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Brief Flight of “Thunderbird” and the Death of DarkFuse

Brief Flight of “Thunderbird” and the Death of DarkFuse


Our short story “Thunderbird” was published in DarkFuse Magazine as part 7 of their online EROTIKOS series on August 7, 2017. The story was also slated to appear in a collectible hardcover edition of EROTIKOS, which would eventually have been released in a boxed set along with the other volumes of the series.

Alas, it was not meant to be.

“Thunderbird” was available for approximately two weeks before the recent announcement that, after eight months of financial trouble, DarkFuse has filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy. All stories have been removed from the site, and rights to all of our DarkFuse works have reverted back to us.

This is not the first time we’ve been through this. The world of independent publishing is a fickle game. In the early 2000’s, myriad small presses sprang up, only to die before they published more than a handful of titles, if any. The climate was different then. There was an uptick in horror sales. Shocklines was the independent retail juggernaut for all things underground horror, and many horror authors did well. Leisure was publishing mass market horror novels again. It’s wasn’t exactly another horror boom, but things definitely improved for a while. During those years, Delirium Books, run by Shane Staley, was a leader in the small press market, publishing limited hardcover editions by many successful writers. Getting published by Delirium was a dream of ours. From the very beginning, every communication I had with Shane was purely professional, even when that communication was a rejection letter.

Fast forward to March 2011, when I received a call at work from Larry Roberts. The previous year, our novella BLACK MERCY FALLS had been accepted by Larry for a limited hardcover release from Bloodletting Press. He was calling to let us know that he was shifting his focus to work on Miskatonic Books. My heart sank and my stomach dropped. Did I mention we had been through this a few times before? The disappointment was premature. He had talked to Shane about the book; Shane had read it and agreed to take it on as a part of his new novella line. He would honor the terms of our contract, including the advance, which was very good for a novella. It was a roller coaster discussion, down and straight up. We were finally going to have a book published by Delirium.  It only took 11 years to break into that market (albeit via fairly unconventional means).

Things moved fast after that. Shane reached out to us, we signed new contracts with the same terms. He accepted a second novella from us, SORROW CREEK, which was published the following year. I finally sold him a story for a Delirium anthology, HORRORWIRED 2. And then came the news that he was restructuring, shutting down Delirium Books, and starting a new company, DarkFuse. To make an already long story somewhat less lengthy — he picked up my story for a new anthology, accepted a new novella from me, and another new novella from Angeline and me, ELDERWOOD MANOR, which received great reviews and reached our widest audience yet. He also rejected three other novellas before accepting a novelette and short story just prior to the end.

Some authors online are feeling burned by the bankruptcy. One author posted on Facebook that he had “no idea why so many people were singing this guy’s praises.”

Here’s why.

Shane dealt with us professionally in every regard. We were always paid on time, in the full amounts we were due. We were provided professionally generated royalty statements that gave us sales numbers for the applicable time periods. Payments arrived on timelines promised. Our submissions were tracked and responded to in a timely manner, whether they were acceptances or rejections. The books had high quality cover art, and we always received boxes of author copies well in advance of release dates. Books were published on time. We worked with Dave Thomas as editor on most of our work, and developed a lasting professional relationship and friendship with someone who believed in our work and supported us in every way. Shane himself replied to queries on any number of subjects promptly and cordially.

These reasons alone put our experiences with DarkFuse in the golden category.

We’ve seen a lot in independent publishing. As of this writing, it’s kind of staggering to realize we’ve been working with small press and independent publishers for 17 years. After almost 20 years, our personal experiences with stupendous levels of unprofessionalism and just plain bad luck could fill a book. The good guys are few and far between. Hence, I feel it necessary to point out that our experiences with Delirium Books and DarkFuse were among the best so far. We’re very sorry to see them go.

“Lover When You Need Me, Wither When You’re Gone” and Other Story News

“Lover When You Need Me, Wither When You’re Gone” and Other Story News


The latest Fulbright & Hawkes story, a 10,000-word novelette, “Lover When You Need Me, Wither When You’re Gone” sold to DarkFuse Magazine and will appear online for VIP readers April 7, 2017, so we hope people will visit the site and check it out.

Another Fulbright & Hawkes story, “Thunderbird” sold to Dave Thomas for his DarkFuse anthology series Erotikos. Our story will appear in Erotikos #2, but the first installment in the series is currently on sale here.

Yet another Fulbright & Hawkes tale, “Strange Gods” will appear in the Crystal Lake Publishing anthology, C.H.U.D. Lives!, the first officially licensed anthology with stories based on the 1980s cult horror film.

Angeline’s short horror story “The Keeping of Eleanor May” is the lead story in Issue #2 of Skelos: The Journal of Weird Fiction and Dark Fantasy, on sale now. Christopher’s pulp horror story “Curse of the Dripping Blade” sold to Skelos Press and is slated to appear in the third issue. The guys at Skelos Press are working hard, so please check them out and offer some support for their publications.

Please subscribe to our blog or follow us on Twitter for updates, and thanks for your support!

Early Reviews for ELDERWOOD MANOR

Early Reviews for ELDERWOOD MANOR

Some nice reviews are starting to roll in for our upcoming novella from DarkFuse, ELDERWOOD MANOR.

“A very dark and atmospheric horror novella with strong undertones of H.P. Lovecraft. The story took me back to the way horror was approached a long time ago … there is evil here. Everyone knows that it is there. The problem is that no one, either in the story or the reader, seems to know exactly what that evil is. This makes it even more frightening and is a subtlety often missing from modern horror … very scary.” —Josef Hernandez for The Examiner

“This short novella is packed to the brim with great atmosphere, strange creatures, and wall-to-wall scares.” —Nick Cato, editor of The Horror Fiction Review

“If you are looking for something that keeps you turning the pages quickly and that will creep you out in many ways, I highly recommend this.” —On Top Down Under Book Reviews

Reviewers with NetGalley accounts may request the novella by clicking here.

The book is scheduled to be released July 15, 2014 in hardcover and eBook editions. To pre-order the Kindle edition at a 15% discount, click here.

Keep checking back for more news as we roll into the summer. As always, thanks for your support!

DarkFuse Accepts ELDERWOOD MANOR for 2014 Release

DarkFuse Accepts ELDERWOOD MANOR for 2014 Release

DarkFuse-logoWe’re pleased to announce that we signed a contact last week with DarkFuse to publish our new novella, ELDERWOOD MANOR.

In the company’s previous life as Delirium Books, they published our novellas BLACK MERCY FALLS and SORROW CREEK, the treatments of which we were mighty pleased.  The limited hardcover editions of those books are sold out, but they’re still available in digital formats through the links on our books page if you’d like to check them out.

ELDERWOOD MANOR is scheduled for publication in July 2014 in signed limited edition hardcover and digital editions. More news on the book will be forthcoming closer to release.  (Please sign up for our newsletter if you’d like to get news of our future book publications right in your inbox.  We only send out newsletters when new books or published — no excessive spam!)

We’re grateful to be working with the DarkFuse team and look forward to people reading this latest work. We think you’ll like it!

As always, thanks to our readers for their support.