Brian Kirk

A Journey of the Imagination

Behold! the Bram Stoker Award Winning Anthology

I was shocked to hear that Behold! Oddities, Curiosities and Undefinable Wonders had won the coveted Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in an Anthology. Not because I didn’t feel it was a great book; it is (and I’m not just saying that because it features my story, “Wildflower, Cactus, Rose”).

“Wildflower, Cactus, Rose”

It’s just that the book was up against other anthologies edited by legends of our field. Linda D. Addison, the brilliant poet and recipient of this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Ellen Datlow, who is arguably the most highly regarded editor in the history of horror. Jodi Renee Lester and Alessandro Manzetti who are renowned for putting out quality work. And Jonathan Mayberry and George (MF’n!) Romero, the godfather of the zombie genre.

Here’s a look at the final ballot:

Superior Achievement in an Anthology

  • Brooks, Kinitra, PhD., Addison, Linda D., and Morris, Susana, PhD. – Sycorax’s Daughters (Cedar Grove Publishing)
  • Datlow, Ellen – Black Feathers: Dark Avian Tales: An Anthology (Pegasus Books)
  • Maberry, Jonathan and Romero, George A. – Nights of the Living Dead: An Anthology (St. Martin’s Griffin)
  • Manzetti, Alessandro and Lester, Jodi Renee – The Beauty of Death Vol. 2: Death by Water (Independent Legions Publishing)
  • Murano, Doug – Behold!: Oddities, Curiosities & Undefinable Wonders (Crystal Lake Publishing)

Still… Behold! felt charmed from the beginning. From the initial concept conceived by Doug Murano, to the captivating cover art by John Coulthart, to the quality stories written by some of today’s top talent, the book was a strong contender, albeit an underdog, and is very much deserving of this award.

Congrats to Doug and all the other contributing authors and artists on this award-winning collaboration!

CLICK HERE to learn more about the book and buy a copy, if you feel so inclined.

Contract Signed for Second Novel

Friends! Good news. Now that the contract is signed, I’m happy to say that I have sold my second novel (3rd written) to acclaimed editor Don D’Auria at his new publishing imprint, Flame Tree Press. It’s been a long and winding road between books (a story I’ll soon tell), but I’m happy where it wound up.

The book’s title is a secret for now, though it is due out early next year in all formats. Here are a couple of snippets from two terrific authors who got an early look.

“…a tour-de-force of psychological suspense and terror. It scared the hell out of me.”
–Lisa Mannetti, Bram Stoker Award winner and Shirley Jackson Award finalist, author of THE BOX JUMPER

“Open this book carefully. It might be the last thing you do.”
–Stephanie M. Wytovich, author of The Eighth.

This one’s going to strike a nerve. Stay tuned.

Submerged Beneath the Lake… Again

I was honored to be a guest, once again, on the tenth episode of Crystal Lake Publishing’s Beneath the Lake Podcast to provide some commentary on their latest anthology, Behold! Oddities, Curiosities, and Undefinable Wonders, which includes my story “Wildflower, Cactus, Rose.” Here I provide a little insight into what inspired the story and how it came to be.

The podcast was hosted by author, Todd Keisling, who is one of Crystal Lake Publishing’s rising stars and, along with me, featured the following guests:

Doug Murano, editor of Behold! and other critically acclaimed anthologies, including Shadows Over Mainstream Vol. 1 & 2, and Gutted Beautiful Horror Stories, which was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award last year for best anthology.

Author Erinn L. Kemper who lives on the Caribbean coast in Costa Rica where she writes, runs with her dog on the beach, and drinks ridiculous amounts of coffee, at least until happy hour. Erinn has sold stories to Cemetery Dance magazine, Dark Discoveries and Black Static, and appears in various anthologies including You, Human, Shadows Over Main Street Volume 2, and Chiral Mad 3. Visit her website at erinnkemper.com for updates and sloth sightings.

And author Richard Thomas, who is the award-winning author of seven books—Disintegration and Breaker (Random House Alibi), Transubstantiate, Staring Into the Abyss, Herniated Roots, Tribulations, and The Soul Standard (Dzanc Books). His over 100 stories in print include Cemetery Dance, PANK, storySouth, Gargoyle, Weird Fiction Review, Midwestern Gothic, Arcadia, Qualia Nous, Chiral Mad 2 and 3, and Shivers VI. He is also the editor of four anthologies: The New Black and the Shirley Jackson-nominated Exigencies (Dark House Press), The Lineup: 20 Provocative Women Writers (Black Lawrence Press) and the Bram Stoker Award®-nominated Burnt Tongues (Medallion Press) with Chuck Palahniuk. In his spare time he writes for LitReactor and is editor-in-chief at Gamut Magazine. For more information visit www.whatdoesnotkillme.com.

This was my second time being a guest on this podcast. The first time was to talk about my contribution in Gutted Beautiful Horror Stories, and that episode can be viewed HERE.

Thanks for checking it out. Hope you enjoy it.

The New Video Trailer for Behold!

The team at Crystal Lake Publishing has produced a video trailer for Behold: Oddities, Curiosities, and Undefinable Wonders that captures the quirky personality of the book.

Not only does this anthology contain my latest story, “Wildflower, Cactus, Rose,” it features fiction from some of the most exciting contemporary authors, including Neil Gaiman, Clive Barker, Ramsey Campbell, Lisa Morton, Lucy A. Snyder, and more, with a forward by Josh Malerman.

Thanks, I’m excited about this one. I hope you’ll check it out.

Artwork Reveal for “Wildflower, Cactus, Rose”

The artwork for my upcoming story “Wildflower, Cactus, Rose” was released yesterday, and it is stunning. It captures the defiant attitude of the mother in the story, who is working to establish a new self identity after a botched surgery leaves her disfigured.

Many thanks to Luke Spooner at Carrion House for creating such a striking work of art. The story will appear in Behold: Oddities, Curiosities and Undefinable Wonders, which includes stories by Clive Barker, Neil Gaiman, Ramsey Campbell, Lucy A. Snyder, John F.D. Taff, Richard Thomas, Patrick Freivald, Kristi Demeester, Erinn Kemper, and more, including a forward by Josh Malerman. Look for the book’s release on July 28.

Deep End Interview With Crystal Lake Publishing

Crystal Lake Publishing

The fine folks at Crystal Lake Publishing were kind enough to conduct this in-depth interview with me, where we cover everything from my prior con artist step-father (whom I hope is now doing well) to my aspirations as an author.

CLICK HERE to enjoy.

New Story Announcement

I am thrilled to announce that my latest story has been accepted for publication in a strange and exciting new anthology: Behold! Oddities, Curiosities and Undefinable Wonders.

Behold!

The anthology, edited by Doug Murano, is scheduled to be released through Crystal Lake Publishing on July 24, 2017. While the table-of-contents is still underway, some major names have already been announced, including: Ramsey Campbell, Clive Barker, John F.D. Taff, Kristi DeMeester, Erinn Kemper, and Patrick Freivald. I’ll update as new authors are added.

My story “Wildflower, Cactus, Rose,” is a quirky, and thought-provoking, tale featuring extreme surgery, weaponized beauty, and how self-image shapes the world we see. I can’t wait for its release.

Follow the anthology Facebook page for further news and updates.

“Picking Splinters” Makes the HWA 2016 Reading List

I was pleased to learn that my short story “Picking Splinters From a Sex Slave,” published in the acclaimed Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories anthology, made the 2016 Horror Writer’s Association Recommended Reading List. This list comprises all of the work that was recommended for a Bram Stoker Award® by HWA members.

This story has received quite a bit of praise from industry critics and readers alike, several calling it the strongest in a collection that includes some of my literary idols, such as Neil Gaiman and Clive Barker. Following are some of the things critics have said.

Picking Splinters

Story Illustration by Luke Spooner

“‘Picking Splinters From A Sex Slave’, pulled me/led me/dared me back to the wave of fear and awe and wonder I had upon my initial encounter with words so perfectly placed as to seem alive and moving across the page. In Kirk’s scant few pages of prose, I placed the book down at least four times: to recover, to reflect, to feel. To get it.”
-Unofficial Alan Moore

“Picking Splinters from a Sex Slave by Brian Kirk really sets the tone for this collection. It’s one of the darkest, saddest stories I have ever read, with the father’s inappropriate humor putting a perfect edge on the drama.”
-Beauty In Ruins

“Which leads into what I think is the best story in the book: Brian Kirk’s “Picking Splinters From a Sex Slave”. A story that illustrates what lengths a person might go to to accommodate a loved one, in exquisite detail. The actual tableau is revolting, but the internal logic is inescapable. The tone is perfect.”
-Retrograde A

“One of the strongest stories in the collection, “Picking Splinters from a Sex Slave” by Brian Kirk. Kirk’s portrayal of a father desperate to help his daughter is at once alarming and moving, leaving you with a lingering disquiet.”
-Eden Royce

“Brian Kirk’s “Picking Splinters from A Sex Slave” kicked me upside the head, leaving me truly considering the lengths I would travel to help my own daughter.”
-Bleeding Cool

While making the recommended reading list does not ensure an eventual nomination for the Bram Stoker Award®, it’s still an honor, and I’m grateful to know that this story has made such an impact on readers.

Pick up a copy of Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories if you’d like to check it out.

Gutted

My Favorite Reads of 2016

My reading habits are all over the place. I’ll read modern lit, eastern religion, psychological horror, and old westerns in the same month. Mix them up in my psyche like some mystical stew.

Rarely do I read books the year in which they’re released, so my “Best of the Year” lists are misleading. I do, however, enjoy sharing the books that I found particularly enjoyable in a given year, even if some of the titles have been around for decades or more. I’ve missed them up until now, so maybe someone else has as well.

With that said, following are my ten favorite reads from 2016, listed in alphabetical order. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

I’d love to see what you’re reading. Please post your favorites in the comments, or friend me on Goodreads so we can exchange recommendations. Here’s to another year of great literature in 2017!

A Brief Introduction

Hi, and thanks for visiting my site. I wanted to provide a brief introduction to anyone who may be visiting for the first time.

I am a Bram Stoker Award-nominated author of dark thrillers and psychological suspense. My debut novel, We Are Monsters, was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a First novel, and has received the following praise from authors and industry critics. Film rights for a movie adaptation were purchased by Executive Producer, Jason Shuman.

My short fiction has been published in many notable magazines and anthologies, most recently Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories, where professional critics have called my story the strongest among an all-star cast that includes multiple New York Times bestselling authors.

I am currently preparing to pitch two novels:

  1. A new psychological horror novel that casts the reader as a protagonist in a frightening urban legend.
  2. The first novel in a trilogy of dark sci-fi thrillers that integrates virtual reality technology into the story experience.

Please contact me to discuss a project, or just to chat. Thanks for stopping by.

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