Blood Bank is more than just an anthology. It’s a milestone for Blood Bound Books. A symbolic culmination in an evolutionary journey, I didn’t realize we were on until recently.
A lot has changed since Joseph and I opened Blood Bound Books in 2009. Back then, a major goal of mine was to scare and shock people. To be totally indie and extreme, remembered for changing the world of horror fiction in ways only a non-conformist can.
I’d like to believe Blood Bound Books accomplished this. I’d also like to believe we’ve gotten better with age. The only thing I know for sure though, is that over the years I’ve become a different person and my goals have shifted. I still want to change the world, but I’m no longer concerned about it being the world of fiction.
More important than the legacy of ‘best’, ‘scariest’, or some other arbitrary title, I now want the company to be remembered for making a positive impact in the lives of children. So in 2019, Blood Bound Books changed its mission to: Spreading Hope Through Dark Fiction. I called Blood Bank a symbolic culmination because while it is not the end of this journey by any means, it is the biggest undertaking so far in this new trajectory—a five-year fundraiser for Read Better Be Better and Hagar’s House.
I now understand those who write and publish dark fiction have a huge responsibility. Horror and its numerous subgenres are not simply mindless stories of blood and guts, depressing and revolting topics—though I assure you many tales in this anthology are bleak. Dark fiction reflects aspects of real life. Aspects that make us uncomfortable, that trigger us, yet these topics are realities for many people in the world. In this book, there may be stories you enjoy more than others, but each author had a reason for giving life to the tale they contributed. We can learn much about ourselves and others through a horror story. We can grow and evolve. Perhaps like me, you’re on a journey of evolution and don’t realize it yet. After all, humans can only know light by first observing the dark.
It is crucial that we, each one of us, strive to contain the horrors of real life to the pages of fiction. Let’s explore the depths of our own shadows through fictional characters rather than against one another. And as we come to know ourselves through the reading of dark fiction, we can better cultivate the main character we want to emulate in our own lives.
My deepest thanks to the authors who donated to this project, all the producers listed in the acknowledgements for their financial support, Drew Stepek & Godless for the cover art, and of course, you. Your purchase of this anthology has improved childhood literacy in Arizona and is giving displaced families in New Orleans a bit of peace during their own horrors.
Spreading hope through dark fiction is not what birthed Blood Bound Books, but it is our future. In addition to Blood Bank, we are still giving away free books for blood donations, stocking classrooms with much needed literature, and supporting Shriner’s Hospitals.