A local publisher specializing in bizarre and scary stories is encouraging people to give the horror genre a chance this spooky season.
Since 2013, Brett Reistroffer has shared his passion for black fiction with readers through his small Lynnwood-based publishing house, Bad Dream Entertainment. This Halloween, he said he wanted more people to give the horror genre a chance.
âThere are so many great authors in the field right now who are rightfully great storytellers (and) great writers,â he said. “They tell quality stories that aren’t campy slashers.”
Reistroffer first went into publishing to create comics and started an online fundraiser to hire artists to draw stories he had written. When that didn’t work, Reistroffer said he decided to turn his business into a publishing house that catered to underground black fiction and sci-fi writers.
As a kid who grew up watching âThe X-Files,â Reistroffer said he liked âbizarreâ or âsurrealâ stories, but also story-driven. He started by posting news online and said he preferred the news because he liked it easy to read.
âI love the art of being able to tell a whole story in a fairly short format,â he said.
The first to be released under the label was a 2014 dark fantasy anthology series titled âThe Tales of Victor Coachmanâ by Birney Reed. Bad Dream has since expanded to include novels, like the company’s latest science fiction book “Lamella” by New York-based author Max Halper. It is scheduled for release on March 7, 2022.
According to Reistroffer, Bad Dream typically releases one or two booka each year. When researching new manuscripts, Reistroffer will post guidelines online and appeal to writers. However, he added that the rules are not always set in stone. For example, Reistroffer said he read “Lamella” after requesting submissions for gothic fiction, and chose to publish it even if it did not match the description. He said he chose the book because it had a solid story.
âI like strong characters and a strong story and this one has it,â he said. “It’s just put in a very weird context and that’s what caught my attention.”
However, owning a small publishing house means small profits, and Reistroffer also does commercial embroidery work in Bellevue. Although he would like to work in publishing full-time, Reistroffer said there were difficulties on the ground, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to shortages in the supply chain, the release date of “Lamella” has been pushed back from November 2021 to March 2022.
âThere are a lot of small presses working in horror right now and they are all impacted,â he said.
Still, Reistroffer remains optimistic and said each book published sells for more than the last. He also said he wanted to feature writings from Pacific Northwest writers – of whom he said had very little – even though horror is not their typical genre.
âI always encourage writers to step outside of their usual limits,â he said.
To learn more about Bad Dream Entertainment and their published works, visit baddreamenttainment.com.
âBy Cody Sexton