Right now, until Sunday, this fine anthology of horror from Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing is only 99c at Amazon! I was lucky enough to get the inside scoop from some of the writers on their stories and you can read them below. I have also attached the Luke Spooner artwork that accompanies each story in the anthology. I will be posting some more tomorrow but in the meantime I hope you enjoy these insights. Don’t forget to grab a copy for less than a buck!
Sharks with Thumbs
David James Keaton
“Sharks with Thumbs,” is sort of a love story between a boy and his fly, and it was based on a couple ideas, first and foremost being my attempt to update John Cheever’s 1947 short story “The Enormous Radio.” It’s definitely Cheever’s most Twilight Zone-y piece – where a married couple finds their lives and relationship unraveling when they discover they can hear the conversations and arguments of their neighbors being broadcast through an old radio. And this struck me as a perfect opportunity to substitute a radio for a literal “fly on the wall” because I’m allergic to subtlety. And everyone wants to be a fly on the wall when people are talking smack about them, right? But they probably shouldn’t. Except for Tom Sawyer, when he faked his death and snuck into his own funeral to eavesdrop. That sounded like fun. Also, just like in “Sharks with Thumbs,” my apartment building really did get hit by lightning and most of my television screen turned green. I still have that TV. Worst superhero origin story ever.
Find out more from David James Keaton here.
John C. Foster
Some days you cast your line and reel in a story with a whistle and smile. But on other days you hook a deep swimmer, a story lurking down in the dark and the cold well beyond your ability to see. That was “Armageddon Baby.” As soon as I heard about the LOST SIGNALS anthology I knew it was going to catch the eye of every writer in the biz and I wanted to be counted among them. An idea came to me with relative ease—the hook was sunk—and I started to reel it in.
That’s when I got stuck. No matter how I tried, I couldn’t get this baby up into the boat. The opening was good, the character clear and a nice tone evolving, but I just couldn’t keep writing without the prose going stale maybe a third of the way into the piece.
Months went by. The cut off date for submissions drew nigh. I had shit to show for it and a couple of times I considered telling the publisher that I wouldn’t have a story after all.
But I really liked the opening. When I tapped it with a tuning fork it rang true. With maybe a month left before the due date, I picked the story back up and just let myself rip…and it worked. The atmosphere of the story grew stranger, the month long night in northern Alaska became even more otherworldly. The Inuit women introduced me to their terrifying ritual in the dark and guided my protagonist north, ever north towards his fateful encounter. I’d already been playing with an old Cold War facility and the outdated technology of pressing records, so the idea of the dead man leaving messages on cassette tapes was a perfect retro fit for the story and it gave me a chance to deliver vital information in a quick, strange way while my protagonist undertook the grim tasks set out for him by the man he’d just killed.
“Armageddon Baby” is more sprawling and much stranger than I thought it would be when I first hooked it but it formed itself into what it needed to be and gave me the chance to write a great last line, maybe the best last line I’ve ever written.
Find out more from John C. Foster here.
Something in the Code
The idea for “SOMETHINGINTHECODE” came to me one night after I watched a documentary called Atari: Game Over. It was a 2011 film that explored the old urban legend about the E.T. game from the 80s. Supposedly the game was such an embarrassing flop the bigwigs behind Atari wanted to bury their problem. Literally bury it. Hundreds of thousands of unsold E.T. cartridges were hauled off to a landfill in the middle of nowhere, dumped into a big hole in the ground like the casualties of some secret war, and covered up so no one would ever find them. If you believe the rumors.
I’m a horror writer. So of course my mind took this old urban legend into darker territory.
I asked myself: What if this really happened, but the company that produced some hotly-anticipated videogame erased all signs of its existence for a more sinister reason? What if they covered it up because – due to a glitch in the programming — the game had a harmful effect on the children who played it?
I knew I was onto something really cool. And I knew the story needed to be told in the epistolary format – via podcast transcripts, newspaper and magazine articles, etc. – to give it verisimilitude. I was also pretty sure that my story would give Max and Lori something a lot different from the other submissions sitting in their Lost Signals slush-pile.
I know how to play this game, yo.
I hope I don’t regret it.
Find out more about James Newman here.
Thanks for reading and don’t forget to call back for more Storytellers Lost Signals tomorrow. And don’t forget to pick up a copy for ONLY 99c! here.