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A PLAGUE OF SHADOWS, a horror/suspense anthology about the haunted--creepy, thought-provoking stories to chill you to the bone!
26 backers pledged $1,070 to help bring this project to life.

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Smart Rhino Publications and the Written Remains Writers Guild are proud to announce the impending publication of A PLAGUE OF SHADOWS: A WRITTEN REMAINS ANTHOLOGY, to be published later this year.

The theme for the anthology is "hauntings and the haunted," and we define "haunted" broadly. We wanted disturbing stories in which a powerfully drawn setting plays an important role and includes a “presence” that is critical to the plot. Also, the question “what haunts you?” (or your characters) had to be central in each story. The tales we've selected for the anthology meet those requirements ... and more!

These are NOT your typical ghost stories. Expect to be surprised!

And this time, you can help with the project!

Our main goals for this Kickstarter campaign are (1) to support the fruitful collaboration of amazing writers (regardless of their current stature in the publishing world), and (2) to bring the best horror and suspense fiction possible to you, the readers. Smart Rhino takes great pride in publishing quality books for our supporters--and our writers take great pride in providing you with the best stories they have to offer.   

As a small independent publisher, Smart Rhino Publications strives to  help talented writers find a broader audience for their work. Our mission especially is to provide a venue for lesser-known writers, publishing their work right alongside their more-established literary brothers and sisters. We greatly appreciate any help you can offer to help us meet this mission ... and we will reward your support!

In 2013, after several successful anthologies, Smart Rhino Publications decided to work with the Written Remains Writers Guild (based in Delaware) to publish the anthology, SOMEONE WICKED: A WRITTEN REMAINS ANTHOLOGY. The book included stories from guild members as well as invited guest authors.

As with SOMEONE WICKED, A PLAGUE OF SHADOWS will include guild members and invited writers (so far, including Graham Masterton, Billie Sue Mosiman, Jeff Strand, Phil Giunta, and others you may recognize). Check out our author bios below--we'll add more as our TOC fills.

Check out the many great rewards we're offering for your support! We're sure you'll find something of interest, especially if you love horror and suspense fiction.

Thanks so much!

REAP THE REWARDS!

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THUMBS UP! ($1 or more): If you wish to support our campaign, but prefer not to receive a reward, this is your option. Any donation offered, even if only $1, is welcome and appreciated. Thanks for giving us the thumbs up! We can't thank you enough!

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SHADOWS! ($10 or more): We'll add your name to the supporter list in the book. Always great to see your name in print!

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GHOSTS! ($25 or more): For this donation, we'll send you a paperback copy of A PLAGUE OF SHADOWS when it is published, plus add your name to the supporter list in the book.

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SPECTRES! ($35 or more): We'll send you not only a paperback of A PLAGUE OF SHADOWS, but a copy of SOMEONE WICKED as well. And, of course, we'll add your name to the list of supporters in the book.

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THE HAUNTED! ($50 or more): You'll receive both Written Remains anthologies, A PLAGUE OF SHADOWS and SOMEONE WICKED, as well as two Smart Rhino novellas, A BOX JUMPER and GREEN TSUNAMI. Plus, your name will be published in the supporter list.

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SPOOKS! ($100 or more): Have a horror or suspense short story you'd like critiqued and edited? At this level, Smart Rhino's Executive Editor, Weldon Burge, will work over your manuscript (max. 6,000 words) and discuss with you options for submission. You'll also receive a paperback copy of A PLAGUE OF SHADOWS and we'll publish your name in the supporter list at the end of the anthology.
(Limited to 2 -- NO LONGER AVAILABLE)

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DEVILS! ($125 or more): Not only will you receive both Written Remains anthologies (A PLAGUE OF SHADOWS and SOMEONE WICKED. Smart Rhino's Executive Editor, Weldon Burge, will critique and edit a horror or suspense short story that you've written (max. 6,000 words) and discuss with you options for submission. Plus we'll publish your name in the book's supporter list of A PLAGUE OF SHADOWS. (Limited to 2)

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INSANITY! ($150 or more): Want to be immortalized in a book? At this level, we'll name a character after you in one of the anthology's stories. Plus, we'll throw in paperback copies of A PLAGUE OF SHADOWS and SOMEONE WICKED. If you're a writer, Smart Rhino's Executive Editor, Weldon Burge, will critique and edit a horror or suspense short story that you've written (max. 6,000 words) and discuss with you options for submission.Oh, and we'll publish your name in the supporter list! (Limited to 1)

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THE GONZO REWARD! ($250 or more): Our best reward! In fact, so many goodies, we have to make a list:

  • A character in the anthology named after you.
  • Paperback copies of A PLAGUE OF SHADOWS and SOMEONE WICKED
  • Paperback copies of the Smart Rhino novellas THE BOX JUMPER and GREEN TSUNAMI
  • Paperback copies of all three anthologies in the ZIPPERED FLESH series
  • Paperback copies of the Smart Rhino suspense anthologies UNCOMMON ASSASSINS and INSIDIOUS ASSASSINS
  • If you're a writer, Smart Rhino's Executive Editor, Weldon Burge, will critique and edit a horror or suspense short story that you've written (max. 6,000 words) and discuss with you options for submission.

    (Limited to 1)

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WHO ARE THE AUTHORS SELECTED (SO FAR) FOR A PLAGUE OF SHADOWS?

(We'll add more authors as we complete the Table of Contents.)

GRAHAM MASTERTON—Author of The Manitou, The Djinn, The Devil in Gray, Charnal House, Ghost Music, The Hell Candidate, and the Katie Maguire, Rook, and Night Warriors series, and many other novels and short stories. The Manitou, a huge bestseller, was made into the classic movie starring Tony Curtis. His story “Sex Object” was published in the first Zippered Flesh anthology.

The first sentence of Graham's story, "Neighbors From Hell":

It was pretty horrible the way my grandmother died.

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BILLIE SUE MOSIMAN—Author of The Grey Matter, Carnival Freak, People of the Tower, A Little Life, Night Cruising, and many other works. Her stories “The Flenser,” “The Night Gordon was Set Free,” and “Second Amendment Solution” have been published in Smart Rhino anthologies.

The first sentence of Billie's story, "McMurdo Sound": 

I don’t know what sins I’ve committed that sent me to the cold wasteland of Antarctica.

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JEFF STRAND—Jeff Strand is the four-time Bram Stoker Award-nominated author of such novels as Pressure, Dweller, Wolf Hunt, and Sick House. Publishers Weekly calls his work “wickedly funny” and Cemetery Dance magazine said, “No author working today comes close to Jeff Strand’s perfect mixture of comedy and terror.”

The first sentence of Jeff's story, "The Fierce Stabbing and Subsequent Post-Death Vengeance of Scooter Brown":

“So, Mr. Galen, how many times did you stab Mr. Brown?”

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SHANNON CONNOR WINWARD—The author of the Elgin-award winning chapbook, Undoing Winter. Her writing has earned recognition in the Writers of the Future Contest and the Delaware Division of the Art Individual Artist Fellowship in literature. Her work has appeared in Fantasy & Science Fiction, Analog, The Pedestal Magazine, Literary Mama, Strange Horizons, PANK, and The Monarch Review, among others.

The first sentence of Shannon's story, "To Heart's Content":

I wake up outside the cabin in just my pajamas and socks, but I’m not feeling the cold.

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PHIL GIUNTA—Phil’s novels include the paranormal mysteries Testing the Prisoner and By Your Side. His third novel in the same genre, Like Mother, Like Daughters, is slated for release in late 2018. Phil's short stories appear in such anthologies as Beach Nights from Cat and Mouse Press, the ReDeus mythology series from Crazy 8 Press, and the Middle of Eternity speculative fiction series, which he created and edited for Firebringer Press. 

The first sentence of Phil's story, "Bottom of the Hour": 

For the lucky ones, death carries them away as gently as a dandelion pappus on a spring breeze, while others suffer in prolonged agony before drawing that final, wheezing breath.

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PATRICK DERRICKSON—A member of the Written Remains Writer’s Guild, he has finally found the outlet for the bizarre thoughts chasing one other inside his head. His publishing credits include "The Next King," published in the anthology, Someone Wicked; "The Repo Girl," published in Insidious Assassins; and "The True Enemy," published in the All-Out Monster Revolt Magazine.

The first sentence of Patrick's story, "Finding Resolution": 

I tapped the display to silence the alarms in the cockpit.

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STEPHANIE WYTOVICH—Stephanie M. Wytovich is Bram Stoker Award-winning American poet, novelist, and essayist. Her work has been showcased in numerous anthologies, such as Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories and Shadows Over Main Street: An Anthology of Small-Town Lovecraftian Terror. Her Bram Stoker Award-winning poetry collection, Brothel, earned a home with Raw Dog Screaming Press alongside Hysteria: A Collection of Madness, Mourning Jewelry, An Exorcism of Angels, and Sheet Music to My Acoustic Nightmare. Dark Regions Press published her debut novel, The Eighth

The first lines of Stephanie's poem, "A Hanger in the World of Dance":

It’s cold amongst these corpses 
I don’t belong here, not with them, 
T
he life-takers, the body-huskers

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MARIA MASINGTON—Maria is a poet, essayist, and short story writer from Wilmington, Delaware. Her poetry has been published in The News Journal, The Red River Review, Damozel Literary Journal, The Survivor’s Review, Wanderings, Currents, The Fox Chase Review, Van Gogh’s Ear, and by the University of Colorado. Her short story “Impresario” appeared in the anthology Someone Wicked and her short story “The Triple Mary” is in the anthology Beach Nights. She co-edits The Cicadas’s Cry, a haiku publication.

The first sentence of Maria's story, "Bark of the Dog-Faced Girl": 

The gestation period for a walrus is 465 days.

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JEFF MARKOWITZ—Jeff is the author of four mysteries, including three books in the Cassie O'Malley Mystery Series. His most recent novel, the standalone Death and White Diamonds, won the Lovey Award for Best Thriller and the David Award for Best Mystery. Jeff spent 40 years creating community-based programs and services for children and adults with autism before retiring to devote more time to writing. Jeff is the President of the New York Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America.

The first sentence of Jeff's story, "Twelve Steps":

Hi, my name is Jake and I’m an alcoholic.”

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GAIL HUSCH—Retired from teaching art history at Goucher College, Gail has written about aspects of American art, including a book titled Something Coming: Apocalyptic Expectation and Mid-Nineteenth-Century American Painting, published by the University Press of New England. In recent years, Dr. Husch has turned to fiction, completing The Button Field, a novel set in the late nineteenth century based on the real-life disappearance of a student from Mount Holyoke College. Gail's story, "Reckonings," was published in Someone Wicked: A Written Remains Anthology.

The first sentence in Gail's story, "No Good Deed":

Never in real life had she seen such desperation on any human face.

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JENNIFER LORING—Jennifer’s short fiction has been published widely both online and in print, including the anthologies Tales from the Lake vol. 1 and vol. 4 and Nightscript vol. 4. Longer work includes the novel Those of My Kind, published by Omnium Gatherum, and the novella Conduits from Lycan Valley Press. Jenn is a member of the International Thriller Writers (ITW) and the Horror Writers Association (HWA). She holds an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University with a concentration in horror fiction and teaches online in SNHU’s College of Continuing Education. Jenn lives with her husband in Philadelphia, PA, where they are owned by a turtle and two basset hounds.

The first line in Jenn's story "Dollhouse":

Abigail examined the doll with almost scientific curiosity.

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JANE MILLER—Jane’s poetry has appeared in the Iron Horse Literary Review, Summerset Review, cahoodaloodaling, Mojave River Review and Pittsburgh Poetry Review, among others. A nominee for Best New Poets and Best of the Net, she received a 2014 grant from the DE Divison of the Arts and was a finalist in the 2017 Red Wheelbarrow Poetry Contest.

The first lines of Jane's poem, "Starving Time, Jamestown 1609":

My seed rattled in the bowl
of my wife, begging.

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CHANTAL NOORDELOOS—Chantal always wanted to be a mermaid or bard when she was younger. Since she could be neither, writer was the closest thing. She shares her real life adventures with many of her loved ones, among which are her wacky husband and her daughter, who will one day grow up to be a charismatic supervillain.You wouldn’t expect someone who is scared of the dark and who everyone calls "Noodles" to be a horror writer, yet Chantal has written things that made people want to keep their nightlights on at bedtime. She also dabbles in other genres, but is most known for her darker work. At heart she will always be a storyteller; she enjoys creating new worlds for people to escape to, and creating new characters for readers to meet. Chantal's novels include Angel Manor, Coyote: The Outlander, and Coyote: The Clockwork Dragonfly.

The first sentences of Chantal's story, "The Angel's Grave":

Duff McGaffrey slaved away for years at the Pemberton Mill until its sudden collapse in January of 1860.

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CARSON BUCKINGHAM—Carson is a professional paranormal suspense writer, proofreader, editor, reporter, copywriter, technical writer, and comedy writer. She's also the author of the novels Noble Rot and Gothic Revival. Besides writing, she loves to read and garden, though not at the same time. She lives in Kentucky with her wonderful husband and a house full of books and pets.

The first sentences of Carson's story, "For Number 11":

Charles Evans Hughes, Sr. turned the tightly wrapped, strangely labeled package over in his hands. “What manner of nonsense is this?” he demanded of the courier. “In the event of whose death?”

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JACOB JONES-GOLDSTEIN—Jake is a fiction writer and sports blogger. His short story “What Time We Have” was published in Lovecraftiana Magazine, and he covers the Philadelphia 76ers for roundballrev.com. He lives in Delaware with his wife, cats, and maybe a ghost or two. He Trusts the Process.

The first sentences of Jake's story, "On the House":

"I told you we should have stopped at the burger place an hour ago," said Tom.

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J. GREGORY SMITH—Best-selling author of the thrillers A Noble Cause, The Flamekeepers, and the Paul Chang Mystery series including Final Price, Legacy of the Dragon, and Send in the Clowns. In addition, he has released a young adult fantasy, The Crystal Mountain, and the thriller, Darwin’s Pause under his own imprint, RedAcre Press. Before writing fiction full time, Greg worked in public relations in Washington, DC; Philadelphia; and Wilmington, Delaware.

The first sentence of Greg's story, "Powder Burns": 

Despite a rough start this morning, Stuart Talley thought his wife Janie looked perfect standing in the thick-walled, open room of the old gunpowder mill.

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JASPER BARK—Author of the award-winning collections Dead Air and Stuck on You and Other Prime Cuts, to cult novels like The Final Cut and acclaimed graphic novels such as Bloodfellas and Beyond Lovecraft. Jasper's story "Switch" was published in Zippered Flesh 3: Yet More Tales of Body Enhancements Gone Bad!

The first sentence of Jasper's story, "Haunting the Past":

I’m digging away with my bare hands.

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JM REINBOLD—Joanne is the Director of the Written Remains Writers Guild and the co-editor of the Written Remains Writers Guild anthologies, The Cicada’s Cry: A Micro Zine of Haiku Poetry, and the All-Out Monster Revolt Magazine. Her short fiction has appeared in Stories from the Ink Slingers, Zippered Flesh 2, Wanderings, Someone Wicked, and Insidious Assassins. Her poetry has appeared in Red Fez Magazine, A Haiku Miscellany, the Haiku Society of America Members’ Anthologies, All-Out Monster Revolt Magazine, and various other venues. 

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WELDON BURGE—The founder of Smart Rhino Publications, Weldon is a full-time editor, freelance writer, and publisher. His fiction has appeared in Suspense Magazine, Futures Mysterious Anthology Magazine, Grim Graffiti, The Edge: Tales of Suspense, Alienskin, Glassfire Magazine, and other magazines. His stories have also been adapted for podcast presentation by Drabblecast, and have appeared in various anthologies including Pellucid Lunacy: An Anthology of Psychological Horror, Don’t Tread on Me: Tales of Revenge and Retribution, Ghosts and Demons, and Something at the Door: A Haunted Anthology. He also often writes author interviews for Suspense Magazine.

The first sentence of Weldon's story, "Vindictive": 

“You see, this is a pistol-grip mini-crossbow with an 80-pound pull,” Flash Conwright said.

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Risks and challenges

As we start this Kickstarter campaign, we currently have A PLAGUE OF SHADOWS in production, in the compilation and editing phase. It is work in progress. We are shooting for publication later this year. However, if there are complications and we can't put the book on the market until 2019 (which we don't foresee at all), we'll let you know.

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    * Your name in the supporter list published in the book & deep gratitude

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    GHOSTS!

    * Paperback copy of A PLAGUE OF SHADOWS
    * Your name in the supporter list published in the book

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    SPECTRES!

    * Paperback copy of A PLAGUE OF SHADOWS
    * Paperback copy of SOMEONE WICKED
    * Your name in the supporter list published in the book

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    THE HAUNTED!

    * Paperback copy of A PLAGUE OF SHADOWS
    * Paperback copy of SOMEONE WICKED
    * Paperback copies of the Smart Rhino novellas THE BOX JUMPER & GREEN TSUNAMI
    * Your name in the supporter list published in the book

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    Pledge US$ 100 or more About US$ 100

    SPOOKS!

    * Critique/editing of one short story (max. 6,000 words) by Smart Rhino Publications editor Weldon Burge
    * Paperback copy of A PLAGUE OF SHADOWS
    * Your name in the supporter list published in the book

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    Pledge US$ 125 or more About US$ 125

    DEVILS!

    * Critique/editing of one short story (max. 6,000 words) by Smart Rhino Publications editor Weldon Burge
    * Paperback copy of A PLAGUE OF SHADOWS
    * Paperback copy of SOMEONE WICKED
    * Your name in the supporter list published in the book

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    Pledge US$ 150 or more About US$ 150

    INSANITY!

    * Character in A PLAGUE OF SHADOWS named after you
    * Paperback copy of A PLAGUE OF SHADOWS
    * Paperback copy of SOMEONE WICKED
    * If you're a writer: Critique/editing of one short story (max. 6,000 words) by Smart Rhino Publications editor Weldon Burge
    * Your name in the supporter list published in the book

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    Pledge US$ 250 or more About US$ 250

    THE GONZO REWARD!

    * Critique/editing of one short story (max. 10,000 words) by Smart Rhino Publications editor Weldon Burge
    * Character in A PLAGUE OF SHADOWS named after you
    * Paperback copy of A PLAGUE OF SHADOWS
    * Paperback copy of SOMEONE WICKED
    * Paperback copies of the Smart Rhino novellas THE BOX JUMPER & GREEN TSUNAMI
    * Paperback copies of the ZIPPERED FLESH trilogy
    * Paperback copies of the ASSASSINS series
    * Your name in the supporter list published in the book

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Funding period

- (30 days)