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Dec. 3rd, 2016

Atlanta - The Birthplace of Zombies (How WHERE THE DEAD GO TO DIE Was Born)

Atlanta seems to be ground zero for zombies. As most people know, it features heavily in The Walking Dead, and it is also the place Where the Dead Go to Die was born.



Where the Dead Go to Die is the novel I co-authored with the very talented Aaron Dries, and it has just been released by Crystal Lake Publishing. It is a zombie novel, but a unique one. I think we handle the creatures in a fresh and emotionally resonant way, and along the way we have things to say about illness, grief, compassion, fear, death, and love.

And it all started in Atlanta.

I’ll explain. In 2015, the World Horror Convention was held in Atlanta, GA. I had always wanted to attend one, but work and financial limitations never made it possible. However, Atlanta is within driving distance of me, and I could easily drive down for one day of the event.

And I did, along with my lovely husband. I had planned to just go as an observer, attending different panels and readings, getting some autographs, but I was honored that they let me actually speak on the zombie panel. I got to sit right next to Jonathan Maberry.



I had a great time, and I got to meet a lot of really cool people. One of the coolest was Aaron Dries. I was somewhat familiar with him through social media, and I had recently read his novel House of Sighs and been blown away be it.

In person, he blew me away as well. He gave a dynamic and energized reading of one of his short stories, and after he hung out with me and Craig for quite a while, just chatting about everything under the sun. He proved to be funny and charming and a real gentleman. We instantly hit it off.



During our time there at the WHC, Aaron talked about collaborating on something in the future. I was more than game. I actually really enjoy the collaborative process, and I was a little in awe of Aaron’s talent. Being realistic, I figured it might be quite some time before such a collaboration could happen. We both had our own projects brewing, not to mention our everyday lives.

Shortly after the convention, Aaron sent me a message telling me about the germ of an idea he had using the idea of zombies in a symbolic way. I found what he had to say very intriguing, and before I knew we were messaging back and forth in a rapid fire way, brainstorming and exchanging idea. Right before my eyes, the idea was growing into a full-fledged story.

I was so excited by what we were coming up with that I went ahead and wrote a first chapter then sent it to Aaron, just to see if he felt I was on the right track. He instantly picked it up and we kept on from there, working diligently all the way to the end.

I feel like we worked very well together, blending our styles and voices into a strong story that is exciting and emotional and even at times funny.

And it all started in Atlanta.

Here is the book trailer for WHERE THE DEAD GO TO DIE:

The book itself can be ordered here: https://www.amazon.com/Where-Dead-Die-Aaron-Dries-ebook/dp/B01N1LYOGP/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Nov. 6th, 2016

Origin Stories: THE QUARRY

Returning to my Origin Stories blog series with THE QUARRY.



I wrote the book over the course of a summer, and almost immediately subbed it to Sideshow Press. Tom had some nice things to say about it, gave me a few suggestions about edits, but ultimately did not accept it. I then sent it to another publisher, who also did not accept it. Interestingly, Tom said he liked the first half but the last half needed more work. The other publisher liked the last half but thought the first half needed more work.

I sort of put the book aside for a while, tinkering with it, making some of the edits suggested by Tom, but ultimately it seemed destined to be a "trunk novel."

And then Charles Day from Evil Jester Press contacted me, said he'd read a digital short of mine, "Dancing in the Dark", and he suggested I submit a story to an anthology they were putting out. I did, getting my story "Must Be Something in the Water" in Help Wanted. Peter Giglio was the editor on that anthology and seemed to really like my writing. He and Charles asked if I had any novel-length works without a publisher.

I dusted off The Quarry, polished it up a bit, and sent it to them with fingers crossed. They were very enthusiastic and next thing I knew, I was about to publish a novel. Before this, everything had been short stories or novellas, this would be my first published novel.

Peter was a great editor, they did a cover that actually incorporated photos I'd taken on the Limestone College campus (where the story is set), and they did some heavy promotion for the book.

I was very proud of the book, and it had a lovely reception when it was published. I've actually written a sequel that will hopefully be out before the end of the year.

I hope people continue to discover and enjoy the novel. It can be ordered here: https://www.amazon.com/Quarry-Mark-Allan-Gunnells-ebook/dp/B0073PMCY2/ref=la_B005C18L7Q_1_34?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1478469192&sr=1-34&refinements=p_82%3AB005C18L7Q

Oct. 24th, 2016

CURTAIN CALL-My New Collection

Having a new book out is always exciting, and my newest release is particularly exciting for me because it's my first book with Cemetery Dance Publications. It's a 10 story collection entitled CURTAIN CALL AND OTHER DARK ENTERTAINMENTS.



This is particularly special and thrilling for me, because working with Cemetery Dance is a dream. They are a large outfit with a great reputation and they work with a lot of heavy-hitters, including Stephen King himself. Being able to say I have a title with them is a career high.

The collection is only available as a digital release, but I do not consider that any lesser of an accomplishment. I know some people who are devoted to print and simply will not do ebooks. I am not one of those people. I love print books, there is a tactile sensation to them that is intoxicating, and print books will never go away. They have real strengths--durability, for one--that ensures their survival. However, I think digital books have a place as well and will co-exist beside print books. As a reader, I just love story, I don't care the delivery system. Therefore, I consider a digital release just as "real" and exciting as a print release.

I actually got a chance to go on the news with the local NBC affiliate to promote the book as well as discuss digital versus print.

http://www.wyff4.com/horror-author-weighs-in-on-digital-vs-paper-books/42211230

I am incredibly proud of CURTAIN CALL. The 10 stories are some of my favorites, many of them taking place in locations that are important to me as a person. I also have a story that is a follow-up to my novel OUTCAST.

I hope people will give the collection a try and enjoy it. To try to entice folks and get them interested, I did a series of YouTube readings from a few of the stories.







I hope you will forgive me for the long blog, but I am just beyond ecstatic about this release. CURTAIN CALL can be purchased here: https://www.amazon.com/Curtain-Call-Other-Dark-Entertainments-ebook/dp/B01MF8HW19/ref=la_B005C18L7Q_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1477347880&sr=1-1

Oct. 15th, 2016

Origin Stories: GHOSTS IN THE ATTIC

The next title I will discuss in my ongoing series about how each of my books came to be published is my digital collection GHOSTS IN THE ATTIC.



I have said before that short fiction is truly my passion, and my dream has always been to have multiple collections on the market. I decided that I couldn't wait around for publishers to approach me, I needed to take the initiative and and seek out places to submit. So I did a little research to find publishers that were open to the idea of collections with authors that weren't "names."

One such publisher was Bad Moon Books, headed up by Roy Robinson. I was friends with him on Facebook, and I decided to just take a risk and send him a message. I talked of my passion for short fiction, my belief that there was an audience for it, and how I thought together we could create a special collection. He responded very kindly, informing me that he was interested in collections but they had so much in the pipeline that he couldn't fit me into the schedule for possibly two years.

So I had an idea...I had noticed Bad Moon was starting to get into the buisness of digital reprints of previously published work. I have a love of digital books as well as print books, so I suggested we do a collection as a digital original. Bad Moon's first in fact. Roy was open to the idea, told me to put together a manuscript and send it his way.

And so I began pouring through my literally hundreds of stories, selecting pieces that I thought would be fun and entertaining and show a range. I selected a few more reprints than I had with TALES FROM THE MIDNIGHT SHIFT, pieces that had appeared in small ezines and magazines over the years. I made a list, marked some stories off, added others, and ultimately came up with a Table of Contents that consisted of 14 short stories.

Next I had to come up with a title. While looking over the stories I'd selected, I noticed I had quite a few ghost tales, so I figured it should have something to do with that. GHOSTS IN THE ATTIC is what I came up with, my hope that it would be simple yet evocative and descriptive.

I sent the manuscript to Roy and waited with crossed fingers, and I was beyond ecstatic when he accepted the collection for publication. For the cover, I went back to my friend Tom Moran and enlisted his help. He created something with an E.C. Comics feel.

The collection was released in the summer of 2011 and remains available even now. I love all my books, but I have a real soft spot GHOSTS IN THE ATTIC. It was the first time I ever approached a publisher I had no history with and pitched an idea, and I am very proud of the stories within. In some ways, while I still think there is a lot of chilling and scary stuff here, it is a "gentler" collection, showing my admiration for subtlety and ambiguity in horror.

You can purchase GHOSTS IN THE ATTIC here: https://www.amazon.com/Ghosts-Attic-Mark-Gunnells-ebook/dp/B0059JHU64/ref=la_B005C18L7Q_1_37?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1476537582&sr=1-37&refinements=p_82%3AB005C18L7Q

Oct. 2nd, 2016

Origin Stories: DARK TREATS

Continuing my series on how each of my books came to be published, next I’ll talk about my short Halloween collection DARK TREATS. Very appropriate considering the time of year.



This book was one I actually pitched to the publisher, Sideshow Press. The reason I brought them the idea was partially because I adore Halloween, and partially an attempt to get something new out on the market. Right after Sideshow published A LAYMON KIND OF NIGHT, they had talked about getting something else out relatively quickly to ride the wave since that book sold fairly well (for someone at my level, anyway), but for a myriad of reasons, that didn’t seem possible. It looked like I may not get my next book out with them for well over a year.

So I had the idea to do a digital Halloween collection of four stories. Because it would be a digital exclusive, it wouldn’t require as much time or resources to produce, and people could order it leading up to Halloween and have it immediately to read and enjoy. It would keep my name out there, and I’d get to have my very own Halloween book.

I’ve never outgrown the joys of Halloween, and every October I have a tradition of writing Halloween themed stories and reading Halloween themed books. I was very enthusiastic about being a part of that.

Tom over at Sideshow Press seemed enthusiastic too. He created the cover for the collection, and we started brainstorming a title. It didn’t come easily, actually. It took quite a while and several tries before we settled on DARK TREATS.

October 2010 got closer and closer, and I got more and more excited…but then, at the last minute, it was decided to pull the book. I won’t go into the reason, it had to do with business and distribution platforms, but the end result was the book wasn’t going to happen. However, Tom assured me that next year, October 2011, Sideshow would put the book out as a paperback.

Shortly after that I sold and published ASYLUM, then WHISONANT/CREATURES OF THE LIGHT came out in the early part of 2011, and true to his word, in October Tom put out DARK TREATS as a paperback from Sideshow. It came out a little closer to Halloween than I would have liked (I wanted people to have time to order it and get it before the holiday), but I was beyond thrilled to have the book out there. For the paperback, I even added a fifth story so that the final TOC contained “Halloween Returns to Bradbury”, “The Town that Halloween Forgot”, “Treats”, “My Halloween”, and “Family Plot.” The book didn’t exactly burn up the sales chart, seasonal books are maybe a harder sell, but I remain very proud of it.

In 2012, Tom rereleased DARK TREATS through Gallow’s Press in paperback, and the following year a digital edition became available. I have such an abiding love for autumn and especially Halloween, and I tried to imbue these stories with a little bit of that love.

DARK TREATS is available here: https://www.amazon.com/Dark-Treats-Mark-Allan-Gunnells-ebook/dp/B00EUIFBM0/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1475442473&sr=1-1

Sep. 26th, 2016

Origin Stories: TALES FROM THE MIDNIGHT SHIFT

Continuing my blog series about how each of my books came to be published, next up is my first full-length short story collection, Tales from the Midnight Shift.



Tom Moran, who owned and ran Sideshow Press, had already published two books with me, A Laymon Kind of Night and Whisonant/Creatures of the Light, in paperback. He knew that my true passion has always been short fiction, and he approached me and asked if I would be interested in doing a short story collection as their first trade hardcover.

Needless to say, I wasted no time answering in the affirmative. The way we went about it was I sent Tom about two dozen short stories, and he read through them all and selected the ones he thought were strongest. I pretty much went along with his thinking, except there were two stories he did not choose that I felt strongly should appear. "Out of Print" had appeared in the very limited hardcover edition of A Laymon Kind of Night, and I wanted it to have a chance at a wider readership; Tom agreed to that right away. The other was a tale entitled "The More Things Change", and Tom wasn't so sure about including that one. He felt the message of the piece might be misinterpreted, but I'm not really a message author. I write a story because an idea interests me and I want to entertain. Doesn't mean a message might not emerge, but that is honestly secondary to me. It took a bit of convincing, but finally Tom agreed to add that story into the table of contents.

Next I had to come up with a title...which wasn't that hard. I had been dreaming of having my own short story collection for many years. I wanted to write novels and novellas, yes, but short stories are my first and most abiding love, so a collection was really my ultimate dream. And when I worked as third shift security, midnight to 8 a.m., for several years, writing on my shabby used laptop in the wee hours of the morning while on duty, I would envision finally having my own collection and I thought I would call it Tales from the Midnight Shift. It felt very appropriate. Now was my chance, so I ran the title by Tom and he agreed.

Tom also provided the stunning cover, which is one of my favorites. He used not any particular story for the imagery, but a certain mood and the fact that I was a security guard that had worked on third shift.

The book was released as a trade hardcover, 100 copies, which did eventually sell out. A handful of years later, after Tom had started up Sideshow's sister publishing company Gallows Press, he re-released Tales from the Midnight Shift in paperback and ebook. Those are still available. You can get the book here: https://www.amazon.com/Tales-Midnight-Shift-Allan-Gunnells-ebook/dp/B00DPLTMYQ/ref=la_B005C18L7Q_1_20?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1474925927&sr=1-20&refinements=p_82%3AB005C18L7Q

Sep. 18th, 2016

Origin Stories: WHISONANT/CREATURES OF THE LIGHT

I continue my new blog series in which I discuss the road I traveled to get each of my books published with my two novella collection WHISONANT/CREATURES OF THE LIGHT.



After Sideshow Press published my chapbook A LAYMON KIND OF NIGHT, they told me they wanted to put out some longer works by me. I decided to send them some novellas I had written. They were instantly taken with CREATURES OF THE LIGHT, and suggested that we could pair two novellas together into one book. My first choice for the second novella was ASYLUM, but for a few reasons detailed in my last blog they were not keen on that one. However, I sent them a strange ghost story set at Limestone College, my alma mater, entitled WHISONANT.

Tom at Sideshow responded very positively to this story, though he said the ending didn't work for him. He asked if I would consider coming up with an entirely new ending. I was open for that because, truth be told, the ending never worked for me either. It felt too cartoonish and tonally too different from what had come before it.

So I set about trying to figure out what the new ending would be, and once I hit on the right idea, I went about crafting the new ending which necessitated some changes throughout and the addition of several flashbacks interspersed throughout the story.

It was actually the first time I made that an extensive of a revision to a piece for publication, and I actually enjoyed the process very much. I definitely ended up with a story that was stronger than the original version. And I was excited to be publishing a story set at Limestone, a place I love so very much. Anyone who follows my work (all 2 of you) knows that Limestone became a frequent setting for my tales.

Tom came up with the great design idea of doing a "flip book." Each novella would have its own cover, and you would hold the book in your hand and have one cover and the novella then flip the book over and turn it upside down and have another cover and the other novella. I loved that idea and was very happy with the two covers.

Michael Moran did the classically gothic cover for WHISONANT.


Tom Moran himself did the vibrant, colorful cover for CREATURES OF THE LIGHT.


I absolutely loved the juxtaposition of the two very different covers, and just loved the flip book design.

The book was released in paperback and limited hardcover editions. Eventually I self-published a digital edition that is still available. I am disappointed that these two novellas haven't garnered as much attention as I would have liked. I'm a writer who lives and breaths for feedback.

The digital edition is still available here: https://www.amazon.com/WHISONANT-CREATURES-LIGHT-Allan-Gunnells-ebook/dp/B00I0JRXVW/ref=la_B005C18L7Q_1_32?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1474222466&sr=1-32&refinements=p_82%3AB005C18L7Q#nav-subnav

Sep. 6th, 2016

Origin Stories: ASYLUM

I continue my series of origin story blogs, detailing how each of my books came to be published, with my second book, Asylum.



After Sideshow Press released A Laymon Kind of Night, they were interested in publishing some of my longer works. They suggested a two-novella collection and had already chosen a novella of mine entitled Creatures of the Light, they just needed another to pair with it.

I had recently finished Asylum, a zombie tale about a group of characters trapped inside a gay nightclub when the dead arise. I was very proud of it, and sent it to them right away.

Sideshow rejected the novella for a couple of reasons. One, it had a post-apocalyptic feel as did Creatures of the Light and they wanted something with a different vibe. Two, they felt the setup for the story was too traditional. Ultimately they went with another story for the novella collection.

But that left me with Asylum which I very much wanted to publish. I started looking for another publisher that would be willing to take a chance on it. The length was a little too short for most publishers. The ones I did submit to rejected it for one reason or another. I was at told by at least one that the primarily gay characters and gay subject matter would not be of interest to the fan base of horror and that I should look at finding a publisher that focused on exclusively gay fiction. Nothing against those publishers but I felt strongly that this was a horror story and I wanted to go with a horror publisher.

I started to think seriously about self-publishing the novella when I randomly found online a call for zombie novellas from Apex Publishing. They were starting an imprint called Zombie Feed that would focus on zombie tales. I wasted no time submitting Asylum to them.

I would say it took less than a month to hear back from Jason Sizemore, letting me know they Apex would be publishing Asylum. I was over the moon, and things moved very quickly from there. Jason sent me his editorial notes, I did a revision and polish, and it was only a matter of months before the book was released with the very cool cover.

I have to say, Apex went above and beyond in the promotions department. They secured a lot of interviews, sent out ample review copies that resulted in a great deal of reviews, most of them positive. They even created a book trailer for it.



I was gratified at the response, especially from heterosexual male readers, proving that a book with gay characters and some gay themes could appeal to the horror audience.

The book has been good to me, I even managed to get on a couple of panels on zombie literature because of it, including one at the World Horror Convention. Tony Karnes was nice enough to create some promotional art for it as well.



So that my friends is the story of how Asylum came to be published. If you want to check it out, you can order it here: https://www.amazon.com/Asylum-Mark-Allan-Gunnells-ebook/dp/B004GEAMOA/ref=la_B005C18L7Q_1_15?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1473196713&sr=1-15&refinements=p_82%3AB005C18L7Q#nav-subnav

Aug. 25th, 2016

Two Tales from the Lake

I'm beyond ecstatic to have a story in the new Crystal Lake anthology TALES FROM THE LAKE VOL. 3.



One reason is that I love Crystal Lake, and was so pleased to be working with them again. Another reason is that I finally get to share a TOC with my friend Harper Hull, a very talented writer I admire a lot. And a writer that also inspired my story in the anthology. I'm going to talk about my tale, and then turn it over to Harper to talk about his.

Harper Hull is the first person to turn me on to this phenomenon where people believe that the children books THE BERENSTAIN BEARS used be spelled BERENSTEIN, though there is no record anywhere that this was the case. Many have posited that it suggests the existence of parallel worlds and alternate realities. It's rather fascinating, and got me to thinking that I could do something with it.

So I started a tale entitled "The Pigmalion Pigs", very excited about the idea. I had gotten about halfway through it when Crystal Lake posted the guidelines for TALES FROM THE LAKE VOL. 3. The loose theme was urban legends, and while this wasn't a traditional urban legend, I thought it could be interpreted as a modern one. I mentioned this to the editor, Monique Snyman, and she seemed excited.

Then I hit a roadblock in that the story ended up being longer than I anticipated, and it exceeded the word limit for the anthology. I contacted Monique again, and she gave me permission to submit anyway. I wasn't sure how much the length would count against me, but I was just happy to be considered.

And even happier when I got that acceptance letter! The same day Harper emailed to tell me he got in as well with his excellent "The Cruel." I was just so thrilled, and can't for people to read my story, as well as Harper's.

Speaking of Harper, let's here from him:



Firstly, let me thank Mark for letting me ride sidecar on his blog this week. We're good friends and talk about writing all the time so it was a genuine delight to share a TOC with him in TALES FROM THE LAKE VOL. 3. The first but hopefully not the last.

The idea for my story 'The Cruel' came about in the same way as most ideas for stories seem to - a moment of "ooh, that could be interesting" during a completely normal conversation. I was discussing stupid trends and ideas we fell for back in high school with some friends - I grew up in England so these probably won't resonate with you foreign types, fair warning. We used to tuck our school ties inside our shirts to look like Duran Duran in their 'Is There Something I Should Know?' video. Some of us would wear the intricate bottle-tops from Grolsch beer bottles in the tops of our shoes like the pop band Bros. We discussed the best ways to make conkers battle-worthy. (If you don't know what conkers is, basically you have a horse chestnut seed on a piece of string and take it in turns bashing your opponent's conker until one smashes apart. Every time your conker wins it gets a number, so if you have smashed 5 other conkers yours is now a 'fiver.' Simpler times!) It was a split decision between baking them on a low heat and soaking them in vinegar. (As an aside, I was once photographed for the local paper as a wee lad for losing my King of the Conkers title to a good friend of mine named David. It was a complete fabrication; the journo turned up and the teachers picked out two kids to take part in this charade of a story, if I remember correctly David and I were picked because we had done the best in French class that week. And were extremely cute, of course.)

One of the lads in this conversation then said "do you lot remember the sound?" None of us had a clue what he was on about. The only sound that has stuck with me from high school was the nuclear attack sirens at the RAF base down the road going off at regular intervals for test purposes. Back then it was the height of the cold war and the idea of nuclear armageddon was very, very real - TV shows like 'Threads' didn't help which showed in graphic detail what would happen if the city of Sheffield was struck by bombs. Anyway, he explained to us about this sound thing. Apparently some lads started making this awful whining sound at the school he went to over a period of weeks and soon almost every kid in the school was imitating it at inconvenient moments (mid-class, morning assembly, lunch hour.) It got so bad the headmaster had to send a letter home to the parents banning it and threatening expulsion to anyone who kept it up. It stopped after that letter, surprisingly. It resonated with me, that anecdote, and the idea for 'The Cruel' was born.

I actually set the story in my old high school - the village is the exact village the school was located in, the teachers are loosely based on actual teachers I had - I find it far easier to track locations in my mind when it's somewhere I know like the back of my hand, of course. It's probably one of my favourite stories because of that intimacy, and I am ecstatic that it made the cut for this book. Go pick it up! Also, Mark's story 'Pigmalion Pigs' is one of the best I've read by him, it's a fascinating subject and will probably send you tumbling down a very, very deep rabbit hole after you have read it.

You guys can check out TALES FROM THE LAKE VOL. 3 here: https://www.amazon.com/Tales-Lake-Vol-3-Allan-Gunnells-ebook/dp/B01KBTEKKA/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1472163257&sr=8-3-fkmr0&keywords=tales+from+the+lake+vol.+3#nav-subnav

Aug. 21st, 2016

Origin Stories: A LAYMON KIND OF NIGHT

I've decided to start a series of blogs in which I talk about the origins of my books. Not the ideas behind them, but how they came to be published. Thought it might be interesting for the twos of threes of you that read this (and I'm being optimistic here). ha ha

I'm going to go in order of publication so we'll start with my first published book, the chapbook A LAYMON KIND OF NIGHT, published by Sideshow Press.



The path to my first published book started a year and a half earlier when I published a short story, "God Doesn't Follow You into the Bathroom", in a magazine called Black Ink Horror. Tom Moran, who published the magazine, also did original artwork to go along with the story.



Shortly after that story appeared in Black Ink, I submitted another story to them entitled "The Snoop." Tom kept the story for a while before ultimately passing on it. He said he liked it, but it just didn't quite fit. I was disappointed, but I understood and moved on.

Maybe a year passed, and I had joined an online message board called The Haunt. One day I started chatting with another poster about, of all things, the 80s horror film FINAL EXAM. We were both using online handles at the time, so neither of us really knew who the other was. I mentioned I had written a short story where that movie featured as a plot device, and he asked if he could read it. I sent it to him, and that was when he realized who I was. He revealed himself as Tom Moran, who had published "God Doesn't Follow You..."

He specifically asked about my story "The Snoop", saying that even though he didn't publish it, the story still resonated with him and he hadn't forgotten it. He asked if I had sold it elsewhere. I told him I had not and he expressed interest in publishing it.

I was very excited, even more so when he asked me to send him a sampling of stories because he might like to pick another. I sent him five or six stories, thinking I might get a couple of magazine appearances out of this.

I was flabbergasted when he responded that he was starting his own publishing company, Sideshow Press, and to start they were rolling out four chapbooks by four different authors that could be bought separately or as a set. They had already signed Brian Knight, Kurt Newton, and Edward Lee. He offered me the chance to be the fourth author.



I had been publishing short fiction and essays in magazines and ezines for several years by that point, and I had been trying to get an actual book out there with no success. And here was an offer to publish my first book just falling into my lap. Talk about right place at the right time.

The other three authors were doing novellas, but since I'm such a short story lover, my chapbook was to be a short collection. Ultimately Tom picked three stories ("Van People", "The Snoop", and "A Laymon Kind of Night") to appear in the paperback edition, with a fourth story ("Out of Print") appearing in the hardcover as a bonus tale. For the title, Tom picked A LAYMON KIND OF NIGHT because that story, an homage to the late Richard Laymon, he felt encapsulated the feel of the tales within the chapbook.

Even after I signed the contract, part of me was waiting for the other shoe to drop. I'd been trying so hard to get a book published with my name on the cover with no luck, I just couldn't believe it was about to finally happen. When it really started to feel real was when Tom sent me the signature sheets and I was signing my name about a hundred times.

One of the greatest joys of my writing career came the day my author copies arrived in the mail and I got a look at my very first book and held it in my hands. The cover art by Tom was wonderful, as were the interior illustrations from Tony Karnes. And that was my name, right up there on the cover.

The book sold well, actually sold out. I didn't kid myself that I was suddenly the next Stephen King, I kept things in perspective, but it was an accomplishment and I embraced it and enjoyed it. Though the Sideshow edition is long out of print, I put out a digital version just to keep it out there.

A LAYMON KIND OF NIGHT will always have a very special place in my heart. It was my first baby, my first experience of having a book all my own with my name on the cover. When I look back at the stories now, they are a little rough around the edges but they were true to the writer I was then. I'm proud of the book.

The digital edition is available here: https://www.amazon.com/Laymon-Kind-Night-Allan-Gunnells-ebook/dp/B005C1NQV2/ref=la_B005C18L7Q_1_18?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1471788857&sr=1-18&refinements=p_82%3AB005C18L7Q#nav-subnav

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