Brian Kirk

A Journey of the Imagination

Tag: GUTTED: Beautiful Horror Stories

“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

Going Beneath the Lake

I was fortunate to be invited as a guest on the inaugural Beneath the Lake Podcast for Crystal Lake Publishing, along with host and author, Todd Keisling, the esteemed editors for the hot new horror anthology, Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories, and fellow contributor and dear friend, Mercedes M. Yardley.

We talk about our stories and beauty in horror and a bunch of other things, but my favorite part is the beginning where we tear a hole in time and space, unleashing a strange dirge of satanic verse (fitting for a horror podcast). As a funny aside, this was host Todd Keislings’ first live show, and it was awesome to watch him sweat as things go astray knowing the publisher was watching with keen interest. Fortunately, he righted the ship and it was mostly smooth sailing from there.

CLICK HERE to watch the recorded episode. Hope you enjoy it!

Crystal Lake Podcast

 

Guest on The Darkness Dwells Podcast

Gutted

I was recently a guest on The Darkness Dwells Podcast talking about my latest story in the Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories anthology, why mental illness and creativity are often intertwined, and what makes horror writers some of the happiest people on the planet. I hope you’ll check it out.

CLICK HERE to Listen

While there, be sure to check out the recent episodes from fellow GUTTED contributors Mercedes Murdock Yardley, Damien Angelica Walters, and Ramsey Campbell as well. Enjoy!

I Got Interviewed for GUTTED

I have a new short story titled “Picking Splinters from a Sex Slave” in Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories, an anthology comprised of New York Times bestselling authors Clive Barker, Neil Gaiman, and Ramsey Campbell, and some of the genre’s top emerging voices, Paul Tremblay, Josh Malerman, Mercedes M. Yardley, and more.

Praise for the collection has been extremely high, with many professional critics calling attention to my story in particular, which is certainly nice to see, especially considering the company. Here is the illustration that accompanies the story, followed by a sample of what critics have said:

Splinters

Art 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

Author and book reviewer A.E. Siraki also had some kind things to say about the story in her review of the book, and offered to interview me to learn what inspired the story. Read The Full Interview Here.

Gutted

Thanks so much to the early readers for their kinds words. It’s a great book that I’m honored to be a part of. CLICK HERE to check it out.

First Review of My Latest Story

New story alert! My next work of fiction is coming out June 24th in the anthology, GUTTED: Beautiful Horror Stories, alongside some of my favorite authors, including Clive Barker, Neil Gaiman, Ramsey Campbell, Mercedes M. Yardley, Paul Tremblay, John FD Taff, Josh Malerman and more. The line up is ridiculous, and I feel fortunate to be included.

gutted

In addition to feeling fortunate, I was feeling anxious about how my story would stack up against this all-star line up. The editors gave me a boost of confidence when they placed my story, “Picking Splinters from a Sex Slave,” in the lead spot (and yes, the story is every bit as harrowing as it sounds). And then the first advance review hit, which boosted my confidence even more.

Here’s a snippet:

Which leads into what I think is the best story in the book: Brian Kirk’s “Picking Splinters From a Sex Slave.” That story 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.

“Splinters” is followed by Lisa Mannetti and then Neil Gaiman. Both stories are good — not pedestrian, but are overshadowed by the excellence of Kirk’s piece.

Whew. Big sigh of relief. Looks like I might actually belong.

Here’s a description of the book, followed by a link to the full review. It’s going to be a doozy. I hope you’ll check it out.

A series of stories that explores the tension between beauty and horror, wonder and terror, sorrow and transcendence. It’s a book of scars, regret and loneliness. But through it all, it’s a book where hope can still exist and beauty can still thrive. This is GUTTED: Beautiful Horror Stories.

CLICK HERE to read the full review.

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