(*update: the book is now available here)
The cover and interior illustrations were designed by British Fantasy Award-winning artist Daniele Serra, an absolute genius who also happens to be one of the loveliest human beings in the universe. His work is dark, beautiful, and a perfect match for Michael's writing.
To boot, Douglas E. Winter provided the introduction while on business travel in Reykjavik, Iceland. As an editor, Doug has been a hero of mine since I picked up Prime Evil as a fifteen year old kid and fell in love with my first horror anthology. I still have it today...
I keep it within reach, and look at it often.
The proof of the book looks absolutely beautiful. Here's a gallery of thumbnail images . . . see for yourself.
short fiction; "Fireman / Primal Tongue," the Fahrenheit 451-inspired piece which includes a passage from the novel and earned Michael both a Stoker nomination and an honorable mention on Ellen Datlow's Year's Best Horror list; "Underwater Ferris Wheel," a surreal and emotive piece which switches points of view and flawlessly borders on the verge of being terrifying at every turn; "Not the Child," a tale of faeries unlike any you've ever read; and "Bootstrap / The Binds of Lasolastica," which originally appeared in the hugely popular Zippered Flesh anthology from Smart Rhino Publications.
Almost all of the poetry is new—as is "Dandelion Clocks," a novelette inspired by the tragedy of 9/11. It's a lyrical, mind-bending, heart-wrenching piece which Daniele illustrated with an absolutely gorgeous double page spread, and is also on the reading list for consideration in this year's Bram Stoker Long Fiction Award category.
The work in Inkblots and Blood Spots has been carefully arranged so that it's woven together with characters, settings, themes, rhythms, and voices that all connect and flow into the telling of one longer tale throughout.
The Two of You
Sticks and Bones
Simon the Parasite
Listen To Me
All but the Things that Cannot be Torn
Though it Rains
Countdown to Null
Bootstrap / The Binds of Lasolastica
A Light in the Closet
Not the Child
It Tears Away
The Dying Gaul
Underwater Ferris Wheel
I Wanted Black
Fireman / Primal Tongue
"Michael Bailey continues to amaze. He is on track to becoming his generation's Ray Bradbury."
—F. Paul Wilson
“Inkblots and Blood Spots is a smart collection of stories that evoke real fear, because they're grounded in emotional truth. Michael Bailey has that rare ability to terrify readers and break their hearts—often in the same paragraph."
—Norman Prentiss, Bram Stoker Award winner, author of Invisible Fences
"Artfully executed. A unique and powerful contribution to speculative literature."
—Tim Deal, Shroud Quarterly
"With Inkblots and Blood Spots, Michael Bailey delivers the kind of startlingly original, beautifully imagined, and deeply affecting stories that linger long in the mind, and even longer in the psyche."
—B.E. Scully, author of the critically acclaimed novel Verland: The Transformation and the upcoming novella The Eye That Blinds
“The stories and poems in Inkblots and Blood Spots bleed into our souls like knives and leave us breathless. Michael Bailey is a fabulous writer, unique and fresh—and these stories are his best. Inkblots and Blood Spots has my highest recommendation. You don’t want to miss this one . . . go buy this book. Now.”
—John R. Little, Bram Stoker Award winning author of DarkNet, Miranda, and The Memory Tree
“Most writers are either stylists or story-tellers. The stylists tend to be more common in literary fiction, the storytellers more common in genre work. Michael Bailey’s prose is highly accessible, but very precise . . . he's a stylist, his prose very clean. Michael is indeed a very literate storyteller.
His stories are always darkly sharp-edged in tone, texture, and delivery, easily appropriate for genre fiction. But perhaps most important, his stories are about something . . . each one is built on a meaningful, engaging, intellectual premise.
I highly recommend this short story collection, which includes some compelling and delightful poetry.”
—Gene O'Neill, The Cal Wild Chronicles
“I first encountered Michael Bailey’s work at the Borderlands Press Writers Boot Camp. His writing stood out immediately—vibrant, bold, and bursting with original concepts. He showed me he was a writer willing to bypass all the familiar territories and stake out a new narrative landscape all his own. With this collection of dynamic stories and poems, he will show you as well.”
—Thomas F. Monteleone
“This collection of captivating stories and poems is both haunting and poignant. Filled with love and loss, the weight of these resolutions echoes out into the darkness with a heartbreaking permanence.”
—Richard Thomas, author of Disintegration
And, naturally, be ready to buy the book on November 30th!
It will make the perfect gift this time of year for those hard to buy for people on your list . . .
Thanks for reading,