Women in Horror Month

"Apple of His Eye"

“Apple of His Eye”

Oh, the bonanza of Women in Horror Month! So many riches —

Maura McHugh’s Water

Helen S. Grant’s reading of Lilith’s Story and her co-production with her son, A Playmobil Warning to the Curious

Lynda E. Rucker’s The House on Cobb Street

A quartet of ladies from The Dark Magazine

Peg Aloi on the remake of Last House on the Left

Joan De La Haye’s The Bride

The H Word: In Search of Horrible Women by S.P. Miskowski

20 (now 41) Black Women who Write Horror — a twofer from Sumiko Saulson

My own recording of Rook, from Unquiet Dreams and dedicated to my pal Maura — features photos of Galway, too. Other free reads are also available, like the urban horror ‘Fluorescence’ over at The Harrow.

Art, Social Media & Horror

2013-04-02 19.36.16You’ve got three chances to catch me this week (assuming you’re not one of my students, then you’ve got a few more). Monday night I’ll be at the opening reception for the “Text as Art” exhibit at the Arts Center of the Capital Region. I’ll have a chance to talk about my mixed media piece “5¢ per Word” which reflects upon the poor pay of writers in the 21st century. The Center is in Troy (near Dinosaur BBQ!) and the reception begins at 7. Drop by and take a swig of some gallery opening wine.

Wednesday night I’ll be talking at the Albany Public Library, also at 7pm. My topic is “Social Media & Writers in the Digital Age: how have Facebook, Twitter, and such changed the life of the writer in the 21st century?” I’ll talk a bit about some of the things I researched during my Fulbright and experiences since then — after all, the world of social media hasn’t slowed down any. I’ll also be reading from some of my own writing. I haven’t decided what yet, so if you have a request be sure to let me know before then!

On Saturday I head over to Worcester and Annie’s Book Stop, where I’ll be part of the Dark Carnival of Authors with some of my fellow Broads from the New England chapter of Broad Universe.  The event starts at 11am and goes until 9pm: I’ll be reading about 1pm. Most likely I’ll read something from Unquiet Dreams although since I managed to make Worcester glamourous in Owl Stretching, maybe I’ll read a little bit from that.

By the by, have you seen the latest meditation on Hávamál?

Coming Soon: Weird Noir

Cover art by S L Johnson

Yes, now it can be told! Coming very soon (as in, we’re rushing as fast as we can) from Fox Spirit Books is this fabulous new collection WEIRD NOIR! Dig that awesome cover art from the amazingly talented S. L. Johnson (AKA the Queen of Everything). It’s been tough sorting through the story submissions; some terrific stories that just didn’t fit the umbrella and some stories that just didn’t work for me. Each editor has their own tastes and pleasures, so this topic in other hands might well have come out differently. I kind of hope there will be other anthologies in a similar vein — we need more weirdness and more noir!

Here’s the table of contents: you’ll probably recognise some names — I wasn’t about to try something like this (however much Adele supported me and thank you for that, my friend) without a few ringers I could pester for a story. But you’ll likely see some names you don’t know — either folks who are newish to the writing game or folks who regularly work in another genre. Some people found themselves surprised by the twists their stories took. I was delighted. The tales veer from darkly horrific to wickedly funny (sometimes within the same story). But they all groove on the noir aesthetic and they’re all weird in some way: some subtle, some broad, some magical, some uncannily horrifying. I may play with the running order yet, but I think I have it sorted so each story surprises.

Thanks to Adele, Stephanie, Daz (in advance, as I know your hard work in the copy editing is just beginning) and all the writers.

WEIRD NOIR

Introduction

A Kick in the Head by Chloë Yates

Violets and Furs by Richard Godwin

Sins of the Brother by Karina Fabian

Across the Border by Hector Acosta

Corkscrewed by Jan Kozlowski

East of Écarté by Andrez Bergen

3 Kings and The Mark by Carol Borden

Black Moon Rising by Paul D. Brazill

The Darkness Cult by Jennifer Martin

Identity Crisis by Katherine Tomlinson

A Diabolical Liberty by Jason Michel

Evil and Life by Asher Wismer

Gus Weatherbourne by Michael S. Chong

Wonder Woman Walks into a Bar by Leeyanne Moore

Charred Kraken with Plum Butter by Christopher L. Irvin

Yao Jin by Joyce Chng

Train Tracks by W. P. Johnson

New Release: Unquiet Dreams

Unquiet Dreams is the long, deep plunge in the coldest quarry in the woods; the lingering look under the rotting wood at all the writhing life there; the stare into the abyss until one realizes something is staring back.”

~ S. R. Bissette, creator of Tyrant, Taboo, Teen Angels & New Mutants and illustrator of Swamp Thing

Out now from Tirgearr Publishing, it’s my dark fiction collection Unquiet Dreams. Wow, what a nice pull quote from Steve, too! One of the stories in here is dedicated to him, the darkly comic ‘Another Metamorphosis’ which of course features dinosaurs. Most of the stories in this collection have dedications — either the person who inspired them or someone I immediately thought of upon writing them. Many of the stories have appeared in print, but not always in easy-to-obtain anthologies and some in magazines or websites alas, no longer with us.

I experimented with various ways of arranging the stories: by length, by theme, even by genre. The truth is most of the stories veer off into more than one category. Some are short and a couple are rather lengthy. I thought of breaking them up as ‘REM sleep, naps and fever dreams’, but the categories never pleased me. In the end I went with ‘higgelty piggelty’ and that seems to have suited the collection (and me, just because I like to say ‘higgelty piggelty’).

You’ll find my paean to Ray Bradbury that appeared in a literary magazine, my ultra-modern-meets-ancient office horror story, a couple of crime stories that veer into a hint of the supernatural, a zombie western and at least two dragons — much to my surprise. October always makes me think of Bradbury’s The October Country, itself a strange collection of tales that take unexpected turns into off corners and dark passages. It’s a grand tradition to follow, even in my own small way.

Are you feeling in need of something unsettling? Give them a try.

Madness (i.e. business as usual)

I’m off to Harrogate in the morning; not sure if I will have time to post while I’m there. But as I have a long train ride ahead of me, I do have time to read! Hurrah, the only difficulty will be choosing amongst the many things loaded onto the shiny toy. And not missing my changes: I have to change at York to a local. I’m looking forward to the fest I’ve heard so much about. It doesn’t quite make up for missing Camp Necon, but life is change. I will raise a glass to legend Beth Massie from England!

Bits and bobs:

My interview with Andrez Bergen over at A Knife & A Quill. Nice to find someone else with such a delightfully off-kilter imagination.

Here’s a good piece by Kristen Lamb about why the Big Six seem to be flailing in the digital age (fear, whodathunkit?).

Owl Stretching inching closer to publication; gathering stories for Weird Noir and the cover artist is busy working, too — hoping for an unveil of that soon. Lots of new things coming from Fox Spirit Books: Tales of the Nun and Dragon coming soon!

A good review of Drunk on the Moon.

Joe Lansdale writes about how he got an unexpected kick in the pants as a young writer.

The Cundeez celebrate a local hero with bagpipes and kilts.

Sigur Rós invites you to make a video for their new album.

Here’s a reminder all creative people need on occasion:

Drabble: Goin’ to the Chapel

Patti Abbott has made another challenge to her pals: a drabble — a story of exactly one hundred words —  inspired by one of three pictures. Succinct, yeah? Here’s mine.

“Goin’ to the chapel…”
The parson looked nervous. Bart smiled to reassure him, then nudged him along with the Berretta. Now it was his wedding day, he didn’t want to wait.
“Dearly beloved…” he paused.
“What now?”
“We need witnesses.” The man swallowed.
Bart shook his head. “God is my witness. Ain’t that right, Bonnie?”
The parson went on, his voice shaking. “Do you–”
“Bartholomew Jenkins Evans.”
“Take this woman–”
“Bonnie Louise Ormond.” He gave her a squeeze.
Happiest day: a few more words, “You may kiss the bride.”
He lifted her limp head by the bruised neck. Bliss.

Unquiet Dreams & other things

I am so happy to announce that I just signed a contract with Tirgearr Publishing for a collection of short fiction to be called Unquiet Dreams. Stories old and new will be gathered up in this dark bouquet. I’m so excited! Some of these stories have not been available for a long time and people are always asking me about them, so I finally stirred myself to put together what I had. Wow, it’s quite a lot! The title comes from Yeats’ poem “The Stolen Child” so it’s fitting that this comes about in Ireland and with an Irish publisher.

Where the wandering water gushes
From the hills above Glen-Car,
In pools among the rushes
That scarce could bathe a star,
We seek for slumbering trout
And whispering in their ears
Give them unquiet dreams;
Leaning softly out
From ferns that drop their tears
Over the young streams.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

So this is me whispering in your ears with my unsettling stories, little trouts. More news as we get further along in the process.

I have also agreed to edit an anthology for the brand-spanking-new press Fox Spirit Books called Weird Noir. Here’s the skinny on it:

On the gritty backstreets of a crumbling city, tough dames and dangerous men trade barbs, witticisms and a few gunshots. But there’s a new twist where urban decay meets the eldritch borders of another world: WEIRD NOIR. Featuring thugs who sprout claws and fangs, gangsters with tentacles and the occasional succubus siren. The ambience is pure noir but the characters aren’t just your average molls and mugs—the vamps might just be vamps. It’s Patricia Highsmith meets Shirley Jackson or Dashiell Hammett filtered through H. P. Lovecraft. Mad, bad and truly dangerous to know, but irresistible all the same.

This will be fun; it will be coming out later this year. I should also have a story in their anthology Tales of the Nun and Dragon (assuming I get it done soon!). Isn’t that cover the best?!

Last but far from least and hot off the presses, it’s “My Twitter Wedding” over at Asinine Poetry. If you weren’t so interested in this week’s other publication, my gritty little crime story “Just Waiting” this might be more to your taste. Pure silliness dedicated to my sweetie. Enjoy.