Tag Archives: Shock Totem #3

Kindle Users: Free Shock Totem

This week only we’re running promos on the first five issues of Shock Totem (not including the special holiday issue). Starting today, Kindle users will be able to download issue #1 for free. Tomorrow, issue #2 will be free, Wednesday, issue #3, and so on.

Click the links below to download!

Monday/Tuesday: Shock Totem 1: Curious Tales of the Macabre and Twisted
Tuesday/Wednesday: Shock Totem 2: Curious Tales of the Macabre and Twisted
Wednesday/Thursday: Shock Totem 3: Curious Tales of the Macabre and Twisted
Thursday/Friday: Shock Totem 4: Curious Tales of the Macabre and Twisted
Friday/Saturday: Shock Totem 5: Curious Tales of the Macabre and Twisted

We ran a similar promo a little over a year ago, and it generated 10,000 downloads. We hope to once again reach thousands of new readers. If you haven’t read all—or any—of our issues, now is the perfect time. If you have, please encourage others to give us a shot.


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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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Screaming in Digital

It’s been a long time coming, but it’s finally happened. All four issues of Shock Totem plus our brand-new holiday e-book are now available for the Kindle (other formats coming soon). The first two issues and the holiday issue are $0.99, while issues 3 and 4 are $1.99 (because they’re nearly double in size).

[ from one of my all-time favorite albums ]

I originally paid to have issue #1 done by a “professional.” I wasn’t too impressed. So I decided to attempt to teach myself. Easier said that done when you’re as busy as me. But when we decided to do this new holiday issue, which was to be an e-book release, I had no choice but to buckle down and learn the formatting. I wasn’t paying anyone $150 for a two-month turnaround on a rather unimpressive-for-the-cost product.

So this past Monday, after Anthocon, I sat down and began teaching myself how to rock this formatting. A week later, and all our issues are done, including a redesign of issue #1 so that it matches the others.

If you’ve been waiting to check us out, now is the perfect time. All four main issues and the holiday issue for LESS THAN $7! That’s a wicked deal.

Click here to purchase them from Amazon.com, or click the DIGITAL link at the top of our site for additional options.

And please, if you see any issues with the layout, let me know. As I mentioned, I’m a total noob at this e-design stuff. Thanks!

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And the 2011 Flash Fiction Contest Winner is…

Little Knife Houses
by Jaelithe Ingold

As many of you know, throughout the year we host a bi-monthly flash fiction contest on our forum (not to be confused with the bi-weekly one-hour flash challenge). From those bi-monthly winners, an overall winner is chosen by a neutral judge, to be published in the next issue of Shock Totem.

This year’s judge was James Newman, and from the five stories he chose “Little Knife Houses,” by Jaelithe Ingold, which was based on the artwork for our third issue.

Ah, but now we have to break Newton’s Law, the rule we set forth in issue #2, which, after publishing Kurt Newton in our first two issues, stated that we would never again publish an author back-to-back.

Jaelithe, however, was featured in issue #4, with her story “Fade to Black”—which, incidentally, was also the contest-winning story for Café Doom’s 2010 short-story contest. So…rule broken.

And for a good reason! You’ll be able to read “Little Knife Houses” in issue #5 (see the cover and more info on that issue here).

Congratulations, Jaelithe!

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The Slushin’ for Nothin’ Blues

“Delay is preferable to error” —Thomas Jefferson

I used that quote in the editorial for issue #2. I should have seen then that I might one day have to quote it again.

Our second issue was delayed. When January of 2010 came around, we found ourselves short of content. Specifically fiction. We finally filled the issue around the end of March, at which point I made the decision to further delay its release until July, so from there we could continue our July/January release schedule.

And we did, for a while. Issue #3 came out in January of 2011, and issue #4 came out in July, right on schedule. And then we hit a wall. The slush pile stopped producing gold. And here we are, once again without enough content for our next issue.

So I’ve made the decision to delay issue #5 until July of 2012. But this time I’m going to be smarter about it.

By the time our belated second issue came out, we were well on our way to filling the next issue, and in the following months we accepted a lot of stories—all of which we put into that third issue, nearly doubling its size. In hindsight, we should have saved a few of those tales for the fourth issue.

But you know what they say about hindsight.

Going back to that second issue, I thought we’d had a hard time finding content because we were still a new publication, that authors weren’t sending us their best work—or any work, for that matter—because they were still unsure about Shock Totem. I see things differently now. Sometimes four months just isn’t long enough to find the right content, at least if we want to keep releasing a magazine that is up to the standards we’ve set with our previous issues.

So hopefully by delaying our next issue, we’ll be finalizing issue #6 when issue #5 comes out next July. That’s the goal, and I don’t think it’s unreasonable. I just wish I’d figured this out back in July of 2010.

With that said, we do have some content ready for our next issue, and soon we’ll be announcing the overall winning story from this year’s flash fiction contests, which will be featured in issue #5 as well. And how about a peek at the cover?

Can you dig that? I hope so! And how about this…

Before our fifth issue is released, we will be releasing something else: our first non-magazine release. It’ll be a novel, slated for publication in March 2012. We’ll run a contest soon that’ll reveal the name of this novel, but it’ll require some detective work on your part. It should be fun.

Hopefully this will hold everyone over until issue #5 comes out.

You guys have always been great to us, so I thank you for your anticipated patience and understanding. It is very much appreciated.

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Bookgasm Reviews Issue #3

Though it’s not our current issue, a great Shock Totem review is never a bad thing, right?

Check it out here.

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Hellnotes Reviews Issue #3

The lovely Sheila M. Merritt over at Hellnotes has reviewed our most recent issue. You can read the review here.

Great site, great people, great review. Thanks!

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She Nailed a Stake Through His Head

My first introduction to Dybbuk Press founder, Tim Lieder was from his Shock Totem submission “Bop Kabala and the Communist Jazz,” a submission we would eventually accept for issue #3. So when asked to choose some books to review from the secret cache at Kenwood Mansion, I asked for this one. The title alone cried for my attention—She Nailed a Stake Through His Head: Tales of Biblical Terror. Catchy!

Upon its arrival, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t more than a little hesitant to dig in, mainly due to my lack of knowledge of many things biblical. Sure I know most of the big stories, but many of the lesser known parables would be alien to me. After putting it off a few weeks, I jumped in…and I’m glad I did. This collection is inspired and ecclectic.

The nine tales in this anthology kick off with “Whither Thou Goest,” by Gerri Leen, an interesting piece in which Ruth, the protagonist, is some sort of psychic leech. Daniel Kayson takes the story of Daniel and the writing on the wall and sets it in a modern corporate setting, rife with sinister dealings and spiritual treachery in “Babylon’s Burning.”

In “As if Favorites of Their God,” by Christi Krug, King Saul pays a visit to a witch to communicate to the prophet Samuel. “Psalm of the Second Body,” by Catherynne Valente, is the fourth in line and my absolute favorite. The language of this piece is flawless, a sweet hybrid of prose and narrative that I loved. Non-conformist writing. It defies description and must simply be read, a commandment.

Take a measure of Mad Max futurism and mix liberally with prophets, the damned, and revenge and you have Elissa Malcohn’s, “Judgement at Naioth.” In “Judith & Holofernes,” Romie Scott gives us the premise of endless beheadings. A darkly humorous tale.

Lyda Morehouse appears via the tale “Jawbone of An Ass,” a bitter story of domestic non-bliss and unspoken gods. And what has to be the most inspired craziness in the book, Stephen M. Wilson has crafted “Swallowed,” a glorious mutation of Jonah and the “whale” swirling with Lovecraftian nightmares, parasitic twins and deviant sexual appetite. The closer is D.K. Thompson’s “Last Respects,” a unique vampire tale, delivering smooth nostalgia and heartfelt sentiment.

Lieder knows what he likes and it is nothing close to traditional, and that is one of the many things I like about the guy. This is an ambitious anthology, one that could easily alienate a section of the book-buying market, the ones who eschew anything biblical. And sadly, it would be their loss. On the other hand, it brings a dark little smile to my lips thinking of all the Flanders out there who may see this title somewhere and assume it is of the “Left Behind” ilk, spiritual but sanitized to the point of blandness. This is a splendid collection, full of fresh ideas and images that will play in your mind long after the story has been read.

This can be ordered directly from here from Dybbuk Press.

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Double Dose of Horror: Two New Reviews

Two new reviews of issue #3 have appeared online recently. The first was done by Nick Cato and you can read it here on the Horror Fiction Review.

The other was done by Darkeva. You can find that review here on Horror World.

Thanks, guys!

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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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