Mixtape: 1986

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Status: PUBLICATION DAY!

We can’t believe it! Mixtape is out in the world, and it’s all because of you! We want to thank everyone who participated in this project–our backers, contributors, subscribers, colleagues, and friends. You made birthing this book baby an amazing and rewarding experience that has us eager to tackle our next project, Darkness Blooms. We’d love it if you joined us! You can learn more here.

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Backer Appreciation

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One of those nice guys

jonathan duckworth

Karl, a long-haul trucker, is one of those nice guys, but he doesn’t give anyone a lift in his rig anymore. Not after picking up Liz—a vulnerable, hitchhiking teen girl—at a diner off the Llano Estacado. Now, he knows better.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jonathan Louis Duckworth is a completely normal, entirely human person with the right number of heads and everything. He received his MFA from Florida International University. His work appears in Pseudopod, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Southwest Review, Tales to Terrify, Flash Fiction Online, and elsewhere. He is a PhD student at University of North Texas.

Working the graveyard shift

eli Jones

The job’s simple: Pick up the Scout from the rental place. You take the computer. You take any disks and tapes you find. You don’t turn it on. You don’t load any disks. You drive up the 97 and east on the 84; fly out from Kennewick. Five thousand now, another ten upon delivery.

In and out. Should be simple, right? Meyer isn’t so certain, especially after he finds out from the kid at the rental counter that he’s the fourth one to show up for the Scout, and none of the guys who came before ever made it to Kennewick.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eli Jones is a data analyst and speculative fiction writer. When he’s not writing, you can find him shouting at computers, filling 10×10 rooms with orcs and pie, and wondering what being old feels like. He lives in the Cascadia Bioregion with his wife and two children.

just elaine

ali seay

The boardwalk. The beaches. The arcade. Elaine should be having the time of her life on her family’s annual vacation, but she can’t enjoy anything after her twin sister’s death. To make matters worse, she’s managed to get herself into a totally messy situation with an older boy. . .

For the last fifteen plus years, Ali Seay has written professionally under a pen name. Now she’s running amok and writing as herself in the genre she’s always loved the most. Her debut horror novella Go Down Hard came out in 2020 from Grindhouse Press. She lives in Baltimore with her family. Her greatest desire is to own a vintage Airstream and hit the road.

Twitter: @AliSeay11
Instagram: @introvert_fitness

Derailed

Edith Lockwood

Tommy has his future mapped out. He and Marcy are gonna get married. She’ll go to college, he’ll get a job at the plant, they’ll buy a house on Maple Street, have three kids, and drive a station wagon. Unfortunately, their plans go a bit off track when Marcy dies in a grisly accident at a local amusement park. Tommy will stop at nothing to ensure the park owner is held accountable for his negligence.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Edith Lockwood is a harmless little old lady who enjoys baking, quilting, and poisoning her wealthy husbands shortly after her marriages are consummated. Her dislikes include cold weather, prenuptial agreements, and nosy little bitches who ask too many questions. She doesn’t Tweet. #snitchesgetstitches

The neon knight

andrew punzo

If asked about a boy named Herbert Leavenworth Painter, nine-tenths of the town of Valeville would say they’d never heard of him, but at the Kastle Arkade, HLP is a god whose initials sit atop every leaderboard. When a strange new game comes in, HLP’s determined to leave his mark, but it’s the hardest game Herbert’s ever played. Topping the leaderboard just might kill him.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andrew Punzo lives near Newark, New Jersey and works in New York City. His short fiction has appeared on The NoSleep Podcast, and in Shadowy Natures, Every Day Fiction, and other venues.

Latchkey

Amanda Cecelia Lang

Jonah’s struggling to navigate his new reality as a latchkey kid. His dad left and now his mom’s always at work. Plus, They had to move into a cruddy old house. A boy named Billy who went missing last year and is presumed dead used to live there—but Billy isn’t dead. Jonah knows where he’s hiding because the same monsters Billy ran from are now after Jonah, so when the otherwordly “bad things” slink from the shadows at night, Jonah’s been hiding with Billy, in a place where the Bad Things aren’t supposed to be able to find them. Unfortunately, the Bad Things are creeping in, and the busy adults will never believe him. The latchkey kids are on their own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Amanda Cecelia Lang is a horror author and aspiring recluse from Denver, Colorado. She lives with her life partner, two ancient cats, and an ongoing existential crisis. As a scary movie nerd raised by the VCR, her favorite things are slashers, 80s nostalgia, and a fierce final girl. Her horror stories have appeared on The Other Stories podcast, Thirteen podcast, Creepy podcast, and in the bestselling anthologies Night Terrors and The Year’s Best Hardcore Horror. You can stalk her at amandacecelialang.com—just don’t be surprised if she leaps out at you from the shadows.

dots and dashes

shenoa carroll-bradd

This is a story about you and a body left to rot in the woods for thirty years and your father—a man you suddenly realize you know nothing about. What has he done? What is he capable of? If you could stop him, would you?

What will you choose?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Shenoa Carroll-Bradd writes fantasy and horror from her home in southern California. Her short fiction has appeared in more than three dozen anthologies and been produced for audio on several fiction podcasts. She makes some killer vegan bacon and has been learning German in order to sing along with her favorite bands.

The Day Caroline Bloomed

Keily Blair

Like all trophy wives, Caroline knows her place: keep a fresh face, a tidy house, and a narrow waist. Good wives speak only when spoken to and never question or defy their husbands, but Caroline experienced a transformation after stepping into the waters of the Gulf of mexico, one her demanding, unfaithful husband may be unequipped to handle.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Keily Blair holds a BA in English: Creative Writing from UT Chattanooga, where her nonfiction won the Creative Writing Nonfiction Award. Her fiction has appeared in magazines and anthologies such as The Dread Machine, Trembling With Fear, Night to Dawn and is upcoming in Good Southern Witches, Dream of Shadows, Cosmic Horror Monthly and others. She is currently at work on a fantasy novel and an occult horror novella. She lives with her husband, dog, cat, and four guinea pigs.

Designs on Redemption

christopher destefano

Ever since that kid, the charges, and the lawsuit, Gary, a famed fashion designer, has been forced to retreat to the dark corners of society, but it seems he’s due for a comeback. A mysterious benefactor has invited Gary to show his newest designs at a yacht party, but Gary’s beginning to see things that probably aren’t there. It’s making him more than a little bit paranoid, and he’s starting to think it’s not from the cocaine.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Chris DeStefano was cursed by a warlock at a young age, after meddling with forces he did not fully understand. He is now fated to one day spontaneously combust and is plagued with a recurring nightmare in which he is a very mediocre exorcist. He currently lives, works and writes in New York, NY with his wife and two black cats. To track when he randomly bursts into flames, follow him on Twitter @chrisdestefano.

Welcome to camp klehani!

caleb stephens

Bobby knew it was over the moment his mom got her hands on that glossy Camp Klehani flier with the kid smiling down from an exercise bike like it was a rollercoaster. Now he’s stuck at “fat camp” for the summer. His disappointment turns to excitement when the parents leave and the insanely attractive counselors roll out a banquet of junk food. Still, something seems off, and some of the kids have disappeared…

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Caleb Stephens is a dark fiction author writing from somewhere deep in the Colorado mountains. His short stories have appeared in multiple publications and podcasts. He is currently at work on his next novel, a psychological thriller about family. Learn more at www.calebstephensauthor.com and follow him on Twitter and Medium @cstephensauthor.

the angler

Brent Larson

Twelve-year-old Toby hates his mom’s new boyfriend, so he’s going to run away forever, all he needs is a little cash. Luckily, his best friend knows just where they might find some—the old abandoned resort at the edge of their small Florida town.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brent writes and produces short films, taking him to such far-flung locations as South Africa, Russia, Ukraine, Spain, and Shreveport, LA. His favorite project is still the zombie web series he shot in his garage in 2009. He is also the creator/writer of Kayless and the upcoming CapeTown, both for Silverline Comics. Brent lives in Orlando, Florida with two dogs, a cat, and a wife who thinks Alien is the best movie ever. In short, Brent has no complaints.

jaws

christopher o'halloran

A little jaw surgery won’t keep Luisa from celebrating her twenty-first birthday. The single mom’s whole face is rigid. Steel grates against her gums, her lips, forcing her teeth together. She only has enough to slip a straw in, but thankfully, that’s all she needs.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

CHRISTOPHER O‘HALLORAN—HWA and HOWLS member—is a milk-slinging, Canadian actor-turned-author previously published by Hellbound Books, Tales to Terrify Podcast, The Dread Machine, and others. Despite making the transition to writing, Chris still puts his acting diploma to use; he acts like a fool for chuckles from his wife and son at home in British Columbia. He’s co-editor and contributor for the anthology Howls From Hell featuring a foreword by Grady Hendrix. Fans of stories about vein-removal and Phoenix-women against the patriarchy can visit COauthor.ca for stories, reviews, and updates on his upcoming novel, Pushing Daisy. Contact him there or on Twitter or Instagram @Burgleinfernal.

brian

mark towse

Richard harbored a general abomination for all, but it’s safe to say that Brian topped his hate list from the day he showed up. Something about him just rubbed Richard up the wrong way. This is a story about how everything went sideways one day after school. Those of us who survived will never be the same.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mark Towse graduated from Uni way back in 1994 with a degree in mathematics but didn’t want to be an accountant. Instead, he drifted into the depths of hell, pursuing a career in sales. He reports directly to his line manager, Lucifer. Alas, he left it very late to begin his writing journey, penning his first story since primary school at the ripe old age of 45. Since then, he’s been rather prolific, with work appearing in the likes of Tales To Terrify, The No Sleep Podcast, The Grey Rooms, The Dread Machine, Cosmic Horror Monthly, ParABnormal, and too many anthologies to mention.

When the streetlights go off

P.A. Cornell

Jen’s friend Sherri is too drunk to function, and Andy’s hanging all over her, so when he and Sherri suggest going to “party” in a creepy abandoned house, Jen feels obligated to tag along, even though it’s past her curfew. She can’t just leave Sherri alone with him, but there’s something strange about the place Jen can’t shake. Leaving may not be as easy as entering.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

P.A. Cornell is a Chilean-Canadian speculative fiction writer who was raised in a home with no shortage of books. As a result, she fell in love with storytelling at an early age. Over the years, she has worked as a journalist, photographer and copy editor, but these days is fortunate to call fiction-writing her full-time job. She writes from her home in Ontario, Canada, and steeps all her ideas in copious amounts of tea before getting them down on the page. Stories are reviewed by her cats Jax and Rebel, who call her out on any plot holes or grammatical errors. A member of the SFWA and graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop, her short fiction has appeared in several anthologies and genre magazines. A full bibliography and social media links can be found at her website: pacornell.com.

Every Day's A Party (WITH YOU)

Christi Nogle

Sara loves Christmas. Cinnamon cocoa. Berry tarts. Wrapping parties at her best friend Gloria’s house with the neighborhood ladies. She tries to enjoy the season, even though her teenage daughter, Char, is becoming unrecognizable to her and she’s having some new feelings for Gloria. This story explores what it means to be a mother, a daughter, a friend, and an individual. Who are we, really?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Christi Nogle’s most recent stories appear in Boneyard Soup, Tales to Terrify, Dark Matter Magazine, and Nightscript VI. Christi teaches English at Boise State University and lives in Boise with her partner Jim and their gorgeous dogs. Follow her at christinogle.com or on Twitter @christinogle.

And the universe Went On

Jason Burnham

One of the last things Randy’s parents told him before he left for San Francisco was to not get AIDS. He failed them and they haven’t spoken to him since, which is precisely why his friend Clevon is driving him to their house. Randy’s dying. He wants to see his parents and his childhood home one last time, but when Randy and Clevon arrive, Randy’s parents aren’t there, and it looks like it’s been a while. Weirdly, the entire town seems deserted. “And The Universe Went On” is a story about estrangement, acceptance, and forgiveness during the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jason P. Burnham (he/him) is an infectious diseases physician and clinical researcher. He loves many things, among them sci-fi, his wife and sons, metal music, Rancho Gordo beans, and equality (not necessarily in that order). He also co-edits “If There’s Anyone Left” a zine for marginalized authors of the sci-fi/spec community, with his friend Cindy M. Fields.

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