In probably one of the weirdest editorial meetings ever, I solicited the opinions of an impartial jury of peers, chosen for their interest in dark fantasy, horror, or generally twisted things, but not actively involved in Twisted Sister lit mag.
Once I set up the ground rules (read through the site, and select your top three faves), warnings (do NOT open this site at work, or you may be explaining your way back into a job), and offered some starting points of archived editorial pages (with themes of sexy, noir, payback, etc.), things got really weird.
Duly warned that they would encounter spooky, sexy, and strange stuff, one member immediately panicked (“Am I going to get nightmares over this??? Because I’m a coward.”) while another, ahem, member volunteered to boldly go where no man has gone before (“I got a Vaseline gift set for Christmas and the gf’s leaving me alone for the rest of the holidays… I’m on it!”) and two members dropped out.
We are still unsure as to whether the missing members fled in fear of Twisted Sister or the Vaseline, but hey, that’s the way things go around here. So, although my editorial suggestions were to keep things more literary, and less lubricated, the discussion broke down even further (with comments about short (pen) strokes, good hard reads, and really sinking your teeth into a piece); but before disintegrating into total anarchy, we managed to come up with a list of favorites.
Now, for your reading pleasure and in no particular order, our jury’s top picks from Twisted Sister 2016.
The Drowning of Elizabeth Walker (one of the first to be listed)
Pizza Delivery (Although not one of the editor’s initial picks, this one was enthusiastically nominated by our Vaseline champion)
Rue Sainte Monique (Again from the male readers in our jury)
Something From The Garden (Discussion then revolved around the many different ways husbands have unexpectedly come to no good end around Twisted Sister — just ask Alice, Edna, Margo, and poor old Author)
The Tinder Sacrifices series (still one of Fotohack’s faves — ‘Blood and beautiful women — my kind of thing.’)
Unexpected Package (Reader’s Comment — How twisted is it that it made me unexpectedly happy at the end?)
Where the Spirits Take Them (Reader’s Comment — Immediately engaging, nice intro into the Sudbury jail. (my birth town) Hooked.)
Vanity (Reader’s Comment — A VERY hot read — sexy as hell)
Ed. Note — It might be fall out from the holidays, or the recent celebrity losses (Our Requiem For A Princess was actually nominated as a top pick) but, with a couple exceptions, this is a pretty somber selection. For higher energy work check out Gary Clifton, Steve Tillman, Tom Leins, GJ Hart, Ruth Demming, Linda Barrett, Mandi Rose, Cindy Rosmus and some of the stuff by Liz McAdams.
Honestly, behind the scenes at Twisted Sister we love all the work featured around here, and think you should just kick back for the day and scroll through the whole site (something to do with the holidays, time off work and all). And in case you missed some of our previous issues, we’ve got a few of them right here: Naughty List, Not the Noir, Payback’s a Bitch, Halloween, Back To School, and Advice On Writing.