Nightmare Sky Makes the Preliminary Ballot

Nightmare Sky has made it onto the preliminary ballot for the Bram Stoker Awards® and I have some things to say about that.

This was a passion-project. I knew going in that the out-of-pocket money I put up front likely wouldn’t be earned back, or I’d at least be lucky to break even. I had a bare-bones budget, almost all of which was reserved for paying the authors.

The 100% open-call anthology drew in 256 submissions, creating a diverse pool of stories from which to choose. I put a lot of thought and consideration into each story I chose, as well as the order they were placed. The authors in these pages made this the amazing work that it is. Their stories went beyond my expectations and helped redefine the anthology, creating something even better than I had originally intended. In addition to curating the table of contents, I illustrated each story and the cover, tacking on more hours to this labor of love.

A lot of my personal writing hours were lost to this project… so many that I rarely submitted pieces of my own and had a significant decline in publishing credits for the year. All of me went into this anthology. I gave it everything I had, and I don’t regret that one bit.

Then the other day, I scrolled through the Preliminary Ballot for the Stokers, not expecting to see Nightmare Sky, at all. Not because I don’t believe the quality is up to par—I think it is—but because it was released so late in the year that it hadn’t had a chance to make a splash. But I guess enough of a ripple was made to catch some attention, because there it is!

It’s sitting up there next to Ellen Datlow, the Queen of Anthologies, an editor I look up to and learn from whenever I hear her on a podcast or read an interview. It’s next to Doug Murano, whose anthologies have been an inspiration as not only books of stories, but the book as a work of art. It’s next to Sadie Hartmann & Ashley Sawyers, who’ve crashed into the publishing scene and made themselves known through stellar curation of stories. It’s next to so many wonderful editors and their anthologies that have really left a mark on 2022.

I am simply stunned. And a little emotional to see the hours and passion I’d put into this (on a shoestring budget) validated by the horror community.

To be clear, this is not considered a Stoker nomination, so I’m not celebrating, but it really is an honor and humbling to be recognized. Members of the Horror Writers Association will now vote on the works, and the final ballot (final 5) will be chosen. Those on that final ballot will be able to call their works “Bram Stoker Nominated”.

There are some powerhouse anthologies on this list, so moving forward will be tough for this little project of mine, but I’m so thrilled to have made it this far.

If you’re a voting member of the HWA and would like a copy of Nightmare Sky for consideration, please reach out through our contact page or via Twitter DM, and I’ll send a copy.

Meanwhile, wish me luck!

Find more about Nightmare Sky.

Published by RedLagoe

Dark fiction author. Likes to linger in inky shadows among beasts for a better view of the stars.

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