Category Archives: Press

SSWA in the news.

“Fanny in Development,” by Adrian Van Young, from Black Candies

Black Candies: See Through contributor Adrian Van Young‘s piece, “Fanny in Development,” which is an excerpt from his upcoming book “Shadows in Summerland,” is available to read online at Vol. 1 Brooklyn. Lucky you.

Fanny in Development appeared in our See Through edition of Black Candies, published in 2013.

Always maintain perfect posture. Never concede to be shut in a cabinet. Be wary of writers and college professors. Do not speak outside the trance. Wear a dress that shows your neck but wear a skirt that hides your feet. Watch the face but not the eyes. Invest in harps and horns and strings. Do not be afraid to put a little sap in it. Often pray and always sing. Repeat words and phrases. Say: Harmony, Beauty, Comfort for the Ills of Life. Never agree to sit on credit, but always agree to sit for free. Condition your palms not to sweat. Exude grace. Never take more than a glass of red wine.

From “Fanny in Development.” Check out the entire excerpt, buy a copy of Black Candies: See Through and read more stories like this, check out other Black Candies books, and learn about our current women-only call for Black Candies submissions.


andrew mcgranahan

Accompanying artwork for Adrian’s story in Black Candies by Andrew McGranahan.

Black Candies: See Through was published by the San Diego-based literary and performing arts non-profit So Say We All in 2013. Black Candies: See Through features original literary horror fiction from Sarah Jean Alexander, Ken Baumann, Aaron Burch, Juliet Escoria, Sarah Rose Etter, Julia Evans, Lindsay Hunter, Jac Jemc, Rory Kelly, Cameron Pierce, Anna Prushinskaya, Natanya Ann Pulley, Jim Ruland, C.A. Schaefer, Zack Wentz, Jay Wertzler, and Adrian Van Young. Edited by Ryan Bradford and Jay Wertzler. Illustrations by Adam Vieyra, Carabella Sands, Laura Gwynne, and Andrew McGranahan.



Black Candies 2016: WOMEN. Gross and Unlikeable.

We are so excited to announce the theme for our next, special women-identifying only edition of Black Candies, our journal of literary horror: GROSS AND UNLIKEABLE.

Here at Black Candies, we’re always striving to create a better platform for women writers, who are often underrepresented in horror, genre, and speculative outlets. For this special issue of Black Candies, guest-edited by Natanya Ann Pulley, we will exclusively feature work from those who identify as women.

In a recent interview, founding editor Ryan Bradford said:

I’ve found that women are often underrepresented in horror, and wanted to create a platform where they could not only have a voice, but be as gross, dark and unlikeable as they want. I still think there’s an attitude, even among the liberal literati, that can’t abide a woman writing ugly stories.

So please, send us your ugly stories. We can’t wait to be grossed out.

Deadline for submissions: April 30th, 2016.

Our submission guidelines and instructions can be found here:

Check out this Entropy review to see how much people love Black Candies.

Read more about Black Candies.
Purchase Black Candies: Surveillance.


I’m Pogo by Lindsay Hunter

I’m Pogo
By Lindsay Hunter
Illustration by Carabella Sands
(from Black Candies: See Through)

Most clowns paint their smiles with rounded corners to appear friendlier to children. But boys don’t think they’re afraid of anything. Better they learn. Paint your face with blood and bone…

Here is a clown’s home. The door is a drawbridge. Pom-poms for television dials. Rumpled clownsuit quiltfloor. Pointed hat topping the milk jug. Rustcolored handprints, clown had a party, where are the white gloves? In every mirror, the clown. Behind the face of the clown, a clown. Smeared face on the washcloth. Closets of funnyclothes. Sinks of sillyhair. Little boys everywhere.

Clowns and men need an audience. But it’s easy to find an audience. For clowns and men, it’s important to kill. Clowns and men are desperate to say they killed when someone asks How did it go? I killed. Clowns get away with murder…

Fear the clown, it’s okay. He’s painted a face over his face. He’s got a horrible gash where his mouth is supposed to be. But what a friendly gash. Here, he’s giving you a balloon filled with his breath. Clown giveth and clown taketh.

Tourniquet, tourniquet…

10-06-2013 081749PM

At the Good Luck Lounge there is a trough in the men’s room. Sometimes a fat clown brushes up against a man when he is going for his turn. Being fat and friendly, he can’t help it. If the man turns, he sees a clown. He laughs or he doesn’t. The clown makes a joke about the balloon animal behind his zipper, or he doesn’t. The clown stuffs the man into his clown car, or he doesn’t.

Fear the clown. Clown has a wife as fat as he. Clown’s wife has meat breath and a gold crown. Clown’s wife looks and finds, so stops looking and finding. Clown’s wife has kissed that red mouth and tasted friendly lipstick. Pretends not to notice the smell. Can’t wipe the smear away. Clown’s wife focuses on the blue eyes painted around the blue eyes. At the block party, Clown’s wife watches Clown torment a balloon for the children. A neighbor whispers Your husband’s a fag, Dearie.

Paint your face with blood and bone…

Clowns don’t love children. Clowns thrive on children. Put on a costume. Paint another face on your face. Decide you’re someone. Then try not to crave. You will fail.

Hide and seek… hide and seek…

You know, bland Midwestern blimpos know how to tie tourniquet knots just like every other boy scout. You know, weakchinned salivating sissies can be as empty as a trench. You know, tremblefleshed wifebound line cooks jailed for sodomy learn quick how not to be jailed the next time. The word is pederast. If I paint lips on, is it a real kiss? The word is clown.

Clown of 33 flavors: salt, blood, dirt, lime, river, breath, shoelace, no breath. So many flavors I wasn’t. Think about that. Like shotgun. Or blade. Or moonlight. Or failure. My last words were Kiss my ass. That’s funny. I stand by it.


Lindsay Hunter‘s story, “I’m Pogo” appeared in Black Candies: See Through, which was published by the San Diego-based literary and performing arts non-profit So Say We All in 2013. You can purchase the book here. Black Candies: See Through features original literary horror fiction from Sarah Jean Alexander, Ken Baumann, Aaron Burch, Juliet Escoria, Sarah Rose Etter, Julia Evans, Lindsay Hunter, Jac Jemc, Rory Kelly, Cameron Pierce, Anna Prushinskaya, Natanya Ann Pulley, Jim Ruland, C.A. Schaefer, Zack Wentz, Jay Wertzler, and Adrian Van Young. Edited by Ryan Bradford and Jay Wertzler. Illustrations by Adam Vieyra, Carabella Sands, Laura Gwynne, and Andrew McGranahan. Read more about Black Candies here.


And stay tuned, because we will announce the theme for our next issue of Black Candies this Halloween. Here’s the teasingiest of teasers:

BC gross teaser

Spooky Black Candies Excerpt: “Reckoning” by Wade Pavlick

Wade Pavlick’s story, “Reckoning,” in Black Candies: Surveillance is a fascinating tale of obsession, a little Hitchcock-ian. Black Candies is So Say We All’s journal of literary horror. Here’s an excerpt of Wade’s story to spook you out, just in time for Halloween:

reckoningpavlickAccompanying artwork by Adam Vieyra.

He decided to go back and watch some real footage, action shots of his wife and kids, gardening and playing in the yard. He even watched himself: coming home from work, mowing the lawn, cleaning the pool. When he glanced at the clock, he was surprised by the time. He needed to go to bed.He reached to turn the monitor off and saw the image of his car pulling into the driveway the night before. He paused, his finger poised over the power button. He watched as he climbed out of the car with a bag of groceries.

There in the bushes, behind him, was a face.

Instead of shutting down, his hand went to the controls and rewound the video to watch it again. It was faint but he could definitely see someone hiding in the bushes. The digitized blur of the image made it difficult for him to get any detail–man or woman or even the age of the person–but he was absolutely convinced that he had found his nemesis.

Want to read more? Wade’s story, along with other fine works of literary horror are in our Surveillance issue of Black Candies. You can pick up a copy here:

black candies front cover

And stay tuned. This Halloween we will have some shivery-exciting news about our next issue of Black Candies.

(We dare you to go look in the bushes)

Gary Gould’s VAMP: Wedding Season Story, SPLIT

To say that volunteer Gary Gould has been our lifeline lately would be an understatement. Not only has he produced several VAMPs this year, but he is also currently producing the partnership showcase with San Diego City College, taking place October 15th at the downtown library, and co-producing this month’s VAMP: 4 AM. We love the way he empowers the storytellers he works with to get to heart of their stories.

And, AND! He wrote and performed this lovely, funny, and poignant story, “Split” in our June VAMP Showcase: “Wedding Season.” Gary’s story was recently picked up and published by SPEED. You can read it here. Were you at the Wedding Season show? It was a phenomenal night, full of vivid stories and we kind of went through the emotional ringer together, didn’t we?

Banana Splits, it read, a support group and ice-cream social for students with divorced parents. That’s me, I thought, that paper is talking about me. Were there other kids who felt like me?  Who wanted to talk about their feelings and eat ice cream? Could Banana Splits be the answer to all of my problems?

Read his story, and then come and see the fruits of the work Gary has been doing with the writing community in San Diego this month. Congratulations on the publishing credit, Gary, and way to make us proud.


(image: Speed Literary Magazine)

Jen Stiff’s VAMP Story “Your Wife Has A Beautiful Pelvic Region” in XOJANE

We laughed, we cringed, and some of us had to step outside to get some fresh air, but we LOVED Jen Stiff’s story from August’s VAMP: Red Flags. And we are not alone: Her piece was picked up by XOJANE and, lucky you, you can read it here.

We are proud. So proud. Way to go, Jen!

When the nurse practitioner peered into my cervix with her spelunking headlamp, she exclaimed, “Oh my goodness. That’s the tiniest little cervix I’ve ever seen. But don’t worry. I’ll get that sucker up there.”


Jennifer Stiff, letting us all up in her business, at our August VAMP

Black Candies Founder + Editor Ryan Bradford Is A Total Winner

Ryan Bradford is the founder and editor of So Say We All’s journal of literary horror, Black Candies, as well as our volunteer Creative Director. He is usually the one doing all the bragging about everyone else’s writing, so it’s nice to be able to turn the tables on him.

Because: Ryan’s story, “Animal Control,” just won the prestigious short fiction contest at Paper Darts, a fantastic art and lit mag. Yeah Ryan! It’s an incredible story, by an incredible writer, in an incredible literary magazine. We’re so proud, and, as always, quite disturbed. Happily disturbed. Way to get under our skin.

From “Animal Control“:

The next time I see Jean she’s on all fours, crawling over my grass and sniffing the ground. The movement forces definition into her leg muscles, which, I realize, are spectacular. I watch from my porch, draped in a robe and sipping coffee. She turns to me and, without standing, says, “You gotta think like them.” She also says, “There was a killing spree last night.” And finally, “Rough night?” I must look extra pathetic because she offers to show me the victims as consolation.

bradford - animal control

original accompanying illustration for Animal Control on Paper Darts by John Willinski

If you like Ryan’s writing, you might want to check out the stories he’s curated over the years in any edition of Black Candies. Black Candies: Surveillance is available for purchase here. Each Black Candies contributor he’s worked with knows that he uses that highly-tuned gory-creative touch as an editor, too. Way to represent So Say We All, Ryan.

Read more: Black Candies Editor Ryan Bradford on Why Horror Matters 

Gabriela Santiago’s “They Jump Through Fires”

We’re excited to see (and hear!) Gabriela Santiago’s story from Black Candies: Surveillance, “They Jump Through Fires” in the GlitterShip LGBTQ science fiction podcast.

To read more great horror stories by more great writers, pick up a copy of Black Candies! We sell ’em at all of our shows, or right here.

theyjumpthroughfires1[original accompanying artwork by Laura Gwynne]

Black Candies is So Say We All’s print journal of literary horror. Black Candies: Surveillance was released this year and includes eleven pieces of literary horror fiction, as well as original artwork and collage.

And read an interview with editor Ryan Bradford, in which he discusses publishing underrepresented voices and the accessibility of the kind of horror stories published in Black Candies.

Have a listen, and enjoy Gabriela’s story!

So Say We All’s Executive Director on a watchlist (but not THAT watchlist)

We’re bursting with pride to see our Executive Director, Justin Hudnall, on San Diego Magazine’s “5 People To Watch This Month” list for September.

The brief profile also mentions our work with our new literary magazine, The Radvocate. Read more about The Radvocate here.

And since we mentioned watchlists, now’s a good time to remind you about Black Candies: Surveillance, our journal of literary horror. Read it and learn how to do a top-notch job of “watching” Justin this month.

11894604_10154262135656164_2233678066641710335_o(don’t look behind you Justin)


So Say We All featured in San Diego Magazine

So Say We All is featured in this month’s San Diego Magazine story,  “The Age of Podcasting.”

Justin Hudnall’s voice is smooth and calm as he introduces San Diego war veterans telling deeply personal stories of their figurative and literal homecomings in the podcast series Incoming. The stories were recorded on stage and in the studio, but they have the closeness and clarity of two friends engaged in a tough conversation.

An outgrowth of a veterans’ writing workshop by Hudnall’s So Say We All literacy and performing arts collective, the podcasts were repackaged for the modern masses by public broadcaster KPBS.

Check out the whole story, which covers the KPBS Explore project and other local podcasting ventures, and be sure to listen to So Say We All’s Incoming here.



Incoming is a collection of non-fiction stories told by local veterans, in their own words. Created around the theme of coming home, the stories will feature veterans sharing their experiences on transitioning back to civilian life. Each story is performed by the author, and followed by an interview.

“It’s like the antidote to overstimulation. Someone talking directly into your ear? There’s nothing more intimate.”

-Justin Hudnall