Well, to kick off my new weekly feature, Spotlight Weird, I decided to start with my friends at Shock Totem: Curious Tales of the Macabre and Twisted (clickable). As you can see by the picture of issue one, shown above, it's a beautiful magazine. However, there's a lot more to Shock Totem than wicked cover art and quality binding. The magazine is chock full of excellent stories, interviews, reviews and an interesting little nugget called "Howling Through the Keyhole", a section in which each author gives a little background to the fine stories published in the issue. These authors will literally blow your mind... they sure did mine. Even though only one issue has been released thus far, issue two is just around the corner and I kid you not, it's well worth going back and buying issue one as well as issue two. K. Allen Wood, editor of the magazine, is a great guy and he and the other "Totemites" have impeccable taste in fiction, art, and music. And they have great senses of humor, which is always a plus.
I'd recommend this magazine to any reader who loves horror, fantasy and all things weird. And if you happen to be a writer of those things... bring your A-game. Shock Totem might be new, but don't expect left-over-like stories. These tales are top-notch and are more than worth the cover price of the mag, $5.99 USD (plus shipping, of course); very low for a magazine of this quality. I've paid more for genre mags that look about half as good. Go visit the site, take a look around... buy issue one. Then buy issue two once it becomes available. You absolutely will not be sorry.
In addition to the magazine, there is also a nicely growing little community, Shock Totem Forums (clickable), where you can meet all the great people who work at the magazine and some who just hang out (like me). Also, Shock Totem hosts a themed flash fiction contest every two months and forum membership is required to take part, so if you're a writer who does a little flashing, keep it in mind. Just something fun to do, with possible publication as one of the prizes (the details are available on the forum). You can check out K. Allen Wood's blog, The Eyesore Times (clickable), for insight on the man behind the mag, for a good laugh (he is a funny, funny guy), or just to keep up with what's going on over at ST.
Now, as you may have noticed, this was not posted on Saturday. I decided to make "Spotlight Weird" a Monday event. So, check back next Monday for the next edition of "Spotlight Weird". Wednesdays will be a personal post from me, and Fridays I will join K. Allen Wood and Kara McElhinny, among many others, in posting weekly word counts so we can hold each other accountable. Thanks for reading and hey... as always...