Dean O’Leary is a man who lives on the edge: of life, love, and happiness. After a bank robbery gone horribly wrong, Dean leaves his life of crime in Los Angeles and exiles himself to the cold grey sands of Las Vegas. A cruel and unusual twist of fate shows Dean a life filled with the love and hope that he has always thought impossible, and then rips it away. With nothing left to lose, Dean goes all in on one final crime.
“Many a yarn has been woven around the quest for love. But that familiar tale starts to fray at the edges when young Dean O’Leary, a bank robber whose pinstripe suit is a better fit than the age in which he lives, packs up his cigarettes and his battered heart to start fresh in Las Vegas. With a voice and style that drag you in, Brandon sets up a character whose neurotic, mile-a-minute mind echoes the desire, anxiety, depression, and insanity found at every intersection on the road to love. From Dean’s ultimate highs to his rock-bottom lows (making a quick pit-stop at the surreal), Brandon will take you on an emotional walk in a desperate man’s wing-tip shoes—and you’ll be hooked from the very first step.”
-Elise Portale, Editor
“Selene” is a short piece that focuses on the next eight hours of her life. Selene is a character from SILENCE, Dean O’Leary’s lost lady-love.
The Cost of Paper is an annual publication created exclusively for California Bookstore Day. It is a fiction anthology filled with the works of the many collaborators at Black Hill Press (authors, editors, and artists) and sold only for the cost of paper in your hand—or, if you’d rather read it on an e-reader or computer, completely free using the form below.
“This isn’t so much an anthology of short fiction and art as a book in the tradition of eclectic record samplers. Full of B-Sides and Rarities from nearly every member in our artistic family, it’s the equivalent of a mix-tape packed with different styles and genres: Supernatural Fantasy, Shoe-gazing Romance, Mystery, Historical, Noir, and Surreal Sci-Fi. The stories inside span eras and places, from Louisiana to California, from Harlem to Kyoto. This sampler is a testament to the power of collaboration, and we enjoyed the process so much, we’re making The Cost of Paper an annual tradition, not for a profit, but to share who we are and what we most believe in with you—all for the cost of what it takes to print.”
-Ryan Gattis, Editor
Unexploded landmines and ordnance are one of the most horrifying legacies of any war, killing and maiming thousands of people all over the world each year, often long after the conflict has ended.
Nobel Prize honored Mines Advisory Group (MAG) is dedicated to eradicating this menace, not only saving lives, but offering new beginnings to these war-torn regions.
Explosions: Stories of Our Landmined World is an all-star charity anthology for MAG, featuring stories contributed by both bestselling and up-and-coming authors. 100% of the proceeds from this book will go directly to MAG and its work around the world.
Jeffery Deaver, David Morrell, John Sayles, Peter Straub, Amy Wallace, and James Grady are just some of the writers whose work author and screenwriter Scott Bradley has collected here, with haunting visions of “our landmined world” to help build a better one.
From the Spanish Civil War to Iraq; from the corridors of power to the battlefield, these 25 tales, along with a cover by Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Matt Wuerker, offer an extraordinary literary feast for any reader.
And help save lives at the same time.
Uncertain about their future, Ian McNeel and his two companions forsake California. Embarking on a roadtrip across the country, they land deep in the unfamiliar world of the American South. Even there he fails to find his place. Instead, his emptiness spins out of control, leading him on an orgy of drinking, drugs and sexual obsession.
“It is often difficult to find examples of selfless passion. Even the most creative of endeavors, can be marred by a stain of profit and reek of the hurried rush to Market. Beneath the surface there still exists a sense of community, a feeling of Family, and a drive to create for creation’s sake. Underground currents are powerful and they silently erode the settled and stagnant surface, changing the landscape, changing the shape of our world, and reshaping the way we view ourselves and one another. This anthology is a collection of currents, a collaboration of our most powerful tributaries, flowing together, into a vast and revolutionary sea.
In the spirit of these powerful currents, I welcome you to the second volume of The Cost of Paper, a collaborative anthology showcasing the passions of past, present, and future members of the Black Hill Press Family. I am very proud to present this body of multi-‐‑disciplinary work to our longtime readers, and newcomers alike. Much has changed since Volume I, our Family has grown by leaps and bounds, and as a result the artists and authors represented here are a truly eclectic international coalition. Our contributors explore genres, voices, and mediums as varied as their cities and countries of origin, all under a banner of collaboration and in honor of creation for the sake of beauty.”
–William M. Brandon III, Editor
As a micro-epic The Pit has a little of everything: small town American gothic, detective fiction, spy thriller, Hollywood drama, folklore, science fiction, historical fiction, surrealism, horror gore, punk romance, and satire of American capitalism and consumerism. The Pit, and No Other Stories, might be a familiar reading experience to that of viewing the ABC television program, Lost. Many characters, different story lines, obvious points of connection, some less obvious, and many fun, stage-setting red herrings. The Pit has deep important themes about the failings of the American dream, exploitation, and objectification of humans, but it also expresses a deep veneration for storytelling, narrative, and the triumph of the human spirit through art.
“The Pit, and No Other Stories is a true a micro-epic: in just under 110 pages, Rothacker creates an entire world and its accompanying mythology. The scope of this collection of subtly interrelated meditations is massive both in its geographical reach and in its endeavor to tell a complete story spanning over four thousand years. Rothacker invokes a stark, realistic pall just beneath a light and expansive atmosphere of playful magic. The Pit, and No Other Stories brings together multiple styles, voices, and structures using lush sentences and themes delivered with a compelling economy.”
–William M. Brandon III, Editor
A wedding that wasn’t, a winter, and a lot of free time. Chris is a broken romantic in the wake of an engagement that ends 30 days before the wedding. Exiling himself to a one bedroom apartment in Chicago, he looks for purpose. Hours searching for inspiration from his favorite television, music, and films leads to a series of brutally honest revelations. Finding himself can’t be accomplished by breakdancing in his kitchen or bartering for attention of the opposite sex. Chris embarks on a self deprecating journey as many things he’s not, hoping to find something of what he is.
“Foster follows the spiraling path of a man who is suddenly forced to face his own delusions. Worse, he faces delusions of his own making. Amstadt brings an honest tone to a myopic character grasping at a notion of happiness that resembles his former, structured, and unhappy life. Amstadt is brutally succinct in his portrayal of a dark fear that is nearly as universal as falling in love itself. Amstadt pulls no punches as he explores the existential ennui of damaged expectations and time-spent—that now feels lost.”
-William M. Brandon, Editor
by Kevin Staniec
Our human struggle with pain is played out in thought-provoking detail by our unconscious as we sleep. 29 to 31: A Book of Dreams offers a raw and empowering vision of the emotional evolution necessary to recover from a broken heart, and move from a state of pain, betrayal and fear into uncharted waters that keep the ship of soul afloat in spite of perilous doubt and churning seas.
“With 29 to 31: A Book of Dreams, Staniec takes a time-honored tradition and adds a third and vital narrative dimension. This beautifully written first-person account of the author’s sleeping mind treats each surreal and ethereal landscape as a complete story that feeds into and enhances a sincere and heartwarming transformation that celebrates love, loss, and longing.”
–William M. Brandon III, Editor
by B. Tanner Fogle
In an attempt to repair their disintegrating marriage, Victor and Molly Trimble journey to the
rustic and very haunted Boundary Crossing Hotel. There, they are besieged by angry and confused guests, semi-possessed staff members, an eccentric multi-denominational exorcist, and some extremely irritated undead. The uniquely modern motivations of these homicidal apparitions may just surprise the Trimbles.
“Fogle combines horror and hilarity seamlessly in his debut novella A Little Evil—no small feat for any author. The journey he takes us on with Mr. and Mrs. Trimble investigates the pain and doubt created by feelings of betrayal between two persons who genuinely love one another but cannot compromise. Through scenes of grisly, ghostly murder, the walls between the Trimbles melt away as survival trumps their differences. Their reconciliation is woven into a harrowing tale of an isolated and haunted mountain hotel under attack by the ghosts of angry, disgruntled ex-guests with an ax to grind. No one is safe, and you’ll laugh all the way to the graveyard.”
–William M. Brandon III, Editor