WEBSTER COUNTY, Ky. (1/23/12) - Local author and The Journal-Enterprise’s News Editor, Matt Hughes received word at the end of the last week that the horror anthology “The Ghost IS the Machine”, featuring his short story “Bad Toys” had been named 2012 Horror Anthology of the Year by a Preditors and Editors (P&E) Readers Poll.
“I was surprised,” Hughes said. “I knew there were a lot of good stories in the book, I just hadn’t thought about us winning an award. I’m so proud of everybody involved with this project.”
The “Ghost IS the Machine” includes 15 stories from 15 separate authors. The theme of the anthology was Steampunk meets Horror, and all in some way feature a machine, a tool or even a toy that doesn’t play nice.
“My story “Bad Toys” is about a little girl trapped in a house with a pair of toys that want to ‘play’ with her,” Hughes said. “It came to me one night when I was watching my daughter, who was about 18 months old at the time, fight with a giant stuffed caterpillar.”
Also among the list of authors in the book with Hughes is New York Times Best Seller and Bram Stoker Award Winner (official award given by the Horror Writers’ Association) Joe Hill. Hill, the son of horror legend Stephen King, is an up-and-coming figure in the world of horror fiction and will release his first movie “Horns” later this year.
“(Signing) Joe Hill was more like Six Degrees of Separation,” said Eric Bebee, owner and publisher of Post Mortem Press, the company that published The Ghost IS the Machine. “I know some people who know some people who provided information for Joe Hill’s agent. This is a pretty common thing in small press, it is why relationships are important.”
Formed in Cincinnati, OH in late 2010 by Eric Beebe, the mission of Post Mortem Press is to bridge the gap between self-publishing and the big corporate publishing houses. Post Mortem Press has quickly become a powerful voice in the small genre press community. Mixing business acumen with a respect for the author, Post Mortem Press has gained the trust and respect of many renowned authors, from Harlan Ellison, F Paul Wilson, Jack Ketchum, and Jonathan Maberry, to Joe Hill and Clive Barker. Their goal is provide a showcase for talented authors, affording exposure and opportunity to “get noticed” by the mainstream publishing community.
“Being in a book with guy like Joe Hill is pretty amazing,” Hughes said. “I’ve been his dad’s fan for as long as I can remember. And now I’m his fan as well. It doesn’t even seem real that now my name is next to his on a “Best of” award.”
The P&E award opened for voting on Christmas Even and wrapped up Monday night. Hughes said he never really thought they had a chance, but he couldn’t help but check the website every few hours.
“It just doesn’t seem real,” Hughes said. “Writing has been my dream since about the sixth grade. Until two years ago I never thought I would do anything with it.
Post Mortem Press gave Hughes his first break in early 2011 when they accepted his story “The Wedding Picture” for the anthology “Mon Coeur Mort”. It was the first time he’d ever submitted anything.
“I think if that hadn’t worked out, I probably wouldn’t have kept pushing so hard,” he said. “I’ve never been overly confident. I think I’m good, I just worry that other people don’t feel the same way.”
He turned that acceptance into confidence. In 2012 Post Mortem Press published “Bad Toys”, and he released both a novel (The Peppermint Man) and a short story collection (Horror Matinee and Other Strange Tales) that are available in paperback through Amazon and Readmore Books in Madisonville. They’re also available at the Providence Public Library.
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