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Welcome to the “Behind the Shadows” series of blog posts, where every week or so we will share a peek inside the minds of our authors and learn about the stories behind the stories. This week, Stephanie M. Wytovich breaks down the creative process that shaped her poem, “The 21st Century Shadow.


Writing “The 21st Century Shadow” was a challenge for me, but one I had a lot of fun with. While I read Lovecraft, I don’t necessarily write with a Lovecraftian edge, so I had to go back and familiarize myself with his stories again, and then readjust my style for this piece. When it comes to writing poetry, the first thing I do is write down a list of words associated with the piece that I want to write. In this particular case, I was researching and analyzing the mythos in relation to the ocean, so once I had a list, I started to spin my vision of a boy being sacrificed and accepted by the sea.

“The Shadow Over Innsmouth” has always been one of my favorite stories and I wanted to create something that played with the mythos of the Deep Ones while still balancing out themes of madness and paranoia. The little boy in my poem draws from the characterization of Lovecraft’s narrator, Robert Olmstead, while my old woman is a comparison to his Zadok Allen. Keeping with themes that are synonymous with Lovecraftian horror, I wanted to isolate the boy and place him a situation where he had no control, in a town that was already corrupt.

I surprised myself with how much fun I had writing the transformation scene because I traded in the blood and guts I usually work with and exchanged them instead for starfish and shells. To me, one of the scariest parts of the ocean is never knowing what’s beneath you, but also knowing that no matter how terrifying it is, that there is still a grotesque beauty to it. Pair that up with some mythical gods that have a taste for revenge and that, my friends, became the recipe for “The 21st Century Shadow.”

– Stephanie


Stephanie M. Wytovich is the Poetry Editor for Raw Dog Screaming Press, a book reviewer for Nameless Magazine, and a well-known coffee addict. She is a member of the Science Fiction Poetry Association and a graduate of Seton Hill University’s MFA program for Writing Popular Fiction. Her Bram Stoker nominated poetry collection, HYSTERIA, can be found alongside her second release, Mourning Jewelry, at Follow Wytovich at and on twitter @JustAfterSunset.

Stephanie’s poem appears in Shadows Over Main Street from Hazardous Press, available now:

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Welcome to the “Behind the Shadows” series of blog posts, where every week or so we will share a peek inside the minds of our authors and learn about the stories behind the stories. This week, Tim Curran peels back the facade of small-town America and talks inspiration for his story, “The Thing with a Thousand Legs.”


In the American collective consciousness, we have an idealized portrait of the small town of yore as an idyllic place of soda fountains, quaint barbershops, parades, brass bands in the park, charming country churches, freckle-faced children carving pumpkins, and cantankerous oldsters sweeping the walks. Here you can know your neighbor, the streets are clean, the air is fresh, and the grass grows high and green. There may be a stratum of truth to this, though much of it is the result of pervasive pop culture—everything from Mayberry RFD to Norman Rockwell—and a goodly amount of nostalgia for what never really was and romanticizing about what could never be.

When I sat down to write “The Thing with a Thousand Legs” I was very much aware of how, as a people, we want our small towns to be and how, in fact, they really are. Having grown up in such a place, I knew that while they were pretty on the surface there was often a dark seam of hypocrisy and intolerance beneath. I decided that was the very underpinning of my story—the beauty above and the rot below, the handsome mask a small town shows the world and the grinning, toothless hag cackling underneath. In my story, Tobias Wormwell is not only born to the wrong family but doing a job that the good, clean, decent folk of Cobb Town find beneath their dignity. He is a rag picker that lives in the local dump and whose family’s grim history is tied up with that of the town itself. He is an unpleasant reminder of the town’s true past, its rigid class structure and narrow-minded gentility. He knows where the bodies are buried and which trees were used for hanging. He mars the view of the town’s rose-colored glasses and they hate him for it. And, for this very reason, he decides the time has come for them to stare deep into the mirror of their own souls, to strip away the pretense and confront the macabre truth of their ancestry. Evil is as evil does.

– Tim



Tim Curran hails from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. He is the author of the novels Skin Medicine, Hive, Dead Sea, Resurrection, Hag Night, The Devil Next Door, Long Black Coffin, Graveworm, Skull Moon, Nightcrawlers, and Biohazard. His short stories have been collected in Bone Marrow Stew and Zombie Pulp. His novellas include Fear Me, The Underdwelling, The Corpse King, Puppet Graveyard, Sow, Leviathan, Worm, and Blackout. His short stories have appeared in such magazines as City Slab, Flesh&Blood, Book of Dark Wisdom, and Inhuman, as well as anthologies such as Dead Bait, Shivers IV, World War Cthulhu, and, In the Court of the Yellow King. His fiction has been translated into German, Japanese, and Italian. Find him on Facebook at:
And on the web at:

Tim’s story appears in Shadows Over Main Street from Hazardous Press, available now:

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Welcome to the “Behind the Shadows” series of blog posts, where every week we will share a peek inside the minds of our authors and learn about the stories behind the stories. This week, Richard Thomas gives some insight into the mindspace he had to get into for his story, “White Picket Fences.”


I know very little about H.P. Lovecraft, but who hasn’t seen pictures of Cthulhu? In doing research for my story, what appealed to me most were the ideas of the unknown, the use of viscous materials, the feeling of detachment, even misanthropy, helplessness and hopelessness, unanswered questions, and the fragility of sanity—the prospect of the surreal washing over you, and rendering you incapable of coping.

When you add in the extra challenge of setting it in the 1950s/1960s, I thought I might not be able to get it right. I struggled to find my own way to interpret the setting back in those days. I looked at several authors and stories that resonated with me, that showed me the surreal, the horrific in atypical ways. I re-read “The Swimmer” by John Cheever to get a sense of the mundane pushed up against the strange. I re-read “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been,” by Joyce Carol Oates, which is a really tense story, the horror and violence of the unhinged neighbor, the dark friend, coming home to roost. I re-read T.C. Boyle’s “Greasy Lake” and I tried to pick up on the language, the clothes, and the habits.

In the end, I tried my best to write a story that was still my own voice, something my fans and friends would still recognize, and then superimpose the world of Lovecraft over the top of it all, weave it in, tapping into those elements the best I could, to pay my respects to a master storyteller. The ending is a strange one, and I think it’s the kind of emotion and revelation that will hopefully thrill fans of Lovecraft’s vision, horror, and language.

– Richard


Richard Thomas is the author of six books—Disintegration, The Breaker, Transubstantiate, Herniated Roots, Staring Into the Abyss and The Soul Standard. His over 100 stories in print include Cemetery Dance, PANK, Gargoyle, Weird Fiction Review, Midwestern Gothic, Arcadia, Qualia Nous, Chiral Mad 2, and Shivers VI. He is also the editor of three anthologies out in 2014: The New Black (Dark House Press), The Lineup: 25 Provocative Women Writers (Black Lawrence Press) and Burnt Tongues (Medallion Press) with Chuck Palahniuk. In his spare time he writes for The Nervous Breakdown, LitReactor, and is Editor-in-Chief at Dark House Press. For more information visit or contact Paula Munier at Talcott Notch.

Richard’s story appears in Shadows Over Main Street from Hazardous Press, available now:

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Welcome to the “Behind the Shadows” series of blog posts, where every week we will share a peek inside the minds of our authors and learn about the stories behind the stories. This week, Cameron Suey gets into the the apocalyptic inspiration behind his story, “The Crisis.”


When I was asked to submit a story to Shadows Over Main Street, the first thing I did was a little dance, as I had been watching the project take shape with a mixture of interest and envy. The second thing I did was run my idea by the editors: I knew I wanted to write about the midcentury event that weighed heaviest on my imagination, the Cuban Missile Crisis. I knew a global geopolitical event wasn’t exactly the small town vibe the editors were shooting for, but having heard my family’s recollections of that October, I was confident I could tell that far reaching story from a much smaller viewpoint.

Of course, a writer feeling confident is just a prelude to a writer feeling like a total failure, and I quickly realized that I lacked the historical knowledge beyond my family’s vague apocalyptic recollections. I normally research basic details before I write, but for this story, I carefully planned out the timeline of actual history, and where I wanted to diverge into the supernatural. While most of the hard details of the Crisis were planed away in subsequent drafts as I focused on the human drama, I can still see the solid backbone of fact that, I hope, gives this story a cold grounding before the madness begins. I also spent an unusually obsessive amount of time visiting the small town of Plattsmouth on Google maps, plotting the locations of each house, the local Air Force Base, and Rebecca’s desperate night time bike ride, keeping as close as I could to the actual layout of the town.

In the end, I needed that grounding in reality in order to justify the story’s conclusion. In our world, that Saturday night in October marked the darkest point of the Crisis, as the powers that be rapidly moved towards resolution the following morning. In my world, (where I owe a debt to the incredible weird fiction that came from the wellspring of Lovecraft and his contemporaries) it’s only the beginning.

– Cameron


Cameron Suey is a California native living in San Francisco with his wife (who can occasionally be convinced to edit his work, as long as it’s not too gross) and daughter. He works as a writer in the games industry, and along with several other talented writers, won the WGA Award for Videogame Writing in 2009 for “Star Wars: The Force Unleashed.” His work has appeared on the Pseudopod Podcast, several anthologies including A Quick Bite of Flesh and Horrific History, and was featured in the first issue of Jamais Vu: The Journal of Strange Among the Familiar. He can be found on the web at, where he writes about writing, horror, and other influences, and on twitter as @josefkstories.

Cameron’s story appears in Shadows Over Main Street from Hazardous Press, available now:

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Welcome to the “Behind the Shadows” series of blog posts, where every week we will share a peek inside the minds of our authors and learn about the stories behind the stories. This week, James Chambers shares the vision for Knicksport, the setting for his story, “Odd Quahogs.”


Why Knicksport?

Allen Koszowski asked me that question when I wrote my first Knicksport story, “Refugees,” which he published in Allen K’s Inhuman magazine in 2004. Allen liked the name, but it reminded him of Kingsport, which Lovecraft first wrote of in “The Terrible Old Man” but which may be best known as the setting of “The Festival.” Why not simply set my story in that existing piece of Lovecraftian real estate, Allen wondered. A fair point. My answer was that, like some other authors playing in the Lovecraftian sandbox, I wanted to stake out, on Long Island, my own parcel of Lovecraft country, and that Knicksport, while sounding suitably Lovecraftian, derived its name from one of New York’s nicknames, “The Knickerbocker State.”

The setting held a deeper purpose, though.

What most interests me about writing Lovecraftian fiction is translating Lovecraft’s ideas to eras, settings, and social contexts other than those about which Lovecraft wrote. I wanted the freedom to stray from Arkham, Dunwich, Innsmouth, Kingsport, and the Miskatonic River—but without severing all ties to those classic locations.

Knicksport provided the perfect means to do that.

The town, loosely framed after my hometown of Northport, is actually an amalgam of several towns in the area, all of which share a key trait in common. During the Colonial Era, they were part of a region that—despite being on Long Island—lay under the governance of the New England colonies, linking them indelibly (in my opinion, anyway) to true Lovecraft Country—plus at least one witch was executed there, lending them a touch of that particular horror that shaded the history of their neighbors across the Long Island Sound, a history Lovecraft often drew upon for his stories. It also placed my town geographically near enough to New York City to open up a trove of story possibilities.

Allen liked my rationale well enough to go with Knicksport for the story.

Ten years later, I’m glad he did.

At the time I wrote “Refugees,” I had no plans to go back to Knicksport, but I have returned several times since. Most ambitiously in The Engines of Sacrifice, my collection of four, Lovecraftian novellas, which share Knicksport as a common thread. Each one takes place in a different time period, from the early 1970s to the far future, painting a sketchy sort of Lovecraftian history for the town and hinting at a deeper, more expansive horror lurking beneath the surface. Most recently, “Odd Quahogs,” my story in Shadows Over Main Street, took me back there, this time to Raker’s, a bar down by the harbor, to tell the tale of two Korean War veterans, one turned bayman, and the other, bar owner, in the late 1950s. Another slice of Knicksport’s Lovecraftian legacy, which dates to around 1930, shortly after the horrific events told of in “The Shadow Over Innsmouth.”

In The Engines of Sacrifice, each tale gravitates around a particular Old One: Azathoth, Shub-Niggurath, Nyarlathotep, and Cthulhu. Each one also shifts the Mythos to a particular, social or cultural niche of the time period: New York City’s witchcraft subculture of the 60s and 70s, early 80s horror comics, mid-80’ Cold War secret researchers, and a future network of underground speculative writers. When the germ of the idea for “Odd Quahogs” came to me, I decided to bring yet another Lovecraftian entity to town and cast it against the social undercurrents of the time. The result, “Odd Quahogs,” is a snapshot of Knicksport, where spoken and unspoken social barriers shape people’s everyday existence, and everyone lives in the shadows of dark forces, both human and inhuman.

Unlike when I wrote “Refugees,” however, when I finished “Odd Quahogs,” I knew I’d be returning to Knicksport. A couple of trips there are already planned.

More darkness to discover. More secrets to expose.

The town’s not done with me yet.

– James


James Chambers’ tales of horror, crime, fantasy, and science fiction have been published in numerous anthologies, collections, and magazines. Publisher’s Weekly described The Engines of Sacrifice, his collection of four Lovecraftian-inspired novellas, as “chillingly evocative.” His other works include the novella Three Chords of Chaos, The Dead Bear Witness and Tears of Blood (the first two novellas in the Corpse Fauna series), and the story collections Resurrection House and The Midnight Hour: Saint Lawn Hill and Other Tales. His stories have appeared in the award-winning Bad-Ass Faeries and Defending the Future anthology series as well as Allen K’s Inhuman, The Avenger: Roaring Heart of the Crucible, Bare Bone, Chiral Mad 2, Clockwork Chaos, Deep Cuts, Fantastic Futures 13, The Green Hornet Chronicles, In an Iron Cage, The Spider: Extreme Prejudice, To Hell in a Fast Car, Truth or Dare?, Qualia Nous, Walrus Tales, With Great Power, and many others. He is online at

James’s story appears in Shadows Over Main Street from Hazardous Press, available now:

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Welcome to the “Behind the Shadows” series of blog posts, where every week we will share a peek inside the minds of our authors and learn about the stories behind the stories. This week, Brian Hodge talks about the dark inspiration for his story, “This Stagnant Breath of Change.”


Horror and crime and whatever it is that David Lynch does nail it best: Small towns may look placid, even idyllic, on the surface, but more often than not, they’re festering underneath.


Just the other day, I saw — I wish I recalled where — the summary of a study concluding that, despite all the fears directed at the big bad city, you’re more likely to be murdered in a small town. The worst murders I’ve ever heard about took place in a tiny town twelve miles from the one I grew up in, and still lived at the time. They haunted me for the twelve years they went unsolved. They did not happen in a vacuum; they were the worst in an aberrantly bloody time. A few years ago, I wrote an essay about them, and the era they emerged out of, for a book benefiting the West Memphis Three … victims of another multi-layered small town nightmare whose extended cast of characters would strain credulity if you tried to pass them off as fiction.


So I found the idea of placing a Lovecraftian story in a retro small town setting instantly appealing. I loved the juxtaposition of the comfortably familiar and the unfathomably alien.


But the more I tossed around ideas, the more I felt compelled to not just use the small town setting, but try to pry away at the reverence American culture has for them in the first place. What better vehicle for this than a town that not only hasn’t changed, but can’t?


We excel at conjuring up Golden Age nostalgia that celebrates what’s genuinely good about small towns by overlooking everything about them that wasn’t worth preserving. For instance, the legacy of what have been called “sundown towns” … that is: If you have the wrong color skin, you may get away with walking our streets in daylight, but make sure you’re gone by evening. I grew up a few miles from one of those, too; spoke to people who remembered seeing the sign along the road in.


Even more crucial was getting at how the good old days were really the province of the good old boys, with their networks and a vested interest in preserving the status quo, so everything remained ripe for the picking. Which, to me, is the real relevance for today, as Main Street scales up to Wall Street.


I tapped quite a few memories of where I came from to weave into “This Stagnant Breath of Change,” and they were good ones. I hope that comes through. Just the same, I was reminded of Hemingway’s subtly barbed comment on St. Louis: that it was a good place to be from.


– Brian


Brian Hodge accepted his destiny as a writer early, when as a preschooler he used to scribble on scraps of wood and affix them to unsuspecting trees. Eventually he learned the alphabet, which proved to be an enormous help.

He is now the award-winning author of eleven novels spanning horror, crime, and historical; close to 120 shorter works; and five full-length collections. His first collection, The Convulsion Factory, was ranked by critic Stanley Wiater among the 113 best books of modern horror.

Recent and forthcoming titles include Whom the Gods Would Destroy and The Weight of the Dead, both standalone novellas; Worlds of Hurt, an omnibus edition of the first four works in his Misbegotten mythos; an updated hardcover edition of Dark Advent, his early post-apocalyptic epic; Who We Are In The Dark, his next collection; and his next novel, Leaves of Sherwood.

He lives in Colorado, where mountain air and brewpubs keep everything in the works. He also explores music, sound design, and photography; loves everything about organic gardening except the thieving squirrels; and trains in Krav Maga and kickboxing, which are of no use at all against the squirrels.

Brian’s story appears in Shadows Over Main Street from Hazardous Press, available now:

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We are thrilled and honored to see that so many contributing authors to Shadows have been named Bram Stoker Award nominees this year. So we offer our congratulations to authors Josh Malerman, Rena Mason, Lucy A. Snyder, Richard Thomas and Stephanie M. Wytovich who all made the final ballot! To celebrate, we have lowered the price on the Kindle version of Shadows Over Main Street to 99 cents for the next few days. So if you were on the fence about picking up a copy, this is your chance to take the plunge into the shadows!

“Shadows Over Main Street is a masterful blend of stories fit for both die-hard Lovecraft fans and readers new to the genre. Each and every tale is wickedly delicious.” –Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author of Fall of Night and V-Wars.

Click here to grab yours today!

Welcome to the “Behind the Shadows” series of blog posts, where every week we will share a peek inside the minds of our authors and learn about the inspirations behind their contributions. This week, Lucy A. Snyder talks about her approach to her story, “The Abomination of Fensmere” and where we might see her protagonist in the future.


When I was writing “The Abomination of Fensmere”, I wanted to meld a Lovecraftian setting and atmosphere with a more modern Southern gothic tale. I also thought it would be an interesting challenge to drop a young, Nancy Drew-reading protagonist into a world of cults, madness, and cosmic horrors.


My protagonist Penny took hold of my imagination and I wrote a direct sequel for Caelano Press’ The Court of the Yellow King entitled “The Girl With the Star-Stained Soul”. As you might guess, that story ties in with Robert Chambers’ King in Yellow mythos.


Using those two stories as a jumping-off point, I’m partway through a young adult novel featuring Penny and all the horrors she has to survive in a fateful summer down in Fensmere, Mississippi.


– Lucy


Lucy A. Snyder is the Bram Stoker Award-winning author of the novels Spellbent, Shotgun Sorceress, Switchblade Goddess, and the collections Orchid Carousals, Sparks and Shadows, Chimeric Machines, and Installing Linux on a Dead Badger. She’s had two new books out in 2014: Shooting Yourself in the Head For Fun and Profit: A Writer’s Survival Guide from Post Mortem Press, and her story collection Soft Apocalypses from Raw Dog Screaming Press. Her writing has been translated into French, Russian, and Japanese editions and has appeared in publications such as Apex Magazine, Nightmare Magazine, Jamais Vu, Pseudopod, Strange Horizons, Weird Tales, Dark Faith, Chiaroscuro, GUD, and Best Horror of the Year, Vol. 5.She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband and occasional co-author Gary A. Braunbeck and is a mentor in Seton Hill University’s MFA program in Writing Popular Fiction. You can learn more about her at

Lucy’s story appears in Shadows Over Main Street from Hazardous Press, available now:

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As proof that you sometimes can something for nothing, Hazardous Press is offering a Goodreads giveaway of Shadows Over Main Street! We have 5 books up for grabs for 5 lucky winners and the giveaway ends on February 14th. It could be a nice Valentine’s Day gift. Because we all know nothing says I love you like 280 pages of mind-bending cosmic horror poetry, fiction and art.


Enter to win below and then maybe on Valentine’s Day, you will be able to wrap your tentacles around your sweetheart and show them just how much they mean to you.


Goodreads Book Giveaway

Shadows Over Main Street by Doug Murano

Shadows Over Main Street

by Doug Murano

Giveaway ends February 14, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Welcome to the “Behind the Shadows” series of blog posts, where every week we will share a peek inside the minds of our authors and learn about the inspirations behind their contributions. This week, we check in with Josh Malerman on his story, “A Fiddlehead Party on Carpenter’s Farm.”


We’re all excited by the prospect of a new monster. Something rotten that’s never been seen before, the story of a beast that’s never been told. And yet, we’re all watchful: How hard are they trying to do something different? Too hard? And does that show? Us horror fans are always rooting for the writer imagining these fresh scares, but we’re not without our limits. A haunted filing cabinet, though fun, possibly doesn’t sound scary enough. A mother who dresses up as a father who dresses up as a mother might sound better but maybe that’s a bit too convoluted for us, too. Or maybe they all work and, fuck it, it’s just a matter of how it’s done. The thing about searching the landscape for new monsters is that you’ve got to read a lot of horror to know the monsters that already exist. And by reading those stories, you can’t help but be influenced by what you’ve read. As joyful as that is… you can see the conundrum. I want to write a story just like she did but nothing like she did at all! So we search… way back… in the best place, that area of you that fell in love with horror to begin with, that place we all leave (all the time, for no good reason) and struggle to find our way back. So far from our birth-site, we’re lost! But we return, always, and once we do we’re like A HA! THIS IS WHERE I GO TO MEET NEW MONSTERS! I’d forgotten all about this place.

For me, that place is sometimes a farm. It’s owned by a man named Carpenter and Carpenter is just discovering that the crops he’s growing aren’t the crops he thinks he’s growing. Rather than beets, he’s growing points of view. Yes, often, if I’m trying to get away from the noise my own wheels make, I seek refuge on Carpenter’s Farm, where there are fields of perspective, fields of mood. And this, I realize, is something that scares me: Growing monsters. Because, of course, states of mind are the most monstrous thing we’ll ever know. I hate myself. There’s a bad one. I’m not as pretty as her, as good as her. That’s a bad one, too. But maybe out there on Carpenter’s Farm I can eat a little Self-Confidence and get rid of those nasty perspectives. Maybe out there I can eat enough Calm to get rid of the shakes. Thing is (and this is the monster, yeah?) you can never be sure which crop you’re eating, even out there in your favorite place, the place you go to seek refuge from the noise your own wheels make. And yet… we’re willing to risk it. I sure as shit am. And so it struck me (and strikes me yet): Perspective is a monster. Mood is scarier than a werewolf. Worldview is more haunting than a ghost. So then can’t I, as horror author, swap them out… or combine the two?

That clicks, for me, out there in the place I was born. Horror-born. And that’s the path I took to writing “A Fiddlehead Party on Carpenter’s Farm.”

The moment I realized my Worry and my Fear are more monstrous than the monsters out here.

– Josh



Josh Malerman is the author of Bird Box and “Ghastle and Yule,” as well as the singer/songwriter for the High Strung. He lives in Ferndale, Michigan with his fiancée Allison Laakko. Learn more about Josh and his work at or follow him on Twitter, @JoshMalerman.

Josh’s story appears in Shadows Over Main Street from Hazardous Press, available now:

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