announcement: harlan county horrors anthology

I wanted to take the time to make a public announcement…

During the Spring of ’06, Jason Sizemore and I kicked around the idea of creating and publishing a “Harlan County Horror Anthology”. We joked about it at first, then got serious, as in, “Hey, this might work.” We asked a handful of writers to submit story synopses and made plans. But then we hit a glitch and had to drop the project. We were all disappointed.

Well, back in February, Jason and I were chatting about Apex, as we’re prone to do, and I said something along the lines of, “Yeah, I was real disappointed that we had to scratch the Harlan antho.” And he said, “Me too. And so were most of the writers.” I said, “Really?” So we got to talking about it again. Then we decided to do it again. With me in charge. I almost literally tap danced.

So I took his original invitation list, added a few others, and sent out invitations. Almost everyone was eager to jump back onto this wagon, although I had a few turn me down for various reasons (this was expected and accepted). I ended up with a team of very talented individuals all eager to give this project wings. Those individuals are:

Alethea Kontis
Debbie Kuhn
Earl Dean
Geoffrey Girard
Jason Sizemore
Jeremy C. Shipp
Maurice Broaddus
Robby Sparks
Stephanie Lenz
Steven Shrewsbury
TL Trevaskis
Ronald Kelly

Then Jason and I started discussing possible covers and cover art. For a while, we both agreed to stock photography – possibly something from my own collection if I could find something suitable. But then one morning, I caught Mister Sizemore online, and wrote in my sweetest voice, “This may the one and only time I ever could ask to have Billy Tackett create a cover for me.” Jason said, “Ask him.” I almost literally tap danced again. So I wrote Billy, who told me he too had been disappointed when the original project was canceled. He accepted once I told him the deadline for the artwork, which was in acceptable range for him. I did tap dance, I’m fairly certain.

Now, for some background, courtesy of my website and the help of two wonderful folks:

In the dark corners of America, sometimes hidden things remain. Harlan County is one of those corners. With mountains shrouded in forests and fog with still woodlands where sunlight doesn’t light ground, the nights seem darker – with neighbors sometimes a mile or more away. Always bigger than its inhabitants, this land deep in the heart of Kentucky where coal seams the earth and darkness holds sway over the land, Harlan County is locked in an endless struggle to maintain its roots in tradition. Often each community in the county, or even each family, has the appearance like a whole new world, each with its own customs and traditions.

Many people from Harlan County often see and hear things some would call ‘supernatural’. The people take these things in stride, like their forefathers have for generations. These ‘ghost stories’, passed around the dinner table or heating stove, help pass the time and connect the generations. These stories are often fanciful tales, told for generations…but sometimes they are not. Sometimes the tales are new, with the dark fresh in mind for the telling.

I lived in Harlan County for four years; it’s very near and dear to my heart. I am terribly excited about this project and hope you will join me in that excitement!

As of right now, Harlan County Horrors is set for a Fall 2009 release date. I will keep everyone supplied with updates as time moves on – especially as we get closer to our release date.