wife, Dawn, will hopefully be there. Plenty of other cool-cool cats will be on hand as well (I just can’t remember who at the moment).

And us! Yes, we will be present and available. And we will have limited copies of Shock Totem, The Wicked—which James will gladly sign—and a few other things our work is featured in. If you’d like to buy anything, let us know. Perhaps we’ll set up shop in the lobby or have a boot sale in the parking lot.

On Sunday we’re planning a pilgrimage up to York to visit the York Emporium, which according to John is the “coolest bookstore” he’s ever been to. Looking forward to it.

See you there?

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Mentionable Honors

Ellen Datlow just released her full honorable mention list for Best Horror of the Year Volume 4, and while there are a daunting 608 stories on that list, we’re very happy to say that seven of them are from Shock Totem authors.

Though none listed will actually appear on the list of 50 featured in the anthology itself, the recognition for our authors is hardly diminished.

So a hearty congratulations goes out to Lee Thompson, Amanda C. Davis, John Haggerty, Steven Pirie, Aaron Polson, Jeremy Kelly, and Mekenzie Larsen. Well deserved, fellas!

You can read their stories in Shock Totem #3 and #4.

And before I end this, I would be remiss if I didn’t send a very big thank-you to Ellen for her time and consideration. Our appreciation is beyond words.

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Jaelithe Ingold Strikes Gold…Again

Our fifth and final flash fiction contest of 2011 has come to a close. The prompt for this contest consisted of two images. (You might recognize them.) Participants were required to build their story around the people who live in the six individual dwellings in the images, not the ominous red light in the window. Of the nearly 50 who signed up, 31 finished.

And once again the women dominated.

This month’s winner was Jaelithe Ingold, who won with her story “Little Knife Houses.” This is her second First Place finish this year, meaning she has a two-in-five chance of winning overall and being published in our next issue.

Gio Clairval took Second Place with her tale, “Six on the Hill of My Heart,” and just a point away was Amanda C. Davis, with her story “Why Ulu Left the Bladescliff.”

All three have either won or made the top three numerous times in the past. Well-deserved, of course.

Incidentally, since we began these contests in January 2010, the ladies of Shock Totem have, in two words, kicked ass. In that first year, we had 19 top-three winners overall (a few contests had ties), and 13 of those winners were women. In 2011, 14 of the 15 top three were women.

The lone man of 2011: Simon C. Larter. (Stand proud, good sir, we salute you!)

That said, congratulations, ladies!

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Courting the Queen of Gingerbread Ashes

The debut issue of Arcane is available to order. It is published/edited by Nathan Shumate, who I believe was behind Arkham Tales. I never read Arkham Tales, but it looked good. As does Arcane

And it features stories by fellow Totemites, issue #3 author Amanda C. Davis (“Courting the Queen of Sheba”) and issue #4 author Jaelithe Ingold (“Gingerbread and Ashes”).

Digital copies are $2.99 and the print version is $7.99. Consider checking it out. I imagine it has at least two good stories in it.

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Amanda C. Davis Sheens

And the winner is…

Amanda C. Davis, whose story “Drift” can be found in issue #3, won our flash fiction contest for March. She won with her story “Dolly at the End of the World,” which was based on this prompt. This is Amanda’s second First Place win; she won previously in May of 2010. She also had a Second and Third Place finish last year.

Sounds like winning to me. The real kind that comes from hard work and talent.

But let’s not forget this month’s Second and Third Place winners: Simon C. Larter and H.L. Fullerton, respectively.

If you know them, congratulate them. It was a tough one this month.

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