In no particular order and with no set number per category, here is a list of my picks for the Best Books/Novellas that I read (and were released) in 2007:
The Terror by Dan Simmons
The Missing by Sarah Langhan
The Hollower by Mary San Giovanni
Homeplace by Elizabeth Massie
The Queen of Bedlam by Robert R. McCammon
Fools Rush In: A Sam McCain Mystery by Ed Gorman
The Memory Tree by John R. Little
The Servantsby Michael Marshall Smith
Dawn by Tim Lebbon
The Dust of Wonderland by Lee Thomas
The Midnight Road by Tom Piccirilli
Mister B. Gone by Clive Barker
Baltimore: or, The Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire by Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden
Unbroken by A.J. Matthews
The Everlasting by Tim Lebbon
Placeholders by John R. Little
Frayed by Tom Piccirilli
The Peabody-Ozymandias Traveling Circus & Oddity Emporium by F. Paul Wilson
Dead Earth: The Green Dawn by Mark Justice & David T. Wilbanks
Under My Roof by Nick Mamatas
General Slocum's Gold by Nicholas Kaufmann
Somewhere a Band is Playing by Ray Bradbury
Temple: Incarnations by Steve Saville
Sparks and Shadows by Lucy A. Snyder
Portable Childhoods by Ellen Klages
Hart & Boot & Other Stories by Tim Pratt
M is for Magic by Neil Gaiman
Installing Linux on a Dead Badger and Other Oddities by Lucy A. Snyder
Proverbs for Monsters by Michael A. Arnzen
Darker Loves by James Dorr
Mary Falls: Requiem for Mrs. Surratt by Christopher Conlon (Poetry collection)
Legends of the Mountain State: Ghostly Tales from the State of West Virginia Edited by Michael Knost
Inferno Edited by Ellen Datlow
Thrillers 2 Edited by Robert Morrish
Midnight Premiere Edited by Tom Piccirilli
A Dark and Deadly Valley Edited by Mike Heffernen
Dark Delicacies 2: Fear Edited by Del Howison and Jeff Gelb
Gratia Placenti Edited by Jason Sizemore and Gill Ainsworth
Gary's "Kickass Writer of the Year" Award:
Tom Piccirilli. The guy's reaching the height of his power, and his work throughout 2007 hasn't hit one sour note. Mystery, horror, suspense, he's everywhere, and well on his way to becoming a Very Serious Deal. Could not happen to a more deserving writer.
Gary's "Kickass Small Press Publisher of the Year" Award:
A Tie: Creeping Hemlock Press and Necessary Evil Press. Despite having been wiped out not once, but twice in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and the storms that followed it, R.J. and Julia Seven not only managed to bring out CH's first book, Corpse Blossoms only a month-and-a-half later than announced, they have gone on to publish several more beautifully-produced books on a regular basis, the latest of which is The Fever Kill by some upstart named Piccirilli.
Necessary Evil Press, after winning the Bram Stoker Specialty Press Award a few years ago, has continued to not only publish excellent-quality books on a regular basis, but have recently raised its own bar for quality. Don Koish and company continue to publish first-rate material, but the physical production of NEP's books -- like those of Paul Miller's Earthling Publications (last year's "Kickass" winner) -- has gotten even more detailed and beautiful.
Gary's "Kickass New Publisher of the Year" Award:
Tasmaniac Publications: http://tasmaniacpublications.com/
This brand-spanking new publisher from way Down Under has already proven its chops with its release of Paul Kane's The Lazarus Condition, and made my jaw hit the floor when they released my own In the Midnight Museum late last year (featuring a wonderful introduction by none other than Terry Dowling). The care and craftsmanship that goes into each of Tasmaniac's books is remarkable, and when Tasmaniac says "Limited Edition"...oooh, boy, are they not kidding. 300 softcovers and 26 lettered hardcovers -- and that's it. Publisher Steve Clark is here and he means business. Tasmaniac publishes novellas, period. Aside from Mr. Kane and myself, Steve has lined up Steve Gerlach, Steve Saville, Simon Clark, and Tom Piccirilli for 2008 releases. I will also be releasing a brand-new Cedar Hill novella with them. Remember the name: Tasmaniac Publications. It's going to be on everyone's lips come this time 2009.
And Coming Soon...
One of the perks I enjoy about my professional life is that I now more than ever have the opportunity to read new books months -- if not a full year -- before their publication, so I know what's in store for readers come such-and-such date.
Here's a trio of books that are going to be knocking your socks off later this year:
Miranda by John R. Little: another mind-bending time-travel novella from the author of The Memory Tree and Placeholders.
The Devil's Marionette by Maurice Broaddus: the "Sinister" Minister's first foray into long fiction will be reason to cheer; it's the brilliance we've all been waiting for.
Orpheus and the Pearl by Kim Paffenroth: for those of you who, like myself, long for the days of the Gothic tales of Ray Russell, the wait is nearly over. The cobwebs and creeps are coming.
A Shameless Plug:
Hank Schwaeble, my co-editor on the just-released anthology Five Strokes to Midnight, would kill me if I didn't mention this new anthology. Both Hank and myself have stories in the book, but so do Deborah LeBlanc, Christopher Golden, and that Piccirilli guy, and all of them are at the top of their game. For more information on this anthology, please go to: http://www.hauntedpelicanpress.com
That is all.
No thanks necessary, Lee -- you know how much I admire you and your work, and WONDERLAND is the best thing you've yet written (not that I can keep up with your output -- you signed, what? Thirty new contracts since making your post here?).
Now we all wait with jitters for the announcement of the preliminary ballot -- and this is arguably the strongest year we've seen in a while.
Thank you, my friend, for the nice words. We're still swinging, thanks to guys like you, that upstart Pic fellow, and the other mega-talented authors we've published/will be publishing in the years to come.
Without your fine words, we'd have nothing.