In Bloom

Tiny buds open as gently as the doors inside your mind. Feel the soft petals smooth beneath your fingertips. Hear the whispers of the wind, and breathe in the strange scent of American Fantastic's 2017 Spring update.

A lovely bouquet. Photo by Caleb Beechem.

A lovely bouquet. Photo by Caleb Beechem.

Caleb Beechem returns with a new round of nature photography, celebrating the flora and fauna of the Pacific Northwest.  In this season of rebirth, birds and plants herald the dawn.  You can find more of Caleb's photography at Beechem Photography and follow him on Instagram.
 

"From Hell's heart, I stab at thee!" Art by Dordji

"From Hell's heart, I stab at thee!" Art by Dordji

Dordji returns to document an epic struggle between a one-eyed man and his opponent, a fearsome spiny salamander.  Whether formed inside his own imagination, or recorded from the titanic struggles undertaken among various role-playing groups, his illustrations bring the other-worldly to life.  You can find more of his work at Magar-Art.
 

Guardian of the Gate. Photo by Mike Maes.

Guardian of the Gate. Photo by Mike Maes.

Mike Maes has captured a fearsome bronze door knocker, among other other strange metallic artifacts. He's also revealed the feathers and flowers he's discovered in his journeys. You can find more of his work on Facebook.
 

Ethereal Convergence. Art by Jack Scully.

Ethereal Convergence. Art by Jack Scully.

Jack Scully has created a crystalline monolith intersected by an ethereal convergence. His magical and surreal creations open a portal into strange new worlds.  You can find and purchase his work on his website.
 

You can also catch up on all the recent episodes of Hip Squared, American Fantastic's pop-culture podcast.  Co-hosts John Beechem and Troy Kremer talk about all kinds of pop-culture, from the cutting-edge to the classic,  mainstream, and obscure.  Maplex Monk produces the show.  Tune in and turn on.

John Beechem has also concluded "That Stone Could Begin to Crack", his two-part story about a pair of fraternal twins, Alan and Julie, who begin to navigate life together after many years apart. Inspired by research into psychedelic substances used to treat depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, Alan and Julie take a trip down the rabbit hole with their friends Zach and Diane in part 2, "Beneath the Shade of the Mushroom's Cap".

Thank you for visiting American Fantastic!  Please tell your friends, share on social media and consider supporting us on Patreon.

And remember, when reality becomes a burden, enjoy a sojourn into the fantastic...

A Fire Rooster Crows Steam Through the Ice and Welcomes a New Year

Come close, traveler, and sit by the fire.  This is our 2017 Winter update.  Stay warm with the words and images we've provided.  Hear the crackle of sticks and smell the smoke as our fire blazes in the moonlight.  If you have some speakers or a pair of earbuds, you can even hear our voices inside your mind.  But we are all a bit mad here, so you may hear other voices too....

We are pleased to announce our new audio section!  Our first offering is Hip Squared, a pop-culture podcast hosted by John Beechem and his younger brother, Troy Kremer.  John and Troy talk about everything from the mainstream to the underground, independent, weird, old and local.  You can catch up on all five episodes, and come back every week for a new conversation. Like us on Facebook to find out when new episodes are posted. We plan to post the newest one each Friday. 

Also make sure to listen to the archives of the American Fantastic Radio Hour, a mix of music, storytelling, poetry and conversations recorded at ARTxFM studio in Louisville, KY.  There are seven episodes to keep you entertained.  And be on the lookout for American Fantastic Theatre, an upcoming project that will include audio versions of John Beechem's stories and poems.  More than just a reading, these will include genuine story-telling by John with character voices, emotions and will be an experience that can be enjoyed wherever you are.  Listen through the website, or get the Soundcloud app for mobile use.  Episodes of the American Fantastic Radio Hour already feature John's story-telling in case you'd like to hear what these will be like. 

Blue moon, I see you standing alone.

Blue moon, I see you standing alone.

Caleb Beechem returns with a set of new photos including this haunting image of the moon, altered with a blue hue, giving an impression of cold solitude.  You can also find a picture of a frozen leaf with the strangest crystalline ice surrounding it and an image of a storm cloud bending the sun's rays.  We are glad Caleb has survived Portland's severe winter and taken advantage of the frozen oddities it's presented.

The Downward Spiral.

The Downward Spiral.

Mike Maes reveals the depth of a downward spiral, one more functional than most we encounter.  Be sure to go to Mike's gallery to see two excellent samples of wild-life photography including a mallard flying down into water and a gorilla peeling a label off of a cardboard box.  It's good to see the world through eyes so clear and in search of beauty in all places.

PARAGON, a super-hero gaming character illustrated by Dordji

PARAGON, a super-hero gaming character illustrated by Dordji

Dordji has painted two new illustrations, both inspired by his love of table-top role-playing games.  The first is PARAGON, a character created by one of his gaming family members.  Representing all that is right and true, PARAGON is an inspiration to us all.  If your tastes fall closer to the monstrous side of things, Dordji has also illustrated a cloud giant, devouring the first of a very unfortunate group of adventurers.

This Cloud Giant knows what he wants and he knows how to get it.

This Cloud Giant knows what he wants and he knows how to get it.

And finally, John Beechem has posted the first part of a short novella (or a long short story--it's the internet, so who cares?).  It's titled That Stone Could Begin to Crack and part one is The Reunion.  Alan and Julie are fraternal twins, but as different from each other as many brothers and sisters.  In a moment of mundane desperation, Julie reaches out to Alan, and they begin to mend a relationship that was torn apart by a war that has followed him home.  As their friendship rekindles and their connection deepens, Alan suggests a surprising but hopeful treatment for his PTSD and some of its baggage--a psychedelic trip using psilocybin mushrooms.  This story is based in part on actual scientific research and exploration conducted by veterans.  The conclusion, Part 2: Beneath the Shade of the Mushroom's Cap, will be published this Spring. 

Thank you for visiting American Fantastic!  If you'd like to support us, become a member on Patreon or visit our Merch Store (tee-shirts and books now available).  Tell a friend who you think would get a kick out of our website.  Artists may submit original content (of any kind) to americanfantastic@gmail.com (poke John at jbeechem2000@gmail.com if you do not get a timely response).  

And remember, when reality becomes a burden, enjoy a sojourn into the fantastic... 

Cross Your Heart and Hope to Die

Greetings, creatures of the night!  Welcome to our 2016 Halloween update.  The veil is thin, and all manner of wicked mischief creeps among the cornfields and orchards.  Come take a sip, and relax with a haunting assemblage of fantastic tales.

Your front-side is just as ugly as your back-side!

Your front-side is just as ugly as your back-side!

Dordji has returned with a new pair of offerings.  The first is illustrated by Ryan Rich and colored by Dordji.  It depicts a deadly confrontation between a monster and a knight, but for the life of me, I can't decide who to root for.  Dordji's second image is a portrait of the elusive werewolf or lycanthrope.  Rarely seen except on nights of the full moon, this creature can be repelled by wolfsbane or by simply locking one's door at night and not venturing outside it once a month.  View the rest of Dordji's gallery to see what other kind of monstrosities he's crafted from the aether.  

 He's having one hell of a night.

 He's having one hell of a night.

Fall into the abyss with Caleb Beechem.  He's turning up a new leaf.  You can see more of his colors on his website and follow him on  Instagram.  To see more beauty from the natural world, look at the rest of Caleb's photos including more from many Autumn's past.

FALL IS A FEATHERED FOREST OF FIRE.

FALL IS A FEATHERED FOREST OF FIRE.

Mike Maes has a pair of photos that reveal the beauty of decay.  Here's an open invitation to view the rest of his gallery.  He's taken many photos of abandoned houses, most of them a marvelous kind of unsettling.  

Whatever you do, don't go in there.

Whatever you do, don't go in there.

John Beechem has penned his newest Halloween horror story, "Reap a Bloody Harvest".  It's about Elijah, an old-fashioned, blood-thirsty assassin hired to murder a corrupt pharmaceutical executive at an industry conference in Las Vegas.  With his partner, Jacob, and boss, Malichi, he drives a stake into the corrupt heart of Sin City to seek revenge on a different kind of blood-sucker.  In case I am being too subtle, this is a story about vampires.  I hope you enjoy, but perhaps you should wear a turtle-neck tonight.  

Thank you for returning to American Fantastic.  I invite you to peruse our horror section in case you would like to read even more disturbing stories.  Carve pumpkins, drink plenty of cider, sprinkle some holy water and relish this season of the Dead.

And remember, when reality becomes a burden, enjoy a sojourn into the fantastic...

Welcome to American Fantastic New Point Oh

Welcome back to American Fantastic!  It's been a while, hasn't it?  Since you and I hung out.  That's my fault.  You know it is with work. Family.  Or maybe you don't.  But that's okay, I'm here to explain what happened.  

It's been six months since we last updated.  That's way too long, isn't it?  What kind of ramshackle website is this anyway? Look, there's dishes in the sink.  Junk all over the floor.  I won't even mention the coffee table.  I think you know why. Okay, let's roll up our sleeves and get to work.

Our very first book!  Ain't she cute?

Our very first book!  Ain't she cute?

Founder and Editor-in-Chief John Beechem has written and published American Fantastic's first print publication, Delusions of Grandeur: Stories and Poems.  Jack Scally generously gave permission for us to use one of our favorite images for the front cover. Yoko Molotov created the back cover, a black and white illustration for John's zombie short-story, "The Good, the Bad and the Dead". This book provides an essential selection of John's most recent work, representing pulp genres including sci-fi, fantasy, and horror, plus John's poetry and literary fiction.  You can pick up a copy at Carmichael's Bookstore, Amazon or purchase a copy from John personally if you'd like to have it signed.  He is currently writing new, unpublished stories which will be released on American Fantastic soon.  

 Back Cover Art by Yoko Molotov.  She will eat you alive.

We won't bore you with too many details, but the book's publication significantly delayed our most recent on-line update.  To keep up with American Fantastic between updates, please like us on Facebook!

El Patron Phlogisto by Dordji.  "And ye shall fear Phlogisto the Armless!"

El Patron Phlogisto by Dordji.  "And ye shall fear Phlogisto the Armless!"

Dordji has reached into his twisted mind and brought forth clawing and biting a few new creations.  Phlogistro communes with his worshippers.  He is a powerful and (usually) benevolent deity.  Also be sure to check out The Tyrant Lizard of Doomgore National Park, what you would get if you crossed a Tyrannosaurus Rex with a nightmare.  

Cloudy with a chance of enlightenment.

Cloudy with a chance of enlightenment.

Caleb Beechem continues to shoot and publish new photographs.  His landscapes seem pulled from the imagination.  All kinds of earthly creatures fall pray to his lens as you can tell from his gallery.  Visit Beechem Photography to see even more of his work or to hire him.

John has also been on the FM airwaves.  Listen to American Fantastic Radio Hour Episode 7, recorded and broadcast live on ARTxFM 97.1 WXOX in Louisville, KY. Host John Beechem and guest Kelly Shiflet (artist and John's wife) talk about the indie video game Hyperlight Drifter, dissect and spoil Game of Thrones episodes and novels (48:30), and chat merrily.  John also reads a poem about Kelly's truck being destroyed by a drunk driver [DON'T WORRY NO ONE WAS HURT] and reads from his sci-fi, noir short story To Yellow Fever.

Travel even further back in time to listen to American Fantastic Radio Hour Episode 6,  also recorded and broadcast live on ARTxFM. John Beechem reads his zombie pulp fiction, The Good, the Bad and the Dead, talks about local artist and expert in the undead, Yoko Molotov, and speaks to Maplex Monk about Haptic Ultra.  Music for the faithfully departed by White Zombie, the Misfits, Sek and video game composer Koichi Sugiyama. Illustration by Yoko Molotov.

That's about all we have for you this time.  Thank you for returning to our mad den of the macabre, for exploring our weird wonderlands and alliterative alleyways.  Please tell a friend or enemy about American Fantastic.  If you are an artist or know one, please submit original work to americanfantastic@gmail.com.  

And remember, when reality becomes a burden, enjoy a sojourn into the fantastic...

Hear the Song of Winter

Shadows flicker by the fire.  Come closer and keep warm.  The story-teller weaves tales from stars and moonlight, flame and feather.  Snow falls like ashes, but the heart keeps time with the drum.  Listen for the song of winter.  

                                 Frost Fur by Caleb Beechem

Caleb Beechem returns with new photos to add to his growing collection.  Not all of them are as cold as these frost-bitten leaves.  It is summer in South Africa, and Caleb is working with African Impact, a conservation program that includes teaching young people about wildlife photography.  Make sure you check out his gallery for some of his most recent photos, and visit his website or find him on Facebook at Beechem Photography

                                  Congregation of the Night by Jack Scally

Jack Scally has returned with some new paintings and pen and ink drawings.  He's decorated a Storm Trooper helmet with his distinctive black and white coil line pattern, along with new original work.  Jack's line and ink drawings are echoes from a time long ago, but his use of psychedelic patterns and imagery reflect a more modern madness.  You can see more of his work on his artist's Facebook page, Jack Scally Art.

 

Patti Alvey has painted a portrait of musician Randy Newman.  Hear Patti speak about creating this piece, along with more of her wacky ideas on episode four of the American Fantastic Radio Hour.  In this episode, host John Beechem talks to Patti about their favorite things from 2015, Randy Newman, art and a lot more, including an excerpt from some new short fiction by John.  Recorded and broadcast live at ARTxFM Studio, just like every show in the AFRH archives.

And check out episode five, a show John did on his own that includes his thoughts on all things Star Wars besides the films and an excerpt from The Adventures of Baxter and ROEBUCK:  Part 3.

Speaking of The Adventures of Baxter and ROEBUCK, John has published his third installment in the series, "Ramona's Revenge". In this episode, Baxter, ROEBUCK and Doc D'Angelo meet a new ally, Ramona.  Another subject of Major Monk's scientific experiments beneath the sands of Los Alamos, Ramona is a strong psychic with undisciplined and unbridled abilities.  Can she help them escape?  Read to find out!  

Remember, when reality becomes a burden, enjoy a sojourn into the fantastic...

The Devil's Due

The harvest has come.  Time to reap what we have sown. To satisfy the restless spirits of the dead, we present these humble offerings.

                          Time ain't the only thing that's a flat circle.

Jack Scally returns with a few new additions to his gallery.  He usually creates his pieces with watercolor, acrylic, and pen on cotton canvas in a simple notebook. But with these humble tools, Jack creates incredible images that are gorgeous and haunting.  See more of Jack's work on Instagram @eradelphic and like him on Facebook.

                                           Quit buggin' me.

Jodie Beechem has returned with a pair of new black and white illustrations. Her keen eye and sense of geometry and symmetry are in full effect with this winged, six-legged insect of unknown genus and species.  She has also created a new collage that includes liquor, a switch blade, a straight razor, some playing cards, and all manner of body parts.  All the ingredients for a good night out.

                                         This tree was framed.

We are proud to welcome back Mike Maes who has crafted a series of photos taken in abandoned places.  Mike finds the beauty in what others have left behind.  Beneath the peeling paint and broken boards, he has found images that blend the sad and the sublime, the humorous with the exhumed.  Come see what he's dug up.

                                 Fall is a feathered forest of fire.

Caleb Beechem continues to find and photograph some of the most gorgeous vistas planet Earth has to offer. He recently made a trek to Proxy Falls in Oregon to see the leaves turning all the colors of flame. Let his photos light a wildfire inside of you. See more of his work at Caleb Beechem Photography on Facebook.

                                    You are cordially invited...

Last but not least, John Beechem invites you to American Fantastic Presents:  The Cottonwood Curse (and other Spooky Tales) on Saturday, October 17th.  Come hear some frighteningly good stories, just in time to get you in the mood for Halloween.  

John has also crafted a new horror story "Shattered", inspired by shows like The Twilight Zone and Black Mirror.  Pleased to present for your consideration Mr. Joe Damici, a young man who's struck it rich, with an internet post that reaches millions. On a whim, he buys an antique mirror, curious of the artifact's cursed legacy. Come see his reflection. Peer through the looking glass.

Remember, when reality becomes a burden, enjoy a sojourn into the fantastic...

Feed the Flames

Summer burns hot, cleansing the land with her hungry fires.  Where only blackened cinders remain, new life has room to grow.   Dragons roam the night, and blacken the stars.  Best run for cover...

This fairy was made for someone's birthday.  
She comes but once a year to remind you of your mortality.

Dordji has discovered a few new species, horrifying and wondrous.  Not all are as gentle as the fae.  Come and view them, but don't stick your fingers through the cage.  They still need to be fed.  See more beasts of the abyss on the Magar-Art tumblr.  

           Cool off in the creek.  Don't you wish your mind was this clear?

Caleb Beechem has been busy this summer, visiting Crater Lake in Oregon and exploring a few other places.  His photos immerse the viewer in the wide world outside, and will help inspire your own adventures.  Caleb has also found a willing in subject with what looks to be a Fox Squirrel.  Down, boy...

                                        Say hello to Hello Mona

American Fantastic welcomes Lexington street-artist Hello Mona.  Hello Mona combines images from classic art and modern pop culture to create their own form of mash-up.  From Ancient Greece to the Mushroom Kingdom, their influences include cartoons, video games, and Renaissance Art.  Read our interview with Hello Mona, and check out their own space on the interwebz at Hello Mona's website and webstore.  You can see Hello Mona on August 27th in Lexington at the Bread Box studio for 1UP, an art show focused on video games.  Admission is 100 gold coins or rings, good for one special mushroom.

John Beechem has been on the airwaves with episode two of the American Fantastic Radio Hour on ARTxFM, featuring friend and poet Selena McCracken.  

Listen to John read "Delusions of Grandeur", Selena read "Voltairine", and hear them discuss the French Revolution, Manic Depression, Nature goddesses, and other fine subjects.  Featuring music by Daft Punk, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Jamie XX, and Jim James, this show will open your mind and funk it up.  

You can also read about the fascinating world of Wendy's employee training videos, an indie video game inspired by The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers called Chroma Squad and other cultural ephemera at A Fantastic Pop! (mirrored on blogger).  Learn about things that don't matter, and have fun doing it.  

John will return to fiction this Fall with his Halloween short story "Shattered".  You can hear the introduction on the American Fantastic Radio Hour, and read the complete story in October.  In the tradition of shows like The Twilight Zone and Black Mirror "Shattered" will warp your perceptions of the seemingly familiar.  

Welcome back to American Fantastic.  Submit original content to americanfantastic@gmail.com.  Remember, when reality becomes a burden, enjoy a sojourn into the fantastic...

Heart Beats Through the Gloom

Violet bloom by the
Silent tomb

Gentle kicks
In a widow's womb

Raindrop tears
Are all she hears

Her heart beats
Through the gloom

"Searchers after horror haunt strange, far places." -H.P. Lovecraft
Art by Jack Scally

American Fantastic welcomes Louisville artist Jack Scally. Jack draws and paints surreal landscapes, portraits and random ephemera grown from his fertile imagination.  His work is strange, sometimes dark,  always beautiful.  Take a look at his expanded gallery  on Instagram @eradelphic.  You can can also find him on Facebook


Everyone enjoys a tasty morsel.  Art by Dordji

Dordji can't stop, won't stop. He has created a series of sci-fi military paintings inspired by Warhammer 40k titled Warhammer Faux-rty K.  These pieces imagine warriors in mythic battles against beasts greater than themselves, at least in body if not in spirit.  He's also crafted an incredible depiction of the dreaded Shpongle Bongle.  Beware, lest you find him lurking in the depths; she sometimes inflicts her wrath upon the shore. 

 

Snow-capped mountains 'neath the wild blue yonder. 
Photo by Caleb Beechem

Caleb Beechem returns with more photos of our wondrous world.  Caleb's eye captures the sensational and the sublime in his landscapes and the people that surround him.  You can find even more of his work on Facebook and Instagram

American Fantastic welcomes Louisville writer and poet John James.  John is an assistant poetry editor for Phantom Books, and his most recent work, "Chthonic" won the 2014 CutBank Chapbook contest.  John speaks for himself in an interview with Keep Louisville Literary on ARTxFM, and also in his interview with CutBank Books.  In John's words, "Now we seek to investigate and to know / And wonder at the things beyond our vision."

Poet and artist Sammi Hatcher returns with a series of four new poems.  Sammi's work is dark, raw and brutal.  She writes about love, loss and everything in between.  Sammi has gazed long into the abyss, and the abyss has also gazed into her. 

John Beechem continues his post-apocalyptic, sci-fi western The Adventures of Baxter and ROEBUCK with Part 2, "The Flood".  John has included a synopsis at the beginning of his story to remind you of their past trials and tribulations, but you can also scroll down to the first installment to read from the beginning.  Baxter, ROEBUCK and Doc D'Angelo go underground in a search for the truth beneath the sands of Los Alamos. 

John will also be hosting American Fantastic radio on ARTxFM tonight, May 17th, between 11:00 P.M. and midnight.  Hear a mix of music, storytelling and all kinds of delightful tomfoolery.  Stream the show live on the internet, or listened to the archived version here:

Thank you for visiting American Fantastic!  If you haven't already, please like us on Facebook and tell your friends (even your enemies).  We are always accepting submissions of original writing, art, music and video at americanfantastic@gmail.com.

When reality becomes a burden, enjoy a sojourn into the fantastic...

Snow is Crystal Water that Melts on Your Cheeks

Tread lightly.  You are on thin ice.

              Mushrooms and barbed wire.  Like peanut butter and chocolate.

Caleb Beechem returns with new photographs that illustrate beauty and darkness in the natural world.  His camera has captured a cloudy sky reflected by rippling waters, folded over the horizon's crease.  In another image, the frozen Willamette Pass stands cold and majestic.  Look through his lens into a new world.

                            Hard on the outside.  Harder on the inside.

Dordji continues to craft new creatures for his twisted menagerie.  Come into his gallery, and see a blind dinosaur, block-headed lizard, and a strange sea-man.  You can see even more of his art at Magar-Art.  We look forward to future creations of the sinister and sublime.  

                               Don't let her innocence fool you.

American Fantastic would like to welcome Leech , a young artist from Louisville, Kentucky.  Despite her name, Leech is a human being, not a parasite.  She creates compelling art from stencils and prints.  You can sometimes find her at the Flea Off Market in Louisville where she sells her work.  She is also an accomplished chalk board artist in case you need somebody to illustrate your restaurant menu.

John Beechem has written the first part of an ongoing post-apocalyptic, sci-fi serial The Adventures of Baxter and ROEBUCK.  The first installment is titled "Time to Remember What I Forgot".  It's about a gunslinger and his robot companion, two motorcycle riding drifters who offer their services to anybody who can afford them.  Fans of the video games Fallout and Borderlands will find much that is familiar.  There are also a few shootouts and car chases.

Thank you for visiting.  We hope this winter update keeps you warm through long nights.  When reality becomes a burden, enjoy a sojourn into the fantastic...

 

Introducing MC Grim Sickle with DJ Funkenstein and Vlad the Impala

Even a silver bullet won't save you now.  

 

This specimen is hella fly.  Art by Patti Alvey

Patti Alvey is an artist from Louisville, Kentucky.  She works in a few mediums including drawing and photography.  Her sense of humor is balanced with an eye for beauty and sadness.  These works reveal the playful and detailed way she looks at the world, a perspective that is skewed but honest.

 

Plato, are you in here?

Clarissa Allen is an educator, adventurer, and photographer from Seattle, Washington.  She spends much of her time outdoors in the wilderness of the Pacific Northwest or rolling down Seattle's steep hills on her bicycle.  Her photograph from the inside of a cave lets us see the world from an ancient perspective.

Green and golden

Poet and artist Chad Horn has graced us with three more textured silhouette paintings.  These works involve varied colors and textures that help bring their images to life.  The energy is dripping off the canvas.  Chad has also generously donated a few original works to American Fantastic that will be on sale soon in our webstore.  Thanks, Chad!

 

My Dordji's back and there's gonna be trouble.  Hey, hey, my Dordji's back.

Dordji returns with a trio of new pieces, including one drawn the old-fashioned way.  Dordji is primarily a digital artist these days, but he is master of more than one medium.  See his gallery to view the rest of his new work.

Selena McCracken has a new poem, "Hybrids" written about mental illness.  She read this piece live at Night of the Chupacabra and we've posted it here for you to read.  If you're in the mood for something spooky, her short story "The Science of Fate" is a twisted tale of the Victorian Era that features a mad scientist, a teenage prostitute, and all kinds of skull-duggery.

Lizzy Carraway has offered us two new short pieces, "Definitions for Your Mid- to Late Twenties" and "Comparisonitis".  These evoke the feminist and millenial experience in the 21st century with a dry wit and perceptive intelligence.  Her work can bring you down to earth so you can see it in a brand new way.

John Beechem continues his Halloween and horror writing tradition for the third year in a row with the plainly titled "Halloween and Horror".  This essay examines the origins of Halloween, why the writer loves horror, and how his childhood experiences shape how he enjoys and writes in the horror genre.  For horror stories of years past, read his homage to George Romero and Robert Kirman titled "The Good, the Bad, and the Dead" or visit Victorian Old Louisville with his ghost story "The Cottonwood Curse".  Look forward to next year, because John has already begun his new horror project "Choose Your Own Demise", a choose-your-own-adventure style horror story coming in 2015!

Thank you for visiting American Fantastic.  If you'd like to submit (or know somebody who would) send original work to americanfantastic@gmail.com (submission details).  You can also like us on Facebook.

When reality becomes a burden, enjoy a sojourn into the fantastic...

Night of the Chupacabra Re-Cap

American Fantastic has celebrated its first ever live event!  If you were unable to come, listen to the audio version recorded and edited by Maplex Monk of the Creative Community:  

Hear poetry by Lizzy Carraway and Selena McCracken.  Listen to music by Maplex Monk and Dr. Rockwell.  DJ Mythos performed too, but his set has been lost to the aether.  Check out his mix on Soundcloud and at 11:00 P.M. every Sunday night on ARTxFM.

We've also posted the title poem by John Beechem.  Come journey through the desert with El Chupacabra.  Cross the border.  There is no going back...

Night of the Chupacabra


                      You are cordially invited.  Poster art by Dordji.

       The cicada cries                                                 Seventeen year pulse
In the heat of the day star                                      Bookmarks of a novella 
   Sweat drops like a tear                                           Marking my epochs

                     -A pair of haikus by John Beechem & Thomas Beechem

                  All hail the Harmoni King.  Long may he reign. -Art by Dordji

Dordji has created a series of new digital paintings, including some that resemble the majestic form of an Egyptian god, having the body of a human with the head of a beast.  They are certainly beautiful, but also cruel and unforgiving.  Watch your step, mortal.

      The result of a teleportation accident? An unholy union? -Art by Dordji

Plunge into the depths of Poseidon with "Ataraxia", a poem by literary editor Lizzy Carraway.  Lizzy has also contributed a pair of poems on behalf of her mother, and we are privileged to have two generations of poets sharing their work.  Judy's poems "Involuntary Solitary" and "Listening" are featured.

John Beechem has penned a new short story, "To Yellow Fever".  This tale follows a spy and a detective as they navigate their way through 1930s Harlem in search of a missing diplomat. They inhabit a world on the brink of war, one of robotic servants and weapons that fire spirals of deadly energy.  Private eye and British spy weave together a story of steampunk and noir, bourbon and bullets.  Read as you please.  

American Fantastic is proud to announce its first ever live event, "American Fantastic:  Night of the Chupacabra" on Friday, August 15th from 6:00-9:00 P.M. at Taco Punk in Louisville, Kentucky.  The evening will include an open mic, readings by John Beechem and other contributors to American Fantastic, live music, a set by DJ Mythos (host of the Mythic Beat on ARTxFM) art for sale,  delicious tacos and muchas cervezas (that means beer, gringo).  You are cordially invited to attend!  

 Listen to American Fantastic on the radio!  

Publisher of AmericanFantastic.com, John Beechem on Keep Louisville Literary by Keep Louisville Literary on Mixcloud

 

Rachel Short interviews site-creator John Beechem on the ARTxFM show Keep Louisville Literary.  Tune in every week from 1:00-2:00 for conversations and readings with local writers or catch the broadcast on Soundcloud.  After being a guest on the show, John was invited to co-host and now shares hosting duties with Rachel.  Listen to the archives on Soundcloud if you'd like to hear more!

Maplex Monk interviews John Beechem for parts 5 and 6 of American Fantastic:  The Podcast.  Listen to John and Maple meander through a variety subjects, and hear John read the first two parts of "To Yellow Fever".  Follow Maplex Monk on Soundcloud to hear even more.

Thanks for visiting!  We welcome comments and submissions of original work (any kind of art or writing that can be shared on-line) to americanfantastic@gmail.com.  

When reality becomes a burden, enjoy a sojourn into the fantastic...

The Dawn of Spring

Mud and blood
Pollen and flood 

Puddles, eggs and babies

Fear not the thunder
Nor hearts torn asunder

By the muddled pain of 'maybes'

                                    On the horizon.  Photo by Caleb Beechem

The deluge continues unabated.  Seek higher ground.  When the water subsides, we'll see what's left behind. 

               Another addition to our collection of the magnificently grotesque.  Art by Dordji.

Dordji's deadly quill has produced a veritable menagerie of doom, creating a variety of monstrous creatures one should be glad do not exist outside of the realm of imagination (at least as far as we know).  Check out his tumblr, and you can even learn how to incorporate these monsters into your table-top RPG of choice--an excellent idea for anybody who would like their characters to die swift but horrible deaths.  Dordji has also continued to provide illustrations for The Chronicles of Trivo:  Phoenix Ranger.

                                     Keep your third eye open.  Art by Jodie Beechem

Jodie Beechem has created a number of new black and white illustrations including a series of collages, a few portraits, and some more abstract art.  Her style has continued to evolve, but Jodie's art remains playful yet sophisticated, full of humor and darkness, much like the artist herself. 

                                                  Dance in color.  Art by Chard Horn

Chad Horn has made a series of colorful paintings using silhouettes to create a beautiful and fascinating series.  These static images somehow create a sense of movement and joie de vivre for a world that often seems much too gray.  Chad is also a very talented poet

                                          Mt. Pisgah.  Photo by Caleb Beechem

Caleb Beechem has posted a number of new nature photos.  His love of adventure and eye for the transcendent shine through these images, and become a portal into our wide world.  With the spring in full flourish and summer quickly approaching, we look forward to seeing what else is about to catch Caleb's attention.

Thanks to the hard work of our literary editor Lizzy Carraway, we have published a wealth of new essays, short fiction and poetry by a group of talented writers.

Anais Corrales and Mary Beth Harral have each contributed an essay.  In "Exercise is a Privilege", Mary Beth writes about how her relationship with her body changed once she began to move it.  Anais examines the nature of life-altering changes that one so quickly becomes accustomed to in "The Lemon Tree".  Both of these essays are very personal, but contain ideas and feelings that are universal.

Carly Luk, David Potsubay and Selena McCracken have shared some new poems with us.  Carly has penned a series of five poems that examine race, identity, self-expression, temptation, and even life's simple pleasures.  David's poem "1:43 (The Quiet Eruption)" evokes all the lust and debauchery of the Louisiana bayou and alludes to a libertine master from centuries past.  Selena imagines a new incarnation of Voltaire in "Voltairine's Vision", one that is beautiful and botanical.

Maggie Kast, Jo Niederhoff and John Vanderslice have published new short fiction.  Maggie sings a "Song of Cities" that describes the ravings of a mad profit spat out from the belly of one beast and into the belly another.  Jo chronicles the journey of a wanderer and a troubador in "The Blind Poet".  John invites you to follow Christiana in her journey upriver in "Around the Bend".

A special thank you to all of our new contributors!  To submit work to American Fantastic, e-mail americanfantastic@gmail.com (click here for submission details)

Linger long in our digital wonderland!  When reality becomes a burden, enjoy a sojourn into the fantastic...

This World is a Tomb of Ice

Winter has come with all the vengeance of the North.  An angry wind howls its frozen breath, and the leafless trees are like empty hands.  The frivolity of yuletide has surrendered to the grief of a new year.  

Dry your tears, kind stranger, and warm yourself in the electric glow of our digital wonderland!

                Even penguins know how to party (Art by Sammi Hatcher) 

Sammi Hatcher is a multi-talented writer and artist who currently lives in Michigan.  Her art is keleidoscopic and playful (at least this time), but in her poem "The Darkness that Watches and Waits" she reveals the hidden evil that lurks inside us all.  Let's hope Sammi's spark keeps the darkness at bay.  

                                      Blue, yellow, green...

Caleb Beechem is a photographer with an eye for natural beauty and a spirit so adventurous that he's constantly seeking it out.  His skills as a natural and wildlife photographer are growing with each new shot.  Living in the gorgeous Pacific Northwest (Eugene, Oregon) also gives him an advantage. 

            Yin Yang squared.  There is a moral in here, somewhere...

Sasha is another talented young artist contributing this month.  Her black and white graph paper piece weaves words, symbols and patterns together to create an image that looks like it could blow any second.  Her single image teases with the promise of more yet to come.

 "...an enormous black dragon, cloaked in scales of ebon and scarlet.  Parts of her were different; open and visible." From The Chronicles of Trivo:  Phoenix Ranger by John Beechem (Art by Dordji)

Dordji has become the illustrator of The Chronicles of Trivo:  Phoenix Ranger and this illustration depicts an enormous undead dragon involved in the story's exciting climax.  You can read the first two thirds of the rough draft here (for the time being), but to get a full preview, volunteer to be a reader and offer feedback.  You'll get a free copy of the upcoming novel including Dordji's art.  Make sure to check out the rest of Dordji's art portfolio (if you haven't already). You can even pay him to draw your portrait at Distorted Vanity!

 Lizzy Carraway has written two poems, "We Are Not Stewards" and "Driving Through West Virginia".  Her poems evoke the reflections of a wise and knowing soul, expressed in a style that is both sophisticated and direct.  Lizzy is a free-lance writer and American Fantastic's new literary editor.  We are lucky to have her!

Chad Horn is a veteran poet who has shared three poems, "Earth On My Radar (Praying For A Peaceful Passing)", "Isolation Physics 101", and "Curtains For a Round Window".  His poetry involves themes of technology and isolation, but also joy and optimism.  This is not a contradiction, but balance.  True fact:  Chad was often Hunter S. Thompson's designated driver (I am not making that up).

John Beechem sings "A Song For Winter", a rhyme that describes Midgard trapped inside a frozen heart. "Wrong Door Raid" is a prose poem that describes the clumsy brutality of the Man, and is based on a real event. "Bicycle Meditation" is flash fiction that revels in the thril of descent on two wheels.  John has also appeared on several local radio programs and internet podcasts including two with Maplex Monk. Listen to part 1 and part 2. Visit Maplex Monk and the rest of the Creative Community here.

Maplex Monk is also a filmaker.  Check out his collaboration with Dr. Rockwell, Bike Wars Parts 1, 2 & 3, a musical exploration of Louisville, Kentucky from behind handlebars.  Maplex and Dr. Rockwell blend bike tricks, point of view shots, creative editing and boundless spirits to craft an exhilerating ride for the viewer.  Check out the rest of Maplex Monk's videos on his Youtube channel.

Tyler "Mr. Prolific" Walker a.k.a. Young Kavi is a young rapper from Huntsville, Alabama, the Rocket City.  Tyler is a talented M.C. who raps about U.F.O.'s, conspiracies, spiritual evolution, truth, heartache, and everything in between.  He also makes his own beats.  Check out the rest of Tyler's music on Soundcloud.

Thank you for visiting!  Remember, American Fantastic is always seeking new content, including but not limited to visual art, writing, music and film.  Please submit your work to americanfantastic@gmail.com.  Submission details can be found here.  We are also looking for editors, interns and anybody else who is willing to work for free.  An imminent goal for American Fantastic is fund-raising, including money for artists, so anybody who would like to help in this (or any other endeavor) is more than welcome to help and possibly earn some money (someday) too!  Help us grow our artistic commmunity, and be a part of it.  Remember:

When reality becomes a burden, enjoy a sojourn into the fantastic...

 

Fear and Loathing in Transylvania

Samhain approaches, and the breath of autumn chills the air. A fog thick with the steam of witches' cauldrons cloaks evil deeds, ghouls step over a thousand fallen leaves, and the pens of the moonstruck stir.  To celebrate this season of madness and decay, American Fantastic welcomes you to our showcase of new creations.  

Skulls, nails, and bulbs.  Luckily, the dead feel no pain.

Mike Maes continues his 365 Days project, and has let us showcase this photograph of his work.  Mike altered this skull with light bulbs and nails, its jaw set in an eternal grin.  It reminds me of a Steam Punk celebration of Dio de los muertos, but whatever Mike's intentions, it is a welcome addition to our macabre menagerie.  

                                     More bodies than one.

Dordji continues to add to his collection of digital art.  Dordji's talent has grown like the spiked tail of a dragon, becoming more monstrous and impressive with each turn of the moon.  The creatures he invents are beautiful and terrifying, much like Dordji's own mind.  We are eagerly anticipating more glimpses into his dark imagination.

 This self-portrait reflects Nick's talent and humor (I only wish reality more closely matched his perception).

American Fantastic welcomes a new artist, Nick Mason.  Nick is a student at the University of Louisville, and hails from Northern Kentucky, the same surroundings that saturated my own childhood and adolescence.  His impressive talent is on full display in his gallery, and I look forward to seeing more of his work.  Nick's art also includes painting in addition to black and white drawings, and his use of different mediums is a testament to his talent.  Welcome to the madhouse, Nick!

Wholesome activities, artfully renderd.

Jodie Beechem has created a few new pieces.  Some of her new works reflect a love for geometric beauty, and others show more of her sophisticated, realistic style too.  Jodie is also a new intern at the snowboarding blog yobeat.  You can check out the site and play in the powder while you're there.  

Last, but certainly not least, site author John Beechem has crafted a Victorian ghost story set in Old Louisville.  A lover's quarrel leads to more than hurt feelings, and the wages of sin are death in this ghastly Halloween tale.

Thank you for visiting.  When reality becomes a burden, enjoy a sojourn into the fantastic...

The Dawn of Spring

Strawberry Fields, Central Park, NYC.  
Photo by John Beechem (Photoshop CS 6).

Persephone awakes from her slumber, and wipes red pomengranite juice from her lips.  She bids farewell to Hades, and rises with the groundhog to return to the Earth.  Crocuses bloom and fat robins bounce on the grass.  Autumn's decay has fed the life of spring...

Site co-creator Dordji has created two new illustrations with his digital art tablet:

Dordji often glimpses worlds not fit for human eyes.  


An angry crocodile (alligator?) howls in righteous fury.

Mike Maes has granted us the privilege to post one of the snapshots from his 365 Days Project.  Mike is taking a picture every day for a year to create this collection.  If you know Mike, check out the rest of his album on Facebook.  Celebrate the Year of the Snake one image at a time.

Mike used an Impala toy car and a book about graffiti to pull off this shot.  
 
Krista Wade has created concept art and a CGI model for a character (Who Wants Ice Cream?) she made for Creature Box.


Krista is learning how to make video games, and designed this for one of her assignments.  How cool is that?

Jodie Beechem has been acting squirelly lately.  Check out a couple of her new illustrations:

Black eyes, bushy tail.  "What are you looking at?"

"Quoth the raven, 'Nevermore'." -Edgar Allen Poe

Site Author John Beechem has penned the 18th chapter of his fantasy epic The Chronicles of Trivo:  Phoenix Ranger.  Trivo and his companions find passage aboard the St. Lucia, a merchant ship of the Tidewater Trade Company.  All is well until a furious storm comes upon them in the night--they must fight for their lives or be swallowed by the sea...

John has also posted a new rhyming poem about meditation and consciousness, "3rd Eye Open".  Feel the vibrations.

Thank you for visiting.  Feel free to submit original writing or art to americanfantastic@gmail.com.  

When reality becomes a burden, enjoy a sojourn into fantastic...

Voices of the Damned Howl 'Happy All Hallow's Eve'

Welcome back to the realm of ghouls and goblins.  The time for witches' cauldrons, rotting corpses and blood sacrifice has come again.  Savor the autumn sunshine, for this very day could be your last...

Artist Jodie Beechem has crafted a couple of new black and white portraits. Only a mind as decadent and diseased as Jodie's could craft such horrific, fascinating images.  Do not stare too long into the abyss...

Writer John Beechem has penned two recent works.  One is an update to his on-going fantasy saga, The Chronicles of Trivo:  Phoenix Ranger.  In the most recent chapter, Trivo and his companions face off against an evil necromancer and his minions within the lost dwarven city of Buhad.  Sharpen your blade and fill your quiver, for evil has flourished.

John's other tale is a new horror short story, "The Good, the Bad, and The Dead".  A squad of soldiers searches the ruins of Brooklyn for a new drug needed to cure the zombie outbreak.  Not all is as it seems in this story of life, death, bloodshed, and deceit.  Board the windows and gather your canned goods, because this is a story to wake the dead.


Enjoy your sojourn into the fantastic.  Happy Halloween.  Remember to say your prayers...

March Mania

The frost thaws, and once frozen ground has transformed itself into a mess of grass, mud and puddles.  Slowly, new shoots appear from the earth and sprout buds.  As they open, a few sleepy eyes peer out.  Gossamer wings glitter in the morning sun.  The creatures take flight, and herald the dawn of the new spring.  

New art and stories have been posted.  John Beechem has created a short story about a young man in the throes of madness.  See the world through the eyes of the moonstruck in "Delusions of Grandeur".

Selena McCracken has penned a tale of love and death in "The Science of Fate".  A research-driven, grave-robbing doctor meets a reluctant teenage prostitute on the streets of Victorian London.  This bitter-sweet love story features an unlikely couple in a grim setting, discovering much about themselves and each other.

Artist Jodie Beechem has added two water-color paintings, quite different in style but sharing an excellent use of color and the medium.  She has also posted her first collage, "Get Crunched Up" combining a keen sense of geometry with a rush of explosive energy.

Welcome back to American Fantastic.  Enjoy the madness...

Plenty of Pleasing Pictures for your Perusal

American Fantastic has added a photography section!  The first two selections are shots by site co-creator John Beechem.  They are divided between urban photos:


and natural photos:

 


so whether you're a gargoyle or a fairy at heart, there's bound to be something for you.

American Fantastic is also excited to introduce its audience to Seattle artist Krista Wade.  Krista creates in a variety of mediums including ink, acryllic, soapstone sculpting, and is even learning video game design.  Check her out!

 

For submissions, please e-mail americanfantastic@gmail.com with your content included as an attachment.

American Fantastic Strikes Back

After a six month hiatus, new content has been added to American Fantastic. We are extremely pleased to post new material, and hope to continue to update more regularly through the savage heat of summer, the sun's fire lighting the flame of our muses.

John Beechem has posted chapter 15 of his on-going fantasy novel, The Chronicles of Trivo:  Phoenix Ranger.  In the latest installment, Trivo and his allies enter the Drulag Caverns, home to the deepest, darkest evils in the realm.  In an uneasy alliance, the companions join warriors of the local tribe, the Kel ta Ko and a clan of vampyrs who call the caverns their home.  Together, they battle a horde of the undead under the control of a necromancer's apprentice, in a fight for the future of their homelands.  

Dordji  has added three new pictures of speculative evolutionary art about a world in which life has evolved on a hostile planet filled with toxic gas and seas of acid.  Dordji specializes in drawing fantastic creatures whose anatomies are based on a blend of biology and imagination.

Thank you for returning to American Fantastic.