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Arterial Bloom by Crystal Publishing

Lush. Brutal. Beautiful. Visceral. Crystal Lake Publishing proudly presents the Bram Stoker Award-nominated Arterial Bloom, an artful juxtaposition of the magnificence and macabre that exist within mankind. Each tale in this collection is resplendent with beauty, teeth, and heart. Edited by the Bram Stoker Award-winning writer Mercedes M. Yardley, Arterial Bloom is a literary experience featuring 16 stories from some of the most compelling dark authors writing today. With a foreword by HWA Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient Linda D. Addison, you are invited to step inside and let the grim flowers wind themselves comfortably around your bones. The line-up includes: The Stone Door by Jimmy Bernard Dog (Does Not) Eat Dog by Grant Longstaff Kudzu Stories by Linda J. Marshall Dead Letters by Christopher Barzak The Darker Side of Grief by Naching T. Kassa Welcome to My Autumn by Daniel Crow Still Life by Kelli Owen Three Masks by Armand Rosamilia Doodlebug by John Boden Happy Pills by Todd Keisling What Remained of Her by Jennifer Loring Blue Was Her Favorite Color by Dino Parenti In the Loop by Ken Liu The Making of Mary by Steven Pirie Mouths Filled with Sea Water by Jonathan Cosgrove Rotten by Carina Bissett Proudly represented by Crystal Lake Publishing—Tales from the Darkest Depths. Interview with the editor: Mercedes, this is your debut as an anthology editor. Can you tell us how you went about choosing the Dark Fiction stories included in Arterial Bloom? MMY: Yes, absolutely! Crystal Lake Publishing put out a call for short horror stories. My job was to ensure authors heard about the call. I basically beat down doors trying to spread the word, making sure that people realized it was an open, inclusive anthology and I was interested in stories of all types. Several hundred stories rolled in. It was a massive undertaking, but by reading open submissions instead of invitation-only stories, I was able to come across several authors who were new to me. This collection is full of award-winning, well-known authors as well as fresh voices. It’s a beautiful mix and I’m very proud of it. This was an unthemed horror anthology, which means that you weren’t particularly looking for any specific themes. But did you find that a certain theme emerged? MMY: Oh, yes. The Arterial Bloom anthology is all about monsters. Some monsters are literal. Some are human. But every story shows the juxtaposition of the ugliness and the beauty of humanity and the way we deal with things. It’s an emotional anthology. We deal with horror, grief, trauma, love, and healing. It’s gut-wrenching. It’s visceral and quite lovely, in a way. How did you come up with the title? MMY: The anthology itself is gutting and gorgeous. I was trying to find a title that played with that hardness and softness. My friends from The Geeky Writers and I went into our chat and brainstormed titles. Different words, different phrases. We just put them together in combinations until we came up with Arterial Bloom. It was the perfect title. It has that primitive, animal feel as well as being artistic. In my mind’s eye, I could see arterial spray, which is graphic and horrifying, painting exquisite flowers on a white wall. It’s like when a cat bites you and then licks the wound. The pain is still there, but the gentleness soothes. This anthology has teeth, but it’s also extraordinarily lovely.
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